Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Sermon on the Stool: The 10 Suggestions

Coalinga, California. In a shitkicker bar. Summer, 2016
Disclaimer: in order to record the Real-Time Gospel™ properly I leave in all the mispellings, grammatical mistakes and other general errors. And have a nice day. The following seems a lot like a scene in a Mel Brooks movie, which only proves that life is frequently just like a scene in a Mel Brooks movie.

And the Incredibly Reverend One (IRO) tended to call god 'him' and use the possessive 'his' and while I have a bit of a problem with that it is the way he speaks and this is what he said.  

The Real-Time Gospel™
 The Sermon on the Stool: The 10 Suggestions

I'd stopped on my way to Santa Clarita. I love the earth and it's wonders but I have to say that Coalinga and Santa Clarita are not the loveliest spots god created. I met some very nice people there and there are some nice neighborhoods in Santa Clarita but if god has an nonegenarian's elbow it's Coalinga and if god ever gets a fungal infection between his toes it might look like Santa Clarita. In Coalinga it's gray dirt and tumbleweeds and in Santa Clarita it's nothingness speckled with oil derricks.

It was late and the only place I could find to eat that wasn't owned by a Fortune 500 company was a dive called Grouchy's. I sat at the bar and ordered a greaseburger then heard the voice, yes, that voice, from right next to me. I have no idea why he was there.

"You would think that Commandments would be coercive, given that the punishment for ignoring them is flaming torture in your most sensitive spots forever." I didn't know what to say. He continued, "Did you know the 10 Commandments forbid you from drawing a fish?"


"Your usual answer to everything I ask you. If you actually read Exodus you'll find this: "You shall not make an image in the form of anything in the heaven above or beneath the earth or in the waters below. So no fish and no tunnels and no planets or eternal damnation. You know if god only gives you one set of commandments he probably thinks it's important."

I thought about what god must have done to Picasso when he got up there. I was worried for John James Audubon and Herman Melville, although I don't know if Melville ever actually drew a whale.

He took a silk kerchief from his suit pocket and dabbed at the moisture in his hand left from holding his drink. 

"I think god suggests things to us. If you drive a screwdriver into your hand god will suggest that you scream, then that you have a surgeon take it out for you. He will also suggest painkillers and psychiatric evaluation. No, maybe god isn't suggesting these things, god is actually screaming them to you. Let's call it enthusiastic suggesting."

"What are you drinking?" It looked slightly green in the tall glass and the ice cubes went to the top of the glass. He rubbed a piece of lemon on the edge of the glass and drank half of it.

"It's cheap dry vermouth." I like it. I couldn't think of anything to say back and I really didn't care what he drank (except to record it in the Real-Time Gospel™).

"Ok, but how does god expect us to know what all the suggestions are or what they mean in our daily lives? Are the 10 suggestions that I could write down and try to live by?"

Uh-oh, there was the look. I knew he was preparing some insult, some put down that I would pretend to be happy to hear but I think part of the look was the alcohol hitting him hard.

The Incredibly Reverend One closed his eyes, slammed his whiskey down his throat and did something that really, really scared me. He stood and prepared himself to testify.

I got up and slowly moved to the door, sensing that the patrons of this fine establishment didn't want the country music interrupted to hear someone denigrate their religion and challenge their belief system.

"Listen up!" Fladabosco yelled out, "I want to tell you the absolute goddamnable truth!"

I was always amazed that he would use the name of god so frequently despite claiming not to believe in him, or in 'He died for your sins™' or anything divine. My mom would hate this guy. I was worried he was going to be arrested or worse. I moved toward the door.

"God thinks you are all worthless, and will prove it to you each one at at time at a situation and time of god's choosing."

I think the crowd was warming up to him. They wanted to burn his face off.

Fladabosco started yelling. "God talks to us all the time, in fact god screams at us. He screams at us in the form of hydrocarbons, blue jays and half-smoked cigars." He thought for a second. "And pickup trucks and ladies in bikinis that are too small for them. And chicken fried steak."

Now the crowd was actually warming up to him a little. Someone yelled "And beer?" and the Incredibly Reverend One laughed and said "oh, yes, god definitely talks to us about beer."

It got really quiet. You could hardly hear Charlene Darling belting out 'There is a time" on the jukebox. Nothing but the clinking of glasses. Fladabosco's eyes were red, really red and you could tell that the 16 oz. of dry vermouth he drank were making his legs a little wobbly but he climbed up on the bar stool and orated:

"Here is what god wants you to do. He has given us 10 Suggestions and god wants you to follow all of them or he'll teach you a lesson.

"Number one: don't drop dog biscuits. They will break."

The patrons who were still sober were confused but the rank and file was starting to get behind him. I heard a guy mutter 'makes perfeck sense' and saw the woman who was with him stare at him with that 'do I know this guy' look.

"Number two: Never hit your grandma with a shovel. It makes a bad impression on her mind."

I heard at least 5 people says 'makes sense, makes perfeck sense.'

"Number three: Never fish with impatient or loud people."

Now the crowd was behind him. The jukebox had finished his run and all I could hear was drinking and people mumbling that this guy was smart and had it all together. What I heard was the sound of impending doom.

"Number three: Making an appointment saves you time at the Department of Motor Vehicles."

At least 3 people recognized his mistake and one shouted 'you have two number threes!"

Without a reaction Fladabosco testified on. "Number five: Do not leave puppies unattended in your living room."

Not much reaction.

"Number Six: Uh, take your, no, uh, don't think that...uh..Never lend your lawn mower to someone you don't know. And drink beer everyday."

The crowd reacted as if he had proved that god was there to produce miracles on the spot. When someone in the crowd suggested he actually made two suggestions the crowd shut him down with threats of harm. Now they were really on Fladabosco's side although it's pretty doubtful any of them were cool with changing religions, just not mad enough yet to try to stop him.

"Seven: (he was having trouble thinking and standing at the same time) never claim to know what god is, what god wants or what god says. Really, how could you know?"

If there was ever a wrong thing to say that was it, except perhaps for the following:

"Eight: drive sensible cars that get good gas mileage and love your neighbor no matter their skin color or religion."

The stool was pulled out from under the Incredibly Reverend One and he watched the floor come up and hit him in the face. I thought for a second that I might be able to pull him to safety but the crowd didn't waste any time doing it for me, dragging him by his feet and as his body bounced furiously and as I was running away like a squirrel who had fallen into a dog park I heard him yelling, as if to convince them to like him "Dolly Parton's boobs are not fake! OK they are fake! Bacon is the bottom of the food pyramid! Bacon is the top of the food pyramid!"

I know he yelled more but I was almost to my car.

I knew his hand-sewn Italian suit would not be worth the price of a paper bag. When the crowd went back in I went to take care of him. He was bloody on the back of his head where it scraped over the threshold and it was obvious that several openings in his body had decided to ruin what was left of his suit. I don't think he was aware of me and I could hear him mumbling "tractors are sexy irrigation pipes are gifts from god Number 9: never ruin a man's suit'

I stepped back into the bar to get some wet paper towels to try to clean him off, hoping no one would think I was his friend. But the bar appeared exactly like it did when I stepped in it the first time. The talk was quiet and the jukebox was playing a polka I did not recognize. The lady behind the bar gestured to me and very politely said, "One burger, one beer, $12.75 plus tax." I gave her a $20 and went straight to the men's room. Fladabosco was in there washing his face and straightening out his shredded suit. I said I was glad he was OK and as I turned to leave he said "all prophets have to go through this, you know."

I had a long drive that night and didn't get home until early the next morning. I was too amped up to sleep and had no problems staying awake. I wasn't sure if the whole event was funny or sad but I couldn't find any illumination in it.

I'm sorry if you read this whole thing thinking there was something pithy or super-smart or that would give you a better feeling about yourself and life in general. Those can be found in other blog posts of the Reat-Time Gospel™, the modern day scripture of the Agnostic Church of God. Thank you for reading and please have a holy freakin' day!

Mr. Ian Normous
First Tool of the Agnostic Church of God

Monday, August 15, 2011

More Jazzuflecting

We received this interesting photo of Jazzuflecting. Obviously very religious Fladaboscans.

One odd thing though - it does seem that Jazzuflection may make modern artwork very angry.

Is the art angry because the guy has a busted up leg?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Most Arrogant Man in the World and his Material Wealth

Haven't we learned from the IRO that this really is the crux of religion: the arrogance of one person telling another that they know what god wants.

Probably the worst jazzuflector in history.
Look at what those religions profess. Life on earth is unimportant unless you utter the magic words.  Earth is god's kidney; god just uses our experience here to filter out the bad elements.

According to some it's to select the believers who will fight the final war with Satan after the apocalypse. So you can be a horrible person, even a politician or preacher, and after a debauched life of sin and evil you can mutter the magic intonation and be saved. Why god wants politicians in his army I can't tell you. But I can show you the picture of arrogance.

Is there anything that makes less sense than claiming that scripture written thousands of years ago in a dead language, edited and translated and changed by man over those years is the unerring word of god? Yes there is. It's listening to a creep like Ronald Weinland. Did god tell him to wear French cuffs? Salesman!

Here is a man who has declared himself a prophet and now makes his living as a guest preacher and from his books, all of which are concerned with the upcoming (snore) end of days.

So I am officially challenging this man, Ronald Weinland, to stand up for his beliefs. Coincidentally he believes the start of the Apocalypse will be on my birthday, May 27, 2012. Therefore I call on him and his followers to SEND ME ALL OF THEIR MATERIAL WEALTH* before that date. They are not going to need it and it is my birthday, after all. If they fail to do this then they really don't have faith, they are just selling books and making speeches.

I hate to plug his web site but you can see how this guy confuses reality with his own stab at glory at

NOTE FROM THE FIRST TOOL OF THE CHURCH™: Mr. Weinland, when you are ready to put up where your mouth is quacking simply write a comment in this blog and we'll get the process rolling. If you are right I am going to have a very crappy birthday and you are going to have a glorious May 27, and if I am right I'll have a swell birthday and you'll have a crappy May 27.

* Material wealth - all cash, bonds, stocks and securities, all real estate, any precious metals or jewelry. You can keep the clothes, cleaning rags, couch cushions, pets, family pictures and worn out non-stick pans. If you are serious and believe what you say, then send it my way. If not then take down your web site, tell god you are sorry and shut your trap.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Two Ways to Pray

At the In-N-Out Burger, McCarthy Ranch, Milpitas, CA

The In-N-Out at McCarthy Ranch is a booger to get to. I always come at it from the north, usually coming back from a gig in Oakland, or visiting parents in Walnut Creek. Unfortunately there's no convenient freeway entrance and you have to go to Zanker Rd in San Jose and come back to Milpitas. Milpitas is an Ohlone tribe word that means 'nice place but too close to the sewer plant and stinks in summer.'

I don't know how he does it but the Incredibly Reverend One was sitting at a table with Freud as if waiting for me. I ordered then went over to say hi and for some reason they were nice to me.

"Want to join us?" The IRO asked me. I couldn't as I had to get home. I could smell alcohol and Freud's eyes were even redder than usual. I wondered if The IRO wanted me there to keep Freud occupied.'
Portal to cosmic understanding or burger joint?

"You should sit your ass down," Freud said so loud it sounded like he was inviting all occupants of cars in the drive through.  Before The IRO could stop him Freud stood up and got on the bench of the table where they were eating and started orating.

"You should sit your ass down then thank god for it. Yes, god I am grateful for my ass, for as I know that while god rested on the 7th day, on the 8th day he created the ass. And god said, 'Verily and in truth I have created the ass and it is good. Henceforth will man grab it and shout, or grunt, my name in ecstasy."

Freud sat down and went back to eating as if nothing happened. He ate by picking up one fry at a time, studying it, waving it through ketchup and stuffing it in his face followed by a large bite of burger and a swig of chocolate shake. He had one order of fries, eight burgers and three shakes in front of him.

"You should pray to god to fix your ass," he said to me.

"There's nothing wrong with my ass." At least I didn't think there was. I looked at the IRO or guidance but he was cutting his fries with a knife and eating them slowly. He offered no help.

"Scrawny, thin, pancake-ish and scrawny," Freud said. "You should be praying."

"Do you really think god will make my ass more attractive if I pray?"

Thankfully the IRO broke in. "There are two ways to pray," he offered. "Let's say you want some apricots. You can go to a church, confess your sins, put money in the poor box, recite things in dead languages and hope and hope and hope for some apricots.

"Or you can pray with a shovel, some dirt and some small apricot trees. You pray by digging holes, putting the trees in the holes then taking care of the tree until it gives you apricots. In the same manner you can pray for your childrens' safety by counting beads or by teaching them about crosswalks. I'd bet on crosswalks being a more efficient way of praying."

I was a bit confused. "What does this have to do with my ass? Is it really to small?"

"Actually I never thought about your ass and don't want to begin now. But if you eat a couple of dozen apricots you'll find out what it has to do with your ass."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Jazzuflecting and Jazzufaction

REAL TIME GOSPEL ENTRY: Arcata, California, just north of the Lost Coast

Another gorgeous spot. I would ask 'how does god do that' but I'd find another scrap of paper with food stains calling me an idiot.

I was having a bbq at the Community Forest with some friends. We had flatiron steaks, some shrimp and clams and were enjoying some Humboldt air when we saw two young men in black pants, white shirts and black ties going around and talking to the people at the park. We were going to go offer them some beer when I noticed a very nicely dressed man hanging out with what looked like a sack of potatoes that sprouted a hairy head and spindly legs.  The IRO and Freud. How did they wind up in the same place as me?

Scott C showing some excellent Jazzuflecting
Then I saw The IRO and Freud coming our way. If I knew them at all I knew Freud was coming for the food.

"Hey Reverend!" I called out and the missionaries turned to look, just in time to see The IRO get pretty pissed that I was focusing attention his way.  He didn't say anything when he got to us; I could see his upper lip tensing and the irritation rising in him. Freud just started grabbing food, first the bbqed clams, a slice of steak and a swig of an already opened and drunk from beer.

I hoped I could divert The IROs anger from me to someone else. "How 'bout them missionaries, telling people they know more about god than they do. Why don't they just teach them how to genuflect and go away?

NOTE TO SELF DELETE BEFORE POSTING: Cool website with instructions on genuflecting, kissing priests hands ("because they alone are able to confect the Holy Eucharist" whatever the puke that means...)

"Only you could be in a beautiful place like this and be so stupid" The IRO said to me. "Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints do not genuflect, they fish.

"Even on their own website you can tell they are not so sure about what they are doing. I quote (how do I write a quote of one person quoting another?) ""May you utilize the information herein to your benefit, and to magnify your calling in moving forward the Lord's work, even here in the Eureka California Stake.""

"But you, you should learn to genuflect. It will be a symbol to god (if there is one) and you should do it every time you are happy. If you eat a delicious fruit or veggie for the first time each season you should do it. When you realize that the glasses you thought you lost were actually still in the case you should do it. When your alarm fails to go off and you jump out of bed in a panic then find out it's Saturday and you don't have to get up, you definitely need to be thankful and genuflect."

"Are those the only times?" I asked. I sucked down a bbq clam and I think a little of the juice his his shoes. Oh crap.

A moment of obvious anger then with a calm smile, "Now here is how I want you to genuflect. Raise one knee. Raise both hands, palms out with your fingers stretched. I think this position is called jazz hands. Look upward in great thanks."

"Should I have my knee pointed straight ahead, or turn it across my body?"

"If you feel many cross your body. If your feminine side is shining through, then pull your knee to the out side of your body. From now on you will refer to this as jazzuflecting™ and the glorious ecstasy you get from it will be called jazzufaction™."

Freud was slamming down the seafood now, and most of the steak was gone. "I'm gonna go pee on a redwood tree" Freud said as he wobbled and meandered across the really green grass over to a grove of giant trees. Just as he disappeared around the base of a giant sequoia The IRO shouted out, "Dessert time! I think I am going to fork this pie."

I am not sure what Freud was doing on the other side of that tree but it took him 7 minutes and when he came back he had a look of extreme jazzufaction.

So beautiful

I was having such a beautiful day! I was hiking with my squeeze and my hound, Charlie, just south of Lake Tahoe. Such a beautiful day. Clean air. Few people. Saw scads of chipmunks.

Since I was a teenager I have a way of communing with nature. I, uh, mark the base of a redwood tree. I guess it makes me feel a bit more like an animal.

I left my squeeze and Charlie sitting by the lake and walked down a fire road to find just the right tree.  Just as I was shaking things out I noticed a scrap of paper partially under a rock. Here is what it said:
The tree on the right is the one I made holy

"I don't know why you (smoooshed bug) think I can help you with (I hope it's ketchup) and keep following me and (I hope to god it's mayo) and we may have to write a (more mayo) agreement to keep it that way.

But here is some advice for you. If you want to be happy learn to love life. If you want to be really happy, learn to love love."

I really thought that was beautiful and went to tell my squeeze. When she saw me she looked panicked and wanted to leave right away. Apparently there was a strange many in the cab of a pickup truck who parked near her and covered up his windows. Could be Freud...

Saturday, July 16, 2011

God's Greatest Gifts

NOTE TO YOU AGNOSTICS OUT THERE: Sorry for the long verse here but it’s a gospel, damn it and I have to include everything. I wish I could do differently, but alas I am just a Tool of the Church.™


I was eating a garden burger at Crepevine in San Rafael before rehearsal on Thursday, sitting on the sidewalk with Charlie the lab and an ex-student of mine when The Incredibly Reverend One and Freud walked by. There was a farmer’s market happening there on 4th St. and Freud was carrying a bag of groceries. I could hear Freud whispering ‘tamale’ to his bag of groceries like he was trying to seduce it.

Note to self- find garden burger photo
“Mr. Fladabosco!” I kind of shouted out to him. He was only a few feet away and was embarrassed as people looked to see which idiot was yelling ‘Fladabosco.’ All I got from Him was the Look. I think more to shut me up than anything he came over to our table.

Now Charlie is a great dog and pretty well behaved but he’s still a puppy. I don’t think The IRO knew I had the dog there, and as dogs like to do, he stuck his big white doggy snout right where the IRO wasn’t expecting it.

I have been thinking about how to describe the sound The IRO made but I think I have it. Imagine you find out that you have won the lottery the same time that you realize the beneficial bacteria in your lower digestive tract have quit working and your body is going to try to get rid of the beans, pork chops and banana milkshake you had for lunch - one way or another. Or that a large hairy white dog has just stuck his snoot into your crotch in public and put a big drool spot in an embarrassing place on your tailored Italian slacks.

I grabbed Charlie’s leash and pulled him back. If The Look has a turbo mode, he was giving it to me. “Sorry, sorry, so sorry” I said several times.

“Charlie is a good dog, but he still has stuff to learn. I am trying to teach him to think before he lunges at someone.”

“I don’t blame the dog but you are an idiot as usual” The IRO said, “People think, dogs do.”

“Can I ask you a question about religion?” I asked him as ladies walked past dressed  in tie-dyed shirts and carrying dogs the size of a soupspoon.

He didn’t answer, he just gave me The Look. I asked anyway.

“Supposed you were to find that  your house burned down. Does that mean that god is mad at you? Maybe you did something in a past life the POed him off or maybe if you are cool about it you will be rewarded in a later life, right?”

The Look again.

“Listen dimbulb (one of the nicest things he has called me) why do you ask me such stupid questions. You know we can’t know such things.”

“But don’t we need an explanation of why there are miracles and tragedies?”

Big sigh. “I am going to give you an answer then we are going to go on your way so Mr. Freud and I can finish shopping.  I tried to buy a bowtie at a strip mall but there was a school across the street and a bunch of girl scouts were painting the flagpole and I had to deal with Freud fainting.”

“But here is you answer: I do not care. I do not know. All I know is that Reality is God’s True Religion™ and God’s greatest gifts to man are fear, worry, pain and guilt. Good-bye.”

As he and Freud turned to leave I started mumbling ‘huh, what, hold it’ but they kept going. In a little desperation I called out ‘sausage and doughnuts!’ and Freud stiffened like he’d been tased. The IRO turned back “what the hell did you do that for?”

“How could you say something like that and leave, knowing it would ruin my day?” I could see a little smile coming to his lips and figured he was trying to think of a nice nickname for me.
“How could I not say something like that knowing it would ruin your day” he smirked. I was learning to dislike the smirk, Reverend or not.

“Without pain we would die of our injuries. Without worry babies wouldn’t make it past their first day. Without fear we would walk off of cliffs of elect Libertarians. And without guilt all the good people would act just like all the bad people.”
Before I could ask anything else he grabbed Freud’s arm and started walking westward.  I heard him mutter ‘sphincter breath.’