Sunday, October 31, 2004

Doing well, going to hell.

Never sure how to react… house-warming party at Hannah’s… time to leave. Outside the party we discover that someone has taken a crowbar to the passenger door handle of my car. It has been dislodged from the door and is hanging from the side of the car by the cables. I only keep liability on my cars so I have no recourse. We don’t call the police because what would be the point? My rates would just go up. I’ve wasted breath on cops before and seen nothing happen. Like when Sebastian was attacked or when my LTD was crushed by a drunk driver at 3 am. They somehow got away after hitting nearly every car on the same side of the street. I have been a victim many times, but I have yet to see anything that makes me think justice is more than a nice idea.

My car has not been broken into – the door still works. Perhaps this just was happening as we were exiting the party and they ran. There was nothing to steal in the car. Nothing was stolen except my enjoyment of the evening and the presentable visage of my vehicle.

I am unemployed as of tomorrow and people are attempting to break into my car. The car door is now fucked up and not easily fixable. We do not seem to be on a good path do we? On the other hand, it could have been much worse. They could have broken out a window, etc. This attack is small in scope. Why does my life suddenly feel like the beginning of Stripes?

Hannah has to live in that neighborhood, though St. Louis has a high car crime rate in general. On Arundel Place in a very nice neighborhood someone smashed out the window of my Ford Fiesta to steal my radar detector; I had taken the device in the house and left the cord. So too, my cell phone was in my pocket, but the charger cable was glowing green LED from the cigarette lighter, perhaps they thought there was something there to steal.

Impersonal attacks are in some ways worse than personal ones as they remind us of the simmering hostility of which we are all potential targets.

Hannah, “We should still report it for the sake of the neighborhood.”

Vanessa, “It’ll just make your rates go up.”

Karl, “I just want to go home and go to bed.”



Overblown supercharged rhetorical razz up for the intellectual personal and financial football game that is about to commence:

I hereby invoke the power of Miyamoto Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Machiavelli’s mountain missive to the Medici (or was it meadow? What was the topography of his exile?). I am Ronan hear me roar. Let’s hit the ground running shall we? Tomorrow at nine a.m. I go to work for myself as independent contractor extrodinare.

Bluntly I am sick of working for other people whose values I don’t share. I am sick to death of lacking the courage of my convictions and being compromised and coy for cash. If I am to now put all the energy into my life that heretofore I have put into the HAC, which is considerable, and from which I have been physically and spiritually exhausted, I should take the skills in multitasking machination that I have developed and use them in a way that is consistent with my ideals (which are what exactly?). I do believe it’s time to get my praxis up and running.

Why did I burn out on teaching in the first place and why have I been afraid to go back? Because I couldn’t pay my bills and I didn’t believe in the way that I was teaching. Honestly, I was still painting too much by the numbers and I lacked the energy and the will to break my process and reassemble it correctly so that I could teach from a standpoint that I found ethically satisfying.

Practical praxis #1 – revenue stream - Monday

File for unemployment to ensure cushion – Jason will be the lawyer on that one based on prior experience, should it come to that, however Deby raised no objections when I sounded her out. Regardless, the guns are drawn.

Car for sale in driveway
500 or best offer – needs work – copy of prescription for repair from garage in window.
Sell it honestly and quickly

Car, etc. also for sale on Ebay

Master Ebay – liquidate the lodge of luxury items (as if)

Applications in to sub in local school districts

Clarify freelance offer – two fold – offer to establish him in St. Louis via my contacts with Spirit Seeker, The Living Insight Center, etc. & work book deal at lower rate with residuals.

Join Tammy’s networking association for freelance writing – make offer to Cindy at Spirit for freelance

Consider grant writing certification in Oklahoma should revenue stream allow it.

Exercise – it’s time for me to improve my health through exercise and diet.

Space – clear my clutter with feng shui (get ready for garage sale)

Humor – write account of Sunday’s ridiculous encounter with gym church

Family – spend the evening with folks and Henry

Future – FAFSA – could actually start somewhere as non degree seeking student at semester – December – get gala loans (10,000 max per grad year at low rate) and roll credit card debt into them.

Conundrums – bar work pays bills, but comes with a lifestyle price tag of the slippery slope variety – Monster.com generates offers, but why not be your own boss for once? Nothing-ventured… work at Venture. Can we please get beyond the ongoing ego ass kiss of the ethically dubious?

Albatross – Phil is bringing new battery at Thanksgiving, which will go to the bus– I will make a late November or early December attempt at resurrection.

That sounds like a full day doesn’t it?

Final advice – the best part of being your own boss is that you control the pace – you need to decompress and haste can oft bring waste to health and happiness – so said Churchill and other worthy toastmasters. Set yourself a schedule that you can rely on to prevent depressing slide into inaction – you need an influx of cash by the fifteenth and another one by the thirtieth. Your lease is up at the end of February and you paid first and last so that means December and January rent & December, January, and February bills/credit card payments.

Now go to Hannah’s and help warm her house!


Sunday – time to get religion

Some people attend religious services only on major holidays of the church year. I’m like that. I attend church when my parents are in town. They have been here all week post Henry birth, but have been staying with Sandy and then Vicki, first to help with the baby and second because Vick has good parking for their motor home. Today I am meeting them at a church that they want me to join. Since I am now Michael and Abby’s Godfather they feel compelled to get me some churching up.

I actually like some things about church; I like the old belt um out battle hymns of the Lutheran psychosis: culturally Lutheran. Today would be a high church holiday as well; reformation Sunday celebrating, you guessed it, the reformation. Ah, blood baths of ideological invention faltering into class warfare, how shall we celebrate and honor your murderous devisiveness? I have it! Cover over the Pagan festival and the catholic veneration of saints, with a “here’s why we left” jamboree in honor of Luther’s ninety-five theses tacked to the door at Wittenberg. Cue the battle hymns of the republic!

Here’s one for the record book. I walk into the upstairs of Vick’s house yesterday. My father and my nephew are cleaning the basement. Vick and Camilla have gone to the St. Louis Zoo for an international students festival. My mother has her black and white cow spot cardboard journal open and she is writing what’s happened and what’ on her mind. My mother was always a prolific letter writer and now I discover by accident that she has also been journaling much of her life.

So we had a long talk about it and she confessed that she didn’t know why she did it and she couldn’t imagine any of her children or her children’s children wanting to read what she written. “They all be too busy and just throw them in the fire when I’m gone.” Her seventy-third birthday is tomorrow and I am buying her a very nice journal. I also promised her that if she left her journals to me I would read them, preserve them, and insure that they were available to her children’s children. She used that as a way into needling me about not having a good Christian wife and children. She wants to meet my kids before she passes. Which is not going to be anytime soon. She and my father are both ridiculously healthy and just bought a new convertible.

I’d write more about the weekend, but I don’t want to be late to somewhere I’ve never been before.

Missing stories –
Friday night “got fired” party with my family followed by
Costumes at Erica’s 26th birthday
Saturday night – poker with some of the gang – Carlo cashed in at 67$


Friday, October 29, 2004

Home again, home again jiggedy jig. (Repeating Blade Runner reference)

What to say… just checked my stat counter – yesterday was off the chart, people checking in to see if I’d go postal I suppose. Hmmmmmmm.

After I got back from lunch the store cleared. Tom, Deby, Tanya & others scattered. I figured there was a cake involved. Behind my desk was an order from All Together Diaper company where we (they) … get their cloth bolster and headrest covers. I took it to the storeroom and saw Deby and Tanya milling in the classroom trying to hide the cake. “Good luck Karl” written on it in icing. I returned to the front desk and asked Jody how long I should pretend not to know there was a cake.

“Humor them.” Yup, that's what I do.

Sooooo the Shiatsu class came down, Tom came back from the bank, and we all went into the classroom for (surprise) the cake. Tom said a few words about how the systems I had established would remain in my absence, that the success of the students there was in part my doing. Sweet Michelle said she’d chosen our school because of me, a few other people said similar things. Tom asked if there were any more testimonials – jovial – and there were. Deby told the story of dropping my birthday cake into a bin of fleece table pads, hugs and pictures ensued. I had to show Tom how to work his camera. No more digital shots for a bit kids as the work camera is no more – though I do have a scanner. Tom hugged me goodbye and I told him, “good luck.” He asked if I had read it off the cake. I had.

The cake was stale. That about sums it up don’t it?

Karl, "I feel like we're breaking up."

Jody, "You and the HAC? Haven't you been here longer than any of your relationships lasted?"

Karl, "Melinda was two and a half years and Ruthann was two, so at three full years that would be yes."

Said goodbye to the building, talked about Spinoza’s conception of God and St. Augustine’s rejection of the Manichean heresy with Jody and we found out we went to high school together and her girlfriend dated Nate. She linked me on friendster, which I invite all of you to do. I had Deby tell me that she wouldn’t have made it without me and I left. Chapter Close.

Page One…


The final day

Mellow drama – really mellow – I am the only one here. Parked in the empty lot and had the, “here I am in this part of the fish tank again” experience at the doorway. My large tank at home has gone cloudy with the imbalance created by new fish in the tank. I need to do a water change to restore balance – we all need change to keep our balance eh?

Having listened to NPR on the way in I was thinking the thoughts of lasts – last time I take this way to work wondering, “I am a pretty emotional guy, why isn’t this affecting me more.” It all feels resolved, matter of fact. I unlocked the front door and removed my key from the chain. I unlocked the store and did the same. Perhaps I was trying to create a little moment for myself, but really I’m not feeling it. Or I am feeling it, and what I am feeling is relief, the setting down of a burden. I left both keys on Deby’s mouse pad where she’ll find them later.

Jody is now here. I’m leaving most of the morning work to her. Jody has a tattoo of a pineapple on her left bicep, very tiki. I have a large coffee stain down the front of my coffee colored shirt. I have a tattoo of a sun on my right shoulder blade. I bought it with my first paycheck as a graduate teaching and research assistant – GTRA. Maybe I should get a tattoo of the moon today with my last HAC paycheck, bookend the cycle with indelible ink in honor of Wednesday’s lunar eclipse. Sure, why not.

I am considering all the time that I will have to read initially. According to my daily email from The Writer’s Almanac, today is Boswell’s (Johnson’s biographer) birthday and I’ve never read it. It is apparently considered by many to be the best biography ever written. Perhaps I will read it. I am sleepy, hung over, & neutral. MB and I swam in the deep end of the gin pool last night so all of these lasts will be buffered by last night. She gave me twenty bucks to buy myself a nice lunch or dinner after I leave. I’m not sure when I will leave, whether or not I am wanted to work a full day. Blah.

I bought three new little cherry barbs and Angela gifted me her more aggressive giant golden Gourami, who seems quite happy with his new digs and has settled into tank hierarchy just below the red tailed shark, who is himself under the monstrously sized prehistoric Pleco. Plecos have something like exoskeleto-armor. They are passive fish unless food is involved. Angela has been having a bizarre problem in her tank. She keeps buying plecos and they keep disappearing. I think they are all inside these fake rocks that she has, she thinks the Bala sharks are eating them. (That was my impression of Johnson talking to his cats).

This is depressing, but soon it will be over.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

I know you’ve come to expect this sort of thing from me.


chef jpeg
You are the the Swedish Chef.
You are a talented individual, nobody understands
you. Perhaps it's because you talk funny.

"Brk! Brk! Brk!"
Kokin' der yummee-yummers

"Wild Strawberries...and Creme"

"Der Swedish Chef Kokin' Bokin'"

"Vergoofin der flicke stoobin mit der brk-brk

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Say it ain't so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Man I am just fucking around today!!!


"There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home."

John Stuart Mill (1806-1873)


Question: should I take the writing job – should I write Joseph’s Biography?

I-Ching – the classic Chinese Wisdom Oracle says

Heaven over fire

Hexagram Image

There is no better way to build a good, solid foundation for the future than to befriend knowledgeable, able, talented people. They will attract other individuals with similar qualities to you, and this is one of the secrets of success. If you choose your associates wisely everything will work out well.


There is nothing to gain from allowing an atmosphere of conflict and aggression to prevail. No one works well in this kind of environment and productivity is bound to plummet. The way to succeed is to allay your peers' personal fears, make them feel secure and establish a friendly, supportive atmosphere.

Praise your co-workers and employees when they do a good job. And make them feel that you are behind them. This is the way to succeed.

Changing to heaven over Marsh

Hexagram Image

You are well prepared for whatever the future holds. This should make you feel confident and give you the courage to proceed. Success is just around the corner.

There are always risks in life. The key is to understand this and to be prepared. Now is the time to make certain that you are not caught unawares since there are hazards and perils in the near future.

Success is achieved by those individuals who proceed wisely but with courage and determination.
Don’t worry gentle reader – I am still something of an intellectual new age flunky and I know synchronicity when I see it.

Hexagram Image

All the important elements are in the right position now.

The timing is advantageous, the people good and accomplished, and the place is perfect. Nothing can go wrong.


For a long time you have been working to build your business to a secure and profitable place. You have now achieved this goal and your business will provide you with a good and regular source of income.


Festive time killer, the email gift if BJ.


Wednesday, October 27, 2004

I made my goodbye calls today to all the venders that I’ve developed personal phone relationships with, I said goodbye to my email contacts last week. Big jock Jim with the CPR company, Rita of the hot stones in Chicago, Anna at the breathing CD company, Valerie with transform, Jim at Nelson, the husband and wife team at EDCAT down in Florida, Becky in Santa Barbara who draws smiley faces on my orders, April who banters well with me and has just had her first child – I photographed her company T-shirt on our anatomy skeleton and she keeps that picture on her desk, the always ethical Nina (the author of our ethics textbook), Nickel, Ritchie T, Margie of the candles, Jeanine, Christine who is too young for all they want her to manage but she’s doing her best, Laurel whose husband had open heart surgery last year, she also recently lost her father and she still manages to do her job with compassion and dispatch. I only know what four of them look like, but I could pick every voice out of a line up. If well wishers have their way I’ll soon be on easy street.


Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Weak week:

Not having a good day.
I am currently starring in my own personal zombie film.

I am just exhausted. I have been all week. All two days of this week – which is really the ten-day stretch to broke-as-a-joke (three left). If I did not have the loss of a job to contend with I might actually be concerned about my physical health. That is, if I didn’t have a reason to feel like shit then I might suspect the presence of some scary health monster under my bed. I have been eating like crap on the empty coffer front. I am not a picture of radiant health and am treating my staff to an unshaven Sherlock wishing he was Ho(l)me(s).


An angry staff member called me at home last night at eight p.m. to bitch about the November schedule. Two of the staffers are fighting over the Friday night five to nine shift, the worst shift of the week and they both want it. “I hear what you are saying. I hear your concerns. This is no longer my decision. I’ll pass your concerns along tomorrow when I meet with Deby.” SEP, no, scratch that… SEFP – somebody else’s fucking problem.

Managing other people blows big chunks, every unforced error is yours not theirs. If only you had trained them better, been there to hold their hands. Shit flows both directions in the middle kingdom.

This level of exhaustion seems unnatural, ah the toehold of depression and self-doubt caused by the Chinese water torture of my last days in office.

I reread my blog for the last few months. I did that before I went to work this morning. It seems like every other work related post begins with, “I had another exhausting day.” I am crispy fried burnt out. “I feel like I could get fired at any moment.” Good call there, K. Last week I had the energy to be angry and involved. This week I’ve got nothing. I’m over.

I need about a week to rest and recover from the toll that this lame duck presidency is taking on me. Maybe I should have just walked last week when I was feeling strong. Need the cash, as principles don’t pay. Today, as I watch the Cardinals tank, as I fear for the coming election, I feel like I am perpetually on a losing team. It has ever been thus. The things I value are not generally valued by the culture in which I find myself and I watch commercial after commercial wondering, “who are these people?” The zombie film: they are stalking us and they want our brains. You better be careful or they’ll turn you into one of them. Gulliver in the land of the white bread SUV. Consumer America, consumed and digested, life force leveraged for litter.

I have that, “can’t get ahead” feeling of personal and financial quicksand – I need to master the fire swamp of unplanned retreats. Confucius recommends flight. Get liquid and get gone ASAP.

There are many things planned for this weekend… we do this thing in poker sometimes when we are playing night baseball, you’ve got a blind hand and you turn over cards until you beat the last best hand, if you run out of cards before you beat the best hand you are forced to fold and any other player who is still in the game can, if they choose to, bet your death to build the pot. It’s a moment in the game to cheer failure.

In night baseball, the pot building game that it is, an early death on weak cards can save you big in the long run. This weekend I was hoping that my friends would bet my death and celebrate the end to all this exhausting servitude to the servile, however, I may be too tired to enjoy said festivities. This week of the World Series there is plenty of night baseball to go.

Funster Follies:

Friday night – party at Erica’s to celebrate her birthday.
Saturday – family time am, poker game pm
Sunday – family time and then the house warming at Hannah’s
Monday – Jobless Joe goes job hunting and files for unemployment online – Ebay launch
Tuesday – voter fraud
Wednesday – jubilance or the weeping and gnashing of teeth

I think we’ve lost some readership here over the partisan posting. Ah well, the journalist’s illusion of objectivity does not mirage in these here hills. Many noted historians have weighed in on Bush II as clearly the worst presidency in American history, as intrinsically evil and corrupt as they come. I guess you get it or you don’t. What’s the phrase? Scared stupid. All the numbers are bad except the polls; bear markets and body counts (it must have been all those references to Poland in the debates).

Come on America, shine for me. Tap that ketchup bottle in the sweet spot and cover my burnt burger, with all the current police state paranoia and oil slick greed, in a flavor I can at least pretend is good for me. Can I get a side of civil liberties and some health care with that? Let’s rejoin the global community and stop letting our least common denominator guide the show.

I have three days from yesterday to make a bid on the ghostwriting contract. Here is my initial intended offer: upfront two party contract, fifty dollars an hour research & writing time plus any travel expenses to interview etc. – total ghost no personal credit or presence in the book – no residuals – 1,000 retainer – 25,000 cap for initial draft – six month schedule. Thoughts?

Can I really take this job when I am utterly convinced that the new age movement is an ethical quagmire of shimmering charlatans? My boy is selling special pens on his web page – special new age pens. Wouldn’t I be better off in a south side dive slinging Budweiser to the union boys? I gots me some perpetual internal class warfare folks, right here in Carlo city. It’s all chutes and ladders and I am worn of climbing, it might be time for a little south side slide.


Monday, October 25, 2004

Bizarre day, as was expected.

Bizarre #1
My boss requests that I alter my obit in the announcements to include a request for students to stop by and thank me for my years of service and to wish me well in the future, which I do and then they do in turn. Nice sentiments from people who genuinely care about me and want good things for me.

Bizarre #2
Deby’s brother breaks down with a bad starter in his van over off Clayton near McKnight. I go and rescue him with jumper cables and a hammer to tap the starter contact into place. He gives me ten bucks for gas.

Bizarre #3
A yogic healer makes me a financial offer on ghost writing a book for him on his technique and biography so that there will be a legacy from his life’s work. This is a very real offer. I have enough contacts in the New Age book world where I could also function as a literary agent. I have three days to respond. I am not really in a position to not take the offer. As long as my terms are acceptable, especially the part about the advance retainer, I will have full time writing gig come Monday.

Jen, “You are the luckiest fucker I know. You put it out to the universe that you wanted a professional writing gig and not four days later you’ve got one.”

Query: what is it about the land of the new age that doesn’t want to let me go?

Derek, “Just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in.”

Bizarre #4
I can’t talk about for legal reasons – be vague – even though I have been dispossessed of gainful employment I am still asked to do things of utmost importance on which the survival of the business depends… and after a long walk around the block chewing on a dried pine needle I agree to do them. I really don’t know how they are going to survive without errand boy extraordinaire. I just keep telling Deby, “Good luck.”


A family photo from New Guinea circa 1973. I am the bundle. We had our own little Partridge family thing going didn’t we?


So I’ve been thinking about Beowulf of late – like you do.

It might be more accurate to say that Beowulf has been thinking me. I’ll be walking along and one of those thought bubbles that start in your sacrum and percolate up through your heart to your head will come rolling on up, “Wine dark whale road” & “the wine dark sea”.

So equally for no good reason that I can yet discern, last night I dreamt of whales. I was traveling the northwest and I kept pulling off to look at the mountains and to watch the whales that were almost parading for me. I suppose I have a three-day swim battling water monsters in my near future, just five days away from unemployment, so I’m gearing up for a little life Grendel.

I must say it will feel good to leave the now stale air of the mead hall and travel far in search of a psychic kingdom worth defense. As to the wine dark imagery, I can’t say. Most of yesterday’s wines were semi-sweet whites bordering on dessert wines. Something about fall and the October Fest flavor of Herman and the Polka band encouraged this lighter choice, crisp and fruity wines to match the air.

If you ever find yourself in Missouri and want to do the scenic drive, it is hard to beat 94 between Herman and St. Charles. You are winding along the Missouri river following the Lewis and Clark Trail, with Daniel Boone historic sites every few miles (coonskin cap on a post), and the rolling hills and long flood plains in contrast to one another combined with the fire bright shades of gold and red in the full Fall is visual bliss on a bathwater day.

After Herman we hit Balduchies (sp?) in Augusta and perfection was so achieved there, nestled into the side of the hill listening to live music and eating prime rib sandwiches followed by a Gouda wheel, that we stayed until they locked the gate behind us. Back in St. Louis, we finished up at V’s with our first red of the day and a wedge of delicious Brie. In a gesture, V sent my glass of wine flying leaving my shirt where we started: wine dark like the ocean, the highway of adventure.

Getting fired can cause ants to panic. I am not an ant. I am a grasshopper. You know how the story of the grasshopper and the ant ends don’t you? The grasshopper eats the ant.


Sunday, October 24, 2004

The towel is still hot from the dryer when I get out of the shower. Early this morning MB and I did epic laundry, filling the back of the van with a months worth of clothing and sundries. I haven’t looked at many of my shirts in some time, I need to thin the herd of the wine stained and worn. That I can go nearly a month without doing laundry is a testament to that reality.

Yesterday I met and held little Henry. We arrived just after his circumcision and were regaled by my brother-in-law’s mother with stories of penises past, “Of course for a time everybody got one, you didn’t even get to see your baby until all that was done. They never asked you, it was just assumed, you know, for health.”

I can’t answer the eye question as he didn’t open them while I was there, but he has a thick head of dark black hair.

Last night the usual suspects celebrated all things Angela, with food, booze, and funny. She was gifted many fine things and shown the love we all have for her. Very shortly we will be furthering the festivities by schlepping her off to the Missouri wine country to enjoy the absolutely perfect fall weather. In fact, that should be happening right about now.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

Karl impersonates a beat poet:

Seven a.m. Saturday. I’ve been up since five. Did the grocery shopping last night and then Tyler came over to drink gin and talk shit. Haven’t done the Tyler hang out in some time. He made the basement offer that Mary has also made: to keep my stuff until I land somewhere. It is very good to have good friends looking out for you.

My ex Stephanie, the one with the dogs who lives in Florida, drunk dialed me… several times. I love that about her. Drunk in her garage listening to tunes while her live-in-ex watches TV in the teacher’s salary can’t afford to move out-house, “I wanted him to get drunk in the garage with me, but he just wasn’t interested, so I’m calling you”. They bought ocean-going kayaks together, but now she must paddle alone.

She lives just north of Melbourne and lost significant portions of her roof in the last gale. She is sick of teaching high school biology and has applied to be a support staff person in the F.B.I. – Tyler was F.B.I. before law school, they let him keep the gun; a fact his neighbors have come to regret. Scene: engagement party – three a.m. - Karl passed out drunk on couch in garage (made up especially for this purpose) – Tyler and others in driveway of said garage discharging Old Bessie into the side of the hill, all on large, not so rural property. Yes, we do ride the edge of occasion.

I think maybe we read too much Hunter S. Thompson when we were young and now gonzo journalism and the crazy wisdom school of happy accidents has somehow become our praxis. On two occasions I have emerged from New Orleans wondering how exactly I had retained my skin. These, and other stories will be forthcoming, as soon as I can remember them.

It’s raining. Visiting hours at the hospital aren’t until much later. I could go junking! That’s a great idea! Nine a.m. on a rainy Saturday is a prime junking time target. I’ll head on down to the Sunni Triangle on the edge of the West End and hit Goodwill, St. Vincent’s, and the Sally. A man with a van is a man with a plan and no worthy item shall be ignored, for when we are lost to ourselves in this capitalist mudslide it is on the edges of the homogenized that we shall find the mirrors of the self.

Please explain that philosophy.
Kantian Aesthetics
Art allows the Noumenal (truth big T from a neo-platonic realm of forms)
To rupture into the Phenomenal (the world of everyday stuff)
Objects of a certain sort gots more art and more heart in um
We are oft looking for the ever-changing self
We catch glimpses reflected in what we like
The further off the beaten path we seek
Away from homogenized mass culture
The better shot we got to hit ground via what we found.

I wish I could get a job where I could be honest. Be who I am.

That’s the attraction of bartending, if you get the mix right then it’s honest smooth.


In answer to the, “who is reading this crap?” question that I know was hanging there in the back of your mind . . . Were you one of the last hundred people to visit this site? Then perhaps one of these numbers and locales corresponds to you.

30 Saint Louis Missouri United States
17 Kirksville Missouri United States
10 Wentzville Missouri United States
10 Festus Missouri United States
5 Plano Texas United States
3 Renton Washington United States
2 Olathe Kansas United States
2 Huntsville Alabama United States
2 Morristown New Jersey United States
2 Kaiserslautern Rheinland-pfalz Germany
2 New York New York United States
1 Singapore Singapore Singapore
1 Beverly Hills California United States
1 Elyria Ohio United States
1 Decatur Illinois United States
1 Chesapeake Virginia United States
1 Lockport Illinois United States
1 Edwardsville Illinois United States
1 Austin Texas United States
1 Branson Missouri United States
1 Kettering Ohio United States
1 Feasterville Trevose Pennsylvania United States
1 Chappaqua New York United States
1 Chesterfield Missouri United States
1 Modesto California United States
1 Beaverton Oregon United States

Having gotten a fair amount of international traffic of late I’ve discovered that the country of origin often differs from what is listed here. China often shows up as Sweden, that sort of thing, because of what service provider has what hub where.

Hello to our friends in Germany – why you have listed me here
I cannot say.


George Bush has a heart attack and dies. He goes to hell where the devil
is waiting for him.

"I don't know what to do here," says the devil. "You're on my list but I
have no room for you, but you definitely have to stay here, so I'll tell
you what I'm going to do. I've got 3 people here who weren't quite as bad
as you. I'll let one of them go, but you have to take their place. I'll
even let YOU decide who leaves."

George thought that sounded pretty good, so he agreed.

The devil opened the first room. In it was Richard Nixon and a large pool
of water. He kept diving in and surfacing empty handed over and over and
over. Such was his fate in hell.

"No!" George said. "I don't think so. I'm not a good swimmer and don't
think I could do that all day long."

The devil led him to the next room. In it was Tony Blair with a
sledgehammer and a room full of rocks. All he did was swing that hammer,
time after time after time. "No! I've got this problem with my shoulder. I
would be in constant agony if all I could do was break rocks all day!"
commented George.

The devil opened a third door. In it, George saw Bill Clinton lying naked
on the floor with his arms staked over his head and his legs staked in
spread eagle pose. Bent over him was Monica Lewinsky, doing what she does

George Bush looked at this in disbelief for a while and finally said,
"Yeah, I can handle this."

The devil smiled and said.... "Monica, you're free to go!"


Friday, October 22, 2004

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Feeling a little lost today. Right now anyway. Losing a job, even if it’s the right thing to lose the wrong job, takes an emotional toll. The funny way to look at it is that I am in the process of breaking up with about one hundred and fifty people. I had to write my own obit for the weekly announcements.

“The Healing Arts Center would like to wish a fond farewell to Karl ------. Karl began working in the bookstore in October of 2001 and has remained with the center in various administrative and logistical capacities over the past three years. He is leaving now to pursue a professional writing opportunity.”

Jen, “That’s boring. Can’t you spice it up a bit?”

Karl, “Nope”

I prefer public lies to have a more flat quality. I feel less involved in the perpetuation of falsehoods if they lack dynamism. There is a grain of truth there, and perhaps it will grow into an actual job offer. Though it would be nice to just bartend for awhile – you know, a no-brainer.

We also do a “thought for the week” in the announcements. I gave myself:

"Just don't give up on trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." Ella Fitzgerald (1917-1996)

As sendoff it is sort of a Jazzy “Elvis has left the building”.

I was talking to someone about connections in the LCMS, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, where I could get any number of jobs on my family name cred. Here at the HAC I wear a paper Mache’ mask. As a pseudo Taoist I can float with the new age shtick. I would need a mask carved from mahogany to make it in the land of family values.

I know what I need to do. The GRE book that MB bought me came today. Tonight we’re grocery shopping and I’ll begin resume restructuring. Jen sent me a skill based resume to look at, the hot new thing in resume land.

I was considering a rummage sale for tomorrow, but it is supposed to rain. My nephew Henry is most likely now in the world, I haven’t gotten the call yet. Sandy has asked that we not come until tomorrow so that Abigail is not overwhelmed by the attention given to the new baby. This first day will be just for them as a family. I just recently developed a roll of film from Abigail’s first Christmas. It’s shots of 2001 with my family and my ex Ruthann.

Boom – just got the call – 1:20 seven pounds one once. I wonder what color his eyes are? Juts the facts so far, healthy-breathing-nursing already baby. Must do the phone tree. More later.


Friday morning now
Color Jello Haiku game
Coworkers are sad

Blue hair, Church basement
Hot plate pot luck tonight,
Green Jello wiggles

Orangey goodness
Tickling lightly my sweet tongue
Orange Jello rules

Hotmail frustration
Blogger invite gone bad
alternate email



Thursday, October 21, 2004

I had a very cordial meeting with Tom today in which he let me know that it was Deby’s plan that I should leave and he was jealous of my freedom. Sabrina refused to take my picture off the web site until I was really gone. My response, “The fat lady is warming up Sabrina.” Deby had earlier assured me that it was Tom who wanted me to go. Ah the double speak of the salary savers. Vickey, “You’re leaving? But don’t you, like, do a lot of work around here?”

In the second half of the week several things happened with the building, with some of our venders, etc. that I attempted to teach other people how to handle and I was greeted by numerous blank stares. We are officially into the “what were we thinking?” portion of the program. Today Deby said to a third party, in front of me, with an exhausted look on her face, “Well, he’s going to come back. He’s going to have to.” These people are nuts. “You aren’t going to change your phone number are you?” “No, but I’ll probably be at work at some other job and won’t be able to take your call.”

Cue Supertramp:

Right. You’re bloody well right. You got a bloody right to say… me I don’t care anyway… Honestly, she keeps coming up to me with various scenarious involving what might happen in the clinic or in some workshop and I have to look at her like she is certifiable. Hello, you fired me, not invested, marking time, hello?

I know you don’t like Supertramp, but I do, no really I do! I used to have it all on cassettes, even the solo albums – Eye of the Storm and all that.

Had a dream, I was born, to be naked in the eye of the storm, but that’s not a place you want to be, sleeping with the enemy, you know…


Hmmm. So yesterday I was coving the front desk over the lunch hour while Deby and Ann were away buying yarn (Why are many of the women I know Knitting scarves? Christmas in recession land!) and who should walk in but J. We fired J about a year ago and I haven’t seen her since. She was the last person that we had the “tell the people what you want” conversation with, so she told the people that she was leaving to spend more time with her family, which was true. I think we are telling people that I am leaving to pursue writing professionally. Ah the white lies of the pseudo friendly workplace; half truths at the very least. So I give J. a big hug and tell her what’s up and she says, “You’ve helped so many people here just by being who you are. You have to figure that this is exactly the right thing for you right now.” Just before she came in I was clearly at stage five: hostility. After her hug and sentiments I must say all my anger just went right out the window. I haven’t been able to work up a good temper tantrum since. I just keep laughing at all the B.S. that continues to float in the air around me, like paper shreds lifting off the kindling of newly lit fire. A nice little new age wiggle from a glow eyed kook. J’s either enlightened, schizophrenic or both. She used to describe the entities that she could see hanging around in the building, one of whom looked like a walrus. Kook-ook a chew.


It’s time to play the Bush is a dumb fucker game.

Me, buying gin up the street at the “No irradiated meat” small grocery that Mike runs.

Mike, “Hey Karl, what’s up.”

Karl, “Nothing. Watching the news? I figured you’d have the game on.”

Mike, “It’s on commercial and I thought I’d see if Bush had said anything dumb enough to cost him the election.”

Karl, “Saying dumb things is sort of a constant with him, isn’t it? It hasn’t hurt him so far.”

Mike, “Yeah there are enough stupid hoosiers that’ll vote for him no matter what. The country is in the worst shape in history and people just don’t see it.”

Karl, “So are we moving to Canada?”

Mike, “Nah, we survived Reagan, we can survive this asshole.”

Karl, “I didn’t survive Reagan. I’ll show you my student loan bill sometime. It’s kept me just above the poverty level for the last decade.”


The other bookend arrives:

I have a very real quandary. I was in Kirksville this past weekend, as you may well know, and I arrived in town with friends and went to the Dukum Inn. We got there around eight. The party for T.J. had just begun upstairs, but that wasn’t clear to us as there we no signs etc. So we set off to do a bar tour of the downtown. We did have a drink before we left and in that time I talked to Dave who used to work with B.J. at the comic book shop, and I gave the bar owner Craig our customary firm handshake.

Craig was trying to get a wooden door that was set into the floor to close and he was using a sledgehammer to convince it that its’ current swell was an unwarranted ego trip. Slightly winded I still got a broad grin and an eye glint of welcome. Craig is a good man. A man I would have been happy to work for if I didn’t have this desire to separate my fun from my work. I worked at Ryan’s. I drank at the Dukum. To be sure, Craig would get me to work fairs and things like that for him, but never did I tend the Dukum.

On our way out of town, at the weekend’s conclusion, I was having a conversation with myself about Craig and my Ryan’s boss Harry. Harry, like my current boss Tom, is an impossible man. He’s likable on many fronts, but hopelessly irrational and difficult to please. When I was comparing them in my mind I posed the question, “Do you trust Craig?” I did a tandem parachute jump strapped to Craig. We freefell for a mile and then he taught me how to fly the canvas in wide swings to the right and left for the second mile, I guess I must trust him. The quandary is this: why do I repeatedly work for impossible men of questionable character to bizarre extremes and not work for people I like and respect? Am I, as I am beginning to suspect, attempting after all to please my impossible father (who is no longer impossible, but was when I was young)?

We’ve, my father and I, had our “cats in the cradle and the silver spoon” conversation and we’re all good, but when I was young he just wasn’t around and I still have this “please the impossible man for a little attention” thing going for me.

The narrative continues:

After our first beer, Brad’s beer that we shared really, we went to Il Spazio (sp?) in search of Bob and cohort. Coming up empty we retired to T.P.’s Office for our first round of gin and tonics. My buy. The drunken elderly sat behind us calling for the bartender by the bar owner’s name, “Paul, get me another.” Paul wasn’t there. Paul is an Elvis impersonator. I’ve written about Paul and Ma Mary before. It’ll all come out in my comprehensive history of the bars of Kirksville.

The sleazy Kirksville ambulance chasers association held up the far end of the bar, you know who I mean. The lawyers of the ville can generally be found at either T.P.’s or Too Tall’s, depending which side of the court they’re playing on a given day. These men are crossing into elderly, but still manage to make time with the daughters of their clients.

A long island mix master gave me a nod from the other end of the bar. I am sure she’s happy to be free of the Golden Spike since its recent closure. She looked aglow with the post-fired bliss of the newly free. In her nod was a universal wink. The Office: red leather barstools with large silver rivets, a mirrored ceiling to enhance the sense of space in this hallway of a bar. I met Stephanie B. in here, at that back pool table, talking about our dogs. At the time, with my roommate Jennifer’s Collie and her boyfriend Paul’s dog, I had three and Stephanie had two. We would take our pack to Thousand Hills State Park and they would circle us in a low orbit of chase while we wandered along the trail out to the dam.

To be continued:


The micro and the macro:

I wrote my blog in the morning and headed off to work listening to Tom Jones on the James Bond sound tracks album. There was a break in the traffic so I pulled a fast u-turn from my west facing parking spot into eastbound traffic. My cell phone rang. It was Brad telling me that he had just heard about the plane crash in Kirksville on NPR. Just off the phone and it rang again, Angela telling me the same. All day at work checking in with CNN and STLtoday.com for updates, getting emails from Jen as she finds out who it was via internal communication at KCOM. In a town like Kirksville, if you didn’t know anyone on that plane you know plenty of people who did. Later Paul called to find out what we know. He will be involved soon in a professional capacity, doing autopsies. Paul is a graduate of KCOM and ran the anatomy lab there. The chances that he knows some of the victims are well beyond probable.

None of my comings and goings, the emotional pinball of my workplace, matter at all in grand scheme of things. We still have seven workdays to bounce off each other and I should take it to heart to enjoy these people such as I am able.

Karl, “Are you doing ok?”

Sandy, “I’m worried about not getting everything done before I go in on Thursday. Getting the house ready and all that. I’m worried about having the surgery again. But I know after it’s all over and I’m holding my new baby, everything that’s trivial will fall away and only the important things will be left.”

My nephew Henry will be here by the weekend, sucking air and crying just like the rest of us.


Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Doesn’t bode well gentle readers – just home for lunch. My boss is back from his escapades and I couldn’t/wouldn’t acknowledge his presence in the room. I just kept typing.

Phil, “You should smile a big genuine smile because these people have set you free from a dead end job.”

I looked at starting salary for bartenders – 7.50 an hour. That’s seven dollars an hour in tips to make what I am making now. If I can find a place that will start me today I am gone.


I went to bed at ten p.m.


I am running up a beach front highway on a Saturday, it’s rainy and foggy and there are groups of protesters every few hundred feet standing in the road trying to flag down the cars that are nearly hitting them. As I make a path through the groups they congratulate me on not driving, on going for a run, and I tell them that while I applaud their anti-auto activism it doesn’t seem too smart and they might get hurt given the weather conditions. I am happy to be getting healthy though, and the running feels good. I’m running up to work to check on my nephew Martin. The HAC needed a store worker to cover a weekend Reiki workshop. They needed a baby sitter. I had refused to work and Martin volunteered. When I get there he and my brother Phil are playing video games. I have a bottled water and join them. Dream logic is great at summarizing the ground level, now time positions of the body.

While we applaud your potential activism, you might get hurt if you do it in the wrong way at the wrong time. It’s just a babysitting job after all, and if your nephew can do it while playing video games certainly you can. You should be proud and happy that you are moving towards a healthier lifestyle. Your family has got your back.

A dream within a dream – later I dream that I am dreaming, that I have learned to fly & am flying a hot air balloon. This is a dream about my father. It’s about controlled drifting. My folks will be here next week. Dad seems to think we can do the repairs ourselves on the blue Chevy car and get 7-8 hundred out of it. Cool. Sandy’s scheduled C-section is this Friday. Yet again someone is going to make me say uncle. My mom’s birthday is November 2nd. I date people in a set birthday range, October 6th – December 26th or at least that’s been my pattern. What’s the astrology there? Is my mom's birthday my astrological dating fulcrum?

I had an insight into my smoldering temper this a.m. When I was a child one of my favorite shows was the live action Incredible Hulk. There is a deep vein in my personality of “Don’t get me angry, you won’t like me when I’m angry.” I remember having room-smashing tantrums as a young child. I was also conditioned by this cartoon Rodger Ramjet. Not many people I mention it to have seen it. Roger was this crazy American pilot who would get into trouble and then pull a Popeye, instead of spinach it was proton energy pills that gave him the strength of twenty atom bombs for twenty seconds.

When Ramjet takes his proton pill the crooks begin to worry
They can’t escape the awful fate of Proton’s mighty furry
Rodger Ramjet he’s our man, hero of our nation
For his adventures just be sure and stay tuned to this station!

I proton energy-d out the basement of the HAC yesterday throwing out all manner of useless crap: cathartic. Now I just need to throw myself out, ha. The only way for me to make it through is to hurl myself at what I can do to leave the place in the best possible shape. Don’t get me wrong I am not all character. Yesterday I had to run bunch of errands to places like Office & Home Depot, so I went to Goodwill first and bought a bunch of fifty cent cassette tapes for the new van. The best among these would be the thirteen greatest James Bond themes all on one tape.

I then went home and got another shower, walked the dog, cleaned out the van from the road trip and to accommodate the purchases of the day. As Jen said, “Good for you. What are they going to do? Fire you.”

Perhaps in my next career I will be a spy. “From Russia with love…….


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

3:48 pm Tuesday. Roughly eight days left. It is taking everything in my power not to walk out the door right now. I’ve been set to simmer since Friday, but the bubbles are starting to approach a low boil.


In dialogue with the comment on the last post I thought I would put up yesterday's email from justsell.com - My boss signed me up for this daily email when we began this slippery sales slope:

"Nothing great was ever achieved
without enthusiasm."

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
American writer and activist

sales reminder:
set your tone for the week...
(see below)

sales thought:
There is no more powerful element to the sales day than enthusiasm. It excites everyone to positive action...

your team
your prospect
the new customer you just brought on board
the internal department responsible for the delivery of the product recently sold
the receptionist who talks with your prospects and customers first
Enthusiasm excites everyone.

Remember, as you work with people today and throughout the week, your level of enthusiasm will impact all of them. Commit to making a positive impact and feel the effect it has on your motivation.


"I believe most in educated intuition, in what you get through profound experience."

Raymond Loewy (1893-1986)
French industrial designer

My daily email from jestsell.com suggests that the moral of this quote is

"sales students are getting an education of experience"

More on this later.


I went out to eat by myself last night. After work I came home and got a shower. I needed one. Craving Chicken Lo Mien, I drove up to Mai Lee to find it closed so drove up to Olive Blvd. intending to wander into some place new, which I did. The strip mall Chinese food of Olivette has no resemblance to any food served in China ever, not bad though. My fortune cookie read something like “there is no solution in ignorance” which hands down beats the weekend’s fortune of “you will have a happy and healthy old age.”

If we want to slide last night’s blog reference to Eden in here, we can see these two fortunes as falling from the two trees of the garden, knowledge and life, interesting. Well the Mormons claim that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri near the southern boarder. They also claim that the gates of hell are in Ohio – so good luck with that Dan and Yumi. A sane bunch, the Mormons are: fried chicken and family trees. They own KFC, Pepsi, Taco Bell, Ancestry.com, and Clear Channel radio to name just a few Mormon companies. Mary has taken to calling Rod, “the Mormon Patriarch.” This makes sense, as Rod is a direct descendant of Joseph Smith. Will wonders never cease?

Working backward through the weekend, it ended with a beautiful drive down highway 61 from Palmyra, which we got to from 6, which we started on after having hangover food at China Palace. I worked at China Palace for several years. Odd to color in the old lines. How old was I then? Early twenties I imagine. Still living on Normal Street, 95-97. I started at Days Inn in 97 right before August undergrad graduation, when I was dating Angela #1. She has a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Spends her days in small dark rooms firing lasers at “samples.” Or at least she did when last I knew her.

At the restaurant last night I was the only customer and I did not want the buffet. They had a large fish tank full of giant Plecos and Convict Cichlids, so I knew I was at the right place. There were also these huge silver fish who had been turned into fishy quads by the nipping of the Cichlids, huge finless silver disks swimming in circles through spinal motion alone. I reread my journaling for the weekend. It ends with the bus, which I worked on before lunch at China Palace.

In answer to Jen’s question, the bus runs. It was only a quart low on oil, which really surprised me. Transmission and radiator fluids were fine. The bus is a 1967 Chev, but the engine and rebuilt transmission are from a 1980 Cadilac – that’s right a 500 cubic inch eight cylander nickel plated ass hauling engine high, high off the ground, that a few months in a farmers field is not going to seriously fuck with. It is, however, anchored by a flat front right tire. It needs a new shoe. The one on there is beyond repair. So… brought the battery back with me to do a sustained charge, will need to get liquid wrench for the lightly rusted lug nuts, an appropriately sized wrench, figure out how to jack up a multi ton vehicle resting at a downward slope in a farmer’s field, run that rim into town for some new rubber and a balance, no problem.

You already know I’m not sane, why should any of this surprise you?

When we got to T.J.’s party on Friday I was talking with Royce. “You still have the bus? That things is like an albatross around your neck.” The next morning I was journaling while the coffee perked and thinking about that comment. I wrote in my journal, “On the Road to Mellville.” And I chuckled.

A friend of ours recently self published a novel. Another friend critiqued it saying, “He makes the worst writer’s mistake. He repeatedly shows you something and then he explains it, telling you what you’re supposed to see. Rather than letting his metaphors and language work, he pisses authorial intention all over the reader.”

You’re on your own kids. I haven’t the foggiest clue what any of this might mean. It’s the crazy wisdom school and we know where all the bodies are buried: they are buried and not buried everywhere, ashen in every breath, vitality shaking hands with the aftermath.


Finding freedom in this life,
The seeker takes nothing to heart,
Neither duty nor desire.

He has nothing to do
But to live out his life.
The master lives beyond the boundaries of desire.

Delusion or the world,
Meditation on the truth,
Liberation itself--
What are they to him?

-Ashtavakra Gita 18: 13-14


Monday, October 18, 2004

If your wisdom ain’t crazy then you just plum lazy:
Conceptual Stain-Glass Shrinky Dink in Process:

Want to blog………perhaps too sleepy. You want to hear untold tales of wicked weekends, narcoleptic-ly narrative, but I have toxic sentiments moldering and must vent with volcanic vocalizations on vicissitude!

Throwing away three years of work and deleting all the shit you’ve written over that time is exhausting. Do I get the energy back that I put into all those widgets when I delete them? Nope. After several trips to the dumpster to re-file my long-term projects in the dustbin of history, my work area is beginning to glisten with the wet peaty dampness of freshly tilled earth. I’ve been tilling my toil.

I worked very hard today because I know myself and it will be a minor miracle if I make it through the next two weeks without burning more than a few bridges. When I leave I want to leave things clear. It will actually be a miracle if I make it through tomorrow. My boss it back tomorrow (the one who schizophrenically encouraged my departure while requesting that I work there till I die - if we could figure out how to do that so I would be happy – (this is called passive aggressive manipulation when it’s at home or neuro-linguistic programming, NLP for short, when in the land of the new age (these are called annoying nested parentheticals (expect more of them)))) through intermediaries while he went to some new age marketing conference in San Diego. Swallowed pride = paid rent. What is nine more days after all in the grand scheme of things? http://www.nlp.com/

Well Karl, what do you really think? You’ve kept quiet about your true feelings these many months, but I see no point now in not letting that poor cat out of his bag. You admit that good happens through your workplace, but you hint that like all things there is some cloud around the silver of your lining.

Sales. Selling. Yesterday was the birthday of Arthur Miller, notably for our purposes he was of course the author of Death of a Salesman. I laughed at the corollary and the timing. I was once an administrator of a small, but respectable school that had yet to run aground in the ethically murky shallows of sales. Certainly other ethical reefs were being skirted, but those are tales for another day.

In case you haven’t noticed, the newest development in the “New Age” thing is the merger with fringe marketers. When The Celestine Prophecy sold truckloads, a lot of Vegas types, the kind with the heavy watches and the gold neck chains, thought, “This could be the next best angle (angel) to sleaze with ease.” There is no pigeon as pluck-able, no marrow as suck-able as the will-to-power weakling of the new age-y seek-ling. Because to quote our own marketing guru, “We’re just helping people get clear about what they really want.” In other words we specialize in telling weak willed people that we have what they want if they’ll just sign a letter of intent before they leave the building.

If you ever wanted to see Evil jump a metaphysical grand canyon and not break a single bone, you should have been there the day that the Eastern ego addict of charismatic convert-aholics, the hierarchical hierophants of the guru tradition (who prefer disciples to colleagues), met the quasi-Christian carpetbaggers of the Middle West. Not since the sinister slider suckered Eve (Lilith got wise and lucked into living by leaving) into strange fruit solicitation from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (just down the block from the Tree of Eternal Life mind you, bait and switch at the outset) has such a snake oil as the salvific slop of self-help severed sanity from solvency.

The wisdom game makes Three Card Monty look like a sure thing. The trick to it is paradigmatic. Get the mark thinking in levels, like levels in the martial arts. First you’re a brown belt and then you’re a plaid belt, on and on. But in the wisdom game of consciousness ascension, where the higher levels are twice the price, you are peeling the universal onion-with-no-end on a one way trip to insipid introversion. The only thing increasing is this size of your ego, the very thing you need to ditch-witch if you’re going to get off the ladder and get to ground. Ground is where it’s at my friend, in the passion and compassion of heaven hitting earth right in the belt – where the ascending and descending forces hit balance. If you think you’re climbing a tower, chances are you’re going to fall.

I may have gotten fired, but I am getting out on the ground floor. Every step from here on out is what Dean Kamen called a controlled fall with a soft landing, i.e. walking. And the walking man walks on by…..Karl leaves to listen to a little J.T.


Karl Needs a Test Date:
GRE General Test Dates
You may take the General Test (computer-based and/or paper-based) only once per calendar month, and no more than 5 times within any 12-month period. This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously.


The General Test is given year-round at computer-based test centers in the U.S., Canada, and many other countries. Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. In these locations, the paper-based General Test is not available.

Where shall I go?

Hazelwood - 0031
Prometric Testing Center
364 Brookes Drive
Trade Center Office Park
Hazelwood, Missouri 63042
United States Of America

Saint Louis - 7744
Saint Louis University
3840 Lindell Blvd
Academic Resource Building Bldg
Room 013
Saint Louis, Missouri 63108
United States Of America

OK, now call and set a date.


Fuck it:

John Woo’s got a flight of doves in every freaking scene. Why should I be any different?

Holy Shit! Has anyone seen my livelihood? I could swear I had it just a minute ago, it’s gotta be around here someplace!

I am really not sure where to start. I’m having, as Jen says in her blog, quite an interesting month. We can quibble about definitions, and I’ll do that later at length, but essentially and for all practical purposes I got fired on Friday right before my scheduled trip to Kirksville (which was a biblical epic of shamanic underworld interloping). Of course I went anyway and had a fabulous time in the bosom of friendship.

Don’t drop your popcorn gentle reader. This change is a very good thing. I’ve needed out of the ‘land of the new age’ for a very long time and a paycheck is not the reason to stay when you don’t believe in what you’re doing. When you can no longer hide your contempt it’s time to go. I am accepting offers by the way.

There are lots of very good things about my (former) workplace and the good that happens in the world because of it, I just don’t happen to belong there. I’ve been a round peg in square hole for a paycheck for a very long time. Niceties aside, they have no idea what it is exactly that I do. This is because I do everything, from purchasing the toilet paper to writing the press releases. I am “where the rubber meets the road.” I am, or was, the bridge from administrative decision to practical action.

There has been an attitude of “what did he do today” that stems essentially from a personality conflict and the afore mentioned desk for health care scandal of a few months back, but I’m just going to drop that line of inquiry for now. Don’t worry, we’ll come back to that at length I am sure.

It will require at least two, if not more people, to replace me. When my father left Concordia they hired four men to replace him. They are going to have a hard time of it, and without serious consulting fees I do believe the cell phone will be off. We all feel indispensable, don’t we? And of course we aren’t. The world was already in progress without us and there will be new programming long after we’re gone.

I have (had) very nice coworkers who have my best interests (& the company’s) at heart. We had a long conversation in which it was made clear that I have been perceived as not liking my job for some time. My own experience of not liking my job very much bears this out. “If we could figure out a way that you could be happy here, you could work here until the day you die. But let’s face it, we all know you belong somewhere else and your heart just isn’t here.” So, am I fired or did I quit under duress? Was it an intervention? It felt like a workplace intervention, “We know you’re done with this place, you know you’re done with this place, we want to stay friends and maintain our personal relationships, so maybe it’s time for you to move on.”

Ah ha, having fired many people over the past few years at capricious request, I was finally and karmicly rewarded by being asked essentially to fire myself. I gave myself two weeks notice and asked myself to complete a training manual for my successor.

We agreed that it would be best for me if I left and they will give me a stellar recommendation on all fronts. I can tell people whatever I want. Apparently I am telling people that there was an intervention for my benefit that resulted in the firing of my ass by my ass. I don’t exactly need a recommendation for any purpose I can think of. I am going back to academics and will probably end up bartending or consulting (both) until that happens, so something to think about. My recommendations would not come from this employer, who might even be a liability as all things “new age” do lack a certain official credibility, despite the nice shiny title of Administrative Coordinator that I gave myself a few years back.

How much should I care about being beholden to an ex employer? Should I write the book? Oh hell, it’ll write itself eventually. Or people can go rent Donnie Darko. That sums things up fairly well. Thank you Donnie for aptly calling bullshit on that particular aspect of the new age.

OK, we then negotiated an end date – the end of this month. That’s right, I’ve been fired and I am going to work tomorrow (today) for the people who fired me because I need the money and the “stellar recommendations.” Gotta pay rent sistah. “I recommend that you pay rent.” You see, that is a stellar recommendation.

Mary, “They fired your ass because you’re not a true believer and that’s what they want.”

Yeah, I’m not so into the new age cult psuedo science syncretism when there isn’t a paycheck attached to it. I am sympathetic, but still sort of rational. You must admit, as mass hallucinations go there are definitely some interesting talking points. So there you have it.

-All deleted portions of this post will be printed when deemed appropriate by my handlers.-


Sunday, October 17, 2004

I have not stopped writing, however… I do now have a mystery machine key chain.

This Blog is currently being suppressed for contemplative and legal reasons – regular readers can submit their email via the comments field or via the email link in the sidebar to ascertain “what the fuck is up”. I may even send out the blogs that I am continuing to write directly via email. The remainder of October’s blogs will probably be suppressed and then on November first I will release all the suppressed blogs like a flight of doves in a John Woo Movie.


Friday, October 15, 2004

Evidence to be used against us:

When I first bought the bus I think it was Monica who said, “It’s been done.” Well obviously Merry Pranksters and all that. If there is nothing new under the sun, this old trope sure seemed like fun. But for the last three years poor bus has languished. When the bus called the other night and told me she was thinking about ending it all I said, “Don’t worry sister, I’m on my way.”

If you were going to resuresct a bus, you’d go in the middle of summer when the weather was warm and the sun high. Not me! I wait until we’re in a thirty-day cycle of mist and chill that makes London look balmy. Well, last year I tried this in the middle of winter so I suppose we’re improving. We tried to keep warm last winter with a bottle of whisky (preceded by a bottle of wine and followed by Margaritas) and my-oh-my did that get ugly. It ended with us reeking of spilt gasoline at a party where Bob disrobed during a stunning performance of Sympathy for The Groundhog, lyrics arranged by Sparky & T.J. – music arranged by the Rolling Stones (I played the tambourine).

The universe split open for that wild ride – we are actually trying to avoid that this time, aiming for a more sensible cataclysm: a manageable bonfire of the vanities. We can still crack the canister. We just don’t need to spill it all over the floor. Although it is T.J.’s fiftieth birthday party so let the buyer beware. Sparky (Janet actually) met T.J. in Hawaii where he was a professional Frisbee player. She has learned quite a few freestyle moves herself and has taken a new name, the name of Sparky the leprechaun. We are going to hear her girl band at the Dukum this very night.

To Do:

Tools – power and otherwise – to Van – the vanguard of vans
Steal battery from blue Chev for Frankenstein transplant to blue bus
Pay electric bill at Schnucks
Bring checkbook to pay car insurance while in ville
Into work early for Co-op delivery from Iowa
Find gloves for working on bus in shit weather
Camera to record nonsense
Spare set of spark plugs in hall closet

Brad has signed on to this little adventure so we are into full on road trip.

Brad, “I wouldn’t have to drive?”

Karl, “No, but you would have to passenge’.”

Brad, “Well, I can passenge’. You know the last time I was in Kirksville? That party where we burned your couch. What was that, like four years ago?”

Our friends Doug and Jeff, now separated, used to have this house out in the boonies where we would do bonfires. Onto one of these bonfires we hefted a polyester non-flame retarded death trap. The flames shot more than fifteen feet into the air and in the morning there was naught but glowing springs hidden in among the ash. Years after we all moved away that house actually burned down. I’ve often mused that perhaps the fire gods had come calling, seeking their annual offering and laying rightful claim to the domicile, creativity shaking hands with destruction.


Thursday, October 14, 2004

I took the dog for a long walk this morning in the mist. Forty five minutes of wander took us down to the Delmar loop and back in among the mansions. Interesting to see yard after yard of multi-million dollar homes strewn with the toys of children or gardened within an inch of propriety by hosta happy horticulturalists. I kept wondering why the toys hadn’t been stolen, the magic of gated communities I suppose but these gates have no guards – psychic sentries must suffice.

These neighborhoods are on the back end of the age flip, only a few classic Cadillacs remain to remind us of the drifting generation, drifting into the spare rooms of their children or the managed care facilities that line the inner belt highway. There is a shimmering of wealth here and I wonder, as I enter my thirties, if it will ever shimmer in my direction. Does Lakshmi, have my number, as Lloyd once asserted?

My work woes have eased for some reason, as wheels I set in motion some weeks ago have begun to bear fruit. The “what does he do exactly” thoughts that sometimes flicker across my coworkers faces have been moved aside by the arrival of a great deal of product, the store is bursting. I have also been given something of a blank check to redesign the bookstore. So that will be fun in the short term.

It’s raining still – day three. I just got a massage – nearly snoring on the table as the sound of car tires on wet pavement mixed with whatever new age selection Tory pulled from the CD wallet. It’s a cold and dreamy day of heavy sweaters and half thoughts, drifting toward evening. My last ten dollars swishes around in the gas tank of the van itching for a destination. Weekend payday road trip, looming like an unseen view; the vista beckons through the window where a man looks down at his desk, writing a long list of “to do”.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

After a break up – or a relationship redefinition – or whatever it is exactly that we’re doing – which is none of your business by the way – people often write about their emotions – their reasoning – being careful about the panoply of emotions that are involved. Right, I assume you’re with me on all that.

Can I just say I am SO FUCKING BORED!!!! I watched not one, but two whole sporting events in a single week!!!!! I am not a sports guy. Sports are fine, but two whole games in a single week?!?!?

Brad, “You’re bored aren’t you.” “I am reading a comic book.” “You can hear the boredom in your voice.” “Yup, I’m bored. I am so bored that I have started fixing things and I am reading a comic book.” “That’s pretty fucking bored. What comic book are you reading?” “Apparently I own a signed copy of Season of the Mists by Neil Gaimen. The inscription reads, ‘Keep Dreaming Karl’ I must have told him to spell it with a K.” I was twenty when he signed it, he was younger then than I am now. Tonight: BILLS!!!! Singledom is a land of adventure.

I’m going to the ville for the weekend – nine out of ten Shamans agree, “Karl, you own a school bus. Any sort of vision quest must needs involve the resurrection of the Big Blue Bus.”


From the Writer’s Almanac:
(To which Michelle turned me on)
Dan turned me on to Lenny Bruce

It's the birthday of comedian Lenny Bruce, (books by this author) born Leonard Schneider in the town of Mineola on New York's Long Island (1925). He got his start in comedy working as an emcee for a strip club, where he told jokes as he introduced the performers, and eventually he got his own show.

Bruce was controversial because he used profanity in his act, but also because he spoke openly about sex, race, and religion. He once said, "Because I'm Jewish, a lot of people say to me, 'Why did [the Jews] kill Christ?' We killed him because he didn't want to become a doctor, that's why we killed him." People called him a "sick comic" but he said, "I'm not sick. The world is sick, and I'm the doctor."
In 1961, a policeman came to Bruce's show and charged him with obscenity. He got out on bail, but the judge told him that if he said one dirty word at his next performance, he'd go to jail. So at his next performance, with the local district attorney in the audience, he pulled out a copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer (1934) and read all the dirty parts to the audience. He figured they couldn't arrest him if he was just reading literature.

He tried to fight the charges of obscenity, in court and on stage. He said, "If God made the body, and the body is dirty, the fault lies with the manufacturer." But he sank into depression and became obsessed and paranoid. He spent entire performances reading court transcripts out loud, insulting the judge and the prosecuting attorney. After spending four months in jail, he stopped performing and died of a drug overdose on August 3, 1966.

In December of 2003, Governor George Pataki granted a posthumous pardon to Lenny Bruce for his 1964 obscenity conviction. A new box set of recordings of his performances came out this year called Let the Buyer Beware.
Lenny Bruce said, "Every day, people are straying away from the Church and going back to God."

He also said, "I'm not a comedian. I'm Lenny Bruce."


Exhaustion covers everything like Elmer’s Glue in a humid climate, ain’t gonna dry anytime soon. When I come home from work I am exhausted and could easily go directly to bed in order to wake up the next day and go to work. The demands on my attention while at work are constant. There is almost no down time. This is some kind of shadow life. I would like to continue the ongoing funster epic chronicled here, but I have nothing of import to impart.

“Make something out of nothing.” Ok, I’ll try. I slept in and didn’t take the dumpsters up front for trash day = bad. This will give the local squirrels an additional week to burrow through the refuse. We have these plastic trashcans on wheels that you take to the curb every Wednesday morning and the squirrels have chewed little squirrel doors in them. Little blue plastic nubs litter the driveway after a squirrel chew like kitty litter or small bites of pen cap around a fifth grader’s desk.

Monday night I watched the worst Packers team in history prove that there is a point at which even Lambo Field will empty. Tuesday night I watched New York beat the Red Sox yet again in this historic uphill battle. This circus would be better if I had more bread. I borrowed fifty from MB to cover gas and food for the week, I got the California road trip pictures developed and am mostly under whelmed by my “eye.” I’ll inflict some of them on you later in the week I am sure. I developed some mystery rolls of film that have been curing in my dresser drawer, so we’ll see what images of exes they can foist upon our retinal fields.

My dryer is once again broken, the heating element, so I am attempting to fluff my cloths dry. Can’t wait for the electric bill on that one.

Mark from the ville has been calling me regarding a November visit. He figures he’ll catch me around midnight or one, the usual time to catch a ville Carlo before his three am lights out. Alas and alack I am ville Carlo no longer and am in bed most nights by ten. It’s that wild city life that wears you out. You country kids got stamina and cash in hand.

If my life is an ongoing card game, it would seem that it’s entropy’s turn.

Speaking of which the “When is Tyler free” report suggests next Thursday night for a little Texas-hold-um. Sandy’s c-section is scheduled for the next day so we’ll see if I can win enough to buy Henry a big stuffed animal.


Monday, October 11, 2004

GUESTWORDS: By E.L. Doctorow

The Unfeeling President

I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man.

He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.

They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life . . . they come to his desk as a political liability, which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq.

How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that, rather than controlling terrorism, his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice.

He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing -- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends.

A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the president who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the 35 million of us who live in poverty, he does not feel for the 40 percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of the chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills - it is amazing for how many people in this country this president does not feel.

But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest 1 percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the quality of air in coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a-half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class.

And this litany of lies he will versify with reverences for God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, this spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over he world most of the time.

But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble.

Finally, the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail. How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.




Sunday, October 10, 2004

Random thoughts on the season and the day, sliding into a very odd elegy that was not written in a churchyard, further devolving into colloquial semantics and Burroughsian circumlocutions:

If spring is a time of starts and new beginnings then what is fall? Because there always seems to be more motion in fall. In fall things cut loose.

I just had the “what’s new” conversation with my neighbor Chad while I was moving the plants in for the winter, ahead of the first hard frost (not Robert). He’s left his girlfriend and is moving to California. Brandy is moving out next weekend to Soulard. So a month too late on the Chris and Vanessa schedule, the neighboring townhouse is free (they had talked about wanting to move in there). Chris… Vanessa… do you think there is room on your property for a school bus? It’s really cool, I promise! I was thinking about trying to rescue it next weekend, but I have nowhere to park it.

I hope we don’t get fascist neighbors. Are you cool? Do you want to move in? We can
have barbeques I promise. What changes will this bring? We’ll have to get rid of my spare car and hide Mary Beth’s in the garage with a tarp over it. Between the flat tires and the smashed windshield any realtor would want it towed away.

I spent the afternoon playing cards with my sisters and watching Fahrenheit 911. I watched Bowling for Columbine last night with Mary Beth so it has been a Michael
Moore weekend. He’s a little too maudlin at times and can alienate his audience to be sure. I don’t like his confrontation with Charlton at the end of the Columbine movie, leaving the little picture of the little girl – six years old – shot by the little six-year old boy is just over the top. Though it is important to note that Charlton does suggest in that scene, the then president of the NRA remember, that America has the gun violence it does because of the racial mixing. Ah magical racism, you’ve found a champion in the NRA. May your xenophobia spread to immigrants of every stripe, including the quasi puritans who spawned it. It’s just astounding that Michael got that confession on film.

I’m not anti gun so much as anti gun toting racist or reactive crazy person in general. Point of the film: Canada has more guns then we do and under 100 murders a year, we have 10,000 plus gun related murders a year. Why? Must not be the guns. We have a culture of fear that fosters consumption and violence. Media=marketing. Scared people buy dumb shit to make themselves feel better, they have no sense of humor because they are afraid all the time and instead of laughing or negotiating they react violently.

We intended to buy Fahrenheit, which has too many good points to list, but everywhere around here is currently sold out. Does that bode well? I hope so.

Sandy is very far along in her pregnancy and they keep moving the due date up. I imagine that the next time I see her it will be for the birth of my Nephew Henry. Can you feel the motion of things? I’ve started making a pile of things to sell on Ebay. I reactivated my account yesterday and am getting set up to make some money on all my junk. I fixed several pieces of broken furniture that I’d been meaning to get around to and ….I cleaned my room! Good boy. Mary Beth and I have spent much of the weekend cleaning the place. I even cycled the water and changed the filters in the fish tanks – no small task.

I am getting several GRE books from Karen to get my skills back up and running, we’re going to watch the final debate together I think on Wednesday. These books aren’t the most current, but I imagine they are current enough. No modern day Spinoza has reinvented geometry, and if they have I doubt I’ll be tested on it. She called to tell me Derrida had passed away. That’s a big leaf falling.

Derrida was one of the more important thinkers of the past fifty years. His influence is everywhere in our culture and has washed over every discipline. His was the loudest note of the postmodern song. His was the liminal voice, French Armenian Jew, that reminded us that the center is always in motion, that Heraclitus was more correct than Aristotle. My dear Aristotle, at the foot of that great classifying tree of being there is always a platypus and the platypus has only one enigmatic fortune cookie ticker tape inside that bill of his, “The center has always and already moved.”

In other words… If the world were like a Teeter Totter, with an immobile center upon which to pivot, then there would be upward swings and downward swings but never any forward motion. The Axis Mundi would govern all and be the measure of every truth. Ah high modernism, may all your dead white male soul searching smash its fucking mirror (and I like those boys, they were wrong, but I like um). This monkey brachiates, and as I move so too does my center, like a soccer ball that I kick in front of me, but never pick up.

After Derrida all your teachers who told you that there was one correct way to read a poem (and you either got it or didn’t based on your intelligence) were taken out back and shot. The glasses you are wearing are going to color what you see, they generate readings, and there ain’t nobody glasses free. Most folks got at least ten pairs on um at all times depending on what they might want to see in any given situation. You got your race, class and gender glasses on at all times, sort of like graduated bifocals. Then you might have some belief system or two your folks left you in their will. Perhaps you caught some nationalist zeal in flu season, or you have any number of quasi-historical hangovers going for you. Whatever it takes to belong. Old William Burroughs thought the whole language had caught the flu and it was way past time to operate, the word virus goes beyond glasses. We’ve got contacts you can’t take out in the language game, all of them tinted.

Sad truth sister is that you ain’t never going to get to that chewy center of the tootsie roll tootsie pop, no matter how many licks that wise old owl recommends. As stated earlier, your best is to follow Pynchon’s advice and “keep cool but care”.


Is the outlier award getting annoying? Ok, we’ll do one more unless something really odd like the tiger, wrestler, doula thing happens. Today’s outlier award goes to Singapore from an international student taking English 216 via the web at Boise State University. Near as I can tell, and it’s a track back guessing game of interests, we were linked via my brief mention of Futurism the other day (yes, that is the royal we).

My Dream last night: I am back in graduate school and I keep on trying to get to a class I am taking on the characters of Lemony Snicket. I have however been tricked, sort of, and what I am intended to learn comes not from taking the class, but actually by interacting with the characters themselves. I keep running into the characters and ignoring them because I am trying to get to the class – which I don’t realize until later – is about them. Seems sort of obvious doesn’t it. A fear that I might not be meant to return to graduate school to study & teach lit, but that I should instead participate in life to a greater degree than I am, get to know the characters at it were and write about them.

Yoda’s response, “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Gunter, “We don’t care if you go to school, or write a book, or stand on your head. Just do something, cause we are all sick to death of this stagnation.”