Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thing of Beauty #077-101: Just Askin'

For the last couple of weeks, I've been playing so many silly video games from a website that my index finger hurts.  Most likely, this situation is a result of trying to avoid saying that my dad has cancer.
It's only prostate cancer - and I say "only" intentionally because I keep hearing that if you have to have cancer, then prostate cancer is a good one to get because it's typically isolated in the prostate so it doesn't spread around the body which means that the man involved should live out his natural lifespan. I guess that's because most men are old men nearing the end of their natural life span before anyone discovers prostate cancer.  Nevertheless, the word "cancer" is a big, scary word, and it's a drag to apply it to anyone you love.

There's also the fact that both my parents turned 75 recently, which means that I'll be 55 this year, and no matter how you slice it, 55 is old.  Just ask AARP.  I don't feel particularly old until I remember that I'm 55, however.  Pinko is pretty old, too, since he'll turn 52 this summer.  If everything goes according to plan, he'll be out in the desert working with the DPW (Department of Public Works) to set up Black Rock City for Burning Man.   This year, the Man will stand flat on the ground so I expect people will try to climb to the top of the Man unless somebody is planted around the base to prevent climbers.  He's supposed to look like this:


He'll be up in flames soon enough, though, emphasizing the temporary nature of all things in this world and the need to recognize Immediacy (one of the Ten Principles).  Which brings us back to my dad.

Overall, I'm not worried about my dad since prostate cancer is not supposed to be any big deal.  It's just cancer, after all, and plenty of people recover from cancer every day.  But I still say that Cancer is a big, scary word since plenty of people die painful deaths from it too.  People die from all kinds of things, though.  Frankie Knuckles, one of Pinko's major influences as a DJ, died a couple of weeks ago because of Diabetes complications.  Pinko was very sad about Frankie Knuckle's death not only because Knuckes was a role model but also because it reminded him of his own mortality.

I'm pretty sure nothing reminds me of my own mortality because I'm one of those Airy Fairy Hippy Dippy Pagan types who think we're all energetic beings in an energetic universe, so that which we call Consciousness floats away somewhere to join the rest of the energetic universe.  Who knows what happens next?  Frankly, I don't think it matters at all.  The whole discussion is irrelevant.  Much more important to focus on what we're doing here and now - which is, of course, the whole point of Immediacy and Burning Man in general.  Seize the Day, and all that.

As a way of dealing with his sadness about Frankie Knuckles, Pinko made a mix.  It's on Mix Cloud under his DJ name, ABear.  I especially like this song, "Baby Wants to Ride," because there are some lefty political sentiments buried under all the sexy lyrics.  Something about not being able to fuck around fascists.


About the time Frankie Knuckles died, Punk Patriot posted a piece by Gil Scott Heron called Whitey on the moon:


I still say that the reason all those Teabaggers got their bowels in an uproar in the first place is because they realized that with the way the economy has gone, they don't get to be Whitey anymore.  Income inequity being what it is, very few folks get to be Whitey anymore.


There's a lot of depressing stuff in the world, so I'm glad that Pinko/ABear can focus on Art and Activism while I'm at work.  Last week we went out to the Brooklyn Museum to participate in an action with the NYC Light Brigade, standing in solidarity with Chinese dissident and artist Ai Weiwei.

There's me and Pinko at the end, holding the O and the N.  He's wearing a hat.


I had never heard of Weiwei until ABear forwarded me the email from the Light Brigade with information about the demonstration.  We watched a documentary about him, Never Sorry, on Wednesday night in preparation for the event, but I'm sorry to say I kept dosing off since it was after dinner and going on 10:00.  He's cool and everything, and for sure, freedom of expression is a right worth defending especially since as we continue along this alarming, totalitarian trajectory the NSA and Homeland Security have set for this country with the blessing of our officials, elected or appointed, especially those in the White House, it's only a matter of time before America stops pretending our paramilitary police forces aren't already beating and locking up dissidents.  For now, it would just be nice if the dang cops would stop impulsively murdering people - like that poor guy in Albuquerque where the cops have a "pattern of excessive force." They have a pattern of excessive force in Oakland, too, but it doesn't get as much publicity.  

Meanwhile, I'm taking Pinko/ABear to Houston next weekend to meet my parents.  Texas has always served as an illustration that there are violent, stupid people in authority everywhere.  High Schools in Texas, like Klein for example, have their own private cops and jail cells.  Apparently, if you lock kids up on campus the statistics don't get recorded like they do when somebody calls the cops.  Klein School District's blend of stupidity and violence isn't limited to High Schoolers, however.  They handcuffed an 8 year old, for Pete's sake.  And of course, tasering is common in school districts nationwide (NYTimes).   There is nothing like a trip to Texas to make you appreciate living in New York City.

New York is not for everyone, I know.  It's noisy, crowded and often smelly - but I love my little home in Historic Harlem, and Pinko finally feels fully at home too.  Moving to New York during the worst winter any of us have seen in 25 years or more, Pinko did okay - especially when you consider that he lived in Hawaii for several years before he moved to Reno, where he's been enjoying lovely weather for the last decade.  He'll be making his New York debut as a DJ later this week at the bar where the owner flaked out about Soul Sundays.  I'm excited because it represents his first step back on the path toward making money doing something he loves.  He's made mixes the whole time I've known him, but once he started getting ready for Wednesday, he seemed to get a new fire inside. He reminded me of my Pulitzer Prize winning brother when he's jazzed about work or talking about baseball.  It may take a little time, but as long as he's following his bliss, as they say, the rest will fall into place.

I like being an artsy, activist couple - and when you look at many full-time activists, you will find someone supportive with a decent full-time job with benefits.  Fortunately, I've always loved my job (most days), so I'm happy to have that role.  Velvet and Gigi occasionally express a bit of worry that being the breadwinner is a struggle for me, but I suppose that's to be expected.  They're both New Yorkers to the core and have trouble imagining that someone might be overwhelmed by the noise, the attitude and the subways.  I hope they both can come out to the bar on Wednesday to see ABear coming back to life professionally because then maybe they will see what I see and understand that the best thing to do is let the man find his own way in the big city.

In a way, it's like Burning Man has provided a beacon for him to follow since he found the bar because of a Burner Happy Hour, and now he's arranged for Burner Happy Hour to be at that same bar next week when he's playing.  And of course, we found each other at Burning Man since I went out there specially to meet him.  A lot has happened since last May when he posted this status on Facebook:
Is this too much to ask?
Wanted : Revolutionary female.
Nice skin and height weight proportion (plus or minus 30%) ... smooth clean skin... all or most teeth... street level education or above... Half my age plus 7 is ideal but 23 - 65 is the extreme range.
Anti-Capitalist, Pinko, Commie, Syndicalist, Anarchist with a passion for Social Justice.
Social drinker and occasional drug user.
No addicts, please.
Just askin'...
So much, in fact, that I believe it qualifies as Thing of Beauty #077-101 (Explore Beauty: A Challenge). I have to pause here to thank Jennifer Morrison for initiating the Explore Beauty Challenge since looking for the beauty instead of the bullshit has been part of my own path these last couple of years.  My buddy Max, who mentored me through A Course in Miracles, has also helped me learn to distinguish between the Ways of the World and the life of the spirit.  And even though Pinko/ABear is an entrenched empiricist who resists the idea that we even have a spirit, he's got a lot of Heart, as they say.  So much he might as well be spiritual, although he uses a decidedly different vocabulary - but that's another topic.

For now, I'm just glad I didn't chicken out about Burning Man last year and that we're gearing up to go again.  The Man Burns in 139 days . . .








Blog Archive