Tuesday, September 30, 2014

BOEING THERE.



Imagine Peter Sellers as a dim-witted captain in Boeing There, a movie wherein his character, Chauncey Pilot, unintentionally predicts the course of the economy through the application of flight terminology. Chauncey Pilot doesn’t anticipate that his choice phrases—“taxiing for takeoff”—“climbing into the sky”—“cruising at 500 miles per hour”—will embolden markets overnight. At the same time, this unassuming simpleton receives invitations to chuck out the first pitch at the ALCS, appear with Sully Sullenberger in a PSA concerning the dangers of incomplete astrophysics homework, and select the crucial ping pong ball for the nine-figure lotto drawing. A door opens. Another door opens. Hillary Clinton welcomes Chauncey Pilot into her dwellings for a private chat about who she, the presumptive nominee, should choose to occupy the two-spot on the ticket. (If not him.) An heiress played by Shirley MacLaine later invites the chaste captain to bed but Chauncey declares his preference to catch up on Lifetime reruns instead, forcing the seductress to pleasure herself. MacLaine’s turbulent body nevertheless captures Chauncey Pilot’s attention, reminding him of a chaotic Attitude Indicator on an airplane struggling to level itself during a crisis. He thinks about crisis, about the dark side of his profession: not only the possibility for accidents, but lost luggage, lengthy layovers, and fees for seat selection. In every ascent, he thinks, there follows a descent, and for every acceleration, he thinks, there follows a slowdown, and beyond that, even, a period of idleness. We, the viewers, realize that our way of life rides the cosine waves of Chauncey Pilot’s thinking. If he should he say “accident”—“lost”—“idleness”—“fees” then the economy might darken in correspondence with these terms. Fortunately for us, it’s Peter Sellers acting through these tribulations, what with his slightness of grins. If only the menacing machinery of the real gullible world would admit such a king.


Monday, September 22, 2014

FOX (DISAMBIGUATION).



Yesterday, I accidentally googled Bo Derek. Oh, don’t give me that look, like you haven’t accidentally googled Bo Derek before, yeah right. I accidentally googled Bo Derek three times, which is unusual. In a typical day, I accidentally google Bo Derek five or six times. Hey: don’t ask me what’s going through my mind. What’s going through your mind? What’s going through my mind is how long I can hold out, tomorrow, before I accidentally google Bo Derek. I suppose I could try a diversion, like a Ouija board, but what bothers me about the Ouija board is the fact that it’s a double positive—Oui, in French, and Ja, in German. Besides, I end up accidentally spelling Bo Derek on the Ouija board, Oui, Ja, I do. I thought perhaps I could employ technology to my advantage, so I once selected the “Shaq Diesel” station on Pandora (I wanted to hear Fu Schnickens too, truth be told) but pretty soon I got Bo Diddley, and after that, Derek and the Dominos. So I ended up accidentally googling Bo Derek. I practice other accidental routines, too. Sometimes I accidentally watch the movie, 10. Sometimes I accidentally cruise the disambiguation features on the Internet, so much so, I achieve modest clarity. Sometimes I’m accidentally an okay kind of fella. 

VULPINE FACES.



You haven’t seen vulpine faces for months, yet you worry. You could try a diversion such as activities but what have activities ever gotten you? Besides, there could be vulpine faces at activities. Certainly vulpine faces have attended activities before—and prospered at them. Perhaps you could self-modify, via ritual purification. You could ask exploratory questions like, What do vulpine faces want, within the social contract? Perhaps they don’t want to startle, perhaps they seek to raise their kind in solitude. Vulpine faces might be up the hill, in hiding. They may not know the conflict has ended. They may be reduced to wearing dollar loincloths and bargain cheese cloths. On occasion, a goat goes missing. The villagers, of course, suspect vulpine faces for the goat abduction but what can they prove? It’s one thing to confront vulpine faces whereas it’s another thing altogether for the villagers to live out their years in the traditional ways: their herbs, their raincoats, their dialects, their tire gauges. Hopefully, vulpine faces will walk down the hill in their dingy diapers, hands raised, and surrender. There isn’t an unlimited supply of goats, after all. This is just an example, of course, and the villagers, in the example, haven’t seen vulpine faces “in aeons.” Coincidentally, the Handbook of Vulpine Faces hasn’t been checked out of the library since the oil crisis of the 1970s. Vulpine faces are major countenance types. What if they did appear? They might make bestial demands for cultural dumplings or Verizon service packages. They might invoke Kierkegaard. If vulpine faces did invoke Kierkegaard, would this invocation apply to themselves or to you? It almost certainly would apply to you, pilgrim, as how could vulpine faces express their own despair—unless it was a ruse? You haven’t seen vulpine faces for months so how would you tell them apart from corvine faces, or ursine faces, or tigrine faces? Maybe you’d expect a nightclub singer kind of look with a dress like solar panels. Maybe you’d expect a captain of industry look with political cravats. Maybe you’d expect an urban hipster look with severe onion funk. It’ll get so long between sightings of vulpine faces that future generations will have to be shown caricature artist sketches. Vulpine faces might get confused with curiosity, crackpot, messiah, management, and oblong faces. At least the public funding has been extended—for decades—for the Vulpine Faces Hotline, although anonymous tips must be recorded, in good faith, for a single outsourced employee who, in all probability, will never respond.


Fox Day #1: The Silver Fox On Roosevelt Island
Fox Day #3: Fox (Disambiguation)

THE SILVER FOX ON THEODORE ROOSEVELT ISLAND.



When I jog across the Potomac River I often kid myself that I jog across the Rio Roosevelt, the name bestowed upon a Brasilian tributary (formerly Rio da Dúvida) in salute to an expedition that included ‘Teodoro’ himself. I always cross the Potomac to run the myriad trails on Roosevelt Island, a small refuge that features a cracking statue of the former president. The island also features woods, brush, watery inlets, marsh, and swamp, a collection of microhabitats that harbors numerous creatures, many of whom venture forth in early mornings or shivery days after the tourists have vacated the region. In my forays, I have espied dozens of birds, including herons, kingfishers, eagles, owls, and hawks, but many more critters—squiggly lizards, water snakes, turtles, frogs, and deer—have cast a variety of glances in my direction. One time, a common red fox vanished into the brush as I jogged near, its bushy tail a distinguishing marker. A few months ago, I witnessed the same phenomenon: a bushy tail vanishing into the brush, only this one presented as blue-black with a white tip. I don’t know very much about animals, so I mused on the possibility that I’d observed some sort of rare beast. Not a raccoon, I knew, not a possum, not a badger, not a meerkat, not a mongoose, but research points toward a silver fox—a variation, apparently, of the red fox, but with different pigment to the fur. I wish I could get to know these foxes a little bit better. They’ve got moves, for starters, they’ve got some foxy moves. Alas, both foxes disappeared with such swiftness of paw, such sureness of cunning, such luxuriance of pelt, such radiance of improvisation. In the end, my greatest animal encounter on Roosevelt Island took place in the midst of Tropical Storm Andrea, which rained enormous sheets onto the various microhabitats of the national park in June 2013. My shirt pasted to my chest, my jogging boots squishy-wet, my cap unable to shield the water from my eyes, I might have missed the ordinary turtle that had gotten stuck in the mud, an element that might’ve otherwise lubricated the amphibian’s path to the swollen inlet. I plucked the turtle out of the mud with a “bloop” kind of suction noise, and held it, for a moment, near my face. Would you believe me if I said that it tried to kiss me?


Fox Day #2: Vulpine Faces
Fox Day #3: Fox (Disambiguation)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

A WORLD WITHOUT HATE



like a world without oppositional wattage like a world without the florescence of rage like a world without the geometry of dangerous hours like a world without the confetti of isolations like a world without a single amplified misapprehension like a world without dark maps of suspiration like a world without fear pinning like a world without purpose crossing purpose as when the purpose of haste crosses the purpose of defenselessness in the witch light of early condemnations like a world without the mask of the voice fracturing like a world without cycles unmodified in obstruction like a world without you perhaps and perhaps without me a world without hate like a world without / the inevitable.

 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

STEPHEN JOEL TRACHTENBERG SPEAKS WITH FUNDAMENTAL INDECENCY ON THE TOPIC OF SEXUAL ASSAULT.



Two days ago, the former president of The George Washington University, Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, spoke about sexual assault during an episode of the Diane Rehm show that focused on “The Role of Fraternities and Sororities Today.” In the process, Trachtenberg demonstrated a fundamental lack of decency with respect to an issue of personal safety that affects women on college campuses across the country. His remarks included:

“Without making the victims responsible for what happens, one of the groups that have to be trained not to drink in excess are women. They need to be in a position to punch the guys in the nose if they misbehave. And so part of the problem is you have men who take advantage of women who drink too much and there are women who drink too much. And we need to educate our daughters and our children in that regard.” (Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, August 26, 2014)

Blood And Gutstein would like to make a few observations about this line of thinking.

(1) Trachtenberg eventually contradicts himself by, in fact, blaming the victims for what happens to them.

(2) He says “one of the groups”, in his example, but how many “groups” (in the context of sexual assault) does he think there are?

(3) By saying that women need to be “trained”, does he think they’re animals at obedience school?

(4) Does Trachtenberg believe that a simple “punch in the nose” will free a woman from an attacker who is, in all likelihood, much bigger than her?

(5) The former president refers to guys who “misbehave” as if rape were just a little bit of poor behavior.

(6) Trachtenberg further refers to “daughters and children”, again seeming to be confused about basic groupings of people.

(7) Trachtenberg apparently continues to teach at GWU, so perhaps the University should adopt these statements of his, and convert them to fliers that would appear on campus bulletin boards, in freshman orientation packets, and as part of required syllabus statements in every GWU course.

(8) The former president was the sitting president during one of the darkest days on the GWU campus, when this blogger’s friend and his girlfriend were murdered. A sexual assault was part of that crime. Trachtenberg should remember something like that, before he speaks on this matter ever again.

Owing to point #8, Blood And Gutstein takes a particular interest in this topic, and vows to stand against the kind of irresponsible, hurtful worldview espoused by a public figure like Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. As an educator, and as a former leader of educators, he seems particularly under-educated on the issue of sexual assault on campus. He leads Blood And Gutstein to think that, of the “groups” who require training, it may be people like Mr. Trachtenberg who require it the most.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

ÇA VA?

Hoots mon!


My friend Aerobespierre comes over to fix himself a cheese snack. “Ça va?” he says, carrying off the knockwurst, too. He’s French, he’s revolutionary, and he’s the most oxygenated person I know: his blood-gasses must be epic. I could shrug, I could make a hundred gestures, but I shrug, ça va. (Last week, he ate all my ethnic chowders, and the week before that, all my ethnic filets!) His wife might be pregnant, he’s saying, between mouthfuls, and if it’s a girl, they’re going to call the kid Anaerobespierre, after her father. But that’s not the big news, no, his interview with the new Hiberno-English mope-pop band, Sinn Féin Young Cannibals, has hit the press. The piece covers a wide swath of territory, but focuses on the band’s debut album, When Domestic Animals Answer Lonesome Train Whistles. The band claims that train whistles offer a maudlin commentary on the nocturnal intervals of middle distance. He shows me an excerpt: “Ça va?” he says; “What’re you like?” says the band; “Pardon?” he says; “Christ on a bike!” says the band. There is (1) Work and there is (2) Pain, we agree, if one requires a simplified system of categories, in order to deposit the experiences of our lives. A human being is to bonfire as Pain is to darkness, we agree, if one requires a visual on how Pain (darkness) grapples with the human being (bonfire) in a person’s daily exuberances; all else can be classified as Work. Aerobespierre toils to avoid any mention of the guillotine, or words that rhyme with guillotine. I’ve caught him more than once in a cold sweat on Rhymezone clicking around between histamine, kerosene, Philistine, and nicotine, and I think, as a Frenchman, he fears all four transpiring at once—an allergic, gasoline-wielding ruffian (“Regardez!”) just about to Zippo a cigarette.