Sunday, December 30, 2007

Prime & Primer Numbers

Chicago. Electric. Indivisible.

Numbers are said to be Prime if divisible only by themselves and by the number 1. For example: 29. Both 29 and 1 guzzinta 29 but no other Numbers, Prime or otherwise, guzzinta 29. In short, a Number that can't be fucked with, too much. Prime Numbers can be hard-nosed integers and also bad-assed acts, and I witnessed one such bad-assed act this week at Blue Chicago, a fine bar in windy, snow flurry-y, Chicago. There played electric bluesman John Primer, Prime, certainly, on some level, but by definition, Primer, and singing, too. Behind him: drums, bass, harmonica, and keyboards, and beside him for a few songs: another singer, Peaches, belted it out a bitteen like Koko Taylor. Prime Numbers frustrate many possible solutions and Primer Numbers beat back the cold. One only gets divided under certain (like, default) conditions and the latter clobbers your def jam. The bar fills. The Harvey Wallbangers change hands. "I got my mojo workin'," sings Peaches, "but it just don't work on you." Clearly a song about the frustration of long division, although Muddy Waters, himself, would know best, and his ghost presided during that Primer Number. Bad-assed Chicago Electric Blues takes $10 at the door, and rattles the inertia of our sorry, cookie-cutter, mis-managed, mass media, gross airport country. Thank the lord some people & some Numbers have the basic decency to stand apart. Divide that.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Avant Garde Mutton & Demographics

An avant garde mutton on the hillock. (Be afraid.)

There may be no greater Demographics than Stoic Muttons. Notice how they always stand to the right, no matter where the camera is placed. You can say PRIME-er or PRIM-er, whichever. You can say inseam or you can say trompe l'oeil. There may be a white boy with a thumbtack and a black boy in the hedge. You may decide to hate artists, or to be safe, you may decide to hate everyone. There is always some joker who cannot navigate a pool party, socially speaking, i.e., cheese-burgers, sun-tans, and fart-powder. "Arousal" and "The Scorpions" are mutually exclusive, such that, it is not possible to experience a reasonable modern arousal while hearing songs played by The Scorpions, an English-singing hair-metal combo from good old Germany, ja ja, die rootin' tootin' und die wienerschnitzel. If it were 1984, you'd be involved in drama outside the Pepperidge Farms store at the strip mall, in the middle of the night. Lip gloss, a clash of foreheads, and a police action. Enjoli: "Unh." Enjoli: "Unh." Them's not no coincidence.

Nope. Them's Demographics. Which can be confused with Healthfoods because both sets are not, in any case, mutually exclusive. Do your duty as a citizen and remember to donate some pisswater well in advance of the Iowa Caucuses. Some political operatives, afterall, will require a blood transfusion. Has anyone ever, at any time, said, "Fisticuffs in the Urals?" or "Buttocks on the Andes?" or "Liposuction beside the Himalayas?" Some Turks battle turds while other Turks battle Kurds. There are Products for what ails you and then again there are no Products for what ails you. The results, in the end, stupefy even the brightest bulbs in the garden. The world, no, does not come in stereo, unless you happen to live nearby a disaster. To whit, there were once pay phones, antennae, and sit-down meals. Every citizen had a snake story. To deconstruct was to slap one's self with another person's hand. "Chug, chug, chug," many used to shout. Planets are no better than junkies. There is Want and there is Must. Which best defines you?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Lost Tribe(s) of Israel: Get Some GPS, Yo

"Shaw-loam! There a Mickey Dee's nearby?"

I'm sick and tired of people claiming to be members of The Lost Tribe of Israel. If you wake up? In the middle of the night? In the dark? Not knowing who you are? In situations like that? Well, according to Lost Israel Authorities, that alone may qualify you for membership. You'll need proof of illegality in every culture, some bagel money, and a uni-sleeve. Take your application down to Local Diaspora Chapter 104, which meets at Club Babylon, Thursday evenings, as soon as three stars twinkle in the eastern sky. Knock three times on the door. Then repeat this biblical excerpt three times fast: "... And God took a McRib from Adam and created the Guilty Meal, three dollars and sixty-five ought cents, comes with 64 oz. sparkling grape juice and a potato kugel." I can see how it's practical, though, to be enrolled in The Lost Tribe. You get to duck out on The Holocaust, for starters. The regular Tribe of Israel jokes tend to wash off your back. More than anything: Annual volleyball tournaments and BBQ with The Found Tribe of Israel.

Of course, when the two groups intermarry, you get a whole new category: The Lost & Found Tribe of Israel. They've got all kinds of sweater bins, coat bins, wallet bins, hat bins, and umbrella bins in which the rest of us can root around. I've heard of magical treasures turning up in said bins: Well-of-Swearing Ass Warmers; Burning Bush Anxiety Powder; and rare copies of King David's guide to middle management: If you want Her, then you got to put Him on the graveyard shift. It is not, however, politically correct anymore to say The Lost & Found Tribe of Israel. You need to say something like The Directionally Challenged & Recently Discovered Coalition of Holy Would-Like-to-Be Peoples. As you would imagine: Everybody is suing Everybody Else. The Lost Tribe suing The Found Tribe. The Found Tribe suing The Tribe. The Tribe suing A Boy Named Sue. It says in the bible that "For forty days and forty nights, litigation covered the earth." Man, how times have changed. Nowadays we've got high-speed Internet. Dig?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Definitive War & Economy Post -- Trust No Others

"Well, then I want total brisket!"

There are more obese cats named Pythagoras now than at any other time in History. These cats are not dumb. They have figured out the following relationship: F-squared + cN-squared = LAS (where F = Friskies, cN = catNip, and LAS = Long Ass Slumber). After total war can come total feline obesity. Right now, I would argue that we have only partial feline obesity. Right now, I would argue that we have only partial war. But let's save that for later. I was once a young economist working for a model of American corporate integrity, which I shall refer to, simply, as "Arthur." At Arthur I was called upon to complete many vital tasks, such as (1) develop the final bagel and lox from the main conference room after a client meeting; (2) analyze the score in televised hockey goals of Sweden vs. U.S.A. after the Yanks had yanked their netminder; and (3) research the coffee pot as many as ten or fifteen times per day. This qualifies me to make a few pronouncements on the State of the Economy. It may help, I would argue, to create a couple-two-three new deities: Stockius Tickus (God of the Exchange); Payicles (God of the Salary); and Maalox Maximus (God of Relief). We'll need them in the months ahead, big-time.

Pythagoras, the famous mathematician & geometrician & runway model, came to understand a number of relationships. He is most famous for understanding the motives of the triangle -- why the triangle weeps; why the triangle hates its father; why the triangle sits in its efficiency apartment with the lights out. But he developed other formulae as well, including that for (TW) Total War, which can only be achieved by dumping (TO) Total Ordnance on (TO) Total Others. This theory has come to be known at The TWO and has a cult following in the military. I do believe that we have not achieved The TWO, in that we have yet to dump TO on TO. Of course, The TWO is relative. Soviet TWO and Sino/Wino TWO and Gallic TWO and Aboriginal TWO and Extraterrestrial TWO involve dumping TO on (US) United States as well everybody else but Soviets, Sinos/Winos, Gauls, Aborigines, and ETs, respectively. Pythagoras also calculated the Number of Windows in Baltimore by taking the hypotenuse of the disuse of the hypotension and giving it a wedgie. Nostradamus predicted Pythagoras many years after Pythagoras lived and died. I think that's a copout and shouldn't be forgotten any time soon.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

On Moustaches, The New Constellations & Lemonjellicals

"I said flap flap shorty."

As a kid, I always thought that Botulism meant a clinically significant pattern of flubbing -- or "botching" -- plans, tasks, events. I regularly flubbed a few things. Therefore, I thought I suffered from severe Botchulism. I heard that I could die from it; I still flubbed a few things; I kept quiet about these deliberations. Similarly, I kept quiet when my jr. high school took field trips to those terrariums or planetauriums or dinosauria rooms that had the T-Rex rotating domes. I never perceived the constellations the dude with the clicker told us to perceive. Instead of Orion, I saw a crouching prosecutor wielding a baggie of crack. Instead of Pegasus, let's say, I saw an Englishman howling "Cor blimey, me Piles itch me so!" In retrospect, I think it's high time that our constellations get updated, anyhow. I've seen the constellation "Metabolism," up there, in the winter sky, all bloated and whatnot. I've seen the constellation "When Millionaires Sadden," up there, in the summer sky: It is linked by those four summer stars: Birch, Crotch, Butch, Klatsch. The four autumnal stars -- Moustachio, Pistachio, Pastiche, Microfiche -- form the constellation "Lemonjellical," while those same stars, in the springtime sky, form the constellation "Mediocrity: A Personal Voyage."

What the heck ever happened to Moustaches? I don't mean a mustache. I mean moustaches. Used to be you'd open a book and someone, in a uniform with epaulets, would be twirling his moustaches while fingering a blunderbuss, and don't get all double entendre-ish on me; fingering used to be a g*ddamn good word; used to be "one could shoot one's wad at the track" and that would mean exactly what it's supposed to mean. Anyway, those days are gone -- clearly. To our detriment. We're left with, in part, Cell Phone Nation. Caller 1: Hullo? Caller 2: Hullo? Caller 1: Hullo? Caller 2: Yeah. Caller 1: Where you at? Caller 2: Yeah. Caller 1: Hullo? Caller 2: Here. Caller 1: Yeah. Caller 2: Hullo? Caller 1: Hullo? Caller 2: Hullo? Caller 1: Yeah. Or, if you prefer, The Heart. I'm not going to knock Hallmark. I'm not going to knock second grade teachers or rainbows or hair ribbons or cropfields or aunties coming home from a scare. I'm not going to knock straight rhyme. I am, however, gonna knock the so-called "real poets." Each of you "real poets" are hereby entitled to five heart references in your entire oeuvre, your entire "sheath," and one of those must actually represent the medical heart, which I define as the muscle or organ that pumps the blood, chumps, to our oxygen-ass capillaries, damn it. Am I right?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Retroactively Asserting Your Senility

Risk of sedan falling over airplane tail onto grimace?

Ever notice the growth industry in Abraham Lincoln Revisionism? You can even invest pre-tax dollars through TIAA-CREF's Honest Abe Debenture. If you'd speculated last year on Honest Abe's sexuality, co-morbid disorders, and favorite plywood techniques, you'd be "swimming in the calories," so to speak. There is talk that Lincoln carried a rare genetic disorder that he was dying from -- John Wilkes Booth or not. Go figure. Every president, I'd imagine, has had his Booth, even as some Booths were not successful. Kennedy, of course, succumbed to his assassin's bullet, whereas President Reagan survived an attempt on his life, as did Jimmy Carter, who was attacked by a fierce rabbit, whilst fishing. He should've known better, as Minutemen of Plains, Ga., lit two lamps, to signify a fierce rabbit attack by sea. The rabbit was nevertheless repelled by frantic paddling (of the water) -- and, thinking it appropriate for politics, Carter tried to defeat Reagan in the same way, with an oar. "There you go again," replied a sad Reagan, in their televised debate, referring to the oar-wielding Carter. The rest is American political history.

Perhaps there should be a sign at the edge of Carter's lake that features a fierce rabbit. Perhaps one such sign should be featured at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, with a caption underneath that reads: Lepus Maximus. Night of the Lepus, for those of you who don't keep up with the classics, was a feature film that starred nuclear-age rabbits. Also starred DeForrest Kelly (Bones on Star Trek) and Janet Leigh (the screamer of Psycho fame). She screamed, too, in Night of the Lepus, as many Lepusses overran a to-scale model town. Among other things, those Lepusses had Demographics, such as Pelts, Gnashers, Crank Calls, Doctrine, and Alimony Payments. It's not every rabbit that has Demographics. Some maintain LTGs -- Long Term Grudges. Still others suffer from multiculturalism -- that is, a history of many throat inspections. Wise rabbits will tell you that you cannot assert yourselves in the same ways, these days, anymore. Used to be you could throw a rock at the train, or vote your subconscience, or retroactively assert your senility. Not anymore. Not with all that litigation looming.

Ever notice how Third Parties tend to finish Third? How your windows don't quite tell the truth? How steeples stop at arbitrary junctures? How ivy and mania rarely enter the same sentence but do, once in a while, appear about five or six words apart? How you can list your close friends on one or two hands but need all kinds of hands -- those of manikins, surgical gloves, mittens, etc. -- to count the canines you've loved over the years? How it's silly to think of a union between a rat and an avocado, but if there were such a union, the resulting legume / mammal would be called a Ravocado? How proponents of one religion question the ghost stories of another religion but otherwise treat as fact the ghost stories of their own faith? How worms come out of the earth during a rainstorm? Why is that -- flooding? Pride? Chased by a Ravocado? You can predict a gait but can you predict a kick? Can you predict -- virtually everything -- about Kentucky? How many clocks need you consult before you declare the entourage, if not the candidate him / herself out of touch? Hindering? Destructive? A goner?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Holiday Beverage (Old-School)

We ain't talkin' cereal.

"The Apple Jack" was a jump blues recorded by bandleader Joe Morris, featuring Johnny Griffin on tenor saxophone, in 1948. There are but a few lyrics at the very beginning: "Apple jack / apple jack / Let's go / AAAAAAHHH!" before the horns start bouncing. It's a fairly electric moment. In a perfect world, there would be apple jack, the drink, and apple jack, the song, simultaneously, and regularly. Applejacks, plural, are kiddie fare, of course, whereas jacks are a toy, apples are a fruit, Jacks are many men named John or Jake or Jacob and jacks are phone outlets, among many other jacks, apples, applejacks and apple-jack. May your holidays have at least an apple, if not some apple-jack. Happy Thanksgiving to One and All.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Firewater & Sanity Clause

Look twice.

Whatever happened to the Second World? You had a world with some repression, sure, some violin solos, some bread lines, some love secrets, and then, Poof: Folks had to choose between the First and Third Worlds, and now there's not even a Third World, really. Thanks to English lit professors. You've got your First World and your power plant. You've got your First World and your pomegranate grove. You've got your First World and your crispy underpants. Personally speaking, my First World was the Cuyahoga River, (a fire), which really was my Second World. Or my Third. Ah, it gets confusing, I admit. The bottom line: Someone, in, like, 1969 called 9-1-1 to report a burning river.

Operator: Hello, what is your emergency?
Citizen: Uh, yeah, I'd like to report a burning river.
Operator: Excuse me?
Citizen: The river; is on fire.
Operator: Is this Dennis Kucinich again?
Citizen: They're throwing water on it, but that ain't doing much.
Operator: Sir?
Citizen: Uh huh?
Operator: Be thankful that the Lake is not ablaze.
Citizen: Yes ma'am.

I am glad that my President defended the skies of Alabama from those famous Vietcong raids on Phenix City (spelling correct) and Mobile and the Co'cola Diner & Mullet Toss Pavilion, and I'm glad that his sidekick, whom I shall term Vice President Deferrals, is so familiar with the nuances of avoidance. They made for a powerful and convincing presence, at various lecterns, on Veteran's Day. Convincing of what, I have no idea. And in saying so, I don't mean to give the impression that the opposition fares much better, in my estimation: Bad Votes, Calculated Rhetoric, "Wimpy Cats." Evidence that there is, in fact, No World. And that the Lake is ablaze. And the water ain't doing much. Sometimes I think we need a Sanity Day, instead, or a Sanity Week, or a Sanity Clause, but the Marx Brothers, for example, knew there ain't no such thing as a Sanity Clause. Here's to Survival, then, and Urgency.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chop Suey, Part 2

Enter the Dragon.

Some of you may know Chop Suey, Part 1: A reluctant woman, a couple months ago, is arguing with some guy outside an embassy a few blocks from my apartment building. He is sort of tugging on her arm and she is resisting, and while she knows this dude is a tool, she also knows that, in all likelihood, she'll probably go with him anyway. But the situation is not an assault or anything like that. Nevertheless, a middle-aged man with a conservative haircut jumps -- literally -- out of nowhere, out of two big white doors, onto the sidewalk, into a martial arts fighting stance (see Bruce Lee, above), with a grimace on his face, and yells, in my opinion, "Chop Suey." I mean, did he say "Chop Suey?" That's what I heard: "Chop Suey." Which brings us to this past weekend. Another man and woman are standing -- not necessarily arguing -- but not at ease, either -- outside the same embassy, when here comes our champion, once again, through the white double doors. No, he did not leap, he did not make a martial arts fighting stance, but he was not at ease, either. He looked like this: "Don't push me, or you'll get the Chop Suey. You don't want the Chop Suey." He paced around with a mean face (apparently his embassy's liaison for domestic disputes) until the second couple, as did the first, dissipated. In particular, the guys, in both cases, relented. Clearly they did not want the Chop Suey.

My karate instructor, Neil, apparently met Bruce Lee, who came to the University of Maryland a few decades ago, to give a demonstration. My instructor was called upon to assist. He was not my instructor then. Just Neil. Bruce Lee told him to stand a few feet away, and put a quarter in Neil's open palm. "When you see my hand move," said Bruce Lee, "close your palm." Several dozen people looked on, a balmy day, on the University of Maryland Quad, while my instructor stood there, facing Bruce Lee. Well, Bruce Lee's hand moved and my instructor closed his own hand into a fist, and, well, he still felt the cold metal of a coin in his palm. He opened his fist and what did he see? Not the quarter, but a nickel, there, where the quarter had been. No Way. Bruce Lee had thrown a nickel into my instructor's palm and taken the quarter. Was he that fast? Yes. He was so fast that, a week later, after the demonstration was over and Bruce Lee had gone home, my instructor, Neil, heard Bruce Lee say "Brätwurst" -- his hands quicker than the speed of sound, by a week. "Mit sauerkraut und potato." Bruce Lee, apparently, had some German ancestry.

Enter the Dragon is arguably the best martial arts movie ever made. When Bruce Lee kills the dude who'd, essentially, killed his (fictional) sister, midway through, in part with that brutal sidekick -- oh, man, that is The Bomb. I know it was acting but that sidekick had to hurt in real life. Neil made us try all kinds of things in our karate studio. We had to extinguish candles with the speed of our fists and chase flies around and step on each other's stomachs and break boards in the middle of the air and learn to exhale and attend Christmas parties. The studio ended up across the street from The California Bar -- which was not in California but Laurel, Md. The drunks would stagger across the street and say "hi-YAH" and chop the air, laughing so hard they fell over, some clipping sideview mirrors on parked cars, on their ways down. It wouldn't hurt them, the fall, until the next day, or the next week, clearly their mouths quicker than their bodies. Were he still alive, we could use a little more Bruce Lee in the world, the way I see it: Moving quickly can make you a quarter for every nickel, at the very least. Eh?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Sitting pretty. (Read on.)

The gray catbird male, to impress the female, will assemble a pile of shells or stones. It will locate itself on a high sapling to sing and display its stark pelt. It can whoop a little ass if it needs to impress the competition. Thurber celebrated the catbird while Harper Lee murdered its cousin, the mockingbird. Both birds are mimic thrushes. They can imitate other birds, yes, and the catbird, too, mocks the feline. Picture this -- the cat chases the catbird up a tulip poplar. The catbird tells the cat, in its own language, to climb the sycamore instead. The cat climbs the sycamore. This represents both the triumph of the catbird and the great shame of the modern American house cat. I don't think none of them big cats, lions, ocelots, mantaloupes, cheetohs, etc., would chase none of them catbirds: The catbird tells them in their own language to commit acts of self immolations and self effacements. If you're sitting in the catbird seat, thus, you're sitting pretty. Mr. Red Barber probably said that, "sitting in the catbird seat," when referring to a Brooklyn Dodgers batter "sitting on" a 3-0 count. Mr. Red Barber knew his ornithology.

A few days ago, during the deluge, (See previous post "Drought of 2007, The") I saw a woman bedecked in running togs, jogging in the rain, carrying an umbrella. I mean: She was sweating-getting-wet but didn't want God's bounty to fall upon her shoulders? The wind would blow her umbrella inside out and she would straighten it and jog on. The wind would lift her into the air, and she became a winged critter in that moment, aloft, toes not quite tapping the pavement. A group of pheasants is a gaggle or a flock or a group of pheasants, there, with them wild disoriented turkey-eyes, whereas a group of peasants is a labor union about to be smashed by air power with wild turkey-eyes. Coincidence? If you love someone, truly love someone, then you must share your birds with him or her. You must decide whether to share all your birds at once, or pace yourself, bird by bird, if you have many birds to share, for fear of scaring the other. The sudden oriole beneath the oleander. The blue jay gawking at a mouse found in the stick of oleo. The owl getting a little two for one in the haunted tree by the light of a quarter moon.

You should also share your Bird, your Charlie Parker, because Charlie Parker shared his "Ornithology" with you. Charlie Parker shared his ornithology with lots of folks: Dizzy Gillespie, Paul Desmond, Jackie McLean, to name a few. Jackie McLean shared his alto saxophone with Charlie Parker, who did not return the saxophone, exactly, but hocked it instead, although Bird did share his ornithology with Jackie Mac. Which, then, was the greater gift? Charlie Parker, it should be noted, played those Washington, D.C. concerts with a plastic saxophone. With whom have you shared your ornithology or your plastic saxophones today? Are we all not a bit alar? In that, we have wing-like structures, and armpits, and chemicals. I would strongly advise against molting, however, if you can at all help it, because instead of molting, you may melt, or malt yourself, in that you may become a puddle or a puddle of fermented beverage. No, leave the molting to the experts, and leave melting and malting to the experts, as well. That may leave some of you with few options in life, but dig it, get up in that tree and sing, Jack: Get your pelt on!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


You can find song (L) on album (R)

Oleo is a margarine and Olio is a hodgepodge and Olio is a spiced stew and Oleo is a Sonny Rollins tune. That's right: I'm talking about Sonny. Not your Sonny and not my Sonny but Amtrak's Sonny, because Amtrak was playing Sonny -- and not any of that "smooth jazz" -- but Sonny, in Baltimore, eighty-two degrees in late October. And you know it's got to be Sonny if Amtrak's playing it because Amtrak doesn't fool around when it comes to Sonny. I mean, I've seen Amtrak fool around and it ain't pretty: Conductors. Ain't nothing scarier than a Conductor coming at you with a hole-punch. Come to think of it, ain't nothing scarier than a hole-punch, with or without a Conductor. Once upon a time it was a Conductor who cauliflowered my house. That is, he threw a cauliflower at my house in the middle of the night, thump!, then sped off in his Amtrak. What did I do? Washed it off and served it up! Or the time someone threw a Hebrew National Salami at a University of Michigan game, he threw it at the whole game! It hit me in the chest, and after paramedics, like, restarted my heart, I pocketed that salami and served it up. Remember: There are many things best done later -- serving up a Stadium-thrown salami included.

We are in Times of Stress, folks, and we may well see a return to people plundering much Booty. The zebra has lain down with the horse, after all, and the offspring, a Zorse, has lain down with the mule, and that offspring, a Morse, has lain down with the nighthawk, and that offspring, the Norse, has plundered much Booty, if you've read the Battle of Malden, and other Anglo Saxon texts, and not always because of brawn, rather, due to some dumb-ass king who painted himself blue, or at least his forebears did. "You may cross our isthmus," he said, and lo, cameth the Norse. Some of us may see winds today and some of us may see red skies and some of us may catch our favorite TV reality shows: Extreme Loss of Palling Around; Extreme Subpar Politician; Extreme Smiting by My God and Not Yours; Extreme IQ Disparity; and Extreme Weapons Amnesty. What should I make of a church bell that chimes at 10 past noon? Is there significance to a church bell chiming at ten past noon? I mean, if we allow bells to chime at 10 past noon, why not 18 past the hour or 23 before the hour or six before the hour? You can see, maybe, one or two of my cards: Order and/or disorder within structure and the comings and goings thereof. Stay tuned, please.

There are some Sonny sheet musics above. (Plural, I always say, where possible.) Note that "A" has some order and "B" does not. What comes third is a repetition, in the sense that there is a bitteen of order, yet, at the same time, it's not exactly the same as "A" -- therefore, Repetition and Change. Gerry Mulligan said, in Jazz Casual, that you can't have freedom without structure. Now I'm not gonna take a stance on that, one way or the other, but you should, perhaps, take a stance on that. The page is a field: We've all heard that one before. But the field is, thus, in charge, the whole of the field, that is. You can argue that the Universe is endless -- but you writing a poem or liking a song or plundering some Booty would, therefore, be structure within freedom. The spoon either right side up or backwards and your image either flipped or elongated -- structure within structure. Is there freedom within freedom? That, my friends, would require a lot of marijuana. Possibly an armed revolt, as well. But wait a minute, let's concentrate on structure: Would Endlessness qualify? Would idea? Would something like "consent" or "betrayal" or "fantasy" qualify as structure? The following applies to You: What kind of mender would you like to be? What kind of mender? What kind would you like to be?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Meditations on Originality and Longevity

You'd look like that, too, if your dead, abusive mate arose from the bathtub.

I dreamt the other day that there was freezing rain in some places and not in others. For example, on the train tracks but not on the brush beside the tracks or even the ballast that held the tracks in place. The media would not let go of this. They said, "On the train tracks but not on the brush beside the tracks." They interrupted radio and television programming to reinforce their earlier assessments of the weather. They filmed close-ups of the tracks. Locomotives were slipping forward, backward, and, inexplicably, sideways. Some went around in circles, helplessly, on those turn-tables you don't see much of, anymore. The engineers, though, were stoic. They wore those half-baseball, half-engineer caps. They installed snuff on their persons. If an engineer had no teeth he snorted the snuff instead. If you saw an engineer on the street, you might think, "ne'er do well," on account of his beard, but that would be mistaken, as he would be a man with a job, a union card, some snuff, and one of those caps. His t-shirt would read, "Engineers Do It in the Boiler Room."

Not enough haircuts come with massages. I don't mean where you lie down on the table and get all greasy. I mean a short chop-chop-chop that relaxes your neck muscles, after the haircut is done. Such a haircut exists in Olney, Md., but not many other places. I feel that, if someone wanted to open a Haircut / Massage Parlor, she or he might really clean up. Her / his clientele might be a real Who's-Who of haircut / massage recipients. If the business were successful, then the proprietor could consider the act of Settling Down. Conversely, the proprietor could consider additional Risk. She / he might serve Black-and-Tan beer conglomerations before the massage but after the haircut. There would be legal ramifications, of course, but with a few extra dollars or piasters or euros or Peruvian coins to grease The Fat Palm of the Law, one could rest at night. One possible refinement of that idea would be to serve an Irish ale of some kind along with Heinz Treacle or Heinz Spotted Dick Sponge Pudding. Before the haircut and before the massage but after the Who's-Who had been seated and gowned.

All right. Let's get down to Originality and Longevity. First of all, see Diabolique (aka Les Diaboliques aka The Fiends) if you haven't already. Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot (1954, in French); that's his wife, Vera, on the poster above; she stars in the film. It's a masterpiece of psychological disintegration (in Vera's character) and supposedly the grand-daddy of shock endings upon which many other shock endings are based. The movie is either a thriller or a horror-flick, and I was, personally, very much unsettled (if not exactly horrified) at the end. So, for me, the film had Longevity, though I'll have to take it on faith that it was completely Original in its shocker conclusion. To me, anyhow, Longevity and Firstness are inter-related, although many Americans, in my opinion, could give a rat's ass about Firstness, rightly or wrongly so. Of course, Longevity is in the eye of the filmgoer, or what have you. I would posit that a more recent movie like The Usual Suspects, the ending for which may in fact derive from Diabolique, will have less Longevity perhaps due to the fact that its Firstness rates about a 6 or 7 out of 10, whereas Diabolique, apparently, rates a 10. Most things erode, though, and folks don't always have the good sense to look back. It was Lot's wife who became a salt-lick, not you or I, Dear Reader, or are we perishing -- in part -- because we don't respect the past? Thoughts? Good day.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Chicken Lickin' Is Lickin' Chicken

I take you back to the film The Mechanic, where, at one point, Charles Bronson and Jan-Michael Vincent (J-MV) are poised to kill a bunch of motorcycle thugs. To gain entry to the thugly compound, J-MV poses as a chicken delivery man and utters that famous phrase, "Chicken Lickin' is lickin' chicken," and behold, the doors open. Believability issue: Chicken delivery? I suppose that motorcycle thugs can arrange for chicken delivery although it would be more fun to ride one's chopper in search of A Little KFC. What about J-MV starring later in Abduction II: The Reunion, among other topnotch flicks? Abduction / Reunion? What, like a bunch of kidnap victims and / or kidnappers get together to reminisce about the good ol' days? And I mean, that movie was a *sequel*, Jack, a sequel. i.e., There was "The One That Started It All."

Speaking of which: Note the "BUY 1 GET 1 FREE" above in the Chickin Lickin (sic) window. We, in the biz, call that A Little Two For One. You should always be on the lookout for A Little Two For One. Classic Twos-For-One include the Northeast Corridor, pollination, and nail polish remover. Underground or "cult" Twos-For-One include nimbostratus clouds, mumbo jumbo, and jumbo: Slice, gumbo, and mambo. The mambo, folks, is a dance while its cousin, the mamba, is a To-Be-Avoided snake. The mamba dances the mambo while the mambo only knows the motion of the commotion of the Land of Goshen. Hence, a little Two For One. Eh? What about "W" and his father? Perhaps the Clintons. Funkadelic and Parliament? Kool and Newport? Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumbass. A Little Two For One, folks.

I wanted, this week, to veer into politics. I wanted to Rail. To, you know, impress you all with my "acumen." I think, maybe, that we have entered a new era. And this era should be known as Post-Intellect. That is, we, as a nation, seem to have the IQ of a Post. We could only hope that (that) means a blog entry or an overseas position, as opposed to a piece of mail or a fence part. Lately, I've resided in horror at the prospect of typing two "thats" in a row. Why the hell would anyone be so freaking lackadaisical as to require two pronouns in a row. You don't see "him him" or "she she" although there could be a stutter of sorts: "You ... you bah-stard." Ah, I take you back to an era where the word "bah-stard" actually stood for something. In these Post-Intellect days, you can't even insult anyone anymore. You can rattle off a hundred curses and it's, like, nothing. Take away someone's Chicken Lickin', though, and you're Cruisin' For A Bruisin'. I rest my case. In that, I sit down and chill my weary duff. xo B.A.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Drought of 2007, The

Shall our artificial lizzids crawl back into the sea?
In a recent survey, 58 percent of All-Americans felt that they, as All-Americans, were entitled to regular rainfall patterns, and reported feelings of inadequacy when actual rainfall totals failed to match predictions. Respondents felt "dirty" or "humbled" or "parched" under such conditions. A startling 52 percent of All-Americans averred that their own personal moisture levels had declined during the Drought, feeling the need for lip balms, shoulder balms, hinge joint balms, and aerial bullhorn routines. As many as 17 percent had little opinion. Not that they had "No opinion." Rather, they had little opinion. This could be a result of The Short Term Profit Model or that 17 percent of respondents were little folk or plain old "Reticent in the Retina." As you can tell, the survey results added up to 127 percent, meaning that: Them dead people is rising from the grave in Chicago, and have cell phones, and have Discover Cards, and have balms, and the prospects is good for a Democrat in 2008, unless, of course, Republicans raise their own dead from the grave, in which case we'll see mayhem in the streets: Dead slaying Dead, etc. It used to be Brother vs. Brother in the Civil War, but in the Drought, Ladies and Gentlemen, it's Dead on Dead violence. We must note that, in The Literature, the globe (aka The Earth) (aka The Orb) (aka The Bonny Lea a Wee Bitteen from the Sun) is said to be warming. If our environment is warming, it would easily follow that we are warming, too. We: Us: People. Our body temperatures: Ninety nine, ninety nine point two. This is The New Normal, if you will. All the thermometers have been revised, which has been a boon to Some Economies and not Other Economies and has raised Some Eyebrows but not Other Eyebrows at the State Department. New directions have been issued which, through the use of GPS technology, can now guide the thermometer toward the proper orifice. Now, it does not go without saying, because we are saying it here, that Personal Warming can correlate, if we fudge the numbers just so, with Personal Drying. That is, with the Drought in place, people are feeling dryer now than at any time in Human History, even greater than The Amazing Dry of 1502, The Surprising Dry of 1101, and The Dry, Dry Oath of Biarritz (In progress). The globe is warming so We, The People, are warmer. The globe is drying so We, The People, are dryer. That is: Paltry sense of humor. Water may become the New Gold, and Les États-Unis may back its currency, we're told, with water. That is, each of us could march down to Fort Fricking Knox and demand a dollar's worth of water for each dollar we have in our measly little pockets, in God we trust, so help us God. Many more people -- 145 percent of All-Americans -- felt that, eventually, most creatures should be rained upon, with "eventually" taking on many disparate meanings. In some cases, "eventually" meant pastures and traffic signals and duck calls, and in other cases, "eventually" meant Manned Mars Project Cuisine. In a book I read as a boy, entitled Weather, which covered weather, and dealt, largely, with weather, a rather wordy narrator (employer: NOAA) in bluegray prose ridiculed rain dances and other "indigenous" practices, as if to say that The Man has had better ideas on causing rain to drop from the sky. When was the last time The Man caused so much as a condensation? Hasn't The Man done enough to the climate? Our best chance for drought abatement would be for Hurricane Bob to strike again: He has struck the U.S. mainland three times: 1979, 1985, and 1991, one of the only hurricanes in Human History to make repetitive landfalls. We can only hope that Bob will return. We can put tiaras on our children and train spy satellites on our mirror images and play Mozart with an orchestra of chainsaws -- and maybe, just maybe, we will hydrate this studio apartment we have here called Earth. Or maybe if all of us dance the Hydration. Drink up! Work it out! xo

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Train Reading

I work in Baltimore and live, for the time being, in D.C. Which means: Commute. Walk to Metro; Metro to MARC; MARC to MICA, and in reverse at the quitting whistle. I am on the 7:21 express train that leaves D.C.'s Union Station for Baltimore's Penn Station, every morning. Above, you can see that the train passes through the Maryland All y'All Mountains (MA'AMs). If I'm lucky, I arrive at Penn Station by 5 minutes to 8:00 a.m. The campus of Maryland Institute College of Art -- where I direct the writing studio and learning resource center -- is quiet, then: Whatever art or crime or health-foods that has happened overnight, has settled down by daybreak. I climb four floors to my office which has a killer view: By killer, I mean various kinds of types of various shapes and sizes.

Every day, I look forward to that famous contact sport: Books / Reading. Especially in the morning, when the MARC is funeral-quiet: Weeping can be heard, even, on account of the death of Noise. My pal, Rod Smith, who is a fabulous writer and manages Bridge Street Books in Georgetown, D.C., hooked me up with some fantastic reads. A real winner was Ron Padgett's memoir of his friendship with Ted Berrigan, entitled, simply, Ted. Another pal, the sorely-missed Mark Wallace, who now resides in Carlsbad, Calif., recommended Patrik Ourednik's Europeana, which comes off like an abridged, biblical retelling of the 20th century European experience, with no artificial humor added; it's a wild read. (In my copy, I found a Rod Smith train ticket -- a detail that really baffled me for half a minute, so early in the morning.) In the first two months, I have also read books by Linh Dinh, Jean Echenoz, Stephen Hawking, Nathaniel Mackey, Michael Ondaatje, Kurt Vonnegut, Mac Wellman, Ntozake Shange, W.D. Snodgrass, Katie Degentesh, and Rod's new collection, Deed, a must-read, just out from Iowa.

Today, I settled down with a collection of plays by Clifford Odets. One really has to start with Waiting for Lefty, which is probably Odets' best-known work. The setting isn't so much America as it is the labor movement, between the wars, and not so much management versus labor, but labor versus labor, and people versus people, as in wife pitted against husband. A coincidence that, yesterday, American auto workers went out on strike? I guess it goes without saying that they're striking against their employer, GM, but it would be kind of funny, I guess, if folks went out on strike against another, unrelated company. There should be an acronym for that: Like CAT or BAT or HAT. You'd fill in the words, yourself. And that's the "think" about 21st Century Acronyms (21CA) -- you don't even need to know what made them up in the first place, anymore. The differences between the labor movement in Waiting for Lefty and today: Numerous. Perhaps the most telling is, what I'll call, The Globalization of Our Eco-Political Problems. And "Eco" can mean anything you want it to mean: Ecology; Economy; Health-foods; Funk; Rodents; etc.

In other developments, I dropped a green tea pomegranate soda at Safeway the other day and it went crazy, there, on the floor, propelled by the thin jet of the soda itself as it went around in circles like a spinner or fireworks, constantly eluding my grasp and causing more than one person to skate in its gloopy wake. No Safeway officials saw me put the soda back on the shelf, with another pomegranate soda on top, but a few patrons did, and Oh, how they commented in more than one foreign language. It may be that we are all, as human beings, getting clumsier and clumsier. Global Clumsy (G-CLU) is not to be trifled with, Ladies and Gents. But that's a topic for a future post. In the meantime, I'll close by saying that I'll always associate Waiting for Lefty with the GM strike of '07; with the diesel MARC locomotive; with this era in my life -- hauling ass to work in the early tones of morning. And I will further remember this era by the first post, on this blog, and by saying to you, friends and readers, "Welcome," that I am Dan, Blood And, Gutstein, and I approve of this message.