Archive for November, 2011

To The Barricades

As soon as I became French (and I was already half French through my mother) I realized that my new compatriots were lazy, swindling, resentful, jealous, proud beyond all measure, to the point of thinking that anyone who is not French is a savage and incapable of accepting criticism. I have also understood that to induce a Frenchman to recognize a flaw in his own breed, it is enough to speak ill of another, like saying “we Poles have such and such a defect,” and since they do not want to be second to anyone, even in wrong, they react with “oh no, here in France we are worse,” and they start running down the French until they realize they’ve been caught out.

They do not like their own kind, even when advantage is to be gained from it. No one is as rude as a French innkeeper. He seems to hate his clients (perhaps he does) and to wish they weren’t there (and that’s certainly not so, because the Frenchman is most avaricious). Ils grognent toujours. Try asking him something. “Sais pas, moi,” he’ll respond, and pout as if he’s about to blow a raspberry.

They are vicious. They kill out of boredom. They are the only people who kept their citizens busy for several years cutting each other’s heads off, and it was a good thing that Napoleon diverted their anger onto those of another race, marching them off to destroy Europe.

They are proud to have a state they describe as powerful, but they spend their time trying to bring it down: no one is as good as the Frenchman at putting up barricades for whatever reason and every time the wind changes, often without knowing why, allowing himself to get carried into the streets by the worst kind of rabble. The Frenchman doesn’t really know what he wants, but knows perfectly well that he doesn’t want what he has. And the only way he knows of saying it is by singing songs.

—Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery

Deviant Daughter Deprived Of First Prize

Howling mobs of enraged art-lovers are today marching on that satanic citadel of pure evil known as deviantART, ululating in holy outrage at the infamous anathema in which my daughter was awarded second prize in a deviantART poetry contest, rather than first.

“This shall not stand!” Yahweh thundered, in a fervent burst of righteous wrath, making a rare public appearance before a roomful of startled reporters. “An injustice has been done—yea, verily: one worse, even, than what I did to Job. This decision violates all standards of God and Man, and tempts Me to bring on The Fire Next Time.”

While various lesser deities strive mightily to restrain the enraged celestial brimstone-brewer, the earthside hacker collective known as Anonymous has vowed to publicly reveal the names, addresses, phone numbers, genomes, and underpants sizes of all involved in the anathema.

Remarks by the dissed daughter herself (“Oh no, no bombs!” she pleaded to a cell of the Weather Underground, one that had reconstituted specifically to bomb all those involved in the anathema who need to be bombed, “I actually really loved the poem that got first place, and thought it really deserved to win”) are to be disregarded.

This is because “it is Known that she has always been Nice,” said her father, busily attaching a timer. “And as can be seen: here in this world, this world that is Wrong, nice people finish second.”

Earlier installations in the saga of the deviant daughter are as follows.

Here is some background on her daughterness. Here is where her deviant proclivities were initially exposed. Here is where she first became an award-winning deviant, acknowledged as both “Author Of The Month,” and authoress of “Poem Of The Month.” Here is a deviant poem of hers I published last December, when snow was suffocating all the land. Here is a different-one poem of hers that also won a deviant award.

Here is her deviant page.

And here is the poem that most recently finished second, of 128 entries. But really finished first. On the Earth where there is no anathema.

The Street Only Knew Your Name

The Street people are in the process of moving on from out the tent portion of their being, and on to something different.

No big deal. That’s the way it goes. “Mutate and survive,” my once and future mentor, known round this blog as “sally,” used often to say. For that’s the way it works on this planet. Keep moving.

What the Street thing is, is another acid test. As I said at some point over on the Orange Place, in the end it doesn’t really matter whether or not the Street people move the whole of the world. Because they are moving themselves. And it is through the movement of each individual human being, that the world itself, will someday be moved.

Ken Kesey, maestro of the 1960s version of the acid test, explains how it works:

The acid test was breaking out into an area in which it had no specific goals. It was just discovering what there was out there if you continued to move away from the norm.

It was a test. And there were people that passed, and there were people that didn’t pass.

When we did the show up in Portland—to give you an idea of someone who passed—some businessman, just walkin’ around on the street, came in; we charged a buck, and for a buck you got to see us make all our noise, and the Dead make all their noise, and anything else that happened.

This guy was in a suit, and he had an umbrella. He got the customary cup of stuff. And about midnight, you could see him really get ripped. Somebody who’d probably never been anything but drunk on beer. But he looked around, and he saw all these strange people, and he looked down, and the spotlight was showing down on him, and he saw his shadow.

And he stands up straight, puts that umbrella over his shoulder, and he says: “The king walks.” And: “The king turns around.”

“Now the king will dance.”

I Send Greetings

Humans think they want to communicate with distant life forms, out there in the great wide open, but, being humans, they don’t always go about it in the best of all possible worlds.

The NASA spacecrafts Voyager I and Voyager II were famously equipped with “Golden Records” that sought to present to extraterrestrial beings the nature and meaning of what it means to be human. The Records project was supervised by Carl Sagan, a scientist and a Real person. So, it had promise. But, things being what they are, Sagan’s work was mucked with by people so primitive and embarrassing they should probably be preserved in jars. Thus, the Records were prevented from presenting nude photographs of men and women. Because pee-pees and wee-wees are Nasty. And so extraterrestrials who encounter these objects will be led to believe that humans are but silhouettes. Further, and due to the exigencies of mammalian politics, the Records included a few words recorded by Kurt Waldheim, a Nazi.

We know from the 1984 documentary film Starman that one of the Voyager craft was encountered by higher life-forms somewhere out around Pluto, and as a result an extraterrestrial ambassador answered the Records’ summons to come visit Earth.

Alas, things did not go well. As the Starman documentary records, once the United States government learned the E.T. had come calling, it decided the thing to do was to capture him, and then cut him up, like a frog in a sophomore biology class. He managed to escape this fate, and return to life off-world, leaving behind an Earth woman impregnated with star seed; an attempt to hopefully goose humans speedier towards species sanity. As the film clip at the end of this post notes, the Starman extraterrestrial being was an anthropologist, and so was perhaps accustomed to, or at least prepared for, the sort of nonsense he encountered on this planet.

Meanwhile, an international team of humans recently compiled a list of various moons and planets which it believes to be most likely to harbor intelligent extraterrestrial life. Among these is Gliese 581g, a planet located about 20.5 light-years from Earth, in the constellation Libra.

However, and as will be seen beyond the “furthur,” another crew of humans had previously dispatched communications to Gliese that may encourage any intelligent beings there to regard Earth as a place that should be obliterated, rather than encountered.


What Men Know About Women

Bud’s relationship with the female sex was governed by a gallimaufry of primal impulses, dim suppositions, deranged theories, overheard scraps of conversation, half-remembered pieces of bad advice, and fragments of no-doubt exaggerated anecdotes that amounted to rank superstition.

—Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age

Today In Reality

Skyway Robbery

Once upon a time, air travelers would occasionally have their Realities interrupted by young men with beards and a grievance, who would rise in the aisles to command that a flight proceed forthwith to some place other than where it was originally intended to go.

Hijackings. For a while, all the rage.

That was then, and this is now. But following the principle of everything old is new again, it seems that we may now be upon the dawn of a new age of hijackings. Except this time, passengers are being hijacked by their own airlines.

Let us consider the case of a recent Comtel Air flight scheduled to wing its way from India to Great Britain. When the plane stopped for fuel in Vienna, the crew informed the passengers that unless they coughed up $31,000, the plane would fly no further.

Britain’s Channel 4 news broadcast video showing a Comtel cabin crew member telling passengers: “We need some money to pay the fuel, to pay the airport, to pay everything we need. If you want to go to Birmingham, you have to pay.”

Some passengers said they were sent off the plane to cash machines in Vienna to raise the money.

Even as the Vienna robbery was underway, 190 passengers on a Comtel flight arest in Amritsar were informed that the plane would never take off, unless each would-be flyer forked over $200 apiece.

A spokesman for the airline boldly declared that these robberies were not his company’s fault, and furthermore insisted that the high-flying firm was in fine financial shape.

Bhupinder Kandra, the airline’s majority shareholder, told the Associated Press from Vienna that travel agents had taken the passengers’ money before the planes left but had not passed it on to the airline.

“This is not my problem,” he said. “The problem is with the agents.”

Kandra insisted Thursday the company was still solvent.

“We have not run out of money,” he said. “We have enough.”

Kate Hanni, executive director of, a tubes-outfit advocating for airline passengers, cautioned that the Comtel hijacking is hardly unique.

“There’s plenty of absurdity in airline land,” she said.

So stay tuned.

Come As My Guest

Ron Garan is an astronaut, and also an artist. Stationed in space, he photographs the cosmos, and then shares those images with us. He maintains a blog, titled after this planet: Fragile Oasis.

Of late he has been chiefly responsible for two remarkable videos, one of which is embedded here, the second available at the link at the bottom of this post.

The video below documents the recent return of Garan and two fellow cosmonauts, Alexander Samokutyaev and Andrey Borisenko, from the International Space Station. That it is accompanied by perfectly appropriate music from Peter Gabriel helps, but the primary power emanates from the images. For Stewart Brand knew what he was about, way back when, in understanding that those first NASA photographs of the planet, as seen from space, were vital, important, revealing “an island,” “this little blue, white, green and brown jewel.”

Whole-earth photographs always make me feel tender towards the planet. And all aboard. For though in one sense it’s big, and the creatures on it are so . . . busy, it’s also so very small, and so fragile. I feel like I ought to take care of it.

The related video, consisting of nighttime earthside footage only, can be found in a worthy Diary over on the Orange Place. People should go there, too.

Lark Ascending

Occupy Wall Street was born of this image. That is what it is about. That is its power.

The United States Supreme Court, when, in the early 20th Century, it moved to codify restrictions on free speech in this country, decreed that it was unconstitutional “to shout ‘fire’ in a crowded theater.”

The Street people evade that. They, in fact, turn that decision on its head. They, instead, as seen in that image, in re that ballerina, dancing upon that bull, encourage all and every, to instead “shout ‘theater’ in a crowded fire.”

There has not yet been a United States Supreme Court decision, extinguishing that right. To “shout ‘theater’ in a crowded fire.” Because that is too far afield of what is believed to be normal. And so it was believed to be unnecessary. To outlaw it.

But that is its strength. Its very abnormality. That is what, even into these days, lives. The impulse to shout “theater,” in a crowded fire. The very reason the Street people are successful, in what they are doing.

The true meaning of the ballerina upon the bull, is not something that can be translated into language. And that is why no one can “define” what the Street people are. For they are beyond definition. And so, flowing from that, the Street people will not have leaders. They will have not demands. They will not have goals.

Though they do have an end. Inchoate as that may sometimes seem to be. And they will employ means. As shifting as those may be.

What is key: the Street people know there is a fire. They are not asleep, as the fire rages ’round them. They are, instead, standing amid it. The fire. And they are shouting “theater.” So that all those, who are also being consumed, might see. And mayhaps move out of the flames.


Quantum Leap

it keeps on getting better every day
maybe someday soon people will say:
ain’t nobody here
but good people
ain’t nobody here
but good people
ain’t nobody here
but good people

we’re just drinkin’ the wine
and lovin’ in slow motion

Best Thanksgiving to all, good people.

A Black Hole Of Apathy

When I inscribed for this blog my impressions of the mid-October Las Vegas debate between the various assorted knuckledraggers and mouth-breathers seeking the GOoPer nomination for president of the United States, a Constant Reader urged urgently in the comments that I further view and review the upcoming public roilings amid the GOoPer clown car on foreign policy.

I am here to confess: in this I tried to do my best, but I could not.

It is true that for the November 12 foreign-policy debate, I dutifully planted myself before the computer screen, prepared to do my duty.

But, after about 15 minutes, I couldn’t bear to look at those people anymore.

It was no longer possible, for just one instance, to take Rick Santorum—having discovered, definitively, that he is a grub in a skin-suit—seriously as anything but an Alien Invader. I could not help but notice, for example, that he has no teeth. And I lived in fear that, as I watched, some sort of leg would burst through, from outta his suit, pushing into view from his grub-true torso.

The horror. The horror.

Newt Gingrich, at the whale end of the stage, seemed to get fatter, every time the camera panned his way. Michele Bachmann’s eyes were something seen nowhere outside of an institution. And Rick Perry is a friggin’ farm animal. He should be debating other farm animals. Like Mr. Ed. Or maybe that pig on Green Acres. Not human beings.

So, after that 15 minutes, I went and laid down, and just listened to it.

And, after a while, it seemed even more alien. Especially because the feed kept cutting in and out. Which just heightened the feeling that these people were broadcasting from a different Reality.

Once, long ago, I turned on my TV, and received a football game that had been broadcast more than a month before. It had got lost out in space somewhere, and then bounced back onto my TV.

This, was sort of like that.

Later, I learned why the feed had cut out. And all over the world.

Because an Extremely Powerful Personage had burst from out of the confines of the bathroom to pray, publicly, that the abomination that was these people, not be permitted to reach the eyes and ears of foreigners.

Twice, this personage, publicly prayed:

Please, god, don’t let there be …foreigners watching….

Please, god, once again . . . Please block any foreign transmissions of this national embarrassment. I’m dyin’ here.

And lo: just as in Days of Old, The Lord did answer these prayers.

And so the feed was spindled, folded, mutilated. No one, anywhere, could follow much of what was going on. Mercifully. For the best.

And so, Americans were Saved.

But only for the nonce.

Because, ten days later, on November 22, the same bent GOoPer beings went at it again. Again on foreign policy. And this time, the Extremely Powerful Personage, at care on other matters, was not available to blow away the feed. It went out, and everywhere, to everybody.

On this occasion I was unable to dutifully sit, recording, before my screen, because I had earlier been called to Go into the World, and Work. And when I reached temporary fleeting screen, all was almost over.

However, I can here present to you, in this piece, words better than those I might have wrought. For—this time, the feed uninterrupted—the Greek chorus of the beings of Daily Kos offered a scabrous and exact recording of the November 22 proceedings. Liveblogging them, as they occurred.

Their Kos-being offerings for the November 12 event had been decidedly weak. Rendered not really necessary by the interruptions irrupted by the Extremely Powerful Personage.

This time, however, with the EPP away and unaware, they were able to freak-flag-fly, every horror, in neon, and in real-time. That is what is offered beyond the “furthur.” The real-time rending of their garments. Of The People.

The title of this piece, however, and I should note, is from that never-to-be-properly-covered November 12 debate. In which it was written, even before the debate had begun:

This debate is a black hole of apathy. The apathy is so dense that no caring can escape its event horizon (everything in the physical universe beyond their lips).

This, a summation, pretty much, of pretty much most of mammalian “politics,” here in this age.


Nanny Plate

Wingers are given to carping and moaning about what they call “the nanny state.”

By this they generally mean governmental rules and regulations and such-like preventing, say, eight-year-olds from working in coal mines, or the erection of a combination crematorium and day-care center.

However, just as it is said that even a blind pig will sometimes stumble upon an acorn, so too do winger ululations about the nanny state sometimes have merit.

Such, I believe, is the case with what I call “the nanny plate.”

This is a $2300 device built in Sweden and let loose upon the land by the UK National Health Service. It is intended to assist obese Britons in controlling their weight; in this instance, through being ordered around by a plate.

The Mandometer monitors the amount of food leaving the plate and tells users who gobble: ‘Please eat more slowly.’

It comes in two parts—a scale placed under the plate and a small computer screen showing a graphic of the food that gradually disappears as the user eats.

A red line on the screen shows the user’s speed of eating, while a blue line shows a healthy rate.

If the user guzzles, the red line angles away from the blue one, warning them to ease off.

If the lines deviate too much, the computer voice tells them to slow down.

The screen also flashes up messages asking: ‘Are you feeling full yet?’ to remind users to think whether they have had enough.

Now, I don’t think we need any of that around here. It is true that obesity is no fun. It is unhealthy, and aesthetically displeasing. However, if I were to be eating, and then found myself lectured by a plate, I would first look at my hand: if I could see through it, I would know I had recently consumed some consciousness-altering substance. But if my hand were opaque, I would feel the need to make like Mediterranean peoples, who, it is said, sometimes let fly plate, to meet wall, as a form of communication.

Bridge Of Sighs

Evening In America

In 1980 I attended the Republican National Convention in Detroit. Since the nominee was a movie actor, I wrote a screenplay about it that appeared in this magazine. Had it been greenlighted, by his second term the film would have borne the title It’s Morning in America. It was not. The moment was magical: a moderately successful movie actor who had hopped from left to right under the tutelage of his wife becoming president of the United States. I did not know then that evening was coming to America.

Perhaps I had missed a clue. It could have been this: Reagan’s “kitchen cabinet” assured me during the convention that their man did “not read books. He reads reports.”

Evening did not begin at that convention, nor during the election. The cell that multiplies, the killing thing, lies beneath the observable world. Reagan began his campaign in Mississippi, with a speech at the Neshoba County Fair, close to the place where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. “I believe in states’ rights,” Reagan said there, close by what some Americans would call hallowed ground. “I believe that we’ve distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended in the Constitution to that federal establishment.” He soothed and sweetened what had only the day before been moral disgrace. It was as if all the decadence of centuries had been gathered into a few sentences and said in the jelly-bean rhetorical style of Ronald Reagan. He carried forty-four states.


First There Is A Mountain, Then There Is No Mountain, Then There Is

In early October of 2010, Maatia Toafa had been prime minister of the island nation of Tuvalu for less than a week.

He met one afternoon with Andrew Marantz, who was working on a piece that would eventually be published in the December 2011 issue of Harper’s.

Tuvalu is the country that is believed to be the first that will disappear entirely beneath the waves, due to climate change. Some estimates predict this submergence in less than 50 years.

Marantz asked Toafa, among other things, what sort of ideas he had, in re Tuvalu becoming an aquatic country. Some of their exchange is reprinted below.

Toafa was ousted in a vote of “no confidence” about two months after this interview took place.

I asked what solutions he proposed to the issue that his entire country might be underwater in fifty years.

He said he would consider “bringing in some mountains from somewhere, so we can have a higher elevation.”

“Mountains?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said.

“Where would the mountains come from?”

“Well,” he said. “We’ll ask around.”

Stop The Presses

Various and sundry Chinese government outfits regularly dispatch suggestions, requests, and orders to the nation’s media outlets, including bloggers and other denizens of the intertubes.

These are occasionally collected by the “bad elements” at China Digital Times, who explain:

Chinese journalists and bloggers often refer to those instructions, as well as other type of censorship orders to media and websites, as “Directives from the Ministry of Truth.” The Ministry of Truth (or Minitrue, in Newspeak) is one of the four ministries that govern Oceania in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four​. In the Chinese blogosphere, it is the online nickname for the Central Propaganda Department and generally speaking, all other subordinate propaganda agencies including Internet supervision departments.

A selection of these Minitrue commands, issued over the past year, follows below.

The bombings in Fuzhou, Jianxi, must be referred to as “5.26 Criminal Case.” No mention of “bombing incident” in titles will be allowed.

Urgent: Another Foxconn worker committed suicide. No reporting of any form will be allowed on interactive spaces.

Regarding the incident in which a factory worker, Xu Wu, escaped from a psychiatric hospital in Wuhan, all media outlets are not to report or comment.

For the article entitled, “Must the American-Style Lies Continue To Be Told?” all websites are requested to report in a prominent position on their website front pages.

All websites are requested to immediately delete the article, “Twenty-Nine Differences Between Democratic Countries and Autocratic Countries.”

Regarding Shanghai’s and Chongqing’s experiments with initiating property taxes, opinions that property taxes steal money are not to be reported.

All websites are requested to immediately remove the story “In China 94 Percent Are Unhappy; Top-Heavy Concentration of Wealth.”

In all media, when the names of the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, and other countries are given, the names of Chinese leaders cannot appear next to them.

All websites, particularly those with video and audio channels, are to look for and delete the song “Meat Pancake” by Gamahe Danzeng.

All interactive sites, including online forums, blogs, microblogs, instant message services, and text message services are requested to note and delete information related to the item “On CCTV’s Soccer Tonight, a sign reading ‘Fuck You Japan’ is displayed in the background on the giant screen.”

I Never Imagined Possible

At an AFI ceremony some years ago convened to honor Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton stated that people recurrently ask her which is the favorite of her films. To which she recurrently replies, she has no favorite.

She does, however, cherish a moment in time, captured on film, in the Beatty-directed Reds, that transcended film. That in fact represents an apex of her life. She described that moment—before the AFI people, but speaking over and away from all of them, directly to Beatty—this way:

I really do want to thank you. For giving me the memory of a kind of love that I never imagined possible. Until I played your Louise. A love that transformed my very ordinary life into something extraordinary. I will never, never, never, never, never, never forget that train station in Spain. With my Walkman blasting Bob Dylan, in order to drown out your direction. When—I swear to god, this is horrible—but, after I don’t know how many takes it was, maybe 39, I don’t know, when you said—yet again—the dreaded word “action,” when suddenly—I-I-I, just don’t know how to say it. Other than to say that there was this, sweet anguish of love. That I felt, when I saw your face. In a moment, shared in time, together.

That intensely private moment, shared through celluloid with all the world, is reproduced below. The look on her face, when she finally sees, and then moves towards him, represents the best of what it means to be human.

She caught it all.

She had feared, among other things, that he wasn’t there. Maybe even dead. To learn that, for her—never. They would, instead, be always. All ways.

The German In History

I have known Germans, and even worked for them: the lowest conceivable level of humanity. A German produces on average twice the feces of a Frenchman. Hyperactivity of the bowel at the expense of the brain, which demonstrates their physiological inferiority. During times of barbarian invasion, the Germanic hordes strewed their route with great masses of fecal material. In recent centuries, French travelers knew immediately when they had crossed the Alsace frontier by the abnormal size of the turds left lying along the roads. As if that were not enough, the typical German suffers from bromhidrosis—foul-smelling sweat—and it’s been shown that the urine of a German contains twenty percent nitrogen, while that of other races has only fifteen.

The German lives in a state of perpetual intestinal embarrassment due to an excess of beer and the pork sausages on which he gorges himself. They fill their mouths with their Geist, which means spirit, but it’s the spirit of the ale, which stultifies them from their youth and explains why, beyond the Rhine, nothing interesting has ever been produced in art, except for a few paintings of repugnant faces and poems of deadly tedium.

Their abuse of beer makes them incapable of having the slightest notion of their vulgarity, and the height of this vulgarity is that they feel no shame at being German. They took a gluttonous and lecherous monk like Luther seriously (can you really marry a nun?) only because he ruined the Bible by translating it into their own language.

—Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery

It’s A New Dawn

So yesterday my old-time companero, Man Mountain Mike, told me the tale of how he sat witness, as a dearly beloved passed from out of the corporeal container, and into the great wide open.

None of the details he experienced and related need concern us here. Except the final ones. When he perceived that there had occurred from this man an exhale, that had seemingly not been followed by an inhale.

After waiting some moments, Man Mountain withdrew from his clothing his cellphone, snapped it open, and placed it before the ceasing man’s nostrils.

At first, I could not understand why this would be. Why, I wondered, would one press a cellphone upon a person, who seemed no longer to breathe?

“Well,” Man Mountain replied, “the phone has that glass face on it. I was seeing if it would fog with his breath.”

Of course. The 21st Century variant on the mirror. Which physicians, in the West for many centuries, used to slip beneath the nostrils of the dearly departing. To determine if they still drew breath. And, if no fog of breath appeared: that could be regarded as definitive proof, that the sufferer should be declared unto death.

And so we evolve.

Man. The tool-making animal.

Play It Full

Nice piece by David Dobbs in Wired. Inspired by Steve Silberman’s homage to good teachers on his blog NeuroTribes.

Dobbs’ offering is “What Malone Said.” It recounts what happened when, after studying the violin for some five years, Dobbs had placed before him, by Malone, Bach’s D minor partita. Dobbs practiced the piece at home for a week, then returned to Malone, to play for him about half the first page.

Malone stopped Dobbs on the second note.

“Please put down the violin,” he said. I did.

“You’re skipping through that first D. I know it’s just a fucking little sixteenth note, but you have to play the whole thing. I don’t even mean the time. You’re actually giving it enough time. But you’re playing over it instead of through it. You have to play right through the center of it. It’s a leading note, but it’s not just a step into the room. It is the room, and you have to put us there. Play it. Play through every single note in the piece.”

More from Malone:

“This is Bach. And Bach, more than any other music, and these pieces, more than any other Bach, is music complete. This doesn’t just mean it’s beautiful. This means you can play this music all your life, even just this Allemande, and no matter what you do, it will expose you. It will expose everything you are and everything you’re not. It will expose everything you can do and everything you can’t. It will expose everything you’ve mastered and everything you’re scared of. And I don’t mean just about the violin. I mean about everything. It’ll show all that today and it’ll show all that when you play it again in ten years. And people who know music, who’ve seen you play it both times, they will see you play it and know who you were and who you’ve become.

“There is nothing you can do about this. Or actually there is only one thing you can do about it. And that’s to play the fucking music. To not play scared, even if you’re terrified. To not rush. To not short anything. Inhabit this thing. Play it full.”

A different Bach partita below. Played in full.

Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee

Not long ago I wrote on this blog that “Rick Perry looks more like a farm animal than a human being. He appears to be the result of an experiment that sought to cross a man with a steer. I’d say the experiment failed. For an obvious side-effect of this Island of Dr. Moreau monkeying with nature is that Perry was born without a brain. He is like that episode of Star Trek where Spock’s brain was lifted entirely out of his body. Dan Quayle was dim, so was George II; Perry is simply dumb. Never have I seen a man so dumb on the national political stage. What do people in other countries think, when they see this cow-man treated like an actual serious person? This is why it is Wrong to view such things [as the Republican presidential debates] without opiates.”

I would now like to retract these words. Because Rick Perry does not, in truth, look like a cross between a man and a steer.

Instead, he seems, and more precisely, like a cross between a man, and a dirt clod.

Please, as an example, observe there the photos, reproduced there to the left.

I have been around a lot of humans, and animals, in my life. But never have I encountered a look as dumb as dirt, so devoid of sentience, in any creature’s eyes, as I perceive here in the orbs of Rick Perry, attempting to explain, reading off a postcard upside down, the details of his “tax plan.”

Now, I have lived through Richard Nixon. I have lived through Ronald Reagan. I have lived through Dan Quayle. I have lived through George II. I have lived through Sarah Palin. But I refuse, absolutely, to live through Rick Perry.


Reagan Robs Florida Man

A Bradenton, Florida man was robbed Tuesday night by Ronald Reagan, who appeared from out of the darkness, dressed in black, accosting the man with a black semi-automatic pistol, demanding he hand over his cash. The man, one Anthony Williams, did so—surrendering to the ex-president some $65—and then Reagan shuffled into the night.

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office officials are searching for a “man in [a] Reagan mask,” but this is Wrong. Because this was no man in a mask. This was Reagan himself.

Now, people who frequent this blog know about the zombie powder that NASA is utilizing to send people to Mars in spaceabagos.

But what has not been heretofore Revealed is that Ronald Reagan is not, as is commonly assumed, dead. Instead, he has been preserved in a suspended state using said zombie powder. And, as occurred the other night there in Florida, he occasionally shambles into semi-sentience, Gets Out, and Walks Among Us.

That Reagan was zombified should be obvious to anyone who closely observed his presidency. For the powder was from time to time applied even then. Which accounted for his periods of particularly detached and somnambulent behavior.

Also, that when walking among us the zombified Reagan is about robbing people: this should come as no surprise. For he spent a good eight years there in the White House, working like twelve bastards, some of them zombified, in robbing the nation blind.

The victim of this latest Reagan zombie attack delayed reporting the crime to the police because he first felt compelled to consult his pastor. This is understandable. For no earthly power was ever able to stop Reagan. Maybe, figured Williams, somebody connected with a sky-king might do the job.


Mistakes Were Made

“When I started the Table, it was to stop anarchy. It was a channel for brute force, so that the people who had to use force could be made to do it in a useful way. But the whole thing was a mistake. No, don’t interrupt me. It was a mistake because the Table itself was founded on force. Right must be established by right: it can’t be established by Force Majeur. But that is what I have been trying to do. Now my sins are coming home to roost.”

—T.H. White, The Once And Future King

When I Worked

November 2011