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.