Thursday, September 27, 2007

Event: Food For Thought (When Hillary Lies)

I won't be able to post today or tomorrow (except this), so I leave you with this fascinating thought: Hillary Clinton lied at the Democratic Debate yesterday. Tim Russert asked her who she would root for in a World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees. She said:

"Well, I would have to alternate sides."

Besides providing ammo for a thousand jokes with that particular answer (and playing right into the hands of last-cycle Kerry detractors), I don't personally believe it. It might not help that Russert is asking her to choose between the two most odious teams in baseball, but it's an answer that disrespects and begs disrespect. Nothing is more unsightly in a baseball fan than playing the numbers of a teams' success (or in this case, the numbers of a teams' fans – both the Cubs and the Yanks are a doozy) like an auction for your support. That's why I saw a girl wearing a shirt saying "I was a Tigers fan before 2006," and felt like I ought to ask her how she felt about them in 2003. Anyway, this question ought to be a no-brainer for Hillary. The Cubs were the team she grew up with. The Yankees are the team of a place she has moved as a political expediency. The Yankees have won a billion times. The Cubs are fated to never win. I don't care how many times a Cubs fan puked on her teenage shoes on the Red Line; she's rooting for Chicago whether she admits it or not. Between this and her reluctance to back the UAW, my confidence is increasingly shaken.

If I can't trust her to be honest about baseball, can I trust her about anything?

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Event: I'm not the only one thinking that the UAW's pretty smart at this go round.

A Daily Kos diary: UAW on Strike for Job Security.

I realize that, with the strike off, there's a perceived lack of urgency to this particular subject, but the issues that caused the strike in the first place are very much intact. And I particularly like the way this notion is shared:

The media seems to think that GM can break the union at will, but they seem to miss that for the UAW killing GM may be the price that has to be paid to provide their members job security. The GM brand isn't going to die, and if it's forced into dire economic straights a sale to private equity is possible. Meaning that a new set of managers focused on creating long term value instead of maximizing stock prices can be brought in. Like just happened at Chrysler.

In short, we don't want our unions, including the UAW, making the same mistake that the Democratic Party makes all the time: letting short-termed number-crunching discretion replace the need to make decision. Any opportunity in such a highly contested field is going to require risks. In this case, the risk has paid off so far.

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Event: The Strange Death of Liberal America.

I found this blog post through its own self-promotion on the New York Times website. It's argument isn't as airtight as it could be, but there are still some interesting points here.

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Body: Dot Dot Dot.

. . .


Galvane 4, 30.

- Yesterday I ate pizza from Little Louis. That was the most exciting thing to happen yesterday. Also, I've decided that Aelius Aristides has the most annoying rhetorical style of antiquity.

I've always been told that you shouldn't stuff a turkey the night before you cook it. Why?

1936-1937 Flint Sit-Down Strike.

How do you sleep at night?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Concept: Announcing the GOTHIC FUNK NATION.


For the last six months, Skylar and I have been having an ongoing discussion about the future of the Gothic Funk, and it's involved a lot of mulling over the epistles, manifestoes, parties, events, and casual conversations and emails that this group has produced. There's been splicing and recombination, addition and subtraction, sublation and condensation. In the final argument, we decided that in order to be truly efficacious (and, as Artaud would say, "affective") we need to situate ourselves within any Gothic Funk Movement as a self-conscious and self-defined organization.

Originally, Gothic Funk was a mode of thought that emerged in conjunction with a series of parties in 2004 and 2005. Today, it is not an attempt to bring about change where there is none, nor to those who do not welcome it. Therefore, it is not an entity capable of disaster, but rather is a means to observe changes taking place everywhere, to discuss where these changes most likely are leading, and (most exciting of all) to create opportunities for the distilling, channeling, and magnifying of these changes, with the fundamental belief that all of this is directly contributing to the establishment of a new, yet to be named worldview. Our collective writings have engaged and explored this process.


The Gothic Funk Nation is, at this point, basically a project conceived by Skylar and myself. But we want to spread out and fill it up with brilliant people, and create a government worthy of our membership. We have, in fact, developed a prototype for what positions are essential and what their functions will be. At this moment, we are acting as executives. The more people are interested, and the sooner, the more completely we can more towards a democratic setup. Think of it as Ancient Rome moving from Autocracy toward Principate toward Republic. Our goal is to fill most of these positions by next February.

The Gothic Funk Nation will exist as a self-conscious entity, capable of establishing consensus, making decisions and statements, mounting events, raising funds... in short, all the activities undertaken by any formally organized group. It will be erroneous to simply describe it as an "artistic" or "social" or "political" group. It will be the Gothic Funk Nation, and other labels must be applied against this standard.

This keeps with the de facto "tradition" of wrangling over nettlesome fractal definitions of "gothic funk" and "Gothic Funk" and "Gothic Funk Movement" and "Gothic Funk Project."

This also offers an antidote to the real-world paralysis implied by such ambiguity.


February 2008 will be the "birthday" of the Gothic Funk Nation.

Everything is going to happen in February.

The events we are planning at this time include:
- A Gothic Funk Party*
- A Gothic Funk Journal**
- A Gothic Funk Reading Series #1***
- A Gothic Funk Reading Series #2****

*besides which all other Gothic Funk Parties will pale
**online, featuring creative and critical submissions as words, images, and sounds
***monthly, casual and informal
****monthly, formal and fancy

If you want to help plan these events, or suggest others, you should "sign up" using the following email.


This phase (phase #3, I think) of the Gothic Funk project will be Chicago-based. Non-Chicagoans can definitely get involved, but the more intense involvement will require access to the Windy City. Likewise, for longer-term positions, we will seek out those who expect to be in Chicago through the end of 2008. (But don't worry; we won't have a tantrum if your plans change).

Our plans are now officially ambitious, meaning that there will be some grunt work involved. We'll need to raise funds, place phone calls and send emails to secure space for events, promote events, and so on. People who want longer-term positions should also expect to take on some of these less glamorous tasks.

Between now and February, Sky and I will be sending out periodic updates on these projects and the Gothic Funk Nation.

If, at any time, you feel bewildered by all this, go to the website and look at the party pictures, and maybe read an epistle.


~ Skylar and Connor


Fill out and return.
The more you can tell us, the better.

Live in Chicago in 2008?:
Willing to host large party/event (12+ people)?:
Willing to host small party/event (11- people)?
How many hours (on average) do you think you would like to work on Gothic Funk each month?
Gothic Funk involvement so far?:

General comments / suggestions?

Are you Interested ('x' all that apply) in*?:

A LONG TERM POSITION (ie. through 2008) ___

* There is a *lot* of overlap here, so don't worry. We'll find opportunities we think you might like, and ask if you want to get involved.

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Event: Why GM should hope for a UAW victory.

The New York Times' Caucus Blog (which I normally enjoy) has posted a blatantly misleading post on the Candidates and the U.A.W. Specifically, it fails to mention Obama's high-profile support for the union, and even worse, it mischaracterizes the reasons for the strike in general. I managed to post a couple comments, and the better of the two sums up my reasons to support this particular strike (besides a general support for the U.A.W.). Unlike the 1998 strike, this strike is unique in that it is looking toward the horizon. That is, a reasonable U.A.W. victory basically mandates that GM take a reasonable approach toward attaining its own solvency. This is a step that GM's leadership has not taken, itself.

I've corrected my own typos below.

So many of these comments are rehashing the same points. If this post is about the political capital cost/gain of endorsing a strike, then the UAW ought to emphasize the following:

- For a decade the UAW has been making concessions, and not in a combative, strike-eager environment.
- In this round, the UAW has also granted GM their chief demand: a HUGE concession in the form of a trust to manage health expenses.
- Given the percentage of GM workers currently employed in the US (as UAW workers), the benefits everyone here is complaining about are no long a decisive issue for GM.
- The demands that have brought about this strike in the first place concern job security, not wages. GM is reluctant to grant these demands, frankly, because the UAW is the only union left with any power to direct the corporation's policy at all. In short, GM wants to downsize the UAW to irrelevancy.
- Company restructuring in the last several decades (ever since Roger Smith) has driven lines to design similar vehicles with a high margin of profitability. *This* is why a Chevy looks like a Pontiac looks like a Buick (looks like a Saturn). This is also why GM sales have foundered.

All of these observations lead to one interesting result: GM will be much better off if the UAW carries this strike. Why? Because most UAW members in GM have a greater stake in the company's long-term viability than your average GM shareholder. The workers' whole futures are at stake. Shareholder loyalty is only measured one quarter at a time.

In the end, GM has to start selling their cars again. They cannot continue to view their workforce as "excess fat," an excuse to avoid improving their product.

I am glad that Edwards and Obama are supporting the strikers... and I’d been leaning toward Hillary until now. Really, though, I see this as an issue of UAW self-promotion. They have to go public with their real priorities in a big way, and not let unlikely adversaries (like the New York Times) erroniously spin the story that this strike is about wages.

It isn’t.

— Posted by Connor

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Galvane 3, 30.

- After work yesterday I explored SoHo, then went home, did the dishes, at French Toast with the wife, and watched Deadwood. I also started my Chicago job-search.

It is bad luck to sweep trash out the door at night.


"There's s a direct relationship between the ballot box and the bread box, and what the union fights for and wins at the bargaining table can be taken away in the legislative halls."
- Walter Reuther

Okay, I'll put it as a QotD. What was your take on the Ahmadinejad's address/presence at Columbia yesterday?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Event: What Do We Think of This?

New York Times: Amid Protests, President of Iran Speaks at Columbia.

I'm very curious what you think.

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Event: A Good Post Worth Reading.

Tom's on a roll this month. I always like his blogging, political and otherwise, but this month he's been even more prolific than usual. Last Friday he analyzed God and the religious right as suggested by Oklahoma State Senator Ernie Chambers:

Human beings tend to make Gods in our own image. We imagine Gods that reflect our hopes, our deepest yearnings, what we see as the best in ourselves.

So what does it tell you about the Religious Right when the God they imagine is a violent, vindictive, total shit?

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Diary: September, 2002.

A generally frustrating month at the beginning of an overall interesting year. In fact, in many ways this summer seemed the most "typical" of the four years after finishing college. I'd been out for a full year, and had spent the summer living in the basement of my friends' house. It was an affordable arrangement, which was good, since I never locked down employment in the thriving Flint job market.

At the begining of September, I moved back in with my parents for a couple weeks, and they let me borrow the car to visit Sam in Marquette for a weekend before heading back: I ran a Lake Michigan circle tour. On the 15th, my parents drove me to Chicago, and we all took my girlfriend to the Lincoln Park zoo for the day. I remember it was quite cold, but I hadn't brought a jacket along. On the way out, we unloaded all of my stuff at my a friend's (very small) Hyde Park apartment... I was going to stay there just until I'd locked down a job and a room elsewhere. These were both issues, however, which went on, unresolved, well past September 2002.

At the end of the month, though, Gemma contacted me about filling an open part in her play, Tales of the Lost Formicans. I said "yes."

Where were you in September 2002?

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Galvane 2, 30.

- After two years of living in New York (and just two months before leaving, presumably for good) I've discovered my favorite thing about this city: the Cloisters. It felt like the merger of all things Uptown. I got off the subway and immediately onto an elevator that transported me what must have amounted to eight or ten stories. I was at the top, in a wooded park, high above the tenements of Washington Heights. I could see Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and New Jersey. Higher up were the cloisters: Spain, France, and Italy. The Gothic and the Romanesque. It was a museum that didn't feel like a museum. It felt like a church. Which, I suppose, in some sense it was. I went there on Friday after church and my dentist appointment (a new tooth!). It was a museum that was, itself, greater than any of the objects it contained. Hazy and quiet... maybe it felt more like a cemetery than a museum. Very still. Demanding to be absorbed, not studied.
On Saturday, I tried (and failed) to submit three of the Silurians to science fiction magazines. Later, my wife and I went to Peter's birthday brunch. The sun came out and and it cleared up. We shut the party down, and walked down to a pizza place in the Fulton District with Matt, Katie, and Peter. We finally got home around midnight.
On Sunday, I went to church and then walked up to Matt's. We walked to Red Hook for the Brooklyn Bourbon Festival and I got a fifth of Williamsburg. Our three free samples (each) probably totaled one shot, but the stuff was expensive. I don't know the next time I'll have a chance to sample $80 bourbon. I got home a little after three. My wife and I went to Tillie's to study for awhile (her, Organic Chemistry, me, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger). I made some phone calls, and we watched Deadwood.
It was an all-around ordinary weekend, and the only one we've enjoyed (or will be able to enjoy) in awhile.

A clean tie attracts the soup of the day.

New York Times: G.M. Workers Begin Walkout Over Contract Impasse.
First UAW strike of GM since 1998; first national UAW strike of GM since 1970.

What would you like to see on a stamp some day?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gloamane 29, 30.

- Yesterday, after work, I continued the slow process of saying goodbye to New York, neighborhood by neighborhood. Today, it was to be Loisaida (Alphabet City) in the East Village. I walked maybe four miles, taking in everything from 10th Street down to 3rd, from Avenues A to D. I saw Charlie Parker's house, a couple nice churches, and maybe a dozen community gardens. This was one o the neighborhoods of New York I would have killed to live in. It might even be my favorite. Anyway, it was hazy out but not uncomfortable, and the sunlight was smeared all over the sky and buildings as it went down. Finally, it was twilight, and i didn't want to keep my wife waiting. I took the L back to Brooklyn and rode the bus home. When Jess got in, we ordered Indian food and watched Deadwood. Then I worked on Silurian manuscripts for submission.

- If anyone has suggestions for reading series I might submit to in New York, let me know. (I've only got a couple months left here...)

Use vegetable cooking spray to quiet squeaky door hinges and wheels.

Bill Murray, Stephen King, and tomorrow, Milligan!


Give me the worst pun ever.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Body: Dot.



Concept: Schizophrenia?

So I've mentioned off and on that I'm working on The Encyclopedia of Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders at work, and am also developing an outline for a novella Notes For Students (and/or) White Swan. (I decided that combining the two titles might mitigate their negatives in an interesting/funny way). Well, the two subjects have become intertwined. So this is the part where I ask if anyone has had personal experience, or experience in the family with 1) schizophrenia or 2) any other psychotic disorder. If you don't want to reply in the comments you can send me an email or contact me here.

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Event: We Say Petraeus, Sallust Says Petreius

Evidently, Sallust was also familiar with a General Petraeus:

When he had satisfied himself on every point, Petreius sounded the signal and ordered the cohorts to advance slowly, and the same movement was made by the enemy. On reaching a distance at which the light troops could engage, the two armies raised a great shout and charged each other, standard to standard.

All they have in common is their name, however.

Sallust's Petreius was sent into war by Cicero, one of the greatest political minds of all time, in a decisive strike against Catiline, a wealthy citizen who had successfully raised an army in insurrection against Rome.

Our Petraeus, on the other hand, was sent into war by Bush, one of the most persistantly one-sided political minds of all time, in an decisive bid against Congress to continue a war waged for reasons subject to an unprecedented case of national amnesia.

I wonder what Sallust would write about our Petraeus.

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Gloamane 28, 30.

- I read Sallusts' War With Cataline. I wonder who we could consider the closest modern equivalent to Cicero? Also, I started watching Deadwood. My friends were right; it's totally like Hungry Rats. Swearengen is just like Jim Carr, if only he'd lived another ten or so years.

Put new perennials in a month before the first hard frost is expected.

"We are clearly not yet in a useful regime for quantum computation because the spins we are looking at are very strongly coupled to the environment."

Vote Walling.

My wife and I were talking last night about the dearth of well-known (ie. well promoted) female comedians, and particularly stand-up comics. The best we could do, off the top of our heads, was that Kathy person whose had plastic surgery as much as Michael Jackson (blah), and Sarah Silverman (double blah). Who's your favorite comedienne?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Event: More Political Disappointment Today.

New York Times: Senate Blocks Detainees' Rights Bill.

It would have passed in an up-down vote, but 60 votes are required for cloture.

Who voted for the bill? The Dems minus one, and Republicans Arlen Specter, Chuck Hegel, Richard Lugar, Gordon Smith, Olympia Snowe, and John Sununu.

Who voted against the bill? Lieberman and a bunch of Republicans.

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Concept: Graffiti. What do we think?

Graffiti from Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Chicago, Detroit, and Flint.

What do we think?

I think I have to go with the Bronx and Detroit.

If you like, you can post a link to graffiti art in other cities.

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Event: Walling / Williamson Crunch Time is Here.

Well, how disappointing.

In a move that may have been decisive, the AFL-CIO has formally endorsed Don Williamson. The Flint Journal article mentions allegations of bias; that the endorsement was very conveniently timed, given the renewal of key contracts. I don't know enough about the scene today to comment on the likelihood of that, but it's not necessary. It may be that ALF-CIO endorsed Williamson because he has set up a modest record of progress of painting over graffiti and repaving roads.

That's why this the endorsement so disappointing. "Modest progress" is insufficient for Flint's needs. Have the graffiti efforts made a real tangible effort in the quality of life? I doubt it. It could be fairly argued that violent crime has increased dramatically during the Williamson administration. Graffiti removal is a firstoff a matter of beautification, not crime control. I live in Brooklyn now, where every sidewalk, wall, and subway post is covered in graffiti, but the crime rate doesn't hold a candle to Flint's. While it's erroneous to think that graffiti is not related to the gang culture that thrives in Flint, it is certainly fair to say that graffiti cleanup has taken on an importance disproportionate to its actual benefits.

The road paving is another achievement that the Williamson administration loves to credit itself with. But it's quickly forgotten that most of that repaving happened through the use of state funds, and Williamson, given his constant feuds with the city council, local unions, and media outlets, can't possibly claim to have brought this home through any sort of diplomacy or negotiation.

Even if he somehow could assume credit for infrastructural improvments, does that really offset the $16 million in federal support Flint has lost under his watch? Remember that a few years ago, a debt of double that amount was sufficient to place Flint into state receivership and make local elections irrelevant. It also breaks down to $4 million a year, which is more than twice as expensive as maintaining an empty and derelict AutoWorld. Again, these are all funds that would have been earmarked for public housing, the schools, and public programs.

So I ask you, ALF-CIO members. Does this endorsement really make much sense?

Here's Winston Smith's manifesto on Williamson's record.

Here are my thoughts on Dayne Walling.

Here is Dayne Walling's website.

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Gloamane 27, 30.

- Ayeterday was hornswaggled. Especially t' end. T' beginnin' and middle were okay, I guess. I read some Stephen Hawkin' and some Quintus Cicero.

Today in Weather History: New York City had a record high temperature o' 92 degrees F, while snow fell in t' West, 1983.


Do ye wear your parrot on this shoulder, or this shoulder?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Event: A Break from Politics.

Check this out. It's crazy.

National Radio Astronomy Observatory: Astronomers Find Enormous Hole in the Universe.

This isn't quite as much of a break, but it's still interesting:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Segregation in U.S. schools rising.

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Event: I give up.

Event: Please Help Shut This Discussion Down.

The objections are so facile that there is literally no support for them. The Times' own response clearly illustrates a defined policy and precedent.

The New York Times: Cheney Jumps Into Frey Over MoveOn Ad.

The Washington Post: MoveOn Fires Back at Giuliani.

FOX News: New York Times Gave Discount for 'Betray Us' Ad.


It is worth noting that the last two sources are both owned by the same man who is now in command of the Wall Street Journal.

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Event: Support the DREAM Act.

Take five minutes and email/write/call your senator in support of the DREAM Act.

It is difficult to imagine any progressive and useful approach to Immigration Reform that does not involve common-sense measures such as are provided by the DREAM Act. Essentially, the acts provides a route to citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants. As Justice for Immigrants points out: "Students who would qualify came to the United States as children with their parents and entered illegally through no fault of their own. The United States is the only country they have really known. This is not an amnesty bill." It is, in fact, a pretty clear choice between healthy and unhealthy population growth.

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Gloamane 26, 30.

- Yesterday was a "day off," partly because I was so exhausted. Got home. Finished reading a book. Made dinner. Watched an episode of Taxi. Fell asleep well before Leno.

Pick pears when the fruit has a faint yellow blush but is still green.

Kaury! (Who is also engaged now!)

"Schizophrenia may be a necessary consequence of literacy."
- Marshall McLuhan

What's your take on that quote?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Concept: The Voluntary Maniac Says, "I'm Having An UberEgo Moment"

Just think. In a couple years when I'm mind-defyingly successful and famous, you'll all be able to say you knew me back in the DIY days. I don't think I really need to sleep anymore. It wastes hours every day.

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Event: No Dwarves, No Cars, No What, Whatever (what ever).

Thank God the Flint Journal has continued it's 24-7 coverage of the Dwarf Decapitation Crisis. This is their third article on the subject in the last week.

Meanwhile, while the Journal gives the ongoing GM/UAW contracts the requisite nod, at least the New York Times is able to do the Journal's job for them.

Seriously, what does it say about a community's daily when local issues of crushing economic importance are better covered by a newspaper 600 miles away?

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Diary: In September, 1983.

When going back this far, I have to fall back almost exclusively upon confirmed and memorized facts rather than actual memories. I'd just turned five years old. My brother had been recently born, and my sister was two. In either late August or early September, I started attending Valley School which was, at that time, located in Grand Blanc Township. I do remember, albeit indisinctly, the way the school looked. It was at the "end" (or maybe the "middle," but if so, it was well-isolated) of a subdivision, with a slope inclinning to a basin where the school and parking lots were located. The school was flanked by a hill on one side (which we'd use for sledding when it started to snow), and on the other a broad field with a stream running at the edge. I remember that the school was outside of Flint, and my parents drove me there each morning. I want to say that this was most often my mom, although my dad dropped me off some times too. Also, I remember that we had to take at least a hemi-pretzel exit ramp from the expressway, and this was one of my first memories of such a plan. The way the road curved so insistantly as it road struck me as strange, or maybe even funny. But I don't know for sure which of these impressions were from September '83, and what came later.

Where were you in September 1983?

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Event: California Republicans.

Last week, Tom, my godfather, posted a very interesting analysis of the dilemma facing California Republicans. While California is admittedly atypical, I still think that many of his observations could be extended to the nation at large:

The Republican party is imploding under the "breastplate of righteousness" it has donned at the behest of social conservatives, but because social conservatives dominate the Republican party and aren't going to give up control, I don't see an easy path out of the dilemma.

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Concept: Stairway to Heaven, by Led Zeppelin lyrics: English -> Chinese -> English -> Greek -> English -> Spanish -> English

So these are the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven Altavistad from English -> Chinese -> English -> Greek -> English -> Spanish -> English, and then punctuation added and arranged in stanzas by me. What do you think? Could Robert Plant sue me for sharing this? The original lyrics are here.

It has. Is regularly.
The lady all radiates;
it is the gold,
and it buys the scale in the sky.

And when it knew him,
if the company of stores is stopped word,
nobody [the one that can receive
from that purchase comes for

(and this) scale (for has in the sky
a mark)], but the one. That wishes in the wall.
It is also knew (regularly)
that the two sometimes word.

He has significances that are goatlike.
In the tree of the current
has our idea, there sometimes
the singer and for him it buys the scale.

Towards him must, in the sky, to receive
the perceivable I of the west,
did in front also examines.
My intellectual sob stops

in authorization that examined
the tobacco of the ring inside,
with the idea, my, that unemployed
via the cautious tree (and these sounds),

and buys the scale in the sky.
And his whisper, very fast, if all our games
(prosody of the telephone) flout for us.
He lead it then, for also supports

a new dawn of the day, for represents
this lasting one and forest echo,
and for makes my wonder of the laughter.
If he has assets, is not essential.

Now worries to this, in yours.
the bisector fence is the clean means.
The street, that king, you.
You will have for the Power King.

In order, her is in place, goes from two courses.
But for her he has, in the long operation,
the quiet time. You who it replaces to him
stops for the snores. Also, this you.

You are not – if you did not know – you.
You will touch flutes, for you opinion,
in you, for you connection.
Your lady wanted for you.

You are not in place.
You, to hear air for you,
to blow to him, also, for you.
You know that its fame of scales

in the air, of the whisper. And who,
because we delayed in the street,
our curtain above you? You compare
with our soul, that everything knew.

The lady of the long walks, for them, there,
we shone the white light and they wish them.
For demonstrate how all those
of gold still money changers.

And if you hear exceptionally difficult,
that prosody, that it is moved to you,
finally, when it is everything and is.
He is totally the rock and roll

and this for purchase.
The scale that he has in the sky,
that she is regularly the lady
who everything radiates.

Is the gold.
And buys the scale in the sky.
And when it knew him there,
if the company of stores is stopped word...

The one that could receive
from that comes the purchase for
and the scale in the sky.

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Gloamane 25, 30.

- Bam! Last Tuesday after work (feels like a decade ago) I went out with Matt for pizza, then went home and stayed up until 5 AM finishing EPs for my Earshot reading. I've had all sorts of unhealthy non-sleeping patterns this month, though I think this week will be more "normal."
I got up at about nine on Friday and went into my dental appointment where I got a root canal and lost about a third of other teeth. Before he put the temporary caps on, my mouth looked like something freakish out of a horror film. Then I continued on into Manhattan and spent the rest of the day finishing the EPs and poking around. I got to the Lucky Cat around seven and was the first to read when Earshot started at eight. Amy was there, and so was Scott, Marco, and Hannah, Lizzie and Emily. After the reading, Dan, Nicole, and Amy and I stopped out for drinks. I got home circa 2:30 AM. I'd been planning to stay up late writing Postmodern Prometheus. Needless to say, that didn't happen.
On Saturday I was going to go to the Cloisters, but I decided to stay in and revise Postmodern Prometheus instead. Unfortunately, this was a bad call, as I soon discovered that Pomopromo is unreviseable, or at least at this moment, and in a single afternoon. I did get a lot of cleaning done, though, and when my wife got home from her trip, we ate chicken parmesan and watched Stranger Than Fiction (with that hottie, Maggie Gyllenhaal).
Then, Sunday, I went to church and it was lovely. A powerful homily and the whole room was diffused with this soft, pale green light. I think they must have been using a gel and gobo with their lighting, but it was an effect I'd never seen done in a church before. Since the liturgical summer is now over, the coffee hour has been reinstated, which is fine with me. I signed up with the Social Justice Committee, which I will serve until moving in December. I got home at about two, and had pizza for lunch and did some reading. Later, Scott came over and visited with the wife and me. We ate Thai food, and Scott left around eleven (after we'd used online programs to translate texts into different languages and back into English.) I stayed up until five, revising Canaryville Blues, so that I could say that I accomplished some substantial writing over the weekend.
Hence, today I am very tired. I'm taking "a day off," although I'm obviously not, since I'm at work right now.

When is a clock guilty of a misdemeanor?

The BBC: Court hears Musharraf challenge.

What does your name rhyme with?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Body: Draught. (Mysteries of Udolpho)

A servant now appeared with Annette, and conducted Emily to her chamber, which was in a remote part of the castle, and at the very end of the corridor, from whence the suite of apartments opened, through which they had been wandering. The lonely aspect of her room made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear. She begged Caterina, the servant of the castle, to bring some wood and light a fire.

"Aye, lady, it's many a year since a fire was lighted here," said Caterina.

"You need not tell us that, good woman," said Annette; "every room in the castle feels like a well. I wonder how you contrive to live here; for my part, I wish myself at Venice again."

The lonely aspect of her room made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear. The lonely aspect of her room made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear.

"You need not tell us that, good woman," said Annette; "every room in the castle feels like a well. I wonder how you contrive to live here; for my part, I wish myself at Venice again."

Emily waved her hand for Caterina to fetch the wood.

"You need not tell us that, good woman," said Annette; "every room in the castle feels like a well. I wonder how you contrive to live here; for my part, I wish myself at Venice again."

The lonely aspect of her room made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear. She begged Caterina, the servant of the castle, to bring some wood and light a fire.

"You need not tell us that, good woman," said Annette; "every room in the castle feels like a well. I wonder how you contrive to live here; for my part, I wish myself at Venice again."

Emily waved her hand for Caterina to fetch the wood. The lonely aspect of her room made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear. The lonely aspect of her room made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear. Emily waved her hand for Caterina to fetch the wood. Emily waved her hand for Caterina to fetch the wood.

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Concept: Accidental Poetry?

Entertainment Weekly's review of Pearl Jam's No Code:

Trapped somewhere between purgatory and bliss, the album leaves you with the vaguely unsettling feeling that Pearl Jam without pain are like a pretzel without salt, or Seattle without rain.

All it wants are line breaks.

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Concept: Psychoanalysis and American Psychiatry.

Up until now I've offered a one-sided criticism of psychoanalysis, all the way back to its roots in Freud and Jung. I always took the angle that Freud was a gifted observer who formed some highly faulty models of psychology based on speculation as to how the human brain worked. This I am willing to stand by. In other ways, however, I have to reevaluate my opinion. Many of my friends in the arts and critical fields rely heavily on psychoanalysis. I've been more skeptical, but my criticism has been kind of free-floating; I haven't read broadly enough for my opinion to be as informed as I thought it was. Now I am coming to the further conclusion that, not only were Freud and Jung's ideas fundamentally flawed, but they did not serve to improve the fields of psychiatry. Psychology, perhaps. Psychoanalysis certainly contributed the notion that careful discussion and analysis of the cause of a disorder could be therapeutic. This was possibly useful for the society at large. But for those with mental disorders (roughly 1-2% of the population), and especially in America, psychoanalysis was a disaster.

Emil Kraepelin was born in northern Germany in February 1856, less than four months before Freud. By the time he was thirty he'd compiled a set of empirical studies to publish the first edition of his book Psycologie which would go on to be published in nine editions. The differences in methodology and results are difficult to go into here, but Kraepelin discovered that psychotic forms of mania and depression were manifestations of a single spectrum of disoders (bipolar disorder). More importantly, he used longitudenal studies to combine superficially divergent symptoms into a definition of "madness" as dementia praecox or premature senility. In its American form, this condition is known as schizophrenia. Kraepelin revolutionized psychiatry by defining the terms of a more rigorous inquiry and setting the groundwork for establishing prognosis. He identified a genetic component to these conditions, but also believed in limited penetrance. At the time, he was recognized as the master of his field, but who learns the name of Kraepelin in high school? I took a semester of Psychology in high school and the Humanities and Sociology sequences at the University of Chicago. I never heard about Kraepelin until assigned to work on his bio at work.

The book I'm working on doesn't give a complete account of the posthumous dismantling of Kraeplin's legacy. He was a German nationalist (as opposed to Freud, who fled the Nazis) and monarchist, staunchily opposed to socialism and, while he died in 1926, before the rise of the Nazi party, an advocate of eugenics during his lifetime. It stands to reason that his legacy might have (deservedly?) floundered in the postwar climate. But that never hindered Werner von Braun in the postwar era. It was probably, more than anything else, the pro-psychoanalytic stance of prominent American psychiatrists that shouldered Kraepelin's studies aside. And frankly, this trend had been going on since the turn of the century (eg. Adolph Meyers, Eugen Bleuler). The psychoanalytical angle went something like:

The problem of psychoses would be simple and perspicuous if the ego's detachment from reality could be carried through completely. But that seems to happen only rarely or perhaps never. Even in a state so far removed from the reality of the external world as one of hallucinatory confusion, one learns from patients after their recovery that at the time in some corner of their mind (as they put it) there was a normal person hidden, who, like a detached spectator, watched the hubbub of illness go past him.

It's very poetic. I can easily understand the appeal to writers and literary types. However, it is not provable, is almost not disprovable, and is dangerous to consider as a science. Why? Because science is not science if it lacks a mechanism to confront error and subjectivity. That is, to scrutinize hypotheses for signifiant bias. As a result, the mid-20th century psychiatric literature is littered with references to "schizophrenogenic mothers" and "narcissistic neuroses," concepts which are not only patently (and demonstrably) wrong, but which lead to equally misguided treatment. It is not, I think, coincidental that this was the also the era of lobotomy and chemical convulsive therapies, solutions that were, in many ways, both less humane and hardly more scientifically sound than the surprise baths and bed saddles of the 19th century. Nor did the psychoanalyically informed therapies – group therapy and mass deinstitutionalization – have a positive effect on contemporary prognoses. This is largely why there are so many homeless schizophrenics today.

The psychoanalytical approach to psychiatry held out through the seventies before giving up the ghost. The model of schizophrenia that we use today is derived almost directly from Kraeplin. Certainly this has continued to have been revised, and many concepts (autointoxication, degeneration theory) have been discarded. But diagnostic and progress in treatment is made through revision; an advantage that psychoanalysis substantially lacked.

In short, before working on this assignment, I felt that Freud was a gifted genius whose work helped build psychiatry, but whose persistent influence is damaging to the arts. Now I feel that Freud was a gifted genius whose persistent influence is damaging to the arts, but was perhaps even more damaging to psychiatry.

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Gloamane 21, 30.

- Relaxing night in. We watched The 39 Steps, which seemed like a dress rehearsal for North by Northwest, and is probably as close as Hitchcock ever came to making a romantic comedy.

What could be eating the leaves on my nasturtiums at night?

The National Institute of Mental Health.

When was your last serious case of buyer's remorse?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Concept: Earshot Reading this Friday.

I will be reading from Hungry Rats at this Friday's debut of Earshot's 2007-2008 series.

I will also be selling (for $3) a limited number of The Hungry Rats EP, featuring readings of Part 1, Chapters 1 and 2, and music by Elisabeth Blair, Mr. Automatic, and Nova Moturba.

It's going to be sweet.

Here's the info:

Earshot @ The Lucky Cat
September 14 // 8 PM
245 Grand Street (b/w Driggs & Roebling)
Nearby Train Stops: L (Bedford Ave), G (Metropolitan/Grand), J/M/Z (Marcy Ave)
$5 + one free drink

Also reading: Aaron Fagan, Allison Shaloum, Filip Marinovic, Sandra Hurtes

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Gloamane 20, 30.

- Yesterday, I had some time to kill between work and meeting friends at eight, so I went to Greeley Square and got some reading done. It was nice – strange weather, but in a good way. Cloudy and windy with flecks of rain every now and then, but there were floodlights shining down from the roof of the Manhattan Mall, and it had a weird, ghostly effect. Later I went down to Marco and Scott's where I met my wife and Reinhardt, and we all went out for drinks at a Mexican restaurant in Park Slope. We got home at around 12:30, and I fell asleep at once.

Today, an ant bites.
Rub the wound with cucumber
until the pain stops.

Sarah and SMH.

Abandoned: Tennessee State Penitentiary: Cell Blocks C and D.

What would you choose as the seven wonders of the world?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Event: Stop the Presses! Pocket Lint Found in Pocket!

The Flint Journal continues to follow important stories in the lives 450,000 souls. This week, they're following a veritable Ring Cycle involving the theft of some ceramic dwarves from Sue Austin's front yard. Gee, I can hardly wait to find out what happens tomorrow.

Dear Flint Journal,

How can we take you seriously when you treat yourself like a joke?

This at least, is somewhat better.

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Event: Six Years Later.

from bill-in-portland-maine:

Most of the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, yet that country has paid no price for producing and harboring terrorists. Neither has Pakistan, the country in which Osama bin Laden is now hiding.

The PDB said: Bin Laden determined to Strike in U.S.

Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. 9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq.

Sitting in a classroom for seven minutes after being told "America is under attack" is a poor display of leadership, especially if you're America's president.

If the administration had tried to sell the Iraq war based on anything other than the fear of weapons of mass destruction, we never would have invaded.

Colin Powell, the most trusted man in the administration, said: "My colleagues, every statement I make today is backed up by sources, solid sources. These are not assertions. What we're giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence."

There were no WMDs. Not "in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat," and not even in the Oval Office "somewhere."

Four and a half years after declaring that "major combat operations have ended," major combat operations have not ended.

Taunting the insurgents by sneering "Bring 'em on" was really dumb because the insurgents brought it on.

The insurgency wasn't "in its last throes" then, and it isn’t in its last throes now.

The Taliban has bounced back in Afghanistan. The Maliki government has flatlined in Iraq.

Osama bin Laden has not been caught, either dead or alive. He is still making videos.

And here's a bonus from Bill Maher:

New Rule: If you were surprised that the Chinese don't care about toy safety, then the child who needs protecting is you. Over the last couple of months, American consumers have been learning a shocking lesson about supply and demand: if you demand products that don't cost anything, people will make them out of poison, mud and shit. ... They don't care if your precious little Britney sucks a little lead. Because in China, their kids aren't playing with the toys, they're the ones in the factory all day making them. ...

In America, there is nothing more sacred than a bargain. And that even includes the war. Yeah, there's too much lead in the kids' toys, but not nearly enough on the Humvees in Iraq. "Let's have a war and cut taxes; what could go wrong?" "Let's give mortgages to the homeless. Sounds like a plan." "Let's buy toys from a Communist police state. You just know they'll put in a little extra love."

Speaking of which, you know why today's modern Chinese capitalist puts lead in the paint that goes on toys? Because it makes colors brighter. You've got to love America, a country that's literally being killed by the stuff that makes objects shiny.

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Event: Socialist Convention.

The Democratic Socialists of America are throwing a convention this November 9-11, in Atlanta of all places.

I wish I had more money, so that I could go.

I also wish they had better web design, so that I could read about the convention without feeling like I'm reading about a preschool Easter Egg hunt. That has to be the least flattering picture of Bernie Sanders ever.

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Event: What scares me?

Gloamane 19, 30.

- Got a lot done yesterday, including recording two chapters of Hungry Rats. Also, Jess and I ate Indian food and watched the last episode of Rome. Which makes me sad. No more Rome. Ever again. (Not that I can blame them. Season Three – The Pax – probably wouldn't have been the most marketable thing ever.)

Do elephants have teeth?

"It is the soothing thing about history that it does repeat itself."
- Gertrude Stein

Choose a perfect geometrical form for your idealized house.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Event: Oh, Caucus.

The first batch of comments are better than the actual article. But you'll have to read the article to make sense of the comments. This was nice.

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Diary: In September 1995.

June 1995 - June 1996 (Year 18) was one of the most momentous years of my life, but I didn't realize it as early as September. The whole summer had been swept up in one massive project, the second Flint Youth Theatre production of Trace Titanic which had toured to Minneapolis in early August. Because of the rehearsal schedule, I was unable to attend training sessions for the Michigan Renaissance Festival Academy. I was allowed to participate at the Apprentice rank for the second year, and for the first year there I wasn't used in a play.

Once Festival started, it pretty much dominated my schedule to the exclusion of all else. I didn't really take school very seriously – in particular, I refused to spend much time on Chemistry and Algebra III-IV almost on principle – I hadn't been cast in the FYT production of The Fall of the House of Usher, so I could focus my full attention upon Festival.

At Festival, I focused less on the program itself than I had ever been before, which was unfortunate since the workshops were more serious that year than ever before or after. I had a huge crush on a girl named Michelle, the "girl with the blue shoes," who had absolutely no romantic interest in me whatsoever. Meanwhile, a girl named Lisa told me that she liked me, and I did not reciprocate. I was very stupid about these things, as Lisa was pretty awesome: kind and reliable and trustworthy and interesting and inspiring, whereas Michelle was "mysterious" and "spritely" and just a little "haunted." While new and old friends – Mike, April, Melissa, and Brandi – helped me woo an increasingly exasperated Michelle, it rained day in and day out. I remember once standing in a tentful of rain while we all bobbed our heads to the Digital Underground. On another night, Brandi sang a beautiful rendition of Disarm that haunts me to this day. Once, my tent flooded and I slept in the backseat of a friend's truck. Another night, I slept in the trunk of my parents' Saturn (keeping the seats open so I wouldn't get shut in). We'd usually go out for Subway after the Festival, but when it rained, we ended up at Denny's instead.

Now writing this today, I feel bad that I remember less in detail about what was going on in my family (as opposed to, say, 1985, when that's all I remember, or 2005, which is more of a balanced mix). I also have to feel a little chagrined that I remember little about school either. I've almost lost track of the classes I was taking (Algebra, Chemistry, Concert Band, Spanish 1, Creative Writing Independent Study, English 11... okay). College, for being only two years away, and Northwestern, for being at best a stretch just then, was an eventuality I ignored. So when I say that "this September was different," that it launched me into such an amazing year, I can't think that I was necessarily more mature or realistic than before. I had, however, somewhere along the line at FYT and the Renaissance Festival, surrounded by friends and family who thought I was talented, charismatic, empathetic, fun, picked up a greater poise and ease in interaction then I'd ever had before. Here's my indulgent hypothesis: Poise and ease kept me from being distracted by trivialities that had always bothered me before. Now, I was able to build my maturity and sense of responsibility. In September, though, I was still pretty selfish.

I lobbied my mom for permission to hold the end of Festival party at our house in early October. Despite her very frustrating experience with the 1992 cast party for The Hobbit she agreed. I ended September by developing a crush on a cute girl in my Spanish class who kept staring at me each day, and by getting ready for the party. The girl, as it turns out, was only staring at a poster on the wall behind me. The party, as it turns out, went off without a hitch.

Where were you in September, 1995?

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Gloamane 18, 30.

- On Friday, I continued last week's trend of not getting anything accomplished, but I did go to the Lit release party that night, where I discovered that Reinhardt is in town visiting. I hung out with Lizzie, Emily, Yvonne, Mac, and Meredith. I also had a run-in. After the party, Marco, Reinhadt, Scott, and I went out for nachos. When I got home, my wife had picked up the rental car, a Chevy Cobalt, from JFK.
On Saturday, we packed and headed out by about 10:30. We picked up my wife's dress from the Upper East Side, and then spent the next hour crossing midtown Manhattan to the Lincoln Tunnel. Once we were in New Jersey, though, things sped up and we made good time all the way down to Washington D.C. We arrived at five-ish, and Matt sat and visited with us for awhile. Of course, there were a lot of minor catastrophes that happened while we were getting ready for the trip. The most traumatizing of these was actually my fault. The last time I wore a suit was at Sean's wedding, which I went to with Sam. Sam is about six inches taller then me, and somehow our suits must have been switched, because when I was finishing up getting ready, I noticed that my jacket hung down to my knees. Matt's family came to the rescue. His father is a lawyer with excellent taste in suits, and he was able to lend me one that fit perfectly (what are the odds). Of course, thre were other adventures, but I shouldn't write about them here. At any rate, we made it to the wedding with time to spare, and immediately met up with Armand and Vivian, and soon, Mell and Dan. It was a Jewish wedding, my second, meaning that I've now been to twice as many Jewish weddings as Catholic (that is, my own). The ceremony was followed by a cocktail party, at which I met up with Sean, Cynthia and her husband, Mike (they have a daughter, too, who wasn't in attendance) and, briefly, Mark. We moved on to the reception, which was timeless in an odd sort of way. We almost closed it out, but this was the dancing-est wedding I've ever been too. The median age had to have been mid to late forties, maybe even fifties, but these people loved to dance, and they were good at it. I just hope I can move like that in thirty years, but since I was having some trouble keeping up right now, I'm not so sure. Anyway, the food, the cake, everything, was wonderful. My wife and I finally petered out around 12:30, but after getting lost and found, and then gas on the way back to D.C., we couldn't resist taking a late night cruise around the mall. We saw the Washington Monument, the Capitol, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and, accidentally, the Potomac.
Sunday, we thanked Matt's dad for his help, got our things together, and returned to Rockville for a post-wedding brunch. We visited with college friends some more, and were some of the last non-wedding folk to leave. With a little time to kill, we drove back into D.C. (the expressway routed us a dozen miles through Virginia, so now I've "been" to the South a second time (the first time being the Houston airport). We walked around the Mall for an hour, drove through Embassy road, and started on our way home. With one detour through Baltimore to pick up our friend Matt, it was a clear ride back to New York, and we didn't hit nastay traffic until Staten Island. After dropping Matt off and unloading, my wife took the car back to the airport, while I got a meal ready back home. It was a relaxing end to a busy weekend. But what am I saying? Guests, trips out of state, interviews, etc. Every weekend is a busy weekend.

To stop choking, look up.

New York Times: Delay Decision on Cuts, General Says.

From Curious as a Cat.
If you could own one prop for any film, what would you choose?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Diary: Mini-Implosion.

By way of explanation.

I've only gotten about 10% done this week of what I've meant to have accomplished. I've been going to sleep at about eleven each night, my big accomplishment I think is watching Rome three times, I stood up friends for a hang-out at least once, and I'm behind in both reading and writing. On the other hand, it's been over a month since I've had a "normal" weekend, everyone is in the midst of personal chaos, I always put too much on my plate to begin with, and Rome deserves the attention.

On Tuesday, all the NYC kids started going back to school. I was going to consider Tuesday my own "back to school" day, by cranking out a Silurians draft, starting on the Postmodern Prometheus revision, and mailing into two sci-fi submissions. That will have to wait. Maybe this upcoming Monday will be my new "back to school" day. If taking a week off can prevent a nervous breakdown, that's going to save me trouble in the long run, right?

I'll be officially checked out until Monday. Jess and I have a wedding in Maryland tomorrow. (Congratulations, Judd!)

Also, Happy Birthday, Emily and Joan.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

In September, 2001.

This remeniscence would feel indulgent if it hadn't been randomly determined and if I haven't been posting these memory pieces for a couple years now. That is, I didn't aim for this recollection, nor have I plunged right into it.

At the end of August, I finished up my last class at the University of Chicago. I graduated around the 27th (give or take), and went home to Michigan for a rough month. I have to be honest: I remember very little of that month except for, you know, the obvious parts. I don't remember what I was reading or what I spent that month doing. I vaguely recall that I had several family get togethers with my grandma and aunt. We may, for example, have gone out to some movies or for a drive every now and then. I was in RCIA, but I don't remember if I was attending Mass. I don't remember which, if any, of my friends were around at the time, other than Sam. It's my impression that it was a relatively still month for me. With a notable interruption.

On the morning of September 11th, my dad woke me up becuase of you know. I came down and within five minutes I saw the first tower fall live on TV. I thought it was an illusion, or something caused by distortion in the way the dust moved; I was mistaken. But my dad pointed out what was obvious – that the tower had just fallen. At this point there was a lot of news, albeit fragmented, and nobody really knew the scale of what was happening. The earlier WTC bombing and Oklahoma City were the closest comparisons, in my memory at least, and this was immediately something much more immense. A plane had gone down over Pennsylvania, and yes, by now they had confirmed that these were commercial airliners. My girlfriend was supposed to be, that morning, flying from Chicago to Oklahoma to meet her family at an army base. The scariest moment, for me, was calling Midway airport to learn the status of her flight. Was it airborne? Had it been grounded? Yes. It had been grounded in either Kansas City or Chicago. Later: It had been groudned in Chicago. My girlfriend had gotten on a bus and ridden home.

I drove into Flint to see what things looked like: if people were in a panic, if the police were out in force, if businesses had closed for the day. To slip into about my fifth clichè on this post (they're kind of inevitable when you're my age and talking about 9/11), I'd never seen the city so dead. Granted, downtown Flint is typically dead, but there are still people around on a weekday afternoon. Saginaw Street was downright silent. I drove up to St. Michael's and asked if there was a chapel where I could pray. I was directed to one, but the secretary seemed confused as to why I was there. I thought it was absurd to think that she hadn't heard, but later I realized that this was probably the case. It would have been nice for me to have told her. Later, I picked my dad up from work, and they were talking about the events on the radio.

That night, my parents gave me permission to drive to Chicago for a few days, to check in on my sister and girlfriend. I got there late that night, and (clichè #6) felt a thrill as I rode the Skyway up over the Calumet River and the Sears Tower came into view, pale and ghostly and punching holes in the clouds. I took Caitlin and my girlfriend to a diner, and we talked for several hours. I dropped my sister off at about two or three, and got into Hyde Park a half-hour later.

I don't remember much else about that weekend. Once I was short change for a parking meter, and when I asked a construction worker if he could make change for a five, he just paid the meter. Any other week, this would have been unlikely in Flint, and probably unheard of in Chicago. Saying goodbye to my girlfriend was hard, but I had Caitlin with me on the ride back. We lit a candle as part of a patriotic radio thing, and we were happy to see people in other cars doing the same thing. We drove through Gary on 90, and somehow I missed the switchoff onto 94. We had to backtrack. Caitlin had trouble keeping the wax from dripping onto her hand; probably partly the fault of my driving.

Looking back, the way that time matched up to my life strikes me as kind of weird. I left college, and for the first time in my life I had no discernable goal, no money, and few friends or family in proximity to work through things. This was my fault, largely. I'd put off the job search until the last minute, and moved to an unfamiliar neighborhood far away from everything I knew. It would end up being the worst year of my adult life. Incidentally, I was part of the 12% that disapproved of Bush, even then. I'll say I "suspended judgment" for that week, but he seemed to be harsh in rhetoric and unsubtle in thought, emphatic but only on one note. And already the compromised congress was pledging to support executive action with no indication of reciprocal intent. Already, there were hate crimes speckled here and there. The Patriot Act was mentioned. For me, the burst of patriotism was poignant and I felt it in my gut, but it only lasted for that week. I could have maintained patriotism if I'd seen a rational policy behind it. But we were playing marrionette to several actors. We were playing right into their hands.

Where were you in September 2001?

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Concept: Limericks: I Plead the Fifth.

Imagine a writer, unnoticed, unrecognized, pushing thirty without a major publishing credit, but who knows that his offhands pack more finesse than most others' spit-shined epigrams. He sees a dirty limerick contest (a redundancy) with the prize of a T-Shirt, a chance to post on a lit-porn weblog, and publication in a burlesque ezine. He's pretty sure that he can win this contest and double the number of publications on his resume. Of course he enters! Of course he wins! I would never do such a thing, but you better believe that if I did, I wouldn't admit it here.

The prosodic term "limerick" only dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, and may have referred to the frequent use of that Irish town in examples from the time. The poems themselves date from considerably earlier, classically following the metrical form (often with enjambments and other variations):

John Newberry may have provided the single best-known example for a childrens book in the 1770s:

Hickory Dickory Dock.
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one.
The mouse ran down.
Hickory Dickory Dock.

A more recent example that I enjoy is the Beastie Boys song, The Negotiation Limerick File:

We're giving you soul power.
I like it sweet and sour.
When it comes to rhymes
and beat designs,
I'm at the control tower.

Of course, this kind of poetry has always flourished off the written page better than on, and part of the reason has to do with the typical subject matter. I can only guess why the form is so persistantly used for sexual innuendo. The pseudosynchopated cadence and emphatic rhyming is probably involved: limericks are insidiously catchy and easily memorized. Because they are easily memorized, they are perhaps ideal for an illiterate and religious peasantry composing poems they wouldn't necessarily want committed to posterity. For better or worse, everyone from George Bernard Shaw to Gershon Legman has stipulated that a limerick is, by definition, naughty:

A well-endowed seamstress named Robin,
Caught her nipple down under the bobbin.
She tugged and she jerked,
But still nothing worked.
Now she has one boob with no knob in!

To her boyfriend, a girl from New Trier,
Who was living in France for a year,
Sent a photo, quite lewd,
Of herself in the nude.
On the crotch she wrote, "Wish you were here!"

To Dublin, that town on the Liffey,
To Janet, Jim wrote: "I've a stiffy.
I'll just have a shag
In this wee padded bag.
Be there soon. I'll come in a jiffy."

These are all, incidentally, anonymous.

There literally thousands of these at here.

Anyway, here's Nogood Boyo's victorious blog post, and here's the winning limerick. (Yes, it's a dirty limerick). It will be published in the next issue of the Dick Pig Review.

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Gloamane 14, 30.

- It's just a crappy week, that's all. But last night the wife and I ate gnocchi and watched Rome, so that was nice.

If you open a peapod containing a single pea, expect good luck to follow.

Cute Overload.

What is directly above you?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Concept: Tomorrow.

I'll strongly imply why I haven't posted today or yesterday.


Gloamane 13, 30.

- I went to visit Marco and Scott, then Jess and I walked home.

When making cherry pie, add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract for richer flavor.

John M.

Cute Overload: Teeny Tiny Cake.

What would you like to make in a teeny tiny form?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gloamane 12, 30.

- Quite a week.
On Friday, I worked (writing) and cleaned all day, and that evening Cody and Catherine. They were tired, but we'd already promised Marco and Scott we'd hang out with them and their friend Amanda before she left town. When our guests were settled, the wife and I headed out, visiting and getting home around three o'clock.
Saturday was a gorgeous day, both weather and otherwise. My wife and I woke at around noon, and all four of us took a long time getting going. We finally headed out at about three, but only went up to Fort Greene Park, where we spent the next several hours reading and talking on a blanket at the summit. I'm at the part of Hughs/Honour where they're talking about the high Renaissance, so there was excitement in both the art survey and conversation. As it turns out Michaelangelo was not a party dude. He was cool but rude. Raphael would be more likely to party out at his villa. When it started to get cold and dark, we walked down to the video store and rented The Confederate States of America and The Man Who Knew Too Little, and swung by Little Louis' on our way home. By the time we'd finished our pizza and movies, it was well after midnight.
On Sunday I got up early so that I could attend the early 8 AM Mass. This was because shortly after I got back we left for the Bronx Zoo. We took the train from Nevins and got into the actual zoo at about 1. Our tickets, which included the special exhibits, were $25 a piece (compared to the $10 at Columbus or the requested donations for the AMSI and th Met). I had a great day, but I was a little underwhelmed. The zoo beat Lincoln Park, to be sure, but for $25, I expected a bit more organization, and not quite so much gouging for a bottle of water and a pretzel. The zoo was hard to navigate, and the hours sucked (open for only eight hours on maybe the busiest day of the year). But I'm just bitching so I can get to the good stuff. The Bengali Express (monorail) was the best, and the elephants and rhinoceroses at least seemed to appreciate being able to wander around at will. The Skyfari was both scary and a little disappointing, but it did afford a great arial view of a group (herd?) of baboons skirmishing on a hill. In the Jungle World, an orangutan was posing for us in a tree as if the branches were a runway. So yeah, it was a good time. After a particularly harrowing subway ride and dinner at a diner in the village, we headed home, passing some incredible chalk drawing on the way (University Dr.). After we'd been home for a bit, the others were too tired to make an evening on it, but I went to two more parties. From 10-12, Jena's, in the Fulton Ferry District, which was filled with Chicago alums. From 1-3, Daniel's, in Crown Heights, which was filled with New School kids. I didn't get home until 4 AM, and the crowds over at the Whitman Homes and on Carlton were still dancing and blasting the music. I was so tired, though, that getting asleep was no problem.
Yesterday was much more laid back. Cody and Catherine helped us clean, and I helped them hail a taxi when they left at about two. I took a nap, then the wife and I went to Tillie's for coffee, where we met up with Scott, Marco, and Hannah. We left at eightish, went home. The wife made enchiladas, and we watched Rome. Unfortunately, the Americano I'd had at Tillie's kept me up until almost 4 AM. So I updated my GoodReads account.

Yesterday, Caryl Churchil. Today, Antonin Artaud. And Thad.

It is easier to drive nails through wood if they are first pushed through a bar of soap.

"I was born in anxiety."
- Patient of Emil Kraepelin (with Schizophrenia/Dementia Praecox)

What was your favorite grade of school?