Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sleeplessness evermore

Insomnia again.  Almost the whole night, unable to sleep, unable to rest. Plagued by self-generated anxieties.

Every few minutes I close my eyes and wish once again that sleep would come.  In the darkness of my mind there are distorted apparitions jumping from all sides, both in silence and with silent screams. Rising up out of the miasma of would-be dreams. Dire suspicions moving eerily with darkness, in a tunnel barely lit by the glow of cognizance. As soon as my mind tries to focus on any one of them, and shed the light of mind, they disappear, back into the gloom. Demons that seem trapped on the periphery of the light of wakefulness, awaiting there to enter my next nightmare. Phantasms of fear and fatigue. The witches of exhaustion.

Vile things that used to reside under my childhood bed, or out in the hallway of my parents house, have now taken up inhabitance inside my twilit wit.

For my wife's part she decided to wash every pot and pan in the apartment upon her arising from sleep.  She orchestrated an entire section of home cymbals and crashes. Each crescendo outdoing the last.  She has perhaps missed her calling as a subway drummer, augmenting the plastic drums of urban poverty with a home-spun percussion section as bright and lively as any high-school marching band.  One after the other, sometimes in unison... a crash, a ride and a hi-hat. Again a crash, a ride and a hi-hat.  All emanating from the natural echo chamber which is our sink.  I only wish I had the energy to spring out of bed and record this budding talent. To capture the early years of her career.  For posterity.

But all it took to end her early morning recording career was a few plaintive words from me:

Baby... please...., please....


"Whether tempter sent, or tempest tossed thee here ashore"...

"... his eyes have all the seeming of a demon's that is dreaming"
- E. A. Poe


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Landscaping Services

I found this card in an old book a few weeks ago.  It has been years since I thought of living at that address, or having that phone number, or doing landscaping in the sun, in FL...  I designed the card myself.  I was pleased with it and myself when I found it.  This was the apartment that I lived in when I began to have sudden and drastic changes in my life.  I had discovered house music, and all that accompanies it.  1989.

There are many stories to tell from that time but perhaps not this morning.  I will be working all day today, even though it is my day off.  There are two special projects to complete, one within my job, one without.

Perhaps soon I will find a new job and then I will tell some of the many stories about where I currently work.  Who knows.  I might be so tired of the stories that I won't want to tell any of them, even though many are funny.  One of the posts here that has received the most hits was this one.  I was genuinely angry about all of it as it was happening, but people found humor in it.  It's possible that it will be the same way with stories about my job.  Who knows.

Once I was asked to come into the human resources office.  There were some questions that needed to be asked about an incident.  There was nothing for me to worry about, but being in that office when the door is closed is a little bit unsettling, unnerving.  When I said so, the girl who I was speaking with said:

"Why is everybody so afraid of being in this office?"

"This is where people get fired."

"It's also where people get hired."

"Sure, but nobody's afraid of being hired."

Perhaps I should have been.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

... before he gets old

Winter is finally coming to a close.  It is holding on, and fighting, of course. But spring is marching in with its intervention, insisting on a rebirth of warmth once again, assisted by all of winter's friends, closed in together in a tight, loving circle. A van waiting around each corner to fly winter off to a place in Wisconsin where it can finally get the help it desperately needs.  A place where it can't escape, and can once-and-for-all begin to talk about its feelings concerning father time, mother nature, and wicked uncle ernie.

Speaking of:

Pete Townshend has just announced that he wished he never would have joined a band.  I suppose he wanted to be more like Harry Nilsson, but without the genuine vocal or songwriting talents.  There is an interesting documentary called, "Who is Harry Nilsson? (And Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?)." It is worth watching if you're a fan of 60's and 70's pop.

Pete Townshend only wrote about 5 songs, though he recorded hundreds.  I'm confident that The Who wished that he had lost his voice rather than his hearing.  I never knew that Mama Cass and Keith Moon died in the same apartment: Harry Nilsson's.  When it comes to conspiracy theories I think somebody has missed the mark here. Pete Townshend bought the place after Nilsson couldn't take living there any more. The signs were on the wall, etc.  It is now owned by The Bilderberg Group. It's where they throw their yearly after-conference-parties. Though Henry Kissinger can't ever seem to make any of them.  There's always a Cambodian theme, you see.

"Since he left office, numerous efforts have been made to charge Kissinger personally for the perceived injustices of American foreign policy during his tenure in office. These charges have at times inconvenienced his travels." - from Wikipedia

A masterpiece of Wiki-understatement... "inconvenienced his travels."

Ok, I leave with with a picture of winter, in less-orchestrated and calmer, better times.


Monday, March 28, 2011

"... we believe nature is better..."

Another block of time, lost, gone forever.  Again, I had a one-day weekend.  I spent most of it nursing a hangover from the night before, and then the following morning.  Or does that count as during? I won't bore you with the painful, throbbing details.

I have methodically deposited little sections of my life unequally into the bottom of beer bottles.  I've poured entire portions into whiskey bottles in a single run.  Long ago I realized that most of the joy I get from drinking occurs within the first few drinks. Then after that the scales are somewhat quickly tipped towards the things that I don't care for: the repetitive behavior and speech, the boorish antics, the indignant insistence and unnecessary emphasis, the desire/need to discuss my emotions almost exclusively while in that state, the obnoxious demand to do so again, and again, inarticulate belligerence, repetitive speech, etc.

Of course Icebreaker believes that nature is better than plastic, hence the jogging mannequins.  Because nothing screams nature the way that well-dressed athletic mannequins do.

When it comes to peddling the idea of nature, only the shop-lined Soho district of Manhattan will do...

Here is a rose, being hung upside down in a store window, for its crimes against the cross.

"The problem with some people is that when they're not drunk, they're sober." - William Butler Yeats


Friday, March 25, 2011

Klaus Kinski in Paris

Again, I have no access to my photo library. So I dig through my wife's collection, reminiscing. Here is one where we happened upon the famous actor Klaus Kinski on the streets of Paris, as we were headed towards the bar where Oscar Wilde was shot dead by poverty and shame.  Apparently the hotel was quite a shit-hole when Wilde died there, but it has built a reputation on being in a duel to the death with the wallpaper....

If you have never seen the move "Fitzcarraldo" then please stop reading this site.  I am trying to cultivate a certain type of reader here and clearly you are not among us.

Once you have seen "Fitzcarraldo" out of deep penetrating guilt, then you should move on to "Heart of Glass","Cobra Verde", "Nosferatu the Vampyre", "Aguirre, The Wrath of God", Stroszek", "Woyzeck", though not necessarily in that order.

I have never seen "The Enigma of Kasper Hauser", if I haven't done so by the end of the summer then I should stop writing this blog, clearly I don't belong here either.

No, I kid.  I am not as much of a snob as I pretend to be, but pretending's fun, as Ryan Adams says.


I wrote that last night before I went to sleep.   When I awoke this morning my mouth was dry.  It was a combination of drinking beer and eating a salty chicken dinner, but mostly drinking I would imagine.

I had terrible dreams last night.  I was out having beers in the afternoon with a friend and I was recounting a story about the past, one in which I had been shot at with a handgun.  It must have been part of what triggered these awful dreams.  That and what I had written above last night before going to sleep.

Within the dream I had murdered a person and killed a cat as well. The person I murdered vaguely represented the guy who opened fire on me in real life. I think the cat must have witnessed it or something. Who knows.  Once you are on a killing spree in a dream no real lines of logic are necessary.  Then I was trying to cover it all up. There were no bodies but the evidence started piling up against me, and around me. In the dream I began to realize that there was simply way too much evidence. There were work records, journals, calendars, cameras.  I was suddenly surrounded by possible undoings.  So I awoke, guilty and with a dry mouth.

My wife had taken the dog to work so there was no one here to console me in my deadly criminal state.

I put on "Aguirre, The Wrath of God" and started to watch but it was too much for me, too brutal.  I know how it all ends.  It is the movie that Francis Ford Coppola heavily borrowed from for "Apocalypse Now."  The film ends in an hallucination of violence.  Perhaps not the film to be watching this morning...

I must go and eat a sandwich made of egg and cheese, maybe ham, and pretend that today will be different.

I will not kill. I will not kill. I will not kill.

If you chant this out loud, with increasing volume and severity you begin to sound just like Klaus Kinski:


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The known structures of the universe

My computer is in the shop. I couldn't take it any more. It was catastrophically failing. The warranty was expiring. It has disappointed me, like most other technological devices.  They are a little bit expensive for what they do; computers and phones and similar products.  The "wow" factor runs very high with them, but also runs both ways.

I do like my cameras, as far as devices go.

As I am not on my computer, with access to my photo library, I have had to find some photos on my wife's computer. There were only two events in the whole of her photo library: our wedding and our honeymoon.  It was a sweet discovery, I must admit.

Below you can see the shadow of The Eiffel Tower leaning eastwards towards the horizon as the sun begins to set across Paris.  It was a charmingly memorable moment.

Here she is before ascending the famous iron lattice, wandering from the Champ de Mars, among the other tourists, one more creature dizzy with love....

The tallest man-made structure in the world before The Eiffel Tower was The Washington Monument, at just over half the height and opened to the public only about a year before it. Those crazy French were not to be outdone by an upstart nation, you see...  It took 41 years before The Chrysler Building overtook the tower, then the French added communications antennas on the top in 1957, once again surpassing Chrysler, though the race had long since been lost to The Empire Building by then.

It is a little too early to be reading so much wikipedia this morning..... there is much work still to be done.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Law

Here is the result of my first experiment at asking strangers if I could take their picture.  I assumed it would be less difficult asking a model and a photographer.  It is easy to see what the photographer thought of the angle I was shooting at, the model had less apprehension, naturally.  This was taken with my little digital camera. It is unchallenging to detect the barrel distortion that the camera is famous for.

The wife comes home tonight.  The apartment is in a fever of expectant preparation. I have had friends invite me over for dinner recently, as if I'm incapable of feeding myself without her here.  As if.... But I've eaten quite well these last few days.... Though none of it was in fact prepared by me.  The puppy is not the same without her though.  I can detect his concern at her absence.  I have forgotten to feed him for days on end.  I thought his behavior had become quite strange, and disconnected.

No, that never happened.  He has eaten as well as me, proportionately.

There are no adequate words to describe my desire to never work another day again as long as I live.  I have recently tried to transmit subtle indications of this and it has not settled very well into the employment paradigm.  No, again I kid.  But I have been giving thought to the disparity between what I have the desire to do and what I have an aptitude for.  I am variously employed for the proficiency I have towards a certain set of tasks.  I wonder how it is that some people seem to easily make the transition from that sort of situation to one which they daily enjoy, and are rewarded for.  It is beginning to occupy my mind more and more.  Certainly there exists an occupation out there for which I am meant, and one that is meant for me. One that will bring me satisfaction.  Pursuit is both elemental and missing in this fantasy consideration, though.

A friend once told me that the three requirements of a job in which he could be happy were:
- Autonomy
- Complexity
- Relationship between effort and reward

That seems sensible.  I have simplified what he said somewhat but I can understand how each of those contributes to a sense of satisfaction.

Working is somewhat new for me.  I begun it in earnest about 4 years ago.  It has become the structure that defines my life and gives order to my daily sense and use of time.  I greatly preferred it the other way however.  Leisure time and resources in New York are far more desirable, though less easy to sustain.  I was never very good at that either.  My life was either feast or famine.  Now it is neither feast nor famine, though the middle ground where I seem to have averaged-out and balanced those extremes seems far closer to the famine side than feast.

I just finished reading Frederic Bastiat's "The Law." It's an interesting essay on the purpose of the law (to protect the individual from plunder), and how tax laws and legislation have perverted the intention of that protection and become the very agents of legal plunder.  If a person's paycheck is seen as their property, the same as if it were land, and we begin to consider how much of it is taken away from us through various taxation laws, and how the resources of that property are distributed in ways that do not actually serve to protect us from plunder by others, then the government itself becomes the thing that we need protection from most.

This is a terrible reduction of the ideas proposed in his essay of 1850.  But the assertion that stuck with me most is that as a social-liberal I have been indoctrinated to believe that the government has a responsibility to help those who are not able, for whatever reasons, to help themselves and provide themselves with basic services, especially if they have been denied them or subjugated by that same government.  I had always thought that welfare programs really represent a small portion of what accounts for the overall federal budget.  But seen through the eyes of The Constitution this is all plainly wrong.  It is enforced philanthropy as managed by a federal government that is stealing off of the top as well as poorly managing the entire philanthropic affair only to accumulate more central power.  That is just a small part of where it all goes wrong.  When one considers the aid and incentive given to big business, paid for by tax dollars, in direct harm of the individuals of that society, then it amounts to collusion and racketeering on an enormously grand scale, especially when one considers the use of the military in international warfare and how that is paid for by the individuals that it is ostensibly there to protect.

It goes on and on, but sometimes it is refreshing to take a step back and look at the intention of the foundations of democracy, and then a clear look at the results.  It has been deeply disturbing, as ideologies are easily cherished, and shedding some of them off makes me sound alarmingly like the enemy.....

I will try to write more about this and clarify some of Bastiat's ideas better than I have done here.  But it is really staggering to get a clear glimpse back into the original intentions of democracy and how those ideals have been perverted past all recognition in our current economic and political state.

Who knows, perhaps the wife will come home and I will forget all about it.  I will go to work and watch large portions of my paycheck go to pay for programs that actually prevent me from buying a house.  We've got several wars going on that need to be paid for. Who would even think of owning a home in a time like this......  Muammar Gaddafi is preventing us from even buying a tent of our own...


Monday, March 21, 2011

...nothing to write home about

"I will write peace on your wings and you will fly..."

I awoke slowly to rain, the soft sounds of it coaxing me out of sleep and into a hushed grey day.  I slept much longer than I would normally be allowed to.  Not all things are bad with the wife being gone.  She wakes up about 6 hours each day before I might, if I were allowed to.  A woman getting ready for work in the morning always involves a hairdryer, a device designed to alert everything of its intentions for miles and miles.  I must admit that her hair looks nicer when it is over than before she started.  But at what cost, oh gentle universe, at what cost?

I stayed in bed after I awoke and read my friend's post. He disagrees with Ann Coulter about the various health benefits of radiation.  He was once my science teacher many years ago so I lean towards his telling of the story.  I wonder if Ann Coulter has read much about Marie Curie.  We are to assume that Miss Coulter is an ignorant monster, a shrewish harpy, which is a partial definition and explanation. But I've read her website and I must admit that some of it is funny. Though I prefer my propaganda coming mainly from the left. And she is of the other sort, to be resisted, not to be laughed at, but to be demonized.  But I suppose the right also needs their version of the jester, their media catnip.

It is all too much to think of first thing in the morning: radiation.  Let me get out of bed and feed the dog, then you can blast me with ionizing radiation all day long. Though at least wait until I'm at work to do so, where I might not notice as much.

I put an extra sugar in my coffee and tried to forget all that I knew of radiation and Japan.  It was easy to forget what little I knew of the harmful effects of radiation. Japan is much more difficult.  As I try to forget, more and more memories come back. I saw a wedding in Ueno Park, I think.  It was one of the most delicate things I had ever seen a human do, just walking forward with her bridesmaids.  She was dressed in the most beautiful way, with makeup and hair and outfit just floating along slowly, as if from a dream, where it now remains in my memories.  Moving straight ahead into her future life. Truly, it was beautiful. All of them dressed as if from a different world, assisting the bride, holding the garments afloat and walking along as a single unit.  It was alluring and exotic and graceful and fine.

I am going back to bed.  It is wet and cold and Monday, and the broken world is on radioactive fire, or at war.

I leave you with a few miniature figurines.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

"... with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair"

You would think with my wife being temporarily gone that I would have even more time, not less. But the opposite is true. I am about to rush out the door to go to work, pressed for time, rushing from one place to another, half crazed with all that is soon impending.

Rachel keeps me from a complete loss of civility.  I see that now.  I walk around the apartment and I notice that things are different when she is not here.  It is not that things are out of order, yet.  But it is just that it takes no time at all before it is entirely my things that have occupied the little space we share.  Everything is less dainty, though it is the exact same set of stuff that is always here.

The dog's bowl is somehow more male now than it was just a few days ago.  Not messy, as such, but visibly the product of maleness.  Even the dog itself seems a little bit tougher, ready for action, surly.  It is nothing that I've consciously done, it just changed, almost imperceptibly.  He seems to have a five-o'clock shadow.

As I write this, looking at him he seems to be saying, what? WHAT?

I ran into somebody last night that reads these postings and they said that it is interesting to get a glimpse into what it is like to be aging in New York.  When I woke up this morning it occurred to me that I make it seem much more fun than it actually is.  I hope that I do.

Ok, I must run, the coffee has been made, it is finished, the shower complete, the clothes are where I left them on the couch, soon I will be rushing down the steps to get out, feeling the earth rushing up to meet my feet.

"Someone told me there's a girl out there...."

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Nothing to tell yet today.  My friend and I are taking his boy to Central Park and lunch at A Salt and Battery, New York's English style chippy.  I will get the low-calorie deep-fried fish and chips.....

Today is Muhammad's birthday, though I don't know how they determine such a thing, not knowing what year he was born in, either 570 or 571.  I'm not even sure if it is the same day each year, or if it moves around as some other holidays do, based on its relationship to another day.

I do know that beer is delicious, when served so nice and so cold.  I do know that ichiban means the shiznit.....

Friday, March 18, 2011


Spring is here, though it is not yet clear if it is here to stay.  It could just be a mirage of budding warmth ahead.  It is perhaps just thermal radiation, drifting across.  They say it should last through the weekend.

My wife went to sunny California this weekend where it is expected to rain for three days. She will get back and say that it is now summer here in the city and we were robbed out of spring once again.  There are a few meteorological certainties that reoccur yearly for her.

One is that March 17th is always the coldest day of the year.  This is her birthday. At a dinner party years ago she was forced to put on a scarf when leaving for home and that has turned into an imaginary yearly blizzard that occurs only on this day, quite out of the blue, as it were.  She refuses to leave the apartment on this date without alerting the National Park Service as to our intended course and hike duration.

It is inexplicable. The local weathermen are dizzy with it.

The other climate certainty that she clings to is that spring and autumn only last a single weekend, plainly. Sometimes they pass in a single day, sometimes at night. This phenomenon occurs most often when it is raining. Sometimes the seasonal change occurs midweek, in which we might miss it altogether, or not even notice its passing, so busied are we with occupational concerns.  There exists for her only extreme fluctuations between the dehumanizing heat of summer and the deadly arctic winters in which nighttime lasts no less than 6 months out of the year.

She will be enforcing these weather predictions, advice, and knowledge for the rest of her life. I can tell.  Years from now I can hear her talking on the phone to someone unsuspecting, traveling to New York for a weekend, and she will be warning them to pack the heaviest clothes they have, especially if they're going to be there in mid-March.  It might be necessary to pack an extra suitcase for snow boots, wheel chains, and perhaps a snow plow, a team of sled dogs of course.  She will be arguing with the television that whatever footage they show of spring in the city must be "stock footage" and she's quite certain that a blizzard is attacking the city with unrelenting ferocious forces frozen....

No, I kid.  But she is quite crackers as it pertains to this yearly day-specific weather prediction....

She is my favorite crazed.


I am listening to Roxy Music this morning and eating ice cream.  The wife is gone, to the other side of the country. Do not worry, I am doing occasional pushups to offset the negative effects of the Ben & Jerry's Dublin Mudslide ice-cream....  It was St. Patrick's Day yesterday...

There is no needed, and no known, antidote to Roxy Music.

I have blossomed back up above 200 pounds.  Here is a picture of me watching my calories:


Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Today is St. Patrick's day, unsurprisingly.  I will get to listen to people at work trot out their vaguely racist jokes about the drunk Irish without pause or reflection.  It is all true, of course, the stereotypes of roaming drunken Americans of partial (or less) Irish descent.  Heritage from any other northern-ish European country will also suffice, as long as they know someone who was once Catholic along the way.  I know, I am one of them, though I will not be roaming or drinking today.  It is also my wife's birthday, and I must work. So we will go to dinner after work, hopefully.  It will save me from a day of roaming, of offering up my wit and wisdom loudly across many crowded bars, of staggering in open daylight from doorway to doorway, of giving myself over to drink and song, my mouth watering for a fresh pint of lager once more.....

These pictures have nothing to do with St. Patrick, that I know of. They were taken at Notre Dame when my wife and I were there last year. I was looking through old pictures last night, reminiscing, a dangerous pastime I know, though more-so today than last night.  

Oh, alcohol and memory are working part-time to condemn me.

Raise high the gates of restriction.....


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

free and easily

Memory is working on me lately, rebuilding.  It keeps coming back to renovate, to restore.  I never know when to trust it, or when to demolish.  Memory has too often been my favorite liar.

The rickety scaffolding never seems to be enough. It somehow becomes part of the structure, absurd without it, impossible. The job is never complete.

Contractors, you see. Codes. Payouts and bribes.

Memory collects decades, year by year, drifting upwards towards pinnacles unbuilt; spires refurbished, halos rehabilitated, halos overhauled.

Perhaps one day we'll all fly skyscraping.

I have a recurring dream in which I am back in college. I suddenly realize that there is a very difficult class, usually math or chemistry, that I haven't been going to in weeks, maybe months, even when I'm naked.  I am afraid to ask the teacher to drop me from the class, to withdraw. The deadline has passed.  There is no way to catch up, the books have not been opened in months. There is no way out.  I awake in tired terror.  Some mornings I am in a panic of sleepy shame.  Dazed by my self.

I never learned enough, never studied as much as I could have.  Most things came to me far too easily, so I did them with only half-hearted effort, showing most how much better I could do than most, but without really trying.  But it was not "most" that I wanted to impress.  I wanted to impress the other ones, but I never truly tried. I was afraid of trying, of competing. I was afraid of not being the best, ever.  So, I lounged in snobbish ease. I took comfort in being accepted by those whose acceptance I hardly sought.  I used approval as a drug, eschewing it from the outside, demanding it from those within.

At least in this I wasn't alone, ever.

I still operate under this principle, and far too often. I barely try, but do better than the average, sometimes with amazing ease, sometimes with abysmal failure. But my average is more easily attained than those around me.  I'm an annoying reminder that I'll probably never have to try as hard as others.  So, I'm not usually detested by those who try harder than me, and only occasionally a threat to those actually performing better.

How did I fuck up that math class even in my sleep?
Or was it chemistry?

I forget.

A friend who has devoted his life to making and performing music once asked me why I didn't try harder.  I told him that I wasn't sure, but that maybe I wanted to get the most out of it for the least effort put in. Some would say I achieved grandly in that regard.

He always seemed at ease, and hardly ever trying. But he told me once that he has tried very hard, and worked very hard.  I was shocked and somehow disappointed.

I had wanted to believe that all of life could be one big easily received perpetual gift.  There for the taking, the asking.

Free was the word I always dreamt of:  Free....

Funny, that word now.

The scaffolding needed to prop it up.

The scaffolds from which it hangs, along with ease.



Third day in a row, nothing to say.  I wonder how long this can go on...

I wrote a semi-coherent drunk screed about Jon Bon Jovi last night but stopped myself before posting it, for reasons that might make themselves clearer in time.  Perhaps not.

I am rushed to get out the door now, appointments and trains to catch, then work until late tonight.  It is all just work and then more work and then again work, without any end in sight.

I used to console myself with the idea that it kept me out of jail.  Now I wonder.

I must run.


Monday, March 14, 2011

love etah

Again today I have nothing to say...

I am just killing time here because apparently I prefer it dead and behind me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fictional universe

I have nothing much to say today.  I went to a place for lunch with several friends. We bought $200 worth of slow-cooked pork and it has knocked me out for the day.  I tried to nap but the little piggy spirits chased me from slumber.

I had a dream last night. It might have been about Star Wars. The good guys did not win.

Don't let these pictures fool you.

I still think Star Wars was one of the best children's films ever made.

The conspiracy theorist at work clarified that he does not believe all conspiracy theories, he simply feels that the stated facts in the 9/11 case don't all add up, and it seems plausible that the government used these events, whether they aided in them or not, to advance the cause of middle-eastern aggression.

He actually didn't state any of it that coherently, but you get the idea.

This much is obvious though, isn't it?  There's no conspiracy there. There is just the old-fashioned diabolical misuse of power.

I wish that Princess Leia had been in the dream.  I could tell all the guys at work about my new love for all things fictional and galactic....


Saturday, March 12, 2011


Marriage has nearly destroyed my reputation.


Friday, March 11, 2011

The joys of doubt

I got into a conversation tonight at work with a fellow who enjoys believing in conspiracy theories.  If you question him at all about said theories he starts to rant about how I, just want to believe everything the government tells me, and shortly after that devolves into saying that everybody else are, just sheep. Though I believe he might mean lemmings. But I'm not entirely sure.

I try to explain that there is good reason to believe that your government does not have your best interests in mind when they are legislating and executing law, but I simply don't believe they could possibly be simultaneously so incompetent and so precisely devious.

They are incapable of planting evidence of WMD's in Iraq after invading, but they are able to mastermind the taking down of The World Trade Center complex, involving timed detonations of buildings and concerted effort with Al Qaeda from top to bottom without a single whistle blower.

This is the same organization that has botched virtually ever operation they have undertaken in my lifetime.

I was alive when our helicopters crashed in the desert trying to rescue the Iranian hostages, I was alive for the Iran-Contra affair, and Somalia, the killing of Karzai's cousin, the "invasion" of Grenada, our failed military involvement in Lebanon, Three-Mile Island, our airlift retreat from Vietnam, etc., etc. etc.  Those are just off of the top of my head.  But I refuse to accept that the same people responsible for some of the most comically poor operations ever attempted, by one of the most powerful militaries in the world, could pull off such precisely controlled actions without a hitch.

Everybody has watched too many movies.  They buy into this super-efficient secret organization that controls the world, executing precise military operations globally, to the complete ignorance of most. But only they and a few others in the bong-water coalition are somehow privy to these secret goings-on, as evidenced by their advanced scholarship in youtube conspiracy theory clips.

If the world is getting screwed by an elite few then those guys are bankers, not politicians or generals.  Though the latter are doing their fair share of screwing-over, to be sure.

I've just watched my government fail at far too many simple things to believe they are capable of anything both sophisticated and successful.

One would have to be willing to believe that there were many, many American military officials who would be agreeable to attacking their own country, to kill thousands of civilians, to betray the oaths they took to themselves and their country, to watch the destruction that they themselves enacted, to watch the suffering of a nation, and not one of them would show enough remorse to turn against the horrific operation and blow the whistle.

Doubtful, especially in a society that so rewards a penitent confessor.  Perhaps Oprah should post an elaborate open reward for a governmental conspirator with strong evidence.

How much lack of evidence will it take for the conspiracy crew to let go of their dreams of disappointment?

How would it even be possible that the wiki-leaks incident wouldn't have also suggested or confirmed a WTC conspiracy?

When has anything like that ever happened before?  The whistle eventually gets blown...!!!!!

But, whatever makes you unhappy....

The fellow at work began screaming that there, is no evidence whatsoever that a plane ever hit The Pentagon..., even though there is an enormous amount of evidence that that is exactly what did happen.  He refused to listen to facts, because to his mind the only facts there can be are the ones that linger in the shadows unconfirmed.  These shadows are complicated and require a great leap of faith, or should I say a leap-of-loss-of-faith, to buy them.  These theories are intricate and require several steps of disbelief, then a skipping-along through the garden of logical fallacies to get to the payoff. Making the initiates of these theories feel mentally engaged and privy to a secret world.  Far beyond what a mere traditionally minded sheep might feel in the face of such evidence....

Conspiracy theories just seem like such a ready-made way to say that, you think it's all bullshit.  They appeal primarily to the dissatisfied but lazy mind.  They don't require that you test them the same way that they appear to have tested "the facts."  They don't hold themselves to the same standards of truth value that they accuse the official version of lacking.

It's not as if there are only two choices: either you buy into these conspiracy theories fully OR you are a lost sheep willing to believe everything you're told.  It is also possible for there to be many other strategies of belief, and more importantly: doubt.  Disbelief is a powerful tool in this brave new world, but the simple use of it does not confirm an assertion's validity, or its opposite.

To doubt their embraced conspiracy theory is profane to these people, their version of doubt is sacrosanct.  Doubt is a one-way street for them that ends in a cul-de-sac of supporting facts, impenetrable by non-believers.  They demand that everybody doubt the official telling of the story, sensibly. But they are enraged at the notion that doubt should be applied to their alternate and unnecessarily elaborate explanations of said events.

It would be like questioning The Da'Vinci Code.... Unheard of in civilized conversation....

It tires the mind to try to explain that you feel disappointed by the government also.  But that you are disappointed at their incompetence and deviousness for very different reasons, and with a different set of examples from which you draw, ones that are confirmed and agreed upon by all as documented accounts of failed policy and law, misuse of tax revenue, misguided foreign policy, coca-colonialism, etc., etc., etc.

Conspiracies are attractive, even seductive to some, and they certainly do exist.  But the proliferation of conspiracy theories coincides with a larger failing. One can't help but feel that subscribing to conspiracy theories is a retreat from action rather than a genuine attack, with the intent of positive change. Even their phony demands are primarily symbolic and self-aggrandizing. They call for information but will not accept it. They expect change but only through negation and suspicion.

Where?  What?  How?

How, indeed, can the doubt filled mind ever be satisfied?

It all just seems so patently absurd.  The contemporary and historical American misuse of the ideas of freedom and democracy seem like such a larger and more verifiable conspiracy. But defending such archaic ideas would suggest complicity to the minds of the nouveau-paranoia-cartel.  That the government has made them so suspect of the very principles that their culture will be remembered by, and ultimately criticized for, seems such a larger conspiracy as to be too diabolical to approach, and so, so uncool.

If they really wanted to show their government how mistrustful they are of them then they'd read the current tax code...


Points on the Board

(pic taken in Soho shop window)

"Sleep comes like a drug in God's country" - U2

Finally.  I slept last night, cradled in the arms of the gods.  It was a Nyquil induced sleep, but it worked.  I feel dopey this morning, so much so in fact that I'm listening to Joni Mitchell. A far cry from the old Captain and Tennille that I was listening to yesterday.... Love will sleep us together...

So, on we march until we have taken the capital.  Next stop: Moscow

Yesterday an older post overtook a newer one as the most viewed post on this site.  I have told all of you that I shouldn't look at these things, but I secretly do.  It will bring me no good, I know this.  But it makes me wonder.  How does the internet work, and when will I get sued.

I was in Manchester on 9/11. One day I will tell the story in full and set the record straight, for posterity and to dispel any lingering conspiracy rumors.  I was speaking with my wife about it this morning. We were there together in Manchester at the time.  I was stranded there for about 10 days afterwards, thankfully.  Brutish Airways lost my passport when I did finally try to travel home.  They are perhaps in league with the DMV in NYC....

Look at that, I found a way to mention the top 3 most visited posts all in today's post.

I really should stop looking at the Stats page.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band

Shortly after writing my last post I decided to take action. To stand and fight.  I walked the dog, got some cash, bought beer and Nyquil....

I find that just giving in to sickness sends the wrong message to the viral invaders.  You must confuse them; the element of surprise, the best defense is a god offense, war is hell, etc.  Once they detect both Coors and Cherry-Nyquil-vitae entering the system, charging in all at once, finding the path of least digestive resistance... Well, most of them just give up from stunted fear and confusion. They lay down their little poison arms in microscopic surrender.

I imagine it must be what it was like to face Napoleon's army on the battlegrounds of Europe.  Once I have shocked them with actions unknown then I let the body's natural immune system sweep back and clean up the rest.  Attacking the home capital with the rearguard in retreat, as it were. They never even see it coming.... Who would ever suspect such a potentially disastrous scheme?

Germs are, of course, beneath me, and hardly even deserve to be conquered. But what is one to do, really?  The troops must be marshaled into action now and again, to keep them at the quick and ready.

I find that generous intake of cold beer mixed with moderate ingestion of chilled Cherry-Nyquil doses gives the mind a clarity and sense of purpose that little else does.  When watching films I detect hidden themes, previously unknown and unseen by all viewers.  Creative interpretations float out to me as if from the aether, dancing from the lights, shimmering pirouettes, the epiphany disco....

Sometimes I can see the ghostly televisional theses float above me, reflecting off of the ceiling... then I glide up and slip past them, far beyond, and then on and on, to further celestial messages unmapped.

Do not be alarmed.  It is only movies that are speaking their private ciphers to me, not Beatles albums. The dog has not yet begun transmitting his cosmic instructions, the canine codes of universal purpose.

Fittingly, I am listening to Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band while I write this, as the competing palliatives take over and undertake my internal bidding.

Ascetics beware....



I am distraught.  I've been sick off and on for a week or more and have had insomnia on top of it.  It fatigues the mind in elastically painful ways. The desperate visions stretch out and away from me in the dark, returning with hideous throbbing intent, galloping at me with cackled hysterics.  I have called out sick from work too much and have no choices left to me in that regard.  I am forced to go in and make the best of it.  I do myself no favors.  My body refuses to heal, refuses to rest, refuses to quiet.  It reminds me of the many years I spent partying for days on end, but without the fun.  It just depletes the mind and destroys what's left of the body.

I feel as if I am connected to a low-level output electrical jack.  My body is trembling inside. It is as if I am having an epileptic seizure in slow motion. My eyes are twitching even when they are closed.  I am aware of everything that is going on around me but it is all vibrating and awkward and charged.  I feel as if everybody can hear that my mind is shaking, but they seem to not notice, their voices sound distorted and broken apart into smaller and smaller pieces.  

I lie down in bed and try to gauge the effects of it.  A nearly constant current disrupts every moment.  It feels like ephedrine, but not the upswing onset, but rather the afterwards, when you just want it all to stop.

That's where I am trapped, coming down from an unpleasant electric dementia.  

My throat is too dry to scream.

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but with a whimper.

-T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


(Trey Speegle, Benrimon Contemporary)

I can't sleep. The canine started barking at some thing perceived in the hallway and that was the end of it. The end of the night.  I tried to go back to sleep but without much sincerity or success.  I will wait until Rachel has left for work and will try again, but that will be in 5 hours.  Being a light sleeper seems to have mostly disadvantages.  I fail to recognize any advantages to it in this brave modern age.  My wife wants to have a baby soon, and she sleeps in a near catatonic state. So I know how things will go.  She denies this, and probably will continue to deny it.  But I know.

I am bored and dulled by trying to go back to sleep.  My body is fatigued and not quite recovered from whatever sickness I've had.  I had thought that it was something that I ate but now people are telling me everywhere I go that there is a stomach virus going around.  I was its next victim, apparently.  People tell me to go to the doctor and get something to help resist it, but going to the doctor almost seems worse than enduring it. The doctor and dentist have not been much fun for me recently.  My dentist uses scare tactics on me.  I caught him doing it the last time and I cornered him with some questions, he will be fired soon. I suppose it could be easier to just stop going, or challenge him to a game of Monopoly, but what's the fun of just not going any more? I will call him and tell him that he can't scare me into dental hygiene any longer.

That doesn't make any sense. Maybe it's easier to keep the dentist and avoid the doctor. That seems more reasonable, and I... a reasonable man.

I wish there was a single beer here. It helps me go to sleep sometimes.  But there is none and it is too cold to try to go out and get one.  So I suffer on, nearly silent.

Recently I re-watched the film "Vertigo."  It is among my favorite films, and most likely the one I would name as my favorite, if asked. It is powerful and mystifying in continually unexpected ways. Even after seeing it several times it still maintains an odd effect, suggestive and counter-instructive.  The idea of obsessions, contrary urges, and forced shifts in identity, and how "love" plays a part in those things.  The dual nature of us all, the pleasure one extracts from what is frightening, and the strangeness of recognition. It is a fear of heights and a fear of falling all at once. The desire to jump exciting the mind, drawing it near the edge; the erotic fixation of abandon.  It is a film about the roles we accept and the effect those roles have on us.

The film seems to barely say or do anything.  There is a sequence of events but they don't make sense in the traditional narrative sense, not on the first viewing anyway. The events seem to follow an impulse that is vague, even doubtful at first, but the tension builds and builds. There is a climax and a resolution at the end, though even that seems inessential to something larger that is happening.  As if the ending of the film, and what it suggests, is incidental to inducing this feeling of spinning, falling forward into something unseen, the spiraling blind vortex of the dark heart.

There is an ambiguity to it as it develops.  I am never sure how to feel, but the feeling begins.  The options we are given at the close seem to be either moral or emotional, yet neither of those somehow seem right, neither of them stop the film from turning. The viewer is left with the same sinking sense of descent that the film suggests to avoid, and that it itself has perhaps transcended.

With no way to stop it, no way to yield, and no way out but down...