Archive for December, 2011

Take The A Train

Forgot this bit, when I composed the previous post. So it gets a post of its own.

My daughter, the well-known award-winning deviant, and I, we are both keen appreciators of Christmas movies. Particularly old black-and-white Christmas movies. In fact, we are such keen appreciators of these movies, we have been known to watch them year-round. Which can drive some people mad. But never mind that now.

One of the more obscure black-and-white holiday films of which we are fond is Holiday Affair, a 1947 effort featuring Janet Leigh, Robert Mitchum, Wendell Corey, and a toy train.

While mooning about on YouTube recently, I discovered that a Criminal had slyly posted there Holiday Affair in its entirety. This is of course Against All Laws. But this Criminal has managed for some months now to cleverly evade the hapless Clem Kadiddlehopper II, who is in charge, such as it is, of YouTube security. Naturally I am compelled to share this joyous theft, below, with you red readers.

What I found most fascinating, in this most recent re-viewing, was 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.


I Saw A Choo-Choo Going

Today is the birthday of my daughter, the well-known award-winning deviant.

She is today nine years old.

She has been nine years old on a number of occasions, on her birthday. For she likes that age. And time is what she makes of it.

Because I am her father, I can recall years before she became nine. And can embarrass her, by recounting tales of those days.

Of late I have been remembering when she entered the language of conversation. While today she is a practiced wordsmith, with many artful and completed works to her credit, it was not always so. For once upon a time, when she entered the language of conversation, her utterances were confined to the following:

“I saw a choo-choo going.”

“I know. I see.”

“I didn’t know. I didn’t see.”

I am thinking today that these were wise choices, these words she used to enter the language of conversation. For though there are many other words, in this our language, just about everything that needs to be said, in the language of conversation, can be expressed in those words.

Not everything. But nearly.

Try it.

And He Would Be There When Jem Waked Up In The Morning

Mr. Finch, you think Jem killed Bob Ewell? Is that what you think? Your boy never stabbed him. Bob Ewell fell on his knife. He killed himself.

There’s a black man dead for no reason. And now the man responsible for it is dead. Let the dead bury the dead, Mr. Finch. I never heard tell that it’s against the law for a citizen to do his utmost to prevent a crime from being committed. Which is exactly what he did. But maybe you’ll tell me it’s my duty to tell the town all about it, not to hush it up. Well, you know what’ll happen then. All the ladies in Maycomb—includin’ my wife—will be knockin’ on his door, bringin’ angel food cakes. To my way of thinkin’, takin’ the one man who’s done you and this town a great service, and draggin’ him, with his shy ways, into the limelight: to me, that’s a sin. It’s a sin. And I’m not about to have it on my head.

I may not be much, Mr. Finch, but I’m still Sheriff of Maycomb County. And Bob Ewell fell on his knife.

—To Kill A Mockingbird

Once upon a time, I introduced Mr. Ha-Ha to these pages. I now feel uneasy about that.

And so I’m here, now, as this year is put to rest, to lay him to rest, too.

He first appeared here, did Mr. Ha-Ha, just about two years ago.

So far as I know, and though obviously accomplished with assistance from folks like the Gnostics, I invented him.

Not my finest hour.

I invoked him again here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

His last appearance was here, in early April of this year. By that time, guided by the light that had come into my life, I had moved beyond him. Though I didn’t see that at the time. Sometimes I’m slow. And it takes me a while. To catch up even with myself.

In his day—which were dark days—Mr. Ha-Ha seemed to explain things. From the madness of Lucia Joyce to “The Nine Billions Names Of God.” From the dementia of Linnaeus to the nature and meaning of generals. From the airplane crash that took the life of Ted “Tubes” Stevens to the presence of 100 helpless “magicians” on a becalmed cruise ship. From the man from Porlock who starcrossed Coleridge to my daughter’s fall on Solstice.

But, really, he never explained a thing. Mr. Ha-Ha. He was but a creature of fear and cowering. Masked in ironic simmering would-be detachment. He was of giving up, of hiding. Of “everyone said/i’d come to no good/i knew i would/purely to please them.” Of expecting the worst. And thereby making it manifest.

He never belonged here. This creature of the dark. Because this a blog that, as it says right up top, exists “because the light is beautiful.”

Which it is. Long have I seen it. And now I do live it.

Life is light. And in it one can vibrate, shimmer, fade and fancy, without boundaries. That’s where I am. I am no longer interested in “I should have been a pair of ragged claws/scuttling across the floors of silent seas.” That’s Mr. Ha-Ha. I am not about him any longer. Oh no. I am now, alpha and omega, world without end amen, about Ms. Ah-Ha. She of the light. Of what is possible made probable made Real. Of seeing and feeding and bringing into being. Of the Fool of a Magician that is the World that is the Fool. Mr. Ha-Ha sees the world as dark: and thus the world is dark. Ms. Ah-Ha sees the world as light: and, yea verily, the world is truly light.

Life is light. So am I. And so I will be there, each dawn, when Jem wakes up in the morning. Because that is the light of what I am. What I was brought here, unto the final spiral of this mortal coil, to be.

Mobius Music


Holy Mary, Mother Of Pinball

The French can differ from other humans. They are for instance known, in the immortal 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 play it.

For many centuries the people of Lyon have in early December paid homage to Mary, in gratitude to the god-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 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 alive with light. Meanwhile, in the center of town, various assorted performances and such now 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, this year the Mary-fest featured some clever humans, from the French lighting company CT Light Concept, who projected with colored lights an assortment of pinball bumpers and flippers onto the side of the Celestine Theater. The display was fully playable, as can be seen in the video below.

Pretty cool.

The French: good with light.

Where Santas Crawl And Elves Chunder

Across many cultures, many times, humans ritually combine in groups to consume vast quantities of intoxicants, commonly entering states of inebriation 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 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 probable that, as is true of so many things, SantaCon will inevitably spread, like bedbugs, from out of New York, and into the larger World.

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 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.”



When I Worked

December 2011
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