Archive for March, 2013

Many Mansions

(This a piece that, since its first appearance here several years ago, has never really been able to figure out whether it’s for Christmas, or Easter. So now I generally reprint it in both seasons.)

* * *

In my Father’s house are many mansions.

—John 14:2

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.



The good folks at Lapham’s Quarterly notified me this morning, via e-tube, that today, March 31, as we slide from Passover into Easter, marks the anniversary of the 1492 Alhambra Decree, by which criminalsthose howling imbeciles King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella heaved all the Jews out of Spain.

Ferdinand and Isabella, they occupy a special place in the Human Hall Of Shame.

Not only did they throw all the best people out of their country—meanwhile stealing all their money—they also dispatched The Admiral to muck up the New World.

The full Alhambra may be found here. An excerpt:

We, with the counsel and advice of prelates, great noblemen of our kingdoms, and other persons of learning and wisdom of our council, having taken deliberation about this matter, resolve to order the Jews and Jewesses of our kingdoms to depart and never to return or come back to them. And concerning this we command this our charter to be given, by which we order all Jews and Jewesses of whatever they may be, who live, reside, and exist in our kingdoms and lordships, as much those who are natives as those who are not, who by whatever manner or whatever cause have come to live and reside therein, that by the end of the month of July next of the present year, they depart from all of these our realms and lordships, along with their sons and daughters, manservants and maidservants, Jewish familiars, those who are great as Alhambra_Decreewell as the lesser folk, of whatever age they may be. And they shall not dare to return to those places, nor to reside in them, nor to live in any part of them, neither temporarily on the way to somewhere else nor in any other manner, under pain that if they do not perform and comply with this command and should be found in our said kingdom and lordships and should in any manner live in them, they incur the penalty of death and the confiscation of all their possessions by our chamber of finance, incurring these penalties by the act itself, without further trial, sentence, or declaration.

The decree was not formally voided until December 16, 1968.

Hubble Hubba

The latest photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope are in, and it seems the device has at last succeeded in penetrating the veil of Heaven.

Among other images—which shall be offered hear the name of the lordhere, from time to time, exclusively to red readers—the Hubble returned shots of the Big Guy himself, the fellow variously known as Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, etc.

Many humans have long wondered just what the guy might look like.

Now they know. Feast, here, thine eyes.

I have to say that I myself am not much surprised.

It appears from this image that part of him might need to be Repaired. I am assuming this is a temporary Easter-season thing.

Roll Away The Stone

Not many people know that I am a priest.

So what.

Not many people know more than nothing about me.

And that’s the way I like it.

Nevertheless,our church it is true: I am a priest.

Certified. Certifiable.

And, hereabouts, we call our church this: Kneel Before Mary Holy Mother Of God Blessed Lubricious Wonderment Eternal Wet Waiting Willing Open Golden Flower.

So let it be noted.

So let her be noshed.

I am outing myself, as priest dude, because here, in this 2013 Passover and Easter season, members of our congregation are, more than usual, expressing Despair. As we wander through the wilderness of that time, in this world, when and where there is no god.

Did I mention—speaking of Passover—that I am also a rabbi?

Why, though—the fuck?—should I have to.

Because, as everyone knows, one cannot be a priest, without first being a rabbi.

Musical interlude. While, those unacquainted, strive to process.

Work it, people.

; )


Songs Of Innocence And Experience

“When I listen to him,” Zina said on the second side, “I hear getty image ; )a first boyfriend. Men are like malicious children, but he is like a first boyfriend, the sweet one. Maybe he is a merman, a child of the sea. In a rough sea, on a big boat, I hold on to the rail. Down below, on his small deck, he stands with perfect balance, riding the waves.

“I listen to his innocent voice over and over again. It would be a dream, he says.”

—Martin Cruz Smith, Polar Star

The Only Meaning In All Of Things

“When I was preparing to be whatever it is I’ve become, I was sent to work in a hospital. Comfort the dying. I remember the mortuary there—it was very Victorian. Neo-Renaissance. In the foyer there was an inscription in Latin. ‘Let smiles cease,’ it said, ‘let laughter flee. This is the place where the dead help the living.’”

The older man in the group the bodiesgot to his feet muttering.

“Bummer!” he shouted at Egan. His heavy face grew red with anger; he raised cupped hands to amplify his voice, and screamed. “Bummer!”

“I’ll describe a picture to you,” Egan told his congregation. “I’m sure you’re familiar with it. A group of men are standing over a pile of corpses. They’re smiling and they have guns. Some of them have tied handkerchiefs across their faces but not to give themselves the raffish air of banditti—because of the smell.”

The priest wiped his mouth with his sleeve and took a cautious step forward. “That’s the big picture, children. That’s how it is now. That’s why you see that picture every week in all the magazines. You know—there are variations, the people, and the uniforms come in different colors, but it’s always the same picture.”

Around them the silences and the darkness deepened. Ramon nuts pattered to the ground through a web of leafy branches, making a sound like soft rain.

“Now why,” Egan asked, “are we made to see this picture week after week until it’s imprinted on the backs of our eyes and we have it before us dreaming and waking?”

No one answered him.

“Will these dead help the living?” he asked. “Are we to seek the living among the dead? What does it mean?”

“And yet,” he said, “and yet—where?” He opened his eyes and peered at them across the firelight. “Because you can stare into the faces of the dead—I’ve been doing it for years, I ought to know—and you won’t see anything. Anything more than plain death, I mean. You can look as sharp as you like, you can pray for a sign, for something, for the slightest hint of something . . . more. Not forthcoming.

“You can look into the dead face of the world, try to catch it unawares—no good. You keep looking, you tell yourself you’ve seen something, some little imitation, you know, of something . . . living. The Living. But it’s no good. You won’t. It won’t reveal itself that way.”

He had been standing, swaying, dangerously close to the fire. The heat warned him away.

“I mean—you look outward. To the stars, to the farthest nebulae. Not a sign. Or you look in. Close your eyes and look down from the outside in and what have you got? Blisters. Skin, eh? Flesh, parasites, sour guts and a little concupiscence. Then we’re down among our several intoxications and delusions and we find our minds, the little devils, the soulsthe devious protean things. Anything more? A glimmer?”

Some of them sat with their eyes closed looking in. Others stared at Egan or into the fire.

“Maybe yes,” Egan said. “Maybe, eh? Who knows down in that mess? But maybe there is something. A little shard of light. What is it?

“It’s the why and wherefore,” the priest said, “that little radiant thing. I’ve never seen it, you know, but it has to be there. It’s the life. The Life. There’s all this death and this dying and it’s the only difference. It’s the only difference things make,” he told them.

“There aren’t angels,” Egan said. “There’s none of that. Thrones. Dominions. All that business—it’s rubbish. But there’s life. There’s the Living among the dead. I mean, you can’t ever quite see it, can you? You’d hardly know it was there but it has to be, doesn’t it? It’s only mislaid.”

He was dizzy, his chest felt hollow. He steadied himself against the stone again.

“Because it’s there—everything’s all right.”

He tried to see each of them among the shadows and flickering light.

“You have to try and find it, see?” Egan said. “If you can’t find it you have to believe in it. If you can’t believe in it you have to hope you will. If you can’t hope then all you can do is love the idea of it. Love it at a distance if that’s the best you can do, children. Love it like a secret lover.”

He seemed perplexed by their silence. He walked around the fire into the semicircle they had formed.

“It’s the only meaning in all of things,” he said. “There aren’t any others.”

—Robert Stone, A Flag For Sunrise

Scrotum On The Storm

Kentucky is not without its charms.

For instance, the grass there really is blue. Also, county sheriffs in the state generally do not remain in office long enough to inflict real damage, as they are soon found to be heavily invested in the local methamphetamine trade, and so turtle scrotumare hustled off to reside in their own pokeys.

However, there is a disturbing penchant among the congenitally yeehawed of Kentucky’s residents to slay raccoons and then slap their corpses over roadside fences. Traveling on the back roads of Kentucky is like boarding some bent Disney ride through an open-air abattoir.

This is why I believe that it is right and meet that a raccoon be selected by the state’s Democratic Party to challenge and defeat Turtle Scrotum in the 2014 Congressional elections. The masked nocturnal omnivores require, and deserve, Vengeance.

Turtle Scrotum is the US Senate Minority Leader and the titular head of the Confederate States of America.

He is also the horrific result of a failed Dr. Moreau-like experiment that sought to cross a human with both a turtle and a diseased and swollen scrotum.

The elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency rendered Turtle Scrotum totally insane. For Turtle Scrotum is a relict, an atavist, a being who the new senatortruly believes that the only good black man is one dangling, strange fruit, from a tree.

The people of Kentucky know this, and it is why increasing numbers of them are uncomfortable with the notion of Turtle Scrotum continuing to represent them in the United States Congress. For Kentuckians also recently sent to the Senate Rand Paul, son of Ron “Rugs” Paul, another well-known advocate of black people as roadkill. And the general feeling seems to be that one such person from the state in the Senate, is enough. Turtle Scrotum’s time, then, is up.

This is why winter polls showed Turtle Scrotum leading by but four points one Ashley Judd, who seems to be some sort of singer and actor, but who has never been involved in politics, not even in the movies, and who does not even live in the state.

But Judd is gone now—has decided she don’t wanna—and so the Democrats must alight on an alternative candidate.

I say a raccoon.

Those who would object to running an animal for office overlook two things.

First, nowhere in the Constitution of either the United States or the state of Kentucky may be found any provision that requires an officeholder to qualify as an actual human being.

Second, Turtle Scrotum himself is at least partially of non-human origin, what with the turtle and diseased swollen part non-humanscrotum elements of his genetic makeup.

Turtle Scrotum will not be able to devote the time and effort that he should to his re-election campaign, consumed as he is with hatred of the black man. For Turtle Scrotum is the sadsack who, from the moment the black man entered the White House, devoted every fiber of his being to frustrating the president’s every effort, no matter how benign. Who, upon Obama’s re-election, immediately informed the money-mites of the Wall Street Journal that over the next four years he would again dedicate the entirety of his being to Hating The Black Man. And who, according to an illuminating recent piece in the National Journal, has been, and is, monomaniacally focused on utterly extinguishing the Affordable Care Act. Because Turtle Scrotum, like any good Republican, is dedicated to the proposition that everyone who is not him should suffer and die. Especially if they are black.

When he does turn his attention to his campaign, Turtle Scrotum will be confronted with the fact that his opponent is a raccoon. This will derange his mind. All he will be able to think is: “coon.” This will remind him of the black man in the White House. White foam will appear at the corners of his mouth. It will not be pretty.

He will also be unnerved by the campaign song of his opponent, which I and the raccoons here at the Manor are currently refining. It will be based on the ominous strains of the Doors’ “Riders On The Storm,” and will include such revised and revisited lyrics as:

there’s a killer on the road
his scrotum’s squirming like a toad

A Super PAC that the Manor skunks have formed will flood the Kentucky airwaves with ads that will ask state voters if they really want representing them in Washington a man who brazenly wanders around with a face that consists of a body part that all decent and chaste Kentuckians modestly keep squirreled away beneath layers of clothing.

Turtle Scrotum, he is Over.

You Could Even Say It Glows

“When I was a cadet, far back in the days of Khrushchev, we set off a hydrogen device in the Arctic Sea. It was a hundred-megaton bomb, the largest ever detonated then or since. Actually, it was a fifty-megaton boomwarhead wrapped in a uranium case to double the yield. A very dirty bomb. We didn’t warn the Swedes or the Finns, and we certainly didn’t tell our own people who were drinking milk under this rain of fallout a thousand times worse than Chernobyl. We didn’t tell our fishermen who sailed in the Arctic Sea. I signed on as a third mate, and my mission was to use a Geiger counter without telling anyone else on board. We caught one shark that measured four hundred roentgens. What could I say to the captain—to throw his quota overboard? His crew would ask questions, and then the cry would spread. But we let the Americans know, and the result was that Kennedy was frightened enough to come to the table and sing a test-ban treaty.”

—Martin Cruz Smith, Polar Star

Crows Need Hands

Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings?
Not one of them is forgotten before god.

—Luke 12:6-7

And so, a brainshower has rained down, upon some Science Men.

And in it, these Science Men have determined that animals may be rapidly Evolving.

To which, those of us who daily, gaily, observe Earth beings of yesthe non-human variety, say: duh.

The world of cliff swallows, it was utterly changed.

When humans—so sad—insisted they must race about at mad speeds, on asphalt strips, in hurtling tons of metal.

Hurtling tons of metal, raced about at mad speeds, on asphalt strips—so sad—that kill swooping cliff swallows.

But, and but 30 years on, cliff swallows have Determined to Evolve. To become Completely Ready. For the Wrongness.

Fewer cliff swallows are being killed by moving vehicles because of evolution, suggests a study published online today in the journal Current Biology.

“These birds have been exposed to vehicles and roads for 30-plus years,” says Charles Brown, the study’s lead author. “During that time, they have evolved to avoid being killed by traffic. Evolution can happen very rapidly, and some animals can adapt to urban environments very rapidly.”

The decrease in road deaths is likely because these birds have shorter wingspans, making them more agile fliers, or they are learning to avoid vehicles, Brown says.

When still I occupied the back-of-beyond of Cherokee, one spring season some fresh and new and too-young-to-really-know cliff swallows tried, for a brief time, to mud-up a couple little nest-homes, there under the second-story eaves.

Until they understood that, there, it would be just too dry, too not-right, too incomplete, too failed, there, for them.

When, after several days, they understood this, they sailed away.

Leaving behind, once again, this, in me: ∞.

The way they fluttered and fussed and flew.

So alive . . . .

These in-the-news cliff-swallow Science Men, they have no idea how harrowing this nikkersonfield of study—rapidly advancing evolution in non-human Earth-dwellers—can really be.

For they are not me.

Me. Who must—day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute—witness the scarifying evolution of that once and future human extraterrestrial being: the young’un cat.

The complete annals of the young’un cat, they may be found here.

Of particular interest, to this piece, are those earlier entries in which it was observed that the young’un cat was evolving.

But all of that, that earlier evolving, is now as nothing. Because we are now talking about evolution unto Childhood’s End.

For a step-by-step photo essay of this Astonishing Evolutionary Story—for to See—travel across the “furthur.”


She Don’t Lie

Why There is Boxing

In the 1850s Muscular Christianity (with its strong vein of latent homosexuality) was popularizing manly mensports like boxing and swimming, which required young men to display their naked bodies to each other. The novelist Charles Kingsley was the main propagandist for the muscular cult, and The Water Babies (1863) was, among other things, a long advertisement for the manifold joys of water sport.

John Sutherland, Can Jane Eyre Be Happy?

I Send Greetings

Science Men, they are always wanting to Know.

Which is a worthy pursuit.


Times are tough, these days, for Science Men. Because a lot of what a lot of Science Men want these days to Know, involves stuff the Science Men cannot see, or otherwise sense or easily detect. And/or that is, additionally, remote in space and/or time.

And so, they operate, most often, in the land of Guesstimate.

This can, and does, result in a lot of flipbook-rapid changing of opinions. As the Science Men seek to squint, ever finely, through a glass darkly. It also can, and does, result in bouts of belligerent bickering with one another.

This last is currently on display in the ongoing controversy over whether the Voyager 1 landingspacecraft has or has not left the local solar system. Some Science Men say it has; some Science Men say it hasn’t. But none of them really Know. Because Voyager 1 is out there some 123 AU from Earth. Where no Science Man has ever boldly gone before. Out there some 123 AU from Earth, Voyager either is or is not in the heliosphere. The heliosphere is a thing the Science Men think exists. Though they don’t really Know. Because they have never been there. And the boundaries of this heliosphere, these they don’t really Know, either.

But they sure have a lot of opinions.

To those of us who closely follow Science, the Science Men quarreling over the present position of Voyager 1 is amusing, in a “fighting in the captain’s tower” sort of way. To wit:

ezra pound and t. s. eliot
fighting in the captain’s tower
while calypso singers laugh at them
and fishermen hold flowers

This is because we, we wizened Science-followers, Know that the interstellar mission of the twin Voyager probes, has already been accomplished.

So it don’t really matter, now, wherever the things might be.

You see, each of these Voyager craft were touchingly dispatched with a “golden record” aboard, one that space bridgescontained pictures and sounds of Earth and its beings, and also directions on how to Get Here. It was hoped, by the humans, that some spacefaring strangers would happen upon one or more of these craft, spin the disc, and then come to visit.

It was so embarrassing. What was, and was not, included, on the “golden record.”

Because hide-your-head-in-shame knuckledragging ur-human retroverts succeeded in erasing from the disc accurate illustrations of the male and female human being.

They objected, these swamp-coolers, to the depiction of the reproductive organs, of male and female.

And so, these were eliminated.

The “golden record” thus went into the great wide open, showing only human “silhouettes.”

All the “naughty parts,” airbrushed out.

Leading any passing extraterrestrials to wonder: how the fuck do these humanoids reproduce? Since they lack the parts to fuck?

Fortunately, past the hang-your-head-in-shame knuckledragging ur-human retroverts, passed a recording, successfully placed on the “golden record,” of the Rolling Stones’ “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

That that alone, was sent out there into space, means the species shall survive.

For: ah—upon hearing this, would understand any passing extraterrestrial—I get it. One of those planets.

This, in fact, occurred. The interception of a Voyager. By an extraterrestrial race.

As set forth in the 1984 documentary film Starman.

There we learn that extraterrestrials scooped up Voyager 2, grooved to the pictures, words, and tunes contained therein, and then sent an ambassador to Earth . . . a being who, as soon as s/he entered the planet’s atmosphere, was promptly shot out of the sky by the yeehaws of ekpyrosis.

But extraterrestrials are not so easily extinguished.

The ambassador, abandoning the crippled craft, found nearby some stray human DNA, and so fashioned a temporary corporeal container. Of the young Jeff Bridges.

Not a bad choice.

The news clip below depicts the encounter of the newly incarnated Space Bridges with his first human, a female monikered Jenny Hayden.

Who, upon hearing the naked, and decidedly strange, Space Bridges, recite lines from the Voyager 2 “golden record,” loses consciousness.

Things get better.

Jenny Hayden assists the Space Bridges in traveling cross-country to the Barringer Crater in Arizona. This, it develops, is the traditional landing pad for the Space Bridges form of extraterrestrial (said pad, spacecraft descending, may be viewed in the image that inaugurates this here True Science story). There, at the Crater, the Space Bridges can hitch a ride back home.

The beings of the Space Bridges, we learn, have, over the millennia, monitored humans, from time to time.

They are hardly the only race of extraterrestrials to so indulge. As the documentary film 2001: A Space Odyssey amply demonstrates.

Of course, in order for Jenny Hayden and the Space Bridges to reach the Crater, they must many times evade the yeehaws of ekpyrosis. Who desperately want to lay hands on the Space Bridges. So they can avidly yeehawkill and joyfully dissect him.

Because the yeehaws of ekpyrosis can never be happy, so long as they are not avidly killing, and joyfully dissecting, any and all people, places, and things.

Which is why extraterrestrial beings like the Space Bridges do not straight-forward contact the whole of humanity.

Before the Space Bridges goes home, he and Jenny Hayden engage in tender and loving, Real, sexual congress. Which, in the course of things, results in a child, representative of both species.

Such a thing is not all that uncommon. In fact, as we speak, the Huffington Post, also known as the Weekly World News of the intertubes, is canvassing for people willing to tell all about engaging in sexual relations with extraterrestrials. So far, it is said, there have been 15 respondents.

But all these people lie. Because humans, and extraterrestrials, who join in Desire, do not kiss and tell.

Those who Know the true-life documentary film Starman are aware that the Space Bridges arrives on this planet equipped with a number of silver balls, what it iswhat humans would consider more or less magical and/or transformational objects, which he may deploy, from the palm of his hand, if needful—and the need several times arises—to protect him, and his, or project him, and his, from the extreme and unnatural Danger and Weirdness that is this Earth.

I don’t suppose that it will come as a surprise, to anyone who has long been on this blog, and in anywise Aware, that I am not unfamiliar with these balls.

And that, as shown in the photo there above, I, from time to time, come to hold one, in the palm of my hand.

And You Give Yourself Away

Chris Colwell is an emergency room doctor in Denver, Colorado. This is the world that he sees:

“I see patients every day that are right on the edge of being unstable and are out there emiliein the environment, and they describe problems with access to medications, problems with access to psychiatric care or substance abuse care, problems with access to homes or to shelter,” says Colwell. “But they don’t describe problems with access to guns.”

This is how this man lives his life:

He sees gun violence victims on a weekly basis. When those cases are fatal, they are hard for him to forget.

“They’ll come in, and they’ll look at me, and they’ll talk to me, and then they’ll die.”

Hoorah. Second Amendment. Freedom. Semper fi.



The Way Of San Jose

San Jose is a renowned scum-pit. An endless expanse of smog, sand, strip malls. Of humans heaving with rage, impotently driving their fists into the steering wheel, progress stalled amid thousands of other idling internally-combusting humans, moving no more furthur than they.

Those who wonder why extraterrestrials do not simply straight-forward approach human beings, need only consider San Jose.

San Jose marks the southernmost stretch of Silicon Valley. That ant-like conclave established shockley the monkeywhen the pocket-protected variant of human concluded that lies and ignorance and madness should no longer be confined to podiums and pulpits, to printed treesheets and undulating airborne frequencies, to foam-flecked froot-loops shouting at buildings. But instead should at all times be instantly available to all, all over the planet, through one vast interweb, whereby anyone, anywhere, at any time, could consult a Reality where, say, it is Known that when Lindsay Lohan is sentenced to community service in a morgue, this is a tip-off that she is an MK-ULTRA-like sex/drug slave embroiled in Call to Chaos rites, cruelly captive of a Freemasonic conspiracy involving those demonic US intelligence agents who also owned and controlled Marilyn Monroe and directed “Manchurian Candidate” Sirhan Sirhan.

The Valley and all its interwebbing works the brainchild of one William Shockley. A deeply disturbed human who, once he had successfully dumped silicon into the human brainpan, flapped madly across the land howling that he had Looked at a Gene, and thereby concluded that black people are congenitally dumber than two fence-posts.

This sort of “thinking” for many decades informed the law-enforcement philosophy of badged and gunned humans in the San Jose region. A philosophy which involved beating with big sticks any black or otherwise melanin-infused human who Happened To Be There.

Today I see that this philosophy has migrated up the valley of silica to San Mateo County. Where it has been determined that land so poisoned with toxins it is forbidden to build residences there, shall house the new “San Mateo County Replacement Jail Project.” And thus, there, caged humans shall reside, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, week after week, month after month, year after year, stewing in their fellow humans’ left-behind poisoned juices.

Last week the aptly named Chemical Way was cleaned of decades of toxic chemical residue, according to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department.

The site of the proposed new jail was so permeated by volatile organic compounds that the Department of Toxic Substances Control declared the land too hazardous for residential use. Unfortunately, it is still too hazardous to meet residential toxicity standards. The county cleaned it to commercial-level standards, which are lower, presuming that people don’t regularly sleep or eat or coming soonspend as much time in commercial settings. But the jail will have people eating and sleeping on site —24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

If the jail site isn’t safe for residential use, where most people aren’t home 24 hours a day, it certainly isn’t safe for the people who will be locked inside for months or years at a time.

Perhaps for that reason, the county failed to include a Human Health Risk Assessment, which is used to measure people’s likely exposure to toxic chemicals and whether that level of exposure is safe. Should we infer that the county doesn’t believe jails are residential, or just that the potential health risks to prisoners are not important enough to fully assess?

But you know: it’s all alright. Because these aren’t real humans. These are humans with melanin.

Black people make up 24 percent of San Mateo’s jail population even though they represent only 3 percent of the county’s population. Similarly, Latinos constitute 35 percent of the jail population but only 26 percent of the county’s.

It is time, I think, for some musical accompaniment. A number that not only explains why extraterrestrials do not straight-forward approach human beings. But also why there is some debate, out there in space, about maybe just erasing the place, to make way for a new hyperspace bypass.

Some Thoughts On The Common Toad

(Okay. Time to put things in perspective, with a reprint of George Orwell’s “Some Thoughts On The Common Toad.”  This piece appeared first in Tribune on April 12, 1946, a time when things seemed just as fraught as they do now.)

Before the swallow, before the daffodil, and not much later than the snowdrop, the common toad salutes the coming of spring after his own fashion, which is to emerge from a hole in the ground, where he has lain buried since the previous autumn, and crawl as rapidly as possible towards the nearest suitable patch of water. Something—some kind of shudder in the earth, or perhaps merely a rise of a few degrees in the temperature—has told him that it is time to wake up: though a few toads appear to sleep the clock round and miss out a year from time to time—at any rate, I have more than once dug them up, alive and apparently well, in the middle of the summer.

At this period, after his long fast, the toad has a very spiritual look, like a strict Anglo-Catholic towards the end of Lent. His movements are languid but purposeful, his body is shrunken, and by contrast his eyes look abnormally large. This allows one to notice, what one might not at another time, that a toad has about the most beautiful eye of any living creature. It is like gold, or more exactly it is like the golden-colored semi-precious stone which one sometimes sees in signet rings, and which I think is called a chrysoberyl.


When Man Becomes Mayonnaise

The elevator operator was a small ancient Negro whose name was Lyman Enders Knowles. Knowles was insane, I’m almost sure—offensively so, in that he grabbed his own behind and cried, “Yes, yes!” whenever he felt that he’d made a point.

“Hello, fellow anthropoids and lily pads and paddlewheels,” he said to dr. mayoMiss Faust and me. “Yes, yes!”

“First floor, please,” said Miss Faust coldly.

All Knowles had to do to close the door and get us to the first floor was to press a button, but he wasn’t going to do that yet. He wasn’t going to do it, maybe, for years.

“Man told me,” he said, “that these here elevators was Mayan architecture. I never knew that till today. And I says to him, ‘What’s that make me—mayonnaise?’ Yes, yes! And while he was thinking that over, I hit him with a question that straightened him up and made him think twice as hard! Yes, yes!

“I said to him,” said Knowles, “‘This here’s a re-search laboratory. Re-search means look again, don’t it? Means they’re looking for something they found once and it got away somehow, and now they got to re-search for it? How come they got to build a building like this, with mayonnaise elevators and all, and fill it with all these crazy people? What is it they’re trying to find again? Who lost what?’ Yes, yes!”

—Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

Tell Me The Story

Further Notice

I used to read the news headlines for fodder, though not anymore. Politics and commerce—mostly the same thing—are easy a rosesubjects in that I have plenty to say about what’s going on. When I write about easy targets, though, I end up thinking about them as targets, and I no longer think constant attack is helpful to me or the things I care about. Janice was never comfortable with my political writing, and I’ve come to understand why. In desperation I can fall into my old habits and whip out a rant that’ll fill my box on the back page, but when I do, although I can make me laugh—which is always satisfying—it feels like cheating and a waste of time.

—Anthony Peyton Porter

So Let It Be Rugged

Mbrother, in the last years of his life, pretty much lived for cats.

He expressed this explicitly.

When, feeling low, he presented himself verbally to me, as a bites camerabeing who “should have been a pair of ragged claws/scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”

But instead he was Here. And, so far as he could figure, but for cats.

When he died, there were 19 of the beasts, that he’d brought in, to his karass and his care, and who were dependent upon him.

When I gazed upon the face of his refrigerator, cleaning up after the mess of his death, I saw this, in note handscrawled: “Am I here just for cats?”

Well. Sure, you were, Steve. And a bodhisattva, in all those years, for that.

I’m not, I don’t think, circling quite the drain, these days, as my brother, in those years, did do.

But I nonetheless need to write about him.

Because my brother, he’s dead.


Hold The Mayo

There are many things wrong with the British. Probably an entire blog could be dedicated to the subject. Probably one is. I’m just too lazy to look it up.

Start with the food. What the British eat, this is not considered by normal humans to be edible. British cuisine primarily involves noblood, and boiling. If you present a food item to a Britisher, s/he will first try to squeeze blood out of it. Then s/he will toss it into a pot of boiling water.

The situation is so dire that when foodman Mark Bittman compiled The Best Recipes in the World, which contains thousands of entries, gathered up hither and yon, from sea to shining sea, not one was sourced to England.

The British do not comprehend that they eat worse than a snuffling junkyard dog. Else they would not have permitted publication of this survey, which confirms that their favorite condiment is mayonnaise.

Now, mayonnaise is not a condiment. It is not edible. It is not a food. It is an invasive alien species. To create mayonnaise requires but a single egg, and then however much vegetable oil one chooses to employ. It is possible to keep adding oil, adding oil, adding oil, until the entire planet is slathered with the stuff. This is, in fact, mayonnaise’s Plan. It is like Ice-Nine. It would render the earth uninhabitable.

There is so much fat in mayonnaise that the medical literature is chock-a-block with horrific reports of people whose aortas burst, merely from pulling a jar of the stuff from the refrigerator.

There is a reason why the best-selling brand of mayonnaise is called Hellmann’s. Because mayonnaise is literally from Hell.

The British actually produce a pretty decent condiment. Coleman’s mustard. Nice and hot. But Coleman’s finished fourth, among the British themselves.

Finishing third was something called HP Brown Sauce. I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know what that is. And I for sure don’t want to know what is Daddies Brown Sauce. Which finished sixth.

Not a single Britisher identified salsa as a favorite condiment.

Which is why the British are Doomed.

When To Stop

“They were doing renovations to extend the basement cafeteria. A bunch of Turkish workers were digging. They got a little surprise.”

Excavation work had torn up part of the sidewalk. Arkady joined the onlookers on the precarious edge, where klieg lamps aimed an incandescent surpriselight at a power shovel in a hole two stories deep and about twenty meters square.

In the hole an organized crew of men in coveralls and hard hats worked on the ground and up on scaffolding with picks and trowels, plastic bags, surgical masks and latex gloves. One man dislodged what looked like a brown ball, which he placed in a canvas bucket that he lowered by rope to the ground. He returned to his trowel and painstakingly freed a rib cage with arms attached. As Arkady’s eyes adjusted he saw that one entire face of the excavation was layered with human remains outlined by the snow, a cross section of soil with skulls for stones and femurs for sticks. Some were clothed, some weren’t. The smell was of sweet compost.

The canvas bucket was passed fire brigade style across the pit and pulled by rope up to a tent where other shadowy bodies were laid out on tables. The colonel went from tent to tent and barked at the men sorting bones to work faster.

Sergeant Gleb said, “They want all the bodies out by morning. They don’t want people to see.”

“How many so far?”

“It’s a mass grave, who can say?”

“How old?”

“From the clothes, they say the forties or fifties. Holes in the back of the head. In the basement of the Supreme Court yet. March you right downstairs and boom! That’s how they used to do it. That was some court.”

Gleb asked, “What if the grave runs under the entire court?”

“That’s always the problem, isn’t it? Once you start digging, when to stop?”

—Martin Cruz Smith, Stalin’s Ghost

I Sometimes Think About Sarah Palin When I Drive

Which is why I don’t drive much these days.

I prefer to walk. Or take the bus.

Because I don’t think about Sarah Palin. Then.

See, I decided, and some time ago, that Sarah Palin palinswas never Real. At least in any universe I might inhabit. She couldn’t possibly be. Must needs: perish that thought. Just too horrifying.

As I once expressed it:

I am not comfortable with occupying the same Reality where Bristol Palin is considered worthy of a television show.

There has to be another, more real Reality. One where neither Bristol, nor Sarah, is considered worthy of any attention whatsoever.

Where children are not named “Tripp.”

Where Mad John McCain was permitted to select Joe Lieberman or Charlie Crist as his VP. Instead of being denied that opportunity by The Rove Brigade. Causing him to pitch a fit, and petulantly lunge for this unutterable creature from non-Reality. Who burst in from another dimension, through some sort of strange and terrifying portal, up there in the snows of Alaska.

It is comforting, believing that Sarah Palin was never Real. And, once it is accepted that even the so-called “sun,” around which the Earth purportedly revolves, is no longer there—Not Real—it is not all that difficult to apprehend: that “Sarah Palin”: was never Real.

But today I am occupied by a different thought. And that is that Sarah Palin may, after all, be Real. But also Proof of the Reality of De-Evolution.

Or so say the Science Men. Beyond the “furthur.”


When I Worked

March 2013