Do You Feel Lucky?

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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Both of those Previous Posts Need to be Significantly Shortened, Pt. 2

Because I bet if they were, each of them could be something very good; very pointful. But as-is, it's too much!

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Process Of Warning Part 1: The Hypothetical

Things should be done because they are fun, and for no other reason besides. Especially in a case where I am not literally at work, getting paid.

If we can do it, we don't need compelling reason to do it. That's what liberty means. That's where we live, and that's where we are at. We are at liberty. To do a thing needs no sufficient cause! To reject a thing, to refuse a person's liberty to do it, must show compelling cause. That demonstration must be far more than a wan hypothetical, far more than to just say, "well, I don't know, looks like there's nothing wrong with it but I'm concerned it might be taken the wrong way." Get behind me.

Not "get behind me" because you're like, Satan or anything. "Get behind me, Satan!" Haha, no, not at all (but see next paragraph), it's just that you clearly aren't equipped to take lead, if that's your attitude. If you think "people might possibly take it the wrong way" is a reason to reject a course of action? Come on. A better way than that: have confidence in your own good will, and trust in your judgment and the capacity of others to be at least as tolerant as you. You have an open mind, when presented with something that you can see "looks like there's nothing wrong with it." Why not give others the same chance?

It's the devil who wants to reject a course of action because insufficient cause for doing it had been demonstrated. Go look it up. This was Lucifer's specific beef. Lucifer was Light, and he was like "wait, WHAT? No, I want to see reasons. I mean, this 'reality' business, yes I know You saw it and You said it was good, and it looks like there's nothing wrong with it to me, but I'm concerned it could be taken the wrong way." To which God said, "awww man. c'mon pal. if anythn happens u think I can't heal u all up ltr? Ppl be so happy they ll cherish the memory of their emotional scars <3. I say realitys a pretty sweet lark, and I'm GOING AHEAD WITH IT." Then the devil insisted on seeing God's tits, and God was like, "LTR GTFO."

That's practically a verbatim transcript, we just didn't have teh vocabulary in olden times to quite get the sentiment being expressed. Angelic text.

Now, hypotheticals are not the devil, even if the devil is so often in the hypotheticals. Of course we should watch out for specific and forseeable problems along the way! And specific obstacles. But the worst obstacle we must be ever on guard against are: the hypothetical obstacles that would spoil harmless, random, absurd, meaningless, purposeless fun - just by raising a hypothetical possible problem that may happen.

And we must be ever on guard for those who raise hypotheticals in order to ruin actuals.

They truly believe they mean well. They believe they're cutting out the possibility of problems. But their method is to reject a lot of stuff that could have many amazing outcomes as well! They are not running a valid cost/benefit analysis. And they exaggerate the risk they claim to see.

Because they and we must realize, their attempts do not leave us better prepared to deal with actuals. When actuals occur - when an actual problem does occur - we are prepared. We have strong and courageous, fearsomely competent, compassionate people thronging around, eyeing each other awaiting the opportunity to save the day. We have well-developed response strategies, we have emergency support within call, we also have the ability to raise a perceived wrong, and engage each other at its basis: like fucking adults.

So: if you are a hypothetical-raiser, and you are sincere, think about how it would feel to try this possible approach? "We should do this thing you propose. It looks like nothing wrong with it to me. Could be a lot of possible outcome, potentially, some good outcomes! And I can see only 1 possible bad outcome - we should go ahead with your plan, and just add in a plan B if this happens: What do we do to answer anybody who says 'blah, blah blah'?"

You have then taken steps to strengthen the proposal, by requesting it address the flaw you say you saw.

Does that work?

How do you feel about that approach?

That's a sincere way of dealing with it, if you're honest about there being a proposal that's truly all good, "nothing wrong with it," except for a MAYBE that might never occur! Would you feel good, going the support-its-enactment-with-amendment-to-redress-perceived-possible-bad-outcome?

I mean, why not? Because if not, if you're saying to yourself, "well no, still I don't support it!" - then maybe you should ask yourself whether it is true that you can't see anything wrong with it except the hypothetical you raised. Maybe you just do not like the proposal AT ALL, and were trying to hang it up or shoot it down with a passive-aggressive objection that doesn't really touch the substance of what you don't like?

Just a thought.

In the meantime: be suspicious of those who demand a "why." Beware of people who ask "why," when you are not actually at work, getting paid. In my experience, before-the-fact "why" is too often used as a cop-out. "Why" may allow people to reject to something good (or possibly only harmless), on the rather b.s. basis that if you think real hard and provide them with a "why," they can then milqetoast up a pragmatic objection: "Oh, well then, if that's why, then I think we shouldn't do it, because it isn't a realistic way to achieve that goal."

Do you want to know MY ULTIMATE GOAL IN ANYTHING I EVER DO?

It is: BECAUSE

If they insist on elaboration, it is because I have liberty to do so, and because I have sincerely asked if anyone can see compelling cause that I should not do so, and none has been shown.

In other words:

BECAUSE, was sufficient.

The Process Of Warning Part 2: The Actual

This is more problematic. Something ACTUAL has occurred, or has been noticed. The people must be warned. Which means only: we must instigate a Process of Warning. We must take all reasonable measures in an attempt to warn those who may benefit, from having been warned.

In any case of announcement or warning, whether governmental, or your library club dance social got canceled, or there is a werewolf loose. The Process of Warning is pretty similar. The process of warning is not that a person is warned, it is that a process is enacted to warn.

Step one: an announcement (could be a public announcement, could be a dedicated blast)

Step two: keep the announcement available, for those who missed or forgot about it. Keep it available until it no longer applies. No harm keeping it available after, if the issue it speaks to has possibility of recurrence.

Step three: referral. Anybody who missed it and comes to you, you've got a place to refer them to! "Snap"

Of course, "reasonable measures" is proportional. In cases of emergency, then we must bring in greater-than-reasonable measures. But we must always be realistic. With the exception of a direct 1-to-1 warning, you placing a hand on the shoulder, warning the person eye-to-eye, and than shooting them in the head (which will prevent them later claiming to have not received the warning, or not been warned, or not understood the warning, or not believed the basis of the warning to be credible), No possible Process of Warning will EVER SUCCEED IN WARNING ALL WHO NEEDED TO BE WARNED.

Partly, this is because communication is a fallible process.

Partly, it is because a lot of people are...let's face it. Some people need to be warned that the earth has an uneven surface, and presents a trip hazard. The appropriate response to these people is pity, mercy, charity. Do what we can to help them up.

However, towards the world and towards all those in it who are perhaps less pitiable than these, our responsibility is far stronger, far more important, and it is very clear: we must do whatever we can to keep the surface of the earth uneven. To keep the earth the glorious trip hazard that it actually is. To prevent and thwart those who believe it should be paved, flattened, made safe! Our responsibility extends even to flattening these people, if necessary, for their thinking is far more dangerous to people than any hazard they've supposedly noticed.

We must do our best to present the general warning that reality is real, and that it will therefore always present hazards. We must emphasize the general truth that each of us is responsible, and we're all going to die. We should advise others, "hey! Don't forget to look both ways! And don't forget, there are far more than both ways to look!" Danger lives not exclusively in the road. And then once we all feel adequately alert and responsibly warned: we should jump fences, and race furiously through the obstacles and empty lots that the world is covered with. Obstacles such as Everest, Kilimanjaro. Empty lots such as the Mohave. Let's race headlong, watch for furrows and take plenty of rests. Let's climb. Let's treat the city street like we would a treacherous cliff, for that is what it is: and far more treacherous, and we are not tamed animals.

We are civilized humans. And maybe civilization is a cage! But a civilized human is not an animal tamed by the cage its fellows have built and explained. A civilized human sees the use of the cage, and is fine with making such use. But a civilized human is wild, not tamed - with an enjoyment of the refinements culture can afford, but just as easily able to leave them behind and live rough sleeping on the steppes, or occasionally, on the steps. With a fierce love of the human dignity of others, a dignity which finds expression and affirmation in our social graces.

A civilized human is the animal that commands its cage. It understands its cage, knows the uses of its cage, and it knows where they keys are. They're right on the hook, hanging by the front door. Shall we go outside?

Let's. And when we do, let the earth be a trip hazard, rife with low walls, jutting edges and plenty of pitfalls. Well, all right. Let's learn parkour; because that's what it's for.

That's what earth is for.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chaos isn't theory, that shit orders me around

the game
has begun
and I stumbllllllllllllllle to the front!!
there's no
real control
over randommmmmmm events!

AND I WILL TAKE MY CHANCES!



CAUSE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!
I DON'T BELIEVE IT'S OVER!
CAUSE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN!!

i can never
give it up
i could never
relent
and i can't wait to see
what will happen to me next

I WILL TAKE MY CHANCES!!!!

cause anything can happen, it doesn't matter what we did wrong - makes no difference to me. I see the lights in your eyes, and you're dancing

free

but I will take my chances
and I don't believe it's over

I'm coming 'round today, to gather in the pieces and give in to the mystery, and

I will take my chances.

Quote of the Day: from some fucking songwriter

"I've never been home. It sounds like a wonderful place."

- me

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Divide & Conquer: Part 1.

Divide and conquer has long been a favorite tactic of the aspiring tyrant. And how better to divide, than to destabilize the power structure, stoke paranoia on all sides, appeal to one faction's cherished bias, and get it to self-identify with your own movement's drive for power? Then, foster in your supporters suspicion of all movements that call for the solidarity of the oppressed of any stripe. Get your supporters to damn those who rally in favor of civil liberties and human rights as subversives.

Bitter irony, in a nation founded so strongly on the primacy of the fundamental, inalienable human rights of the individual that the simple, self-evident truths of those founding principles, embodied in the Bill of Rights, have dragged us kicking and screaming feet-first from our founding, steeped in patriarchal slaveholding aristocracy, through and out of mire after mire of religious, racial, and sexual bigotry. To fail now? To fall here?

Not if I have anything to fucking say about it.

I'm Working On A Freudian Children's Book!

It's called, The Ego On Its Own. It's about the central character there, The Ego!

The Ego has lost its two friends, Superego and Id. Can The Ego survive on its own? Let's find out, through all the adventures it has! And perhaps by the end, a lesson is learned. Or perhaps by the end, some sort of socially unacceptable impulse is sublimated.

Okay, okay, it's not really going to be a children's book. It's going to be a thinly-veiled satirical lambasting of Freud's psychosexual theories of personality development!

But what better format for that, though, right?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Quote of the Day: The subconscious, again

"Let's just assume the subconscious intends all."

Ask A Question, Get An Answer #2!: Why Do You "Feel The Need"?

Well that was fast! This one didn't come in via the approved big ol' button (TO THE LEFT - CLICK IT TO SUBMIT, you know you want to!), it came in through good old e-mail. Which is fine! It's totally cool if a questioner wants to preserve anonymity, I won't "out" you.

Mel, I don't really know what to tell you on this one.

Just kidding folks! It wasn't Mel. I just use Mel as an example. She's quite exemplary. Anyway, "Unnamed Questioner From The Internet"-who-is-NOT-Mel emails a question to the effect of, "Why do I 'feel the need' to make such an ass of myself with such ridiculous, exhibitionist disclosures?" Of course, more polite than that! But same gist: what's wrong with me, to talk so jolly about stuff others generally don't mention?

Now, I can only assume this has reference to my recent 3-part post about my penis length (which, ow! - that sounds painful. Maybe I should combine it into a one-part post. Arguably, more impressive?). And again, the questioner was perfectly polite, and made no implication of wrongness. I was totally kidding about that. The question was just honest, frank curiosity and a willingness to question! And really, when you get right down to it - what IS wrong with me? Why do I feel the need?

All shucks aside, it's a funny question to me because I don't "feel the need" at all. I get a thought, on a lark I might set it down. If I like the result, I might put it out! If something strikes me interesting, or funny, or odd, I just don't feel much inhibition. Why not share it? And a thought can be about just about anything.

Yet I have noticed, the question "why do you feel the need" does come up. It has come up before. Strikingly, it almost always comes up only in reference to sex. Which for me, is kind of curiouser and curiouser. Sex is a less-common topic for me (especially when I'm getting any), but by no means an irregular, or off-limits topic. I hope nothing in the human scope to wonder about would be off-limits! And it's striking that any time I put some clearly idiotic interpretation of quantum physics out there, nobody bats an eyelash at why I "feel the need" to. Every time I put out a cockamamie Artistic Integrity or cock-eyed God Blog Theology post, nobody really blinks. They chime in! Comment, question, jeer, sure! But nobody ever seems to ask "Why do you feel the need to excoriate Søren Fucking Kierkegaard?" Nope. Nary a flutter!

Now all of that is totally cool with me. It's cool for anyone to wonder why, because I myself wonder why, about all kinds of things. So it's cool to me, for anyone to ask me why I wonder at anything! It just makes it all more wonderful. Thank you, to the questioner for asking.

But I also wonder, why people only feel the need to question my feelies and needies when it's about just that one thing? Hmm! Curiouser, but I guess, not so very curiouser. It just goes to show that sex is an unusual area. A peculiar area. It can definitely be a sensitive area. And it can be a funny area! I for one think there is strong reason we should be pretty open about examining it, and examining why.

Because, look: so many people put themselves and others through so much misery and discomfiture, over the things that they think people should be more inhibited about. Over stuff they want people to act more taboo about. And if I were able to make fun of some people's shameful demonization and rejection of the natural? If by some well-placed jape I could get people to realize that hey, it's pretty stupid how defensive and distraught we act over plain biological fact and wild romantic fancy? Dang, that would be all right with me! Wouldn't it be a fine thing?

But I find I can't get so grandiose about it. Because really, I have never been trying to revolutionize society. Mostly I'm just trying to share something I find innocent, and perfectly amusing.

To me, it's always such silly stuff that people find off-putting, and I am always, well, shocked! - when I find I have shocked. It's a jolt like a needle in the gums. I'm surprised every time that a thing so normal and natural and silly and potentially brilliant and wondrous is a touchy topic, off-limits to discuss. Because I really do believe (with Diogenes, who had it right two thousand plus years ago) that "nothing natural is shameful."

But "not shameful" doesn't mean it can't be pretty funny! Or pretty fascinating. Or pretty absurd, especially in all that we make of it. But where's the shameful aspect? "Nothing natural is shameful" - well, at least, it can't be shameful to talk about, can it? Just because some people may think it might be shameful in some cases to do it. Or, all cases. Let's be honest: there are people who think that sex in all cases is shameful to discuss, and at best questionable to do. Now murder might be called natural, arguably, and shameful! But nobody seems to call it all that shameful to bring up. There's no blushing and gasping on that score. Even for people who see sex as a problem - and plenty do - plenty of them are happy as can be to talk about the problem of murder.

Where sex is concerned, for an awful lot of people the "problem" seems to be talking about it. I bet it's because with murder at least, people feel pretty strong and confident saying what about it they think is wrong. Hence, it is not sensitive to discuss. And hey - if so, I'm with you on that one guys! Murder is wrong. Murder is defined as: The taking of human life in a manner not sanctioned by law. And that shit's just wrong. Heck, it's even illegal! Bonus.

But come on, people. Man up, woman up with me on this one: sex is a big deal, sure! But if those ever-popular hypothetical alien beings landed on our planet, you know they would laugh their heavily-evolved asses off at what a big deal we make down here, over our flaps and pockets and nubs of flesh, over what goes where and who should care. And by the way: these aliens would not be the sexless, genderless beings of scientific myth. That's just a projection of our own neuroses. We believe sexuality is low, and base, and gross, and unevolved, and so we imagine weinerless grays with bald, smooth, pointed intellectual heads, and big, inscrutably watchful glossy black eyes. The eyes of the abyss. The eyes that judge us, for being so unevolved: for being such messed-up, neurotically psychosexually-preoccupied beings.

And so what do these beings do, first thing they get down here in the land of vagina wang-wang? You guessed it! Out comes the butt-probe.

Total projection of our own neuroses. Come off it.

I bet you anything the real space aliens are not gray. They're all kinds of funky colors, and they all have way bigger, sexier genitals and secondary sex glands than any of us, and they're out in space getting their jollies on a galactic scale, not down here hassling us pervs and prudes.

Of course, maybe they're into that sort of thing. If they were, it would be pretty funny.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Retraction, Pt.3

This post is a Pt.3. There was also a Pt.2, and before that, a Pt.1.

And the other other thing is, eight inches ain't SHIT. Me saying eight or thereabouts - that isn't even a proper brag! Because that's average. You can't brag about average. Even a solid eight inches is just a bit towards the top end of the national average. So really, in the initial post, I mis-accused myself of "brag," there. Because that's silly. I might as well brag about being 5'11". That ain't brag.

You guys know I'm 5'11" right? For real. It's pretty sweet.

Sometimes it's a little funny. You'll get a lot of these guys who'll dispute me on that, when I state my height (upon being asked, of course - because 5'11" is nothing to brag about). They just about yelp, "YOU'RE NOT FIVE-ELEVEN!" They're looking a little bit up at me, with a touch of hysterical appeal in their eyes because you see, to them they're six feet. I get them out of it pretty well - I can usually palm it off on my shoes. I try not to look too closely at theirs, while doing so. People who need to knock others down are the biggest dicks there are.

Anyway. Who cares how big people's dicks are? It's a non-issue, a misdirection. The patriarchy foists it on us to keep us all divisive and disunited, eyeing the front of each others' PANTS while the MAN makes off with all the bitches and swag! Shall we fall for that? Shall we act the pawn in that low game, gentlemen?

Gentlemen, we have better things to do than re-measure our DICKS.

Retraction, Pt.2

This post is a Pt.2. There was also a Pt.1. Later on, there turned out to have been a Pt.3 as well.

The other thing, and maybe this is just me, but to me a dude who needs to measure his own dick more than once...could possibly be in some sort of argument with reality. I mean, there's no real rush to correction necessary, here! Sure, I had to come clean for the sake of anyone I may have misled on the plain facts. That's just me.

How I am: if I make a misstatement, I'll issue a retraction.

But I don't see any urgent need for an exact re-measurement. If anyone asks? I'll tell 'em "close enough to eight inches." That's more than satisfactory. You can't ask for more than that.

In fact, arguably, if you don't mind me asking, why do you ask? Not that I mind the question! But it's just that really, this is probably one of those "need to know" questions, for most people anyway.

Me, I don't mind taking those questions! I'm pretty up-front.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ask A Question, Get An Answer Pt.2! Clarification of a Possible Innuendo

Hm.

I just noticed, the sequence of that whole group of questions, which I gave in example as to the wide range of questions fielded BY ME over just the past 48 hours...starting with physics and politics, moving on to drinking, genitals, smoking, pre-nuptial agreements, LATE-NIGHT PIZZA and then on to breakfast with eggs and coffee...it kind of sounds like I had a serious night! Sometime, during or over that stated 48 hour period. Or, you know, it sounds like I've implied or tried to imply I "got laid."

Well, I assure you I didn't! I don't imply stuff like that.

Not my style, man.

ASK A QUESTION, GET AN ANSWER!

I've changed the page for "Nonspecific Comment On The Whole Blog" button to a NEW FEATURE:

ASK A QUESTION, GET AN ANSWER!

It's self-explanatory, really!

But as I explain in the explanation, no question can ever be too hard or too personal for me. That doesn't mean I'll answer. I go strict on comfort zone on that, and no hesitation! But you'd be surprised at what I have no problem answering: a broad array of questions! Why, just in the past 48 hours, I've taken questions on:

* quantum theory of reality
* whether elections should be abolished, and people should just be forced to complete & file a ballot along with their taxes
* the development of sexual norms and mores over the course of the past 60 minutes of drinking (this was someone else asking - I wasn't really drinking! - well, champagne. OK: "Cava.")
* penis length
* what smoking REALLY MEANS
* pre-nuptial agreements: cui bono?
* pizza: is there any? Are they open?
* which is better: fried or scrambled?
* how do I like my coffee? (HINT: the answer was not what I expected!)

Etc.

I pretty much take every question that comes. I find that answering a question is almost never a matter of saying what you already know. At least, for me it isn't. Something about the timing, or the asker or the way it's put, will almost always have you kind of...reassessing what you think. And maybe, coming to an answer fresh from a new direction! Maybe even, coming to a new answer entirely.

But a question never asked will never prompt that reassessment. Questions are very beneficial. A lot of people, I suspect they don't question their own self nearly as much as could help them. It only takes a little, from time to time! But a question from another can cue the process of self-examination even more powerfully than one's own idle wonderings.

My Apologies For Leading You On: I May Have Only Seven Inches To Give You

Long-time readers may be very familiar with my bragging and crowing about my big ol' eight-incher. Well, it's a little embarrassing for me to break down and admit this, but for some time now I have been aware that I could have been a little off on that claim. Possibly. Unverified, but seems likely. I may have been a little off on the measurement, I mean. You see, apparently, from what I've been given to understand, I was not employing accepted dick-measuring metrics.

You're supposed to plant the ruler along the top side at the base of the shaft. Not from the bottom. Just eyeing myself and calculating Pi, I'd guess that knocks a good inch off. I mean, if I was hugely girthy, it'd possibly knock off more than that! Because of the circumference. But luckily, I'm a little on the slender side, penis-wise. Not in a bad way! It looks just about right, in fact. Elegant. Heck, people tell me it's pretty gorgeous (very select people with excellent taste, I mean! Not just some "man on the street" bull-shit). I have to say, I agree with those critiques. I've precious little to gauge it against, in terms of competing penises, but it does seem to be a very harmoniously-formed object. Especially for an object with such a clear, RUDE PURPOSE. I mean, come on! Peeing and fucking, right? That thing's all business.

And yet, it would look right at home in a functional design exhibit, at a museum of modern art. In fact, it's been in a few of those! Nobody noticed, though - pants. I try to keep 'em on, in museums. Despite all the statues have theirs out, all bold. Anyway. There's always been that b.s. double-standard between art and art-lovers. I for one disdain it, but at the museum - hey, that's their house. I'm just a respectful guest. I'm not there to foment revolution.

So yeah, you might say, why all this "might have" and "could be"? Why guess around? Why not just re-measure the thing?

Well, two reasons: first, the only ruler I have in the house is metal. And you have no idea what a shock those edges were, the first time! Further: I'm not going to go buy a ruler specifically to measure my own dick. I don't need to measure it. It's sufficient. Numbers don't define me! I don't even own a bathroom scale. Heck.

Second, I'm giving serious consideration to ditching inches entirely. Going all the way metric. And you better believe a man who gives you his dick measurement in centimeters has committed to the metric system! Also, he just sounds more accurate than your typical inches-man.

Plus, heck - imagine how huge that's going to sound in centimeters. "My dick? Oh yeah, it's NINETEEN centimeters."

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tips On Making Your Business Cards More Useful

In my wallet is the cutest tiny little ink-pen, the kind you twist for the nib to come out, and it slips into the fold where the billfold folds, and the little hook-clasp at the end catches onto the flap where the money goes, and there it nestles, nook-tucked, like a lucky charm. You'd never know it was in there.

Also in my wallet, I carry a small stock of business cards. If we ever meet, and you ask me if I have a business card, and a guilty look flashes across my face and I freeze and can't seem to answer, it is because I don't know how to say "Yes, but they're all covered closely with cramped, indecipherable writing of band names, song ideas, dialogue snippets, book titles, and quotes, and I've forgotten or neglected to take the used ones, put them in the 'later transcription' bin, and replace them with fresh stock for future use and/or god-forbid giving them out to people."

HINT: WRITE ON THE FRONT SIDE FIRST. You will then not fail to notice "oh, sorry - this business card of mine has been desecrated by some vandal! Let's see if I can fish out another one, an undesecrated one."

But if you write on the back first, because it so smooth and white and exciting, so blank, so ready for the pen - I can understand the appeal of that back-first action, but it's risky. You can't guarantee that days from now somebody won't end up turning over the business card you gave them days ago, only to find a series of cryptic notes and not-too-flattering-to-you phrases and statements.

For example, written down the left border (narrow axis):
Vagino
Fun City Dump Truck
the Dog Owners
bluebrown
Squandered Talent Award
The Bazooms
1Hundredstrong
6tessential
Jihad For Thor!
Freud's Smokin Penis
(something completely, obliteratedly crossed out into a long, pushed-in black rectangle)
the Partly Favors

Then coming up from the opposite side of the card, quotes - but quotes of WHOM? Only 1 is attributed!
"I am not myself for your benefit!"
"god is omniscient, but can't take a hint"
"There's no mystique with ourselves, is there?" - Mel
"I've got every place to be and only my lifetime to make it there"


And then finally, written upside-down along the top border (long axis): I wish to purchase a peerage of considerable lineage and dignity.

The worst part is, you'll be kicking yourself when you realize you can't get those back, because you have no idea who you gave them to.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Flatulence Folk Rituals The World Over, Episode 4: Tunisia

In Tunisia, if men are gathered together in a social, communal place (such as a Mosque or a Pool Hall) and one of them farts, and it is silent but he realizes from its smell that it cannot entirely escape notice, he will step away from where the act occurred, and apologize to his fellows for fouling their air. But if they are true fellows, then the accepted ritual response will be for each of them in turn to walk to that same spot, and release a real cheek-flapping braaaapper, without further comment or acknowledgment. It is a testament to the widespread nature of this practice that Tunisian men quietly pride themselves on their ability to - at need, to rescue a brother from his discomfiture - break loud wind.

God, I wish I hadn't just made that up.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Principles of Right Professionalism

Professionalism.

Each of these Principles of Right Professionalism expresses an attitude. Taken together, these attitudes toward reality, sincerity, interpretation, action, and questioning constitute what's known in the industry as "a good attitude."

A. Reality. Assume a commonality of interest.
B. Sincerity. Believe the other person believes what they have said is truth.
C. Interpretation. For motives and interpretations: accept the possibility that the least objectionable motive or interpretation is the true motive or interpretation. Accept that it may be true; realize that it should be true; expect that it is true.
D. Action. Act accordingly.
E. Question. Ask sincere questions only.

A sincere question is one where you are willing to hear more than your own answer.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Personal Responsibility: A Total Cop-Out!

The fact is, it's just a whole lot fucking easier to own your faults, and their consequences, than it is to push them off on who's fault it really is. Talk about taking the easy way out! Genetics? The universe? Mom and dad's parenting? God? Good luck getting those people to shoulder the blame! Especially if mom and dad are dead, which is an increasingly common problem (or assuming you're nietzschean: God, even. Now that's an even bigger problem! Some infinite corpse, clogging up the universe...ew. Who's going to clean THAT up? Whose problem is that?). Whoever's problem something really is, good luck getting them to step up! And hey, even if you can find them, and get them to shoulder "the blame," guess what you get? An apology for it! What's that going to help you? Good luck getting them to clean up the mess. Good luck getting them to shoulder the ongoing burden. Right? How are you going to get them to DO ALL THAT? Taking THAT task on is the real act of moral courage, pal!

Throwing off all that somebody-else responsibility is an act of personal courage. It says: I just made my shit WAY HARDER on myself. I'm still going to have to deal with all this crap, but I steadfastly refuse to accept the responsibility! A principled stance. A courageous stance.

Personal responsibility, by comparison, is a total cop-out! It's just a way to duck your duty of chucking that responsibility where it really belongs. The personal-responsibility junky is just a big enabler to the world! By not forcing the world to solve its own problems, the personal-responsibility junky enables the world to keep being irresponsible. But the irritating thing about these responsibility junkies is how casual they are about it, like it's no big deal for anyone to deal with (you know they're smug on the inside! Insufferably!). Saying "oh, this is mice nuts. The part that can actually be dealt with I'll deal with it, the part that can't well no one can. Maybe I'll mention in passing what part I took care of, for others who might have otherwise been impacted." What passive-agressive BULL SHIT! What a cop out! Where's your principled stance? You're just a buck-stopper, that's what you are. Where's your forcing the buck to where it GOES?

All these problems that come your way, come on - how many of those are really yours? Yet you take them ON? You can't be codependent for the universe, dude! That isn't healthy - for you or the universe. Who are you doing favors for? NO ONE. Except for yourself. Admit it! What are you intercepting and solving all these not-your-problems for?

It's a form of intellectual cowardice, you know. Dealing with the shit that lands on you, instead of taking on the MUCH HARDER JOB of rubbing it in other people's faces for them to go, "huh? That's not my problem either, dude!" See?! Now that person has the idea.

It's time for you shirk-shirkers to face the fact of your own cowardice. You front and strut like you're the big responsibility hero all the time, but really every single day you're just taking the easy way out. It's just a whole lot easier for you, isn't it! Admit it! You own your own faults, you take on their consequences, you take on the problems that land on you - you own the parts you can solve, and manage the consequences of what you can't, as best you can. Well sure, we can all do that! Sure it's a cinch! Sure it's a fucking snap, for anyone to do! That's not the point! The point is it's sick and it's wrong. You're just trying to duck the real issue that the rest of us are always trying to solve: WHOSE FUCKING PROBLEM IS THIS ANYWAY, HUH PEOPLE?

One thing I can tell you for sure: it's not mine. I'm not buying into that cop out.

On Fucking Wives Pt.2

This is a Pt.2. There was also a Pt.1.

Once again as a feminist, it behooves me to point out ugly gender-based disparities. In the previous post, the term "wifefucker" was thrown around considerably freely. It falls to me to point out that the companion term, "husbandfucker" carries nowhere near the same level of pejorative charge. It is weighted down with nothing like the same freight of opprobrium, that "wifefucker" carries.

In our male-dominated society at large, a "husbandfucker" is almost always seen as a good thing. Somebody performing a dutiful service on a deserving recipient! Possible troubling aspects to the situation are glossed over, because the important thing is: a husband got fucked. Good job.

Yet "wifefucker" is thrown around as a judge-first review-the-circumstances-after term of scorn! When it is a wife getting fucked, male hackles are raised, alarms-of-propriety go off: "WHOSE wife got fucked? Was it MY WIFE? Did some WIFEFUCKER get in?" Calm down, buddy! You don't seem to mind when it's the husband getting fucked, do you? Maybe you've got some disparities of your own to see to.

Anyway, I'm not saying there's something to do about the situation. I'm just pointing out the disparities, keeping people conscious.

On Fucking Wives

Fucking wives, man. Fucking wives. You know what - I've never fucked a wife before?

I've come close a few times. But then suddenly, the situation changed: I was all like - you've got a HUSBAND?! FUCK THAT!

Don't get me wrong! That's fine for him, I don't condemn him. Fucking that wife of his (in fact, maybe that's part of the problem, but o.p.b.). That's o.p.b. - "Other People's Business," and I for one don't condemn behavior! When you get right down to it, there's always some kind of fancy justification for behavior that just rings true, when you hear it. And then you feel like a dick! You just feel bad for condemning it, once you hear that deeper level. So WHY BOTHER. Condemnation of behavior, big waste of time.

Me not fucking that wife was not about some rigid, arbitrary stance on anti-wifefucking. It was just a personal call on the comfort zone. And frankly, it had less to do with her, or with her being a wife, than with the sudden left-field revelation that she had a HUSBAND involved. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? It's true, the stereotypical wife often comes equipped with a husband. But she was so far from stereotypical in other respects! I wouldn't have even known she was a wife, if she hadn't dropped that husband angle on me all abrupt. "A husband...? Wait. YOU MEAN...!?"

Yup. She was a wife, but I'd never have guessed. I didn't have her pegged as a "wife" at all. My "wife-dar" must have been off.

It'd've been completely different if she didn't have the husband! But for me, a wife with a husband, or even a wife with another wife (but this one had a husband)...unnecessary drama. Is that what I need in MY personal life? I confess I'm selfish that way, I cherish a bit of simplicity in my interpersonals. It's actually kind of bullshit. Because can't a wife be appreciated on the basis of her whole personhood, the totality of her worth as a human being, without bringing the husband into it? Well in an ideal world, maybe. And for a lot of people, maybe that's a better world. For me though, it's crossing some hard-to-define boundary. It trips a buried "danger wire" deep in my right left psyche.

Which makes this next part a bit awkward to admit. Because I have to confess to you people, I'm kind working on one. I think! She's not a wife yet, but I'm like bitch, you better watch out I'm gonna MAKE you my wife! And then I'm going to TREAT you like my WIFE. And then at the ceremony I'd be like "KISS the bride? Padre, you better close your EYES a minute."

Yeah. I doubt I could last more than that, what with all the forbidden frisson of WIFE-FUCKING to come, implicit in that first big dirty ol' BRIDE-KISSIN' INTERLUDE - the traditional transition to wife-fucking proper for both secular and sacred purposes - albeit, let's be frank here. Leaning a little towards the profane side, as sacred purposes go. But you know what? That "transgressive element" is what makes such things hot.

Once we hit that matrimonial "sweet spot," that's it from there on in. We'll be set. All our dirty talk is going to skew totally matrimonial. "Oh yeah you LIKE that huh! Don't you!? You just love it when I shove my big HUSBAND D*** into that TIGHT WIFE P**** of yours!"

Done right, it seems like wife-fucking ought to be no big deal. It's kind of ridiculous the stigma that gets attached to it a lot of the time.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

My Threatiest Threat

Hey watch it, pal - unless you care to bear the bruntiest brunt of my wrathiest wrath.

Lax Romana, or, Get Me To The Church One Time

This post is pre-scheduled, for Easter Sunday. At the moment, it's Good Friday. You guys know I'm Catholic, right?

People try to pin me down, ask me if I made it to mass. I'm like, my body is a walking celebration of mass. People ask me if I'm a Practicing Catholic. Well practice makes perfect, right? Draw your own assumptions.

I say I'm not a perfectionist. Or maybe I've just practiced enough to love practice for its own sake, and not for perfection's. Because I do go to mass, and on plenty of days when I technically don't have to. It is hushed and holy and cool and we are all in there, in communion with each other, and something amazing is happening even if I don't take the wafer (and you're not supposed to, if you haven't been to confession lately. Observances!). But my attendance on the days of obligation is not exemplary. I am exemplary in attendance! When I'm there, when I am in attendance, I'm exemplary. I'm there for all the right reasons, and when I'm gone I'm gone for the wrong ones. Well, mostly the wrong ones: I'm lazy, basically. I am a lax catholic.

I tell you, if I make it to mass this weekend, God will probably be amazed. But then I do love to amaze that weird, off-puttingly omnipotent and inexplicably personal and loving infinite alien being I so dote upon like a totem in the deluded recesses of my mind's IMMORTAL SOUL. God's all "why's he arguing AGAINST miracles - AGAIN? Does this guy believe in me or NOT, for Christ's sake?"

Yes, God. Yes. God knows.

I tell you people, I really did try last weekend. Not even try for mass - any fool can show up for that! I was trying to get to confession. I drove all the way to the one by the ocean, on Saturday - ended up being just five minutes too late. That's alright, I really hate to do that to the poor priest. Show up with five minutes left and ten years worth of sins! Weak. My sins don't take much telling, though, unless it's one of those priests who likes to hear all the details. That's on him, that's his problem. Some of these priests, I question their motives on wanting to hear the details but that's on them. Glad I could put a thrill in your day, father.

When I go to confession, the priest says the Hail Marys. Sorry. I've used that line before, but it's a pretty sweet line! In reality, my sins are pretty spicy - if vanilla is a spice, which I think it technically might be.

I emphasize, when I was trying to get to confession last week, I wasn't even recognizing it was a week before Easter! Some of these Lapsed Catholics, they go in for the once or twice yearly observance, so there can be a big rush of confessers (confessees? Confessants?) the week or two (or day) before. They want to confess so they can hold their head high up at Easter Service, take the wafer in a state of grace, having fulfilled the thing. Which is kind of cool, to have a ritual to fulfill but - that's just not me, man. Don't get me wrong! I love ritual, and I do it in accordance. But I don't to it for accordance. I love the doing more than the having done. When I do it I tend to go in for it.

I'm not proud of being such a lax catholic. Though I do like the phrase. It's got a ring to it! Lax Catholic. I'm not proud of it, any more than I'm proud of missing all that school in fifth grade. I was supposed to be there, too. I'm sure the class missed out on me, and I missed out on them.

The thing I want to stress is: being lazy is nothing to brag about. I love going to mass. I should show up more often. I'm stinting myself, and depriving the community as a whole.

I don't love having to wake up in the morning, or having to get some place at a certain time. I have bad skills in those areas. I'm a bad example of a Catholic - a poor example, perhaps I should say. Catholics are very wrapped up in that Good Catholic/Bad Catholic routine, and I know in the eyes of a Good Catholic, I know which role I'm being cast as. I'm okay with it. That's a good judgment call for any good Catholic. There's nothing in my sloth that I care to defend. Heck, I am a bad example of a lot of things that I'm way better than that person at. "Exemplary" is one of my favorite compliments, and it can mean a very high thing (depending on what's being exemplified) but I rarely have been able to pull off much in the way of me being exemplary.

I love Catholicism, though.

And that's why I don't talk about it much - though I do if I'm asked, if it's a grown-up who wants to talk. I'll tell that grown-up: "Hey, everything you do is your problem and yours to answer for! It doesn't matter where you heard it, or who made it look or sound good to you. Your life is on you. That's my whole take. And that's MINE! If you steal my take, if you start going around telling people, 'hay, my life is ON ME!' - don't go taking that take and blaming me when it backfires!" An adult, you can have these kinds of conversations with.

But I try to limit my bad example, because I know I am not exemplary. I don't like to lead the little ones astray. I am very much not an authority. I'm no priest. I can't answer your questions with my authority.

But I would say I'm a celebrant.

Because even though I never push it (we Catholics don't, don't you know - the classic Catholic attitude towards proselytizing is "Are you nuts?! The parking lot is CRAZY ENOUGH on Sundays!"), I am well able to hold forth and take what's given back, when the other grown adult brings it to discussion. It's a pleasurable discussion, always - because I not only love Catholicism, I like it. I know where it is strong, so I have no fear of where it is weak. As a theology, it is coherent and rigorous. As a belief structure it is vigorously and humbly self-amending. As a church it is flawed in the worst, and most pervasive way: by being pervasively filled with flawed human beings. But we are human beings who believe in a literal transformation. And we are practical human beings as well, who are capable of subscribing to the occasional homely maxims. We are what we eat.

The Body of Christ.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

How To Vote Pt.2

I don't want to waste my vote. I don't want to throw it away on somebody I don't want in that office. I may not be able to stop them getting in - hey, does your vote stop anybody getting in? If your candidate wins, did your vote put them there? How do you feel about that? On a candidate who you were totally psyched about, you probably felt great! But did you ever vote for a "lesser-of-two-evils" candidate, somebody you think will make a bad president, just not so bad as the next option - and then your candidate wins? How's that feel?

Man, if I don't like the biggest candidate and the next biggest candidate is also no good...? Well damn. My vote is going to make a bigger difference than the person who HAS to vote either/or. They're just there to be counted on. Voting in support! Dominant paradigm YAY! This is how the system WORKS, you ignorant idealists! KOW TOW, or GO HOME!

No, I don't believe I will go home. I will turn up. I will chat with people waiting on line. Very, very amiably - and quite easy to change the subject to anything else we care to discuss. I'm not trying to change anybody's mind on a candidate they like for the job. I've changed ten peoples' minds in on go, sometimes. I have no agenda to push. Turns out, neither did they.

Mine is the vote of engaged discontent. I'm not saying voting like I do has any real pragmatic object. But my attitude is: I sure wish more people showed up like me. Think of all the people in the past 10 elections who spout off in public how they dislike the candidate they voted for - but that it was the lesser of two evils? They endorsed a bad option, because there was nothing better on offer. What is this attitude - "Don't blame me, I voted for the GUY WHO WON." What!? Oh, oh - but you didn't like him. You didn't even like him for the job. Oh but the other person would have been even worse? You had to do something to stop THAT happening! Wow, you and everybody else! Good job! Glad you have so much control over the process, thank you for such a responsible and selfless action you took. Well, fuck.

Imagine if all the people who do not like either candidate had voted accordingly. Imagine if there were a voter discontent movement to opt in to. Well okay, there is such a movement. They don't show up. But imagine if a small part of that movement decided to show up. OCCUPY THE POLLS! Imagine if people realized that they actually do tally the stats after, and publish them! What do you think happens after a presidential election where a significant portion of voter turn out voted AGAINST BOTH MAJOR PARTIES? I tell you what, we'd be seeing a different caliber of candidate. I tell you what, pundits and politicos would be scrambling to find out who this "demographic" is and how they can "tap into it."

Imagine a double-digit stat's worth of the electorate turning out, voting for everything - casting an intelligent ballet, engaged with the issues, familiar with the candidates, voting for what's happening near them - and then, at the top of the ballot - refusing to buy in unless they DID ENDORSE the Democrat or the Republican, for the job? Saying to the ruling parties: I'm here, you know. I wish you'd give me something better. You can see I voted for a decent sprinkling of your party-fellows further down the slate. Wish your headliner didn't suck! See the candidate I voted for? That person would do a good job. Try to find some people like that in your organization. I'm here, you know, and I'm coming back next time too.

I don't know about you, but I don't waste my vote. I turn up. I cast a ballot that shows I thought about the issues and candidates. Whatever boxes I checked, I did not put myself straight down one column, a party-line slate-voting piece of SHEEP. And for the top office? The one everyone is supposed to be turning out for, everyone's supposed to be excited about, the big popularity contest? I don't "opt out." I find my first favorite ACTUAL PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE. And I vote for THAT person.

I say if you show up and vote for 2 party, you're the one who just wasted your vote. Unless you actually are in favor of your candidate! - in which case, good job!

That's how the system is supposed to work. At least some of us are being served.

Consider Your Ass Kicked! Tells YOU How To Vote In The Upcoming Election!

Here's what I do! If I don't like either of the major candidates for president, I show up to vote. I vote for the regional issues and state referenda, and for the federal, state and local candidates for various elected positions. I try to do a decent amount of homework the week before, and see whose stance I agree with - or on the propositions, see what my stance is. I generally don't pay attention until a week or so before, but when I do my homework I try to "read back," and not look at things written just then.

Let's be honest, politics is not something I enjoy. To me, it is utterly stupid and dumb, plus redundant. But you don't have to be a politics fan to figure out whether you want a dam on Lake Louise for fuck's sake! As to candidates, it's not like anyone expects me to do a psychic reading on their souls. I just try to read some of what they've said on questions that are semi-relevant to the job they're standing to fill. Or if incumbent, they've got a record to go by. Some people don't watch a damn game all season, and then they get hyped up about the Super Bowl! Well, that's me for politics. I'll knuckle down, do some homework, get a copy of the final ballot, I take an interest for ONE WEEK, and then I go in and execute. Get a copy of the final ballot, figure out what the hell it is trying to tell you, figure out what boxes you'd check AS IF YOUR VOICE DETERMINED THE OUTCOME - and then - go in and execute!

It's not fucking hard. It can even be kind of a fun diversion, to take a temporary interest in the important shit that you could normally care less about. I do the same thing when there's one of those nature programs on about the Yellowstone caldera exploding or some crap. I'm sure my vote there means considerably less, but it's important - we do what we can.

For president if I don't like either of the candidates I see who else is running who I do like. There's always at least one. Mind you, I'm not anti-2 party by any means! There are people like that, just against 2-party on principle, but that's a little knee-jerk in my view. There are assholes in both parties, and there are great people, dedicated and idealistic civil servants, in both parties. There are republicans and democrats at lower levels who I've voted for - good people, who if they made it that far, I'd vote for 'em for president unhesitatingly. I just refuse to endorse an asshole as a presidential candidate, unless I think that person will make a good president (great presidents can and have been assholes). I don't want to "waste my vote"!

And anyone who votes in support of 2-party when they don't think that candidate is a good one for the job - what a waste.

HEY! It's Porn Right Out In The Open Again!

Porn right out in the open! Man, I feel like I haven't seen that in a liquor/convenience store in ages. I did a double-take at the vast wall of porn just to the right of the checkout. It was about ten feet wide and five feet high. I love how these non-chain stores pretty just run their business how they like! That's America, people. Speech is free, pornography no extra charge!

I mean sure, I guess you can pay for it. Another way pornography is like sex, if you're a loser. Wait, sorry - sorry. I don't mean to disparage those who pay for pornography! I mean, ultimately it's society that bears the cost if no one is paying these people right? Because they'd stop. I mean, they're not going to film themselves having sex and then put it up on the internet just for kicks! It's a business. It's an industry right? These people are not amateurs.

Anyway, in retrospect the funny thing is I don't think I've ever seen any of these magazine titles before. I mean, there weren't the ones there used to be, behind the counter at Cumberland Farms. Stacked up against the outside glass - man, I used to walk into that store so slow when I was eleven! Walk right past the near door. "No, I like to go in this other door. Reasons of feng shui."

But getting back to this rack of PORN, in this otherwise bright, clean, BRIGHT and orderly convenience liquor store! They had an island with many coffees for self-serve, various items cooked and kept hot in glassed-in lattice-racked heat lamp chambers (there must be a name for those. What's the opposite of a refrigerator? Not an oven! They're not really ovens - they just keep stuff hot, they don't cook it. Wait, is a freezer the opposite of an oven, then? By that logic? There's a false syllogism in there, someplace), microwaves and microwaveable goods, toasters and toastable goods, and this is only a cursory description of the amenities on display in this well-run store.

WHOA. THAT'S A LOT OF PORN.

It just seemed kind of funny! In a store like this. And while I can't swear that if I had more than a good, surprised and delighted glance at it, I wouldn't find the ol' suspects like Playboy, Hustler, Penthouse that you and I are familiar with - I'm not sure there were any there. This was a whole wall-sized rack of unfamiliar and highly-specific porn titles. Me and my friend who was there with me began appreciating the varieties. She asked me what kind of porno mag I'd run. I replied without hesitation! "It would be called FALSE-ADVERTISED ASIANS." There would be an asian girl on the cover, and the name of the magazine (again, "False-Advertised Asians"), but inside there would be only every other type of girls and women besides asians.

Thinking about it now, I'm not sure she wasn't fishing for a compliment, there. Asking a dude - with a pointed look! "...and what kind of porno mag would YOU run, sir?" Yet that was my answer: False-Advertised Asians. No hesitation.

You're not supposed to think a thing like that through! You can't be poking into motives in a free moment just passing the time with wild idleness and laid-back abandon. Fuck that! Then we spent the next ten minutes walking with our coffees and stuff (I got a SCONE! This was no seedy establishment, I'm telling you people! They have vegetarian pemmican - what the fuck even IS that?) while she pointed out logical problems with the name and concept, and I dealt with them in order. It's quite true that the women in the magazine would not technically be false-advertised asians. She did get me on that one.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

If Kurt Cobain

...so if Kurt Cobain, the moment he had died, had been instantly reincarnated as a baby girl born that same day, today he'd be legal to have sex with.

Is that kind of weird and creepy or what?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Van Halen: A Royal "Fuck Off" to All You All Nostalgia Acts


"Hey, let's get the band back together shall we? Go on tour, make a few bucks?"

Well I have a better idea, how about fuck off if that's you're attitude? Is that all you got! Are you a band or not?

For real and for serious: is this what you thought we loved you for? Is that going to be enough for you? And do you really think that's enough for us? Just show up on the night, and be a cover band of the glory days of yourselves!

That's not a band. That's a god damn preserved moose. Get that shit off the stage.

Look, a nostalgia act is fine! A little pathetic. But I guess it's no sense overreacting: there's no shame in a paycheck for a fair night's work, making the fans who used to love you feel their age. Just don't claim you're getting the band back together, please? You're not getting the band back together, you're putting on an act. Don't say you're rock and roll when all you have to sell us is nostalgia for when you used to be.

If you are that band you used to be – or fuck that, if you are even just a real rock band! - the realest and best band your members today can come together to make. If you can be that, your real fans would love to see it. We don't expect you to turn back time. We want you to dive back into it: engaged in creation, in control and ready to take a risk or two. Ready to give yourselves - and us – another chance. What do you say, is there more good yet to come into this world? Can you do it for real? You don't owe it to us – you've got nothing left over to prove from before. But don't you kind of owe it to yourselves? Don't you owe it to everything you've ever done?

If you hear what I'm saying, here, then there's something you need to do. Okay - what the hell, do it for me! Do it for us, do it for yourselves, and for the world if you care. Do it for rock and roll, how about that? But before the reunion tour can be called any cause for celebration, I am telling you there is something you must do. It's called: get back together.

Get in a room and play. Play for days. Play your hits, sure – to start with! Get yourself back into the biggest, deepest groove you ever grew. See if the chemistry reconnects and catches fire for you! See if the bolts of lightning start to fly. See what's still there, but more important than that: see if it is still there. You remember "it," don't you?

You still got "it"?

"It" was not the ability to re-create. "It" was the ability to create. That was what you had. That's what we loved you for: you were a real band.

And hey, maybe you're not anymore! Maybe it's just not there. No one to blame on that score. You can't force it if it's not there, but shouldn't you at least try? If the chemistry's not there, okay! Fine, no need to call off the tour. It's okay, the fans will know what they're getting. Any time some old band comes out, no album, just a tour. It's a party! Time to have some good kicks, some reminisce. Come on out and play. But we all know and you know, you're not what you were, and let's leave it at that: you're a nostalgia act.

No shame in a fun night for all, night after night for eighteen months, not as you were – but as you: has been.

Man, though. There's a part of that party that is very depressing, isn't there? Just imagine the difference, if you knew or believed you could have created something. Imagine going out there on a tour for a reason - like you used to do, with a new album to flog and new fans to win over! With a jolt of brand new spark mixed bubbling in with the proven fizz. Of course, it's risky. What if the new album sucks? But it was risky back then, too. It was risky back at the second album. You didn't puss out.

Sure, I get it that you never want to be that most horrible thing: the old band coming out with a crap album, some ersatz tour de force and using the tour to force it down peoples' throats – taking up 4, 5, 6 songs of the set?! Disgusting!

But guess what, there's no risk of that happening to you. You know why? Because you're not a bunch of assholes. You're not going to do that. You know the fans love and want to hear the old stuff. The good old stuff, the great old stuff - and you don't resent that! You don't have a chip on the shoulder, you don't have something to prove. You love that old stuff, too - you're proud of it, and you want to play it. You're going to play the hell out of all those old hits! You'll limit the new songs to – at most – three songs' worth of a nice, big, fat set list of greatest hits. You'll play the current single. You'll mix in maybe the band's current new fave at the moment, and for new song #3 you'll switch pick for fun, night by night. You'll mix it in, you'll mix it up - and based on how songs go over, maybe you'll have a new band's current favorite! Maybe you'll have a new next single. But you're not a bunch of assholes: you won't play more than three new songs total. You won't play two new songs back to back. You won't risk distressing the crowd - the crowd that all things being equal, wants you to succeed. You'll punch the new songs into a great supporting mix of faves, and your fans are going to love hearing the new stuff in that context. The kids who haven't bought the album yet - you will leave them wanting more. You might even sell a few units (check your digital download stats for sales made within-the-arena!), but you know one thing: you're going to make every fan in that place fucking overjoyed they bought a ticket. You already know you can do that.

You have the chance to do so much more. Give us more than a tour. Picture the crowd leaving reeling with the new things you still have in you. You do that - you've done a lot more than just a good night's work. You've restored faith. If you can make it new again, then maybe we the crowd need to wake something up in ourselves. Maybe we need kick our own laurels out of the way. Maybe life isn't over.

Don't you listen to the dried-up, wizened-hearted cynics and pessimists who tell you YOUR FANS want to hear ONLY the old stuff. Your fans are dying to hear more from you. Your fans loved you for what you proved you can bring into the world, and they don't think you've lost it. They won't believe that until you PROVE you have. Don't prove you've lost it. Don't tour without bringing us something to show what you got. Don't leave a sellout crowd walking out after a great show with a melancholy ache in the heart, and a tinge in the back of the eyes. The tinge that says they still love you - so much! – but that tinge says nostalgia. It says:

"Damn. This band used to be so great."

Back when life was good.

Thank you, Van Halen. This is an album review.

Monday, April 02, 2012

My Business Model.

I will pile up work of surpassing excellence,

in permanent and public form

until the world takes notice, and take no notice of it.

For preference, let's hope the world sleeps on it 'til I'm dead,

so I can skip all the interviews.

A hand grenade, with a pin pre-pulled

but a timer indeterminate

I'm ready to rule, upon the kingdom come

I'll be gone

who wants some?

Pay my heirs, bitches heirs

and my one begotten son

who ain't come yet, but I will be storing up all

I'm in no hurry and my one begotten daughter can call

any time she wants to ask me for an advance cut

but the rest of all you all can all

kiss my butt.


Sunday, April 01, 2012

Not Yet But Soon

Mostly good things to have

I have a reactive conscience,

a proactive judgment

an inactive neurosis or psychosis or two

a perhaps overactive imagination

an active will.

And a passive contemplation that works clearest in motion.

I'll meditate when I'm dead.

Question of the Day: Practicality? Pt.3: Now With Variations

This post is a Pt.3. There was also a Pt.2. Plus the Pt.1 of course. Maybe click straight through to Pt.1 first.

This question is such a clear and simple instrument. Yet it is flexible, adaptable! With certain minor adjustments, look what you get:
Scenario One: "The Original"

Situation occurs, or is noticed.

A: "This upset me."
B: "Given the situation. What do you want me to do with how you feel?"
- - -
Scenario Two: "The Alternate"

Situation occurs, or is noticed.

A: "This doesn't work for me."
B: "Given the situation. What do you plan to do? Perhaps if I can think of some suggestion to aid you."
- - -
Scenario Three: "The Call-Back"

Situation occurs, or is noticed.

A: "You're an ass hole."
B: "Given the situation. What do you want me to do with how you feel?"

Question of the Day: Practicality? Pt.2: Versatility!

This post is a Pt.2. There was also a Pt.1.

Tips for using the previous question:

1. It works for any situation! All you need is some situation, any situation, and then someone tells you how they feel. Example: "This upset me."
2. Deploy!

Wait, those weren't tips they were steps. Even better! Easy.