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The real question you have to ask yourself is, what if she does go away?
What if she was never there?
A figment of your imagination?

I think I dreamed about you on a winter morning
A hundred years ago, when I was younger,
Of a girl who was dreaming of me simultaneously.

I think I heard your voice whisper to me in the dark much later on,
When I was alone and desolate in that far-off cell.

I think many nights you wiped my tears away
When I begged for relief from myriad wounds.

I know you were always the other half of me.

It’s nice to finally meet you.

Please don’t go away.

Some kind of dystopic stuff is afoot from Tom Wheeler and the FCC. I mean hilariously awful. A lot of people are writing Tom.Wheeler@fcc.gov and openinternet@fcc.gov to let their feelings be known. I figured I’d tap something together and hopefully make a new buddy while I’m at it! Neat huh?

Mr. Wheeler:

You must be an intelligent, thoughtful man. You were certainly smart enough to leverage your relationship with companies like Comcast and Verizon into getting the Chairman’s seat at the Federal Communications Commission. Bravo sir. I too aspired to civil service. Good gigs, usually.

Now the agency for which you work is chartered to “regulate…interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.” says so on fcc.gov. That’s your mandate.

Your proposition for “net neutrality” does not follow that mandate. Not even a little.

It will allow a cadre of massive companies–like Comcast and Verizon–to do the regulating for you by essentially selling their services–high-speed internet access–to the highest bidder. Only those that will be able to pay their outrageous levies will be able to get their content to end-users.

And this will be the most beige dreck there is. The most inoffensive, mediocre pap that companies like Disney and Fox can shovel out there in the name of capitalism.

But wait! There’s more!

Because we at the other end of the wire are also paying outrageous levies to use these services, you are allowing these massive companies to essentially “double-dip” for the same lousy service.

So we’re paying, they’re paying too. My, but they must all *love* you now, your former clients. You’re going to make them obscenely rich–richer than they already are, which is perhaps the greatest obscenity of all.

That might actually be your goal here. It sure looks like it.

And by the way, *none* of these companies are investing in infrastructure improvements, or in increasing broadband speed and reliability. Not at all. There are actual third-world countries with faster throughput than we have in the United States, and are getting it for less money.

Tom, that’s just embarrassing. I can call you Tom, right? You’ve read this far after all, we’re almost buddies now!

Anyway, these companies are essentially a cartel, cornering a market and using their money and influence–influence you helped them get–to stifle innovation. If a town wants to set up a public broadband utility, for example, these companies buy the votes and the lawyers necessary to squelch that so they can continue to offer their crappy overpriced service.

You’d know that of course, That was your old gig. Helping your pals at Comcast and Verizon (and AT&T,etc.) keep making their money while offering nothing in return but their monopoly.

If your intention was to con your way into this public office for the purpose of making companies like Verizon and Comcast disgustingly rich at the expense of the American people, then you’re doing a fabulous job by the way. Kudos.

I’m not saying it *was* your intention, but it sure *looks* that way from here Tom.

Real Net Neutrality means that these companies get regulated like electric and gas and water utilities–actual public utilities working in the actual public interest. Because only in that way can “an appropriate competitive framework for the unfolding of the communications revolution” (from your site again!) actually exist.

That is your mandate Tom. Says so on the website.

Here’s the thing Tom. You know you’ve stepped in some poo, right? This is just uncool. But you can do the right thing here. You can actually defend Net Neutrality and let real innovation and real competition happen.

Because if you let your old pals have their way Tom, then you are *not* actually working in the public interest. You will be working *against* the wishes and needs of your real bosses, the American people, in favor of money-grubbing corporations who are anti-freedom, anti-creativity, anti-competition and, thus, anti-American.

You will have violated your agency’s charter. You will be removed from your job sir. We will petition, and protest, and do all that is necessary to have you removed from that comfy chair.

But you, me, we’re all cool people right? It doesn’t have to get ugly does it?

You’ve got the opportunity to be kind of a hero here. You have the opportunity to let the future actually happen. Support real, actual Net Neutrality. Be brave.

 

Thanks Tom.

I am an atheist.

This is not some bold declaration, this is a statement of fact.

But what does that mean? “I am an atheist.”

Well the first three words are pretty obvious aren’t they? “I” is what we called in school the “first-person singular.” a shorthand way for this current agglomeration of atoms to refer to itself.

“I am.” “Am” is a verb used by the first-person singular for “be,” according to the dictionary. “Be” refers to “a permanent or temporary quality, state, job, etc.” (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/be_1).

Okay. what am I getting at here? Besides the fact that this keyboard is not conducive to typing.

I, John Grow, born in 1968 and currently returning to type this sentence after admiring the ass of a passing woman in a pair of lovely boots, do not believe in the god of the Abrahamic religions. This to me is a “no-brainer.”

The god of the bible (whatever that entity is–even the books that make up the bible are inconsistent on that score) is a work of fiction. Whether it was earnestly generated from the worldview of the writers of the various books or whether it was cynically constructed by those same men for population control and tribal identity, it is a work of fiction.

You, whomever you are, if you are “a believer,” you hold in your head a certain construct that you call “god.” Or “Jesus.” Or “Allah.” Or even “Buddha,” if you really didn’t pay attention to what buddhism is about.

This mental construct is what you refer to when you speak of god or Jesus or the others. I don’t know if I need to spell this out further to you, but if you really were paying attention to what and how you learned, it should have been plain that your version of Jesus, let’s say, and someone else’s, are as different as the minds that hold them. Even if you both had the same classes in school, your conclusions are affected by your history and environment to that point, and the perceptions which have evolved from that.

tl;dr: Your Jesus is *your* Jesus, not someone else’s. You merely agree for the sake of argument you’re talking about the same thing.

There is a term called “consensual reality” that I first read in my Zen days. Basically, reality is what we agree it is among ourselves overtly or tacitly, hence “consensual.”

So when you all talk about your god or your Jesus or your allah, you need to consider whether you speak of your own concept or the one you tacitly agreed to by joining whatever fan club you belong to.

This is one of the things that go into what I mean when I call myself “atheist.” In my worldview, this also means I don’t believe in a heaven or a hell or a soul, though I have experienced both heaven and hell in my own life. I also use all three terms–”heaven,” “hell,” and “soul,” as shorthand for bigger, harder-to-wield concepts.

I used to do the same thing with “god.” The concept I proxy with that word is closer to Einstein’s or Spinoza’s concepts than to the Abrahamic one.

In the end, they are still mental constructs. Everything is, and nothing is (hello Meher Baba).

We exist in a matrix of constructs of our own creation. Somebody else made the Valentines Day cards in the rack in front of me, as well as the wire rack itself, the paper and the ink, the paint, the steel in the wire. But the concepts behind them are just things some group of somebodys came up with at various points in linear time.

The wan loneliness I feel at not having a sweetie to give one of those cards to is also a construct. One of ego and longing and the soupy mess those have made in my life since at least puberty.

Truth is as slippery and illusory as any other mental construct. I’d go so far as to state that truth-seeking is nothing more than a search for validation of the concepts one already holds.

This is especially true if you’re not honest about the most central and basic illusion of them all: Yourself.

The scene opens with OUR HERO sitting in a room with a bed.
It’s well-lit, though he is always partly in shadow. It’s his thing…

OUR HERO:
If I distilled my life down to its essence, it would be…

(a tear wells in his voice. Again, his thing…)

confusion. And suffusion.

And loss.

I am not as smart, really, as I wish I were. Because if I really were,
I would have found a way to be with you, and to have lived a different life
than this.

One with marriage, and children. And health. And real love.
Not one where days are merely counted and observed. Alone.
Inevitably alone, increasingly befuddled by other people.

But perhaps this is the only way this story could ever go.
The only arc this character can travel.

[FADE TO...]

Maybe your days wend and wind like this. Maybe not.
Depends on how much you have going on, right?
Trade the rock’n’roll lifestyle for something less dramatic, see what happens.
And my hands are weak.

I’ve got nothing more to say,
I just float from day to day
And my hands are weak.

Sun cuts a path ‘cross the sky
Dark to light and light to dark and I
Just go through the motions.

I walk from work to my car
The same way every day
and cross over my own footsteps.

Threadbare shirts and worn out shoes,
Another day of cold finger blues.
And my hands are weak.

Sun cuts a path ‘cross the sky
Dark to light and light to dark and I
Just go through the motions.

I’ve got nothing more to say,
I just float from day to day
And my hands are weak.

Threadbare shirts and worn out shoes,
Another day of cold finger blues.
And my hands are weak.

This is an oldie. I don’t quite remember how old. I think my parents were still married. So a while ago. Well over 25 years ago maybe. I think maybe I’d read the Jefferson Bible and tried to clue in on what Thomas Jefferson was going after. He was born a half-century too early.

I found this paper on the floor, well away from the small pile in the nearby bookshelf. Old lined notepaper. I had this out for a reason. Probably to post it right here. Dunno.

The sentiments are pleasant, earnest, if naive. The boy had no idea what road he was on. Here you go. XOXO.

Humans themselves are not perfect.
Expectations are far too high.
They hunger and starve for divinity,
A light to show them the way.

There once was a time
When I needed you
More than I needed breath.
When your words to me
Were a soliloquy
Of compassion, grace and humility.

I worshiped you as a god.
One day was yours without question.
Benevolent father at my shoulder,
You were first and last in my mind.

But now I see the facade,
The smoke, mirrors and trickery
A swindle performed on humanity
In the guise of the holy trinity.

Jesus, you had no clue
Of the sins they committed for you,
Between black-velvet benevolence
And white-supremacist belligerence.

Jesus, you had no say
In the church they made in your name.
Icons of words and colors
And tortures beyond comprehension.

You preached tolerance and love,
They made it prejudice and guilt.
Separate the myth from the man,
One day you’ll understand.

If I had the balls, could I really end it all? If so, this would be the last note.

(Oh don’t worry. I’m too chicken, and it’s not time yet.
Besides, sez he, I love you too much.)

 

Bumble and stumble from passion to passion–
This is the wend of your life, you’d see–
if you had the guts to turn around
and look at what you wrought.

Aimless quest to get through the day–
Inchoate pleasure to cool disdain–
Whatever kept you whole
and got you yours, whatever you wanted.

Love’s lamented refrain
Another thinly veiled stab
At self-satisfaction,
No matter what you said or say.
Her eyes once alight with you
Now just more broken bottles
In a foreclosed room.

You dragged her down with crocodile tears,
Held yourself back with artificial fears.

What does it matter?
You knew it would come
To this room,
To this wall,
To your hunkered shadow
Swimming in self pity.

This is where it will end.
You will be old and alone
And unregarded.
Mother’s desperate wishes,
Father’s Family yearnings,
Naught and naught, naughty one.

Your blind and mute improvised solo
Flat and minor and over not soon enough.

Two o’clock. Can’t sleep. Labyrinthine thoughts once and again don’t you know? The breeze from the overhead fan reminds me of something. Now.

Scurry
Hurry
Disconcertedly
To this from that,
Into here yet there too.

Losing, lost,
Winding, wending
Into such inner intricacies!
Such eternal internal
Interstitials!

Words wind and wend,
World without end,
And yet
You forget
The
Insistent
Persistent wind
Past your ear,
Against your cheek.

Now passes to then
While you lose yourself
Lost.

Meantime,
The sun’s been out
All this time.
Wind whispers past your ear
Insistent
Persistent
Begging
Cajoling
Reminding you
There’s more outside
Than inside.

Used to be, one would run across these sorts of lists on Facebook all the time. Not so much lately. Ah well,… I grabbed this one and started filling it in. I think I’ll find something constructive to do.

I love you. I wish you knew. I wish you felt the same. I wish I mattered. Maybe not.

1. Last hug: My mom, I think.

2. Last phone call: A message @ work

3. Last text message: What?

4. Last song you heard: “Gimme Some Lovin’” by the Spencer Davis Group

5. Last time you cried: After we buried Grandma.

 

HAVE YOU EVER:

6. Dated someone twice: Of course.

7. Been cheated on: Too often.

8. Kissed someone & regretted it: Yes.

9. Lost someone special: Yes.

10. Been depressed: Of course.

11. Pulled all-nighter: Heh…

 

LIST THREE FAVORITE COLORS:

12. Blue

13: Red

14: Grey

 

THIS YEAR HAVE YOU:

15. Made a new friend: Dunno.

16. Fallen out of love: I haven’t been *in* love this year.

17. Laughed until you cried: No

18. Met someone who changed you: This year? Not yet.

19. Found out who your true friends were: Hmmm…

20. Found out someone was talking about you: Oh sure.

21. Kissed anyone on your friend’s list: NO dammit…

 

YOUR LIFE.

22.How many people on your friends list do you know in real life: Most of them

23. How many kids do you want: That’d be a neat trick. Lemme tell you why…

24. Do you have any pets: No.

25. Do you want to change your name: Why?

26. What did you do for your last Birthday: Took a long drive.

27. What time did you wake up today: 4:00 AM. Not on purpose.

28. What were you doing at midnight last night: Sleeping.

29. Name something you cannot wait for: Love?

30. Last time you saw your mother: Just a few mins ago.

31. What is one thing you wish you could change about your life: The scars.

32. What are you listening to right now: Pandora

33. Have you ever talked to a person named Tom: Sure.

34. Who’s getting on your nerves right now: Me. I am my own worst enemy.

35. Most visited webpage: gmail

36. Whats your real name: John Gilman Grow II, or jr. Whatever.

37. Nicknames: Go fuck yourself.

38. Relationship Status: See 37, above.

40. Male or female: Male.

44. Write w/e you want here: Surprise motherfucker!

45. Long or short: Shaved.

46. Height: 5’10”

47. Do you have a crush on someone: YES. Dammit.

48. What do you like about yourself: RIght now? Not much. Try me later.

49. Piercings: See 37, above.

50. Tattoos: See 37, above.

51. Righty or lefty: Lefty. Of course.

 

FIRSTS:

53. First piercing: N/A

54. First best friend: Andy Beckmeyer, when I was five. That and the bear.

55.First sport you joined: See 37, above.

56. First vacation: That I remember? Yuma, when I lived in Wichita

 

RIGHT NOW:

59. Eating: Nothing

60. Drinking: Diet Rite

61. I’m about to: Check out hulu

62. Listening to: Barbara Ann, The Who (Pandora)

63. Waiting for: Godot.

 

YOUR FUTURE:

64. Want kids: I’d have to get nookie again, so reply hazy as fuck.

65. Get married: Sure. Maybe I can get it right.

66. Career: Technically I am on my third, I guess. Maybe fourth. No, fifth.

 

WHICH IS BETTER:

67. Lips or eyes: Both.

68. Hugs or kisses: Kisses. Though hugs are sometimes underrated.

69. Shorter or taller: Shorter. But this is negotiable.

70. Older or Younger: Hmmm.

71. Romantic or spontaneous: Both

73. Sensitive or loud: Sensitive

74. Hook-up or relationship: Either would be nice for their own reasons.

 

HAVE YOU EVER:

76. Kissed a stranger: HELL YES.

77. Stole something for someone: Not on purpose.

78. Lost glasses/contacts: No

79. hurt yourself: Often

80. Broken someone’s heart: Yes.

82. Been arrested: Ummm,…

83. Turned someone down: Yes.

84. Cried when someone died: Like a baby.

85. fallen for a friend: Yes.

 

DO YOU BELIEVE IN:

86. Yourself: Sure.

87. Miracles: Not so much.

88. Love at first sight: Yes.

89. Heaven: No.

90. Santa Clause: NO!

91. Kiss on the first date: HELL YES.

92. Angels: No.

 

ANSWER TRUTHFULLY:

94. Had more than 1 girlfriend at a time: . Tots

95. Did you sing today: ‘At Last” by Etta James. You had to be there.

96. First person in your contacts: Whatever starts with A

97. If you could go back in time, how far would you go? Back? Why not forward?

98. The moment you would choose: To see Siddhartha under the tree.

99. Are you afraid of falling in love: Afraid of being hurt again. And hurting again.

Later that very same night, our hero had a seance to contact his dear-departed muse…

 

You are correct sir,
Non-sequitur,
Another train another chain
Of thoughts like so many blocks.
Blink-a-tink-a-link
To the brink
Of another brick wall
Or again a road to nowhere.
Blink-a-link-a-clickety-trick,
The air in here is getting thick
With tangents sign and co-sign
Our names across the sky!
Oh why do I try to fly
When I’m too fat I just fall flat
I was never very good singing scat.
And nevermore will I trod the floor
To knock knock on my muse’s door
And wonder if she will enlighten me
As I type a’tick-a-clickety-snick
And roam at home
Write a pome
While I wait for the brain to reign again.

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