Monday, July 12, 2010

The Lord’s Work

Driver #11, Dora Dimes was sitting In front of the Amtrack station at around 2:30 AM waiting for a call, while she was listening to a talk radio show about re-incarnation.

“Now what your telling me,” the show’s host said to his guest, “is that everyone goes to heaven, because we are all the same person?”

“Exactly,” the guest said, and further explained, “the same entity lives every life that ever was, is and will be, until completion is accomplished. At some point the same entity is everyone from Mother Teresa to Adolph Hitler, so how could they go to hell?”

“But then if there is no hell,” the radio host countered, “how can there be a heaven?”

“There really isn’t,” the authority answered. “I use the term, because culture demands it. It has become part of the group mind, zeitgeist, and I’m just trying to stay on that wavelength.

“So then if there is not heaven or hell,” the host asked, “what is there?”

“Another dimension of reality,” the authority answered. “What you have to remember is that all we know is…

“Number 11, get Wal-Mart North,” the cab radio blared, as #11 turned down the talk show volume to hear the call.

“Okay,” Dora said, as she wrote it down on her trip sheet.

“Do you have a cigarette?” The voice startled #11, so that she jumped and let out a stifled scream. “I’m sorry,” the voice, that was connected to a homeless man, whose age was probably somewhere between 40 & 60 years old said. “I didn’t mean to startle you, but do you have a cigarette?”

“No!” Dora emphatically said, “I don’t smoke.”

“Are you a Christian?” The homeless man asked.

After waiting a minute, #11 answered with a “yes.”

The homeless man then held out his hand with something in it and said, “here, take this for the Lord’s work.” Then he put something in Dora’s hand.

When she looked at the piece of paper in her hand she realized that it was a hundred dollar bill, and held it up to the dome light to check for the water mark. “This is a hundred dollar bill,” she said, as she put it in her shirt pocket.

“Yes it is,” the homeless man said, “and I want you to use it for the Lord’s work, because the end is coming soon. Jesus Christ will be returning to Earth to take his followers with him, after he smites his enemies and reigns in the new Jerusalem for a thousand years. Then he turned and began to walk off.

“Wait,” Dora called, “do you need a ride?”

“Yes,” the homeless man said, “I need to go to Wal-Mart on Lancaster to get some apple juice.

“Then hop in,” she told him.

After he got in and they started to drive, the homeless man told Dora that his name was Larry and that he was a born again Christian, although he smoked 10 joints one time with Abbie Hoffman, and that Mario Savio had been a personal friend of his.

“The next stage in Christian marketing will be Christian Pornographic stores,” Larry told her. “Every church can open its own pornography store. Imagine, pornography that features only born again, married porn stars, having sex with their spouses. Then there could be dildos shaped like a cross and frankincense and myrrh scented body oil. Imagine a video or Jesus having sex with Mary Magdalene in heaven or Salomé having sex with John the Baptist just before he was decapitated.”

Then he changed the subject and began talking about how Jews controlled the world, and that he was a Jew, so he should know. “I used to know Henry Kissenger very well and talked to him about some of the policies that he helped create, back in the early 1970’s. He was a very smart man, but was very evil.”

“Obama is a great man, and I have the deepest respect for him,” Larry said. “Have you read his book, ‘Dreams From My Father’?” He asked and then went on to explain that it was the story of his Kenyan father. The book begins with him living in New York…” Larry wandered from one subject to another as we drove down the deserted streets, towards Walmart.

“…The Sahara desert was where the garden of Eden was. After God drove Adam and Eve out he set an angel at the entrance with a flaming sword, to block anyone from going back in, after He banished them. The angel represents the sun, and how after drought created the desert, the garden of Eden became a myth.”’

Larry apologized for talking so much, but he said that he had a mental disorder that caused him to talk continuously, so it was okay to ignore him. Then he offered #11 another hundred dollars, but Dora refused to put out her hand to take it, so he finally put it away, as they pulled up to the grocery door, where her next passenger was standing with a shopping cart full of groceries. Larry got out and started talking to the man and asked him for a cigarette, but he told him that he didn’t smoke, and asked #11 if she was picking him up.

“Yes,” #11 told him, as Larry turned back to her and asked for her Yellow Cab hat, to which she refused.

“I would like some kind of a souvenir from our encounter together,” Larry said.

Dora thought a minute and then popped the trunk, and opened up her back pack find a Yellow Cab ball point pen, which she handed him. After he thanked her, and walked away, she turned to the elderly man who looked to be in his 80’s with a shopping cart full of groceries. On the drive to his apartment he ranted about the way that people whined about the bad economy, when they didn’t know what deprivation was. “I was born in 1927,” the man said, “ two years before the stock market crash. I grew up during the great depression, so I remember it like it was yesterday. What they call a bad economy today is a joke, compared to back then. There was no welfare system or even social security. People died of starvation. Since then safety nets have been put in place, by the government, so that people are taken care of in a bad economy. Now you have Starbucks and latte stands all over the city, along with tattoo parlors and other unnecessary frivolity, that this spoiled generation considers a need.

After she helped him carry in his groceries and he paid her, #11 gassed up, and headed back to the office, since her 12 hour shift was over.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

What Is The Purpose Of Religion?

John Fro is an area celebrity, who plays at the Salem venues like the Triangle, The Big Kahuna, The Ike Box and The Space, and other local venues. He was playing this weekend at the Space and #52 must have had a half dozen fares throughout the night coming or going to the show. Number 52 had a special interest in John Fro, since he knew that he was driver #25’s son, and Fro was just his stage last name, from his skateboarder days when he had wild curly hair that looked like an afro. He had 4 albums out, including a rap album called Room 4, a rock album with Nuclear and 2 solo albums. Tonight he was going to be playing solo, to a sold out packed house, for 3 shows, at $5.00 a head.

His fans talked about him like he was the messiah revisited. Number 52 found out that he was one of the best skateboarder’s in Salem, back in the late 1990’s, and was in bands back then, like Sylphid, with Steve Seahorn. The discussions tended to gravitate towards the metaphysical or spiritual, as the night progressed. When #52 picked up the last passenger, from the 3rd show, at nearly 3:00 AM, his shift was nearly over, when his drunken passenger asked, “what is the purpose of religion?”

Trevor didn’t respond immediately, since the question caught him by surprise and catapulted him back to his youth when he was a student at the NUC academy.

“What is the purpose of religion? Superior Entity Zzzyyk rhetorically asked, and then after a long enough silence, for effect, he proceeded to answer his own question. “The purpose of religion is to regulate the evolution of a planet as sentience incubators transform the group mind into the stuff of the over mind. This of course would raise the question, what is the overmind?”

Superior Entity Zzzyyk loved to hear himself talk and would wax eloquent, as the students sat, in polite deference to his irritating harangues, not realizing that he was explaining secrets of the universe that most sentient beings would never have a clue about. Students, he would begin, “The overmind is the aggregate collection of all the individual minds, that were once part of the group mind, prior to their discorporation.”

Then of course would come, the question, “what is the purpose of the overmind?”

To which Zzzyyk answered in his monotone staccato recitation delivered in a robotic manner. “The purpose of the overmind is to take its place as one of the infinite number of parts that make up the whole that never was , but always will be.”

Superior Entity Zzzyyk specialized in the subject of paradox, and founded the 1st Gathering of Skeptical Scoffers. The true nature of the universe and its ultimate purpose was first understood when ultimate entity Qqqwwm went on the first birth expedition to the 3333347th galaxy to observe the birth of an overmind, after the destruction of its host planet. After overmind exploration began, the first mathematical formula was created to explain the purpose of existence.

Once an overmind achieves maturity, it begins to collapse in on itself, and initiates a vortex that absorbs all matter within a diameter of a few billion parsecs. The resulting black hole becomes the Blastula of a new universe, after the cosmic ovum is impregnated. This process takes place billions of times within a universe, until it finally becomes empty of all sentience and takes its place as part of the lifeless mosaic of anti-bara.

After a few minutes of silence #52’s passenger said, “Okay, I understand,” “you don’t want to lose your tip by getting into a religious discussion.”

“No not at all,” #52 said, “I was just pulling my thoughts together, to answer your question, ‘what is the purpose of religion?’ The purpose of religion is to act as a brake in the liberal progress of civilization, at least if you accept Toynbee’s comparison of the evolution of civilization to that of an organism.”

“But that reduces us to mere cells, in that organism,” #52’s fare responded.

“Do you have a problem with that?” Number 52 Asked.

“I’m not sure, but how does God figure into all of this?” He asked.

“That’s another question,” Trevor answered, “but I’ll try to answer it to the best of my ability. God is the organism that you call the universe, and we are the fingers of God and are creating what He requires, while at the same time we do it through googolplex variations in the form of stories that weave themselves into a tapestry that is the universe of our reality. Our stories fulfill a function, whose purpose is to achieve ‘teleo.’”

At this point #52’s mind reached into his passengers mind, who called himself Jim Long, and the connections were made, for “teleo.” Then he imparted the thought that God is a trinity of mother/father/it, because of being asexual in nature. Universes are being reproduced of an infinite number and always have been, yet never were because none of this is happening, except as a story, if you take all of this to its logical conclusion.
By this time they reached their destination, and #52’s passenger paid him, as he called in his clearance and headed back downtown. There were no calls in the South, and he needed to gas up anyway, since his 12 hour shift would be over in less than half an hour.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Reversing The Tower Of Babel

“Turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Genesis, chapter 11,” the voice on the radio said. When it’s a slow night or I’m driving without a passenger, sometimes I turn on talk radio or a religious station, just to hear something different. You never know what you’ll pick up on the AM band, after midnight, as stations fade in and out from leaping frequency’s emanating from who knows where. Tonight I had some radio preacher who was doing a study of the story of the “Tower of Babel.”

“Read with me beginning in verse one, ‘And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.’ Then the writer, who was penning God’s word, that most conservative scholars believe was Moses, said that this mass of humanity that was the earth’s civilization at this time journeyed to the East and settled in the ‘land of Shinar,’ in what is today Iraq. It says that they took burned brick made out of straw and mud to build a city called Babylon, and then erected a tower in the center, that was supposed to reach to heaven. They had plans to become something great and God was going to help them do it. They were erecting a ziggurat, which was an observatory for studying the stars. They figured out the first yearly calendar and began to make astronomical calculations that would have advanced them faster than their philosophical base had support for. Imagine if they had discovered iron and steel and created the internal combustion engine. Before you know it they would be building colonies on the moon, and polluting the solar system with their shallow theology, so in order to slow things down, until a more sophisticated theology and philosophy could be developed over the period of a few millennium through wars, pestilences, famines and other character shaping episodes could create a collective consciousness that is worthy of being controlled by the overmind.”

“So it says that the Lord said, ‘let us go down and ‘confound their language,’ and so He did, along with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. God speaks in the plural, because the Holy Trinity is being established at this early point, because He knows that non believing anti-trinitarians, like those heretics the Jehovah’s Witnesses will try to say that the Bible doesn’t support the trinity. They try to use Tertullian’s treatise on the trinity, from the second century, as the beginning of trinitarianism, but they fail to realize that the Bible was Tertullian’s source for information about the trinity. Just because Tertullian believed that Montanus was the incarnation of the Holy Spirit and followed him out into the desert to wait for Christ’s second coming, where he was massacred by Roman soldiers along with the rest of the heretics, doesn’t mean that his writings are just as crazy as he was.”

“My point is this,” he said and continued, “God created all those different languages to keep people out of communication with each other, but now, the computer reverses that act. How do we deal with this morally? After all what is the brain of a desk top computer called? ‘A tower!’ And what is this tower made of? Plastic, whose early forms was called Bakelite. The bricks that the original tower of Babel was constructed with were burned or baked bricks made out of clay and straw. Now doesn’t baked bricks sound like Bakelite? I believe that in His infinite wisdom, the God of the universe caused the word bake to enter into the vocabulary of both events, for the purpose of linking them together.”

“You can buy computer programs that allow you to translate one language into another, and blog sites like this one offer the opportunity to change the language to any of a number, depending on the readers preference. What will happen when every person on the earth is able to communicate with others and exchange ideas, until our technological advancements give us the capability to create a new universe. Then what do we do? Do we play God, or do we commit suicide. I choose the former, since I believe that God wouldn’t allow us to play God, unless He wanted us to. Maybe we will destroy reality and create hell, but then again we may create heaven, or we may just create a new universe that we can be the God of…

“Number 25, they need 2 vans at the St. Paul Rodeo,” Dotty, the dispatcher said, “and I’m sending you and #37 to pick up 2 parties, that I already have credit cards run for. When you pick them up make a copy of their credit card with your slider and I’ll give you the authorization number. Since neither of us knew how to get to St. Paul Dotty told us to head up Wallace Road, in West Salem, until we saw signs for St. Paul. We did so and after we reached Dayton, #37’s GPS said that we should be on the East side of the river. Then Dotty said that we should have gone up River Road in Keizer on the East side of the river instead. So now we had to drive North to a bridge to cross over, since the Wheatland ferry quit running at 9:00 PM, and it was nearly 2:30 AM. I was running low on gas, so we had to stop and fill up.

By the time that we finally arrived at the fairgrounds the party of Chris, that I was supposed to pick up was still there, but #37’s group was nowhere to be found. So I ran his credit card on the slider and headed back to Salem. They lived in Keizer, and we made it there in 20 minutes. When we were back at the yard vacuuming out our cabs, #37 said that he could choke Dotty for getting us lost, and wasting so much time for nothing, since he would not get paid, since he never found his party.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Born On The 4th Of July

I was born on July 4, 1947 just like Ron Kovic, but when I was drafted, they sent me to Ft. Sill, Oklahoma for 2 years, instead of Viet Nam. Lucky for me, some say, but I didn’t care. I was young and stupid, and came from a culture that accepted war as a way of life, and doing your duty by fighting and possibly dying for your country was an accepted part of the picture. My father’s father was a Cossack drafted into the Czars Army before immigrating to America in 1912, and my father was drafted into the Army and fought the Japanese in the South Pacific in World War II, so why shouldn’t I go fight the Viet Cong Commies in South East Asia?

However, as I said, that didn’t happen, and then while I was in the Army the entire country went through a revolution and the society that I returned to, two years later was a different one than the one I left. No longer were people passively accepting that their sons, brothers and husbands go die for their country, but mass protests were happening, everywhere, not just in a few hotbeds. The crux of the protests rested on the draft, which no longer exists, now we have an all volunteer army.

In this present stage of humanities evolution, you need armies for the violent and overly exuberant among us to exhaust their energy, until they either get killed or tired of it, make a career of it or come back to their home society and join the police force or CIA. This July 4th weekend was busy, so I didn’t get a chance to much editing done on my book about the history of Contemporary Christian Music, that I just purchased a laptop notebook computer for.

I picked up the one legged woman in the wheelchair, who has a ramp made of 2 – 2x8 planks, that she once had me get her up. That was a dangerous maneuver and I told her that I couldn’t do it again for both her and my safety. This time she wanted to go to Walmart and just got out of the theater, where she saw the new movie in the “Twilight” series, “Eclipse.”

She talked about how the vampires were good, and was disappointed with the climactic battle scene. Then she switched over the return of Jesus, and began telling me that a lot of people believe that Jesus is coming back again soon.

“When do you think that the second coming will be?” My passenger asked.

I thought of the time that David Bergman, of the “Firesign Theater” told me that he didn’t believe in the first coming, and then I said, “well the Bible says that no man will know the day or hour,” I answered her.

“Yeah but when Jesus comes back, he’s going to make everything right and solve all the world’s problems and reign for a thousand years,” She said.

“But first there has to be the battle of Armageddon,” I told her. “The entire world will meet on a plain in Israel where they will have a massive battle, where the blood will flow like a river, and Jesus will come back with all the saints and kill the anti-Christ and his armies.”

After I dropped her off I picked up a guy at the Point after that wanted to smoke a cigarette in my non smoking cab, and when I told him no, he told me that I was a jerk for not letting him smoke. He complained so much that I began to get angry and was debating about pulling over and telling him to get out when I decided to just go with the flow. He had been difficult from the beginning by not wanting to give me his address, and finally just making one up, that I realized later. We had to drive in 3 different driveways before we finally found the right one. I was wondering whether he was as drunk and confused as he acted or if he was just trying to push my buttons, but I kept my cool. When I finally pulled up to his apartment he paid me and gave me a $5.00 tip for all the trouble he caused.

I picked up a regular from “All Stars” and drove him to his house, while we talked about Islamic Jihadist’s and insults that warranted the death sentence. Then he began to compare radical Islam with Communism, because it was more of an ideology rather that a faith inspired spiritual path. “We have to fight them the same way that we did the Commies,” he told me. Hollywood needs to start making movies about the Islamic Jihadist’s taking over the USA and forcing everyone to become a Muslim. The movie would have mass executions of people of other religious persuasions who refused to convert. This would freak people out and we would have mass paranoia about Islam.”

“Yeah, but is that something that would be good?” I asked. “It would divide the country and we have to assimilate and integrate all religions in order to create homogeneity.”

“That sounds like heresy to me,” my passenger countered. The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. We could blanket the Muslim areas with posters of Mohammed having sex with a goat, and drive them crazy.”

“What about that hippie guy, who was detained in Pakistan for wanting to kill Osama Bin Laden?” I asked him.

“That man is a real patriot,” my passenger said. “We need more like him. Imagine if people like that started to pop up all over. What to you think that Al Jezirah would say. Osama would be shitting in his pants, if he’s not already dead. They’ll never tell us if he does die. Heck he could have gotten killed when they first invaded Afghanistan. They won’t tell us, because then we can’t have the satisfaction of saying that we killed the mother fucker that was responsible for 9/11.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Soldiers And A Contractor

“A soldier is anyone who ever put on a uniform and was willing to fight and die for an idea or flag. They didn’t even have to see battle or blood, but they had to wear the uniform and salute the flag. The point is, they would go to wherever they were ordered to go, even if it meant that they might never come back. But at the same time they could just be sitting in a barracks somewhere waiting for their enlistment to be over so they could go home to their civilian lives,” my passenger explained.

He told me that he spent 10 months in Iraq, stationed in the city of Bagdad, working in supply. “Supply is the best,” he continued, “you have officers that come to you begging for some item that just came in, but if their paperwork isn’t in order, you have to tell them no.”

“As long as it doesn’t come back to bite you,” I told him.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

“As long as one of those officers can’t hold up or change your orders, down the line, based on you not doing what they wanted,” I told him.

“Oh no, that could never happen,” he told me.

I then proceeded to tell him about what happened to me, when I was in the army, after I was drafted, back in the summer of 1966, when I was 19 years old, before I ever heard of war protests, in the Greater Detroit area, where I lived. I became the company armorer, for the 593rd Engineering Company, stationed at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma. In the summer of 1967, while the “Summer Of Love” was taking place, and right before Detroit and Newark created the summer of “Burn Baby Burn,” I was back home on leave, and the 593rd was on its yearly war game maneuvers. A returning Viet Nam veteran, who survived 13 months in the Nam, had just checked in with me, before I left the arms room to my assistant, while I went home on leave.

While I was home on leave, the returning Viet Nam veteran was killed on the maneuvers, when live ammo was somehow mixed with the blank’s, that his convoy truck was sprayed with. He was the only fatality. At the same time there was a tear gas test, and everyone had to put on their protective mask. My company commander had donated his personal protective mask to the company compliment, in order to bring it up to full compliment for the IG inspection. One of the stipulations was that he would be issued his personal protective mask, which had special eye glass inserts, so Captain Bowman could still have 20/20 vision.

I didn’t inform my assistant to hold out Captain Bowman’s gas mask, so he gave it to someone as a spare, but failed to record their name. The mask was found, but the glasses never were. So when I returned to my unit after leave, I was first threatened with an ultimatum about the glasses being found or my ass would be grass, and then a month later I was transferred from the 593rd, where I had it made, as the company armorer, to the 9th FA Missile Gp., where they only had 5 – 45 caliber Colt pistols.

“That’s too bad,” he told me.

“Not really,” I said, “the unit that I was transferred to ended up transforming my life and changing the entire direction of my life.”

After I dropped him off at his destination, I picked up another dozen fares, until it was around 1:00 AM, when I picked up an 85 year old man at the emergency room that was going home. He had been given morphine, when he first arrived, for intense pain from a lacerated artery in his arm, but it was wearing down by the time that I picked him up and he was very talkative as I drove him home on North Lancaster, at a mobile trailer park.

“I was only 19 years old on D-Day in 1944,” my passenger said, “but I came ashore in an area that wasn’t that well guarded, so most of my unit made it on the beach. The hard part was trying to advance up the hill that led from the beach. It had pill boxes with machine guns strafing the hillside, that we had orders to take out. I was in an infantry rifle platoon, and my squad was deployed to take out a pill box. I started moving out toward the target, and hit the dirt, as I began to low crawl towards it. When I thought that I had a clear shot, I squeezed off a round and was sure that I hit my target. Before I could decide whether to duck or move in for the kill, the machine guns began firing again, as it hit me in the chest. Fortunately, it missed my lung, didn’t break any major bones and passed right through me without much damage. I fell down and laid there for 2 days until the pill box was finally taken.

I have a friend named Steve, who I used to weight lift with, when we were training for power lifting meets with Doyle Kennady, back in the 1980’s, that just shipped out to Iraq, as a contractor, driving fuel trucks. He’s in his early fifty’s and was driving fuel trucks for helicopters fighting fires, since the late 1990’s, after he did a couple of stints in the army. I just got this email from his wife the other day.
Steve in not in Baghdad as planned. He is now in Khurkuq (?) Iraq. He will
be driving a fuel truck and fueling, of all things, helicopters for the
military. KBR employees will be taking this job over from the military. He
is not too impressed with this company, but he has said some of the same
things about his past employers also. He has committed to one year and will
give KBR his all for that one year. Miss him already. At least when he was
working for Erickson-Aircrane, I would be able to visit him if he was
stationed close to home. I will try to keep everyone informed as to what he
is doing when I hear from him. Looks like that might be only on the
weekends. He called me at 10:20 AM this morning and told me it was 7:20 PM
there in Iraq.