A Sampler of Random Journal Entries From the Avalanche of Years

This ridiculous little journal, a small impression in the record, only observable / noticeable by the keenest of paleo-literary eyes.

Marie Ceccanese asked me the other night, very pointedly, with great love, if I wanted to be a writer. And, if not, then acknowledge that simple fact and get on with life. “You, Tom,” she said with that deep conviction only Marie can convincingly muster and serve up for the taking, can have anything you so desire. Just put your mind to it! Later on, as I was saying adios, she felt bad, like she was getting on my case. “Naw,” I told her, “I need a good kick in the bunda!” Voulez-vous ecrivez? Puis, ecrivez!

I’m waiting, I’m waiting, but not like a tree or a mountain waits. I’m waiting for something, anything, to happen; whereas with a tree or a mountain – the waiting is the happening. I must wait without worry or anxiety, wait without expectation; be content with the intuitive knowledge of forbearance: what’s righteously mine will arrive in due course.

Mary’s quick, witty eye caught this priceless gem on the side of a Saranwrap box – somehow, a perverse, hidden message in life to remain banal and conformist: “Caution: cutting edge is sharp. Avoid contact.”

Baby, on this sunny day in February, I want it known to the world that I love you, I’ll never take your love for granted ever, I’ll seek in you erotic pleasures and soulmate pleasantries – of love, friendship, health and happiness together – forever! Why don’t we just do it? (Get married!)

I think sometimes if you could ever see my sublimated shadow, it would appear as Munck’s “Angst figure” – other times, as the fugacious spirit of a free bird.

I feel on the verge of a creative surge; I feel on the brink of a psychic link; I feel things have got to change; get my goals in a higher range.

When you cease being important in others’ lives is when friendship dissolves. What is the point of being a friend if no effort is made to be that friend – is there a vice versa here?

Health. Happiness. Prosperity. Peace. Morality. Productivity. Creativity. Imagination. Moderation. Fun. Excitement. (Work does not fit into this equation.)

(FROM: 1994: Journal To The Center Of The Heart: A Cardio-Volcanic Explosion Of Hubris & Rubbish)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Politically Polarizing Prose, Philosophically Pugnacious Pronouncements, and Other Shout-Outs and Show-Downs


The deaths of 39 followers of Heaven’s Gate cult is astonishing, but hardly tragic. Each member went to his or her death with seeming alacrity. It’s difficult to feel sympathy for anyone who could so thoroughly and voluntarily fall under the spell of a nut like Applegate. Cult members they may be, but I hardly consider them victims. Now let’s talk about a real cult with real victims. In this cult, never refered to as such, of course, by society’s definitions, we have extensive brainwashing, scary, control-freak leaders, erasure of perceived negative personality traits, complete submission and total servitude to the group goals and ideology, and, finally, a willingness, a pride, even, to lay down one’s life for the advancement of the group’s goals and objectives. The name of this cult: the US (or any other) military.


The article in the July 7 issue of the Chronicle (“In Central Valley, Defiant Dairies Foul the Water”) comes right on the heels of a July 6 60 Minutes segment reporting on the grossly-polluting hog industry in South Carolina. In both cases, egregious environmental destruction, unimpeachably researched and documented, has resulted from corporate agri-business interests colluding to meet insatiable American appetites for animal-derived food sources. In both cases, neither reporter thought to approach the problem with a tried and true solution: a call for a consumer boycott. Just say no, folks! Each and every one of us has the power, taken collectively, to reverse the trend of environmental destruction caused by the animals-as-business-as-usual axes, and thereby help to restore eco-harmony and good health to our beloved Earth Mother and all her creatures.


In a small piece in last week’s Chronicle we read about the discovery of a tunnel at the base of the Sphinx. This announcement has aroused imaginations everywhere. Where does it lead to? Who constructed it? For what purpose? Centuries of tradition and rumor have long held that a tunnel, passageway or chamber exists beneath the Sphinx. In the 1930s the American clairvoyant and psychic healer Edgar Cayce stunned the world with his own pronouncements. In reading 195-15, Cayce claims “the data [re the building of monuments] may be found in the vaults in the base of the Sphinx.” In reading 953-24, while channeling on the ancient world, he tells us who the Sphinx represents: “counselor to the kings. . . overseeing, supervising, giving counsel, giving strength to the kings.” Specifically, the kings from “legendary” Atlantis, whose existence would be confirmed by documents stored in an underground Hall of Records “in the base of the left forearm, or leg, of the prostrate beast, in the base of the foundation.” Let us hope that Egyptologists and archeo-historians will continue to plumb the depths of this intriguing mystery. The riddle of the Sphinx may not have been answered after all.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Weasel Totem / Mink Magic

M5Many moons have passed since my last WOW moment bonding with an Animal Spirit Guide. So when a gorgeous Mink at the Yuba River recently appeared to me, I looked forward to picking Weasel from the Medicine Card bundle, a deck of 53 Tarot-like cards whose Animal representations impart timeless Indigenous teachings to help heal others, Self, and Mother Earth.

Years ago sister Col presented me with the cards and book (Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals by Jamie Sams & David Carson), allowing me to share many intriguing stories of Animals I’ve seen or encountered in nature, and then once home find that my particular Animal envoy begins to manifest through subtle coincidences and themes, synchronous reminders of the grace and presence – and special messages of power – to heed. But when the Animal Spirit Guide manifests in the pipeline of shared consciousness and spiritual connection, when  – eyes closed and breath drawn!  – without fail I pull the exact Animal Medicine Card I was envisioning! – then you gotta wonder!

M6How / why the phenomenon happens to me (and Mary) is beyond my ken. Perhaps it has something to do with receptive spiritual antennae, intuitive prowess, psychic attunement, past life incarnations and embodiments, karmic associations and entanglements, an ineffable “Oneness” with all Living Beings. Heavens, I wish I knew. Sure, I’ve always been “connected to nature” and “love Animals” but how does that explain repeated instances of picking the right card on so many occasions? Sister Cat has deemed it an extraordinary affinity to Animal Spirits, calling it “shamanic.” I do not know, and make no claims or pretenses, but whatever is happening with the Medicine Bundle is humbling. And a bit eerie to ponder the gift of communication with Animals bestowed mystically to gain understanding, help heal, and learn eternal lessons about myself and what it means to be human. (And so much more.)

Successfully picking the right card on the first try, time and time again, from the array of 53 Medicine Cards cannot be written off as “mere coincidence” or “sheer luck”. But if 1 in 53 chances is a difficult act, how likely is it to pick the right card – Weasel – twice in a row? Is that 1 / 53 x 1 / 53 whatever that might be? Or something much more difficult to pull off?M1

Consider the chance of 1 in 53 that you’ll select the Animal you hope speaks to you through the Medicine Cards. 1 in 53. You could spend all day trying to pick the card of the Animal you spotted at the lake, in the forest, high in the sky, or dreamed of, and never pick it on the first try. But properly attuned, it’s possible to draw your Animal Spirit Guide on the first try! It sounds easier said than done, but oddly, that’s exactly what happens with outré frequency to me and Mary every time we turn to the Medicine Cards for guidance, advice, direction and wisdom on seeing or attuning to a special Animal, usually around our birthdays in July and August.

It was no different this time with the Weasel. While camped at a favorite spot on the Yuba River, enjoying early-morning solitude, I glimpse a Mink slip-sliding down a smooth white rock. It’s my first sighting of the cute furry, brown aquatic mammal in the wild. She’s out on a foraging mission, now returning to her rocky den above the river. In fascination and reverence, I watch the stealth creature expertly navigate a rocky obstacle course on the opposite bank, stopping at one point atop a boulder to look quizzically at me, then scurrying on to the safety of her home. What great timing, to be present at just the right moment, and what an honor and thrill to have established eye contact, however briefly, and however much distrust she exhibited of me, the stinky two-legged.

M4Once home, per tradition, I get out the Medicine Cards to see if Weasel might resonate as my Animal Totem / Spirit Guide. I so want it to, perhaps too eagerly. Normally, Mary and I spread the fan of cards to help channel the energy for the right pick, but this time I self-pick, first one card, no dice, then a second card, nothing. Where’s the magic, I wonder. Before picking one final card – after all, third time’s a charm or three strikes and you’re out – I realize I’m rushing things, so I pause for a moment of deep breath silence while envisioning Ms. Mink at the river, her perfection of existence laser-printed in my mind’s eye as she stops momentarily to look at me, conveying some message I would only later learn about. I clearly see her, a powerful, fearless presence, a proud fiercely independent wild Animal living in a beautiful river canyon taking notice of me one quiet early morning. I feel a deep connection, an ineffable kinship, a welling up of spiritual affinity that Weasel is right here with me. And so, with this very focused pick, I slowly pull a card, and against all logic and common sense, it’s the right card. Pop goes the Weasel! I am stunned that it happened once again, especially after so long a hiatus (except for some bird stuff), thinking the magic had died . . . Okay, even though it was the third draw, it’s a pretty good story because it demonstrates the mental focus and psychic acuity that is absolutely necessary to make the Animal magic happen, and even with three draws, you could still
spend all day picking and maybe do it once, or not.

Exactly one week after the river sighting, guess who pops up in the New York Times crossword puzzle  – Weasel! Clued in, Mary suggests I try and pick the Weasel card again, jM3ust to test the magical energy, see if it’s a real, live spark or just a fluke. I hesitate because I feel I’ve already had a great experience picking Weasel a few hours ago. But she calmly insists, urging confidently, “let’s just try it and see, you never know, trust in the magic and energy, your abilities . . .”

With a tingle of apprehension – I know I’m going to blow it, there’s no way I can replicate my feat – I consent to give it a go, but before doing so, I pause to visualize Ms. Mink in her riverine habitat, looking over at me for a split but penetrating second before scampering off.

I hover my hand briefly over the fan of 53 cards, and without hesitation or reason – only unguided, unexplained intuition – I go for a “hidden” one, buried under several other cards, completely out of sight and mind. Why that one, I don’t really wonder. I’m operating on some other sub or supra-conscious plane. Maybe, even, I think momentarily, the Mink is Mary’s spirit, who wasn’t able to go on the camping trip, and now here she is, channeling this most amazing Animal connection. I wedge the card out slowly and upturn it to face her. Instantly, a frisson lights up my Chakra system as her expression turns to awe, then disbelief, finally perplexed wonder and amazement. It doesn’t seem possible, but it’s the Weasel card staring at us in all her cunning and guile! How can it be that Weasel has popped up in my consciousness like this? Call it what you will. I call it Crazy Mink Shit Amazing.

Here ye, disbelievers and skeptics! Once again, the Medicine Cards do not disappoint. They unerringly speak Truth and dispense Wisdom to help us along on our sacred Earth Walk. There may be no easy explanation, and it may all be fallacious ratiocination, but one thing I know for certain is the Medicine Cards have proven over and over and over that spiritual conduits and connections exist and are accessible if – like Weasel teaches – you activate hidden senses to embrace the Great Mystery. Is this ability innate or learned or somehow imprinted in one’s DNA, I do not know. I just know it happens, often, with the Animals, me and to Mary a good many times as well. We have also channeled positive affinity to friends, so something’s going on.

Much2015-06-28 221 has been written about Weasel Medicine, Weasel Magic, Weasel Power, and not all flattering. Think how we – human speech – demean and degrade the elegant Animal with low-life associations and wily characterizations: “You weasel!” implying a less than honest, manipulating persona. How unfair and untrue!

Still, Weasel Medicine is “a difficult power totem to have.” For whatever reason, Weasel came into my life, crossed paths with me on the sacred Earth Walk, and beckoned my empty receptacle to overflow with the power and energy and strength of Weasel essence. Spotting a special Animal and then connecting on a deep spiritual level requires exceptionally good luck and timing – being in the right place at the right moment so that happenstance occurrences converge and serendipitous events commingle to create perfect harmony with an Animal’s essence. If used openly, honestly, wisely, in the service of helping others, Weasel Medicine is a rare gift, so say the Ancient Teachers.

Weasel Medicine invokes:

Stealth and power, cunning and swiftness.

Incredible amount of energy and ingenuity.

Keen powers of observation.

Powerful ally in business.

Knower of “hidden reasons” and “hidden meanings” of things.

Find out secrets through the power of observation of actions, feelings, situations using finely tuned senses.

Fierceness and warrior energy.


Fearless, tenacious.

Able to size up things accurately.



Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Astrological Reading of Gambolin’ Man – or is that Tom McGuire we’re talking about?

The transcription of an hour’s worth of frantic scribbling is from a remote astrological reading given several years ago by psychic Laurie Twilight. It allegedly sheds light on the peeled back layers of emotional trauma and trumpets karmic destinies of the hopeful diarist.

5 Leo Planets, Virgo / Libra / Scorpio add flavor –

My essence! Introverted Leo!

Shyness here that’s unusual.

Personality like Virgo – but  my essence is Leo: “water house.”

ALSO: critical-oriented*

+ analytical perfectionist / exactness / precision

Gourmet quality = streak. . .of things I do. . .

Hard on others / or myself.

I appear critical but loving, charming — “moon in Libra”:


Intellectualize emotions – know my own feelings is difficult.

“Going in my head too much”

Nice, sacrificial. . .but not emotionally available.

Uh Oh.

Inner process stuff – need quiet / inner time:

Emotion – get in touch / out of head. . .

Can be detached at times.

Learning to be a Piscean (Cancer closest to Pisces).

Need quality of inner essence.

“Many lives in this one life.”

Deep inner work. . .

Contemplative shift / heart compassion. . .

Intensity / passion / power (the word “ego” with a downward arrow).

Quality of contemplative mystic! Sensitive!!

Learning to be extremely sensitive.

Learning sensitivity / compassion from Mary. . .

Planet of independence – med/spiritually – depth of psychotherapy / passion / intensity.

Several careers – need changes!

7 1/2 years major crossroads………………………………………………………………………….

– Emotional essence

– But I intellectuallize it too much.

Blessing with groups of friends – shy / loner.

Blossoming aspect in groups.

Need Stimulation*

Planet of Charm.

Symmetrical look.

Intense, passionate.


Passionate / potent.

Stronger than normal.


Healer quality (career!!) comes from whopper temper.

Spaciness and dreaminess w/Money (House of).

Work hard / earn every penny.

Abandonment issue at age 6: father issue.

Neglect / unselfworth.

Block / Flow w/Money. . .

Connected to father / not feeling loved at 5 or 6.

Gambling: abandoned / unloved / compulsivity.

1984 – 29 year cycle. [SATURN RETURN}

Deep Father Wound.

Whopper Temperament.

Inward capacity – snake shedding skin.

Crisis mode started in June.

1996/97, tested in my life.

GOALS: “shoulds” and “have tos”.

Adult-like at 4 to 5 years old.

In-utero terror – 1st month or 2. . .

Conceived in some violent manner.


12th House.

Planet of Healing – (through groups).

Coming to terms – free up / release aspect related to: compulsivity.

Saturn cycle = resolution time.

Something could just float in.

Cannot stop on my own.

Perfect time for healing. (next 7 / 8 years)

Planet of Change / Transformation.

Homeopathy for terror and fear.


“good enough”




Lapse into old patterns.

Admitting that I need help.



Buried / contained.

Exaggeration of emotion.

Let it go.


Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Dispatches From Brasil – Trenchant Observations from the Trenches of Life

“We are living in the future, I’ll tell you how I know, I read it in the papers fifteen years ago.” – John Prine

In 1981, I journeyed to South America with an old sweetheart, and lifelong good friend, Marie Ceccanese, where we spent the first seven months of a year-long odyssey living in Salvador da Bahia, where we hoped to become semi-literate in the dance / martial art form called Capoeira. Bahia, as Salvador da Bahia is popularly known, became our home and the cramped little studios around town became our refuge. We took up residence in a just-this-side-of-squalid neighborhood called Dois du Julho in a residencia that catered mostly to transients and tranbiqueros. It was the best of times and the worst of times for me, and I sought comfort and famiilarity by assiduously recording the elongated passage of days, chronicling my variable moods, states of mind, and gallimaufry of opinions, insights, and observations . . .raw and true, shocking and pedestrian, a splotch of time recorded for posterity’s hindsight. . .

February 26,1981: The city is wild, crazy, colorful, dynamic, sensual and incessant in its partying ambiente. Huge looming espantalhos (scarecrows) decorate the pracas, and the symbol of Salvador – the heart – is everywhere, in the form of giant lighted blocks, not to mention sweethearts. Bands play loudly and often discordantly, but nobody minds, everybody sings and jostles like dice, and there’s not a care in the world in the quaint, cobblestone, redolent of molding urine streets of Salvador.

Carnival started last night and will continue for five days – of fun, dancing, eye-making, debauchery. I’m definitely more of an observer than a participant; maybe that’s why this whole grand notion of studying Capoeira somehow fails to fan the embers of my interest. The question remains to be answered until I begin near-daily sessions with Mestre Itapoan: will I enjoy it and get into it with heartfelt verve and elan, or will it be fraudulent? Sometimes I don’t know what’s wrong with me, like a spark died, a flame dwindled, a passion for love and life and learning wilted. . .something unsettling, and I don’t know what it is.

Ah, but Carnival can take your mind off any woe! It’s an incredible gala event of indefatigable energy. Surprisingly, considering a near half-million lively bouncing souls are flooding the avenidas, the party isn’t as wild or rowdy as I expected. I mean, it’s plenty animated, with a crazy assortment of characters decked out in colorful, zany costumes, and people dancing rather madly to the blaring discordance of Trios Electricos – but all in all it’s orderly. Might have something to do with the military police presence, but mostly it’s just the sense of propriety and respect the Brasilian people exhibit. . .I’ve been the target of numerous pickpockets on the streets (grimy with piss, beer, trash and spit) but my keen alertness to these iniquitous designs on my wealth averted any possible successes on the part of the thieves. The first time it was just some hulking blackman behind me in an intense crowd. He didn’t get very far when I slapped his wrist indignantly. But the following day, Marie, Peter and I got swallowed mercilessly by a mass of people on 7 de Sept. and the momentum of the crowd was such that it was impossible to stand still or prevent yourself from moving freely any other way but forward through the jostling, drunken mass. Peter and Marie were ahead of me; trying to catch up, I found myself blockaded by several people, among them this boogying woman who refused to let me pass. Every time I moved one way, she would too, effectively limiting my forward motion. I instantly suspected she had a design on me, but thought it was just that she was horny or something and wanted a good feel up against my body. It didn’t dawn on me that she was working in conjunction with a partner until I felt a ticklish thrust in my right pocket. I whirled around and caught her sneaky hand as it yanked itself from my empty pocket. She acted all pissed off and called me vile names with invectives I didn’t understand, and I stared that scruffy hippie bitch down with a mean, condescending moue. Ah, during Carnival, it call comes out. People are open, loose, aggressive, permissive – or as Jorge Amado put it – “crude, sensual, lusty.”

Today, though, we went down to Mercado Modelo and watched a couple of tough, mean, macho guys engage in gracefully vigorous Capoeira duels. They were incredibly in control of the movements, executed with a speed and precision of timing that left me amazed (indefinably envious) and Marie with butterflies in her stomach. Watching them truly made me want to master at least a basic respectable knowledge of this art.

February 27, 1981: Somehow, and again it’s perfectly comprehensible from the oft-erudite stance of history, politics and unbalanced economics, it seems that just about everyone in the Third World is resentful, angry, explosive, with pent-up truculence over being oppressed and exploited and cheated without parity for years – decades – centuries – millennia. And often they take it out on us – the ostensible “rich American gringos” – what a rag! We’re not wealthy! What we have is a drop in the economic bucket of America. I guess I’m just pissed and sensitive today because some mooching hippie fraud slandered my character because I refused to share my beer with him.

March 1, 1981: Things are looking up for me in Salvador. Not that things ever looked down, or that never did I or could I appreciate the city for what it is -it’s just that an arcane uneasiness and restlessness has me in its grips because I am (here reluctant to admit) wavering and vacillating idiotically about the directions I expected and want this trip to take. It’s very difficult and inexpressible almost for me to put into words, this feeling of “disbelonging”. . .well, things and prospects are looking up, as I said earlier. My glum moodiness and uncharacteristic self-pity seems to be foreshadowed now by bright, eager anticipations of what we will gain from our stay here.

March 15, 1981. . .I have always been keenly, inordinately attracted to the rejects and misrepresentations of the world. All in all, compared to Lima, Bogota or La Paz, Salvador’s streets are pretty noticeably absent of cripples, derelicts and loonies. Sure, there are a few like the guy with crooked feet and the elephantiasis cases, and more than one stalwart homeless bum. For some reason, I’m particularly fascinated by this one street dweller who hangs around the neighborhood on Rua do Sodre, loitering like a dying grizzly bear on a wrought-iron fence of a middle-class family (they must throw him scraps); otherwise, this degraded specimen can be found rummaging around garbage piles in the curb, or when he does manage to muster up the modicum of dignity it takes to implore a “lanche” owner for stale bread, the bum does not move one inch from that fence. He’s a strange bum, though. Usually from bums I get absolutely livid, lacerating, hateful, reproachful, contemptible stares. This dirty old neglected fart just has a face full of quiet almost peaceful despair. Another unusual aspect of this bum is that he’s – fat! He’s actually got a gut that immediately would index someone else as a heavy beer drinker. And no, it’s not the stomach of an undernourished person – it’s not puffy and swollen like he’s got a medicine ball down there. A final note of observation about this character: his pants, if such tatters can properly be called pants, are indescribably filthy and they have an incredible, revealing split up the back seam that exposes to the viewing public – those who deign to view the eye-averting sight – those who might wish to steal a voyeuristic glimpse of a most gnarly behind – an overwhelmingly dirty and disgustingly shit-and-piss stained derriere. A few days later, I spotted him – still his same old intriguing scrofulous self. He’s managed to get a change of clothing somewhere, but they more resemble the tatters of a shipwrecked fool. Stylistically, he still goes for that back-end split up his really gross hind quarters, which I’m beginning to suspect is an artificial contrivance to better facilitate the instinctual act of defecation – although I lay no claims as to what, exactly,this bum is capable of shitting, for seldom does he eat, even though he is fat! The other day I saw him standing in the middle of the road with his head held up to the heavens, a threatening gray menace disgorging rain in buckets, and he began washing himself. The whole process was like watching an animal at the zoo. The bum’s back was black with dirt, encrusted on him like leprosy.

May 25, 1981. . .Eating in a restaurant today we were accosted (approached is too lax a descriptive verb) by a woman of decidedly derelict and degenerate demeanor. I’d seen her around before, sprawled on a bench like a corpse, or grubbing around in the trash for a morsel, or wandering around the praca in a sort of moronic trance, looking rather like a person who just crawled out of a cave. She kind of boldly shuffled to our table with her hands folded in a symbol of pitiable supplication and stammered an unintelligible request for the contents of our plates – modestly piled with rice, beans and meat. Instantly, I motioned to the salad remains, which neither of us were going to finish, and then indicated for her to leave quickly, making whiffing motions with my hand. She had the most foul body odor imaginable, like her rags were old and shit-stained and hadn’t been washed in years and she hadn’t obviously bathed ever. She persisted at our table with her begging routine – desperate for our food. I calmly waved her away again, but deeply pained and repulsed all at once. Then, she snatched my plate and helped herself to a big heaping hand-scrape of farinha and with jerky, uncontrollable movements she stuffed a handful of this unappetizing fodder in her gaping toothless maw like a desperate primitive animal, right there at our table in front of other diners and a horrified looking waitress, who moments later chased her out the door and had to open the window to allow her stench to vaporize.

Of the four or five bums who loiter around this bairro, one is a hapless female geriatric; one is a perambulatory old fart who, like all classic hobos, totes his life possessions in a bag slung over his shoulder; one is the old standby who hangs on the middle-class family’s wrought iron fence and perhaps engages in deep reflections on the nature of reality; and one is an unkempt young man whom our landlady yesterday referred to as a “hippie” when she told me who the food on the stove she was cooking was destined for. Oh, come on, Germina, I said,that guy’s not a hippie! Hippies change their clothes at least once a week, and usually have a home, or a crash pad, sometimes work and might even take an occasional bath. She nodded, but clearly didn’t understand. This bum merits the illustrious privilege of being immortalized in my diary as the one we call the “cultured” – often we see him reading the newspaper (A Tarde), perhaps contemplating the awfulness of the world, or catch him at the escarpment gazing ruefully into the vast, blue bay, perhaps pondering the arcane forces behind such exquisite beauty. I can only imagine all this, for such things must go through the minds of – even destitute lost souls.

And so, I wonder with pangs of remorse in my heart how the mass of humanity makes it through the forsaken days. How the trimestered mother of one swollen child already manages to house, clothe, and feed themselves. How the mendicant with gangrenous, sawed-off legs propels himself like a beast from one life encounter to the next. How the bums, riff-raff, the general scuzz of the streets muster up the spirit to keep going. I wonder with flecks of sorrow lacing my heart like shrapnel why life and society are so ghastly injust, why so many starve and are dirty, skulking, thieving, apathetic, and dehumanized. Who made them this way? All of this that I encounter on my travels in Latin America’s mean streets makes me question my utterly fortunate life situation – it’s enough to make you tinged with guilt, or luck, depending on your cosmology.

All of which recalls the heart-tugging verse of William Blake:

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Maya Archaeologist – Notes on the Makings of a Novel (That Never Was)

In 1986, still wiping gringo sweat off after a four-month long trip through southern Mexico, inspired by many moons spent sifting through ancient Mayan ruins, titillated by legendary accounts of lost knowledge and wisdom, and fired up over romantic tales of swashbuckling jungle exploration, and having nothing better to do, I suppose, while mulling over it all in Yuba River country for several weeks, I sat down, knowing instinctively what Papa Hemingway knew – that the first draft of anything is shit – and sketched the skeletal outline of (what I hoped / intended was to be ) a gripping, larger-than-life Great Mexican Novel. . .a plunge into a world many have visited but few dare to delve to the depths to really know. . .a far-flung fantasy of discovery and revelation, as told by Tom Trippitelli, a pariah archaeologist, who with his maverick lover, seek clues to the mysteries of the ancient Maya and their end of the world prediction in 2012. ..lots of romantic involvement and quixotic pursuit to prove their deviant and radical theories by discovering – with the assistance of Le Plongeon III’s secret and whereabouts largely unknown map – the ancient, rumored-to-be lost citadel, long vanquished to the ravages of time and buried under the the strata of subconsciousness – Mayatl.

How does one go about writing a novel? Hell, don’t ask me. Like an icy pool of cold fire, I don’t tend to contemplate it too, too much, but rather just take the full-on plunge and get wet and used to it, immediately. Sort out the details later. At least that’s how I have approached the craft in the past, obviously without much success. This time, though – by God! – I would do it right, plot out the characters, figure out the narrative twists and themes, and get to crackin’! Everything written below is first-draft, from the journal Words in Collision (1986):

Dramatis Personae:

Tom Trippitelli – archaeologist, rebel, traveler, explorer, romanticist-cum-scholar, on the trail of the biggest expose since Christ turned up in Tom Robbins’ Another Roadside Attraction.

Anya Dupaix – partner-in-archaeology, lover, famous in circles for her writings on hallucinogens and culture.

WaterLily (Nict-ha) – Lacandon girl, 14, who is psychic and can communicate with the spirits of her ancient progenitors. (She’s Tripp’s “trump card”!)

Augustus Le Plongeon III – great-grandson of Augustus Le Plongeon…a bum, crazy, “out there” on the edge schizoid paranoid Frenchman living in Yuba City who has a reputed map to where his great-grandfather claims to have hidden the secret books of the Maya.

Nicki Foxx – CIA operative in Central America, tracking Le Plongeon down for international conspiracy and espionage charges.

Jorge Galindo – special investigations, Latin American Commission on Bizarre Inquiries and Arcane Knowledge of the Ancient Maya. . .a ruthless gumshoe who’ll stop at nothing to get the books, the treasure, the glory.

The Looters – paramilitary gangsters, thugs, hitmen, thieves, intimately tied in with the international mafia art smuggling antiquities smugglers, quite indistinguishable, really, from the real plunderers.

Soledad Oviedo – senior archaeologist of Lacbiakam; hard-working, unromantic, “dig-in” her heels archaeo-trained at Harvard, skeptic, non-believer, would even destroy evidence to cover up the lies of her research.

Brooks “Doughboy” Rice- Tripp’s factotum in the field, a tougher than nails, crazier than shit, stronger than thunder when principles are at stake, soft as the flower where kindnesss is concerned; the monkey-wrencher, trouble-shooter, shit-disturber, the life of the party and death of innocence.

The Chief – a guide and hanger-on-er at digs; half-Irish, quarter-Spanish; quarter-Maya Indian; an unsung hero, but a pain-in-the-culo.

What next?

Must expand the characters’ skeletal sketches of their vitae, to subsume existing definitions or clues into their personalities. . .physical descriptions, special interests and talents. . .their objectives, motives, pursuits during the chronology of the novel – to how they might conceivably interact with each other.

What is the purpose of each character? Or will that become apparent as the plot progresses? Does each character’s action create the plot?

Enumerate premises or themes or ideas to be presented. . .outline a brief sketch (sketch a brief outline, then) of some scenes I’d like to depict; of some incidents I can imagine happening; of some dialogue I can picture or overhear at the ruins. What currents? What tone? What purpose? What, in 25 words, am I trying to say in 250,000?

What are some conflicts? Some adventurous scenes? Events? Some “ultimate statement”? Some spellbinding denouement? Need there be one?

OK, two principle discoveries around which to weave action, plot, dialogue, conflict: (1) Tripp’s accidental discovery of a legendary vanished Maya center, where unbeknownest to him are the sacred books of knowledge foretelling…what exactly? (along with other inestimable treasures); and (2) Le Plongeon III’s, having organized his own expedition to find the ruins, has a map revealing the location of the sacred codices (books) – but he only has one-half of it. Who has the other? The sacred books may foretell of impending disaster, earthshaking jolts; returned reincarnated as twentieth century destroyers; nine Plutonium Lords…the recipe for salvation…the second coming of who/what?

Sample Paragraphs Just to Get the Juices Flowing:

Trippitelli woke up in his hammock to the sound of footsteps. A mighty big tapir, he dream-thought, until he heard a fart – loud stuccato bursts of machine gun fire. The looters had returned.

We had belabored with the mules and supplies for four days in those sultry, swampy hinterlands where only crazy or lost souls venture. Not even the jungle-savvy Lacandon dare go into the forsaken thickets and tangles of smothering vegetation. But it was in there, according to Nict-ha’s premonition, where the ancient city lie gasping for the air of its recovery. The hardships were endured without comment, for the excitement of locating Mayatl was too great.

Le Plongeon III was a fat, squalid frog of a man, a misplaced adventurer, a loony wayfaring explorer, descended from a pseudo-illustrious pedigree of pompous, high-handed dreamers, explorers, and erratic archaeologists, dilettantes of historical conjecture. . .his great-grandfather, Augustus, carved a niche for himself in history books with eccentric editorial contributions relating the Maya to Egypt and Queen Moo, with a reputation of derring-do, recklessness in speculation and a sense of deterministic, feisty, contrarianism, individualism – a genetic trait, it seemed, endowed in young Auggie. Here he was mired in a mud bog for seven sweltering, mosquito-infested days, low on food, three of his team dying of dysentery and malaria, and endangered by looters who …

(Somehow weave in the preposterous idea that the Maya left sperm for later implantation in Nich-ta…)

Like the honest-to-Schliemann archaeologist he fashioned himself after, Tripp was never of the mold to cut or believe in rigid schemes and droopy, tiresome theories – he always pressed for “radical new paradigms” to explain the over-abundance of global mysteries and unanswered questions in prehistoric time. His professors, all but one, a cranky old fart of an expert, persecuted him with mediocre grades and scathing critical marginalia in his papers, while ridiculing his ideas on the ancient Maya in front of seminars of ass-sucking, preppie grad students. So why – and how? – Tripp ever completed his Ph.D. coursework – all those boring units composed of countless oral and written exams and papers – had much more to do with spite and integrity – spunk and personal commitment – than with peer competition or fear of failure. Archaeology was not a profession Tripp had chosen – rather it had chosen him – because of its peculiar appeal and undeniable allure. . .the glamorous but largely false idea of romantic buried cities, great adventure, like in the old days. . .and grip of romantic peril in the popular imagination. . .but because Tripp felt displaced in time, an outcast with pariah ideas and quackpot visions and hare-brained, upstart notions about revising historic timelines and actually reinventing archaeology, and thereby be able to unravel and travel through time. And he’d had his share of tedious camaraderie at a safe and secure excavation site, doing ho-hum trowel-and-pick analysis – leave that to the technicians, though. Tripp was determined to breathe new life into archaeology, resurrect its reputation from ruins, by defying all the declarations, dogma, pronouncements and advice of the department.

Ever since he was a kid, like all kids who grew up on Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Lost World, and numerous fantastical excursions through time to other places and dimensions, Tripp aspired to be an archaeologist – and that title encompassed the study of anything deemed old and prehistoric, from an Indian settlement outside Lafayette to dinosaurs. His mother had always prefaced in books, like Lost Cities and Sunken Continents, and They Found the Buried Cities, little gems of wishful fancy for her son: “May you one day find. . .” and that day was now upon him!

Since he was a kid, the words of his mother had been etched in his brain and he knew his search for El Dorado, so to speak, would begin right here at the base camp at Uaxactun, where he was running spectrochromatic analyses of Phase III Late Classic Maya ceramic shards – this end of his profession was oh-so-boring! So was the theorizing. Tripp wanted the action of discovery, the thrill of unexpected adventure, like in the old days, or like it would soon be cinematograpically invented in the Indiana Jones movies.

The world of the Maya, if anywhere, was the place to look for the legendary citadel reputed to have abruptly been abandoned by a tribe of homeopathic gene-splitters, intact with cryogenetic mummies, maps of the lay-out of the ancient world – everything that would defy, contradict, outprove the theories and “facts” that Tripp had been spoonfed and nurtured on for seven years. The place he called Mayatl, and it was his belief the place was a refuge for Atlanteans, who brought civilization to the prehistoric world. Many an adventuresome explorer had tried to locate it, without success, and few references to it existed – most notably in a the Dresden Codex. The orthodoxy passed it off as legend, but Tripp was convinced otherwise, knowing in his heart that the word “mythos” from the Greek, means “true words.”

“Listen,” said a disgusted Tripp to his partner in dirt and grime, “I can’t stand this BS anymore!” He ripped up his data sheets. “I don’t care about the quotidian minutiae of this culture.”

Dupaix caught his drift. Tripp was packing, his bags, and heat. She hesitated, “Tripp, listen, I’m coming with you.”

That night, sultry and inky like a cosmic squid had sprayed the air, the two slipped under cover of darkness for Mexico to arrange supplies, send telegrams, organize a crew, get funds, make connections, research their field, plot a strategy. Any hopes that Tripp had of being awarded a professorship – not that he even wanted one – hinged on the outcome of this mad gamble, this insane gambol, this lunatic chimerical escapade to discover the lost city of Mayatl.

We didn’t have a clue what to do with Auggie, the sniveling obese ass who just happened to have the maps – or half of them- or so he asserted. From what I could gather, the maps and scrolls had been hidden in a cave – Labacutun to be exact – in the 16th century by a conscientious and prescient friar named Armando Ferrari who eventually got booted out of the New World principalities by Bishop De Landa, history’s biggest pyromaniac of literature. In an unforgivable orgy of arson and devilish, incendiary fervor, De Landa and his pious choristers destroyed 99% of what had survived of written descriptions and verifications of “legends” of the May. The other 99% of the salvaged 1% comprised the three codices in Dresden, Madrid and Paris – the only piece of documentation that survived outside of this was – by chance? – the most valuable, the absolute pinnacle of achievement, the last word on the true history of earth’s civilizations – the maps and scrolls hidden and saved at the eleventh hour by Friar Ferrari – a mere drop in the vast ocean of lost knowledge of the world’s traditions.

Augustus Le Plongeon, it must be noted, was not a man who read historical and archaeological monographs and believed them. Their fancy, their legend,was Le Plongeon’s dream and reality. How was it any different for Schliemann, years later, to discover Troy when all his colleagues belittled the chances or even the possibility of such a mythic place ever having existed? Le Plongeon would have mounted an expedition up Mt. Olympus to seek out empyrean godly residential ruins had he been in Greece, but he was in Mexico, looking for a connection that would bridge gaps in knowledge, in time. . .and on a tip from a professor of magic, history and science at Mexico’s old university, he was told of the location of the maps….before his death, in a secret will, he bequeathed to his son, who bequeathed to his son, who likewise passed on to his son, the knowledge of the future of mankind’s destiny.

Oh, Shit, Oh, God, what I have begun? No turnin’ back now – or is there? Too much face to save and too much crow to eat. The worst sort of failure would be the failure of giving up. . .is this Tom McGuire writing about his character Tom Trippitelli’s delusory quest, or his own feckless mission to write a real honest to God honest to Shit novel?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Bilious, Bellyaching Bona Fides

While replete with non sequitur snippets of pure insanity, stanzas of very bad but entertaining poetry, introspective therapeutic analyses peeling back the layers of my psyche and revealing the inner core of my being, dreamtime musings and goal-setting that inspire and motivate me to pursue higher aims and achieve ever greater accomplishments, self-reflective blurbs of insight that are so ridiculous as to be meaningless or so meaningless as to be ridiculous, observations pedestrian and grandiose on any and everything showcasing the diarrhea-ist’s eclectic interests, and, of course, the hum-drum recording of events, happenings, doings, feelings, comings and goings of quotidian existence, my journals have always served as a sounding board to expound on the injustices of life; a frothing forum to let ‘er rip on oft-scathing, choleric, sclerotic, neurotic and rascally irascible viewpoints; where a blank page becomes a repository of rage; a depository of peevish doubt carrying zero clout; but where I can rail, hold forth, bloviate and blow off all the steam I want on the myriad injustices of life. My journals – my private bully pulpit for bashing of all things WRONG IMMORAL INDECENT and BACKWARDS with humanity, society, culture, and politics. Here are few favorite rants and raves.

Giving Thanks and Praise and Other Controvertible Evidence of the Good Life

Ah, yes, so much to be thankful for! I say this in parallel facetiousness and earnest seriousness – because on the other hand, we have absolutely nothing to be thankful for.

We are fucking privileged human beings, especially those fortunate multiple millions of us who are lucky enough to have been born white (or near-white) Europeans and Americans; we who lack for nothing and suffer not a whit compared to 4/5 of the “wretched of the earth.” We who have everything in the world to be thankful for, yes, owing primarily to said vast legions of invisible, marginalized underdogs, outcasts, and grunt workers/slaves upon whose blood, sweat and tears the US-dominated world economy grinds its gears. Yeah, go ahead and give thanks and praise for such high, comfortable standards of living – but at the expense of the planet’s ecosystem and people! Yeah, go ahead and give thanks and praise for the peace, prosperity, health and happiness we all “equally” enjoy.

Peace? Hah! Wars and violent skirmishes rage on four continents. Murder and mayhem reign unchecked in the US. Racial and religious tensions continue to stir a deadly brew around the globe. Nazis, Klansmen, Big Bad Mad Rednecks, ruthless international terrorists, gay-bashers, and free-spirit smashers abound. The lion ain’t lyin’ down with the lamb anytime soon.

Health? Hah! Over 500,000 will die this year from smoking-related illnesses. The costs to treat sickness from a meat-related diet exceed $60,000,000,000 a year. AIDS took a higher toll this year than ever worldwide. New, mysterious diseases are appearing: ADD/CFS/ETC. Society is medicated, drugged, hypnotized by electromagnetic waves of high-tech gimcrack imagery – in Japan, some teens went into apopleptic shock while watching an animated toon.

Happiness? Hah! Depression and suicide reign unchecked. Divorce rates are high. Isolation and despair and hopelessness abound in a spiritually starved society. Money rules; all else is for fools.

Prosperity? Hah! The gulf between the haves and the have-nots has never been wider. Truly, the rich get richer and the poor – well, the poor can only get poorer. Something is terribly wrong with the moral economics of a world that allows 40,000 children to die every day of hunger, that allows profits to be taken over harmonious stewardship of redwood forests, oceans, mountains, that allows a tiny percentage of the humanity to hoard and squander the vast share of precious world resources.

How far from barbarism have we come is not the question. It’s how far has barbarism gone from us? Judging from the state of the world in 1999 in which we are poised to cede to the children of the New Millennium, on both counts we as a species have a long way to go.

Yeah, give your thanks and praise – but just remember, life costs nothing for those who truly cherish it, and it is indeed priceless.

(From 1998 – 2000: For Meditations, Positive Vibrations, Heartfelt Visions)

John Lennon Killed 8 Years Ago

My hero was gunned down by bullets fired from an alleged crazy, lone psychopath acting in vindictive fury directed at this man “more famous than Jesus Christ” – for complex, screwball karmic reasons involving his love for Jody Foster. I don’t believe it for a sec that Mark David Chapman did it wholly independently. I believe, in the best of my conspiratorial inquiries, that he was selected by the CIA as a likely psychopath assailant, was relieved of his faculties and good senses by their nefarious hypnotic engagements of brainwashing, drug injecting and so on, and was instructed to eliminate Lennon as part of their ongoing extermination of dangerous, peace-loving musicians, politicians, revolutionaries. Sounds loopy, I know, but all of history is a lie and a conspiracy – a piracy, rather, of the natural course of events taken into custody by the self-appointed and self-anointed guardians of history. Lennon’s death comes one year before Bob Marley’s, another great revolutionary songwriter and dynamic performer and aggregator of the power of the people, loved by millions worldwide, who doubtlessly was offed by the CIA or some TonTon Macoute-like equivalent. Anyway, think about it! The strange, violent and frequent deaths of revolutionaries and visionaries by supposedly natural circumstances of freakish isolated causes does not sit right with how I reckon the world is run.

(From 1988 – 1989: Legacy Of T. M. McGuire & His Heart In Upheaval (Memoirs Of A Reincarnated Life Of An Earthly Avatar)

On the State of the Earth

Earths go and come, but the Universe abides. Nothing humans do to the earth will matter once the doubly sapient bipeds go the way of 99% of most species that have ever existed: extinct, stincting.

On the Rodney King Verdict

The blatant racism of the case is the Emperor without clothes in the parading of our false, self-deluding democratic pageantry.

On the Origins of the Universe

Scientists have just deciphered the Rosetta Stone of cosmology, detecting radiation billions of years old that resulted from the Big Bang explosion of nonenergy/matter at the Singularity time 15 billion (plus or minus a few years) ago…it does appear that before this event, nothing existed, and out of nothing, as in quantum particle collisions, creation emerged….a belief in God fails to quell the astonishment of this realization – that it just as easily might not have happened or ever happen again.

On Capital Punishment

Do I believe in capital punishment? You bet! Death to all 7th and 8th graders! OK, jokes aside, hell no! What kind of duplicitous, perverted insanity is this anyway, to say it’s all right to murder someone who murdered someone?

(From 1991 1992: Extemporaneous Radical Acts Of Journalcraft As Personal Empowerment (Or Heavy Mettle)

Election Day Note to Barbara Dudley, Executive Director of Greenpeace

. . .while I agree with your honorable position to save and protect more of our Cetacean friends of the sea, I can’t help but condescend toward the widely-accepted notion held by so many that “all” and “other” marine species (dolphins, stellar sea lions, turtles) are somehow more deserving of special concern and protection than tuna! Naturally, once we equate a living, sentient being with “renewable protein sources” then that being, like dogs in Southeast Asia or hogs in Southeast USA, or whales in Japan and Norway, becomes a mere commodity, a thing to harvest, kill, eat. Rather than ever seeing or accepting tuna as wonderful, free-soul swimmers and companions of dolphins, they are viewed as food sources, therefore less ethical importance is placed on the act of killing them. What short-sighted compassion! If only people turned to plant sources for renewable protein – no dolphins or tuna!

Thanks, W.H. Auden, for the Constant Reminder – to OVERCOME BULLSHIT!

We would rather be ruined than changed;
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.

Just A Little Unheard Spiel

This planet’s priorities, plans, projections, and pronouncements are plainly plumb-mad! We’re headed into some rough times ahead. . .socially, geologically, spiritually. Let us emulate our Ancestral Pueblo People predecessors who perfected harmonious relationships on earth with one another, the plants and animals, rocks and trees, and so evolved to the spiritual non-material Fifth World of eternal peace, harmony and blissful beingness, leaving behind strifeful earth-bound ways of war, hatred, bigotry, violence, arrogance, greed. . .

Some Questions

Why, when it comes to diet, are people so selectively, single-mindedly opposed to the truth underlying the horrors of what they are consuming?

Why, when it comes to doing or not doing, acting or not acting, to realizing potential and effectuate change, are people content to go about their dull little routines and petty lives of quiet desperation?

I have a million more questions – but why question anything at all if no one cares about the answer?

Why The World’s In The State It’s In (Part I)

Why? Because of excessive greed, arrogance, selfishness, stupidity, pride, ego, envy, discordance, dissonance, imbalance, and remarkably little truth and honesty and simplicity.

* Buddhist monks proclaiming the sanctity of eating animals because they’re not a “direct” party to the confinement, torture, abuse, grisly death and mutilation of a once-living sentient being, which the Great True Buddha considers an equal, be it a snail, an oak, or other non-human earthling, to the species atthe top of the predator / prey chain – MAN!

* The crushing bureaucrazy of UC Berkeley – the lies, half-truths, distortions, misinformation of it all; sniveling back-stabbing, shifty management, disheartened employees – “career- track” jobs hazardous to the health, happiness and harmony to hundreds of thousands of helpless, hapless human worker bees.

* We the taxpayers ought to rise up and protest vigorously the idiocy of what we’re forced to economically support – prisons, highways, military research projects, etc. etc. – what about our subsidization of the mega-billion dollar ginormous meat/dairy pharmaco-industrial complex’s devastating responsibility for a national sick bill of over $65,000,000,000 owing to disease and death caused by their products. (And smoking!)

* Racists cops, lying politicians, heartless CEOs incompetent bureaucrats and administrators, cheating and swindling government agencies, shameless barristers and corrupt systems.

* Cattle grazing; late CFC phasing; Schick and Bic; Shake ‘n Bake; little nature worship and spirit praising; casinos, lottery, sweepstakes and Wall Street – don’t forget the many legit scams of insurance!; AMA, ABA, KKK, CIA, DEA, MIA, MSA, FBI, CNN, CBS, LSMFT, NRA, NSA, NASA, RAM, WWW.COM, POW, MSG, BGH, PCP, USA. (RANCID ALPHABET SOUP)

Why The World’s In The State It’s In (Part II)

Why? Because of a regressive barbarism in mentality, and not an illuminative new paradigm of sanity and eco-harmony.

* French president Jacque Chaques Jirac presiding over nuclear testing in Pacific atolls while the rest of the civilized world (quote unquote) was observing the 50th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

* California democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, baring an ignoble concession to the likes of the big MOFO capitalist slimeball from Texas who’s fighting to log out virgin north coast Sempervirens (redwood trees) groves – “always/forever alive” – Charles E. Hurwitz, chair of Maxxam, Inc., owner of Pacific Lumber….”They (the Sempervirens) are very remote. Very few people will ever see them in their lifetime.”

* Money being sucked out of education to build more prisons.

* A spate of red tides menacing coasting seas.

* US tobacco companies announcing to Congress their “discovery” that nicotine is not addictive.

* Silicon snake oil.

* 500,000 deaths a year from smoking, alcohol, prescription drugs – thousands and thousands dying yearly from toxic prescription drugs!

* One in six incarcerated in federal prisons for non-violent marijuana convictions serving longer sentences than rapists and murderers and child molesters!

* Proliferation worldwide of fast food establishments, to the detriment of world ecology, animal welfare, and human health.

No Fret, No Sweat, No Karmic Debt, Yet (known to have been uttered by the author)

From 1996 – 1997: What The Days Never Know. . .The Years Teach (The Jour-Annals Of A Diaritic Critic)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment