Archive for October, 2010

Touching The Flame

Two happy lovers make one bread,
a single moon drop in the grass.
Walking, they cast two shadows that flow together;
waking, they leave one sun empty in their bed.

Of all the possible truths, they chose the day;
they held it, not with ropes but with an aroma.
They did not shred the peace; they did not shatter words;
their happiness is a transparent tower.

The air and wine accompany the lovers.
The night delights them with its joyous petals.
They have a right to all the carnations.

Two happy lovers, without an ending, with no death,
they are born, they die, many times while they live:
they have the eternal life of the Natural.


I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
Silent and starving, I prowl through the streets.
Bread does not nourish me, dawn disrupts me, all day
I hunt for the liquid measure of your steps.

I hunger for your sleek laugh,
your hands the color of a savage harvest,
hunger for the pale stones of your fingernails,
I want to eat your skin like a whole almond.

I want to eat the sunbeam flaring in your lovely body,
the sovereign nose of your face,
I want to eat the fleeting shade of your lashes,

and I pace around hungry, sniffing the twilight,
hunting for you, for your hot heart,
Like a puma in the barrens of Quitratue.

—Pablo Neruda


The Clenis In Winter

(Since in American culture it is on Halloween common to assume the identity of another, I figure today is as good a day as any to revisit this piece I originally posted February 3, 2008 to the Great Pumpkin, in which I assumed the identity of, and spoke as, Bill Clinton’s fabled member, The Clenis.

(I was feeling then generous to both Clintons, I and II, because it seemed to me then certain that their son and heir, Barack Obama, would become the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, rather than Clinton II.

(I should have known they still had a lot more fight in them, the Clintons. And they both made me very, very angry at times, over the next several months, as they continued to roughly resist the inevitable. But though, like Henry II in the film clip embedded at the end of this piece, Clinton I surely wanted to kill his son, in the end he just couldn’t do it. Today, like Clinton II, he actually works for him.

(Since this story sorta goes on forever, it’s okay if you don’t finish reading it until next Halloween.)

Hey. Clenis here. How ya’ll doin’? Sure been a while.

Yeah, used to be you couldn’t look at a TV, pass a radio, or pick up a newspaper, without runnin’ into me.

Then, I was on everybody’s lips. Back during that Publican stage-directed soap opera, 17th-Century style, where my havin’ gone on walkabout was used to try to whip ol’ Bill, like some latter-day Hester Prynne, from out the Oval Office.

No, I couldn’t believe it, either. No more than could the rest of the world—out there they were first amused, then bewildered, and finally pretty scared. Would have locked their doors to us, if they could. As it is, in the histories, when the Clenis impeachment comes ’round, it will go down writ large, as one of the most embarrassing American spectacles of the century . . . right alongside the WWII internment camps, and that imperial war on Spain phonied up by an excitable asthmatic and a dour newspaperman.

But that was then. These days, it ain’t me that’s gettin’ Bill into trouble. Nope: this time the offending organ is his mouth. Course, they’re gettin’ it all wrong about his mouth, now, just like they once got it all wrong about me. Jump over the “furthur” there, and I’ll tell you about it.


Day Of The Dead

The Mayor didn’t speak again before they reached Orense; an idea quite strange to him had lodged in his brain. Why is it that the hate of a man—even of a man like Franco—dies with his death, and yet love, the love which he had begun to feel for Father Quixote, seemed now to live and grow in spite of the final separation and the final silence—for how long, he wondered with a kind of fear, was it possible for that love of his to continue? And to what end?

—Graham Greene, Monsignor Quixote

Bees Best Bill

I like this one.

Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, have determined that bees can solve complex mathematical problems that keep computers busy, mystified, for days.

Bees quickly learn, somehow, to fly the shortest route between flowers discovered in random order . . . and using a brain the size of a grass seed.

Computers, meanwhile, lag far behind, approaching the problem by methodically comparing the length of all possible routes, and then selecting the one that measures the shortest.

Bees here effectively solve the “travelling salesman problem,” which involves finding the shortest route permitting a travelling salesman to call at all the locations s/he needs to visit.

Dr Nigel Raine, from Royal Holloway’s school of biological sciences, said: “Foraging bees solve travelling salesman problems every day. They visit flowers at multiple locations and, because bees use lots of energy to fly, they find a route which keeps flying to a minimum.”

Using computer-controlled artificial flowers to test bee behaviour, he wanted to know whether the insects would follow a simple route defined by the order in which they found the flowers, or look for the shortest route.

After exploring the location of the flowers, the bees quickly learned to fly the best route for saving time and energy.

Science Men would like to figure out how bees do this, so they can apply it to such aspects of “modern living” as traffic flows, internet information, and business supply chains.

“Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour,” complained Raine. “We need to understand how they can solve the travelling salesman problem without a computer.”

Well . . . “things keep their secrets,” as Heraclitus saw, some 2500 years ago. Can’t expect them to cough up those secrets just ’cause you want to unruck your roads. Bees may have brains the size of a grass seed, but, as these Science Men have learned, they surely ain’t dumb.

Obviating Aunt Sarah

Just in time for Halloween, Aunt Sarah has come screeching down from out of the tundra to make Real our worst nightmares: she will forever stain the name of our nation by running for president in 2012.

That is, if nobody else does.

The ever-imbecilic Nimrod of the North babbled onto Entertainment Tonight to describe her 2012 decision-making process as follows:

“It’s going to entail a discussion with my family [and] a real close look at the lay of the land, to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion, whether there are already candidates out there who can do the job . . . or whether there’s nobody willing to do it, to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you, just going forward according to what I think the priorities should be.

“If there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this.”

First of all, we know that this “discussion with my family” business is horseshit. She spilled the same sewage about her decision to accept John McCain’s addled invitation to join him on the 2008 GOoPer ticket, claiming to Sean Klannity she put the matter to a “family vote.” But we know from Michael Gross’ October Vanity Fair piece that in this she lied, as she lies about so many things.

The children did not, as Sarah has claimed, have a chance to weigh in on her decision to run for vice president. She did not even deliver the news to them personally; as has been reported, she asked McCain’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, to do it for her.

Second, if all that is needed to prevent Aunt Sarah from befouling our land in pursuit of the presidency, is somebody else running for the office “with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion,” then I am in a position to abort Aunt Sarah’s 2012 candidacy at once. Because I embody all three of those attributes. And although I would certainly prefer almost anything else—even remaining in this cave, dribbling the contents of my brainpan out on to this blog—I am willing, for the good of the nation, the world, and indeed all of the universe(s), to wander the land, for nigh on two years, stuffing into my mouth corndogs and scrapple and Philly cheesesteaks, and spewing out of my mouth platitudes and nonsense and gibberish—a.k.a., seek the presidency—so that Aunt Sarah won’t.

So that’s it, Aunt Sarah. I’m in. That means, by your own terms, you’re out. See ya. Go eat some moose or something.

Finally, it is well that I have made this decision, and so saved our nation from the scourge of Aunt Sarah, because this Entertainment Tonight interview discloses that she is afflicted with multiple personalities: “if there’s nobody else to do it, then of course I would believe that we should do this.” See: “we.” There’s more than one of her in there. This I have suspected all along. In fact, I believe that if we could perceive Aunt Sarah in more dimensions, we would see that there are dozens of heads sprouting from that neck. The ancients knew this woman. She’s a hydra.

Silver Springs

I like that they’ve found silver on the moon. It is right and meet that silver should be there, for people have associated silver with the Moon for a long, long time; just as they have associated gold with the Sun.

The association probably began with the similarity in color: “by the light of the silvery moon.” Alchemists referred to silver as Diana or Luna, Roman names for the goddess of the Moon; silver’s alchemic symbol was a crescent moon, and it was associated in the art with birth. Quite rightly, because the Moon has long been regarded as female, as the Sun is male.

Selene is a name of the Moon, from the Greek, denoting light, radiance, brightness. Selene as deity was the daughter of Hyperion and Theia, sister to Eos and Helios. Come nightfall, Selene pulls her chariot across the heavens, pausing only to kiss her lover Endymion, the setting sun.

The power associated with the Moon, and with the deity Selene, is en-chantment. The Moon, and silver, and Selene, also symbolize the soul, eternity, immortality.

The Chinese believe there are silver palaces on the Moon: “Then they entered the spreading halls. The silver stories of the castle towered one above the other, and its walls and columns were all formed of liquid crystal. In the walls were cages and ponds, where fishes and birds moved as though alive. The whole moon-world seemed made of glass.”

Silver for eons has been the metal of choice in most all mystical traditions. Silver objects are said to empower the wearer with psychic abilities, or other intuitive perceptions; silver objects are used to “draw down the moon” during pagan lunar ceremonies. Silver is believed to be calming and protective; it can reflect the light of both the Moon and the Sun, and so can work as a shield against negativity.

So I like that they’ve found silver on the Moon. I don’t, though, really like how they found it: by bombing the place.


Year Zero

Used to be, there on the lefty blogs, you’d encounter people who wanted to imprison, torture, and execute members of BushCo. These penalties were to be exacted to punish members of BushCo for imprisoning, torturing, and executing people in the War on Terra. I don’t know how many times I was subjected to the Old Testament disconnect of someone wanting to authorize the waterboarding of Darth Cheney because Darth Cheney had authorized waterboarding.

Then, for a time, there came calls to place in adjoining prison cells in The Hague George II and Barack Obama. The theory here was that the latter has aided and abetted the former by declining to imprison, torture, and execute him. The people proposing this punishment don’t know the law from a leachfield. But then they don’t feel that they have to. For they’ve read Queeg Green-wald. Failing to understand that Greenwald’s take on the law is as extreme as John Yoo’s.

While there stills sounds occasionally the tocsin for brutalizing BushCo principals and Obama “enablers” for Operation Iraqi Fiefdom or for torture, the vengeful focus, I notice, has shifted now more towards bankers. It is understood, somehow, that people on Wall Street are Liars, and Thieves, and they have Robbed us. The Outrage is occasioned by financial matters that are extremely complex, ones that are not understood by any of those calling for the most extreme of penalties. But it isn’t understanding that is important. Vengeance is all.

And so today I come across someone who, in setting the conditions that must be met in order to secure his vote for Barack Obama in 2012, led off with a demand that “at least 1000 Wall Street executives and senior management go to jail (the number jailed during the much smaller S&L crisis).”

Here, this person is indistinguishable from BushCo. Like BushCo in the War on Terra, he marshals no evidence against those that he would cage. No, he will cage them simply because he believes they are Bad. He is actually worse than BushCo, because he has settled upon an arbitrary number of people who must be caged. Both this person, and BushCo, lie on a continuum that culminates in the Khmer Rouge.

These are not people motivated by justice or compassion. They are instead akin to those Hunter S. Thompson identified as among those most addicted to the televised Watergate hearings: “millions of closet Hell’s Angels whose sole interest in watching the hearings was the spectacle of seeing once-powerful men brought weeping to their knees.”

Just as Howard Kurtz noted, correctly, in regards to the clamoring for the heads of BushCo officials, after BushCo had left office: “I have rarely seen the kind of passion that now surrounds the torture debate, even more, it seems, than when it was going on.” So too do these putative lefties now, belatedly, want to rumble down the street the tumbrils, packing aboard them various and sundry Wall Streeters, motivated most by the desire to see these people suffer, for offenses they can no more lucidly articulate than can a teabagger.

Just being a “Wall Street exeuctive[] [or] senior management”: that is enough. As being involved in some manner in the War on Terra apparatus: that is enough. As, for the Khmer Rouge, simply wearing glasses, that was enough.

When I Worked

October 2010
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