Sunday, September 20, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
There are times, though, when I have an experience that seems meaningless when I first experience it -- but which strikes me (abstractly) nonetheless, and for no identifiable reason -- that actually turns out, in retrospect, to have possibly been some sort of bizarre and indecipherable omen. Am I alone in having these experiences? (Ed. note: I basically guarantee that no one will respond).
For example. I have to take the highway for about thirty miles to get to work. It is not, for the most part, a very big highway -- two or three lanes running in each direction, with farms, cornfields, trees, and telephone poles lining each side. Two or three weeks ago, as I was driving to work in the late afternoon, traffic came to a complete stop for about twenty minutes. Drivers were getting out of their cars and walking ahead, some with cameras, in order to figure out what was going on. As we finally started moving again I came upon, about a mile or two ahead of where my car had idled, the reason for the stoppage. A long, brown car with sharp, rectangular features had driven straight into one of the telephone poles that lined the side of the road. The front end of the car was wrapped in the shape of a V around the pole, which didn't appear to have given an inch. The windshield was shattered -- gone. And the front half of the car was black and looked charred. There did not appear to be anyone in the car and, strangely, I did not see any emergency vehicles; perhaps they had just left. Someone had set orange cones on the shoulder of the road in the area around the car. As I drove past and took in the carnage, I thought to myself that the driver must have died. I was of course affected by the scene, but I more or less dismissed it as a horrible and unfortunate accident and drove on.
Approximately thirty minutes later, I had exited the highway and was waiting relatively far back in line at a traffic light. When the light would change from red to green, however, I would move forward only a few car lengths; I would then have to wait for the next cycle. As I slowly approached the intersection I saw that the police were directing traffic and that I would not be able to cross the intersection; I would have to turn into the parking lot on my left, make a right out of the parking lot in order to gain access to the cross-street, and finally turn left onto the road that had been my original planned route. As I was performing these maneuvers I saw that there had been another accident -- this one not nearly as bad as the one I had seen thirty minutes before on the highway. It appeared that a dark-colored luxury car had collided with an ice cream truck, of all things, and that debris had been strewn across the intersection, therefore making the intersection uncrossable from that one specific entryway. Again I drove on -- this time more annoyed than anything, as it seemed impossible that there would have been any fatalities or even any serious injuries as a result of the accident.
At this point I thought it strange that I had seen two vehicular accidents in one day. I commented on the strangeness of the coincidence to both my boss and my father. I had hoped to tell my good friend X, with whom I usually worked, but he had taken the day off in order to drive to Tennessee for a musical festival.
Some hours later, as I drove home from work along the same highway -- albeit in the opposite direction -- I cruised along the road without much interruption. As I was moving along, however, I saw on the side of the road a blue-looking car in the grass and under the shade of some big trees along the side of the highway. The car had flipped over -- it was upside-down, and what was intended to be the top of the car had been crushed under the weight of the heavy engine, the tires, the axles, and the steel. Again I saw no emergency vehicles or personnel, and again I felt that the driver must have died. I immediately called my father to tell him that I had now seen a third accident on the day; he told me half-joking that the accidents may have been omens intended to warn me to slow down. We both laughed uneasily and then ended our conversation.
Four days later I received a phone call that X -- the friend with whom I worked -- had been involved in a terrible car crash in which his car had hydroplaned coming out of a tunnel and ultimately wrapped itself around a large tree along the side of the road. X suffered a compound fracture in his arm -- the jagged edge of his broken bone had cut through the skin -- and a concussion. The doctor more or less told him that he had been lucky to have survived the accident. In retrospect I find myself connecting the three accidents I had seen five days previous to X's accident and, of course, X's accident.
An unrelated and much less devastating incident occurred maybe two weeks after X's accident. I was again at work -- X is currently able to work -- on the phone with another friend. It is imperative that I relate to you certain specific bits of verifiable data in this anecdote that will seem at first to be irrelevant but that will emerge as being of the utmost importance. I hereby acknowledge the stupidity of this anecdote, but I feel that I must tell it to you.
At precisely 4:21 p.m. on this day, I placed a phone call to my friend Z. Z let the phone ring for maybe ten seconds before answering. Z and I spoke for exactly four minutes and two seconds. At the end of the conversation, Z said: "Goodbye, Jackson," as we often joke with each other like this. I responded by calling Z the first name that came to mind, which was, of course, Michael. And then we hung up at a point in time that could only have been, based on the verifiable data I have presented, 4:25 p.m. or 4:26 p.m. This conversation, of course, took place on the day that the internationally famous Michael Jackson was pronounced dead at precisely 4:26 p.m. Central Standard Time, which was, of course, about the same time that our conversation ended. A stupid anecdote, I know. I told you that. But mildly curious.
Other strange things: Highway lights seem to either burn out or, alternatively, turn on when I pass underneath them; Z actually told me once that there is some strange religion (or, perhaps, cult) that believes that the energy or aura of a person will affect lights in these ways. During the first week I spent in college, in town K, town K was the hottest town in the country, with a recorded temperature of 115 degrees Fahrenheit. During the first week I spent in graduate school in town S, town S was besieged by a massive flood that knocked out most of the roads leading into and out of the town. Aged nineteen, I flew to state F in order to visit an old family member. After landing I discovered by listening to the radio that the town that was my final destination had been the home of someone who had contributed to the writing of, and who had been a member of the band that had become famous for, the song that was and is unquestionably my favorite song; I have an almost spiritual connection to the song. This musician had of course died in the town I was visiting for the weekend at about the same time I had landed in the town. I am fairly certain that I have been physically touched by a spirit; this same spirit has visited X in a dream and communicated things that X could not have known of and that had no relevance to him whatsoever.
And now to my present situation. Approximately four months ago I began taking a different sleeping medication than I had been taking for the two or three years previous, as I am an insomniac. The new medication has been working and has even allowed me to experience dreaming -- something that my previous medication had eliminated. I have noted several times during these past months during which I have been taking this new medication that the dreams that I am now able to have while I am sleeping are oddly poignant, vivid, and oftentimes bizarre.
Two or three nights ago I dreamed that I was in an area of Minnesota that housed a significant number of large hotels. I am fairly certain that I was out-of-doors for the entirety of the dream, although I do have a vague recollection of a great number of people panicking and running through a hallway toward an exit, trying to find a way out of one of the hotels after a large explosion had shaken the building. Later on in the dream I remember watching at least four or five large airplanes striking these hotels and destroying them; I was fully aware in the dream that I was experiencing the sequel to 9/11.
I bring it up because I have a flight booked that is destined for Minneapolis in three or four weeks. Could the dream have been a premonition? Even if it was, it doesn't really matter, because I do not believe that I am very afraid of dying. This life is not so thrilling, anyway.
We will all find out in three to four weeks.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
There are six divisions. Each division now contains six teams. This means that there are six new teams.
New York Mets
New York Yankees
Chicago White Sox
Eastern Midwest Division
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
"Of course, your Excellency. I'm baptized, and I was taught to read when I was a child."
"Then read this."
The convict already knows what it is he is asked to read; he knows, too, how the reading will end, because this joke has been repeated more than thirty times. Smekaloff, however, knows also that the convict is not his dupe any more than is the soldier who now holds the rod suspended over the unhappy victim's back. The convict begins to read; the soldier, armed with his rod, stands motionless. Smekaloff ceases even to smoke, raises his hand, and waits for a word agreed upon beforehand. At that word, which from some double meaning might be interpreted as an order to start, the lieutenant lets fall his hand and the flogging begins. The officer bursts into fits of laughter, and the troops all laugh with him; the executioner laughs too, as does the victim himself.
-From Fyodor Dostoevsky's The House of the Dead, 1862
*I don't think that the previous paragraph wass grammatically correct. But I don't have time to fix it.
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Happy birthday Audrina. My gift to you is the ever-increasing knowledge that we were obviously meant for each other (plus making out)
What do you know! Tonight is my birthday party (even though the b-day was a few days ago), and now it turns out that it's my girlfriend's birthday, too! Audrina turns 24 today. The list of things that she and I have in common continues to grow:
-Both born in the month of May
-Both born in the fifth month of the year
-Both born in the eighties
-Both ridiculously attractive
-Both love each other intensely
Monday, May 4, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009
It's the fucking Swine Flu. This happens every couple of years; last time it was the damn avian flu, or whatever. It's not the fucking plague, and we're not all going to die. Nobody you know is going to get the swine flu. I think about .00000000000000000000000000000000001% of the population is going to be affected by this. So let's all FREAK OUT. Let's all start TALKING ABOUT THE SWINE FLU. NOBODY GOES TO WORK; NOBODY GOES TO SCHOOL; NOBODY LEAVES THE APARTMENT. You probably ARE more likely to contract the actual bubonic plague/black death/whatever, which fizzled out... what, 5 centuries ago?... than you are to catch the goddamn swine flu. Let alone die from it. But whatever -- let's all FREAK OUT, let's all start talking about BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN VACCINES, let's all look at the maps of the U.S. with the little circles of Swine Flu infections that get BIGGER AND BIGGER as the news people project the TERRIBLE DEATH OF HUMANKIND FROM THE SWINE FLU. Clue: that little map with the circles (that get bigger and bigger the farther ahead the news people look into time, until the entire country is covered in one big circle)? It's the same map that they used the last time we had a deadly plague kill us all -- the avian flu. And it's the same map that they used that one time when that other plague killed everyone. Seriously, it's the fucking Swine Flu.
Monday, April 20, 2009
The Joyce Lit Challenge:
Nighttime bio: James Joyce, by Richard Ellman
Start with: Dubliners
Then: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Then: Homer's The Odyssey (you need to read this before reading Ulysses)
Optional: Finnegans Wake
The Hemingway Lit Challenge:
Nighttime bio: Any bio except James R. Mellow's Hemingway: A Life Without Consequences (I thought Mellow was a crap writer and an idiot)
Start with: In Our Time
Then: The Sun Also Rises
Then: A Farewell to Arms
Then: Death in the Afternoon
*At this point, you should be just about finished with your bio. Switch your nighttime read to A Moveable Feast
Then: For Whom the Bell Tolls
Then: The Old Man and the Sea
Throughout the challenge, you should be reading as many of Hemingway's short stories as you can, whenever you have a half-hour or so to spare.
Optional: To Have and Have Not
I just finished my Hemingway challenge; actually, I should say that I just ended my Hemingway challenge. I made it about 100 pages into For Whom the Bell Tolls and decided that I was burned-out on Hemingway, and that I needed to finish up the challenge. So I scrapped that book and picked up The Old Man and the Sea. I only made it about 60 pages into that one because I was so burned out on Hemingway that I couldn't handle it anymore (and hopefully I will have reviews of all of the ones that I did finish posted soon). Also, I had finally figured out what my next Lit Challenge will be, and I was really excited to get started on it.
Before I tell you what my next Lit Challenge is, I will tell you what I ended up thinking about Ernest Hemingway.
In one word: overrated.
But he is still great, and he is a genius. His greatest strengths are in his stylistic abilities (fear adjectives, write short sentences, don't say anything that you don't need to say, the iceberg theory, etc.) and in his ability to write dialogue (although I do have some issues with that one). His greatest weaknesses are his plots, his absolute inability to create characters that resemble females realistically in any way whatsoever (his females are ridiculous fantasy-caricatures), and his tendency to overdo his trademark bravado. When it comes to Hemingway it's the shorter, the better. The vignettes he included in his debut, In Our Time, are really his best work. The longer a Hemingway piece gets, the more it seems like an over-worded vignette. But...reviews later (hopefully).
And now for my next Lit Challenge. It is:
Dostoyevsky of course lived in Russia during the 19th Century; he wrote Crime and Punishment, Notes from Underground, and The Brothers Karamazov. I am just beginning the Dostoevsky challenge, and so I am not sure exactly how the challenge will play out. Here is what I am thinking so far, though:
The Dostoyevsky Challenge
Nighttime bio is the Mochulsky bio referenced in the "Currently Reading" section above.
Start with: Poor People (or is it Poor Folk?)
Then: possibly The House of the Dead
Then: Notes From Underground
Then: Crime and Punishment
Then: The Gambler
Then: The Idiot
Then: The Possessed
Then: The Brothers Karamazov
Obviously, it would take me about a year to get through all of these books (and he's got more, too), so I will have to make some cuts (unless I can manage to keep this going for a year or more).
So that's what's on tap. I'm excited (and, as I was told recently by someone who I had just told about my Lit Challenges, a nerd).
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
I look at you and I see a drunk guy wearing a Hawaiian shirt on a boat. Also in that picture is your wife, who is thinking about divorcing you. You have a six-pack of Beck's in the refrigerator, don't you. True story: My friend used to work on your show, and he once drove you to the dentist. You got caught in a traffic jam along the way. You told him to buy guns. You are an even bigger loser than the other guy on that show, which is saying a lot. I've never had a conversation in which any of the following phrases have been uttered: "I like Charlie Sheen." "Charlie Sheen is talented." "Charlie Sheen is funny." "Charlie Sheen has a redeeming quality." You're like that guy you knew a long time ago who you think about now and say to yourself, "Yeah, that guy was kind of scary." One of your eyebrows is stuck in eternal-furrow mode, and the other is stuck in "Hmm, that's interesting" mode. If I was hanging out with a group of girls and we saw you, you would have an inescapable nickname within thirty seconds. It would probably be "Brow," but when I talked to you I would make it sound like I was saying "Bro," although it would have that California surfer accent that would make it sound like I was saying "Brahhhh." "What's up, Brahhh." But I would really be saying, "What's up, Brow." You would try to hang out with us because we would all be laughing, but you wouldn't realize that we were laughing at the fact that you aren't realizing that we are laughing at you. Eventually, I would start making fun of you directly -- to your face. You would let it go, though, and you'd stick around because you'd think I was kidding. I wouldn't be, though; that's why it's extra funny. Years later, even, one of those friends would ask me if I remembered "Brow (Brahhh)," but I would have no idea what they were talking about. You watch Ferguson, don't you. You listen to Creed, don't you. You've been to a Britney Spears concert. You don't spell well. You get into some cocaine sometimes. You have pinched a waitress' ass. You have a cat. The cat's name is Bongos. You blow pot smoke into your cat's face. You have been to jail. You have a son you've never met. You have your own storage space; there is a tent in there. It's blue, and it's never been used. You keep asking people to go camping. You talk about Kobe a lot. You have the bad Korn records, and you don't have the good Korn records. You listen to Dave Matthews. You keep calling him Dave. You ask chicks to go to Dave shows with you; some of them go with you, and this sustains you. You take vacations to Florida by yourself. You ask people what they are doing three Saturdays from now because it's your birthday on that day. No, not this Saturday -- three Saturdays from now. You get your haircut at Supercuts. You have had the same really short and meticulously groomed sideburns for twenty years. You own a pair of white sneakers. You call them sneakers. You call people the next morning to tell them how hungover you are. You watch your own show. You frequently mispronounce the names of athletes who play for your favorite sports team. Every one knows that you are only a fan of that particular sports team because you are trying to fit in, and it's awkward. You had a sub-woofer installed in your car.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Barack Obama is their W.
What I mean when I say this of course is that Barack Obama is to the Republicans in this country what George W. Bush was to the Democrats during the Bush administration: the complete opposite of what they thought was right, even down to the instinctual level.
So how can you defend the position that one of these Presidents is or was the perfect answer for our country while at the same time arguing that the other one is or was the perfectly wrong answer for our country? You can't, really, because I don''t think that most Americans have simply chosen to place their respective faiths in one or the other; we are talking about instincts here, and innate beliefs. We are talking about the very cores of each of us individually, which were all well-formed and strong long before most of us had even heard of Barack Obama. I don't know that there is a way to just simply convince someone to change that core; it would be like trying to convince them to stop having their blood carry the platelets to... wherever... the platelets... go...
The "W's" of the world aren't going to change their instincts, at least not overnight; and neither are the "O's" (with apologies for lame labelling). So doesn't the question become, then, about how we can begin to defend the one that we have placed our faith in -- a decision that is based purely on the make-up of that inner core of ours -- while at the same time tearing down the other guy, simply because we believe that we are right? A simpler way to put it might be to ask ourselves how we can know and prove that my instincts are right while your instincts are wrong, or how you can know and prove that my instincts are better than your instincts. You can't, because both sides of the argument will answer in the same way: "Because I am simply right, because this is what our values dictate, and because you are arguing for the opposite, wrong side." Yeah, well, the other guy said the same thing.
What you have to do -- always, not just in this instance, but for every decision you make -- is to question you own core and your own instincts, and to not really worry about what the other side believes for a while. You need to do this because the faith that you are putting in either Obama or Bush is really blind; you can't tell me who history will recognize as the right man for the job and who history will look at as the wrong man for the job. You believe that you can but you are wrong.
My instincts and my core call for me to enthusiastically believe that Obama is the smart guy and that W is the idiot. In questioning my instincts, here is what I have come up with:
-Obama's War in Afghanistan vs. W's War in Iraq. Both wars are theoretically based in 9/11 and national security, i.e., stopping the terrorists. But here is the thing: Don't we know that the al Queda, or whoever it was that attacked us, was and is still based in Afghanistan? We all know about W's "misinformation" (on its best day) that led us into the Iraq War. Yes, I do believe that our country is safer in a world without Saddam Hussein, but I don't think that that alone justifies the War in Iraq; in other words, I don't think that the goal of the War in Iraq was tied directly to 9/11, which is what the goal of whatever war we fought in the wake of 9/11 should have been tied to. And I think that there is really only one identifiable reason for the War in Afghanistan, and that is to wipe out the al Queda. I think that we have a good enough reason to do that, and I don't think that we had a good enough reason for going into Iraq. There were benefits that came from the Iraq War, sure; but I don't think that you can spend your life picking off all of the little guys who are out to get you. Now, if someone attacks you, or if you know that someone is going to attack you, then sure -- you fight back. We didn't know that Iraq was going to attack us, and as a matter of fact it has never been proven that they were going to; we only knew that Saddam Hussein hated us and that he might try to attack us someday. We know that the al Queda in Afghanistan attacked us, and that is of course a justifiable reason to go to war. I think that as the most powerful entity in the world, we need to be strong enough and secure enough to live knowing that some people in some parts of the world want to take us down. I don't think we should be allowed to physically destroy all of those who oppose us philosophically; I just think that we need to make ourselves strong enough to know when those intangible philosophical differences are about to evolve into a tangible act of violence, and to be able to prove it. Then and only then may we strike. The War in Afghanistan follows this guideline, while the War in Iraq does not. Therefore I do feel comfortable in my faith that Obama is right on this issue while Bush was wrong.
What if, you might ask, we are not able to identify those moments when an intangible philosophical difference evolves into a tangible act of violence, and we are attacked, or even wiped out? I will here use an analogy that I have used several times before: If you are ever in an airplane and the plane is going down, to the point that you are facing certain death, why be scared? If you are going to die, you are going to die; and if I ever find myself in a situation in which I know that I have no means of preventing my own death, I hope that I will be intellectually strong enough to accept the fact that my time in this world has come to an end and that this is simply the natural course for all things.
It wouldn't be the end of the world.
Alright, this is all that I can write for now. Perhaps I will get into the other Obama vs. Bush issues at some other time.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Saul, Jr. has been named as one of five finalists in a commercial-making competition that is being run by Univision TV (Spanish language broadcasting network in Chicago -- channel 66 on non-cable TVs). The other four finalists (according to Saul) are much older than Saul, Jr. (at least in their twenties, if not their thirties, forties, etc... but I'm not exactly sure of their stats) and have college degrees. Some or all of them may already be in the advertising industry. Oh -- and Saul, Jr. is the only one of the five finalists who made his commercial from scratch (he drew the cartoons, did the voices, and wrote and performed the music). The others (according to Saul) had a lot of help from the Internet, or at least had access to the tools that make this kind of thing a lot easier. I know I have made it sound as if Saul (the father) is bashing the other contestants -- he is not. He told me all of these things because he is proud of his son.
This is an online voting contest. If Saul, Jr. wins, I believe he gets some money (which will go towards the publication of his second book, which he has already written), prestige and a bunch of good stuff that I'm not really sure of... OPPORTUNITY for a young guy who seems like he could use the opportunity and seems like he may be both driven and talented enough to make something of himself... if given the right opportunities. I think he might also get to be on Oprah, or something?
To vote for Saul Jr's commercial (and getting you to vote for his commercial is the whole point of this blog entry), follow these steps. The Web site is in Spanish, but you can get through it.
1. Go to this link.
2. Scroll down until you see the links to the five commercials.
3. Watch Saul, Jr's commercial (the second one from the left; it is called "Quieres ir al Cine?", and Saul, Jr's name is underneath it) by clicking on the Ver Video link underneath it.
4. Click your mouse on the circle next to Saul's video link. Make sure that you have checked the circle next to Saul, Jr's video link before completing the next, final step.
5. Click the red VOTAR button at the bottom of the page.
The Web site has restricted me to voting for Saul, Jr's commercial only once. You can try voting for the commercial more than once. If the site lets you, great. Also...maybe you could get a couple of co-workers and friends to vote for Saul, Jr's commercial, too.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
I have lately been rediscovering the great Frank Zappa. Listening to these songs again has really been kind of soothing and has made me feel pretty good for some reason. I would really like you to give these songs a listen. Maybe they will make you feel good, too.
"Don't Eat the Yellow Snow/Nanook Rubs It"
-The only Youtube video I could find for this song also has two other (really great) songs attached to it. You can listen to those if you want, but if not you can stop the video at about the 7 minute mark (you'll know):
-This song, like "Don't Eat the Yellow Snow/Nanook Rubs It," is off of Zappa's Apostrophe. I couldn't find the studio version (I wish I could have), but this live version is pretty good, too. This song includes the most amazing line of all time: "Now is that a real poncho, or is that a Sears poncho?"
One of my all time favorites, "Black Napkins." You can find this song on Zappa's album Zoot Allures.
"San Ber'dino," which contains the great line, "His name is Bobby, he looks like a potato."
And, of course, "Muffin Man." Wish I could have found the studio version of this one.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Ari Fleischer served as White House Press Secretary under George W. Bush. This bitch is one of those people who makes me sick just because of the way he looks. Bitch is the personification of the stereotypical Republican. Seriously, just look at this dude. How much do you want to bet that he wears silky pink thongs under his Republican uniform. I guarantee that this bitch is messing around with some under-agers. He probably met them on the Internet. I get the feeling that he smells, too. You know that weird smell that some people have that's like...not really anything...it just smells like wrong, and it's there every day? Maybe a little bit of mothballs + ass? That smell is the smell of a black soul, and I bet that this bitch smells like that.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
SYMBOLISM THAT IS NOT OK:
SYMBOLISM THAT IS OK:
I had a lot more but I can't remember them now.
Just tell me the damn story. Don't tell me what it means. I don't care what it means. And I especially don't care what it means to you.
I kind of don't really like a whole lot of adjectives/modifiers, either. What difference does it make if the girl in the story has blue eyes. You are just writing that because you are talking about some girl that you loved once, or really liked, and she had blue eyes, and this is like your own little personal tribute to her, like your secret way of connecting with her, or even having a relationship with her, because you are a douche bag. You are telling me that she has blue eyes because you are a crap writer and you are not concentrating on what you are doing. You are not taking your emotion out of it. Anything that you write that you can't take your emotion out of is going to be crap, because why the hell would I want to read about how much you loved some chick, or how much you loved some guy, or how much it hurt you when they left. I don't. I want to read about them, and not you. I am not reading this because I want to solve the puzzle of your emotions. No one's emotions make sense to anyone but themselves. That is why I think they cause so many problems. Because the intensity or even existence of one person's emotions doesn't make sense or seem right to the person who those emotions are directed at. So maybe everybody feels emotions at different intensity levels; like, maybe I am composed so that I feel love, heartbreak, pain, anger, or any other emotion more intensely than you do. Or maybe less intensely. Maybe this has something to do with the way I was brought up, or maybe it is genetic. I don't know. I don't think it is possible that one person can feel the exact same emotion as another person. This is why I don't want to read about your emotions or how something makes you feel when I am reading a piece of literature. Because your emotions suck. If you are writing something as a way to express your emotions, it's called a journal. Not literature.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Rush Limbaugh challenged President Obama to a debate today, citing the White House's recognition of Limbaugh as the leader of the Republican Party.
Limbaugh said on his radio show today:
"If these guys are so impressed with themselves, and if they are so sure of their correctness, why doesn't President Obama come on my show? We will do a one-on-one debate of ideas and policies."
He ranted on. And, just to remind you, Limbaugh is not an elected official -- he is a radio show host.
There are a couple of different answers that I can come up with in response to Rush's question, "Why doesn't President Obama come on my show?"
First answer: "Um, I am actually the President, and I actually have important things to do."
Second answer: "The. American. People. Elected. Me. This. Means. That. They. Preferred. My. Ideas. To. Republican. Ideas. Oh, and, since we kicked your fat, rich asses out of government relevancy in the elections, it also means that You. Don't. Matter. At. All."
Third answer (preferred):
Monday, March 2, 2009
James Joyce (biography), by Richard Ellmann. The best biography I've ever read. Joyce's life was incredibly interesting and makes for a great story. Ellman is a great writer. Reading this book will make you a better writer because of what you learn from both Joyce and Ellmann. Reads better than a lot of novels. Because the book is a biography, it makes for a perfect pre-sleep read (because we all know that the "pre-sleep time", when you are laying in bed for 20-30 minutes right before you turn the lights off, should be reserved for biographies, right?). A must-read only for Joyce admirers or fans of the literature from the first half of the Twentieth Century; anyone, however, with anything more than a passing interest in literature will enjoy this book, perhaps even immensely.
The Metamorphosis and other selected short stories, by Franz Kafka. Kafka is perhaps the most disturbed person of all time. Most of you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the concept of "The Metamorphosis," which is that a low-level businessman who lives with his parents and his young sister wakes up one morning to find that he has transformed into a bug of some sort. The story was written in the early part of the Twentieth Century and so was quite a diversion from the main-stream lit of its era. I think that the story is a must-read for lit fans, but I think that this is mostly for the hype that surrounds it. It's good but I don't think it's life-changing. Read it and move on.
In Our Time, by Ernest Hemingway. An absolute masterpiece. This is a collection of short stories and vignettes, and is the first major work that Hemingway published. The book first appeared in the mid 1920s, when Hemingway himself was only about 25 or so. Hemingway's writing style in the book revolutionized writing and literature. The stories themselves are about nothing and everything at once: man's communion with nature, man's communion with his fellow man, the difficulty that men and women have understanding each other, trying to make sense of the world, transcendence through self-imposed exile... This is absolutely a must-read for everyone -- especially for lit people. This is also a great starting point for anyone who thinks that they might be interested in literature but who may be somewhat intimidated by the length/volume/subject matter/whatever of many of the great works. These stories are great and you should read them.
The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway. This is Hemingway's depiction of the post WWI literary exiles living in Paris and traveling throughout Europe in the 1920s. Much of the plot actually takes place in Pamplona, Spain and revolves around the bullfights there. The characters were for the most part real people, renamed by the author. Many consider this novel to be Hemingway's true masterpiece (at least as far as his novels go...the man is the God of the short story), but I disagree. I think that this is a fine novel, but one that is slightly overrated. The best parts are the descriptions of the bullfights -- these scenes alone would make the novel stand up. The novel as a whole is good and I would recommend that everyone read it, but I think it gets too much play from literary "experts" (I think it was the #10 novel on Time's Top 100 of the 20th Century list? I disagree). A worthy read, though. The language and style, again, are fantastic.
A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway. The best American novel I have read. I think this was ranked #48 on the Time's list, and I would have put it in the top 5, probably even the top 3. The novel takes place during WWI and revolves around a wounded American soldier who has been driving an ambulance for the Italian army on the Italian front (which Hemingway did in WWI) and the British nurse he meets as he recuperates in the Italian army hospital. The two fall in love and... This is the only book I have ever read that caused me to cuss out loud and shout out "Jesus" as I read it. This is one of the best books you will ever read and puts most other novels to shame. Read it.
Into the Wild, by John Krakauer. Some might not agree with me, but I think that this book is fantastic. Krakauer tells the true story of Chris McCandless who, after graduating from a prestigious American university in the early 1990s, abandons his possessions, burns his money, ensures that his family will never be able to find him, and begins hitchhiking his way across the country en route to his death in Alaska (Krakauer tells us that McCandless dies in the first chapter, so I'm not ruining anything). This book is all about transcendence, and if you can get over Krakauer's emotional attachment to the subject, I think that you can really get something out of McCandless' story. i.e., I must accomplish what McCandless accomplished. This is a quick read, too.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
"Hey! 'Ts'up? You know how we hate being around each other? I was hoping we could spend more time hating each other."
"Hey! 'Ts'up! I'm a huge tool and...I didn't know that you didn't like me, so... I'm going to go ahead and move on into the pathetic zone. If I don't hear back from you I'll try again in a couple of days."
Can't I just have one moron-free zone in my life. Even if it is only on the Internet. Guess what, man. If I wanted to be friends with an idiot, I'd call you. All the time.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I am fairly certain that some sort of air-borne virus dropped a bunch of acid before infiltrating my body
Here are some of the dreams I had last night (the longest night of my life) that scared the hell out of me. Keep in mind that I am pretty sure I was awake while I was having these dreams.
1. Moving from my current town back to my hometown. I am pretty sure I had to walk at some point, I don't really remember. But then for some reason I was back in my current town and didn't know anyone. Also, I was always lost. This is where one of my friends from college came in: she had a cousin or something like that who lived in the town and she wanted him to be my friend, or something. I was walking down the street in the dark and a car slowly rolled up behind me. It was him and his friend. When we shook hands, he had a werewolf hand (i.e., furry, with super-long nails). I don't really remember the rest of the dream, except that I was lost the whole time, and that this werewolf-hand guy was supposed to be my guide, but he scared the hell out of me and I wanted to get away from him.
2. Two of my best friends, who have been dating for a few years, broke up. I know that this doesn't really seem like a "scary" dream, but it was. Because it revolved around the girl being absolutely destroyed and the guy not really caring. Sorry to get all sentimental on you. But I was literally trying to cover up the fact that the girl was in such horrible shape...I don't know, it was weird. It was not good. It also involved my Nana's old house and the pool that she had. And throwing frisbees at about a mile per throw.
3. Literally had a dream where this girl that I really like was just making out with another dude. That was it. It was great. Not.
There were a lot of others that I don't really remember right now. The dreams probably don't seem very scary to you, but I actually feel like an entirely different person today because of them (and the whole dying and coming back to life thing). Because literally, since I am pretty sure that I was awake (or at least half-awake) while I was dreaming (hallucinating?) them, I honestly feel like I lived them. And they were all about absolutely horrible experiences.
And I am not kidding when I say that I feel like I died and came back to life. Seriously,
[oh, great. now i am having visions of looking in my bedroom and seeing my own body on the bed. Great.]
this is not a fun virus, this is like a government experiment gone wrong, or something. It's like an air-borne hallucinogen that causes you to want to die. And, maybe, that kills you but then allows you to come back to life.
I also would just like to point out that I have been hallucinating in other aspects of my life besides the dreams. From example, I remember thinking as I was laying in bed this morning that I was "hearing" my brain "shifting."
Have a nice day.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
'Being no longer human, why should I
Pretend humanity or don the frail attire?
Men have I known and men, but never one
Was grown so free an essence, or become
So simply element as what I am.
The mist goes from the mirror and I see.
Behold! the world of forms is swept beneath --
Turmoil grown visible beneath our peace,
And we that are grown formless, rise above --
Fluids intangible that have been men,
We seem as statues round whose high-risen base
Some overflowing river is run mad,
In us alone the element of calm.'
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
-getting old and senile/developing Alzheimer's
-in the mood to mess with me
Seriously. Today it is recommending that I change this sentence:
-What does the sign posted at the gates of hell represent to Dante?
What do the sign posted at the gates of hell represent to Dante?
I think my spellcheck/grammarcheck guy has moved to the ghetto and made some new friends.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
McCain and Other Republican Senators Say Obama is Off to Bad Start, Democrat Reminds Them They are Dumb-asses
Forget Democrats vs. Republicans. Let's realign so that it's Smart People vs. Dumb People.
And yes I am happy that the Republicans think that this is not going well because if they thought it was going well that would mean that their ideas would be advancing and ours would be stumbling. It's like that person you know -- maybe you work with him or her or maybe you know him or her socially -- who you just can't stand because he or she is dumb, ignorant, a horrible person, a total whack-job, etc. But some of your other friends are friends with this person, so you interact with him or her on a semi-regular basis. But no matter how much easier it would make your life if you would simply accept this person as your friend and trust his or her opinions and ideas as being good, you can't do it, because you know what kind of a person he or she really is. So when you are making plans on a Friday night and someone says that this person has invited everyone to this particular place, you refuse to go because you know that this person's idea of a good time and a good and positive atmosphere is just wrong. Whatever this person likes, you do not. Whatever this person does, you do the opposite. Because if you started liking or doing the things that this person does, it would make you just like this person, and you know that that would be horrible. Because you don't want to be like this person. As a result, when this person tells you that he or she likes listening to reggae or the Grateful Dead while getting high, you think to yourself "Yes. And that is why I don't like reggae, listen to the Dead, or get high. Because I don't want to become a moron like you." And when this person invites you over for a party, you think to yourself "No. Because I don't want to hang around with a bunch of morons like you." And when this person tells you that Obama is off to a bad start, you think to yourself "Good. Because if you thought he was off to a good start I would be really worried.
Because you are an idiot,
Note: I have recently discovered that ending a hanging sentence (i.e., a sentence that ends a complete thought or I guess a soliloquy or whatever) with a comma makes it much more insulting for some reason. And so yes, I am aware that the above quote is missing it's ending quotation mark and that it also ends with a comma instead of a period. I have chosen to do this in order to be more insulting.
Ending a sentence with a comma really does make it more insulting. Watch:
Does this dress make me look fat?
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Stump, a 10 year old Sussex spaniel (that's 70 in dog years), has been named "best in show" at the 2009 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I don't talk trash about dogs. But seriously, Stump doesn't look like he's very cool. As a matter of fact, he comes off as being a little bit pompous. But, like I said, I don't talk trash about dogs. So I'll stop there.
When I heard the news about Stump it reminded me of something I have been thinking about for the past couple of days because I have been hearing odds and ends about the dog show: Why the hell don't they show this crap on TV? Seriously, I would watch that. I am not even joking; I really think it would be a lot of fun to watch the competition unfold over a few nights. And yes, I would yell at the TV. I would root for the dogs that I thought were cool and, yes, would root against and jeer the dogs that I don't like. I don't think I am the only one who would enjoy this, either. I think it would be hilarious to watch, and I really hope that they put this on in prime time on NBC next year.
Don't furrow your eyebrows. You know you would love it, too.
I also wanted to say that my dog, Ginger, could kick the crap out of Stump. And Ginger is about the size of (read: is, basically) a small and hilarious pillow.
Here is some more information about Ginger, just in case you've never met her:
-A couple of weeks ago, she got sick and threw up on the welcome mat in her room (she sleeps in the laundry room, which is attached to the garage), so my folks had to throw the mat out. Ginger was afraid of the new and much bigger rug and refused to walk on it, opting instead to tiptoe around the edge of the mat until she was appeased with (you guessed it) treats.
-Ginger was also afraid of the new washer and dryer that were installed in her room about a year ago. She barked and growled at them for days.
-We counted once and determined that Ginger understands about one dozen words. Among them are: out, treat, walk, ride, bed (doesn't like that one), no (pretends not to understand that one), stay (when she feels like it), potty (new one), ball, down (when she feels like it), the phrase "go to your place" (when she feels like it), and Ginger.
-Ginger likes to invite people into her room. To watch her eat.
-Ginger has two best friends: the cleaning lady and Andy the guitar teacher.
-When Ginger gets her haircut she looks exactly like the dog from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.
-Ginger used to have a huge problem with barking at (and assaulting) anyone who came over who wasn't a member of the family. My folks had to hire a personal "teacher" for Ginger, and she went to "school" every other Saturday morning.
-The teacher once had Ginger run on the treadmill, and she wasn't trying to be funny.
-The teacher said that Ginger was her smartest student.
-The teacher told us that when dog owners pick up their dogs a lot and carry them around (like we do), the dog gets the impression that she is really big because she thinks that she is really as tall as her eye-level is when you hold her.
-Therefore, Ginger is under the impression that she is big and ferocious.
-Ginger is not ferocious. Like I said, she is basically a small and hilarious pillow.
-Sometimes when you talk to Ginger she will move her mouth like she is trying to talk back.
-When Ginger was a puppy, she did something bad and then hid underneath a table. My mom started yelling at her, and when Ginger wouldn't respond by coming out from underneath the table, my mom asked Ginger if she was deaf. If Ginger somehow could have answered, she probably would have said "No, I can hear you. I just can't understand human language."
-Every so often Ginger's breath smells mysteriously like Doritos.
-Every so often we will find empty bags of Doritos in Ginger's bed.
-Ginger really likes to play fetch.
-Ginger really only understands how to play the first half of fetch. After you throw the ball and she runs it down, she brings it over to you but will not give it back to you.
-The rules of the house are that Ginger is not allowed to go upstairs. The only one who really enforces this rule is my dad. Ginger is smart enough to know that she can break the rules when my dad is not home, even if there are other people home. Once, we had her upstairs because my dad was gone. He came home while she was up there, though, and when she heard him coming she hid behind the bathroom door, all on her own.
-Ginger likes to go outside and just stare.
-Ginger will not tolerate this noise: "pwwwut." No one knows why.
-Two Christmases ago I bought Ginger a "Clifford" book for a gift.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
First. Do you renember [intentional typo] having your asses fucking handed to you in the November 4 elections. That was because we don't like your brains, and we wanted to take your power away from you. Which we did. The reason you are having so much trouble accomplishing your goals in congress is because there are so few of you in congress -- far too few to vote your goals into reality. And the reason there are so few of you in congress is because America only wanted a few of you in congress; this was proven by the vote on Nov. 4. And the reason that America wanted only a few of you in congress is because you have bad brains.
Second. Um. When all of you republicans were running the country [into the ground] during Dubya's term in office, I don't really remember much bipartisanship coming from your end. I remember the opposite of bipartisanship coming from your end. I remember your leader, Dubya, continually enforcing an "I'm doing what I want to do even if most of the country hates what I want to do" policy. So why the hell would you expect to be treated differently. Especially when the entire country just rejected your agenda (and your asses), hard, in the election. We voted the other way because we don't like you or your ideas or policies or whatever, so...why would we want to include those ideas and policies in what we are trying to get accomplished now.
Basically, nobody gives a fuck about you anymore so you can whine all you want but why the hell should we care. You didn't, about us. Shut your bitch pipes.
Friday, February 6, 2009
I got this clip from Deadspin. It's Eddie singing karaoke at the Cubs convention ("Where the Streets Have No Name," by U2).
He is really one of my favorite performers.
Monday, February 2, 2009
You are probably by now familiar at least with the notion that our government is working towards passing an economic stimulus package. You may also be aware that the government, at the urging of President Barack Obama, removed a clause from the proposed package last week that dealt with the issue of birth control. The now stricken clause basically called for the package to include over $200 million that would basically make various forms of contraception more affordable for citizens. And, since this clause was intended for inclusion in the economic stimulus package, it is fair to say that the clause was economically motivated. The idea that the backers of this clause most likely had was that by making contraception more affordable and available to those who may choose to use it, fewer children would be born; as a result, there would eventually be fewer people on welfare and other such government aid programs. Because there would be fewer babies (and families) who needed that support. Does this sound like a logical train of thought to you? Regardless of your position on the issue of birth control, I don't think you can argue against the simple mathematics of the thing.
I feel that Ruben Navarrette's CNN commentary from Feb. 2, 2009, is a fantastic example of the propagandization of this issue, which eventually led to the removal of the clause from the stimulus package. I also feel that the commentary is a fantastic example of the kind of rampant and public idiocy that is being handed down to the American public by many of those with more powerful voices. For the purpose of this blog post I will focus only on the stimulus/birth control issue, but it is my wish that you consider what your leaders say, why they say it, how they say it, and the effect that it has on the majority of the citizens of this country who take their words as higher law because they often have no other sources of information (secondary wish: realize that this guy and everyone like him is an idiot).
To sum up Navarrette's commentary: He begins by going over what he considers to be some of the "ridiculous items" in the stimulus. Good: as Americans we should be very picky with how the government spends our money. But then he gets to the birth control clause, and literally almost compares it to genocide, and just coincidentally happens to invoke past issues of forced sterilization. He writes,
"You know the nation's cupboard is bare when politicians propose limiting the number of births as a way of improving the economy. That's a conversation we shouldn't be having" (Navarette commentary).
That's actually not a conversation we're having. We were actually just talking about making contraception more available to people who may need it. We weren't talking about surgically installing iron condoms onto anybody, or force-feeding women the morning-after pill every day. I don't know if you know this, but just because there are contraception methods available to you doesn't mean that you have to use them if you don't want to. Congratulations on placing the phrase "limiting births" so that it comes off so subliminally, so that most people don't pay too much attention to it and yet it still becomes associated with this issue in their minds.
Congratulations on (thinking that you are) taking a moral stance in saying that limiting the number of children people are allowed to have is wrong. Even if the non-idiotic portion of the world's population actually began to take this stance a number of centuries ago. NICE! GOING ! :p
Also, congratulations on basically comparing Nancy Pelosi (and others who supported the birth control clause) to the Nazis. This is a logical connection to make (if your brain is made of Jello and mashed potatoes and jiggles every time you turn your head):
"For a minute, it sounded as if the House Speaker was channeling the ghost of Margaret Sanger. The 20th Century birth control advocate is a hero to those who worship at the altar of reproductive freedom. [...] Sanger also embraced birth control as a means of social engineering. [...] Many in that school of thought considered immigrant groups like Jews, Italians, and Irish to be inferior genetically, and they felt that these groups were having too many children, a trend they believed needed to be stopped -- by forced sterilization if necessary" (Navarrette commentary).
And so, Craphead Navarrette, you have taken the notion of providing easier and more affordable access to contraception for people who may need or want it into the realm of reproductive genocide. And you almost kind of labeled some people 'genocidists' in the process. You're just the personification of human progress, aren't you. Again, reader: here is an instance where you should realize that someone is attempting to propagandize you by associating one thing with another very bad thing that really has nothing to do with the original thing. He is just trying to build false bridges and connections in peoples' brains in order to advance his own personal (outdated, inhumane, illogical) beliefs, and he has probably succeeded on a pretty massive scale. Because a lot of people have been buying in to this kind of crap for a very long time.
Here is the problem with your (illogical) logic, Navarrette. First of all, as I wrote earlier, the purpose of the clause in the stimulus package was to PROVIDE EASIER AND MORE AFFORDABLE ACCESS TO CONTRACEPTIVES FOR PEOPLE WHO may need it or want it. We weren't planning on welding any chastity belts on young women. We weren't planning on soldering condoms onto any men. And actually, to reference the actual center of your argument, which your whole argument is therefore based on, we're not moronic assholes and so therefore were not intent on "limiting the number of births." You know, since contraception is OPTIONAL, and all. I really don't think that the sex police were going to roll out from underneath the bed as soon as they saw the bra hit the floor and say to the (now un-)happy couple "Nope. You already got two kids."
Let me pause here for a second. And actually let me pause in my original pause to tell you that yes, I have now moved on to full out bashing pro-life dipshits. OK. Back to the original pause:
I am not sure that you understand what the meaning of the word choice is. Because what it means is that you can either decide to employ something, or decide not to employ something. Like when I say that birth control is a choice, it doesn't mean that everyone is actually forced to use it if they don't want to. Just because birth control pills exist doesn't mean that nobody is ever allowed to have babies again. And just because you think or believe that abortions are wrong doesn't mean that someone who doesn't believe that shouldn't be allowed to practice their belief, which is that having an abortion is not wrong. That would be like if I told you
ME: It is my belief that you have the word "dumbfuck" tattooed on your forehead.
YOU: No. But I don't want to do that.
ME: But it's my belief that you should have that done. And, so, yer...have to.
YOU: But. I. Don't. Be. Lieve. The. Same. Thing. You do. I. Be. Lieve. The. Opposite.
Goddammit I wish I could just put a giant condom over these dumbfucks' faces so that I wouldn't have to listen to their bullshit anymore. I'm sorry that you were born stupid but that doesn't mean that I'm going to dumb everything down just for your sake.