Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Complicity Theories

(Simpler Times)

Nonsense. I've been sitting here for an hour and nothing has arrived except a few pithy observations on articles I've read out of the NYT. 

We're fucked, by the way, we're completely fucked. The evidence is ever growing.

What happens after a balance of powers runs its course, by irretrievably losing its balance? How long is constitutional government reasonably expected to last? We seem perched to find out. One more election in this country and there will be a civil war. It'll be between the facts and the opposition party. People seem to be growing tired of democracy and many don't seem at all bothered by Russian interference in the process. The perpetual demonizing of each party seems soon to take its final toll. Even Libertarians are too conservative to be filled with glee at this prospect.

How did America arrive at a point in which Russian influence in our election is preferred - by many - to a win by the democrats. The foundational belief in periods of evil replaced by periods of good in this country's office of the presidency is tiring for both sides. How can it always be true for everybody, and at all times.

Ah well, these are not questions for us to answer here. We already know the answer, if not the outcome: "No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Hobbes seemed as if he was full of laughs. That's what a little civil war will do to you.

Well, I could dive back into cooking and drinking wine at home. I wasn't entirely unhappy with my efforts there, just gave up a bit prematurely, that's all. I make cooking more difficult than it needs to be. A list of the vegetables that will be the first to disappear would be helpful. Then the boy and I could learn how to enjoy them as their global supply dwindles. Avocados are sure to go. It's only a matter of time before liberals will start guilting other liberals for eating avocados at all. Because you know, That's buying Trump's wall for him... Avocados are just a tax on racism! 

9/11 Was A Consistency Theory! 

Can you believe the Don Man was serious about the wall. What a true American businessman. I thought he was just saying what he thinks.

It's like reading a bedtime version of Rome's sacking and having little Donny not quite understand what any of it means but simply fascinated with all of the excitement, bloodshed, and rape, then after some careful consideration he comes out as being staunchly pro-Visigoth.

He's gone the way of Hadrian.

Drain the Pontine Marshes, I say.


Monday, February 27, 2017

"... some strangeness of proportion"

(pic by Wyatt)

My buddy tried to kill me on Sunday. He's much younger than me, probably 30 or 40 years younger, or much more, who knows. Being from Denver, he's used to leisurely weekend rides up and over terrifying mountain ranges, rides that were formed by hundreds of thousands of years erosion and violent plate tectonics, designed specifically by Mother Nature to kill Floridians. 

I had never cycled up 4000 feet in elevation before. But, I did it. As long as I hold on to my memory I'll be able to say that, I did it. It's 800 feet shy of the elevation differential in the Half Dome hike. A bike does make life seem much easier, though, doing with a person's energy what they could not do otherwise, a collective device made from the genius of mankind.

The day was delightful, more than the eye can take in to keep or hold, then all that comes along with those feelings, as if my mind was breathing after having taken a break. 

I've always wanted to live in a place that's hard to believe. Growing up in Florida, everything felt too believable. The beaches are very nice there, though they can be mundane in the way that all beauty requires some strangeness of proportion. The complaint that can be lodged is that there are perhaps too many of them. They have you nearly surrounded.

Too many beautiful beaches - that made me giggle. 

Consistency of proportion tires the eye and mind. Florida beaches strike that near perfect balance of sky, water, and sand to satisfy the basic requirements, but that's all they ever do, just stretch on and on and away from you in both directions. The Keys are where Florida becomes dynamic.  

Back to the Sunday ride, also on a peninsula - the Pacific side of Marin, from Mill Valley across to Stinson Beach, to the northern point of the Bolinas lagoon, then back up towards Mt. Tamalpais, over the Seven Sisters, along what would be considered the ridge that separates the coastline from the rolling hills that occupy the land east of there. 

My buddy joked that one of the roads will look familiar because every car commercial showing a sport's car driving through the woods was shot on it, and he was quite right, a redwood forest high up along the ridge line, the seemingly endless ocean on one side, the sunlight from above on the other. The road was closed to traffic; ideal for our purposes. I've always wanted to pass through places that are impossible to believe, where dreams and other dreams become interchangeable without putting up too much of a struggle. 


Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vote Yes on Proposition Somnum!

(An anus to another dimension)

An afternoon by myself yesterday, a New York Strip steak on the grille cooked rare to medium rare and half a bottle of cabernet sauvignon. Even with that little bit of wine and I woke feeling just a touch of thickness between my ears. I'm told that it's healthy in small doses, but all of its magic and charm seems to arrive at the bottom of the second bottle.

No, no it doesn't. The first couple glasses are quite nice, though. 

This morning I prepare to go cycling with an old friend from Denver who lives here now. He also works for a tech company, so we'll be those two techie twats forcing up the cost of living in the Bay Area. He also owns a very nice bike, much nicer than mine in fact, so we'll have the added component of silent condescension towards other cyclists. Who knows, maybe if we're lucky somebody will let us evict a tenant while we're out on our ride. It's how I relax on the weekends. 

Fuck. I hope he doesn't read this before our ride today. Why must I turn everything into a bullshit scenario in which I am a slumlord wielding power over the helpless? Well, not every time, but most of my first draft sentences do start with the words, Get your stinkin' immigrant asses out of here, NOW! Then I'll work from there as a jumping off point to finish the rest of the sentence. It gives me a sense of control over my undocumented readers. I'll also sometimes picture them handcuffed in an INS van. This works particularly well if I am writing in such a way that it seems as if I am giving a speech, a thing which makes me nervous, writing about public speaking.

Ah well. Making sense is no longer the burdensome requirement that it once was. Daddy has freed us from the facts. Writers should embrace this new way of communicating - riddle everything with bold inconsistencies, ignore all previously held opinions, present your hypocrisies as strengths. It is what America wants and needs, for everything to be an absurdly negating response to the last thing that was said. Always remind the nation that the one and only true truth must always comes from the mouth at the top. 

Where are all of the satirists and absurdists? Most of the lampooning that I have seen, my own included, has utilized traditional sensibilities. It all tries too hard to convey a single point, that only of disapproval and resistance. We need more writers to get on board behind the US becoming the world's leading nuclear superpower once again. 

See? Even when I mildly try, the first thing I think of isn't nearly absurd enough. 

What we need is a wall between the American and Mexican border made entirely of ICBMs stacked shoulder to shoulder, maintained by out of work coal miners, of course. That sends the clearer message. If you can climb over America's nuclear arsenal then you can come in and pick strawberries for us. 

When Daddy said that he was going to make Mexico pay for the wall maybe he meant it in a non-literal way. 

He should have said, Oh, you're going to pay for it, everybody will. America will wreak Greatness once again.

Happy Sunday! 

I sure hope he doesn't crack down on the blooming California marijuana industry. The extra hour or two of sleep I get out of its responsible use each night has meant so very much to me. 

I'm a single issue citizen: Vote Yes on Pot Proposition Somnum!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Just The Hits

(Ask your doctor if Viagra is right for you)

The world is a crazying place. Everywhere I look, people have lost whatever sense of propriety they may have once had. I suppose that inappropriate times call for inappropriate responses. It creates an interesting conversational atmosphere from which to push up against. Little things that didn't used to bother me now either wear me out or just leave me perplexed at the very mystery of their existence. Imagine being a "journalist" in these times.

That being said, I found the writer Laurie Penny, in whom I have developed a little crush. Don't worry, she's gay, so there is little chance of my crush going anywhere, but I sure do like the way that she writes - enviable, with fun sentences hidden in there. 

I have been playing lots of silly old 70s tunes for the boy this morning - Melanie, Mungo Jerry, The KinksLou Reed, to list a few.  

I looked at her, and she looked at me.... Well, that's the way that I want it to stay, I always want it to be that way for my Lola. 

One of my guilty pleasures, a favorite memory of driving around with my mom sometime in the late 70s in our station wagon with wood panelling. When I was still young enough to be unashamed at the music I liked, old enough to sing along with either of the duet parts.

Enough about me. Have this gem to put a little song in your heart, to start your weekend well:

I know it is silly and perhaps innocent to indulge this way, but I grow so tired of nuance, experience, and endless ennui. Everybody should have some little silly set of songs that makes them smile and sing along, in spite of themselves. Those are just a few of mine.

Happy Saturday!


Friday, February 24, 2017

Escape Goats

(iPhone 7+)

I tried to write a post earlier; nonsense about goats grazing on one of the farms I ride by most days. It's charming, the herd and the hills, describing them was not. A different iteration of me would have published it, but I looked away long enough for the impulse to flee. 

Well, the jewel of the workweek has finally arrived. 

Netflix added a floating "Skip Intro" button, which saves me up to a minute per episode when I'm binge watching. This should make my weekend seem anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes longer.




Thursday, February 23, 2017

"I don't care if it rains or freezes...."

Yesterday, I had an evening meeting, so I took off on my bike in the late afternoon, thinking that I would get a ride in while there was still sunshine to enjoy. I determined that a ride up into the mountain loop was the best, as it is a ride that I know well and takes me just about an hour. The remaining rain clouds appeared to be clearing up and there was nothing but sunshine as I worked my way up about 700 feet in elevation to the loop road at the top on the eastern side of the valley. As soon as I hit the upper valley loop and made a single turn I realized that the entire sky was divided in halves - sunshine and supergiggles on one half of the sphere, something wicked this way comes occupying the other, a legion of demons trapped in a turbulence of blackness. I told myself that it was being pushed out into the Pacific and that I would be fine. 

I was wrong. 

I fought my way through the headwinds that were pushing inland, not at all out to sea as I had thought and hoped. Just as I hit the steep downward grade that would let me coast for a few minutes the hail storm started. Because I had taken my mountain bike I had not worn a helmet. This was as much a tactical error as it was a potential safety infraction. I longed for the little plastic visor that would have helped shield my eyes. The bits of hail made hundreds of direct hits to my uncovered and mainly hairless head. My rather large nose was pelted mercilessly, as were my beautiful hazel eyes, so much so that I had to stop and shamefully curl up on the side of the road in a crouched fetal position, whimpering to the earth, cursing the fates, trying to prevent any further damage. It had become impossible to ride in and far too dangerous to attempt that downward grade with only one hand steering, the other blocking ice from getting the final kill shot that it was looking for.

After a handful of tortured minutes the rains took over where the hail left off. The temperature dropped a couple degrees which coincided perfectly with my soaked shirt, shorts, and shoes. There was nowhere to go. I considered riding up a driveway and trying to find an overhang on somebody's house to wait it out but this is farm country and you do risk being shot for such a thing, Nobody questions the good sense of shooting trespassers here. 

Bullets are cheap, better use lots of 'em is the unofficial county motto.

Once the hail had done its damage then there was only the return ride home in the waning rains, the drops of water irritating the skin where the hailstones had made the most direct impact. There were hundreds of little welts all over my head and face by the time I got home. My bike would need chain oil soon. Then, of course, my meeting was cancelled.


Wednesday, February 22, 2017


A woman I work with invited me for coffee yesterday. She then asked me a series of What's going on... type questions. I tried to explain. Something about the strain of maintaining ambivalent feelings, offering that maybe things just change, hinting that I had just become older by having a child. She was having none of it. She instructed me to write each day without publishing here, to give myself the space to write truthfully, and then to hold myself accountable to those truths. She gave me instruction on how to be as honest as I can about what I want, then to look back on what I have written as time passes, to verify that I am actually moving towards what I want and away from what I no longer want. 

Well, the way I have described the conversation it makes it seem as if it was staunchly goal oriented. It wasn't. Though, the conversation did perhaps arrive at an appropriately good time for me. I had been thinking along the same lines, more about setting goals and verifying that I'm keeping them. The decision to sign up for the triathlon was in part a reaction to the feeling that it was best for me to put something out ahead of me, into the future, something to work towards. You know, the old work ethic combined with crippling sense of cultural and quasi-religious guilt.

Sort of. I just wanted something extra-curricular to get me through the winter. I suffer from seasonal depression, or at least that is what I call it when it rains. In truth, I wanted anything that would produce the feeling of having a stated goal. I have plenty of interests, but they are all badly organized, if that word can be used to describe them at all. They occur slowly and over time, which makes them seem as if there was some type of order involved when it was only the organizing principle of time involved in their development. 

Don't worry, we also talked about the importance of transitioning from coffee to tea in the mornings. So, it wasn't all navel-gazing self-examination on my part. Yet, after the conversation was over it occurred to me that we had spent the entire chat discussing my predicament. I do not remember asking her how she was, and drove home wondering, telling myself that is not the way to be, to not ask such an obvious response question. It is one of the curses of being self-involved. I only remember to ask somebody else how they're doing when it occurs to me that asking might make me seem empathetic. No, that is a partial truth buffered by a bad joke. I do care, but in comparison everybody else seems relatively healthy when held up against me, so why dig?

I can be effortlessly useless when I let my mind drift. It's so easy to just talk about myself. Like this: I cut my coffee intake almost in half this morning. 

So there is that, there is something. 


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

#Etc. #...

(Minion / Bizarro Minion)

Every weekend should be a five day weekend. Wasn't that supposed to be the goal of capitalism? Ah shucks, even that is too politically loaded. I am happiest when not reading the president's tweets. I prefer to read about the nation's failing infrastructure and the deluge that is causing our dam spillways to fail here in California. The drought is over, at least, it's the floods that will have to be our undoing now. Everywhere there is apocalypse. Everywhere the end is drawing nearer.

Weekends should last five days, though. I feel rested and relaxed. If I had another five days in front of me then I might even dive in to learning something new. Yesterday, I did three loads of laundry and read about a hundred pages, and did precious little else. It took me four days of practice runs before I correctly nailed the expected behavior of a Sunday. 

The book is good, though it is really something to note little ways in which my sensibilities (and I must presume that also of the general sensibilities of others) has changed in the last 30 years. The book was published in 1986, and so far I've seen nothing where the author is self-consciously drawing attention to that time period, but still there are little indicators along the way. Perhaps I will write a full book report once I've finished. I miss writing papers for school. Life seemed so much simpler when all that was expected of me was to write papers and read books. I probably should have stayed in school and worked for my master's degree, then spent the next however long bitching about how poorly teachers are treated. I might have been great at that.

Not today, though.

Today, I will go in to the city and help people with technical problems. Always there is the wish to do more, always there is much to learn. Occasional rest helps. The mind must be loose to allow and invite the stimuli of reading. I've been wound up for far too long, masking my internal world with external arguments. This is why politics and social criticism are no good after a while, I'm just arguing to argue. I don't even believe much of what I have written, though it's just easier to write once you've chosen some imaginary side in an issue. 

That's all that I really do. 

I wrote several paragraphs defending feminism, only because my racialist friend had posted an article citing the dangers of "white feminism," which gave me something new argue against, but I deleted all of it. I was getting too close to the  conversational  territory that brings me so little happiness. So, I'm a feminist again. I was just waiting for somebody to attack the concept with something stupid so that I could pretend to defend it. #WhiteMaleFeminism. #Etc. #...

The seven day weather forecast shows one more day of sun than it does of clouds and rain. The first true sign of spring to emerge here in the flowered valley. It's not healthy, I do not believe, to live under sudden rains after months of sunshine. It causes one to spend more time with their noses buried in their phones. It dampens the mind, starts to smell like cardboard left in the rain.

I like using the period at the end of the hashtag. It makes no sense. We live in times that call for the making of less sense, and much more of it. 


Monday, February 20, 2017

The show must go on

It's true, life is easier. I've stopped clicking on political posts, have stopped reading news from the front lines. Now, I'll just watch people on Facebook attempt to navigate the complexities of using Milo Yiannopoulus as a new way to attack mainstream media, letting everybody know how dishonest the media has been about this poor misrepresented fellow. 

What the fuck. That twat hasn't done anything to deserve to be heard in the first place, now we have the casual media experts claiming that he's being portrayed unfairly. How, you ask? 

Oh, just by letting him speak on talk shows, you know. 

I've decided that's how to insulate myself against stupid mistakes. I'm going to start shooting a documentary that concerns myself and my own behavior. Any time I make an egregious personal mistake of some sort I'll just claim that it's the way the filmmaker edited the pieces, only to make it seem that way. I'll warn everyone not to be so easily manipulated by how things are presented. 

I'm being treated unfairly by the media, also. 

Some time ago I recognized that most of my liberal friends weren't any more well informed than were my conservative friends, they just held a different set of facts more closely to their hearts. All that it took was a Trump presidency to unravel them, myself included. Now I question whether or not anybody should be allowed to vote. The concept of democracy no longer unites us in even the most tenuous of ways. 

I'm hoping that a prime-time interview and exposé with those two Russian refugettes that were paid to urinate for another's pleasure hits the airwaves and lets us all finally agree on something again. Yep, those woman are definitely pissing on his face, no question about it.  

Our long national nightmare is over.

Oh wait, what am I doing? I have today off from work, and am considering taking another couple days. Why not? There is nothing pressing at work waiting for me, and this little break is accomplishing precisely what I had hoped that it would. I feel relaxed. I accepted Jesus into my dirty old rotten heart on Sunday evening (see pic above, which captures the very moment that it happened). So, that might have something to do with me feeling as if a great weight has finally been lifted off of me. I was tired of drowning in the torment of living hell that is and has been my secret, personal sin. 

No, most of my sins have found their way out through this site, in one form or another. This is my ablution. That, or I have grown bored of my previous sins over time. The iniquities of a young man are not always what sustain a man in his middle years. I would accept much milder sins as being more than adequate, now. I used to require very large sins to keep me happy. Eventually I grew bored of just the ones described in the bible. I needed contemporary improprieties to help pass the days. That, or I would need to dig back into pagan times, into the crimes of emperors. 

The phrase registered sex offender seems too official for my purposes. Isn't there a phrase that describes just a slightly more normal version of man? One that exists somewhere between emperor and criminal?

Oh, I had hoped to write something simple and serious. It's too late now. There is no fixing a post once it gulps the language of exaggeration. 

Have I ever told you about my best friend, Caligula? I privately mourn the day of  his assassination, January 24th. That's the only holiday that brings me to tears each year. 

Rumors are that his horse, Incitatus, had quite the life. The emperor appointed him to the priesthood and tried to make him a senator with full voting rights. It was a pre-Catholic priesthood, so it doesn't matter as much. I think he was maybe allowed to poop in one of the temples. He was fed oats with gold flakes in them, because he deserved a belly full of gold. 

Once, when he had run out of criminals to use for the games in the Circus - on the spot that the Vatican now occupies - Caligula ordered an entire section of the audience to be forced onto the field and fed to the wild animals. 

The show must go on. 

The tale that Little Boots strapped his sisters to the roof of the senate building and then had Incitatus and other favored horses conduct coitus on them while senators and their families paid to watch is perhaps either allegorical or apocryphal, but no less instructive as such. When it was all over the charge for watching was still treason. His brother Nero was lucky to have escaped the accusation. After all, hadn't he just been through enough already? 

Once, when Emperor Tiberius was entertaining the young Caligula in the palace he noted that he should perhaps not continue to indulge the boy's worst impulses, that he was becoming increasingly paranoid and notably sadistic. Tiberius described it thus: ... nursing a viper in the bosom of Rome.

Happy Presidents' Hour!


Sunday, February 19, 2017


My mind snapped its imaginary fingers and the second weekend in a row was over. My fourth of five days off is coming to a close. I went into the city last night, just to prove that I can still drink. I went out to a nightclub but left a bit after midnight. I turned into a pumpkin shaped dad with a misplaced glass spider. I don't do so well any more staying out late. I have no idea how I used to do it. Decades battering the once indefatigable nervous system.  

The ex and I are getting the boy his passport this week. We will commit to more travel. I have been a homeboy for far too long now. Travel is expensive, and there are no guarantees that America will be here when I get back. I wonder what horrors await me once the NSA's indexing bots have adequately analyzed this site and then determined that I am a danger to a free state. We're all living inside the conspiracy now, we have abandoned the theoretical component. The leaks are real, we're told, the news about it not so much. 

The rain and the mild hangover prevented me from riding or going to the gym today. Daily exercise becomes a daily compulsion. A day without it feels like a day lost, some small defeat, though I know that's just silliness. 

Silliness doesn't hurt much, though. I could use a few more days of it, silliness and the time to enjoy it. I may request a few more days, even though I will do little more than sit at the window and look out to watch the rain. I desperately needed a break, now I have the impulse to cling to this new feeling, the breath of directionless days.

Had forgotten a little bit, how to happily waste time, to laugh at its meaningless passing. The shapes of clouds resembling things, nouns made of moisture vapor drifting by. All that is required to prove their random existence is a day or two in which there is nothing at all else to do. Just look up, lie back. Look up and let yourself see.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

"Vagina Diapers"

Success. We "camped out" in the living room, loving the playfulness of it  He wore his new Star Wars BB-8 pajamas to sleep, as happy and sweet as a boy can be. We made a "camping style" dinner which consisted mostly of hot dogs, popcorn and other crap foods, all of which I am now struggling to overcome. We topped it off with s'mores, the marshmallow and graham cracker foundation broiled in the oven, the chocolate and top half added once the marshmallows had sufficiently softened and lightly browned.  We treated ourselves to a luxury bubble-gum bubble bath before reading adventure stories for the night. 

Once he had slipped off to sleep I retired to my bed. The air mattress is very nice and works great in a camping situation but nothing loves a man as does his own bed. 

The boy is still combining the fledgling "bad words" he has access to. Last night he dropped a new phrase on me, Vagina Diapers. It was too good to not include here, somehow. 

I will find a way to use this casually in conversation, and soon. Be ready. 

Today we may go see a model train exhibit at the Napa Fairgrounds. They sure love trains, boys do. There are never any young girls at these events. I don't think that they're allowed. The complex and delicate world of model train dioramas is quite resistant to females of all ages. 

I often spend my time at events like this trying to figure out a way to bring a Superman-level catastrophe upon their little miniature world, something from which time can not be turned back by causing the earth to spin backwards, by orbiting it in reverse at high speeds in a leotard with a cape, out of frustration at the loss of love, the loss of the beloved - dams bursting, global chaos, nuclear warheads detonated at the San Andreas fault, the riven earth swallowing Lois Lane's care which then drops into the crevice of darkness and death, etc. I can see it all now, as if scripted in the heavens. I wish only to misuse my imaginary powers for evil rather than good. 

I'll pour an entire 7-Eleven Big Gulp at the highest point of the display and then let beautiful nature take its course. It's the only time that I truly get to feel like a God, when bringing short-circuit destruction upon the helpless unsuspecting with a tidal wave of syrupy Coca-Cola. Maybe today I'll bring a gas powered leaf blower in with me and cause more than just biblical flooding and power grid failures. These little well-crafted towns are in need of a few tornadoes to help unite them as a community. Small plastic towns of this sort have no defense against my divine wrath and malevolence. I am the Great Tasmanian in the skies. 

It's always the adults that ruin everything, dressed in overalls and striped denim caps surrounding me and screaming their chorus of incoherent anger. Before they attack in an effort to force God from the clouds and out into the parking lot, the last thing I'll scream: This isn't a fair fight. All of you guys are in NAMBLA!

But first, strawberry pancakes and maple syrup. 

Perses the Tasmanian Titan Destroyer must bulk up on carbs to sufficiently foul the mood before noon strikes the summit of Mount Olympus.


Friday, February 17, 2017

Stars of Amber

We set up the tent, the air mattress, the lantern, pillows, preparing the living room to be camped in. 

We will listen to the rain celebrate its landing, read adventure stories under the lantern's light, the heat running on high as the night cools and darkens, dialing it down and closing up the windows some once the boy has drifted off, when there is more reason to be sensible. His toy turtle which will cast colored points of light - green and amber and red - across the walls and ceiling, collecting in the corner as if the galaxy had a cube being pushed against it from underneath and the light was trying to get inside.

Strawberry pancakes in the morning, maple syrup, fresh fruit.

I like the pic the boy took, the flatness of the eyes, the Manson-esque stare. 

The vacation is working. This ends my second day of it, entering the weekend right where I would otherwise be leaving. I have done nothing all day long. So easy to forget that nothing is the occasional goal, nothing the expectation, nothing the desire. Only stillness, the sound of the sky's wet collision with the ground. A universe made of nothing stretching on, distances that can not be thought, can not be held, each night unreturned to.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Longshot Weekend

(Pic taken at the boy's school)

Maybe it's too much coffee. I sit here on my first of several days off and I still feel anxious, unable to sit still or to think coherently for any period of time. It's exhausting. I awoke around midnight, after dozing off around 9pm, and have been awake ever since. Great way to kick off my time off from work. I should have offered to work overtime. I could use something to fill the empty hours, and who among us doesn't like money.

I had meant to start writing about passive experiences - books, art, photos. 

Yesterday, I suited up to go swimming, the first time since my biking accident. Flexibility and strength have returned to my right shoulder, arm, and abdomen after two weeks. The athlete who had our team kicked out of the Napa Olympics called and said that the pool was closed. We are still investigating the claim, but I went over to her house anyway and sat and chatted politics with she and her boyfriend. At first the conversation was fun, we made good jokes about the absurdity of it all, but then the middle-aged sensibilities took over and we all agreed to stop talking politics. It's not easy.

The world is a less pleasant place now than it was only a few months ago. Those that detest globalization and progressivism will get to have their say. We will see how much the world likes doing things the other way. It is written, and has been signed. The white nationalists' numbers are growing in protest and fascination. 

I have a weekend with the boy. We will set up the camping tent inside the apartment and sleep in it, a precursor to future adventures. I will spend today and tomorrow practicing being relaxed. I will read an old book by Richard Ford, and one by Bernard Cooper, a book that contributed to the subtitle of this site years ago, Emails Without A Home, along with a few photo projects that CS was doing at the time. 

It should probably be ... An Home, I think. There is no hard consonant sound to start off the following word, Home, which I believe means that it should be An. But that feels wrong, like starting a sentence but first. And you remember what old Bobby said: When something's not right it's wrong.

We'll see what other truths the past might hold. 

(Kids are great fun)


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

(Facebook, probably)

(Facebook, probably)

Less than little to report today - the world is advancing swimmingly, am taking some time off from work, the weather just turned gray again, am hoping to find some time to read, or write. 

A friend just reached back from Peru, he decided to walk elsewhere for a bit. 

I'm digging it, meeting lots of friendly peeps locals and travelers alike. Lima was a charm after I got a feel for it, huge swing between how the rich and poor exist, consumerism flowing like dirty water. I've come south through endless sand dunes, in Nazca now, got my archeological hat on and heading through the mountain tonight to Cuzco and the sacred valley. Slowly dropping into travel mode, my step is not as quick as when I arrived and I'm fastening a knot to lasoo the growing neck of time:)

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Orange Dawn

(All the world's a balcony...)

I'm just going to write about the albums I listen to, or the books I read, or the ones that I look at. It's easier. America is killing me. It seems that half of the nation is okay with runaway, barely checked, secret power, and the likely collusion with Russia. In fact, they seem to prefer politics that way as long as a woman isn't calling all of the shots. Trump does force a glimpse into the very heart of whiteness. 

The message is clear enough now, if the actual electing of Trump did not make it more so: Russians are less scary to white people than the dark-skinned mystery refugees and rapists that are sneaking across our borders to vote in the millions, or less terrifying than is a single woman named Hillary. When you have orchestrated a voter fraud so effective that there is no evidence of itself outside of the mind of the president - I mean, other than the millions of fake votes received in California - then who knows what you are capable of. Truth becomes boundless when unsullied by evidence. 

We have an intellectually incurious president that is openly attacking the foundations of democracy and half of the nation seems to be following him down that rabbit hole simply because it is easier to accept a conspiracy theory than it is to understand that others in your own nation disagree with you on principle. What could be more radical and conspiratorial to a conservative than liberalism, after all.

Liberalism, the term is a joke about itself, defined by a sense of tolerance, the holding of liberal views... Grasshopper, we're fucked here. America needs a new Mike Tyson and a new Public Enemy. It would help if they were Mexican, also. America badly needs some undisputedness again, something we can all agree on, something which leaves no room for disagreement or controversy. Let's hope it doesn't present itself as the daytime blossoming of a nuclear detonation, because I am starting to suspect that there are Americans out there that wish for America to express its power in one of the last ways that it possibly can. 

White people are much more fun when they're scared than when they're angry. Angry white people frighten even me, and I can fit in with their crowd easily enough. All that is required is for me to shut up. Let me try that for a while.

That was me trying not to write about current events. 

So, nobody "liked" my post about 12 year old girls yesterday on Facebook. Fucking pussies. I should have tagged a bunch of my overly heterosexual friends on the post and made a few crude comments about how delicious girl scouts are to the taste. 

I mean, the cookies, of course.

I don't mind people being pussies, I do object to them whining about things that they pretend to be angry about. We're going to need more than privileged anger to get out of this one. 

Okay, no more. I wake up and this garbled nonsense is at the forefront of my mind. We have a president that is appointing Russian moles to the highest security positions in our nation. 

What, me worry?

And one small clarification, I noticed on the front cover of the Sally Mann book that the subtitle is "portraits of young women" which begs me to treat the photographic subjects as women, not girls. I should have been more careful in my observations. I could have written "a young woman's pubic mound" and should not have used the word "child" in that sentence. 

I was treating the subject poorly through the use of ill-defined terms.

(I'd love to read the "Feedback" results for these definitions)

Well, I haven't read any new stories or looked at any new books on photography, so I have very little left to write about. I just wanted to make my mission statement here more clear. This site will no longer be dedicated to trading recipes for disaster. I will liberally express my thoughts and feelings on art and literature, before it is all disappeared. 

I watched Lego Ninjago with the boy last night, though I suspect few would find interest in my exegetics there. 

I did listen to Elbow's new album yesterday, Little Fictions. It was okay. They should stop trying to write such obligatory anthemic tunes. Their efforts are too overt, too self-conscious, too patently British in the arrangements. Beyond that, they are brilliant songwriters and musicians. They have the poetic twist, the flair for the type of nonsense that most deeply involves the human heart.

(... and one boy in his time plays many parts.


Monday, February 13, 2017

At Twelve

I borrowed a book from the ex last night, At Twelve by Sally Mann. The images still possess the power to startle, perhaps they always will. That being the very point of the book, it seems. One of the great taboos, the sexuality of girls as they straddle innocence and what comes next. 

(Sally Mann)

What knowing watchfulness in the eyes of a twelve year old... at once guarded, yet guileless. She is the very picture of a contradiction: on the one hand diffident and ambivalent, on the other forthright and impatient; half pertness and half pout. She disarms me with her sure sense of her own attractiveness and, with it, her direct, even provocative approach to the camera. Impossibly, she is both artless and sophisticated; a child and yet a woman. - Sally Mann

The book is something to look at. Impulses start to appear from who knows where, telling the eye to look away, that you are looking at something that is not meant to be examined in that way, like the pubic mound of a child for example. Then some other part of the self starts to argue with the eye, wishing to believe and advance its own agenda. Some little imaginary war goes on between the sense of aesthetics and the memory of virtues, between act and accusation, between viewer and subject. Or rather, viewer and the viewing.

It is an interesting experience. You are not meant to deny the sexuality of the subject, that is its very point. How did something so seemingly simple take on these attributes, one wonders. The answer to the question arrives immediately, yet there is something else. It is, or seems, taboo beyond just the societal forces that make it so. I am left to question whether or not some taboos are the result of those social forces, or if they are more innate. The fascination is innate, we know that, though perhaps the caution is also. We are told that men are more susceptible to image than are women, which begs yet another set of questions. 

Sally Mann doesn't bother helping you resolve those questions, she restates them. 

(Sally Mann)

Does it mean anything at all to accept or deny the sexuality of young girls. The asking of the question creates a phantom answer, That's not for you to ask! On any other subject my response would be a swift, Why not? What is the hesitation that happens before that response appears in my mind as it would otherwise. The response seems less sure of itself, immediately surrounded.

Like a stain on the mind of mankind, it seems impossible to remove sexuality from the observer, because, well just look at the images!

Talking about the sexuality of young girls is similar to talking about the experience of alcohol. To comment at all is to form a space around the subject, with the speaker trapped inside. You must feel either this way or that if you are discussing it at all. To have formed opinions seems indicative of something. How else would an opinion magically appear where it is not needed and was not invited? The assumptions abort conversation before it can begin. In this way honesty is denied, then denounced as untruthful obfuscation. For a young girl's sexuality to exist at all it does not require an observer, though some aspects of it are dependent upon that observation. 

Everyone can see it. It requires no special vantage point. Yet it remains one of the grand invisibles, the silent situation, the unspoken act of public puberty. Fascination with the human experience alone seems an insufficient reason to gaze at images of pubescent girls. Though what impulse could be more plain? It is why we look at all things. These general reasons do not satisfy the mind of some, though, and likely never will. 

Sexuality occurs in that magic bubble where the mind and body of one meets that of another. Nobody can stop what occurs there, so it is guarded fiercely from the exterior. Parents can occasionally reach in and pull some uninvited intruder out, though not very well and often with partial success. Some attraction is strongest at its point of denial.

Recently I heard the old apologetic phrase derided once again: Boys will be boys...  The purpose of the stating of the phrase was so that we would understand that we are not to simply accept this as an excuse. If one approaches the images of Sally Mann with a similar assessment, that girls will be girls, then something very strange happens. There is a difference that arrives immediately to mind, one that seems to make clear how we allow men and women to use their sexuality in different ways. Not even allow, but insist. Social forces that might otherwise expect equal treatment between sexes continue to suggest that there is something inherently good about women, something which achieves its zenith at the time of blossoming, and that there is something inherently wicked about men, something that begins it dangerous descent at a similar developmental stage. 

Embedded deep within the traditions of inequality rests the odd disparity of sexuality, the dual claims of difference. Mysteriously through all of this people still emerge with some semblance of self-possession and dignity, a balancing act between the sexes that relies as heavily on its counter-weight as it does upon itself.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rattle and Hum

U2. There is a goofiness to their sincerity. It renders them lovable, at times. They have a visible flaw, an error to forgive them with. I remember that now, from driving around and listening to their attempt at Sandinista! yesterday. Blasting it in the car, to remind myself what it feels like to feel like.

They falter and fawn over themselves and their heroes a bit, but fuck... it's the sound of a band having a lot of fun, and one at the peak of their powers. They seem intent on loosening up musically. If this album was their Sandinista! then they spent all four sides proving that they are not as creative as The Clash were, though more focused and perhaps better songwriters. Their brilliance felt choreographed here in every sense of comparison, which is not an easy feat considering The Clash were an entirely manufactured entity. I suppose if you crave coherence most of all in the music that you listen to then U2 just might be the band for you. I mean, if you were forced to choose. 

After this album they became unable to transcend the U2 form ever again. They look like an Irish Los Lobos. They tried to appeal to the dance crowd, but their choice of partnering with Paul Oakenflab was no less an irritant to the senses than most any EDM of today. It was marketing in search of market. It appealed mainly to people who wanted others to note the legitimacy of dance music. In their confusion they thought that U2 could somehow do that for them. The fact of the situation was very much the reverse of that. U2 was publicly acknowledging their loss of creative focus, their desperation to remain relevant. 

Achtung Baby was their last listenable collection, and this is of entirely unrelated tracks. It's not an album, not in the sense that Joshua Tree was. It's a studio version of new material that plays along even less coherently than does Rattle. It's only an aggregation of songs that were recorded during a time. It's almost as if U2 took their ill-defined White Album-era as a band and then just stretched that out for the next twenty years or so, hoping for the best. 

Brian Eno has proven it over and over again: turds are made to be polished.

The Clash would not have been able to perfect tracks the way that U2 did on Rattle, not that deep into their trajectory as a failing band anyway. The Clash had broken up well before this point. Making a live concert film to release along with their next album would have been the next logical step for them also, and one that would have documented their breakup better. Both bands formed in 1976, by early 1980 the Clash had released their third album, London Calling. U2 had not yet released their debut, Boy, to give some comparative perspective. Rattle and Hum came three years after the remaining half of The Clash had finally Cut The Crap

Best one-word record review I ever read was of that doomed effort - Cut The Crap: Didn't.

Shat the What? Back to Twaddle and Bum.

While Rattle is a result of U2's creative peak, it is also the sound of its own ending. It is post-zenith, even in its brilliance. They were either working with their heroes, covering their songs, or writing tributes to them - B.B. King, the Angel of Harlem, Bob Dylan, The Beatles. To a lesser degree also Van Dyke Parks and Benmont Tench (for the "real music fans" out there). They revealed their ambitions to transcend the punk rock that they first attempted to assert their own credibility with. I would have liked them more on Rattletouille had they covered anything off of Metal Box or Marquee Moon, the two albums that handed The Edge his guitar sound that so many claimed as being "unique" at the time.  

The live re-workings of their own songs like Still Haven't Found and Pride (In the Name of Love) are mostly gratuitous, though energetically and pleasantly so. The first becomes a white-girl spiritual, admittedly well played and fun to sing along with if you want to feel the way white girls do, which is what we must assume is the spiritual source of Bono's passion. He is a teenage white girl caught in an aging Irish midget's body. He brings the spirit of Benetton to Amnesty International. The latter remake, Pride, is redundant to anyone that owns The Unforgettable Fire. It offers nothing new to the essence of the song. It only proves that they are able to play their songs live, and that no band like U2 could possibly leave out Martin Luther King Jr. when they are appropriating significance from the collective past of others. It feels as if U2 was trying to claim they were at a famous party that everybody knows they were not. So, they photoshopped pics from the after-party.

MLK was not shot on the early morning of April 4th, btw.

Some of these choices seem naive, though from a fan's perspective you feel at those moments that one of your favorite bands was also falling in love with your musical heritage (if you were lucky enough to be an American at that time). The results made so much sense that it was nearly their Ziggy Stardust moment, where they assumed their own greatness, claiming the "rock-gods" title, where the arguments against the pretentious claim were drowned out by the sound of cheering stadiums. When it was all over, though, they were no David Bowies. 

The album is a lot of fun, even though the seeds of disappointment are planted deeply within it. The contemptible proselytizing in Silver and Gold is annoying enough in its own right, but then to escape the bridge where Bono is rambling off his newly secularized version of Christianity with, Okay Edge, play the blues... The Edge plays a great little bit of his effects-heavy minimal riffing, which is very cool, but it is not the blues. There is something false and flat about this plasticine sincerity. Bono's need to make claims has been overrun by his inabilities. 

The band questioning their faith is fine within the context of a song, a musical proclamation of the uncertainty that many must feel, but it is unsightly as an accident advanced as something else, as the passion of someone whose inspiration can be summed up as, Must say things, now.

Am I bugging you? I didn't mean to bug ya...

This is a song that Charles Manson stole from The Beatles. We're stealing it back.

Holy Jesus. Bono, please shut the fuck up! He has an inexhaustible ability to ruin songs. Listen to the extra verse he adds to All Along The Watchtower.... Something about three chords, a red guitar, and how only you can prevent forest fires.

Tomorrow we'll move on and away from the spy plane designed to steal secrets from other lands. I enjoy their music most when I am able to suspend my capacity for thought and revert that thoughtlessness back to the teen years that were filled with my newfound love of, and faith in, rock and roll. 

One last observation: In the Rattled movie they go to visit Graceland. At this point we must assume that U2 had mysteriously never seen the film Spinal Tap before. There is no other explanation for it, because they would have never chosen to re-make a scene from that classic rock comedy without the benefit of its very well-written script. 

They all sit there with the same pompous and dumbfounded reverential sincerity of Nigel Tufnel and David St. Hubbins. The only thing missing was those four potatoes trying to sing Heartbreak Hotel in four lost parts harmony.

At the gravesite, Nigel says it best: 

It really puts perspective on things, though, doesn't it?


Saturday, February 11, 2017


Women, are they ever going to shut up? 

Not if McConnell has any Neverthelesses left in him.

Nope, no politics. I had more fun writing about the boy yesterday than I've had in many mornings here. Politics are a two-sided poison. Though as CS has pointed out, there is no escape. America sure loves its democracy and capitalisms. If you listen to some they would have you believe that those are one in the same.

I almost want to see the Libertarians win soon, and big, just so we can put that version of the American myth to rest for good. Jesus, they are an annoying bunch - smug in their ideals, bereft of all evidence. We could have had Gary Johnson. Right now we could all be laughing at President Johnson, but his tongue got in the way.

Ok, must stop, otherwise the doomsday device loses all of its charm and power.

I didn't actually teach my son any pre-dirty words. I did give him the phrase "Butt Lightyear" to champion among his friends. He's a big fan of the Toy Story series, so it made perfect sense. Irreverence must be cultivated, else how is it to grow? Irreverence requires the nurturing push of a cynical mind.

I have been listening to a lot of 80s music. I'd like to say non-nostalgically, but it does slip in there. Oh, but what fun - The Cure, Talk Talk, R.E.M., The Replacements, U2, Talking Heads, Bowie, New Order, The Sisters of Mercy, The Cult, Wire, Love & Rockets, etc., etc. I've given each of these bands a recent listen, and to at least a couple of each of their albums.

My advice: don't go back and listen to The Cure's Pornography. It is a lugubrious event. I mean, that must have been their intention, but fuck... Smith rendered himself unlistenable on that one. It sucks because with Seventeen Seconds and Faith it seemed as if the band was going exactly where I would have wanted them to, but no... No, they did not.

That one album aside, it has been a lot of fun. R.E.M. was not quite as great as I gave them credit for at the time, though still very good. U2 should have been lost in a plane crash just after finishing Achtung Baby. Not killed, just lost somewhere, maybe on an island where they could try converting the natives to the doctrine of self-righteousness. Talking Heads are the greatest band of their time. Nobody else even comes close, though New Order's charms outweigh their occasional mediocrity, No matter how many times I listen to them I can't quite determine how they pull off this very magic task, but they do.

The Replacements make me want to drink, at least up until All Shook Down, which makes me never want to drink again. They were a band that could have used the help of Alcoholics Unanimous.

Ok, it's the weekend outside. If I don't motivate then my list of things I want to get done will begin to taunt and haunt me, like that dismal Cure album. It is pornographic, if you confuse frustration for satisfaction, or the by-product of a thing as the thing itself.


Friday, February 10, 2017

Concerning pronunciation of the word "vagina"

My son has expanded his lexicon to include the words Butt, Penis, Vagina, Fart, and Poop. He celebrates these additions with every conceivable combination, sometimes in an excited and recurring string, arranged in new and laughable ways, then repeated ad infinitum

About a week ago he lured me over to where he was sitting with a "secret" that he wanted to tell me. When I leaned over and put my ear to his mouth he whispered, Vagina Butt Fart. I giggled along with him at this revelation, but then as a father also took the time to explain that there is a more economical word for such an event, sort of, and that he will one day learn that term, and then hopefully celebrate it with the same level of enthusiasm he has now. 

Much to mom's dismay. 

He ran into the living room where I was reading last week and announced, Penis Butt Fart! 

I told him, Son, take it down a notch..

At this, his shoulders slumped a bit, his volume diminished, the tone dropped half an octave, then he labored out a single tired word in three syllables: Vagina.

That: comedy gold. 

I laughed with him for several minutes and then periodically afterwards, though he and I may have found different sources of humor in the event. I suspect that he might have thought that I found vaginas unusually funny, which they can be, to be certain, though their hilarity often does not crack the top five reasons for my sustained interest in and about and around them.

After that, he proudly lionized the word Vagina with all of the acclaim that he could muster. 

We were at mom's house when he was trotting out his litany of verbal mysteries and he said the word again, at which point I corrected him on the pronunciation. After all, it is a parent's duty. And yes, I just said "duty." We have been teaching him the letters of the alphabet in conjunction with his school's efforts at same. This week's letter was "n" so I taught him a few "n" words (don't be stupid...). 

Ever the believer in continued education, I pointed out that, lots of words have the letter "n" in them. Like penis and vagina, for example. I made sure to articulate each, emphasizing how they both have a common fulcrum point in the pronunciation of the consonants. I also explained that the V creates a different sound than does the P or the F that he had been relying on to advance his concept of the enigma. 

It's not pagina or fagina, it is V-a-g-i-n-a.... I slowly said "Vagina Victory" and "Victory Vagina" a few times so that he could process the purpose of this sound. 

Mom looked on proudly as Dad made sure their son knew how to correctly pronounce the words that he's not allowed to say at school. Or rather, they are allowed, but not quite in the recreational capacity at which we can enjoy them in the leisure of our home. 

It is still an ongoing conversation between us:

Son, what is so funny about butts?

Well, butts fart and butts poop, and buttfarts make surprise poop!

You got that right, little buddy - never trust a fart.

To add to this miasma of functional confusion concerning the biology of oneself and others, he was sitting on the toilet the other day, eliminating waste, so he called me in for a little father-son chat. At first I thought he called me in to help him wipe, as that is still a two-person activity, but he had a question for me. He was being very bashful about it, but he finally said he wanted to know about me and mommy. After a few clarifying questions I realized that he wanted to know about something to which he was as yet unable to form questions, lacking the language for the conversation.

Oh, I thought, that.... He wants to know what part poop plays in sex. 

I can do this.

Well buddy, when two people love each others' butts very much then they rub them together until a baby boy pops out of the mom's butthole. With girls, nobody quite knows where they come from. It's a mystery, but they don't have penises and it's best to always remind them of that. 

I gave him an eloquent synopsis of how beautiful love occurs - that babies are made in a mommy's belly, and then there is only the disgusting magic of birth to complete this circle of circles. 

I did emphasize two very important sentences: Making babies does not involve the butt as a requirement. It is considered an optional form of adult love, one that invites some coaxing, some pressing on the actual button to loosen it up a bit, and just a little bit of trust... after that it's all smooth sailing. 

I could tell that he still had questions, so I told him that Mommy knows far more about any of this than anybody I've ever met. I also told him that Mommy used to have a penis, but she pooped it off. That's my understanding of it, anyway. It's important for me to impart my wisdom on this kid. He'll need it. He has questions, and those questions deserve answers. 

I also taught him that the word butt is pretty good, but there are ways to augment a butt that can help one become a more descriptive speaker. 

So, now he has the suffixed form of Butthole in his arsenal, also. 

And Balls. He got quite a kick out of familiarizing that part of his anatomy. Balls.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pretending is Fun

(Beware of the Dark Side, Son)

I don't have post-apocalyptic visions running through my head. It's only a quip, an equivocation, all of the day and all of the night, mostly in the mornings. I'm channeling what I see online, on social media - the runaway fears, the irrational reactions, our doomsday president, the Republican Brotherhood trying to implement Old Testament Law in America... It's a fun time to distort the zeitgeist by amplifying it, as if it is my own. As if.

I do enjoy working my way through scenarios in which I accrue a team of nuclear sex canaries. I'm not entirely sure what a sex canary is, or how they could be best utilized in a post last-days world, but that doesn't stop me. I can picture several of them perfectly. I would be their post-pimp. 

Is it sexist to be a pimp? Are there pimps in the afterlife? Are we allowed to ask those questions? Better check with the sexes. 

Writing this way helps nothing. Though it can be fun, pretending. I don't think that I am ever going to see a woman naked again without the event being preceded by the exchange of capital, probably followed by it as well. I imagine that sex acts that are entered into with an eye on getting a bargain become renegotiated mid-coitus. That's how I would do it anyway, knowing what I know. A sort of bait-and-bait tactic. 

That women accept money for sex is not my fault. I need everyone to understand that fact before we move on here. I'm the victim in a series of victimless crimes. 

There was a time when I believed that things matter. I am distancing myself from that position after a more thorough review of the evidence. I'm not flip-flopping. I have the needs of my constituents to consider. Pretending is great, though it offers no return.

Having a kid is difficult. There are a new set of expectations that require you to pretend more, though differently. Then, there is group of experiences that you might deny. There are independent events that emerge as being the only reality there is, and one enforced. Lastly, there is a subset of emotions that it becomes best to just forget, or at the very least to put away. Not forgotten perhaps, but boxed off with the other remnants of the past. 

It is dangerous to keep your past out. Some would end that sentence one word sooner. Memory seems to exceed its evolutionary usefulness for reasons that continue to entertain me. I am exercising the imaginative component as a method embraced, to keep from arriving each morning crazed and desperate, half awake, swinging wildly at the stars. Life is fragile, if you carry it delicately then you're more likely to drop it. Try to be natural, run for the shadow. Etc., etc.

The problem with people is that they need temples. Then there is the other problem, once they build them.

I worried that one day my cynicism would become a burden. Those days are dead. Now, I pretend to worry that cynicism has been replaced by despondency and horror.

Cynicism will have me back. It's a bad relationship that has a few grim laughs still left kicking around inside of it. Old, half-forgotten jests that have a little life in them, when retold unexpectedly and at all the wrong times.