Posted by Alex Pendragon

Friends, when is the last time that you received a genuine letter, you know, the kind that makes it's way slowly to your mailbox from some distant place, not that mass-produced you've-been-approved-for-this or you-have-won-that kinda crap we are buried under thanks to the US Post Office. What I am talking about is that hand written or typed letter that USED to be the way most Americans talked to each other over vast distances because long distance telephonage was so expensive. Remember? Well, I got one of those letters today, from an Aunt I had lost contact with almost ten years ago and thought I might never hear from again.

I have been somewhat estranged from a VERY large family for some time now, being the only child of a free-spirited gypsy soul who lived her life precariously and not always responsibly, which included raising me, which she didn't. There are times I believed this family should have been there for me when I truly needed them, but there WHERE times when many of them WERE, only I was not in the frame of mind to appreciate them as much as I should have. Thus, when my Mother died in my care, we suffered pretty much alone, alone that is with the exception of her Sister June, who flew all the way from Alaska to Florida to be with my Mom when she passed over, the Aunt whom I have just reestablished contact with. I am not casting aspersions on the rest of my extended family, it's just the way it was, and that is history. I am SO happy to hear from her!

Which brings me to this blog, as well as the other two that chronicle my life, my thoughts, my opinions, my sorrows and my joys, for so many of these long past years. Isn't it great that I have such a record to share with her, the good, the bad, AS well as the ugly. She isn't all that familiar with the concept of the Blog, but hopefully, reading mine will allow her some idea of what life has been like for her long lost nephew.

I also have a plethora of new email addresses belonging to a whole slew of cousins, most of which, believe it or not, own Apple Macs, rather than those painfully hard-to-get-to-do-anything-with PeeCees that the population at large is slave to, so hopefully I will be able to talk and speak to them using iChat, the video conferencing program superior to all others that use PC's.

Like Buffalo likes to say, Life is sweet, for relative reasons.........

Forgive us, Gaia, for we damn well know what we do....  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

This is a reprint of a previous post, circa "Dances with Leaves".

Of all the gin joints in the universe, of all the balls of dirt and water and life run amuck, I had to end up on you. It's not like I called up my celestrial travel agent and made reservations for the next horrific birth in Biloxi. I would have sat around for eons on standby if I'd known what I was getting into. Well, I'm here, the next plane out isn't due for awhile yet, save some stupid accident or organ failure. so I have to make the best of it, which so far hasn't been according to plan, if I'd bothered to make one.

You happen to occupy that sweet spot that so many of your breathren lust after, that narrow band of orbit from a nicely aged star with plenty of fuel to burn. You have a nice tilt to your axis which insures your top and bottom portions get equally browned, and equally iced. And up until now, you were the perfect host to a veritable riot of living diversity, give or take a few hiccups in time when an occasional meteor strike put a damper on things. And all along, you defied the odds, dodging pulsar beams, supernovas, and other sundry galactic train wrecks that makes the universe such a wild and crazy place.

Then you screwed the pooch. You sat there spinning, nurturing an ever evolving mix of plants and animals, all living in a carefully crafted synchronicity, a dotting mother nursing her brood, perhaps until such time that she could spread her seeds into the cold, inhospitable vacuum of space, just to spread the love. Towards this end, it all came together, this thing called evolution, natural selection, survival of the fittest, and one day........WAHLAH! An ape had an idea.

It's been downhill ever since.

Oh, I imagine you must have been so proud as this one species of intelligent ape, with little going for it except for it's unique imagination, managed somehow to graduate from puny prey to horrific predator, all in a seemingly geologic blink of an eye. Creatures that used to strike fear into the hearts of all others fell before this new species, and with a few thousand years of learning and passing on that knowledge, rather than relying strictly on instinct, this nasty little creature spread all across your beautiful surface and began to alter it forever. This creature preferred the safe embrace of the cave, and if it couldn't find one handy, it simply built one from scratch. So there went the forests. An ever increasing number of these apes produced an ever increasing need for food, thus game animals, the big and slow first, then the fleeter of foot, began to decline. Hunting and gathering began to give way to the easier and more efficient crop and herd, and more land began to be altered to suit the needs of this one creature.

If only these effects were the progeny of this new top predator, the rest of the biosphere might have accommodated the new reality. But no, these were not the only new rules being written for the new epoch. Throw in a newfound ability to harness aggression, a trait once needed by many species simply for survival and reproduction, and things really get interesting. Clans became tribes, tribes became villages, villages became towns, then cities, then nations, and it seemed each and every one of them had a bone to pick with every other one. Not content to make do with the resources available to them in their own locals, these bands of self-indulgent apes invented the art of TAKING what they needed, or simply wanted, from other bands of equally entitled apes who had problems with that idea. And thus WAR was thrown into an already screwed up mix of things that never should have happened.

You despaired in thinking that given time, these willful new children of yours would mellow out, mature, come to realize their true potential and make you proud. Like most any parent, you want to deny that YOUR baby could be so dangerous. Now, much to late, your best and brightest have turned on you, despoiling you in every imaginable, and even unimaginable way they could think of. Your air, your water, your land is laden with poison, the very air you crafted to shield them from cosmic rays now stripped of much of it's critical ozone. The storms you created to help spread moisture and nudge the landscape are now killers, sucking on the heat building up in your oceans. The ice you coated your poles with is now melting, threatening whole ecosystems and the animals that have adapted to them over time, and threatening to steal more land from the continents and give it back to the sea. And fire, that element you unleashed to aid the forests and plains, now consumes them like some ravenous beast, All of this because of one damn smart monkey.

Mother Gaia, you brought forth my ancestors according to the laws of life, and here I am, in awe of you, not only of those nooks and crannies I explored of you on my own, but visited by means once considered magic, and you are so beautiful it makes me weep. I watch in horror as my brothers consume everything you offer, never giving anything back, and I am sickened by it all. So gather your strength, steel your resolve, marshall your forces and defend yourself. We are nothing but a virus, and you have all the cures at your gracious disposal. Hurricane, tornado, tsunami, draught, lighting, flood, earthquake, and famine, call forth your own horsemen, and call us to judgment. We have sinned against you, and deserve to reap what we have sown. No God in heaven holds us to account, not as we tread upon you, and no penitence in any afterlife will ever call us to justice.

But before you do what you must, allow me one more sunset, one more autumn day as the leaves turn colors only you could paint. Allow me the gentle touch of one more gentle breeze, the smell of jasmine and honeysuckle, and the symphony of birds gathered in the trees. Allow me to thank you for my home upon your Earth, the water I drink from your rains, and the gardens you nurtured for me. I always loved you, and ask your forgiveness for taking all of your gifts for granted. I have never been worthy.

Of all the gin joints in the universe, of all the balls of dirt and water and life run amuck, I had the honor to end up on you.

Our Own Private Matrix  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

There is a now iconic science-fiction movie that introduced the idea that mankind could end up living entirely inside the parameters of a computer mind, mere blobs of flesh and a brain jacked directly into the mother of all internets, with each and every one of us living a digital life, nothing more than a program run within and managed by an artificial intelligence. Sounds like fun, huh?

As The Matrix so aptly pointed out, it was anything BUT fun, as it was nothing more than a horrible kind of slavery, an exercise of control and power of one intelligence over another. Mankind did not invent this concept, slavery, but he certainly perfected it, evolving as it has from mere dominance of the strong over the weak, to the ownership of the disfavored and unlucky by the favored and fortunate. And even those of us who think we are free by those standards still suffer under the yoke of control by one entity or another. Those of us who refuse to accept that are also suffering form another syndrome known simply as delusion. Did you pay taxes, get up and go to work sometime this year, or showed somebody your driver's license? If you don't get my point, you might never.

It all boils down to tolerance, I suppose. Exactly what level of control you are willing to live under can dictate your happiness to some degree. If you are as miserable as a human being can be, chances are you are living as a literal slave under the control of some slave master, for it is rare you find the human being who gives over total acceptance to such a situation. He/she might struggle to get by shackled with chains, but it is rare that such a struggle is a happy one. If you are living a life of comfort and security and consider yourself to be a happy-go-lucky sort of individual, I doubt very seriously that you are wearing a collar around your neck. But, like I stated previously, somebody, someTHING is controlling at least SOME aspect of your life, and you have grown to accept that control; it has not exceeded your tolerance level. Even the super-rich and the super-powerful few amongst us chaff at the idea of having to pay taxes, of not being able to mold the entire world to their liking, or even being able to get it up if they suffer from sexual disfunction. Sometimes I believe that many people believe in and bow down before a God only because they themselves cannot dominate that God.

Of course, I must interject here that what I am discussing here rests within the realm of what is considered the "norm" of human existence. There is always the "abnormal" world in which slavery is considered a desired state of being for many people, for reasons grounded in psychological conditions I am not exactly expert in, if anybody really is. Even in this "desired" state, there is an "out" available to those practicing this "lifestyle" which in many ways negates the impact of this sort of "surrender" of control. The rumored sex-slaves in the palaces of Arabia do not have this escape clause to lend them comfort. The child prostitutes sold on the streets of Calcutta by their own parents are not aware of the alternatives available to them, either.

Choice is a relative thing. Yes, we as Americans think of ourselves as having the ultimate schmorgesborg of choices available to them as anyone on the planet, and in many ways we are right. AND, in many ways we do not wish to acknowledge, we are dead wrong. You can be anything you are EQUIPPED to be, but do not delude yourself into thinking that if you want to be a prima-donna ballerina, you can, just because you want to be and you work hard enough. If you are better suited to being a linebacker for the NFL, then trying for that will at least allow you that chance that is your due. I never chose to pursue a career in the NBA because I accepted the limitations I was born with. I am 5 feet, 3 inches tall and pale as they come, racially. There is no program written that is going to make it possible for me to take on Shaq. At least not yet.

No, I am not here to suggest to you that you do not follow your dreams. I am sure, as has happened time and time again, that when you put your nose to the grindstone, amazing things can be accomplished. AND, there WILL be a cost, a consequence, in return for whatever reward your achievement affords you. There are VERY successful people in this country, money-wise, whom I would never consider trading places with, so miserable or bankrupt of character they have become in their pursuit of their "dream". There are plenty of Hip-Hip "gangsta's" looking over their shoulders constantly waiting for someone who they disrespected on their way up to "cap their ass". So, you chase the American Dream. Be ready for the Nightmare.

I am going to die with a boatload of regrets. However, not one of those regrets are going to include the price I have seen so many people pay in their pursuit of shallow achievements, usually having to do with wealth, power, or spiritual conquest. If we were put on this Earth with a set of realistic goals to fulfill, with some idea of what to expect for achieving them, then life would be so much easier to live for all of us. However, life really IS a mystery, and perhaps it really is true that the journey is so much more fulfilling than any destination. That is why, I believe, that I soldier on. That is why I live as best I can within my tolerance level. That is why I accept my slavery of flesh until my true liberation with spirit. Even oblivion, should that be our fate, can be a far better existence then what SOME would wish for us.


Posted by Alex Pendragon

I really need to write something amazing. I mean, really, truly, downright fucking BRILLIANT! In order to accomplish this feat, I am going to pull out ALL the stops, utilizing every cliche, catch-phrase, and politically incorrect blasphemy that mankind has ever recorded, be it on parchment, papyrus, granite, bond, or bubble gum wrapper.

OK, here goes..........

It was a dark and stormy night, with scattered thunderstorms, dainty droplets of H2O cascading through an atmosphere so butch you could have cut it with a dull five bladed razor, since it seems that four blades are not enough anymore to trim the hedges on the manly faces of American Manly Men. At least I am ASSUMING that men who require that many blades in their shavers are manly, because I can assure you that if THAT many blades were to bite into the wrong place, someone of a "dainty" persuasion would be screaming like a girl, blood being flung everywhere, making life inconvenient for some illegal alien cleaning girl trying to earn enough money to get her sisters over the border to join in the scramble for the American know, the one that includes variable interest rate mortgages that sneak up and bite you in the ass JUST when you thought you had life sussed, just when you thought that the next credit card you maxed out would be your last, knowing deep down inside that it wasn't going to be, because they OWN you, my friend, lock stock and fucking barrel.

Angelic' read over that incredibly long sentence again, just to make sure she hadn't missed anything of great importance, because you know how those Americans love to hide everything in Seinfieldian irony, just to piss you off because, frankly, you just don't get it, and speaking of frank, why is it that if you speak truthfully of something, you invoke the name of frank, and who the fuck IS frank, anyway?

Her head snapped back, so shocked was she to have been tricked into a thought pattern so lengthly and drawn out that it rivaled the bullshit that she was attempting to grasp, if only for lack of anything more productive to do with her life at this given moment. Yes, she fully realized that putting down the 45 caliber automatic pistol that filled her smallish hand was a far, far better thing she could have done then randomly call up this idiot's blog and zone out, but she had a good reason for having this big, huge hunk of deadly iron in her delicate hand, that good reason being the complete and utter annihilation of her boyfriend when he came home from fucking around on her with her best friend, an affair she had only this morning discovered by breaking into his MySpace Page and reading all the torrid love letters they had exchanged, only unbeknownst to her, love letters that were only part of a play that he was rehearsing for, the said true friend only innocently helping a good friend out by playing the part, a part that was now threatening to tear apart the lives of three otherwise very close friends.

So, as this story that has taken on a life of it's own consumes me and threatens to take same said life on the road and earn outlandish royalties after being highlighted by Opra Winfrey, I will stop now, suddenly, abruptly, leaving metaphorical skid marks across the metaphorical page of this electronic construct, a place that exists in two places at once, in my mind, and in yours, because you dared to enter here and succumb to this arrangement of fonts gathered together upon this plane of existence that is highly questionable once it is erased, which it will be as soon as you seek the sweet solace of slumber and forget you ever read it.

Being There........  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, folks, it seems that my quest for fame and fortune has come to naught, and naught is not the kind of place I really wanted to hang my shingle. Once, when I was knee-high to a grasshopper (must have been some pretty damn big grasshoppers back then), I had this wild idea that I was going to become a crew member of the Calypso, that ship that Jacque Coustou sailed to all those exotically wet places. I've never even been certified in scuba. Such is accomplishment and wild dreams.

I think I know what went wrong. First, I was not born with the innate knowledge necessary to accomplish my dreams. Secondly, I had no one to mentor me in the direction I thought I wanted to go. Hey, I was new to life, not having lived one before that I could remember at the time, what can I say? And last, but certainly not least, I had many more people telling me what I COULDN'T do than I had telling me what I COULD do. If it wasn't for my "fuck-you, I show YOU what I can't do" attitude, I wouldn't have even learned how to swim or type or steer a nuclear submarine through the icy depths of a hostile ocean. You sometimes end up where fate feels comfortable you being.

We like to think we have choices, and that we make bad ones and good ones. I would like to suggest that sometimes having choices is rather irrelevant if one has no earthly idea what choices are available to them. You always hear how someone already successful took someone "under their wing" and taught them how to navigate the path to success, if they cared to listen. Well, I used to listen alot, but frankly, no one was talking to me. No one really gave a shit. I was on my own and I had to simply do the best I could relying on my own wits and luck.

So, am I complaining, attempting to lay the blame on someone other than myself for where I now find myself in life? Hell no. I was just unfortunate in some ways, but I was also incredibly lucky in others. I survived, and I cannot lay claim to having suffered all that much for the journey I ended up taking to get here. Yes, there are those who got in my way and made my life more difficult than it needed to be, but then again, there were those who extended a helping hand right when I needed it most, and although these "rescues" merely got me back on my feet and nothing more, I think that was about the best I could have ever hoped for, and I am as grateful to those kind souls for what they did for me as I could possibly be.

Then, there was love. Love is an incredibly hard thing to find in this world when you are not built by Mother Nature to win any battles of genetic superiority. I was not tall, I was not muscular, I was not all that agile, and I COULD have been a bit better looking (having to wear glasses did NOT help any). I was not the success story most damsels seek in their suitors, so my conquests in the field of Romance were not won against any real competition, if any. But find love I did, and when one is getting laid, or simply loved, that is all that really matters.

Many a decade has passed since I was brought into this world, and I find myself nowhere near anyplace I might have imagined myself to be at the ripe old age of..........well, let's just say I have had to celebrate my 45th for seven years now. I seem to be stuck where I am, and thus I find solace in writing and reading and working for a paycheck, rather than commanding the next Mars mission as any intelligent, innovative, daring soul such as myself should REALLY be doing. But I do know ONE thing. This may be my lot in life, but it's a damn fine lot, and nobody, and I mean NOBODY, will ever play this part as well as I have. I am and always will be the most natural Michael you will ever hope to meet, or see played on the page of a blog. And I, THE Michael, will pass away from NATURAL causes, not pharmaceutical ones. Unless you count one screwdriver too many.........

An Open Letter to the Right Reverand Huckabee  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Dear Mike,

I am sure that you are a very nice guy, the kind of guy just about any nice girl would love to bring home to meet the parents, and I am pretty sure that you are also a sincere person when it comes to your beliefs. But, well, beyond that, there's only one thing I can add. I also think you are at least three, if not four, cards short of a full deck.

I can imagine the offense you are taking to that last sentence. I suppose my ire would be raised to if someone, especially a complete stranger, said that to me. Well, Mike, I'm sorry dude, but number one, you have put yourself out here for all of us to "know", and we know you according to what you say and do, and dude, you've been saying some doozies!

The major "doozie" that has me thinking you need to step away from that nuclear button you apparently want to own is this idea you have of customizing our constitution to fit you own narrow idea of how this nation should be governed, including whose God to worship and how to worship him. Oh, I am sure that you are ONLY suggesting we put into stone (I thought God already did that with Moses, but hey, what do I know, I'm not the authority on what God thinks like you Baptist ministers and Islamic Imams are) some basic Christian tenants, the same ones you think our founding fathers had in mind when they drafted this document, the same one that makes it clear that the one who runs the show down HERE is Caesar, and NOT God, who I am sure has his hands full with the universe and all. At least that's what Jesus is claimed to have said. You remember Jesus, don't you? Half the time it's hard to accept that any of you people do.

When they coined that term "The Moral Majority" back there in the eighties, the fundamentalist, right-wing conservative Christians had it in there heads that if only they would make enough noise, the rest of God's children would rise up and start exercising their considerable political clout and put things right with our increasingly "godless" government, you know, the one that states in no uncertain terms that there is to be a separation of church and state. Yes, I know, you guys can't seem to "get" what our constitution says about that, but those of us who know how to read and managed to grow up with our critical thinking skills intact DO, and NO, you can't assume that MOST of us want YOU people to hold our hands and tell us what church to go to and how to behave. NO, we do not ALL want our women barefoot and pregnant, and NO, we do NOT want our own version of the Taliban running around loose in the countryside making life a living hell for the rest of us.

Mike, I'd jam with you in concert any day, if you didn't mind having a has-been karaoke wonder as a singer. I'd even have you over for dinner as long as the pagan decor didn't raise the hairs on the back of your neck and set off your need to "save" me in the middle of the tilapia. But President? No, Mike, no way in hell. I know you guys are just ITCHIN' to get Armageddon going so you can all be raptured and all us sinners punished for all eternity, and there's no better way to promote a self-fulfilling prophecy than putting a nut job like you at the helm of the most powerful nation on Earth. I prefer we try and accomplish that OTHER goal you Christians used to really push awhile back before you turned so mean, namely "Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men."

Amen to THAT.........

On with the Show......  

Posted by Alex Pendragon

Well, it looks like TTEM 1.3 is off to a rip-roaring start, insomuch as it seems that all the bells and whistles are working properly. I know that many of you have NOT had any problems with my comments or links, but a few did, namely my Canadian readers, and since I love my Canadian readers SO much I would give my only begotten son (if I had one) to ensure that their blogger sins were washed away, I decided it was best to start from scratch and restart the blog so that they could enjoy the overwhelmingly cool experience of commenting on TTEM just like all the others.

Also, there was a new setting that I activated that I thought might be wise to use with this blog, that being one that pointed out that this blog sometimes has "adult" content (that content usually being my filthy mouth, or a risque' picture or two) and that one should venture further at the risk of their pristine sensibilities. However, what my readers ended up getting was a notice that their had been complaints about my content and that they should be aware of it, which isn't actually the case. As far as I know, no one has ever submitted a complaint to Blogger, the FCC, the Southern Baptist Convention, OR the United Nations Council on really bad bloggers. So, in the spirit of truth, honesty, and not really diving a damn if anybody is offended by my fucking language, I UNchecked the box, and now you can access TTEM without being bothered by the warning box. I apologize for any irritation you might have experienced by my little experiment.

So, onto the news..........

The circle we were prepared to conduct under the light of a full moon was instead rained out, so we have rescheduled the circle to be conducted INDOORS, yet still while there is a mostly full moon hanging in the night sky over us, albeit behind a curtain of shitty weather. Please do not worry that any positive mental energy you may have expended might have been for naught; we will simply reach out and harvest it and use it tonight. We are allowed to do that because we are Wiccans. Grin.

Also, we here at the Hold have been shocked to hear that Keith Ledger, the Australian actor has suffered an apparently accidental death. We are truly saddened by this tragedy, as we really enjoyed his performance in "A Nights' Tale", one of our all-time favorite movies, as well as "Broke-back Mountain" and other films. We wish him well on his journey to Summerland, where he can recharge, rest up, and try again.

We would also like to announce that yesterday, we received our discharge of Bankruptcy, allowing us a clean, fresh, and hopefully much wiser start with our finances. But, you know, it has set off a phenomenon which REALLY pisses me off, and only goes to demonstrate just how friggin out of control our financial system is in this country.

We received an offer from Capital ONE, one of the credit cards WE HAD JUST DISCHARGED, saying to this effect, "We are sorry we lost you as a customer, and would like to offer you a new offer of credit.....yadda.....yadda......?!?!?!?"


We already proved to the world without a reasonable doubt that high-interest credit cards were the cause of our financial melt-down, and here YOU go wanting to lure us RIGHT BACK INTO another bend-us-over-and-slip-us-a-big-one, promise of a no-interest, high limit credit line which will morph into a billion percent, fees up the ying-yang nightmare we could never hope to overcome the second we are late with one payment by 30 seconds!?


Thank you for demonstrating just what you think of our ability to learn our lesson when it comes to your predatory lending practices.


Breath, Michael, breathe............


The media and the government is hammering into us that we are going into a terrible recession, and that they need to give us poor people free money (free money my ass; it's going to go on our income tax return just like it did last time) so that we can rush out and spend it on shit we don't need so that we can prop up our overspending economy for another year.


What we need is a major overhaul of how this economy operates. Enough of this using our homes as a cash cow to fund spending we can't hope to support. Enough of this using easy yet outrageously expensive credit to buy things our incomes do not support. Enough of this constant need to increase our output and profits when what we really need is a SUSTAINABLE and reasonable economy that doesn't require constant increases in spending on things that shouldn't be manufactured to begin with. And, enough of this despicable shoveling of piles of money into the pockets of greedy CEO's who function more as a drain on our economy rather than as assets to anything other than their own back accounts.

This is the Michael, this is my rant, and I'm sticking to it!

Blessed be!


Posted by Alex Pendragon

Welcome and congratulations on your journey over to the brand new TTEM (otherwise known as These Thoughts Escape Me) in it's new incarnation, hopefully a "fully functional" version whose bells and whistles ring and blow like they are supposed to.


Since it took me all night to fashion this replacement, I don't have time to post all the exciting things that happened since the last post. Now, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know what passes for excitement around here, so you know not to be all that disappointed.

So, please come back soon, when THE Wife looks over my shoulder and says, "Eeeeeeyuuuuu, what did you do to our blog?!"