Tag Archives: religion

On Love…(excerpt from upcoming Revolution and Beer book: TOMFOOLERY IS NOT A GUY FROM TEXAS, Riffs and Rants from Post-Republican America)

the mooksI’m collecting perspectives. That’s all any of us can do in coming to an understanding of what love is, which is fundamentally what the issue of Gay Marriage comes down to; Love and the hierarchy of love. That is, which love is valid, and with is not.

So, if in a truly Christian society, particularly one in which not only the Bible is contradictory, but even the most boisterously pious of men ultimate are judicious in what in that book they will adhere to, and what they will not, we are left with perspectives. So it becomes a mandate for each of us to collect perspectives on the world, and to weigh things not just in the balance, but upon a broader, deeper understanding of love.

I suppose that’s the way to come to some better comprehension of the word, as it is as elusive as defining a day without explaining the rotation of the earth, the waxing and waning of shadows, of morning dew, the urgency of fulfilling each final moment before sunset, or donning a sweater against an evening chill.

How does one comprehend the wind from a single pale word? In it there is limited comprehension for the gentlest of breezes against a humid morning, the rage of a tornado, a howling blizzard wind or the gust that stands out a flag to its fullest glory. There is only a hint of consideration in the word “wind” for the clap of a full sail unfurling, of the thundering surf rushed towards a pristine shoreline, the rattles of trash through an alley, the frosty whistle through a gap in the window.

Words fail us, and the heart fails us more. Not in the wish for love, but in the arrogance of ego that we truly comprehend its scope. Young lovers exalt in its electric rush, sweeping them headlong towards the uncertainty of love; to be swept over into the abyss where they are lost, or to settle into something that lasts a lifetime. There is the love in a child’s needing eyes, love in the betrayal and sorrow of a broken heart and an argument, and love in the adoring gaze of a pet.

There is love among friends, between lovers and among enemies. The desperate, dying and downtrodden find love in the rescuing eyes of those who would comfort and save them. Some find love in a glass of wine, or in a wonderful meal, others in the whisper of a sunrise or the majesty of a moment. We love our work and the passion of a cherished painter, or the brilliance of a favorite writer, or in diversity of all things. Many find it in the grace and goodness of god, but who’s god? What form god takes is entirely one’s own definition, and that definition informs their perspective or lack of perspective on love.

Defining love might be the fools way out. No, better to come to it as a science of sorts, in which there will never be a proper or simple definition, but rather a deeper knowledge and understanding…

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Milestone for Humanity: “Today the Pope will send out his last Tweet,” said the vatican spokesman. “The Pope’s twitter account will be in abeyance.” Two sentences never before spoken in Human history…

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Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com

NRA Absurdists and Gun Proliferation in America: time to debate the Ninja Amendment?

This Sunday from 8-9am, Our Town and Revolution and Beer on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT invite you to join us for the first real and honest debate on reasonable gun control, the Second Amendment and the proliferation of guns since the Newtown tragedy. Many are calling this issue a mental health issue and not a gun issue. On both the Left and the Right the rhetoric around the mental health issue has taken a dangerous, wrong-headed, uninformed and regressive tone. The debate over guns in general has taken a decidedly perverse turn.

In fact, within a week of the Newtown tragedy, the NRA’s long awaited statement, following an unusually long silence, was in a word, absurdist. Their answer to the tragedy was not reasonable gun legislation, or even reasonable gun debate and responsibility. The NRA, instead, as a way of prevention for the next Newtown or Columbine was more guns, forcibly armed and trained school teachers, or roving gun-toting guards for every one of the nations 138,900 schools. Militarize the schools!

It is an easy sell to a knee-jerk trained populace, particularly on the Right.A trained man with a gun would certainly have a deterrent effect on a would-be gunmen intent on mayhem, right? But the money-changing marketing on the Right, like the effort by the gun-lobby and the NRA to use these stories as a way to accumulate cash through fear, is flimsy at best. That’s why they have to shout at you, or cajole you through fear and hysteria or false sincerity constantly through the Glenn Becks, Rush Limbaughs or Mike Gallaghers in the media. That’s why they have consolidated and dominated fully their concentrated and fully one-sided message in the media. Drive, as I have done many times,through the south and you will be shocked at the proliferation of pro-Rightwing propaganda, and the absolute desert of unfiltered information.

But under any reasonable thought their absurdist ramblings of the Right and the NRA fall apart quickly. For example, who will pay for the 400,000 sainted and trusted armed guards for our schools who will be necessary to guard multiple entrances, recess, open and large campuses and the fat target of would-be gunmen of masses of kids going to and from buses? Or do we require all kids entering and leaving school straight to secured vehicles to serpentine to cover? All of those armed guards will need sick days, vacation days, mandated lunches and breaks, right? Who will pay that enormous bill? More taxes? Is the Right and NRA now arguing for greater taxation? What would the tea party say?

First and foremost, the ultimate flaw in logic with the gun pimps and absurdists deals with the gunmen themselves. Not a single school gunman has been stopped or brought down by police or anyone else with a gun. They usually kill themselves, or occasionally surrender. Always the would-be gunman comes prepared to shoot, often with greater firepower, more ammunition and body armor, whereas those who may confront them are always reacting.

Perhaps then we’ll simply engender an army of volunteers. Who will oversee and screen them? What if they don’t want to volunteer anymore or one day? Do we use the unemployed as free labor? How will they look for work on school/business days? Or maybe we arm teachers. Would we then require teachers to be armed? As part of teaching degrees would they be mandated to take firearms classes, and pack a weapon to every school and every class on everyday? I could make a joke about how well-behaved classes would suddenly become, but is that the reality and environment we want our children to learn in? Talk about a loss of innocence! 20 children died at Newtown. Does the arming of every school in America now victimize its 55 milliom-that’s million students? http://www.edreform.com/2012/04/k-12-facts/

So, in keeping with that, or in keeping up with the absurdity on the Right, I am proposing what I believe to be an equally workable, and perhaps even more practical solution to the gun issue: 900poundgorilla and Revolution and Beer propose THE NINJA AMENDMENT for school safety?ShinobiNoMono

Ninja’s are all privately funded, apparently. Never have I been at a job and said, “Hey Bob, what are you doing for the weekend?” only to hear, “I’m a part-time Ninja on the weekend.” So, it would seem, there would be no liability to taxpayers. A guard with a gun is also very apparent walking the halls of our schools, whereas a Ninja would drop unseen from a ceiling, burst from a locker or spring from a trash can above, behind or beside the gunman. A gunman could likely hear return gunfire and concentrate his heavier weaponry in hallways or stairwells with little or no cover. A swarm of silent Ninja stars could drop an assailant in the blink of an eye. And there are never costly funerals for Ninjas. Ninjas take care of their own. You’ll never hear a tearful relative at a ceremony lament, “I told Dave this whole Ninja life-style would catch up with him one day, but he just wouldn’t listen.”

Share this with friends, and ask them to send this post to your Congressman and Senator in Washington, the NRA, President Obama and Vice President with a respectful demand to sponsor the Ninja Amendment if they insist on the absurdist course Washington, the Media and the NRA are currently on with regards to guns and our children.

Contact the NRA: https://contact.nra.org/contact-us.aspx, and call, 1-800-672-3888

Contact your House Representative: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Contact your Senator: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Email President Obama here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/about/fellows/contact

Contact Vice President Biden: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact-vp

Stay tuned for the exact wording for the proposed NINJA AMENDMENT.ninjacatva11

Listen to 900poundgorilla every Sunday morning 8-9 on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT am820 and streaming live worldwide for the Revolution and Beer show only on Our Town with Mike Sanders.
Catch the beer of the week review with 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck and Brian Murray each Sunday 8-9am only on Our Town, at Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCPT AM and FM, and streaming online. Friend us on Facebook  at Revolution and Beer. And find all of the great beers we review each week at Louis Glunz Beer Inc., http://www.glunzbeers.com. And check out their fine beer glasswear selections  at the “Beerables” link  at the bottom of their page. 

Gender and Revolution: The World from the Outside

I grew up in small towns in the 60s and 70s. There were four types of people. There were boys and girls, which could then be safely and neatly subdivided down into kids and adults. You were a kid until the age of 16, when you could legally drive and hold a part-time job. From 16 to 18, you were kid-ish, until the time you could order a beer, vote and join the military. From that magic stroke of midnight on your eighteenth birthday, a literal blink of an eye, where only a second before midnight you were legally a child, you became an adult.

Somewhere, during those seemingly formative and all too confusing and frustrating adolescent and teen years we take agency in the further sub-divisions of the assumed realities of our lives and our world; Race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, sexuality, gender.

Where, as young children we were cloaked in the paradigms of our parents, or the principle adults in our lives, we begin to fashion or challenge those paradigms to fit our perception of reality. We either reject, redefine or redouble those assumptions and paradigms. No small part of that is the rigidity of culture and society, channeling us into a larger paradigm. The constructs of culture and society provides necessary structure, but it can also be a trap. And whether you are an ardent defender of the unwaivering status quo or a radical revolutionary we struggle against  our own innately limited perspectives.

I am no different. I have, and continue to struggle with my own perspective of the world. I do battle daily with assumptions and prejudices that seem to out-pace my desire for better perspective and understanding. In my defense, I have learn to stop mid-judgment and scrutinize my ignorance, tearing  at issues from every conceivable angle, often out loud in the car driving my wife to work in the morning before she has had her coffee.

“How are you that awake?” she frowns. “I can’t think until I’ve had my coffee.” 

On tomorrow’s show our guest will be Rebecca Kling, a trans-gender woman, whose autobiographical book, No Gender Left Behind, http://www.rebeccakling.com/ is one of the bravest and most honest books I’ve read. Our show is called Revolution…Revolution and Beer. But what do the experiences of  a trans-gendered woman have to do with community activism and revolution? It is a valid question, at least within the narrowest constructs and assumptions of society and gender.

First, revolution, at least the positive revolution that preserves and defends individual human rights and dignity, in a sustainable system is not possible without properly enfranchising and including all people in that communal definition of freedom and dignity. And second, no innovative and lasting change is possible without gaining the power to intelligently and sensitively deconstruct the conventions, assumptions and constructs of society, religion, economics, sexuality and gender.

Rebecca is a dear friend, and we have worked together in the theater, but I have lots of friends, all of them far more brilliant than I, but I don’t have all of them on the show. I found something critically important both within and behind Rebecca’s story that I thought merited a greater discussion. That is that gender is fundamental to each person’s identity. The scope and temper of that identity is profoundly imposed by society around us, but also from within us. All too often people stop at their own perspective on gender as defined by their individual reality, and the influence of society around them. The essence of positive change and lasting dignity-based revolution is about shattering all of that.

Reality is a potentially dangerous trap. Whose reality is being defined, and from what perspective? Philosophically there may be absolute realities, but we may never, as sovereign and autonomous, and separated beings, ever truly comprehend absolute realities. Our reality is our own, and ends at the limits of our bodies. It is when we recognize that limitation, and accept the perception of reality for others that we begin to collect shared realities. And that, I hold firmly is the cornerstone of a truly dignity-centered community, and the beginning point for lasting and a sustainable peaceful and positive revolution that humanity so badly needs right now.  

Catch 900poundgorilla’s WC Turck with Brian Murray and the whole Our Town gang every Sunday 8-9am on Chicago’s Progressive Talk, WCTP during the Revolution and Beer segment, and find out more about all of the great craft Beers we feature by googling Louis Glunz Beer, Inc. Like us on Facebook at Revolution and Beer, or subscribe for free to 900poundgorilla.wordpress.com.



On tomorrow’s show, what do Chicago Muslims think about the unrest overseas, about the film insulting Muhammad, and the First Amendment. Join me for a rational discussion with Chicago Muslims free of the Rightwing spin and hyperbole.

On my radio  show tomorrow, WCPT am820 7am in Chicago, we’ll talk to Chicago Muslims for their take on the unrest overseas, and the first amanedment issue regarding the Youtube video at the heart of the controversy. Should it be banned? Is it hate speech? Taking your calls at 773-763-9278.

Also, an update from Dr. Lora Chamberlain, environmental activist and Mother Earth’s own personal physician.


Police are describing the White-supremecist gunman at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin as a “frustrated neo-Nazi,” as if there are content and well-adjusted neo-Nazis. There is and will be an attempt in the media to marginalize the race of this terrorist. Call them out. The pro-gun apologists in the media, those who encourage and facilitate this sort of racial, ethnic and gender hatred are as responsible for this terrible tragedy as the man who pulled the trigger. They created the environment and culture that inspired and empowered this person. That media has sickened our culture, politics and national discourse. TAKE BACK YOUR MEDIA AMERICA! OCCUPY YOUR AIRWAVES.

The tears have not dried, nor fully begun in the wake of the Wisconsin murders of 6 Sikh brothers and sisters and already the NRA surrogates like Alan Gottleib of the Second Amendment Foundation at SAF.org openly defended the “right” to own 100 round clips, and has already begun politicizing the butchery of these innocent people on WLS and the reprehensible and anti-American Bill Cunningham show and advocating for more guns. In a perfect world not held and beholden to corporate interests with already far too much blood on their hands already SAF, WLS and Cunningham would be shut down and put out because by their hate and their division and there manipulation of truth, the blood is thick upon their hands and their souls. Shame. The time for politics is not now, not when the family and friends of those innocents are suffering. For some years now WLS not acted in the public interest, as their FCC license requires. They spew hate, racism, sexism, anti-muslim hatred, bald insensitivity and denegration of minorities. Their FCC license is now up for review. Call the FCC and tell them not to renew their license. After 911 WLS hosts demanded Muslims repudiate those very small numbers who perpetrated violence. Will they do the same for white Christian extremists as well?

Chaos Theory, and the process of writing…

When we last left off, our hero had inadvertently left a sketchbook of his next novel in a public restroom in the Sears Tower in downtown Chicago. When he returned the book was nowhere to be found. Hurt, but not disheartened, that night he went to buy a new Journal, but still lamenting the loss of the original, calling it a “friend,” he couldn’t bring himself to rewrite the piece so soon. The next day a dear friend left a new notebook on his desk, with words of inspiration scribbled inside. And so begins the latest episode…

The process of creative writing is chaotic and anything but predictable. I’m not talking about cheesy romance novels, formulaic horror yarns or bubblegum-esque thrillers. There are predictable templates for those genres. Which isn’t to say they don’t have a place. They satisfy a certain hunger, the same way a Snickers bar does. If that’s all you eat, or read, well, so the saying goes about garbage in and all that. Authors of literature are attempting to offer a meal, something substantial and nurturing to the soul, rather than a patch that sedates one from going postal at the airport when their plane is delayed for the third time.

If that sounds a little arrogant, it should. Literature is supposed to uplift through the sublime dissection of the human spirit. It should exalt through tragedy and trial the human condition, and it should champion revolution and justice by rendering injustice. It should assail convention, and eschew doma in all its forms. And finally, writers of literature should not be content that a character is afraid, or spiteful or cruel, but has the responsibility to delve deeply into the very cells, indeed the mitochondria, and some primordial instant from which that motivation or emotion arose.

I have found that sitting and forcing  thoughts and ponderances to the surface isn’t practical. I have also found that “letting” life happen is rather a lazy approach. There is a fine line between the two. A paleontologists knows where there is probability in finding a fossil, from various epochs and even an idea of the type of creatures he or she may uncover. That is the process, the education and the experience culminating towards a moment of discovery. It is hope and presumption that an animal actually dies where the scientists looks, and precisely which creature. The scientists doesn’t wildly attack the dig with a shovel if nothing is at first discovered, nor can he or she wait in the tent for the bones to walk in and offer themselves. Through meticulous observation and study, and the knowledge that life is indeed random come the best opportunities for discovery. Writing is hardly different.

And so I lost the outline, the sketches for the first chapter and ending for the next novel: Oliver and Me, the story of a cat who gains the ability to speak. I still recall most of what I had written, I still know the ending(the characters dictate how they will get there), and recall much of the outline, remembered what I’d so hastily scribbled on the train that fateful morning and could fairly easily reconstruct what was lost. I could, but then something odd happened.

Just yesterday Oliver, the real Oliver, whom I am basing the character on, was ill. He’d been out in the yard much of the day before chasing birds in the 90 degree heat. Where usually he’d be bounding outside the instant I opened the door, Oliver remained curled on the couch with those sad, sad eyes. It struck me at that moment, that everything I’d written previously was all wrong. Digging into that hillside, I’d been disappointed at one turn, only to have that magical chaos, the beautifully unpredictable randomness of life lead me to a new and exciting discovery. I had the new opening for the novel and couldn’t have been more satisfied…

Oliver had fallen into a deep malaise. He withdrew, spending long hours curled in the corner, his eyes fixed narrowly in my direction. I retreated from those emerald-green eyes. I shrunk from their silent accusation. Eventually I just made excuses to remain in the other room…

Evil and the Colorado shooting

In the wake of the Colorado shooting the word and concept of evil are likely to be used as a tool of the Right. It becomes the end of an argument. The gunman was “pure evil.” What is to be done with evil in that case? It can only be eradicated, for there is no negotiating, co-exicting or appeasing evil, only defeating and destroying it, in society with regards to crime, in dealing with the Iranians, your political opposition. It begins to rob you of true freewill. The word is initself a falsehood and a means of control.

Evil is, at it’s core a lie. It is the antithesis of the truth, and since truth can be manipulated, interpreted and degraded the line between evil and truth is terribly thin. The lie is certainly as old as mankind, undoubtedly the symptom of negotiations between our selfish souls and wants and desires of others. Separated from one another by the needs of the body and the ignorance of the mind we are certainly suffering the legacy of those first lies, and, hence, their inherent “evil.” We may also be suffering the echoes of the first recorded lie.

There are few words as misused or misunderstood as the word Evil. For some it is the embodiment of the worst the human heart and mind can conjure. To others it is a living thing, an ethereal essence or spirit that tempts and persuades us to cruel and selfish acts. Some believe that Evil is its own power, one that must be crushed and driven from the world. To those who eschew that belief, evil is a misnomer, a cartoonish way of describing a process. Some believe that strength and force are the only means of confronting evil, while others hold that if it can be dissected, and understood, that the roots of “Evil” can be treated or diagnosed before causing greater harm.

What is the nature of evil? Where does it come from? If a person does evil then we are left with but a few possibilities. That is, they are either seduced, are tricked, or are too weak to resist evil. If that is the case then someone or something ultimately must be responsible, and since the devil, or some dark specter, is not liable under the law we are left to judge the human perpetrator or accomplice to the evil act. If some one is under the influence of evil, is it something akin to a coercion, a trance or a drug? In that case, if they are control as if they were a puppet, are they truly laible for those actions? Finally we are left to ask if a person is evil? In which case they either succumb, fail to resist, or act upon that inherent evil quality. And who decides who is evil, partly evil, just a bit evil, and who is a bit good, partly good and good?

Does it require a catalyst, like a spark, or a particular environment to rage out of control? Can it be synthesized, controlled, vaccinated against or used commercially or for warfare? Some might argue that war is the attempt to harness evil for one side against the real or perceived or concocted evil of an enemy. Certainly the very word is a generic term, an umbrella word covering varied and even necessary evils. It also describes innocuous things, like an evil smell, and the like. Is sadistic evil different from abject evil, manipulative evil, genocidal evil and many others?

But the critical mind eschews the cartoonish conept of evil, which is all too easily  coward to in ignorance and fear. But the world is not trapped between light and dark, just as no person struggles with good and evil. We struggle against our inherent selfishness and the complex processes of our lives. Learning to comprehend the processes of the world leads to enlightenment and our best hope to one day intervene ahead of tragedies like that in Colorado. Failure to learn surrenders us to the control of those only too willing to manipulate our ignorances.

The Twenty Year Siege-Part 2

Eleven thousand five hundred forty-one red chairs. There were eleven thousand chairs arranged from curb to curb down Titova Boulevard in central Sarajevo. I enjoy theater and could have swelled at such a display if not for the terrible symbolism behind the display. Eleven thousand red chairs to memorialize the eleven thousand Sarajevans killed during the war. I still recall those days, the morning after a battle or following an attack. The siege hit civilians the hardest. And for the cynics-and there are scores- even among those fighting from the beleaguered trenches around and within the city, most were civilians pressed into a desperate 31/2 year fight to protect their families, save the city and maintain what feeble supply opportunities could be found to sustain the slowly strangling city of 300,000.

Ana. My Ana, was a child of 15 when the war began, still struggling with her own identity in the best of times. Fifteen. An age filled with the naive but eager assertions of emerging adulthood, but imbued and tethered deeply to the innocence, curiosity and vulnerability of childhood. And so she was thrown into the ultimate construction of human cynicism and cruelty, emerging in the incongruous and unsatisfying strangeness of adulthood and something called”the end of the war.”

I won’t call it peace. Peace is a fraud. It is not the end of war, because wars do not end, except for fools and politicians. war only changes character. The dead are still dead. The scarred and still forever scarred. Only the character of war changes, receding as embers to a half buried fire to smolder in the hearts whom it has affected or ruined. 

She cried all day Friday, lamenting and commiserating with friends and family back in Bosnia or scattered by the aftermath of war around the planet to strange and foreign cultures.  There was rage and sorrow, but mostly the injustice of what had been stolen from them. These modern accoutrements of Skype and Facebook make it more immediate for those commiserations and lamentations, but are only bandages to unalterably wounded souls. Ana’s friend Alma in Sarajevo summed it up succinctly, “I feel as if the devil was sitting on my shoulders all day.”

When I climbed aboard that Lufthansa 747 back in 1993, the siege was already better than a year old. I still did not know “my” Ana yet. Nor would I for another year.  I did at least realize that I was temporarily departing a home in Chicago for a war, and that if I made it home from the war I at least had a home and friends, a job and a culture to return to. war, that war, its true implications on personal levels was still very much an abstract, just as it was for all those watching 30 second sound bites and out-of-context reports on the nightly news.

I would never face the rationalization of choosing a new homeland because mine had been destroyed. On holidays, such as this one I would never longingly recall family holidays and reunions that will never occur again, because of those lost or refugeed across the planet. I would never search soulfully for purpose or justice or rationale to the fate that robbed me of my innocence, my dreams or my right to a life unaffected by what amounted to a meaningless tantrum over real estate that swept into cycles of vengeance and ultimately left much of that land unusable for centuries for millions of landmines.

The sun was setting as my plane lifted off from O’Hare that September evening back in 1993. The  future was unknown to me, but I was charting, at least in part my own fate-arrogance in the face of what was happening all across Bosnia. I understood that well enough, but would soon come to find that fate is hardly our own. As I gazed  at the photograph of those 10,000 red chairs in Sarajevo Friday, knowing the faces and names of a good many of those whom each empty chair recalled, that realization became all too apparent.

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