Mrs Morrison's Hotel

The 100% personal official blog for Patricia Kennealy Morrison, author, Celtic priestess, retired rock critic, wife of Jim

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I was, wait, sorry, that's "David Copperfield". Anyway, I was born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island, went to school in upstate NY and came straight back to Manhattan to live. Never lived anywhere else. Never wanted to. Got a job as a rock journalist, in the course of which I met and married a rock star (yeah, yeah, conflict of interest, who cares). Became a priestess in a Celtic Pagan tradition, and (based on sheer longevity) one of the most senior Witches around. Began writing my Keltiad series. Wrote a memoir of my time with my beloved consort (Strange Days: My Life With and Without Jim Morrison). See Favorite Books below for a big announcement...The Rennie Stride Mysteries. "There is no trick or cunning, no art or recipe, by which you can have in your writing that which you do not possess in yourself." ---Walt Whitman (Also @ and

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Won't Get Tooled Again

Last night’s “Lost” episode. The biggest, stinkiest, steamingest slab of flaming poo I have ever seen on TV. I am officially Done with this pile of pig dung.

It is audience abuse of the vilest. Lies, cheats, stringings-along, con jobs…you name it, they did it to us last night. The “creators” and “writers” should not only hang their heads in shame but be flogged, keelhauled and towed behind a speedboat as a tasty reward for the shark the show has irretrievably jumped. A whale shark. A Carcharodon megalodon. A shark the size of all outdoors.

I LOVED this show. Now I just want to see it suffer and die. And its creators along with it.

That is all.

Man's Messed Friend

I love dogs. I was never allowed to have any pet bigger than a canary when I was a kid, so when I grew up and got my own apartment, I went for the biggest darn dog I could find. I imported an Irish wolfhound from a breeder in Ireland, who when she arrived at 12 weeks old was already bigger than a full-grown German shepherd and ended up not only weighing more than I did but on her back legs towering over me by about a foot. A Very Big Girl.
Endearingly, she thought she was a lap dog, and when I took her to scary places like the vet she would try to hide and cuddle in my lap. Didn’t really work, so she’d stand across my lap, with her tummy on my thighs and both front and back feet on the floor, and be happy.

Big dogs like that don’t last long, sadly—it’s the strain on their heart, and there are other physical weaknesses specific to their size—and she died very young. Since then I’ve never had another. I mate for life. One dog. One husband. (Sometimes the husband behaved like a dog, but let’s not get into that...)

So when I see these teensy designer breeds that yip and yap and shake all over the place I amuse myself by thinking how my girl could have eaten them for snacks.

Some of them are kinda cute, I admit. There is a “yorkiepoo” of my acquaintance who is perhaps the most adorable doggy I have ever seen. But mostly, however high their “designer” price tags, they are all still mutts.

Now mutts can be delightful and smart as a whip, and many are. They can also be the sum of all their worst parts. And you never know which you’re going to get. At least with pedigreed animals you pretty much know what the deal is: collies, protective; Irish setters, gorgeous but daft; retrievers, solid; terriers of any ilk, clever and pugnacious. Bad as well as good: certain breeds are prone to specific ill-health issues like dysplasia or bursitis or asthma or other breathing difficulties.

With a mutt you could get all or any of those together, recalling George Bernard Shaw’s famous remonstrance to Ellen Terry, who had suggested they have a child together, such an infant sure to be endowed with her beauty and his brains: “My dear, what if it had your brains and my beauty?”

And with designer dogs this likelihood is only exacerbated. They’re bred indiscriminately, for the most part, in puppy mills (even in Amish puppy mills, I’m sorry to say), places that are only concerned with manufacturing cuteness and don’t care about healthy breeding practices or even health in general. Many die or are misborn; many doggy moms are worn out from littering up to four times a year and ruthlessly put down once they can no longer produce. Temperaments are unsure and perhaps even dangerously unstable: little yippy nippers.

All so that stupid pretentious people and celebrities can use them as accessories, like a kind of living designer purse. Makes me wish one could breed celebs like that: the Parispoo. The MaltiLind. The Britnorkie. Call the Amish!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Darwin Wept

Excerpted from the New York Times, February 19, 2007:

The American Civil Liberties Union, the People for the American Way Foundation and a partner from a large Manhattan law firm stood beside the student, Matthew LaClair, as he and his family threatened to sue the Kearny Board of Education if their complaints are not resolved. Last fall, Matthew, 16, taped the teacher, David Paszkiewicz, telling students in a history class that if they do not believe that Jesus died for their sins, they “belong in hell.”

On the recordings, which Matthew made surreptitiously starting in September, Mr. Paszkiewicz is heard telling the class that there were dinosaurs aboard Noah’s ark and that there is no scientific basis for evolution or the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.

Since Matthew turned over the tapes to school officials, his family and supporters said, he has been the target of harassment and a death threat from fellow students and “retaliation” by school officials who have treated him, not the teacher, as the problem. The retaliation, they say, includes the district’s policy banning students from recording what is said in class without a teacher’s permission and officials’ refusal to punish students who have harassed Matthew.
Matthew and his parents, Paul and Debra LaClair, are demanding an apology to Matthew and public correction of some of Mr. Paszkiewicz’s statements in class.

For his part, Matthew said he recognized that “there are going to be a lot of consequences” at school from the Monday news conference. He said he had already felt hostility from students after the school switched his history class from Mr. Paszkiewicz to another teacher.

The district would not disclose what action it had taken against Mr. Paszkiewicz, who is teaching the same course to a different group of students. He has taught in the district for 14 years.

Ohhhhkay. There is so much here to stoke the fires of outrage that poor Mrs. Mojo Risin’ just doesn’t know where to start.

Perhaps she should start with the part where this cretin teacher tells his helpless victims that anyone who doesn’t believe Jesus died for their sins belongs in hell. As MDF Michael Rosenthal puts it, “WWJD…Whom Would Jesus Destroy?”

Or perhaps she might start with Patti Smith, who once sang “Jesus died for someone’s sins but not mine”…and quite rightly too. See you in heaven, Patti my friend, ’cause I have it on divine authority that we’re not the ones going to hell.

Seriously, how can any self-described Christian utter this kind of total claptrap with not just belief but a straight face? A god of ultimate love and complete forgiveness is actually going to condemn someone to fry in the fires of hell for all eternity?
What kind of loving god is that? What kind of person would want to believe in him? And what kind of person, except a pig-ignorant hateful Secret Servant of Satan (if you believe in that sort of thing), would attribute to him conduct like this?

Perhaps we might focus on the further fact that so-called Christians have made this boy’s life a misery and, indeed, threatened that life—anonymously, I’m sure, because they’re cowards as well as morons and tyrants.
Or the fact that the other schoolchildren have already been so effectively brainwashed that they blindly support their teacher in his idiocies and intolerances and turn on their classmate like a bunch of rabid hyena puppies.
Or the fact that school officials have spectacularly failed to protect young La Clair, as they have been given the in loco parentis charge to do.

I guess the operative word here is really “loco”—in its more common meaning.

Now, I am as a rule utterly tolerant of other people’s beliefs, the way I wish and hope they would be of mine. (I believe this is called following the Golden Rule…just one of life’s little ironies how most Pagans, these days, keep it better than most Christians.)

I don’t give a flying fig if fellow mortals choose to worship the Golden Calf or the Golden Goose or the Silver Surfer, as long as they don’t force their little ways down my throat or trash what I believe in.
But sometimes I just have to step back and look at them and shake my head and mutter to myself, “What the HELL are you THINKING?”

Do people like this actually hear themselves when they pompously pronounce like this? Do they think their god DOESN’T hear them? He does, you know! He’s laying it up just like Santa Claus. He knows when you’ve been naughty or nice, sexist or racist, intolerant or broad-minded, hateful or charitable. Oh yes!

Or at least they believe he does, so it always boggles my mind when they stand up and spout off and apparently think their god’s preachments about love and forgive and understand all somehow don’t apply to them. If they know God’s going to punish them for being vile creatures who do Satan’s work of divisiveness and hate, not their Lord’s, why do they do it? It is a mystery.

And oooh, oooh, let’s not forget, dinosaurs aboard the Ark! Wow! Can you imagine how BIG that honking boat must have been?? Raptors and Rexes and pteros, oh my!

Like that fatuous song where the unicorn doesn’t get to embark on the SS Noah and thus is lost forever. Uh-HUH. Where in the Bible does it talk about unicorns, or dinosaurs, I wonder? Have I missed it somehow? Somewhere near the part where it says it’s okay to stone people to death for wearing two different kinds of cloth or growing two different crops side by side, I daresay.

So…all fairytales then. Which is fine. As a perceptive Franciscan friar once told me, “The Bible should begin ‘Once upon a time,’ not ‘In the beginning’.”

I soooo want to be tolerant, I really do, but some of the more public-spoken self-professed servants of the fish god are just soooo stupid and wrong and slapworthy (turn BOTH cheeks, people! Here it comes!) that they make it very, very difficult. They are, and they do, and I’m absolutely allowed to think so. It’s only fair.

I forever disapprove of their distorted beliefs insofar as they hurt and abuse other people. I hope this kid and his parents triumph over these enemies of God, for that is what they truly are, and that school and teacher alike are harshly punished for their failings.
But I defend to the death those enemies’ right to be theological morons. Because that is fair as well.

And God will sort it out. She always does.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Britney Speared

I feel very sorry for young Britney Spears. No, really. And her little friends too: all those little chickies trying so hard to shock us with their tiresome antisocial behavior because they have damn all else to impress us with. Like talent. Or character. Or giftedness. Or wisdom.

As they wiggle on the hook of publicity like tiny worms, the hook they placed themselves on, they are a pitiable little lot, to be sure.
As a rule I don’t pay attention to them and their stupid human tricks, but it’s gotten kinda hard not to notice. They are everywhere. Acting out. Getting in our collective faces whether we want them to or not. Doing everything but strip naked to get us to notice them. Oh, wait, they pretty much have gone nekkid, haven’t they, parading assorted lady parts for everyone to see. Like anyone cares to look, really. And now Britney shaves her head, horrifically, publicly, and is photographed laughing about it.

Where are her parents? Her family? Her friends? Her minders? Is no one stepping out in front of her runaway truck of a life before she drives it over the cliff? (Taking her infant children with it.)
The girl apparently is in free-fall China Syndrome psychomeltdown. Which is a sad and sorry thing. But she doesn’t have to cave in to it. Nor do her partners in what begins to look more and more like self-hatred acted out on the grand scale.

I would very much like them all to pull their socks up and put their underpants on and GET A GRIP. Out-of-control can be fun for a while, but not for long. And it’s never attractive to the people who have to deal with it, clean up after it or even just watch it.

Listen to me, little girls: WE REALLY DON’T CARE. We’re sick of it. And of you. You have exhausted all sympathy, empathy and interest. If you want us to pay attention, if attention must be paid, then knock off the crap and knuckle down to being a human person and show us some genuine reasons why we should care about you.
If you’re in psychic or psychological or spiritual pain, go heal yourself. In rehab. In holy places. In the bosom of your loving family and/or friends. Whatever. But just do it in private. And stop forcing us to watch your car crash of a personal life.

I wonder what it says that it’s come to this, that it takes desperate behavior of this order to get attention and keep attention. And why these girls are so starved for public attention in the first place. After all, they’re splashed across the tabs and entertainment shows every day of the week, what more do they want? And why do they need so much of it? Volumes could be written in the shrink universe to explain it, I’m sure.

More than that, though, I blame the media for their incessant and pimpish coverage: nobody should have to be subjected to this (did we learn nothing from Diana, Princess of Wales?). Even once the parasites have drained you dry, they still won’t leave you alone. After you die of media poisoning, they’ll just start feeding on your lifeless husk. Look at Anna Nicole. Another talentless, hapless famewhore who ended up Dead By Media. (And sorry, Anna Nicole, you were no Marilyn. You weren’t even a Norma Jean.)

It’s shameful and yes, sinful what the press and TV outlets are doing. By their voracious piranha behavior, the paps’n’tabs are encouraging an attitude of public suicide, or at least soul-killing. There is no reason for people to be hunted and hounded like this. If the coverage stopped tomorrow, we wouldn’t miss it. But the perpetrators would. Or at least they’d miss the blood money, just as their subjects would miss the attention fix. Thing is, addicts always, always need a bigger fix.

Well, I call for a boycott. Don’t read the stories. Change the channel when Extra or ET or Access Hollywood pimps another Brit or Lindsay or Nicole or Paris borefest. Starve them of the attention they seek. Because they’re tapeworms, and such feeding only encourages them, tarts and pimps alike.

Reportage of this sort isn’t journalism, the same way these pathetic creatures aren’t “stars.” Both those honorable titles have to be earned by substance, not by squalidness. And I don’t see much of that around.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Singers And The Songs

Noting the Dixie Chicks’ punishment in the past and Grammy triumph the other night reminds me of how, in other days, other public artist-critics of the political and social status quo have been similarly punished for daring to speak their minds in the presence of their enemies.

The primo example, of course, being the Beatles, chastised harshly for John Lennon’s opening his yap and saying they were more popular than Jesus. Which, I need hardly point out, THEY WERE!!!
And John didn’t mean it in a boastful or nyah-nyah kind of way, either. He was merely stating the obvious, and, moreover, shading his statement to the effect that it was freakily ridiculous that they were, the Beatles being just a bunch of lovable moptops, after all, and Jesus being the [alleged: PKM] Son of God.

So to punish them for John’s perceived hubris, they were bumped from radio playlists and their records were burned at the stake. Generally in Bible-belt areas, where knuckles had first to be lifted from contact with the ground before any conflagrating could ensue.

Same thing with the Doors after Jim’s Miami bust. All that spring and summer of 1969, venues across the country canceled Doors concerts, apparently in fear of the Lizard King’s kingly lizard escaping from cover and taking the air onstage.
(Which it NEVER DID AT MIAMI, by the way.)

So, Jim was crucified by such pillars of moral rectitude as drunken fat abusive comedian Jackie “To the Moon, Alice!” Gleason and she of the chicken's-arse lips, Anita “The Homophobe” Bryant, and our boys were boycotted. Dozens of dates bit the dust and airplay suffered, though I don’t recall any incidents of Doors records used to light any fires, or funeral pyres. (Jim was a bit disappointed there were no bonfires, actually, figuring that would just prove he was doing something right—and he was quite correct to think so.)

In any case, the Beatles recovered. The Doors, sadly and sorrowfully, not so much. The Dixies not only recovered but rubbed their bandwagoning enemies’ noses in it so hard it may have deviated a few deviants’ septums. Which I, needless to say, heartily approve.

Because like it or not, and so many seem not to, it still IS a freedom-of-speech little country we got here, yessiree! And that means if I have to listen to Bible-thumpers tirading about the Satanic agenda of uppity women wanting to be President and gay people wanting to get married like everybody else, then they have to listen to the Dixie Chicks mildly dissing Chimpy. Texas should be ashamed of him…

But fair’s fair. Especially when it gets rewarded with trophies.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Funny Valentine

For a chick who thinks Valentine's Day is a big old commercial ripoff fandango, based on a Christian saint of uncertain provenance and hyped for the benefit of the candy and flowers industries, I have to say it has loomed large-ish in my romance calendar down the years.

In college and immediately after, there were a few sweet lads who brought the chocolate and the roses, including my first serious boyfriend (not lover), Dennis Shaw, and my first fiancé, George Romonchuk. Even dear David Walley, unsentimental Oscar the Grouch that he could often be, came through for Feb. 14.

Not in the last 36 years, of course, have I celebrated Valentine's Day with the man I love. But that last one was a keeper...

Jim. Me. L.A. Twenty-carat heart-shaped cabochon ruby ring surrounded by 25 diamonds (a couple days late, but he made a truly splendid effort). Likewise two-inch-long cameo of Eros and Psyche in red agate. Composing (together) extra lyrics to "People Are Strange" while lying in bed, because he was fed up hearing me complain that the song was too short. Him writing a poem for me. Me writing one for him. True, the surrounding circumstances may not have been of the best, but Valentine's Day 1971 was a day to cuddle up with and keep me warm forever. On this bitterly cold, windy, sleet-slashed today, even more so.

And people actually wonder why, after, I would never ever settle for less...

Love you, honey!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All The News That's Shit, They Print

First off, of your kindness forgive me for the s-word in the title. I have a towering distaste for that particular expletive: I think it’s quite the least attractive of the Four-Letter Family, and I never, ever use it personally.

(Well, very, very occasionally I will say “bullshit”, when circumstances warrant. But I never use the unadorned word. On the other hand, the f-word is handy for all occasions. When you drop the hot steam-iron on your toe, or whack your elbow on the car door, or must talk about Oliver Stone…it’s the only word that satisfies, really.)

But the s-word did work so well here that I couldn’t resist…though you won't be hearing it from me ever again.

So. Getting down to it, then.

Anna Nicole Smith. A pathetic young woman, used and using. Nothing to offer the world except her neediness and desperation and pain. Not talented. Not creative. Uneducated and barely articulate and not intelligent. No self-esteem. Very sad story, losing her son and leaving her infant daughter motherless. Fine, we all agree on that.

But for God’s sake STFU already! It seems that the media is now all ANS all the time, especially the so-called entertainment shows like Access Hollywood and Extra and Entertainment Tonight, and I’m more than sick and tired of it. I’m genuinely sickened and very, very weary.
And the frantic shamefest shows no sign of slowing down.

Now, in the interests of full disclosure, I must tell you that I myself am not pure as the driven snow where such shows are concerned, since back in the Doors movie and “Strange Days” days I made use of them for my own purposes.
In 1991 I delivered my soul (on several TV shows and in as many print venues as I could shoehorn myself into) of the great and lasting wrath I feel toward Oliver fucking Stone, and then a year later, when "Days" was published, I went back to talk about Jim and our time together. (Thank you, John Tesh!)
And I had a fine time, I must say, both unburdening myself of fury and reminiscing with love.

Going back even farther, I am so very very glad the paps ’n’ tabs weren’t around when Jim died. Because I don’t know if I, or more likely they, could have survived the cannibalistic attention that is now focused on such tragedies.

Not that the media concerned sees these things as personal tragedies, of course, no matter their pious hypocritical faces. No, for them it’s more like feeding frenzy, a nice fat bluefish school to feed their shark-like maws. They don’t consider the people involved and the feelings of those people—the grief, the shock, the hurt, the anger—to be as important as filling up a few more minutes of air time or a few more column inches or pages with invasive, prurient, wholly unnecessary dissections of the dead, and psychic vivisections of the living. With no anesthetic to dull the pain.

Sure, when Jimi and Janis died there was some attention. Couple of stories in the general newspapers the day after, 30-second sound bites on the evening news, cover features in the rock press. But that was IT. No more. They were allowed to rest in peace, and we all moved sadly on.

When Jim died, there was all sorts of hugger-mugger going on, mostly because any publicity would have implicated a certain heroin-using parasite whore of his association not only in the cover-up of his death but in possible murder charges, or at the very least manslaughter.

So it was all kept quiet until almost a full week later. And the rationale claimed at the time by the Doors manager, with a straight face, was they had handled it that way so that the “media circus” surrounding the Hendrix and Joplin o.d.’s would not taint Jim’s “heart attack.” Yeah, right.

In fact, there WAS no media circus for Janis and Jimi. And for Jim, only a heinous cover-up of a fatal heroin overdose that was criminally pushed on him and a lie that lasted twenty bitter years.

You couldn’t get away with that today, of course. The admittedly sensational circumstances would have been smeared across every tabloid and “entertainment” show for WEEKS. Perhaps even the truth may have come out a whole lot sooner…to the great benefit of everyone involved. Even the media.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammy Wham-a-ding-dong

I don’t watch the Grammys. Never have, never will. (Unless of course I’m up for one. Which will be never.)

Because back in the day they never saw fit to pay attention to and honor the music I love, so I feel it’s only fair I pay no attention to them, and I feel so strongly about it that I once turned down a chance to write liner notes and thus get into NARAS and be able to vote, just because I hated the system so much. (Changing the system from within is a nice sentiment, to be sure, but it very seldom works, and sleeping with the enemy, however noble your purpose might be, is a real soul-killer.)

So the Grammys have never honored real, cutting-edge, Sixties rocknroll. No, they have historically preferred to give the little gold phonographs to their idea of cutting edge: hello, Grammys for 1967, year of the first Doors album and “Surrealistic Pillow” and “Disraeli Gears” and “Are You Experienced” and “Axis: Bold as Love.” Check THIS out…

Record of the Year
“Up, Up and Away,” 5th Dimension
Album of the Year
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (Capitol)
Song of the Year
“Up, Up and Away,” Jimmy L. Webb, songwriter
Best New Artist
Bobbie Gentry
Best Vocal Performance, Male
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” Glen Campbell
Best Vocal Performance, Female
“Ode to Billie Joe,” Bobbie Gentry
Best Performance By a Vocal Group (Two to Six Persons)
“Up, Up and Away,” 5th Dimension
Best Performance By a Chorus (Seven or More Persons)
“Up, Up and Away,” Johnny Mann Singers
Best Contemporary Single
“Up, Up and Away,” 5th Dimension
Best Contemporary Album
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles (Capitol)
Best Contemporary Male Solo Vocal Performance
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” Glen Campbell
Best Contemporary Female Solo Vocal Performance
“Ode to Billie Joe,” Bobbie Gentry
Best Contemporary Group Performance, Vocal or Instrumental
“Up, Up and Away,” 5th Dimension

SIX Grammys for that piece of utter flufftrash “Up, Up and Away!” Three for mopey little Bobbie Gentry! Two for musical gelding Glen Campbell! My gorge, she is a-rising…

And the following four years, the giant and blazing heart of the most creative music that ever lived, were just as vomitous. Nothing for the Stones, the Doors, the Who, the Airplane, Cream, the Dead. Though “Sgt. Pepper” did squeak in…

So now the Grammys are handing out “honorary” awards, Lifetime Achievement Awards, and last night the Doors got one. Which is basically saying Yeah, we didn’t think you were good enough to win one of these babies when you were actually working, but hey, Dwhores, you're safely irrelevant now, so we’ll just lob you this sop in your retirement golden years, now that you haven’t done anything dangerously creative for almost four decades and all you want to do now (looking at YOU, Ray and Robby) is sit back and peddle your songs for diaper or car TV spots.

Of the four band members, only blank-faced Robby Krieger was present, the insufferable Ray and the estimable John apparently still being at daggers drawn. (Thank all gods the little gopher boy Sugerman, being dead, can no longer pollute even these loathsome proceedings with his presence…)
And the blither did make reference to Jim as the “lead shaman” of the group. WhatEVAH. No word on where he was on the night, but you can damn well bet it wasn’t anywhere near the ceremony.

(I received all this information from MDF Steve, by the way, since I was watching not the Grammys but “POTC2: Dead Man’s Chest” for the thousandth time, and my state was the more gracious for it…)

But these days music is all about “product.” (Well, it was back then, too, of course; but at least there was the above-mentioned substance to balance it out). With a few shining exceptions (the magnificent Dixie Chicks, who SO rock in all senses of the word; Springsteen; Dylan; even the mangy old Police back again), the stuff music “fans” want to see today is the purest plastic and the people who “play” and “sing” it can’t do either of those without lip-synching or an augmented backup track—since they can neither, you guessed, sing or play like REAL ARTISTS.

Enough. Going to listen to Cream, I think, now, to get the taste of bogus out of my musical mouth.

Oh, and if you have to call yourself "John Legend," chances are pretty good you're not one. And never will be.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Lost Its Place

Well, “Lost”, my onetime fave show, returned to the airwaves last night. And there was much rejoicing.
But there was much annoyance as well.

I think it is now beyond argument that the creators of this show haven’t got a CLUE what’s going on. They had all this romping geekboy fun for two and a half seasons putting forth weirdnesses like the Numbers, and the Polar Bears, and the Hatch Count-down, and the Others, and Dharma, and the countless pre-Island path-crossings of all the characters,and now they have run slap into the unpleasant truth that we the patient oh so very very patient viewers are demanding some goddamn answers. And they don’t have any! Because they just made it up as they went along! Oh, those crazy kids.

I predict we will see a boatload of retconning (retroactive continuity; means they change the present story in defiance of the backstory) in the immediate and distant future. Icebergs ahead!

Will I still watch? What are you, new?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Natural Selection at Work

A local state senator has hopes of passing a bill prohibiting New Yorkers in large cities (which means NYC and Buffalo, apparently) from crossing the street or otherwise engaging with traffic while on cellphones, BlackBerries, iPods. Listening to music, talking on the phone or texting are all traffic hazards, he claims, and cites the death of two of his Brooklyn constituents as proof.

I doubt he’ll get the votes, mostly because politicians are too stupid to do two things at the same time anyway.

But I say if you’re stupid enough and oblivious enough not to notice the giant accordion bus (two-parters with hinges in the middle, if you haven’t seen any, twice as long as regular buses) bearing down on you, then you deserve to get puréed and taken out of the gene pool, hopefully before you’ve passed on your defective genes to offspring.

It’s all about personal responsibility, really it is. And Darwin will not be denied. Even by those who don’t believe him. Hey, especially them.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Monday Night Fights

I am a big TV fan. There, I’ve said it and I feel all the stronger for it. In my house, the TV goes on as soon as I get home and stays on until I fall asleep. I don’t always watch, mind. Lotsa times it functions more as a fireplace—comforting, bright, vaguely alive—than a usual means of entertainment. And that’s fine.

But sometimes comes Appointment TV. “House.” “Lost.” “Ugly Betty.” “Grey’s Anatomy.” “Men in Trees.” (Quite a night, Thursday.) “Ghost Whisperer.”

And, on Monday, something a little different. “Heroes”. Vs. “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.”

I say versus because even though both those shows are on NBC and are obviously not in the same time-slot, it’s still a throwdown. Because “Heroes” respects its viewers and “Studio 60”, oh what the hell, let’s just say it, Aaron Sorkin, that massive chunk of flagrant self-indulgent wretched refuse, does not.

“Heroes” is charming. It amuses, it challenges, it makes you go Whaaaa…? It has really organic interactions amongst characters, it gives presents to its fans (George Takei as Hero Hiro’s daddy, bigtime mogul, with a license plate that read NCC-1701. Oh, the fangasms!). That’s how you inspire loyalty. And it’s paying off big for the show.

“Studio 60”, on the other hand, or again, I should say Sorkin, doesn’t. It never misses an opportunity to show us how much better its puffed-up peacock creator is than we lowly peasants are. NOT. It insults us with vomitous plotlines: wacko Danny stalking his TV-studio boss Jordan, upon which she gives in all cutesy and passes him a note saying “I’m crazy about you!”. Crazy being the operative word. And the dialogue, oh my God and Goddess, the dialogue. If you thought “West Wing” was pretentious and annoying, I’m telling you, the sludge here will make your head explode.

And yet I watch both, and will continue to do so. Because “Heroes” is so very, very good, and Sorkin…well, I just want to see how very, very bad he can get. Not so much like watching a car crash as like watching a fifty-car flaming pileup on an ice-slick road in a crap blizzard. Only better.

I could go on and on. But I won’t. If you want, go check out the forum thread for S60 (or any other show you fancy) on my favorite website of all time, . The posters there rise to blissful heights of vituperation, all of it richly deserved. You'll enjoy yourself. Promise.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Equal Rites

Happy Brighnasa to all!

And, with godlike timing...from the aptly named Guardian:


After a break of 16 centuries, Greek pagans are worshipping the ancient gods again - despite furious opposition from the Orthodox church. Helena Smith asks them why they're so keen to revive the old religion

Thursday February 1, 2007
The Guardian

It was high noon when Doreta Peppa, a woman with long, dark locks and owlish eyes, entered the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. At first, tourists visiting the Athenian temple thought they had stumbled on to a film set. It wasn't just that Peppa cut a dramatic figure with her flowing robes and garlanded hair. Or that she seemed to be in a state of near euphoria. Or even that the group of men and women accompanying her - dressed as warriors and nymphets in kitsch ancient garb - appeared to have stepped straight out of the city's Golden Age.

To the astonishment of onlookers, Peppa also began babbling Orphic hymns, before thrusting her arms upwards into the Attic skies and proceeding, somewhat deliriously, to warble her love for the gods of Mount Olympus. But, then, for the motley group of modern pagans coalesced around the temple's giant Corinthian columns, this was a special moment. Not since the late fourth century AD, when the newly Christian Roman state outlawed all forms of pagan worship, had a high priestess officiated on the sacred site.

Armed with white doves, Peppa, a former advertising executive, was not going to hold back - even if it meant defying the furious Greek officials and riot police gathered at the second-century temple's gates, unwilling to stop the ceremony for fear of provoking a violent confrontation. "Sixteen and a half centuries is a very long time to wait," she said. "After so many years of Christian persecution we were finally able to call on Zeus, our king-god, to bring peace to the world ahead of the [2008] Olympics. For us, it was a very, very big thing."

So big, that like a thunderbolt from the deity himself, the one-hour ceremony has achieved the near-impossible task of unnerving Greece's powerful Orthodox church. Since Peppa's performance 10 days ago, hierarchs have redirected the venom they usually reserve for homosexuals, Catholics, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, Masons and the "barbaric" Turks at the "miserable resuscitators" of the degenerate dead religion. In fire-and-brimstone sermons priests have slammed the "satanic" New Ageists and fulminated against their idols.

For years, Orthodox clerics believed that they had defeated Greeks wishing to embrace the customs and beliefs of the ancient past. But increasingly the church, a bastion of conservatism and traditionalism, has been confronted by the spectre of polytheists making a comeback in the land of the gods. Last year, Peppa's group, Ellinais, succeeded in gaining legal recognition as a cultural association in a country where all non-Christian religions, bar Islam and Judaism, are prohibited. As a result of the ruling, which devotees say paves the way for the Greek gods to be worshipped openly, the organisation hopes to win government approval for a temple in Athens where pagan baptisms, marriages and funerals could be performed. Taking the battle to archaeological sites deemed to be "sacred" is also part of an increasingly vociferous campaign.

But Ellinais, whose members range from elderly academics to young professionals, is not the only sect to practise the ethnic Hellenic faith. Those who claim to "defend the genuine traditions, religion and ethos" of pre-Christians say there are at least 2,000 hard-core followers and, nationwide, more than 100,000 sympathisers. Nationalist extremists, attracted by the creed's emphasis on Hellenic glories, are helping to boost the revival.

"If you are brought up with Greek mythology, the idea you are the descendants of the ancient Greeks and imbued with the importance of ancient Greek culture, you have all the pre-requisites for such an inclination," says Nikos Dimou, the acclaimed author of a tongue-in-cheek bestseller, The Misfortune to be Greek.

Ninety-eight per cent of the population may officially be Orthodox Christian, but in many ways Greeks remain bonded to their pagan past. "OK, the ancients had hubris, but the concept of sin was totally unknown to them, as indeed it is in modern Greece," Dimou says. "Greeks today don't observe many of the 10 commandments. Their outlook on life and values are much nearer to pagan ideas than those of the austere Judaeo-Christian faith."

The exoticism of pagan rituals undoubtedly adds to the allure. Enter the Athens headquarters of YSEE, an umbrella organisation of pagans, and the first thing you encounter on feast days are white-clad believers offering libations before a life-size marble kouros symbolising eternal youth. Busts of Athena, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hera and Zeus cast their stony eyes on to an altar replete with burning incense, herbs and flowers. Housed in a decrepit apartment block, between a Kurdish-run cafe and a bathroom utilities store, YSEE has become a meeting point for pagans. Here believers, such as Vlassis Rassias, gather to discuss ancient Greek history and solace-giving gods.

Like pagans the world over, Rassias says he was drawn to polytheism by the religion's focus on humanity, ecology, cosmic connections and reverence for the past. But, like many in Greece, the 48-year-old banker adds that he was also attracted because of "the brainwashing" of the Orthodox church. "At school we were taught everything about the ancients except the way they worshipped. I found it very strange, and when I looked into it I began to see why," he says. "The Christians hated pagans so much that from the fourth century to the ninth century they destroyed their temples and libraries, killed their priests, closed their philosophical schools and, in one case, set up a death camp. It was genocide but priests don't want to talk about that today." Instead, he says, the Orthodox church insisted that Christianity had been spread, and accepted, peacefully.

Greece's pagans have found an unlikely champion in James O'Dell, a Croydon-born chartered surveyor who gave up his job to "serve the gods". Through the internet he has brought Apollo-loving pagans together in Britain - organising a ritual in Richmond Park in December - and disseminated information about the "plight" of pagans in Greece.

"I started a web page and was amazed at how many suddenly came out of the woodwork," says the 49-year-old, who lives between Athens and London and keeps an altar dedicated to Apollo in both homes. His own "awakening" began during a visit to ancient Delphi in 1990.

Greece's pagans will need every ally they can get in their battle with the immensely powerful Orthodox establishment. Church and state are still inextricably intertwined, and priests and parishes are financed from government coffers. "Greece is not like other modern European democracies - it is semi-theocratic," says Vassilis Tsantilas, 42, a computer scientist who experimented with Buddhism, Taoism and Islam before embracing paganism. "Constitutionally, there is no law that even allows for the recognition of other minority religions, which is why the Christians can go on persecuting us."

Last year, YSEE stepped up its campaign with a 14-page memorandum delivered to the Greek president. Among other things, it demanded that pagans not only be allowed to conduct baptisms, weddings, funerals and cremations but also be given a permanent place of worship within view of the Acropolis on the Hill of Nymphs.

"But our biggest demand is that our religion is accepted as a reality so that we can finally count just how many we are," Rassias says. "If the intolerance continues we'll go to the European court of human rights."

"I'd like to think that in 500 years things will be better," O'Dell says, with a smile. But Greece's pagans may not have to wait so long. Already they have come a long way from the days when exposure as a pagan could result in reprisals from business partners, family and friends. After the ceremony at the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, even the nation's media have stopped laughing at them.

I should think so! Otherwise, look out for thunderbolts.

Greek Paganism is not my particular creed, though of course I honor and revere the pantheon, especially Dionysus... But we're all slowly making strides against the Judeo-Christofascisti. This, and Pagan Danes being allowed to legally marry in the Norse Asatru faith, and this country's Veterans Administration slowly coming round to allowing Pagan symbols on the gravestones of Pagan vets in national cemeteries. Plus the recent news about a village near Stonehenge thought to have sheltered pilgrims to and workers on the circle.
It's all good! And better is to come. Hellenic Pagans, Celtic Pagans and Celtic gods are with you!

Oh, and I want to start seeing "Pagans", not "pagans." If everybody else gets the respectful initial cap, then so should we. So hop to it, media boys and girls! Remember, we were here first.