Black is the new Christmas

Of course the biggest problem with the American holiday season which has spread out worldwide was pointed out by my wife last night. For those folks who don’t have the money to go out and buy a gazillion lights, a ton of brand new expensive gifts, and to have big holiday parties with family and friends – the non stop advertising serves one purpose – it points out how miserable a life they are living and how much everyone else has.

It’s all rather disgusting and while we are fortunate to be able to have gifts and a tree and nice food and even some decorations if we want to – the non-stop commercialization of Christmas isn’t pleasant. We could just change the name of the holiday to ‘Black Season’ – or start saying ‘Black is the new Christmas’ instead of saying Merry Christmas we could all say “Mary Black” and somewhere, that lady I met one time named Mary Black would feel her ears tingling constantly for four months.

I saw the first Christmas commercial this year about a week before Halloween.

Let’s pause for a moment. I don’t give a shit about the ‘true’ meaning of Christmas. Jesus was cool and all but I’m not a Christian. Besides, his birthday wasn’t even in December anyway – that was a smooth move pulled by Justinian who wanted to have the Romans celebrate his new religion on their old holiday – the winter solstice – usually around December 21-23 – Justinian sat in old Byzantium’s Constantinople (which later became Istanbul) and do you really think there is a coincidence that St. Nicholas was Turkish (because he was) – I don’t. So when people start spouting the true meaning of Christmas as some Christian worship thing, I bite my tongue. It’s never been about Christ.

But here, in the United States – since the early 1800s – it has been about family and love and home and keeping warm when it’s fucking cold outside. A lump of coal was a nice present indeed if you were freezing your ass off or had no way to make your morning coffee. Go read the Little House on the Prarie books – trust me.

So, back to the black holidays – like the black arts, they are all about greed, selfishness, envy, and nasty business. Black Friday – it gets more press than Thanksgiving – which, let’s face it, has a pretty horrible PR campaign going right now – i.e. Europeans come to the America’s, almost starve, but are saved by the indigenous people who they reward by stealing their land and massacring them…again – a holiday about family and having food to eat at the harvest time..but now about trampling strangers to save $5 at a sale so you don’t go fucking broke buying black holiday presents for spoiled selfish and greedy shits who don’t deserve any better than the indigenous people who were wiped out (and probably worse).

We save one Turkey by Presidential decree and then we stuff our fat asses with beer, turkey, and tacos. What do you think Bill Cosby will be doing this year? Probably having a better time than most people with those damn spanish flies.

Oh man, I’m on a roll. I just realized I dissed Halloween not long ago…yeah – fuck all the holidays. I’m celebrating them but not like the PR firms want me to -and by the way – my shop will be open on Black Friday and I’ll be having a big sale – come buy a bunch of shit, will ya?

The Death of Vago Damitio VagoDamitio dot com

For the past couple of years, I’ve been running several blogs – which has been profitable, but sometimes confusing – for me and for others. Here’s the deal – in 2009 I sold this site for a reasonable profit – I wanted a domain with my name though – so I made VagoDamitio.com my go to blog since Vago is the nickname I have often used online and in writing. It made sense. I built the VagoDamitio site because my main domain Vagobond.com was dedicated to travel and it didn’t make sense to have all this other stuff on it –

Then in 2012, I bought this site (chrisdamitio.com) back from the guy I had sold it to. Hooray! I owned my name again! But actually, now it became confused further because I had chrisdamitio.com, vagodamitio.com, vagobond.com for travel – plus about 50 other sites for travel writing and selling ads and promotional campaigns on – so I bought VagobondTravelMedia.com and tried to tie everything together. All of this worked for about a year – but I wish I would have done it all in 2009 when there was still big easy money to be made from blogging and links. C’est la vie.

Now, because I was trying to do good SEO so I could have better pagerank and search rankings, I had five different hosting accounts on five different IP addresses and I had all those sites I was juggling and earning from (and the earning was really good up until mid 2012 when Google killed an entire independent industry by cahnging their algorhythms and effectively killing pagerank as an indicator of page strength. What this means is my earnings fell by the wayside and I had to figure out a different way to support my family – but I still had (and have) all of those sites and held on in the hope that they would become earners again – plus I had effectively split my personality into chrisdamitio.com and vagodamitio.com with each having social media accounts and different topics etc. As you can tell, it was confusing as hell. But I held on –

Until three weeks ago when the hosting account I had vagodamitio.com and ten other sites on – hostpapa – found a bad line of code in a comment on one small site called travelblogging101.com and rather than telling me to delete the comment – they deleted my entire hosting account with no notice or chance for me to fix things – I had a wordpress backup which I’ve imported here of vagodamitio.com but I lost vagobonding.com, travelblogging101.com, and all the rest – which is sad because there was a lot of work in those sites but which ulitmately doesn’t matter because they had earned about all they could – I’m still trying to recover them, but I’ve decided to let VagoDamitio.com merge with this site – which, strangely is a rather hard decision.

I think though – it is close to becoming time to let Vago Damitio die – if you call me Vago, you still can, if you call me Chris you still can, but when I introduce myself these days, I introduce myself as Christopher, which after all is really my name.

So, here I am – Christopher Damitio aka Vago – an antiques dealer in a small Oregon town. My wife is Moroccan and we’ve been to a few places. We have chickens and a 3-year-old. I like art – I mean I really really like art. I paint, I buy, I appreciate. As far as writing – I don’t think I’ve done my best work yet – but perhaps, sometime in the not too distant future – I will find the time and peace to write something that really sings.

Halloween is Boring and Unhealthy

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I’m not sure why I used to love Halloween so much.

I used to enjoy the free candy when I was a little guy – and I guess it was fun to be able to put on costumes and go out at night.

Of course, when I was a kid – our parents would just send us out and we could go door to door by ourselves. We also reached the age where we put m-80s in people’s pumpkins and carried squirt guns filled with lighter fluid…

Explosives and arson – yeah, it was a juvenile delinquent night and thankfully nobody ever blew off their hands or burned down someone’s house. How in the world were 12-year-old kids getting quarter sticks of dynamite to blow up people’s jack-o-lanterns? I don’t even remember but that was the 1970s and 80s so parents weren’t really paying attention – the me generation was still focused firmly on themselves which left us free to run riot and have absolutely crazy childhoods whether it was Halloween or not…

In my 20s Halloween became a great holiday to put on a mask and get fucked up drunk – dancing, drinking, sometimes fighting, and if things went right hooking up with some random costumed girl – all of that stuff lost most of its appeal somewhere in my 30s.

Now in my 40s – it’s fun to carve jack-o-lanterns with my 3-year-old daughter. It’s fun to see her putting on a costume. It’s fun to introduce her to trick-or-treating and see her excitement.

Other than that – I’m not much of one for horror stories or slasher flicks or monsters that fall outside of the Dungeons and Dragons realm – though I do confess a weakness for zombie flicks and the Walking Dead on AMC –

The last adult Halloween before my daughter came along was back in Hawaii in 2007 when around 12 of us dressed as different kinds of Gandolf – we had Rasta Gandolf, homeless Gandolf, etc…that was sort of fun in concept – and then there was the drinking and dancing – fun, but already starting to feel not very fun – like going to bars and clubs –

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This year, I was more disturbed by the serial killer macabre in the advertising and decorations of my fellow Americans than feeling festive about it – or maybe it’s that the whole world has become a sort of continuous horror movie combined with hard core year-round holiday marketing that is not only exhausting but unhealthy, expensive, and at the end of the day (or night) not very fun.

 

Ebola – What Happens in Vegas, has a 70% chance of killing and a larger chance of spreading…

It was Mike’s bachelor party and he brought in his best mates from all over the country. Guys he’d grown up with in your state, his Army buddies from all over the country, college friends from NYU and UCLA Medical school, and some colleagues from Boston General and his internship in Seattle. In short, it was a great party and guys from all over the country came. It was a classic Vegas party even inculding the incredibly dirty pair of strippers doing a lesbian sex show in the suite of the hotel – which was ruined when one of them started puking blood all over the place. They all thought she was a drunk druggie whore – but no, the truth was simpler. She had Ebola.
(Note for clarity: Ebola is a virus which is passed via bodily fluids, not an STD but of course bodily fluids are often shared during sex)
To be fair, she was a drunk druggie whore – and she’d gotten Ebola from a John who had fucked a stripper who worked in a bar where a guy from Iowa had come after he found out the nurse he was engaged to had been diagnosed in Dallas with Ebola after she was assured she was safe taking care of the guy who had brought Ebola to the United States from Liberia where he had helped an Ebola victim who was pregnant go to the hospital only to have her be turned away and how she got it was a whole ‘nother story. She was married to a guy who helped pick a woman up off the street when she collapsed and was thrown from a bus and she’d gotten the disease by taking care of her son who was a hard working student in a poor school, who got it from a girl that had come from the country because her whole family was ill, who got it because they were nice people who took care of a guy they knew…and it goes on and on…to a guy in the Congo eating meat he killed in the forest back in 1974 or so…oops.

But back to John’s awesome party ( oh wait, it was Mike’s but guess what, John’s party had the same thing happen but with different people…trippy) – so they all went home and only half of them passed the disease on – so it goes like this:

10 at the party
5 get the disease and interact with 200 people
only 500 get the disease and interact 200 people
50,000 get the disease and interact with 200 people
5 million get the disease and interact with 200 people
1 Billion get the disease and interact with 200 people
Everyone gets Ebola and 5.7 billion people die….the rest survive and the world is suddenly super cool and filled with infinite possibilities. Life is awesome. Everything is awesome. Ebola is awesome. Ebola makes life worth living. Awesome.

Ebola is awesome … at least for the people 500 years from now. For everyone else, it pretty much sucks.

Creation, Thoughts, and Ideas from a Creator

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Without a doubt, the greatest impediment to innovation or creation is not inspiration, but procrastination – most specifically , waiting for the right time, right materials, right circumstance, or right something – if Leonardo or Michelangelo had waited the world would be a poorer place – if Steve Jobs had waited, the world would certainly be different – if Henry Ford or countless others had waited – the world would be unrecognizable – which may or may not be a good thing – I haven’t seen that other world, so I don’t really know.

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I only know that our world makes it harder than ever to get started – gone are the days when a poor immigrant can make aprons from cloth bought with his last few dollars and start a grand enterprise – today – to do so legally he needs to have a license, a premisis, a tax ID number, and countless other sanctioned impediments to doing business. Our system is seemingly, a system which does to great length to encourage inertia and to discourage innovation and forward movement.

I, like many others, am a man of ideas. My whole life has been a complex system of coming up with ideas and then working to make them reality – often the only canvas I have had to work with is myself, who I am – and I’ve painted several different me’s through these four decades. My antique shop was born in three days – I spoke with the landlords, I signed the rental agreement, I moved what I had in, and I opened – meanwhile – two shops down the street prepared for months to open their doors – one of them to much better effect than me and the other to about the same lukewarm welcome and success.

My desire is to create, to make new things, to innovate, to paint, to write, to play music, to make art, to start business – that is what I do. I am a creator – not a creative – a creator. I create things. I create books, stories, worlds, websites, magazines, businesses, people (characters and children), and more. I would create far more if I were not stymied by process, procedure, start up costs, regulations, and other artificial impediments to my creative genius. I find it funny, by the way that art is contained in the word artificial – when I find true art to be the most genuine products of humanity…I also find it incredibly annoying to have creators like myself labeled as ‘creatives’ by those who are not. We are not creatives, we are creators. We are not makers, we are creators. We create!

If God did create us in his image, we creators are the ones he must love the most. We create! We understand! And, we also understand how a creation can turn south or end up being disappointing, or not work out the way that we intended.

In the beginning, God created Man and then Man (and woman) started doing all kinds of things God hadn’t intended or thought about – yeah, I get that – the characters in the books I write usually take over at some point and deviate wholly from my preconcieved plotlines – when I paint – it often ends up something completely different from what I started thinking I was painting – even my antique shop is not quite what I had expected it would be – it has been filled with stuff people walked through the door with to sell me – I had no idea this stuff would come here – and so it goes. The stuff I thought would sell has been gathering dust while the stuff I didn’t plan on has paid the rent, I sure hope that continues…

It’s enough for now – although one more thing – I think that perhaps the internet and its offer of allowing me to create whatever I want for the world to see may have dragged me off a path where I would have made more real world things – stuff you can touch and hold.  As a matter of regret – I regret that – all this website crap – it disappears when the power goes out – if I had been making furniture or gardens – they wouldn’t be so ephemeral – or maybe they would. I don’t know. What do you think?

#vagothinks

I have strong opinions and good ideas – I’m tired of keeping them to myself. I’m going to be sharing them from now on on twitter using the hashtag #vagothinks – I’m still a week out from completing my 99 day fast from Facebook – I may do another 99 day break from it after I check messages, check up on friends, etc.

Here are the first of my #vagothinks:

#vagothinks The USA should offer Syria to Turkey if they go in and kick ISIS out – just give it to the Turks.

#vagothinks the US economy is failing miserably for everyone who is not already middleclass or higher – I propose locialism as a solution…

@vagothinks locialism is a universal safety net including free medical, food, and housing assistance for anyone earning less than $40k/year

#vagothinks #locialism should be free and available for anyone who asks for it – no proof necessary – those who opt out get special benefits

#vagothinks taxes should be paid by employers before wages – flatly – every employee gets taxes withheld – not an employee=no taxes !

#vagothinks Trash trucks should have scales on them – every household gets charged by weight – less garbage=lower bill, more garbage=higher

#vagothinks No one (including corps) should be allowed to own more than two residences but no limit on commercial or industrial properties

#vagothinks There should be a children’s judicial system where children can safely appeal unfair treatment from adults with no consequences

#vagothinks a person’s record should only reflect judgments against them -everything else should be expunged – including credit data

#vagothinks The US government should wipe out student loans and make all Universities public and free of charge – funded by taxes, resources

#vagothinks the US government should use (and disclose) alternative funding for maintenance of parks, universities, schools, highways, etc

#vagothinks the sale of raw materials to other countries should be outlawed. The USA should export finished products only.