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“The Twins Turn 21” – new ebook collection of adult comics

The first e-book of my TWINS comics is now available from my Kofi store!

The Twins Turn 21 is a 61-page collection of full-color uncensored adult comics, some of them published originally in tamer black and white versions in my ‘zine Metanoia, and some of them never before published. It’s a 61 page full color PDF e-book, readable on any device without loss of formatting.

Click here to see some sample comics!

And click here to get more information and to order your copy.

“Distilled Neville”

(This article originally appeared in issue #16 of my newsletter Metanoia)

With Neville Goddard’s teachings, I find myself often trying to distill the message he put across into the simplest terms possible, so that when I feel “stuck,” I can find a quick and easy way out.

See what you think of this:

Our unconditioned awareness of being is God.

Neville: “When you say ‘I am,’ that’s God.”

Athanasius: “God became man that man might become God.” We are God, the Elohim: “a compound unity, one made up of many.”

This is why the two greatest commandments are said to be “Hear O Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is one” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

If we are all God, then there is no “other,” and the Golden Rule becomes not prescriptive (“Thou shalt do unto others as you would have them do unto you”), but DEscriptive (“When you do unto others, you are doing unto yourself.”)

When we condition our awareness of being (I AM) with feeling, it is a creative act.

We have been using this principle of creative imagining– bringing forth reality via our assumptions– our whole lives, only we weren’t aware of it.

Neville: “A man does not attract what he wants. He attracts what he is,” or what he feels to be true.

All things bring forth after their kind.

If I feel “I am rich, I am poor, I am healthy, I am ill, I am loved, I am unloved, I am worthy, I am unworthy,” or other things to be true, then they bring forth after their kind; they reproduce in my world.

Few people want to be poor, ill, unloved, or unworthy, but if they feel that they are, then their world will reflect this.

To quote William Blake: “What seems to be is, to those to whom it seems to be, and is productive of the most dreadful consequences, to those to whom it seems to be. But divine mercy steps beyond and redeems us in the body of Jesus.”

The “body of Jesus” is our capacity to create and redeem using our imaginative faculty, or, as the Apostle Paul said, “Jesus Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.”

The acts that Jesus performed in the Bible were more than just stories of one-off “miracles;” they were intructive parables meant to show us how to use our imaginative powers creatively to bring forth desired ends.

The “good news” of the Gospel is that this principle can be used deliberately. We don’t have to settle for “what seems to be.” We can create a better reality for ourselves and for others by imagining deliberately.

Quoting Blake again, “All that we behold, though it appears without, it is within, in our imagination, of which this world of mortality is but a shadow.”

Neville: “An assumption– though false, though reason denies it and the evidence of my senses denies it– if persisted in will harden into fact.”

If my reality has come forth based on my assumptions –what I feel to be true– then it follows that if I assume (feel) that something is true– even though it’s denied by my senses– and I persist in that assumption, it should come forth in my world.

This is the test that the Apostle Paul called us to.

“Come test yourselves and see. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless, of course, you fail to meet the test.”  (2 Corinthians 13:5)

The method of testing and bringing forth a desired reality is via prayer.

Prayer is not supplication, wishing, or begging.

Prayer is the act of assuming that your desired end is already an accomplished fact.

Neville: “Go to the end. The end is where we begin.”

No matter what we desire, the end is always: How would I feel if my desire was an accomplished fact?

“When you pray, whatsoever you desire, believe that you have already received it and you will.” (Mark 11:24)

And: “But as for you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber and lock your door, and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret shall himself reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6)

In order to bring forth a desired end, it’s not only necessary to assume the feeling of the wish fulfilled, but also to turn away completely from any undesired fact or reality.

Lot’s wife turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back. (Genesis 19:26) Salt is a preservative. By looking back at undesired facts, we “preserve” them in our world.

Neville: “Don’t accept it as permanent. Don’t even accept it as temporary. Use the law to get out of it.”

Finally: “When Job prayed for his friends, his captivity was lifted, and the Lord gave him twice as much as before.” (Job 42:10)

Since “there is no other,” since “the Lord our God is one,” and since the Golden Rule is descriptive and not prescriptive, the highest use of prayer and imaginative principles is to use them lovingly on behalf of others.

How’s that for a start?

This article originally appeared in issue #16 of my biweekly print-only ‘zine Metanoia.

Metanoia is my biweekly print-only ‘zine, usually two, sometimes four, pages.

To receive the latest issue of it, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to
Max Shenk
39 South Main St, rm 138
White River Junction, VT 05001

OR
You can go to my shop at Ko-fi.com, where you can get either a subscription or back issues. Or both!

Citing Neville – “The gifts of mind and speech”

A series of occasional posts about the sources which Neville Goddard mined for his lectures and writings

“There are two gifts given to man; those gifts are mind and speech.”

Neville not only quoted this frequently, but used it as the basis of several lectures and writings, and as he so often did, sometimes he cited the source work, while other times he didn’t.

For example, in his 1954 lecture “The Coin Of Heaven” (one of several different lectures to which Neville gave the same title), he introduces the quote with “We are told,” as he would a passage from the Bible:

Now we are told there were “two gifts given to man at birth–it doesn’t mean this little birth when I left my mother’s womb but when I left the womb of my Father; that is the grand womb, the womb of creation when, before the world was: He created me and made me perfect and set me in this world for a purpose, educative purpose– but He gave me two gifts: He gave me His own mind and He gave me the gift of speech, the very thing He used to create a world. So He spoke the world into being and then gave me the gift by which he spoke the world into being; so He gave me mind and speech.

In other lectures, Neville gave the quote’s source as The Hermetica, as translated by Walter Scott– not the poet, as Neville may have implied or as some might believe, but a late 19th century English classical scholar.

The Hermetica is a broad term used for works ascribed to the legendary Greek figure Hermes Trismegistus, some of them composed as early as the second century AD (CE) and to which new sections were added as late as the middle ages. The specific work from which Neville quoted is called the Corpus Hermeticum, and dates from the third or fourth century AD (CE). Scott completed three volumes of translation before his death in 1925; one of them was published in 1924, the second two were published posthumously, and the fourth volume, completed by A.S. Ferguson, was published later.

The passage that Neville quoted is from a dialogue between Hermes and his student Tat, and appears in book XII, section 12 (Volume 1, page 231 of Scott’s translation):

Hermes. There is another thing to be considered, my son. There are two gifts which God has bestowed on man alone, and on no other mortal creature. These two are mind and speech; and the gift of mind and speech is equivalent to that of immortality. If a man uses these gifts rightly, he will differ in nothing from the immortals; or rather, he will differ from them only in this, that he is embodied upon earth; and when he quits the body, mind and speech will be his guides, and by them he will be brought into the troop of the gods and the souls that have attained to bliss.

Tat. But do not the other living creatures use speech, father?

Hermes. No, my son; they have voice, but not speech; and speech is very different from voice. All men have speech in common; but each kind of living creature has its special sort of voice.

Tat. But among men also, father, each nation has a different speech.

Hermes. Languages differ, my son, but mankind is one; and speech likewise is one. It is translated from tongue to tongue, and we find it to be the same in Egypt, Persia, and Greece… Speech then is an image of mind; and mind is an image of God.
That blessed God, the Agathos Daimon, said ‘soul is in body, mind is in soul, and God is in mind.’ The rarest part of matter then is air; the rarest part of air is soul; the rarest part of soul is mind; and the rarest part of mind is God. And God deals with all things, and permeates all things; mind deals with soul; soul deals with air; and air deals with gross matter.

SOURCES:

Goddard, Neville. The Coin of Heaven. Transcription of a 1954 lecture. Retrieved from https://freeneville.com/the-coin-of-heaven-1954-free-neville-godddard-lectures/ on 7 February 2023.

Scott, Walter (editor and translator). Hermetica Volume One: The ancient Greek and Latin writings which contain religious or philosophic writings ascribed to Hermes Trismegistus. London: Oxford, 1924. Retrieved from Archive.org on 7 February 2023: https://archive.org/details/ScottHermeticaVolOne.

A free PDF scan of Scott’s translation of the Hermetica is available from Archive.org, in three volumes:
Volume One: https://archive.org/details/ScottHermeticaVolOne
Volume Two: https://archive.org/details/ScottHermeticaVolTwo
Volume Three: https://archive.org/details/ScottHermeticaVolThree
I was unable to find an ebook copy of Volume Four online, although print editions are available.

More information about the Corpus Hermetica, including the 1906 translation by G.R.S. Mead, is available online here:
http://www.gnosis.org/library/hermet.htm

Biographical information about Walter Scott is here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Scott_(scholar)

My Neville Goddard-themed print journal (as of this writing untitled) will be available sometime in February 2023. It will contain annotated transcripts of “Facts Have Overflowed the World” and at least two other annotated lectures, plus other articles about Neville’s work. You can preorder a copy (which will be mailed upon publication) at this link: https://ko-fi.com/s/e49ab6aa01 .
I’ve published an annotated e-book edition of Neville’s lecture “Awake O Sleeper,” which is available as a PDF ebook here: https://ko-fi.com/s/59236fe832 .
If you liked this blog post and wish to support me, the author, you can do so with a donation at my Ko-fi page: https://ko-fi.com/maxshenkwrites
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“Neville Trekking” is now live!

NEVILLE TREKKING: An online discussion group devoted to STAR TREK as viewed through the lens of Neville Goddard’s teachings, with a focus on six selected episodes that we’ll parse as a group between now and March.

“Truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors.” ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson

“The curious question came to me as to how much of the ‘woo-woo’ stuff like the outpicturing of our imagination could be real, and that we’re not experiencing it already? STAR TREK helped me loosen my perspective, and eased me into Neville when I found him.” ~ A Neville Trekking group member

I realized, while watching reruns of STAR TREK recently, that, in many ways, STAR TREK “eased me into” the ideas that Neville discussed.

“Imagining creates reality, time is not linear, consciousness is the only reality”– I first encountered these ideas not via religion or a philosophy class, but from watching STAR TREK episodes like “Shore Leave” or “Spectre of the Gun” or “Elementary, Dear Data” or “The Emissary.”

So I thought it’d be fun to have a six-week online “class” in which we watch these episodes and others as a group and then discuss them in light of Neville’s teachings.

Links to free downloadable videos of the full episodes will be provided, along with clips of key scenes and (when available) scripts and novelizations, so you can “read” the episodes if you want, along with (of course) pertinent Neville writings and quotes, and other material about the show and ideas in the series.

YOU CAN JOIN THE DISCUSSION (effectively) FREE!

The first twelve people who register will “pay what you want IF you want.” The registration fee is set to $0 for the first twelve people. Pay more if you want; that’s up to you.

Here’s the link! https://ko-fi.com/s/3567b9921c

This group is being held on the social media site Mewe. MeWe is a social media site that works the way Facebook used to work when we liked the way Facebook worked: no ads, no data mining. MeWe registration itself is free. All links and info are provided in a document you will receive when you register and “pay whatever” at Ko-fi.

Hope you’ll join the group and boldly go! –Max Shenk, moderator

Trekking with Neville: “The bullets are not real.”

Neville Goddard used to quote Alfred, Lord Tennyson: “Truth embodied in a tale shall enter in at lowly doors.”
For me, one of those “lowly doors” was STAR TREK. It was through STAR TREK, not religion or philosophy classes, that I was first really introduced to the ideas that are the foundations of Neville’s teachings
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“Imagining creates reality, consciousness is the only reality, time is not linear, there are worlds within worlds within worlds”– all of these concepts came to me first through STAR TREK. The truth embodied in those tales “entered at lowly doors” and made me receptive to them as spiritual truths.
I first published this article in my ‘zine METANOIA (issue 2). It was one of the first times I really explored and considered the Neville-TREK connection.


Lately I’ve been filling my days and evenings bingewatching old episodes of Star Trek, and one of the best episodes was one which I hadn’t forgotten about, but, rather, remembered dismissively: “Spectre of the Gun.”

In it, the Enterprise encroaches on an alien race’s territory, and the aliens decide to punish the crew by transporting Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, and Chekhov to a shoddy and superficial reproduction of Tombstone, Arizona, circa 1881, with the five crew members as the Clanton Gang, who, of course, died at the hands of Wyatt Earp in a gunfight at the OK Corral. The five try every rational means at their disposal to escape, without success. Finally, Chekhov, who was “Billy Clayborne,” is gunned down and killed by one of the Earp gang…

…except, as Spock points out, in the historical shootout at the OK Corral, Billy Clayborne survived!

The remaining four crew members then concoct a tranquilizer grenade to use against the Earp gang and thus escape their fate… but when they test the device and potion, the presumably failproof concoction doesn’t work.

Finally, the Tombstone clocks chime five PM– the deadline that the Earps imposed for the Clanton gang to leave town– and the four crew members are transported to the OK Corral, and while they await what seems to be their inevitable fate, Spock comes to a realization that he shares with the rest of the crew.

According to physical law, the tranquilizer should have worked, but it didn’t. According to the historical record, Chekhov (Billy Clayborn) should not have been killed, but he was. These inconsistencies, he says, cannot be ignored.

What, he asks his crewmates, killed Chekhov?

“A piece of lead in his body,” Dr. McCoy answers.

“No,” Spock replies. “His mind killed him.

“Physical reality,” Spock continues, “is consistent with universal laws. Where the laws do not operate, there is no reality. We judge reality by the response of our senses. Once we are convinced of the reality of a given situation, we abide by its rules. We judge the bullets to be solid, the guns to be real; therefore, they can kill.”

But since Chekhov should not have died, and the tranquilizer should have worked– “Anywhere else, it would have worked”– then, logically, Spock says, what the crew sees around them must be unreal.

Spock does a mindmeld with his three crewmates to plant in their minds the certainty that he feels– I know the bullets are not real; therefore, they cannot harm me--and when the Earps appear, they all unload their six-shooters and rifles into the Enterprise crewmen, who stand, unaffected, as the bullets blow holes in the wooden fencerails behind them.

Finally, when the bullets are spent, Kirk pummels Wyatt Earp, points his own sixshooter at Earp’s head, and then, remembering that the guns and bullets aren’t real, tosses it aside. With that, first the Earp gang and then the illusion of Tombstone vanish, and the four crewmen are back on the Enterprise…

…along with Chekhov: alive and in perfect health.


I’m doing a six-week online course/discussion called NEVILLE TREKKING, in which we’ll discuss six episodes of STAR TREK as filtered through the lens of Neville’s teachings.

The group will be conducted in a private group on the social media site MeWe (which is like Facebook used to be when Facebook worked).

The group will be LIVE on Sunday January 22, 2023.

Early registration is $18 until midnight EST Friday January 20, 2023, after which it is $24.

For more information or to register, go to https://ko-fi.com/s/033a6347f3 or email me: maxshenkwrites@gmail.com .

For more information on my ‘zine Metanoia, including sample articles and ordering links, click here.

Citing Neville

Among other things, Neville Goddard was a gifted writer and speaker who knew how to communicate his mystical experiences and put them in context. For someone who never advanced past the third grade in public schools, his reading was wide and deep, but more than that, his understanding of those texts brought deeper meaning that many readers might have otherwise missed. He usually spoke extemporaneously, without notes, which meant that he seamlessly wove quotes from works by other authors into his lectures. He also knew the Bible from cover to cover and peppered his lectures with whatever scriptural passages fit the theme at hand, and more often than not, he could accurately cite the book, chapter, and verse of those passages.

Unfortunately, for non-scriptural references, Neville was less consistent and reliable. Occasionally Neville would cite the sources of non-scriptural works from which he quoted, but more often than not, he didn’t. Given that he spoke extemporaneously, and that he cited inconsistently, I believe that Neville wasn’t being intellectually dishonest, nor do I believe he was attempting to pass others’ works or thinking off as his own. Rather, I believe that the works he read were so ingrained in him and resonated so deeply that when they popped into his head on the platform, he’d just recite them. If he remembered to cite them, he would, but more often than not, a citation during a lecture would break the flow, and so he usually didn’t.

Whatever the reason, as a reader studying Neville’s work, it can be frustrating to encounter a quote or a passage that clearly isn’t Neville’s, and try to find a source for it. Often the internet is of little help. Anyone who’s ever tried to find a source for quotes attributed to, say, John Lennon knows how frustrating and fruitless a search for a source can be. Many of the reposted quotes on the internet attributed to “John Lennon” are things that the artist never said or wrote or sang. Yet they appear repeatedly online, without citation.

This is, sadly, typical of nearly every widely reposted quote you might find online. The unattributed quotes have been so widely reposted that they clot and clog search results, making it nearly impossible to find the original source. But, I’m finding, with a little work and diligence, I can usually find a source.

I’m currently annotating several Neville lectures for a Neville-themed print journal which will begin publication this winter (click here for more information on that) and, since the point of an annotated lecture is to provide citations and sources for a work, I’ve had to track down sources for many unattributed quotes. Sometimes Neville indirectly did the work for me: I’d recognize an uncited quote from its appearance in a different lecture where Neville cited, and the mystery would be easily solved. In other instances, he might not cite a specific work, but he’d give an author name (“As Fawcett said,” “As Blake put it,” etc), which was enough of a lead to track down the quote.

Here are two examples of “uncited” or “partially cited” quotes from a Neville lecture I’m transcribing and annotating (1971’s “Facts Have Overflowed the World”). If you’ve read or listened to Neville’s lectures, you’ll probably recognize both of these quotes. Consistent with Neville’s inconsistency, one of the quotes was cited and one wasn’t.

“Man is not the creature of circumstances; circumstances are the creatures of men.”
Neville correctly cited Benjamin Disraeli as the source, but didn’t cite the source work– he may have found the quote in an article or another book– and to this day, the quote is frequently recycled, with those recyclings following that pattern: it’s almost always correctly attributed to Disraeli (and not, thankfully, Lennon), but seldom with the title of the source work.
The quote is from Disraeli’s 1826-27 novel Vivian Grey, specifically Book VI, chapter 7 (originally published in 1827). It appears in a dialogue between the title character and another character named Beckendorff, and, as I’ve also noticed with single-verse scripture quotes, the longer passage from which the shorter quote is pulled gives it context and also goes more deeply into its meaning.
In the dialogue, Grey states that he is “not the master of my own conduct,” and that “I recognize in every contingency the pre-ordination of my fate… With great deference to you, I imagine that you mistake the effect for the cause; for surely temper is not the origin, but the result of those circumstances of which we are all the creatures.”
Beckendorff replies: “Sir, I deny it. Man is not the creature of circumstances. Circumstances are the creatures of men. We are free agents, and man is more powerful than matter. I recognize no intervening influence between that of the established course of nature, and my own mind. Truth may be distorted– may be stifled– be suppressed. The invention of cunning deceits may, and in most cases does, prevent man from exercising his own powers. They have made him responsible to a realm of shadows, and a suitor in a court of shades. He is ever dreading authority which does not exist, and fearing the occurrence of penalties which there are none to enforce. But the mind that dares to extricate itself from these vulgar prejudices, that proves its loyalty to its Creator by devoting all its adoration to his glory– such a spirit as this becomes a master-mind, and that master-mind will invariably find that circumstances are its slaves.”
Vivian Grey was a controversial book when it was first published in five volumes in 1826-27. Disraeli revised later editions of the book, with some passages removed and others changed, but scans of the original edition are available free online, in five PDF volumes, from the Internet Archive:
Volume 1 – https://archive.org/details/viviangrey01disra
Volume 2 – https://archive.org/details/viviangrey02disra
Volume 3 – https://archive.org/details/viviangrey03disr
Volume 4 – https://archive.org/details/viviangrey04disr
Volume 5 – https://archive.org/details/viviangrey05disr

“Man is all imagination, and God is man, and exists in us, and we in him. The eternal body of man is the imagination, and that is God himself.”
This is another quote that Neville frequently incorporated into his lectures, usually without citing the author (William Blake) or the work from which it was taken. Sometimes Neville would attribute it to Blake; sometimes, when he didn’t, whomever transcribed the lectures added an attribution in brackets.
A cursory online search reveals the source as “Blake’s Annotations to Berkeley’s Siris,” but that’s only partially correct: these two sentences are actually taken from two different Blake works.
The first sentence, as the online citation states, is from notes that Blake wrote in his copy of the book Siris by Bishop George Berkeley. On page 219 of the book, Berkeley wrote:
“Whence, according to Thestimus… it may be inferred that all beings are in the soul. For, saith he, the forms are the beings. By the form every thing is what it is. And, he adds, it is the soul that imparteth form to matter.”
Blake’s handwritten note accompanying this passage was:
“This is my Opinion but Forms must be apprehended by Sense or the Eye of Imagination (.) Man is all imagination God is man & exists in us & we in him(.)”
As for the second sentence (“The eternal body of man is the imagination, and that is God Himself”), while several other of Blake’s Siris annotations contain variations on the second sentence , the exact quote as Neville presents it here is from Blake’s work The Laocoōn.
An online version of Blake’s Annotations to Berkeley’s Siris is available here: http://ramhornd.blogspot.com/2011/08/annotations-to-berkeleys-siris.html

My Neville Goddard-themed print journal (as of this writing untitled) will be available sometime in February 2023. It will contain annotated transcripts of “Facts Have Overflowed the World” and at least two other annotated lectures, plus other articles about Neville’s work. You can preorder a copy (which will be mailed upon publication) at this link: https://ko-fi.com/s/e49ab6aa01 .
I’ve published an annotated e-book edition of Neville’s lecture “Awake O Sleeper,” which is available as a PDF ebook here: https://ko-fi.com/s/59236fe832 .
If you liked this blog post and wish to support me, the author, you can do so with a donation at my Ko-fi page: https://ko-fi.com/maxshenkwrites
.

What to give…

If you donate to a food shelf or community pantry or other such service for the needy, you probably have seen lists of what is most needed and what to NOT donate. I’ve certainly seen these lists, but they didn’t really resonate until I found myself in the position of needing such services as SNAP benefits (“food stamps”) and food shelves.

Most people probably know that SNAP benefits cover groceries only, meaning “no prepared foods,” of course, but they might not know that this also means “no kitchen supplies.”

This can leave people with full benefits but no income in a weird pinch with certain items. Example: coffee. You can buy coffee with SNAP benefits, but not coffee filters. Or baking: SNAP benefits will cover all the ingredients needed to bake something, either from scratch or using a mix, but you can’t buy a disposable foil baking pan (or muffin tins), or aluminum foil, or plastic wrap/bags or a tupperware container to put your baked goods in to keep them fresh once they’re made.

This list will give you an idea of items that SNAP benefits DON’T cover, and they’re great things to donate to a food shelf/community pantry.

Also, when donating food, especially perishable items (bread, meat, produce, dairy, eggs, etc): don’t donate non-frozen items that are close to or past an expiration date, for two reasons. One, unless it’s frozen, it may go bad FAST; and two, a lot of people who take advantage of these services feel bad enough about doing it without getting sketchy food that is on the verge of going moldy, rotten, etc. I’ve sometimes gotten an unspoken “oh, they’ll be happy with whatever they get” attitude from people who donate food. No, “they” won’t, and in fact “bad” food will probably just make them feel worse.

Also, good gawd: don’t donate opened packages of stuff that you tried and didn’t like. Come on. Really?

No.

Here’s my list of ITEMS THAT AREN’T COVERED BY SNAP BENEFITS which, of course, will be tremendously appreciated if donated:

Aluminum foil
Aspirin or aspirin substitutes (Tylenol, Advil, Aleve, etc)
Baby powder
Baking supplies (foil pans, muffin cups, etc)
Bandaids/etc
Batteries
Bleach
Candles
Coffee filters
Cold meds
Contact lens care items
Cotton balls
Dental floss/picks
Deodorant
Dish soap
Disposable utensils/cups/plates
Eye drops
Feminine hygiene products
First aid supplies
Freezer bags
Household cleaning products (Lysol, Windex, etc)
Laundry detergent
Lip balm
Lotion
Mouthwash
Napkins
Over-the-counter cold and allergy meds, pain meds, etc.
Paper towels
Peroxide
Plastic or pyrex resealable food storage containers
Plastic wrap
Razors and blades
Rubbing alcohol
Saline solution
Sandwich bags
School supplies
Sewing kit
Shampoo
Shaving cream
Soap
Tissues
Toilet paper
Toothpaste
Vitamins/supplements

Lost game

I originally intended to publish this piece in issue 37 of my print-only ‘zine METANOIA, but thought it’d work better as a blog post, so…

“Fellas, I don’t want any one of you to feel bad about this.
No one of you coulda done this on his own. This was a team effort.”
~ Casey Stengel,
manager of the 1962 New York Mets,
after the team lost its final game of the season
to become the losingest baseball team in history (40-120)

One of my few remaining childhood possessions is a beat-up circa 1979 Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap. I bought it when I was in high school, and it’s traveled with me ever since then, and, not being a sized wool cap, it still fits. I used to have a “14” written in black magic marker under the cap’s brim, representing my favorite Phillie, Pete Rose, but that number, like Rose’s reputation and standing in the game, faded to a black smear long ago.

I’m saying this because some of my earliest memories are of Phillies baseball on the radio. I was always a Phillies fan, so much so that I actually chose my undergrad program (Temple University) in part because I knew I could hop on the subway in Philly and go to Phillies games quickly and easily. I was studying communications, and it was between Temple and Point Park, and what… was I going to go do my undergrad in the PIRATES’ home city???

Yet…

This past season, the Phillies, who have always been one of my two favorite teams– the other is the Orioles– the teams I grew up following and loving as a fan– made it to the World Series. The Phillies lost to the Astros, four games to two.

I’m going to trace a progression of steps that led me from being a hardcore, loyal diehard fan of two teams in the 1990s to where I am now as a baseball fan:

* First, there was the owner’s takeover and gutting of the commissioner’s office, so that the office of Baseball Commissioner no longer was an authority in the league offices who functioned independently of the owners, player’s union, or umpires, but was a puppet installed by the owners to rubberstamp their agenda.

* Next, there were steroids, and the two ways that Major League Baseball as an entity reacted. First, while the PED-enhanced players were unnaturally breaking record after record, the league promoted those players and profited from them. Then, once the revenue was in and the dust settled and the ledgers balanced, the league did a turnaround:
Now, now, we can’t have any more of that. Not only are we imposing stricter testing and penalties for PED use, but all those records we loved while they were being set? Those all get an implied asterisk, and the players who set tham are persona non gratis. Not saying they can’t go into the Hall of Fame, but, you know…
Nothing sours me on something quite as effectively as a veneer of sanctimony over hypocritical, revenue-driven opportunism.

* Then there was realignment. Divisional realignment meant that one of my team’s (Phillies) longest-lived, deepest and most natural (geographic, same state) rivals, the Pirates, were moved out of the Phillies’ division, as were two other traditional divisional rivals (the Cubs and Cardinals). Same thing with my other team (the Orioles) in the AL East.

* The league’s “solution”? Institute interleague play and promote interleague rivalries, and while Mets-Yankees regular season games are fun for the fans, the upshot is that a team’s in-league record as league champion no longer really means anything.

* The playoffs were expanded. This was one of the things that made me lose interest in the NBA and NHL in the late 80s-early 90s. The regular season became a de facto “play-in” round for the playoffs.

* What MLB allowed to happen (or, more accurately, “did”) to the Expos as a franchise and to Montreal as a city was inexcusable. The league wanted Montreal to build a new stadium. Unlike US cities, though, where the teams push to get those venues built at taxpayer expense, the voters in Montreal and Quebec said NO PUBLICLY-FINANCED STADIUM. MLB responded by allowing the team to be gutted from the inside (puppet ownership and management absconded with the team’s scouting reports, traded away its best players and prospects, etc.) and then finally moved the team to Washington. Yes, DC needed a team, but not at the expense of Montreal.

* The BUILD US A NEW STADIUM thing ties into another factor: teams started building nice new stadiums, which in some cases was necessary, in other cases extortion of the sort that Montreal refused (“build us a ballpark or we’ll move the team”), but the result for fans was that every ticket was expensive, and there were no longer cheap, abundant bleacher seats. Say what you will about the Phils’ old home, Veteran’s Stadium, but in the 70s, 80s and 90s, the Vet had the 700 level: an upper deck of cheap, unreserved seats. This meant that a fan could go to a game inexpensively and on the spur of the moment. But with the new cozy ballparks, seating became limited and ticket prices soared, so that going to the ballpark became a boutique experience. There was no such thing as “spur of the moment:” planning to go to a game was like plotting out D-Day. And I don’t have a military mind.

* Next, players around my age or older started retiring. Baseball is partly about youthful hero worship, and when the rosters on my teams started filling up with players who were younger than me, it got harder for me to “look up to them.” Cal Ripken Jr, Brady Anderson, and Jim Thome were the last players I cared about and admired in the same way that I admired players when I was a kid.

* Similarly, broadcasters that I loved started leaving the game. I’ve always primarily enjoyed baseball on the radio, and when the play-by-play men I liked left the booth, the games literally no longer sounded the same. This paired perfectly with my teams moving their broadcasts from clear channel AM stations (which you could pull in anywhere on the east coast) to local FM outlets, which, for me living in Vermont, meant that if I wanted to hear my team’s radio broadcasts, I either had to pay for a subscription to an online streaming service, or just stop listening. So I stopped listening.

* Finally, the owners insistence on MORE OFFENSE! as the solution to the supposed “Why are young fans abandoning baseball” problem led to a bunch of rule changes that are too numerous to catalog, most notably pitch clocks, the “runner on second in extra innings” rule, and, worst of all, the DH being instituted in the National League. As someone who had a team in both leagues, I neither loved nor hated the DH. I liked seeing a pitcher take his turn at the plate, but I also liked it that two different rules in two different major leagues meant two different approaches to the game. Now that’s gone, and both the AL and NL have the DH, “just like,” as a writer once said, “every other minor league.”

The end result? This season, the Phillies made it all the way through the playoffs to the World Series, yet I did not watch, listen to, or read about any of their games: not just postseason, but preseason and regular season as well.

Not one pitch of one inning of one game got my deliberate attention.

I’d say it’s just a matter of the things to which I’m now choosing to devote my attention instead, and, yes, my writing and other interests have crowded out a lot of former “distractions” like movies, TV, news, and pop culture in general.

But every weekend this fall, I’ve carved out time to listen to Penn State football games. Joe Paterno dying, and players and coaches being generations younger than me, and revenue grabbing and conference realignment, haven’t killed my enjoyment of those games. Part of that allure is that in the fall, Penn State football feels like “home:” reminding me of my dad and his tales of being on the PSU freshman football team with head coach Rip Engle and a Brooklyn-born grad assistant coach named Joe, and it SOUNDS like home: hearing the games on the radio every Saturday fall weekend growing up.

But… Dad and I shared a similar love of baseball. You’d think that’d be equally hard to kill.

It wasn’t a conscious choice, and I still love baseball, but due to all those reasons above, and a few others, Major League Baseball lost me.

I wonder if I’m alone in this.

Fellas, I don’t want any one of you to feel bad about this…

Uncle Max Radio Show – playlist / airdate 24 November 2022

UNCLE MAX RADIO SHOW
PLAYLIST / airdate Thursday 24 November

NOTE: Many of these tracks are available digitally on multiple “albums.” If a song was recorded more than once by an artist, then I will give as much information as possible identifying the specific version/mix (example: “mono single mix”) that I played on the show, and the year of recording or release and/or the title of at least one album or record on which you can find it. Otherwise, you should assume that any recording you may find of a song in these playlists is the same version as the one I played on the show. –m

Wizzard: “Rock and Roll Winter”
(1974 single released in the UK; available on several Roy Wood-Wizzard compilation albums)

Nancy Sinatra: “Flowers in the Rain”
(1971; album: Kid Stuff)

The Move: “California Man”
(1972 single; released originally in the USA on an album entitled Split Ends, but has since appeared on numerous Roy Wood and Move compilations and as a bonus track on the Move’s album Message From The Country.)

Charlie Barnet and his Orchestra, vocal by Kay Starr: “In Each Life Some Rain Must Fall”
(Recorded in the 1940s for Decca Records, and reissued on numerous Decca-MCA-GRP-Universal collections through the years, as well as a couple compilations on smaller labels. I don’t know if he ever re-recorded this tune or not. I played it from an album entitled Drop Me Off In Harlem.)

Gene Krupa and his Orchestra, Roy Eldridge, trumpet: “After You’ve Gone”
Gene Krupa Trio: “Dark Eyes” (Charlie Ventura, saxophone)
(Both of these tracks were originally recorded for Columbia Records and have appeared on numerous Columbia-CBS-Sony-Legacy reissues. I’m not sure if Krupa ever re-recorded either of these or not.)

Beatles: “Thank You Girl”
(1963 mono single mix; on the album Mono Masters.)

George Harrison: “Blow Away”
(1979; on the album George Harrison and several Harrison solo compilations)

Jaki Byard: “Garnerin’ A Bit”
(1961; album Here’s Jaki!)

Erroll Garner: “Autumn Leaves”
(1955; on the album Concert by the Sea)

LINKS AND OTHER SHOW INFO:
New shows air every Thursday and the podcasts are available for download on Sundays, usually by noon eastern time.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: Link to the current week’s show as a downloadable mp3 podcast (320kbps, 137 mb or thereabouts)
LISTEN TO THE LIVE STREAM ON THURSDAYS: Link to WDCV FM’s online stream (my show airs on Thursday mornings at 7 am eastern time)
PLAYLISTS starting with the Thanksgiving 2022 show
PAST SHOW LINKS AND PLAYLISTS in the Uncle Max Radio Show Facebook group

And finally, you can support the Uncle Max Radio Show financially by becoming a sponsor— either a one-time donation or a sustaining (recurring monthly) donation in any amount. Either way, you get a sponsor shoutout on the show. Or you could just buy me a cuppo coffee.

THANKS FOR LISTENING!

Listen every week…

DID YOU KNOW… I do a weekly one-hour radio show?

The Uncle Max Radio Show airs on WDCV FM 88.3, Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA, on Thursday mornings at 7 am eastern time… and yes, you can live stream it online… but you can also download each week’s show as a podcast. It’s an mp3 file, around 137 mb, and playable on most media players and other devices manufactured since the Clinton administration (so I don’t get to say “Thanks, Obama”). Click here to download the latest show, along with occasional bonus shows. And click here to see playlists, which I will start posting on this blog starting with the Thanksgiving 2022 show (24 November 2022 airdate). And click here, if you’re on Facebook (I am, too; what’s WRONG with us?), to join the Uncle Max Radio Show Facebook group, where past playlists and permalinks to past shows are archived.

I grew up in Carlisle, PA, and Dickinson College was the intellectual hub of the community (still is, in many ways), and WDCV was your typical small-college radio station. I think their signal was only ten watts back then– barely enough to reach houses in town off campus– and even though timeslots were at a premium and Dickinson students had dibs, I went to a meeting there as a townie– a high school student, no less! — and they told me that I had to have my FCC radio operator’s license (the FCC used to require all over-the-air broadcasters to have what they called a restricted operator’s license; they dropped this, along with other regulations, don’t get me started, in the 80s and 90s), but if I got that, I could go on the air.

I got the license, did the training, got put on the substitute list, and while I think I only ever did one or two airshifts, and I was high school kid awful– I remember playing “She’s Gone” by Hall and Oates and doing awful DJ banter afterwards (“That’s Hall and Oates, and she is definitely gone, one toothbrush hanging in the stand” etc etc) and, for some reason, the then-new single “I Still Do” by Bill Medley– that little bit got me hooked. A year or so later, I started taking broadcasting classes at the Harrisburg Arts Magnet School (where I did a half hour weekly show broadcast over a community station in Middletown, PA), and then went to Temple University for radio-tv-film.

Temple’s station, WRTI, was 24-7 jazz back then, and even then it wasn’t run like a traditional college station. I wasn’t interested in jazz at that time, and while I got on the substitute list there too, I actually had more airtime at WDCV during the summers of my undergrad years than I did as a Temple broadcasting student! This was mainly thanks to WDCV’s wide-open summer schedule. A couple summers in the early 80s, I had multiple shows at WDCV, including a three-hour show with an hour of Beatles, an hour of Beach Boys, and an hour of whomever I felt like featuring, plus a weekly all-Sinatra show. I can’t remember if it was “Friday with Frank” or “Sunday with Sinatra,” but I’m glad to see that the station still has a weekly Sinatra show, hosted by Deeg Giachetti.

About twenty years later, when I was married and living in suburban Philly, I was working at Montgomery County Community College, which had a carrier current FM station— the signal was “broadcast” through electrical lines on campus, so you could only listen over the air if you were on campus, although they also streamed online– and my nephew Derek was a DJ and then a board member at the station. “You ought to do a show, Uncle Max,” he said repeatedly. So I took him up on it, and was initially just using my full name as my on-air name, but Derek and other students at the station kept calling me Uncle Max, so I adopted that as my air name. I’ve never been sure if I liked it, which is why, now, I say “I’m Max Shenk, the DJ known as Uncle Max.”

Go forward another fifteen years, and for various reasons I was back in Carlisle. WDCV was still on the air, and I noticed that it had a lot of open airshifts. College students didn’t seem to be interested in shows, and many of the airshifts were filled by community DJs. I missed doing a weekly show, so I approached the station, gave them my experience and credentials, they said “great, come in for training and you can go on the air,” and a week later, I was in the studio, getting “training” by a student younger than half my age on– get this– the same audio mixing board that I’d used at the station in the 70s and 80s!

I did a weekly two-hour show on Thursday mornings from 7-9 (or was it 6-8?) and then after about a year, moved back to Vermont. And while I was in Vermont, I missed doing a weekly show… and I thought “Why not do it as a podcast?” So I started doing a one hour show as a podcast for friends. Meanwhile, though, WDCV was still airing repeat broadcasts of my old shows in my former timeslot! I contacted the station and said “you know, I’m doing a show as a weekly podcast; if you want, I could format it for broadcast and you could air NEW shows of mine instead of repeats from 2017.” They said “great, do it,” and so every week on WDCV, you get a new show.

Past playlists could give you an idea of what to expect, but why do that? As I say so often on the air when I’m not sure what track to play next, “let’s be surprised together.” But I’ll try to post the weekly playlists (and corresponding promo memes) on this blog going forward as soon after the show as I can.

I hope you’ll listen in and that you like what you hear.


LINKS AND INFO REDUX:
New shows air every Thursday and the podcasts are available on Sundays, usually by noon eastern time.

LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: Link to the current week’s show as a downloadable mp3 podcast (320kbps, 137 mb or thereabouts)
LISTEN TO THE LIVE STREAM: Link to WDCV FM’s online stream (my show airs on Thursday mornings at 7 am eastern time)
PLAYLISTS starting with the Thanksgiving 2022 show
PAST SHOW LINKS AND PLAYLISTS in the Uncle Max Radio Show Facebook group

And finally, you can support the Uncle Max Radio Show financially by becoming a sponsor— either a one-time donation or a sustaining (recurring monthly) donation in any amount. Either way, you get a sponsor shoutout on the show. Or you could just buy me a cuppo coffee.

THANKS FOR LISTENING!


Knowing it’s done

“Your vision is yours; not everyone can see it. A few people might see your vision now. Some might see it later. Many may never see it at all. Do not be swayed. Do not be deterred. Do not be downhearted. Stay focused on your vision and become one with it. Allow the vision to transform you into the global force for good that you are destined to be.”

~ James Weeks, “Across the King’s River”

I don’t type much about “manifesting” because it can tend to come out sounding “coach-y” or “lecture-y.” Also because while I intellectually “know” and understand the principles that Neville Goddard taught, on another level I struggle to transfer those principles into teachable EXPERIENCE.

But I did have this realization: if I have a desired end that I’ve felt as real and assumed is “done,” and it doesn’t seem to be coming forth, there is either one of two possible reasons.

One: either I didn’t fully MOVE into the state I desire or I slipped back into a state of consciousness that denies my end, in which case, as Neville would say, I need to persist (his word, used repeatedly) in my desired end, which basically means I need to know that it’s already done. Whatever I do or don’t do, let it be driven and permeated by my knowledge that my desired end is done.

Or…

Two: I moved in consciousness to a desired end, and I am now in what Neville called “the gestation period.” Neville repeatedly quoted James Moffatt’s translation of a verse from the Book of Habbukuk (2:3):

The vision has its own appointed hour
it ripens; it will flower
If it seems long, then wait
For it is sure and it will not be late.

As a Neville mentor of mine, Twenty Twenty, likes to say, “Everything is either an end or a bridge, and if it’s not an end you want, make it a bridge.” In other words, I need to proceed knowing that my desired end is already done, and that anything I do or don’t do is leading to that end. So, again, know that it’s done. Dwell in that knowing and let everything I do (or don’t do) be driven and permeated by that knowing.

No matter what the “reason,” there is only one solution: Know that it’s done.

Funny how that works.