Monday, April 6, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Overland Park pt 101-106

Part 101

First, on this the 101st version of Fear and Loathing, an experiment. I'm back, and what follows is the ravings of a slightly madder than mad madman. But the experiment is this:

Do other people write blogs when I publish them on the site? Let's see, shall we?

I went to Mars for a second but I'm back now and I've got t-shirts for everybody.

It's been a weird last couple of days.

A really weird couple of days and the last few weeks have just flown by.

And we're jumping headfirst into the new Fear and Loathing with a look at what this gonzo writer has been up to.

And it's all a little crazy and will seem like name-dropping, but for Velocijesus's sake, it's all true.

This time.

Alright, so the plane.

We'll talk about the plane ride first.

MCI to Denver. What a weird flight.

Made only more weird by the trip back. Getting onto Frontier airlines and sitting on the plane, watching the little TV previews they play all the way to Denver, I could tell you each and every one.

The Osbournes Reloaded

American Idol

Dhani Tackles the Globe

My Boys

Crocs (yes, the shoes)

Jimmy's in Denver

Madagascar 2


Yes Man

And there was one other show on a constant loop that I can't remember but has been burnt into my brain.

If I see another clip for it,I'll probably scoop my eyes out with a sponge.

I wanted to watch Dhani's show, but when I turned it on, it was so stuck in the back of my brain that I couldn't enjoy it.

But anyway, TVs in the front of my seat: $6.00.

Did not buy. Will not pay for tv anymore than I already do.

The flight itself was fine. Got into Denver sometime after 8 pm mountain time and had to wait until about 930 pm.

Denver's airport is fairly boring.

There's a couple of stores like any other, but it's no Detroit or Minneapolis.

The people waiting for the flight were another measure of weirdness.

People waiting from all walks of life going all different directions in all shapes and sizes.

But the fact that I was going to LAX definitely put a spin on the type of people going on the same plane as me.

Bottle blondes. Bleached skin.

Too dark in the winter months to actually be considered their normal skin tone.

Those people filled the plane.

Vegans. Parents. Athletes. Jocks. Punks. Goths.

Honestly, the plane was full.

The only reason I know the kid next to me was anti-establishment, punk vegan is because he told me. And his hair was really greasy.

That was on the way to LAX.

Got there at 1130 pm pacific time.

And since my flight from KC left at about 6 pm central time, that put me at a trip time of about 7 hours.

Kill me now.

So Thursday night was a bust. Friday night however, is where the namedropping begins.

I was living in a beach house in Santa Monica from Thursday through Sunday.

I never wanted to leave.

I want to go back right now.

But Friday as a day was strange.

Friday as a day was very weird.

It started like every other day.

I woke too early.

Children playing outside my window. Beeping. Buzzing. The pledge of allegiance coming from a loudspeaker who knows where playing through the cracked window in the beachhouse. I seem to be in hell.


Dying slowly.

A little bit sicker than the day before. And from there, it turned to sheer boredom.

Tapping my foot. Playing on my cell phone. No television in the home because the cable was busted. Now I long for those TV previews. Bring back the tiny Osbournes. Bring back Dhani. I long for them now.

Met some great people, some from Los Angeles, some from Bowling Green, KY, and more.

Hello to Missy, Jason, Jon, and Colin, in no particular order, as well as Marge, Harmony, LJ, and Dayna.

Great group of people who spent way too much time fussing over me than they should have.

But hey, apparently I'm famous.

I'm not really famous, just overloaded with self-worth. But the question is, aren't we all? Aren't we all a little overbloated, thinking we're the best when in reality it just happens that we're more famous than the people usually around them?

What position would I have taken if an unknown writer who is an unknown entity was in the same beachhouse as me but was here for a specific purpose? Would I be helpful and think the world of him, or aloof?

I may never have the chance to find out.

Had a late lunch meeting with a director who is joining a group of us as a producer.

Make sense?It does in my still feverish brain.

His name is Brian and he's working on his first feature film. A real tear-jerker, touching coming of age story with monsters in it.

Immediately, I dig this guy. Monsters in a coming of age story really pulls my heartstrings. Really gets me inside. Really pulls at me and says, know this person.

He's name-dropping people like Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert, Bruce Campbell, and John Landis as he worked on Evil Dead 2 for the stunt effects and he's personal friends with John Landis.

Even more so, I like this guy.

He lists people to be in his movie in cameo forms and he talks about going to Forrest Ackerman's funeral and meeting people like Guillermo Del Toro.

Again, name-dropping.

Sadly, I met none of these people. But I met a guy who met them.

Following meeting Brian, we went to a boat show. In Marina Del Ray in California.

So I was completely out of place, but loved it. Loved looking at these people waiting in line to talk to boat salespeople as I walked right past them onto half a million dollar boats.

Boats nicer than my apartment.

I mean, seriously?

What the hell kind of day is that?

I spent the earlier part of the day making fun of terrible surfers in Santa Monica on the pier, looking out at the ocean, and I spent the late afternoon on damn near million dollar boats.

Seeing places like Ralph's, In n Out Burger, and all these places where people have filmed bits in movies or gone to in certain films like the Big Lebowski and Memento was crazy.

Being there, I still don't believe it happened.

Now comes the tricky part.

So the reason I was out in Santa Monica was for a film festival.

I was going to be on two panels, both for a cartoon/comic series that I've been working on since October.

You wouldn't know this, because I've not talked about it to date.

But we drove into West Hollywood on Friday night to go to Shin, a Korean BBQ joint co-owned by Gerard Butler. Sadly, he wasn't there.

But I did get to meet people like Zoe Bell, the incredible actress/stuntwoman from Death Proof, Kill Bill, Lost, Crank, and a number of other films, and she is a doll.

Absolutely a kick ass woman and a cool chick to boot. She'll drink with you one second, tell amazing stories about people and stunts she performed, and make fun of herself for being one of the quickest killed person in Lost history.

Truly a cool chick.

Met TJ Storm, another stunt actor who was in Punisher War Zone and the recent Resident Evil 5 as a voice actor/character actor. Another awesome guy.

His stories didn't rival Zoe's, nor is he as good-looking. But just meeting the guy and being in his presence was crazy.

Danced the night away at Shin, shaking hands, taking photos, and just being a ham.

Being a part of something other than my little world is used to.

Met Mark Ryan, voice actor and stage actor, among other things, from The Prestige and the Transformers movies.

Met Mike Grell, comic writer/artist.

Met Johnathan Schaech from That Thing You Do.

Met the guys who directed Crank.

Met people from Disney.

Met models.

Met investors.

Shook hands and danced.

And that's just Friday night...


Part 102

Now back, and yes, the experiment worked. Not that I have a big head, but the proof is in the pudding, right?

So let's continue our look at my weekend that one glorious weekend, when Fear and Loathing began it's world-wide takeover, which may have just increased a little more and forced me to take a closer look at things.

But here we go.

Saturday started like every other day. Again. Woke too early on a lumpy uncomfortable bed. Back spasm. Kids playing. Waves crashing. Birds cawwing.

I wouldn't have it any other way.

Yes it sucked that I was woke up early, but I needed to be. I had a busy day planned.

A busy day at the film festival.

Ahh. Say it with me now. The air in California smells different than the air in Kansas. Completely different.

But here we are, in the car, on the way to the film festival, and my stomach is in knots.

What do I say?

What should I not say?

What do I have to offer that these other people don't?

I was then on two panels. Two. Panels. In front of an audience.

My head was in the clouds. I couldn't believe it and I still fully don't believe it. Like a fever dream, as I said.

I sat on stage as the trailer played behind me, a microphone in my hand, a spotlight on my face, and there it was.



Question and answer session regarding the trailer.

As always, I'm being a little mysterious but only for the sake of the property. The first panel was all about the property I'm working on, and the discussion went well.

My voice being gone didn't stop me. I was all about it and ready to fly.

The first panel went off without a hitch and we screened the trailer twice. It was so loud that it boomed and nearly knocked me off the stage. But there it was. My claim to fame in front of an audience.

It leaves a weird feeling in your mouth.

But the next one, the second panel, is the one that I still can't believe happened. I'll start name-dropping here in a second.

Take a deep breath. Rub your chin. Realize that this is your life now. And it is very strange.

I sat on the stage for a second panel, and was flanked by the following people.

Mark Ryan. Steve Niles. Mike Grell. And one of my cohorts on our property.

Mark Ryan will be best known as the voice actor of Bumblebee from both Transformers movies. He was also in a show called Robin of Sherwood as well as in the Prestige.

Great dude. Great stories about Michael Bay and Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale. He was a really cool guy with a great accent and killer stories about anything and everything.

Mike Grell is the creator of Jon Sable, Freelance, an independent comic character, as well as the writer/artist of Warlord and Green Arrow the Longbow Hunters, some of the best comics in the 80s and definitely one of the best writers in Green Arrow history.

Also a great guy. He and Mark are working on a project together that I got to see some pre-stuff for. It's called Pilgrim and is starting as a comic and then will probably be a cartoon or movie. Who knows really.

Steve Niles was the kicker. It was like a dream meeting this guy. He's a comic writer who created 30 Days of Night, classic comic, awesome movie. And he sat right next to me.

Our panel was called Comics and the Impact on Film, and this young writer was sitting next to these guys and talking about comics and films based on comics.

We got questions that ran the gamut. Questions about favorite comics to movie translations. Worst translations.

Questions regarding Niles' time working on the 30 Days of Night movie.

He dropped hints about the sequel and talked about working with Sam Raimi and the cast of the film and how he was looking forward to working on the sequel.

And then the bombshell question: we discussed Watchmen.

Niles and I talked about the differences between the comic and the film and how it was an unfilmable property for so long which made Snyder tiptoe around that and make a commercial film.

We discussed how that could be a problem for some but how making this film was difficult regarding whoever it was and every single person would not be happy with the end product.

It was strange to sit next to one of your writing heroes and talk about one of your favorite graphic novels of all time in front of a crowd of people who don't know any better than to believe me as some kind of authority on things.

You fake it til you make it.

Anyway, so Saturday was an insane day. Following this, a lot of photos, handshaking, autograph signing, and then party party party.

Watched a few short films.

Talked with more directors and producers.

Met other writers.

Glad-handed my way into some form of notoriety.

It was strange. It was the basis for all things Fear and Loathing.

I wasn't sure what would happen next, and a lot of it is still a blur and just feverish weirdness, but it's all strange.

I'm still coming down off the cloud obviously.

There are now talks to take me to San Diego for the big event of the year. The biggest pop culture, movie, and comic event this side of the Oscars in San Diego, Comic-Con.

So that should be news in the next few.

My trip to California was crazy. Absolutely bonkers. I can't believe it and I still won't believe it until everything is said and done.

But that was Saturday.

It finished the day with a walk on the beach, another couple of meetings, and then a roof party in Beverly Hills.

All a little weird and strange to handle.

But I'm here.

Handling it as well as I can.

And that's life.

Sunday was a travel day, and now I'm back, firmly placed in the real world, dealing with real world problems and trying to make something out of nothing.

Fear and Loathing is back. Better than ever?

We'll see. This time though, the news will be coming. The site will be finalized and everything will be ready to go.

Life is on. It's going to get weirder by the second.


Part 103

The future was wide open.

And then we all started losing our jobs.

I talked about being in California a few weeks back. I gloated beyond belief about how amazing it was. I talked about things that I saw that I loved but I never mentioned those things that weren't especially grand.

The things that were a little seedy and sad.

Similar things that I've seen in Kansas City and Detroit.

Soup kitchen lines as long as the eye can see.

I know 13 people, in the last year, who have lost their jobs. Their only source of income at the time. Now gone. Left to their own machinations and left in a world that has no place for them in the job markets at this time.

Bigger companies, like Garmin, cutting jobs left and right. Cutting benefits. Cutting 401K matches and cutting everything down to bare bones and brass tacks.

We're on the Titanic and we're rearranging deck chairs.

My company has a job freeze and is cutting costs, just like every other company out there.

So it's left me wondering, what is going to happen?

Which we will get to.

But every day, you see news stories on CNN, MSNBC, Fox even, talking about the shambles that our country is in. But you won't necessarily feel it unless you're living it or know someone who is.

My wife lost her job. Two of my best friends lost their jobs. My brother. A couple more friends and family members. Down the line.

People are losing their jobs every minute of every day and some of us are holding on for dear life, waiting for the bottom to drop out.

And is that any way to live?

Not really.

But again, I'm not talking from any more experience than being the guy with the shoulder to cry on and the hope to share. The idea to give help to those who need it.

We've all been there.

When I was in Detroit for work, we traveled through the city, and we passed by 2 churches, specifically, that were filled with people, waiting in line, for soup, for bread, for whatever meal they could get.

In suits. In sweats. In whatever they had on that day.

I've volunteered in the past at food kitchens, and you get used to a certain look from people there getting food. But it was strange to see people in nice suits standing next to people who looked homeless and seeing them interact, even briefly.

People everywhere need jobs. Need food. Need homes.

When I was in California, on the beach, I walked by homeless people. Scores of them on the pier fishing. With everything they owned in bags and stacked up next to them.

Fishing for their meals.

I saw homes that were in disarray as they had for sale signs that appeared to have been there for a very long time.

I saw RVs that appeared to have been sitting in the same spot for weeks.

I saw people looking down their noses at others just because they needed a bite to eat.

The world is a strange place right now, a scary place, a place that needs change. And certain people in the news, the Glenn Becks, the Bill O'Reillys, the Ann Coulters, are already calling for the head of Barack Obama for the mistakes he has "made" and for not fixing things like he promised.

The guy has been in office just about 3 months and we're already calling it quits?

That's the state of the United States, right there. That's the reason Fear and Loathing exists.

Each of us is left to our own machinations because that is what we choose, and then when we suffer some form of punishment or the world starts to change in ways we don't agree with, we start to change our minds and place blame on others.

When my wife lost her job, it was torture. But she found a new one quickly. That's what we call a small miracle.

A few of my friends have been out of jobs since November of last year. Since October. Since July. And no bites.

Some are being picky about the opportunities they look for, but being in a position where I have a job that I don't necessarily see myself doing for the rest of my life, I can't fault them for trying to find something they actually want to do.

But here we are, a country on the brink of total annihilation, and we are pointing fingers at each other. Still. We point fingers and place blame on everyone around us for the sake of who knows what.

And here we are, nothing's changed. Nothing's gotten better.

Gas prices are going up.

Floods might hit Minnesota.

We might get snow in April.

Job losses are at an all-time high once a week.

The Auto industry is in shambles.

And we are placing blame elsewhere.

When will we, as a country, learn? When will we as a people decide that enough is enough and place the blame squarely where it belongs, on our own shoulders?

I know that if I were to lose my job, it would be a terrible thing. But I wouldn't point fingers. I wouldn't blame you or yours for my misfortune.

That's the same reason why I'm not buying a house right now or having children. Everyone says now is the best time now is the best time now is the best time to buy a house.

Is it?

Or is it the worst time because any single one of us could lose our jobs tomorrow?

It's a bleak viewpoint, but it's all I've got.

So what's going to happen? What will happen if we continue down this path of self-destruction and no control?

Will we lose everything we've ever fought for or loved?

We could.

Will we pay better attention to the way we spend our money?

We should.

Will we think before we go out and buy that new car or home that we can't afford?

I'd like to think so.

But right now, to me, the world looks poised for self-destruction. Corruption is running rampant. Companies like AIG pay off their big heads of company after getting a corporate bailout.

Other companies aren't being enforced, at least at the time of this writing, into spending the money on the necessary things.

And people still ask the same questions.

So what can we do? As a society, what can you and I do?

We can fix our own lives. Live simply. Don't request the big bucks or seek out the best and brightest things.

Live as you need to live, not as you want to live.

You don't need 250 million dollars to play baseball if you love the game. I'd play it for the salary I make where I am now.

You don't need to cheat to hit more home runs. You just practice more.

You don't need to give money to the people who got you into this mess in the first place. Let them help themselves.

And that's the best lesson to learn.

We might all be in this together, but fix your own home first. Fix your own problems. Don't sell yourself short to help everyone else, but look in your own backyard first.

That's another problem that faces our country. The get-rich quick schemes. The reality television epidemic that pushes a mom to get impregnated with 8 babies just so she can be on TV.

The epidemic that makes us all feel like spending money to have a paparrazi follow us around for a day.

Because people like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and Amy Winehouse are who we should be looking to for our inspiration and the ways we should live our lives.

It's a strange world out there.

But what can you do to fix it for yourself?

It's a choice. Like always. Do you choose self-destruction, follow down a path of corruption, greed, self-worth, and allow your demons to destroy you? Or do you choose the lighter path, helping yourself, paying attention to your money and expenses, and live more simply for today?

What do you choose?


Part 104

Picture yourself 5 years from now. Where do you see yourself?

Now think back 5 years ago and think about where you saw yourself being today?

Is it the same place?

Did it change in any way?

Mine sure didn't.

I spent the crux of this weekend taking care of other things. Other people. Other events. I spent a large chunk of it at the comic convention, knocking elbows with people more famous than me in the comics world. Shaking hands. Giving out business cards.

Doing the honest work of a man trying to sell himself.

Trying to sell his wares to people who are there to smile and laugh with their adoring fans.

Each and every one of the people at the con probably had something to sell. Something to say. Some big, bright idea that they were looking to tell people about as the best idea the world has ever heard of.

And here I am, just another person doing that exact same thing.


Back to my initial thought. Look back 5 years. What did you see yourself doing at this exact moment?

Me? I saw myself in two very distinct ways.

The first thing I saw, 5 years ago, thinking ahead 5 years, was nothing.

Nothing at all.

I didn't plan on living to 25. I didn't plan on living to 21. I planned on being out of the world and out of the misery that I caused to so many others by the time that I was 21.

I expected that the world wouldn't know my name, whether infamous or famous, I didn't expect anyone to be reading a blog that I was writing.

The other way I saw myself, when I thought slightly more positively, was doing something better. Doing something that involved creativity.

I saw myself writing for a living and making a living at it without having to fight.

Again, in a much more positive light.

But here I am, writing as an outlet, still, to this day, and nothing is what it should be.

We all have had things in our lives that haven't gone our ways. So what? I'm no different from anyone, as I said.

But think back 5 years ago and think about where you saw yourself today, on this day, and think about how strange it is to be in this exact spot, thinking about another 5 year plan.

Where do I plan to be when I'm 30?

I hope that I'm in a better place. I hope that I have made a better life for the people around me so that they can live freely and happily and not have to worry about money or anything of that nature.

I hope that I've made a name for myself in my chosen profession.

But in reality, I'll probably be in the exact same spot, doing the exact same thing, at the exact same time.

And how depressing is that?

As always, I suppose it could be worse. I could be out of a job like so many others, and if the world continues down the path it's on now, all of us could be out of jobs by 5 years from now.

So I shouldn't complain.

I've still got my health, and I've still got the one overriding quality of this blog that has been an ongoing part of everything I've written about.


I've got the ability to make a choice. To choose what I plan to do. To choose which path I decide to take and which path I follow.

I've got the ability to make that choice and stick with it, or find a new choice and jump to that.

There are so many choices in front of us daily that who knows? Tomorrow could be a completely different world from today.

For better or worse.

But it's all about fear. It's all about not knowing what to expect and forcing ourselves into some pre-ordained path that will keep us centered.

On a goal.

On a path.

Why? Why do we follow these paths?

I once talked about not believing in hope but I talk about it often. It's a word. That's all it is.

It doesn't choose which way my life goes. I choose it. I pick the path.

And I follow that path.

For better or worse.

So again, it boils all down to choice.

I can look back 5 years ago and be sad for the person that thought they wouldn't be here today, writing this, or I can be excited by the prospects, by the things I would have missed had I not been here.

It can open up new things for me. New possibilities. It can allow me to grow.

Or it can turn me into a wallowing, self-deprecating jackass who doesn't see the small good things in front of him.

Life is possibilities. Countless. Infinite. There are so many ways that tomorrow can go differently from today and just be off the wall insanity. There are so many different things I can do in the morning or at night before I attempt to fall asleep that can change the whole outlook on tomorrow.

It just depends on what I decide to do.

So what do you decide?

In 5 years, where will you be? And will you be happy about it?

Make the change now. You'll get a second chance, but don't let it come too late.

I feel like a self-help blog in a really strange way. Is that what Fear and Loathing has become?

A way for me to tell people things that they didn't ask but I sure think they should hear?

That's what it always was, I suppose, but in reality, what is this blog now?

Hmm. Choice. You have the choice to make it whatever you want. Or you can sit there and do nothing. Change nothing. Do nothing to fix the ways of your world and just be.

What do you choose?


Part 105

This is why we can't have nice things. The stupid ways of the stupid world strike again.

So last night, a couple friends and I were downtown at Barnes and Noble. In the hub of the city. Whatever. That's not the issue.

If we want to get technical, the Plaza. The Country Club Plaza. You all know where it is.

We were down there to meet a local artist to discuss a new pitch we're working on. It's gonna be a good one. And we'll discuss it once things get to a place of things being centralized and near completion.

So we went to the cafe and sat and had our meeting, and to alleviate stress and nerves, my friend and I both were going to get coffee.

Not the smartest of ideas when you're having trouble sleeping and when you limit your caffeine intake, but still, coffee.

My friend suggested using his gift card that he'd had since Christmas to get rid of it as he'd been trying for months to do that.

A Starbucks giftcard.

When presented, immediately the "cafe baron" or whatever the hell they call themselves declined the card saying they don't accept Starbucks giftcards as they aren't technically a Starbucks.

Yet they sell Starbucks coffee.

And I've used Starbucks cards there before in the past.

So I was stumped. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't understand the idea that using a Starbucks giftcard was not allowed at a Starbucks coffeeplace, just because it's in a bookstore in the middle of the city.

And the guy then asked if I had a Barnes and Noble card, which I immediately told him no.

It's lead me to believe and to understand more of this idea. The idea that even in the face of a world on the brink of destruction, corporate greed is still there.

The world teeters and places like Barnes and Noble charge you for coffee from Starbucks, charge you Starbucks amounts and serve you Starbucks coffee, and then you can only use cash or charge.

Not only that, but their supposed "benefits" of having a Barnes and Noble card amounts to paying them $25 a month or year or whatever to allow yourself 30-40% off a book, movie, or CD that was marked up 50% of msrp.

Where do they get off? And where does it stop?

I'm not the biggest fan of global book chains like Barnes and Noble or Borders, I much rather would buy books from Amazon and save the hassle (as I'm sure each and every one of you agree with).

But at the very least, Borders offers things to the people that buy their books. Free membership. Used to be free money back and free coupons all the time. Half-off sales. A certain percentage extra off.

Plus, the people just seem genuinely nicer there.

And they never lay claim to the idea that they sell Starbucks coffee but you can't use your Starbucks giftcard there.

So pissed off by this.

But life goes on. And there are much more important things to rail about today.

Fear and Loathing this past weekend went to the local Comic convention, which I mentioned previously. Met a lot of really great comic creators from the area and just bumped elbows with people and passed around my business card.

It was glorious. It was a little maddening to think that this is one of the many things I'd like to be doing but just don't have the ability to do currently.

It's fine.

One of my comic creator friends, Jai Nitz, who writes for DC Comics, I got to see again. He's one I see every so often but getting to talk to him and just shoot the breeze is always a pleasure.

Chris Samnee, a St. Louis based DC comics artist, is another guy who I dig, and funnily enough, he's one of those people that I spent most of my time talking with.

I guess I pigeonholed myself.

Travis Fox was there, Trevan was there (not really selling things, but I'm pretty sure I saw him there), Matt Fraction, Jason Aaron, Phil Hester, and just tons of people from the comics world.

It was fun.

As it always is.

It's gotten leaps and bounds better, the Planet Comic-Con, in the last few years. Back when it started, I was a lot younger and it was a lot more sparse and had a lot fewer guests.

Now it's just packed to the gills.

Which brings me to my next point. Hawking works.

Now, the thing that I'm going to be showing you is the first published comic work of a close friend of mine. CW Cooke. It's a book called RX Tales, from a very small publishing company in NYC, and it's his first ever thing.

I was told to show everybody the link and let them make a decision whether to buy it or not.

I do know that he mentioned he would sign it if you wanted.

He has a 4 page story published in it and he's happy as all hell to get it out there, so this week there isn't much Fear and Loathing he's doing, he's just brimming in happiness.

The bastard.


If that link doesn't work, google RX Tales or google Indy Planet and then search for RX Tales and that should take you right there.

3 bucks, then add shipping, for a piece of history? You can't go wrong.

That's it for me today everybody. Keep up the fear and loathing and keep making choices. Keep living in reality and don't let the world slap you in the face.

It's time to be the or.


Part 106

And this continues to be why we can't have nice things. A little thing called Lent and not being able to eat meat on Friday.

Now, once upon a time in the land called Catholicism, eating meat was a sin on par with murder, adultery, and cheating on your taxes.

You eat meat, you go to hell. No questions asked.

It was every Friday for most people who grew up in Catholic families in the earlier parts of the first half of this century, and hell, probably on through today for some families.

Side-note: do people still consider themselves roman catholics? Or just plain catholics?

Is that like Coke Classic vs New Coke?

Back to the main crux.

Thou shalt not eat meat on Friday or thou shalt be cast off straight to the deepest reaches of hell as thy mouth has tasted the spoils of the foul beast Lucifer.

Now, come on. No meat on Friday? Punishable by death and scorching in hell for the rest of eternity?

What the hell is wrong with people?

So my dad, one of the people who grew up with no meat on Fridays in a Roman Catholic household, tells me this, and all I can think is man do I want a really big cheeseburger right now.

Not because I'm a heathen.

Even though I am.

But because it's stupid.

To crib from George Carlin, slightly, shouldn't a all-seeing being who is taking care of a universe care about more important things than my eating meat? On Friday?

It makes no sense to me.

The argument comes about because of a few sources. My wife's work, which shall remain nameless, was going to have a party in order of opening day at The K.

Big deal. Big hoopla. Woo.

That big day was going to celebrate the things everybody loves about the K (minus beer and that lemonade lemonade lemonade guy).

Hot dogs. Peanuts. Baseball attire. The works.

And they were celebrating it on April 10th, the actual opening day at the K.

But because April 10th is on Good Friday this year, those people celebrating lent decided to go up in arms about it, chastising those people who wanted to take part and have a good time and eat hot dogs (which, in my own recollection, contain only miniscule traces of real meat anyway), and berated them with thoughts and feelings of betraying their religion and not being fair to all people by having it that day.

So instead her work changed the day to April 9th, which is not opening day at the K and is, in reality, Passover, another religious holiday for Judaism, which is just another one of those big religions in the world today.

But no one balked at that.


Because apparently there aren't that many people who follow the Jewish religion where she works, or they don't amount to the right number of people trying to put on a mask of actually following their religion once or twice a year.

You know, like most Catholics do.

So the opening day at the K celebration at my wife's workplace happens on Passover, which again, I'm all but sure doesn't allow meat to be eaten that day.

And it brings a lot of things full circle for me right now.

There are certain people in the world, a lot of whom are Catholics, that don't bother me at all. I have good friends that are die-hard Catholics, prescribe to all the crazy stuff that 14 years of Catholic school beats out of you as you grow up.

And I love these people.

But I know people that are Catholics that aren't normal. They're the Catholics that beat the sense of entitlement that comes with being a Catholic into you. They show you how great they are, how much they love God, and they make arguments about how your life should be centered more in the teachings of Jesus if you ever want to see paradise after life.

People who will turn on a brother or a sister who wants to get married to their partner and wants their state and the whole world to recognize their love as a true and honest marriage.

People who butt into every argument being made because a friend is going through a rough time with a person who lied, wholeheartedly, to him and ruined his life. They make arguments that God wants these people to stay together and marriage is a union that should never be broken.

People who ask questions, pointed questions, that make people feel like less of believers.

People who took the religion and bastardized it and made it into something grotesque, something they can wear as a shield and hide behind because they are too weak to realize that they are just terrible human beings who like making people feel worse.

I'm not a Catholic. I'm not religious in any sense.

But I'm not deriding you for your religious beliefs. Nor will I ever do that.

I may argue with you about them. Try to make you see my side, but it's not my mission in life to destroy your sense of religion, your sense of belonging to a religion and a way of life.

What I am saying is this: how ridiculous is it to think that you can't allow people to just be? Everyone.

Murderers. Tax cheaters. You. Me. Slackers. Punks. Everybody.

Doesn't the religion teach us to see everyone the same way? Love each other as we love ourselves?

Treat each other as we would like to be treated?

Isn't that the point?

I know that I've talked about this before. I know that I will talk about it again.

But why? Why do I have to? Why do I know that sooner rather than later something else will present itself that will bug me to no end and in my eyes will need to be discussed?

Because I've been down this road a million times. And I will be down it another million or more.

Why can't the people observing Good Friday just sit this one out? Or observe it and have fun at the party and NOT EAT HOT DOGS?

I don't even like hot dogs. I haven't eaten hot dogs since I found half a fly in one, the other half, of course, in my mouth.

But why not? Do the people who don't wish to have a party on Good Friday also look at their friends and family as heathens who eat meat when they eat meat?

I don't even eat meat all the time and I make it a point on Fridays during Lent to find something meaty and eat it. Just because I can. Because I feel like I should be allowed to. Because I don't believe in the hocus pocus and I don't live my life in fear of burning in the 7th ring of hell.


The world is full of so many people who feel that who they are and what they do is the most important thing happening at that moment. The world is full of people, who I bumped into quite a few this weekend, who feel that they are the most important person in the world and they don't feel like offering an inch, offering any space to you as you pass by them at a restaurant or grocery store.

People who feel like they are the best and brightest and everyone else pales in comparison to them, so why should they give them the common decency of saying excuse me.

And in my lifetime, quite a few have been Catholics.

Which goes beyond irony into a vast realm of stupidity.

But that's not the point.

The point is, who are we to judge everyone else for what they believe or what they do? Who am I to judge the religious people who feel they are better than everyone else?

Who I am to say anything?

Well, who are they to do the same?

We will all be judged. That's one thing I know. Whether I believe in God, Karma, Veloci-jesus, or some Oompa Loompa in the sky, we will all be judged.

Every single one of us will be judged.

It just depends on who your judge is and when the judgment will come.

Me? I'm going to live my life and let it all happen as it happens. I'm not going to live in fear of judgment after I'm dead. I know I've been a horrible person some days and I know that others I'm pretty decent.

But I don't feel living in fear or judgment of others is the best way for me to live my life and live out my days.

But maybe I'm wrong.


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