Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Truth

Dear Friends,

I face about three months of slow recovery from my latest manic episode.

The only way to treat my illness is with massive doses of drugs that sedate me to the point of incoherence. I'm aware that many of my entries have been borderline incoherent and not nearly as precise as they need to be. This is regrettable, but until my body gets used to the medication, I may need to keep my entries short and to the point.

Psychiatry is an art form, not an exact science, and it will be until a cure for bipolar disorder is discovered. My moods the past couple days have been cycling back and forth. The only way to get myself level is to take psychotropic medications that inadvertently send me into mixed states, where my moods shift wildly between depression and stability on an hourly basis. This is going to be my lot in life for the next several weeks, unfortunately.

To spare you the confusion and me the frustration, I am not going to try to reach out to fellow bloggers or leave comments on blogs. I'll do what I can to keep myself moving forward. This is my lot in life and my cross to bear, and though I dislike what I'm going through, I don't have much choice in the matter.

Perhaps someday they'll come up with a better way to treat my chronic condition, but until that point I am going to have to take it easy and rest up thoroughly.

I promised to share the details of my latest hospitalization, but I'm not emotionally strong enough to dredge up the blow by blow. I have some serious limitations right now and though I rail against my lot in life, being upset about my condition won't do much good except keep me upset.

Confronting The True Nature of What We Believe

To an extent, the Reverend Wright controversy was inevitable. It was only a matter of time. I saw this coming, though the package it arrived in took me greatly by surprise.

I hope we take this opportunity as a means to advance moderate leftist religious and spiritual causes and not let ourselves be unfairly painted by our opposition with a broad brush. Wright does not speak for me and does not speak for my spiritual gathering and my religious allegiance.

I will be completely honest. In my younger years, I felt the seductive power of radicalism, militant politics, and the strident voices of the extreme left. But as I have grown older, I understand that radicals and reactionaries both are deeply troubled people. No one joins a cult because they feel particularly stable and no one lauds extreme political viewpoints because they feel accepted as a member of the mainstream.

Allow me to share my personal story. My late teens and early twenties were full of confusion and feelings of isolation. I felt misunderstood and utterly alone. This is why I once sought audience with the extreme left. So it is that I will never forget my first encounter with the intersection of liberal religion and militant politics. Up until that point I had lived a very sheltered existence very much in keeping with the pervasive and dominant Calvinism of my home state of Alabama. My eyes were opened wide--that is for sure. I had to see for myself and instead of feeling empowered, I felt deeply ambivalent about the path I had stumbled upon.

I understood in an instant why this degree of radical expression flourished for only a brief moment in time. The freedom and liberation promised by extreme leftist politics is deeply deceptive. In my opinion, few people have the self-control to be able to correctly manage free love, polyamory, and a particularly laissez faire attitude towards many things that I had been been taught in my childhood to be intrinsically sinful.

Do pardon as I refer to these past events of life in passing and not in much detail. I feel no compulsion to call out certain people or to point fingers. Those memories are reminders of how I was in a much less self-assured point in my life. I don't disown them, but neither are they a correct reflection of the way I am today.

So it is that now many of us are being forced to confront our riotous youth and the way we were before we had families, husbands, wives, significant others, careers, and positions of responsibility.

The United States of America is, and I doubt this comes as much of a surprise, quite a conservative nation. We are a nation of voyeurs, all of us eager to pry into the lives of other people, but hoping and praying the cameras never turn in our direction. And so it is when we are forced to confront unsettling realities, our discomfort is clearly palpable.

Obama: The Survivor

I've taken the opportunity to dive into Obama's past in a way to understand how he has dealt with adversity earlier in his political career. The reality is rather comforting, rather than distressingly inconsequential.

For a candidate who many assume has at best, minimal experience, the reality of the situation belies this snap judgment.

When put head to head with Hillary Clinton, Obama has actually MORE experience in a strictly political context. Hillary Clinton has been U.S. Senator longer than Barack and had a dubious role as First Lady for eight years, but Obama has risen through the ranks and climbed the ladder rather methodically. Hillary easily won her Senate seat based on her name recognition, her husband's tenure as President of the United States, and capitalized on the mistakes made by her Republican opposition.

Obama has known the sting of losing an election by 30 percentage points, as evidenced by his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. House in 2000, where he lost to black political stalwart Bobby Rush by a margin of almost two to one. Some thought Obama's political career on a national scale had been put to rest. He came across as testy, inexperienced, hasty, and unprepared. In its place, a much more methodical, less emotionally wrought Obama rose from the ashes.

That unsuccessful campaign taught Obama the hard truth and lesson of humility, a trait often in short supply among politicians. And it also taught him that no matter how one tries to control one's destiny, the political landscape is subject to change at any time and unforeseen forces can completely transform the nature of a race. Fresh off the Reverend Wright controversy, Obama's mind must be flashing back to his failures as well as his successes. Wisdom is often little more than the knowledge of lessons learned the hard way and baptism by fire often is more instructive and precious than the thrill of victory.

I personally would rather be lucky than good, and in saying this, I know Obama has benefited from both his strengths and a from tremendous amount of luck. But luck is a fickle creature, as we all know, and no one has a monopoly on its charms.

Would you want to support a candidate who had lived a charmed existence with no setbacks? I feel confident that Obama will learn from this and move forward.

On My Way To Better Things

No time for
revolving doors

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Enter the Sympathy Vote

Many of us have been agonizing over the impact of Jeremiah Wright's controversial comments and today's public repudiation by Senator Obama himself.

I watched the entire press conference with a combination of nerves and sympathy. In my opinion, Obama has been taken aback and thrown off message by the grandstanding narcissism of his former minister. I am not going to defend Reverend Wright because I too believe that some of his remarks were inexcusable and clearly designed to inflame certain segments of the electorate.

What we are being forced to confront as religious liberals are the fringe elements that misrepresent our point of view. It is an unfortunate tendency of human nature to think that only the extreme voices of our opposition correctly represent the ideals we hold dear. We have a tendency to think that every conservative voice secretly espouses reactionary right-wing radical views and, in that same spirit, our Republican brethren have the same tendency to see us only in terms of the radical left-wing voices that often get the most press attention.

The extremes speak for themselves only. Most of us are moderates, but with a decided bias to either the right or the left.

The truth of the matter is that scandalous, abrasive, and off the wall political causes have a novelty factor and sell papers and online subscriptions. There is a sensationalist aspect to our media that thrives on spectacle, half truth, and controversy. That has never changed.

Imagine if you were running for public office and a former trusted confidant decided to ride your coattails for the sake of fame. Imagine if Reverend Wright had been your minister. Indeed, when I was a member of Congregationalist faith groups, I did not agree with everything my minister spoke from the pulpit. One of the reasons I converted to Quakerism is because I had been burned one too many times by the frequently overreaching views that came booming out of some of the churches I've attended over the years. The ministry of all Friends seems an appropriate response to the very human tendency to use a bully pulpit to advance personal, individual causes. Lest I seem to be clandestinely advancing the cause of my own faith group, let me qualify my statement.

I do not completely fault Jeremiah Wright, since the short-term rewards of fame or even infamy appeal to the less than altruistic side of humanity that is greedy and desirous of wealth. I seek not to be piously and hypocritically critical and judgmental.

With an unabashed liberal voice in serious contention for the Democratic nomination for President, those very same fears that have kept us the Loyal Opposition for the past thirty years are beginning to rear their ugly heads yet again. It is up to us to reframe the debate in its proper context. I do not wish to be painted into a corner yet again by fear. It was inevitable that we would be called to task by those who do not truly understand what it is we stand for.

It seems to me that you can be dominated by fear or dominated by trust these days. The right has used fear as its trump card for the past eight years and I would like to encourage my fellow Progressives to dare to trust again. Idealism and optimism have been decried as foolish and little more than wishful thinking--and it is up to us to have faith again that what is right will win out in the end.

We are up against the dual forces of fear and cynicism, which are a powerful cocktail that has effectively paralyzed our ability to make successful change. Let us not be discouraged. Life is not easy and it is never fair, but it can often be good. With a spirit of cautious optimism and pragmatism I go forward and aim to continue the good work of Barack Obama.

Fame, Fame, Fame, Fame

Fame, (fame)
makes a man take things over

Fame, (fame)
lets him loose, hard to swallow

Fame, (fame)
puts you there where things are hollow

Fame (fame)

Fame, it's not your brain,
it's just the flame

That burns your change
to keep you insane (sane)

Fame (fame)

Fame, (fame)
what you like is in the limo

Fame, (fame)
what you get is no tomorrow

Fame, (fame) what you need you have to borrow
Fame (fame)

Fame, nien! its mine!
is just his line

To bind your time,
it drives you to, crime
Fame (fame)

Could it be the best,
could it be?

Really be, really, babe?
Could it be, my babe,
could it, babe?

Could it, babe? , could it, babe?

Is it any wonder I reject you first?

Fame, fame, fame, fame

Is it any wonder you are too cool to fool

Fame (fame)

Fame, bully for you, chilly for me
Got to get a rain check on pain (pain)

Fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame ,fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame, fame

What's your name?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tired of Being On The Losing End

I support Barack Obama because I am sick and tired of being sold down the river by yet another milquetoast centrist. Since I was eighteen years old, I have cast my vote in line with my conscience and at the same time held my nose all the way to the polls. I am tired of having to support a milquetoast centrist like John Kerry or Al Gore. The pendulum is due to swing again and I wish to do my part to even out the political landscape.

Obama is not perfect, but he caters to the liberal base of the party. I am unabashedly and unapologetically leftist in my viewpoint and not content to vote for the lesser of two evils. I am not enthralled with the Democratic leadership and with Obama's rise I see the fulfillment of twenty-five years of dreams deferred.

I have seen this country under the control of a reactionary activist President. I am tired of having Republicans and conservatives dictate the political framework. At long last, it is our turn.

The current Democratic leadership does not excite or enthrall me. Why don't they make Democrats like they used to?

Why must I feel a sense of shame for being liberal?

We are still basking in the dead embers of the dreams and idealism of the 1960s, when being left-wing was fashionable. I acknowledge the mistakes made and the excesses, but I am not willing to be portrayed as some out-of-touch McGovern radical leftist, nor to have my candidate painted in the same tones.

Twenty-first century America evolves at a rapid clip, exacerbated by our technological advances. What would have taken six months now takes six days and the lightning quick tempo of today runs contrary to human comprehension. Our technology outstrips our ability to perceive the advances made in the name of progress and I for one find myself utterly overwhelmed with the reality of reality.

This Time, Vote Like Your Whole World Depended On It

The lessons of history.

As a student of history, I can't help but draw parallels between the past and today. Enclosed are a few examples of actual ads run by Presidential candidates over the past forty years.

I am advancing no candidate's agenda today; I am merely remarking on the ironies of history and political science. We will see these motifs from now until November.


ANNOUNCER: How can a party that can't unite itself unite the nation? How can a party that can't keep order in its own back yard hope to keep order in our 50 states? How can a party that labels the results of its programs the "Great Society" ever find any real solutions? How can a party that lets the country get bogged down in an endless war against a fourth rate military power promise anything but decades of conflict? How, in the light of all this, can the American people fail to see that the United States urgently needs new leadership? By now it's clear. The American people do see the need.

Richard Nixon, 1968


[twangy guitar music over images of the South]

JIMMY CARTER (voiceover): I'm a Southerner. And I'm proud of a heritage that shows concern for the working men and women who are the backbone of our great nation.
[images of Carter walking through agricultural fields, working at desk with others]

CARTER voiceover: These are the people who are often cheated by an unfair system of government. These are the people forgotten by the present administration, while the influential and powerful get special favors. When I'm elected president, that will change.

MALE ANNOUNCER: We in the south can help, by voting for Jimmy Carter: A leader, for a change.

[supertext: Jimmy Carter: A leader, for a change]

Jimmy Carter, 1976

Hubert Humphrey, 1968

Announcer: Here is President Eisenhower's decision of who is best qualified to follow him in the White House.

Eisenhower: Dick Nixon is superbly experienced, maturely conditioned in the critical affairs of the world. For years he has been a full participant in the deliberations that have produced the great decisions affecting our nation's security and have kept us at peace. He has shared more intimately in the great affairs of government than any vice-president in all our history. He has traveled the world, studying at first-hand the hopes and the needs of more than fifty nations. He knows in person the leaders of those nations, knowledge of immeasurable value to a future president. By all odds, Richard Nixon is the best qualified man to be the next President of the United States.

Announcer: Along with the President, All America is going for Nixon and Lodge. Vote for them November 8th. They understand what peace demands.

Richard Nixon, 1960





Don't You Think It's A Bit Early To Be Imposing Roles on It?

Dear Lord, Protect Me From Your So-Called Leaders

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Plastic Fantastic Lover is, of course,



is little more than

badge heavy

flipped inside out
upside mine
and round about.

11 April 2008


How quickly,
my children
do our past selves

come home
to roost

rather like chickens

We are reflections
of how and when
and who and how

shell games

of those who
have no shells

Once I robbed
the talents
of those

who have no shells.

Those who play
the game deliberately
have deliberately
burned their bridges.

I notice the
intonation changes
the pauses and
the inherent discomfort
of being true

merely fear
of the expected

It occurs to me
I am not known carnally

by half the people
who say they know me.

18 April and 27 April 2008

You Think that Poor is Cool?!

The Details


I'm easing very slightly into politics and spirituality. Both of these topics are heavily controversial and in need of serious debate, but my desire is not to jump back into the frying pan or the fire.

I ended up in the hospital not of my own accord. A petition was filed against me, forcing me to go to the hospital against my will. I wish I hadn't had to leave for the hospital in handcuffs, but such things happen when people are afraid. People fear that which they do not understand.

I am aware that being this blunt, open, and brutally honest makes others who read this uncomfortable and may give ammunition to my enemies. I made a decision long ago to live my life without fear of being misunderstood. People fear that which they do not understand, and if I can provide a human face to bipolar disorder, then I have accomplished my purpose.


Fourteen times. That's how many times I've been in a psychiatric ward.

This visit was rather front-loaded. The most interesting fellow patients I met at the first part of the visit. They were more intellectual, more middle class, more my people. More my element. The disparities between economics and class are very striking. I realized why I shunned where I came from, and the discomforting reality behind it. I understood why my parents left behind their working class roots. Confronting the ingrained stereotypes that characterize most people is a lonely experience. I felt a bit like I was back in high school, and pigeonholed as one of the smart kids.


What worries me most is the impact I have made on other people. Drama and I have been friends on more than one occasion. The fireworks produced by this latest conflict within my self have begun to settle, albeit slowly. Those either unfortunate or fortunate to have traveled with me through the devastating highs and lows have ridden the roller coaster, too. I suppose I never was content to leave the field of play quietly.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Radio To Heaven Will Be Wired to Your Purse

Once upon a time, I had a little money.
Government burglars took it long
before I could mail it to you.

Still, you are the only one.
Now I can't let it slip away.
So if the man with the ticker tape,

he tries to take it,
well this is what I'm gonna say.

Blame it on Cain.
Don't blame it on me.

Oh, oh, it's nobody's fault,
but we need somebody to burn.

Well if I was a saint with
a silver cup
and the money got low
we could always heat it up
or trade it in.

But then the radio that heaven
will be wired to your purse.

And then you can run down the wave band,
coast to coast, hand in hand.

Bad to worse, curse for curse,
don't be dissatisfied.

So you're not satisfied.

I think I've lived a little too long
on the outskirts of town

I think I'm going insane
from talking to myself for so long.

Oh but I've never been accused.
When they step on your face,
you wear that good look grin.

I gotta break out one weekend
if I do somebody in.

But every single time
I feel a little stronger,

they tell me it's a crime.
Well how much longer?

Blame it on Cain
Don't blame it on me

Head's Up

I'm over at The American Street today, after three weeks of hiatus.

Check it out, if you wish. :)

Saturday Song

Moby Grape are a long forgotten San Francisco psychedelic rock band whose personal problems and bad management left them the domain of audiophiles and rock geeks.

Their self-titled 1967 album includes the talents of the American Syd Barrett, Alexander "Skip" Spence, who became one of the first rock musicians to give under the strain of too many drugs and too much hedonism.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Reclaiming Epithets

I was hesitant to post this, because I'm not usually this callous or angry, but if "bitch" can be reclaimed then I figure this is fair game.

Still, this is not really who I am. I tip my hat to the artist and the people who put this together, but I really am not completely comfortable with the bitter, jaded tone of this song.

My beef this election cycle is with Bill, not Hillary. He has come across as arrogant and pushy, as though his worst qualities were magnified and pushed to the forefront. I didn't used to dislike Bill, but now I find him intolerable.


I am not completely 100% yet.

Getting back into the swing of things is going to be slow going. I feel a bit like one feels like when one returns from vacation. So many things to do that one isn't quite sure where to begin.

While I was in the hospital, I had ample time to catch up on the news and the political banter, so I've not totally been out of the loop.

Visitors were kind enough to take my handwritten drafts and transcribe them onto the internet, though they did not post them to this blog because I neglected to provide the correct password.

One of my medications leaves me drowsy and lethargic and until I am fully adjusted to it, I may seem a bit fuzzy headed and forgetful. Please pardon.

Pensive Musing

The Crack Up

I borrow from F. Scott Fitzgerald's revealing memoir the title of my first post back from hospitalization.

Nearly three weeks pleasant holiday in a hospital is not exactly what I had planned for myself, but then again, one never expects ill health until the last moment. When two or three crises hit at once, then I feel fairly certain I can handle them, but when seven or eight transpire at once, then I end up in a hospital.

Chasing the latest incarnation of some unholy bastard cross between Dorothy Parker, Sylvia Plath, and Zelda Sayer has run me into the ground on numerous occasions. This time, my whole life imploded around me as it so often has. I really ought to reserve space on my day planner (non-existent, but still a novel concept) for inevitable health issues.

While the rest of you have been agonizing over Clinton versus Obama, I have been grappling with my sanity.

Once upon a time, a girlfriend read my palm and found nothing particularly spectacular about my past lives. In truth, I cannot brag that I come from royalty or famous persons. My roots are humble and reveal little of note except for a history of workers who toiled the soil and lived lives of semi-quiet desperation. They earned their calluses the honest way.

I will never forget how she read my present life and found my love line to be rather convoluted. Convoluted might be a kind way to describe my luck and fortune in romance.

In time, after I decompress from the trauma of the last several days, I'll spill what I've gone through.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I Have Four Friends. Who is YOUR One True Friend?








The Words of Young Mister Zimmerman

I recite this passage by Bob Dylan in my head. It's the young Dylan speaking, the Dylan who wanted to say everything in his head, who wanted to be heard, who was at the beginning of his fame as a folky. The same Dylan who had yet to plug in and be called Judas.

It serves as comfort to me, right alongside the best Bible verses. This inspirational text was written by a human being. It is called "Last Thoughts on Woody Guthrie".

This is an excerpt of a much larger work.

When your head gets twisted and your mind grows numb

When you think you're too old, too young, too smart or too dumb
When you're laggin' behind an' losin' your pace
In the slow-motion crawl or life's busy race
No matter whatcha doin' if you start givin' up
If the wine don't come to the top of your cup
If the wind got you sideways with one hand holdin' on

And the other starts slippin' and the feelin' is gone
And your train engine fire needs a new spark to catch it
And the wood's easy findin' but you're lazy to fetch it
And your sidewalk starts curlin' and the street gets too long

And you start walkin' backwards though you know that it's wrong
And lonesome comes up as down goes the day
And tomorrow's mornin' seems so far away
And you feel the reins from your pony are slippin'

And your rope is a-slidin' 'cause your hands are a-drippin'
And your sun-decked desert and evergreen valleys
Turn to broken down slums and trash-can alleys
And your sky cries water and your drain pipe's a-pourin'
And the lightnin's a-flashin' and the thunder's a-crashin'
The windows are rattlin' and breakin' and the roof tops are shakin'

And your whole world's a-slammin' and bangin'
And your minutes of sun turn to hours of storm
An' to yourself you sometimes say"I never knew it was gonna be this way
Why didn't they tell me the day I was born?"

And you start gettin' chills and you're jumpin' from sweat
And you're lookin' for somethin' you ain't quite found yet
And you're knee-deep in dark water with your hands in the air
And the whole world's watchin' with a window peek stare
And your good gal leaves and she's long gone a-flyin'

And your heart feels sick like fish when they're fryin'
And your jackhammer falls from your hands to your feet
But you need it badly an' it lays on the street
And your bell's bangin' loudly but you can't hear its beat

And you think your ears mighta been hurt
Your eyes've turned filthy from the sight-blindin' dirt
And you figured you failed in yesterday's rush
When you were faked out an' fooled while facin' a four flush
And all the time you were holdin' three queens

It's makin you mad, it's makin' you mean
Like in the middle of Life magazine
Bouncin' around a pinball machine
And there's something on your mind that you wanna be sayin'
That somebody someplace oughta be hearin'

But it's trapped on your tongue, sealed in your head
And it bothers you badly when you're layin' in bed
And no matter how you try you just can't say it
And you're scared to your soul you just might forget it

And your eyes get swimmy from the tears in your head
An' your pillows of feathers turn to blankets of lead
And the lion's mouth opens and you're starin' at his teeth

And his jaws start closin' with you underneath
And you're flat on your belly with your hands tied behind
And you wish you'd never taken that last detour sign

You say to yourself Just what am I doing?

On this road I'm walkin',
on this trail I'm turnin'
On this curve I'm hangin'
On this pathway I'm strollin',
this space I'm taking
And this air I'm inhaling?

Am I mixed up too much,
am I mixed up too hard
Why am I walking?
where am I running? What am I saying?
what am I knowing?
On this guitar I'm playing, on this banjo I'm frailing
On this mandolin I'm strumming, in the song I'm singing,
In the tune I'm humming, in the words that I'm thinking

In the words I'm writing
In this ocean of hours I'm all the time drinking

Who am I helping?
What am I breaking?
What am I giving?
What am I taking?

But you try with your whole soul best
Never to think these thoughts and never to let
Them kind of thoughts gain ground
Or make your heart pound
But then again you know when they're around
Just waiting for a chance to slip and drop down

'Cause sometimes you hear 'em when the night time come creeping
And you fear they might catch you sleeping
And you jump from your bed, from the last chapter of dreamin'
And you can't remember for the best of your thinkin'
If that was you in the dream that was screaming

And you know that's somethin' special you're needin'
And you know there's no drug that'll do for the healing
And no liquor in the land to stop your brain from bleeding

You need somethin' special
You need somethin' special, all right
You need a fast flyin' train on a tornado track
To shoot you someplace and shoot you back

You need a cyclone wind on a stream engine howler
That's been banging and booming and blowing forever
That knows your troubles a hundred times over

You need a Greyhound bus that don't bar no race
That won't laugh at your looks
Your voice or your face
And by any number of bets in the book
Will be rolling long after the bubblegum craze

You need something to open up a new door
To show you something you seen before
But overlooked a hundred times or more
You need something to open your eyes

You need something to make it known
That it's you and no one else that owns
That spot that you're standing, that space that you're sitting

That the world ain't got you beat
That it ain't got you licked
It can't get you crazy
no matter how many times you might get kicked

-Bob Dylan, 1963

What Shall Ye Sow, So Shall Ye Reap

As an American History teacher, I make a point to let my student know that historical is not cyclical, as many might believe. That is a historical fallacy to think that we will necessarily repeat the past. But it is not a fallacy to suggest that human nature, which is driven by money, greed, sex, and power will fall into the same predictable patterns so long as human being are driven by those four traits.

It is in that spirit that I post more of C. Vann Woodward's treatise written in 1968, but applicable to today.

"A nation whose modern history has been an almost uninterrupted chronicle of success...should be so sure of its own power as to be capable of magnanimity."- Senator J. William Fullbright, 1967.

"There is more respect to be won in the opinion of the world by a resolute and courageous liquidation of unsound positions than in the most stubborn pursuit of extravagant or unpromising objectives"- George Kennan, 1967.

The men I have quoted are thoroughly American, but to the ears of anyone attuned to the traditional rhetoric of American myth, their words will set up an immediate dissonance. One might, were it not for the derogatory connotations that cling to the word, call their pronouncements "un-American".

For anyone who seriously entertains a solution for a war other than "victory", or who admit that a grave domestic problem simply has no visible solution, is clearly marching out of tune with the chorus of the American Way. He is marching to another drum. It may be the drum of the future (and I rather suspect that it is) but not that of the past--of tradition.

In the American past, and in the predominant mind of the present as well, all wars end in victory and all problems have solutions. Both victory and solution might require some patience, but not very much.

The idea of admitting defeat and the prospect of living patiently with an unsolved social problem are...unthinkable thoughts for most Americans.

The characteristic American adjustment to the current foreign and domestic enigmas that confound our national myths has not been to abandon the myths but to reaffirm them.

-C. Vann Woodward, 1968

We cannot transform a failure and a dumb war into some sort of mythic Lost Cause, as the South did during the Civil War. We should have never been in Iraq in the first place, and as Senator Obama says, this war should never have been authorized.

I favor us pulling the troops out in a responsible fashion, while understanding that no one knows for sure what will happen to the country when all our our troops are gone.

Do I think any of the Democratic candidates running will do this? Here's hoping, friends.

If Obama is elected, I would rather him accomplish ONE GOOD THING, then 12 half-baked ideas that cause more harm than good in the long run.

Selfishly, I want us out of Iraq now.

Selfish, I want universal health care to treat my chronic illness.

If those two were done sufficiently and put together soundly, I would consider an Obama Presidency a success.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I Don't Want to Think At All

Vietnam or Iraq?

On the anniversary of the toppling of Saddam Hussein's government, we must ask ourselves.

At what price, victory?

Again, I quote from the Prophet C. Vann Woodward, writing in 1968.

Emphasis mine, notes mine. Words his.

In behalf of the prevailing policy of massive intervention in Vietnam, defenders have from time to time announced numerous objectives by way of justification and defense.

These have been described as sacred commitments. Foremost among them was the commitment to the freedom of to the South Vietnamese, their right to determine their own destiny free from outside coercion.

But as the years passed and the Vietnamese will to freedom became less conspicuous than the American coercion of the Vietnamese, the suspicion grew that we had a deeper commitment to American pride than to Vietnamese freedom.

According to the legend of invincibility, American will must prevail in the end. That an exception should be made for a war with rag-tag guerrillas of a small and heretofore unheard-of, underdeveloped country in Southeast Asia was all the more unthinkable.

How could the most powerful country in the world at the peak of its power, with an unbroken history of supposedly victorious wars, submit to such humiliation?

What President could accept the disgrace of being the first to lead his country to defeat?

The Irony of the Iraq War

At What Cost, Victory? If We Even Had Victory?

With all her terrible power and new responsibilities, combined with her illusions of innocence and her legends of immunity from frustration and defeat, (see right)

America stands in greater need than she ever did of understanding her own history.

Our European friends, appalled by the impetuosity and naivete of some of our deeds and assumptions, have attributed our lack of historical sophistication to the lack of a history--in their sense of the word.

America's apparent immunity to the tragic and ironic aspects of man's fate--that charmed and fabled immunity that once made America the Utopia of both the common men and the philosophers of Europe--has come to be pictured as Europe's curse.

For the fear that haunts Europeans is the fear that America's lack of a common basis of experience and suffering will blind her to the true nature of their dilemmas and end by plunging them into catastrophe. But the Europeans are not entirely right.

America does have a history.

It is only that the tragic aspects of that history have been obscured by the national legend of success and victory and by the perpetuation of infant illusions of innocence and virtue.

America has had cynical disparagement of her ideals from foreign, unfriendly, or hostile critics. But she desperately needs criticism from historians of her own who can penetrate the legend without destroying the ideal, who can dispel the illusion of pretended virtue without denying the genuine virtues.

Such historians must have learned that:

1. Virtue has never been defined by national or regional boundaries

(Regardless of what Karl Rove and Dick Cheney might say).

2. Morality and rectitude are not the monopolies of factions or parties.
(See above)

They must reveal the fallacy of a diplomacy based on moral bigotry, as well as the fallacy of of one that relies on economic coercion through the fancied indispensability of favored products.

Their studies would show the futility of erecting intellectual barricades against unpopular ideas, of employing censorship and repression against social criticism, and of imposing the ideas of the conquerer upon defeated peoples by force of arms.

Such historians would teach that economic systems, whatever their age, their respectability, or their apparent stability, are transitory and that any nation which elects to stand or fall upon one ephemeral institution has already determined its fate.

The history they write would also constitute a warning that an overwhelming conviction in the righteousness of a cause is no guarantee of its ultimate triumph, and that the policy which takes into account the possibility of defeat is more realistic than one that assumes the inevitability of victory.

C. Vann Woodward, 1952.

It's a Drag?

You're Gonna Win the Fight?

There's a Place

I think of you
the things you do
go round my head

the things you've said
like I love only you

Monday, April 07, 2008

Yes, I'm Lonely

If I ain't dead

you know
the reasons

People Say We Got It Made

Don't they know
we're so afraid?

I Wonder If I Can?

I hope someday
you'll join us

and the world
will be as one.

Right On, Brother. Right On

I Don't Believe in Mockingbirds

Children, Don't Do What I Have Done

I couldn't walk
so I tried to run.

Smoking Guns Part 12 IP Address
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City Birmingham Javascript Enabled

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07 Apr, Mon, 11:14:03

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United States

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You're Going to Reap Just What You Sow

There Is No Wrong, There is No Right.

The circle only has one side.

Life is both
a major
and a minor key

Do You Feel Like A Chain Store?

One of many zeros
kicked around,

The Evening News Says He Was Confused

Moscow's still red,
the young man is dead

Gone to heaven instead,

the evening news
says he was confused

The motorways will
all merge soon,

lottery winner buys the moon
They've come to save us,
the space invaders are here

He thought of cars and where,
where to drive them

Who to drive them with
There, there was no-one, no-one

There's panic at London Heathrow
Everybody wants to go up into the blue
But there's a ten year queue

Columbia is in top gear, it shouldn't
snow at this time of year

Now America's lost
gone and done the lot

He thought of planes
and where, where to fly to

And who to fly there with
Where, there was no-one, no-one

He thought of cars and
where, where to drive them

Who to drive them with
There, there was no-one, no-one

Gently On The Shelf

The Death of the Party

At evening’s end

remain when all else
has long passed away

Conversation competition
cleverest victory can
circumvent the social hierarchy

Yet, age and experience
trumps youth’s insecurity

the wild card

The catalyst
for social mobility

Older party-goers
establish the rules

Remember similar

Inadvertent misinterpretation
Reflects intention

Kevin Camp, 2006
all rights reserved


"Death of a Party"
by Blur

The death of the party
Came as no surprise
Why did we bother?
Should have stayed away

Another night
And I thought "Well, well"
Go to another party and hang myself
Gently on the shelf

The death of the teenager
Standing on his own
Why did he bother?
Should have slept alone

Another night
And I thought "Well, well"
Go to another party and hang myself
Gently on the shelf

Another night
And I thought "Well, well"
Go to another party and hang myself
Gently on the shelf

Sunday, April 06, 2008

God Bless The Child

Them that's
got shall get

Them that's
not shall lose

So the Bible said
And it still is news

Momma may have
Poppa may have

But God bless the child
That's got his own
That's got his own

Yeah, the strong gets more
While the weak ones fade
Empty pockets don't
Ever make the grade

Momma may have
Poppa may have

But God bless the child
That's got his own
That's got his own

Money, you've got lots of friends
Crowdin' round the door

When its gone and
Spendin' ends
They don't come no more

Rich relations give
Crusts of bread and such

You can help yourself
But don't take too much

Momma may have
Poppa may have

But God bless the child

That's got his own
That's got his own

I'd Never Be Drafted, Thank God. Quakers Don't Believe in Fighting. We're Pacifists.

Protest song modified from the original by Kevin Camp.

Well, come on all
of you big strong men,

Uncle Sam needs your help again,

He got himself in a terrible jam,
Way down yonder in Afghanistan,

Put down your books
and pick up a gun,

We're gonna have
a whole lotta fun

And its 1,2,3 what are we fighting for?

Don't ask me
I don't give a damn,

The next stop could be Iran

And its 5, 6, 7 open up the pearly gates,
Well, there ain't no time to wonder why,
WHOOPEE, we're all gonna die

Well, come on
Generals, let's move fast,

Your big chance is come at last,
Now you can go out and get those reds,

'Coz the only good Muslim is one that's dead,
And you know that peace can only be won,
When you blow them all to kingdom come

And its 1 ,2 ,3 what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn,
The next stop is the Taliban,

And its 5, 6 ,7 open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
WHOOPEE we're all gonna die

Well come on
Wall Street don't be slow,

Why man this is war'll go go go,
There's plenty good money to be made,
By supplying the army with the tools of the trade,

Just hope and pray that if they drop the bomb
They they don't drop it on an innocent pawn

And its 1, 2, 3 what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn,
The next stop could be Iran,

And its 5, 6, 7 open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
WHOOPEE we're all gonna die

Well come on mothers across the land,
Pack your boys off to Kurdistan,
Come on fathers don't hesitate,
Send your sons off before its too late,

Be the first one on your block,
To have your boy come home in a box!

And its 1, 2, 3 what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn,
The next stop could be Iran,

And its 5, 6, 7 open up the pearly gates,
Well there ain't no time to wonder why,
WHOOPEE we're all gonna die

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Friedman and Camp

Common Law Marriage

State of Alabama:

The requirements for a common-law marriage are:

(1) capacity;

(2) an agreement to be husband and wife; and

(3) consummation of the marital relationship.

Camp v. Carter

Marriage in Georgia

Georgia recognized a second, informal type of legal union known as common law marriage until Jan 1, 1997. Common law marriage occurred when a man and woman cohabited and proclaimed to the public that they were husband and wife (this could be done as easily as by signing a motel register as "Mr. & Mrs.").

The justification for recognizing common law marriage is so that the children of such a union will not be considered to be illegitimate. There is no such thing as a common law divorce; a common law marriage must be terminated by the courts like any other marriage. Georgia does recognize common law marriages from other states where this form of marriage is still legal to make (such as South Carolina).

Kevin Camp versus Jennifer Carter.

Ms. Carter, formerly Koehler, did give Mr. Camp a ring, and marriage was discussed.

At the time, their behavior could have been construed as that of common law marriage and co-habitation. She paid for his dinner on numerous occasions, and it would be hard to prove they were not, in fact, married by common law.

Their relationship lasted from roughly 28 November 2006 to 15 January 2007.

Pending divorce settlements, alimony, and child support payments may have been rendered null and void by this common-law status.

Be Careful What You Say, Or You'll Give Yourself Away

I Just Had to Look, Having Read the Book

Laugh, Damn it!

Is It For Her Or Myself That I Cry?

or are those
crocodile tears?

Ring My Friend, If You Wish

When Your Bird is Broken, Will It Bring You Down?

But you don't
get me

YOU Made a Fool of Everyone

what have you done?

you broke the rules
you laid it down
for all to see.

See How The Other Half Lives

Here's another clue
for you all

The Walrus was

What's So Bloody Important about my Pictures?

my private life's
already in a mess

it would be a disaster if

so what?

nothing like a little
disaster for sorting things out.

Surely There Must Be Something There

Is there no

Thou Doth Protesteth Too Much

Watch the whole film.

we aren't married
we just have some kids

no, actually we don't
any kids.

because I'm impossible
to live with

It's JUST A MOVIE, which I did not direct

The Secret Handshake, So Indicative to Insular Places

Well, You Can Thank Your Lucky Stars You're Working with Me!

I wish I had tons of money
then I'd be free.

Not By Me


and with both
feet on the ground

I've learned
that it's painful
coming down

Let's Share the Land

Brothers, sisters, friends, Friends, all.

Saturday Video

You may not see things
my way

Like my message or my reason
but you can't tell me
that I'm wrong.

Posting Will Be Light This Weekend

Check out The American Street. I'm there today. Be there, or be whatever floats your boat or cranks your tractor. :)

Friday, April 04, 2008

Everyday in the Week I'm in a Different City

if I stay too long
people try to pull me

The Past and The Future

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed today in Memphis, Tennessee.

Forty years ago, a man died so that we might live. A man died so that we might overcome and struggle and someday maybe even GET to the promised land.

The Past

The Future

Human Man

Human man
better keep your head

Don't forget
what your good book said

Human change
gonna come at last

Now your crosses
are burning fast

Human man

I saw cotton
and I saw black
Tall white mansions
and little shacks.

Human man
when will you
pay them back?

I heard screamin'
and bullwhips cracking

How long? How long?

Human man
better keep your head
Don't forget
what your good book said

Human change
gonna come at last

Now your crosses
are burning fast

Human man

Lily Belle,
your hair is golden brown

I've seen your black man
comin' round

Swear by God
I'm gonna cut him down!

I heard screamin'
and bullwhips cracking

How long? How long?

The Point is not the Grammar, It's The Feeling

She was underwhelmed
If that's a word
I know it's not
'Cause I looked it up
That's one of those skills
That I learned in my school

I was overwhelmed
And I'm sure of that one
'Cause I learned it
Back in grade school
When I was young

She said, "You is funny"
I said, "You are funny"
She said, "Thank you"
And I said, "Never mind"
She rolled her eyes
Her beautiful eyes

The point is not the grammar
It's the feeling
That is certainly in my heart
But not in hers

But not in hers
But not in hers
But not in hers
But not in hers

We were talkin' about people
That eat meat
I felt like an ass
'Cause I was one
She said, "It's okay,"
But I felt like
I just ate my young

She is obviously a person
With a cause
I told her that I don't
Smoke or drink
She told me to loosen up
On the way to the L.C.

She skips her classes
And gets good grades
I go to my courses
Rain or shine
She's passin' her classes
While I attend mine

While I attend mine
While I attend mine
While I attend

She wrote out a story
About her life
I think it included
Something about me
I'm not sure of that
But I'm sure of one thing
Her spelling's atrocious

She told me to read
Between the lines
And tell her exactly
What I got out of it
I told her affection
Had two F's
Especially when you're dealing with me

I usually notice
All the little things
One time I was proud of it
She says it's annoying
She cursed me up and down
And rolled her R's
Her beautiful R's

She says I'm caught up
In triviality
All I really wanna know is
What she thinks of me
I think my love for her
Makes me miss the point

I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point
I miss the point

Hey mister...

On The Horizon

These are a few of
the states I'm in

The first one Jersey,
the second one thin

The nicest thing
of mine is yours

So take a letter down
And send it to the highest bidder

On my team and my horizon
And you'll shine in that
scene capitalizing

Now just the thing for me is
baby let me be

Because someone's gotta sign
on the dividing line

I'll be setting up my sights

To watch me programming
all the glamour rights

The thing for you to do was leave
I'll see you when it's snowing

And give me back the master key

To my place on the horizon
And we'll shine all
of time capitalizing

And you'll beat out all
the odds of staying thin

Wouldn't you like to keep moving?
Your life would be slightly improving?
When you better come on by
And take a letter down
And send it out as sympathy

For my team on the horizon
And we'll shine all
in that scene capitalizing

So just sign it, underline it
And represent the scapegoats
And we will blame it on you

'Cause someone had to state it
So I could imitate it masterfully

Too Bad There's No More Money

Next part ain't so funny

You had the best
of intentions now

But the bad inventions
let us down
And now it's gone

Who really cares
if we ever find a home
Yeah yeah

I wanna thank you
Thank you for all the times we had

Too bad there's no more money
Next part ain't so funny

Everybody's leaving
It seems to be the season

When your thoughts return to home
Can't you see that
I'd rather be alone

Goodbye, so long
See you sometime

Goodbye, so long
See you sometime

Let me know if you're back
this way again

Sing a song that reminds us of our friends

I wanna thank you
You know all those times
don't seem so bad

We live in a reflection
Eliminate detection
As well as rhyme or reason

We always aim to please them
And my thoughts begin to roam

Still I think I'd rather be alone
Yeah yeah

Goodbye, so long
See you sometime
Goodbye, so long
See you sometime

I Can't Believe Your Plane is Flying (It Seems So Heavy)

There's an aircraft somewhere down by the river
The thing ran underground

And it was completely soundless
Until we cut it down to size
And then we galvanized it

I stare into the sky
And it keeps me flying high

Head to head, we're staring equal
Sharing empty eyes

You've given everything to me

So, if you really have to take off
I guess there's nothing I can say

Except I can't believe your plane is flying
It seems so heavy

I can't believe your plane is flying
It seems so heavy

Take a look around
You maybe think that you've found us

But nothing lies like no parade
For the highest grade

It's time to call a spade, a spade
And it takes a while to realize
That everything around you is too beautiful

She keeps me out of telling lies
And understands that giving personality

Is what she's done for me
Oh yeah

I can't believe that your plane is flying
It seems so heavy

Watching from below, I'm reminded
My girl is ready

I can't believe that your plane is flying
It seems so heavy
Watching from below, I'm reminded
My girl is ready

This Loose Lip of Yours Could Sink Fifth Avenue

You take control of

having what you want
Around you

And every blink of your eye
Can make an old man seem younger

Than every single day in his life

Before you carried 'round his weight
Like it was yours to show the world

I'm kind of level headed too
But this loose lip of yours

could sink Fifth Avenue

We all tried to share your point of view
Before we set the wheels in motion
And launched into the ocean

All aboard, the sinking ship is leaving
With all the secrets that you sold me

The ones without replies
All aboard, you'd better stop believing
We've only watered down the smallest now
So we can multiply

I want a special meeting too
With Captain Everyday of Station Navy Blue

We all tried to share your point of view
But you've completely undermined us

And now I'm here to drop a line
Let's turn around

There's nobody around for miles
(There's no one around)

There's nobody around for miles

(We've ran aground)
There's nobody around

We've got a long
We've got a long way to go
We've got a long
We've got a long

I'm kinda level headed too
But this loose lip of yours could sink Fifth Avenue

We all tried to share your point of view
Before we set the wheels in motion
And launched into the ocean

All aboard, the sinking ship is leaving
With all the secrets that you sold me

The ones without replies
All aboard, you'd better stop believing

We've only watered down the smallest now
So we could multiply

Someone Better Get Insurance

To take good care of me
'Cause if I'm stuck

with my own bad luck

Well, that's the saddest sight you'll see

'Cause if I stumble, then I fall,

and get back up

Try to brush the dust off
And everything is black

when I close my eyes
I lose all sense of time

It hurts, it's cruel,

but it feels real good
They've done it to me once again

I'm still the same
After all these years

It's funny how you get a feel for it
When you finally

lose your sense of fear

When Iggy said it's loose

down on the street

Living in the city
And everything went black

'cause it's in my eyes
Everything denied

Kurt's still cool

and Angus rules
I'm gonna plug it in again

We're still the same
After all these years

It's funny how you get a feel for it
When you finally lose your sense of fear

Someone better get insurance
To take good care of me

'Cause if I'm stuck with my own bad luck
Well, that's the saddest sight you'll see

It hurts, it's cruel, but it feels real good
Well that's all right

Kurt's still cool, and Angus rules
And that's all right

The Only Thing Left to Do (Is Cure the Broken Hearted)

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon
We're gonna get it started

Yeah, yeah, yeah

The only thing that's left to do
Is cure the broken-hearted, yeah

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon

We're gonna get it started
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The only thing that's left to do
Is cure the broken-hearted

There's been debate
and some speculation

Have you heard?
Well here's the word

Whether you're part
of this constellation

Your reading light is
the subway, darling

You've memorized those lines

Leading the life that
you always thought
you'd hope you'd love

So c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
We're gonna get it started
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The only thing that's left to do
Is cure the broken-hearted, yeah

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon
We're gonna get it started
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The only thing that's left to do
Is cure the broken-hearted, yeah

And we can help you through
this little problem

Put on your leather jacket
so you can rock them

And take your final bow tonight

You're on time but
the ones that you love

Have left you miles behind

Leading the life that they always
thought they'd hope you'd love

So c'mon, c'mon, c'mon
It's time you got it started

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon
It's time you got it started

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon
We're gonna get it started

Yeah, yeah, yeah
The only thing that's left to do
Is cure the broken-hearted, yeah

C'mon, c'mon, c'mon
We're gonna get it started
Yeah, yeah, yeah

The only thing that's left to do
Is cure the broken-hearted

Thursday, April 03, 2008

From a former Oasis Hater, I Tip My Hat

This disclaimer is only applicable to those now between the ages of 25-35, most of whom grew up in the UK, and is my way of saying while I was one of those snooty Blur fans, as I have aged, this song has really grown on me.

The problem is that it was played eighteen billion bloody times on radio when it was top of the pops.

Ride the Range of a London Street

The games you play
make people say

you're either weird
or lonely.

A Weary Hallelujah

Kevin Facts

1. I don't have HIV.
2. I don't have cancer.
3. I don't have HPV.

Kevin Reality

1. I am extremely manic, exhausted, and overworked.


Talent will eventually win.

Success depends on which we choose
Heads we win, tails we lose.

-Coach Bob Finley

I Was Also There For This One, Unfortunately

I stayed upset for a week.

Then I realized how silly games are.

Words from The Bear

It's All Just A Game

Dad was here for this one.

Let 'em Score

Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

Bluegrass Miracle



or the corporate way

3431 Flintshire Drive

Goal Line Stand

Defense Wins Championships


Teague's Got the Ball!

I had forty yard line tickets
but I had to give them up
because we were moving into
a new house.

I regret that
even to this day.

Alabama Football-- Alabama versus Georgia

I was there.

The Best Iron Bowl Ever, In My Humble Opinion


My Favourite Beatles Song

I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My Psychiatrist in Atlanta

Dr. Ross Grumet (pronounced "Groo-may")

Board Certified in Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
Dr. Grumet sees adults 18 and older, respects gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation,
cultural and philosophy of life values.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "In twenty-four hours tomorrow will be today. If it always makes sense to smoke one last time, we will never stop smoking." -- The Science of Self Control
by Howard Rachlin


  • Depression (mood, grief, sadness)
  • Anxiety (worry, panic, PTSD, acute stress)
  • Job problems - conflicts - stresses
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Eating disorders (including binge eating and bulimia)
  • Alcohol use disorders; smoking/tobacco use
  • Opioid and pain medicine use problems
  • Other addictions (cocaine, gambling, sexual, internet)
  • Medications problems - complex problems welcome
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances (fatigue syndromes)
  • Personality/relationship conflicts
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, body dysmorphic disorder, and
  • Diagnostic evaluation and treatment options
  • Psychopharmacology (medication treatment)
  • Cognitive/narrative therapy, psychotherapy
  • Buprenorphine (Suboxone) treatment for opioid problems
  • Consultations
  • Disability and work related reports (IME's)
  • Marital/couples diagnostic evaluations
  • Hypnosis
  • Presurgical consultation for bariatric surgery (gastric bypass) and other surgeries
    which include psychological testing
  • Physician, completed medical school (M.D. degree)
  • Specialized training in Psychiatry (Board Certified)
  • Skills and knowledge about:
    • Your inner personal private experience
    • Your interactions and conflicts with others, past and present
    • Your past development over time, and your future paths
    • Your brain functions, on line and off line; brain chemistry
    • Your health and medical issues
    • Your memories, beliefs, values, emotions, dreams, sleep, pains

All of these interact and may affect your therapy or medications.

My Therapist in Atlanta

Robin Rosenthal Ph.D.- Clinical Psychologist

Atlanta GA 15091 (404) 653-1117

The Word of The Lord

1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he said to his disciples,

2 "As you know, the Passover celebration begins in two days, and I, the Son of Man, will be betrayed and crucified."

3 At that same time the leading priests and other leaders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest,

4 to discuss how to capture Jesus secretly and put him to death.

5 "But not during the Passover," they agreed, "or there will be a riot."

6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had leprosy.

7 During supper, a woman came in with a beautiful jar* of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.1

8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. "What a waste of money," they said.

9 "She could have sold it for a fortune and given the money to the poor."

10 But Jesus replied, "Why berate her for doing such a good thing to me?

11 You will always have the poor among you, but I will not be here with you much longer.

12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial.

13 I assure you, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be talked about in her memory."

14 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests

15 and asked, "How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?" And they gave him thirty pieces of silver.

16 From that time on, Judas began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.

17 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to prepare the Passover supper?"

18 "As you go into the city," he told them, "you will see a certain man. Tell him, `The Teacher says, My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your house.' "

19 So the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover supper there.

20 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the twelve disciples.

21 While they were eating, he said, "The truth is, one of you will betray me."

22 Greatly distressed, one by one they began to ask him, "I'm not the one, am I, Lord?"

23 He replied, "One of you who is eating with me now* will betray me.2

24 For I, the Son of Man, must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for my betrayer. Far better for him if he had never been born!"

25 Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, "Teacher, I'm not the one, am I?" And Jesus told him, "You have said it yourself."

26 As they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread and asked God's blessing on it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take it and eat it, for this is my body."

27 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them and said, "Each of you drink from it,

28 for this is my blood, which seals the covenant* between God and his people. It is poured out to forgive the sins of many.3

29 Mark my words--I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom."

30 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

31 "Tonight all of you will desert me," Jesus told them. "For the Scriptures say, `God* will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'*4

32 But after I have been raised from the dead, I will go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there."

33 Peter declared, "Even if everyone else deserts you, I never will."

34 "Peter," Jesus replied, "the truth is, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times."

35 "No!" Peter insisted. "Not even if I have to die with you! I will never deny you!" And all the other disciples vowed the same.

36 Then Jesus brought them to an olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, "Sit here while I go on ahead to pray."

37 He took Peter and Zebedee's two sons, James and John, and he began to be filled with anguish and deep distress.

38 He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and watch with me."

39 He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, "My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will, not mine."

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Couldn't you stay awake and watch with me even one hour?

41 Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For though the spirit is willing enough, the body is weak!"

42 Again he left them and prayed, "My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away until I drink it, your will be done."

43 He returned to them again and found them sleeping, for they just couldn't keep their eyes open.

44 So he went back to pray a third time, saying the same things again.

45 Then he came to the disciples and said, "Still sleeping? Still resting?* Look, the time has come. I, the Son of Man, am betrayed into the hands of sinners.1

46 Up, let's be going. See, my betrayer is here!"

47 And even as he said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent out by the leading priests and other leaders of the people.

48 Judas had given them a prearranged signal: "You will know which one to arrest when I go over and give him the kiss of greeting."

49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. "Greetings, Teacher!" he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

50 Jesus said, "My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for." Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.

51 One of the men with Jesus pulled out a sword and slashed off an ear of the high priest's servant.

52 "Put away your sword," Jesus told him. "Those who use the sword will be killed by the sword.

53 Don't you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands* of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?2

54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?"

55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I some dangerous criminal, that you have come armed with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day.

56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures." At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and other leaders had gathered.

58 Meanwhile, Peter was following far behind and eventually came to the courtyard of the high priest's house. He went in, sat with the guards, and waited to see what was going to happen to Jesus.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council* were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death.3

60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, there was no testimony they could use. Finally, two men were found

61 who declared, "This man said, `I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' "

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Well, aren't you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?"

63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, "I demand in the name of the living God that you tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God."

64 Jesus replied, "Yes, it is as you say. And in the future you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God's right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven."*4

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror, shouting, "Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy.

66 What is your verdict?" "Guilty!" they shouted. "He must die!"

67 Then they spit in Jesus' face and hit him with their fists. And some slapped him,

68 saying, "Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?"

69 Meanwhile, as Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, a servant girl came over and said to him, "You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean."

70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. "I don't know what you are talking about," he said.

71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth."

72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. "I don't even know the man," he said.

73 A little later some other bystanders came over to him and said, "You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent."

74 Peter said, "I swear by God, I don't know the man." And immediately the rooster crowed.

75 Suddenly, Jesus' words flashed through Peter's mind: "Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times." And he went away, crying bitterly.

1 Very early in the morning, the leading priests and other leaders met again to discuss how to persuade the Roman government to sentence Jesus to death.

2 Then they bound him and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and other leaders.

4 "I have sinned," he declared, "for I have betrayed an innocent man." "What do we care?" they retorted. "That's your problem."

5 Then Judas threw the money onto the floor of the Temple and went out and hanged himself.

6 The leading priests picked up the money. "We can't put it in the Temple treasury," they said, "since it's against the law to accept money paid for murder."

7 After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter's field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners.

8 That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood.

9 This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says, "They took* the thirty pieces of silver-- the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel--1

10 and purchased the potter's field, as the Lord directed.*"2

11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. "Are you the King of the Jews?" the governor asked him. Jesus replied, "Yes, it is as you say."

12 But when the leading priests and other leaders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent.

13 "Don't you hear their many charges against you?" Pilate demanded.

14 But Jesus said nothing, much to the governor's great surprise.

15 Now it was the governor's custom to release one prisoner to the crowd each year during the Passover celebration--anyone they wanted.

16 This year there was a notorious criminal in prison, a man named Barabbas.*3

17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate's house that morning, he asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you--Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?"

18 (He knew very well that the Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: "Leave that innocent man alone, because I had a terrible nightmare about him last night."

20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and other leaders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death.

21 So when the governor asked again, "Which of these two do you want me to release to you?" the crowd shouted back their reply: "Barabbas!"

22 "But if I release Barabbas," Pilate asked them, "what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?" And they all shouted, "Crucify him!"

23 "Why?" Pilate demanded. "What crime has he committed?" But the crowd only roared the louder, "Crucify him!"

24 Pilate saw that he wasn't getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this man. The responsibility is yours!"

25 And all the people yelled back, "We will take responsibility for his death--we and our children!"*4

26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to crucify him.

27 Some of the governor's soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire battalion.

28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him.

29 They made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on his head, and they placed a stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery, yelling, "Hail! King of the Jews!"

30 And they spit on him and grabbed the stick and beat him on the head with it.

31 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.

32 As they were on the way, they came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene,* and they forced him to carry Jesus' cross.5

33 Then they went out to a place called Golgotha (which means Skull Hill).

34 The soldiers gave him wine mixed with bitter gall, but when he had tasted it, he refused to drink it.

35 After they had nailed him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.*1

36 Then they sat around and kept guard as he hung there.

37 A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus' head, announcing the charge against him. It read: "This is Jesus, the King of the Jews."

38 Two criminals were crucified with him, their crosses on either side of his.

39 And the people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery.

40 "So! You can destroy the Temple and build it again in three days, can you? Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!"

41 The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders also mocked Jesus.

42 "He saved others," they scoffed, "but he can't save himself! So he is the king of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross, and we will believe in him!

43 He trusted God--let God show his approval by delivering him! For he said, `I am the Son of God.' "

44 And the criminals who were crucified with him also shouted the same insults at him.

45 At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o'clock.

46 At about three o'clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, "[Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?]" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"*2

47 Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah.

48 One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a stick so he could drink.

49 But the rest said, "Leave him alone. Let's see whether Elijah will come and save him."*3

50 Then Jesus shouted out again, and he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart,4

52 and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead5

53 after Jesus' resurrection. They left the cemetery, went into the holy city of Jerusalem, and appeared to many people.*6

54 The Roman officer and the other soldiers at the crucifixion were terrified by the earthquake and all that had happened. They said, "Truly, this was the Son of God!"

55 And many women who had come from Galilee with Jesus to care for him were watching from a distance.

56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary (the mother of James and Joseph), and Zebedee's wife, the mother of James and John.

57 As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who was one of Jesus' followers,

58 went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him.

59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth.

60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance as he left.

61 Both Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting nearby watching.

62 The next day--on the first day of the Passover ceremonies*--the leading priests and Pharisees went to see Pilate.7

63 They told him, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver once said while he was still alive: `After three days I will be raised from the dead.'

64 So we request that you seal the tomb until the third day. This will prevent his disciples from coming and stealing his body and then telling everyone he came back to life! If that happens, we'll be worse off than we were at first."

65 Pilate replied, "Take guards and secure it the best you can."

66 So they sealed the tomb and posted guards to protect it.

1 Early on Sunday morning,* as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb.1

2 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, because an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it.

3 His face shone like lightning, and his clothing was as white as snow.

4 The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and they fell into a dead faint.

5 Then the angel spoke to the women. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.

6 He isn't here! He has been raised from the dead, just as he said would happen. Come, see where his body was lying.

7 And now, go quickly and tell his disciples he has been raised from the dead, and he is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there. Remember, I have told you."

8 The women ran quickly from the tomb. They were very frightened but also filled with great joy, and they rushed to find the disciples to give them the angel's message.

9 And as they went, Jesus met them. "Greetings!" he said. And they ran to him, held his feet, and worshiped him.

10 Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid! Go tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there."

11 As the women were on their way into the city, some of the men who had been guarding the tomb went to the leading priests and told them what had happened.

12 A meeting of all the religious leaders was called, and they decided to bribe the soldiers.

13 They told the soldiers, "You must say, `Jesus' disciples came during the night while we were sleeping, and they stole his body.'

14 If the governor hears about it, we'll stand up for you and everything will be all right."

15 So the guards accepted the bribe and said what they were told to say. Their story spread widely among the Jews, and they still tell it today.

16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go.

17 When they saw him, they worshiped him--but some of them still doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, "I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth.

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."