Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
So here's another insignificant issue that I have no simple answer for... well except for the bread and jam part -- Francis is spot on, and bread and jam should be part of every meal... but on the other two - I've stood a bit on both sides of the fence, arguing with myself, like a true student of philosophy. As a somewhat-newly realized political moderate, I still cling to a fistful of conservative-type views of the world, trying not to ignore the decaying quality of propriety, and of our tradition and resolve in the world. At the same time, I try to choose my battles wisely.
I've been told by a few intelligent people that they think I look and sound and smell like a libertarian (I think the mix of selfish-scotch and careless-hippyism hanging on my recent history cued their noses) -- but I think rights are invented things, not inherent to the social life - and in that sense, not an intrinsic good. So that's sort of like being a Christian who thinks Jesus was just a 'neatish kinda guy.'
So moving forward with the Jesus thing -- this is a season of mostly religious holidays. That's the premise on which this bickering is based, and somewhat humorously, it's become a relatively faulty one. But I'll come back to that. The arguments basically unfold as such:
1. Christmas is a particular religious holiday
2. Not all of us are members of that religion, or celebrate Christmas
3. The public offering of celebration wishes should be inclusive, as not to marginalize or offend those to whom certain observances may not apply.
4. The idea that Christmas has transcended religious views, and as a normal part of our culture, should not be considered offensive - is not convincing or fair. Perhaps one had his/her children eaten by the Ferocious Christian of Waukesha, or he/she was forced by his/her schoolmates to eat cross-shaped Christmas cookies to the point of traumatic stomach discomfort. We all know that any degree of sensitivity to non-neutral expressions of thought or belief is possible, and we must plan our lives accordingly.
1. Stop being such a nancy and eat another cookie, or I'll sick the FC of W on you.
2. There is no #2
So those are the two positions, in a nutshell. But despite the merrychristmasers' claim that there is no #2, I think they're both completely full of shit.
As with most things of theological 'significance,' the celebration of Christmas was discussed, drawn up, bickered over, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public enquiry, lost again, signed in triplicate, and eventually agreed upon by old, snaggletoothed white men in very tall hats and gold robes. The short version of the story is that a few hundred years ago, they began a hostile takeover of Winter Solstice - mainly by setting the celebration of the birth of Christ (which probably took place sometime in Autumn) 4 days removed from said Solstice. Since then, more white people have continued their work, adopting one Solstice tradition after another, wrapping them in swaddling clothes, placing them a manger, and calling them Christianity. Holly, ivy, mistletoe, yule log, the giving of gifts, decorated trees, magical reindeer, etc. -- you guessed it -- all Solstice.
So, as one is what one eats, Christmas has become what the Christians stomped out so long ago: a pagan celebration of giving, generic good will, and the worship of tangible things -- egg nog, ipods, celestial bodies, whatever. But I do agree that our new traditions are just like believing in God -- trampelled Walmart employees, neverending delays at LaGuardia, arguments with relatives, supressing our natural needs, giving in to authority figures, and listening to great aunt Mervleputz talk drunkedly about all the people she knows who have died since last Christmas, and from what disease, and at what hostpital.
But even with all the shades of similarity, Christmas is not, and has never been, a religious holiday for most. We're really just celebrating the shortest daylight of the year with red and green flair four days late. So when the vehement bullies demand that 'Merry Christmas-es' fill our American air, it doesn't offend me, but I don't exactly agree.
So Happy Solstice, one and all. Enjoy your bread and jam, and any of you guys call me Francis... and I'll kill you.
Friday, December 12, 2008
"talking about music is like dancing about architecture."
i must admit, my brain's knee-jerk reaction was: 'that's a clever little ...'
but then i realized something -- it wasn't a clever little anything. in fact, at second glance, that sentence meant absolutely nothing to me. and it wasn't just an opinion. talking about music is NOTHING like dancing about architecture. and even if it were, why should that matter?
but to be fair, i'll try and offer what point the quoted (after a search or two, i found this quote has been attributed to steve martin, elvis costello, and numerous others who have denied ever saying it) may have been trying to get across.
the best i can come up with, is that the speaker was trying to criticize the act of spending one's time talking about an artistic endeavor, rather than simply making art. maybe i'm missing something, but that seems the most likely aim.
even with this projected interpretation, the quote fails to make a proper analogy. the statement is about as coherent as saying that 'reading about salmon is like painting about carrots,' or 'doing a walking tour of yankee stadium is like playing football in the ocean.'
this sort of analogy (or the attempted sort) is meant to make use of a comparison in which the second example mimics the first in form, but presents us with a shared quality of incoherence or logical absurdity. a good example would be: 'spending time and energy on this blog is like mailing letters to god.' the pointlessness of the second example is meant to highlight the not-so-obvious (in comparison) futility of the first action without saying it outright. in this case, it does so because futility is a shared quality here -- mailing letters to god is absurd because god does not exist (nobody's reading), and if he did, he would only bother reading letters from NFL players and attorneys. the first is absurd because there is no readership here (nobody's reading).
we all remember the tests in grade school -- 'mother is to father as sister is to _________.' if we had answered 'hedgehog,' the tests would have determined we were most likely to be ship-boat captains, and they would have called Social Services about some seriously messed up ideas about familial structure -- but apparently we'd also be quoted on nerd forums about vst inputs and latency control. such is the price for internet immortality, i suppose.
but the point i'm trying to make -- my most recent silent tree in the woods -- is that we love the tidy little morsels that quotes and sayings afford so much that we rarely care to inspect them further and address their actual worth or depth of meaning. our standards of logic and significance have somehow fallen to the level where NFL players and attorneys are worth listening to. "we just have to take it one game at a time, keep our focus on execution, and give 110%" and "if it doesn't fit, you must aquit."
when salvador dali said "i don't do drugs, i am drugs," he said nothing of value or meaning. he said the kind of thing that a hundred-thousand 18 year old stoners have thought up in the last seven months. "it's like we're not just listening to the music, but like we're really there, in the music, like we're in tune with it man." but because enough high people thought a dripping clock was worthy of praise, and this man painted a dripping clock, it's considered a great and famous quotation. and even i was fooled into liking that one until i was about18 and a half.
even truly great and intelligent people have certain phrases or words emphasized at the befuddling expense of other, more meaningful ones. the gettysburg address is a great speech. it's well written because lincoln was a well-read smartypants. but it's a 2 minute speech dedicating a piece of land after a battle - and i think most people i know, myself included - know more of the gettysburg address than of anything else lincoln ever said or wrote. his first inaugural address is a thing of beauty, much more historically informative than the g.a. -- and we've probably never heard a word of it.
and at the same time, more of us recognize hilariously cheesy movie lines, like "i'm the king of the world" or "they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom" than do passages from martin luther king's 'i have a dream' speech, or of fdr's first inaugural address (fear itself...). of course, this sort of phenomenon points to the reality that it isn't the content of the words we hear which determines their imprint on our memory, but the method and volume in which they are delivered. if the reverse were true, we'd realize that in fact, we actually need to be living to possess freedom. we could simply empty out that slot in our brains to store something about quantum entanglement, or equal rights, or advice on how to keep the dog from barking when we come home from work -- and then put down our rusty dagger and bent up shield, and head home to "either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing." and maybe even read a few things worth remembering.
Monday, December 1, 2008
hanging all around on circumstance
forgetting to drain the shower,
drinking as quickly as possible
in the summertime,
ba do bee do ba boo,
when the will of wine
has it's grip around you
in the night time
you've got typing
you've got typing on your mind
writing off the written off
making yourself, rotating,
simply repeating what the thunder said
and in comes the explaination
scarf and pipe,
smoking what he likes
waiting for no one,
leaving no one waiting
belonging to nobody
(there is no reason beside ourselves,
it's a great fiction, rooming with rights,
right religion and allknowing)
i've got him captured. so do you,
in your own wanders through and through,
wading slow in morning's hue
catching toes of sprinkled dew
barely missing autumn flu,
the place you'd found, and swore you knew
given its own breath, and beyond all grasp of recognition
i know why it makes you sad
to miss the answers you designed,
tame and blessed, stained lightly
with the subtle tones of older wine
i'll come to bed soon, sliding in the coldish toes
wake up, and remember nothing we wrote
or drank or smoked
curled stretches move my head just enough
to catch the small white patch perched
beneath a looming blackbird
on the tree that shades my sleeping from sun.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
i don't even think i need to write anything.
i watched it without any sound (at work) and had to keep from giggling. what a wonderful thing, religion.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
while i think it may be worth a few minutes in the broader span of a lifetime to discuss the answer of such questions, the larger-picture-considering, point-at-the-elephant-in-the-room, asshole in me is stomping up and down and screaming at the top of my lungs "WHO THE F*#K CARES?!" it's not because i think the answer is obvious, or completely irrelevant. it matters a great deal to black/woman candidate deciding whether to run or not, and it matters to their opponent - but aside from those directly involved, the discussion is entirely academic.
just as the race of a candidate in and of itself should have no impact on a voter's decision (in a perfect world), whether a population is 'ready' for their leader to be anything but old and white shouldn't even be entertained while one makes up his/her mind.
i don't claim this is any sort of revolutionary idea - but that's part of the problem. it should be a non-issue, and my belief as such is tied strongly to my feelings and beliefs about progress. not about a particular example though, as simply electing a black president is not progress - this is not an endorsement or celebration of Obama's victory, but that doesn't mean i'm not happy about the outcome. my point is that a discussion of race is not a discussion of value, and i think the most effective means of growing up socially as a nation have much more in common with Rawls' 'veil of ignorance,' than they do with a strategy of likelihood or gauging our population's ability to 'handle' change. real change on this scale is usually brought about somewhat violently, not as an epiphany to be reached once we've achieved some abstract state of tolerance - and i think it's set in motion most effectively by changing the expectations of your surroundings.
the difficult conclusion that i've come to is that sometimes, the mob-rule quality of democratic society should be disregarded - not often, but i believe there are cases in which responsible citizens and leaders need to ignore the majority, and disregard the attitudes of large groups of people. in a country like the one we live in, it is perhaps the only way that significant progress can be made, and that's a difficult pill to swallow, but i believe it's true.
this country wasn't 'ready' for the civil rights act, or for integration in public schools. they happened anyway. people fought it, people died, people persevered. i have no sympathy for those who didn't get their way in that decision. they were wrong. i don't care how popular being wrong was - it was a victory for egalitarian democracy. and it was a victory for humanity.
i'd argue that this country wasn't even 'ready' for the americans with disabilities act of 1990. as with any great new expectation/law, those who can get away with holding to outdated notions (either for personal comfort, or financial gain) will do so as long as they can. it's absurd that states have to pass laws mandating that mental health be covered under health insurance policies 18 years after the ADA.
but the fact that we're cleaning up the pieces decades down the road doesn't mean the sweeping change was made prematurely -- indeed, i think it more than confirms the need for such action in regard to equality and 21st century society's ethical standards. the point is to create an expectation of equality. when the bus leaves, it will drive slowly, and that's frustrating for progressive and modern minds - but at least it's being driven with some authority. and there is nothing wrong with leaving the 12th century, and those stuck in it, behind. i wish religious leadership (and not just islam, but overcoming fear and hatred of women, homosexuals and other religious groups seems to be a greater challenge for islamic nations) would be able to reconcile honor of the sacred with a respect for human fallibility and growth -- but for now, i'm willing to stay cynical, only expecting such integrity from the secular side of citizenry.
i've grown more severe about this issue in recent years, and my own expectations have spread to domains i used to leave alone. i think most of us theoretically disagree with the use of unfairly discriminatory terms, but when the 'chips are down,' (sometimes literally) we laugh at racist jokes, mimic people with distracting disabilities, and think that to condemn the occasional poke of fun is just taking things too seriously -- bedwetting liberalism to some. but i think my own thoughts about human psychology and sociology have shifted as of late - and i think apparent overcompensation is just what humans need in a time that requires a near universal leap of attitude-ical levels. in the book "anger," Thich Nhat Hanh writes about the age-old practice of 'punching a pillow,' to 'release' anger. it seems our modern understanding of physiology and its relationship with behavior leads us to a very different conclusion, and Nhat Hanh proposes it as such:
"Expressing anger is not always the best way to deal with
it. In expressing anger we might be practicing or rehearsing
it, and making it stronger in the depth of our consciousness.
Expressing anger to the person we are angry at can cause a lot
Some of us may prefer to go into our room, lock the door,
and punch a pillow. We call this "getting in touch with our
anger". But I don't think this is getting in touch with our
anger at all. In fact, I don't think it is even getting in
touch with our pillow. If we are really in touch with our
pillow, we know what a pillow is and we won't hit it."
behavior is a model of physiology, in my mind - consider muscle memory, and how long it takes for a quarterback to fix a 'bad' throwing motion. consider plain old memory - and how we can actually fool ourselves into inventing elements of an event that never happened, simply by repeating the memory a certain way in our brain. it all has to do with the pathways of signals, the strengthening of connections, and our physical or psychological comfort level with what happened the last 9,000 times we threw a ball with our elbow too high, had just one beer without telling anyone, or told a joke about niggers, towel-heads, or crackers. we may have perfected a spiral-on-a-rope, enjoyed the taste of a brew without getting out of hand, or filled the room (including the black friend who's just so cool about everything) with laughter.
but when it's time to throw a fade pass with some touch to the corner of the endzone, our mechanics will fail us. when our wife asks us where the last mgd went, and we lie, our patterns failed us. when our black friend stops showing up for poker night, and your buddy's kid takes the fifth spot - and learns how hilarious it is to make fun of people because of their skin color - our harmless exceptions are failing a whole new generation.
so, as someone who generally can't stand the ACLU, who thinks affirmative action usually ends up being a disgrace to everyone involved, and thinks the 'unity' of any individual race or religion or ethnic group isn't really unity at all - i know that the fight for equality and fairness is just as corruptible as any other, just as susceptible to overfeeling and underthinking, and vice-versa. but when the 'readiness' of my country to accept leadership based on skin color, or gender, or favorite ice cream topping, or hat size, is genuinely brought into question - i think it's time to grill the moderator, and demand valid topics of debate.
we're ready for much more than outdated religious standards and 'guidance,' bigoted shit farmers, the mob of the recent right and the empty promises and do-nothingness of the aging left. at the very least, it's time to start turning our static modernism into some real expectations. so go apologize to your pillow.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
this is the kind of news story that just shouldn't be there. i shouldn't be able to go to my hometown newspaper and see the headline "man charged with 10th drunken driving offense." there are so many reasons why this should just not be possible. for organization's sake, i'll list a few, because i know you're so very interested (even though you, the 'readers' don't exist in the case of this blog):
1. probability factor #1 -- you know why we never hear of someone's 10th d.u.i.? -- it certainly isn't because we have reasonably tough laws to keep these people off the road - it's because they usually kill themselves and/or a few others on their 1st, 2nd or 3rd. the fact that this guy has somehow not killed anyone is astounding, and defies all odds. if i didn't want to cut off his testacles and feed them to a raccoon, i'd go meet him and ask him to buy me a lottery ticket.
2. probability factor #2 -- the fact that he's been ARRESTED 10 times is completely ridiculous as well. i imagine this guy has probably been drunk about 90% of the time he's driven a car in the last 20 years. i don't think that's an outrageous conjecture. and i would expect that one would get caught while driving visibly impaired (to other drivers, pedestrians, the odd cop car he happens to drive by) maybe one out of every 4 or 5 times. and that's when it's REALLY blatant. like pissed his pants, threw up on the dash, bumper bowling with the sidewalks drunk.
3. there was a woman in the car with him. they switched seats when he got pulled over, so she obviously knew this guy had prior convictions/a history. just the fact that TWO HUMAN BRAINS couldn't catch this decision in the "why the fuck would i ever let this guy/myself drive" filter is a testament to how insanely wide the range of function there is in our species. i only hope that these two represent the far extreme, opposite the guy who invented the remote control.
4. the only humans lower on the scale of reason and responsibility are ... whoever has been in charge of our drug and alcohol policy for the last 75 years, and the rest of us that tolerate it. i mean, i'm all about america being a great place and all, but i think the system is in need of more than just a slight tweaking when you can get 5-10 in a federal prison for growing a pot plant in your basement, and this scum of the earth (AND HIS FUCKING CHAPERONE) is out there trying to keep his van on one of the three blurry roads in his line of vision. as i've ranted before, i think there are a lot of causes that aren't worth the effort, but the attitude that 'rights' are more important than public safety should be stomped out of any intelligent, compassionate society long before ol' Numbnuts has a chance to get behind the wheel again. here i go...
but things don't change. i've had personal experience with friends who have either lost their own life, or taken others' by drinking and driving, and my disappointment isn't so much with their behavior, although i certainly think such acts should come with severe punishment (one paid for his mistake with his own life, the other will continue to pay for the rest of his with guilt and a constant need for strict self-control). my beef is with their (and my) friends who act shocked and careful for a month or two, and then continue their weekly drive home from the bar after 5 or 6 mgd's and 4 shots of absolut. i know that most everyone has driven once or twice when they shouldn't have - usually when we're 17. but to continue doing so into your 20's and beyond, and after you've seen what can happen to good people who make that one bad choice - is like spitting on graves.
it's not a funny story anymore - "i was so smashed, i don't even know how i got home," - trying deal with something we know is flatly immoral and offensive by making it funny. i wonder if the same people think it's funny when they have to pay for the medical bills of 50-year smokers and motorcycle wheely-pullers who think helmets are 'gay.' we're so selfish that we can't bear to consider the potential consequences, so we leave our cares at home, in the sock drawer, or buried back in the closet in a box next to a picture of a dead friend, or up on the shelf with all the booze we could be drinking at home anyway, with living friends, with the music quiet enough to still have a conversation, and the price of watered-down beer at a reasonable retail level.
now, i've been to bars, i understand the appeal. but i've also lived next to one. i understand the fights, the broken glass that pops my tires, and the wasteoids stumbling out the door in their cloak of shit cologne, to their black car, revving the engine and speeding off toward the 'bystanders' and the 'families of three' and the 'telephone poles.' they ride off with their rights strapped to their chests, terrorizing the innocents like some jackass jihadist, fighting for nothings, blaring badass music to enhance the feeling of independence and power that comes from slamming coors all night and grabbing an ass or two.
so i realize this isn't most of the people i know, or would care to know. and yes, i'm a little more 'personally' pissed about this, because this particular 10-time asshole was pulled over on roads that lead to the cottage and my brother's house. but i've had a shitty month, and this gives me the opportunity to vent about something i take very seriously. i do a lot of crap that avoids rational behavior filters. i have very little right to preach to anyone about anything. but i think that the 'right' to scream at the top of my lungs about this - even AT people i consider pretty in-line with reasonable standards for citizenship and decency - is one i'd fight for. but i'll fight sober, or i'll take a damn cab to the battlefront.
12:31 AM (8 hours ago)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
if i were to ask an either/or, it would be... (i'm going nowhere near t-rex vs. bluelips) ... okay. got one that i can comment back and forth about with myself: would you rather go see shakespeare of your choice performed by brits with 'sir's and 'lady's in front of their names on the playbill, or go see some beethoven string quartets performed brilliantly by dorks in highwater pants?
c. wii tennis
that's my survey. here's the value of each as relayed to me by a yet unnamed congressman jonesin' for some blow:
good shakespeare combines the musical aspect of spoken poetry with the great human element. alongside dostoevsky, shakespeare would partner the world's most worthy private psychology practice. kings, paupers, student-murderers, revolutionaries -- the two have the 'condition' covered. i suppose though, that the rate of rehabilitation of their patients may not be so respectable - lots of godless pricks, suicidal intellectuals, and born-again whores with imprisoned boyfriends - but they'd diagnose like there was no tomorrow.
the string quartet is, in the words of daniel p. christiansen, simply the finest ensemble that will ever be forced to sit in a semi-circle and read little black dots together, and cue each other with ridiculous heaving breaths and flips of wavy hair. okay, so those weren't his exact words, but you get the point. a well-executed late beethoven quartet is like learning a new language without all the memorization (no, this isn't an ad for rosetta stone) - you just can't speak it when it's over.
c. wii tennis
not much i've known is as satisfying as beating sarah and elisa, to quote a certain tv ad, "like a rented mule."
Monday, October 20, 2008
it settles down, oversized feathered winds
blowing fragile collections at our window as we drive down the hill.
we hang comfort on our shoulders,
stand amidst the swirling with hands in lined pockets
like some great solitude of hidden worth, always looking alone,
always feeling love and failure and memory.
fall points outside of itself in memory,
to strangers lost and loves diminished,
to friends dead and dying, to acquaintances' gentle colors.
it points to early spring snow at a funeral,
to chantal's taking off and david's coming down,
to quiet flakes on the dark windshield that night,
and to having shared it with one who has diminished.
of the four, fall is the warmest.
overestimating cold morning's hold on midafternoon,
overcoats in summerish sun, sweatish brow,
hot hair and carseats that woke up with a chill.
there isn't any other right now
than my corduroy, than my sinuses
than the dewed lawn as a sea for shortwalks,
wetting toes like a static rain that becomes our bodies.
Monday, October 13, 2008
to my question about the reasoning behind not meeting with world 'leaders' who suck a big fat one, hayes gave (in my mind) the best possible answer - because it was short and full of sense.
"talking with crooks= bad because it makes them seem more legit than they are.
talking with crooks= good because it exposes their foolish ideas for the whole world to condemn."
if 'one true sentence' really is the goal, there's two of them.
of the few friends i have who care/get involved in politics, i see 9.8/10 (congrats hayes, you're two-tenths of a person) of them controlled by their own 'ideas,' and they get pitifully invested in things that aren't worth quite so much effort or care. there are issues that demand passion and dedication until the goal is met (way to go connecticut), but these leaders and potential leaders aren't worth fighting for. all the democrats' progressive rhetoric aside, neither of the two parties we get to choose between affirms that sexual preference is something to be egalitarian about, and the republicans have tasted the power of the mob who votes for creationism - don't expect a return to a separation of church and state anytime soon. i too, am looking forward to maher's movie. and i used to be someone who defended at least the idea of religion from the dangers of a godless secularism (see Revolution, Russian).
but god is dead, and Nietzsche didn't kill him, the born-agains did. so i'm living with that new reality.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
some sort of open letter to a diety. to be read with mitch hedberg's voice in mind, maybe. (for recreational purposes only, do not try at home)
and so i think really we either conquer the shit out of things, or we make tea and enjoy puppies. and it might seem best to conquer the shit out of other people's tea and puppies and then bring them back to enjoy your own tea and your own puppies when you got home, and you could put your feet up and have some bourbon and really enjoy how soft that particular new puppy is and how nice and warm and tasty that earl grey is, but then maybe not.
what are tea and puppies really, when you've spent the whole day conquering the shit out of things? (i mean, you really fucked shit up – you’ve got like 4 times as much land as yesterday!) i think, like, kind of like an old woman’s, unproductive waste of time really.
and what is conquering the shit out of things when you've spent the day making great fucking tea and getting to know your groovy puppies? (that one with the one ear that does that thing when he barks -- he's a fucking riot man, he really cares about you man!) i think the conquering seems like, kind of like a pointless rage of egoism and insensitivity, and a disgrace to other living things really there, guy.
so i think it's pretty hilarious that humans have been handed the potential for both conquering the shit out of things, and of caring deeply about the lives of puppies, and about the wonders of tea -- at the same goddamned time! we get all these cool tools like thumbs and brains and teeth and computers and lawyers to conquer the shit out of things, and all these subtle mysterious inclinations like love and compassion and ethical concerns, and the jesus guy, and the buddha guy, and other guys, and they come from the same building blocks, from the same pieces, from the same bucket of mixed up legos. some crazy shit to think about, man.
i don’t think there’s a dude there with a whitebeard, and a good aim with a lightning bolt, and a whole lotta veteran leadership, but i guess there are the the catholics and the hamas and the jews and the witnesses and the people who think the spaceship is comin(they've obviously decided, and when someone has decided, they are correct unless the rest of us conquer them so badly that history forgets them, and i'm quite enjoying my tea for now, thank you very much), but if he does exist, he surely is a funny, funny dude who quite obviously doesn't give a shit about puppies, or things, or tea. he’s got some wicked good shit to smoke – better than we've yet found, to enhance his enjoyment of all the observations he's probably lost interest in anyhow, so maybe he’s just listening to kid a, all starin’ off into space there, all ‘man, those horns are crazy,’ or busted stuff and he’s all like ‘tim is really good,’ and i’m like ‘man, tim isn’t on this album’ and shit. could be.
man, but you know, maybe not, and instead he’s got some wicked good tea and some pretty jivin’ puppies that do amazing tricks to keep his interest after conquering the universe and playing stupid tricks on all the jesuits and communists and spoiledrichsaudibastards and gandhi and brothers and sisters and acidheads and puppies that run around trying to be his friend.
you're one craaaaaazy motherfucker man.
pretty good job though, so far man, i’d give you like a B-
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Saturday, October 4, 2008
i asked the question of the room, directed indirectly at em and gem, em mashing tuna for a bagel tuna melt, gem waiting patiently for mistakes to hit the floor. i had a moment there, realizing my own thoughts about the universe, about art's slow estimation of where we ought to be.
i'm a singular being with moments that have importance to me. we spent a good part of the night tonight planning wedding things, conjecturing of the reliability of relatives, the travelbility of friends in far off states.
the tuna mashing and the patience is my love, and my love is subtly sending out its genius to my quiet listenhood. i'm here for this. i've got no tape running, but i'm here, and it's as good as it gets.
you think itzhak perlman would play our wedding?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
it's supposedly naive to even suggest this - and i understand it would be pointless -- he's going to stay in the 12th century - but what exactly does it hurt? is it a pissing contest? i've never even heard of that pissing contest. usually pissing contests involve proving your strength by embracing confrontation - which diplomacy with a nutbag would be - not by giving the silent treatment.
i understand one theory - which seemed to work with arafat - that in the arab world, if you are irrelevant, you are essentially dead. and by not meeting with a country's leader, you are saying something about his real position -- but we can't barricade Ach!mydinner'shot!'s house, give him 'the hand,' and let him have a little timeout (like Israel/we did with arafat). Achmadidashot isn't just going to go away. he's a piss-ant, but he's not on the same level as arafat. arafat was a crook and a liar and a profiteer and a politician. Achtungbabyjad is a hateful, braindead, completely fucking off-his-rocker leader of a country full of people drinking the kool-aid he's handed out. we need to play the game. the biggest failure of the u.s. in reaction to islamofacismcrazyshit has been not to play the game - use the media and goodfaceness to fight some battles for us.
okay. please someone bring me some bourbon. i don't want to focus on this anymore. i want to listen to some piano jazz. i'll pull the lever when it's time to bomb some nuts if it gets to that point (i'm no pacifist, but i recognize incompetence when i see it - and we try to bomb anyone with a lever soon, it's all over folks - see post on 'the rules have changed'), but i really just want to drink myself stupid and turn the volume down on this campaign bullshit and turn the volume up on some bad plus. mmmmm.... whiskey and dave king on drums.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
my load of bullshit:
"i have to admit, i didn’t take the time to read all the comments. i am at work, and i do have to pretend somewhat that i’m typing up something very important.
so if i’m repeating anything that’s been discussed, sorry.
i think the general analogy to genres as oil fields that can be sucked dry is really missing the point, or one of the bigger points of the value of music. certainly, some value in music is to intrigue us, a la progressive technique - but two elements of modern music make that totally unnecessary to make something good, or even great.
first: music has the power to move without being different than things we’ve heard before (at least generally different - not the same notes w/ the same rhythm) - the abstract emotional power of beethoven’s seventh may have had progressive clout when first performed, but it doesn’t to listeners nowadays - it’s just gutwrenchingly powerful. there are musical formulas that have been proven to ‘work’ in affecting people, and recycling them doesn’t make them any less valuable - it still takes great craft to pull it off, in most cases.
second: words. lyrics. i happen to be a fan of folk music, but i recognize that powerful or interesting lyrics are the only reason folk survives. dylan wasn’t musically interesting, but people still listened. it translates, although maybe not in such a focused fashion, to other more ‘rockish’ music. it’s part of why i feel like radiohead has plateaued (recently slowed down progressive sense + can’t understand a damn word he says = i get bored w/anything after kid a), and why i can listen to soul coughing records that groove and groove again in much the same way.
so progress-ivity doesn’t make something great, and a lack of it doesn’t limit greatness. that being said, i am someone who prescribes to the notion that art should be an ever-expanding field, and that’s made possible by experimenting with new sounds and combinations. since i also think that art is essentially our way of very slowly realizing the aesthetic value of everything (all-inclusive), i try not to snobify and throw out the ‘old’ music that doesn’t intrigue our curious ear. artistic movements are moods of a specific subset of culture that get projected onto larger groups by institutions of art.
popular ‘rock’ will die and be reborn every so often, but good music never goes away. it just gets harder to find. i suppose one has to drill deeper."
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
with access to the studio when no one else bothered to stop by, we should have just disabled the webcam and permanently borrowed the condenser mics to record our own music. hindsight is 20/20 i suppose.
anyhow, i think the new unofficial name of this blog is "nobody's reading." yeah, i know, oh woe is me. first person to comment anything of substance gets one of the many mix cd's rolling around the floor of my car.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
While I do think that thought and feeling are distinguishable as different sorts of experiences, I think feeling often informs our thoughts and ideas more than we realize, and that one really can’t exist without the other. This is hardly a revolutionary notion, but I think its application to ethics is an important one to make, and that giving feeling a primary position in our experience paints a more accurate picture of our processes. I would hold that our moral core is analogous to our experience of color, in that it cannot be communicated by reason alone. I certainly don’t discount the value of reason in the process of our judgments, but this premise, that feeling is the foundation on which we base our reason, I think is much more satisfying than that which places a calculator at our core – for calculators have no real meaning, lest we feel the numbers are doing some good in the world.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
thinking about russia and china gives me the feeling that there are a lot of things that just aren't right about the current risk-game-status of our world today.
i think the ebb and flow of world powers is quite a bit like climate change -- things take much longer than we anticipate, and the difficult thing to discern is whether or not the up or down-swing we're currently on is only a micro-swing, or indeed part of the larger shifting of power.
but it's quite obvious to me that america is currently on a downswing (in terms of real power) -- it's just not clear how worried we should be.
for a number of reasons, our military just isn't nearly as scary anymore. i'm not sure how much this has to do with its actual effectiveness or power (in a vacuum/the old-world), and i think a lot of it has to do with the fact that the rules have changed*-- but i don't feel it. we're also worn thin from current engagements. i also think military leadership has been compromised, bureaucratized to death, and ... in some cases, just plain stupid. i think rumsfield's attachment to small special ops groups was overstressed in iraq. it applies now, perhaps, but not when a 'real' government and 'army' was in place. kick the goddamned door down and get it over with.
we've also become too popular for our own good, and this is perhaps the beginning of america's downfall. popular seems like a silly word, but let's make an analogy:
think about people who were ultra-popular in high school. once they reached a certain status, there was bound to be a certain amount of quiet, (jealous?), spiteful hatred growing in the black jeanshorts wearing, greasy haired community (wow, that sounds incredibly like europe[eans] now that i think of it), and piled on top of the normal spotlight scrutiny for football chucking, spirit-filled greek gods and goddesses, and you've got the beginning of a tragedy -- depending on your point of view i suppose. some of the europeans leave their hometown, find out that their spite and intelligence actually get them somewhere in the new world they've discovered, and all of the sudden, there's a new set of standards to apply. financial success. artistic acceptance. career advancement. whatever. these things become the gold standard. now think of the guy at the office who has a strange sense of confidence about himself and his success, even though he has horrible people skills, and wears black jean shorts on the weekends. he's probably your boss. and at your 20th high school reunion, he'll be smiling a smarmy smile and show up in one of his many fancypants cars, and the starting quarterback will show up in a flannel shirt that stinks of parliment lights, a clip-on tie, a thick mustache, and permanent hometown-beerbreath. perhaps the most important part of this though -- is my insistence that the fancypants with all his spite isn't necessarily any more right than the lumberjack with all his beergut.
there's a powerful philosophical term to describe this phenomenon (well, not really, but my analogy inches toward the bigger idea from a humble place).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ressentiment -- everyone should read 'on a genealogy of morals' and some scheler at some point -- not because they're necessarily right, but because they write with such skill about an idea (ressentiment) that we should all think about more often.
in nietzsche's view/world -- christianity was wearing the black jean shorts. in my view/world, it's, well... most everyone but america. they've teamed up with the insider support of americans who've followed the political fashion lead of the fancypanters, and created a world where double standardheads and mediafaces have come up with a new set of proposed rules/truths. some of the more unfortunate ones:
- china and russia can do whatever they want. tibet. human wrongs. georgia. gulag 2.0, etc.
- islam needs not ever stand up or speak out against it's 'radical minority,' who bomb, and recruit, and bomb, and 'homophobe' (i made it a verb, yes), and 'elect' governments whose main tenent is the total destruction of the jewish people and israel, and bomb, and strut, and kill journalists, and kill politicians who voice opposition, and can't handle a cartoon about alah without killing and recruiting and bombing some more, and sit firmly and stubbornly in all ways possible in the 12th century. i mean, mormons freak out when one of 'their own' marries two wives and says it's part of the religion. and trust me, i have no soft spot for mormons, but there are not that many conclusions to be drawn from the silence. the rest of 'mainstream' islam is either afraid, mute, or they quietly condone the behavior. i can only reasonably rule out one of those possibilities. scary.
- america must conduct just wars, but no one else needs to.
- scowling and waving a judgmental finger at an evil is punishment enough.
- history has no instructive value, and most of it was made up by the winners anyhow.
- black jean shorts are acceptable apparel.
- the u.n. is an effective governing body.
SO WHERE DOES THIS PUT US? my gut feeling is that it's finally starting to take a toll we can't overwhelm with biceps -- a situation that none of us alive can wholly appreciate as americans. the difficult thing, of course, is how to find the middle ground between mindless ass-kicking and ass-kickingless pondering. it's also unfortunate that we've kept stirring the bees nest of islamofacism to the point where isolationism won't really have any calming effect for quite a long time. and even if it did, we don't live in a world where a country like ours can 'step aside' long enough to really focus on our own citizens' issues properly. and those issues are unpaid bills and a growing descrepancy between middle america and comfortable living. all the unfair new rules posed by the fancypantsers can't excuse us blame for our own growing idiocy.
9/11's contribution to our current economic status is often underappreciated, although the lack of oversight of banks on the part of the federal government has been just as damning. it's hard to say, especially as someone who believes in as little government involvement as possible, but when the companies involved are in the business of money - it seems like our corporations need more and more wrist-slapping when every week brings a new fraud investigation, or bailout, or bankruptcy.
and all of this weakens our ass-kicking. and it weakens our identity. we have less room for brilliant nuts and innovation. you'd hope that difficult times would bring important change, but i have little faith that real change can happen in today's landscape without a complete, fuck-all catastrophic collapse. like alternative energy - we will not get there until we have to. and when we have to, we will, because we're still a beacon for brilliant nuts, albeit diminished.
but the nuts who aren't so brilliant - those who fight for the right to ride motorcycles without helmets, and for the right to stockpile automatic weapons, and for the right to deny specific healthcare because of personal beliefs, and against the right to marry someone you can't make babies with -- they make change difficult. those who lead their people to play the victim because they can, those who buy things they can't afford and don't need, those who build the houses in connecticut (that i drive by every day) that could fit seven families for their trophy wives and spoiled children, those who drive escalades to work in the city every day, and those who won't pay their employees any more because they can find someone else who'll do it for half -- they make change impossible.
so perhaps we're on the way out. perhaps not -- it's a little blip in a grander history of influence and positive change in the world. but right now, at this moment, we're balding, and no one likes our jokes about gays and hippies anymore (they shouldn't). as our beergut and mustache grow, we become less lovable. and the fact is, you can kick more ass with the rest of the world as your posse. black jeanshorts aren't any more reasonable, but when the ex-quarterback starts cussing out brain usage and pissing the bed every night, it's hard to know just where to stand. what do you do when none of your leaders is admirable -- because the ones that mean it are pissing our bed, and the ones that talk big about clean sheets are destined to continue a trend of nothingness?
we're losing sleep either way, and there's not enough redbull to give us the wings we need.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
we’re not new yorkers
because there are none
on the islands of the city
left out to dry
flocks of us, having read walt,
thinking there’s more than
black coats and tough guy movies
bad rock stars with
and worn out cocks
adam and ryan
whine from the village
about the thorns on their rose parade
fleeing some time later to the red dirt
beginning again, in a most unfashionable shirt
because there are none
because when the drink runs our engines
we wish we had a firepit
we wish we had
we wish we had ortherockies or the orthedriveon52
wider lanes and tiny magic nighttime cities
the boredom of
back rooms you can get into and
people you hear and smell and know
the sort of good company
that’s capped with snow
and drops the petals of open spaces on the ones we love
capped with chic cigarettes
and the right to emphysema,
cursing badass whimpers
through pursed lips,
about to die with a black car
and a black suit
and black shoes
because we don’t wear shoes
and because there are none
the beautiful, uncut hair of graves
than we might suppose
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
naively stupid and laughable
members of society.
as someone ideologically trapped between liberalism and conservatism (some might say free within borders -- free i may be, one who has surrendered), i've found that at least one truth seems to shed some light on young, stupid, brilliant, drunk people's value to old, wise, boring sober people:
Living in a "college town" or near lots of universities is infinitely more enjoyable and culturally inspiring than not. people who want (or are forced by virtue of environment) to spend their time learning, do not really work. so they have time to make the world more interesting and enjoyable for those of us who have to drive for 45 minutes on a two lane road to a job that really doesn't interest us that much, spend the day typing, talking to people who can't solve problems a chimp could master, getting paid too little, driving an hour back home, eating a fried dinner, watching our gut grow slightly every week, watching "everybody loves raymond" reflect our, or our significant other's family life, going to sleep, waking up, taking the dog out, putting on uncomfortable clothes, shaving off whiskers that REALLY want to grow, .... you get the idea.
they give us late night pizza delivery guys that are too stoned to care if you tip them well, great remixes of old bjork tunes we forgot were mindblowing, new ways to think about pastries (???), phish concerts (no more, i suppose, but don't knock till you have... tried it), really great paintings that you can buy for 25 bucks and wait 75 years and sell for 56 bucks, conversations about kirilov (who else would know who kirilov is?), beer that you get to drink but their parents somehow indirectly paid for, good jokes about george lucas, EXTREMELY loud farts that wake everyone up by sound and put them back to sleep by odor, philosophers and physicists exchanging ideas and blows, fantastic bagel sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil for lunch, and full attendance at shows that would otherwise go shamefully under-appreciated (kelly joe phelps, bela fleck and edgar meyer, glen hansard and marketa irglova).
thank you, philosophers and theoretical physicists in training. i will not ruin your current acid trip by ruining the suspense about the next chapter of your life. alright, yes i will: it's depressing, simply because it's not as good as the last one. but it's not really that bad. you'll realize that charlie rose is your idol, you wish you would've figured out how to get a job with 'globe trekker,' and you might even still not vote democratic. maybe. but you might.
Monday, June 30, 2008
also, i think that under "douche" in the richardtionary, it says "see lucas, george."
and also, sometimes things fall from outer space to make you laugh when you need a good chucklefart:
worth cutting and pasting if you have to, because i'm too lazy to figure out how to put the actual video in the blog.
and also, corona beer is no good
and also, pilsners from poland are good
and also, there's not enough time for this.
Saturday, June 28, 2008
I think that most of the time, people don’t understand the question. If you could just sit in that box all plugged in and love it. It wouldn’t just be the baser things. I think that anyone that’s been both places’d tell you
and it’s “high as fuck on
but this should’ve been quite obvious, and isn’t much new.
This is where Ivan ends
And his brother begins.
This is where the quiet runt of the litter nods and smiles and sips his beer
And everyone listens just for a second.
For some reason they look at him, at first anticipating to be amused by his reaction. His shy duck of right hooks. His unanswers. His ribless chest of recycled air.
But they listen just for a second.
And the alyosha among nameless clans and motherless families, huddled in the cold, chugging vodka for the lack of good acid, spewing ideas for the lack of bright colors, killing pastors for the lack of honest revolutionaries,
Spoke of the dust and dimmer days in the kind of cold a valley needs to hold to really grow up
And seeing no rain with dry eyesAnd being months past crying for much of anything
And wakeless turns of the ground
“To remember a quiet promise there and hold on to the whisper of a world that seemed to move on without you,
to stir beauty with a dirty spoon and eat olives far below sea level,
these are the god’s legs that outrace your machine.”
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
heroin = peyote = marijuana
cocaine = crystal meth = ritalin
alcohol = tobacco
let's put that another way (and no i don't feel bad about over-simplifying how 'they' come to these decisions)
just say no or die immediately
stealing tv's from old people, not eating, etc. because it feels so good and is so addictive = spending an entire day believing you are slowly mutating into a giant walking squidpig named Elvin Rayraybobshinkick = these stale hard pretzels are making me REALLY thirsty.
just say no or we'll break down your door and pee on your rug
"SNAP INTO A SLIMJIM, SNAP INTO A SLIMJIM, SNAP INTO A SLIMJIM" followed by a massive heart attack = breakdancing in an unfinished basement for 27 straight hours to the recording of the lawnmower you made yesterday set on repeat and I just can't stop and it's RAD! = writing papers in half the time
go ahead and kill yourself and others with these cash cows, and we'll let taxpayers pay for your diseases!
around 100,000 deaths anually, 40% of all traffic deaths, frat boys, karaoke = "More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders combined" (CDC), really stinky used couches, smoke inhalation WITHOUT Pink Floyd album enhancement (why?).
like i said, ssa.
they peed on my fucking rug.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
WWW: No story?
BLOGGERJOSH: No forget the story.
WWW: You've got to have a story.
BLOGGERJOSH: Who says you gotta have a story? Remember when we were waiting for,
for that table in that Chinese restaurant that time? That could be a blog entry
WWW: And who is in the blog? Who are the characters?
BLOGGERJOSH: I could be a character.
BLOGGERJOSH: Yeah. You could base a character on me.
WWW: So, in the blog, there's a character named Josh Christiansen?
BLOGGERJOSH: Yeah. There's something wrong with that? I'm a character. People are always saying to me, "You know you're a quite a character."
WWW: And who else is in the blog?
BLOGGERJOSH: Em could be a character. Gemma..
WWW: Now Gemma's a character. (Pause) So everybody you know is a character in the blog?
WWW: And it's about nothing?
BLOGGERJOSH: Absolutely nothing.
WWW: So you're saying, I go in to some blogging site, and tell them I got this idea for a blog about nothing.
BLOGGERJOSH: We go into some blogging site.
WWW: "We"? Since when are you a writer?
BLOGGERJOSH: (Scoffs) Writer. We're talking about the internet.