Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween Costume Ideas!

Now is a good time for Halloween Costume Ideas!

I can never think of a good one until it's too late to do it right. That's why I'm going to put these down now while they're still fresh in my mind.

Note that these aren't costumes I saw today on other people, these are ideas that I had (too late), or ideas that I had last year or the year before, also (too late) but I somehow managed to forget them by the time it wasn't (too late) anymore.

Group costume: Christmas Carolers! So many people are very sensitive about "rushing" the Christmas Season. How great would it be for them to open the door for the next group of same-ol' trick-or-treaters, only to be confronted with a bunch of angelic kids in choir robes with songbooks, singing "Gloria In Excelsis Deo"? The only problem would be, I think that it would have to be actual kids to do it right, and I think kids might be too senstive to put up with the kind of reactions they might get from some of your real Grinches out there. I'd hate anybody to start crying.

In a related semi-Christmasy costume suggestion, I think you could do an Elf, like one of Santa's Elves (pointy toes, leafy fringe, goofy hat), but instead of green and red or yellow the elf could be in black and orange elf-garb. The Halloween Elf. This might be a more subtle way to reconcile the two warring factions.

Goth Businessman! Nothing Christmasy about this guy. Black suit, black tie, black-dyed hair (optional blue streak), pallid complexion, black nail polish, black eye makeup, silver clip-on skull earing/other deathly accessories (GO EASY ON IT. He's a businessman!), black shoes and socks, white shirt (but should be something antique or Victorian), black briefcase with silver-studded pentagram and borders. The studding would be easy, a friend of mine makes jewelry and funky accessories, and she has a studding-gun. Ideally the briefcase should be full of white pages covered with one ominous typewritten phrase repeated over and over. Don't show anybody what's in the briefcase! It's just there as a hidden character bit, to help you with your motivation.

This next one is a really good one, and I actually thought of it early enough to do it, except that I have no idea where to procure a giant apple suit. Still, I figure anything's possible with a year's lead time. What you'd want is to start with something like the fruit-of-the-loom-guy's apple suit. A big red apple. Then, you construct a number of big razorblades (scaled to fit the size of the giant apple). Then you put the razorblades in the apple! Leave it so there's enough sticking out to identify them as razorblades. It's The Halloween Razorblade Apple! That's a bold warning to children and adults alike, and there's nothing like a strong social statement to drag in the votes at the inevitable costume pageant.

This last one is what I'm almost certainly going to be next year: Dark clothes. Long, dark coat. Gray scarf. Long hair, pulled back into a pony tail. A bloody gash on the head (nothing too serious). Sort of a bronze ancient-looking armor breastplate (carried, not worn!). Dazed look, bizarre enthusiams; wandering around appreciating things like the color of objects and the smell of hot coffee. Possibly, stalk anyone dressed as a gymnast or circus acrobat. It's Damiel, from Wings of Desire of course!

Anyway. Happy Halloween.

Describe the Sensation

The sensation was as vivid as battery acid on the tongue. Not the prosaic sensation of what battery acid actually feels like, tastes like, on the tongue - the sensation that those of you who have actually tasted battery acid might recall or describe - but the infinitely more vivid idea of that sensation that the rest of us have; having never actually tasted it.

That's what it was like.

Monday, October 30, 2006

In Defense of This Blog

Some have questioned the point of this blog. Some have charged outright that it has no point. Some have claimed "it isn't funny, if that's what it's supposed to be!"

To these doubters and naysayers, I have a thing or two to say. First, they should check out the very second post of this blog, where it is clearly stated that the points of this blog are threefold: to examine the relevance of postmodern thought and theory in an increasingly post-postmodern world, to crusade against the run-on sentence, and on top of that, a third thing. So so much for "no point"!

As to "not funny": I never said it was supposed to be hilarious. But anybody who doesn't find it to be at least intermittently mildly amusing needs to get their amusement bone checked. Because, even though I'm biased, some of this stuff has been pretty decent by most unbiased standards. Even though I'm biased. To substantiate that, maybe I'll figure out how to put some kind of sidebar on, with links to my top 9 favorite posts at all times.

Anyway, a lot of the time I'm not trying to be funny. Like this: Edward G. Robinson is wonderful in Double Indemnity.

Damn right he is. Only a fool would dispute it! Is that funny? Have you seen the film?

I think maybe people ought to just stop criticizing something they know nothing about.

Someone once said, "Mold is disgusting, but it isn't particularly interesting." I think that's a cop-out. I think that the real truth is that we don't want to examine it too closely, for fear of what we'll find!

Just the other day I was wondering, how does the mold know that the bread is ready? And then I realized that's a silly question. The mold can't know. The only possibility is that the mold is everywhere, all over everything already, and it only begins growing once something becomes spoiled enough to support the growth of mold. But the mold is already there. Everything in that refrigerator is already dusted with a fine coating of mold spores.

The point of that little digression should be obvious to anyone.

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Why do we need The Marines? I'm not asking why we need the fighting brave men and women who are members of that aforesaid organization. That question is dumb. I'm asking why we need a "The Marines" at all. Why couldn't the fighting brave men and women of The Marines do their brave fighting as members of an organization whose reason and purpose can be explained? What exactly is it that The Marines do, that couldn't just as well be done by a more badass or a slightly, beneficially deranged subsection of the Army?

I mean, look. Most of the U.S. Uniformed Services divisions make perfect sense. These dudes fight on land. These dudes fight on boats. These dudes fight on airplanes. These dudes...what? "These dudes have historically been carried on boats to fight on land"? I mean, who the hell cares how you got there? The Army takes a boat ride when they have to. They don't sit there thinking, "we really should call ourselves something else now, because of this...marine portion of our journey..."

Yes, yes, I recognize that I'm being all too terribly ignorant of the many important historical distinctions and traditions involved, but for Christ's sake. Join the Pope's Swiss Guard or something. Are you proud warriors, with a commensurate interest in streamlining and efficiency, or are you some kind of Battle Frat with a too-precious backstory and a fetish for perpetuating meaningless distinctions?

Alright, that was just a little bit of joshing there, for all the fine men and women out there way out in the wild blue yonder, being all they can be, as few and as proud as ever. Wearing that uniform smartly! Whenever I speak English, my heart thanks the troops.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Movies Where "I Love That Movie"

I think most of us have a pretty well-developed sense of where, "oh, I really LOVE that movie!" - even though we know it might not necessarily be a really critically-refined situation. I think that's something that most of us can define on instinct alone. What I'm talking about though, is something very different: bean dip recipes. I've learned about a lot of ways, and I think that the best way to approach any bean dip recipe is symbolically.

Paddle a rowboat across a pond. Wait 'til you reach the other side, and then decide: what kind of bean dip suits this occasion?

Maybe there's a dragonfly in your way. Can your boat keep up with his darting course? Can the lap, lap of your paddle counterpoint the singing of his wings' voice? Can a bean dip reflect those twinned iridescent rainbows as they shimmer and sing? Don't be surprised if the answer is: "Maybe!"

There are many types of bean dips that one might choose. But the thing lies not in choosing a bean dip, nor in eating a bean dip - but in making a bean dip. That's where the truth of action comes in.

Pert beans. Creamy base. The lilt of a passing expression across your face. A decision made, in seconds split by passing shadows of sparrows flying out-of-formation, off-kilter arrows, flying off-target, flying off.

And that's how you make it perfectly. Serve and enjoy! Feeds zero.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

FW: FW: Re: Urgent!! Protect the Ancient Yulby Forest!

Dear Friend of Jobo,

For time out of mind, the Ancient Yulby Forest has been home to such indigenous folk and creatures as the Lumberous Burlybear, the Wee Feebles, the Dumb-Elves and of course Saba friend of Jobo. The battle to keep this pristine area clean and safe has been fought on many fronts. This week, the House of Representatives has drafted a new threat to the safety of these helpless woodland denizens and their pristine area: the Burn Down Yulby Forest Act. This bill would not only pave the way for the Ancient Yulby Forest to be Burned Down, it would also set the worst possible precedent for preservation efforts in other Fairyland-type areas.

The Yulby Forest is a historic treasure; the first-ever zone to be designated a National Fairy Woodland Preserve. I just sent a message to my Representative urging them to protect our important and whimsical heritage.

Don't let Congress use a sneaky backdoor maneuver to burn down our precious public fairylands and threaten our fragile indigenous populations of imaginary creatures.

I hope that you will join me in opposing this backdoor trick by sending a message to your Representative today. Click here to send a message now:


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Daylight Savings My Ass!

Well, here it is again. That time of year when we all have to switch all our clocks up. Go through the whole stupid house, locating all the clocks and putting them all back an hour. Probably waste half an hour doing it! And of course, Arizona gets a chance to lord their superiority over the rest of us lemmings, since their clocks will already be set back. Why? Because they never Sprang them forward in the first place! And why should they have? Why should any of us have? Who says the time has to change? What is the justification for it! Is there any justification that still holds water here and now, in this 21st century age, in which we live?

I heard it originally had something to do with farmers. Screw them, they have roosters, don't they? Why should they get to mess up all of our clocks? The sun comes up on time! Doesn't it?!

I say we don't "Fall Back." I say we stay on whatever time this is, forever. No "Springing Forward," "Falling Back," forth, back, forth every six months. Just stay on 1-hour-later time. Make that the standard. We already know it works fine for the summer. For the it really so important to people that the sky be pitch black by 6pm? Can't we just leave it how it is? So what, the schoolkids have to go to the bus stop in the dark. Boo-hoo! It beats being a farmer!

And tell Arizona to get with the fucking program already.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

State Mottos

I always thought that the State Motto of Idaho should be, "In Your FACE, Wyoming!!!"

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Borderline Creepy Things I Used To Do

At this one particular job I had (at a pretty big company with a big employee locker room and rest room on the 4th floor), I would scrawl indignant responses to the toilet-stall pundits and poets of the main employee men's room. I would craft these responses "in-character," generally from the standpoint of a devout and somewhat puritanical Muslim.

When I was a kid, and I walked everywhere that I went, I always used to check the coin-return slot of any payphones along the way. I'd noticed that people would almost always dip their finger in there, when they heard the change drop through after completing a call. Usually, of course, the change slot would be empty, which was always a little bit depressing. So I bought a big bag of my favorite hard candy - Brach's Starlight Peppermint Swirls - and I began carrying a supply of them on my person at all times. I put an individually-wrapped Brach's Starlight Peppermint Swirl in the change slot of every payphone that I passed by. An unexpected bonus for the next person to check the slot!

Sometimes at work, I would pilfer a small item off somebody's desk, and then a week later (after they'd been looking for it, wondering where it went) I would return it anonymously in a tiny brightly-colored gift box with a little bow.

Back when I was in school, and before I was old enough to fully understand such things, I would sometimes look at the girls across the gymnasium with a wandering eye and mind. One time I looked a little too long, longer than I should have, considering my gym shorts.

When I was first learning to drive, I used to drive past people with my headlights off at night. If anyone flashed their high-beams at me, I would pull an inexorable u-turn, tail them until they stopped at the next red light, drift to a stop behind them, then get out and run around to their driver-side door and fill them full of hot lead.

One time, I put together this whole list of creepy things I used to do, even though I had never actually done any of the things on the list.

Well...maybe one of them. But looking back on all that, I thank God for the maturity and the insight that I've gained over these long years of my life so far, to no longer do any such creepy things as these. I look at the whole thing as a lesson and a testament; that people can and do change for the better. All they need to do is: they have to want to try.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

On Poetry


The local entertainment weekly where I live did a cover story on some poets who were riding around in a bus writing poems, or perhaps reciting poems they had already written, and the story printed some of their gems...which...they're fine, I guess, but my poems are better than these!

I'm not saying my poems are any good. I like them. I think poetry these days can't be too choosy about being any good. Poetry shot itself in the foot a little bit, where being any good is concerned. But it can still be liked.

I think I'll start sort of a sister-blog to this one, to put the spotlight firmly on my poems. Mainly because, I don't really want them in here. Not as a main feature. Maybe one every now and then.

It kind of makes me wonder, though. Whatever happened to poetry? Some poetry used to be great! It's as though once poets lost all anxiety about observing any structural formalities, people in general took a look at the result and realized that it was only just a bunch of words at that point.

The preceding post was not a poem. Just to be absolutely clear on that.

Friday, October 20, 2006


I think that if I were singing Karaoke, and the words display thing went out, and it was playing "The End of the World As We Know It," I could probably fake my way through the rest of the song by going, "automatic systematic! automatic systematic! Yes! No! Yes!" and stuff like that. I couldn't say for sure that would work, but it seems like it would be a good bet. I stress that I'm no expert. I never did sing Karaoke.

At some point, I will probably have to. It's a simple matter of making a show of respect and acceptance for a foreign culture. I think we all need to make some concessions for the sake of global harmony.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


This election season, take a stand against the wasteful actions of our legislature. VOTE NO!

When you step into the voting-booth tomorrow (or whenever it is), send a clear message to those fat-cat bureaucrats: VOTE NO!

VOTE NO on EVERYTHING! Whatever the measure is, whatever the referendum is on, there's a much larger referendum at stake: THERE ARE TOO MANY LAWS AS IT IS. We don't need any more laws!

For years, the VOTE NO! movement has been slowly building steam. From its humble beginnings as a grass-roots oddity, the movement grew into a bona fide cultural phenomenon, and has now become an unstoppable juggernaut for change! People are fed up. We all know that there are too many laws. We all know that they just keep on passing new laws, for no reason but to change the older laws, that were passed to change the previous laws, that were enacted for no good reason in the first place! We know that if nothing is done, this wasteful cycle of make-work keep-up-appearances legislature will keep on spinning its wheels and wasting our tax dollars forever.

No more! The voice of the public is ringing out bold and furious: "No more!" Finally, we know that we have had enough. We have the power to put a stop to all of this pointless lawmaking for the sake of lawmaking. That power is ours. All we need to do is to seize it! So this election season, take the time to read and understand all the issues, take the time to familiarize yourself with all the ballot measures on the ticket. But when you step into the booth, take a moment to think about the bigger picture. Cast the one vote that will send a clear message to these government slackers, wasting all their time and ours drafting pointless and redundant legislation, thinking we'll be fooled into believing that they're doing something really difficult and worthwhile.

We've been fooled for too long. Now is the time to let them know that their time is up, that we've wised up to their tricks! The free ride is at an end. NO NEW LAWS. We've had enough.


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


What's with all these movies being released on DVD in the "unrated" version, "uncensored" version...? I even saw one that claimed to be the "unedited" version!

I would love to see that. What would it be, the whole movie in one take? Either that, or else: "Now available in the Unedited Version! Sit through 16 different takes of each scene! The whole unspoiled glory of the film unspools before your eyes, out-of-sequence and in the original order that the scenes were shot - with none of the intrusive editing that undermines the artistic purity of other films!"

I can only assume that in most of these releases, which are comedies of various low-to-middling sorts, "unrated" is a come-on intended to imply "additional tits added in!" (whether or not they deliver on that unspoken promise). But there are a lot of films coming out "unrated" where that just...almost couldn't conceivably apply. I mean, The Ring 2? I wouldn't want to think that Naomi Watts would allow her, ahem, bosoms to be reduced to the status of a DVD extra. It's not really that type of film, anyway. Nor is it a "guts and gore" horror film. So what's uncensored? What's unrated? What do you get extra? "Now with even more lingering shots of grotesquely distorted rictuses!"?

I seriously doubt that would put it over the line, as far as the MPAA is concerned. Nor, for that matter, would mere nudity. So...I don't get it. If the film was already rated "R", there are only a few things that are going to push it over the hump, into NC-17 territory. Let's be honest, these are not things that are being added in to these supposed "unrated", "uncensored" versions!

But there's a much bigger issue at stake here than empty titillation.

These "special versions" dilute the identity of the original film as a work of art. We look at an acknowledged masterpiece by Leonardo Di Vinci or Picasso, and we say, "yeah! That's it! That's the one and only! A masterpiece!" Sure, a lot of those masters made multiples of some of their more high-profile pieces. Edvard Munch comes to mind. He had a bunch of different takes on "The Scream." Perhaps he had enough vision to see that it was going to end up as Pop Art. But the main thing is, he may have done more than one "The Scream," but they're all pretty much the same. It's not like there's an "uncensored" version with extra tits!

I blame Ridley Scott. Him and his Blade Runner with three different theatrical releases - and now the original version is gone, seemingly for good. And for what? What are these directors saying? As far as I'm concerned, the original wide-release theatrical version of every movie is the "Director's Cut." That's what the director was able to achieve. That's what the director accomplished, for real, when it counted. I'm not calling Ridley Scott a pussy, but any director who can't get their cut and their vision approved the first time a pussy. You can either say, "yes, this is what I was able to do, this is my film" or you can disown it. Or, you can shut up. That's always an option. But you don't just wait until the film is released, let it make as much money as it can, let it garner a dedicated fan base, and then say, oh, wait! That cut sucks, that's the Producer's Cut! Wait 'til you see this cut! "Here comes my bold vision!"

Bold vision my ass. It was your job to fight for that vision the first time, if it's so damn bold. Either that, or take your name off in protest if what's being released is not your vision. Because I've got news for you: you are either the director or you're not. Don't come to us the second time around, talking about what an uncompromising artist you are.

Or if you least, have the decency to put some extra titties in there.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Out Of Material

That's it. That's all I got. I am out of material.

I guess I could just put down what happened to me today. And that could be today's entry! But if I do that...what will I do tomorrow??

I think I need to think this over for a couple days. It's a bit of a quandary.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Feeling a Bit Mysterious

I'm feeling a bit mysterious today. I'm not sure I can really explain it or talk about it. I learned something today that made me change my view on a lot of things, and kind of filled me with an "a-ha!" smile about the world in general.

I think everybody needs at least one happy secret to keep to themselves!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Power of Prayer. Sort Of.

The power of prayer. Always a controversial topic in scientific circles. I'm not concerned about that at this point, though. Instead, I'd like to examine some ideas and attitudes toward the power of prayer, as considered within a more traditional ideological framework.

Obviously, there are all sorts of different traditional ideological frameworks out there. Most religions believe that prayer can and/or does influence the outcome of events. You've got everything from speaking in tongues to beseeching prophets to petitioning patron saints, and many other options besides. But the basic idea is the same: apparently, God is not dispassionately considering each request on merit. When deciding whether or not to intervene, God weighs the quantity and quality of the prayers being put forth, as a key factor. Perhaps, the deciding factor.

Hence, "the power of prayer."

There seem to be two main aspects involved: the number of prayers being brought to bear, and the strength of the faith being exerted. Let's say you have a really important prayer you need to bring to God's attention. The more times you pray, and/or the more people who are united in prayer behind your intention...factor in how strong each person's faith is...take all of that and put it together: the more total faith that is behind that prayer, the more effective it will be. Don't forget any saints who are joining in, in prayer on your behalf. For sheer strength and purity of faith, it's hard to beat saints. So as you can imagine, getting the right saint or saints involved, pulling for you - that could well be the clincher.

It would be nice if there were published stats available for each saint, letting you know the relative rankings of all the various saints' faith levels. Then you could just single out one or two of the "heavy hitters," and route all your prayers through them. Easy!

Unfortunately, even if you knew those wouldn't necessarily want to go that route. Most saints have a particular area that they take an interest in. If you come to the Can't Find My Keys Guy (St. Anthony) with a Hopeless Cause...well, he's probably going to try to help you out. He's a saint! But his heart isn't really going to be in it. He'll be saying to himself, "what are you doing? This isn't my job! Go to St. Jude with this."

The whole thing is kind of like a great and holy mystery, and it's very hard to just dissect it into aspects like I tend to do with anything. When you try to break it down like that, it starts acting like it makes no sense. Yet it can be very sort of powerful and reassuring, when viewed with the proper lack of detachment.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Not A Koan

The world is an illusion;
the Buddhists all insist.
But why should you believe them
when they think they don't exist?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Fitness Made Brilliant

Move over, Clay Aiken! John Basedow is my new gay icon.

Wait, not "gay"! Neither one of these men is gay, necessarily. Nor would I say it. I just meant gay in the sense that a cape might be gay, for instance.

John Basedow did it right. He came up with a whole new category for himself, and then he became the first one: he is Fitness Celebrity John Basedow. I think that if you come up with a snappy title like that for yourself, all you have to do is start calling yourself that, and suddenly, you are one. Who could say otherwise? There's no Fitness Celebrities Guild.

I'm going to follow in John Basedow's chiseled footsteps. But I need to do it my own way. So if I can pull this off, you'll be looking at a new creation: Joe Valdemos*, Fitness Luminary.

I am sick of my body being the way it is, and so I am embarking on my self-designed, self-tested, self-vaunted Crash Fitness Regimen. It's a radical new program that incorporates a traditional foundation of cardio-aerobic motion theory into a solid core of retro calisthenics, with a dash of Eastern Mysticism. I call it, "The Crash Fitness Regimen." It's a simple program, yet I won't divulge its secrets to anyone. Not until they are perfected! Indeed, until they are made perfect - unto the person of myself! Incarnate!

I am trying to loft up the verbiage a bit here, as might befit a Fitness Luminary. I mean, "Fitness Luminary" is pretty lofty-sounding. Sounds like Nobel Prize material! Got to live up to that.

I'll let you know once the results are in, and they will astound you.

*note that this new fake last name replaces the previously-announced fake name of "Joe Sevigny," due to various points pointed out.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

An Open Letter To Personal Attention Junkie Fans of Famous Creative Types

I apologize for the strident tone, bordering on cruelty in a few spots, of my previous post. But you really need to wake up. Call yourself a fan? Then get your priorities straight! The rest of us who really really want to hear that next album - because they care more about the artist's art than you do - don't want to hear you whining about which artists aren't kind to the fans. Piss off, the artist who slaves on the work is the one who is kind to the fans!

You should go get a freaking pen pal or something. Quit bothering important people with your emotional over-attachment issues.


A Realer Fan Than You Are

An Open Letter To Famous Creative Types

Primarily, we're talking musicians. So in this letter, I am going to address you as if you're a musician. But really, it applies just as strongly to other fields: some artists in the world of film, literature, even "Art." Basically, any individual whose fame and livelihood depends on coming up with creative ideas and executing them on a high-profile scale. If you're in that category, please listen to me: I want to talk about your fans.

We all grow up hearing the story of someone's biggest fan, who got a personal letter from their idol and the beauty of that one act changed their life. This interaction tends to get held up as the ideal for how good artists ought to behave.

Well let me tell you something. I'm a real fan. I'll tell you what I want from the artists that I admire: I want them to do their job. I want them to do their work. Because the real work you do, through your art...that can touch and change millions of lives. Spend your energies writing songs, creating art, building your legacy - not trying to foster some needy person's parasitic personal-relationship fantasy.

Who is the real fan? The one whose priority is to have a personal connection with you? Or the one whose priority is the music that you have created and the music that you are creating (or ought to be!)? The distinction couldn't be more obvious. I have no idea how the common perception has become so moony and wrong-headed, but I assure you that the vast majority of your fans are true fans who only want you to do what's best for the music. The personal attention junkies are a tiny, tiny minority who want you to spend a huge, disproportionate amount of your time pleasing them. It validates their delusions of specialness.

Oh, there are some stars who love and enjoy reading and personally answering fan letters. They draw energy from that. It adds to their creative juice. And if that works for you, then by all means, enjoy! That's a win-all-around situation. But most stars, particularly your real artists, your personally-tortured types with the esteem issues...they find themselves very conflicted and ambivalent about the adulation. What normal person wouldn't? They find that involving themselves personally in it is a chore and a creative drain. Yet so many of them put themselves through it anyway, because they're basically nice people. They don't want to be the bad idol...whose poor fan sits at home sniffling over unanswered letters. The result is that they wear themselves down and drain their creative energies doing something that only benefits that one fan (however many of that fan there may be - they're basically all the same person).

I'm pissed off about it! Anyone who would rather that you spend your time on a personal letter, instead of perfecting the epoch-breaking album that we all know you have in you...that person is NOT A FAN. Period! That person is a sad, sick individual. They don't give a damn on what matters to you and to the real fans! The music is all that matters. The vast majority of your true, dedicated fans know that. Your true fans are the ones who have invested their hearts and their lives in your music (and would love you to give them more of it) - they're not the ones obsessively trying to forge some bullshit personal bond with you.

So if you're really jazzed about hand-answering reams of fan mail, go for it. But if you're not, please have no compunctions about appointing some designated professional fan-club honcho to do the job for you. And if any "fan" complains about not getting a personal response from you...tell those fake fans to take a hike! The real fans know you have a much more important job to do, and it's called Art.

Signed sincerely,

Your Real Biggest Fan.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Belated Preview Reviews #2: The Departed

I'm not too crazy about the title they picked, but I most definitely want to see this one. The commercial came on TV a week or two ago, and let me tell you...all these gritty personas blazing across the screen, clearly acting their asses off...Leo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon...I just sat there agape, saying "why didn't I hear about this before?"

Then I said out loud in front of witnesses, "All this film needs is Marky Mark and I am THERE!!!!" Naturally five seconds later, right at the end of the commercial, who do they bring in...! "...and Mark Wahlberg...!"

So I have to go see it now. I always wanted to see Matt Damon and Marky Mark square off in a real high-intensity mega-acting showdown. So I could see if I can tell them apart then.

No, I'm being serious! I want to see this film. I'll let you know what I think of it.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Snippet of Conversation

"He's not a bad guy. He's just the type of guy who likes to kill as many birds with as few stones as possible."

"Why does he hate birds so much?"

"He doesn't hate birds, sweetheart. It's not about birds, it's about efficiency."

"Birds don't hurt efficiency! Birds are very efficient!"

"You'll understand when you get older, honey."

"That sucks."

"Don't you back-talk me young lady!"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Clay Aiken: My Idol

First of all, I am going to come out right now and I'm going to tell you all very unambiguously that I am not bisexual.

So I was trying to record this particular television commercial (the reason why doesn't matter), and it seemed to be airing on CNN, so I popped in a tape and recorded a few hours. What I got as a bonus was Clay Aiken being interviewed by Larry King Live.

Under some pretty persistent questioning from Mr. Live, Mr. Aiken inspired me with his principled stance of refusal to answer any questions about his sexual orientation. I think that Michael Stipe previously also inspired me in this same exact way. I would like to kudo both these fine men, and I encourage other celebrities to follow their uncompromisingly ambiguous example. That sort of thing is just none of America's business.

The thing that struck me most forcefully about Mr. Aiken was his new haircut. He now eerily resembles James Spader (as if it were possible to resemble James Spader in any way other than eerily!). Obviously, he makes a younger and more callow James Spader. It's weird, because prior to this haircut, and facially in general, I wouldn't have thought that the two looked a thing alike. Yet with this floppy mop of locks all but tousling itself above, the face below takes on a wholly different aspect; an aspect at once more assured and strikingly Spaderesque. Even Aiken's facial expressions are now redolent of that coyly sinister vibe that Spader oozes so smoothly. The goofy speaking voice and that accent now come across as a facade, a put-on, and underneath...something far steelier than we'd ever previously suspected. Something potentially unspeakable, yet...dangerously beguiling.

If Clay Aiken can act at all (I don't know. Can he?) I want him cast right now in a fictional biography of James Spader's life, an epic that paints Spader's rise to sordid prominence as one scandalous, orgiastic, debauched episode after another - as if Spader's real life had out-Caligula'd everything in any of his films. I suppose Spader himself should be involved in some capacity. Perhaps he could contribute a few true tales, to be woven into the narrative. If he'd be so inclined.

The other rather shocking thing was that I recorded this long hours ago, and the news programs that were airing after the Larry King Live show are now repeating. But they're not just running the same stories...they're repeating the same exact newscast! The anchor is saying things like, "It's almost noon in North Korea..." or "Right now, dawn is breaking and the curfew is being lifted over this Iraqi city..."! And these are the same exact times that were stated before, at least...what...four hours before! Is dawn still breaking in Iraq? Is it still not yet noon in Korea? How many times had this old news already been repeated, by the time I saw it the first time?

CNN has lost all of their credibility on this one. You heard it here first. I caught them with their pants down and their underwear brown.

This has been a remarkably focused blog entry, I must say. Oh yeah! While I'm talking about Clay Aiken, may I say that that "If I was invisible" song...the lyrics to the refrain in that thing...speaking of creepy, speaking of James Spader, those lyrics are so creepy that they ought to make that song into a James Spader movie. And in retrospect, thinking of that song, this burgeoning resemblance really shouldn't come as such a surprise.

That's about it. I do want to make it clear that I love James Spader though. He's the James Spaderiest!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Missing That Picture Of You

I like to paint representationally, but with an eye toward abstraction as far as composition goes. I always thought that no matter how good a painting was at depiction, it should still work as purely an abstract piece. So that if you could unfocus your visual mind and not see it as depicting things, it would still work - just based on the composition, the formal arrangements of shape and color. I liked to use a lot of paint - almost a sculptural effect. Paint piled up in streaks and curls, here and there cut through to the surface with the palette knife.

Loved that palette knife! I had like, five of those. Different shapes.

My favorite single piece that I painted was: I had shot a couple rolls of film trying to catch the interplay of reflections on glass with the objects seen through the glass and those in front of it. I did a couple canvasses from one photo from that batch. It was a shot taken from outside the window of the Camden Ferry crossing the Delaware river, shooting into the interior where my (now long since ex-) girlfriend sat smiling in a black dress with a large floral print.

In the photo, the sun shining behind my head turned my reflection into a giant's shadow across the glass. It looked like my arms were raised, holding my head in my hands, but you couldn't see any details - I was a black silhouette looming against the reflected sky, with one shining eye glaring down (the camera flash). There were patterns formed by intercut lines, the play of shadows and forms across the grid of the tiled floor inside the main cabin of the ferry. The interplay of the reflected clouds outside and the big white flowershapes on her dress, the two of us - me in shadow, her in light. It all lined up very well.

I tried to paint it as if all of these competing forms had equal reality in one picture plane, rather than some things being reflections and some being shadows. I compressed it all into one pictorial space. It was a good job.

I gave the picture to her and I’m pretty sure she kept it for a while.

What Kind of a Painter ARE YOU?

Oil painting pretty much exclusively. As far as style, I did a few abstracts but preferred representational. I never really tried for the delicate, hyper-real, fever-dream lucidity on display in Alma-Tadema's stuff (for instance). Not that I could have done it! In fact, I don't think it even occurred to me that it was possible to paint that way anymore. I had a vague idea that all the tricks had been lost. And maybe they are? If generations pass with no one painting in that tradition, surely the techniques are not passed along, and so die.

But maybe it's not as complicated as that. Maybe they just painted with real tiny brushes on a real big space, and then stood way the hell back from it. That makes anything look more realistic!

I wish I'd done more. I ended up doing more drawing than painting, more plans and drafts then executions. A lot of charcoals, pencils. A lot of erasing. I love to draw with the eraser!

With One Magic Word...

With one magic word...the world's snottiest little newsboy Billy Batson is transformed into CAPTAIN MARVEL!!! The World's Mightiest Mortal!

S, for Solomon! Wisdom of!
H, for Hercules! Strength of!
A, for Achilles! Courage of!
Z, for Zeus! Power of!
A again, this time for Atlas! Stamina of!
M, for Mercury! Speed of!


Captain Marvel is just so much cooler than Superman. And I don't just mean that he could beat him in a fight (although, "duh!").

Admittedly, Superman would be tons more useful to have around. He's got all these extra optional powers rounding out the standard strong-fast-bulletproof-"hey I can fly too!" package. X-Ray vision. Heat vision. Telescopic vision. Microscopic vision. Arthroscopic vision, fix knees at a glance. Super-hearing, Super-taste, Super-smell, Super-smarts (although he never comes off too bright in comparison to say, Batman, he is supposed to have an incredibly powerfully super-smart brain. Maybe Batman just has smarter writers).

Then you have those crazy super-breath powers of his...he can, oh my God, suck all the poison gas out of a room and into his lungs - leaving behind fresh, breathable atmosphere for Lois and Jimmy! That's one highly selective suck! And his lungs have some pretty sophisticated temperature controls too, because even though he doesn't walk around all the time with icy steam coming out of his need, as necessary, when the situation calls for it, he can expel gales of hurricane-force super-chilled air! How cold? So cold! Cold enough to freeze entire lakes solid in seconds, just by blowing across the surface! So that he can pick up the frozen lake, and go plug a volcano or something.

So yeah, if I had to choose the superhero to have around for multi-purpose emergencies, Superman takes the cake.

But Captain Marvel is just so much cooler. Just with his outfit, for starters. Bright red, with gold boots, belt-sash and vambraces! And a bold golden bolt of lightning emblazoned, nay,, emblazoned is good. Otherwise, what, "festooned"? Emblazoned across his chest! What a bold symbol. Then there's that gay little white cape of his, with the gold trim - so clearly intended as a mocking jape at Supe's ridiculous expanse of crimson. As if to say, "Hey, cape-boy! Who are we trying to kid here?" All that and plus, he looks just like Fred MacMurray (if Fred MacMurray was a pro linebacker).

He's got the winning grin, the aw-shucks humility, and the more realistic hair. Honestly, what kind of mousse is Superman using? Who could keep that perfect little forehead curl in place whipping around at Mach 210 all the time?

That's why I say, make mine Marvel! Captain Marvel. Some call him "Shazam" but no. That's just his magic word.

You know, I always thought it would be funny if one time, he mispronounced his magic word and it got all mixed up somehow - so that Captain Marvel ended up with the Stamina of Solomon, the Strength of Achilles, the Power of Mercury, the Courage of Zeus, the Speed of Atlas, and the Wisdom of Hercules. SAMZAH!! Those last three alone would be a death sentence in any dangerous situation. Albeit, a highly-entertaining death sentence.

Not that I'm saying Solomon was some kind of slouch in the Stamina department. I'm sure he got no complaints. I mean, the dude had one hundred wives. Although that might tend to cast some doubt on the whole Wisdom claim, but let's leave that. I do have to ask, though, what's a biblical Jew doing hanging out with all these false gods? Technically, I guess that would be "Two Gods, a Demigod, a Titan, a Hero, and a Biblical Jew." Sounds almost like some weird band name.

Or the start of a very erudite joke, if you tag it with "walk into a bar."

Friday, October 06, 2006

Ham Hock Pot Pie!

How come there's no ham pot pie? I mean, commercially available in a store near me. I'm sure somebody out there can clue me in to their regionally secret Auntie Obscure's Ham Pot Pie, available at their local La Grocerie Deluxe for only $11.99 per one-serving pie (and a bargain at twice the price). "Thanks." But what I really want is, what I really want to know is, why isn't there widely-available ham pie?

How about a ham hock pot pie! How great would that taste? Mmm. The smoky flavor of the ham hock in a slow-stewed gravy with savory beans, peas, carrot and potato? ARE YOU KIDDING ME, it would be delicious!

You see plenty of chicken pot pie, beef pot pie, turkey pot pie, even weird variants like chicken mushroom or cheesy chicken pot pie. Where's the other pink meat? I'm a ham man, damn it!

I admit, a nice prawn pot pie, fat prawns and complementary vegetables in a white gravy with some of those little pearl onions in, that might be deliciously pull-offable. But screw that - the priority here is squarely on the ham. Bring it on! Bring on the ham hock pot pie!

I think that perhaps I shouldn't "blog hungry."

My Blessing Be Upon You.

I have just a real desire to make today's post something genuinely heart-warming and sweet, but I don't have a real good idea to put with that. So I'm declaring that intention to be "the thought that counts" for the day.

Consider yourself uplifted.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

What's My Name? Pt.2

I forgot the whole point of the post! Obviously, there's no real reason to go by a full-on assumed name in here. I'm pretty comfortable that none of my fine readers would necessarily have any reason know...find out where I live, and...come stalking me. Besides, I'm pretty up front about the fact that I am the proud holder of an infinity-degree puce belt in a martial art I invented myself! Only a fool would have the bad sense to mess with that.

So I'm pretty confident as far as that goes. But all the same, I'm not comfortable using my last name here, because it just seems too exposed. As ambivalent as I am about my first name, I actually love my last name. But I don't want people googling me and thrilling to the antics of that other guy with my same name who seems to be racking up DWIs in Ohio. That's not me. I don't want to be tainted with that. Plus, anyone seeing that would think that I lied about my age.

Bottom line: so as to avoid that awkward "Joe XXXXXXXX" business in that FWD e-mail a few posts back, for the sake of the blog, I am going to refer to myself and my last name as "Joe Sevigny" in any instances where it would be natural within the post to refer to myself by my full name.

I'm sure there may be another Joe Sevigny out there, or something similar, but needless to say I'm not that guy. I don't care what he did - I'm not him. And I've never even been to Ohio. Not in years. And only for a couple hours, even then!

That's so you know.

What's My Name?

As I've said, it's Joe. Not a bad name as names go. But I've never been too jazzed about it. I was trying to think up another name that I'd like better and of course, when you put yourself on the spot like that, you always come up blank. Or else, come up with something stupid. Like at the restaurant the other night, my date and I were discussing some person who'd been hauled in by the cops for something or other. They'd taken an alias to hide under but it didn't pan out.

I forget what name they chose, but it was something dumb-funny. So I asked my date, "well, if you had to cut and run, restart your life in some far-flung town under an assumed name...what name would you choose?" She asked me right back, of course, and so it ended up that if it came down to it, I would be Maximilian Verbosa. She would be Johanna Squires.

It was also decided that I would be to be addressed as "Maximilian" at all times - no shortened version. Whereas she would be "Hanna," to her assumed friends.

It's good to have these things worked out in advance.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CEO Beginner's Guide Inspirational Speech #5: WHO ARE THE KEY PLAYERS?

Next item. Oh boy. We're all more than familiar with this one. We're getting behind the ball on this one, guys. We need to identify who are the key players, what their tasks are, draft a realistic schedule for completion dates on those action items, and start hitting our marks. That January deadline isn't getting any more February, people! We need to either establish compliance, come up with a viable alternative, or get out of the game entirely. I assure you - that last option is not an option!

This issue has been hot on the table since June, people. Everybody keeps coming to these meetings, taking notes, nodding their heads - well snap out of it! Instead of spending all this next week drafting a detailed minutes of the meeting that apportions all your action items onto somebody else, how about spending that time digging out from under that hole you've gotten yourself into! Procrastination, ladies, is no longer a luxury we can afford to indulge. We need some more rock and roll, and less rocks in the heads or else the heads are going to roll!

So get serious. I'm serious! I'm not going to tell you twice next time. Look around the table - the question was asked "who is responsible?" I see some very responsible people here today. Let's step up to the plate and hit one fair and far. It's too late in the game to start grousing about the batting order. We know who the key players are, here. We know what the job entails. Now we need to dig in and get our hands greasy. Divvy up the chicken and leave the wishbone for the kiddies, gentlemen. Wishes don't make deadlines.

HANDLE IT. That is all.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

I Pitch In, Do My Part...

Sometimes, before forwarding on a political spam, I like to switch a couple key words.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2006 11:32 AM
To: 'All Concerned Distribution List'
Subject: RE: Idaho officials need our help...


Idaho wolves are gearing up to kill officials, and I need your help to stop them! You can take action online at the website below:

In January 2006, the Bush Administration handed over management of Idaho officials to the wolves of Idaho.

Within a week, state wolves announced plans to kill as many as 50 officials in the state's Upper Clearwater Basin -- 75% of the population of state officials in one National Forest! Now Idaho wolves have asked for permission to kill officials in areas of Northern Idaho where they are still protected under the Endangered Bureaucrats Act.

We can't let that happen! Please take action online now:

Thanks for helping protect our imperiled bureaucrats...

To take action on this issue, click on the link below:
If the text above does not appear as a link or it wraps across multiple lines, then copy and paste it into the address area of your browser.
-----End Original Message-----

NOTE: None of the URLs in the above message are the original URLs. So they most likely point nowhere.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Prayer of St. Francis Pt.2

This blog seems to be drifting in a more overtly spiritual direction. I'm not sure whether that's a trend of things to come, or a quirk of the moment. Either way, I'm sure to "go with the flow," which is my main mode. Not really, but for the sake of argument: "Go with the flow."

When I posted yesterday's entry, it was only because I happened to stumble across the Prayer of St. Francis, and I read it, and it was Sunday, and for some reason the whole ambience of it all just got me nostalgic for my Church days. And then I read it again and I said to myself, "wow, that's practically Buddhist in its simplicity, in its yielding-oneself-up-to-the-will-of-the-cosmos." Which of course, isn't a particularly Buddhist stance. But heck with them anyway, I bet they all get reincarnated as Scientologists*.

Anyhow, after I posted it, I read it again, like 3 times through. It's a beautiful sentiment, Buddhist or not. I wish I could be like that. It's not that I doubt the existence of God, per se. Actually I don't at all, which is weird. I never have. Even though - there's no evidence really. None! But I think that's kind of the clincher, in a strange way. I've always felt that if I were God, I wouldn't have left a seam or a fingerprint anywhere in creation. I would have left no evidence. A perfect creation would have to stand up to any amount of scrutiny, and still appear as if it could plausibly have created itself. If the existence of God could be proved, from all sorts of strings and levers left behind in the mechanics of reality; or if the machine couldn't work without regular and periodic divine intervention and maintenance...well, that'd be a real shit job then, wouldn't it? Of creation! A shit job.

But that's a separate blog topic ("Good Job, God!" slated for mid-December). This is about the Prayer of St. Francis.

The funniest thing I remember about the Prayer of St. Francis is that at some point they made it into a hymn, and of course to do that they had to add in extra words here and there to even out the flow. At one point, they have the line as "...and where there's doubt, true faith in You." Now, this was one of the hymns that was sung pretty frequently at St. Thomas Parish (I bet a "The Prayer of St. Thomas" would have been pretty funny!). I had pretty much absorbed the whole words already by the time I could read. So naturally, I never bothered to follow along reading the lyrics. Consequently, from a very young age, I thought the line was, "...and where there's doubtrude, faith in You." I thought that "doubtrude" was a special nounier version of "doubt", along the lines of "hatred" for "hate". I continued believing in this right on up through high school and possibly beyond, and occasionally the word found its way into test essays and papers!

It's funny the things you accept uncritically, if you absorb them early enough in life. There's a wider lesson in that, somewhere. I'm sure of it.

*just kidding. I love Buddhists, I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Prayer of St. Francis

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, let me bring pardon;
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith;
Where there is despair, let me bring hope;
Where there is darkness, let me bring light;
And where there is sadness, let me bring joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.