Wednesday, December 23, 2009

That's What I Want For Christmas

I look on in utter amazement as, had she actually read the previous post regarding Peace On Earth, the Wife says (which she hasn’t said but would) that it wasn’t heartwarming enough.

Apparently the Wife’s heart is a wee bit of coal, as I thought the entire piece absolutely brimmed with the best of mankind’s aspirations.

What does Christmas mean to me then? Well, understand this: I grew up poor, and when you grow up poor Christmas is never about what you wanted, it’s about what you got. I wanted a guitar; I never got it; I came to learn to be happy with what I had.

I remember one Christmas Daddy was out of work. My teenaged brothers and sister took it on themselves to see that we younger ones had presents. Six kids in the family total. I was about 9. Christmas morning, I run to the living room to see what’s in the 2 packages for me. A bag of army men and a box of Life Savers candy. Army men, cool. Had this been a Hallmark Channel movie, I’d have hugged folks and thankfully cried, “Best Christmas ever!” I looked at the Life Savers, I looked at my sister (who’d bought the Life Savers and rather than cover her tracks wrote on the label ‘to Clarence from Deb’), I blinked several times (I remember this) and I remember thinking (because I had just learned what the word meant) If it’s the thought that counts she must have amnesia. Life Savers. I didn’t even particularly like Life Savers. I’d always accidentally eat the butterscotch flavor thinking it was pineapple. Gag!

So I berated her. My sister had kicked my ass on several occasions so it’s not like she cared that I berated her; she’d kick my ass later. But I clearly remember being disappointed in myself that morning. She’d bought for me and my brothers what she could afford. I wasn’t a completely stupid kid, so I realized later that day and even more so in the days immediately after that my sister had sacrificed her own in order to get me something when she didn’t--as a sister or as a person period--have to. In that act of sacrifice was a small request: not to jump up and down and sing her praises, but to acknowledge that she had sacrificed and be genuinely appreciative.

The world has become a very unappreciative, mean place.

The world is a 9 year old child. An entire generation looks befuddled now at the entire concept of sacrifice. They’re even called The Entitlement Generation. Sacrifice is not subtracted from others, it is given to them, this generation of youth. One can almost imagine the entire generation thinking ‘I didn’t ask to be born, you brought me here so treat me as an exalted guest.’

Me, I call them the Hotel Generation, for whom Life comes with room service and tipping (i.e. reciprocity/generosity) is a city in China. They’re the twenty-somethings who laugh when they’re with friends about what their parents got them for Christmas. They view anything outside of what they are immediately prepared to do at that moment as unconscionable work. All praise to the exceptions, but most of y’all, most of y’all ain’t worth Christmas.

…but that’s where the 9 year old kid in me realizes he’s wrong. Me and the Wife watch the Albert Finney version of Scrooge every Christmas Eve. It’s a tired old beat up VHS tape but it brings two people who are very much in love to a pretty place each time. When Finney sings “I hate people!” I think happily, dammit, that’s me! Then it sinks in: that’s me.


“I abhor them,” sings Finney.

But aren’t they what Christmas is all about?

I don’t want to sing that song.

Christ had no interest in gift giving unless it was of the self. Modern man counters, ‘No, it’s the thought that counts.’

Kmart makes Christmas count. Sigh...

Christ had no interest in becoming a cult of personality. All those people bent out of shape over “happy holidays” versus “merry Christmas” should step back a minute and read the bumper sticker on the car that just cut them off for the mall parking space: Jesus Is The Reason For The Season. Which means 'Don't make me a rock star, live by what I represent.' Me, I love the pageantry, camaraderie and excess of “the season” for what it is: a Dionysian orgy of release and redemption. I keep that quite separate from celebrating Christ’s teachings and ways. Same as I celebrate the Buddha’s teachings and ways. I try to live it. Granted I can’t stand most people, but given a choice between me and somebody else running into a burning building to rescue you, you’re better off with me. Trust me.

Christmas is about truth. Truth burns away all falsehoods. Takes time sometimes but it does. That’s what all good teachers do; they first reassure us that truth exists, then show us certain truths they themselves have found, then invite us to seek the deeper truth of ourselves. Jesus, during his time, would’ve been exposed to Greek and Roman philosophy, to the ancient teachings of central Asia that traveled southward even through Egypt, to the Koran, to all the precepts of the Jewish faith. And definitely to mid and lower African theology. Whether you adhere to the Son of God part or not, I imagine he would have been a smart man. Would’ve had to have been, because smart men motivate change; stupid men generate chaos. From what I gather he was about benign interior change, so my opinion is stupid men foisted the Bible and the Gospels on cultures at large as political tracts rather than teaching tools because stupid men tend to be greedy and greed needs a cowed populace to feed its coffers. But that’s just me fighting the power. We all know that modern Christmas is a hodge podge of various pagan rites and Judean doctrine; no need to berate the point. Let us not pretend as we move into 2010 (the future!) that Christ is not a minor portion of Christmas in the first place. When Dickens wrote 'A Christmas Carol' he decried Christmas's utter crass commercialism even then, and that was what, 8 centuries ago? (Yes, I know not that long ago, but point is...)

Point is, when I was 9 I saw what I was doing. I realized I was being an ass. I could’ve stayed selfish, and continue even now to be selfish, but truth was Deb had done something cool for me.

I thanked her later that day.

I think she punched me. We were like that.

Christmas, for this Michigan boy, means cold mornings, the smell of a freshly watered tree (kids are master gardeners at Christmastime; the Christmas tree--we didn’t have one when I was 9 but the times we did have a live tree were glorious--as sacred gathering place of the presents, had to be maintained at all costs; we’d argue to see who got to water the tree because that meant getting up close and personal to the boxes and wrappers with your name on them); Christmas means the sound of Ma opening the kitchen curtains that meant it was time to get up; being thought of, because presents--regardless of my snarky adolescent brain--are thoughts one way or another and being thought of means you are appreciated--again, one way or another--in the eyes of another. Christmas is the Wife being thrilled not by a diamond necklace or gold spatula (which she doesn’t want and I wouldn’t buy) but by getting to sleep in and finally coming downstairs decked out in fuzzy robe and slippers with her hair looking crazy. Christmas is Ma, who lives with us, trying her best to sneak in early and get to her presents. We call Ma our Christmas Mouse. Christmas is the nephew cooking up some mac and cheese from his ma’s recipe. Deb died from cancer years ago. I think about her every day. Not always fondly, but we were like that. There were many times I wanted to wring her neck.

Scrooge had a sister in the movie... and a nephew. Christ, as a teacher, shows us parallels.

I loved my sister. I hope my nephew honors her and himself all his days.

Christmas is about truth, and truth, well...

Truth means the world to me.

Peace On Earth And Mercy Mild

I’ve wished Jewish people Merry Christmas; they’ve wished me Happy Hanukkah. No malice, no slight.

I’ve wished white folks a good Kwanzaa, told Buddhists “shalom,” said “Bless you” any number of times to atheists, agnostics and other travelers in the stream. So far nobody’s cried.

I’ve greeted Hindus with Muslim words, I’ve smiled at women in burkas, and even once told an Amish man how do.

All with sincere warmth in my heart.

You can tell me Merry Christmas without worrying whether I celebrate it or not (is buying stuff the same as celebrating it?). The words are coming from a happy, human place. You can say Happy Holidays too; doesn’t bother me a bit. I say thank you because, coming from you to me, that’s a nice thing to say. Plus it came with a smile? Hell, if you can keep it down to just one person saying “Fuck you” with a smile, you’re doing good. I’m a certified heathen but there’s an old lady works in the candy shop in my building who always says “Have a blessed day” to everybody. If I’m an asshole, I stop to explain, assert, and negate her beliefs. I am not that big an asshole. I smile and genuinely say thanks, plus tell her to have a blessed one too. I don’t need to believe in Jehovah Most High to hope for good things for a sweet old lady. Check your definitions, folks. Blessings come in all sizes, shapes, beliefs and colors.

Folks get bent out of shape every year around this time about people saying “Happy Holidays!” Happy Holidays ain’t anti-Christmas. I don’t think Christmas has anything to worry about. As a holiday, I’m pretty sure it’s caught on. Be cool. It’s not even political correctness (which, when I find who coined that annoying bit of fearful drivel, I—-completely against the spirit of peace and good will—-will smack him or her hard enough to release their DNA); “Happy Holidays” just sounds a lot better than “Happy Kwanzmakah!”

Linus said it best; we all know Christmas is run by a big Eastern syndicate. Kmart, I believe, ran television ads this year saying “Make Christmas Count”…by buying crap at Kmart. To me, that’s way more offensive than somebody saying “Happy Holidays.” I was at Walmart a couple nights ago (penance) and heard some shriveled biddy snap back at the haggard clerk who—-per Walmart’s cheerful mandate (and, y’know, when you hear those words coming out of the mouth of somebody who really didn’t want to say shit to you in the first place, THAT is annoying, but still not worth getting bent out of shape)—-mumbled out “haff holday”, “No, Merry Christmas!” And true to Walmart’s rigorous training, the clerk didn’t give a fuck. He kept right on working.

By God, that’s an American!

It’s not like he told the old lady (Ok, she wasn’t that old, but—-public service announcement-—my lighter people: tanning booths are not your friends. Seriously)—-he didn’t tell the old lady to worship Satan or anything (which I would have done considering she looked like the devil’s concubine with her wild hair and disheveled clothing; those emails about “the people of Walmart” don’t circulate for nothin’), but she immediately felt the need to load it, cock it, aim it and shoot at him.

“Merry Christmas” as epithet. God bless us, every one.

Here then, for all you “diversity” nutjobs, December observances; the rest of you, Merry Freaking Christmas, God Bless America (and nowhere else), Feliz Navidad with valid green card, and somebody kick Rush Limbaugh (and Bill O’Reilly) in the nuts…’cause it’s necessary. Amen. If you're offended, my name is Glenn Beck. That's g-l-e-n-n...

12-6 - St. Nicholas Day (International) –for those who really, truly need to grow up. Everybody knows there’s no such thing as a saint. Why, our current Pope did some things in his youth…

12-8 - Bodhi Day - Buddha's Enlightenment (Buddhist) –because ain’t no party like an enlightenment party, ‘cause enlightenment party don’t stop

12-12 - Hanukkah (Jewish) –the traditional season of buttah; Barbra Streisand’s gotta eat

12-12 - Virgin of Guadalupe (Mexico) –blessed madonna sought by spring break frat boys everywhere

12-13 - Santa Lucia Day (Sweden) –looks Spanish but it’s pronounced “Santa Loo-SEEEYA Day, ya ya”

12-16 - Ashura (Islamic, Muslim) –No freaking idea (from the Wikipedia entry)

12-16 thru 25 - Las Posadas (Mexico) –if it means what it sounds like to my ear, and they’re offering it up for over a solid week, I. Am. There.

12-18 - Al Hijra - Muslim New Year –and nemesis to Godzilla

12-25 - Christmas (Christian, Roman Catholic, International) –us. Period. Deal with it.

12-26 - Boxing Day (Canada, United Kingdom) –wtf?

12-26 - Kwanzaa (African-American - Dec. 26, 2009 - Jan 1, 2010) –See again: Wikipedia

Then there’s the “New Year”, and there are like 12 million different dates that it falls on that Americans (and lesser Americans, like other countries and stuff) really should pass a world amendment that January 1st now and forever marks it so we can all get our party on at one single time. Can you imagine everybody in the world partying on December 31st? And they need to sync their clocks with ours; New Year's falls at midnight, dammit. If it's 2:17pm where you are, deal with it. Let's take a moment to imagine that precious introspective rush to get laid.

The orgasmic joy alone would bring about world peace for a good twenty minutes.

So in the spirit of all that is good, let us be gracious as we receive in this season of giving.

Happy Christmas, John Lennon, wherever you are.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Road To Geezerville

I used to have a big fro. Even bigger when ma pressed it out. Looked like a dandelion puff as a kid. Now I’ve got a figure 8 mown by Smurfs at the crown and forehead. If I bend over at night and light hits it people panic at large cat’s eyes.

But geezerville doesn’t start with losing it.

Geezerville starts with getting it.

The new growth. Hair loss is no big deal till you realize you’re not losing it, it’s just sucking in through your scalp and coming out somewhere else, apparently going through bleach by-products because it comes out white. Bleach or fear, but as it seems to happen mostly at night when I’m dreaming about Pam Grier’s loofah, I lean toward the internal bleach theory. The gray hairs in my nose I was cool with till they started looking like an albino caterpillar cowering in there. But what immediately got me and pushed me on my grown-up tricycle ride toward Geezerville were the damned hairs coming out my ears. Why in the hell at 43 am I growing antlers out my ears?! There is no physiological reason for a virile man to grow hairs not only sticking out of but standing proudly upon the upper edges of his ears. None whatsoever. They serve no purpose beyond letting people know this is an old fuck. Nobody needs to know that I’m an old fuck till I’m an old fuck…which I’m not! My long term memory might be Windows but my short term memory is still a Mac. I’m mature. I clearly remember not having hairs coming out of my ears.

I clearly remember not needing the morning ritual of clipping thick gray nose hairs. There were never wild eyebrow strands that grew four inches and left welts on my face in the wind. I didn’t need to do foot stretches before stepping out of bed for fear of breaking my heel bone.

It wasn’t that long ago that I was virile. Really.

There’s a new TV show called “Men of A Certain Age”. I taped it but haven’t watched it. I might not ever watch it. There’s enough happening in life that I don’t need extra things depressing me. I taped it thinking I’d get some sense of community, that the Club of the Aged would welcome me in its understanding arms. Then I said no. I am not old. This is not denial. Hell, the gray hairs are all over my face. The pudge is stuck tighter than superglue. I might be on the road to Geezerville…but I ain’t the mayor of the city yet. The certain age I’m at doesn’t jibe with what’s happening to my body. I’m wearing bifocals, ma! One day I could see up close; the next day I was squinting. Let me put ??? here ‘cause that ain’t right! Caterpillars up my nose, antlers out my ears, and now I’m Mr. Magoo?! Practically overnight?!! I. Say. Thee. Nay.

Am I that cliché of the guy the hot chicks call “sir”? I have no interest in vapid 20-somethings, but what if Susan Sarandon calls me? Am I supposed to interact with her as a peer rather than the young dude fawning over her hotness? And what about crotchety-ness? I was always crotchety but I was young with my crotch. The Road to Geezerville hardens crotch; makes it annoying rather than endearing. Young crotch, endearing; old crotch, not so much.

As a tangent, sex—-while it could mean muscle spasms, butt cheek locks or other errant cramps—-never meant worrying about throwing a back out.

…Big… honking… sigh…

I’m on the Road to Geezerville without warning and apparently without brakes. What is it they say about aging gracefully? They never say it with albino caterpillars nestled in their nostrils.

Of that I’m for damn sure.

But hey, I gotta do what I do, right? Snip ‘em, curl ‘em, pluck ‘em, manage it in the eyes of hot chicks and the Lord. Hottest chick is the Wife, right? She doesn’t want some old dude leering at her through the shower curtain. Even though the Wife is older than me she will always be hotter. She deserves to be peeped at through the shower curtain.

Since I’m going blind it helps that I have a clear shower curtain.

The lesson, my friends: work with what you’ve got. No off ramps on the road to geezerville. The best you can hope for is a helluva view to help pass the time in a rather pleasing, soapy fashion. The Wife shaves the gray off the back of my neck then goes all PG-13 or even R on me. This means my tricycle is tricked out with red and blue streamers and flame decals. When I spin out I might tumble Arte Johnson style (wiki “Laugh In” you young fucks) but I’m still--here, today, now--cool.

Maybe my caterpillars will turn into bee-yootiful butterflys.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Had My Damn Wheaties Today

“There is no escape. We are drowning in words. The blogs are fogging up the world. They are everywhere, in text, sound and video, a whirling dervish of yak yak, an endless buffet of opinions, hawking concepts, beliefs, convictions, perceptions, speculations. Nothing goes unsaid or unwritten. Silence has been defeated by technology. Reflection has given way to immediacy. Say or write everything on your mind. Edit nothing. We have become a world of monologists.” – Warren Adler, author of The War of The Roses, from the author’s website.

Blogs. Been noted the word sounds like something hawked up during a cold or dropped from some animal’s digestive tract. I thought they were relatively new, but then I remembered reading Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, a science fiction novel written in the early eighties when kids had to physically walk to the neighborhood video store for porn. The internet was more a novelty than a given for most then, most of us being rather poor. (History repeats!) Dial-up for us was exclusively for phone calls. Ender’s Game featured two young geniuses who pretty much changed the course of world politics via the anonymity of the internet; as in blogs. Card didn’t call it that, because they weren’t as popularly established then, but looking back—like all good fiction, science or otherwise—prescience is the novel’s gift to us: the Valentine children, using computer identities, were effectively discoursing blogs to influence public opinion and, in turn, world policy. There was a rakishness to their blogs: who were they; where were they? Secrecy infused their words with power. Their blogs were a chess game, a conversation with the world, dangerously flirtatious and intoxicating. And analytical.

We should strive for this in the real world.

“We have become a world of monologists.” Talking loud or talking fast. Blowing a good smoke. But saying nothing. And I specifically say talking, not writing, when it comes to blogs, because they are meant to be intimate conversations. They are the words we wish we’d said to a captive audience. “Reflection,” Mr. Adler again, “has given way to immediacy.” A well-written letter, anachronistically, transports the mind of both writer and reader to a far more intimate space than twenty breathlessly blithe, spurious toss-offs about absolutely nothing. Seinfeld made “nothing” funny for a while. Mass production makes it annoying.

But here’s the argument that proliferation is merely the democratization of technology, and technology is—at its core—the utilization and dissemination of information. We’re throwing the doors wide and letting loose the dogs of blog. Of opinion. Not of discourse, because it’s all one-sided; there are no questions asked. Not really. It is a ‘look what I can do’ world, because anything you can do I can do too. Even if I can’t. Writing, for example. Anybody can do it. But they can’t. Not as extreme as parenting, nowhere near as important, but significant as an example. The art of writing is dead. The act of writing thrives. One letter off throws the world into a tizzy (meaning the ‘r’ instead of the ‘c’—I’ll let folks catch up). Some blogs toss out meaningless facts. Some blogs toss out meaningless opinions. The politically bent will drone statistics that one pitiable reader out of ten thousand will ever care to verify. Statistics are meaningless unless humanity is attached to them. Statistics have not prevented our species from generating a universe of woe. I’ll make up a statistic now, and it’s as valid as any: ninety percent of what you and I see and read is trash. How does that feel in your heart of hearts? About right, ninety percent? In one eye, out the other? The act of writing is merely to fill up space and divert the reader’s attention. The art of writing, though, requires complete, full attention. It requires editing. It can be done on the fly but most often it’s an old man wandering streets remembering things, not a yuppie with a water bottle strapped into a tiny papoose on his back and the knowledge of precisely how to measure his heart rate. The act of writing is calculation. The art is more organically planned. I need you to analyze and synthesize, hypothethize and correct. Germinate. Take pen to paper, write down an idea, then think it through. I want to look you in the eye, and you me, and we see one another. With both eyes. Yes? In two eyes, through two lobes of brain (it’s a wonder we’re not falling over, our species working off one lopsided lobe or other), multiplied into four. This ceases to be a monologue, because, in effect, I am not alone. You are in my mind. Pop culture references have their value when used judiciously and lucidly. My mind to your mind. Vulcan mind meld.

I am not here alone and have no interest in hearing the constant sound of my own voice.

Put another way, the sound of one hand clapping is a blog performed with one hand typing. You don’t want to know what the other hand is doing.

Sex and blogs? Same meld analogy. I’m about to say something deserving of another pop culture reference. Blogs are furiously masturbatory. Search your feelings; you know this to be true. Much like the Valentine children, the internet allows free run to any avatar we care to be. We can lotion up one hand while fantasizing that our words, once read, will excite and titillate the most closed minds to transports of greatness. I can be the Amazing Kreskin, Dr. Cornell West, James Bond and Santa Claus all in one, pleasuring mental g-spots like the fingers on Wilt Chamberlain’s hand. Fantasy and masturbation are fun in small doses, but to truly get the freak requires an able partner, and by able is meant a ready willingness to smak it up, flip it and rub thoughts down. Communication is sex. Anyone who’s brought a woman to orgasm knows that sex requires an attention span sensitive to detail and nuance. Blogs, generally speaking, aren’t intended for deep penetration. But they can be. Slow, hopeful strokes from subtly changing directions. Sex is about keeping hope alive. Blogs, then, should be about keeping the lines of communication open.

Blogs…are parted thighs. My (imaginary) pen…

But you say, is it necessarily a bad thing that we are awash in a rising tide of populist words? The elite have masturbated while we stood as valets to hand them cleansing cloths long enough? I’m not sure here. My gut says we should all strive to be elite (potentially making us all elite and thus right back where we started). I would rather everyone see themselves elite on merit than willfully stupid on indulgence, which is just a few letters away from indolence.

Cows, my friends, chew cud.

Technology has indeed killed silence. Bludgeoned it, to be precise, and the examples are too obvious to go into, except I will mention the internet and its gatekeepers. AOL used to be somewhat neutral in its stupidity. News was where it needed to be and entertainment was where it needed to be, neither in any actual depth and often not entirely accurate, but easily ignorable. Not so anymore. AOL now revels in its stupidity. News and entertainment are now composed of little more than juvenile blogs within blogs, gushing about this or outraging about that. A more vapid accumulation of electricity would be hard to find.

And I have no plans to look.

Like all candy, vapidity has its place, separate and after the meal, not mixed in so thoroughly that it becomes an integral part of dinner. Ignorance is not bliss and noise is not conversation. I agree with Mr. Adler, but the genie’s out of the bottle. Words and life stories and memoirs and daily accounts and update postings and fraternalia, genitalia, errata and suspicion. There are too many cell phones. There are too many televisions. There are too many cars. There are too many ill-used computers. There are way too many useless things being foisted on us, consuming the most valuable resource available, time, and returning absolutely nothing. (I’m reminded of recently watching the movie 300.) Recall your own instance realizing that you’d just lost time you will never get back allowing someone to sell you snake oil.

But that’s what we get when we have too many people with too many opportunities to hold us hostage with the mundane. Not that the mundane can’t be fascinating, because, unless you’re God, everything is mundane. But that’s where the art comes in. Art takes the foot you’ve looked at and washed every day of your life and turns it into a step that could just determine the direction of the rest of your life. Nothing mundane about that. That’s called universal.

Here I am. Blogging. Irony is the new cereal of the Ages.

What does that mean?

You tell me.

It’s quiet enough in my mind that I’ll hear. But only talk if you’ve got something to say. Dress in your best avatar.

Show me yours and I’ll show you mine.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Happiness Is Never Taking A 4-Iron To The Head

A quick note, if I may, to supermodels: guys don’t get you, and by guys I mean all men, and by get I mean you don’t pay us any attention. You are out of our league. Even for the rich, famous and handsome, and especially for the rich, famous and doofy. So please understand that marrying us activates the “Kid In A Candy Shop” syndrome whereby men, particularly the rich doofy kind, realize wide-eyed that if they got one, they just might get another! (As opposed to “I got one, be happy and tithe.”) And if they don’t get caught, the “Hell Yeah!” syndrome kicks in whereby greedy doofs go for broke and try to snarf down as much super poon as possible. Unless you’re David Bowie (born with a mutated Cool factor) no man is equipped to handle waking up everyday and seeing Iman pause by floor-to-ceiling windows, the sun framing her tousled hair and caressing her through the gauzy haze of her unfastened linen wrap. As a man myself I’ll admit to the fantasy: supermodels get lonely too, and maybe—-just maybe—-all Naomi Campbell needs is a Hi from a sincere guy, a guy like me, to calm, settle and complete her.

Reality: no.

Would Tiger Woods have gotten his wife if he wasn’t “Tiger Woods”? Don’t be stupid. But because he is Tiger Woods and not “Tiger Woods” he cheated clumsily and stupidly. (Additional side note: there is no other way to cheat; you will get caught you ignint general sonavumbitch.) The kid in a candy store syndrome.

Supermodels: Marrying men does not lead to happiness. Out of what?—a quadrillion billion humans who have lived on this earth maybe a hundred men have been out of women’s league, any woman, whereas that number gets inverted as concerns women to men. Go Sapphic and save the hassle. There’s an island here in Detroit with sufficient acreage. Procreation is highly overrated, and I can start planting wheat now. I’m sensitive that way.

Don’t thank me.

The syndrome also applies to actresses, athletes, caterers, tricks, hoes, Avon representatives, groupies and best friends’ hot moms.

Ridiculously-gorgeous, it’s Belle Isle or me. I have studied under the tutelage of the Dalai Bowie (I know all the words to ‘Let’s Dance’ and have belted the song ‘John, I’m Only Dancing’ quite loudly on several occasions), therefore I am cool. You will never swing a golf club at my head. I’m prepared to calm, settle and complete you. I'll need up to 4 of you. It'll take about 3 to restrain the Wife.

Call me.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Surplus of One

I’m not as thankful for brutal honesty as I need to be.

I’m not as thankful that my taste buds still work as I need to be.

I’m not nearly thankful enough that people don’t see me as a flaming ass.

I’m not thankful enough or attentive enough to realize every orgasm is a communiqué to and with God.

I’m not thankful enough to slow down and live as opposed to acknowledging the hovering anxiety that stays by my head.

I will fuss about how crazy she drives me but I don’t often thank my wife for keeping me sane.

Thanksgiving as a verb is not merely for gods, it is for one another. Thanking that which you need is an ancient tradition. The hunter thanks the beast for the meat. The ant thanks the child for not stepping on it. The sleeping woman thanks the man for draping a throw over her chilly feet. I am thankful—-head bowed thankful—-that there are living, human beings sometimes reading whatever claptrap I throw out. The common thread is there is thanks without knowledge, thanks that carries itself through its actions and effects. Actions speak louder than words because for the most part we are stupid, mumbly, incoherent things. I can look a man in the face and fervently thank him while wishing I might push him in front of a bus without threat of criminal consequence. The handshake, though, might be a little tight, so he knows. Giving lip service to being thankful is a waste of everyone’s time.

I’m not thankful enough that my sisters-in-law are bright, attractive women. Not thankful enough that my boss doesn’t try to work out personality issues via his position. Not thankful enough that I can hold a child or a hundred pound machine with equal ease. I’m not thankful enough that the one time somebody tried to break into my house was a half-hearted effort at best; they moved a window screen then said forget it. I’m not thankful enough for me, myself and I, ‘cause, dammit, I’m a pretty cool dude. Falsity is a bitch. If you’re not thankful for who you are and what you’re giving, then who are you and what are you giving? Me, I wear lots of hats and I’m thankful that my head is malleable. I’m even able to stare God straight in the face and say “Thank you for my life.” Period. Not thanks for the awesome gift of life itself, but thanks for the particular bit of living I’m feeling right now. My life. Where I’ve kissed breasts, held hands, been punched, made babies smile, kept peace, shown errors, killed when necessary (bugs and beasties but no sapiens yet), eaten Pizzapapolis pizza, made women feel loved and my wife know love, held on at all costs, cried in vain, been bored to freaking tears, despised all of mankind, saw ‘Wings of Desire’ by Wim Wenders, marveled at Prince in concert, never have or will have an opportunity to discuss things with the Pope, watched the last breath of life dry in my father’s lungs, and I have walked, walked everywhere. By sinew and determination my legs have carried me.

But I can’t say thanks for everything, ‘cause some things in life just ain’t right. And that’s where Thanksgiving goes wrong. Thanksgiving doesn’t mean be thankful for everything in your life, but take the time to figure out what you need to be thankful for. I’ll never be thankful for harm coming to a child. For brutality. Intentional ignorance. All ignorance is intentional but some ignorance is lots worse than others. I’ll never thank god for suffering. The day I can’t appreciate a lovely moment for what it is without the precarious balancer of suffering behind it is the day I lather up in bacon grease and open my fly to the ice weasels.

I’m thankful that I don’t take entirely for granted why I’m here. Forgive the messianic complex but my name means ‘light bringer’—-no, I am not your god (yet) but I will take the time to look at things and tell you to come over here and see. By the time I'm done with life "mission accomplished" just might mean something again.

Enjoy Thanksgiving, and in utter sincerity, Thank You.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Well , hello there. Nice to see folks made it. Glorious Revolution’s to the left. Smut’s on the right. Shoes must remain on but you can hang your tops over here. I haven’t actually done much with the place but you can see we’ve got it framed for a sunroom, a nice office, definitely a walk-in closet, and I’m thinking (once the Wife’s input is in) a deluxe laundry room.

Actually, you might want to see one of the September rooms. The first one done was back on September 22 and the rest of the house just kinda flowed from that. A neo-classical modern thing working. Got a little baroque, I will admit, but not a lot. Just that once. You’ll know it when you see it.

Take your time, get comfortable. I’m as new to this as you. My first showing, you know? The décor’s all me. Yes, I can be fabulous. Two have already joined the Glorious Revolution, and one’s contributed. The interweb’s a wonderful tool, so interact at will.

Do not, however, break anything. There’s a lot of delicateness here. Brother will break down and cry, complete with issues.

Anyhoo…piddle about. All are welcome. The invite was sincere. Restrooms are plentiful. Enjoy yourselves.

But for god’s sake, do flush.

Monday Double Shot!!!

Here in Detroit—-and I suspect around the country—-Christmas music has been playing on one of our MegaMart ownership-styled radio stations since about a hair past Halloween. Around the clock. The city thinks it’s ridiculous. The entire state thinks it’s ridiculous. But what do we matter, right? Clear Channel’s will be done.

This is for them.

The A Team

Jesus made the best chocolate chip cookies. Vishnu made the bread. Buddha handled the punch, and of Shiva, tis better the less is said. The ?Great Spirit sat at the head of the table. Mohammed prepared everyone spiced tea. Moses kept bringing word of the world below; finally, everyone bowed their heads. Didn’t pray for lasting peace, didn’t demand pious dread. This grand celestial gathering sent thoughts of fasting instead. No gorging on indolence and foolishness, no dripping red helpings of greed. Quite full off fear and avarice, and deception is why most wound up dead. Supping on evil causes conniption fits guaranteed to shred a peaceful bed. And the dreams of these humans, Moses reported, the dreams, he perplexedly said…

…of those sad mistreated things, ‘tis better the less is said.

“There’s always more,” their dreams scream and scream. “Control, consume and confound!” A steady supply of money is preferable to hallowed ground. “Drink and eat and never need, but always want instead.” Have unwise sex, and seek chemical twists, to balm the wounds by which you’re led.

The celestials fell silent. Jesus stood, decision made. Buddha joined him too. Botha Dish of the African plains completed the trio three. What good’s a party in the celestial rounds with noisy neighbors below? They rappelled to earth, clad all in black and packs, the mission abundantly clear: spread less fear not more cheer, and get back to the work of the day. Their descent was watched from above till the clouds swallowed them up and the ?Great Spirit sat back to lament. Another thousand years, as it gazed at the pile of warm cookies, before any returned to fill up that plate, but this is the role great spirits play, and of that what more is there to say?

Story Day! --- "Hollywood"

Dying had become pretty old for Len Turman by the time he turned forty-six. He’d played the voice of a robot, and the robot had died. He’d been the young black dude in a platoon of brave men, and he’d died. He’d played a sword-wielding immortal and felt good that in the film he was supposed to have lived over four thousand years…until an older and evil immortal deceived and decapitated him. He’d had things rammed into him, poured over him, sliced diagonally across him, shot through him, horribly-gone-wrong spliced into him, lemming-ed off a cliff, absorbed, bitten in half, exploded, knifed, poisoned, burned, and even—as the only black man in a film about the French revolution—guillotined. He’d performed every stunt imaginable and acted against a rainbow assortment of special effects screens. He had yet to have onscreen sex, which is why he got into acting in the first damn place, and today was his birthday. Birthdays were tailor-made for deciding when certain shit was about to stop.

Len Turman made calls. He wasn’t a bad actor, so he made convincing calls. By the time he was done there were twelve black men of varying ages, incomes and acting abilities parked outside his home. Of the twelve, two were famous enough for paparazzi, and before you knew it Len Turman was in front of the TV cameras looking the world dead in the eye and telling Hollywood:

“We quit.

“No more will we die while lesser actors go on to numerous sequels. No more will we turn our backs on wounded villains or provide chewable ethnic flavor.”

“Well,” somebody said.

“We are not your surprise twist endings, your tragi-comic sidekicks, or your security officers. We are actors, dammit—”

“Well, well.”

“We are men!”

“Full grown.”

“We are not going to be the characters everybody knows not to invest too much attention in!”

“Bubba was my best good friend!”

“Oh, no! To quote our great acting brother, we are huge, we are monumental… King Kong ain’t got shit on me!”

“Jungle boogie!”

“Effective immediately, if the subplot calls for somebody to die, it’s gonna be from somebody a whole lot shades lighter than me.”

So a bunch of light-skinned brothers got work. But it wasn’t the same, everybody knew it. Movie-goers knew it. The right expectation just wasn’t there. The ‘Why A Brother Gotta Die?’ movement kept growing and growing, until eight months later Len was found buck naked and OD’d, between two silicon mounds whose dark carpet most certainly did not match the highlights on her blonde head.

Word quickly filtered on the street that Len Turman was a known titty man. Jessica Kitaen’s titties were fake, but they were the best fake money could buy. Fox News aired snotty hourly segments on the so-called ‘Man with a Mission’, and it didn’t take long before light-skinned brothers returned to working as lawyers or shifty boyfriends. Darker brothers returned to work too: Hollywood memorialized Len Turman the only way it knew how. Made a bunch of movies about him.


Friday, November 6, 2009

My Dog Can Kick Your Dog's . . .

There’s a Dogspace. There’s a Dogspace. I kid you not. A place where people can post pictures up and create member profiles…for…their…dogs. I kid you bloody @#*%#ing not. We are so completely batshit lonely that not only do we crave these weird-ass virtual “friends” everywhere but our dogs need them now too. Is “2 girls, 1 cup” the absolute requirement of the day, where everything that can be seen begs to be seen???

I don’t wanna know about your @#*%#ing dog. I did MySpace for 2 seconds as a lark; got on Facebook thinking it was beneficial—it is not—and, by God, the first time I get some random Twitter on my phone (I think I’ve got email function on it, I don’t know) from somebody I haven’t spoken to in 3 months asking me what I’m doing or telling me they’re going out for Whiz and bread…There…Will…Be Blood. I will go all Daniel Day-Lewis upside some crazy mofo. Reach all the way back to a tomahawk, some Mohicans and “No matter what happens you stay alive,I will find you!”—because if anyone’s gonna be the one to beat your ass, I’m gonna be the one to beat your ass. “Go ‘head,” I say with my one eye twitching, “Twitter me. Twitter me bad.”

MySpace. YouTube. When Schwarzenegger comes back butt naked to make sure humanity is doomed he’s going to realize it’s a wasted trip; coulda stayed home and watching cyborg porn.

Twitter? Twitter deez! said the poet to the pastor. Twitter deez!

1) Reality has become the exclusive province of television. 2) The populace is now so stupid that becoming interesting is really too much of a bother. It’s much more preferable to hit Second Life and pretend we’re Astaire on the ceilings of our foreheads. Technology does not serve anymore, brethren. It is marketing itself to create itself. Butt Naked Arnold Machine ain’t looking for John Connor, it’s looking for Market Share.

Dogspace. Social Networking at its best used to be sitting around dissecting the latest episode of Twin Peaks to blow your mind. Or deeper still, saying hi to a pretty lady and being able to carry a conversation with her for five to ten minutes without running out of steam. Social networking used to actually involve people. I ain’t a person on the computer. I am Thor, master of the Willy that brings both joy and thunder! Over there somebody’s Albert Einstein by way of Paul Newman, Cindy Crawford if you squint real hard and completely forget what Cindy Crawford ever looked like, totally over their father fixation (the fact that 18 of her 39 “friends” have monikers like Daddydat69, HopOnPopWhyNot, or WhoArtInHeaven means absolutely nothing) and lastly and leastly over there somebody took time out of their day to create a member profile for their dog on Dogspace, and invite other people/dogs to be their dog’s friend.

Let me repeat that. Listen closely. There are dogs (get the mental picture) that have member profiles on

I can just hear the ghosts of dinosaurs laughing at us, frickin’ T-Rexes with their spastic little arms unable to text worth a damn. I’ll be damned if a dinosaur laughs at me! I am not part of the Matrix! I will not be engineered to be a part of everything without being a part of anything.

I will run naked through the streets and make love with my wife in the Pope’s guest quarters. I will leave my cell phone at home in a drawer on purpose—not charging; let the sucker die of starvation!—and walk outside without shaking.

Lord help us.

Pet lovers? I understand you. I had several dogs growing up. They’re wonderful. Make you feel like God in the garden. Pick up a ball and randomly toss it all the way to the end of the yard? His crazy ass will run it back tongue looping and tail wagging every time. Maintenance ain’t that hard either. Feed ‘em. Play with ‘em. Keep ‘em from sniffing diseased butts. They’re basically children except there’s no chance they’ll grow up hating their looney fart of a parent. Unless you are looney, in which case dogs will run away. You’ll never know why. You’ll think it was a dog thing. Lassie, come home. But Lassie knows crazy. And crazy is not a reliable source of food.

Never fuck with a dog’s Alpo.

Can I ask this: who cares what kind of dog you have? Who needs to see those cute pictures? Who gives a rat’s ass that your dog sits at attention whenever America’s Funniest Pets comes on? I’ll tell you who: crazy, looney folks like you, you Dogspace-using tool of the idiocracy. There are a lot of you, but dammit, that doesn’t mean you should have access to technology! The Amish aren’t sitting around mailing sketches of their horses to one another. Hobbies? Fine. I like Star Trek. But I’m not about to give my imaginary Tribble a page on Tribblespace. Hell, I don’t have an imaginary Tribble. If I did he would kick your Dogspace ass beyond Antares.

Comes a point when the unnecessary becomes the ridiculous. Just because you can…doesn’t mean you should. Can we stop pretending useless, idiotic things are actually beneficial in some synergistic, marketable way? Must every bit of cool technology end up as something annoying? When I was a kid I wanted a communicator and tricorder so badly I’d have gone to church for them. Thanks a friggin lot Verizon and Blackberry! Communicators and tricorders were not meant for douches! They were for Kirk and Spock, dammit, men of action. Heroes. Heroes who needed heroic things. When they perfect transporter technology and fake-accented spokesmen are able to beam themselves directly into the homes of every American for ten seconds a night during mandated commercial breaks in our dinnertimes, I will personally allow rabid squirrels to nest in my pants. On a nightly basis. Then I literally won’t have the balls to keep myself from going nuts.

Amen and good night.

Use the interweb for what it was created for. Sweet, blessed porn. (That’s irony, son. Use irony as you would a dildo in an elevator. Sparingly and with great precision.) Woof.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Today's Shameful Blog

Best part of eating a caramel apple? It’s the nuts. I love nuts. Absolutely adore nuts. Can’t get enough nuts to satisfy me in one day. Mouthful of nuts is heaven.

I say this out loud.

Somebody giggles.

Dammit, people.

Yes, I’m a man, and yes, I need nuts. Just because I need nuts doesn’t mean someone should giggle nervously every time I say I need nuts. Well I need nuts, dammit. If you were a man reading this I would go straight for your nuts. Snatch ‘em off ya like I owned stock in it. Best ones are the ones with a little size to them. I’ll do a sunflower seed too but hit me with a big football shaped almond or that fat cashew with just the right angle of curve to it and I’ll scream “Touchdown!” every day.

Nobody’s come out with a candy bar in ball form. They’re missing a huge market. I know about Whoppers but you hurt your jaw on those. Imagine a Snicker in ball form. I’d roll as many of those bad boys cheek to cheek as I could. They could pack it with extra nuts. Around Christmas several companies come out with round chocolate treats, some of them covered with nuts, but a man shouldn’t have to wait for a special holiday occasion to get his inner nut on. You’d think with all the protein benefits sucking up on nuts would be a year round thing.

I’m just wondering.

So today’s shameful blog is about actresses who give me boner shame. Pam Grier. Nia Long. Carla Gugino. Eva Longoria. Penelope Cruz. Bai Ling. Raquel Welch. Rosario Dawson. Sophia Loren. Jennifer Beales. Salma Hayek. Jennifer Connolly. Now, understand and accept, this is binding only if none of the aforementioned have taken to turning themselves into scrawny sticks suitable only for poking at the ground. A woman who can stand upright in a 20 mph wind is a beautiful thing. This list, and it’s hardly complete, honors women who’ve stopped time at a particular moment of perfection to occupy my lonely mind as permanent objects d’boner whee. That’s French for “out of my league”.

Actors Who Give Me Boner Shame:
Antonio Banderas
Mumble mumble mumble…mumble mumble mumble; meaning there’s more, but—hell, Antonio Banderas—why go on? If I was gay I’d drop some change on the ground where Antonio passes and hide in the bushes. That is one fine, smoldering man. From earlier posts you might imagine I have a jones for the Latin spice. Tell me you wouldn’t eat a cat for Penelope Cruz? In the words of the poet: “Shee-id!” ‘Cause if you tell me that, you would lie to your mama. Which is wrong. I have a thing for flat-out, outright, confident sexual sensuality. Man or woman, it don’t matter. Hell, hot is hot.

Taye Diggs? I would tear him up if I were so inclined. Keanu? Give whole new meaning to the Matrix Bend Over. Slow mo deez. But seriously, in 2009-about-to-be-2010 (this is the future!), can we talk about sexuality as it relates to identity and the raging frivolousness of homophobia? I didn’t do this but when we met I looked the Wife dead in the eye and said, “If Prince ever approaches and offers to do me, I am not saying no.” I can look at a male statue from any one of the classic periods and appreciate it on both an artistic and aesthetic level. The human body, done right by art or nature, is a beautiful thing. Gonads don’t preclude me from admitting that Marc Singer of Beastmaster fame had a helluva male ass back in the day. I know what a helluva male ass looks like. It’s how I want mine to look. I know what it’s like to hug a man, I know what it’s like to kiss a man on the cheek—I, easily shocked, non-cosmopolitan 5th reader, and I’ll slow down because you’re new to this—even know what it’s like to kiss a man on the lips in greeting…FOR THESE THINGS I HAVE DONE. And the Wife naked is about the best thing on this earth alongside peach cobbler and deep dish pizza. So verily I say unto you: I am not ashamed of being what I am. A human being. Because seriously, if Beastmaster’s ass throws you into serious conniption fits about homosexual marriage and the erosion of God into fine dust, you got problems with yourself. Seriously.

Dudes and Ann Coulter? Get a grip. If I catch a gay dude checking me out I pump up. I run home and tell the Wife just to keep her on her P’s & Q’s. Maybe do a little flexing in the mirror. And if a woman lets slip that she fancies me by either word, deed or small bite of her lip as I pass by, I become a major stallion of love that night…depending on whether or not it’s one of the Wife’s TV-watching nights. Friday is Ghost Whisperer/Medium/Numbers night. Jennifer Love Hewitt’s cleavage hasn’t won an Emmy yet but America is rooting for her! (Watching Ghost Whisperer is like watching that special Gomer Pyle episode where they finally get around to discussing spiritually, and where Goober turns out to be a woman with a nice rack, but I digress.)

I don’t understand the paranoia about gays. Guys, come here, especially you Religious Right types. Conservatives, uptight mofos, Vatican priests—come here. Get your asses over here. Don’t tell me your porn tapes aren’t cued up mid-scene where the women are getting it on in hot lesbian bliss. Don’t you dare tell me you’re against homosexuality as you stand there with curiously smooth and supple palms. There’s a reason a jerkoff with very little apparent talent could build an empire off “Girls Gone Wild” drunk party chicks sucking face with each other: you like gay sex! “But, dude, gays are dudes. We don’t watch dude sex. That’s gay!” Ok, smart ass. Let’s run down the names: John Holmes. Ron Jeremy. What? You say you know these names? Seen their rods and watched them hammer? They weren’t getting off on dudes, you say? But if you take the rod out of the equation is porn porn or just a Lifetime Channel movie? Ron Jeremy is NOT Antonio Banderas by any stretch of the imagination, but millions of hot-blooded American men have watched him whip his King Dong from film to film, all while maintaining those supple palms.

Sex is sex, folks. Don’t be scurred of it. Don’t be scurred of stigmas. Don’t worry about that. The only thing we have to fear…are those who fear. Let’s start wrangling ‘em in one by one. Your faithful blog site herein initiates Gay Dudes for Straight Men day. Gay dudes, run up on one of your hetero male friends today and body hug him. If he tries to pull away, grind. If he gets rough, bust him in the chest. Your fist can inflict pain just the same as anyone else’s. Now understand: VIOLENCE IS NOT SEXY. This, your Blog In Servitude, ain’t for everybody, just the sexy people. My homosexual brethren and sisthren: I do not want to see hate crimes perpetrated upon weak-minded homophobes. Pity them if you must and work your hardest to reeducate them, but do no harm…unless they push you, then rip those earrings off and engage in the most vicious slap fight they’ll never forget.

I mention this because somewhere out there, right now, another state is banning gay marriage. Right now.

The future.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Question(s) of Vous

Hot girls are standing by. Homely girls need to pick up the slack, yes?

Who’s the buttmunch who started the first email chain, ‘cause those gonads need the kiss of a foot. Jesus either loves me or he’s casting me into eternal damnation. And yes, I am fully aware that I might die today in one of a million variations of random suffering. Thanks for reminding.

Why do women pretend they don’t need sex? If men didn’t need it we wouldn’t put up with the aggravation of not getting it. We’d be scrap booking or some such. And we’re not referring to random, hot, messy, supermodel sex. Run of the mill, after-the-teeth-are-brushed and is-the-alarm-set sex is acceptable.

When you really want to get somewhere on the road you’re going to get stuck in a knot of stupid people. You know this, but you fuss anyway. My question is, Shut the hell up and drive, Ok? Go around them. Tailgating a stupid person is kind of a Forrest Gump maneuver. Stupid is as stupid…

Why will people wait several minutes for an elevator in order to go down one flight of stairs? No, the stairway doors aren’t locked. There’s a special place in hell for these people: right next to me. I poke them in the eye repeatedly wondering why the light won’t light up.

You’re at work. You’ve held onto that stack of papers to make you look busy long enough that it’s turning yellow. You toss it and prepare to create a new one. Right then either the phone will ring with real work or a coworker will show up with some inane question related to doing work. Why does God hate you so?!

You’ve read that email of George Carlin material one too many times. You delete it and try coming up with pithy observations yourself. You hurt yourself. By the time you get home you realize you’re not likely to come up with anything nearly so witty and spot-on as an electric riff of George Carlin zingers. Instead you watch ‘Dancing With The Stars’ in quiet suicide. Wife or husband comes in, asks how was your day, you say you answered some emails, puttered around… The weight of the universe crushes you. "Frisbeetarianism is the belief that when you die, your soul goes up on the roof and gets stuck." Why couldn’t you have come up with that, you lazy, slovenly bastard? But that’s not the question. The question is how many of the seven words you can never say on TV are now said on TV by old people over an annoying laughtrack?

Have you said the word “tits” today?

Not to get too existential, but if you knew you’d have to repeat your old life again after death, would most of us really pine for an afterlife? I imagine the Pope would have to have a fire sale just to afford more pointy hats. And that’s our true subject. Money. If we view money objectively we come to one startling conclusion: it rocks!

It rocks hard.

Doesn’t matter the currency or country, money is the woman slowly applying thick red lipstick to her pouty lips while we shiver with anticipation tied to the chair.

Not the pursuit of money, which can be laughably ridiculous, but the concept of money, which completely boggles the mind. There’s a reason it’s a religious institution. Money either elevates out of the ether into the real world, or it negates----and thus you entirely, you bumbling, penniless wretch----into a land of perpetual, silent desperation. Money’s about possibilities, and isn’t that God’s thing?

Questions, questions, questions.

Let me and the wife miss two paychecks and the family’s on the street. Welcome the hell to America. Yet, I could have won $5,000 dollars recently. Granted the lottery is an idiotic, inherently rigged machine same as any casino but on occasion we throw prudence to the wind and hope our hunch becomes the butterfly’s wings that launch sweet prosperity our way. Like I did recently. Only I should have chosen better. See, my birthday fell. That’s how you talk about the lottery. Things fall. From heaven. Would have been $5,000 dollars from one dollar had I played it, but I didn’t play it. I played a different number. Just because. But since my birthday’s coming up, I’ve been meaning to pull a couple bucks out of my wallet and kiss them to god on that number. But I didn’t. That day. Which sucks.

So money has power.

Bloody hell.

Money states clearly: I control. I determine. So what if it was dreamt up by Man? It has outgrown Man’s capacity to control it. Why worry about the robot revolution when the ducket revolution goes on? If you think evolution follows no moral imperative, just watch a utility company. A gas company can shut off a family’s supply in the winter if they fall behind in their bills. In the summer that company will have merged with an electric company. Nationwide quite a few seniors will die. The tragedy will be covered in the news, but they will not cover money, not in any real sense. Money can be self-deprecating and will even allow itself a perfunctory probe or critique, but if poked sharply in the ribs prepare your ass for mauling. Stephen Colbert may say bears are the number one threat to humankind, but imagine a big-ass bear with money.

It will do things to you that should not be done.

The song ‘For The Love of Money’ by the O’Jays is one of the most pointed cultural observations of all time. Given enough money there’s a very good chance that very few people would ever see me again. No malice. More like travel. Family should miss us more than they do, no? I’d be in Paris because I wanted to see naked statues next to bus stops; hit the Shinto hinterlands of Japan to get chased by people with real swords; stroll Loch Ness with a shirt saying ‘Nessie Tastes Gud’; find the deepest Mississippi-delta Klan enclave and offer everybody coupons to a huge White Sale (accompanied by trained Pit Bull sharpshooters---of damn course---if you’ve got enough money you should be able to train vicious dogs to shoot high caliber rifles); take my Ma to see a concert in Australia. Why? Because my Ma, who’s been on this earth for over 70 years, has never been to Australia. She’s raised 6 kids, buried 2 and a husband, calmed storms and walked on water when she had to…but she’s never been to Australia. There are people flying to Australia right now who haven’t done a hundredth of my Ma’s work. Ma’s going to travel.

If I had enough money every member of my family would become a philanthropist. If I’m going to set somebody up for life they’d damn well better learn to slice some pie. Me and the wife would have the time and resources to turn our lax bodies into machines of high performance circus lovin’. My sisters-in-law could flash me all they want and it wouldn’t matter because I’d have been to the Hollywood Starlet Nude Beach, lived to tell the tale, and emerged nigh unto a god. My indifference would be legendary.

Please know that my 58% employable prowess comes firmly attached to modest wages and a gaping hole in the sky where manna rains except on me, so $5,000 is very significant. It would have gotten me laid. Big time. The Wife is nowhere near materialistic but even she can’t deny the genetic code of the Big Beefy Leg. A man drops a huge honking furry Mastodon thigh at the mouth of the cave. The woman, overcome with Better-Him-Than-Me syndrome picturing the hunt, happily gives up the Neanderthal draws because what’s a few minutes sacrifice? Ah, wistful, circus love: one day you will be mine. Full-fledged Cirque du Soleil.

But I didn’t heed that niggling question of serendipity. No joy for me. No additional monies. Can somebody please take up a collection and get this poor boy a laptop? (Much like a sword, a laptop given is much better than one bought.) I can practically taste those winnings. They would have been slightly crunchy with a hint of cinnamon. I’d have set my head on them like a soft cushion and praised their downy comfort. I’d have bought myself a nice 3-feet model of the starship Enterprise. A geek with $5,000 kinda makes you wanna treat him with a little more respect. Pig Pen had it right. Most of all I would have quite awesomely and very simply won $5,000. How often does something like that happen during your day, Readers Number One, Two and Three? I’d wager (to carry the metaphor) not very. So as I say damn and pretend it didn’t mean that much, let me glimpse that alternate reality me, the one grinning ear to ear after being sexed out of his gourd grasping the winning ticket. Let me see that lucky bastard’s face and ask him point blank how he knew to heed the signs when to me all they were were curious, random questions. Certain things are just unexplainable till somebody points them out point blank.

Which, generally speaking, is how we get the answer to the question of vous.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Deep Symbolism

This is a picture of how everyone has to deal with the world. I drew it years and years ago. There’s love, which we want to entangle and entwine us, and there’s the ugly mofo sumbitch world, which one of us has to keep the hell away until our arm gives out, after which point we tap out and the other takes over (if it's a good relationship). I never finished drawing it, but later I said to myself the unfinished quality speaks to me. Life itself is never finished. You can live to see your face superimposed over a Smuckers jar on the Today Show's geezer parade (I’m ready to go now, Brother!) but you can never honestly say “The End.” Plot threads will dangle, foreshadowing will have been forgotten about, maintaining continuity is a joke and you will never ever close the drawer on your inner question of ‘Whatever happened to…’

The title of the piece (where’s the Louvre?) is ‘Lovers’, simple as all get out, which is cool seeing as the piece is just fraught with symbolism. Fraught. Some would say this is just Yin and Yang getting it on. Keeping with a vague French theme, we poo poo them. These faceless avatars are the essential gods living within all of us.

And now, having touched ‘pon the essential ephemeral, I shut my computer down and head home. Au river.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Look! I Learned To Add Pictures!

This picture is from the syndicated comic stip 'Pearls Before Swine', definitely a desert island pick for me. I hope I don't get sued for this.

More pictures as events and Borg nanoprobes warrant. Pictures on the interweb. Who knew? (To be honest, I learned to add a picture. This was supposed to have 3 or 4 pithy images, original artwork even, but they kept overlapping and having their way with the text, so I said screw it.)

Seriously, Sarah Palin?

Guest post today. Brother Man sent this to me. There's an attitude among the broken that they , not any ill-prevailing institution, shouldn't be fixed. Let's worry about facts and research later just in case a 3rd person actually starts reading this. This is a blog generously committed to at work, dammit. Do you really think I have time to fact check and research? Hell, people on Capitol Hill don't even do that!

So here, with a few edits and additions of my own, is Bro Smoove (his new name, copyright, trademark & pat pending...

The Mythology of the Health Care Debate
(Or as a donut would say to your wobbly thighs: “You know you want me.”)

Myth #1: “A government-run public option will drive private insurers out of business.”

Did the government-run postal service drive UPS, Federal Express, and a host of other private delivery companies out of business? Of course not.

“Yeah, but the Post Office loses money, millions of dollars a year, if not billions.”

Of course it does. You WANT IT TO LOSE MONEY. Do you really think the magic of dropping an envelope in your mailbox and having it appear reliably anywhere in the country a few days later costs just forty-four cents? You know it doesn’t. But nobody cares unless it’s to score political points during a campaign season.

“Yeah, but it could be run a lot more efficiently, or even privatized.”

Yes, it could, but the true cost of delivering first-class would still be along the lines of “Lemme hold a dollar,” not fifty cents.

And by the way, every time somebody moves out further in the sticks to get away from [Your City Here] why should I have to pay for the new roads, freeway exits, and utility feeds, that protect you from the rest of us. That’s too much government intervention. So let’s just roll it all into your mortgage. Lovin’ those liberal government subsidies now?

Myth #2: “You won’t have choices. The government will dictate the doctors you see, the hospitals you visit, and the level of care you receive.”

You don’t have choices now!! Your employer [The Government] dictates who your health care provider will be; Insurance company then dictates the universe of doctors that you can access, the ones who participate in the plan(s) offered by your company. Until the insurance company decides to change its coverage. Which you generally don’t find out about till you’ve made an appointment and have to come out of pocket just a wee bit more. And if you don’t like the “choices” made available to you, if an alternative mix of protection and care works better for your family? Pull out those gold bullions and buy your own, suck it up and accept your “choice,” or suck wind and move on to the company that does provide Boo Cross, who coincidentally just raised their individual rates by 22% in my state.

Myth #3: The public option will kill Grandma.

If you fall for this lie, there is nothing I can tell you. Most things in life will puzzle you. For your own safety, exit now. Or just enjoy the extra blank spaces I’ve inserted below. Getting sleepy?

Myth#4: Leave it alone. We have the best health-care system in the world.

Tell that to the major cities in America who have infant mortality rates worse than third-world countries. Tell that to my daughter who has to wait months to see a specialist. Tell that to me as I writhed in excruciating pain on the cold floor of the emergency room of a major hospital for five hours, a kidney stone burning my insides. No, there was no nearby disaster, no apology, just business as usual. And I was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t have to watch the sun rise twice. Not that I would have seen it supine on the floor, but you get my point.

“Yeah, but that was an isolated incident.”

Isolation x thousands = A PROBLEM

People die in emergency rooms everyday, sight unseen. Like I said, I (translation we [the shared collective experience]) were lucky.

Myth#5: The proposed plan will cost trillions of dollars.

Read my lips. I-DON’T-CARE. Some things outweigh money. The overriding factor: the public good. Yes, the Post Office burns through billions of dollars. I-DON’T-CARE. Government subsidized mass transit, across the country, loses money daily. I-DON’T-CARE. That money-sucking, government subsidized monster gives people who can’t afford a car an opportunity to ride beyond their circumstances and achieve their dreams. The elderly and infirm get infused with a sense of purpose and self-sufficiency when they can get around just as easily as the young folks. I live in a region that completely ignored mass transit in worship of the all-mighty automobile. So whether you’re nineteen or ninety-one, unless you have a surrogate, or can afford a rare cab, or are willing to wait in rain, sleet, or snow for a bus that may never come, you’re stuck behind the wheel of a car.

Only a carpetbagger thinks it’s all about the money. Sweep this nonsense under the rug and let’s reform health care. -- Bro Smoove

I'm back. Rabble roused? Good. If your question isn't Should we evolve our system of health care? but How should we evolve our system of health care? then I'm here for ya. Money can't hold onto its assets forever. Hell, I'll start small and say no more pharmaceutical commercials on TV. If I have to ask my doctor about XYZ then he's a pretty pathetic quack in the first place. Personally I don't need a duck operating on my feet. I'm delicate.

On a side note (although it's related to health care if you follow it to its logical conclusion) you have any idea how much sex I'd get if I won the Nobel Prize??? The wife would probably dress up as a nun! I'm just sayin'... kudos, sir, kudos. Joe the Plumber will determine at a later date if you get to keep that or not, you presidential history making mofo you. Next for Obama: satisfying every woman in America. Ladies, can you say "finally"?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Why I'm Glad There Are Still People Smarter Than Me

Here's an oldie but a goodie. I wrote this last year, maybe the year before and ran across one of the rejection notices from essay submissions. Figured, hey, why here you go.

The key word is “still”, not “me”—because intelligence is being rooted to extinction like truffles to threatened pigs. Dug from the ground and consumed without the taste of it, without pleasure, relish, or satisfaction but merely for excretion and subsequent disregard. Life presents one challenge: to grow. I’ve been reading one of those books that when I was younger (not by so much) I said I had to read one day. One of those “assignment” books, 1984, except my high school teacher gave us Sinclair Lewis’ The Jungle instead. Here are the things no one should ever die without doing: tasting a woman; holding a man in one place; listening to music with eyes closed; reading something so good it obliterates identity in fell swoops; being happily alone; gulping ice water in a field under a noonday sun; most importantly to an aging populace, remembering without altering, because the older we get the more pressing the need for truth. Young people have the advantage of having miles to go before they sleep and in that time the lies they’re buried under fall off from time to time. Young people have time to become old. Older folks only have time to… ellipse. To follow three dots down a long dark corridor, hands out for guidance along the walls. Older people have the advantage over the young of knowing there’s a destination waiting that can’t be seen but we are drawn down that corridor whether we’re afraid or not. George Orwell never intended 1984 to be an instruction manual for the greed that drives a corporate government. Fascism is not solely a military thing. 1984 wasn’t meant to sell Nike shoes or be publicly debased as a reality show. But those he pointed the warning finger against were smarter than so many of us, so smart that they took Orwell’s masterful work of howling truth any sane person would be damned before they let happen, and openly, indelicately, clumsily made it real. Being dumb is just a matter of ignorance. Being stupid is a matter of craft, and we are inundated with stupid everyday. It makes me sad.

The best thing for being sad…is to learn something. That is the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake listening to the disorder in your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honor trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then—to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. – T.H. White, “The Once and Future King”

The words make love to me. The words are pure, the thoughts pristine. The only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting…is to learn. Consciousness that asks “Is this all that I am, is there nothing more?” instantly transports the mind to a higher state. T.H. White was immeasurably smarter than me when he wrote that passage. Smarter not like disingenuous companies or political machinery, but smart in a way it’s easy to imagine god quietly approves of. Here’s what stupid does: it convinces that reason is overrated, that analysis belongs to the thrice-damned, i.e., the elite, redundant, and counter productive. The general public makes the perilous mistake thinking stupid is dumb. A good piece of it is, but the larger portion creates marketing campaigns that propel industries that manufacture wildly inane products that nobody needs but millions rush out to buy. Stupid fashions political campaigns that attack opposing candidates for their lack of national acumen when at 14 the opponent marched in a gay pride parade because somebody cute said he or she planned to march too. Stupid does this because they know they can get so many to believe there’s value to it.

They will not get us, because, like Forrest Gump, I may not be a very smart man but I know what love is, and I love you. You’re riding this world with me, and you’re here in my mind. I invite you in to share meals. I will not harm you in any way if you are strong and true to yourself and have no plans to harm me. I offer the words of T.H. White. I offer the works of Harlan Ellison. I present the genius of Toni Morrison. I laugh at the infectious wit of Terry Pratchett. I beg you to listen to Ziggy Stardust. And if you have never read Elmore Leonard, what's wrong with you. There are people fighting on your behalf. This is a notion that is meant to be savored as though it is the last bite of a long day. I’m glad there are people smarter than me because they remind me to be smart too. They show me they care about me. They love me.

They really really love me.

Or at the very least like the notion of me. Which is fine and acceptable.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I said there'd be Smurfs... and here they are

Flash of Blue

The tower’s stairwells were usually deserted. Every once in a while the old building’s huge roaches wound up dead in the crook of a step. Rounding the 9th floor landing, Dilby the Tracker spotted one. A little spear stuck out of its side.

Rounding the 9th floor landing, Dilby spotted one: another cockroach with a tiny spear sticking out of its side. The wee men were getting sloppy. He bagged it and thought he caught a quick sight of blue. He whirled. A small blue body lunged from the upper landing, a broad knife between its teeth.

A small blue body lunged from the upper landing, a broad knife between its teeth. It wore the red hat and breeches of an elder warrior, with flowing and matted white beard. Dilby swatted it away in time, but there was no swatting the mass of blue bodies that suddenly appeared behind it. The elder pinged off the wall and stood shakily, wiping blood from its mouth as the surge waited. It looked Dilby dead in the eye. “Live Smurf or die!” it shouted. Blue bodies thundered past its raised fist.

Dead Smurfs. Everywhere. The stench of it…the officer in charge had been on the force nineteen years and had never once mourned as he did now. The tracker, Dilby, had survived, but kept mumbling over and over, “They came by the hundreds…stomped and crushed, they kept coming.” White warrior hats lay like haiku petals…until the officer, Able Murtaugh, came to one slightly different. Blood had dried a lock of…blond hair to it. Murtaugh dropped to his knees…

Murtaugh dropped to his knees, squishing a few half dead Smurfs but it didn’t matter. He pinched up the white hat with the blood around the rim. Their queen. They were nothing without their queen. And he was nothing without her. Forbidden love was a meaningless secret now and his life was over. He rounded on the tracker and drew his weapon.

He rounded on the tracker and drew his weapon. “Rogue!” shouted another officer, drawing his own weapon. Guns pointed at Murtaugh. One gun pointed at Dilby.

Dilby regarded Murtaugh with sudden clarity. “You loved her,” he said, “her?” Dilby stood. “She was death itself, breeding with every one of these—” he kicked a pile of Smurfs toward Murtaugh. A few bounced down the stairs. “They’re everywhere now! We are the dominant species, we!” said Dilby, pounding his heart.

Murtaugh’s finger hadn’t left the trigger. “Stand down,” the other officer, a junior, warned from the landing above. The cramped stairwell guaranteed a ricochet bloodbath.

“Smurfs are a disease!” shouted Dilby. “Humanity is the cure! We will cleanse this world—”

“Live Smurf or die!” screamed officer Able Murtaugh and whipped the gun to his own temple. The shot pierced the wall. The moment before he fired and fell he thought he saw a foot twitch, a small white shoe with heels, and he realized that his dead body would squish her. The final thought of officer Able Murtaugh, decorated officer of the Civil Police Force, and never to be known by any, not even himself, was ‘Oh damn.’

Murtaugh’s clothing was sticky with crushed Smurf jelly. A young M.E. made the joke about slapping peanut butter on him. They wheeled Murtaugh’s body outside. The medical examiner’s assistant was pretty. If he was lucky he’d be able to skim some of this aphrodisiacal jelly off and maybe get it refined by the Chico Brothers, who didn’t exist but who made the finest highly illegal Smurf-caine available. Dead Smurfs got geeks laid. “This was terrible,” he said to his assistant. She looked somber. “Yes,” she said. He handed her a shovel to scoop up the beginning of a Smurfy night.

Crouching Writer, Hidden Dragon (yes, China & Japan are two different places)

My loving wife does not want me to have a sword.

This might not seem important but bear with me.

I’ve wanted—-no, needed; verbs create reality—-needed a sword since long before the stupid ‘Highlander’ movies. I go all the way back to Kurosawa and the Seven Samurai, dammit, establishing for the jury a rich cultural history behind my image of racing through the house like stealth itself, sword poised. Notice we stop at poised. Generally you have to add “to strike” to use poised in the manly protector predicate sense. Any other infinitive is basically a sissy. But to end with the simple declaration ‘poised’ suggests the calm Zen of an ancient. Nobody necessarily needs to strike to be effective. This isn’t quite ‘talk softly and carry a big stick’ because usually the entire point of that saying is the stick. Poised with a sword, however, suggests an artistry of potential a thuggish stick will never attain. And we’re not talking the brutish flat sword or prissy rapier. No, the sword I need is straight up Ninja.

Can a brother get a Masamune?

A simple Samurai sword. They sell them in the malls now, usually made in China and sold by Koreans, but the cool isn’t diminished one bit. The wife has seen a Lifetime Network movie or two. She likely imagines me going crazy enough one bland, normal day to go running the streets with tube socks tied sumo-style up my butt and maniacally holding onto a sword, flailing my arms madly but maintaining my grip even as the police tazer me; to her the one thing the news crews would focus on is that sword raising the embarrassing question of what kind of woman would let a man be stupid enough to own an actual sword. (The Lifetime Network is to women’s best interests what Hannibal Lecter is to a community potluck.) Cable TV has taught women that no matter how normal and loving one’s husband pretends to be, he will eventually nut up and drag one through months of scorn and shame until one takes a kick-boxing class to reclaim one’s womanhood. My wife won’t even consider the benefits of me with a sword; all she sees is a montage of difficult to triumphant kick boxing lessons.

The wife, for everybody out there, ain’t tryin’ to sweat.

She mostly argues, “You don’t need a sword.” Ok. I’ll give her that. But conversely, does she need to pay a shameless, able-bodied human being to wash her hair? The ‘Wash, Condition, Blowdry’ is the most evil thing perpetrated upon the male psyche. She will tell me she’s paying somebody $30 to do her hair. I’m thinking ‘Ok, styling takes time; she’s going to come home with the sensuous mane of Venus and we’ll make mad love and her hair will sing at being tousled and whip itself back into shape with one fling of her head. 30 bucks ain’t bad.’

But she actually admitted to me that it’s just a wash, condition, and drying. My brain sparked and smoke came out my ear. I’m temporarily unable to understand my place in the world. I don’t think the Code permits that kind of bald-faced feminine admission while the woman is clothed. Nevertheless, the damage is done and the genie is now that jobless relative who decides to move in with you.

There is no going back; I now know why the boothed shampooer sings.

I’m thinking she’s obviously left something out. Probably the scalp massage. A long scalp massage with warm oils while being served cool drinks would round a wash, condition and drying to $30.

Pretty quickly, though, I was standing there with smoke coming out both my ears.

“You don’t need to 'get your hair done,'” I countered. “I’d wash your hair for 10 bucks.” I’d done it for free on quite a few occasions (dating and trothed, but I don’t point this out to her). All those free washes, I could’ve made enough money to buy my own sword. All the birthdays and Christmases and shoveling dead birds from the yard—not a single hint of a sword. But she’d given good wages away to someone to wash her hair, dry her hair, and smugly call next, something she’s performed on her own in our very own kitchen sink.

We were smart enough to be together long enough to actually practice love. 16 years total. Married 10. I let her know early on that I was a man who wanted a sword—that’s not the kind of thing you want to let come up unaddressed. Early on she just gave me that coquettish look that said ‘Dummy, I rule you’ and I smiled because, well, it was true. Birds fly, women rule, shit happens. A benevolent ruler, though, knows to provide for the masses. A gifted sword is much better than one I buy myself, for it implies assent to my righteousness. Best a man simply be patient.

Got married. Anniversaries came and anniversaries went, but not one sign of a sword. This year’s, the 10th anniversary, is a big one; I figure the fruition of years of patience is at hand. I don’t make an issue out of it. I just casually say I think I should get a sword this year. Hell, we’re thinking about redecorating. A sword hanging on a wall automatically makes everybody in its vicinity classy.

Coquettes shouldn’t snort when they laugh.

I’ve guaranteed her the last thing I would do if I nutted up would be grabbing the family sword. I would drive the car through the living room then ask her for butter. BUT SHE’S GOT NO PROBLEM WITH ME DRIVING TO WORK EVERYDAY!

So I’ve recently realized: it’s financial. You can’t make money with a sword. It’s useless during interviews and since I’ve never been permitted the opportunity to study under wizened blade masters, having one doesn’t lend itself to any particular skill sets. A man with a sword just isn’t marketable.

Why do women think cool has to be marketed?

Picture please: 3 feet 8 inches long from tip to leather-wrapped hilt, silvery metal perfectly balanced and the entire shape of it so symmetrical as to be organic. No, I did not say phallic! Primitives. It doesn’t extend from the hand, it is the hand. This is God-given precision. It’s a paint brush that performs in the very air with crisp slices and whirls.

As you picture this, please picture me with split-toed ninja shoes.

My 11 year old niece and I—since she was very small—have a Christmas tradition of battling mightily in the basement with the empty wrapping tubes, attacking one another until the cardboard swords rip to shreds. Imagine transforming that tradition into me actually teaching her Whirling Dragon or the forbidden Who Dat technique. We are depriving this child of a cultural heritage!

Loving Wife asks, “What would you do with a sword?” I would stare at it in awe for hours, hello? Don’t be obtuse. I would slowly unsheathe it just to hear it click back into its wooden sheath. I would be eyes in the darkness.

I would quite effectively be the coolest I have ever been in my entire glorious life.


Talk about admission.

Psychological laying bare.

Wife doesn’t realize the sword frees me to be an empathetic, emotional, in-touch man.

I just want to be loved. Wow.

And if I can somehow manage to slice the branches off a tree quicker than the branch has a chance to fall…that’s just cool times two.

All I want is to be a better man. Now what’s more important than that?

Happy Anniversary, Baby.

Thank you.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Elmer Fudd With His Foot On Your Neck

A Ghetto’s not a ghetto until it’s a state of mind.

They’ve ghettofied music. When’s the last time you heard something that stirred your soul?

They’ve ghettofied books. When’s the last time you read something that proved the world was alive?

The’ve ghettofied parenting, so much so that it’s trendy for marginally amusing white comediennes to do a movie called Baby Mama.

They’ve made children obsolete. When’s the last time a kid smiled at you unfettered by technology, just because life was cool?

They’ve made thinking evil. How did intelligence become the realm of the elite?

They’ve made sex inescapably stupid. What it was: “I want you, but I want you to want me too.” What it is: “I wanna make love in this club, love in this club.”

Instead of infected blankets to Native Americans they give technological baubles to the masses, killing brain cells by the billions.

They kill the imagination by mining every last hero from our dreams.

Strawberry fields forever.

They tell us a savior is coming but the truth is the devil retired a long time ago.

The like the word “classic” and make sure to use it 12 times a day.

Nothing is real.

There’s nothing to get hung about.

They inject us with poison then tell us we need to live healthier lives.

They are right bastards and proud of it.

Hunt them with me. Let me take you down,

Where there are plenty of rabbits...
The future is a talk show and we are the buffoons at play. Every U.S. citizen will have to be DNA-verified by Surgeon General Maury Povich. Affairs with your best friend's man/woman/wife/husband will be mandatory. Classes in how to flail your fists wildly will start at fourth grade. Anyone not able to shout convincingly will be kicked off debate teams.

I've seen the future and it will be.

Constitution will be amended; you can't say anything is stupid anymore. Finally a wide-open society, where the braincell-impaired no longer have to feel put upon and mouth breathing is accepted just the same as flip-flops at work.

Y'know, Orwell didn't intend 1984 to be an instruction manual.

We've seen the future. And it's seen us.

Hasta la vista, baby.

The Dead Horse

The last cell phone conversation killed the English language July 3, 2008. Exhaustion. It wasn’t a particularly egregious conversation. It had primarily to do with Joanne’s trip to the stylist not being a satisfactory experience. They gelled her up too much; the style wouldn’t last more than two days before she’d have to wash it. The only reason she’d paid him was she had no backbone. She didn’t say this. What she said was she should have told him I’m not about to walk out like this, please, I don’t know who you think you’re fooling. Then she laughed the laugh of haughty displeasure. A snorty exhalation, actually, since she was poor compared to the rich, and haughty is always badly mishandled by the poor.

Joanne spoke outward for a tiny bit of fiction in her ear, a Bluetooth it was called, a receiver dreamt up to make the ignorant believe they are cutting edge and finally provide the insane a welcome sense of community. She spoke outward because the machine made it so: only something so convenient could make the utterance of every banal thought into a necessary reality, and the beauty of such conversations was that in having to pay for them—-because the cell phone service was not free—-each conversation was therefore a thing of importance, if not absolutely imperative. Only a fool wore a Bluetooth without speaking into the air. Only a fool kept a cell phone tucked inside his or her pocket rather than held at the ready to respond.

Sucked dry and dazed, language (being a living thing) fell face down, blind in the desert, rolling with effort onto its back and uncaring about the heat on its face or the certainty of doom. The end of things was not so much sweet, not so much necessary, as it was appropriate; other languages would certainly join it. English, born tattered and pastiched, forcibly ignored the sand in its crevices and mouth and focused on the heavy slowness of its body. The area around it would inevitably become a mass grave. Here lies English. There lies French. Beloved Italian, neither flowers or wine...

Joanne’s mouth worked the entire time between driving to pick up lunch, all the way through reaching the checkout. English died while she purchased sesame chicken with extra sauce. A large posted sign read PLEASE END CONVERSATION AT REGISTER. Joanne smoothly uttered “Brb” (the letter b, the letter r, the letter b, as though they were three words) to whatever was on the other end of the line, shlooped money across the counter, received and dumped the change into her huge purse, and whisked off with her food, conversation resumed the exact moment she touched the plastic bag. Plastic released one from constraints. The restaurant she frequented was notorious for cancer causing MSG and plastic but she loved it. Went there at least twice a week. She would call people to tell them she was on her way there. She would call them to tell them she was there. There was someone, always someone, who needed to hear she wasn’t particularly going anywhere. The important thing, deep in Joanne’s heart, was that she call someone, not that she have something to say. In the scheme of things her voice was small but it was constant. She spoke, therefore she was.

Unending winds whittled English to its white bones, and those bones to sand. It was a painless death. It had been disoriented too long to feel anything. The death wentlargely unnoticed. News anchors continued uttering “gonna” but didn’t notice its increased frequency. “I’m Ain’t”, which got its start on tee shirts, became the norm for expressing any defiant attitude, particularly among young white-collar males. Movie titles became, in effect, Roman numerals. RB’s—-or reading books—-required expository videos at key moments on the ipod screens in order to continue to exist. RBTV, the latest addition to the MTV roster, was the pod of choice for college students 19—24. Communications companies merged into the largest corporate entity in the history of the world, The Party Line, once it dawned that there was no need for competition: everyone wanted to talk, everyone wanted to pod, everyone wanted to text. The Party Line literally encircled the globe. Data and information were bothersome. People had more important things to do. With The Party Line’s One World plan you could talk/text/email anytime you wanted absolutely free as long as you kept your semi-annual dues up as a member of The Party.

A researcher found a piece of English in the desert. No one knew how it had made the trip to Africa or why. Wikipedia theorized that Shakespeare had been Zulu. The Party Line postulated that it had died escaping terrorists, brave, stalwart language that it was. They put their top scientists the task of cloning it. The twisted, mangled results were never publicized but, at under cover of night, were shuffled into the public domain. Some died immediately, others slogged away, altering a word here, a usage there, like sludge covering candy. No matter what The Party Line’s scientists did, English never came back.

Honestly, no one missed it, except the cultists, the ones in the Library Compounds forcing “quiet zones” on their children and invoking the Presidential Standard of Religious Benefice as a means of being left alone. They were tolerated as long as they didn’t try to interact, which meant they were entirely at the mercy of the larger world for food and other necessities. Librarian farms were wonderful things, but three quarters of all crops went toward Benefice costs. Three quarters of what they consumed came from Party Line subsidiary companies. Television broadcasts regularly denounced Librarians as unhealthy and hardly something an enlightened society should tolerate, no matter how well the nuts maneuvered government loopholes. They pointed to the Davidians, Ghana, Bloomfield Hills—-nutz and ballz all, “Nutz and ballz!” the rallying cry of Orville Smythe, the first and only talkshow host to topple Oprah and one of the leading dismissers of these bastardized “Librarians.”

Supposedly, and there was of course no way to confirm or deny this, there was an enshrined Librarian who knew the precise time and cause of English’s death, a death kept quiet by The Party Line. Language Over Libraries (perpetually enraged at LOL), a rogue offshoot, carried out neighborhood liberations in this unknown Librarian's unseen name, sabotaging link-towers with randomly activated worms. An edgy population never knew when its service might cut off in the middle of a conversation or YouTube InnerVision debut, however, an increase in commercials and tie-in placements for Party Line products and services proved sufficiently mollifying. The Wrong Number Give Back Plan had recently launched. The idea was for every minute you stayed on the phone with a wrong number a donation would be made to a—-to the Party’s benefit figuratively (and clandestinely literally)—-charity with an appropriately vaguely philanthropic-sounding name. This coincided with the release of a movie thriller whose nationwide preview featured a seductively voiced woman’s moist lips saying into her phone, “Is Fred there?”, with a man on-screen absentmindedly answering, “You have the wrong number,” to which she replies, “No, I don’t.”

Sex, friendship and closeness were all products of talking to somebody miles away. The Party Line made sure the world woke up to this, showered to this, made love to this, commuted to this, shopped to this, relaxed to this and went to bed to this. Security meant hearing your voice in the crushing darkness, and the world was dark no matter the time of day. The enshrined Librarian, being “the light to read by,” indeed finally knew that years ago Joanne Ashmon’s cell phone conversation killed the English language like an ice pick slowly pushing its way through tissues and muscle toward that one precious spot. How she knew this is through arcane genetics, but the how is not as important as the group of LOLers currently creeping in on Joanne’s location. To be tried for crimes against humanity was never a good thing.

The chances of Joanne BRBing into old age were not good.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Female Problems

Brother Man wrote to me: “I enjoyed your blog mostly from the perspective of not too many brothers behind me trying to hold onto their marriages, or their kids, lured by stank plus low or impossible expectations of what marriage is all about. Our biggest problem is our own self-imploding mindset. The Man could leave for Mars tomorrow, and black men would still be caught in the same ‘I'm a playa,’ dysfunctional, gravity well.”

Brother Man got skills, but that’s self-evident. Responded regarding my 10-year marriage. He’s been married 26 years.

I felt him, and wrote back: “Worst thing about so many of our brothers, young and old? Referring to women as ‘females’ (pronouncing it as though women are an offshoot of the Klingons). Every time I hear some dude say he doesn't know what's up with females I cringe at the clinical detachment. Hate it. Want to scream at the brothers, ‘You're what's wrong with 'females'!”

“A decade in,” in the same note from Brother Man to me, “you have discovered the key to marital accord: ‘Shut the hell up.’ Welcome Obi-Wan, you’re headed for silver and gold, the 25th and the 50th. And trust me, if you Shut The Hell Up you’ll make it.”

Let’s discuss shutting the hell up on the macro level. Let’s play God. Here’s a young man. He’s black but he doesn’t have to be. But he’s young and stupid, which tend to go hand in hand. Let’s make him 24. The rest of his socio-standings don’t matter, ‘cause stupid is a private thing, hood up to corporate down.

He might have had one or two “relationships” by now; let’s say he managed to get laid in one. But they’re the past, so cue Denzel Washington screaming, “King Kong ain’t got shit on me!” on a constant loop inside the boy’s brain. But we’ll take the pain down a notch and say he’s on the phone with one of his boys—because stupidity sometimes requires distance. He’s 24, so sex is 90 percent of the conversation. His boy is getting it from stupid girls and he’s not, so he thinks he can say something like this and get away with it, shaking his head as though the injustice is too heavy:

“Man, these females, man…I don’t know.”

But he’s forgotten we’re God, so no, you don’t get away with it, so shut the hell up. Females. God looks off to the side. God’s never heard girlfriends talking about “Males.” They’ll dog a trifling Negro in a heartbeat, but that’s a specific breed. Are young men especially stupid compared to the corollary sex? And God’s a black man (bring in Morgan Freeman if you want but I’d rather it be me) so he’s particularly concerned about this fool here who has cut himself off from all that is beautiful and exquisite with one deft word, an act that usually takes a lifetime’s accumulation for one man to achieve.

Understand, young brothers: every day of all our lives we’re theoreticians. In theory, women love men, men love women, women love women, men love men, and people are good at heart. That’s the theory. If we let go of that theory we’re doomed. The precise second love gets erased from the equation gets marked throughout personal history as the precise moment of your screaming, undeniable doom. No one loves a quote-unquote female, but a “woman” makes the mouth water, because that word implies so much more than simply anatomical constitution. A woman has been through things, has done things, has the wherewithal to know things and can set someone on fire with a soft kiss to the forehead. A woman knows love is worked toward, not given. A woman knows the price of diamonds and pearls has nothing to do with maintenance costs, for she is not a thing to be shined, upgraded or bought. A woman knows that a man is a wonderful, precious soul. A woman is soft and smells pleasant and her skin is magnetic to lips.

A female is made of wood. She has no soul, and when a man’s penis shrinks is how he determines she’s told a lie. A female is this terrible, necessary thing to him. A bother, really. If not for females a young brother’s life would be gold. The fact that there are so many of them is both his blessing and curse. It won’t be hard to find another when the time comes, and avoiding them is damn near not allowed. Females don’t get love. No inner life opens up in their presence. Females are ditch diggers and hole fillers. They be trippin’ too much.

…Shut the hell up.

Objectified to the point of putting breasts on Pinocchio, vilified for failing to raise your pitiful sense of self worth to decent levels while you sit back and watch her lift and groan, characterized in your paltry experience as other and therefore untrustworthy—to all the young dudes out there, buy some Jergens and shut the hell up.

Since we're grown, there's no reason not to be blunt. Female is to woman as bitch is to dog, clinically correct but unsavory. Stand up and defend that mindset if you want. See how fast your ignorant ass gets smote into the self-fulfilling prophecy of a miserable life. The Theory of Human Relativity states that if they are a thing, you are a thing. Wood will never stick to precious metals. There is no possible attraction.

There are ladies out there asking Gepetto what’s wrong with them. Some boy got mentally and physically inside them then left his stink to linger. Some ladies are made of wood, just like some men are. People can only help themselves. God knows the fairy dust hits more than it misses, and thank God for that. To all the ladies wondering if they’ll “ever be a real boy,” read a letter a man wrote specifically to you:

The situation with so-called men who have to deal with all these "females" in our society is absolutely nuts. I recently had to talk a friend off a cliff because a series of trifling men and no account, grown-ass kids caused her to question her own worth.

You question what you would see if your life flashed before your eyes. Would it be the bright light of accomplishment or the dim bulb of unfulfilled dreams? I can’t answer that for you. All I can tell you is what the world sees in you:

A woman who kept her strength when a weak man walked out.

A woman who raised three children, some of whom have issues, but those issues were not planted by her mothering and should not be watered with regret.

A woman who walks in faith and commands respect, a guiding light who can’t see her own beacon, for now.

A woman who has a job, not a career. A woman who for a lesser amount of money has more riches than any paycheck, in every page she turns, every play she enjoys, every work of art she appreciates, every tasty morsel she shares, and every grandchild she holds. All worth their weight in gold and taller than any corporate ladder.

A woman who approaches sixty with grace, ageless beauty, and the power to make a very lucky man very happy. There is no doubt in my mind, and you should have no doubt in your heart, that God will bring him to you. Not a man weighed down by life, but a man buoyed by love, a man who will brave any storm to be by your side.

A woman who should read the paragraph above, again.

So hang in there. No more tears. The best of life, and the best of you, is yet to come. And when it does, now that’ll be a story to tell!

Brother Man penned that and said I could share it with the three people reading this. If you don’t want to be a goddess it’s cool, but know that the gods are above on a certain level, and that’s where they’re looking for you. There are still lots of gods left to be seen. Sisters of all stripes need to know they are deeply loved, appreciated, cherished and respected. Ethnicity is irrelevant. Age is irrelevant. Sexual inclination is irrelevant. What matters are the intertwined thoughts, desires and vulnerabilities necessary in that beautiful construct that toward the end people finally realize is life. I love my wife even though she makes me question my own sanity by steadfastly enjoying ‘The Ghost Whisperer’ (a TV show about a woman, her boobs, and a bunch of bunch of dead people that just need a hug). We’re so intertwined that I often forget that I’m a man. That’s not emasculation, that’s emancipation. There’s no way I could achieve that highly-favorable state viewing her in any real sense as the other. Brothers need to listen to ‘I Would Die 4 U' off the Purple Rain album real real loud, because the amnesia toward the joined, perfect state is spreading.

Simply put, what's wrong with females is men calling them females.