Friday, December 30, 2011

YOUR BULLDOG DRINKS CHAMPAGNE BUT CAN HE SURF? (Or, THE LORD OF DOGTOWN!)

.


D-d-d-dog, dog, dog
D-d-dog is the word!

D-d-d-dog, dog, dog
D-d-dog is the word!

Do you know what “bulldogging” is?

Well, it’s an event you’d find in a rodeo but it does not involve bulls or dogs. (Google it.)

Do you know who “Bill Doggett” was?

He wasn’t a bulldogger, but he was damn good at what he did. (Google him.)

Do you know the song “Your Bulldog Drinks Champagne”? It’s extremely funny. (Google it, then get some champagne before New Year’s Eve arrives.)

Can you explain the term “hotdogging”?

It’s an old expression for someone who does a lot of fancy tricks while riding a surfboard.

Have you heard the instrumental “Surfdoggin’”?

It’s something Gary Hoey recorded for the surfing movie “Endless Summer II” in which I think he may have invented a new musical genre (a combination of surf guitar and country pickin’.)

Have you ever been to “Dogtown”?

That’s where I grew up in the 1970s. To be hyper-specific, Dogtown is that area of southern Santa Monica and northern Venice - pretty much where those two Los Angeles communities meet. I grew up right in the heart of it (in Santa Monica, two blocks from Venice) and there was a time when I used to ride my bicycle right down Rose Avenue to the beach, four or five days a week before work, just for the exercise. Ahh, those were golden days!

The Dogtown area was kind of symbolized by the abandoned, dilapidated (and now long gone) Pacific Ocean Park pier (or POP). As a teenager, I actually spent some nights guarding that pier from vandals while it was being dismantled.

In the mid-1970s, a group of young surfers in Dogtown - later known as The Z-Boys - started the whole skateboarding culture that eventually took the country by storm. My Brother and Sister went to school with one of them (Jay Adams) and my good friend Eric once shared a hospital room with one of them (Tony Alva), and Eric told me that the steady stream of hot girls coming to visit his roommate in that hospital was utterly unbelievable!

Several movies have been made about those dudeguys and the skateboarding craze that they started. One of those movies is titled “Lords Of Dogtown”.

This morning, my dear friend the Flying Aardvark sent me a link to a YouTube video that I absolutely love! I’ve watched it three times now and it has made me laugh every single time.

Maybe your bulldog drinks champagne, but can he surf? This video gives new meaning to the expression “Dogtown Surfer”. In fact, some commenter posted this:

Isn't this dog in ‘Lords of Dogtown’?

This might be the most entertaining video I’ve seen this year. My favorite parts are when the dog is on the skateboard. Watch him, he’s really groovin’ that board back and forth, he’s doin' some serious sidewalk surfin’! And his swaying on that skateboard is perfectly synchronized with the music.

So, I’m closing out 2011 at ‘STUFFS’ with a little gift for y’all: Some sun, sand ‘n’ surf on "a Winter’s day in a deep and dog December". This is where Simon & Garfunkel and The Beach Boys crash into each other, wipeout and meld.

Surfin´ Bulldog (Beach Boys - Surfin´ USA)



Link to the YouTube original:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqxTUxzOceE

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

GREAT MOMENTS IN "REAL MAN" HISTORY!

.
We'll call this one 'Great Moments In "Real Man" History' (Or, 'They Are Who We Thought They Were!')

What are the greatest moments in "Real Man" history? Well, there are plenty, and everyone will have their own favorite. If it were possible for a "Real Man" to slap a girl around and make my list of 'Great Moments In "Real Man" History', then I would surely be listing the time Senator Joseph McCarthy earned an Elgin watch "for combat...above and beyond the call of duty" by slapping Drew Pearson around in a cloakroom.

But I guess I'll just stick with the National Football League for now.

Less than two weeks ago, I posted a blog bit celebrating the fact that the Kansas City Chiefs, in a major and unpredictable upset, defeated the Green Bay Packers, ensuring that for at least one more year, the 1972 Miami Dolphins - the team I idolized in my boyhood - would remain the only unbeaten and untied team to win a Super Bowl. (Which is not, by any means, to say that I am conceding this year's championship to the Packers; I am not ready to "crown their asses".)

Two of my favorite "Real Man" moments are tied in with that 1972 Dolphins team.

ZONK! 

Throughout his career, [Larry] Csonka played fullback like a horse ploughs a field: doggedly, with a high pain threshold and with great determination.
~ John Doremus

My favorite player on that Dolphins team was Larry Csonka; I loved the way he ran through and over defenders, and I dreamed of being the next Csonka. But then I stopped growing, encountered more athletically gifted dudeguys than myself, and came to realize that I was never tough enough to be another Csonka anyway. (Besides, all that football playing would have damaged my fingers and interfered with my violin lessons.)

But this brief video below will give you a basic idea of why I loved "The Zonk" and wrote his number 39 on everything I owned:

Miami Dolphins Larry Csonka



Link to a mo' bigger screen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oa2meWsaOc&NR=1&feature=endscreen

Csonka makes my 'Greatest Moments In "Real Man" History' list by virtue of the fact that he is the only NFL ballcarrier to ever be flagged for "Unnecessary Roughness" against a tackler!  

Larry Csonka - Unnecessary roughness while running w/ the football



Link to a mo' bigger screen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7SF0RaXR4nI

However, in my book, 'The Greatest Moment In "Real Man" History' - not just in the NFL but anywhere ever - belongs to my second favorite player on that '72 Dolphins team: Manny Fernandez.

THE "MAN" IN MANNY! 

Manny Fernandez, in my opinion, is the only defensive lineman in the history of the National Football League that can get into a nest of alligators and come out with an alligator... unscathed! Where do you find people like that?
~ Larry Csonka

In my DVD set 'America's Game: The Super Bowl Champions - 1972/1973 Miami Dolphins' there is a segment showing that during his down time, Manny Fernandez liked to go out into the Florida Everglades and catch alligators.

On the DVD, we are treated to some footage of Manny and his Florida buddies doing exactly that. Manny reaches into a swampy spot and pulls an alligator out by its tail.

Is that "Real Man" enough for ya? (I sure as hell wouldn't try something like that, as alligator's can be hazardous to violin-playing fingers!)

But what actually elevates that manly Manny act to GREATEST Moment In "Real Man" history is the fact that while Manny is capturing that alligator with his bare hands, he's wearing shades and he has a cigarette dangling from his lips! Ha! Yeah, it's no big deal to Manny - just another relaxing day in the swamp . . .
.




["Don't you make me drop my cigarette, boy!"]



You can watch the cigarette-smokin' Manny pull an alligator out of the swamp by fast-forwarding to the 18:30 mark in the video below:

1972 Miami Dolphins



Link to a mo' bigger screen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MpdA9LSFNc0

And finally, here's a brief video with both "Real Men" - Manny & The Zonk! - reminiscing about what that undefeated 1972 Dolphins season meant (and still means) to them:

Miami Dolphins - Perfect Season



Link to a mo' bigger screen:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC4Gnxt_2V4

Well, thanks for readin' 'n' watchin'.

I gotta go practice my violin lesson now or my teacher, she gonna rap me on the wrist with my bow, and that really hurts!

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Monday, December 26, 2011

"THERE’S A SADNESS IN THE HEART OF THINGS"

.


Doggs & Doggettes ~

Christmas 2011 ended here in Phoenix, Arizona, a little over an hour ago. For a number of reasons – which I could explain in excruciating detail, but which I’m sure you’re not the least bit interested in – Bobby Darin’s song ‘Christmas Auld Lang Syne’ makes me think of my dear departed Ma, who returned to her Creator in the Summer of 2005.

Darin recorded this song on August 18, 1960, exactly one year and ten days after my birth, and it did not do very well on the Billboard music charts. Nevertheless, it has become my custom to close every Christmas Day by listening to it.

For a number of years, it has also been a tradition of mine to remove all of my outdoor Christmas decorations on December 26th (my Brother’s birthday), to send the message that what I have been celebrating is not Happy Holidays or Winter Solstice or Winter Wonder or Season’s Greetings or Frosty’s Fruitopia or any other euphemism for “The Birth Of Jesus Christ”.

My lights and decorations were meant as a symbol of Christ’s birth. And after December 25th, the Birthday Party has come and gone, and my celebration has ended.



But, I fear I have gotten a bit sidetracked, as I often do.

What I really meant to say here is that Bobby Darin’s song, ‘Christmas Auld Lang Syne’, is a window into my soul. Not that anyone will or should care to know.

Every Christmas ends with me honoring my Mother by playing Darin’s Christmas song and acknowledging that, indeed, "there’s a sadness in the heart of things".

Bobby Darin - Christmas Auld Lang Syne
(lyrics and slideshow + good quality)
Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfXYSb-KsSQ

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Friday, December 23, 2011

THE WORLD’S SILLIEST CHRISTMAS TRADITION! (Won’t You Please Join Us?)

.


Who cares about "shopping days"? What matters is "blogging days"! And two "blogging days" were lost to me due to a bug in the Blogspot system which prevented me from accessing my Dashboard. That means I was unable to approve, post, and respond to comments left for me; unable to post new blog bits; and unable to read YOUR blog bits.

Thanks to the same someone who saved my blog earlier this year, it seems I am back in the saddle sleigh again! But this particular blog bit shoulda been posted here the day before yesterday. DOH! Don'tcha hate it when that doesn't happen?

If you feel I have been ignoring your blog bits, please know that I have neglected you only because I WAS BUGGED-OUT! But I am determined to read the blogs that I “Follow” as soon as possible. In the meantime, there’s this wonderful opportunity I am making available to you:

I am a collector of quotations and I actually copy and store my favorites. I love all sorts of quotes, from the spiritual and religious (think: Yeshua, C.S. Lewis, and Joel Goldsmith), to the inspirational and patriotic (think: Booker T. Washington, Henry Thoreau, and Patrick Henry), to the humorous and super-silly (think: Mark Twain, Cheech Y Chong, and that Wino Woman on Venice Beach).

If I were asked to select what, to me, is the all-time most amusing quote, I believe I’d have to run with this:

“Most of all, I’d love to see Christ come back to crush the spirit of hate and make men put down their guns.
I’d also like just one more hit single.”
~ Tiny Tim
[Interviewed by Harold Ramis for
Playboy magazine, June, 1970]

If you don’t find that funny, then I guess you and I are just different. As in apples & oranges different, as in cats & dogs different. Different as in Laurel & Hardy, Jane Fonda & Ann Coulter, Karl Marx & George Mason.

George Mason? Uhm . . . well, don’t worry about it. Never mind - he really doesn’t matter much anymore.

Anyway, the Tiny Tim quote brings us to the purpose of this blog bit and my appeal to you to join what is almost certainly the silliest, long-running Christmas tradition "in the whole United States of Georgia!"



I’ll keep this short, and provide links at the bottom if anyone really wants to learn the history of this tradition and its preposterous details. But in a Tiny Nutshell, here’s what I’m asking you to do:

Sometime on Christmas Day (December 25th, in your time zone), please drop a coin, any coin (penny, nickel, dime, whatever) into a body of water and MAKE A WISH FOR TINY TIM. (Yes, Tiny Tim, the One-Hit Wonder who gave us the song Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me back in 1968.)

Just say something along the lines of: “I wish Tiny Tim will score just one more hit song.”

That’s all there is to it.

From year to year, lots of people say they’re going to do this but, sadly, very few actually remember to. However, so far, seven people really have done it properly and have had their names added to ‘The Tiny Tim Wish Fulfillment Team’ roster. [See the link below.]

In the past, there have been some minor misunderstandings and I want to clear those up right now, because unless you do it correctly, I am constrained from adding your name to the ‘Tiny Tim Wish Fulfillment Team’ list - much as I'd like to. There are only 2 rules and they are very simple:

1) The wish must be made sometime (day or night) on Christmas Day, wherever you are. Not on Christmas Eve, not on the day after Christmas, not on any of the other 362 days in the year. It can only be made on Christmas Day, December 25th.

2) Also, you must drop a coin into a body of water when you make the wish. You can’t just say or think, “I wish Tiny Tim would have one more hit song”; you must simultaneously drop a coin in water while you are saying or thinking that wish. And I don’t care what sort of body of water you use - a wishing well, the ocean, a lake, your swimming pool, a puddle of rain water formed against the curb of Garden Grove Boulevard [that was for you, Karen!], a glass of tap water – It’z all good . . . provided it’z wet.

That’s all there is to it, friends. Make the wish, do it right, let me know you did it right, and I will immediately add your name to the 'Tiny Tim Wish Fulfillment Team' honor roll.

Someday, when Tiny Tim “miraculously” scores that second hit single, we will all know that it was really us - ‘The Tiny Tim Wish Fulfillment Team' - that made it happen for him!

Who will join The Team next? Who will be #8?
And then who will be #9... #9... #9... #9...?

C'mon, people, come out an' play with me!

Ukulelely Yours . . .

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Related Links:

THE MAKERS OF ‘MOTHER CROAKER’S HEMORRHOID OINTMENT’ PRESENT . . .
[See the heading ‘Here’s The Gig’]

TINY TIM'S CHRISTMAS ALBUM [Join The Tiny Tim Wish Fulfillment Team!]

ORIGINAL 'TINY TIM WISHING SITE' [Photo Gallery]

MAKE A WISH FOR TINY TIM - The Early Years
[How And When It All Got Started]

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"MANKIND SHOULD BE OUR BUSINESS, BUT WE SELDOM ATTEND TO IT"

.
It was in December, probably 1987 or ’88. I was at work in one of the offices of UCLA’s Parking Department, when two of my best friends there, Lonnie and The Countess, broke out in song. They began singing . . .

Thank you very much, thank you very much! That’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever done for me . . .

When the singing finally came to an end, I asked them, “Where did you hear that song?” Their mouths hung open for a minute or two and they looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.

And then at once they both shouted (as if I were hard of hearing because of the lobsters), “SCROOGE!”

And that’s how I first learned there was a 1970 movie musical called ‘SCROOGE’, based on Dickens’ famous ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Yes, SCROOGE is a musical.

Now look here, I’m a “dude”, as in, “guy”. If you don’t believe me, you can ask my friend The Flyin’ Aardvark. Exactly one week ago, after I had made a rude remark, she wrote this to me: Ahem. ... You are such a GUY! Ha!

I was on my high school’s sophomore football team. I was on my high school’s varsity wrestling team. I NEVER cry (where anyone else can see it) and I DO NOT like musicals!

Well, except for Roy Rogers oaters.

And ‘Singin’ In The Rain’.

And ‘My Fair Lady’.

(Alright, I also like 'Bells Are Ringing', 'Guys And Dolls', and ‘The Sound Of Music’, but so help me, if you ever tell that to anyone, I – will – hunt - you - down - and - KILL - you! Twice!)

Therefore, I was predisposed to dislike SCROOGE. But I saw it anyway. With The Countess. I told her, “If it’s a musical, I won’t like it.” And I was right because... I LOVE it! It is by far my favorite filmed version of 'A Christmas Carol'. And, yes, I've seen the vast majority of them.



How good is this movie? Well, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Scrooge’ are both on my Top Ten favorite movies list. No, NO, NO! I do not mean “Top Ten favorite Christmas movies list”. I mean Top Ten list PERIOD!

In fact, I’m not sure which of those Christmas movies I love most. It pretty much depends upon which one I’m watching at the moment.

SCROOGE stars Albert Finney and was filmed in England with an all Great Britain cast. For those who know anything at all about acting, that means the acting is way, Way, WAY friggin’ better than what you will find in most American movies!

The direction is fantabulous, the sets are spectacular, the cinematography is delicious, and the music is so addictive it should be considered a controlled substance. For such an old movie, even the special effects are still pretty good.

Two of my all-time favorite quotations come from the movie SCROOGE:

Mankind should be our business, but we seldom attend to it.
~ Jacob Marley

There is never enough time to do or say all the things that we would wish; the thing is to try to do as much as you can in the time that you have. Remember, …time is short, and suddenly you're not there anymore.
~ The Ghost Of Christmas Present

I have only one negative remark to make about SCROOGE: There is one song in the score, sung by Tiny Tim, that is so high-pitched, stepped-on-a-cat’s-tail awful that I fast-forward through it every other year.

[Note: I watch my four favorite Christmas movies only every other year, so they don’t cease delivering to me the emotional impact I watch them for. This year, it’s the “modern” classics – ‘Scrooge’ and ‘A Christmas Story’ – next year it will be the old school classics – “It’s A Wonderful Life’ and ‘Miracle On 34th Street’.]

But even that awful song by Tiny Tim has become a part of the Christmas tradition that I share with my brother, Nappy. Every other year, we TRADITIONALLY fast-forward through it!

There’s a part in SCROOGE where - in anticipation of the second ghost’s appearance, and temporarily feeling bold and brave – Ebenezer yells out, “I’m ready for you!”

Well, this year, just as Tiny Tim’s dreadful song was about to be sung, I raised the DVD gizmo, my finger on the fast-forward button, and I yelled out, “I’m ready for you, Tiny Tim!”

Nappy and I both laughed. Yeah, you can make a “Christmas tradition” out of just about anything.

If you’re having trouble finding “The Christmas Spirit” this year – as it seems many people are – then you need to watch SCROOGE.

Here’s a link to about ten minutes of this wonderful life movie! (This is a future Christmas, in which Ebenezer has died, and the people indebted to him are joyfully singing "Thank you very much!")

Scrooge the Musical (1970) Part 9
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BF5ZcMgd0Q

[Note: In actuality, the movie’s visuals are not as dark as they appear in this video.]

Dog God bless us, every one!
~ TinyTim @Dyslexia.moc

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

THEY DON'T KNOW IT'S A DAMN SHOW; THEY THINK IT'S A DAMN FIGHT!

.
For me, the most important Christmas gift on my Wish List came early this year.



The other day I sent an Email to my friend Sheboyganboy Six in which I said this:

The only thing I much care about [in the 2011 NFL football season] is seeing the Packers lose at least one game so they don’t do a ’72 Dolphins.

If you don’t already know, the 1972 Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to win every single game in their schedule, from first regular season game through the Super Bowl. I was 11 & 12 years old when that happened, and it was the ’72 Dolphins that turned me into a football fan. Prior to that year I knew as much about football as I currently know about ballet and breeding show dogs.

My big hero was the Mack truck-like running back Larry Csonka, whose number, 39, I wrote on everything I owned.

Here’s a photo of my hero flippin’ the bird at y’all from an August '72 cover of Sports Illustrated magazine:



At 1:39 this morning, I sent the following to Sheboyganboy Six:

I’ve looked at Green Bay’s remaining regular season games, and there just ain’t nobody over the next 3 games who can beat them. I’d love to be proven wrong on that, but I sure don’t see it happening. I truly think it’s up to the Saints in the postseason.

He wrote back an hour ago [1:44 PM] and said:

As I write this, Kansas City is beating them. I cannot imagine that holding up... but we can hope.



See, the Kansas City Chiefs are a team so bad that earlier this week the owner fired its head coach and installed Romeo Crennel as the interim coach.

Here’s a photo of Romeo near the conclusion of his first game as the mastermind of the Chiefs:



And here’s a photo of the final score of his first game as head coach, a game against the (previously) undefeated Green Bay Packers:



[Cocky quarterback Aaron Rodgers, meet
WINNING quarterback Kyle Orton!]

To quote Yukon Cornelius: “WA-HOOO!”

Apparently the crappy Kansas City Chiefs didn’t know this was supposed to be “a damn show”; they thought it was “a damn fight!” The Rocky Balboas surprise the Apollo Creeds yet again! I loves that stuffs!

The Packers went DOWN! And my favorite football team, the 1972 Dolphins, remain (at least for one more year) the only squad to experience a completely undefeated NFL season. My pristine childhood memory remains intact and left alone!

Somewhere tonight, Csonka, Nick Buoniconti, Mercury Morris and some of the other ’72 Dolphin team members will raise a glass of champagne and toast their unblemished ’72 season – as they do every year when the last undefeated NFL team finally loses a game.

And tonight, I too will raise my glass of . . . I dunno, Guizhou Maotaizhen, maybe (if I can find something to mix with it to mask that awful taste), and toast the 1972 Dolphins and my “perfect” childhood.

Oh, in a heartbeat I would give away my car, my Playboy magazine collection, and the key to my liquor cabinet, and go back to relive those Orange County days . . . if it were possible.

Mention My Name In Sheboygan . . .

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

Link:
My Friend Went To China And All I Got Was This Lousy Transmission Fluid

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Friday, December 16, 2011

THE DÉJÀ VU BLOGFEST

.


I just learned about today’s ‘Déjà Vu Blogfest’ by visiting Julie Fedderson’s ‘Gypsy In My Soul’ blog. OK, I’ll play along – what the hell.

The basic idea seems to be this:

"This is your chance to do some major catching up, and re-post a favorite blog post of your own that NEEDS to see the light of day one more time."

Well, I’m not sure this “needs” to see the light of day one mo’ time, but I think it was possibly the most humorous blog bit I ever posted here at ‘STUFFS’ – at least to me it was.

Have you ever wanted to “knock me down, step on my face, slander my name all over the place”? Ever wanted to “step on my blue suede shoes”?

Well, you don’t need to, because I do it for you in my May 3rd, 2009, blog bit titled “DEAR DIARRHEA... (Or, JOURNAL NOTES ABOUT A CRAPPY LOVE AFFAIR)”.

In that blog bit, posted before I was including photos or videos and relying solely on my writing (not a smart idea, to be sure), I spoke of coming across a diary I had kept back in 1970. It was filled with “stuffs” about a schoolyard crush I had on a girl named Yolanda.

True to form, the blog bit was way, Way, WAY too long. All I can say for it is that I was being A-list snarky, I was dogging myself unmercifully, and it even made me laugh . . . at myself.

If anyone is interested in visiting or revisiting that exercise in self-flagellation, here’s a link to it:

“DEAR DIARRHEA... (Or, JOURNAL NOTES ABOUT A CRAPPY LOVE AFFAIR)”

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

MY FRIEND WENT TO CHINA AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY TRANSMISSION FLUID!

.
This blog bit could also have been appropriately titled “The Ultimate Chinese Torture Test”.

I have an American-Chinese friend named Gui Hong, and she recently returned from a trip to China that she had given herself as a Holiday gift. In Nanning, she has a number of extended family members whom she had not seen for a long time; some of them are getting quite old and Gui Hong wanted to see them again while she still had the opportunity.

Just before she returned to the U.S., one of her uncles – or some old goat related to her in some way – gave Gui Hong what he said was a bottle of highly prized and coveted Chinese wine. Since she does not drink alcohol at all, but she knows I’m “the town drunk”, my friend decided to pass the bottle of ‘Guizhou Maotaizhen’ on to me.

My first thought upon seeing it was:

Sheesh! It looks like a bottle of motor oil, power steering fluid, or transmission fluid – something one might pour into an automobile.



[Can you find the Chinese wine amongst these common household products?]

The box it came in was labeled almost entirely in Chinese and the only things that seemed understandable to me were “500ml” and “53% vol”. Naturally I took that 53% to be alcohol content, making this “wine” a whopping 106 proof! Hokey-Smoke! One could set himself on fire with that if he wasn’t careful.

Of course I thanked Gui Hong, and I opened the bottle to smell it. It had a very unusual, complex aroma; I could catch a hint of what seemed almost sake-like, sake being a Japanese rice wine (I loves me some sake!) but there were other scents too, something almost floral and sweet, and who knows what else. I could imagine this wine had the potential to be quite good OR quite bad; the aroma wasn't a good enough clue to the flavor.

Well, a couple nights later, I decided to try Maotaizhen for the first time. I put a couple ice cubes into my little silver cup that Althea gave me in 1959 to commemorate my birth (you know, what I have referred to on my blogs as my “GraMar cup”), and I poured the Maotai over the ice and let it chill for a bit.

Finally, I raised the cup to my lips and took a small sip.

Eventually my body stopped convulsing on the floor and my vision returned to me. I kid you not, that was perhaps the foulest taste my mouth had ever experienced. And that’s saying a hell of a lot, people – you don’t know where my mouth has been!

And then I quickly had this awful thought (and, no, I’m not kidding here and being snarky in an attempt at humor) . . .

Gui Hong speaks only very basic Chinese - having been born in the U.S., her vocabulary is rather limited. How can I be sure this stuffs is REALLY meant to be consumed by human beings? What if she misunderstood that old man who gave this to her and in fact it truly is Chinese transmission fluid? Or perhaps that "53% vol" meant it was 53-weight motor oil!

So, before taking another sip, I immediately went to the computer and started Googling the name of this supposed Chinese wine, and wondering if I had already, just by that one sip, poisoned myself to death.

To my surprise, I discovered that Guizhou Maotaizhen, or Maotai, as it’s more commonly referred to, truly is a Chinese wine. Not only that, but indeed it really is highly prized and admired in China.
.
At http://www.cswxjl.com/en/product_info_2186.html  it is described this way:

Gather the spirit of mountains and rivers, accumulate the sun and the moon essence.

Open maotai-flavor liquor, the first tree model. Outstanding, quiet and tastefully laid out and delicate, very full-bodied, the aftertaste is long, the empty cup stay joss-stick lasting.

Successive crown of national alcohol comparison, as the national wine.

OK! OK! Color me Convinced. Yeah, it “stay joss-stick lasting” alright!

There was quite a bit of information about this stuffs on a Wikipedia page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maotai

In part, Wiki sez:

Maotai has been used on official occasions in feasts with foreign heads of state and distinguished guests visiting China. It is the only alcoholic beverage presented as an official gift by Chinese embassies in foreign countries and regions.

It received additional exposure in China and abroad when Zhou Enlai used the liquor to entertain Richard Nixon during the state banquet for the U.S. presidential visit to China in 1972. It is one of China's official state banquet wines and claims to be one of the world's three best known liquors (together with whisky and cognac) and is therefore presented to all official guests of state.

For a long time I’ve said that if I could spend a day speaking with any person in history, my first choice would be Jesus Christ, and my second would be Senator Joseph McCarthy.

I’m forced to make an adjustment. Who I would now most want to talk with is Richard Nixon, just to be able to say, “Tell me, Tricky Dick, what did you honestly think of the Maotai?”

I also found a pretty funny Internet exchange pertaining to Maotai between some wine connoiseurs [Whoa! I spelled it correctly!] at the Wine Berserkers site here:

http://wineberserkers.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=36568

Believe me, people, this Maotai stuffs will melt the enamel right off your teeth; it could be used to kill fleas on dogs, de-claw cats and execute laogai prisoners.



The real challenging thing for me now is try to come up with something I can use as a mixer for it.

What? - Huh? - Am I REALLY going to drink the rest of this stuffs?

Well, hell yes, I’m going to drink it! How could you even ask me that? What’s wrong with you? Did you not read above where I said Maotai is 106 proof?! Sheesh! You people are a bit slow in the head.

So, what can I use to dilute it and hide the awful taste of it? I’m thinking that first I will try Windex. According to Gus Portokalos in the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding', Windex will fix anything.

If that doesn’t cut it, I’m thinking I’ll try the nubile blood of virgin sacrifices. Perhaps I can trade something for some of the leftovers from those nice folks at BOHEMIAN GROVE.

Failing that, as a last resort, I will simply drink straight shots of Maotai, followed by vodka and peppermint schnapps chasers.

You see, even at the height of my alcoholic haze dayz in my early and mid twenties, I never did like the taste of those two drinks. So, I’m figuring that using them as a chaser to wash down the Maotai, at the very least, I will finally learn to love vodka and peppermint schnapps after all these years.

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Monday, December 12, 2011

SPIRITUAL SONGS SUNG FOR YOU . . . FROM THE SANDY SHORE OF MALIBU

.
Caught a wave upon the ocean
Saw a way to life’s devotion



Have you ever heard of John Zambetti?

Neither had I.

Have you ever heard of Walter Egan?

Well, if you were a teenager or in your twenties in the late ‘70s then I know your answer to that second question is “Yes”.

Walter Egan, of course, is the One-Hit Wonder whose ballad ‘MAGNET AND STEEL’ (with Stevie Nicks doing background vocals) climbed to Billboard’s number 8 spot in 1978.

Walter Egan w/ Stevie Nicks - Magnet And Steel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar5GaTC440M

If you bought Egan’s ‘Not Shy’ album in the Summer of Seventy-Eight, like I did, you noticed a picture on the LP sleeve that showed Egan and his bandmates posing around a big ol’ American-made car. Egan and the bloke to his right were wearing T-shirts that said “The Malibooz” on them.

As gin-soaked as my memory is, I can still remember, back in '78, wondering who or what “The Malibooz” was.

Now I know. The Malibooz is a band that Walter Egan has been a part of for over 30 years.

Two or three years ago, I somehow became aware of an album by The Malibooz titled “LIVING WATER (The Surfer’s Mass)”. I’d never heard it - only knew that it was supposed to be a sort of prayerful, meditative collection of Surf Songs sort of correlated to the Catholic Mass. I’ve never been Catholic, but hell yeah “Heck” yeah, color me “intrigued”. But at that time, “Living Water” was hard to come by and expensive.

In the blog bits “Motel, Money, Murder, Madness” and “The Firefly In The Belly Of The Beast” I told you about a recent 3-day trip I made to Los Angeles. I had been planning that trip for a few months, and part of the plan was to visit the record stores Soundsations and Amoeba.

I determined that I would buy a few compact discs that were missing from my collection, but with the stipulation that what I bought should have some distinct Southern California association for me.

[For example: I bought Van Morrison’s “Moondance” which includes the song “Brand New Day”, the song that my screenplay “Billy ‘N’ Billie” – which I wrote in ’91, when I was an Angeleno – concludes with.]

One of three albums that I was absolutely determined to pick up while on this trip was “LIVING WATER (The Surfer’s Mass)” by The Malibooz. I’d heard some audio clips at the CD Baby website [a GREAT music source, by the way!] and I was sure I would enjoy the whole thing. ("LIVING WATER" was chosen one of the Top 5 Albums of 1999 by D.J. Johnson of C.D. Magazine.)

Malibu . . . my oldest friend, Eric, lived in Malibu when we were students at Santa Monica High School (Samohi). Some weekends I would stay at his house near Zuma Beach. He was living in that same Malibu house when he drove down to pick up me, my brother Nappy, and his best buddy, Mike, on our way to ‘Cal Jam 2’ in 1978.

[But Eric had forgotten to bring the tickets! They were still sitting on a coffee table in Malibu. While Eric drove all the way back to Malibu to get those pieces of paper, I walked up and down my street - Sunset Avenue - wearing boxing gloves, and beating the unliving sh#t out of every wooden post supporting a street sign that I could find. Nappy’s best friend, Mike, STILL talks about that!]

Believe it or not, even the superstore Amoeba Records on Sunset Boulevard didn’t have “Living Water (The Surfer’s Mass)” by The Malibooz. So a few weeks after returning to Airheadzona, I got on the CD Baby website and ordered it.

OH . . . MY . . . GOD!

I wasn’t prepared for this! I was pretty sure I would like it but . . . this is the best new music [released in 1999] I have acquired in, like, ages!

Now think about this: Walter Egan is the “big name” in the band, and yet the relatively unknown John Zambetti is the lead singer and principal songwriter. In other words, Walter Egan is perfectly content to be more of a “background” member of this group simply because . . . it’s a TRUE LABOR OF LOVE!

[And think about the incredible talent – like John Zambetti - that is out there in “this world”, but which we rarely learn about because these artists refuse to compromise their vision and gift by kowtowing to “the talentless, suit-wearing system” that dictates who does and who does not have “It”. What a load of Bullshevik!]

“LIVING WATER (The Surfer’s Mass)” is one of those albums so good great that every time I listen to it in its entirety, I come away thinking that a different song is my favorite.

A few minutes ago, I was sure that “Caught A Wave” (not to be confused with the Beach Boys’ “Catch A Wave”) was my favorite track. Three hours ago, it was “Lamb Of God” [I challenge you to refrain from singing along with that “Ahhh-AHHH-Ahhh!”]. Five hours before that, I was certain it was the instrumental “Crest, Then Broken”.

Had you asked me late yesterday what my favorite song was, I would have told you the best song in the set is “Bitter Water” (which, according to CD Baby, ended 1999 as the #1 MP3 download at Indiespace.com), but earlier in that day it was “Holy, Holy”.

Oh, wait, track 6 is playing again – “Crest, Then Broken” – yeah. Yeah! Oh, yeah! Definitely the best . . . if it’s not “Caught A Wave”.

HOKEY-SMOKE AND HOLY GOD!

I’ve shut off my completely beloved traditional Christmas songs and have devoted my ears to The Malibooz’s “Living Water” – which works equally well for background music to decorate a Christmas Tree to or music to contemplate and forgive by. Or just stuffs to dig no matter what you’re doing or what you believe.

The first thing you will notice in listening to “Living Water (The Surfer’s Mass)” is that The Malibooz love and respect the great music of Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys; this is very Beach Boys-ish in style – with the wonderful, intricate, mellow harmonizing we’d expect from that Classic vocal group. But these songs are all spiritual in nature. Which is NOT to say that one must be spiritually-minded or dogmatically devoted to any particular religion in order to appreciate them.

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs (or lack thereof) this is simply breathtaking music that mostly ranges from the extremely pretty (“Bitter Water” and “Lamb Of God”) to the absolutely gorgeous (“Crest, Then Broken” and “Caught A Wave”).

[Who is playing that Classical guitar lead in “Crest, Then Broken”? It’s either Egan or Zambetti, but whichever of them it is, it breaks my heart into a Godzillion pieces! And how about that bass line in “Bitter Water”? Whoa! Du-uuu-de - gnarly!]

I’ve had “Living Water” for about a week, and my first time through the disc I thought it was very good, quite nice, but not necessarily “all that”. But by the 7th or 8th time through it, my mind had been shattered and blown away by it.

I like to tell myself that I’m a fairly good writer, and I’m seldom at a loss for words, but this record – all 33 minutes of it (33, that figures!) – I can hardly describe. The five reviewers at Amazon.com have probably said it better than I can. I suggest you read THESE reviews . . . but BUY the album at CD BABY.

Overall, this is extremely mellow – you’re not going to crank this up on the stereo when The League Of Soul Crusaders is coming over to drink beer and knock holes in the walls – but there are a few upbeat tracks. “Kyrie” and “Doxology/Amen” do rock, but not for long. And “Alleluia” sounds just like Dick Dale or The Surfaris trippin' on God, which, in fact, is quite cool (I wouldn’t even mind having an entire album in THAT style, too), but those three tracks - accounting for three minutes and thirty-seven seconds COMBINED - scarcely make a dent in the lushly layered, beautiful mood that the other songs set.

I know most people perceive us Southern California surfer-type dudes to be shiftless and dimwitted, but I’m here to prove those perceptions to be, like, mostly . . . pretty true. ...Nevertheless, these dudes – these musicians from ‘Surfrider Beach’ in Malibu – definitely dove deep and came back to the beach to tell us of the wonders they’ve found below the Spirit’s surface.

What a Christmas gift I gave myself! (Well, hell heck, I’ve been a “good boy” this year . . .  mostly.)

Malibooz Band Benediciti
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_cDymVHZLc

Malibooz Band Summer Wind
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihmqraCx2a0&feature=endscreen&NR=1

Malibooz Band Caught A Wave
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTgXusqo5jM

Related Links:
The ‘Fat City Cigar Lounge’ Review
I’m “Not Shy” Now . . .

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I'M “NOT SHY” NOW . . .

.
[From the STMcC archive: 2006, July 15th]



I’m “NOT SHY” now . . . but I'm still rather attached to my body.

I graduated from high school in 1977, and at the Theatre Arts Department year-end banquet, I received two awards: 'SHYEST' and 'BEST BODY'. That said a lot for my acting ability, didn't it?

You wouldn't expect the guy with the best bod to also be the shyest, would you? Well, take a look through some of my blog bits and you'll see that I'm no longer shy (some might even call me an opinionated, loud-mouthed jerk). And, yes, I did have the best formed male body, but that's because I was also on the varsity wrestling team - pumping iron all the time - and my bodily competition in the Theatre Arts Department was a bunch of prancing, dancing sissies singing ‘Westside Story’ tunes. Not much competition there, ya know?

One Summer after graduation, my friend Eric (yep, again, that same bloke I got lost with one night in the Okefenokee Swamp), and I were hitting all of the Rock 'N' Roll clubs and seldom missed the free noontime Friday concerts at Santa Monica City College. One Friday we caught this dude named Walter Egan playing great Summer beach tunes on that diminutive stage, and I liked his catchy Pop so much that I went right out and bought his just released album, 'NOT SHY’. Within weeks, I heard his song 'Magnet And Steel' on the radio and listened as that July and August it steadily climbed the charts all the way up to #8, making Egan yet another One-Hit Wonder. I felt like I was an "insider."

What's surprising is that the album 'NOT SHY' contains at least half a dozen other cuts that could have just as easily cracked Billboard's Top Ten chart, being (to my ears) much better than the "one hit", ‘Magnet And Steel’, but they got no radio airplay. Who can explain that stuff? But if you want an authentic slice of that late '70s Pop pie, you could do much worse than Egan's second release, 'NOT SHY.' It was recorded in L.A. in '77 and contains 36 minutes of music that includes Fleetwood Mac icon Stevie Nicks singing backup on 5 tracks, and bandmates Lindsey Buckingham and Mick Fleetwood on 2 each, along with Dean Torrance (of Jan & Dean fame) on 1 other.

Let’s look at 'NOT SHY' song-by-song, shall we? . . .

‘SWEET SOUTH BREEZE’ is a real toe-tapper that opens with Egan's twangy guitar. This had Top Ten hit potential.

As I stated in my blog bit titled “Notes From An Unnoteworthy Vacation”, in September of 2008, I put ‘Not Shy’ into the car’s CD player to begin a road trip… and a subsequent tradition. I found that playing ‘Not Shy’ – with it’s first track being “Sweet South Breeze” – was the ideal way to start a trip on the highway.

As I wrote a couple months ago in “Disappointment In Riptide City”:
Over the last few getaways that Nappy and I have taken together, we have developed a new “Trip Tradition”: the first compact disc we spin as we’re just getting "on the road again" is Walter Egan’s ‘Not Shy’ album. The light, joyful, catchy Pop melodies just seem to set the perfect tone for some fun, relaxing days ahead.

Listen to this song [below] and see if you can’t easily imagine yourself hearing it as you look out over the steering wheel through your car’s windshield and as you’re driving down the interstate highway that will take you outta town and into new horizons – [don’t ask me what the images in this video have to do with the song; it’s clear that someone was seriously “Incongrutiating”!]:

Dulce Brisa del Sur (Sweet South Breeze)
Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTYs5XXePNQ

‘MAGNET AND STEEL’ is the big hit. A ballad which includes a very Beach Boys-like guitar break.

"Hey baby, ya wanna camp out on the beach with me tonight and build a bonfire and, uh... Oh?... OK, well maybe next weekend?"

‘FINALLY FIND A GIRLFRIEND’ with Stevie Nicks featured rather prominently in the background had "hit" written all over it. After years of being the loneliest guy with a good body, I finally found a girlfriend. But the minute I began joyfully singing this song... she dumped me! And the search began again. (Don’tcha hate it when that happens?)

walter egan finally fnd a grlfriend
Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxVspoIN6eA

‘THE BLONDE IN THE BLUE T-BIRD’ is another one that shoulda been a hit. Who can hear this one without thinking of the movie 'American Graffiti'?

Walter Egan - Blonde In A Blue T-Bird
Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFlf0Z3GbvM

[That’s gotta be Stevie Nicks driving the T-Bird in this video, am I right?]

‘STAR IN THE DUST’ contains the lyric, "I recall what somebody once told me: 'Only the lucky in love survive'." Here Egan cleverly self-references his debut album which kicked off with the song 'Only The Lucky (In Love Survive)'. So now you know who the "somebody" was who told that to Walter Egan. It was Walter Egan! Ha! I likes it. I likes me some clever stuffs!

‘I WANNIT’ is the weak link on the album. Not offensive but not a stand-out track either.

‘MAKE IT ALONE’ contains some angst-driven guitar playing from our boy which gives the song the edge it requires - really his best guitar work on the album. And, yes, you can make it alone! Just look at me - I've made it alone! But it is kinda lonely to be a lone kinda guy. But you CAN make it... alone... and lonely... very lonely... desperately lonely... oh, so very, very lonely!

OK, that's all I have to say about that because it's starting to depress me.

‘UNLOVED’ - Ah, yes, here's another one about being alone, lonely, unloved. It's about a girl who can't be contacted because she's "unlisted" her phone number. But hey, the singer's gonna make it alone even though he may be a bit lonely... a bit unloved... I mean, really unloved. Oh man, here we go again.

"Hey baby, let's get together and... Huh?... oh, I see. Your hair, huh? OK, well maybe next weekend?"

‘JUST THE WANTING’ - No, this brooding ballad is not about wanting a girl when you're unloved and trying to make it alone… very alone… and lonely! It's about the wanting to attain something in life... something a little BIGGER than a girlfriend... unless, of course, your girlfriend is named Bertha, or something like that. There's a line in this song that says, "I remember when I was seventeen and my life had just begun." That's funny because I was seventeen when I first saw Walter playing on that little college stage, and I too felt that my life was full of pristine promise. Little did I know back then that the best I'd ever do in life was to write semi-appreciated blog bits for a then unimaginable Internet site while trying to.... make it alone... so alone...

‘HOT SUMMER NIGHTS’ - Yeah, I know all about hot Summer nights (today's high here in Phoenix was about 115 degrees and it's still about 100 at 2 AM), but somehow I get the feeling that Egan has a different kind of "hot" in mind. This may be my favorite track. Here's another one with tremendous hit potential that inexplicably never got played over our radios in the summer of '78.
"A-Woo-ooo-ooo-OO-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo, hot summer nights."

Walter Egan - Hot Summer Nights
Link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45-CrpU5y5I

There's nothing fancy on 'Not Shy’, just simple but catchy commercial Pop - Summery and tasty.

Alright, listen, I gotta go now.
No, you can't go with me. And don't let me catch you trying to follow me, either. I'm gonna ‘MAKE IT ALONE’, gosh darn-it, and I can't do that if you're following after me like a lost little puppy dog! "Alone" means alone, and I can make it that way... I CAN.... I just know I can!

Of course, if you're blonde and female... you think maybe I could catch a lift with you in your blue T-Bird? Perhaps we could ‘MAKE IT ALONE’ together?... Oh?... OK, well maybe next weekend?

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

THE REINCARNATING JESUS: WILL IT BE HIS "2nd COMING" OR HIS 34th?

.


The concept of reincarnation in general is plenty disturbing enough to those who subscribe to the modern Christian orthodoxy even before one suggests that Jesus Himself may have reincarnated multiple times on this Earth prior to attaining His “Christhood”.

It’s certainly not my intention to start a holy war over this, but merely to point out – as I did in my 2010 4-part blog installment about reincarnation [see the link at the bottom of this blog bit] – that there are Biblical clues, if not outright evidence, to suggest that Jesus had reincarnated a number of times prior to living the life we’re familiar with found in the New Testament Gospels.

I am not going to delve into the minutiae of this subject in this blog bit, but just touch upon a few of the highlights. Should anyone wish to dig deeper into the details with me in the comment section, I will be happy to discuss this topic further. And I do mean “discuss”, NOT “argue”; this subject is not important enough to me to argue about it with anyone.

As I wrote in my earlier reincarnation series, it’s important that right out of the chute we draw a distinction between the concepts of Reincarnation and Soul Transmigration.

Soul Transmigration posits that a soul might return to Earth sometime after death as a human being, an animal such as a dog, a cat, a (sacred) cow, or even as ostensibly inanimate objects such as rocks or raindrops. Reincarnation, on the other hand, implies the soul's return to Earth is strictly in the human form. There is no compelling evidence to support the former theory, and much to support the latter.

And here I am speaking strictly of reincarnation – I believe that Jesus likely lived multiple different lifetimes on Earth prior to the one we’re familiar with from The Holy Bible. I do not believe that Jesus ever appeared here in anything other than the human form.



The story of Jesus Christ in a nutshell goes like this: Jesus was born to the virgin Mary. As early as the age of twelve it was apparent that He was on a mission from God [see Luke chapter 2]. Jesus lived a completely faultless, sinless life [see Hebrews 4:15 & 1 Peter 2:22] and representing an unblemished sacrificial lamb for the Atonement of all mankind’s sins [see 1 Peter 1:18-19], He allowed the religious and governmental authorities to crucify Him on the Cross. Three days later He rose from the dead and eventually ascended into Heaven, having promised to return at a future time to cast out the devil and rule this world in the Name of God.

I believe all of the above to be true. But I don’t believe that lifetime described above is the first one that Jesus lived on Earth. I am not positively certain, but I am fairly well convinced that He lived an unknown number of prior lifetimes – perhaps as many as 32 – and when He returns, it won’t be the Second Coming of Jesus, but maybe the 34th.

Here’s my own take on it, again in a nutshell: The Soul we know as Jesus (or Yeshua) had been on His Divine mission for a long time and over the course of multiple lifetimes He had dedicated Himself to redeeming mankind from its sins with His perfect Holy Blood. But in order to serve as our Perfect Sacrifice, our "Unblemished Lamb", He first had to learn and grow into a life of Godly Perfection. Despite being committed to this mission to a greater degree than any one of us has ever been committed to anything in our own lives, it took Jesus a number of lifetimes to attain the state of “Christhood”.

The Old Testament contained plenty of references to a coming Redeemer or Messiah. The Jews knew Someone was coming to save them but fortunately, when He arrived on the scene, few of them recognized Jesus as being that Messiah promised to them.

Galatians 4:4-5 tells us that “when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that he might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”

My position is that there was nothing arbitrary about “when the fulness of time came” – the reason it was then “the fulness of time” is because Jesus had now learned to live a perfectly obedient, Godly life; He couldn’t have come to save mankind any earlier because He wasn’t yet able to live a completely sinless life and therefore able to offer Himself up as our sacrificial Lamb without blemish.



I first encountered the concept of a reincarnating Jesus through the psychic “readings” of Edgar Cayce. According to Cayce, previous lifetimes of Jesus that are recorded in the Bible include Adam, Enoch, Melchizedek, Joseph, Joshua, and Asaph.

At one time I was extremely knowledgeable in the Cayce readings, but I eventually came to dismiss most of the information that came through him unless it came in the course of a “Health” or healing reading for someone.

That many of Cayce’s Health readings proved to be efficacious and supernatural in origin can not be reasonably disputed. Sadly, however, I believe Cayce eventually fell in with a number of people he ought not to have been associating with – people who did not really share his great spiritual sense and concern for the ill – and as a result, his gift from God was often misused, and was sometimes even manipulated by God’s great enemy the devil.

So, although I first encountered the idea that Jesus may have lived a number of previous lifetimes via the Cayce readings, my conclusion that this is so is not in the least bit based on the Cayce material. I believe this concept solely due to my own intensive Bible study over the course of close to two decades. The verses I am going to illustrate below - which I believe cannot be understood at all unless we consider them to be references to prior incarnations of Jesus – were all revealed to me in the course of my Bible studies. I believe that it was the Holy Spirit of God that opened my eyes to them.

I make no claim that these things are absolute facts (although I presently believe them to be) and I make no claim to having special insight into spiritual matters and The Holy Bible. I am merely showing you what I believe God’s Holy Spirit has shown me. Alright, let’s get on it!



These are only some highlights, the more obvious references to Jesus reincarnating on this Earth. There is more, but this will do. And, unless otherwise indicated, the translation I am using for this blog bit is the New American Standard version, only because many Biblical “scholars” (such as John MacArthur) consider this translation to be the most precise or literal of all those drawn from the ancient Greek New Testament manuscripts.

Personally, I am convinced that the most authentic translation of the New Testament (and perhaps the Old Testament as well) into English is found in George M. Lamsa’s ‘HOLY BIBLE From The Ancient Eastern Text’, translated from the ancient Aramaic manuscripts. But since it is largely mainstream Christians who will find these reincarnation verses so challenging, it makes sense for me to utilize a translation that many mainstream Christians consider to be exacting in their adherence to modern scholarship based upon the Greek writings.

Both Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 1:5 describe Jesus as being “the first-born of the dead”. In this case, as it sometimes is in The Bible, the word “dead” is implying not a physical death but a sense of spiritual death, brought about by a perceived separation from God. This must be so, because Jesus was not the first-born from the dead physically, since He Himself raised individuals from physical death, and at the moment that Jesus Himself died, according to Matthew 27, numerous dead saints rose from their graves and returned to life among the living.

If then Jesus is “the first-born from the dead” it means that He was the first person who returned to a sense of Oneness with God after having previously perceived Himself to be “spiritually dead”. I contend that He achieved this spiritual state of Oneness with God over the course of several lifetimes of successes and failures and a progression toward the Perfect Life.

Let’s look at some passages from The Holy Bible that seem to indicate that Jesus had physically lived and died on Earth in prior incarnations:

PSALM 16:10

The writer of the Sixteenth Psalm is rejoicing in a loving, protective and trustworthy God. In the 10th verse, he writes: “For Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Sheol; Neither wilt Thou allow Thy Holy One to undergo decay.”

Thy Holy One is a reference to the promised Messiah to come, and the reference to Him not undergoing decay is an allusion to the fact that the Messiah’s dead body would not decay in His tomb. It implies that the dead Messiah will rise from His physical death. Remember that, you’ll need it later.

Now let’s look at . . .

ACTS 13:33-39 . . .

33 …that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’

34 As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no more to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’

35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.’

36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay;

37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.

38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,

39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses

Now, did you catch that line “no more to return to decay” in the 34th verse? What could that mean, “no more to return to decay”? Doesn’t that imply that the person in question, Jesus, had PREVIOUSLY experienced decay of the flesh after death?

And yet the psalmist, and the writer of Acts, and all the writers of the four Gospels all tell us that the body of Jesus did not undergo decay for He rose from the grave three days after his death on the cross.

So, what could that line “no more to return to decay” possibly mean if it’s not an allusion to one or more previous lifetimes lived in the flesh by the Soul we know as Jesus - lives in which He died, was buried, and His body decayed according to the natural order of things.



HEBREWS 5:5-12 . . .

5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “YOU ARE MY SON, TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU”;

6 just as He says also in another passage, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.”

7 In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.

8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.

9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,

10 being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

OK, there are actually a couple of allusions to prior incarnations of Jesus in these verses. First, we know from the Bible that from the moment of His birth through the moment of His death, Jesus was totally, unequivocally devoted to the Will of God; at no point did He ever say or do anything that was not in absolute alignment with the Mind of God. Had He transgressed God’s Will at any time, even in the least little thing, Jesus would not have been utterly sinless, completely flawless, and therefore He would not have been qualified to offer Himself up as an “Unblemished Lamb”, that sacrificial atonement for mankind’s sins [1 Peter 1:19]. One minor slip-up and the mission of Jesus would have crashed and burned.

Bearing that in mind, what then are verses 8 and 9 referring to? “Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation…”

Wait a second! Jesus was ALWAYS, from the moment of His birth, obedient to God. He did not “learn” obedience “from the things which He suffered”! Heck, it would be more accurate to reverse that and say that Jesus suffered from His obedience, after all, it was His obedience to God’s Will that sent Him to the crucifixion which He suffered.

I see no other way of interpreting verse 8 than to say that it is alluding to one or more prior incarnations in which Jesus learned through mistakes and corrections or discipline how to be obedient to God. [When he transgressed, He suffered, and over time, through those transgressions and negative repercussions, Jesus learned full, loving, Godly obedience.]

[“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him; for those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.”
~ Hebrews 12:5-6]

And verse 9 only seems to confirm that interpretation: “having been made perfect” meaning that having attained the state of perfection through His lifetimes of trial and error, He eventually became the source of eternal Salvation for all of us.

Incidentally, the George Lamsa Bible translation into English from the Aramaic (rather than from the Greek), the Bible I think contains the most accurate rendering of New Testament manuscripts, states the 9th verse like this: “And He grew to be perfect and became the Author of life everlasting to all who obey Him.” That’s an even more compelling wording indicative of the idea that Jesus was the firstborn of the dead, that going from a perceived spiritual death to true Life in the knowledge of Oneness with God, was a learning process for Jesus – a process that took multiple lifetimes to master.

The secondary evidence in Hebrews 5:5-11 that Jesus had been on the Earth prior to His appearance as the Messianic Savior is the material pertaining to the priest Melchizedek. The Bible tells us that Melchizedek was a kind of special spiritual entity – he was not born of woman, but just sort of materialized here; nor did he ever physically die but apparently just dematerialized at some point. The priest Melchizedek was on the Earth during the lifetime of Abraham, the patriarch of the Jews, and Abraham tithed to Melchizedek [Hebrews 7].

Well, the conundrum presented in those verses is this: How can Jesus be a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek – and not just a priest in the order but THE HIGH PRIEST OF THE ORDER – if Melchizedek never died and still lives in the spiritual realm? How can Jesus forever be the high priest of a priestly order when the father or originator of that order is still alive?

I believe the answer to that little puzzle is this: Jesus and Melchizedek are one and the same soul! And notice how Saint Paul, the author of the book of Hebrews, says of Melchizedek in verse 11, “Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.” It’s as if Saint Paul knows that the people he was addressing were not prepared to learn the WHOLE STORY – that Jesus IS Melchizedek, that Jesus had been here on this planet before. In the 12th verse he tells them that they still don’t even grasp the elementary principles at work here, that they are still partaking of milk when they ought to be ready for solid food.

Of all the Biblical characters that Edgar Cayce said were prior incarnations of The Master Soul, Jesus, the one I am most convinced about is Melchizedek, because it seems to be fairly obvious to me from passages about that ancient priest found in the books of Genesis and Hebrews.

By the way, a little Post-It note  here:

As stated above, other Biblical characters that Edgar Cayce claimed to be prior incarnations of Jesus were Joseph and Joshua. There are a few passages in the book of Exodus that I find super-intriguing, particularly if we consider the possibility that Cayce was correct.

For example, in Exodus 13:19 we are told that Moses instructed the Israelites to carry the bones of Joseph with them into “the Promised Land”. So, isn’t it curious that just as Jesus Christ preceded us and leads us into the spiritual Promised Land, so the bones of Joseph (a prior incarnation of Jesus?) accompanied the Chosen People into the physical Promised Land?

We always think of Moses being alone on Mount Sinai when he received the Ten Commandments from God, but according to Exodus 24:13-14 and Exodus 32:17-18, Joshua was right alongside Moses on Mount Sinai. And wouldn’t that make perfect sense if in fact Joshua was also a prior incarnation of the Soul of our Savior?

And this last verse I find extraordinarily compelling: In Exodus 33:11 we find both Moses and Joshua meeting with God in the tabernacle tent, but it says that when Moses exited the tent, Joshua remained within it.

That’s interesting when we remember that Moses was eventually deemed unworthy to lead the Israelites into the physical Promised Land, and it was Joshua who took over the leadership and brought the people into the Land of Milk And Honey. Doesn’t it make sense that the Savior Soul, Jesus, would be the One who would bring God’s children into BOTH forms of the Promised Land – the physical, and later, the spiritual?

Yes, I do strongly suspect that the individual we know as Jesus was also Melchizedek, Joseph and Joshua.



The last verse I will present here pertaining to this subject is a quote that is universally regarded by the Christian churches to have come from Jesus Christ Himself, spoken to Saint John in a vision and recorded in The Bible’s last book, Revelation. In the spirit of full disclosure I want to make it understood that this verse is one that reads very differently in the New American Standard Bible and the King James Version than it does in Lamsa’s translation from the ancient Aramaic.

My interpretation below does not hold up except when considering the wording from the Lamsa translation, so if you are of a mind to dismiss that translation as faulty and not authentic enough for consideration, then you will be equally of a mind to disregard this last bit of evidence I am presenting here, but here goes anyway . . .

REVELATION 2:25-27

In the New American Standard Bible those verses read like this:

25 Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.

26 He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS;

27 AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father

But in George Lamsa’s translation from the ancient Aramaic – the very language that Jesus Himself spoke – those same verses read like this:

25 But hold fast to that which you already have till I come.

26 And he who overcomes and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;

27 And he shall shepherd them with a rod of iron; like the vessels of the potter, they shall be shattered, even as I was disciplined by My Father.

The obvious question here being: When was Jesus disciplined by God? Nowhere in the New Testament do we find Jesus being anything but totally obedient to God’s Will, at no point could He have gotten off the track and still been the unblemished Sacrifice for mankind. Not once was it ever necessary for God to “discipline” the Messiah Jesus who remained constantly faithful to God’s nature and wishes.

Therefore, if the Lamsa translation is more accurate than the New American Standard version, and if Jesus was ever “disciplined” by God His Father, then that discipline MUST have occurred in a prior earthly incarnation because it sure didn’t occur in Jesus' New Testament lifetime.

Now some folks might ask, “If it’s true that Jesus lived one or more prior earthly lifetimes in the flesh, why does The Bible not state that plainly?”

My answer to that is, “For the same reason that there are many allusions to reincarnation in general that can be found in The Bible and yet it is not articulated blatantly.” And why is it not?

Well, you will find that here --->  REINCARNATION & THE HOLY BIBLE [Part 1 Of 4]

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

“THE FIREFLY” IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST

.
Why is this blog called STUFFS ?

Anyone?

You there – in the vest, is it?  Why do you suppose this blog is called STUFFS?

No idea, eh?

Well, class, you’d better hope that I grade according to “the curve” method.

This blog is called STUFFS because most of the time I try to keep things fun and lighthearted here. There are exceptions to that rule o’ thumb, as there are exceptions to most rules, but that’s the general idea. I have another blog for darker, more serious issues, but that blog is by invitation only... and not all y’all are invited there.

However, periodically I have to dig deeper, address more serious issues, even here at STUFFS. Sometimes I even need to dive into the belly of the beast. This is one of those times. Nevertheless, I shall try to gild the Black Mariah. I will also try to keep this blog bit from expanding beyond short dog volume.

Lost already, aren’t ya? I could tell by the blank look on your faces.

Hokey-Smoke! Why do I always get these remedial students assigned to me?!

Black Mariah – a 19th Century hearse.

Short Dog – a cheap, 375 ml. bottle of (usually about) 19% alcohol wine preferred by Skid Row drunks. It goes by various names such as Night Train and Thunderbird, but is always identifiable by the words “serve very cold” printed somewhere on the label.

OK, class, are we all up to speed now?

Unless you’re a total newbie to this very popular blog [Cough!-Cough!], you already know that I am of the opinion that the relatively unknown first and only album by David & David, "Boomtown" - released in 1986 - is one of the great Rock music masterpieces of all time.

I bought it the year it was released and it caught me at a moment in time when I was utterly in sync with its themes and its characters. I was living in Los Angeles (the sometimes stated and sometimes merely implied setting for the majority of the songs on “Boomtown”) and I was at a real poor point in my life: my spiritual sense was at low ebb, I felt alone (kinda like I do now), and I was wallowing in darkness and an anger that I was even too apathetic to express.

One of the things I so love about the “Boomtown” album is that it is like no other. With most musical artists or groups, I can say he or they “sound sort of like a cross between so-and-so and such-and-such”. But David & David had such a unique sound and such original musical arrangements that I have never even been able to come up with any comparison that really works in describing them.

The best I can do is say that they painted musical urban landscapes peopled by mostly down-and-out characters – some of which still retained a slight burning ember of hope for something better. “Boomtown” contains themes like those found on the Eagles’ album “Hotel California”, but it’s more ragged ‘n’ real. Or like the themes found on the albums “Los Angeles” and “Under The Big Black Sun” by the punk band X, but with songs that are far more complex, interesting and . . . musical! “Boomtown” contains early Springsteenian-type characters, but they’re living on the West Coast and they’re much more believable.

My favorite song on “Boomtown” is probably “All Alone In The Big City” (sure wish someone would post it at YouTube).

But another big favorite is “A Rock For The Forgotten”, and that is a song I strongly identified with in 1986. I might as well have been “the cleanup kid” at the Firefly bar who came to L.A. to write but who never made it out of the fringes. Only difference being that I didn’t need to come to L.A. because I was born there:

At the Firefly we all tell lies
And the cleanup kid hangs his head
He's the quiet type, came to L.A. to write
But he never made it out of the fringes
Keeps a low profile, you kick him he'll smile
Thinks blood is his payment for losing
~ 'A Rock For The Forgotten'
by David & David

As I’ve stated on STUFFS previously, back in the mid to late ‘80s when I was listening to David & David’s “Boomtown” so often, I would sometimes drive late at night after work to The Embassy Hotel at 9th and Grand in downtown L.A. – a very seedy, dark ‘n’ dangerous area after the sun goes down – and I would have a couple drinks at The Embassy’s bar.

I don’t know why I would drive all the way to downtown L.A. late at night when there were godzillion bars closer to where I worked. With hindsight, and trying to squeeze myself into that dark psychological tunnel I occupied at the time, I think perhaps I was just BEGGING for something to happen to me. Kinda like the movie “Death Wish”, only I wasn’t armed and I was subconsciously hoping to be the victim, not the killer.

Back then, I always thought of The Embassy Hotel bar as my own personal version of The Firefly bar from the David & David song “A Rock For The Forgotten”.

In my last blog bit – “Motel, Money, Murder, Madness” – concerning my recent 3-day weekend trip to L.A., I wrote the following:

Before driving into Culver City and checking into my motel room, I drove into the belly of the beast: Downtown L.A. I had planned to have a drink at The Embassy Hotel on 9th and Grand like I used to do during my dark nights in ‘86 . . . but that is a story for another blog bit to be posted here soon.

Well, “soon” has become “NOW”.

Long story sad . . . The Embassy Hotel is closed, Closed, CLOSED! Below are photos of what it looked like just some weeks ago:











[Sorry, Stephen, but we don't serve your kind here anymore. Don't take it personally, because we don't serve any kind here anymore.]

I guess it was my drinking there in the late ‘80s that kept The Embassy in business, and when my mental sky cleared up sufficiently that I stopped driving there after work for my nightly medicinals, the place just couldn’t stay in the black. Too bad.

Just before leaving on my trip, I got to seriously wondering if there really had been a bar in the Los Angeles area called The Firefly. In other words, were David & David referring to A REAL PLACE?

So I began some Google searches and discovered a wildly, fascinatingly warped website called “L.A. Bizarro” which answered my question.

Hell yes! Of course there was a bar in L.A. called the Firefly. And where do you suppose it was?

Anyone?

You there – in the vest, is it?  Where do you suppose it was?

No idea, eh?

Well, class, you’d better PRAY that I grade according to “the curve” method.

Naturally, it was in the grungy heart of Hollywood! (The only other place a bar like that could have been was in the belly of the beast itself – downtown L.A.)

Now I spent half a lifetime on the streets of Hollywood and I had no recollection of a bar called the Firefly. But according to the folks at L.A. Bizarro, it was located on Vine Street, just south of Hollywood Blvd. In other words, it was somewhere right down THIS street:



They say the bar closed sometime in the late 1980s. I was never in the Firefly (Damn! If only I had known!...), but the moment I saw the black and white photograph of the Firefly’s neon sign on the L.A. Bizarro website, I thought: Wait! Hokey-Smoke and Hoo-Wee! I vaguely recall that sign!

In that same block where The Firefly stood there used to be a small, classy Jazz club called 'The Vine Street Bar And Grill', and in the late ‘80s or very early ‘90s, I won tickets from the great L.A. Jazz and Blues radio station (then called KLON) at 88.1 FM to see Anita O'Day perform there.

To now learn that David & David’s Firefly bar was not more than 10 or so minutes from Antonio’s (my favorite Los Angeles restaurant), and that I could have driven to it any night of the week, really bums me out! Hell, it’s enough to make a guy roam the downtown L.A. streets at night . . . hoping for the worst.

CHECK  THESE  OUT! . . .

David & David ~ A Rock for the Forgotten



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JHqyZkhq8U

The L.A. BIZARRO Website’s Story About “The Firefly” Bar:
http://labizarro.com/2010/08/23/firefly/

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
.