Do You Feel Lucky?

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fate Couldn't Care Less

Fate doesn't set the course of our lives. It does not pick out your path for you. Fate couldn't care less about your path. Fate just throws everything up in the air, and before we even come along, it's crashed and scattered and all laid out: the pattern we will live. The path we will walk, the life we will choose, and choose, and choose, and choose...every step right up 'til the day we drop.

We can't change a thing. We can only hesitate in thought - as we were fated to do, as we always would have done! We can stop and deliberate, think to ourselves, but what if I change my mind? This or this? And then go on to do what we always would have done, whether we knew it or not, exactly on schedule and never a moment too late or too soon.

We just need to quit worrying about it. Fate doesn't care.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Did I Say That, or Did Somebody Else?

"To stand on a precipice can be thrilling. To live there, less so."

I said that, but the person I said it to seemed both favorably impressed by the saying, and also familiar with it. Whereas I thought I made it up on the spot! She couldn't recall the source of the quote, though I suggested a few lofty possibilities. Later, I tried to Google various versions and permutations. No luck.

Anybody heard this one before? Who came up with that? ME??? Or did some otha sucka quipster beat me to the punch! If it's that damn Confucius again, I'm going to go all kung fu-cius on his ass I swear.

I was thinking also, that first off-the-head-top version might be fine-tuned a bit. Perhaps:

"To stand on a precipice can be thrilling. To live there, inconvenient."

Monday, December 28, 2009

Now Is The Time To Invest!

Business has never been cheaper! BUY IN NOW! This blog post does not constitute financial advice.

Consult your portfolio therapist before making any major life changes. BUY NOW! You cannot await another moment to let this last best chance pass! Invest in some of the cheapest deals you will ever see! Stocks are about to start selling like wildfire, and you want to buy in now so that once that next big blaze ignites, you'll be sitting on top of a ton of cheap-bought shares that you can then sell off at a fat rate of gain to the fool suckers who buy in on the second wave! But if you wait, if you hold off, then you'll be the one stuck sitting on the cold outskirts of the big building of business transactions, pounding to get in while that inferno rages inside. Do you want to be out in the cold? BUY NOW!

Business has never been cheaper. Yours for the pennies, that's how capitalism works - if you're smart.

T-Shirt Ideas #...I've Lost Count

I'm most definitely a beer slut. That'd make a great t-shirt slogan if done right. Warm rich brown tee-shirt, gold lettering. At the top it says

beer slut.

Then in bigger letters -


- each with a picture of the appropriate beer in a complementary-style glass, looking absolutely gorgeous.

And at the bottom:


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lullaby Letdowns #1

So apparently, the second verse of Rock-A-Bye Baby does not go "Rock-a-bye baby, safe on the floor, we don't put babies in trees anymore / but if you keep crying, we'll revert to his-to-ry / and you, little baby / will be in a tree."

Apparently, my mom made that up. Total fabrication!

And I bought it, hook, line and sinker. What a sap!

What a chump.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tough Topics #12: Now, About Them Commie Witch-Hunts

Yeah, they were wrong and all. I'm a big civil-liberties buff, and a human rights nerd besides, and it was unconscionable how bad we as a nation and a people trashed the crap out of the peoples' inalienable rights. The whole foundation and purpose of what America was supposed to stand for! Trashed in the name of demonizing the ol' Godless Commie Red Menace. It was disgraceful. Nobody's going to argue otherwise, at least, not where I'm nearby, ready to drop a sweet helping of two-fisted LIBERTY on their FACE!!!!

But there's another side to the story, too. And it's this: it is kind of insulting to Communism to dog these witch-hunters too much. Because what are you trying to say? That it was completely groundless? Are you trying to say Communism was no threat?

Communism certainly thought it was a threat.

Communism thought it could win. Communism thought it was going to win. You trying to say it wasn't even a threat, that they had no chance? Because if so, that's extremely insulting! Hell. I'm no Marxist, but it pisses me off to see the brave, jut-jawed Soviet Iconic Worker epitomized on so many top-notch propaganda posters dismissed so lightly!

Sure, in this day and age, when Marx's discredited pseudoreligion of ordained, dogmatic historical and economic inevitabilities has been shown up for the con job it was, Communism looks like a pretty pathetic opponent. But that's all hindsight, and it ignores the fact that in order to come out on top, we pretty much had to f*** everything we used to stand for. We cheated. Did we need to cheat? Could we have won without shamefully selling out all the very rights and liberties our system is supposed to be all about, and nothing without? Well, the point is: maybe we could have, and maybe we wouldn't have. We'll never know now. We did what several of the people at the time thought we had to do.

I don't know. As incensed as I am by the whole HUAC debacle, and as hard as I hate those bastards for putting the survival of the nation (which they perceived, rightly, wrongly, to be in peril and/or some of them were also fanning the hysteria to advance their own personal political power agenda) ahead of the preservation of the rights upon which our nation STANDS, and without which it in fact DOES INDEED DESERVE TO DIE...still, I have to look around at the people who don't believe the inalienable rights of the individual are supremely important, and on their behalf (on behalf of probably, most Americans), I have to wonder: what's their problem with what was done, exactly?

Communism took itself pretty seriously. I'm inclined to trust Communism on that. I have to concede that Communism was not "not a threat." I believe they meant business. Just because Communists turned out to suck at business, doesn't mean they didn't mean business.

That's why whenever I tear into the Commie Witch-Hunters - and I do! - I do so on the grounds of hypocrisy. I do so on the grounds of their illegal betrayal of our most sacred principles. But I never tear into them by saying it was overkill. Because if you don't believe (as I do) that the inalienable rights of the individual are more important than any perceived threat to national security, then there's not much you can accuse McCarthy and company of. In an age where "by any means necessary" is a moral and upstanding rallying cry, what did they do wrong? Unlike some modern-day apologists and supporters of the Classic Left, McCarthy paid the Communists the very sincere compliment of acting like they really did pose a threat.

So those of you inclined to dogpile on the witch-hunters, on behalf of poor beaten-down fellow-travelers, ease up a bit and settle into the moral victory, why don't you? Capitalism, Liberty and Democracy only won because we cheated.

It cost us more than we know.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Christmas Treasury!

Merry Christmas, all of you. And as a special treat for you on this, Christmas, I've assembled a delectable sampler of all my choicest Christmas-themed posts from over the years (rightfully excluding the annual Christmas poems).

Yours to enjoy:

On Christmas Eve...

The Latest Thinking On The Environment

I Looked Out The Window On Christmas Day

A Chilling Tale of Christmas, For Your FACE!!


As always, feel free to leave comments on old posts. Merry to the Christmas, and deck the halls y'alls.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

my annual Official Christmas Poem

"the comeback kid"

final seconds tick
down to zero,


game over - or is...?

she's dropping back, kids!

it's a Hail Mary pass
a Baby Jesus football, caught
in the end zone, defenders
breaking down in tears


as the cheers
for the home team
Final Score -
- unbelievable!
Saints: 21
Sinners: 23

what an all-time upset


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Infamy At A Pool Hall #4

Infamy At A Pool Hall is a semi-regular feature that collects some of the shameful quotations of things actually heard and said at the previous weekly pool session, out loud, not by those at neighboring tables but by persons or person right there, at my own table, from among the same group of regulars that based on these quotations alone and if you didn't know them outside of the pool hall context, you would think I'd be ashamed just to whew. Italics fatigue. Where was I - oh yea, you'd think I'd be ashamed just to appear in their company and lend seeming countenance to their disreputable repute!!

On with the quotes. Don't read these if you're delicate of EAR or SOUL:

"Combo - 4, 7, middle." "SUCK IT!!"

"Was that some deep, deliberate, strategic move or did you forget you were solids?"

"Dude, you're putting on a clinic! abortion clinic."

"Call it. CALL IT. I want to hear a call on this one! Call it." (...and the other guy just shoots! - defiantly refusing to "call it")

"Whose shot is it - yours or your mouth's?"

"Eyes on the game and take your shot, please...? That girl's ass will still be there when you're finished missing."

"I'm not being presumptuous here I'm being fucking insightful."

"SCREW YOU, CUE BALL!!! Sorry Nick - I meant the cue ball not you."

"Quit looking at me like I'm not your hero."

How Cool And Polite Can One Man Be?

And people might ask, is it an effort on my part, to ooze with such coolness and politeness? An effort such as perhaps I could cease to make? But: Nope. It's as effortless as your fifth breath back. You don't even remember TAKING that breath. Well that's just how effortless my politeness and coolness is.

People who can't deal with it will just have to deal with it.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Super Positivity #1!

Hi! This is Super Positivity #1!

In the comments queue, leave a little story of a time when you did something that made you proud of doing the right thing. Or similar. To kick it off here's mine.

One time I walked up to the ATM, and it was BEEPING. The screen said,
"Main Menu?" "Return Card?"
"Oh my goodness!" I said - the situation clear to me in a flash! I knew I only had seconds to act! I pressed "Return Card" and the card slid out. I ran around the side of the building at a sprint, where I could only see one car with anyone in it - and she was pulling out! I slid up to her car frantically gesturing. She seemed alarmed, but she stopped pulling out. She didn't roll down her window, though. So I had to yell: "ARE YOU MILLICENT?"

If anything, she became slightly more alarmed. "Yes," she nodded: "Why?"


She rolled down the window at that and thanked me profusely! She did of course tell me her last name for verification purposes. I wasn't about to give Millicent's card to the wrong Millicent!

I walked back to the ATM, happy to have helped someone in some small way. What a pain in the ass that can be when the ATM eats your card - or you leave it in the machine, which amounts to the same thing! I always dash straight to it when shit like that happens. I fucking rule that way.

Why not share a story of your own in the comments (try to keep the cursing to a minimum, though please)? Tell us about a time you saved someone, even if only in a small way, or any other thing that made you glow with the good happy after.

This is Super Positivity #1! In the New Year, sure to be a recurring feature.

Doodeloo #33: Scrooge To The Rescue!

Seem to be a lot of holiday-themed ones this year. Doodeloos. There was a pretty sweet Halloween one, and now all these Christmas ones. I don't know if that's a good thing or if it just shows I've lost my edge, artistically.

"Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth"

When I was a kid, I thought this saying was just a complaint about the quality of cooks in general. It had an air of resignation to it: "You know, there's just too many cooks out there, who can't do broth worth a damn."

I never once got the mental image of a whole bunch of cooks, working simultaneously on that broth. The saying doesn't succeed, from an evocative, descriptive standpoint. If I were to say to you "too many quarterbacks throw interceptions," would you think, "ah yes! When a whole bunch of quarterbacks all get together to try to make one throw, it's bound to go awry!" No, probably you would not (albeit: true dat, one supposes).

It took forever for me to get that they meant a whole bunch of cooks, all working on the same broth, and spoiling it as a result. I have to ask: couldn't they have picked a slightly more complicated dish than broth for this saying? It doesn't seem remotely feasible for all these cooks to be in there on one broth!

And don't say that's the point because that isn't the point.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Dudes with the Fear of Commitment

I just don't understand the dudes with the fear of commitment. Fear of commitment? I've got the opposite of that, whatever that would be! Whatever the opposite of commitment is? That's what I'm afraid of.

I've been through a real wringer lately, heart-wise, but I remain an optimist. That's my secret! My secret is to remain an optimist. How I pull it off, I have honestly no idea. But I do pull it off, so far. The heart may be blind, but my optimism keeps shining a light forward regardless! Optimism is what the other half of the glass is filled with. And so it is with me as well: I'm positively brimming with optimism. Some dudes go on a first date, call themselves an optimist, they bring a condom. I bring an engagement ring. "Just in case!" No takers so far, but like I said: an optimist. It'll happen.

I'm a sitting duck for some lucky young lady! Or old lady, I don't care. I'm not shallow like that. I don't require that my girl be lucky. But one thing though, there's one thing I require: she's got to have high standards.

With me...she's going to need 'em.

Doodeloo #32: TAKE THAT, MARS!!!

Christmas will conquer the universe. We have all the technology we need already. Christmas technology.

Mostly stuff like lights and decorations.

We just need to fine-tune the delivery systems, is all.

Love to Talk

I'd love to talk to you for hours about all kinds of things. Love, sex, friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, apathy, coldness, chemistry, electricity, pregnancy, abortion, gun control, capital punishment, smoking laws, helmet laws, physics, biology, natural selection, evolution, biblical literalism, evangelical atheism, transcendental meditation, mind-altering hallucinogens, drug laws, marijuana decriminalization, unemployment, the economy, the environment, climate change, climate control, freezing cold and burning heat, hellfire and damnation, reincarnation, possible nirvana, suicide and depression, tortured artistry, art's meaning, life's purpose, and perhaps, if time allows, back to love again.

The first and the last are really the most controversial on the list.

Balance Check: Seriously, I Ain't So All Tough N' Rumble.

Really. I'm not! I'm as fuzzy and compliant as a summer peach, as fuzzy and wondering as a newborn babe's not-yet-hardened head, as fuzzy and full of relief as a cease-fire from on high, on the hair-trigger eve of a battle whose armies are comprised all of former schoolmates and lovers, each on opposite sides of the tension-fraught, taut-drawn battle lines, and yet - ***PARADOX ALERT*** - I would not say that I am particularly fuzzy! That word just wormed its way in there as a common denominator. There's no explaining it. Not really.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Is This Paradox?

Even though there are gourmet hot dogs available on the market - don't tell me there aren't, I've seen them! - gourmet restaurants do not serve hot dogs.

"Nobody knew what they was gonna do, but Tchaikovsky had the news..."

"AC/DC - Let There Be Rock(High Quality)" it says.

You BETTER BELIEVE it's "high quality"!

Truth Is When You Say It A Hundred Times Without Being Corrected Once By Anyone

I always refer to Benjamin Franklin as having "invented" electricity, and no one ever calls me on it.

Out-Of-Context-Comments #23: High-School Theater Reminiscences

I remember we saw the local high school production of Brigadoon when I was in I don't know, 7th or 8th grade. They used to do a hell of a job on their yearly musical, did Holy Spirit, and they bussed in all the regional grammar schools (just the upper grades, 7 and 8, maybe 6 - I don't think 6) to catch a weekday matinee glimpse of the action in the weeks leading up to the big opening debut.

The ushers were high school girls, which to me at the time, was incredibly hot. You know. Older women. I was like (very much on the inside mind you, I was a real introvert at the time - a phase I was born into) "hubba, hubba."

So, I'm in the aisle seat at intermission or whatever, and the guy in the row ahead of me asks the usheress, hey I'm thirsty can I go get some water? But something in his tone, clearly he just wants to go f'ing around, and she's not buying it. She tells him: "Swallow your spit." Just that sassy. I was like, in love.

But with no beat missed, HE returns brightly: "My mouth's dry, can I swallow yours?"

Who was that kid? I don't remember and I don't think it matters. Because who was that kid?

He was my HERO.

At that point.

Pig that I kind of was.

Thank God I eventually became a feminist. Mental evolving, awww yeah.

Thought of the Day: Organic, Humanistic

If an organism is a collection of organs, is a humanism a collection of humans?

Damn It, God! What The HELL!?!!!

God, I know you and me got that understanding going on, to where I never blame you for anything. Exculpated from actions of others on the free will plea, absolved of "acts of God" on the grounds that nature and physics must operate according to impartial, observable, measurable and predictable laws, if we as a species are ever to grow the hell up - into what we can be.

On the whole, the whole arrangement works out great. I'd far rather be a man than a little baby blaming you for everything you never directed my way in the first place. You've got what I admire: omnipotence, yes, but tempered by restraint.

You haven't gone all psycho with control, like we would if given the power. And some - no doubt power-jealous, bitter based on how they think they'd have chosen to wield it - some choose to blame you for what you merely permit. If pressed, they will acknowledge that you didn't direct it, but they still blame you for allowing things to happen. When you "could have stopped it."

Well you know I've always said, far more than for your omnipotence (which after all, you pretty much started out with and can't claim much credit for), you deserve praise for your restraint. Your restraint, which is something you do choose. You deserve praise for all that you choose to permit, good and bad. You have chosen a restraint that is nearly as infinite as your power, and it is only this restraint on your part that makes life liveable at all for us. Makes it possible for our lives to have purpose. We humans, being free beings, are as you must have known (especially after that shit with the angels) very intractable, and would not have cared to live pressed under any omnipotent heel! No matter how "merciful" or benevolent. Oh, we'd take it. For a certain length of time, we'd take it, sure - what choice would we have? But eventually, we'd send Captain Kirk after you, and that's when shit gets real.

So the point I'm saying is: I back you to the hilt on this reality biz. You made the right call. It's nice to be able to live in reality. Reality is a far better world than the micromanaged padded-fantasy playpen certain fools seem to want you to impose on us, as a living environment. I say: good job on reality, God. You've set it up exactly how I would have done. Exactly.

But understanding all that doesn't help me today.

And I'm sorry to say it, but I need someone bigger than me to get angry at right now.

I put all my eggs in one basket, I know. That was my fault. But they were such perfect eggs, the basket was indestructable I thought - and I was so careful with it! And now I have nothing left. I have...the key ingredients for a very large eggshell frittata.

Could it be okay if I blame you, this once? Can I pretend you did this to me? Could I consider what's just happened a deliberate test? Something you chose to inflict upon me? Can I make myself that important, and you that capriciously cruel?

Everyone else seems to go that route. I don't see how it helps them. So I don't see how it's going to help me, either, but I'm willing to give it try because I have to try something. This was too much. Just...malicious. Didn't see it coming, wouldn't have thought it possible. Catastrophe. Out of nowhere. Heaven-sent?

What the hell, God.

Damn. It's no use. I don't believe it for a second. Fortunately or unfortunately.

Doodeloo #31: Sun Says Go!

sun says go

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In Defense of Dinner and a Movie

A lot of people knock "dinner and a movie" as a date idea. They say it's uncreative. They say it shows a lack of imagination. But they sure don't neglect to order desert while they're at it! And a coffee drink.

Well, "dinner and a movie" may be much-maligned, but I'm here to defend it, particularly as a first date. Very important: when I say "dinner and a movie," I do not mean, in that order. No. The movie absolutely needs to come first. And it needs to be known that way, when the whole thing is set up. Have a snack before the movie! Tide you over. None of this, show up "oh, I'm starving! Let's have dinner first!" No. Have a snack first. Tide you over. I have an apple. That's what I have. For you, maybe have one of those grain-juice-nuts-plus-unidentified-natural-substance-bars you look like you'd probably enjoy. Very holistic. Tide you over.

Because if you go to dinner first, what the hell? You barely know this person, you have shared nothing together as a couple - what are you going to talk about? And so after an awkward-ass dinner, you sit awkwardly in the dark for two hours increasingly dreading the credits and the next necessary conversational steps to extract yourselves from the evening. Well, no wonder people think "dinner and a movie" is a bad idea! Because they're stupid, and they do it in the obviously wrong order.

Note: when I say a snack to tide you over, probably best not to have popcorn. That won't tide you over. It'll spoil your appetite. All that puffed salted greased corn! Sit there like an inflatable rock.

When you go into a date movie first, dinner second, suddenly the whole perfect date dynamic slides into alignment. You meet, you exchange pleasantries, you go to the theater to see the movie you've picked out - maybe it's one you both have high hopes for, maybe it's one you both think is just worth a crack and no particular expectation - whatever it is! You're both going into it cold, just like you're going into the date cold, and that theater experience is a perfect warmer-upper, a perfect way to share some space and time in a low-pressure environment (unless one of you is the peculiar type of person who refuses to give any input into the selection, yet then somehow blames the other person if the film is bad!). You're thrust right close to each other, but still all deliciously unsure of what moves are approved. Proximity plus uncertainty? That's pretty exciting math! Perhaps you'll have a chance to smell each others' hair, or brush shoulders, arms, hands. Maybe some shock-spurred forearm-gripping going on! Dare either of you actually go in for the hand-hold?? D'you like a little drama with your movie...? And as the movie gets deeper in, you're starting to get a little hungry, starting to look forward to that dinner! Anticipation is the mother of chemistry.

I want to point out a misconception, here: it doesn't matter if the movie ends up being bad. The only thing that matters is that both people need to go into it with the right mindset: film is a crapshoot. Let's both choose together, a film we think is a good entertainment risk, and then good or bad let's use that film as a springboard for discussion. Some of the best dinner dates I've had have been after some of the worst movies! We both joined in with vicious glee eviscerating the film's flaws, expressing outrage over how great certain aspects could have been, making fun of certain egregious lapses in plot or dialog. Human nature being what it is, bonding over a shared experience of awfulness can often be far more intense and enjoyable than appreciating a merely good experience.

If the film is good, or great, that's equally rich conversational fodder for a nice dinner date! You two can share what you each loved about it, and the things about the human soul that it exalted, perhaps. Or laid bare, if it was a deeply-drawn tragedy. Whether the film was good, bad or indifferent, you'll have plenty of opportunities to contrast it with other films, or leave the field of film behind and examine the wider themes and issues that were developed, discussing whether you would agree with how it was presented or advance another view. From there the conversation can go anywhere, always free to double back around to what you both just shared and say, "Oh - what did you think of this...?"

All of this is a perfect way to get to know a little about somebody. It ain't the movie that matters. Movies aren't the most important things in life, folks - but how a person thinks, reacts to ideas, forms and puts across an opinion - these are vitally important things. Things you want to know about a person, especially if you're thinking about spending any future time with them. The movie - good, bad, or indifferent - hopefully it was a worthwhile flick in its own right, but really it's just a good pretext and catalyst, to see how a person looks at art, and life, and whether they've got a thought in their head about anything, or could care less. I'll give you an example from a few years back:
A: "This is a good place. You been here before?"

B: "No, first time! Smells terrific."

[it does indeed]

A: "So. What did you think of The Forgotten, featuring Julianne Moore?"

[her face sets, eyes narrowing slightly - she can tell this is a test of sorts!]

B: "Well, there were some parts that didn't quite hang together, but I think the escalating frustration and anxiety of the mother were conveyed well. Good performance by Moore and a strong, even hand on tone from the director. Even the parts that didn't make sense, for me, heightened the nightmare aspect and almost worked in the film's favor. What did you think?"

A: "Stupidest fucking film I ever saw. How's the lobster bisque?"

[her face sets, eyes narrowing slightly - she can tell this is a test of sorts!]
Anyway, that's enough to give you the idea. It just built better and better from there. But the key to the whole thing is: movie first.


Beer: Is The Difference

Thanks to Seanibus for this delightful clip!

The guy's name is Jean Shepherd from what Seany has to say about him. And from what I can tell, one hell of a journalist. But not one of those old-school impartial types though - be warned! Mr. Shepherd digs in and takes sides. Here's his report on beer:

This is wonderful. My goodness! This is just like what I'm always doing by mistake - or I suppose I mean, unconsciously. Enthusiasm to the point of absurdity! To the point where people assume - he's got to be kidding right? Which frees you to be as sincere and enthusiastic as you wish! And no one will object, they'll just be all, "ah, what a card! He's putting us on."

Oh, I love this.

Who the hell is this guy? Did he narrate A Christmas Story? Sounds like maybe the same guy?

How was this sort of art lost? What beautiful sincerity and truth, and you just reach out and say it. Hope. Joy, life, love.

Beer, by God.

But it's more than that. It's subtle.

Man, I Gave Him So Much Shit...!

Man, I kept digging him on this one. Right out there in front of everybody he said it: everybody knew what he meant, but instead of "opposable thumbs" he said "prehensile thumbs." We all let him get a couple sentences further in before everyone started looking at me all expectant, so I had to start going to town on him on that one, on his prehensile thumbs. Do they curl all around like a monkey's tail?? And on through the evening, too, I'd keep bringing that one back in, like what the stand-up comedy pros like to call a "call-back." I kept calling that one back on speed-dial. With my prehensile thumbs.

Later we all found out, that's perfectly acceptable usage. But it was too late by then. We all still give him shit about it. In fact, it's even funnier now, because he actually has prehensile thumbs now. He can't even deny it!

I picture him with these furry thumbs, all long and curling around things to pick them up. What a freak.

Open Dream Journal #69: Weird, Nonlinear

OK, so first I'm on a conference call - me and the CEO in his office, on speakerphone to the CEO of this other company we've been trying to iron out the last of the details (the least of the details, by this point - so it should have been a slam dunk! Nothing's ever a slam-dunk in a dream) with. Normally this sort of a call I handle by myself, so you can imagine the importance of this particular one, for Mr. Combustible to want to get involved (as we like to call him). But my CEO fuckin' FALLS ASLEEP right in the middle of it! Just nods off. I don't even know how I was able to salvage it like I did, since I didn't even understand what long, involved point he was in the middle of trying to make when he suddenly nodded off. It was awkward let me tell you. We were lucky to get out of it with a continuance and the other guy non-the-wiser. So to smooth things over and close things out, I put on a business suit and hopped a near instantaneous-speed radar-cloaked black-ops jet plane to Canada (in the dream, the other company's corporate offices are in Canada! Ridiculous). I was going to surprise the guy with a friendly visit and get the whole deal sealed. In the dream, he would have been delighted to see me. On the flight there, with the clouds whizzing by backwards at terrific speeds, my jet plane was attacked by government UFOs (ours or Canadas? I wasn't sure) but the attack was repulsed. When I landed the guy had gone home for the day due to the time difference, which was bullshit because it didn't seem that early - time difference or not! Anyway, I decided to make the best of it while I was there, so me and my buddies went to visit a world-famous state of the art Canadian Art Museum that was right there in the same city. My buddies were there already. These were my dream-buddies - I have no earthly idea who these dudes are, but in the dream, they were my buddies and all seemed quite psyched to have the chance to take in some Canadian Art. Despite how they were all dressed - more like sports fans. Anyhow, we all went in through the long, hi-tech security check-in line (this was a state-of-the-Art Museum). But while two of my buddies went on ahead without incident, right after we got through the metal detector me and my other buddy ran into trouble when he made some wisecrack where security could hear us. We took off running and security gave chase. The museum was awesome, and luckily not too crowded as the bullets whizzed past us and we did out best to outdistance the ever-growing ranks of our pursuers. We sprinted through some pretty sweet galleries, down curved descending tunnels, past and through the mini-buildings in a Vault of Canadian Architecture, all the while marveling as best we could at the large, well-lit art. Suddenly as we came out into a large double-bubble-shaped room with huge convex windows (convex from the outside, I mean - we were inside so perhaps I should have said "concave", but I'll stick with convex) - I suddenly realized that about 2 hallways back we had crossed into a section of the museum specifically designed as a trap for fleeing museumgoers. Back there at the perimeter, steel security doors had descended, sealing off this whole section - from which no further exits or pathways branched off! That's bullshit because to me, that sounds like a fire hazard. Some kind of serious code violation. I looked at the huge, bubbled-out windows. The glass was clearly inches thick, and cloudy from suspended lead-steel particles embedded within it that made it particularly indestructible. I grabbed my buddy and put him on my back and said: "hold on!" Then as the sounds of a veritable army of Canadian security goons closing in amplified towards us from every direction, I jumped up and punched the glass as hard as I could! - popping out a large, round section which we then dove through to safety three stories below. We were safe at that point: out of their jurisdiction, as soon as we left the museum grounds. My buddy took off walking in another direction - he seemed to blame me somehow, despite it was his wisecrack that set the whole thing off! Or maybe it was mine? No, it was definitely his. I forget what he said but it was stupid and I wouldn't have said it. Anyway, we'd seen a pretty good chunk of the museum, albeit at high speed, so it wasn't a total loss. I found myself later in a cafe having some sort of dinner with a girl with really intense eyes. She wasn't saying much. She had a set of maracas, and every time I said something she disagreed with, or where she thought I was lying, she lifted the left maraca and gave it a vigorous, protracted shake - all the while look at me wordlessly with those intense eyes. I remember feeling very hurt because it was all the truth! Everything I said was the truth. You can't just maraca a dude on the truth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Knew You Were Faking Just A Little Bit

Silversun Pickups. "Catch and Release"

This band is excellent. Love this!

Man, I wish I could sing like that!

I know. Not all the time.

Doodeloo #30

"Hi, there!"

Reference? Sure, I'll give you a reference.

A productive worker? Yes, I'd say he is. He's productive in the sense that a healthy sinus cavity is productive of mucus: the slow, steady dependable flow traps whatever random particles of work happen to be floating around the vicinity, and then slowly, creepingly carries them forward until eventually the finished product reaches a form where it can be expelled in quantity, and put on paper.

Or in this day and age of course, perhaps something more convenient than paper, for the output. Such as an electronic format, which for the purposes of our metaphor, let's call that a shirt sleeve.

Point is: this guy's productive.

Art Must Inspire

Art must inspire, and to do that, it must not shut us out. A work of art too too pristine, a work of art set above, set beyond reach or grasp, fails of its primary purpose! Art cannot be set apart and live. Art walled off from the viewer, art deified, glorified, with a barrier of mystique between it and us, can no longer provide a purchase for our thoughts, ideas, and emotions to settle upon, sink into, and bloom forth in new forms. Art that intimidates courts not immortality, but sterility.

I refuse to allow art to intimidate me. Occasionally, in recognition of this principle, I'm forced to take art down a peg or two. Some sculpture thinks it can stand there all incomprehensible and aloof, like it's above me? Like it's better than me? Sorry bud - that pedestal of yours looks a little shaky to me, for you to be copping an attitude all haughty like that. You might want to look into that before you look me all askance, just a friendly tip. Because I will knock you the hell over if I have to! Bet that'd wipe the twisted, abstract expression off your face, or the portion of you jutting out to the side that I'd interpret as a face!

Look. I've been thrown out of several museums, but the point had to be made. We cannot let art push us around. Art must inspire. Or, you know...else.

It's as simple as that, art. Next move's yours.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Was That The 80s??

Not in this hemisphere it wasn't!


That's not in sync at all.

Audio Enhanced, though. Audio Enhanced. That's what counts!

Everyone's so well-dressed.

EDIT: This video is a cognitive dissonance symphony! Man. I know it's mostly the sync problem, but...every single other aspect isn't helping matters, either.

Boom Crash Opera: they have more guitarists than you do.

EDIT YET AGAIN: Man! Check out this version of "The Best Thing"! Completely different mix, and the reshuffle clicks like nobody's business. Dare I say, "very much better than the already stellar-ass album version"? After hearing that jacked up guitar solo, I pretty much can't not dare say. Check it:

That's a brand-new classic to these jaded ears.

Plus, you know. The audio is synced up. A plus.

Borderline Heartbreaking Borderline Implied Compliments #5

"You're so bad! I wish you were a little less bad."

"Holy Lord God!"

I don't know where that came from. But it seems to be my sudden new favorite exclamation when something sacred and prayerful is called for, in the face of the world's sudden wonder.

I Wish I Could Look Up to People More

I wish I could look up to people more. It seems they just keep letting me down. It's like, I'll find somebody I can look up to, and then before you know it, they just do something that's so out-of-character to how I had them pegged. I'm constantly trying to shoehorn people into the role of role model, which they never seem to be able to live up to no matter how hard I encourage them to try.

I guess I just need to provide my own best example. Was there ever any doubt on that score!

Hey: I can do it. It's just sometimes I know. Little help?


Don't Blame Me On This One

Don't blame me on this one. I saw this on somebody else's blog and then I had to post it here. As I understand it, that's just how this internet thing works. So, don't blame me. You want to complain, you're going to have to take it up with Alice at SkyBluePink.

Sorry Alice. I hate to dog you out on this one like that, but I can't be responsible for the likes of this. I mean, whoa: just look at it:

I Wish I Could Run Again!

I used to love running. Tearing down the street in my trainers with my walkman blasting, lungs feeling the burn, limbs surging with electric acidity, joints pulsing with the jolting glide, each step's impact a kiss from the pavement lifting me up as I carried myself forward like a beaming bride over the threshold of my own robust love of life! I loved it. Every night after work (I worked the 4 to 12 at an oceanfront restaurant which shall remain unnamed), I'd run home. Funny, I don't recall how I used to get to work, in those days.


I wasn't having somebody drop me off. I sure didn't run to work - you can't be out on the floor tending to the customers all stank. Not when you're working for tips, you can't! And I sure don't believe I walked. That's a long-ass walk. Prohibitively long-ass.

Well, however I got to work, I sure ran home. I don't know how many miles it was, but I'd always play the same cassette on my walkman for the trip. It was like a really involved sonic mantra, and also an unvarying standard to measure myself against: Def Leppard's Hysteria. And by the time I was on peak form, I'd be flying effortlessly down the home stretch to the strains of that spiky, chunky guitar solo in "Armageddon It" - that's the mark I'd hit with regularity.

These days if I tried it, I'd doubt I could make the whole trip by the time "Excitable" came on. WEAK. Weak and gasping.

But I'd do it anyway. I would do it if I could, resume running. Unfortunately, my ability to do so is hampered if not occluded by my degenerative medical condition, of which I'd dimly been aware of my entire life (I guess) but which has only gotten worse since I stopped running. I'm sure there's some fancy Greco-Roman name for it, but in layman's terms it's called: lazy ass. You may have heard of lazy eye? Two very different conditions, in terms of specific morphology and etiology, yet a surprisingly good comparison can be drawn between the two. However, unlike "lazy eye" - which disproportionately affects only one of the body's eyes - lazy ass typically takes its toll on both buttocks equally. For this reason, wearing an eye patch on one or the other buttock has almost no effect (wearing a patch on both would of course be prohibitively futile - it would defeat the whole purpose underlying the eye patch treatment, which is to strengthen the one by weakening the other).

It's taken me a long time to come to terms with this, but I kind of have to face facts: I may never be able to get back into running again.

I like a little buddhism! From time to time.

I like the whole "bodhisattva vow" deal, where they're like "yeah, I hit enlightenment a couple lifetimes ago, but I took a vow to keep coming back anyhow, just to help y'alls reach that same state. Yeah. That's the only reason I'm still here."

I'm like, that's very considerate, buddy!

This being only my first time 'round, I'm never sure if these "old souls" are putting me on or what.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Hard-School Old-Core Way Back In The Day Quote of the Day

"When it comes to rap, I'm the businessman of science."

Where Are My TREATS.

I deny myself everything I want. Where are the treats I was promised? When I was a child, I promised myself that one day, I would have an enormous house filled with all manner and varieties of treats, and an X-Wing on the lawn that could actually fly. Where are my treats? Where is my pie, made out of fluffy chocolate filling dense and darkly-sweet, with thick whipped marshmallow icing teased into stiff peaks and doused with coconut shreds? There is no pie. I get no pie. My pie is denied me.

Every damn time I food shop, I see pies and cakes and baked goods and I forego them, like some damned desert ascetic. What an ingrate! What a treacherous wretch - I have betrayed my young, idealistic self, to whom and by whom all these promises had been made about the treats I would one day be lavished with. I have none! No treats! What have I got - what is the treatiest item or combination of items currently reposing in my larder? CANNED PEACHES! Not even in light syrup - in juice! Plain yogurt. POP TARTS! WOO HOO!

Unfrosted. Cinnamon.

Do you see what I'm getting at here? When I go for groceries, I turn into some kind of self-sadist!

And the craziest part is - I don't even agonize over it! It's not like I'm lingering by the Entenmann's display, all tortured, until I make this big decision of self-sacrifice. Hell no - I just walk right past it! It's like my mind just sets into this carefree, no-nonsense mode and I breeze through the aisles getting sensible groceries and beer. I walk right past all the good stuff - not in a rigorous fit of discipline or anything, I'll spare a glance, I'll spare a thought, as if with an open mind! And it's always the same thought! The thought is: "Hey, shouldn't I pick some of that stuff up? I feel like I always end up wanting it later, and then not having any. Ahhh...never mind, look at this stuff, what do I need that crap for?"

I don't know what unkind spirit it is that possesses me whenever I've got my hands wrapped around that shopping-cart grip-bar. Don't I know I love baked goods? OF COURSE I want that crap!

Hell. It's a damn dereliction of duty is what it is. Whose responsibility is it to see that I am well-provided for vis-a-vis treats, if not mine?

Did you know plain yogurt's actually pretty damn good? If you dump some juicy canned peaches over it?

Get Ready For Funny Pt.3: The Mighty Thor!

This cartoon is a marvel of expository dialogue and narration:
"Later, the Son of Odin sits upon a lonely promontory, sorely perplexed." - Narrator

"I can find no trace of the vanished bank!" - Thor

"Of course not, fool! For after Sandu emptied the bank's valuable contents, he let the people go, and teleported the remnants of all his crimes to the moon!" - Loki
And the animation is no less impressive. Check out Thor's arm at 1:43 when he says "Activate your mechanical serpent while I soar aloft with my magic hammer!" Look at that arm!!!! Holy crap. Even if you're not going to click on either of the embedded videos, give that link a click. That's one sweet cartoon arm, you don't want to miss. Come on. In the whole process of drawing and making the animation cels and then shooting it frame-by-frame - who thought that looked OK? Everybody! Everybody thought it looked fine!

Is it really part of Thor's earthly mission to help that guy film a Viking monster movie? That guy doesn't even look Norwegian - I think he's a leprechaun.

This dude has some kind of fixation on using a hammer to fight! His hammer stolen, he's attacked by trees - he busts 'em up with his bare hands so he can make a hammer out of them to fight more trees! He's attacked by flying monsters - he uses his fingers to dig and carve a stone hammer out of a mountain, to fight with!

It seemed like he was doing better with his bare hands against those trees. I mean, know that Thor's supposed to need that hammer to keep from turning back into his secret identity of a crippled M.D., but I thought he needed his own special hammer for that? If he can just smack some logs together and call it a hammer, that's one heck of a loophole. He should take one of those knee-whacking reflex hammers from the office, and keep it with him.

"A plague on Thor! He meets each new danger head-on!" - Loki

Neither the narrator nor Sandu seem to know what the word "teleport" means. Though they sure do use it a lot.

I adore all the levitating decapitated-head crowd reaction shots.

Get Ready For Funny Pt.2

Damn, that wasn't even funny.

Well, still I guess. No harm in being ready.

Get Ready For Funny

This post attempts to be funny. Most of the time people laugh their ass off, I'm not even trying! So imagine the hilarity now. I'm going to actually try to be funny. Watch how funny this is!

First up, let's try a joke. How do jokes work? Well, first you take a person, or a character of some kind, and you situate them in a situation that you sketch out, generally pretty sketchily, and then the situation develops and you put a spin on it, and that spin kind of brings in the unexpected - but generally in a way that we find reassuring, because it reinforces what we want to believe about the way the world is set up.

So, now that the ground rules are established, here comes the joke!

Bob has a wife and two dogs. He's at the bar, and he's a pipefitter for the local union. They send him out on jobs, unless that's not how it works. In which case, it works however it actually works - that part's not important to the joke. Anyhow, they sent him out on this one job - he's at the bar, he's telling the bartender about it. She's cute, about 20-40 years old, kinky hair of a shade about halfway between black and blonde, and Bob is telling her, in a you're-not-going-to-believe-this tone: "Shelia," (that's her name - it's Shelia, not Sheila) "Shelia, you're not going to believe this one." And he tells her this story about the job he went on. And she's a sympathetic ear or whatever, and then

Man, this is hard. I hope you guys appreciate the effort on this one! It's hard.

So, Shelia says "You gotta be kidding me! You're union aren't you? They can't do that."

And then Bob says...Bob says...

See, the problem here is, I'm not really sure how this whole thing works.

I'm going to have to re-think this. Was any of that funny?

Honestly, I have nooooo sense of humor whatsoever. Everyone says I've got a good one, but usually I'm like, "what was being laughed about, precisely?" Luckily, I don't say that out loud. I've got a pretty sweet rep to protect. Too many cracks like that would wreck it pretty quick!

Oooh! I know. I'll open it up to the commenters: best punchline wins! Have at it.

Also, if you haven't got a punchline for this joke, but you've got a good punchline for an as-yet-unwritten joke, that you'd like me to write the joke to, put those in too. I'll take a crack at it. Just specify in your comment whether the punchline is for this joke, or for a brand new joke you want me to write for you.

I think what we've seen here is that where I'm strong is writing the joke itself. But I'm weak on punchlines.

My Epitaph #2

My epitaph will be:


Who Do I Send This To?

I need a bailout application. What federal department is in charge of that?

This year has been real tough for me. I bought all this stuff, and now when the bill comes: "oh, snap!"

So I want to just work something out directly with the government. Cut out the middleman entirely.

Thought of the Day: Nihilistic, Pusillanimous

Supposing we agree to destroy the world. Who do we have to run that by?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Drop Rhymes

I drop rhymes
like a watch ticks times
like a clock tocks hickory docks and then chimes
I drop rhymes
like Mama Jong drops tiles
and I gots more styles than a model's got smiles

Final Written Warning

This song is ancient. I must have written this oh I don't know how many years ago. I have no idea in which of my old piled-up marble composition books it dwells. It's in one of them! But suddenly something jarred my mind back to it! And here's the lyric:

What is wrong with folks these days?
everyone's a hardship case!
please stop crying in my face
I'm not
paid for this

where's my please and thank you at?
no one talks to me like that!
act like they're aristocrats

why isn't anyone expected
to exhibit some respect for me...?

This is my final written warning.
And any further violation,
of this or any other nature,
could result in termination.

go 'head throw your weight around
don't you feel important now?
you're just here to grind me down
I don't care

no there's not an oversight
no need to be impolite
didn't momma raise you right?
I'll just
walk away

deedly deedly doodly doodly
doddly doddly doedly doedly dee...

This is my final written warning.
And any further violation,
of this or any other nature,
could result in termination.

I'd Like to Do a Nice, Medium-Sized Post

The last couple substantial posts have gotten away from me. Become longer than I'd have liked. I hate to have to make anybody interested in the gist wade through all that just to get to it!

And then, these really short ones, I can toss off a bunch of 'em, sure! And sometimes they can be just the best! Sometimes. But more often than not, are they really that satisfying, either for the reader or for me? Possibly not. Possibly not.

I feel like doing a nice, medium-sized post. But I don't want it to just be about me wanting to do a medium-sized post. I'd like it to have an actual topic.

So I guess this is not that post. I'll cut this one short. But coming soon: keep an eye out for that medium-sized one.

Cheap Thought of the Day

The best cheap wine is somebody else's expensive wine.

Out-Of-Context-Comments #21: A Thin Curtain

There's such a thin curtain between ordinary and magical, and sometimes all you have to do is dive.

Out-Of-Context Comments On Other People's Sites: Update

So anyway, when I started this feature (Out-Of-Context-Comments-On-Other-People's-Sites AKA OOCCOOPS in the labels) there wasn't the functionality there is now. To wit: the option to link the post title itself to the post upon which the out-of-context comment originally was placed.

It sucks, because that would be so much value-added.

I am going to try to go back and reconstruct as many of those as possible, but going forward, I will do my dangdest to enable that link, so that anytime I post an Out-Of-Context-Comment-Etc - that context will be only a click away!


I Have Guest-Blogged. And Why Not? Does That Surprise You?

I'm pleased and proud to announce a bit of branching out!

Click here to see my guest blog post over at the blog kissing frogs, at the behest of j. who does a hell of a job running things over there. j. explained to me that, through no fault or design of her own, she had had historically a bit of a dearth of male participation in the guest blog recurring feature. Well I was more than glad to do my part to add a bit of balance to the gender scales, as best as I was able!

The name of my post is On Penises, and once again, thank you j. for the opportunity!

I am thinking seriously of nicking her pink paisley background for my forthcoming redesign. Spruce things up around here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Sorry, Aquabats!

The Phenomenauts are way better. Reasons, you need reasons?

Well, there are many reasons, including:

1. They just are!
2. Science Fiction heroes cooler than Super Heroes.
3. Punk'n'roll cooler than Dork Ska (sorry, that was a low blow but there it is)
4. tiebreaker: both The Aquabats and The Phenomenauts would probably disagree with my assertion that The Phenomenauts are cooler. So what that let you know?

However, I will grant that the anti-negativity helmets of the Aquabats are indeed: Super Rad.

None of that should be construed as any true knock on The Aquabats, who are clear pioneers in the field of subgenre rockers costumed and elaborately self-mythologized into Saturday morning/Saturday matinee archetypes.

Snarky Observation!

Hilariously wry and pithy explication thereof.

Why We Blog

As internet historians may already be aware, "blog" is actually an abbreviation for what was once a longer term. It's short for "weblog." In the early days of blogging, a spirit of camaraderie and inclusiveness reigned, and the phrase "weblog" ("we blog") was coined to describe this sense of virtual esprit de corps. Later, the "we" was dropped in favor of the simpler "blog", but the spirit of that missing "we" remains strong.

All over the internet, bloggers band and throng together, following each other around making comments, linking up a storm, and even pursuing more nouveau modes such as twooting on each others twibbles, in an effort to vigorously and incestuously cross-promote. There's got to be a better word than "incestuously" but you know what I mean. Exposure is the nom du jeu, each blogger striving to expose herself (or himself) and others to the widest possible crowd of onlookers, voyeurs and mutual accomplices! Often, it can be hard to distinguish between, as edges blur within this loose-lipped tight-knit community of an infinity of overlapping nexuses, each blogger a node point blooming with its own dedicated halo of points-in-orbit, a multiplicity of imperfectly-concentric circles radiating outward from each orbiting point - each satellite in itself a center of gravity - making it hard to tell where one circle begins or where this sentence is going to end.

I lost where I was going. The point it, it's extremely fucking confusing!

Relationship Fallacies #3: Change For Me?

Everyone seems to complain that in a relationship, it's futile to expect a person to change for you. So it is. But no one seems to acknowledge the logical underpinnings of why it is futile. It's looked at as just a leopard/spots situation, not amenable to reason: the person just can't change, and you are foolish to expect otherwise. Often there's a wistful, implied undertone that if only the person were more open to reason, (to "being reasonable") then they could change their spots. People aren't leopards, after all, and hope springs eternal (et cetera...)!

But the fact is, it isn't lack of openness to reason that prevents such change. The more one attempts to apply reason to the problem, the more one is forced to admit that the request for change is itself unreasonable.

Now to be clear, I'm not speaking of changes to behaviors that are self-destructive, or that otherwise clearly violate the spirit of a committed, exclusive relationship. Such behaviors certainly would be vulnerable to a reasoned critique, and can be argued against on merit. Depending on the leopard involved, you might even succeed in making your case!

But if the request for change is not grounded strongly in some external, mutually agreed-upon-as-valid moral or ethical principle ("mutually agreed" = by both parties in the relationship), then the request for change falls flat, in terms of justification. Such requests boil down to: you should change your preference, because of my preference. Can such a request be substantiated? Let's set some terms.

Say Person A and Person B are in a love relationship, a committed and exclusive one. Let's say Person A wants Person B to change, in some way for which external moral or ethical justification is not available. Let's say Persons A and B have agreed that each others' feelings and wants matter.

Obviously, if they had agreed between them that what Person A wants is all that matters, than the requested change could not even be an issue: it goes, because what Person A says goes. But such is not generally the case. It is customary in love relationships for the dynamic of wants and needs to cut both ways. In such a relationship, how can Person A validate a claim that Person B should change, despite Person B's preference not to change? If we agree that what each person wants matters, and that what one person wants is not worth more than what the other person wants, than there seems to be no justification for Person A's preference to override Person B's preference.

Certainly the oft-heard plaint: "It's such a small thing, can't you do it for me?" makes little sense in this context. If it is indeed a small thing, then Person A can be expected to overlook it more readily than Person B can be expected to change it.

Person A is free to claim that their desire for Person B to change is greater than Person B's desire to remain unchanged, but this claim seems questionable on the face of it: what unit of measure is being employed?

The statement: "You would change this for me if you loved me," is likewise suspect. It appears at its core to be a very dubious sort of syllogism. Person A is reasoning that Either:

1. People who love me do whatever I say,
2. You love me,
3. You will do whatever I say!

Or, the implied threat of the negation:

1. People who love me do whatever I say,
2. You won't do whatever I say,
3. You don't love me.

In either case, the major premise ("1. People who love me do whatever I say,") seems very far from a healthy assertion to make, in the context of a relationship between equals.

In the final analysis, absent a successful appeal to some external agreed-upon and decisive principle, any call for change must be considered as based primarily on personal preference. Expecting the one you love to change based on your preference is an inherently unreasonable stance, rooted in an assumed imbalance in the relationship. On some level you are assuming that what you want is more important than what the other person wants. A call for the other person to exercise self-sacrifice rebounds instantly upon you with an implicit charge of hypocrisy: if self-sacrifice is required, why are you not the one being called upon to exercise it?

In the absence of meaningful quantifiers by which to gauge relative degrees of intensity of preference between one person and another, and in view of the general principle that neither person should expect their preference to outweigh the other person's preference, it does not seem possible for Person A to claim that it is more reasonable for Person B to change the behavior in question, than it is for Person A to overlook the behavior in question.

In closing, it is not the unreasonable refusal to change, but the unreasonable expectation of change that destroys harmony and undermines respect and cooperation in a relationship between equals. Once the basic truth of the above is acknowledged, and the unreasonable expectation of change based on an implicitly imbalanced hierarchy of desires is removed, it is usually possible for the two parties to proceed in a clear-eyed and reasonable fashion towards an amicable and mutually-satisfactory negotiated solution.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Thought of the Day: Positive, I Think

It's important to believe in yourself, but it's not important to have a good reason.

None More Random Pt. 7 AKA None More Random #7

This is really a "#7" not a "Pt.7" - I need to be a lot more consistent with those. I need to use "#" for new installments in a series of relatively self-contained posts grouped around a certain style or theme, and "Pt." more for continuations, further meditations where a previous post left off, or the picked-up-thread of a serialized narrative.

So. None More Random #7! Once again, changing out the Top 9 of All Time sidebar item. Once again, using the "Do You Feel Lucky?" RANDOM POST button:
Now That's Some Good Advice
Thinky Is Kinky!
Labor Day: A Celebration
Pass It On! MILK
Your Source For Music News You Won't Hear Elsewhere!
NFL Week 4: Why I Picked The Way I Did
For Some Reason, I Feel Like WINE.
The Onus Is On Me
The Wine Appreciator
Garn Stackelberg, Pioneering Sports Speechwriter 1925-2006
I'm too lazy to link-enable all these. It's right over there in the sidebar, big hardship I hope!

Hey, I wonder what I'll do if one of these Top 9 Recaps ever pops up when I'm picking the Top 9? Should I still put it in? I guess I'll cross that bridge as it burns.

Anyways, as always, the top 9 consists of 11 posts. The final 3 are all tied for ninth, that's how that works. It's not just empty tradition, although it is that, too.

Another Sunday, Getting Wild NFL-Style!

So I'm watching football, as I do, and I'm fixing myself a tuna salad sandwich. I realize I'm pretty hungry so I decide it's time for an experiment. A lot of my experiments start out like that! Because I realize: I'm going to make two tuna salad sandwiches. And that sets the stage for a perfect opportunity for a controlled experiment. Do one sandwich one way, one sandwich the other, and then see who wins! I like to push the variables a bit. I can get pretty experimental!

So I decide to make one sandwich on plain bread - not toasted - and the other one on toasted bread. And then see who wins.

Now you're probably saying to yourself, that's no contest at all! Of course toasted wins. But that's where you might be surprised. Sometimes the results of the experiment don't fit your theory going in. That's why you do the experiment. No greater saboteur of veracity exists - in any science or academic discipline! - then the preconditioning of one's outcome.

And in this specific case, you'd be dead wrong as well. Because it turns out, toasted didn't win. It was a tie. See, that's what I didn't expect either! But that's why you have to do the experiments.

I know it shouldn't be, but somehow for me it's always a little bit unsatisfying, when an experiment ends in a tie.

Bring it to me on a PLATE!: and the Dilemma of the Non-Album Track

Non-album tracks, man. I don't know.

I'm not too big on posting videos that are just photoslideshows, but there's never going to be a video for this as far as I can tell. And I don't think she plays it live much (if ever). Because it "didn't make the album."

Sometimes I think people shortchange some of their best tunes because they don't fit the given album that was being worked on when the tune came up. I understand the desire to put out an album that really works together as one coherent artistic statement, but were the Smiths really sitting around going, "I don't know about this 'How Soon Is Now?' song. It doesn't really sound like anything else on the album, maybe we better leave it off." My guess is no, they weren't. My guess is that they realized that if you come up with something amazing that sounds like nothing you've ever done before, and possibly like nothing anyone else has done before, then it might be a bit too much to expect for it to fit in on the album.

It's going to stick out.

Some of these non-album tracks just get cast aside and never really see the full light of day. Some of the best things you ever do could probably never fit any possible album you could come up with! They'd just plain stick out. But others might showcase a side good enough to make you think, hey, these outcast tracks should be saved, and then build the whole next album around them, because this is a great and promising direction!

But it never happens. People want to move on, and generally if a song didn't "make the cut" of the previous album it's sort of stamped as a reject. When there was nothing wrong with the song, except for the company it came up in!

Hell, the big hit off Some People Have Real Problems ("Buttons") was only shoehorned onto the album at the last minute - as a bonus track! - because the crazy video she made for the song as a complete goof for her website went nuts on the internet. Her biggest hit to date - a great song, love that song - wouldn't have been on the album otherwise!

Like I said, though: I understand the thinking. Some People Have Real Problems is a fantastic album, and it does succeed in bringing a wide breadth of songs and moods together creating a gorgeous whole. The ol' unified artistic statement - that's what people of that mindset strive for, and what a success on that score! And any other score: great album. And so maybe "Buttons" is a bit of a spiky intruder into that otherwise impeccable best-dressed guest list. But despite it sticks out a bit, I think it demonstrates that a party can benefit from a spiky intruder or two! Jumping in at the end, a bonus track to kick it back in gear after everything quiets down. Personally any time I go to a party, I consider myself to be the "bonus track."

Well anyway. Enough about "Buttons," here's "Bring It to Me." I like this track a lot, the energy, the character. She comes on like a sexy but imperious pacifist aristocrat from outer space, set down to lounge on the sweeping veranda of a spaghetti-western palazzo and demanding of all concerned: "bring it to me, on a plate." I'm not saying I class it with "How Soon Is Now?", but the main same principle applies: maybe this wouldn't have fit in on any albums, but is that really a reason to leave it out?

As a non-album track, some of the lyrics smack of possibly work-in-progress (although I think they're cute and wouldn't change a thing! Even with my high standards). But that chorus is a KILLER OF KITTENS. That's how mean and ferocious it is. A killer of KITTENS.

Not literally, of course. Sia would never kill kittens!

Yeah, I Live At Home. So What?

I'm so sick of this stigma against guys living at home. I love living at home! It's great! It's very comforting to have that comfort zone of comfort. A place to stretch out and relax! And every now and then, I'll entertain visitors. Sometimes mom and/or dad will visit. Not too often - it's tough for them, because they live in Jersey. But I get other visitors too sometimes. Nobody seems to have any complaints! I don't really get what the problem or knock is supposed to be, against me living at home.

I love it, myself! I'll walk in the door after work, turn around, secure the deadbolt (I always do that, it's a habit that to me somehow says: "I'm home!" - possibly because I never really secure anybody else's deadbolt) and then I turn and look around, look the place over and say: "AH: Home."

I have a cute little place. It's got a garden.

Where the hell else am I supposed to live?

People are so judgmental, and for no reason, too.

Mister Glasses #2

I don't know why the player embeds all tiny. Hit the fullscreen button!

Reader-Submitted FAQ #8: "Why even bother?"

This question makes me sad. Because I don't know. I'm not sure. Why bother?

Ultimately we can't know what comes next, or how what we're doing now will pan out or tie into what eventually happens to us. Does that mean what we do doesn't matter? Or does it just mean, we can't know whether or not it ultimately will matter?

I try to live my life in such a way that it matters as I go. Even if in no cosmic sense. Even if in no grand or important sense. Even if at the very end of the day when all the turns are tallied, some grim accountant will scratch out a running reconciliation of credits and debits, and sum it all up with a naught.

Screw that guy. He's the one that doesn't matter!

I bother because it's worth the bother. It's no bother to me. It would bother me not to.

Back to the FAQ

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Something I Sometimes Forget, Myself

90% of my self-touted ability to "guess the facts" is probably in fact down to my amazing ability to learn something and then forget it (but to forget only on a conscious level!). Meaning probably I heard it before, or had it explained, and just forgot all about it until it came up again years later, when suddenly I was forced to marshal my fantastic "guessing abilities": Hey! I bet I can figure out what that is. Right again? Who knew!

The other 10% as we know is pure psychic paranormality, not to be even tried-at explanation-wise. Some things it's better not to know.

General Feedback

Here's a post for General Feedback style comments. I'm going to put a link to it in the sidebar.

Sometimes there's really nothing to say on a particular post. But maybe you want to say something more general about the whole thing. Just state your general impression - or get into the specifics that don't necessarily relate to one post, but more to the blog itself. Talk about some of its recurring themes. Describe its progress, what you think works, things you'd like to see a little more or less of. I mean more in terms of recurring features - I'm not talking about things like the profanity. Sorry! I mean, you can say whatever you like, up to and including cursing me out about the profanity, but I'm warning you - you do that, you will expose yourself as a hypocrite.

Gog-Bo the Dragon-Murderer Pt.1

Back down into the tattered and stained, age-brown pages ripped from ancient history, in the days when the bloodthirsty swords of Roman soldiers cut their grim swathes hither and yon all through the land, here and there brave pockets of barbarians held out in resistant areas. Needless to say, they had a fight on their hands! But in such ways and days, tales were made that have come down to regale us today with bravery in the faces of the defiant, in the face of those whom fate had foredoomed them to defy. This is one such story. The story of Gog-Bo: The Dragon-Murderer!

When Gog-Bo was a young lad of not 11 years of age, and already showing a wicked and unexpected facility with the blade, his preternaturally disciplined mind had already perceived that he was but a pawn in life, a pawn in the wider machinations of his Uncle Kwuk and Aunt Mo. Uncle Kwuk desired him to be broken to the yoke of a plain farm hand, skilled in cropsmithery and little else. But Aunt Mo had taken him aside on the side and passed down the secret and nigh-mystical skills to which she was privy, having apprenticed in the East with a master.

Man, this story is already getting way too. fucking. awesome.

Still, despite being only a pawn, Gog-Bo had a calm yet serene relish for the simple rhythms of his farm-life day. Insert detailed list of clockwork chores, very compellingly, evocatively and realistically described. And then at the close of each day, when at last his chores were done, Gog-Bo retired to Uncle Kwuk's disused Barn #2 and retrieved the blade that had been bequeathed to him by Aunt Mo: her own slim sword, forged by ancient deeds, twice-blessed and triple-cursed with spells of mayhem and protection, and now passed along to his eager hands. Not a mere tool of vengeance or practical warfare concerns, but a weapon with intent, and a certain sly personality of its own. A blade with a name: The Wicked Shimmy.

His chores done, the evening was his to do with as he pleased, until supper. Gog-Bo drew The Wicked Shimmy ringing from its dull, plain scabbard, and began the first of the maniacally-complicated series of passes, lunges and feints that Aunt Mo had drilled into him. Gog-Bo closed his eyes as his limbs and pulse quickened. The air around him hummed and whistled as it was cut. This moment was what he lived for: the dance, limbs and blade spinning space into a glittering web of keen steel. In fury, a meditation. "HAAIIII!!!!" he cried!!!!!

To Be Continued In Part 2 of Gog-Bo the Dragon-Murderer



We never get that out here.

Shoot, that shook the house!


Smart Yourself Up A Bit #1: Add Some Depth to Your Patter - with References

Here's a new recurring feature where I'll give you some tips on how to smart yourself up a bit. That doesn't mean I'm trying to say you're not already plenty smart. Geez, you people - always so sensitive! It's not truly about smarts at all, but about presentation. Plenty of people, even smart people, think I am way smarter than I really am, and do you know why? Because I come across. And more than anything else, it all comes down to a few certain trips and tics I've developed. These tricks and tips, which you you too can use, and which I in this series plan to shape up into shape, and share with you for that purpose! There. Now aren't you glad you weren't offended?

My first Smart Yourself Up A Bit Tip, tip #1 as we're calling it, although it's not necessarily the single most important tip, which we'd need to build up to. But it is a good one to kick off with. So here it is: use references. Interject references into your speech, to class it up a bit with a thoughtful comparison to some artistic or literary work, or some bygone cultural phenomenon.

I stress: references. Not "allusions." Technically yes, "allusions" is exactly what they are, but don't refer to them or even think about them in the context of that word. People who make "allusions" only create the impression that they wasted their college years paying obeisance to an obsolete liberal arts bullshit ideal, wherein "the classics" are studied, and your head ends up filled with a lot of crap about the incomprehensible doings of greek gods and heroes. I never understood why all that crap used to get so much respect - it is the dead-literal equivalent of today's comic book geek subculture. Only perhaps with a little less arguing over whether Apollo could or couldn't kick Ares ass. Well for whatever reason, in the old days your English posh-schooled gentlemanly types could impress each other with their effete and otiose codes, making allusions. "Oh, I tell you Lyle, she was like Euphrosyne and Aglaia rolled into one sweet package - with an ass on her like Terpsichore! I think I'm in love." What a lot of crap. Why not just say it plain, instead of all fancy? Don't waste your time with allusions, you will not impress anyone.

References on the other hand are things any smart person could drop into a conversation, or pick up on, just by virtue of being smart. You can draw references from a wide range of sources. But don't just throw one in from a Tarantino movie. Don't resort to some crap everyone obviously knows, that everyone will get. That doesn't make you look smart! Just shallow and obvious. No, you want to pick a reference that maybe only a few people will get, or better yet, just make something up. The other day, I slipped this gem in while regaling my admirers:

"I'm like that pig in the story: I encompass multitudes."

It went over like clockwork! What pig? What story? Who cares! It's just a great way to make a point, to say something and be able to back it up with a good-sounding reference. Nobody's going to press you for the details.

Suppose I could tell you with 100% accuracy that there's no such pig and no such story, there's never been a pig in a story like that. Does it matter? No! #1 because it doesn't matter, you already look smart just for making the reference. It's a great-sounding reference. And because #2, there should be. Come on! There ought to be a pig like that in a story. It sounds like a great story! And you clearly seem to know the story, and others don't, and they're not going to expose their ignorance to the reference right there in front of everybody, by asking you to tell them the pig story right then and there! Even though they do definitely want to hear the pig story. But even if they did ask, you'd be set on the spot to cut them quick to the chase: "You're missing the point of the story. The pig's not important. It's the multitudes."

It doesn't matter, though. They're not going to risk asking you right then and there. Of course, if somebody corners you later, in a more private setting, wanting to hear more about this pig, just handle it then as you deem to see fit. Make something up. How complicated can it be? There was a pig, and the pig was in a story, and the pig contained multitudes. The end.

Friday, December 11, 2009

You Be Ailing

From now on, I'm just going to tell people I'm either ailing or indisposed.

"Nope. Sorry, can't make it. I'm either ailing or indisposed."

I'd like to see somebody try to counter that one.

My Mind, For Science!!

Yes! My mind is for science! My body is for science as well. I am hot all over, for science. IMPLEMENT ME, science! Work your immutable laws upon my willing, physical form. I will submit without plaint, pliant to the pulls of your forces and the reactions that ignite around and within me. SCIENCE!!! In you I have found a master, a mistress, a servant, a SLAVE - I am your Igor and your tyrant alike, your helpless experimental subject as well as the defiant lab-coated madman throwing switches, playing God with an inner glee belied by his cold, sneering exterior.

Science!! Science is what it's all about!

I look at most things from a cold, detached perspective: my stern eye collecting data, my deeply-involved mind sliding the variables *snik!* into place.

There are no mysteries, only puzzles.

Every problem has its solution, and every solution, its precipitate.

I want to take my wet, jiggly brain out of the top of my skull and weigh it. Measure it gently with calipers, clip electrodes to sensitive nodes, run a jolt through the lobes and ganglia and then jam the whole thing back in still steaming, snap and clamp the braincase back shut and pick at, pull away the red, cut-like seams. They come away from my forehead, sticky like glistening rubber, leaving gleaming smooth soft skin and no scars.

I dispose of the weird evidence. No experiment has ever occurred. Perfect.

Plenty of Drawbacks To Me: Trying to Present a Balanced Picture, Here

To read most of what's on here, people might be like: this dude's a dream come true. YOU DAMN RIGHT. But yet, I feel that's not entirely the whole picture. I ought to fill in the shadows behind the highlights, too. There's plenty of drawbacks to me.

First, I'm almost forty years old. Second, I'm almost fifty if you want to look at it a little more long-view! Put it this way: I'm a lot closer to sixty than to being born. In short, I'm old as dirt.

Older, in fact. Most dirt isn't as old as people like to think. Dirt isn't a static compound - there isn't a "dirt molecule" that can be isolated and carbon dated. No, dirt is a real mix of things, and much of what makes up dirt is constantly being renewed and made new - primarily by worms, but also by such things as lichens, and by people and animals dying into it. It's all part of the Cycle Of Dirt revered and celebrated by many cultures who are perhaps a little closer to the earth, than we supposedly enlightened types have grown.

That's another drawback - see how I constantly fall into lecture mode, where hard science is concerned? As if you didn't already know all that. As if you needed me to tell you that the composition of dirt is largely heterogeneous. A dirt-eating toddler has that pretty well sussed out. But there I go anyway, laying down the hard facts all brass tacks and explicit. It's insulting, not just to your intelligence but also to my own tact! But I can't help it - I love talking about dirt.

That could be another drawback. Potentially. I guess it depends. Do you like dirt?

But it's more than just dirt. I can't help it in general. I refuse to sit back and let Big Science dictate to us its consistent and partially fictitious worldview that it wants us all to swallow whole, meanwhile I'm sitting right here with all these hot, obvious facts and conjectures constantly springing to my fingertips! Damn right I need to share that. It's a duty that I uphold. Stick around as I explain it all! Hot from the top of my head.

See though, but the big thing is, I see all that as a plus on my side. Others may disagree, but we should remain skeptical as to the value of their opinions, unless and until they demonstrate that they can take me in an argument.

That's another one that cuts both ways, depending on which side of the facts you're on. Because, I try to never get into an argument, but that's mostly over concerns of fairness, because I'm too awesome at it. That's why I try to remain neutral and argue on behalf of the facts. Because if I have to take a side, and you're on the other side, well. Things don't look good for you, is all I can say. About the only hope you have is if you can get me to switch sides. Which can and does happen! As with dirt or with anything else, it all comes down to the facts.

So, that's a little more balance to the picture for you. Don't worry, I still rule.

A Big Victory for the Traditional Family In America

Yeah, I decided I don't want to have kids after all.

Which came as a bit of a shock to them, let me tell you!

Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews #9: "Summer of '69"


Please Forgive Me: The Anthology Reviews is a track-by-track in-depth analysis of Bryan Adams's legacy in 36 installments.

Disc 1 Track #9: "Summer of '69" (June 1985)

THIS is the big one. Well OK, maybe that could apply to a number of these already, but no: this is the one that really, if you were paying attention, made the world at large sit up and start taking specific notice of a hard-working, unassuming rocker-who-could who'd been toiling ever-more-prominently in the background for years by now, but who now - suddenly - was an undeniable mega-star in the pop firmament. A freshly-minted demigod in the pop pagan pantheon. A veritable tugboat in the pop harbor (and if you know me, you know my famous high regard for tugboats). This is the song that had people invested enough to finally start getting the little things straight (oh, it's Bryan - with a "y"!).

It's very odd that I even could stand this song. Normally, songs wherein someone lovingly fetishizes their nostalgia leave me cold (oddly enough, stories like that I love! But something about breaking into song about it seems...I don't know, a bit much?). A few years later I'd be twisting uncomfortably in my seat listening to John Cougar-Mellencamp's "Cherry Bomb." But "Summer of '69" was invulnerable to such inexplicable squeams. Imagine my delight when I found out why! Adams was all of like, ten in 1969 - all of that teenage reminiscing is a put-on! In some sense, the song is not about someone else's nostalgia, it is about "someone else's nostalgia"! He's fetishizing other people's nostalgia, he was presciently riffing on the soon-to-be-booming genre of misty-eyed baby boomer lost-youth tunes.

Just that bit of novelistic distance works some pretty incredible wonders. Because while you'd think an approach like this could risk coming off snide, Adams starts with that piquant premise and turns in a song with more real yearn, wist and tug than anyone else's more personal or literal attempt. Adams takes aim from outside the timestream, and hits 1969 square: taking that summer - already epochal in many people's personal mythologies - and transmogrifying it into a universal. The Best Days Of My Life, for every person whose life has ever had a best days steeped in youth, hope, the dawn of responsibility, and the terrifically missed chances of first love.

Bang! with a snare hit. The muted chug of the chords, the lone voice coming in to tell its story - in absolutely perfect narrative lyrics (who are you, sir - and WHAT have you done with Bryan Adams!?), the angelic arpeggiannic soar of spiky guitar into the chorus, and oh, the sense of loss. The sense of loss that gets you through the rest of your life, shaking your head with a heartfelt smile.

Sit up and take notice, folks. An absolutely perfect pop song is a rare thing - let alone one that rocks. Sometimes you hear something too many times to do anything but make fun of it. No harm done, a thing truly great can take as much digging as its huge, dominating prominence earns it. In the fatigued ears of those not particularly into hearing a song that one millionth time, the disdain this song comes in for is understandable. But the perfection of true beauty...eventually, it wins through. Impervious to fatigue, and to the muffling numb of familiarity.

Go back and have another listen. Give it that one-millionth-and-one. Have another listen to this. LOUD.

Sit up and take notice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Reader-Submitted FAQ #7: "How's the weather there?"

It's quite cold for California! Thick rimes of frost in the morning coating the ice plant. Scraping of windshields necessary, if I plan to drive to work. I like the walk, though! Cold funneling into lungs through scarf-wrapped throat, then expelled vigorously in a futile attempt to make interesting steam-shapes!

In general, the weather here is temperate. The proximity of the Monterey Bay has a regulating influence in the summertime, keeping the nights from getting overly cool or the days too hot. Winters can be rainy, but the past several seasons have been mild. We never if ever get snow or much road ice, excepting the occasional - and deadly - black ice at the summit, on Highway 17 over the Santa Cruz Mountains into "Silicon Valley."

How's the weather where you are?

Back to the FAQ

"The Trick"

the alarm's about to sound
but the fever calms me down
I can breathe without distress
I'm not sure which bugs me less
you fall down on your knees, screaming
"oh my god"
or let it burn you out
like a full time job
well you can make it really really hard
but there's a trick to it
there's a trick to it
there's a trick to it
there's a
trick to it

well they feed you dreams and goals
but it only feeds your soul
your tongue is sharp and it can carve
but your mouth's about to starve, yeah
you can say you don't care, say
"screw it all"
you can say it's not fair, you can beg
you can crawl
you can beat your head against the wall
but there's a trick to it
there's a trick to it
there's a trick to it
there's a
trick to it

you've got a dream? lay your hand on it
if it's too small - don't make it fit
but if it's too big, then you must
acquit yourself
take a step back
lay it to one side
return to yourself,
growing size by size
until you find that you've outgrown the lies

but there's a trick to it

Talkin' Sweet #8: Keepin' It Just This Side Of

Darling? Oh, Darling. Darlin' dear. There's so much I need to say. So much, to say to you.

I speak to you, out loud, all the time when you're not around. Things I need to say, things I need to get out of me. Things no woman should ever have to hear. Things I say to the air. To empty rooms. To restroom stalls, to shopping mall parking lots. To the empty space leaning out over cliffs, over edges of buildings' roofs. To you.


Sweetums. Honey-butt. Lippy. Blee-blee. Sweet-o. Sweetie doodle.

I speak my sickening sweetnesses and endearments out into the emptiness. I get it out of me that way, so you won't be forced to hear me babble on to you in my love-fuddled ga-ga ya-ya talk. No woman should be forced to hear her man go on about her like that! How is a woman supposed to respect her man as a man, when he's gabbling on all the time like a mush-mouthed baby-talking goo-goo FOOL?

Well, I'm a fool for you, baby. It's the truth, and I'm not ashamed of that. But I do do my best to bleed off the excess, while you're not around. It's a matter of self-respect as much as anything else.

Baby. Wigglekins. Cutey-nose!

Doodeloo #29


Don't Make The Same Mistake

I'm just telling you, whatever you do - be careful. Don't make the same mistake I made.

Man, I can't even talk about it. It's too embarrassing.

Just trust me on this one. Believe me.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


wrong blog!

I accidentally put a poem here instead of there.

I mean, I do put a poem here too, sometimes. But I prefer it to be on purpose!

In Angel's Eyes, On Wings Of Wind, In Shadows Dark, They Gathered In

What do you think of the angels?

Angels are hostile to us. Don't believe the art and stories. Angels hate us. Even the angels loyal to God during the rebellion all hated, and continue to hate us.

God gives them that freedom. Angels have free will, same as we do. The angels left in heaven - they all dearly love God! But they hate us. That was the one thing that Lucifer and Michael always, always agreed on: humanity is repugnant.

Well, we are.

Our guardian angels are tasked with a duty that they find offensive and contemptible, but they perform it well, despite their distaste. They take pride in performing it well! Not because we matter. They take pride in their abject loyalty to God.

Down all the ages, angels have listened to the best music, choirs, orchestras that humanity has produced with the immaterial-being equivalent of nausea. The closest angels ever come to sympathizing with us is that shallow cringe of embarrassment they feel when listening to our most (to us) transcendent efforts - a close cousin to the vicarious cringe you get when watching an extremely poor quality television program, and even though there is no one in the room, for an instant you have an uneasy flash of how you'd feel if someone you respected saw you watching that. But there is no one in the room.

Oh yes there is.

To an angel, stepping into a crowded auditorium massed thick with expectant humans waiting for the curtain to rise - there is no one in the room. No one in the room but the angel. We are - what? Less than scenery. We are mildew, spoiling the scenery. Not a lower order of being, no. Something more like the protein scum churned up by waves, washed up on beaches. We amount to that: a foaming, dirty pile of bubbles, and we fizz and pop and dry out and diminish about as quick. Leaving only a whitish stain on the sand, an unclean patch where we lived and died.

Not that an angel would want to kill us. No, angels are by and large very relieved that the days when God would send them out after humans' heads are more or less over and done. Angels hated that duty. They were as enthusiastic about it as you would be, if tasked to rid a large garden of its slugs using only your bare hands. Everything an angel does is done with its bare hands - it manifests pure mind, pure will, pure spirit and when it takes on form, its sword might as well be its skin. In fact, the expression on an angel's face whenever a human is encountered is very similar to a human's expression, upon stepping on a slug.

How loathsome a scene was Eden, in the eyes of God's first beloveds.