Liebster Award: (33 Questions Yours, Mine & Theirs)

I got one of those blog awards I see other people get. I’ve never gotten one before. So I’m going to take part. I’m just gonna dive right in.

I went looking on the internet and I found a few different sets of rules for this particular award. I keep saying award because that is the accepted term but it’s more of a virtual and infinite conversation stick that you hold while speaking then break into multiple segments and pass along to bloggers about whom you wish to know more.

I like it. It’s no secret that I’m unskilled at social interaction on and offline. So, there are blogs that I’ve followed for years that I still couldn’t say whether the writer was male or female, where they lived or the specifics of their particular demography. I’ve never been much of a good neighbor (on or offline).

Liebster Award

So thank you Veronika’s Film Reviews for giving me the chance to do this thing badly.

First the rules:

1. Post the Liebster Award graphic on your site.
2. Thank the blogger who nominated your blog for a Liebster Award and link back to their blog.
3. The nominee is asked to write 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.
4. In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, the nominee should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.
5.The nominee will in turn, nominate 11 other blogs with 200 or less followers for a Liebster Award by posting a comment on their blog and linking back to the Liebster post.
6. The nominee will then create 11 questions of their own for their nominated bloggers to answer in their Liebster post.

I’m going to cheat on numbers 3 & 4 and just post, as my facts, the answers to the questions that Veronika was asked.

1. When it comes to movie productions, is bigger always better?
I’m a big movie fan and I mean that in scope as well as degree. I’m a big blockbuster guy but there is nothing I hate more than a big-budget wasted on a crappy movie. (and that’s about 90% of them) But when they are done well…

2. If you could be a wrestler, what name or gimmick would you give yourself and what would your finishing move be?
If I were a wrestler my finishing move would be to tap the canvas and pick up my check. It’s all fake anyway. (and I’m a lover not a (fake) fighter)

3. What song, if any, has made you cry?
Fragile by Sting… honestly, waterworks
Now you got me thinking about that song

“Perhaps this final act was meant to clinch a lifetime’s argument; that nothing comes from violence and nothing ever could. For all those born beneath an angry star, lest we forget how fragile we are.”

4. If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be? 

Crackhead’s Got No Rhythm

5. What do you fear most about getting old?
Death (plain and simple). And not just death but dying without having apologized to the people who will have to clean up after me when I’m gone. I’m a mess and I made a mess of my life.

6. If you could swap gender for a day, what would be the one thing you would most look forward to doing?
I can’t answer this question without being crass. So I’m going to keep this one to myself. I’m sorry if the implication alone is offensive.

7. Is there any possession – childhood or otherwise – you simply cannot throw away, regardless of its current dilapidated condition?
I have parted with everything I’ve ever owned. By choice or by force or by necessity. My cat… maybe? But I guess I don’t really own her. Nothing. Nothing at all.

8. If the opportunity arose for you to have memory erased of just one film so you can watch it again for the first time, what would that film be?
Star Wars. The opening moments of Star Wars. I remember seeing it for the first time and the memory is nice but I’d love to actually relive it.

9. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Reach Down by Temple of the Dog (absolutely love that album) but I want to be the one performing it… by hologram or something. After the eulogies and the moving tributes from hundreds of friends, celebrities and well-wishers, His Holiness will address the crowd saying, “And now Mel, himself, has something to say to you all…”

HEADPHONES ALERT: (That’s Stone in the left speaker and Mike in the right)

(I suppose I should get to work recording that hologram shouldn’t I?)

10. What was your favourite subject at school and why?
Anything artsy or creative. When I was in school there were art programs and music. But today in America those are all but gone. I also liked science, math and lit.

11. If you could be reincarnated as an animal which one would you choose?
That’s a really tough question because at this point there are few animals that aren’t suffering from what human beings are doing (or not doing). I would either be in a cage, a gilded cage, hunted for food, for sport or watching the erosion and pollution of my home without opposable thumbs or a voice to raise in horror. Being reincarnated as an animal at this point in the planet’s history is akin to damnation. (did I just get too serious?) A bear, I guess. A big old solitary black bear that you find chilling in your backyard pool.

Okay now on to Veronika’s questions

1. What was your favourite book when you were a child?
Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

2. What is your favourite TV show and why do you love it?
Doctor Who because of all the things I watch on TV it is the one that I look forward to the most, every year.

3. Who is your favourite film director?
Stanley Kubrick I suppose. This is another tough question but since most of my creative heroes disappoint me artistically at some point in their careers, I choose Stanley because he never did.

4. Which film from the Criterion Collection is your favourite and why?
I do not know what that is. Are there any Hitchcock films in it? Because if so then Notorious (1946) by Alfred Hitchcock. Love that movie so much.

5. Do you have your favourite film period or a movement? If so, what do you like the most about it?
French New Wave or Hong Kong Gun-fu or 70’s Dystopian Sci-fi… Cool. I like a movie with a well-defined sense of cool.

6. To which film festival do you pay the most attention to every year (no matter from which part of the world it is) and what about it do you particularly like or respect?
I don’t really. Tribeca. I guess. Because it’s local. Or Cannes because it’s the granddaddy of them all.

7. What kind of music do you like and what’s your favourite band?
I like a lot of different styles of music. I don’t really have a favorite. I started listening to Metric recently. (recently means the last few years) So I’m listening to that right now. Here’s an acoustic version of their song Satellite Mind:

But what I go back to a lot is: Miles & Coltrane, Mozart and Soundgarden.

8. Do you play any instruments and if so, which one? If not, is there any instrument that you particularly like and would like to learn how to play someday?
My step-dad taught me to read and play music when I was very little. We had a music room and I would play everything in it and since I was young I picked them up pretty quickly. Piano, Drums, I had my Clarinet, picked up the guitar later. I play a lot of things adequately. I play nothing well.

9. What was the most fascinating place you ever travelled to?
I can’t answer this question the way it was intended. The most fascinating place I’ve ever been was a large homeless underground enclave in the middle of NYC. But that was more descended into and less travelled.

10. Where would you live if you could live anywhere in the world?
It doesn’t really matter. I would spend most of my time inside anyway. So a big city with 24 hour deliveries of pretty much anything and good public transportation… I already live in NYC. So any major metropolis like it. Paris, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Stockholm…

11. Why did you start writing a blog and what’s your experience with blogging so far?
When I’m not writing anything I still need to write… something. And I can go months without talking to another person, so it’s a place to put my (well-edited) thoughts.

And here are my nominees: I follow about 80 blogs on WordPress and I don’t really know how many followers anyone has. I just chose the ones that I interact with most.

If you don’t already follow the following 9 blogs, now’s the time.

emmakwall (explains it all)

Sidekick Reviews

The Triple Option

Mesh The Movie Freak

THE GIRL THAT LOVED TO REVIEW

Cinema Parrot Disco

Simply Film

Polar Bears Watch TV

And any commenting regulars who don’t have active blogs, or don’t want to post this on their blog, can answer these questions in the comments.

And here are my 11 questions:

1. If you could be any character from classic literature who would you be?

2. If you could bring back any cancelled TV show in television history what show would you bring back or reboot?

3. What director or filmmaker, if any, do you dislike so much that you will absolutely never watch any of their films?

4. If you ever won a major award (Oscar, Tony, Nobel, Pulitzer, etc.) who, other than the people who technically helped you, would you thank in your acceptance speech? (ie. teachers, friends, family)

5. If you could go back in time, what world leader from history (or current leader) would you depose or prevent from coming to power? (you can say Hitler if you absolutely need to. But I mean other than Hitler)

6. Write down your favorite movie line or quote.

7. What are your favorite movie theater snacks? Or do you not eat at the theater? Or do you bring your own snacks from home? 

8. If you could live in any fictional or mythological city (Books, TV, Comics, Movies) where would you want to live?

9. What toy or game from childhood have you NOT grown out of? or what toy or game do you wish you still played?

10. Would you rather be incredibly strong but kind of slow-moving or incredibly fast-moving but weak? and why?

11. What writer or philosopher from history do you wish was an active blogger? And why?

I want to apologize if this feels more like a chain letter than a conversation. It was not my intention to hand out work and I won’t be offended if you just ignored it (or left your answers in the comments).

– Mel

7 Times A Movie Saved My Life

Under the heading of Things That Make Me Happy:

On this blog I like to talk about movies, list the things that I like, and talk about myself & my life in embarrassing detail. This is one of those posts.

Typewriter

I was thinking about movies that represented important times in my life. That not just reminded me of those times, but that affected, informed, reflected and transformed those times into some of my life’s most important moments.

These are movies that (figuratively) saved my life.

To the list…

Raider of the Lost Ark (1981)

Raiders of the Lost Ark

Firstly, the movies were an escape:

To escape.

I saw Raiders of the Lost Ark EVERY DAY for several months. Two, sometimes three times a night. After school, instead of going home, I stayed at the movie theater and watched Indiana Jones take on the Nazis over and over again. Sometimes I paid, sometimes I didn’t pay at all. Those days you could hang out near the exit and walk in as people walked out. But I wasn’t about to go home.

Where doesn't it hurt?

“Dammit, Mel where doesn’t it hurt?”

I knew every word.

I hid at the theater, the way Indy hides on that cargo ship.

“There’s a place for you in the hold. Go my friend. Go.”

Indy

Fear is a horrible thing.

“WHAT ABOUT JONES?”

“Jones is dead. I killed him. Herr Colonel, that cargo you’ve taken, if it’s your gold, go in peace with it but leave us the girl. She will reduce our loss on this trip.”

“Savages! We will take what we want and then decide whether or not to blow your ship from the water.”

Top Men

We’re just gonna store this one away and forget about it.

Seriously though, I know every word, every sound, every note. Raiders of the Lost Ark is my happy place. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Top Secret (1984)

Top Secret

To get over a bad break-up.

Val Kilmer in an over-the-top Airplane style comedy. Several jokes per second. Pure silliness. Insanely funny. But more than that. My first break-up.

Sun Tan

This one’s simple. I was 17. I’d just broken up with my first real girlfriend. I’d never felt such pain in my life. No, wait. That’s not true. I had felt pain like that. But it was when I was a kid. I didn’t know what caused it. Non-physical pain hardly really registers with children. Because there’s nothing physical to blame. No fall. No sprain. I couldn’t blame anything for that heavy, empty feeling in my heart. That crushing feeling is a mystery pain to a child.

So, with the first girl, the first hand, the first time someone reached into my chest, pulled my heart out and broke it in front of me, it wasn’t just that very pain. And that very cause. It wasn’t just her. No. Getting my heart-broken finally helped me to realize that it had been feeling like that all along. It was the rejection. That’s what that was. The feeling you get when someone you love treats you like something they scraped off the bottom of their shoes. Finally I was able to identify the feeling I was feeling.

Hello

It was a lot to put on one girl. I should have thanked her for opening my mind to the realization of all the pain I’ve ever felt. I didn’t realize I’d been in pain the entire time. And it destroyed my image of the world like the crumpled photograph of the forgotten lover. I couldn’t breathe and a part of me didn’t want to anymore.

So, as I do, I went walking.

This is a recurring theme. I walk when I’m in pain. Like running away from my problems but slower. I’m a walker. This one time I walked to the multiplex – a theater with six or more tiny theaters contained within – and I bought a ticket for Top Secret. I loved Airplane and The Kentucky Fried Movie. I love that silly stuff. I sat there in the theater crying through the coming attractions… in the dark.

Boots

By the middle of the film I was crying on the floor with laughter. Laughing my ass off so hard my sides hurt more than my heart. It is one of the silliest movies ever made. So many visual jokes. So much zany. So much funny.

There’s a point during pain when you think it may never cease. No matter how many times pain has come and gone away. THIS time… This time it’s moving in for good. But then a movie (or a song) just blows that theory out of the water. You’re singing. You’re dancing. You’re still inside the pain but the laughter has shoved it over to the side and made room for pleasure. Room to smile again.

How Silly

I can’t say Top Secret is one of my favorite movies but it is a movie that saved my life.

“How silly can you get?”

Barton Fink (1991)

Barton Fink

To make the writey things BLAH

Speaking of things that feel like they will never end. Writer’s block is one of those “Oh my god. This isn’t going away” type things. One of my worst bouts was after getting notes from a severely demanding “producer” (I use that term loosely) and then getting to a point where I couldn’t see the words. They weren’t even words. They were just shapes on a page. Have you ever felt like that? Like words aren’t words just letters. And it’s all just shapes on a page that make no sense. That these so called words are in a language that you do not understand. Only to come to the realization that you also think in that stupid language. Your thoughts are also in that same alien gibberish that you don’t understand. And communication no good think fuck words… WALK.

The Fink Feel

So I walk. I find myself on the street. Walking it out. Walking it out. I lived down in the village at this time. I use the term lived loosely. I went through several homeless phases in my life. From homeless teen to homeless artist to homeless drug addict to chronic homeless to homeless mental patient. This was the artist phase. (I use that term loosely) They put me up in a hotel with a typewriter and nothing else. And I drank. And I wrote.

I made something I was proud of until… More producers. More notes. More changes. More stress. I walked. I walked past the Cinema Village Theater; an artsy multiplex on 11th or 12th street. I said to myself, “I will see the next movie starting.”

Barton

It was Barton Fink. I wouldn’t lie to you. I didn’t even know what that was. Didn’t know the Coen Brothers. I’d seen Raising Arizona but that’s it. At least with Top Secret I knew what I was getting into. I loved Airplane. I knew it was a comedy. I knew that it was just what I needed. But this one, I walked into blind. I didn’t know a damn thing about it. Nothing.

And it too was just what I needed. Barton Fink is a movie about writer’s block. The main character suffers from it. Everyone in his world has a debilitating frustration with communication… and it is marvelous. You have to love the universe’s sense of humor.

Barton Fink Hotel Room

Some turn to drink. Some turn to murder. Some put their names on other people’s work. Each character deals with it a different way. Not being able to find the right words is maddening. And not just for writers but salespeople, professionals, professors, executives, executors, etc., etc.

Fink

Barton Fink was the first time I saw the genius of the Coen Brothers. A film written by two of my favorite screenwriters when they were blocked while writing another of my favorite films; Miller’s Crossing. They used it as a way to work out of their… their own… what’s the word? (the word is BLAH).

I do this thing now that I’m pretty pleased with. When I can’t find the word I’m looking for in a reasonable amount of time, I put BLAH (all caps) in its place and move on. I don’t even think about it. When I go over what I’ve written an hour or two later, the word I wanted is immediately apparent. It hasn’t failed me yet. (Now that I’ve said that, I’m going to reopen a file and it’s going to read blah blah blah, blah blah, blah blah. Serves me right for jinxing it)

Life of the mind

Barton Fink is one of my all-time favorite movies. Not just because it helped me out of a sticky situation and I left that theater and went back to my tiny hotel room and re-wrote the best thing I’d ever re-written in my life into something barely recognizable as my own. But I still pull that movie off the shelf when I’m having trouble with the letter thingies. The little letter thingies. Because it’s also a really good movie. Really really really really good.

“I’ll show you the life of the mind!”

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs

To work out my post-incarceration aggression

It was the first thing I did when I got out of jail. I went to the movies. It’s what I do. I couldn’t walk. I was too angry. I had to rest my sore leg on the back of the seat in front of me. The theater was crowded but nobody said shit to me. Reservoir Dogs was playing. And I laughed through the entire thing. Especially the torture scene (think De Niro in Cape Fear). It was exactly what I needed. Exactly. what. I. needed.

"You're welcome."

“You’re welcome.”

During one of my homeless stints, I carried my belongings in a backpack. This time out it was mostly books. But I had one of those packs that distributed the weight from your shoulders to your waist. It was still quite a workout. I read books on writing. Books on Buddhism. Books I loved. I would read them and I would sell them. During the day I would go to the illegal flea market and set up a store to sell my books while I played my guitar.

Mr Blonde

It was not illegal to sell books (something to do with the first amendment). So whenever the cops would come and close us down, I would calmly pack up my books and leave. But for some reason, this last time, an officer decided to walk over to my “store” and stand on top of my books so that I couldn’t pick them up. I tried to work around his boots until; finally I said politely, “Excuse me sir you’re standing on my books?”

Well that did it. How dare I be polite. He grabbed me and slammed me to the pavement. Yelling at me to stop struggling (I wasn’t). To stop fighting him ( I wasn’t) Soon there were five officers on my back. Twisting my arms. My neck. But the last one; A female officer who was standing and watching and being admonished for not joining into the abuse. She had to prove herself I suppose. She grabbed one of my legs and twisted it until my patella snapped and I screamed bloody murder. And they all laughed. They had destroyed my knee. Two surgeries later, it has never fully healed. And they laughed. And arrested me.

Tortore Scene

I was complying. I was leaving. Selling books isn’t illegal. And I asked the officer politely to not stand on my books so that I could remove them. Judge said that when I called them MY books it was an admission of guilt. Guilty of what you might ask? Guilty of placing books on the sidewalk. They beat me. Destroyed my knee. Arrested me. And stole my beautiful backpack… basically my home. They handed me back my books in a plastic bag after a weekend in jail. They treated me like I was subhuman and I could do nothing.

I got out of jail and went to a theater. What else? I went to see Reservoir Dogs.

Harvey Keitel

“You shoot anybody?”
“Just cops.”
“So, no REAL people?”

It was cathartic. Even the torture scene. I left the theater singing…

“Don’t know why I came here tonight.”

I know exactly why.

I had never been more in the mood for violence. It was dangerous. Reservoir Dogs helped me through that. Sometimes you just have to see cops being tortured and shot to feel like a human being again after being treated like an animal.

Cop

I don’t hate cops. I hate the way that when one of them is a menace, and shouldn’t be wearing a badge, the others have to join in with the abuse of authority because that’s their code. I don’t hate the woman who destroyed my knee. I wish she were stronger and more able to resist her peer’s pressure. Or at least I wish she would have stopped before… before the crunch. She was aiming for that crunch by the way. She had set out to do what she did. Destroy my knee. She was trying to impress her peers. “You think you can abuse this guy. I’m gonna make him limp for the rest of his life.” I don’t even hate the cop who walked on my books… not much anyway. He probably got shot in the head years ago… after having his ear cut off and doused in lighter fluid (a fella can dream, can’t he?).

Stuck in the middle with you

“Yes I’m… stuck in the middle with you.”

Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull

To confront my violent temper.

Don’t be alarmed. I’m still going in chronological order. When I saw Raging Bull for the first time it was in re-release. Sometime in the nineties. There was a girl that I worked with. Not really, but I worked with her boyfriend. He was a fucktard (in the traditional sense). He would verbally abuse her in public. And she was the sweetest little waif. Pretty. Smart. Completely out of his league. And he knew it. But he kept up this steady stream of abuse.

Raging Jake

Once I saw her flinch when he raised his hand. Something I had seen first hand… second-hand… third hand. I’ve been a bully and I’ve been bullied and I’ve seen people I care about be bullied. And this was an angel. I was secretly in love with her and this… fucktard was frightening and belittling her. But like I said, I am in no position to judge.

She once said in passing that she didn’t need anyone to fight her battles for her. That the thought that she needed saving was a sexist one. She wasn’t talking about herself when she said this. But I knew she was talking about herself. We both knew. But I had never thought about it that way. I had always believed that when a woman had a problem the right thing to do was to solve it. To play the hero. But if I’m the hero, what does that make her? Why can’t she be the hero of her own story? I can be the side kick, The wise teacher. Comic relief. As long as I’m in the fucking movie I’m good. Changed my whole way of thinking. I love it when people do that.

Raging Bull De Niro

I would chat with her while she waited for him. (we worked long nights at a book store uptown) and it was she that recommended I go see Raging Bull. I was a movie fan. I was a Marty fan. I had never seen Raging Bull. I think she saw the way I looked at her. Admiration, Lust, Pity. She knew about my anger issues and that me and her boyfriend had bumped heads a few times. (I could have easily pummeled him into the ground if I didn’t already know that wasn’t what she wanted). There was a little art house theater that I’d never been. And for the record, she wasn’t asking me out. She was just telling me to go see Raging Bull. And I am nothing if not good at following orders.

Robert De Niro

I went on my day off. And I saw, not a bio pic about an aging fighter, but a movie about a slave to violence. About an aging bully. I saw people I’ve known in Scorsese & De Niro’s Jake Lamotta. I saw my tormentors in him. Bullies and Stepmonsters. But worse, I saw myself in him and I was disgusted and ashamed. (I’ve broken my pinkie punching a wall so often that my other fingers have disowned it). But all I could really think about was her. As I cried at the end and as the credits rolled, I looked over to my right and there she was. Across the aisle a couple rows back. I didn’t even know she was there. I didn’t say anything to her. Her face was soaked. She must have been crying the entire time as well.

We sat there in silence during the credits… separately. We left at the same time… separately. She never said a word to me so I never said a word to her. I just knew I didn’t want to be a slave to my anger anymore. I didn’t want to be that guy. And I wanted to thank her for the movie even while it hurt so much to see an angel cry.

Cathy Moriarty

I heard she broke up with that fucktard soon after. Or maybe it was even that night. Weeks later he told the bosses that I was stealing and that the address I had given them wasn’t a real one. (It was a church that let me pick up my mail there). So, only the second part of his complaint was true. But that was enough for them to fire me.

I never saw her again.

Henry V (1989)

Henry V

To finally declare war on my addiction

When I battled drug addiction (It was crack and cocaine) I would promise myself that I was quit the very moment the drugs and the money ran out… it was over. I was done. Then I would forget my promise as soon as I could afford to. I would regularly check into Detox. And the entire time, while most of the addicts were having sex (yes, Detox is a mad fuck fest), I would be plotting the course from the front door to the drug spot. And by the time my time was up, I knew the route by heart. I would head from the hospital to the dealer. I wouldn’t even bother to remove the tags.

"You disgusts me."

“You disgust me.”

Tell me about it.

But the very last time I went through detox, instead of heading to the drug spot, I took a walk down to my favorite theater. The good old Cinema Village Theater: Revivals, First-runs, Cult Classics. I swear to you, every single movie they play there is amazing. I said to myself, I said, “Mel, you’re going to see the next movie playing and it’s going to help you out of this cycle.” It was Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V. Again I knew nothing about it. I had the Complete Works of William Shakespeare growing up. A book I could not read when I was 7 but by the time I was 12 I had read cover to cover. No that’s a lie. I had read the Comedies and the Tragedies. I hate to admit this, but I skipped the Histories altogether.

Kenneth Branagh

So I entered the theater knowing nothing about the play or the movie or the history for that matter. Needless to say, it was just what I needed. Cinema Village comes through again.

This fight was going to be an epic battle. I was completely outgunned, a superior force that had taken down better men than me, better men, was mocking me with little affordable vials of extremely addictive crap. But I would learn to outsmart it. I was determined to win.

War

They like to tell addicts to “take it one day at a time” but that was never working for me. I was always a few steps ahead myself. So what I was going to have to do was take on my addiction – the NEXT day at a time. I would do everything I could TODAY, anything and everything I could think to do THAT DAY, in order to make sure that I would not and could not do drugs TOMORROW.

For me it was money and access. (It’s different for everyone) For me I was always able to stop when the money ran out. For a lot of folks, that does not stop them. And the other thing is that I could never truly claim victory. Because as soon as I started feeling proud of myself, that was the moment when I let down my guard.

Henry V

“You’re doing it, boy. You did it. You beat it. Good job.” “You, sir, are the man. Now how about we go celebrate with some crack? You’ve earned it.”

I mean, the only way to claim true victory is to die never having done it again. Which is why certain folks can’t visit me on my deathbed. (I’m looking at you, crack dealer)

But when I feel like I’m going to let myself down I start humming the tune from the movie. “Dominay. Do-minay. Dom-in-ay. Oh, Dominay. Domi-i-naaaay.”

That’s my battle song, baby.

Better Men Than Me

And I can tell you this with complete honesty and confidence; I will not be smoking crack tomorrow. And after more than a decade & a half totally crack and cocaine free, that’s the most I will allow myself to say. Because for all you people who think addiction isn’t real, even after all this time, I still wake up some nights sucking air. Trying to get that hit. The one from my dream. It’s an awful feeling.

Better men than me…

Spider-man (2002)

Spider-Man Poster

To stop running away from my demons and move back to New York

“I am so high, I can hear heaven.”

You know, this one was not so much about the movie but the song from the movie. It’s a Nickleback song (I know) or more accurately a Chad Kroeger song (same thing I suppose). I was living on the road back then. Travelling from city to city. Either sleeping in my car or on a friend’s couch. It was the best way for me to stay ahead of my addiction. Never staying in one place long enough to know where the drug spot was. Plus I got to see a lot of the country that way. Never got all the way to Seattle but I wanted to.

Mary Jane and Spidey

From 98 to 02, I was just running. I’d stop in a city. Get a job. Stay there for about a year or until I found out where the drugs were and started thinking about them. And then I was back on the road. Then this song comes on the radio.

“…and they say that a hero will save us…”

You know, the one from Spider-man. The first one with Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. From the first trilogy. The Sam Raimi one. The good one.

Peter Parker

It wasn’t really the song but the ad for the movie. And I’ve always loved Spider-man. Spider-man reminds me of when I was a kid. When I had dreams. When I had promise. When I had confidence coming out of my ass. I was gonna see the movie anyway. But listening to that song made me realize that the only place to see it was back home.

“I’m not gonna stand here and waaaaaaaa-it…”

The Hero

I sang that song the entire way. I didn’t own the single. I didn’t even know the words. I just sang the part from the commercial and from the trailer. I pulled into Manhattan after driving for hours and hours cross-country. I drove directly to the movie theater, parked my car with all of my belongings and walked in to see the movie.

Mary J and Spidey

Just wanting to see the movie at home was all the motivation I needed to stop running. I’ve been back in New York ever since.

Dorothy was right.

There’s no place like it.

“I’ll hold on to the wings of the eagles. And watch as we all fly away….”

… And that’s my list of 7 movies that saved my life.

There are other films that I throw on when I need them: Casablanca, Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters, and New York Stories (particularly Scorsese’s Life Lessons) are my go to break up movies. Each with its own way of making me feel better about how bad I am at relationships.

And when I need inspiration there are a bunch of action films that get me pumped. I’ve mentioned most of them. They are all over my blog.

But as for when I need a laugh? There was a time when I would throw on some Monty Python or Mel Brooks, (Flying Circus, Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein) but these days I can just go to social media and in a few moments I’m laughing hysterically.

Social Media

You people make me happy.

These days, it’s almost too easy.

– Mel

All Your Holy Books Are Belong To Us (The Gripes of Wrath)

Old Books

The idea of the SACRED text is destroying the world. The unwavering certainty that words written over a thousand years ago, changed incrementally, misinterpreted and mistranslated by sometimes well-meaning and sometimes evil but always misguided men, and protected by governments, religious institutions and churches under penalty of death, are in some way divine or holy or the recorded words of a god is the cause of most of what’s wrong with the world. Not all… But most.

We need to stop using these books to repress women, to oppress people, to justify violence. And we need to stop allowing governments to use them as well; to oppress, control and stay in power.

Our holy books need a rewrite.

* Needless to say, this entire post will annoy the religious and anger the easily offended. 

But yeah…They all need a good rewrite.

All Your Holy Books Are Belong To Us.

Supplies you’ll need:

A pen or a marker
A lighter or matches
A metal bucket or large metal can
Some good wine and/or good weed
(Or just a good sense of humor)
And a hot bubble bath.

First up… The Jews

How to fix the Old Testament

Wherever there is a reference to god in the Old Testament; The singular, I am the only one, no seriously there are no others, Who the hell were you praying to just now?, are you seeing other gods behind my back?, why don’t you love me? – God, change it from god to A god or one of the gods. Or if you’re feeling creative, give them all names. And each reference to a god in each individual chapter should be identified as a different deity than in a previous chapter. Sometimes even within the same chapter.

Once you have edited it, so that the whole thing is a bunch of jealous gods fighting amongst themselves, using humans as pawns, then you can separate the lies from the lessons. The cruelty set upon us from the cruelty that we brought upon ourselves. And then it all makes sense. Some would say mythological sense. But not me. I believe in the bible. I believe in god. Just not the idea that there is only one.

The schizophrenic multiple personality riddled, abusive one moment and kind the next, ONE God is many. More than one. And more than that, when any of the jealous gods claims to be the only god. It should be read as a lie or a trick. For they are powerful beings with very massive but fragile egos.

Next victim… The Christians

 

How to fix the New Testament

This is easy. Just rip out all the pages after Acts and burn them. You don’t have to burn them in a ritual cleansing fire or chant over them or anything, but you must burn them. Leaving just the accepted gospels (still no Gospel of Thomas however… nobody’s perfect) and leaving in Acts. And really Acts is only left to remind you of what you burnt; The letters of men and the dreams of a madman that should not have been added in the first place.

For extra credit add a page after Acts that reads SCREW YOU SAUL. I won’t let you pervert the TEACHINGS OF JESUS with your own agenda. You can sign it from me (or sign it yourself).

Also if your New Testament doesn’t already highlight the words of Jesus, go through and highlight or underline his words. What you are left with is what Jesus said and did and not someone else’s interpretation. It’s called a personal relationship because you do not need someone else to tell you what he meant. His words are self-explanatory.

Next… Oh my…  Who put all these eggshells on the floor?

 

How to fix the Koran

If you ask me the whole thing needs a woman’s touch. But, of course, nobody asked me. And I am in no way saying to burn or alter or do anything disrespectful to the Koran.

So don’t threaten my life you violent fuck.

I know that’s sort of racist because it’s like one in a million who are violent or radical. But if you have a million people who don’t want to kill you and one who does… which is the greater number? The one. Unless of course the million are actively trying to save you from him. Then he’s outnumbered. But he’s not. Because they are not.

Because it isn’t the book, nor is it the teachings of Muhammad. it’s the rigid, sober brain of the man who holds it and elevates it above human life that is at fault.

Human beings, society, relationships, gender roles and the planet itself are evolving. These are living, breathing, ever-changing phenomena.

So how do you fix the Koran you say? Respectfully place it on a shelf. Go smoke a bowl, Have some wine, hop in a bubble bath. Calm the fuck down.

Now reread what I said to the Jews and Christians and know that some of that can also be applied to you as well.

Ana asif

 

How to fix the Four Noble Truths

Rip out the first noble truth. Or at least move it to the end. Buddhist have been slaughtered for centuries. You don’t have to hate in order to fight back. But when the first thing written is that life is suffering, you get a bunch of well-meaning people letting bad things happen to them because that’s the way life is.

Karma doesn’t destroy temples, kill monks and rape nuns. People do that. People who, through their actions accumulate bad karma. And allowing this to happen through inaction is also a source of bad karma.

I blame the first noble truth and its misinterpretation as an acceptance of suffering. Start with the second. or skip ahead to the third. (or combine the second and third) Buddhist don’t have to put up with suffering and not all desires are bad. A desire to not be slaughtered by the thousands is not bad. A desire to practice your religion in peace is not bad. And sometimes the only way to do that is to get angry. I know I just told the Muslims to not get angry. I’m telling you the opposite. You do not have to hate to fight back.

Also setting yourself on fire… stop doing this. Please stop doing this. Live to practice. Live to teach. And if teaching gets you killed then that’s how you die. Because the person you’re killing, when you kill yourself, is a Buddhist Monk and we have already established that killing monks is a source of bad karma.

Since I’m on a roll, I also have a problem with the Buddhist concept of emptiness. I get it that life is an illusion and nothing is as it seems. But within that illusion there are laws of science and rules of physics and the lives of people. You don’t have to be of the world to be in the world.

So what have you learned, Dorothy?

Beside the fact that I know nothing about religion, I learned that it is past time for the spiritually evolved to speak up. Past the time for the passionate to tell the pacifist to get off of his ass and defend his right to exist. For the modernist to tell the traditionalist to shut the fuck up you do not speak for me. For the moderate to grab the extremist by the collar and get him the meds he surely needs.

It is past the time of the old gods. The old books. The old words. The old world is gone and holding on to it is destroying this one.

While there is a place in this new world for Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Buddha, there just isn’t for the centuries of crap piled on top of their great words and great deeds.

And finally…

How to fix The Book of Mormon

You don’t. There is nothing wrong with The Book of Mormon. Trey Parker & Matt Stone are the Lords of Broadway.

– Mel

My World in Parts

I spend my time dissecting.
Dissecting words
Dissecting statements
Taking the things that you’ve said
And the things that I’ve said
And separating the verbs from the nouns
And the adjectives from their meanings

I spend my time dissecting.
Pulling apart books
To find the life changing chapter
The paragraph,
The word or two
You know the one I mean
Where is it?

I spend my time dissecting.
Life events
Current events
Catered affairs
Chance encounters
Is there something I could have done

Different

Differently?

Different. (I spend my time dissecting)

I spend my time dissecting
Art
Music
Movies
Humor
Fun
Why am I smiling?

And why is everyone laughing?

Did I miss the joke while I was too busy trying to figure out what makes it funny?

Great.

I spend my time dissecting
People
(that doesn’t sound quite right)
But you know what I mean
Everyone I know
Finding out
How they tick
Sexually,
Spiritually,
Mentally.
It’s a game

Friend,
I’d like you to meet microscope.

Microscope,
This used to be a friend of mine
From back before I started playing games

I spend my time dissecting
Every thing that enters my world

Every thing I see
Every thing I hear
Every thing I eat
Every thing that passes my lips

Deep breath
Shallow breath
Heavy sigh

I spend my time dissecting
But I haven’t found anything.

I haven’t found anything
That I didn’t expect to find
That I didn’t set out to find
or That I didn’t put there myself

There is no double super secret hidden meaning
To any of it
Just a whole mess of parts.

Bolts and
Screws and
Words and
Hearts and
Fears and
Emotions and
Magic and
Little bits of plastic everywhere.

And I don’t know where any of this shit goes.

I don’t know where any of this shit goes.

– Mel