Archive for December, 2012

It Is Accomplished

“I would like to go to the Lion’s Gate,” Raziel told him.

The Romanian volubly refused. When Raziel realized that his driver’s mind was not about to be changed, he got out of the taxi and set out on foot for the Old City.

Approaching the end of the Via Dolorosa, almost at the Lions’ Gate, above the shouting he heard a voice he knew. It was the voice of Adam De Kuff speaking from the upper quadrant of his interior universe, strong, unafraid, joyful, thoroughly delusional. Raziel shouldered his way through the ranks until he saw the man himself.

He wore what looked like an army jacket that fitted him so badly its cuffs stopped a little past his elbows. He had hugely baggy army trousers and untied muddy boots whose laces coiled around his ankles and twisted underfoot as he shuffled passionately from one end of the bench to the other like a dancing bear. There was a kippa on his head and a white scarf tied around his forehead like a turban and he crooned at the top of his voice.

Raziel kept trying to force his way closer to the old man. He had the notion of taking him away from there, before the thing failed utterly, before all spells and mercies were suspended, before whatever grace that had touched their pilgrimage was withdrawn and the violence and raw holiness of the place overwhelmed everyone.

De Kuff himself understood only that he was in the place he knew and loved best, the scene of his successes, the ancient Serapion and Pool of Israel. All that day he had been trying to reach the souls within himself as they weaved in and out of his consciousness. He had begun to think that everything he had ever believed about soul and mind was wrong. There was no way to exercise control.

But there at the Fountain, his souls were manifest and his heart was full, and in the completeness of his joy he had no choice but to tell about it. It was necessary to tell everyone, anyone, no matter how distressed or distracted they might be by politics or by the illusion of separateness and exile that burdened everyone. He felt elected and protected by God, ready to support the Ark in the holiest of places. He used the metaphors that were employed in this city, although, in a way, it might have been anywhere.

“Call me as you like,” he explained to the angry crowd. “I am the twelfth imam. I am the Bab al-Ulema. I am Jesus, Yeshi, Issa. I am the Mahdi. I am Moshiach. I have come to restore the world. I am all of you. I am no one.”

There were screams of terrible passion. “Perish he! Death!”

People began to throw stones.

“Death to the blasphemer!”

De Kuff opened his arms to them. For a moment those who were advancing on him stopped. Raziel, shouting, shoving, tried to get through.

“You don’t have to listen,” Raziel said to the crowd. “It’s all over. Rev,” he shouted to De Kuff, “it’s all over! Another time, man. Another soul. Another street.”

The men who were taking hold of De Kuff, pulling him down as he tottered on his bench, also laid hands on Raziel.

“Another day!” Raziel told them. “Another mountain!”

“I tell you, ” De Kuff informed them in his restrained Louisiana drawl. “That all was once One and will be and has always remained so. That God is One. And faith in Him is One. And all belief is One. And all believers in Him, regardless of sect, are One. Only the human heart divides. So it is written.

“See? Do you see?” De Kuff asked the men who were pulling him down. “Everyone’s waiting. And the separateness of things is false.”

He went on declaiming, using the images, the reversals, the metaphors everyone knew, expounding the souls, raising their voices, until the great holiness turned to fire and he lost consciousness.

—Robert Stone, Damascus Gate

Why Men Should Be Abolished

My colleague, who is a Scientist, has determined that the brain structure in human beings differs markedly, between men and women.

Women, their brains contain many folds, storing a dazzling array of information: from how to clean lampshades, to the ways and means of compacting more matter than exists in the entire universe into one small purse.

Men, however, their brains contain but two folds: one for sports, and one for pornography.

And contained within the sports fold, may be found the Will and Desire to engage make it stopin violently loud public belching.

Down a ways from the Manor is a lube shop. Those who work there are generally pleasant people. However, they are men. And one of these men is completely possessed by the Need to recurrently burp as loud as humanly possible.

Which is pretty damn loud.

And because this is a lube shop, the big metallic door to the thing is left open at all times. Presumably so that passing motorists will, from this open door, suddenly experience a brainshower that they could use some auto-juice, and so pull into the place.

However, this open door also means that whenever Belch Boy is possessed by his deliberate ructus disability, I get to hear it.

First thing this morning, while I was out with the elves wrestling the welfare recipients into a Santa Truck, this guy was over there vibrating his esophagus at decibel levels that caused blood to spout from all nearby ears. The elves were filled with Fear. They demanded narcotics; however, there were not enough in the Manor to properly medicate us all. So we remain pretty rattled. This is not the way that any Sane being would want to start Christmas Eve.

But we are not talking Sane beings here. We are talking human males.

No human female, in the entire history of the species, would ever somehow think it “cool” or “funny” or “impressive,” or whatever impression it is that passes through the sports lobe, to burp so loud that birds fall from the sky.

As such, one would think that deliberately belching louder than ten trains would have long ago been bred out of the species.

But no. The impulse must be truly strong, and deeply embedded, somewhere there in the y-chrome.

It needs to be Removed.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

On Friday, even as the demented ur-human Wayne LaPierre, chief primate of the National Retrovert Association, was yammering on camera that the nation’s schools should be bedecked with guns, in order to combat the menace of guns, some nutbag ran amok in Pennsylvania, with a gun, shooting up six people, including a woman decorating a church for Christmas.

Now, Pennsylvania has enough problems. Much of the place still glows in the dark, thanks to Three Mile Meltdown. In the state’s potato-chip factories, disgruntled deep-fried crisps are plotting rebellion. And the thing is almost coming for the gunsimpossible to spell—the “y,” “l, and “v,” are constantly getting confused, bumbling about changing places.

So, I decided, the last thing Pennsylvania needs is guns. Therefore, a giant magnet should be passed over the state, which would suck up all the guns.

Recalling from the documentary film Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer that Santa Claus, generally renowned as a communistic gift-giver, as well occasionally actually snatches objects from homes—besides the well-known pilfering of milk and cookies, Santa, the Rudolph documentary informs us, also scoops up neglected toys, which he deposits on the Island Of Misfit Toys, until they can be later delivered to children who more Want them—I decided to enquire if the chronically obese ho-ho human would be interested in getting in on the gun-magnet action.

The dude was busy, as might be expected, but I managed to get him on the horn, there at the North Pole.

“Santa,” I said, “this year, as usual, I have been both naughty and nice—it’s a quantum thing—and I was wondering if, this year for Christmas, I could get you to attach a giant magnet to your sleigh, and with it suck up all the guns in Pennsylvania, as you fly by.”

Santa, a Nordic deity, and therefore wiser than I, declared that this seemed a good idea, but that it would probably be best to suck up all the guns—all over the world.

And so, that is what is to happen.

A band of elves has just departed the Manor, having pressganged into temporary service Big Buck, Billy Buck Naked, White Head, Mr. Spindly Horns, Mr. Broken Horn, No You Can’t Get Through The Hole In The Fence With Those Antlers You Big Oaf, and various assorted different-one deer who usually hang around here as welfare recipients: these people are required as additional sleigh-pullers, since the vehicle is going to get damn heavy, with all those guns.

Because all the guns are going. Not just the pistols, rifles, and assault-insanities in the clinging hands of fear-possessed people and the police. But also every death-spewer—from pea-shooter to tank to aircraft carrier—owned and controlled by the world’s perfectly useless militaries. Santa is grabbing it all. To be transported back to the workshop, there to be melted down and transformed into toys.

It’s happening. Tonight. Watch for it.

There Are Always Uncles At Christmas

Who I Am

Christmas Lights

“I’m not mad. Because I have my agency to make sure that I use this event to do what I can to do whatever I can. I want to make sure that my family, my wife and my daughters, are taken care of. And that, if there is anything I can do to help anybody, at any time, anywhere, I’d be willing to do that.”

Robbie Parker, father of Emilie Parker

Single-payer health care is where the nation is going, it’s inevitable, and people will be much happier once they get there. In the meantime, all initiatives that arc that way should be supported.

Same with the guns. All the guns are going to go. That’s Emilie Parkerwhere the nation is going, it’s inevitable, and people will be much happier once they get there. In the meantime, all initiatives that arc that way should be supported.

The guns, they are done. They are instruments of living in Fear. And Fear is over. It’s no longer necessary. It is a product of the lizard brain. The brain is bigger than that now. The lizard brain peaked hundreds of millions of years ago. Its day is done.

The guns are going too from the police. Back in the 1970s, when police-militarization began truly getting out of hand, Ken Kesey wrote a thoughtful piece in which he saw that the police need to “lay down the gun.” That’s going to happen.

There won’t be any guns in the nation’s military. Because the nation won’t have a military. America is at peace with its neighbors, Canada and Mexico. And so no military is necessary.

In the early reports out of Connecticut, I was struck by this:

Connecticut is reaching out to other states to help with autopsies because they don’t have enough medical examiners.

There was no shortage of people with guns arriving on the scene. There never is. But for healers, Connecticut had to go out of state.

That is precisely the opposite of the way it should be. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were always a surfeit of healers, always on hand? But for folks with guns, a call would have to go out to other states?

That’s what’s coming. The age of the warrior is over. Old, and totally in the way. It’s the era of healers now.

Already happened.

There Is No Such Thing As A Grownup

“In Vence,” said Herzog, “my parents left me under a crucifix. And I asked them, my parents, ‘What happened to him?’ I meant the man on the cross, the Christ figure. I was then ten years of age and had no idea what a crucifix was. We lived in Paris. After the liberation I was not yet fourteen. The prefect told me who I was. That I was a Jew. That my parents, my family, had been delivered to the Germans and murdered by them. And I felt—what can I say—a recognition.”

“But you couldn’t leave the Church?”

“Oh,” Herzog said with a little shrug, “I didn’t care much about the Church. The Church was men, people. Some good, some not.” He looked at the floor.

“Then why?”

“Because I was waiting,” said Herzog. “Waiting where I had been left. At the foot of the cross. Out of spite or devotion, I don’t know.” He laughed and put a hand on Lucas’s shoulder. “Pascal says we understand nothing until we understand the principle from which it proceeds. Don’t you agree? So I understand very little.”

“We’re supposed to believe that Christ has gone on to reign in glory,” Lucas said.

“No,” said Herzog. “Jesus Christ suffers from now until the end. On the cross. He goes on suffering. Until the death of the last human being.”

“And that,” Lucas said, “brings you here?”

“Yes,” said Herzog. “To attend. To keep on waiting.”

From the steps of the church, the evening smelled of car exhaust and jasmine.

“I realize that in this kind of world,” Lucas said, “I have no business being so unhappy. I realize also that on a religious level I’ll always be a child. It’s absurd and I regret it.”

For the first time Herzog smiled.

“Don’t regret it, sir. Perhaps you know Malraux’s Anti-memoires? His priest tells us that people are much more unhappy than one might think.” He offered Lucas his hand. “And that there is no such thing as a grownup.”

—Robert Stone, Damascus Gate

The Rainbow

noahDon’t think that life is somewhere over the rainbow. What you’ve got right now, with your family, your friends, your house: this might be as good as life is ever going to be.

Life is not happening on the other side of the rainbow. We are on the other side of the rainbow.

—Rabbi Shaul Praver of Congregation Adath Israel, for Noah Posner

Many Mansions

(Something I reprint every now and again. Usually around this season. First appeared here. Seems a right day to print it again. For all the new little Christmas stars out of Connecticut. And everywhere else in this world. This universe. And all the others.)

* * *

In my Father’s house are many mansions.

—John 14:2

Christmastime again is here, and so be Santa, and so be Jesus.

A couple years ago, in contemplating Santa and Jesus, the two began to get confused in my mind. Santa Claus, for reasons that have never really been explained, devotes each year to overseeing minute laborers who fashion gifts which he annually delivers, in a single night, to all deserving children the world over. Jesus Christ, for reasons that have been variously explained, roamed for a short time across a relatively minute plot of land, uttering gnomic wisdoms, then was seized and subjected to excruciating suffering, so that all, deserving and undeserving alike, might be gifted with salvation.

When a sprout, I was taught that while Santa’s labors never end—a yearly, year-long grind—Jesus’ was a one-shot gig. Wander around Palestine, ascend the cross, into the tomb, three days later out again, brief appearances before various friends and lovers, then up to heaven for a well-deserved eternal rest.

I no longer believe that. I believe that, as is set forth here, “Jesus Christ suffers from now until the end. On the cross. He goes on suffering. Until the death of the last human being.” That is the mystic meaning of his tale: he suffers with all beings suffering in the exile of existence. And we are called upon to do the same—to grow to empathy, so that thy neighbor truly is thyself, and suffering everywhere, for everyone, may be eased. With this meaning there is no need for the resurrection. All of us are him, doing the same work; our work, his work, never ends.

For those who are wedded to the resurrection, the advances in science and philosophy in my lifetime, in the understanding of the multiple dimensions and multiple worlds about us, too mean that his work never ends. For the planets, it is now known, are innumerable, and so are the dimensional variations of this one. And if salvation is indeed his calling, he will forever be busy as twelve bastards, for there are those who need saving, inhabiting every one.

furthur=>

Kaddish

“Connecticut is reaching out to other states to help with autopsies because they don’t have enough medical examiners.”

help themin this place or in any other place
may there come abundant peace
grace, lovingkindness and compassion
long life
ample sustenance and salvation

may there be abundant peace from heaven
and good life
satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge
healing, redemption, forgiveness, atonement
relief and salvation

Reindeer For Rent, v2.0

Last holiday season I offered the young’un cat to Santa Claus as a possible new or additional reindeer. This year I renew the offer, though it must be said that now his rates have gone up.

As can be seen in the photo below, the young’un cat’s eyes remain googlyextremely googly; they put out plenty of light, and are not bound by space or time. Paired with Rudolph, there at the head of the team pulling the sleigh, the young’un cat would guarantee that Santa would never get lost, no matter how much fog or liquor he might encounter.

It is apparent, at least to me, that the jello-bellied gift-spewer Needs the young’un cat.

Last year I additionally opined that employment would be good for the young’un cat, to absorb his excess energies; among the excess, then, was his intensive involvement in a sleep-deprivation experiment, with myself as the subject.

This is what he was then doing to me:

No matter when I try to sleep, he eventually turns against it. And then works diligently, until it cannot be. He has decided, for example, that whatever portions of my body are covered with hair, he may assault, as I sleep, with his claws. My scalp is now so routinely excavated that I am thinking of hiring him out as a miner.

Because his excavating is always accompanied by operatic wails, I think I may hire him out as a musical miner. I have not heard miners emit sounds with this volume and intensity since those Welshmen in How Green Was My Valley.

I have also begun referring to the young’un cat as The Dream Crusher. This is because of late I have been gifted with extraordinary dreams; while there is a method I use to pull dreams into the waking state, most often these days that process is derailed, when the young’un cat decrees that my skull should be employed as his dartboard, or elects to eagerly ride his tricycle across my forehead.

Fortunately, over the ensuing year we have come to an accommodation. He now understands what is a Sane hour to arise, and does not assault me with either claws or operas unless I attempt to slumber past said hour.

He has also gained much, in work experience. The Manor, as I believe I have previously referenced (I haven’t?), has become a vortex of four-legged welfare recipients, waves of deer flowing through each day to stare at me with those doe eyes that claim they will drop immediately dead unless I shovel vast quantities of feed their way. They all have names, on their little welfare-recipient name-tags: Yearling Pet, Mom, Cutie, The Other Fawn, Dark Doe, Big Buck, Billy Buck Naked, White Head, Mr. Spindly Horns, Mr. Broken Horn, No You Can’t Get Through The Hole In The Fence With Those Antlers You Big Oaf, etc.

Anyway, the young’un cat goes out every morning to attempt to bring order to the horde. He has been fully accepted by these deer as The Ruler, or at least as rug-rucking, curtain-shredding Hellsomething that should not be run off.

Through the day, he further observes their maneuvers, this time from inside the house. At times he is compelled to ruck rugs and shred curtains, in apparent attempts to communicate to them Vital Messages.

I find this carnage objectionable, but understand that there is nothing to be done: I will simply have to wait until he moves beyond it, as with the sleep-deprivation Horror.

The point is, the young’un cat now has much daily experience with deer. And reindeer are just deer with some rein in front of them. So he is highly qualified to rangle Santa’s people. And is willing to do so. So long as the frigid fat man forks over sufficient Money. Said funds are, after all, Needed, round this place. To replace that which the young’un cat, in his youthful zeal, Runs Amok.

Where Santas Crawl And Elves Chunder

“The word is world!” Orson shouted at her.
“I said world!” she shouted back.
“Speak as though you came from New York,” he told her.
“I did come from New York. How does one from New York speak?”
“Not the way you speak!”
“Why should I talk like someone special?”
“Because you are.”
“Yes, but I don’t want you to be conscious of it.”

—Orson Welles and Eartha Kitt, in rehearsal for Time Runs

Across many cultures, many times, humans ritually combine in groups to consume vast quantities of intoxicants, commonly entering states of no, this world isn't weird at allinebriation so pronounced and prolonged that they often, later, bring new meaning to such phrases as “I did WHAT?” or “how do you mean, there are ‘charges’?”

This is particularly true of American humans, marooned as they are in a nation where people have been awash in intoxicants since the Founding.

Various “reasons” are summoned to engage in these bacchanalian rites. In America, these “reasons” can range from viewing the spectacle of identically-dressed young men furiously battling over balls, to honoring a calendar passage like a birthday, or genuflecting before a totem like the clover.

In recent years, humans in New York City have increasingly combined to decide that the advent of the Christmas season is reason enough to dress up like a Santa person, or one of his assistants or associates, consume vast quantities, and then pour out onto the streets to wantonly hump and heave upon them.

These humans call themselves SantaCon, and maintain that: “We do not pout. We do not cry. We are Jolly.”

It is further asserted that “SantaCon is a non-denominational, non-commercial, non-political and non-sensical Santa Claus convention that occurs once a year for absolutely no reason.”

Finally, “Santa does not accept corporate sponsorship or speak to the press.”

As can be seen here, it is evident that, as is true of so many things, SantaCon has inevitably spread, like bedbugs or bad writing, from out of New York, and into the larger World.

This year, the world’s very first 2012 iteration of SantaCon shall commence, today, December 13, in some place called Macomb, Illinois. Over the next week or so, the event shall ride a giant tsunami of hormones and liquor through such international hot-spots as Modesto, California and Boise, Idaho. As well as wee sleepy hamlets like London, Paris, Hong Kong, and Vienna. The SantaCons in locales such as santa gets nekkidSan Francisco and Fort Lauderdale feature a pronounced nakedness component, something absent in the fests in, say, Winnipeg, Buffalo, or Oslo. At least among those who want to continue to live.

Ur-iterations of this event seem to include the 1994 “Santarchy” of Suicide Club in San Francisco, and a 2005 anti-commercialization shindig in Auckland, New Zealand, one that boiled over into “such criminal acts as looting stores, throwing bottles at passing cars, and assaulting security guards.” Novelist Chuck Palahniuk, meanwhile, several times penned mention of  a “Santa Rampage,” which subsequently got loose from out of his books, and poured out onto the pavement.

Dispatches from the 2011 Manhattan SantaCon may be found beyond the “furthur.” Know that as the 2012 version convulses the planet, I will feel it my Duty to first Monitor the madness, and then Report it.

furthur=>

Take The A Train

Last year round this time, while mooning about on YouTube, I discovered that a Criminal had posted therein the film Holiday Affair, and in its entirety.

This is of course Against All Laws.

But this Criminal had managed for some months to choo-choo goingcleverly evade the hapless Clem Kadiddlehopper II, the sadsack in charge, such as it is, of YouTube security.

Naturally I was compelled to share this joyous theft with red readers.

Here we are nearly a year later, and the thing is still up there.

Let us not wonder at the reasons why. Just enjoy, then, instead.

As I mentioned last year, my daughter, the well-known award-winning deviant, and I, are both keen appreciators of Christmas movies. Particularly old black-and-white Christmas movies. And one of the more obscure black-and-white holiday films of which we are fond, is this one: Holiday Affair, a 1947 effort featuring Janet Leigh, Robert Mitchum, Wendell Corey, and a toy train.

What I find most fascinating, in recent re-viewing, is the train. It opens the film, and also pretty much drives it. Towards the close of the thing, even some of the characters are beginning to notice, and then comment upon, how much this toy train is steering their lives. At film’s end the three principals unite, happy-ending time, on a full-size train, a New Year’s special, headed cross-country. Except the camera pulls back, and we learn that they are not on a full-size train at all. They are on that toy train, the one that opened and drove the story.

As they say: as above, so below. And vice versa.

It Came Upon A Cthulhu Quite Clear

(Another seasonal fave, originally posted in December 2009.)

A Redding, California substitute teacher has pronounced a crusade that will place before California voters a ballot initiative that would require state schools to teach students about Christmas carols, and then order them to either sing or listen to the things.

The teacher’s name—no, this is not a joke—is Merry Susan Hyatt.

Fretting that “we were having Christmas without Jesus,” Hyatt said of her initiative: “this is to make sure that we are allowed to have Christmas carols, and no school board member or principal is going to tell us, ‘no, you may not play ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ in your classroom.”

Hyatt’s initiative would permit heathens to extract their children from these annual assemblages of the Godly. Said outcasts would be provided with an unspecified “appropriate alternative,” one that would hopefully not resemble too much the bastinado or the boot.

Hyatt believes that the failure of state schools to command children to intone “Silent Night” is responsible for schoolyard violence and other upbubblings from Hell.

“The kids don’t have a moral compass,” she said. “It’s not much, but I think it [Christmas carols] would help.”

Hyatt said she’s been surprised at the level of violence in many elementary school classrooms where she has taught, and she believes it’s because Jesus isn’t present in Christmas celebrations.

“You have to invite Jesus to have him work in your life,” she said, adding that if you have a Christmas party without Jesus, he won’t help. “He’s the prince of peace; he’s the only one who can get these kids to stop being so violent.”

Hyatt contends that once students are required to repeatedly recite “Good King Wenceslas,” then Good will reign.

“These kids, they need it,” she said. “They need to see that we believe in Jesus, and he is the Prince of Peace. That’s why we are the best country on Earth.”

At first I considered circulating a competing ballot initiative that would similarly require schoolchildren to sing such alternative Christmas carols as “Hark, Hear Shakti’s Bells They Ring,” “Good King Vlad The Impaler,” “Santeria Night,” “We Three Bodhisattvas Of Orient Are,” “Oh Come Allah’s Faithful,” “Carol of the Baal,” “Good Pagan Women Rejoice,” “What Cthulhu Is This,” “Thor Rest Ye Merry Mayhem Men,” “O Hopi Night,” and “He Came Across To Moses Quite Clear.”

Then I realized that it would be of greater benefit to such children, their parents, their heirs, and to all on earth, as it is in heaven, if, before leaving high school, every California child could be enabled to play the song offered below, with equivalent technique, and all the very spirit, heart and soul.

Nuts With Numbers

I have been prepared for quite some time for people to get wiggy on December 21, 2012. That is because the white people screwed up, in their reading of the old Mayan calendar, and so believe that on that date the world will come to some sort of end.

Kind of a Harold Camping thing, but without the Jesus, or the weird old man.

And, sure enough, as the dread day nears, the frenzy increasingly foams, with flocks of the apocalypse-now faithful streaming to Mount Rtanj in Serbia and Pic de Bugarach in carve pumpkins, not peopleFrance, sites where it is believed that Good extraterrestrials will Somehow kindly contrive to protect those assembled from Armageddon.

But until the last couple days I managed to miss that amongst some of the humans it was not possible to wait until December 21 to get Strange. Instead, there must needs be an outbreak of weirdness today—December 12, 2012. Presumably because in white-people time-counting all the numbers line up, as 12/12/12. Sorta like the slot machine coming up all cherries.

And so we have the spectacle of this man in Texas who, in honor of the day, was compelled to carve a pentagram into the back of his son.

A Richland Hills man has been arrested and charged with assaulting his son after telling a 911 operator he carved a pentagram into his 6-year-old son’s back.

Just after midnight Wednesday, officers were dispatched to a home on the 3700-block of Ruth Road after the boy’s father, identified by police as Brent Troy Bartel, called 911 and said, “I shed some innocent blood.”

When the dispatcher asked what the man meant by that, the man replied, “I inscribed a pentagram on my son.”

The dispatcher asked why and the man said, “It’s a holy day.”

Apparently the nimrod used a box cutter. The good news is that the carving is not deep enough to require stitches, and the child is expected to be alright. Physically.

Now, I have been known to now and again get wired behind numbers. But never have I felt compelled to seek out sharp objects and begin inscribing designs on those near and dear.

I have two words for ol’ Tex there. Dude: Halloween. We have a perfectly good holiday, and every year too, when one may carve to one’s heart’s content. The pumpkins won’t mind. And working out on said vegetables will not get you in the papers. Or put you in the pokey.

We See You

A traditional indicator that one’s consumption of methamphetamine and/or cocaine has proceeded beyond the bounds of reason is determinedly marching out of the house at three o’clock in the morning to tinker in the innards of an automobile. Another is the glass jar containing the accumulated invisible spiders and mites plucked from one’s pores, recurrently flourished before various friends, acquaintances, we see youand medical personnel. Then there is the conviction that down at the neighborhood church, seemingly respectable burghers maintain in the basement a satanic child-sex ring. And finally, there is the Knowledge that there on the top of the television, somewhere in the cable box, They are Looking at you.

Seems now we’re going to have to strike this last one off the list. Because it is about to become Real.

Verizon, Comcast, Google TV, and Microsoft have all submitted patent applications for televisions and/or DVRs designed to Look and Listen, whether cocaine is drooling out of your nostrils, methamphetamine is gibbering in your veins, or no.

More and more in this world, it is no longer possible to make shit up. No matter how Wrong or Weird it may be, chances are that, somewhere, it is Real.

Take Verizon’s proposed Watch Box, bristling with cameras and microphones, and traveling under the terrifying rubric “Detection Facility 104.” Here is some of what the company told the gub’mint boys the device will Do.

—If your DVR hears you getting frisky on the couch, it will input terms like “romance, love, cuddle” into the system and play “a commercial for a romantic getaway vacation, a commercial for a contraceptive, a commercial for flowers, a commercial including a trailer for an upcoming romantic comedy movie.”

—”Additionally or alternatively, if detection facility 104 detects that a couple is arguing/fighting with each other, advertising facility 106 may select an advertisement associated marriage/relationship counseling.”

—Your DVR will be able to know what kind of beer you’re drinking: “If detection facility 104 detects a particular object (e.g., a Budweiser can) within a user’s surroundings, advertising facility 106 may select an advertisement associated with the detected object (e.g., a Budweiser commercial).”

—If you seem stressed, to be considerate the DVR will show you an ad for “aromatherapy candles.”

The mind reels. It pictures law-enforcement officers arriving at the scene of the latest domestic murder-suicide, wading through buckets of sad blood, as over there in the “entertainment center” Detection Facility 104 serenely cycles through sunny blooms of flowers, cheery seas of beer cans, a clutch of smell-powered flame objects, and the Kind and Concerned visage of Dr. Feelgood, renowned relationship adept.

Do we need Detection Facility 104? No. What should be done with it? Hunter S. Thompson knows: it should be “hurled out to sea and stomped down like a dwarf in a shitrain.”

So let it be written. So let it be done.

Into The Light

The French, they can differ from other humans.

They are for instance known, in the immortal, if crude, words of National Lampoon, as folks who “fight with their feet and fuck with their faces.”

Now it seems they have determined that a proper way to honor Mary, mother of Jesus of Nazareth, is to light up a building like a pinball machine, and then play it.

For many centuries, the people of Lyon have in early December paid homage to Mary, in gratitude to the goddess-woman for interceding with the Mean Man to spare the place from the plague, back in 1643.

In them Olden Times, said homage involved a procession culminating at the Basilica of Fourviere, where candles were lit and offerings presented.

In 1852, the sculptor Joseph Hugues Fabisch erected a Mary statue next to the Basilica. The people of Lyon in that year planned for December 8 a mammoth Mary party. Here is what happened:

Leading up to the inauguration, everything was in place for the festivities: the statue was lit up with flares, fireworks were readied for launching from the top of Fourvière Hill and marching bands were set to play in the streets. The prominent Catholics of the time suggested lighting up the facades of their homes as was traditionally done for major events such as royal processions and military victories.

However, on the morning of the big day, a storm struck Lyon. The master of ceremonies hastily decided to cancel everything and to push back the celebrations to the following Sunday. In the end the skies cleared and the people of Lyon, who had been eagerly anticipating the event, spontaneously lit up their windows, descended into the streets and lit flares to illuminate the new statue and the Chapel of Notre-Dame-de-Fourvière, later superseded by the Basilica. The people sang songs and cried “Vive Marie!” until late in the night.

In years since, Lyon humans have each December 8 placed Mary-devoted lit-candles on their windowsills. The place is each year alive with light. Meanwhile, in the center of town, various assorted performances and such have built upon one another until these days they draw up to 4 million tourists, to what has become a four-day event.

As it is necessary on this planet that things mutate to survive, the Mary-fest now features some very clever humans, from the French lighting company CT Light Concept, who project with colored lights an assortment of pinball bumpers and flippers onto the side of the Celestine Theater. The display fully playable, as can be seen in the video below.

Pretty cool.

Frisky and alive.

The French: good with light. Knowing Mary as the one and only. And thereby sailing into the great wide open.

Real

(This is for those a-worryin’ about 12/21/12, or, indeed, any little ol’ thing. And yes, in that photo, that is “my” “hand.”)

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

“I have this beetle here in one hand,” Aristotle proclaimed one day, “with a single oval shell and eight jointed legs, and I have here in my other hand this second beetle of lighter hue which has twelve legs and a shell that is longer and segmented. Can you explain the differences?”

“Yes,” said Plato. “There is no such thing as a beetle, in either of your hands. There is no such thing as your hand. What you think of as a beetle and a hand are merely reflections of your recognition of the idea of a beetle and a hand. There is only the idea, which existed before these specimens came into being. Otherwise, how could they come into being? And the form of the idea, of course, is always eternal and real, and never changes. What you are holding in what you think are your hands are shadows of that idea. Have you forgotten my illustration of the cave in my Republic? Read it once more. That the two beetles you have are different is clear enough proof that neither is real. It therefore follows that only the form or the idea of the form is susceptible to study, and it is something about which we will never be able to learn more than we already know. Ideas alone are worth contemplating. You are not real, my vain young Aristotle. I’m not real. Socrates himself was but an imitation of himself. All of us are merely inferior copies of the form that is us. I know you understand me.”

—Joseph Heller, Picture This

The Wheel

(Yesterday there was Pearl Harbor Day. So let’s bring this one back.)

∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞

After this world war, the United States and the USSR may unquestionably emerge unhurt when all other nations are devastated. I can imagine, therefore, that our country, which is placed between these two giants, may face great hardships. However, there is no need for despair. When these two lose the competition of other countries in their respective vicinities, they will grow careless and corrupt. We will simply have to sleep in the woodshed and eat bitter fruits for a few decades. Then when we have refurbished our manliness inside and out, we may still achieve a favorable result.

—Lord Koichi Kido, to Emperor Hirohito of Japan, December 3, 1940

Isoroku Yamamoto was a gambler. Though cards, and other games that matched him against fellow human beings, were too often too easy for him; shortly after he learned poker, while attending Harvard, he thoroughly cleaned out his classmates.

So roulette was his game. Like most who have become truly entranced by the wheel, Yamamoto understood that it was there that one may best flickeringly apprehend the ineffable laws of chance, and, maybe, occasionally, fleetingly, ride them. Aboard the wheel, Yamamoto became one of the few people ever to “break the bank at Monte Carlo”: that is, he won more chips than were present at the table, requiring that a black shroud be thrown over the whole works until replacement chips could be summoned. Yamamoto often mused aloud that he would like one day to quit his day job, and open his own casino.

Yamamoto was also a conjurer, adept in feats of magic. His speciality was making things disappear. At a White House dinner in December of 1929, he enchanted down-table aides to President Herbert Hoover by vanishing coins and matchsticks.

In December of 1941, Yamamoto successfully vanished an entire fleet. One moment the ships were in port, there in Japan; the next moment, they were gone. Reappearing some days later, unobserved, off the coast of Hawaii. From this disappeared fleet, was launched the attack on Pearl Harbor.

As a gambler, Yamamoto didn’t think much of his country’s imperial adventurings. He pronounced the invasion of China doomed: too much land, too many people. He likewise predicted failure for any Japanese war on the United States: too much wealth, too many resources. While traveling in the States, Yamamoto had passed through oil country in Texas, and there observed in one field more oil than was present in all of Japan. War runs on oil. Japan didn’t have any. Once the US and its allies ceased shipping oil to Japan, the taps ran dry. By December 7, 1941, many of the private vehicles in Japan still on the road were running on charcoal.

But although he thought it a mistake, Yamamoto, at his emperor’s command, devised the plan of attack on Pearl Harbor. And when that attack was over, it was Yamamoto who in the States was made to shoulder much of the blame: the nasty little arch-fiend of a sneak who perpetrated the “day that will live in infamy.”

And thus it was that, in April of 1943, Yamamoto’s spirit disappeared from his body. Departing through a bullet hole in his head, drilled there at the personal command of President Franklin Roosevelt, who had ordered Yamamoto’s assassination. In “Operation Vengeance.” America much more honest and direct, then, in its operational code names.

furthur=>

Christmas In Many Lands

party

Book ‘Em, Santo

(The latest mutation of a seasonal favorite that previously appeared, with various different-one words, here and here.)

The frenzy to arrest people long ago veered completely out of control. And now, as we enter this holiday season, we learn that these days it is necessary to place in the pokey even people who but publicly deny the existence of Santa Claus.

And this didn’t even happen in America. It was the Canadians, who did this.

Seems that during a Kingston, Ontario Christmas parade, a man, seized by the need to speak truth to power, and fortified by alcohol, shocked the children assembled by volubly informing them that Santa Claus is just made-up shit.

Police promptly picked him up and heaved him into the hoosegow.

People at the annual Santa Claus parade reported that a man was moving through the crowd telling childrenReal “the truth” about Santa Claus, saying that he wasn’t real.

“It hits every officer,” [Kingston policeman Steve] Koopman told the Canadian National Post, “as most of us have children ourselves. Some people have been saying, ‘We didn’t know police arrested for telling the truth.’ Some of us may disagree with that. In all honesty, he was disturbing everyone there on the thoroughfare.

“He was disturbing the families, obviously disturbing the children. We felt it very necessary to take him off the street and think the charges were warranted,” Koopman explained.

Koopman noted that the person arrested had his hair gelled into two “horns,” making him look like the famous Grinch from the Christmas classic, How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Probably we will next be subjected to stories in which the children assaulted by this horrific Grinch and his inconvenient truth, were all rounded up and clapped into camps, for intensive psychological counseling. As the years go by, we will recurrently learn that many of them, permanently crippled by this incident, all counseling and treatment having, alas, failed, ran utterly wild in lives of the most heinous crimes.

I mean, shit, it happened to me.

Though when I was told that Santa was a figment, no squad cars came roaring up to disgorge beefy men with big clubs, to grapple my dad into the back seat, and then screech him off to the jailhouse.

furthur=>

There Will Be Blood

Back in the Olden Days, men regarded women as but sexual vessels: women were instruments with which men experienced sexual pleasure; whether women themselves got anything hot and juicy out of the experience, to men this mattered not.

Too, men wantonly roamed their pee-pees across the land, spewing seed in all and sundry. While a woman who shared her delta of venus with someone precogsother than her principal partner could expect to be consigned to a jail, morgue, or asylum.

That was then. This is now.

Now, if you are a man, and you fail to ensure that your woman scales the sexual heights, you may by that woman be attacked and beaten. And if you are a man, and your woman suspects that your Clenis may have gone a-roaming, you may by that woman be killed.

Last week a Manatee, Florida woman went maenad when her lover neglected to drag her over the rainbow. According to the police report:

[They] are boyfriend and girlfriend who live in the same home and are involved in a sexual relationship. According to a statement obtained from [the man], he and [the maenad] were involved in sexual intercourse. [He] then climaxed and [she] did not. At that time, she became upset and began hitting and scratching him, causing scratches near his eye and nose. He also stated that this is not the first time she has been physical with him, and that she has many issues from her past and that she “goes off” frequently.

This fellow could have saved himself a lot of trouble if he had simply heeded the wise advice imparted by those noted relationship therapists the Grateful Dead in their sex manual “Sugar Magnolia”:

she don’t come
and I don’t follow

Also last week, prosecutors revealed that a Pennsylvania woman accused of slaying her boyfriend last April did so because she “smelled sex” on him. The woman and the dead man had been lovers for eight weeks. When she suspected that his Clenis had been sampling other scents, it was necessary for her to retrieve her handgun and shoot him.

The other night I was watching Diner, Barry Levinson’s film about a group of Baltimore lads back in the Olden Days of 1959. These young men are entranced by, desire, do not understand, and are more than a little bit scarified by women. In their own personal lexicon, they refer to these women as “death.” It is possible that these boys were precogs.

Sheep Dips

One would like to believe that the Americans are redeemable. Problem is, conflicting with such a belief, keep coming the Facts.

For instance, it was previously Known that 58% of those Americans identifying as Republicans either believed, or weren’t sure, that the black man in the republicanWhite House was born outside the US; 52% of these Americans decreed that it was either “definitely true” or “probably true” that the black man “sympathizes with the goals of Islamic fundamentalists who want to impose Islamic law around the world”; while 24% of all Americans had concluded the black man is, in fact, the Antichrist.

Now, the black man having thoroughly thrashed Captain Underpants, some 49% of Republican Americans have Decided that he did not legitimately win the election—because the contest was in fact “stolen” by ACORN, an organization that has not existed for more than two years.

Why is it, one may cry, like Lear mad upon the heath, that so many of the Americans, they persist in dragging their knuckles right down to the ground?

Some doubledome out of Harvard, writing for the New York Times, may have the answer. And that answer can be expressed in one word: sheep.

In a piece titled “Why Are States So Red And Blue,” Stephen Pinker opines that the sort of ur-humans who are convinced the black man is an Islamic Antichrist elevated to office by Acorns, are descendants of people who ran livestock across the land; meanwhile, the Sane people, who eschew such beliefs, sprang from the loins of farmers.

Writes Pinker:

The historian David Hackett Fischer traces the divide back to the British settlers of colonial America. The North was largely settled by English farmers, the inland South by Scots-Irish herders. Anthropologists have long noted that societies that herd livestock in rugged terrain tend to develop a “culture of honor.” Since their wealth has feet and can be stolen in an eye blink, they are forced to deter rustlers by cultivating a hair-trigger for violent retaliation against any trespass or insult that probes their resolve. Farmers can afford to be less belligerent because it is harder to steal their land out from under them, particularly in territories within the reach of law enforcement. As the settlers moved westward, they took their respective cultures with them. The psychologist Richard Nisbett has shown that Southerners today continue to manifest a culture of honor which yeehawlegitimizes violent retaliation. It can be seen in their laws (like capital punishment and a stand-your-ground right to self-defense), in their customs (like paddling children in schools and volunteering for military service), even in their physiological reactions to trivial insults.

Admittedly, it’s hard to believe that today’s Southerners and Westerners carry a cultural memory of sheepherding ancestors.  But it may not be the herding profession itself that nurtures a culture of honor so much as living in anarchy. All societies must deal with the dilemma famously pointed out by Hobbes: in the absence of government, people are tempted to attack one another out of greed, fear and vengeance. European societies, over the centuries, solved this problem as their kings imposed law and order on a medieval patchwork of fiefs ravaged by feuding knights. The happy result was a thirty-fivefold reduction in their homicide rate from the Middle Ages to the present. Once the monarchs pacified the people, the people then had to rein in the monarchs, who had been keeping the peace with arbitrary edicts and gruesome public torture-executions. Beginning in the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment, governments were forced to implement democratic procedures, humanitarian reforms and the protection of human rights.

There is More:

When the first American settlers fanned out from the coasts and other settled areas, they found themselves in anarchy all over again. The historian David Courtwright has shown that there is considerable truth to the cinematic clichés of the Wild West and the mountainous South of Davy Crocket, Daniel Boone and the Hatfields and McCoys. The nearest sheriff might be 90 miles away, and a man had to defend himself with firearms and a reputation for toughness. In the all-male enclaves of cattle and mining towns, young men besotted with help me spockhonor and alcohol constantly challenged one another’s mettle and responded to these challenges, pushing rates of violence through the roof . . . .

But then why, once stable government did arrive, did it not lay claim to the monopoly on violence that is the very definition of government? The historian Pieter Spierenburg has suggested that “democracy came too soon to America,” namely, before the government had disarmed its citizens. Since American governance was more or less democratic from the start, the people could choose not to cede to it the safeguarding of their personal safety but to keep it as their prerogative. The unhappy result of this vigilante justice is that American homicide rates are far higher than those of Europe, and those of the South higher than those of the North.

So, there you have it. As to Lenin’s question—what is to be done?—the answer is: a Big Saw. The land masses occupied by the Sheep People simply must be physically separated from the lands of the Sane People. They may then be allowed to drift out into the Atlantic, these Sheep People, where they can fire their guns and guzzle moonshine and electrocute Wrong’Uns, riding all day and all night with Adam and Eve on dinosaurs to church, to their little gnarled hearts’ content.

And if and when they evolve, these Sheep People, the rest of the Americans may allow them to drift back, and dock.


When I Worked

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