Monday, December 20, 2004


But when we witness that inescapable breath of wisdom, will we feel it?

Perception Of Christianity

Editor, Times-Union:

All of my life, just like so many others, I have tried to learn something new every day, or every second, if one wants to be technical. In this way, life is always a new beginning. Learning, gaining knowledge or understanding is a complicated thing if one is afraid to open new doors of perception. Why fear, they are all clearly marked to suit everyone's interest, knock and it shall be opened to you ...

My perception of Christianity differs from most. I see the prince of peace as a teacher who wanted emulation not adulation. His own words make that clear: "Don't glorify me, glorify God." This teacher taught me that we are all sons and daughters of God, and as divine beings we have well defined responsibilities, not only to the Creator and Mother Nature, but to one another as well. From an individual viewpoint, perception needs to be panoramic, not myopic. Shortsightedness gets one nowhere. Teachers teach, preachers preach and greed will always overreach. To strain at a gnat and swallow a camel is obviously not a good thing.

When a student is properly taught, they become a teacher in their own right, especially in matters of the spirit. The patriarchy is only half of the story, the other half is matriarchal. Woman's divinity is as equally important as man's divinity. After all, woman is the mother of all men. The goddess is as full of wisdom, beauty and truth as God is. Actually, these are the two aspects of the one God. We are all invited to witness and observe the two becoming one at the wedding. But only if we are dressed properly ... those who attempt to bring their pride and vanity along will be cast into the outer darkness. Those who are dressed properly become one with everything and are allowed to become an observer of the realm of the unmanifest. This is called being born into the spirit. This is an experience that is available to one and all. ... As I near the end of my 500 words I become aware of the difficulty of explaining ineffable understanding. It's almost impossible, however, I'm convinced that I will never stop trying. ...
In conclusion, I want to thank all of those who responded to "Limited Consciousness." Thank you so much for your kind words.

Gene May
Mastodon City


Freedom's on the march.

Friday, December 17, 2004


From CNN's Entertainment Section
December 17, 2004

By Kevin Spacey
Special Guest Writer for

'Beyond' good, thanks to Spacey

CNN) -- Some people have tried to dismiss Kevin Spacey's new film "Beyond the Sea" as just another movie star's vanity project. After all, this two-time Oscar winner's often-expressed passion for bringing the life of singer Bobby Darin to the big screen is well documented.

But in this film he inhabits Darin to the point where you can't escape a feeling of awe for his performance -- and a deep respect for his commitment to telling the story of this remarkably talented performer.

Spacey, who's 45, has been criticized as too old to play Darin, who died at age 37 in 1973 after emergency heart surgery. However, since Spacey not only stars in "Beyond the Sea," but also wrote, produced and directed the movie, he was able to structure the story in a way that helps a great deal in getting past the age problem. In fact, there were times when I imagined that if anything, Spacey looked too young to be convincing as a mid-30's Darin.

The film's conceit is that Darin is making a movie about his life. This movie within the movie allows us to meet him towards the end of that life as he looks back in time. In his film debut, 11-year-old William Ullrich plays Darin as a boy. Spacey -- as Darin -- interacts with the boy on the set of this imaginary movie and singer's story unfolds.

Impossible to categorize

Spacey comes through winningly: he isn't just a great actor, he's also an unexpectedly good singer -- handling the vocals himself -- and surprisingly light on his feet. (Indeed, he's been on a concert tour performing Darin songs with all of Darin's stagecraft.)

His talents were enough to win over Darin's son Dodd and former manager Steve Blauner (who's in the film, played by John Goodman). Indeed, they were so convinced of Spacey's talents they actually provided Ramone with Darin's original arrangements.

Spacey doesn't shy away from the dysfunctional areas of Darin's life. The singer struggled with depression, marital problems and career ups and downs as styles changed around him. His family also has a secret, one that Darin didn't learn until mid-career. Along the way we also witness his incredible bravery in the face of a major illness and his refusal to be categorized. In one very special scene, Spacey nails the anguish and fight of this battered man, leaving the theater emotionally drained but ultimately awestruck at the breadth of the actor's talent - an inherent ease in portraying mankind's pathos.

"Beyond the Sea" is a solid group effort, but ultimately it's Spacey's show. Goodman, Blethyn, Hoskins and Aaron surround the lead with terrific performances, further enhancing what was already an amazing performance.

Many people under 40 may not even remember Bobby Darin, let alone know about his remarkable life story. "Beyond the Sea" may rectify that problem and stand as a wonderful tribute to an amazing talent who left us all too soon - and to any even greater talent in the actor Kevin Spacey.

I, er, I mean, he does it again.


A good competitor knows when he has lost, just the same as he knows when he has won. The old adage states that a true sportsman knows not only how to win, but indeed, shows grace even in defeat.

With that said, I must grant victory to the Wooly Mammoth, whose mustache I am hoping I will not only be able to witness in a few days, but indeed marvel at and compliment. Today the few vestiges of my mustache were shorn for the hygenic and aesthetic benefit of my colleagues; after receiving more than a couple disgusted looks and after twice hearing the utterance "ewww" yesterday, I decided that my continued employment was more important than proving a few haters wrong.

But for those of you who wish to see the 'stache as it was, before it was forever shorn from the mantle above my lip, I give you this - the one, single, perfect image of my face:

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


In which I transcribe passages from hilariously poorly written books that are soberingly enjoyable to read.

This segment's novel: Dan Brown's prequel to "The DaVinci Code", "Angels & Demons".


"I have people here at the lab very adept at extracting user information from the Web," the man said.

Langdon was skeptical. "Sounds like your lab knows a lot about the Web."

"We should," the man fired back. "We invented it."

Something in the man's voice told Langdon he was not joking.


Modern symbologists had tried for years to forge the word "Illuminati" into a perfectly symmetrical style, but they had failed miserably. Most academics had now decided the symbol's existence was a myth.

"So who are the Illuminati?" Kohler demanded.

Yes, Langdon thought, who indeed? He began his tale.


Hatha yoga? Langdon mused. The ancient Buddhist art of meditative stretching seemed an odd proficiency for the physicist daughter of a Catholic priest.


Olivetti turned, peering down at Langdon. "I have a woman in shorts telling me that a droplet of liquid is going to blow up Vatican City, and I have an American professor telling me we are being targeted by some anti-religious cult. What exactly is it you expect me to do?"

"Find the canister," Vittoria said. "Right away."

"Impossible. That device could be anywhere. Vatican City is enormous."

"Your cameras don't have GPS locators on them?"

"They are not generally stolen. This missing camera will take days to locate."

"We don't have days," Vittoria said adamantly. "We have six hours."

Monday, December 13, 2004


Late last week, after a few email exchanges regarding upcoming family Christmas plans, the Wooly Mammoth did a foolish thing. He challenged me to a mustache competition.

The nerve. And not just that.

The gall.

All who know me know that there is very little chance I will lose. How could I? I'm a veritable fountain of testosterone and virility. Mannishness oozes from my pores. I am the ancient myth embodying the echoes and whispers of the power of the phallus; the purity of my potency is made manifest on the ridge above my upper lip.

Tread in the forest of my mustache hair if you must, Wooly Mammoth, but do not be alarmed if you become lost in its thickness; its density of foliage. Its growth knows no limits.

Check mate.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


The Wooly Mammoth sent me a smattering of links this morning about this movie. Here's one of the articles.

There are a lot of reasons why he would send me these links, the most prominent being the fact that Mastodon City is only thirty minutes away from Goshen and it is surprising to see that area - a place I'm sure the both of us consider our own little slice of the world - as the setting of a film that will likely make it into theaters.

Here are some things I think about when I think about Goshen. I think about tennis when I think about Goshen. It's where I went to take lessons in high school, and their team was our rival. They were better than us. There was a girl who took lessons in Goshen and I always liked her. She was Mennonite, and she was very attractive. We went out on a few dates but I was young and I didn't know what to do with a beautiful Mennonite, or how to continue a relationship, so I stopped calling her. She also, like the guy who wrote the "Lonesome Jim" script, went to Bethany Christian for High School and then to Goshen College.

The idea of the script is that a man goes to New York for awhile then returns to his hometown. Not something I can admit I haven't thought about. This girl - the one that played tennis - her father was a furniture maker. When I came back to Mastodon City for a few weeks after living in New York, I met up with her in Goshen. I made an aside that since I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life, I thought I'd like to learn how to make furniture from her father (her father owns a successful Shaker-style furniture-making business). It was a joke, but when I said it, it didn't sound too impractical. If I remember correctly, she even asked me if I'd like her to talk to her father about getting me a job as an apprentice.

So, when I think of Goshen, I think of her, and I think of tennis. The first night I drove to the Mennonite girl's house to pick her up for a date, I got lost and called her from my dad's cell phone. We kept breaking up, and it took me forever to get to her place. When I got there, I entered this house with the most beautiful wooden furniture I'd ever seen. Everything was dark.

In the state tennis regionals my senior year, I played against Goshen's number 1 singles player. I had beaten him twice during the regular season, but right before the match, I twisted my ankle and I lost. That night I was inconsolable. I don't ever remember crying so hard. When my father picked me up after the bus ride to our high school, I remember that I kept apologizing to him. He was, naturally, very confused.

These are a few things that I think about when I think about Goshen.

And today I might be a little sad. I'm just not sure yet.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004



Editor, Times-Union:

To the dog owner who owns the mobile home at Yellow Creek Lake: This past weekend my children came to me upset because they saw a dog inside a mobile home that no one is living in. I took it upon myself to go down and check out the situation. What I saw inside that trailer was one of the most appalling things I've ever seen. A dog inside living amongst all of the stuff the previous tenate left behind. It looked as if they just up and left everything; a tornado would have been an improvement. We tried to coax the dog out, but no luck. I called the animal control officer, who I find out has contacted the owner of the dog and he tells me that the dog has food, water and shelter and that the law states as long as these three things are available, there's nothing he can do. Lord have mercy on your soul. Animals have feelings, too. How would you like to live like that and have to run around your urine and feces and to live without electricity and companionship. You've broken hearts of children and adults as well. That poor dog. I'm praying for your soul. You know not what you do.

Susan Schoettmer
Mastodon City


Last night, two things.

First. I watched, on the advice of big brother The Wooly Mammoth, a documentary entitled "Rivers and Tides". It profiles the life and work of Andy Goldsworthy, a Scottish artist that creates ephemeral sculptures out of objects he finds in nature. I highly recommend it. Even better than Steven Kenny. Barely.

Second. I dreamed a dream and in that dream I dreamed about the girl that I always dream about. Actually, the girl changes, but the role of the girl remains the same. Thus, throughout my life, I have had, I would guess, three prototypical dream girls. The first lasted from middle school through high school. The second, through the parts of college I was sober. The latest, since college. Last night I kept dreaming about the girl that I always dream about and I kept waking up. She was not the way I remembered her. She was uglier, fatter, louder - she was older. She had changed. Yet I was more attracted to her. I kept waking up. At around four in the morning I woke up and debated whether I should stay up. Obviously, I went back to sleep and in my dreamstate the girl that I always dream about was getting married to a man from my hometown who played Varsity basketball. This man is the same age as King Koopa, his last name is the same as the first and middle names of a certain cartoon coyote, and I'm certain that he and the girl I always dream about have never met. I don't know why this person was in my dreams. I haven't thought about him for years.

To add insult to injury, this quick and limber point guard and the girl that I always dream about were getting married in the same church that I had grown up in and that I had attended for the first 18 years of my life. It seemed like quite the affront, as neither have ever visited the church. In my dream, I tried calling the girl I always dream about but, in typical dream fashion, I was having a difficult time pressing the buttons on my phone and kept dialing other people, asking them to stop the wedding.

All of this to say that I wish I were a bit more like Andy Goldsworthy, and dreamed about leaves washing down a river and giant stone beehives and not about old point guards on the high-school basketball team.

And I wish the girl I always dreamed about looked a little more like this:

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Hit And Run

Editor, Times-Union:

On the morning of Nov. 26, at 1:30 a.m. a midnight blue 1998-2003 Volkswagon Beetle was involved in a hit and run accident on the west end of Armstrong Road near Mastodon City. This involved a utility pole and property damage to the home at this location.

This vehicle will be easy to recognize for it is missing the front lower grill, one headlight, both lower running lights, one turn signal and other front end damage. If you know anything about this vehicle please call 5**-453-4071 or the Mastodon County Sheriff at 5**-267-5667. Thank you for helping the home owner.

Chester Stump
Mastodon City


Ms. Audrey Tautou
Attn: Claire Blondel
20 avenue Rapp, 75007
Paris, France

Dear Ms. Tautou:

I hope you're well.

Last evening, I had the pleasure of accompanying a friend to see your latest film, "A Very Long Engagement". What a wonderful picture. Your performance was, I am not embarrased to say, quite spectacular. I applaud you many times over. It is more than a little unfair that a woman as beautiful as you should possess such talents and charm. Truly, your presence is further proof of a partisan Creator.

This was not the first of your films I've seen. I originally witnessed your bravura in the film "Amelie" and later in the heartfelt melodrama, "Dirty Pretty Things", a film in which you utilized the most adorable English accent I have ever heard. My original concerns after watching "Amelie" - namely, that the language barrier separating you and I would be insurmountable - vanished at the first utterings from your mouth.

Though I have only seen three of your films, I feel as though I am in a unique position to contact you and ask to meet with you. You see, I live and work in Los Angeles, California, the motion-picture capital of the world. Therefore, we are not, as it might seem, strangers living in far away places but rather, as I prefer to think, colleagues. Oh, the stories I could tell you.

And I hope someday I may.

Let me be quite frank. I would like to be your lover and your friend. You have beautiful eyes. They are large and dark and they remind me of a place that I knew as a child - a place that does not exist but in the innocent mind of youth. A place that I'd still like to venture to. However, I cannot get there without you by my side.

You do not know the color of my eyes, but let me tell you that they are not unspectacular. On occasion, they have been referred to as "nice".

You have wonderful skin. In your latest film your backside is shown, in the nude, being massaged by a young and strapping swimmer. I do not believe that I am out of line to say that I wish I had been cast as the actor whose duty it was to limber up the muscles and tendons of your posterior half. Milky and smooth, I can only imagine the delight that lucky actor felt in running his hands over your body's silky epidermis.

My skin is often dry, but you should know that lately I have been using the oatmeal lotion product Aveeno to startlingly positive effect. Nor have I had a pimple in quite a few weeks.

Audrey, please do not listen to the rumors that you may have heard about me. My body does not boil over in hives during the wonderful act of making love. I am not unambitious yet arrogant, nor am I prone to overwhelming and crushing self-doubt. I am a dynamic young man. I make a wonderful vodka cream sauce, and serve it with whole-wheat organic pasta. I have a blog. I once took a class in Landscape Architecture.

Listen to me very carefully, Audrey. I do believe I am in love with you. I realize that there is more to you - much more, I'm sure - than the characters you create and portray in your films. This is the Audrey that I hope to come to know and cherish.

You may find this letter overly frank. Do not fret. I am a normal guy, wanting and needing normal things, like love. Where I am not normal, it not because I am deficient. Rather, these are areas where I surpass the status quo, such as archery and mini-shuffleboard.

I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes,

The American Mastodon


There are, I'm sure, myriad reasons why you come to this site. The hard-hitting news. The pointed social commentary. The endless, yet spectacular, drama of my life. But more than anything else, my guess is that you come here to, indeed, better yourself. "What magnificent pearls of taste has the American Mastodon gleaned from the internet and placed here, conveniently, on his personal weblog?"

Like Magellan, who travelled to the ends of the world in search of spices and silks, I never tire in my journey to bring you the best that this world has to offer.

With that in mind, check out Steven Kenny, a painter from Virginia. He makes the most odd combinations of materials and characters seem painfully obvious.

You're welcome.

The Millstone, 2003

Friday, December 03, 2004


Word today from Mastodon City that the kid from Junior year of high school who, inexplicably, trailed me from class to class once for an entire day, grunting all the while, and in the process scaring the living shit out of me, was recently apprehended and thrown in city lock up by the local authorities.

Ruban Wilson III, 25, of 709 W. Market St., Mastodon City, arrested for two counts of dealing marijuana, both Class C misdemeanors. His bond is $20,000.

In the same bust, the Mastodon City police were fortunate enough to nab one of the nation's most well known anti-Semites and inventor of the assembly line.

Henry Ford, 42, of 340 E. Levi-Lee Road, Mastodon City, arrested for dealing cocaine, a Class A felony. His bond was set at $20,000.

Times-Union. They report, I decide.


I don't know why or what it is, but I just keep getting better. More intelligent. More attractive. More dashing. More...amazing.

Girl. You know it's true.

Some have been tempted to describe this process through cliched simile: "like a fine wine, the American Mastodon gets better with age". Although true, this statement does not wholly encompass the man that I am, and contine to be. For, unlike the seedling in the ground, the withered grape on the vine, or the mashed juice in oaken barrels, there never was a time where my existence could be argued to have been inconsequential or disposable. In this regard, a more appropriate analogy would be to the element carbon.

In other words, in my most basic and elementary form, I provide life. Indeed, I provide the environment in which life can flourish. Then, I fill it.

Add some pressure to me. Go ahead. Throw at me your troubles, your travails, your boulders, your intense heat, your endless eons of shifting contintents and pounding waves of water. Be my guest. Because you know what? Congratulations, you've just made coal. A substance to heat the world, give it light, give it energy, make it move. First I give you life. Then I give you life.

But I wasn't happy being a few simple atoms to usher your lifeless form into the world of the living, nor was I ecstatic as you excavated me from underground tombs and shoveled me haphazardly into a train's engine. No, I always knew that I was more than that, and now I am. I am a shining diamond, formed through the breathtaking and explosive phenomena known as kimberlite.

Oops. Sorry to drop all that science on you like that. I didn't hurt your toes, did I?

The unwashed and ignorant among you may no doubt ask yourselves the meaning and significance of this word "kimberlite". Well, as perhaps one of you knows, it is the action that forms kimberlite pipes, and gives me endless life. Imagine if you will an incredible force building and gaining energy deep in the loins of the earth. Suddenly, at its climaxxx, a ball of hot and gooey magma is released from the earth's interior shelf, shooting upward through the thin mantle above, burning a hole through the crust and eventually, wonderfully, shooting its hot wad into the sky above. The residual magma remaining in the now empty shaft quickly cools: since the magma contains new elements that are comprised differently than those found in objects on the earth's surface, the strange substances dry and crytallize into fascinating shapes. Much carbon is churned up through this process, and the heat and force of the kimberlite makes these pipes an ideal environment to find, among other things, an endless procession of perfectly formed diamonds.

Since the interior of the pipe is often made of softer materials than the surrounding earth, the pipes often get covered deep beneath the earth's surface after many years, or are hidden under seemingly normal and placid lakes. Those who know me well know that I have a theory as to where some of these larger and more promising pipes may be. And, since I myself am a sparkling diamond, wouldn't you also take it as faith that I have a not uneducated idea as to where they might be?

Follow your heart, they always say. Well, I know where my heart lies. It beats inside of me always. And the beating says to me, in its confident whisper, "Keep on shining, keep on shining, keep on shining..."

Gaia shoots his hot wad all over Mother Earth, and life begins anew.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Sports Salaries

Editor, Times-Union:

In a news report today, Nov. 24, I read a college coach "signed a seven-year deal worth $1.25 million a season that could grow to more than $2 million with incentives."

There is something wrong somewhere. We have young men and women paying a supreme sacrifice for peanuts compared to this. It is no wonder people in other countries hate us when they see us doing such outrageous things like this when so many do not have housing or good food. There needs to be a zero taken off the pay for persons in sports. No doubt if this were done, a person who now gets $1 million would get only $100,000, which would then be a challenge for that person to be able to buy a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk.

We sure have our priorities out of whack, and people go ape over sporting events. I played sports in school and enjoyed them very much, but they were not the most important thing in my life.

Fred Yohey
Mastodon City


It's good to be back. Sure Ohio has normal people, beautiful landscapes, run down warehouses, cows, pretty girls with rotund bottoms lacking father issues, and the cutest little 19-month old boy a proud uncle could ever want, but hell. This is Los Angeles, folks. Everywhere I turn I see the manifestation of man's potential - hastily constructed and bland architecture, women wearing ridiculous outfits and men in Hawaiian shirts, the sorry effects of plastic surgery, the endless proliferation of black BMW's, and not a single pedestrian walking more than three city blocks. Heaven? Nah, baby - it's just Century City. It's just home.

So, enough of that. I'm glad to be back rappin' at ya. Sit back and get your fingers out of that window - I'm taking you fools to school.

Now, as most you know, I am in possession of a scientific and rational mind of the highest order. This is just fact. This just is. Nowhere has this been more evident than in my ninth grade "Biology Sciences" class at Mastodon High. Still, brighter days are to come and, indeed, last eve my brilliance once again shone like a beacon into the dark and shadowy recesses of ignorance and downright ridiculousness.

I shall expand.

On the flight into LAX I sat next to a young and buxome lass who, as it so fortuitously turned out, was reading a book entitled "Darwin's God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil". Neti (my neighbor) explained to me, after endless flirting and sparkling bright conversation, that the book sought to present the idea that Evolution as a theory owes its credibility less to the fossil record (which has holes larger than my oversized phallus) and flawed reasoning (we're still waiting for those macro-evolutionary theories) than to the fact that creationism is such a stupid idea. In other words, Evolution is how we came to be simply because no God would be unintelligent enough to litter the geologic landscape of earth's history with millions of failed species.

I cannot begin to tell you how stupid I think this idea is, or how ridiculous that book must be.

Knowing now that this is the kind of material that passes as scientific literature, I have begun work on a book that will be entitled, "Galileo's Munchies: the Caramel Covered Planet and the Notion of Perception", in which I describe how it has come to be accepted as fact that since we have only identified nine planets in our solar system, it is therefore an impossibility that there is, lurking somewhere in the periphery of our vision, a tenth planet in the sun's orbit that is made entirely of chocolate, and covered in a hardened, but no less delicious, caramel shell. I would consult with scientists and speak to the head of the Yale department of Astronomy. I would draw diagrams, and describe through numerous proofs that, by calibrating the energy and force pulling on various planets at particular points in their orbit, that there just cannot possibly be another planet in our solar system, and that planet can therefore not be comprised of chocolate and caramel.

Here's an idea for you, Mr. Scientist who wants to write a Book about Science - don't talk about what God would or would not have done. Because unless you're God (and since you are not me I'm assuming that you are not Him), it seems to me awfully difficult to argue what He would or would not have done. I mean, I get your point. You're trying to discount creationsim as many fundamentalist Christians see it - you are trying to say that the world has been around longer than six thousand years, that women were not formed from the rib of man, and that it would be kind of silly to think that an all-knowing God would need so long to correctly form his shining jewels: us. Well, thanks, but we didn't need a book telling us that. Just like we don't need a book posing as medical research telling us that it doesn't feel good to get reamed up the ass with a garden rake, or an astronomy text telling us there's not a tenth planet made of caramel and chocolate.

Note to the editors of Scientific American: no, you cannot purchase this essay for your next publication. Knowledge this insanely prescient shall forever be in the public domain.

This image of a trilobite is proof that if you write a book about any subject and talk about God, people will buy it, because they're saps.