Johnny Depp Tarot

When I was a kid, I liked to play with tarot cards.  Sometimes I tried to do serious readings, but most of the time I’d just make up stories to go with the pretty pictures, which it turns out is more or less what you’re supposed to do in a serious reading anyway.  Then the nuns found me telling a boy’s fortune under the bleachers one fine afternoon, and my tarot cards met what I later learned was a fiery end.  Shame.  I’d paid full price for them.

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image in public domain via pixabay.com

That’s not what this blog post is about, however.  Despite all the holy hand-wringing over what I’m told was the Devil’s influence, I never lost my liking for making up fortunes based on pretty pictures.  I just learned to be more careful about what pictures I used.  For example, carrying around photos of cute celebrities also got me in trouble with the nuns, but it was the afterschool special kind of trouble where the grownups talk at you in understanding voices and tell you that you’re a special flower just waiting to bloom.  So, being possessed of a logical mind and absolutely no scruples, I stopped carrying around regular tarot cards and instead told the future using pictures of Johnny Depp.

In addition to being much easier to explain if discovered, the Johnny Depp tarot deck has the virtue of evolving along with the actor’s career.  When I first started doing this, over half the deck was represented by images of Edward Scissorhands (he’s still most of the suite of Swords, but that’s only to be expected).  I don’t do many readings these days, but I still indulge from time to time, and I thought I’d share the results of my most recent foray into fortune-telling.  It was for myself a friend, and my her question for the cards was, what should I my friend do about this cute guy who was flirting with me her the other day?  These are the answers the JD Tarot revealed:

First Card (represents the questioner’s current situation):  The Pirate

 

This card represents an unexpected opportunity, usually one that is both attractive and risky.  A handsome rogue has captured your attention and now you feel like you can’t breathe.  Your life, previously so tightly laced, now seems full of intrigue and adventure.  You’re interested, but you suspect he desires only a night of plunder.  He may dance and sing with you while the rum lasts, but will he set his sights on another horizon when he feels a change in the wind?  If you follow “The Pirate”, you may find the treasure you seek, but be aware that what you get might not be what you truly value.

Second Card (represents obstacles in the questioner’s path):  The Mad Hatter

 

This card represents what is not as crazy as it seems.  The handsome rogue currently using your heart for a mainsail met you at the bar on Karaoke Night.  His first impression of you is of when, after your fourth Long Island Iced Tea, you lurched onstage and gave a remarkably accurate—if slurred—rendition of “Sweet Transvestite.”  And, yes, you danced.  The entire bar thought you’d gone bat-poo.  Fortunately you can stay on key even while plastered, you managed not to fall off the stage, and it turns out that your guy is a fan of Rocky Horror Picture Show (as, luckily, was the bouncer). This obstacle is not as bad as you think.

 Third Card (represents advice for the questioner):  The Man Himself

 

This card represents what is definitely as crazy as it seems—crazy awesome!  This guy flirted with you after you’d channeled Dr. Frankenfurter in front of a hundred strangers.  He already knows you’re bat-poo.  The Johnny Depp Tarot advises:  steer into the skid.  Show him your collection of Pixies memorabilia.  Tell him about the dream you had that was basically When Harry Met Sally, except it was When Bigfoot Met Sasquatch.  Play Strip Pictionary.  Be the inimitable, incomprehensible pile of awesome you are.  Just, maybe don’t show him the blog right away.  There are limits, after all.

My Cat Is A Furby

My cat makes a lot of the same sounds I do.  I squeak a little when I’m surprised or happy or in a funny position; so does she.  I grumble unintelligibly when I don’t feel like getting out of bed; so does she, and usually at the same time I do because she likes to sleep on my face.  I make rude noises at my computer when it freezes up; she makes the same rude noises at her toys when they go under the refrigerator and she can’t reach them.  It’s cute.  Or is it?

I was all set to write a post on how adorable it is that my cat imitates me.  It’s been ages since I wrote a feline-centric post, and I’ve been getting warning letters from the internet that I may be forced offline if I’m deemed “hostile to catz.”  But then I remembered my furby-974922_64012 3old furby–the one that started out irresistibly cute but turned out to be possessed by a demon, giving evil laughs in the middle of the night and spouting some kind of satanic smack talk even after I took out the batteries.  I started thinking about this because, before it became the phat new crib of an infernal being, my furby had started imitating me in a very similar manner.  Since that’s sort of the point of a furby, it still came as a surprise when mine dropped the cute act and revealed its true nature as a conduit for the Evil One.  Now that I can read the portents, though, I have to wonder:  can my cat be far behind?

Now, I don’t think my cat has gone full-on Linda Blair just yet, but she’s making a lot of the same sounds that my furby made in the time leading up to its possession.  In addition to imitating me, she also chitters, chirps, trills, and burps, and she makes this bizarre mechanical-sounding growl when I do hateful human things to her such as clipping her claws.  Like a furby, she’ll eat all the food you’re willing to give her and then immediately throw it back up.  Also like a furby, you can wake her up by flipping her upside down (though in fairness, that also wakes me up).  When she sits a certain way she even looks like a furby:  big ears, furry tail, indifference to all other beings.  A nervous human might start to worry.

cat-882049_640I wasn’t worried.  That’s how cats are, and my cat is Siamese and therefore never shuts up no matter who she sounds like.  Making all those strange noises doesn’t mean that she’s a furby, let alone a possessed furby.  Her impersonations are also not exclusively of me.  She does a very good imitation of my alarm clock when she wants to get my attention:  she yowls at an ungodly volume over and over and over until I want to throw her across the room.  This doesn’t mean that my cat is a furby, it just means that I wish my cat came with a snooze button.  She also has no off switch that I’ve been able to locate, just like with a…well, just like with a furby….

I did a little research on the subject, purely out of idle curiosity.  The fact that my once-affectionate lap kitty has taken to sitting in front of me and staring at me for thirty-minute stretches during which she neither moves nor blinks was not a motivating factor.  My research on furbies, much like most of my visits to WebMD, yielded grim results.  Common symptoms of furbitis (highly contagious, very aggressive, no known treatment) include:

  • personality changes that occur when its human forgets to feed it, pulls its tail once too often, or doesn’t pet it enough to make quota
  • talking at you in its own language (which it clearly expects you to understand) regardless of whether you are currently talking to someone else, studying for the MCAT, or even in the room
  • erratic movements with no apparent cause and serving no discernable purpose
  • staring at you with big, glowy eyes while you’re trying to sleep
  • being so adorable that you instantly fall in love with it and take it home, only to start wondering within three days if leaving it on a random doorstep, ringing the doorbell, and running like hell would make you a bad person

Looking at all the evidence, I can only conclude that my cat is indeed a Furby.  On the one hand, the realization is almost welcome.  It explains so much:  the bizarre behavior, the occasional clicking noises, why she doesn’t seem to understand that her tail is attached to her body.  On the other hand, it’s a well-documented fact that furbies are the devil’s familiars and conspire to bring about the downfall of humanity.  But my cat loves me!  She would never do anything to harm me.  She’s so comfortable with me that she sleeps on my face, right over my nose and mouth and…oh, no.

cat-1288972_640 1Screw it.  I’m not getting rid of my cat, even if she is a furby inhabited by Pazuzu that tries to smother me in my sleep.  I’ll still scratch that spot on the top of her head, I’ll still buy baby food as a cat treat and joke that she likes it because she thinks it’s really ground-up baby and that joke suddenly seems much less funny, and I’ll still let her sleep on my face.  She’s my cat and I’m her human.  Pazuzu the Demon King will just have to deal.

 

[all images are in the public domain via pixabay.com]

Prince Was My First

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dove [image in the public domain]

How do I post to a humor blog on the day Prince died?  This is not the same world that existed yesterday.  The sky is not the same sky, the air is not the same air, and I am not the same person.  It stands to reason, I suppose:  everything Prince did changed the world.  Of course his death has done the same.

Prince was my first for a lot of things.  He sang the first song I couldn’t stop listening to, the kind you keep playing in your head even when you’re in church confessing your sins.  I remember my younger self waiting for a confessional to come available, time I was supposed to use to contemplate what bad deeds I should list for the priest, but instead I was playing “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man” in my head.  My turn at confession came right after the part where Prince is telling a woman that she wouldn’t be satisfied with a one night stand.  I had to scramble into the booth and try to remember all my sins off the top of my head, and my voice was shaking so wildly that I was sure the priest could tell I’d been engaging in near-sacrilege just a few moments before.  Luckily, he regarded the stench of my guilt as a sign of desperate contrition, took pity on me, and told me I’d offered the most genuine confession he’d heard in a long time.  That’s how Prince gave me another couple of firsts:  the first time I realized that priests aren’t all-knowing (yes, I feel bad about tricking the holy man), and the first time I understood that sometimes the things and people that scare me may actually be on my side, if I let them.

I had several other memorable firsts with Prince.  When he changed his name to a symbol and wrote the word “slave” on his face to protest the way his record company treated his work, it was the first time I understood that art can not only convey a message but also fight an entire war that most people will never realize even happened.  Art history lectures in school tried to convey the same point as I nodded and took notes and memorized for the test; when Prince lived the message while I watched and listened, then I understood, and I never forgot.  Another first came from his cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You,” which was the first time I saw how the same thing can be perfect in more than one way, and how interpretation can be a form of authorship as valid as any.  My sister can correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the first time we bonded over music our parents would definitely in no uncertain terms never understand, it was Prince.  And, yes, Prince was acting as a musical Cyrano de Bergerac the first time I had sex; for those of us of a certain age, that was practically mandatory.

It’s hard to explain Prince’s allure to anyone who doesn’t already understand, but since this is basically a eulogy, let me try to tell you why this isn’t simply a transference of nostalgia and why I’m grieving over a man I never met.  My childhood was sheltered, relatively privileged, and safe.  Then Prince came along, and he was unlike anyone I’d ever seen or heard.  He assumed his audience was intelligent, he considered danger to be essential to creativity, and he could write a four-minute pop song that had shape and texture and heft.  All the songs I’d heard B.P. (Before Prince) were sanded flat, polished smooth, and as insubstantial as the air that carried them.  A lot of what I hear today is the same.  But Prince’s music always made me think, made me feel, and made me dance–enthusiastically, if not very well.  It’s true that Prince wasn’t the first artist to pitch the rulebook and do something different, but he was the first who made me want to throw my own rulebook away.  He showed me how to find my path away from the ordinary, and then he showed me how to dance along that path while rocking five-inch electric blue satin platform heels, and now he’s gone, and the world will never be the same.

Prince being Prince, though, I don’t see death stopping him from doing his thing.  I think he’s just got a new audience.  In fact, I take strange pleasure in the thought of the Heavenly Host suddenly confronted with The Artist.  He’ll probably be using a halo as some sort of percussion instrument and asking where he can find a pair of wings with glitter.  In my mind, I see the angelic choir looking on in seraphic condescension as Prince gives his first celestial concert, and I can’t help laughing a little at the shock they’re going to feel when they turn and see God the Eternal and Omnipotent dancing on His throne, rocking out to Purple Rain.

R.I.P, Prince Rogers Nelson.  You were my first, and you were the best.

You Can’t Say That In Catholic School!

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Not me.  I’ve got red hair. [image in the public domain]

I attended Catholic school in my halcyon days, and before you ask, no, I don’t still have the uniform.  Despite being a bright student, I somehow gained a reputation as a troublemaker and ended up in hot holy water surprisingly often.  I didn’t exactly mean to be difficult in school, at least not most of the time, but even then I tended to be both curious and rational, which is just awkward around nuns.  It’s especially dispiriting when said nuns have the ability to punish you for perceived disobedience when you’re asking what you think is a perfectly fair question.

My most frequent punishment was probably praying the rosary, which the nuns claimed was intended for reflection and self-correction and I claimed was more likely to produce tedium and resentment.  For which I was punished.  Not with the rosary, though, which was at least a change of pace.  Anyway, I thought I would share with you the things I said that I remember getting me in the most trouble in Catholic school, and what my punishment was for saying them:

6.   What I said: (regarding Adam’s lineage through Noah)  I just don’t think a family tree should be shaped like a circle.

Punishment:  Pray the Rosary and contemplate the nature of faith.  I’m still not sure how this addresses the problem of repeated inbreeding.

5.    What I said:  (regarding the virgin birth; for full effect, imagine this as being said by a bratty 7-year-old)  See, my mom used to teach sex ed, so I know that’s not how it works.

Punishment:  Ten Ave Marias and an essay on the Holy Trinity.  I think there may also have been a letter to my parents.

4.    What I said:  (regarding the Beatitude that ‘the meek shall inherit the earth’)  What if the meek don’t want the Earth?

[Side note:  a fundamental flaw I failed to grasp at the time is that you can’t really count on the meek to be forthright about that]

Punishment:  repeat the Beatitudes and reflect on the sinfulness of pride, which didn’t really answer my question

3.    What I said:  (regarding the Great Flood)  What about all the animals that could swim?

Punishment:  Pray the rosary and reflect on God’s omnipotence.  Again, not terribly instructive.  Could have used another hint.

2.   What I said:  Wait a minute.  If the Bible says the Earth is less than ten thousand years old, and you’re telling me that the Bible is right about everything, then how come we have a test this afternoon on dinosaurs?

Punishment:  For this one, I only had to stay in at lunch and study for the test, which worked out well because I hadn’t actually done any studying up to that point.  Note:  That was probably not the intended moral lesson.

1.    What I said:  If God and Heaven are above us and the Devil and Hell are below us, how come we look down when we pray?

Punishment:  I don’t remember what my punishment was for this one, I just remember being really, really sorry.

These were all genuine questions.  Except for #5, which was more of an objection, but an entirely genuine one.  I think that’s really how the Protestant Reformation came about; Martin Luther kept trying to ask the nuns about things he didn’t understand, but they kept making him pray the rosary, so eventually he just nailed his objections to the church door.  I, being much less enterprising (read:  lazy), am posting to my blog.  I’m also not starting a new religion (see earlier parenthetical comment re:  lazy).  Also, commenters, please have mercy and don’t reply with serious explanations to Past Little Blind Girl’s theological questions.  I’ve been punished enough.

“Unnecessary” Quotation Marks In “Famous” Books

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The “Library” by Quinn Dombrowski https://flic.kr/p/89CE1X

Whoops!  I accidentally knocked a pile of unnecessary quotation marks into my classic literature collection.  Let’s see what happened:

Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

It is a “truth” universally “acknowledged”, that a “single man” in possession of a “good fortune”, must be in want of a “wife”.

However little known the “feelings” or “views” of such a “man” may be on his first entering a neighbourhood, this “truth” is so well fixed in the “minds” of the surrounding families, that he is considered the “rightful property” of some one or other of their “daughters”.

A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)

It was “the best” of times, it was “the worst” of times, it was the age of “wisdom”, it was the age of “foolishness”, it was the “epoch of belief”, it was the “epoch of incredulity”, it was the “season of Light”, it was the “season of Darkness”, it was the spring of “hope”, it was the winter of “despair”, we had “everything” before us, we had “nothing” before us, we were all going direct to “Heaven”, we were all going direct the “other way” – in short, the “period” was so far like the “present period”, that some of its noisiest “authorities” insisted on its being “received”, for good or for evil, in the “superlative” degree of “comparison only”.

The Republic (Plato)

I “went down” yesterday to the Piraeus with Glaucon the “son” of Ariston, that I might offer up my “prayers” to the “goddess” (Bendis, the “Thracian” Artemis.); and also because I wanted to see in what manner they would “celebrate” the festival, which was a “new thing”. I was “delighted” with the procession of the “inhabitants”; but that of the “Thracians” was equally, if not more, “beautiful”. When we had finished our “prayers” and viewed “the spectacle”, we turned in the direction of the “city”; and at that instant Polemarchus the “son” of Cephalus chanced to “catch sight” of us “from a distance” as we were starting on our way home, and told his “servant” to run and bid us wait for him. The servant “took hold” of me by the “cloak” behind, and said: Polemarchus “desires” you to wait.

Genesis (God)

In “the beginning” when God “created” the heavens and the earth, the “earth” was a “formless void” and darkness “covered” the face of the deep, while a “wind from God” swept over the face of the “waters”.  Then God said, “Let there be light”*; and there was “light”.  And God saw that the light was “good”; and God “separated” the light from the darkness.  God “called” the light Day, and the darkness he “called” Night.  And there was “evening” and there was “morning”, the “first day”.

Man, it’s a good thing this was an “accident”; if I’d done it on purpose, I’d be going straight to “Hell”.

* these quotation marks are in the original