I Wish I Knew…

March 31st, 2014

There is a certain sense of calm that I get when I know what I’m in for. Even if I don’t like what’s coming.

When I was a kid I got picked on a lot for being different, and it could have ended much earlier if I knocked someone out in the 2nd grade.

My father, gentle soul that he was, didn’t forbid me to fight. Nor did he teach me how. He listened to my problems with the heart of a good man and still never told me what to do or not do.

That was a bizarre level of freedom for a kid.

Had I been taught how to kick a 7 year old’s ass I would have. Had I been forbidden from fighting I would have had something solid to rebel against.

I had to make up my own damn mind.

So I just took it.  And all too often I made it worse by egging on my own bullies. I wasn’t the brightest bulb in the house.

One time I tried to rise to manhood in the 5th grade by fighting back. I picked the smallest of the kids (half my size) that were giving me a hard time and he pinned me to my desk like I was made of paper.  Turned out he was on the middle school wrestling team. So much for manhood.

I was a non violent kid in a very violent town, and trying to be anything else was a lost cause.

Every piece of advice I got was wrong. Every TV show that talked about bullies never met mine. These kids wanted you to fight them back. They were raised by animals, juicing roids in 8th grade, and loved being assholes.

I just wanted to listen to KISS, and make out with girls.

I didn’t know what to do, and no one that I turned to for leadership knew either. For a kid in pain, that is hell.

So I got high. A lot. All the time in fact. I got drunk when we could get our hands on booze, and baked till I couldn’t feel my face.  I hid from the world the best I could.

One day in high school a kid that had bullied me since we were 7 was at it again.  On the advice from my best friend I challenged him to a fight after school.  We met, and we went at it.  He kicked my ass like I had never known. My face felt like a beat up Chevy. A cop showed up, but we didn’t tell him shit.

He never bothered me again though.

What’s my point?

Like my childhood – there isn’t one.   It’s one line of shit after another and it doesn’t end well… just good enough to get through the next week.

The world looks like a chapter in a future history book, marching toward a serious era. Everyday it’s one asshole picking on another, acting like they were raised by the same mutant dick heads that fed fruit roll ups and steroids to lake community brats. And just like my father, I look at the world now and have no clue how to fix it. I hear people crying out in pain and I’m afraid my advice could make it worse.

So I drop the idea of fixing it.

I’m committed to making a difference, and until that difference is made – just know that whoever you are, whatever it is, you are not alone.  I don’t know what happens next, I just know it will happen to both of us because I’m not leaving you.

That was the one thing I was clear about, even when I wasn’t clear about anything else. My parents were going to walk through my life with me, and they never left my corner. Even when I made that corner a bad place to stand. My parents didn’t give me a lot of answers. They gave me courage to stand with those I love through the hardest questions.

And there isn’t a bully alive who can ever take that away.

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Get Real…

March 8th, 2014

Anyone who knows me well is aware that I get a lot of flack (funny word when you actually see it in print) for being unrealistic.

I have faith in things I can’t prove, visions of possible futures that are off the rails of the predictable, and a belief in humankind is totally irrational.

My greatest strength and darkest weakness is a love of the unreal.

I am inspired by potential, and at times terrified by phantoms.

Getting real, being totally present to the moment, of what is so, and what is not so- this is an exercise of great value. And still, I’m not one of those guys who exercises for the hell of it.  I take on such things because I’m up to shit. And the things that have moved my ass into action are ideas, dreams, visions, and possibilities that are not only currently unreal, they are highly unlikely in the realm we call “business as usual”.

Dig this… I didn’t go to business school, rarely wear a tie, and have a radical finger flipped at those who insist we must do things the way we always have because that’s the way we’ve always done things.

People talk a lot about being grounded in reality, yet what that talk often sounds like is being attached to cynicism, resentment, old habits, and stubborn view points.  For those of us who have a passion to move things in the world that weren’t going to grow legs and move on their own, being grounded in reality is fine as a spring board- and then you better have some unthinkable ideas, crazy notions, and unrealistically inspiring dreams to get you up & going.

People hear your ideas and sneer, “You’re dreaming.” You bet your ass I am.  And you stopped dreaming. Look, there is a reason why your actual dreams don’t reflect the day to day, realism of life. The mind and soul have a way of inserting the bizarre and surreal into your reality picnic for a very good purpose.

Having your head in the clouds in a great way to get the bigger picture, a new perspective, and a humbling sense of awe.

I’m not talking about people who ONLY dream. That shit doesn’t work. Revolutionary callings require action. Like everything else that’s gotta get done it’s about action, action, and more action. It’s about being willing to get up and go when you don’t want to, create before you’re inspired, get talking when you ain’t sure what to say, and dance with world – whether you step on toes or not.

Don’t wait for everyone to agree, to like it, or even understand you.  Fall in love with the support you already have, whatever it may be. And set the world ablaze from there.

Another thing about reality.  I promise – you aren’t well related to it anyhow. A good friend of mine once told me, “You don’t know your ass from a hole in the ground!!”  And she was right.  A pile of what you & I know is real, true and certainly ‘the way it is’ –isn’t.

So what is?

Just what is real??   I’m not going to give you the answer here. I’m not even concerned with you finding out. I’m much more excited at the idea of people playing with their own dreams, visions, and outlandish ideas about how to make the world awesome in whatever corner they are focused on.

Immediately you can hear the critics. They want you to play by the rules. Rules you didn’t have any voice in writing, haven’t worked for ages, and no one really minds. The rules say that you play it safe, get someones else’s idea of work done, cash your check and spend it on someone else’s idea of important stuff. Those who are awesome at that game become the future critics, and continue to hone the rhetoric that dulls the human spirit.

I say fuck off.

I’m so sick and tired of being sat on by obese ghosts, crushing the creative soul from those who could make a difference in Life if they only knew they were being sat on. I’m fed up being told that there really are monsters under our beds, boogie men in our closets, and evil villains twisting mustaches while plotting to overthrow the world.

Guess what.  I’m the monster under the bed of resignation. I’m the boogie man in the closet of the status quo. When you turn out the lights, I’m the one waiting to make you scream. If your greatest fear is that you might matter, that you count, that you have a voice, if your inner terror is that you have a giant within you that needs to act, if you are afraid that you are bigger than this, better than this, have more to contribute than this… then I am here to scare the shit out of you.

Boo motherfucker.

B

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Happy Birthday (repost)

February 11th, 2014

The original went up 2 years ago. I just thought it would be fitting to post this again. I do that sometimes, one of the perks of being the managing editor of your own blog.-

Yes, I know – I forget every year.

And you swore to me that you’d be devastated if I ruined  it now by remembering… so yesterday I pretended to forget.

I didn’t call you, or send you a gift.

I just wanted to all day.

Few people in my life have had the impact that you did. You’ve watched me grow from being an obnoxious punk teenager, to being a somewhat obnoxious punk adult.  You came to almost every show I played back in NYC, walked with me for hundreds of miles throughout those years, and laughed with me more than anyone.  You taught me style, and grace, culture and greatest of all, how to love my own family.

You also taught me that a man can have incredible taste in wine, women, fashion, music, even Ferraris, and still like an ugly car on the cover of a magazine. ( yes I still remember)

You’ve seen me through every broken heart, mental breakdown, tantrum, and loved me anyway.

You’ve sent me off on every major move, kept me company at work a thousand times,had me over your house to eat, to laugh and even once to live – and once you even paid my phone bill.

You have been the Greatest Friend I could ask for for longer than I can remember. (almost 20 years)

You’ve always let me be me, and even better – you always remained yourself.

And I have never said Happy Birthday on Feb 10th, and I never will.

Happy Birthday Carlo.

Thank You for everything.  I wouldn’t have lived this long without you.

B

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Phuck The Filosofers

February 6th, 2014

Lies wrapped in questions, answered in riddles

Fuck the bullshit man, tell me straight,

But you can’t.

The more you insist it’s nice and ordered,

The harder I have to

Work to make any damn sense of it,

Ah Hell, go fuck yourself.

What is it, where is it, is there a where, is there a what,

Is there an ‘Is’? …Don’t get cute with me you bearded bastard,

I can see through you. Can I? Who am I? Shit.

You have me doing it too.

I know there was a time

The question of time was new,

I know there was a question

Made all of the other questions pay attention,

Respect.

That was the time that made your inquiry shake the walls of men’s hearts

The fortress of certainty crumbled under the republic

It was the power of mystics

Wisdom of sages

Magic of great minds

Now the wonder is gone

The spark of souls inquiry

Answered by the cold, incoherent logic of the Four Whores men

Sucking the life out of Life

Ironing the divine wrinkle out

From the fabric of human thought

Bring back the magic

The wisdom, the joy

The power to transform lead into toy

Reach for the sky and pull up the weeds

A quest for the innovative, inventive tree

Eat the new fruit, fuck your cold dish

Served by old rhetoric, your truth rots like fish.

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Perseverance Pays Off…

January 31st, 2014

I just had to share this with you.

Last year I found this odd little book, written in 1949 by James Keller entitled Three Minutes A Day.

I haven’t looked at it in a while, and today I thought I’d check it out again. I turned to the page marked for Jan 31st and was encouraged by what I read.  Something in me knows you need this too. Enjoy.

“In one of the decisive battles of World War I disastrous reports poured into the headquarters of Marshal Foch, the commander of the Allied Forces. The great general, faced with reverses that would have overwhelmed most of us, never lost heart. When things were at their worst, he drafted his most famous order which is now in all textbooks of military strategy:

~ ‘My center is giving way, my right is pushed back, my left is wavering. The situation is excellent. I shall attack!’~

The success that followed the Allied attack broke the spin of the Central Powers.  There is and old and true saying that the battle is won by the force which stays in the field for the last fifteen minutes. A boxer becomes a champion by staying in the ring and punching right up to the last bell. The surgeon who doesn’t lose his nerve, but fights beyond hope, is the one who saves the “hopeless” cases.”

So this my friends is for all of you.  Everyone of you that are out there, busting your ass to realize a dream, focus on a mission, re-invent your life, or make a difference in our world. For every guitar slinging superstar in the making, every sign marching revolutionary, every shoulder soaked with tears, every hand bleeding from helping out. For those who serve, those who sing, those who dare and those die – giving everything to stand with courage in front of the impossible.  Today you are remembered, you are valued and you are called to stay in the game.

Don’t ask me where this is coming from, just ask someone to join in.

B

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Do Dreams Come True?

January 26th, 2014

Yes and No. Spoken like a philosophy student studying Aquinas.

Not exactly, Life does.

There is something to remember when we are dreaming up our plans for the future. We just may create the very thing we are dreaming of.  The only thing is that the dream of what we want, and the real world day to day life of that vision, when realized, are by their very nature going to occur very, very, differently.

This is dense, so stay with me.

We all have dreams, and well we should. Dreams, visions, plans, ideas, inspiring notions, things we crave to do in Life. My own Life has been an incredible reflection of a man with dreams who was blessed enough to live them.

And most of the time, once we are actually in the game we dreamed of playing – it doesn’t play out the way we dreamed. It plays out very much in accord with the way we play it.  One of those things we never say out loud is, “I thought I just had to do what it takes to get in the game, and then the game itself would carry me into bliss, or happiness, or fulfillment, etc”

If only the truth was that lazy.

I had a dream of going back to school, living in Italy, and studying painfully complex subjects.  It all came true, with a scholarship.  On the day before classes began last year I met with the Dean. I thanked him for giving me the opportunity to study here and said that I had been working very hard to return to university and the land of my great grandparents. He was kind, and pleasant and said, “Let’s see what you do now that you’re here.”

I am now half-way thru this philosophy degree. The next 3 weeks of exams will be difficult. And I never once thought about exams during the dreaming stage. Not once.  I didn’t think about any of the little pains in the ass, or getting lost in Rome, or waiting weeks for internet, months for a green card, or how to live without a local bank account.  Real Life has aspects that we tend to leave out of the dream while we’re cooking it up.

The most vital thing I am learning in this time is that I’m best off focusing on the truth – that I am inside a Life, created by a dream and manifested by revolutionary action. And all of the little things, or big things that show up as part of the game, whether I like them or not, are going to have to deal with a 6’2 badass motherfucker who knows how to work his way into an above average private university with below average SAT scores.  I remind myself that I’ve handled bigger problems just to get here, and any of the headaches that show up are just part of the game.

It takes a bit of psyching myself up to get through these exams, so pardon me if my Little Engine That Could rant is out of synch with where you find yourself these days.

But I know you.   I know you well.  I know you have dreams. I know you have a vision. I know you have a desire that’s been burning in you for a while.  I want to see you be whatever it takes to get in the middle of it, and be just as strong while it unfolds.

And then I want to read your rants while you kick ass.

Wake Up & Dream.

B

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Buon Appetito!

January 10th, 2014

Wow.

Not only are there more of you readers than ever, but you are all reading at the same time. Well, most of you are anyway.  My data shows that come lunchtime people around the world click over to get Blitchslapped into feeling better about themselves and have a laugh over lunch.  I don’t know where or what you are all eating, but I’m glad you do it with me.

And since I live in the country that thinks it invented food and pushes it like a tasty religion (something it also thinks it invented) I thought I’d say something about food, especially lunch.

I lived in New York City a long time, and in Los Angeles for a good run as well. NY’s food is awesome.  LA’s is far behind, except in those few places we called home.  One thing unites them all.  Great people work their asses off to bring you that BLT, cheeseburger, vegan wrap, pizza, Thai dish, Chinese chicken salad, steak burrito, and sushi that you inhale before getting back to work.

And thousands of you (God bless every single last one) chow down while reading my rants.

So, today I make a simple request.  It doesn’t have to cost a dime, and it will make someone’s day. Along with your excellent tip, and lovely smile- take a minute to write a short note to thank the staff and management that kill themselves so you can take a well deserved  break. It would be amazing.

Sound odd? Listen, you and I want them to be awesome with us, and we’re willing to pay a few bucks for it.  And money is why they work, no doubt about it.  I’m saying that you have more to offer back than just money. You can give these folks the gift of being interested, and grateful. You can show up as a bit of magic in their insane day, just by doing something new.

If you’ve ever worked food service you know it’s brutal and despite what people think you don’t make enough. You certainly aren’t appreciated often, even by the very people you serve.

Yes – you could make that case for hundreds of professions. And when the info comes back that my readers are tuning in to my blog Sunday mornings at 8am I’ll ask you to send chocolates to your minister and a card to the ladies at the bakery.

I’m a happier person when I spread it around. I tend to enjoy my life when I find a moment to step out of the common pace and make someone laugh or smile just because I can. I have a good friend who said that it’s better to be interested than interesting. Try it out for a week… you’ll see what I mean.

You can do it. It’s weird, perhaps, but that certainly isn’t new.

Especially if you are paying attention to the Psycho Naked Cowboy while eating an eggplant parmesan.

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It Gets Louder…

December 23rd, 2013

I was reading a post a friend of mine wrote, regarding the loss of her father when we were just kids.  While many of us were crying because our toy was the wrong color, or the sweater was something we’d never wear, or we’d have to wait till next year to get the bike we really wanted, my friend lost her Dad.

Look, I’m a big fan of Christmas – and I look forward to it every year. It always comes with hassles and headaches and I no longer let that ruin my spirit.  When I think of the courage and strength some of my friends have needed to get through times I can only imagine I am embarrassed by most of my crummy problems.

I’m also embarrassed by the wave of nonsense that the news media bombards us with that only gets worse this time of year.  I don’t care what you say this time of year to wish others well, and I certainly won’t lose sleep over backwater hicks who are as clueless as the white-collar idiots who cut their checks.

This is not a time of year to act better than you usually do. This is a time of year to be reminded of how much we need each other, all the damn time – and you might never know how deeply you are needed until you show up.

People have critiqued my style of delivery because they say I’m too direct, too straightforward, and fail to offer these ideas as polite suggestions.   Granted that is a style that I also use, just not here.

Forgive me… I refuse to handle you like a fragile little snowflake.

The call to action, to compassion, to opening our hearts to each other just gets louder.

When I look at you, I see champions. When I look at you I see giants.  I see men and women, children, families, groups, teams, – ready and willing to make a difference and only forgetting to listen closely for an invitation.  I don’t want you to do something wonderful for others because ‘it’s the Holidays’.  I’m pointing out that now is a great time to remind ourselves how blessed we are, and to spread it around.  Be creative. Send your cynicism south for the winter.

Compassion isn’t easy. It takes work. And you won’t always look good doing it, being it, or suggesting it. You will not even feel good having it.  More than likely you will feel awful. Walking with another through their sorrow might bring you down a minute. If you keep walking, and loving them through it – you have the opportunity to see the world move in their eyes. You can witness the universe drop from their shoulders.

There are no words for what that’s like.

For my friend Tammy, I love you. I don’t know why it happened. I only know you were brave enough to share it with me, and invite me into your life. You’ve made a difference in mine.

For Evie, forgive me for every time I failed to be any of the things I stand for. You are the greatest girlfriend on earth.

For all of you who’ve been reading my work for 3 years now – Thank You.   This has been one of the greatest birthdays, and a very special Christmas.

Merry Christmas to you all.

B

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Holidaze…

December 9th, 2013

I haven’t been writing as much lately.

I go through these spells where I write in my notebooks, work on papers for school, and add another chapter to my next book, but my blogs have been few and far between. I know that’s a drag for a lot of people.

Studying philosophy is a taxing endeavor. Here in Rome, they pile you with coursework, lectures, reading lists, and if you compare it to your American counterparts back home you feel like you are working too hard.  Often I feel as if I’d be happier taking only 2 of these classes each semester instead of 7-9.  I keep reminding myself of something that is easy to forget.

I’m not here to be happy.

Yes, I enjoy this. Yes, being happy is important. Yes, keeping my spirits up is vital.

And I’m not here to merely enjoy myself.  I lived a long time very committed to enjoying myself, and I got very good at it. I worked a lot, however most of my work hours were spent in the world of nightlife, entertainment, and even when I worked in real estate I rented lofts to artists & rock bands.  I was awesome at enjoying myself. And it was worth every minute.

Now I am up to a much bigger purpose. In fact, it might not be ‘bigger’ at all. It’s just something else entirely. And because I’ve more or less mastered ‘having fun’ I don’t really need to put a helluva lot of thought into it. I’m focused on a mission, and good times show up when they need to.

Going back to school was a dream that seemed out of reach.  My SAT’s from high school sucked, and even with great scores university is expensive. I worked my ass off to get into this school, and my grades have earned me scholarships.  None of it has been easy, and often it hasn’t been much fun. And I look at what it took to get to this point, and how much ass I’ve kicked thus far- and I’m inspired as hell to keep moving.

What on earth does that have to do with the Holidays??

I haven’t got a damn clue.

I’m just writing. No edits, no deletes, no reasons, calculations, or motives. No agenda.

This is me expressing a victory over resistance, for the second time today. ( I went to the gym this morning.)

This will be my first Christmas in another country. I have 2 weeks off that I very much need.  I really don’t have anything incredible to say about any of it, so if you’re waiting for me to make you think- just know it won’t happen today.

Today is a day for action.

You and I have done lots and lots and lots and lots of thinking.

Today it’s time to take action regardless of what we think. Just go out into the world and make a move.

Walk around and listen. Have a look. Whatever there is to do won’t require much thoughtfulness, philosophy, or deep profound insight. Right outside our door is an invitation to be of service to someone.

RSVP. Now.

Please.

Merry Blitchmas.

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Paradox Of Wisdom…

November 18th, 2013

I’ve been doing some writing on the practical value of philosophy, and its real world applications. And the funny thing — is that the ancients were very clear about the love of wisdom and the study of philosophy for it’s own sake being number 1! That trying to find a practical use for it isn’t the point. That wisdom IS the highest, and practical things are to make wisdom possible, etc. etc. etc.

Aristotle was sure that a truly wise man would have no profound concern for his ability to be of service, although of course he would teach when asked. For him the highest point would be contemplating the Absolute, and being moderately smug about out-smartypantsing Plato.

My revelation- was that I get all of that, and IF it is so that the truly wise man cares not for the practical application of his wisdom, and is not concerned with the affairs of the day to day world

then I stand proud to say I am not yet such a wise man as this.

I am happy to be at the level where mankind is still a concern, and practical applications for the training I have taken over the years can make a difference in the world. AND there still remains the beauty, and wonderment, and the fulfillment of the ‘uselessness’ of it all.  The times, the moments, in my training and education where nothing is useful or handy, or practical – it is incredible, fulfilling, empowering, mystifying, and leaves me open to being. Being what?

Just. Being.

I don’t stay there long.

I don’t know how to, and I’m not even interested in being able.

Those moments in the presence of the Divine don’t need to be sustained or held onto. In those moments an eternity of bliss overwhelms, and the transcendence of All That Is becomes complete… or at least seems to. There is nothing to hold onto, and no need to hold on. I was blessed not only with the gift of The Presence, – I was blessed with the knowing that there is no need to attempt to stay in the nexus of the Divine, no need to sustain the mystical encounter any longer than it lasts.

The encounter just is.

It isn’t explained in a way that can really deliver. There isn’t a concept that can bring forth such an experience.

If you’ve been there you know, and if you haven’t you can’t imagine.

And if you have, all of the imagining, and remembering, and poetic re-creation, theatrical interpretation, artistic expression and dynamic transformational action in the world will only produce drops and fall short of the ocean, and yet I must say that my life has been transformed, and I thirst   – even for those drops, and run myself thirstier still in my desire to put even such minuscule transcendent refreshment on the lips of my fellows.

That. In a maddening nutty nutshell is why I am Here.  Moreover, that is why I will Be There.

Where ever There is next, that’s who I’ll be when I get there, and on the way.

B

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