Thursday, 8 December 2016

Hymns Old and New -- Anthem


I've been a huge Leonard Cohen fan since I was a teenager in the early 1970s, so I was very sad to learn of his death last month at 82 years old. Apart from being an amazing Canadian poet-singer-songwriter, his spiritual search and questioning always drew me to his music. He had no illusions about the nature of love, spirituality or the world, yet dedicated his passion and heartbreak to all three.

I consider his song Anthem to be a modern hymn in every sense of the word. It is his profound meditation on the Divine and the human spiritual journey.



The birds, they sing
At the break of day
Start again, I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be.

Yeah, the wars
They will be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
Bought and sold and bought again
The dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
The signs were sent:
The birth betrayed
The marriage spent
Yeah, the widowhood of every government
Signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places say their prayers out loud
But they've summoned, they've summoned up a thundercloud
They're gonna hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
You won't have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart
To love will come
But like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
That's how the light gets in
That's how the light gets in.

I love every aspect of these lyrics but two images in particular resonate deep within me. First, the very Jungian concept that it is through our imperfections and repressed selves (our shadows) that wholeness and healing (formerly known as salvation and redemption) are achieved. There is a crack, a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. Human perfectability is a harmful lie and there's no point in expecting this or holding anyone to that unrealistic standard. Everyone and everything is flawed by its very nature.

And the second image strikes me to the core as well -- every heart, every heart to love will come, but like a refugee. I think the word "love" as used here is code for "the Divine." This image expresses a great and profound truth about the spiritual journey. People sometimes naively think the spiritual journey is all about hearts, flowers and blissful insights but in reality, it's an arduous, devastating and often perilous experience. By the time you arrive at the end of your search, you are indeed like a refugee -- battered, bruised, a survivor of the immense pain and suffering of life but also so very grateful to be safe at last, at long last, in a new home. The spiritual journey is not for the faint of heart.

Thank you, Leonard Cohen. May you rest in peace, your long journey done.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Hipster Nativity

Last Christmas, I featured a blog post about Hipster Santa (see here) but this year EVERYBODY'S getting in on the act! Look who's just received an "Instagram-worthy makeover" according to the Modern Nativity website --


YES! Finally, a nativity scene for the 21st century! Hey, check out the SOLAR PANELS on that stable roof, all you energy consumption criminals who still rely on oil, gas or coal!

No need for Renaissance masters to paint the Holy Family's portraits anymore -- Mary and Joseph can take their OWN selfies now, thank you very much. All while wearing the latest styles. And I have it on good authority that Joseph is sporting a MAN BUN too. But jeez, isn't "duck face" over YET?


Behold the Three Wisemen with their "tricked out segways" -- camels are SO yesterday -- and their cool hipster outfits! Doesn't EVERYONE do their Christmas shopping online at Amazon.com now? I know I do. And finally, as the website says: "It’s crazy to think that the Wisemen followed a star in the sky to find Jesus, rather than using Google Maps, but who are we to judge?"


Even the Little Shepherd Boy is now a COOL TEENAGE DUDE uploading the whole scene onto Instagram with his phone. His flock has been updated too and consists of a 100% organic milk cow eating gluten-free feed and a sheep in a FUGLY Christmas sweater.


I notice that the only character who DIDN'T receive a hipster makeover is Baby Jesus. I guess the manufacturers of this nativity set thought that might be a bit TOO controversial, so they didn't cross that line. But really -- why should HE be left out of the FUN? Give that kid a onesie with some crazy pop culture reference on it!





But if you'd prefer, there are CHRISTIAN onesies on the market too. Here's a couple that would be JUST PERFECT for Baby Jesus --



Friday, 2 December 2016

Yeah, Yeah, Deck the Effin' Halls


Well, here we are in December and I have absolutely NO Christmas Spirit.

As in: NADA. RIEN. ZIP.

It's not that I'm depressed or anything, although I do admittedly have a wee touch of perfectly understandable post-holiday blahs. For whatever reason (and I'm not saying it's that goddamn Trump), I just don't have my jingle on for Christmas 2016. Even listening to all of my most beloved Christmas carols failed to kick-start my ho-ho-ho!

So unless things change and soon, it looks like this year I'm doomed to be the bastard love child of an unholy three-way between Scrooge, Grumpy Cat and the Grinch. *shudder*

You have been forewarned.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Thank You, Donald Trump!

The man hasn't even been inaugurated yet as president and already he's scored A Yuge Win for the Blogosphere for which I am profoundly grateful. He has single-handedly inspired Anne Johnson to revive her blog, The Gods Are Bored, which she had discontinued a year ago!

The Gods Are Bored is the very first blog that I ever read back in the mists of time about 10 or 11 years ago when I scarcely even knew what a "blog" was. I was immediately captivated by Anne's delightful tales concerning (among other things) bored pagan deities with far too little to occupy their time in this modern world, her family and job, Decibel the parrot, her obsession with upholstery, a mysterious poet friend named The Monkey Man, her Druid circle and her passionate environmental and other causes.


Anne honours the Sacred Thunderbird and enthusiastically serves as a local vulture festival's mascot each year. Here she is in action!


Her passion for fun, play and dress-up also extends to being a member of the Two Street Stompers mummers group every year in Philadelphia's New Years Day Mummers Parade.


She's in this photo somewhere!


Anne is deeply committed to human rights and equality. She is not going to sit by idly or silently as everything that has been achieved in the USA to date comes under attack. So she has revived her blog as a chronicle of her upcoming efforts. I encourage you all to check out The Gods Are Bored and follow along for the ride!

[All images blatantly stolen from The Gods Are Bored blog]

Monday, 28 November 2016

Oh, Did I Not Mention My New Tattoo?

Ooops, I did it again! Yes, I got another tat while I was in Maui!


[Photo by My Rare One,
who still does not really like tattoos at all
but who continues to adjust]

While my first tat was positively packed with personal and spiritual significance, this tattoo, by comparison, is purely decorative and maybe even kinda frivolous. Hell, it's basically one step up from a rainbow unicorn, isn't it?

But who cares, I just lurves it cuz it's purty!

And actually, it does have some symbolism too. Apart from reminding me of beautiful Maui, I had the plumeria flowers inked in purple / mauve / lavender, the traditional coded colour that represents our lesbigay community.


Okay, kids, true confession time now. Getting the second tattoo did hurt much more than the first one. I had to clench my teeth a few times during the tattooing process, I admit it. But even so, the discomfort was still NOTHING compared to the severe menstrual pain which at one time in my life I had to endure on a monthly basis:


Let me conclude with some rhetorical questions, if I may.

Is it wrong of me to yank My Rare One's chain by telling her that this tat is simply the first in what will ultimately be a Full Sleeve? Hahahahahahahaha! Or am I not really kidding?

Friday, 25 November 2016

My Vacation Foodie Post

We enjoyed a lot of wonderful meals in Maui but as far as I'm concerned, these are the Foodie Highlights of our trip --


Look at this cheeky little bugger, helping itself to some guy's breakfast while he was in the bathroom! That's the hazard of open-air restaurants.


Captain America cereal, eh? With "red and blue shield marshmallows" to boot. Oh you crazy Yanks, what will you think of next?


This is the most decadent dessert I've ever seen in my entire life -- the Polynesian Black Pearl dessert at Mama's Fish House near Paia. The black pearl is chocolate mousse nestled in macadamia nuts. The oyster shell is a thin cookie pastry hinged on whipped cream. Beautifully patterned caramel and chocolate sauce surround and set off the bottom shell. This work of art was almost too exquisite to eat!

ALMOST.

[Photo #1 and #3 by My Rare One; photo #2 by Debra She Who Seeks]

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Aloha, I'm Back!

Well, here we are back again in the Land of Ice and Snow after our holiday in Maui.


We go to Maui every time My Rare One has a Significant Birthday because she swears that "birthdays are painless in Hawaii." And hoo boy, was this birthday a doozy!

My Rare One has now reached the milestone age which entitles her to receive Free Government Money every month -- otherwise known as the Old Age Pension. And if that terminology is not bad enough, it also means she is now officially a Senior Citizen.

NOOOOOOOOO!


It took a lotta crying towels to deal with this birthday!


Plus a lotta sun, sand, surf and snorkeling.


Luckily no jellyfish were encountered except at the aquarium.


We avoided sharks too, although unfortunately a tiger shark did bite another woman at our beach.


Seriously though, My Rare One took this birthday in stride. She's still a young kickass chick, goddammit!

[All photos by My Rare One]