Monday, December 28, 2015

The White Album blasting.
Incense lingering.
Coffee near drank.
Migrane proceeding.
Writer's block festering.
Stream of consciousness never-ending.
So many thoughts to manifest.
No time for rest.

Suddenly it occurs to me that my high school AP Lit and Creative Writing teacher would've canned that little rhyme. He was a tosser anyway.

Hold on, Superman calling...

Coffee is colder.
I'm getting older.

Lately I've been immersing myself in the joys of my youth, namely The Beatles with a side of Absolutely Fabulous. As New Year's Day approaches I'm reminded of the AbFab marathons that used to run on Comedy Central. I always enjoyed the yin and yang of Edina and Saffy, the electric rage of Patsy, Bubble's neurotic sense of humor, and Grandma's questionable senility. Most of all I love Eddy and Patsy's constant pursuit of cool paired with the complete conviction that they don't need anyone but each other to feel awesome. Balance has been a key concept for me lately: The Dude/Walter, Lennon/McCartney, Patsy/Edina. Life is about balance.

In high school I had this magnificent Psychology teacher named Colette Balfe. She was the embodiment of a chaotic 60's art happening, a cerebral goddess in varying shades of leopard and rainbow with no less than three pairs of glasses adorning her figure at all times. "You," she told me once, "are one of the very few self actualized students I've ever known." I love Pats and Eddie because I can relate to both of them. Truthfully I have never had more fun than I do when I am with myself. Culture, with its endless demands on our personality, can interfere with our traits that otherwise balance each other out. Good culture creates good balance. Saffy's relationship with Edina, as cockeyed of a mother-daughter thing as it is, brings a balance to the Patsy/Eddy relationship that prevents it from going over the cliff into madness. That's good culture. The string of bad boyfriends that enter in, threatening the Patsy/Eddy balance are bad culture.

Every social circle I've ever flowed in (and I've flowed in quite a few) has taught me that there can be too much of a good thing. There is always a time to leave the party and never doubt the value of a quality Irish goodbye. If people or ideas are meant to be in your life they'll be there when they are supposed to be. If not, bid them farewell with good wishes and be done. I've never been able to make one area of study the focus of my life, either. Life is about growth. Invention and innovation spring from communication and collaboration. Always leave room to throw more in the pot when you're stirring up culture stew.

Today's lesson: Go with the flow. Grab the meat, leave the bones. All things must pass, but out of death comes new life, new growth. Embrace the change.

Note: I also have an amazing Eric Cash print of the Hey Jude performance above. Fab work. Thanks, The Fest for Beatles Fans for introducing me to such an awesome artist.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

New Year, New Page - Well, Post Anyway

Before we begin, some notes:

I'm now spending most of my writing time at the Parenting section of PJMedia. If you're into controversial transgressive commentary on pop culture feminism, check out the Lifestyle page. Into thoughtful critique on Rabbinic Judaism and the relationship between Judaism and Christianity? Check out the Faith section. Just want to read it all? Hit up my author page

Like wine? Check out my alter-ego blog: WineGirl Blog. Friend me on Facebook at WineGirl and follow me on Twitter @WineGirlBlog. I dig local wineries from the NJ/PA/NY/FLX regions and tend to post reviews of wines and wineries we've visited, along with re-posting a ton of info on news and events in those regions. Surprisingly enough I'm still getting tons of friend requests and followers despite not having drank in the past year thanks to the arrival of my first child. Wine truly does make good friends of us all.

I'd love to expand into new arenas, but right now my main focus is parenting my new son, Superman. You'll never see a picture of him, so thanks for your interest, but no. His Internet persona will be his to craft in his own time. For now he can happily wear the lenses of a non-virtual Clark Kent and enjoy his hidden identity as all babies should.

For the past few years I've blogged a lot about politics. This has only reinforced my already firm stance against ever joining a political party of any stripe. It's just not my style to be a joiner. I've never been the type who's been able to change the system from within. Instead, I've always been the court jester, if you will, or The Dude who abides in the chaos. Transitioning from political writer to motherhood has also reminded me of what a small bubble politics is in this huge world. All-consuming to those who consume it for a living, politics is merely another sphere of human communication. We are ignorant of its power because we are ignorant of the power we wield over one another. Only God Himself can make this truth clear to us. Hence I will forever stand on the bedrock of Biblical faith as my source and the lens through which I view the world.

Speaking of which, no one reads the Bible. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of religious folks who read about the Bible, but very few actually read the Bible with an open heart that seeks to hear God's voice instead of the comforting tones of familiar voices. I get it. Everyone needs a teacher, several actually. The problem is that most teachers become gurus whose own opinions overshadow what's already been written. Over the past year I've managed to piss off a lot of folks with these observations, especially fellow Jews who resort to calling me a "bad Jew" in so many words for questioning the tenets of Rabbinic culture. To them, the most I can say is, "Well, that's your opinion man." God's the judge and, as Elizabeth Gilbert writes in Big Magic, what other people think of me is none of my business.

I struggle not to get un-Dude about these things, which means walking away from the conversation lest I enter a world of pain. This is my embrace of Dudeism, the pursuit of which inspired me to become an ordained Dudeist Priest (or Rabbi, if you will). Pursuing Dudeism balances out the very Walter pursuit of Biblical Judaism and corresponding conservative political values that can often leave one feeling very un-Dude, although say what you will, at least they comprise an ethos. Balance is inherently Biblical. There is a Walter/Dude in everything, a Lennon and McCartney if you will. One without the other and you will either be too serious or too light a person. 

To that end, I've decided to balance my pursuit of parenting with a healthy dose of joy. My goals for this upcoming year include a pursuit of Shakespeare, the reading of Sherlock Holmes, a Beatles refresher and the celebration of the upcoming release of the AbFab movie. I might even get a bit of wine in here or there.

But, for now, Superman is calling.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dudeism 101: The metaphors of The Big Lebowski

In case you haven't already read, I'm a big fan of The Big Lebowski. Along with considering myself an Achiever, I'm also an ordained Dudeist Priest and humble practitioner of Dudeism in my spare time. The above video piques my interest, not only as an Achiever and a Dudeist, but as a feminist - see #'s 13 & 14 if you're a Maude fan.

My commentary on Dudeism previously published at PJLifestyle:

How to Become an Official Dude in 10 Easy Steps
10 Lessons on Abiding in Everyday Life I've Learned from The Dude