In (God) Guns We Trust

The Sandy Hook Tragedy

The sign along the northbound lanes of the 99 Freeway, a few miles from Fresno, CA. read: “Guns . . . Next exit.” Another one claims, “Gun Shows Today” (With the American Flag as the background) Children 12 and under are free. 
Aren’t you proud to be an American? 


I believe we should re-examine our love affair (sick romance, actually) with guns. They don’t protect us from stupid acts. Guns are toys in America. Guns are a dangerous hobby. Guns are a macho accessory. America needs to restrain gun access and ownership, period.


The NRA (National Rifle Association) is brainwashing America through fear and division. All the Osama Bin Ladens of the world love the NRA. Why do we need terrorists, if we are killing ourselves with our millions of guns? (There are 400 million non-military firearms in America.) In six years, sixty thousand people were murdered in the U. S. by firearms.


The second amendment no longer applies as it is written and should be repealed. The second amendment was introduced in 1789, over two hundred years ago. It needs to be amended, corrected, or improved. If all members in Congress were allowed to bear arms they would kill each other and Congress wouldn’t exist. It is time to change our sacred Constitution. 


The NRA is one of the most influential lobbying groups in America. They have enormous power over politicians. They pay the politicians to remain silent. The NRA is a controlling mafia. The NRA has no reason to exist. The NRA reminds me of the tobacco industry (those lying bastards) NRA represents money, not protection. My views on the NRA and my distaste for the organization are clear. I know this organization is damaging our country. I express my little opinions with passion, and it’s inevitable that some of you, will passionately disagree with them (my opinions.)


If everybody had a gun every simple argument would often end with death. If gun ownership is supposed to be civil liberty, it is doing the opposite, it’s enslaving us.


Our hearts are broken; our minds divided, and our souls claim peace and change. 


From a recent tragedy emerged a lost, sick individual, and from it, it also emerged many loving, protective teachers and amazing forgiving parents. The world is full of anonymous heroes. I know that America is resilient and strong, but I still don’t know if human resiliency is a virtue. But one thing’s for sure; we must never forget tragedies like this.


I’m sure all children in the world are sharing this thought with me now . . .  “Guns suck!” 


There are many mentally unbalanced persons in the world, and they will always exist. Things are not much different from thousands of years ago. 


Cain and Abel are still with us. The only difference is that instead of bones, we now use guns.

God Save America. (From Americans)


Edmundo Barraza Visalia, CA. 12-16-2012

CINEMA

My one hundred favorite movies of all time.

*** I made this list in 2012. I’ve been adding more movies once in a while.

The reason I don’t have a list of my favorite movies on my Facebook page, it’s because just like in the subjects of religion and politics, no one agrees. It’s just a matter of taste and preference. In the subject of movies, everybody is an expert and a critic. But we all agree on one thing . . .  nobody’s right. I know my list could be absurd and even ridiculous to everyone else.

Each magazine picks different movies. Each critic has different choices. It’s the same thing with every person. My favorite movies might be dumb choices to everyone else. If I see your list, I might disagree with some of your favorites. That’s why we call ourselves individuals. In the end, all lists are useless because every single mind is different. 

The best thing on this Earth might be the individual mind and the assertion that no two minds are alike.

The bible of universal films is the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences or Oscars. (What an arrogant and inflated title) Most people don’t agree with many of their choices. If you are going to trash the ‘experts’, I can’t imagine what you would do with my list. (But I can guess.)

I saw my first movie when I was seven years old, and I was hooked forever. I still remember many details about the movie and even the surroundings of the ‘movie theater’. (The exterior wall of a church was the screen.)

For many years, one of my favorite programs was Siskel and Ebert at the Movies, they later renamed it, Ebert and Roeper. I watched it religiously every Sunday. I thought they were very smart, so smart, that even when one had a thumbs down and the other a thumbs up, I would agree with both of them after they gave their reasons. They made me love the movies even more. And I also enjoyed the end-of-the-year program dedicated to the worst movies of the year. It always gave me great pleasure the fact that I never saw any of the worst films they listed.

Sight and Sound, a respected and revered British film monthly prints every ten years the list of the ten best films of all time, chosen by hundreds of critics from all over the world. It is as close as you can get to fairness and perfection, and still, half the world wouldn’t agree. The 2012 list includes one Japanese film, one Italian, one from Russia, two are French, and five from the USA. Of the ten, three are silent films. The list of the top fifty films from the same magazine shows a universal choice of languages and genres. Out of the top ten movies, I’ve seen eight.

I don’t like Musicals, where everybody is dancing and singing and jumping around and fighting with fake knives. Or when a lady is singing on top of a grassy mountain, followed by a bunch of nerdy, rich kids. That’s not my choice of a good movie. I would not pay to see that. To me, Lawrence of Arabia was a four-hour documentary about sand. I love England but not their movies about kings and queens and boring things. I didn’t like The English Patient or Chariots of Fire that much. Also, if it’s too romantic, I’ll skip it.

So there you have it, now that you know what I don’t like, you can slaughter my choices, you can mock my list and ignore and condemn my preferences.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could retire the great movies to a “Movie Hall of Fame”? For example, pick the ten best of every decade and put them in the Hall of Fame, and do the same every ten years.

On another subject, I wouldn’t feel so sad when finally Blockbuster disappears. How can they have fifty copies of Eat Pray Love and only one of City of God?

I can easily add another hundred movies to my list of favorite films. I can put them all in random play and be happy for the rest of my life, and I wouldn’t feel like I’m wasting my time. The common denominator in all these films is a great story. The story is the heart of the movie.  First of all, we should thank the writers.

These movies shaped my life and inspired me to be a good person. (I’d like to think I am.) I love and enjoy life because of these movies. By the way, probably half of them had made me cry.

Without any order or preference, here’s my list:

  • THE GRADUATE
  • PULP FICTION
  • CITY OF GOD
  • ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST
  • THE GODFATHER
  • THE GODFATHER II
  • FOREST GUMP
  • SILENCE OF THE LAMBS
  • APOCALYPSE NOW
  • TAXI DRIVER
  • A CLOCKWORK ORANGE
  • THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE
  • CINEMA PARADISO
  • BABEL
  • THE BICYCLE THIEF
  • 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY
  • AMORES PERROS
  • NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN
  • THE GRAPES OF WRATH
  • GONE WITH THE WIND
  • THERE WILL BE BLOOD
  • Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN
  • LA STRADA
  • RAGING BULL
  • TRAFFIC
  • CRASH
  • GIANT
  • REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE
  • PANS LABYRINTH
  • GLADIATOR
  • THE WIZARD OF OZ
  • THE EXORCIST
  • SCHINDLER’S LIST
  • MILLION DOLLAR BABY
  • THE DEPARTED
  • MYSTIC RIVER
  • AMERICAN BEAUTY
  • LOS OLVIDADOS
  • AGUIRRE: THE WRATH OF GOD
  • BLADE RUNNER
  • CITY LIGHTS
  • DAY FOR NIGHT
  • DRUNKEN MASTER II
  • THE 400 BLOWS
  • GOODFELLAS
  • MONSTER
  • LITTLE BIG MAN
  • BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY
  • CRIES AND WHISPERS
  • BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID
  • PONETTE
  • A HARD DAY’S NIGHT
  • TALK TO HER
  • HUMBERTO D
  • IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
  • EL NORTE
  • UNFORGIVEN
  • M
  • THE VIRGIN SPRING
  • MARCELINO PAN Y VINO 
  • IKIRU 
  • APU TRILOGY
  • METROPOLIS 
  • JEAN DE FLORETTE
  • MANON OF THE SPRING
  • FISH STORY 
  • TOKYO STORY 
  •  I SAW THE DEVIL
  • RASHOMON
  • RAN 
  • SEVEN SAMURAI
  • DEAR ZACHARY: A LETTER TO A SON ABOUT HIS FATHER 
  •  A WOMAN WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
  • SUNSET BOULEVARD 
  • CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND 
  • TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 
  • THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION 
  • THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC
  • BARRY LYNDON
  •  MULHOLLAND DRIVE
  •  ALMOST FAMOUS
  • PARASITE 
  • SOCIAL NETWORK
  • CROUCHING TIGER 
  •  4 MONTHS 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS
  • ONCE 
  • LET THE RIGHT ONE IN
  •  TANGERINE
  • MUSTANG
  • GET OUT 
  • LADY BIRD 
  • BABADOOK
  • MOONLIGHT
  • HELL OR HIGH WATER 
  • PHANTOM THREAD
  • BABY DRIVER 
  • OLDBOY
  •  ROMA 
  • AMELIE
  • KILL BILL
  • ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD
  • MAD MAX: FURY ROAD 

 When they ask me, “If you were alone on a deserted island, what movie (or book, or album) would you take?” I’d answer, “None.” I need at least a hundred. Not just one. It’s like asking a mother which of her two children she prefers. (Oh, I forgot about Sophie’s Choice!)

You might say, “oh, but you missed this one, or that one” And I’ll respond, “Yeah, I know, but they belong in your list.”

So, why put a shortlist of my favorite movies on my Facebook page, if all my friends are going to disagree with my choices. So why not put a longer list on my blog, and let the entire world (ha, the entire world) know about my disparate preferences. 

EDMUNDO BARRAZAVisalia, CA. 08-14-2012

Holy Water and Other Stuff

I’d like to know how potent and effective holy water is.

I’d like to know whether the Pope can have more blessing powers than a simple priest.

I’d like to know how far would a drop of holy water reach in the ocean? 

Would the entire ocean be blessed, along with the rest of the oceans on the planet? 

Does a gallon of holy water has more reach than just one drop?  

And if I throw holy water on the ground, would the entire Earth be blessed too?

Along with all animals and humans in the world, including a heretic like me?  

And if I’m blessed with a drop of holy water, for how long will I be blessed?  

And if I’m blessed a second before I die, will I be going straight to heaven? 

And what if a pregnant woman is blessed, does her child is blessed too?

What would happen if we inject holy water into all criminals in the world?

What if I cook food with holy water? Would germs, viruses, bacteria, microbes, and parasites in my body be blessed too?  

And if they are, can they become benign and not make me sick?  

What if the priest is a pedophile? Would he be able to bless the water and forgive my sins?  

And what if I confess my sins in advance, would I have a credit on my favor, can I use it for future sins?

What if I donate a million dollars to the Church, would they guarantee me a place in heaven?  

What if they can guarantee it, and I still end up in hell. Can I sue them from there?  

And what would I do with a million dollars in hell? 

And what if I rightfully gain access to heaven, but I refuse to get in because I want to check the other option. Maybe heaven is not that good or hell is not that bad.  

And what if I go to heaven and I don’t like my neighbors or they’re mean or boring, or they don’t speak English or Spanish.

What if I don’t like the weather? What if I refuse to be naked, or I want to be naked?  

And, before I get there, —if I get there— I’d like to know if heaven has a democratic system. And if they do, can we vote for a different God. 

Is God supposed to be a perennial leader?  

What if he turns out to be a dictator?  

Can we get a Goddess for a change?  

And if we behave badly in heaven, can we still go to hell?  

And if we are good in hell, can we still have access to heaven? 

Can we organize a peace treaty between the leaders of heaven and hell and find a way to avoid punishments?  

Can we alternate vacations from one place to the other?  

What if they put an ocean in front of hell, with many hotels and casinos, and with a non-stop supply of cold beers, and margaritas —now we’re talking.

What if we could be polygamous and be able to reject jealousy. No, that’s a bad idea, we could turn into Sodom and Gomorrah. Well, it all depends on how you see it and where you end up. 

Can we have several paradises at different levels? And according to the gravity of Commandments we break, we get the best or the worst paradise.

However, I still like the hot one, the one with the ocean, the beers and margaritas. With no jealousy, no taxes, no punishments, no hangovers, no illnesses, and no regrets.

Either way, I’ll see you in heaven, or hell, or both.



EDMUNDO BARRAZA
Visalia, Ca. 01-17-2011






Nirvana

The middle is a convenient and easy place to be, where no arguments or controversies exist. The middle is a comfortable neutral point where conformity shares space with submission. The middle is a tedious place where no one, voluntarily should remain for a long time. Life is meant to be a continuous experiment. The middle is fine, but only temporarily. I must go to the extremes, both extremes. I should never be static, I should never allow myself to be overtaken by docility or mediocrity. I would rather be invisible than mediocre.

If I ever get lost, I should dig deep inside in my mind to find myself again, and break on through to the other side, to my inner light where my subconscious remains in the midst of heaven and hell. Limbo? Then while there, I should visit my personal storage dump, where all my repressed memories lie, and cleanse myself of regrets, fears, and sins too. And reconnect the mind and soul with my spiritual mortal body.

I should also distance myself from all human suffering that obscures my individual enlightenment, by crossing the abstract threshold that leads to the path of my intangible insight that helps me to assimilate the objectives of a meaningless life. I would also liberate the confined beliefs that could help me realize that suffering is never inherent to any situation. My good deeds will eventually guide me to my karma and to my final encounter with the ecstasy of reaching my own nirvana. 

I need to find the point where the past and the present collide to avoid an unmerciful future. I need to push the button to pause all brain activity so I can counteract a severe burnout.

Nihilism will cease to exist. My zenith will rise above my nadir. My reborn optimism will help me to obtain the best of all possible worlds. Now that I reached the highest happiness, I will create my perfect destiny. The ominous part of reaching Nirvana leads to a downward spiral to the depths of hell. Once you reach total spiritual bliss, total euphoric ecstasy you will crash against a wall of confusion . . . 

Damn! I can’t continue. I ran out of weed, that was my last joint. Now what?




EDMUNDO BARRAZA 
Visalia, CA Jan-11-2012

Global Suicide

I was a little pessimistic when I wrote this little thing in 2017. Is there a reason to be optimistic now?

God has left the building and the planet too.

Hurricanes dance in the ocean. Hurricanes cohabit with earthquakes.

The heat is hotter.

Walls built with tiny hands will stop refugees but not bombs.

Children expelled from paradise. Limbo kids between heaven and hell.

But which is which?

The ax forgets, the tree remembers.

The forest never wins.

Mother nature is dead.

Without a nation or destination, refugees flee in mass and cry in pain.

Destitute and diluted in the melting pot.

The entire political spectrum secretes excrement.

No one is totally innocent.

Hatred must be contagious.

Dust to dust. We’ll end up where we must.

By far, humans are the most dangerous animals.

Tragedy and catastrophe is our deserving fate.

Hell broke loose.

We are the victims of our crimes.

God lost interest.

I’m scared, but not constantly.

I’ve died before.

The smarter you are, the more you care and the more you suffer.

A world in despair with nothing to spare.

Where are all the saints and martyrs?

Fire burns ice.

Irrational skeptics.

Pathetic leaders chosen by us.

Democracy expired a long time ago.

Never lose hope.

Votes don’t count when you don’t win.

The minority requires only one more in a draw.

Did parenthood ever have a plan?

Should feminism be only attached to females?

And machismo to men?

We’re descending into a black hole of our creation.

Protests are in vain when evil prevails.

Modern times are over.

Did the decline of civilization begin with a big bang?

Or with mud and a rib?

Right after we take our first breath we begin to die.

But I know the end will never arrive if I die first.


Edmundo Barraza Sept-10-2017 Lancaster, Ca.

Levitating

I bet you’ll die with a smile on your face and I wish I could see it. 

But I know I’ll die first, because seeing what you’ve been through your whole life you must be immortal and indestructible. 

Your guitar is an instrument that connects your brain to your heart and to your soul. 

Or is it all the way around?

And you transmit all your feelings with your fingers.

And if you add the right lyrics you’ll incite a riot. 

And your lyrics and riffs will echo in my bones.

Love gone bad, cheating, mistrust, lies and suffering, and also double crossings, deception and abandonment. 

We can find all devastating adjectives in your lyrics. And yet we believe you because we know you’re an expert. You have been the cause and the effect of all those feelings.

You’re an authentic soulful blues man. You borrow alien sentiments and affections. 

You instigate young and old minds with messages of rebellion and mutiny. 

You twist and wring love and devotion and turn them into evil provocations. 

Inspired by a black sound that had been ignored by the masses for decades. 

Exporting it back to the blind ears of America. Transformed into ‘devil’s music’. 

Your image is a symbol of revolt and anarchy affecting generations. 

And for decades you fooled us because you really were a humble and sincere human being. 

A man so gentle that without a doubt could be called a gentleman.

Like all good brothers, like all great artists, like all great bands, whose members had contrasting egos you fought with your own.

But now, we know it’s all good. 

I was convinced that all blues and sad music had to come from misery, anguish and desolation. But you really never suffered; you were having a great time all the time. So you convinced me I was wrong. 

Devastation can be created for no reason then.

You had to scrape the shit right off your shoes with your overloaded acoustics to create a devil full of sympathy. 

You were always trouble, it seemed. A Houdini in reverse, never wanting to disappear. 

A consummate monkey reaching for coconuts can also fall from a palm tree and end up like a pirate with a broken skull. 

Never a dull moment indeed.

Lines inspired after watching “Under The Influence”. About the life of Keith Richards.

Edmundo Barraza

Lancaster, Ca. Dec-19-2015