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, February 28, 2012

On-Time Concert Reviews #4: Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Tuesday, February 28th Rio Theater Santa Cruz, CA

First, let me say: I came into this show with a wrong idea. Ladysmith Black Mambazo? I don't know what a Mambazo is, but to me "Ladysmith Black Mambazo" sounds like "the Black Men of Mambazo who Shape Ladies to their Will" like a goldsmith shapes gold to his will, or a silversmith shapes silver. And you guys know, I'm a feminist! A hard, cruel feminist, so I'm like "Ladysmith Black Mambazo don't you DARE marginalize and diminish my comrades in the solidarity of the oppressed (from across the gender divide true, yet united in the cause of opposing the aforementioned oppression!) by saying as if to say 'oh yes, the ladies, we shape them to our will as if they were pliant and heated base and precious metals, quickened to near liquidity in the forge of our hot harmonies and hammering rhythms which they dig so much,'" - that sort of attitude is abhorrent to me! That sort of implication, as if the "ladies" are but material to be "smithed" upon one's tools, except it turns out - guys, I was wrong about Ladysmith Black Mambazo. I came in there with a wrong idea, and they opened my eyes to that in this show.

Apparently, "Ladysmith" is just a town in South Africa near where they're all from. The guy mentioned that in passing, then it all kind of came clear for me: the trail of oppression. Probably the town was named by some damn white people, always with the patriarchy, trying to smith them ladies to their will, naming towns, et cetera. Many and multifarious are the tools of the oppressor! But let me tell you, this Ladysmith Black Mambazo outfit, they seized that seemingly-oppressive sobriquet and reclaimed it, and repurposed it, subverted it such that in so doing, they robbed it of its power or maybe, just its bad power. And filled it back up with a better power.

You have to admit, it's a pretty kickass band name. It has a ring to it!

This is a perfect example of why I say: #1, always go into a concert with an open mind. You got to give a band a chance to shine, and to blow you away and your preconceptions as well and maybe - if you're lucky! To enlighten you some. Some "consciousness-raising," - which they sure did for me! And #2, never turn down a free show somebody invites you to, unless of course you had prior plans.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo, man. I tell you, having now seen them first-hand, whatever ladies they get I am sure it's consensual, and well-deserved. And I'm sure the act itself is a mutual celebration of the fullness of each other's totality and being and stuff, because you could just tell with these guys, how they shake it. They give good value! And all I did was see them perform songs. They strut their stuff let me tell you! I love a showboat. If you've got it then you got to strut.

Anyway, that goes to show maybe a little lesson for you readers as well! Not all feminists are prudes you know. It's not necessary to oppose oppression and fight patriarchy by denying the natural totality of one's own being.

Takes a hell of a band to put on a hell of a show to teach a dude like me a lesson like that, although, okay I guess I kind of knew that already in spades but fuck - some lessons are worth relearning.

As many times as it takes.

Thank you for tonight's lesson, Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

Actual Exchanges #14: yup, it takes guts

A: Why do you always eviscerate yourself?

me: Because I've got GUTS.

A: It doesn't take guts to...

A: asshole.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Post error.

This post was made in error.

Arguably, so have several others been.

Sunday theology God blog post: actual rant tangent, best as I can recall!

"?!?! Hell what? Are you - ? What do you even... ...!

Do I strike you as someone who is afraid of punishment?

Look, hey, I'm not saying I'm above or immune to it! If there's punishment coming, I expect it and I expect it to be just. I do not expect to find it just. I expect it will be just. Or what does trust mean to you?

It, judgment, will not be coming directly - as punishment and reward have not been and are not doled out upon me, in this life. When the full extent of the judgment upon me is made clear to me (oh, not to say I haven't got my own wistful suspicions along those lines already! Let those be. They're idle speculations, and I do not act on them. I'm not the judge either, after all), I will take what's judged. I will take what is judged by the singular, non-incompetent judge of me - in all of existence, we all have precisely 1 of those. offense, you ain't mine. And if punishment it is, then punishment it shall be. And I will take my punishment, not like a man, but like a child.

I will do what I can to understand it. It may not make sense to me. I will know whether it does once I am given full and definite knowledge of what it is - the judgment upon me (a subject again, upon which I have strong suspicions, but concerning which I quite literally "suspend judgment").

But to be afraid of punishment? To be afraid of punishment from one you know and love, and who knows and loves you, and who you know to be the only possible non-incompetent judge of you, in all of existence - to fear punishment from one who is not only all of that, but who even beyond that: is someone you know to be perfect in judgment and mercy.

To be afraid of judgment in those conditions seems...bizarre. It sounds, frankly, like you either must have fatal doubts as to the judge, or if you doubt not the judge, than you must have grave doubts as to the one judged. As to yourself. I mean, I'm not perfect, but I trust the mercy of he who is. To me, for me to fear judgment would be for me to have indulged too far my morbidly-hypothetical imagination's taste for incomprehensibly worse-than-worst case cases.

Which is fine! No worries, indulging a bit of morbid and curious silliness. That phantasm vanishes in a flash when you relax and settle back: into trust. There's precious little I will trust more than I trust God's mercy and judgment. And that means: if punishment comes, I will trust it to be justice.

Augustine put things a funny way, which I think was wrong, actually. A false dichotomy. He said (and this part's true enough!) that none of us deserved salvation. Sure. How could we? What could we in ourselves do to deserve, earn, be entitled to salvation? No action that we take in this cosmos is sufficient to create that deserved extra-cosmic, beyond-eternal place for ourselves. But the absence of deserved salvation does not imply we have therefore earned punishment.

Augustine made no bones about the fact that each of us was so intrinsically wretched that we did indeed deserve hell. Yet salvation is a completely different thing from punishment. They are not opposites on any sensible scale. Paradise is not the unavoidable consequence of not being tortured, and though we may say pleasure and pain are opposites, it is not an either/or dichotomy where you must either have one, or you shall have deserved the other. Poppycock, sir. Why, when one is in torture and imprisonment, merely to be released would seem the diametrical opposite - a paradise, just to be set free. Yet salvation is far more than that. Salvation - which I would define as the postmortem continuation of one's individuality in the bliss of perfect oneness with God - "

Then I kind of stopped. Got this real faraway look and forgot where I was going with that. Because what an awesome definition of salvation! So idiotically clinical and precise. I could define that ALL DAY, and just sit there listening to the world through those echoes.

Point is, no offense to St. Augustine, but I think he went a little heavier on the pronouncements-of-judgment side than he was truly entitled to go. He damned us all, which was not his call, and then he deigned to allow God to make such exemptions as God chose. Mighty white of you, Auggie!

I might have to have a word with him about it later. HE WAS AN AMAZING DUDE, though. Somebody made a case that he invented the autobiography, in our modern sense of a book whose subject is one's self - and not simply an account of things done or witnessed.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lost Cause.

I'm against the big bang myself. But what am I going to do?

Fucker got in before me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Okay. Apologies for the Poem. It Won't Happen Again.

I can see how if I'd just come back from martini time, I can see I might accidentally post a poem on the regular, NON-POEM BLOG. But it seems a bit thin to make that mistake when you're only heading out toward martini time. Alcohol doesn't intoxicate in the contemplation!

Anyway. Apologies for that shit. Poetry does NOT belong on here.

It belongs: on here.

Those of you sick fucks who like poetry or worse/better yet, think you can write that shit, I don't advise you to hit my "random poem" button too many times. Poetry's a nice catchall for failed songs for me, and that's all it is. It's not my goal as a poet to make your jaw hang increasingly open, your eyes sting from not blinking and leave you after fifty or so in a row ready to chuck it in, shut your machine down and turn away slouching off to lie down crumpled up fetally on the couch, never to bother again. Keep going, yours is as good as mine on some scale!

What you have to understand is, people say everything's relative, all values are subjective and there are no absolutes. No reason for you to put value judgments on your shit just because of mine.

invisible hour

it's time to sip a sweetly sick and bitter cold clear triangle
that's held upright on stem of glass, with stick of wood
through olive hole

straight through the red pimento man "hey!
there's a little guy in here!"
have 1 more? Yes, I can
for sure, I think

it's getting cool in here

Noir, Huh?

That big, raw-handed man was nobody's idea of a detective. His long-chinned jutting jaw, ever-so-slightly concave in the sides like a squeezed horse-shoe, led him from point to point through every case on a path that had less to do with investigation than with blind hunch, bluff, and gall - barely mitigated by a certain honeyed insouciance. Yet as often as he plunged in without a prayer's worth of evidence or probable cause, there was no denying his improbable knack for accusing the right person, and his talent for bulling that person into the wrong place and wrong time, a tight and inconvenient corner where he could break them down at his leisure with always a convenient witness at hand, to witness the big reveal. This is the story of how he got that way.

Little Johnny Creuss, they used to call him. But the "little" was somebody's idea of a funny joke. Even then at the age of oh, say, two months old, he was a big little man, a happy big baby, and his feet were like hams. Big hams with little piggy toes! Aw, look at de little hams. Aw, look at de little hams! Those aren't little hams, those are big hams! Those aren't little hams, those are big hams.

Anyway, I guess he got kicked around in school a little, fell in with a tough crowd, fell out with the tough crowd and had to forge his way right straight through and against them, won the pissing contest, lost interest in the academic questions, dropped out, learned some vital survival skills in a series of weird jobs ("weird," not to say "odd"), noticed with a dull shock of awareness that he was a grown-up now and had better get down to some business, failed at it, fell accidentally into the shamus game trying to help out a no-good dame he knew and in the process, discovered a lucky streak that hasn't quit on him since.

Aw, look it the dimples he's still got. Aw look it the dimples he's still got!

Your Direction Is Nowhere

But here.

Wow: most useful You-Tube Comment Ever?

Verse C F quickly to G Then Back To C
Where is your direction? Am C F
Chorus: G Am F

Thanks, HaveYaMetMickyC!

Come back, Chief.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dear World,

Please sing this song to me, I will call your bluff. Hoo boy do I.

I love my labels. I love that all of those labels were right in there waiting!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hey, Am I About To Get Put On A Watch List?

In the U.S., the right to privacy is not an enumerated right. It's presumed to come in under Big #9 of the first 10 amendments ("The Bill Of Rights").

That's a very funny Amendment, by the way! If you haven't ever perused it, you should look it up. Guaranteed giddy grin material. At least, for me it is - every dang time! You can read it, and read it again, and think about it for several minutes straight, and just shake your head and grin - if you're of a certain mindset. It is a masterpiece of understatement. The Ninth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States raises the obvious to performance art - and centuries before Marcel DuChamp, thank you very much.

Wouldn't that have been awesome if Marcel DuChamp had been a legislator? And born about centuries earlier? And a rebel American - part of the Continental Congress? Well if he had been, he would have written the Ninth Amendment. (What cheek there, by the way - "Continental" Congress! Did you catch that? The party line on manifest destiny is that it didn't start really grinding and whirling its scythes and gears until Jacksonian times or so, but bullshit I assure you: Jefferson, Madison, Franklin. Okay, Washington could have given a shit, but everyone else on that shit-stripe of land was already convinced they owned it all plus everything Westward! Fuckers)

(Well, come on - they did fuck. They must have! Or whence the Daughters of the American Revolution, elsewise? No insult to patriotism, there. Fuckers)

Where was I? The Right to Privacy, so-called. Well, let's look at it on the face of things. Let's examine it on merit.

I put it to you: hard would it be indeed, the job of the government which undertook to show sufficient cause to deprive or infringe upon the privacy of a constituency of free citizens. Hard going. Very easy, on the other hand, to say "well we have not specifically granted you that right." But so what?

I support violence. Bloodshed. And revolution, in one case and one case only: the case of a government which denies citizens their due human rights without being able to show just and sufficient cause. And shut your yaps, ye Libertarians! Just and sufficient cause, in any actual and literal case of real people and actual actions that comes before you, is the easiest, plainest thing in the world to show. It ain't hard. You lay it right out, and any 12 people picked at random will agree with you. That's the definition.

That's how you know.

Human rights are not granted at a government's leisure and discretion. They are denied at a government's peril.

You'd consider me a reasonable person, wouldn't you?

Your Writing Sucks, Pt. 2.

This post is a Part 2. There was also a Part One.

With thanks to reader Mel, this perfectly illustrates the point of Pt.1:

People fucking love a showoff. If the showoff has anything that is worth to show.

Mel's from Australia. Apparently, they have the right attitude down there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

You Know What? I Don't Like The Smiths, After All.

I just realized, after all these years thinking I liked or even possibly, loved the Smiths: I don't. I don't like the Smiths. The Smiths were a bunch of effete Brit artiste wannabe rockabilly hillbillies. You know what I do like?

I like Morrissey. And he got better, later.

I like Johnny Marr. And he got way better, later.

And I love How Soon Is Now. That song did not come from Earth.

Your Writing Sucks.

I'd really love to come across somebody who would just come right up to me and say: "I write better than you, man!" That would put the jolts in my juices! I would be like "Pal, how well do you FIGHT!???"

Naw, I wouldn't be like that at all. I would be like, GIVE ME YOUR MATERIAL!! IT IS FOR MY EYES

That would be awesome. And I don't understand why nobody has yet done it? People don't seem shy about telling me that I write better than they do. What can I do with that? "Thanks!" But nobody ever comes across with the reverse assertion, and I'm practically begging for it. Practically begging to be taken down a peg. Is it just that people don't brag like that?


The fact that they don't betrays a real problem with our nation's priorities. And by "our nation", I include the various other nations who would be somewhat rankled to be lumped in with ours, but who let's face it, are running all of their go-to cultural apps on pretty much the same OS platform. I don't think any of us really instills in our peoples the requisite amount of brag about one's scholastic facility - not in any of the various "school-larnin'" tricks and skills! And this is why we fail. This is why we are the WORST-EDUCATED SOCIETY EVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE. If that statement is wrong, blame my educators; I never did care for history. Or statistics. They could have made me care, had they been sufficiently brilliant.

Oh, I hate to blame the educational system, but the problem is once again: right square in our schools. This lack of brag all starts there. We need to find some way to get kids to prize these talents, to primp and preen themselves upon them in a competitive way, just amongst themselves, daily and instinctively - just as they do with athleticism, romance, money, video games or so many other things! Why in hell should they NOT brag about scholastic aptitude? So many other things of far less importance are touted to the hilt - by those with anything to tout. Have the scholastically apt nothing to tout?

Oh, sure, sure, up in their little study groups, meeting up in the school library, they may let loose with a hushed "boo yah - yer FACE" or two. But you don't see jocks, socialites, rich kids doing that. Damn if they're going to hush themselves up in public and only flaunt their stuff to each other in little esoteric cliques of mutual enthusiasts. No. They flaunt it to the world. They know they have something important to be competitive about, and they flaunt it IN YOUR FACE. Athleticism, social and romantic success, and money - these things are important, and worth bragging about anyplace.

The ability to think is not. Not important. Not worth bragging about. Because you don't brag. Q.E. mother fucking D. This insecurity about the worth of study or intelligence is the only reason you don't see the brag. It isn't because schoolsmart kids are more mature! Get real: within their narrow cliques of enthusiasts, they brag to each other in code, and they reassure each other: "we're better than the morons. Our narrow concerns are better than the vulgar concerns of the mob."

Bullshit, Horatio. Because the mob would eat your smart stuff up if you'd brag and strut about it a bit. You're not better: you're just a wuss, and the mob can tell full well that you don't think you've got anything to show 'em. Anything worth showing them. Because you're better than them? No. Touchdown kings are better than the mob. Dollar champs are better than the mob. Sex symbols are better than the mob. You're just pretentious and kidding yourself, and you're not as smart as you pretend to be either. 30-50% of the mob is smarter than you, and you have nothing to show them.

Picture a world where anyone who wants to can be better than the mob, and lionized by the mob, based on proving it and flaunting smarts. Where smarts and learning are worth bragging about. Don't say the mob can't appreciate such things, that it exceeds their capabilities - the mob appreciates a WINNER, they don't give a crap about the incomprehensible game plan diagram or underlying facts! The mob can't catch a touchdown pass, any more than they can solve Fermat's Ding-Dong, but they love to see somebody run it dowwwwwwn to the other guy in a convincing and breathtaking way. How many people who watched the "apple" scene in Good Will Hunting were all like, "HAHA! YEAH! Matt Damon was SO RIGHT in his historical analysis!"

No. Please. Don't be a moron. People were like "HAHA! YEAH! Matt Damon made the other guy look like a DORK!" Incapable of comprehending - please. They took it 100% as granted that he STUFFED that guy, with strong basis. They don't need comprehension - just one look at the other guy's face! He got RULED. Comprehension means zap. It's competition that puts butts in seats and hearts in throats, and scholastics has just as much potential as anything in those stakes - if you thought it was worth bragging about. Potential for a grandstanding showoff to put on a great show? Hell yeah. Or potential for that same hot-dogger to CRASH, BURN AND FUMBLE? Even more entertaining! There are risks, and there is excitement, when there is something worth risking: pride in what you do and know. Showing the other (or the world) who boss is. The world of smarts has plenty there to ante up, and it's nothing the mob can't comprehend - the mob will eat it up, if only you would be so kind as to "brang it."

It's time that smarts got brang. It's time to take it to it. It's time to level up.

If our nation is going to rise up and take its place among the kinds of places I'd like to see it become, where stuff like this happens - then all kids need to straighten up their spines a bit, hold their heads proud and get a glint in their eye to match the chip on their shoulder where it counts. Every kid with the least propensity for athletics is encouraged to strut, and to playfully test themselves against their peers. Every kid with a propensity for academic flair ought to be encouraged to do the same. Every kid ought to be encouraged to have a strong sense of pride in their powers of performance - as whatever level they possess! - such that reading, writing, art, mathematics, history and every other higher subject - until erudition in general becomes fodder and grist with which to clobber and/or dethrone one's rivals in the pecking order!

THINK WHAT IT WOULD MEAN TO THEM, if kids actually gave a shit! Bragging is an evil, some say, but it's a bellwether as well. Because when something is cool to give a shit about...that's when you start to see some brag. The kids would really take to it, if the teachers would do their job, and get 'em to care.

"You call that a syllogism, Bernadette?"


"Okay, you can't claim to be ambidextrous with penmanship like that. I'd say both hands are off."

"Buddy, I could drop a sonnet on you that will have you writing your own elegy!!"

It has to start at that kid brag level, one-upmanship. But once you can instill that hey-this-too-is-brag-worthy perception across the student body, the admiration for that, next thing you know you're breeding superstars out of people who might never otherwise have signed up.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Ever Notice How You Hardly Ever See Depeche Mode Fans Anymore?

They used to be everywhere. And you could always tell!

I think...maybe they have learned to blend in.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Play Chess? Why, Yes I Do.

In practice, I find I can beat anybody at chess.

By kicking them in the balls.

Dialogue Study for a Sob Story #2

Why did you break up with me?

There's never been a question I wanted an answer to more than that one. Even if the answer is no good, I just wish I could hear you talk about it. Just talk. Talking out loud, telling anything. Telling whatever truth you have. Whatever you can spare?

How can I go forward with no idea? How am I supposed to believe anything is ever going fine? I was so fucking fooled!

I know it was not betrayal, deceit. I'm not saying you ever lied. I don't get the sense you did. I don't believe you did. I'm sure you told me it was over as soon as you were sure. Even if somehow, there was no reason to give for why. But at least you were sure. I guess it is more important to be sure, than to know why you are sure.

Doesn't it make such a difference, for there to be reason? I guess it shouldn't - it shouldn't make any difference. But I just don't understand how am I going to believe in anything else, when I believed so much in this.

Not your problem! I know.

I wish I was not so gullible. Fall for anything, every time.

I want that keen sense that other people seem to have, for when something shifts beneath the surface and your hair pricks up and you can tell that it's gone slightly wrong. And maybe you could see the countershift, how to balance it back! Or maybe you would know, there would be no way to knock the axis into skew again. How come I can't so much as get the slightest sense of any of it? Nothing wrong here! No icebergs ahead. 360 degrees of blindside.

How I am ever going to be able to believe again, in anything that feels right and seems to be going great, in anything I am SURE about, when I know damn well that I just clearly can't tell the difference? My instincts are some kind of blind, stupid...unreliable. How am I supposed to trust in what I would have said...when I used to say..."I just know it's right." I didn't just know shit! I just don't know shit.

And what good is it going to do me if I can't? If I can never believe in anything again, is that going to save me? What good is it going to do to be suspicious every moment, instead of oblivious every moment? To be doubting everything instead of completely taken in, when either way I can not tell the difference and I do not know? No idea! Can't tell! For Christ's sake! After all we gave.

How can there be no reason?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Thought of the day: within reason

Protect the reasonable at all costs, and protect the unreasonable within reason.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Something Something

Thoughts on Time: Greatly-Compressed Version

The "-time" component of spacetime is just the prosaic speedup or* slowdown effects on physical processes that are under the influence of strong gravity, velocity, or acceleration. These effects are extremely straightforward and can be calculated quite easily, with reliability and precision. Nothing mysterious about it: you push a mass to half the speed of light, every process in that mass slows down, to a known degree, right down to the subatomic level.

Time slows down? Fuck no. There's no such thing. "Time." Sheesh.

You took a clock, and you slowed it down.

Every atom in the universe is a clock.

*slowdown, really, but it could look like a speedup to you depending on your coordinate system.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

This Dead Dog Picture That Has Been Circulating Online Lately Is Upsetting.

I'm not even going to post it here. It's a load of horse shit. Some poor dog died of natural causes, and these two sick fucks said to each other, "hey, I bet we can make a very large number of people look like fucking shit-for-brainses, and become famous at the same time!" And of course they can! This is tailor-made! They even posted the righteously-worded "GET THESE BASTARDS" call-to-arms first on their own facebook walls! Bold as you please, with an invitation to their sick inner circle of facefuck friends to take it and run - to go be the seed squad for a very-much-inevitable viral campaign of conquest!

These guys don't care. They won't have to worry about "who believes them" once they fess up! How much you don't want to bet they had the source of that dog corpse notarized, and will be able to produce exonerating proof that all of the rest of us are self-righteous, hysterical, easily-duped TURDS?

It was the beloved dog of the dude on the right. This was his sick way of coping.


Well I for one ain't falling for it. I say we flip the script on these "bros." I see we give them what they "WANT": a REACTION. I say we drag them both from the back of a train, regardless of whatever the actual circumstance was!! See how funny they like THAT.

People who play pranks like that ought to learn how hard the world can be, when it hates and disdains you now.

(That's me playing devil's advocate.)