Monday, December 31, 2012

Feces Rising

(My first attempt at reading leaves)


What I meant yesterday was that, in literature, details are often arranged so as to be convincing, to express specific or general truths. As events unfold in the narrative they can become increasingly persuasive, the more connected they are to initial details relayed. Seemingly insignificant events early on in the telling can serve to affect a character's final undoing, or victory. But the author, if careful, has placed these details into the narrative for a reason. It gives the impression, when done well, that all things work towards a central theme or purpose. 

Somewhat likewise, in astrology, human truths and characteristics are spread out as to be general, and slightly opposing, giving the adherent the impression that otherwise unrelated events - the position of a few planets in the solar system against the mighty backdrop of the cosmos - has a direct effect in the believer's life. If one celestial assertion does not quite jibe with their current thoughts about themselves, do not worry, there is always more to read. You will find something to attach to, if you pick and choose at will, as you are encouraged to do. If the astrologers have their way, they will bolster this selection into something to believe in, the final sense of completion being a shared activity. This is all done quite intentionally and is designed to produce a mystical sense within the subject - that they are directly connected to the cosmos and are involved in its perpetually majestic unfolding, like the notes from a giant galactic wallet.

The thing that I was trying to point out was that in literature this effect is created so as to be convincing. Also, in astrology it is part of the scheme to be there, to convince. But one is designed to relay truths while the other is designed to deceive. Just as we can look back into our lives and find what seemed to be insignificant details among thousands at the time, attaching them to the current state of our lives in what seems to be an unbroken lineage, the astrologer can appear to make connections between the rising and falling of planets and our subsequent moods, advising on a preferred course for our lives.

It is a device used, either literary or mystical, but always for the purpose of persuasion. When I discussed a person's inability to distinguish between the linear and the exponent I very much meant what I said, though it was not directed at any specific person. All that it should take to forever dismiss astrology as an interest or belief system is a careful examination of the techniques used to achieve its persuasive effect. Because the "truths" advanced there would prove to be far too general and victim to subjective interpretation to be of much use for any individual that possessed even a modicum of genuine self-knowledge. 

The sole purpose of astrology is to make the subject feel special. Persuasion is the primary device used. It is rather easy to persuade someone that they are special when they have arrived with the specific intent of achieving that feeling. 

The device is not astrology. The device is turning a person's life into a narrative, a plot, for them.

The opposite might be true for literature, for some. While some read strictly for the pleasure of plot they might not wish to understand the devices used. While others, who might wish to read both for pleasure and understanding - carefully studying the tactics employed, measuring their effectiveness against others - accomplish a wholly different thing. A contrast might lie in the acceptance of ambiguity. In one it is there solely with the purpose to deceive and obscure. I'll let you decide which is which.

This is not to say that literary pleasure and understanding are exclusive, mutually or otherwise. It is suggesting the opposite, that they can become indistinguishable. In astrology the goal is to dispense pleasure to the subject with only a burlesque of understanding. This is one reason why those who accept money for their spiritual powers will never discuss with their clientele the actual methods they employ. They will discuss astrology as a gateway to the universe but they will avoid the detailed methods they use to create return customers, the art of persuasive commerce. Their success in this regard is tied directly to the methods they employ, not the position of Venus. Though the position of Uranus is always a consideration, etc.

Writers are a mixture, some will discuss their methods, while others do not. This often depends on book sales. With substantial book sales they have little financial need to speak publicly, with fewer sales it becomes increasingly important to avoid working for a living. They must perpetuate their vital art somehow. 

One wonders at the day jobs held by struggling mystics, how best to unleash the psychic fury that awaits.

Yesterday's post was not written "at" anybody. It was an observation about people and what they choose to believe - more specifically, what they actually do believe based on what they are capable of understanding. Neither was it a slur on those who are not mathematically inclined. This might help, for those interested.

Refuting astrology is easy. Refuting the findings of any astrologer for any of my friends, not quite as simple.... Because the kernel of truth given is the subject's life itself, handed back to them in a way that pleases.

Apparently, all that it takes to renounce all of science is one lone zodiacal possibility, mixed with a generous sense of wonder and fascination, a drop or two of faith, and a few large bills.

In this world, there's one born every minute

Those born today are known as Capricorns. As a group they are indistinguishable from every other zodiacal sign. But don't try telling them....


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tender is the Morning

(capricorn bathing)

I will finish "Tender is the Night" today. I have taken my time with it, extracting what pleasure and life lessons can be respectively enjoyed and endured from literature. This book has almost been too much for me, breaking my heart and scattering the shards liberally for weeks now.

I will likely begin the novel "A Bad Girl" today. An author, Mario Vargas Llosa, whom I know nothing about except that he has won the Nobel Prize for Literature. I am looking forward to reading it. I have a very private life again. Though I have agreed to read this along with two friends. We will chat about the novel and sip tea, separated by an armed nation at war with itself.

I do have a very private life now, not one that I exactly wanted, or sought. Reading is a very lonely business. The problem with extracting your life lessons exclusively from literature is that you run the risk of being paralyzed by inaction, stricken with the disease known as caution. If you were to allow all of your life lessons to be learned from novels alone then you would never do anything at all. As all actions, no matter how minor, can serve to be your eventual undoing. 

The butterfly effect - the flapping of the wings eventually becoming a hurricane - those types of ideas work very well in literature. They have somewhat less traction elsewhere, though there are those that argue generously and often for them, often without knowing, confusing the dependence on initial conditions with the dependence on a condition. As in horoscopes and astrology, believing the month of your birth and the positions of a handful of known planets to be in a causal relationship with current and future behavior... It is a case of assuming the linear as the exponent, appearing similar to the non-mathematical mind, and indistinguishable to the ignorant.

Though it is true that stories are useful for padding out your experience-resume when you are young and just bluffing your way through life. The bluffing of youth fades away. I wonder now how many of my life's experiences are just borrowed, how many are just retellings modified to suit the immediate circumstances. Increasingly, literature makes me feel lonely - as I gain, and become naked, by years. 

More and more I share less and less, as scorpios so often do.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

It makes sense to be wrong

Rachel and I tried to go on a date last night. A movie. We never made it. Exhausted and sleepy before we even hit the parking lot of the theater, unable to decide on a film together. One of us wanted to see the new Quentin Tarantino film, the other a romantic comedy. You can guess. There was no argument, just a mutual concession that the film idea was out. I would have fallen asleep long before the movie started.

Instead, we went to have a cocktail together. There is an "Inn" here that fashions itself to be an upscale spa resort. Maybe it is. Who knows. I've written about it before here. 

There is a bar in the lobby. The employees of this bar must be long-time friends of the establishment as they would have been fired from any other bar that had as its stated purpose the intention of making money. After much negotiation we finally got some drinks. A glass of champagne for Rachel - scratch that, a dirty martini - and a whiskey for me. They were out of Jameson so I settled on Bushmills. My Irish-Catholic friends have thankfully stopped reading this site. They would never forgive such a thing, drinking a whiskey from Northern Ireland.

There are yet others who would never forgive me drinking whiskey of any kind. I've changed.

We sat, surveyed, and mildly contributed to the disaster that is humanity. Women who were somewhat incapable of negotiating their way through the place in boots with heels, those that do not know how to dress, the aged, the weathered, the well-off, and the desperate.

There was one couple sitting at the center table of this very small lounge that looked like recovering bikers. He had on a skull cap and a steel-workers t-shirt, leather work boots. They discussed money, life, people, and their many foibles in hushed but gruff tones. I had to strain to hear. She looked like she was trying to forget the many gang-bangs she had never been officially invited to. With a fresh coat of bright red nail polish on, a suggestive color that I have not seen women wear for decades. It somehow made sense with her black leather jacket and its many tassels, her new "wave" hairstyle, new blue jeans, etc. They struck me as an odd vision. 

But they were the exceptions, the anomalies. 

The bar was populated mostly with guests at the hotel, sensibly. We sipped our drinks and sunk deeper into the exhaustion that we both belonged to. An older couple walked in and sat at the bar. From the style of dress and haircut on the man I assumed them to be Italian New Yorker's. A bit of Vinny Sarducci, certain to be talking loudly about his cousin, Johnny Mozarella, while looking around the bar with a toothpick in his mouth, barely sitting on the stool facing outwards with his legs spread, gesticulating with mannered certainty, ignoring his wife unless she's the only one that's willing to argue.

But when I went to pay our check at the bar I was completely mistaken. They were a gentle old European couple. As nice and cordial as they could possibly be - happy to be there, and just as happy to be chatting with me at the bar. Proud to be visiting America. Proud to be in love. I wished that I had the energy to sit and chat with them all night. They were certain to be filled with wonderful stories, and pleased to share. 

Sometimes it's so refreshing to be wrong - like with my bomb-shelter, stocked with canned food, survival magazines, and my armament stockpile, in careful preparation for final and imminent destruction. 

Empty bottles of Jameson littering the place, the enervating decades. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Ricky Bobby's

(The Pasta of Ricky Bobby)

I left work yesterday at 3pm, hoping to beat the commuter traffic across the bridge,  then hoping for a fast dash home. Right away I noticed that something was wrong. Leaving the parking lot behind the office there was traffic backed up in both directions. As if life were a only video game I maneuvered my way down to Lombard Street, hoping again that things would be better once I had made it across the bridge. 

Nope. I sat in gridlock for about half an hour. It took me ten minutes to move one block.

Finally, I called Cato and asked what he was doing. Nothing, he said. I cut off on a cross street, re-crossed Lombard with some struggle and headed up his way, along the Presidio, towards the park. We sat at his house and chatted, drinking Mexican beers, listening to music played on shuffle, playing the guitar. Trying to play the guitar. My hand has not recovered and I still have no strength or dexterity in two very important fingers of the left hand. In truth I am not a great guitar player anyway. But now I am reduced to something that can not fairly be used to satisfy the term, guitar player. 

The beer seemed to help, though I know that it is never true, particularly with actions requiring delicacy. I was only aping the act more forcefully. He put his guitars away and we chatted. 

"Let's walk down to the Haight. We'll bar hop until 6 when this new place opens up that I want to try. Are you hungry at all?"

"Sure. I'm always hungry now."

We did exactly as he said. We stopped into a cool little beer bar called Magnolia, then went to another that was practically a sports bar right down the street from the restaurant that was going to open at 6. I had to piss and it was 5:50.  It all made perfect sense.

By the time we were done drinking our beers and independently pissing we walked back to the restaurant and it was almost full. 6:10. There had only been 4 people waiting out front when we were there before. We were lucky to be seated quickly. The restaurant was not yet serving beer and wine due to a lack of license, we were told. I walked across the street to buy our last beers of the night. My last beer of the night. I still wanted to drive home and the beers were piling up on me. Some food would help, though they will always tell you otherwise in driver education classes. Like with most information the state gives you, they are lying. 

The place was named "Ricky Bobby's," presumably after the Will Ferrell film with the subtitle reflecting the namesake. My guess is that it was meant to be making fun of the very food that they were happy to serve and sell, southern-ish and "decadent." (An obligatory word that all readers of food articles must have tired of, but one that was irresistible for the purpose of this post.)


It worked. There were quirky photographs blown up to extreme sizes hung on the wall and two-headed animals mounted over the chalkboard menu. All seating was on shared benches. It is the type place that I have missed since moving from the East Village, a restaurant that can only exist within city that believes itself cool, where it can attract its vaguely reluctant clientele. It was idiosyncratic, with not only a willingness to be eccentric towards concepts of decor, but as a requirement.

We decided that we would share food, in the urbane manner. A Beef and Bacon Burger seemed sensible, of course. The dinner-sized portion of baked Mac-N-Cheese with pulled lobster, corn and spinach... some Sweet Potato Tots, and of course the two tall Sapporo beers that I had secured from the deli that sat diagonally across the intersection.

We chatted about the foolishness of smoking crack cocaine. I imparted my extensive wisdom on the matter. We joked with the couple sitting next to us, pretending to be sharing their food with them as it arrived, relieving her temporarily of his tediousness. We patiently waited for our food to arrive. 

Midway through our beers our sweet potato tater-tots showed up, fresh from the deep fryer. I cautioned against eating them while they were so hot, still wise against crack and its many ravages. But Cato ran his heedless ways... We both dove in. The trick was to completely submerge them in the cream sauce or ketchup before eating them. It helped with the cooling process. A few minutes later we were shamelessly devouring the bowl of them, alternating sauces only as a mild tempering device. Having only been given toothpicks to serve as cutlery we were as the two miniature musketeers, vanquishing for all time this humble southern bowl of fried sweet potatoes.

The main courses arrived. Oh my... did I ever feel foolish for slaying so many tater-tots now. There sat a baked bowl in front of me that had a layer of crusted cheese on top and nature's goodness poking out here and there at ever inviting angles. It was like an orgy of melted cheese and lobster and pasta. I would get to the hamburger soon enough. We both dove in. For a few minutes there was only the sound of two men eating. Forks hitting bowls and the front-facing stages of the very beginning of the digestion process. Slowly, we recovered and remembered that we intended to share. Reluctantly I moved the bowl over to his side of the table. He cut the burger in half and placed a double-layered creation on the plate in front of me. The onset of early digestion resumed. 

Once we started speaking again we each refused to stop stating how good the food was, punctuating our "Amens" and "Hallelujahs" with the crunch of ever more tater tots, to help wash down the burger and lobster-cheese-pasta. Uncharacteristically, I left my beer unfinished on the table. I waited for Cato outside to start the long walk back to his place, already regretting having to shed off any of those delicious calories. 

We talked about old times, working together in NYC, some mutual friends there. I divulged a story that perhaps I shouldn't have. The lobster mac and cheese still had possession of my faculties, its fiery pincers from the deep still working their aquatic mysteries on me. I explained that it was a "different me" that had done those terrible things. Though I relayed the story heroically, with some laughs - not too many - out of a sense of propriety.

Once done, I gathered my stuff from Cato's and said my goodbye, hoping that the bridge would be open and the roads thereafter exclusively mine, having earned them well in advance.

I crossed the bridge into Marin, settling into the sleepy darkness ahead, as the lipids and I became one for the long ride home.


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Born Free

(Hardly Davidson)

Christmas did not stop Rhys from pooping his pants at all. He had a few Christmas miracles here and there. He seemed to like the wrapping paper as much as the presents. Though he has taken a particular shine to the little bike-like device that you see him sitting on top of here, still boxed. It gives him greater mobility around the house. He's not quite walking yet, though he has taken a few steps here and there, but he's getting pretty good at standing.You should see his eyes light up when he's on this little yellow bike though. It's a whole new world now. Destination anywhere.

His first attempt at the bike he just lifted his leg, swung it over, and mounted the thing. Off he went.

Born to ride, ride to live. Helmet laws suck, etc.

Though I've never seen a biker poop his pants so much, and with such natural verve for it.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Oh, Jesus

Oh, Jesus. Christmas is over. I worked all day today, from home. We will go get Chinese food for dinner tonight. I will have to drive into the office to work tomorrow. I'm already dreading it. Slices of my life meticulously shaved off with my permission. I am an accomplice in my own unhappiness. 

But, that is how it goes. 

I got a new book for Christmas, "Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power" by Jon Meacham. Nobody will be able to talk to me about Jefferson online for some time now, possibly years. Soon, I will be an expert on him in the way that I have been an expert on guns for just over a week now. Christmas is for giving, etc.

No, I only jest. 

That's partially what started the whole copyright debacle. When weighing in with my opinions on gun laws a friend accused me of having suddenly become a gun expert.... It pissed me off, as he knows me to be interested in many things, and willing to expand my knowledge on just about any subject.

There has been nothing but silence on the litigation front. The storm must be preparing itself. In the meantime I have been reading up on copyright law. There is no case to speak of there. But that has never stopped lawyers from making one. 

So be it, as they say. I am always curious as to how life unfolds. You could say that I have a tenacious interest in it, while it lasts.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

When you wish...

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do....

No request?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Why pray?

(...the river has doubled again since last I looked)

(Addendum: Since yesterday's post I have been given legal advice from amateurs and experts, almost all of it disagrees with all else said. Among the lawyers there seems to be a consensus that, if a judge would even hear the case, they might be able to make me take the quote down. Though they would have to give reason for this. They all agreed that trying to sue for damages is a case that probably would not even be heard. Again, this is all just fantasy play-acting. My friend asked me to take it down and I did. I do not believe there is any real threat of litigation, though I haven't heard from him, so... who knows? None of the lawyers who gave me advice were quite sure if something published/said in an online conversation involving several people would be protected under any established copyright law. It is a statement that was made with the original intention of being shared. They all agreed it would depend on how much money someone was willing to spend in pursuing the case. If I receive a "cease and desist" letter we'll all have a better idea of what my immediate future holds. All of you will be among the first to know.)

I can't tell if this blog is making me have deja vu or if I've already told some of these stories before. I sat awake in bed this morning reading through the last few weeks, trying to see what others see. Now, of course the stories are going to sound familiar to me. I've experienced them, and then again relayed them. But there was yet another layer, a sense that I had told the stories before, here on this site. Not that it matters much. I try to embellish enough in storytelling that it is never quite the same from telling to telling, I hope. But it is the feeling of it that strikes me. 

As my old film history professor used to say, "Feeling is a way of knowing." It is a sentiment that I have often repeated, though mostly never given credit for it up until now. I hope that he does not sue me. He has discovered this site and has been reading his way backwards through the times of my life, seemingly. I need to write him an email but I spend most of the time that I have, if not all, in any given day, to write here on this site. 

Don't worry, Charly, I will get around to it.

I have to work today and tomorrow. It's how they punish atheists now. I get to work from home. But while everybody else is downing egg nog or wine and whiskey, gnawing on meat bones, washing it down with chunks of cheese, I will be keeping a small part of the internet safe from falling apart.  Holidays are a very popular time for attacks. We must remain vigilant. Apparently the people who seek to do unidentified harm to others are just like close family and friends, just waiting for the holidays to pick a fight.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Two lawyers in every home

I had an interesting encounter with an old friend of mine from the south. He posted a comment online that caused quite a stir. It made a claim that gun shows are among the more secure places to visit. Coming so soon after this school shooting it got quite a reaction. The following day I responded here to two things that were said as part of that online conversation, quoting the commenters and giving them credit for their words. That's when the troubles started. 

I posted a link to my site into the comment thread to add to the conversation, which it did. One commenter in particular (a mutual friend by the terms of that site) was quite excited by the assertions made, and so countered mine with a few of their own. After that ran its course for a while my friend posted a comment that advised me of the illegality of my actions and that I could submit a written request to him for use of the quote. It occurred to me that perhaps I should not have relayed the speaker's name in relation to the words said. That it could be seen as an attempt to negatively impact his career. That he espouses these opinions somewhat openly took a back seat.

His stance was that I have to ask permission in advance to use any of his words in publication, specifically those made in a private conversation. Though we disagree on the public and private nature of the comments made, it caused a hearty private email conversation between us. My stance was that I am allowed to quote a comment made by a person as long as I am giving credit to the words spoken and not using them so out of context as to substantially change their meaning. This is the way that I was taught was the appropriate way to quote a source, and that it falls under fair usage. This is even assuming that online conversation is protected under copyright law, a dubious claim as far as I could detect in my light, initial research.

My friend responded, letting me know that what he has been told by his lawyers is that permission should always be asked in advance. But this is their advice to him, thinking only of his legal safety, with the intention to keep him out of unwanted litigation, I assume. He publishes a site with the stated goal of achieving monetary gain. When I researched the matter I found nothing even hinting that online conversation constitutes IP (Intellectual Property). I put the quote back up but removed my friend's name from it, as it was never my desgin to negatively impact his life/career/etc., as I may have mentioned.

He responded in an even more forceful manner that I have no right to use his comment, reminding me the cost of legal defense as being several hundred dollars an hour. As he and I often debate/converse I couldn't really tell if he was just responding to my escalation in the conversation, or if he was actually letting me know that he is insistent on his perpetual control of the words he has uttered, and the written comments that he has made.

The research that I did led me to believe that the only legal recourse he would have to me quoting him would be to sue for damages, a thing that he would have to prove. Now, it's very unlikely that it would harm him, and would be nearly impossible to prove. But if he could establish intent to harm then that's another matter. I removed the quote again, but knew and felt that something was wrong. The idea that I am not allowed to relay my experiences of life without another's permission seemed "off" to me.

I gather that blogs are not protected the way that newspapers are. You are somewhat on your own with legal defense and if a person chooses to then they could make your life very expensive and unpleasant. But I also know that civil courts do not smile on the needlessly vindictive. They would likely favor me in a counter suit if I could establish that my friend actually had made the comment openly, that I had used it in context, and was rebutting it for the purpose of satire, that his suit was only to bully me and stifle discourse at my expense. (This is assuming that my friend was being serious, for the exclusive purpose of this post.)

You see, speech is not protected as IP, but commenting online is not precisely speech. Because you type out your responses and hit return to transmit them they could be seen as published works. This is nothing that I could find valid information on, but it became impossible for me not to notice the difference between actual speech and written discourse. It is similar to a group email, a thing that can be protected, though not nearly as well as some other forms of communication/publication, no matter what those legal threats say at the bottom of the email. They are only an assertion of control. In the real world they do not often function that way, as anybody who reads the news knows.

The other aspect is this... you have every right to relay your life experiences, in your words. Nobody can stop you. As I'm doing now. If your intention is to do damage to somebody then they can still file suit, but it becomes increasingly difficult when you do not use their name, likeness, or a direct quotation of their words. You have much more latitude this way. You can relay the essence of the interaction as you see it. 

Now, I enjoy arguing/conversing with this friend of mine, but the vague threat of legal action did two things to me. One, survival instincts were ignited and my intention was to avoid any possible danger in this regard. The way that my friend's comments were worded there was definitely a sense of growing menace, though he could have also just been playing along. This was all because I was insisting on my right to quote him, and that my intention was to respond to him, not to cause him economic damage. The other was a profound sense of injustice, that discourse could be stifled by the threat of legal/economic impact. Not just discourse being stifled, but the idea that somebody maintains complete control over their statements even well after being made, as if nobody has the right to repeat anybody else's words. And to do so with greater precision is an even greater danger.

Oddly, if I were a journalist working for an established publication, the potential damage to my friend would be greater, but so would be my protection. Being a writer for a personal site affords you very little protection by the law. By publishing your opinions you make yourself more of a target for litigation. So, who has the greater resources becomes the greater controlling influence of public discourse. Nothing new, but disturbing nonetheless. Because it seems to me that the side of the nation that demands greater responsibility is not the side that is accepting it. This is not a comment on my friend, it is an observation about the abiding differences that separate us as a people. Having to acknowledge and defend your own assertions seems to me to be a first step towards responsibility, not a last.

In this way, the interaction I had with my pro-gun friend seemed very similar to the problem that many people have with guns in general. He did make the statements that I relayed.  He knows that he did, as do several others. The statements are still there to be seen for any who may care, among his friends with 
access to his page, a fact not to be lightly ignored. 

The issue that so many people have with guns is that of them being an implicit or explicit threat. The presence of a gun changes the dynamic of a social interaction in a similar way that lawyers change the dynamic of open discourse. The vague threat of gun use is similar to the vague threat of legal action. It is a thing that most people do not want to be involved in, so avoidance behavior begins to distort natural interactions. Anybody who believes that guns equate to greater freedom should try living without them for a decade, then see if they still feel the same. They confuse freedom with power, though it is easy to understand this mistake.

If you follow the gun argument from the "pro" side of it then I am always surprised that they don't argue for the legal right to hold a gun up and show it to all possible threats, maybe even pointedly. By their rationale this would reduce the occurrence of crime because it would function as a deterrent. Listen to their arguments carefully and I think you'll find that what they are saying is not far off. "If those who would march into a school and open fire knew that there were armed carriers in that school then they would think twice, wouldn't they?"

Why not install automated gun turrets in each and every hallway, across every school in the nation? Why be satisfied that a concealed carrier would just "have a chance"? Let's give the killers no chance at all. This would be even far more effective than a random smattering of carriers. It would achieve a sort of democratic ubiquity. It could be controlled dispassionately from a distance; ensuring the safety of students, faculty, and administrators alike. Who would possibly attempt anything harmful in such a protected environment? Complete and total safety, right? 

It is a simple extension to the argument, and one that requires virtually no imagination to achieve.  It is part of what they are arguing for. More guns will function as a deterrent. The reason that they don't make this argument is that it removes one very important factor: their access to power, whether real or imaginary. It satisfies in a more effective way the actual dilemma, with their own solution. But it removes their individual and collective fantasies of remaining "vigilant." I assure you that this answer would prove to be unsatisfactory to them. We must ask why. Everybody must ask why.

If everybody had a good lawyer then this would also help, right? That is, until somebody decided to have two.


Saturday, December 22, 2012


Thunder, pummeling through the valley all night, waking me from sleep. Impossible in its persistence. When I first awoke I had to ask myself what it was. It went on for far too long. Then the rain came with it, sounding more like hail when it hit the house. I had to get up and verify. The biggest rain drops I had ever seen, or heard; the sound of each one hitting, a minor event. It was like that all night. It still is, here in the darkness. I can't remember the last time I woke up in the morning light. I can't remember what my life was like.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Hobo Hunting

(patriotic gun enthusiast and Otis)

The gun debate continues, unabated. I am, as you can probably imagine, unable to sleep. The excitement is overwhelming.

The thing that really struck me as odd yesterday is how easy it is to get an argument really boiling over just by agreeing with anybody. They will find a reason to criticize you for not agreeing with them enough. Truly, it's insane. A friend from Texas posted yesterday about how excited he is to be going to a gun show: "One of the SAFEST places in America is a gun show." 

I suppose he's right, unless you happen to be an 8 year old child, under adult supervision, firing an Uzi... I mean, you have to really love guns to watch your child kill himself with one while just trying to make you happy. I'm certain that the boy was told to NEVER let a gun out of his hands while discharging it. Safety First!

Natural selection next, what else can we tell ourselves.

As I mentioned at the end of my post yesterday, I had listened to the beginning of a pro-gun talk-show on the way into work. I have tired of listening exclusively to music on the drive in and am seeking talk-shows to pass the time. This show, like several others that I've heard, had its fair share of kill fantasies. It's amazing how often the gun crowd will lapse into these fantasy scenarios, describing how they would have stalked their prey as soon as they smelled danger, which gun they would have chosen for the kill shot, how they would have trained their red guide laser on their target, the head, maybe the mouth, the lips, then Bam! PENETRATION.... and on and on.

After having sex they just think, "Target neutralized."

It is twisted, yet none of them ever seem to see it for what it is. They all quiet down when one of them lapses into a kill vision, showing an odd reverence for the teller's mastery of the situation, for the completeness of their dream. It always ends up with the bad guy getting theirs. Sure, you might have lost a few good men along the way, but that's simply the price of vigilance. They get shy when somebody mentions heroism. It's always vigilance.

"Well, I'm no hero."

Yesterday's fantasy discourse started with a comment that suggested that it would be a challenge for a mass-murderer to be quite as effective at a gun-show. The presumption being that they would be shot, or that they would never have the nerve to attempt it in such a place initially. *

It developed from there to this:

"Those proficient with a firearm would be easily able to recognize an offensive posture as well as certain kinds of body language that would bring them into a defensive posture themselves.. Defense is always sensing offense in particular when you have vigilant carriers.. " - Herb Berkley. 

He seemed to detect nothing wrong at all with this statement. You see, gun owners have a preternatural sense for detecting the crazies... They can practically smell a killer's gender from 30 paces, or whether or not they're in heat, armed, or merely just foraging for children to rape...

The pro-gun people refuse to concede anything. They don't operate independent of fact as much as they operate with an entirely independent set of facts, all self-generated. They see no relationship whatsoever between the proliferation of guns in America and gun crime rates. They are willing to discuss anything as a possible factor to illegal gun use in America except easy access to them. Their solution for the gun problem is simple, guns.

The stats are staggering. There is almost one gun for every citizen in America. 88% was the number I saw yesterday, 9 guns for every 10 people. But just try to get the pro-gun audience to discuss access as a possible problem. All they can say, or so it seems, is..."Well, you think the criminals are just going to turn over their weapons?" As if the problem isn't too many guns, but too few, just in the "wrong hands." 

Dang it.

So, that's what many of them are calling for in the wake of this shooting: More Guns. They want armed volunteers in schools. They discuss how, If there had been even one legally documented gun owner in that school, then those kids would have at least had a chance. Ignoring that the chances of survival for those children, and all future children, would also be greatly increased by fewer guns. They're only willing to discuss their chances of having gotten a clean shot on that crazy kid, who knows... maybe before he had killed so many of those innocent children. I'm not saying I would have stopped it, but if even one less child had been harmed. (Pause to fight back the tears. Now there, there...)

None of them are even willing to discuss the idea that if there were far fewer guns in America then that kid might not have had access to the ones that he did, or the thought of mass killing might have never even occurred to him. It's an argument that is too late to make, that we should reduce the number of guns in America. The guns are here, their owners seem strange, filled with human hunting fantasies. 

It's an argument that is too late to make. 

I'm going to again propose Hobo Hunting. I mean, let's face it... It's the hobos that are most likely to get hold of a gun and shoot some damned place up, am I right? If we were willing to let them loose in the wild, and have well-trained, licensed hunters pay for the opportunity to track and bag them... Well, it's just common sense how good that would be for the country. 

They never say nation, always country. 

The most startling thing about the ubiquity of kill fantasies among them is that none of them ever seem to caution one another from engaging in that sort of behavior. They will all trot out their detailed fantasies of what they would have done. Every fantasy involves them killing another human. Not one that I've heard involves preventing spree-killings through a shift in national attitude on gun proliferation. Or, at least not by discussing reducing the overall number of guns in the country, somehow.  

I know, I know... I keep going back to a point that I've already agreed is a lost one. 

I'm just like a gun owner, talking about what I would have done...

(Note: No hobos were harmed in the writing of this post.)

* - The original quotation has been removed from this paragraph by request of the author. We are currently in discussion as to whether or not a comment made on Facebook constitutes intellectual property. Anybody with substantive information on this topic, please contact me.


Thursday, December 20, 2012


(photo by jaquieb)

I've been lying in bed with strange visions gnawing at me. My mind is, like this nation, divided on many issues. I want sleep, I know that I need sleep, but I will lie in bed reading articles about a family that was raped and murdered. I do this just to consider singular arguments for gun ownership. Not that I was ever against gun ownership, but somebody sent a link, wanting to make sure I didn't run out and buy an AR-15. Their enthusiasm leans heavily towards the Glock 19 with a laser sight.

Then, once I've sufficiently frightened and disgusted myself with tales of home invasion, I'll lie there and try to go back to sleep. Not easy. I can't even jack-off to push myself towards dreaming because - after reading about a wife and children being raped, strangled, and then set on fire - I end up just feeling bad. I don't even need the eyes of God watching me to know that it's just not going to work. I pretty much confess everything here anyway. Who needs God when you've got almost two-hundred daily readers?

After the election social media was sort of boring. Not just sort of boring, it was very boring. Everybody pretended to be relived that there was much less political talk on the airwaves, but I could sense their secret desire to keep the argument going. So, I did what I could... My small contribution to the unsettling of the nation. Then the school massacre ignited an ongoing debate over gun control. Everybody jumped right back in, all of the wordy opinionaters. Much like with the general election, I had mixed feelings, and neither side seems to have a complete answer, or even an adequate answer. The country is deeply divided again over gun issues, and almost along the same political dividing lines. It's the same people trotting out the same stale line.

Here's an example (from me, last night), in response to a post somebody made, laughing at the idea that criminals were just going to hand their guns over to the police:

"This reasoning almost suggests that we should abolish all laws that impede criminals in any way. Those laws are a burden on society, because they do not actually stop criminals. They are regulations which criminals will not obey. Why should we pay taxes when the bad guys are going to break the laws anyway? This sort of rationale never seems to ask the very simple question: If everybody had a gun then who would be better at using them, criminals or citizens? It's an honest question. Every law abiding pro-gun citizen I know talks about how criminals would just get "taken out" if there were just more guns in the malls and schools and churches... yet there are far more of those law abiding citizens legally owning guns than there are criminals. How do you explain the lack of vigilante law enforcement? Because, by this reasoning, there should be as many examples of legal intervention as there have been crime. But there isn't.... Not even close. Crime should be almost non-existent by this reasoning, but it's not. And the argument can not be reasonably made that there are not enough citizens armed. There are far more of those than there are criminals. The numbers simply aren't there. They don't add up and they never have. It is a fantasy that has no floor-plan, no future but annihilation and apocalypse, which is what the pro-gun crowd seem to be preparing for, even inviting. It is a social crime to argue for a thing that has no proof, and can not actually happen. More guns do not equate to more safety. The pro-gun crowd seems, to me, to think just like the criminal element. It is a matter of self-preservation alone. They do not seem interested in what will produce a better society, by any accepted democratic standards. They seek personal gain, based on preference, and power. They seek to maximize their gain while minimizing their risk, like most. But does arming all of society actually minimize the risk in the way that they believe it does? It just doesn't seem possible, and no figures seem to support the idea. It becomes a crime to insist that greater access to power solves the problem. Power is not just what you can destroy, it is also what you can preserve."

Now, I haven't kept completely abreast of the gun argument, but I'm not sure that anybody's suggesting that people hand their guns over to the police. If this is an actual aspect of the debate, then it is news to me. I thought that the argument was just to re-institute the ban on the manufacture and sale of assault weapons. But they (the pro-gunners) reason that if you let the government take away any of your guns then you can rest assured that eventually they will come after all of them. A serious consideration and one that shouldn't be ignored. 

One of the reasons (that's right, there were several) that the founding fathers included the 2nd amendment to the Bill of Rights was to help ensure against a tyrannical government. An armed populace is a strong deterrent from runaway abuse of power.  Or, so the argument goes anyway. I fail to see how it has stopped tyranny on any level, but that is the argument, and oft repeated. Some insist that their shotgun is the only thing between this beautiful nation as it is and complete and total chaos. And when I say insist upon it, I truly mean insist upon it. These people are deeply involved in the advancement of cocoa-puffs. I believe that some people actually do perceive themselves to be part of a midnight militia. I'm almost afraid to ask, because knowing would likely seal my fate.

When most people say the word "Minutemen" I assume that they're talking about the 80's hardcore punk band. But no, these people are referencing the American colonial partisan militia. They see themselves as inheritors of that lineage. Guardians of the gate, if you will. I guess that they've forgotten how poorly those bands of guerrilla fighters actually did, how useless they were to actually defend a nation most of the time, and that most of them didn't even own or have guns, much less know how to use them. The existence of marksmen amongst them was a rarity. 

There is a growing hum in the air of American social discourse that suggests an overarching conspiratorial shift. More and more I seem to be hearing the sound of sabers rattling in the garages and basements. The darkness is approaching, from all sides. There is an adamant insistence on the idea that anybody not armed to the teeth deserves whatever raping awaits them, whether at the hands of their own government or by whatever home invaders luck upon them. If not those, then there are always the Mexicans to worry about. So the story goes. 

One "friend" blocked me from Facebook a few weeks ago. Shortly after Obama achieved his re-election effort, the guy posted, "One man with courage defeats a majority." Or, something along those lines. I should mention that this guy is very, very pro-gun, probably sponsored and fueled exclusively by cocoa-puffs, etc. Not just your standard pro-gunner either. He insists in each communique that everyone recognize his staunchly pro-gun stance. It almost feels as if there is a gun pointing at you as he posts. Perhaps there is. It would not surprise me at all if he has grown deeply suspicious of the computer which enables his rantings. He's the type person to tape over the camera because he doesn't need the government watching him, etc.

Well, I taunted him and he took the bait. It escalated rather quickly, though without the discharge of a firearm as far as I know... Now I'm just waiting for the pipe bomb to arrive in the mail. I mean, who really needs rapists any more?

(I wrote this post before I came in to work today. On the drive in I listened to a gun advocacy program that was recommended by a friend. There were several points made that I wish I could incorporate into this post, but they will have to wait. I am tiring of the gun talk anyway, as I'm sure many of you are, especially considering that I am not just outright denouncing the existence of them. But the main point that I took from this talk show, a thing I will have to research, is the claim that gun control laws have never been shown to reduce crime. If I get the time I will investigate this and get back to you.  I haven't really argued for gun control laws, but I hear many that are. If the claim is true then I will be curious to see people's response to it. More later....)


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

White Christmas

(the enduring symbol of supremacy)

Somebody sent me some hate mail yesterday, questioning why I was defending white supremacy. I re-read the post and I'm not sure where they got the impression. I left out some of what I was going to write because that wasn't the intended subject of the post. But that's how things go sometimes. You sit down to write and before you know it you're pursuing a subject you had no idea you were going to, like white supremacy. 

But they often do the same thing, the supremacists. One of the moments I used to wait for when watching those talk-shows is when, inevitably, their enthusiasm would get the best of them and one of their more fervent minions would spit out, "Anne Frank was a stupid bitch!" or something along those lines.

That's just priceless television. I almost miss it.

So, to clarify... When I said that white supremacists would occasionally remain calm and speak reasonably, in no way did I mean that their arguments made perfect sense and I was in agreement with them. I'm not, nor was I then. I had assumed that anybody who knows me would know this. My mistake. 

As I've gotten older I tend to see bigotry for what it is, self-hatred. I was using the term "reasonable" to describe their position in relation to the more ardent members of their own cause. Sometimes they would ask why certain racial groups are able to express pride in their culture but whites aren't allowed to. That's a reasonable question. I disagree with their conclusions, but the question can be asked. It is a reasonable question. The supremacists were as unhappy with the answer as most people are with their unique definition of pride.

Does that make me a racist sympathizer? Well, I hope not. In the eyes of some, it must. Anything but impassioned denial and blood-letting resistance to all thought is a form of agreement in this post-discourse world.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

... if necessary make five

The internet is lit from within with the wit and humor of our times. The gun arguments that are going on are some of the most interesting public dialogues that I have ever seen. It reminds me of when Oprah used to invite white supremacists onto her show. She was being "edgy." For a while, all of the talk shows would invite various white supremacists onto their shows and pretend to hear their views. Then when they would get them on the show there would be one set of cameras on them, which were elevated so that the cameras were looking down on them from above, and another set of cameras that would show Oprah, eye to eye. When things would inevitably start to get heated then they would start cutting quickly from camera to camera on the white supremacists. Then, when they would cut back to Oprah she was looking right at you, level and calm. The effect was that the viewer would perceive the guests as dangerous, almost like an animal circling another animal, or jumping from side to side. 

It seemed unfair to me, to say the least. They were being deeply manipulative of the very idea they claimed to resist: discrimination. Now, I didn't miss the white supremacists at all once they were getting less coverage (perhaps they're all back in the bright white spotlight now. I don't know. I don't watch tv any more). Few of them had anything at all of interest to say. But that's what I found most interesting. If any of them ever remained calm and spoke reasonably then the talk-shows would have to resort to greater and greater media manipulation to achieve the desired effect. I see the gun argument as being somewhat similar. Each side is desperate to paint the other. 

The pro-gun advocates, many of them, are being treated like raving fanatics. It doesn't help that many of them are, and they need no help in seeming so. But if you look at how the little liberal vanguard on Facebook reacts to even their most reasoned arguments, it's usually with derision and hysteria. Which produces an interesting effect. All that I need to do to draw out either side is make a tangential agreement. Not even an argument, just a soft agreement. It will invariably unleash an onslaught of accusation and insult from either, or both, sides.

Anybody that is a regular reader here knows that I live for those interactions. It keeps me from going senile, I hope. Which is another subject that has brought much heated debate, mental health issues. I've recently started a new conversation thread: Angry Autistics... When Will They Strike Again...?

The title from today's post is a reference to the Orwellian idea put forth in "Nineteen Eighty-Four" that two plus two if necessary make five.


Monday, December 17, 2012

The AR-15, now for elementary schools

I spent a fair portion of the weekend arguing with christians on Facebook. Why, you might ask? Because I get a perverse thrill out of it. It is for the same reason that I used to do drugs: it is better than being bored. This is not to say that the arguments are entirely devoid of boredom. It is when they teeter on the boring that I am at my wickedest. Sometimes I will strip down naked when I'm arguing with them, just to add that old testament sense of sin to the dynamic.

Rachel remains bemused.

Only towards the end of the day yesterday did I engage in a conversation with a gun enthusiast - also a likely candidate for christianity though I never got around to asking him. Remarkably, this was one of the more reasoned discussions that I had. He made a simple argument for training school volunteers in firearm use, safety and emergency preparedness. He posited that we have fire extinguishers in schools to protect from fire, but this is not to replace the fire department, it is only for the safety of the children. He argued that we do many things to ensure the safety of our children, yet leave them most vulnerable in this one way. 

His point was that these suicide/killers are drawn to schools because they are well aware that these are unprotected targets. In fact, most schools have strict laws against there being guns at schools, even ones carried by law enforcement officers that are there ostensibly to protect the children. Why not have an armed officer at each school? Even this seems that it could be useful as a deterrent. 

Interesting points. I'm not sure how I feel about it all, just something to consider. But since there are organizations dedicated to keeping America as armed as it can possibly be, then it does not seem to be an entirely unreasonable position to safely arm those who are entrusted to protect children. Though admittedly: the idea of there being even more guns, and closer to children, does seem to be counter-intuitive. But many ideas that run against intuitive sense have turned out to work. 

I should point out that he, this guy, trains people in gun safety. Seems almost a guarantee that he's a christian, though again, I've never asked. It did, however, bring me some pause when he relayed that he has a perfectly legal hand-gun that would do much more damage in a place like a mall than one of these assault rifles. I've never given much thought to the subject. But I don't spend my weekends at shooting ranges and gun shops. I assume that there are only so many holes you can put in a paper target shaped like a human before the analogy takes flight.

I know that some of you are thinking that I must have lost my mind. But I was only trying to consider divergent perspectives. The anti-gun group seems to only be screaming that guns are evil and to burn the witches, and soon. This stance seems somehow insufficient in the face of the problem. People have a constitutional right to own guns. That's not just going to suddenly disappear. But part of the pro-gun argument seems to be the fantasy of what they would have done differently in the given situation. These people seem to fantasize about killing spree-killers. Strange fantasy.

But who am I to criticize? I get naked and argue with christians.

Well, I partially kid. There is also a moderate perspective from the anti-gun side. I'm not sure why the pro-gun groups fight it so much. They simply want mandatory safety courses and background checks. In addition to that they want to increase the negligence penalties for those who skirt these processes. That doesn't seem that unreasonable, to me. But still, the fight remains relatively devoid of subject matter towards the middle, with few signs of improving. The political climate is such that one side, probably the left, will win by sheer force of majority. They seem to be getting better and better at forcing the other side's hand, and proud of it. Most of them seem to have an "About Time!" attitude that might not prove to hold much foresight if the republicans ever do get a majority back. The right has always acted in greater concert to achieve its goals than the left. At least in my lifetime.

So, I'm thinking of buying an assault rifle. Now, I know what all of you are thinking... Cool, right?  But hear me out. Number One, they just look radical. It's difficult to pretend that you're Rambo with a small revolver. Number Two, that is a euphemism for poop, #2. Number Three, where are you gonna be when the zombie apocalypse begins? Number Four,  It's Christmas, what better gift to unwrap under the glowing red lights of the tree than a near-military grade weapon. I mean, this is something that really says to the neighbors: you'll be moving that off my lawn now.

I began to ask myself why no spree-killer has ever attacked one of those paint ball places. It would, at the very least, represent a fresh challenge to the idea. It's difficult to guess even how long a shooter could go before the others would realize what was happening. Just run amok out onto the course and get started, not even pick a team, etc. It would take some pretty bold paint-ballers to stop you as well. But it seems to be the very thing they're asking for. I mean, those paint-ball heroes would live in para-military glory in perpetuity.

If I understand the pro-gun argument correctly, at least in this instance, it is that the world is full of crazies and we had better flood our schools with firearms and ammunition. Does that sound right?


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Well, I do declare

(the garden gnome of christmas past)

Putting up the bookshelves has had a strange, though predictable, effect on me. I have been haunted by the bindings of the past. The shelves were cursed from the beginning, with psychedelics and vomit. I am now remembering books that I have lost along the way, with no memory tracing back to the loss. Just disconnected flashes with little hint at what became of my life. I blame the years and years, decades, of heavy drug and alcohol use. But who wouldn't, really? I mean, if you had a ready-made excuse for all the loss in your life, why not use it. But still, there are many books that are just gone without explanation. Books that I would not have given or borrowed away. Not so much that I care about them with any particular passion, but that few of my friends would ever read such books. Few of them go beyond the 1950's in their literary curiosity. The past requires energy to penetrate. Just look at what the feminists have done with it.

And that's just the effect that the books that are not here are having on me. The ones that are here are having a much more pronounced effect. Orchestrated maledictions. Man, did I think I was cool when I was a kid. It shows in my collection. Mostly bought from local independent bookstores in Orlando. Many stolen from the bigger chain stores. A friend recently suggested how unreadable most of the books from the beat-era are now. He's right. I've picked them up and flipped through. Nonsense, mostly. Works that were carried by the changing times, some catapulted to the hip.  

At an early age I romanticized the figure of the literary "outlaw." We all see how well that worked out. I haven't been gang-raped by bikers very often but there is a vague sense of having been somehow shattered along the way. Most of my friends can't believe that my life unfolded the way that it did. But that's because they're not the ones living it. From the outside it seems an independent marvel, pure luck, just short of miraculous. From the inside I can tell you that it is held together mostly by baby formula, dirty diapers and quotidian routine. It's why so many of my friends were against me leaving my last job without having arranged its replacement. They were partially right: I didn't know what I was doing. I only knew what I was not going to do any more. 

The same friend mentioned above recently cited a journalist whose name I recognized, though nothing more. I did some research and found a famous article that he had written, "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" I've only begun reading it but already it seems worthy of the recognition it has been given. Where are the great cultural journalists now? Rolling Stone, P.J. O'Rourke, Matt Taibbi? 


I still have to finish the collection of essays by Vidal. The essays are arranged chronologically, sensibly, representing 20 years of his journalism. It starts out refreshing and bold. Towards the end he has adopted the occasionally tedious tone of a "celebrity intellectual." The writing remains very good but he has become more openly pugnacious, and somehow even more public

I don't have much to write about today. Each thought has been a reaction to something else, nothing more. Well, this morning there will be a few more chapters of Tender. If there has ever been better writing before, I declare I simply don't know where....


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Did you see my emotional post?

We went to a bowling alley last night. That is a different culture altogether. It was an eye-opening experience. An almost free peek into the lives of some of the people here, youths, etc. I would describe the experience but am not in the mood to be cruel, oddly. I suppose that I'm exhausted from everybody's emotional outpouring on Facebook yesterday. It never ceases to amaze me how people will use an event like yesterday's to promote and advance their own emotions, to insist upon their open sentiment. In a time like this we must really come together to talk about ourselves. What a bunch of fucking phonies, says Holden Caulfield. Each pathetically advertised feeling only feeding the next killer, little by little. We build these monsters with a sound-clip here, a newsfeed there, a popular post about the sadness of it all, a talk show for the victims when we're done. Maybe, if very lucky, an interview with the killer, an expose.... 

By today the town criers will be asking one another the difficult question of how anybody could possibly do such a thing. Somewhere out there will be someone else reading their words in darkness, the television's light fighting for primacy with the computer's. Them, getting aroused at the very idea of it all. Just taking it all in and fantasizing of ways to one day really express themselves. It is a thing that seems to excite all of society. It is talked about as something that we are all sharing together, something that we are all "going through." The collective shock, and grieving process. Yet few ever seem to make a leap into understanding or questioning what that sharing might mean.

Some on Facebook have chosen to blame violent video games. Others have denounced the proliferation of guns. None of them are blaming themselves. None of them are calling for less attention for the killer, or the act of killing. A few here and there are blaming American culture in general, vaguely seeming to understand that we get the culture that we deserve and nothing more. If you promote rugged individualism then you will get occasionally rugged individualism, fiercely stated and wildly unpredictable. The extension of this ideal rarely ever seems to occur to anybody. With the many options of people and circumstances to blame in a situation like this why would anybody ever blame themselves. There are other nations that allow their citizens to own guns, but with vastly different results, even when considered proportionally. God must want Americans to live this way.

Guns don't kill people; people do, cultures do, even gods do... some of them insist upon it. If a culture perpetually blurs the distinction between fame and infamy, between action and accomplishment, then how do we expect the people of that culture to separate the ideas independently? It's unfair of us to expect it. What we privilege becomes our privilege. America has distinguished itself in this regard. Twenty-Six more coffins tossed onto a sea of insanity, many of them too small to quickly sink.

There is little hope for stopping it. That would require the opposite of everybody's participation. It would require people to not participate in the killings, to pull back from their collective vampirism, to address the shame of their own blood thirst, the shared and morbid obsession with spree-killing (which seems to have replaced serial killing in the American fantasy).

America is just not ready for such a thing. Now is not the time to discuss...

Well, I hadn't meant to even mention the recent killings here today. There's so much Christmas lamenting to do that I had intended to keep my thoughts entirely to myself. But, what with the Mayans coming and all, I figured I might as well drop my proverbial two pence. I mean, just think how silly we'll all feel when the Mayanaise gods finally emerge from the oceans breathing radioactive fire, ushering us into the 5th dimension with their laser vision and the ancient wisdom of ritual human sacrifice.


Thursday, December 13, 2012


Fitzgerald is great. I want to return and discover these characters again, from the earlier chapters, from the beginning. There were so many lines written that I wish to re-visit. Though now I know more about these people, perhaps too much. It is impossible to go back. He has changed my relationship with them forever.

There is much that is strong and wonderful about his writing. My fear is that it will not hold until the end. It is becoming that considerable bubble that contains one's private imaginative life, for me. I know how poorly things ended for old Fitzgerald. This book was his last published. I want it to have the perfect clarity of balance that is found in Gatsby, the perfect beauty of loss, the symmetry of tragedy. Though I know that is much to ask, it's what I want.

There is something very delicate within the writing, something familiar yet fragile, something always on the verge of being broken. Almost as if its undoing is buried within its initial description. A thing that can not be held for long. It's as if the entire book begins with its gradual falling away from the reader, from itself.

It is odd, to me - with great writing there is the intense desire to find out how things unfold, how the beautiful structure is built and lost. But in so doing, all of it collapses, every time. Truly great writing resembles tragedy in this way. By experiencing it one is also involved in its ending. There is an immense sadness to it. What is it called when exhilaration passes? Demise?

It is heartbreaking, I can't wait for it.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Red wine and baby diapers

(clearly his intention is to grow)

I just baby-sat my child. What a nightmare, truly. It all started out fun and awkward, fumbling with his dinner, not really knowing how to do things. But then he got tired.... He started to seem unhappy for no reason in particular, fidgety with dissatisfaction  Then he began to express that annoyance in a continuous sort of baby-crying. No tears, just whining. It's no wonder to me now why people can't stand people that whine. Effective: yes, Annoying: hell yes. To hear an adult whine is an acute sensation. It makes me want to rub a full baby diaper in their face.

Towards the end of my stint as a nanny tonight I was really making deals with the devil. I was thinking of any way that I could possibly get out of the unceasing misery that my life had become when steered by the emotions of a drowsy child. I was going to call a babysitter for the last 15 minutes until Rachel got home. Drop him off at the fire station. Anything. I imagined biblical scenes, him in a basket floating down a river, to go on to greatness in some other life, some other city. 

I even tried to leave him alone, went downstairs and prayed for the first time in years. Didn't work. A baby's wailing can penetrate the stars. You can still hear the baby Superman's infant howl from planet Krypton. The universal hum of cosmic background radiation is actually just an amalgam of babies grousing, but from very great distances, in all directions. 

Well, he eventually stopped, then he got tired. Then Rachel came home and scolded me for trying to put him to bed too soon. 

I'm downstairs now, whining to you about it.


Can I yell you a secret?


For some dumb reason everybody was going the speed limit this morning. So far, it has ruined my day. Perhaps it was the lack of visible moonlight. The cloud cover prevented me from being able to see the last rising crescent before the new moon, tomorrow.

Nothing bad ever happens on a new moon. Nobody goes to the emergency room. Everybody stays home and enjoys the warmth of familial love. Nobody ever needs to take medication. No arrests have ever been made on a new moon. Nobody suffers.

It is a little known secret that no one tells, like tipping, and the joys of being a Scorpio.