Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stranger in a Strange Land: Watching Stereo

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein has had an effect on United States Popular Culture.   According to Wikipedia the following songs and episodes were inspired by A Stranger in a Strange Land. 

Heinlein's book inspired the following songs:

Also the book inspired "Strangers in a Strange Land" a song written by David Blue and recorded by folk rockers Jim and Jean on their 1966 Changes Album.

T.V. Episodes-
Stranger in a Strange Land was also the name of and inspired a LOST episode titled Stanger in a Strange Land:

Spock in some ways acts like the Man from Mars....

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Meat on A Cargo Plane (Original Writing by Gregorio Roth)

Rattling in the oppressive tin can, with recycled, filtered oxygen; the tin can lifts into the air.   Apprehension air a baby cries, an old man coughs into his handkerchief, and I sit there thinking... "how much longer".    My wife Jessica is busy taking pictures out of the window of the plane.  She hates to fly, so finds something to occupy the time; she snaps digital pictures of the airplanes wing.  Apprehension, things appear to quickly in this universe.  Fear and a baby cries, an old man coughs into his handkerchief, and I sit there asking myself,
“How long is the flight? Where is the first stop?-Dallas. “
Let me look at the Dallas airport in this complementary magazine.  
“Dallas looks like an easy to manage airport!?”   
 I can’t wait to get back to Florida or at least Texas so I can stretch my legs.   The seats are so jam packed in this plane.  (I guess they are looking to maximize profit margin.)  I think back to how difficult it was to get our baggage stored in the overhead compartment.   Even though I am so far away from my family and my origins I can reach out to old friends on viral machines and fuselages in orbit.   Why do we pack ourselves into a tin can and soar to other places?  Oh yeah for the love of family.  
My wife continues to snap pictures of the wing of the American Airline’s plane.   
I think to myself, “What if she takes a picture of a Gremlin, or a goose that is about to take down our plane. Are there even geese in San Francisco, I know there are seals, but geese... I am just meat on a cargo plane. I wish I could open a window...but the lack of oxygen created by the crack in the window would be more stifling than sitting here cramped in my seat.  I am going to die, I am going to die, damn not here, not now, later…I am  going to die on a tin can, packed like a sardine, bound to Dallas Texas! Man I have always hated Texas! ”  My fears  surround me, I feel more crammed as the man in the seat ahead of mine leans back!  The plane has flown to its cruising altitude. "I wish I could open a window."
Jessica asks, “Do you want to see the pictures I took?”    
I snap, “No!”
Correcting myself, “Yes dear, but lets wait till you are sitting safely on the ground.  I am afraid that one of your pictures may have a gremlin or a goose on it! What would we do then?"
Jessica grins and goes back to snapping pictures.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

i GROK DO YOU??????

I attempt
to write every day and hope you can join me in my journey.   Each journey begins with a single foot forward, drifting away from the space capsule or your Honda Odyssey.   These words are not written to make any sense.   They are written to write 200 words a day.   I remember that V. Woolf spent hours and then shredded all the words because they did not add up.   I am glad for editors, I am glad for order, I am also glad for Chaos, they are all holy proof that we are living in a world that has fallen but in our sinful  states we can join with other sinners and embrace them fully.  I was  in a play once where I fell off the stage, I remember saying “oh shit!!!!” as the lights came out.  Art is exposure.
I at times just like you are a stranger in a strange land.   Hallelujah!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mind Bomb

 I recognized on a recent flight back from San Francisco, that I need to check in my fears and assumptions before boarding an airplane.


  I sat next to a Muslim woman who was wearing a hijab.  My fears all of a sudden streamed up.   A psychologist may say that I suffer from "Xenophobia!"  I would say I suffer from too much information on how others mistreat the west and how all of our lives are at jeopardy every single day.



The tension become higher when she left her back pack under her chair, and moved up to be with her manager. She wanted to review a sales booklet with her boss, but I could hear the tick tock tick tock of the imaginary bomb, locked inside her back pack frightened me. 


"Oh my God I am going to Die!"


I told myself, "Be Brave!"     


Paranoia started sending alarms to do something about the matter.   

"Oh my God I am going to Die!"


But I did not want to invade her privacy, so I just sat there and prayed. 

"Lord please protect me from the evil of the world." 

My wife Jessica laughs at the story and thinks my fears are  based on an active imagination and a saturation of alarming news coverage. It also did not help that the security at the airport was on high alert.   Also flying in a tin can is never an "Awe Shucks, lets lay back in my hammock as the world goes by "moment.   An airplane defies the laws of tradition, and proclaims that a big thing, bigger than any bird, can spread iron wings and fly in the air.   

There was s just too much stimuli to ignore things properly.



I may have acted differently if the passenger was not wearing a head scarf.    The average westerner is not any more tame than a Muslim, we all have the potential to do our brothers and sisters harm.    Just because it looks like a good, non poisonous plant does not necessarily mean that it is safe. (Just ask my dead parrot Charlie who thought he was doing good by getting stuff for his nest, only to die from poison.) We however must look at the degree of hatred that lies deep inside us and put it up to the light of truth.   


By the way of course it was my imagination and nothing happened on my flight... but that "Oh my God I am going to Die!" fear seemed real at least for five minutes. 


Then I settled down and continued reading my book "Stranger in a Strange Land".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Ghost Stories

Happy October... one week away from Halloween.  This is a week of Ghost Stories to tickle your inner ghosts.... or read around a campfire.  They are all short and will all be able to tickle that scary bone inside of you... 
We will begin with the story by M.R. James...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Short Review of "A World without Islam"

A World Without IslamA World Without Islam by Graham E. Fuller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 A World Without Islam shows that we need to check our assumptions at our proverbial check points.   It is not good to call others names or to assume you know their position, just because that's the socially accepted answer.  The book does a great deal to cover the historical context of east vs. west.

Fuller makes a sound apologetic that a world without Islam would still be a world full of us vs. them; the only difference would be that the Western Christians would be attacking the Eastern Christians.  Religion is just the banner that both sides fly in their war on correct theology. 

The answers are the easy stuff... the easy stuff learned in Kindergarten. We must listen to our brothers.  We must keep our hands to ourselves.  We must not throw stones at others, unless we intend those stones to be thrown back on us.  The world is complex, divergent; and we must embrace this complex divergence and grow in our compassion to "the Other".   

The book was worth the time and study.

View all my reviews

Friday, October 15, 2010

Young Adult Influences

One Series of Books that Inspired Me 

You can probably find these books in the used bookstore.  I am planning on reading a few to see if they were as good as I thought.  

Review: Alfred Bester Demolished Man

The Demolished ManThe Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

People have already commented a lot on this book... read their reviews for a fuller view of Bester's great work.
  I think that the psycho-analysis, Jungian, and Freudian play in this book is great.  
I truly got caught up in the ultra reality presented here. The book was introduced to me by Michael Chabon in his book Maps and Legends.   Chabon made a comment that the ending of the Demolish Man was purely classic.  At times this book does get bogged down, but then again it might just be my attention deficit; or it could be that Bester tried to be too mind bending, and played too much with the genre of science fiction, and thus losing the flow of the story.   However, the ending (which I refuse to give away) is an incredible haunting work of art, and worth all of the stumbling through Bester's muddled mind.

View all my reviews

Michael Chabon: Maps and legends

1844499.jpg" />Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great Read.  Chabon an explorer of all genres of fiction, a great story teller, shares his map to Fictional Worlds: "It is along the knife border land between these two kingdoms, between the Empire of lies and the Republic of truth, more than any frontier on the map of existence, that Trickster makes his Wandering way, and either comes to grief or finds his supper, his treasure, his fate." 222

View all my reviews

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Canada Loves England and Quebec Loves France?

Since 1908 England's reigning Monarch has graced one side of all Canadian coins minted at the Royal Canadian Mint.

It is these Monarchs who gracefully rest on the face of each Canadian nickel:
1902 and 1910 it is the image of Edward Vll
1911 to 1936 it is the image of George V
1937 to 1952 it is George V1
1953 to present day it is Queen Elizabeth.

Squido Article 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

James and the Dusty Machines

Once upon a time, and still to this day a man named Adam lived in a dust bin of an universe. Adam worked as a mechanic in The Dust Creating Machine.  Each machine part was tainted with dust, which added more and more dust, and made piles of dust each and every day (365 24/7). 

No matter how hard Adam tried to get rid of the dust, the dust was always there. 

The King of the kingdom, had kept an eye on the machinery of his subjects and was not pleased with the continual accumulation of dusty particles.   King El, knew that the only solution was for him to step into man's story.  The king knew that Man was bound to the factory and too endebted to the factory cycle.   The only thing that could be done was to send his son into the factory.  Joshua turned over the factory and busted the machinery into tiny pieces.   He redirected man's energy to the king himself. 

The machinery would no longer be able to produce the sinful dust that had so plagued man.  
Man was/is stubborn and it took time for man to see the awesome power of Monkey wrenching Joshua.
 Some men even went and started building more machines.
So Joshua proclaimed, if you join that crew you can not be part of my kingdom.   

Joshua knew the answer was to return man back to an agrarian society absent of dusty machines. 

{The Beginning}
Original Story by Gregorio Roth


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Red Head Boy on a Grey Distant Planet

On a grey planet of a little no named star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some dusty corner of a universe;  lived a screaming eight year old boy.  He believed in America and wove an American Flag with Gusto.  The boy wore a purple viking t-shirt, a present from his grandfather.

 The eight year old jumped up and down in patriotic splendor during the annual Boulder County Colorado Fair kick off parade.

The Daily Camera photographer saw the red-haired kid, (heck who could miss him, he seemed so animated) and took the kids photograph to be placed on the front of the paper the next day.

Carl Sagan "A Gift for Vividness," Time, October 20, 1980, 61.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Last Time I Saw Paris (Madcay)

You can have it all, and still be unhappy, no matter what age.   We all have ways to find unease in a happy world.   Let us pray for our souls to be uplifted in anything we do.  I recall sitting at the Dushanbe Tea House in Boulder Colorado and overhearing this conversation:
Girl One (G1) We have to go to Paris again!
Girl Two (G2) and this time we don't have the charter we have to use United...
G1: Oh, the pitty.
Let us be excited in whatever we are doing, so that we don't feel bad about going to Paris again.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Hemingway Good Grief??!!!??? Take Some Prozac...

I now dislike Ernest Hemingway thoroughly, what a depressing freak. There is too much pain in this world. We don't need any more depressing bearded talk, from a guy who loved only romantically and never found real love in his life time. I am sorry he felt so much, but he should have grown up, been a real man, and not some traumatized hunter for his lost soul.   If I could ask Hemingway to do one thing it would be to shave his beard and get on with his life.  We all know that this did not happen, but hey I wish it had.   He could have used his great journalism to uplift humanity not bring it down into the awful muck. 

"if to survive as an artist in a given social environment a person has to put up expressive symbols, he or she is likely to show the psychic effects of these adverse conditions."  
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihay Flow New York: Harper and Row, 1990. (pg 266- Notes on Chapter 6)

Under my Parents Stairs.... I listened to Whale Songs....

Back in the day... Under my parents stairs to their bedroom, I would listen to albums on a plastic Fisher Price Record Player.  It was my space for creative thought, and to be introduced to the sounds of Whales, Marlboro Country, and Run DMC.  The Fisher Price record player did not have head phone jacks so the small house would be filled with the big sounds I chose.   That's how I came up in the suburbs... at 421 Bowen Street, in a town called Longmont Colorado, in a state of the union Colorado, in a country called United States of America. (art provided by Art a Whirl)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Uncle Bumpkin
Uncle Bumpkin knows how to choose the music to make your day fantastic.  Check it out and enjoy it for yourself.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Books I loved: Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe

31 Years Strong: Bunnicula has not aged a bit.  
Coming Soon: Does the story still hold up after not reading it for 26 years a review by Gregorio Roth?

Making of San Francisco: Mud People

Monday, October 4, 2010

Help Local Guy Get Published

Who is Fred Koehler?   "Hey Remember that really nice guy from L.A. 2010 Who had all those cool GIANT illustrations.  "Yeah, I think his name was FRED!"  Please support Fred Koehler by clicking on his Facebook Like Page.  

Olde Bull and Black Bear Partners

Why Black Bear hates Olde Bull!
Once upon a time... (as all good stories should start)... Old Bulle and Bear owned a field in common. The field was a small lot weeded out, plowed, and surrounded by a thick field of saw palmetto.

They met one night in the middle of the field, before planting season,  to come to terms with the use of the field.
The sky hung over their heads. The stars shined as if candles hung at church. The moon was full. And the field could be seen clearly by both Olde Bull and Bear.

They both drank Rye Whiskey and Black Berry Liquor, enough to make the world seem like it was about to tilt over and spill out all of contents .

Olde Bull finally spoke, "Well I dear say, if you like we can grow peas this year! And if you would also like I will take the top and you can take the bottom."

Bear thought the idea was splendid and said, "Why sure that is a grand idea!"

The days grew shorter and it was time to harvest.

Bear was not pleased because all he was left with was weedy stringy roots and plenty of dirt.  

But Olde Bull reminded Bear that they had previously agreed upon this; "and that well a contract is a contract -so all should be well- but since I am a generous Olde Bull and can see that you are not pleased this year why do we not grow sweet potatoes."

Bear loved sweet potatoes and his mouth began to water.

Olde Bull continued, "And since last year you took the bottom and I took the top, why not this year you take the top and I take the bottom."

Bear agreed.

The days grew shorter and it was time to harvest the small field.

They harvested.
Bull was very pleased by the crop, he held up his meaty sweet potatoes with glee, thinking to himself "these are blue ribbon sweet potatoes for sure."  Bear was not pleased.   All he was left with was stringy leaves.   Bear teared up in frustration, and swore he would never work with Olde Bull again.

Adopted and Retold by Gregorio Roth from the Scandanavian Folk and Fairy Tales edited by Claire Booss.  Attempting to get better as a story teller so I am working on retelling tales from a few collections of Folk and Fairy Tales.  

Yes, I want it!!!!!

I want this Allen Ginsberg Doll: Way Cool.  
Check out the link at Boing Boing.
Also it is cool that Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl has just been released in a Graphic Novelization.  

Loving Frank Excerpt

To announce the care free atmosphere of the space within, Frank had stationed statues of some sprites on either side of the main entrance, their heads bent down.  They seemed to wink at Mamah as she passed through the entry.  - 
Horan, Nancy Loving Frank page 318

Loving Frank Excerpt

"Frank had fused what he'd experienced and seen into something entirely new: a waking fantasy." Horan page 319

A sophisticated adult playground built on the city's South Side in 1914 and razed just 15 years later, Midway Gardens represented a carefully arranged marriage of modern architectural design and old-world tradition. A distinctly American translation of the German concert garden, the elaborately decorated brick-and-concrete fantasyland included an indoor restaurant and dance hall; multi-tiered, outdoor summer garden and band shell; tavern; and private club. It was the toast of the town during its first two seasons, according to University of Illinois architectural historian Paul Kruty, who has resurrected the structure in his new book ìFrank Lloyd Wright and Midway Gardensî (U. of I. Press).

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Rewrite: The Fumble Heard Around the AFC

It was a crisp fall like January day, (62 degrees)  when the 1987 AFC Championship Game was played.  The weather was warm for a January day in Denver.  The weather was much nicer than a year ago; when the Cleveland Dog-pound Biscuit throwing fans hosted the Broncos in the 1986 AFC Championship game.    

1986 John Elway, Ricky Natille, and Sammy Winder had done the impossible, miraculous drive that would make John Elway a legend.  

The game was being called on NBC by Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen to all those fans who were unable to make it to the game in Denver.

My dad and I were at the game.  We sat on the ten yard line, beneath the top bleacher of the old Mile High Stadium.   We were nervous as the game began, but the nerves settled down when Denver got out to a 14-0 first quarter start.   By half time Denver was leading 21-3, we were sure that Cleveland just was not up to the mighty Orange Crush.   

But the second half was different.   Cleveland scrapped back and were only down by a touchdown 24-31. 

  The browns were only down 38-31 when they were at the Broncos eight yard line with 1:12 remaining in regulation.   It seemed that the Broncos needed another miracle in order to get to their second super-bowl in two years.    John Elway only could yell on sidelines as the Defense attempted to hold back the browns.   The defensive rejects: Karl Mecklenburg, Rulon Jones, Jeremiah Castille, Jim Ryan, Bruce Plummer would have to hold back Kosar from doing what seemed very likely.  

  We felt a metallic nervousness in our throats.    

We yelled as best we could, "Defense! Defense!"

I asked my dad for the binoculars, and watched as Bernie Kosar gave Ernest Byner the football,  and it seemed to not even touch his hands.  I proclaimed, "Dad, Denver's got it! Byner fumbled, Byner Fumbled." 
The football bounced right into Denver's Defender Castille's chest.  Castille fell on the ball, and covered it like green chili smothering a big burrito.  

The referee JIm Tunney raised his hands and pointed in the direction of Denver's position.    

My dad and I jumped up and down, up and down, as we could not help but think "This time we will win the Super Bowl and be champions of the NFL.   Being Champions of the NFL would redeem Denver out of the cowpoke back woods mind set that the rest of the world thought of Denver.     I remember running in front of the NBC cameras in the mile High Stadium parking lot, holding up my finger and saying "Denver's Number One!" 

One warm January day, in 1987, late in the fourth Quarter,  Ernest Byner fumbled on the 2 yard line; redefining him and his 1987 Cleveland Browns forever.  

Grandma Pearl's Words on Creativity:

Raymond Loewy Designer of the Modern Image 
I consider myself very luck that in middle age I have been able to develop a new exciting outlet for that tiny spirt of artistry I had often felt.   Thanks to App School and talented dedicated teachers I am just beginning to know the joys and satisfaction of light and color.   I no longer see a tree with some leaves.   I see the beauty of line and form.  This heightened observation or nature is one of the delights that has come to me thru trying to paint.  Since Childhood I have looked at and admired masterpieces of art.  I still look and admire but now I see what makes them great- all the elements of good design are there.  I know I shall never be a really good painter but I do know that for me Painting is more than a past-time it is a fulfillment. (This note was found in a recipe box, made by my grandfather, the note was tucked away for posterity.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Guinea Pig is Bored

Another day grew into another night; another day and another night; the Guinea pig Spook ate, slept, and slept growing tired of the Sisyphus Cycle.

Finally the Spook had enough of eating, shitting, and sleeping, and decided she would attempt to escape.   The night finally came when the owner put shampoo in her fur and messaged it all around her crazy curly fur.  She waited till the shampoo was washed off; then Spook bit down on the plainly visible arm of her owner.

And then Spooks ran.   Spooks slid across the wood floor, headed across the kitchen, to the dinning room, and out the back door.  The owners husband opened the back door, spooks darted through the gap in the door, and slid into the sunny driveway.

  Spooks attempted to cross the tar black road.

Just then a neighbors car went speeding down the street.  The neighbor did not see the Guinea pig.
Car tires hit Squeaks.  Squeaks flew up into the air, and then landed on the ground, only to be hit  a second time,  Spooks lay on the street a fresh meal served up to the neighboring Turkey Vultures.

Then spooks woke up from a really nasty dream.

Adopted and Retold by Gregorio Roth from the Scandanavian Folk and Fairy Tales edited by Claire Booss.  

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