One of my new acquaintances sent me a list of things entitled *Did You Know These Things Had Names?* The message arrived just as I was taking over for our writing group leader who could not make it that day. For the record, I’m generally fourth in command in that group. There are three other people who are equally or more capable and willing, personality wise, and have more experience in leading writing groups than I do. So that day the three of them were out. Crapulence stood out to me as a good word for a prompt.

DEFINITION:  That utterly sick feeling you get after eating or drinking too much is called crapulence.

Here’s what I wrote:

To live is to be bruised. As Rumi, via Coleman Barks and John Moyne said, “Aren’t we all hazy with smoke?” This is the single-most effective, concise, succinct bit of wisdom ever generated. It’s a description of the human condition. Understanding this fact, in its depth and breadth, is the path to liberation from resentment, desire for revenge, and all the evil spirits that plague humanity. If you indulge in opulence and experience crapulence, you are unlikely to be able to see the fact that we are all hazy with smoke, as your vision will be cloudy, and you won’t be able to distinguish the cloud from the haze. At least not at first.

It is said that the Buddha had his phase of opulence, but he eventually grew dissatisfied with the result, crapulent, or perhaps not, before finding a path to the clear vision that must precede understanding, which must precede liberation from fear, doubt, and trouble of any kind.

Something Silly: Cataboolie, the Unicorn Hunter

From some fun writing prompts at Mid Michigan Word Gatherers!

a unicorn hunter, a planet inhabited entirely by cats, a glitter gun, and “strange times at the cupcake pagoda”

Chapter 1: The Unicorn Hunter of Catatanga

Catatanga orbited Star X-teen 43, as it had since the birth of the multiverse, or at least as long as any of its cats could remember. The great mountain, Catmandu, towered over its base on the smallest of the five continents which pierced the surface of the smooth, green sea of Catatanga.

“Today!” Cataboolie told herself. “Today.” That was the only word Cataboolie needed. Indeed, using any other word would dilute the strength of her incantation. And Cataboolie had more self control than to do that.

She strapped her holster on, and slid the new device into the pocket. She looked out the sky light, and nodded, satisfied, at the complete darkness. She turned, and opened the door to the tunnel out of her lair, and started out toward Base G of Catmandu, her silent paws bringing her ever closer to the unicorn camp. Her skin tingled as she thought of the honors she would receive as she led the Unicorn through the streets of Tangatown.

Cataboolie found the rock she had scouted at the  last dark of the moon, and slipped behind it. She steadied her breath, pulled out the glitter gun, and peeked around the rock to see the circle of prancing unicorns. “Beautiful invaders,” she thought, then quietly saying, aloud this time, “Today,” she jumped out from behind the rock and sprayed the circle of white and yellow unicorns with green glitter.

“Success!” she called. This was the cats’ price for the unicorns’ settling on Catatanga. The ritual completed, Cataboolie mounted the glittering being and urged him back toward the city.

Chapter 2: Strange Times at the Cupcake Pagoda

Business went on as usual at the post card pavilion. Briskly. Catapoochi made sure of that. His photography skills were far superior to those of the other cats of Catatanga. His network of outlets gave him economies of scale that his competitors could not even dream of achieving. Now, the Annual Festival of Uncertainty had arrived. It was the biggest event of the cats’ year, and Catapoochi had every intention of using the opportunity to build up his retirement nest-egg.

Likewise, Catakowie of the sausage pavilion was doing a brisk trade. The aromas of spicy mustard and fresh hot rolls mingled with that of the meat to attract yet more customers. Tangablu had his nephew out in front of the beach paraphernalia stand, demonstrating the latest styles of sunglasses  and umbrellas. The Temple of Catachristus had a long line of devotees waiting to pray their respects.

Catapoochie looked at his pocket watch. Time to head back and make sure that Junior was keeping up with the customers. One last place to check along the way: The Cupcake Pagoda.

Catapoochi stopped and stared, along with those being pushed out of the way, as the Cupcake Pagoda expanded and bright lights flashed along the edges of both roofs. The pagoda floated off the ground. The last customers were being pushed off the floor, which was now several meters above the ground. Fortunately, the unlucky customers were encased in transparent foam bubbles, so they bounced gently as they landed on the hard planet. “Indeed!” thought Catapoochi. “Strange times at the Cupcake Pagoda!”

Good thing he had his new camera. There weren’t many who’d be able to compete with him for this postcard. Catapoochi clicked one last shot, and rushed back to relieve Junior, so his son, too, could see the miracle of the Cupcake Pagoda, with his own eyes, before it left the atmosphere of Catatanga, perhaps for good.

Happy Holidays!


Alphabetical Advice

This was from a prompt to write a piece of advice for every letter of the alphabet. It was surprisingly easy. Of course, not all advice is suited for every situation! But I would guess that I have done most of these at some time. As far as killing my enemies, it’s been insects and woodchucks. Woodchucks are definitely my enemies!

After you have an epiphany, stop to make an aphorism.

Bring a cake when you go to a funeral.

Create something new every day!

Do the right thing!

Every deed requires its own remedy.

Fuck off!

Good people can still act like assholes, and it’s ok to demonstrate that for the benefit of the narrow minded.

Have a happy day!

Into every act, put intention.

Join at least five clubs, especially if you are anti-social.

Kill your enemies. Go ahead. Do it. It will give you karmic experience.

Let the other people worry about it.

Mean what you say and say what you mean.

Never shed a tear for a fascist.

Open the door to your heart.

Pop your corn in an air popper.

Quell your fears.

Rest in peace.

Step aside.

Top it off.

Uncover your light.

Vindicate yourself.

Wait for the right time.

X-ray your castings.

Yell when you need help.

Zip your lips.


To quote Janice Joplin…..that was my statement of great social import! 🙂

No Place to Hide

Here’s another little story I wrote from a Mid-Michigan Word Gatherers prompt.

This time, there was no place to hide. “I never should have come to this planet,” I thought. A barren rock with shallow pools of water, barely adequate to support the pitiful excuse for native lifeforms. Jeremiah the bullfrog might have felt at home here, taking shelter under the low shrubs that lined the edges of the ponds, but the entire planet was devoid of any cover for an entity of my size. “No,” I reminded myself, “I should have stuck to the diet pills, instead of doing this vacation trip.”

Sure, my will power was given a vacation, because there was absolutely nothing tempting in sight, except the pools, when one became thirsty. This only happened once a week, because the humidity in the air kept the body hydrated, and the bad taste of the water naturally reduced the temptation.





And I paid a year’s salary for this pleasure trip?????


My son gave up pop a few years ago. My son is quite the example for exercising will power for such a young person. I had purchased some fancy pop for a special occasion, and he still would not drink it. “I made my decision and I’m not revisiting it,” or something to that effect, was his comment. “If it’s no, it’s no. It’s easier that way.” The psychological research has shown that will power is like a muscle, and like muscles, even the strongest do eventually tire and need rest. We are human and we do have limits. We can strengthen ourselves, but we never totally overcome the inherent limitations of living in a body with a large degree of pre-programmed responses.

After reading several of Rollo May‘s books from the 1950’s, explaining the difficulties inherent in developing our own true centers as unique individuals (hint: a lot of will power is required), I have started delving into Erich Fromm’s writing. “Escape from Freedom,” originally written during the lead up to World War II, explains how the Protestant Reformation, and specifically the ideas of Luther and Calvin, laid the foundations for the eventual transformation of infant Capitalism into Monopolistic Capitalism. Luther and Calvin stripped God of the loving and compassionate characteristics inherent in the Judeo-Christian tradition up to that time, to (unconsciously) reflect the nature of the social structure of the late Middle Ages, where money (specifically, “Capital”) was becoming the real god of Western humanity. Fromm lays out a detailed description of the Protestant world-view, which portrayed the only possible way to salvation being a total humiliation of the self. This led the masses of humanity, bereft of any sense of inherent dignity, to give in to the elites of the capitalist hierarchy, and become nothing more than a cog in the machine. Note the use of the word “hierarchy,” still in place today with regard to corporation structures; a sickening perversion of the original meaning of hierarchy, or “sacred order.”

Here we have a rather dramatic illustration of the law of unintended consequences…Did Luther and Calvin, who were trying to overturn the authority and abuses of the Catholic Church, and give each individual the right to have a personal relationship with God… Did these founders of Protestantism want each Christian to submit to MONEY / CAPITAL as their new god? Probably not! Yet the Protestant Reformation led to the thought field of God’s sanction of the powerful, whether or not they used the power in the interest of all of humanity.

The prophets calling the kings to account was now a moot point.

Of course no world religion keeps much of its founder’s original ideas. So at least some of the problems that arose at the birth of the Protestant Reformation have been remedied. I am now a little over half way through my second reading of Fromm’s book. I’ve always been more interested in ancient history than modern, so it has not been an easy read, even as I see Fromm laying out an extremely detailed argument for some of the ideas I present in The Convolution of Knomo Choicius as being “Self Evident Truth.” But for those interested in the intersection of psychology, sociology, politics and religion, “Escape from Freedom” is a work of genius.