Tuesday, November 30, 2004

My sister Sandy at Thanksgiving dinner, “You look relaxed. I haven’t seen you look this good, this much like yourself, in years.”

Karl attempts to get the old mental jalopy out of first gear through language and personality games couched in playful verbosity but with “serious” aims:

I was in the mood for a movement movie so I rented Blade II: a film to which I had dragged many friends when it came out, all of whom were overwhelmed by the gore and the ridiculousness of the hyper-evolved, Predator-mouthed vampires. I still liked it. However, sitting here at my desk while the film plays downstairs unwatched, I am drawn away from Blade and into Roland Barthes “A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments” – such is my life, a panoply of high and low culture.

I have taken such pause as was needed to decompress from my former life as an administrator adnauseum, and now that I am less nauseous from the noxious interpersonals that have been left behind, I find that my brain is once again beginning to cycle of its own accord. (I am now writing in the style of Barthes, or more to the point in the performed style that Barthes’ translator into English, Richard Howard, adopted to covey Barthes ability/desire to cut against the dominant historical voice of linguistic semantics.)

Excerpted from the foreword to “A Lover’s Discourse”

“The necessity for this book is to be found in the following consideration: that the lover’s discourse is today of an extreme solitude. This discourse is spoken, perhaps by thousands of subjects (who knows?), but warranted by no one; it is completely forsaken by the surrounding languages: ignored, disparaged, or derided by them, severed not only from authority but also from the mechanisms of authority (sciences, techniques, arts). Once a discourse is thus driven by its own momentum into the backwater of the “unreal,” exiled from all gregarity, it has no recourse but to become the site, however exiguous, of an affirmation. That affirmation is, in short the subject of the book which begins here…”

Barthes is engaging in a “structural” (not to be confused with structuralism) analysis of the performance of the lover speaking. Or rather, it is the analysis of the lover being spoken. The very marginalized nature of the discourse warrants attention to it as that which has been coded as unreal by the dominant discourse has David potential for cultural Goliaths of the Great and Powerful Oz variety.

One more time and in English please – Do you find yourself in the midst of passion for an other – either someone there or someone that you pine for – caught in the repetition of romantic cliché? As though a script had been handed to you and you, rather than performing it, are performed by it. As in all love songs and poetry that you might identify with.

Example: I once heard myself say, “You make me want to be a better man.” And after I said it I thought, “Where the fuck did that come from? Did I say that or did the cliché narrative say that through me?” I was playing out the twenty-something redemptive model of saving the bad boy from himself. Simply saying my part, however sincerely or seductively it might have been intended it was still a line on cue in a discourse that pre and post dates “me”.

So – if the overarching theme of this blog of late has become a quest for vocation then the pediment of that quest must of course be identity and yet we know that much of identity is performance and that the most fundamental character of all being is in the ability of being to transform itself (do we know that?). We there find the relevance of exploring the lover’s discourse with Roland because it is in the language of the lover that the apparently fulfilled worker speaks of their profession, as though it were “the one”, the proverbial best game in town. And of course it isn’t until I find the “me” that I want to be that I will be able to see a lover in another.

Weedy at the end of the bar in my second to last vision quest (he was drunk on Rum & Coke), “You don’t know who you are yet, you’ve just been drifting through life. Until you figure out who you are, you aren’t going to be able to make a relationship work.”

The fulcrum monkey needs a fixed point from which to move his world.


Sleep. I continue to wonder why I am awake. Ah, I have to be at the airport in just over an hour. I am awake to meet my familial responsibilities. I got up at six thirty and made my nephew two ham sandwiches on Wonder white bread with mayo and Kraft “cheese” singles. I put these sandwiches with a Little Debbie snack cake shaped like a Christmas tree and a fruit cup shaped like a cup of fruit into a brown paper sack. He ran off to the bus and I walked Blue, the large Weimaraner (http://www.akc.org/breeds/recbreeds/weim.cfm) that ate my favorite sweater yesterday. He tore the collar from my white wool Irish cable knit and I am verklempt. Ah well, sometimes the universe demands sacrifices and I had a very nice weekend so goodbye sweater. I need a new wardrobe anyway.

It hasn’t stopped gray misty sputter raining since Saturday morning. The world screams nap and there is still much turkey in my system. Only the wings remain uneaten at this not so late date. So if there were a bird, and if it were alive, it could have its wings back and fly away, if it weren’t a large flightless bird.

I am in a funk – a deep ression – I hope I don’t leave you with the imp ression that my funk is serious, as my imp will emerge from the cleft of my ression, as he always does, and spirit me away on clouds of frivolity. But before the imp is allowed to harangue me with homunculi humor I must make haste to the hanger and help sister and ward with their return from parts Texan.

They are returning sad as Camilla’s uncle, Merisel’s husband, was called up for service in Iraq yesterday. Just days before her husband was asked to risk his life as a doctor in Iraq Merisel spent several hours being harassed by federal agents and was almost not readmitted to the country post shopping jaunt to Mexico. She and her young girls may come and live here in St. Louis when he leaves, before they return to Chile in March. They may be done with America and all of its promises.


Monday, November 29, 2004

The family juggernaut that is Thanksgiving has finally begun to wind down. My brother Phil and his family, wife and three teenagers, got into town Wednesday night. I met them at my sister V’s house. I had taken V and Camilla to the airport Tuesday afternoon. She had sent my nephew Taylor to California on Southwest airlines at six that morning to be with his Dad’s family, leaving the house vacant for the arrival of Phil’s clan.

V and her foreign exchange student Camilla went to Texas for the break to stay with Camilla’s Aunt Merisel. My nephew Trevor flew to Texas from California so they could all spend time together, go to Mexico etc. I talked to V last night and she said that after a day trip into Mexico the guards were not going to readmit Merisel to the country. She spent hours in the little room while her guests waited on the green card gods. Ah the magical Bush land offers up another example of American peace and tolerance as his administration continues to slit our national throat. You can’t stop the person, there’s no net big enough to close our borders; it’s a ridiculous impossibility. You have to stop the philosophy and the desire to do us harm. That begins with behaving differently in the world so as not to foster hatred.

There’s a great article in the recent Newsweek detailing how America’s edge in science and technology is based primarily on immigration as, “American’s don’t do science”. A page or two away the French Government has taken out a full-page ad detailing the reasons why high skilled, high tech research and development people will find France’s own Silicone Valley to be a paradise on Earth. Europeans love Bush for just this reason, their reputation for tolerance will rob America of the best and the brightest, just as America stole them from Europe mid century. We will now fight the wars, and Europe and China will become the new dominant force globally. Don’t believe me? I hear OPEC is switching from the dollar to the Euro.

So anyway Thursday my sister Sandy, brother in law Steve and their two children drove up from Imperial and we did the full on family thing. Phil and I did the bird (basting, rotating, resting, and carving), the squash, the stuffing, the roasted veggies and the giblet gravy. My nieces Sarah and Erica, and Grace took care of many of the other sides like the sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, the Jell-O, the white potatoes, the cranberry, green beans with almonds, the hot rolls, etc. Sandy brought homemade apple and pumpkin pies, which were perfect. Marty slept in, so he got to do the dishes. Ah food, my holiday ten pounds is already upon me. Sarah and Erica each claimed a drumstick and devoured them like medieval peasants. I ate some of everything and then I ate some more.

We played cards, took naps, went to see The Incredibles and generally had a great time. Friday we did both The City Museum and the St. Louis Zoo, which should generally take a day each. Saturday we did The St. Louis Art Museum, as my Nephew Marty has an artistic observation paper due in an AP English class this week. We picked Monet’s Water Lilies to observe and spent some time with the center panel. The other two panels of this large work are in Kansas City and Cleveland respectively. We lucked into a Dosen’s (sp?) tour of the Impressionist Gallery and got great insights into the official view of Monet’s work.

Examples: I didn’t know he made the pond on the back of his property, that his brush strokes in Water Lilies were six to nine inches each, that his patrons were primarily Russian and American, that if one stands far enough away one can see the reflection of a willow tree in the water, etc.

We then hit Star Clipper’s Comics in the Loop and got to see some of that hipster Loop culture: walking past street musicians playing sax with the hat out, that sort of thing.

After the Loop we picked up one of V’s dogs from the vet and kenneled him at her house. After he was settled we went to Imperial for my nephew Henry’s baptism. Phil and Grace were the sponsors. We did a big ham dinner with Steve’s side of the family afterward and then I had to pick up Taylor from the airport at ten p.m.

I get to play parent until V gets home Tuesday. I even packed a lunch this a.m.! Phil and family drove the ten hours back to St. Paul yesterday and T and I went to see The Incredibles again, yes I liked it that much.

So after T was off to school today I went back to bed and slept until noon. I am exhausted. I still have to get V from the airport tomorrow and then I have a big dinner out. Tuesday is dine-out-for-life day in St. Louis where many area restaraunts donate a high percentage or the day’s income for AIDS and HIV research. We have reservations for eight at eight out in the West End where we will run up a tab for a cause.


Saturday, November 27, 2004

Unintelligible Thanksgiving musings on knowledge and idealism:

Clunky-head home from the harvest feast, wanders around his home. He finds in his hands a copy of Hesse’s Glass Bead Game.

Clunky-head wonders, as clunky-head often does:

Should I read the introduction?

Theodore Ziolkowski’s foreword talks about how Hesse’s humor and irony fall largely on deaf ears. “Such ages [of conformity] have little use for critics of the system and prophets of the ideal.” Yeah, that doesn’t apply for all time and all culture does it Mr. observant critic. Every age with idealists has a hankering for some more ideal past or utopian future, so that would be every age.

Ah well, poor Hesse. No one gets your jokes. No one but Thomas Mann, and he was living in California when your book came out. Perhaps we all should move there. Well, that’s Kali Yuga for you, never an informed audience when you need one (that was a relatively obscure joke about relatively obscure jokes).

Adam used to call the game (that we are now playing) The Great Conversation. Hesse, ever the idealist, called it Universitas Litterarum – that imaginary temple of knowledge for which culture workers sculpt, scientists and theologians alike.

As I sit here and wonder about the relative accessibility of Hesse’s humor, the accessibility of the game (from which I removed myself some time ago), I am reminded of Carver’s short story Cathedral. On one level the story is about explaining medieval architecture and flying buttresses to a blind man. I wonder what Carver had in mind with that metaphor, is it a good college story for freshmen to read about their initiation into intellectual life? Carver is as ironic as Hesse. Risk in the face of imagined futility. It’s a game of ironies, jokes in dead languages and language in dead jokes. But perhaps it is as they say: the only game worth playing.

“In several essays that he [Hesse] wrote around 1920 – most notably in pieces on Nietzsche and Dostoevsky – Hesse argued that men must seek a new morality that, transcending the conventional dichotomy of good and evil, will embrace all extremes of life in one unified vision. A later essay, “A bit of Theology” (1932), outlines the three-stage progression toward this goal. The child, he says, is born into a state of unity with all being. It is only when the child is taught about good and evil that he advances to the second level of individuation characterized by despair and alienation; for he has been made aware of laws and moral codes, but feels incapable of adhering to the arbitrary standards established by conventional religious or moral systems since they exclude so much of what seems perfectly natural. A few men – like the hero of Siddhartha or those whom Hesse calls “The Immortals” in Steppenwolf – manage to attain a third level of awareness where they are once again capable of accepting all being. But most men are condemned to live on the second level, sustained only by a sense of humor through which they neutralize oppressive reality and by an act of the imagination through which they share from time to time in the kingdom of the Immortals, the realm of the spirit.”

Yup – that about sums it up.


Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Here’s a surreal site for you to play with stolen from Death in the Afternoon

You can't see the grocery store in that picture but you can see the funeral home and I think that is Ruthann's car out front. Eeek!


It's snowing!!!!!!! My lawn, well the lawn I rent anyway, is white!


Can I just say Michelle that I love this

And I love this

And this

And this

Look at his little knife and fork!!!

Hysterical – thank you.


From the usual source:

"It's the birthday of the mathematician and philosopher Benedict Spinoza, (books by this author) born in Amsterdam (1632). He came from a family of Portuguese Jews who had been forced to convert to Christianity by the Spanish Inquisition. His father found refuge in Amsterdam, where there was a vibrant community of Jewish merchants and intellectuals.

Spinoza was a brilliant scholar, but he got himself excommunicated from the Jewish community for questioning the existence of miracles. So, he supported himself making lenses for spectacles, telescopes and microscopes. In his spare time, he studied mathematics, philosophy and theology and began to write. He was offered a professorship in Germany near the end of his life, but he turned it down because he thought it would take up too much time.

He published only three books in his lifetime, and only his first book, Principles of the Philosophy of Rene Descartes (1663) named him as the author. He was afraid that if he published his ideas, he would be branded a heretic by both Jews and Christians. But after his death, his friends secretly published most of his writings.

His most important idea was that everything in the universe is made of a single substance, and that everything in the universe is subject to natural laws. He also argued that the soul and the body are not really separate, but two parts of the same thing. He believed that God did not stand outside the universe, but rather that the universe itself was God, and that everything in the universe was perfect and divine.

Spinoza said, "I do not attribute to nature either beauty or deformity, order or confusion. Only in relation to our imagination can things be called beautiful or ugly, well-ordered or confused."

I have always loved Spinoza.


Yet another day rockets to the fore in this the forefront of my experience. I spent my midday by shopping, which was enjoyable until I was interrupted by running into my former employer, his children, and his wife at one of the stores. False fronted hugs all round. I then came home and cleaned in deference to the arrival of my roommate’s paramour from Virginia. Deducing that cleaning happens faster, and blood pressure lowers, with gin I walked down to Mike’s grocery and in route saw my friend Kelly pulling out of the funeral home.

Mike’s grocery is located between a creamatorium and a funeral home (truth is stranger than fiction) and people use the funeral home to park when getting their groceries. Humerously the crematorium has no parking lot. It’s a former dance studio that all the little girls in the neighborhood used to walk to twenty years ago. It has a large sign out front proclaiming that they are members of the Neptune Society. Whether that’s a process or a professional association I have yet to have the gumption to ask. My guess is that they can have your urn dropped into the deepest park of the oceanic trench, where Prince Namor astride a Pilot fish can be the guide of your descent to Atlantis proper.

As Kelly was pulling out she saw me and rolled down her car window. Kelly is a bartender at a local watering hole that I haven’t been to in months. She told me she was off to work as if to encourage me to drop by. I leaned in to say hi at which point her dog Xena nearly bit my face off. I did the rapid dodge limbo and as a consequence got to keep my nose. “I’m so sorry. I’ve never seen her do that. She’s not normally like that. Etc.” So while I had mostly been having a good day it was nearly punctuated by puncture and the repulsion that all women feel for men who don’t get along with their dogs.

Things began improving again with the arrival of M.B.’s paramour, who is a charming and articulate woman. We talked many things academic until it was time for me to get out of their hair and meet Karen and John out for drinks. In route to the Oyster Bar I called Brad, John O, and Erica to liven up the group with some of my more familiar faces. Brad, John O, and John O’s brother Mike had already been out for happy hour so I simply altered their trajectory.

Mike, “Where exactly are we?”

John, “We’re on the south edge of downtown and the north edge of Soulard. That’s sort of like St. Louis’ French quarter.”

Here’s the big bomb for those of you in the know (Beth), when Karen had called earlier in the day it was to invite me out with several teachers who didn’t have to work tomorrow, by the time I arrived at the bar it had become an engagement party. John had composed a song for Karen several years ago, tonight he added a verse with a matrimonial proposal in it and then slid his grandmother’s resized ring up the approprite digit.

So firm handshakes and well wishing all around to the fabulous blues and jazz of the Tuesday night house band, which was essentially a jam session that was composed mostly of the “off duty” members of the Soulard Blues Band. The trumpet player Brian used to date my sister Sandy’s good friend Michelle. St. Louis is the world’s largest small town.

“I’ve wanted this for so long and I am just blown away that this is what this moment looks like,” Karen “We’re moving to Fenton so I can get a yard and some stars. I’m sick of the city. I want a garden.”

Karen and John met in that bar, she a tender paying for a high school teaching credential and he a patron: beginnings and endings hand in hand.

So, two women at a neighboring table, Marcy and Laura, inserted themselves into our group through repeated requests for cigarettes and it was drinks and dancing all round for the remainder of the evening. I was pulled into a conversation with Mike, Laura, and Marcy in which Mike wanted to know about more of Cronenberg’s films. Is that a coincidence, an extension of my last night out with John, has Mike been reading the blog, or is the Cronenberg experience in ascendance in the barroom gambits of lonely men?

He brought the films up to counter the girls’ assertion that Secretary was a transgressive film. I was brought in as an expert witness to confirm that Secretary, while a charming film, is the tamest S & M movie ever produced and belongs to the suburbs for which is was made. Remind me not to ever make that point again, especially to attractive women who actually want to talk about how hot they find a particular S & M film.

So after my stock plummeted with our flirting partners I had the good fortune to meet Phil, an old man from Columbia who was a charming conversationalist. I taught Karen’s girlfriend Tracy how to swing dance and gradually our crowd dwindled. First friends, then the happy couple, and at long last my coterie headed for the door. Unfortunately by that point I had gotten myself into something of an antisocial mood. No amount of convincing could get me to go bar hopping with the stragglers and so I found myself alone at our table sipping a full beer and listening to the band.

I moved up to the front of the seating area to imply that I was open to other dance partners and was promptly joined by a former student and his girlfriend, arriving fresh from Blueberry hill. Their company went a long way to cheer me up and we talked about how they had just met hiking the Appalachian Trail. He is one of those bright drop outs who somehow missed the albatross of educational loans and is thus more free than I to explore the world as a jobless hiker of Westward expansion.

Eventually they closed the doors behind us and I wandered off for late night fare from the nearby White Castle. I think I brought the solitude that I’ve been cultivating at home, with me to the bar. Feeling alone among a crowd of some of your best friends, feeling that your social clothes just don’t fit right, feeling tired in response to the press of first impressions, and feeling what it’s only natural to feel as the world pairs up, reproduces, and moves out to the suburbs; where Secretary on IFC becomes preferable to the live world of live bands: a tame kind of bondage.

Well we’ve certainly been out at bars enough for this lifetime and perhaps now it’s time for something different. I’m not sure where on that shelf I fit, or if I fit at all, but I guess I know where the bookends are.


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

I’ve just started cooking thanksgiving dinner.

Yesterday I bought a sixteen and a half pound fresh, not frozen, Perdue Tom. Just now I took down my stockpot and added two gallons of water to it. I whisked in two cups of salt and stirred till it was disolved. I opened up the bird and removed the neck, heart, and gizzard from with which I’ll start the gravy tomorrow. After rinsing the turkey off and removing all the metal catches, I put it in the salt solution to brine overnight.

Brining your turkey ensures that it cooks at the same rate so that the legs are done while the breast is tender. It also guarantees a nice crisp brown skin. With the top of the pot on, to hold the bird down, that turkey fit perfectly on the bottom shelf of the fridge. I used two packages of butter to wedge the top in place and tomorrow, when I get up, I’ll pull it from the brine, rinse it, tuck the wings and let it rest for 24 hours or so uncovered, before it goes into the oven stuffed with veggies, thyme and trussed up with twine. Resting post brining is just as important – the brine should take four plus hours at a minimum and the resting should take eight to twenty four. There is still time to brine my friends. Get thee to the store.


Monday, November 22, 2004

I got a call from my old job tonight with a work referral - a grant-writing thing. They are firing my last hire Vicky, who is the one who called me, "Yeah, they want to give other students the chance to work here." Oh honey if you're buying that line... anyway curiosity killed the cat. I went to the web page to see if they had her bio up. Vicky told me her name was Sheri.

Sheri _______, Administrative Coordinator

As an Administrative Coordinator, Sheri works with students and staff to allow the whole organization to work in full and total harmony. This allows for the students to get a full impact of the educational system. Sheri also carries a BA in Business Administrationa and a MA in Marketing that gives the Healing Art Center a vivacious medium. Sheri enjoys seeing the students learn and grow with the system.

What is Administrationa? And what the hell is a vivacious medium? A sexy psychic? Yup, they are going to do fine without me.


The games of youthful romance:

Exorcism #2 (I must confess to a certain moodiness)

All right, J. Alfred Prufrock measured coffee spoons is what you want? That’s what you’ll get. I had this ex Melinda who was into coffee. We were together two and a half years. Last I heard she married a musician and was living in Seattle, she’s a librarian and he’s a bitter ex-academic. They met at Clemson after her year in Japan. Perhaps you know her. Anyway, he didn’t get tenure somewhere, got angry, and got gone. It’s one of those stories.

When we were together Melinda had this thing about coffee. She thought coffee belonged in every aspect of one’s life. She bought this coffee cookbook and subjected me to terrible pastas and horrendous cakes in which coffee grounds appeared like a stale gravel garnish. She and I fought like no one I’ve been with since. She had an un-tempered temper and loved and then hated me in equal extremes. She was much smarter than I am, read twice as fast, but lacked then the experience to intuit too much. For all her haste she left much waste. We were a compliment that most didn’t get. Sometimes people actually winced that we were a couple. She abraded my friends like her granular cuisine and drove many away. Few took the time wear smooth to her company. I would imagine that she is an astounding woman now. We’ll take this moment to wish her well. With sorrow Miss Morrow we bid you adieu.

“I am so sick of being compared to Ellie. I don’t look forward to your letters anymore. I’ve never known what you were looking for in life and I hope you find whatever it is, but I don’t want to be a part of it. Please don’t write to me again.” Melinda


I want to change my vitual space around but I am not finding any templates that I like. I have a book on HTML that I could dig into at long last, but at the outset all that would get me... well, it would be minimal. Thoughts?

Do people do shout outs on blogs?

When I went to Erica's birthday party I walked down the steps into the basement to find her longterm whatever Justin. You grasp "whatevers" right? Anyway, Justin gives me the mosters of rock drunken gang sign and shouts Fulcrum Monkey kicks ass!!!!! Which leads me to believe that we occasionally get visits from Justin, who is now in Chicago, trapped in a high rise with hundreds of Latina single mothers. Justin has kicked my ass at chess many times and deserves many props. Where is the Justin blog we wonder?

And then there is R who checks in a couple of times a week, perhaps just on Thursdays. She skips over the dream bits, but likes the mythic everyman seeking vocation thread. She had planned a blogging novel, but now drifts in alternate directions. I am told she writes well, but this is conserved for publication. We lounged a charming drunk in backrooms of rapid fire observation and oddly thrown darts. So, a shout out there as well.

I'd also like to do a hello to any of the Beta Omega Beta and companions who might have stopped in. I found a classic BOB photo from back in the day that I will soon post. Perhaps tomorrow. Comments are welcome as are your visits. Thanks -k-


Over the years I've gotten this little email blurb several times. This version comes to us from John with a new Bush is an idiot rhetorical frame:

Dear President Bush,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would propose and support a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. As you said, "In the eyes of God, marriage is between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... end of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements Of God's laws and how to follow them:

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that a man is allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness--Leviticus 15:19-24. The problem is, most women take offense when they're asked if they're unclean.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord--Leviticus 1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states that he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Leviticus 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there degrees of abomination?

7. Leviticus 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Leviticus 19:27.How should they die?

9. I know from Leviticus 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Leviticus 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton-polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them (Leviticus 24:10-16). Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, as we do with people who sleep with their in-laws (Leviticus 20:14)?

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.


I was cleaning in the kitchen when I noticed that the coffee grinder was still half full of grounds from this morning. There are things that you just take don’t time to do that suddenly open up when you’ve a weekday to yourself. I rummaged around in the cupboard and found my old Turkish espresso maker. A Turkish espresso maker is made of iron. It has a bottom portion that you fill with water and then you insert a little tin inverted funnel through which the steam will rise. You fill the top portion of the funnel with finely ground coffee and then you screw the top portion into place.

I hadn’t used it in so long that the rubber seal that holds a separate circular piece of tin with tiny holes it in place just above the grounds, had become dry and chalky; so I oiled it with olive oil before tightening the top on. The steam enters the upper portion of the pot through a small tube and condenses against the lid with a rushing percolating sound. You place the pot over the gas burner on high and wait the few minutes it takes to make a few small cups and then sip your next half hour away with sugar and a lemon rind stirred gently in.

I am gradually getting used to being mostly by myself. My onetime daily backlog of forty plus emails has dwindled to six or so correspondences. My phone rings occasionally but I have given up answering the landline. If you call, leave a message and I’ll call you back when I’m at a stopping point. I’m usually upstairs writing where there is no phone and I don’t generally have a strong desire to break my train of thought to run downstairs to talk to a probable telemarketer. The “inner circle” generally calls the cell phone, but I often turn that off during the day as well.

This isn’t my first hibernation. During my last year with Melinda, and during the nine months that followed, I let my contacts dwindle through the winter to a very small group of people. I hadn’t noticed my withdrawal until my friend Chris pointed out that he hadn’t seen me outside of my apartment in months. It’s not that I wasn’t leaving I had just given up on the social portion of my existence. When I let my interior life grow wild, without the constant pruning necessitated by wage slavery, I move toward a silence in action that derives great pleasure from slowly pulling the rubber seal from a Turkish coffee maker. I cultivate a kind of slowness that busier versions of myself would just assume forget is possible. Such calm seas have been rare these past few years and I am breathing easier drifting in this current current.

Meet my nephew Henry, he’s taking things slow as well.


Jen just decided to refer to me as J. Alfred Prufrock. I am not balding nor am I shy of peaches and in the thrall of yellow smoke. As such I think I shall respond by quoting Joseph Heller in Catch-22 speaking through his character ex-P.F.C Wintergreen, “T.S. Eliot” click.

The Fulcrum Monkey Players will now perform for you the passage to which the above in joke makes reference:

Lifted from X

"It takes brains not to make money," Colonel Cargill wrote in one
of the homiletic memoranda he regularly prepared for circulation over
General Peckem's signature. "Any fool can make money these days and most
of them do. But what about people with talent and brains? Name, for
example, one poet who makes money."

"T. S. Eliot," ex-P. F. C. Wintergreen said in his mail-sorting
cubicle at Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters and slammed down the
telephone without identifying himself.

Colonel Cargill, in Rome, was perplexed.

"Who was it?" asked General Peckem.

"I don't know," Colonel Cargill replied.

"What did he want?" "I don't know."

"Well, what did he say?"

" 'T. S. Eliot'," Colonel Cargill informed him.

"What's that?"

"'T. S. Eliot'," Colonel Cargill repeated.

"Just 'T. S. -"'

"Yes, sir. That's all he said. Just 'T. S. Eliot'."

"I wonder what it means," General Peckem reflected. Colonel
Cargill wondered, too. "T. S. Eliot," General Peckem mused.

"T. S. Eliot," Colonel Cargill echoed with the same funereal

General Peckem roused himself after a moment with an unctuous and
benignant smile. His expression was shrewd and sophisticated. His eyes
gleamed maliciously. "Have someone get me General Dreedle," he requested
Colonel Cargill. "Don't let him know who's calling." Colonel Cargill
handed him the phone.

"T. S. Eliot," General Peckem said, and hung up.

"Who was it?" asked Colonel Moodus. General Dreedle, in Corsica,
did not reply. Colonel Moodus was General Dreedle's son-in- law, and
General Dreedle, at the insistence of his wife and against his own better
judgment, had taken him into the military business. General Dreedle gazed
at Colonel Moodus with level hatred. He detested the very sight of his
son-in-law, who was his aide and therefore in constant attendance upon
him. He had opposed his daughter's marriage to Colonel Moodus because he
disliked attending weddings. Wearing a menacing and pre-occupied scowl,

General Dreedle moved to the full-length mirror in his office and
stared at his stocky reflection. He had a grizzled, broad-browed head with
iron-grey tufts over his eyes and a blunt and belligerent jaw. He brooded
in ponderous speculation over the cryptic message he had just received.
Slowly his face softened with an idea, and he curled his lips with wicked

"Get Peckem," he told Colonel Moodus. "Don't let the bastard know
who's calling."

"Who was it?" asked Colonel Cargill, back in Rome.

"That same person," General Peckem replied with a definite trace
of alarm. "Now he's after me."

"What did he want?"

"I don't know."

"What did he say?"

"The same thing."


"Yes, 'T.S.Eliot'.? That's all he said." General Peckem had a
hopeful thought. "Perhaps it's a new code or something, like the colors of
the day. Why don't you have someone check with Communications and see if
it's a new code or something or the colors of the day?" Communications
answered that T. S. Eliot was not a new code or the colors of the day.

Colonel Cargill had the next idea. "Maybe I ought to phone
Twenty-seventh Air Force Headquarters and see if they know anything about
it. They have a clerk up there named Wintergreen I'm pretty close to. He's
the one who tipped me off that our prose was too prolix."

Ex-P. F. C. Wintergreen told Cargill that there was no record at
Tweny-seventh Air Force Headquarters of a T. S. Eliot.


From The writer's Almanac

Andre Gide said, "'Know thyself'[is] a maxim as pernicious as it is ugly...A caterpillar who wanted to know itself well would never become a butterfly."


I’ve just gotten off the phone with the cat council for bedroom affairs, I have lodged a formal request for M.B.’s cat Bozo to cease and desist any and all efforts to sleep on my head. Until we get a ruling it looks like I will be unable to finish my evening’s respite, so I might as well type. Some nights Bozo just gets the crazies and there is nothing to be done. You can put him out of the room, but by the time feet hit floor it’s too late isn’t it: pesky adrenal glands. (Pesky is the word of the month, look for it in upcoming sentences.)

So then I was up surfing late night mental television and I came across this obscure UHF station broadcasting all regrets all the time. I can’t say that I’d recommend the line up. It’s primarily televangelists, ex-girlfriends, wounded friends, and infomercials. You are much better served by tuning into something like the graditude channel. So, I am grateful that to the best of my knowledge my exes are doing reasonably well. If we acknowledged the ways in which we’ve hurt each other then there is room to grow and there is the possibility of preventing future hurt, if by no other means then our continued avoidance of one another. Ha. I keep humor in my panacea cupboard for just such emergencies.

I have the same problems in my personal life that I do in the game of chess. I open strong, I overextend, I tend toward the reactive rather than keeping a clear strategy in mind, I don’t maximize my assets, I am too quick to castle, and then one incident follows another until it all falls apart. At least I’ve learned not to develop my queen to early. I’m glad you were here so I could get that off my chess. Pesky Persian pawns provoke postulations on privation, and an empty bed can go to the head.

“Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Postmodern Yeats: with rationalizations aplenty for the entropy of love lost. I’m getting better, but it is after all a complicated endeavor. Ah good. I am getting sleepy again. O.K. the cat has been routed and I’ve had my sippy cup of juice. It’s time to tuck myself back in. Sweet dreams baby James. “Something in the way she moves, looks my way, or calls my name, that seems to leave this troubled world behind. And if I’m feeling down and blue or troubled by some foolish game, she always…” well sometimes… all right I’m going back to bed.


Sunday, November 21, 2004

Bored. Too tired to read. I’m too sleepy to think. It’s too early to just go to sleep. I could go to a movie by myself but that seems depressing. I guess I’ll go house sit and watch TV. Blah.


When you’re unemployed and web-aware you might find yourself getting little newsletters on how to handle your unemployment. So, according to my newsletter, when unemployed you should view your free time as an opportunity to do several things: 1. Go to museums and experience cultural events, 2. Get healthy and exercise, 3. Provide a service by volunteering. Ok, cultural events are no problem and I have been walking the dog a few miles a day, doing sit ups, push ups, taking vitamins, eating fruit, etc. Today I tried volunteering.

My friend Hannah has a dog that is named Bingo. This is appropriate beyond the lyrical as Hannah, together with her mother and many other folks, runs a bingo parlor. This bingo parlor is a front for an organization known as The Epilepsy Foundation of St. Louis. The long and the short of it is that many, many people come weekly to gamble for a good cause, with all proceeds going to help fund research and assistance programs for people in the St. Louis region with epilepsy. I was asked several times today, “Are you part of the organization?” I guess I am now.

I’d been out there once before to observe, and to begin training, but my weekends were so sacrosanct, given my fifty to sixty hour workweek, that I’d only been the once a few months ago to see if I was interested in volunteering. So today I went and for five hours I worked the floor selling pull-tabs to gamblers in the name of a good cause. This may become a regular Sunday thing for me. Hannah’s mother would like me to eventually become a caller because, “They really go for a male caller.”

If you’ve never been to a bingo parlor or experienced bingo culture, let me tell you that it is a world unto itself. Imagine yourself in a large room, maybe the size of a smaller high school’s gymnasium. The room is a large rectangle divided in the center by a makeshift wall of office partitions with a gap on either end. On one side there are the non-smokers, the cafeteria line and the restrooms. On the other side sit the smokers ruminating in a haze beneath a ceiling of multiple, ineffectual smoke-eating machines.

There are more than ten rows of tables on each side with folding chairs running the length of the room. The room seats hundreds of people. The average age of the patrons is in the mid sixties, but with the premature aging that smoking causes it can be difficult to tell. All ages, ethnicities, and degrees of health seemed to be represented, from the vibrant teenagers working the snack bar to the ventilated wheelchair-bound amputees.

The interior is all white. The office partitions are gray. On each side there is a large bingo scoreboard in the center of the room divider which displays what has already been called, how many numbers have been called, the number of the round, and what the prize is for that particular round. An average prize was four hundred dollars, but the prizes ranged from one hundred and twenty five dollars, to a thousand dollars for the final round. Off duty police officers volunteer to keep watch over the proceedings, and mill in gutted silence around the periphery.

The ceiling of the room is supported by white concrete posts and each post has a closed circuit television hanging from it that is linked to a web camera in the caller’s booth, such that the ping pong ball displaying number and letter about to be called looks out from each television like an Orwellian eye of fortune. The caller’s booth is on a dais located at one of the gaps in the office partitions so that the caller is facing both halves of the room.

“I have a smoking side bingo. Do I have any other bingos? I see two bingos in non-smoking. Can I get a confirmation of a good bingo from one of the volunteers?” Every bingo card has a numerical code that can be shouted out by a volunteer. The computer in the caller’s booth then confirms whether or not the patron has in fact correctly scored their bingo card. “I’m sorry, b52 has not been called. That is not a good bingo.”

The first time I was there a former caller and favored son who had moved to Florida, a rare male caller, came back to visit and play bingo. In the cult of luck-transfer many hands touched his to welcome him and get the grace or juju of a former caller. The luck totems of the players were one of the most fascinating things about bingo.

The first of the layers of totemic luck bringers are the ink dabbers with which players mark their cards. People arrive with special purses that are circular buckets or bags with ten to twenty pockets on the outside and a drawstring for the center. Each pocket holds a dabber of a particular color. The dabbers can look like plain markers or they can reflect a host of characters: from Betty Boop and the Peanuts Gang, to every member of the Cardinals or Rams current and past rosters. People line these dabbers up in front of them like chess pieces, rosary candles, or Polynesian statuary.

Many of the women also bring a single stuffed animal to set at the corner of their playing area. These are primarily rabbits and frogs, though I did see one small Ziggy doll and assorted other oddities. Several of the rabbits had had cloth embroidered bingo sheets sown onto their chests with what I would guess to be the lucky numbers of that player. Some of the rabbits and one frog in particular had been covered in lucky numbers with some kind of black marker, rather than the embroidery. I assumed that to be a cheaper version of the same charm.

A very old African American woman had two large sprouting onions, one white and one red, that she placed in the same corner of her playing area that other women used to house their stuffed animal totems. So older magic is afoot among Brujas and Curanderos of bingo.

For the men silence and bling seemed totemic. Rings and watches, money clips and the special folding of their bills. For everyone it seemed good luck that I was new and male. Any difference can bring luck. One of my co-volunteers, Carol, began to get territorial because so many of her regulars were buying tabs from me.

A tab is like a lottery scratch off ticket that you would buy in a bar or at a gas station only it is made of two pieces of cardboard that you pull apart to reveal whether or not you’ve won. Each tab has five chances to win and can cost between a quarter and a dollar. I had a money belt like a server’s apron and a plastic bucket like a custodian’s, with a handle in the center and two rectangular chambers in which to keep bundles of the pull-tabs. I was also selling a variety of supplemental game sheets for bingo proper.

A speedball is a special game card and is only fifty cents. Circle sevens are also called you-pick-ums and they cost one dollar. An ad on for a game is a dollar and bonanzas, which are alternately called black outs, are a dollar unless you trade a used one in and then they are fifty cents with the trade in. Bonanzas you can play by themselves and I sold a ton of those before bingo even started.

People buy the pull tabs with cash or with winning tabs. I had a few people cash in fifty-dollar tickets and one person won a hundred dollars on the tabs. There may have been many more winners as they can cash them out at the main desk by the entrance as well.

At first you only sell the tabs by themselves. Then, at the start of game eleven, you start to sell them in five-dollar bundles as a mixture of quarter, fifty, and dollar tabs. People went crazy for the bundles and I sold through two full bags of them.

Carol wanted to know if the patrons were getting to me yet. Ten years of bartending and waiting tables provides a certain skill set that translated well to roaming the floor selling things. It was sort of like taking the shot tray around in a crowded VFW hall. I must have walked several miles today. Later Hannah told me that the exercise was why Carol volunteered. Carol has a weak heart that is only functioning at about twenty five percent of its former capacity. Ironically she is still a smoker, and the section that she got territorial about was the smoking section.

We were sitting down on a break drinking soda and eating pizza when Carol leaned over to me and said, “I used to work with a women that would go to all my regulars and I would tell her off, tell her to get the heck out of my territory. When I saw you working my side of the room I was just about ready to yell at you when I saw her face right in front of me telling me to mind my own business.” From this passive aggressive salvo I deduced that Carol was politely setting boundaries and also experiencing visitations from long deceased coworkers. Carol has been a volunteer at that bingo hall for ten years and I set my custodial bucket and servers belt just like she told me, no sense in reinventing the wheel.

I know that bingo is not a soup kitchen, but it really did seem to me that everyone there was aware of an underlying spirit of charity implicit in this dice roll of boxed and diagonal numbers. Many of the women in their forties and fifties had the tell tale marks of off duty nurses who were well aware what patients and doctors would benefit from this weekend lark. Win or lose, the social interactions of these dusty denizens of the bingo parlor seemed themselves a societal benefit and we also did raise a significant amount of money. Now that I am a volunteer I am not allowed to gamble, so I will never be on the receiving end of that big cash prize, but I do see myself in the not too distant future speaking clearly into the microphone, “We have a good bingo in the smoking section. Do I have any others?”


Saturday, November 20, 2004

I continue to have an odd time in the world.

In the last twelve hours or so I have had two lengthy conversations about religion. First Vanessa called and wanted to know what I thought about The Ethical Society. She’s heard good things about them, and when they went to Jefferson City to lobby state government for women’s rights they met up and left from the parking lot (Hi Vanessa and Chris). I believe Chris had opined that they were some kind of cult. While the technical line between cult and religion seems only to be one of social acceptance, in common parlance we know what he means and I would not say that The Ethical Society is a cult.

I honestly don’t know that much about them other than what Rebecca has told me. Rebecca was raised attending Sunday school at The Ethical Society. When she first talked about it she suggested that they were like AA in that they appealed to a higher power rather than a specific or even gendered traditional conception of God. She and John were married there. The service as I recall it was quasi historical, “Here are the reasons why people have gotten married in religious services throughout time.”

Later Rebecca’s mother became ordained through The Ethical Society and she performed the backyard wedding of our friends Missy and Brian. Their service was more, “we gather among friends the couple have written their vows” but also included some history of the ceremony. At least on the surface this group seems composed of intelligent well-informed people who value religious fellowship while at the same time resisting religious dogma. They are politically liberal and may well satisfy a need for finding like-minded individuals.

We also talked about the Unitarian church near Wash U., but I know even less about them. We went ahead and planned our evening’s glass factory outing and I went back to work on the book.

Then in the early evening I got a call from my ex Stephanie. She was drunk on vodka and wanted to talk about the Jehova’s Witness who had given her literature. Steph’s current paradigm is one of seeking the right man. She’s living with a guy who she’s on the outs with and he’s moving out at the end of the month. “I’m thirty and all I want is kids. Why do I always date guys like you?” The implication is that guys like me don’t have a strong desire for kids one way or the other. This leads into the religious literature in that there is a description of the ideal couple in her pamphlet. She told me she hadn’t been willing to talk to the Witness yet, but that she had asked her soon to be ex’s sister who Jehovah was.

Steph isn’t interested in finding God so much as she is in finding the right sort of guy. She asked if she could read part of the pamphlet to me. She read a lengthy passage on the ideal relationship between a man and a women, “You see, that sounds like what I want from a man. That sounds like what I want in a relationship. Except there’s this part about deferring to your husband, I don’t agree with that. What’s that all about?”

Steph has no context for the origins of religious patriarchy, either historically or in a mythological Old Testament context. So I told her the story of Adam and Eve and explained how God had supposedly created Eve from Adam’s rib and that while many traditions are using language like “helpmate” now, women are still generally taught to be and treated as second class.

I left Lilith out, because why complicate matters, most Christian traditions don’t acknowledge her anyway (the women God supposedly made before Eve who got kicked out of the garden for being too willful). I also left out the tree bit, “I will put enmity between the man and the woman,” because being created second is enough to start the conversation we don’t need to get into blaming women for the fall from grace; though of course many traditions do blame the tempted temptress for succumbing to the wiles of the serpent and passing out tainted fruit.

I said, “Maybe on the surface this deference doesn’t seem like such a big deal, but if you begin to think about how many women have been psychologically and physically abused by their husbands, treated like property, and then were told by the pastors or other religious leaders that it was their duty to God to stick with that man, to remain in that marriage. How many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of women have actually died in that context. No, religious patriarchy is not a small deal.” And to continue with a thread of this blog, if one piece of the puzzle doesn’t fit it puts the whole picture in jeopardy.

Chris and Vanessa arrived at this point so I told Steph I’d call her back later in the weekend. The three of us met up with Beth and John and went to watch glass get blown.

The party had that open warehouse feel where space breeds familiarity rather than distance. It felt like a Kirksville party except that I didn’t know everyone there, and then the inevitable, “Didn’t you used to go to Northeast Missouri State. I was a psyche major there and I graduated in 96. It’s just that in that town we all knew each other’s faces.” Her name is Angela, and though I didn’t know her she did look familiar. We talked for a while about visits back and the new Dukum. She was there as a sign language interpreter for a large group of hearing impaired individuals who were learning to blow glass. Very Cool.

I also ran into a massage therapist named Laura who’d heard a rumor and asked if it was mutual (my split with my former employer). I assured her in my best Terry Gar (from Young Doctor Frankenstein) that the feeling was most mutual. We also saw Karen and John’s friends John and Bridget. Her mother had several paintings there as part of the art show.

In the smoking lounge by the entrance there was a long-term performance by about ten different fire jugglers who blew clouds of flame skyward, swallowed sticks that looked like flaming pussy willows, and did that raver dance with two balls of flame each on the end of a long cord swirling in parallel rotations; Midwestern whirling dervishes of fire.

So that got boring quickly and we decided to call it a night of sorts. I took Chris, Vanessa, and Beth back to their cars, had a bite to eat, and went to meet John out in the Central West End at this pub called Llywelyn’s.

I found John on the second floor of the bar and I ordered a Guinness. He was eating these little burgers that looked like White Castle, but were made from steak. On my way into the bar a guy had stopped me and asked, “Didn’t you used to go to Northeast Missouri State? I recognized your face. I’m Kevin. I was an English major, graduated in 1996.” Go figure. More small talk about going back to visit, the new Dukum etc; Craig has given the Diaspora something to talk about.

There was live music in the form of a young woman with a great voice belting out Van Morrison and the like. John was talking with a friend of his who cooks at Llwelyns. He was just off work. We got to talking about science fiction. John and the cook both recommended a book called Hyperion that my brothers Andy and Philip have also both recommended, so I guess I’ll go pick that up soon. The cook and I got into a conversation about J.G. Ballard’s novel Crash and Cronenberg’s film adaptation.

After not very long I found myself ready to go home. I didn’t have the stamina to wait it out for the cliques to break down and familiarity of bar space to lead to other familiarities. I think I found the cook annoying as well. I said my goodnights and decided to do a quick walkthrough of neighboring Dressel’s, a two story Welsh pub frequented by the more literary of bent. They do readings of Ulysses and Day of The Dead stuff there. So I made a circuit of both floors and on my way out the door I saw Monique.

Monique and I did actually know each other in Kirksville. She was out with her boyfriend to celebrate her birthday. She must be twenty-five or twenty-six. We talked about going back to visit, Bob’s birthday, the new Dukum. She asked about Linda Seidel, who was, “One of the most influential people in my life.” She also asked about Ruthann. I told her that we’d split up over two years ago and she was very surprised that it had been so long since either of us had seen her.

I guess Kirksvillians on a St. Louis bar tour come in threes. The last I had seen Monique she was starting a grad program at Saint Louis University in what I have no idea, psychology I would imagine. She had a nineteen-year-old boyfriend that she was embarrassed about, but he liked to camp and in the woods age seemed to matter less. I wonder if that was the same guy. I don’t think I had ever met him.

Monique reminds me of parties at Doug and Jeff’s place, or out at Clair’s farm. She reminds me of my ex Ruthann and the evenings thematic - looking for the divine in the presence of another – or several others. This evenings wander makes me think of our lives as a series of accidents, encounters of glass and fire, crashes into one another that leave only fleeting impressions of familiarity or scars that will be with us always.

We learned that if you get the fire hot enough, eighteen hundred degrees I believe, you get something malleable enough that you can make almost anything out of it. You become a co-creator with the divine and the end result can be both beautiful and fragile.


Friday, November 19, 2004

Tonight we're going to this.

Chris has a friend in the band, so we're meeting here for drinks and then heading up the street to blow glass and dance.


Just a few days ago I gave Mary a book of classic postcards from route 66. Most of the old attractions are long gone but not all of them. On the second day of our trip we were playing tag with a high plains storm rolling across Arizona. Here it is out the window.

Anyway I told Mary I was going to pull one postcard from the book. Here it is:

and then here is Mary

I was thinking that this crater was responsible for some dino destruction, but alas not. It is too small to have blotted out the sun with clouds of ash. That honor rests elsewhere.

Near sunset the night before our stop at the crater we got off the highway to get gas and we discovered that we were here.

I decided to buy one of those disposable cameras and took this shot from the gas station where I bought it:

We then took the camera down and did the superman tourist mother road pose

Click here for more info.

Here's the view from space.

And on an unconnected note here are Jen’s children (from the same roll of film) holding up the arch at the B.B. King Concert.


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Did The Cat In The Hat come over on rainy days?

It’s Thursday and the weather has changed. St. Louis is cloud covered and rainy. I am congested and cold. I just drank a white fizzing tornado to sweep away the sinus pressure that has trailer parked behind my left temple. Moldering leaf spores poor sufferers who are longing for that first hard frost, to kill at will with chill that which is making us ill.

I’m not yet sure if it’s a do nothing day, but it sure feels that way now. I have to leave at some point to feed a friend’s fish on the house watch front. I need to get out of my stupor and be super, apply to grad schools and get my hands dirty on the book. I wanted to read background today, but the headache is in the way so we’ll see. I don’t seem to be able to do anything unless I make a list. Ben Franklin’s long organizational shadow falls upon my afternoon and I must consider the pros and cons of lateral drifting. How do you chart the art of procrastination?

Bastian hurt his leg on yesterday’s walk so we’re taking the day off from walking so his slight limp can right itself. I need to right myself too so I can better write myself. I went out with John last night and we rolled back in to his place around two thirty. I walked in my own front door at four thirty a.m. just as M.B. was getting up for the day. I’d been feeling a little soccer mom like and so decided to have one of “those” nights. It was
mostly mild and fun to be out. I don’t go out to bars much anymore, except when in the ville. My house is cheaper and you can hear yourself over the music. Though it is hard to meet anyone new in your living room.

The drugs are suggesting that I take a nap – so off to the afternoon slumber in what Mary H. has taken to calling, “my life of leisure”.

The last few Thursdays my stat counter has spiked, so for those of you checking back weekly, Thursday does seem to be a popular day for it. Thor’s Day, when the mighty hammer Mjolnir looms above the working week and all who would not honor Odin’s son, storm bringer, lightning flinger, show themselves to be fodder for Fenris The Wolf, or Virginia The Woolfe, or a whole slew of other wolves. Perhaps Tomas The Wolfe? There’s a good Tom Wolfe paraphrase from Look Homeward Angel in the opening scene of Before Sunset. Go rent it if you like.
It’s almost Friday – Frigg’s day – Odin’s wife and the protector of all things feminine. So soon you will be in the mead hall hurling axes at the memories of your workweek. Rejoice you laborers and cross this rainbow bridge into the Asgard of your weekend.


Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Once a hipster now a homster:

Does this look like the start of a midlife crises to anyone else?

I have been visiting some very cool coastal L.A. and New York on the scene blogs today. I am feeling very Midwestern in comparison to their urbane and topical posts. I have never done more than skirt the edges of hip hop culture so it shouldn’t seem strange to me that I feel so outside that rhetorical universe. I am not being ironic. I am trying to sort out my mixed emotional bag of misplaced comparison.

When I was seventeen I would hit every big show that came to town, at least the ones I could get in to see. I have a mental backlog of Toasters shows at 1227, The Alley, Farenheit, and Warehouse Raves galore, dancing and drugged in some vicinity of Washington Avenue downtown St. Louis. Or hand stamped for the all ages section of Mississippi Nights for the regular Wednesday night Urge show with the eight-dollar cover.

I was alive in a different way then. I was interested in what the popular culture was throwing up. I haven’t been in a very long time. Probably the last new CD I bought was Fiona Apple. How many years ago was that?

I have a vague desire to be interested in what’s new, but it requires cash to play those games and my green needs to result in food and rent. So that’s it then, be my guide. What’s new that I should be paying attention to? On a finite budget what’s worth checking out right now?


You got Cheney in my Scarface! You got Scarface in my Cheney!

Here is a not so subtle piece of protest cinema, warning do not play this short in the vicinity of small children or coworkers.

Shamelessly stolen from Cheers in the Wirehouse


Monday, November 15, 2004

I hate it when writers mix their metaphors:

Something odd happened to me over the past four days.

Have you ever read the short story “The Hunger Artist” by Kafka? It’s about a circus performer whose shtick is starvation. He gets so used to not eating, he draws crowds by not eating for ten days, twenty, a hundred. He soon fails to impress the crowds so he allows himself to waste to near invisibility. Eventually, not being seen, he fades from the memory of circus and public alike. A panther is placed in his cage, which is presumed to be empty. I seem to recall that the panther eats whatever is left of him, or at least that’s implied.

On the surface it’s a metaphor for the self-denial of the artist. The story critiques the viewer of culture as susceptible to the cult of the new, failing to appreciate suffering artist. But it also undermines the artist’s tragic pose and feeds the poseur to the dynamic panther. I’m sort of like the hunger artist in that I’ve gotten used to not eating. I’m sort of like the panther in that I’m getting hungry.

It was Friday night in the ville and Bob and I attended a Beta Omega Beta cocktail mixer. This was pre party for an ATO event. The ATO’s in the ville are the alternative fraternity. When I was a student there they would dress up like Shriners and bike in circle eights in any and all parades that would have them. When Brad, John, and I lived together we often hosted pre, post, and in competition with, ATO parties. It was all the same people. You get the idea, the smart and slightly odd kids.

This past Friday night I ended up being invited to bartend, to play charades, to smoke, to teach a little bit, to be tolerated a lot, and to relive being the person that I was ten years ago.

Afterward Bob and I went home, not going on to the ATO party. When I turned off my headlights to go in the house I must have hit the switch that turns the hazard lights on. The two switches are next to each other. They flashed away all night and in the morning when we tried to head out for lunch the battery was flat. We asked a neighbor for a jump and it turns out that they had seen the lights flashing, but the car was locked and they didn’t know which dark house it belonged to.

Bob suggested that we take a drive down to Macon for lunch so that the battery would charge. We ate at a little old hotel that claimed to have opened in the eighteen eighties. Right by the front door there was a small, framed picture of Buddy Holly on a bus. Someone had punched the photo and shattered the glass. No one seemed to care to take the broken picture of a broken man off the wall.

Macon is one of those towns that have lost. The factories are all but gone. There is no College there to bring in jobs or money. A dive bar had replaced the antique mall we were going to check out. That town is fading and the panther is primed. You fade when you get caught up in the old, don’t reach out for the new.

When we got back to the ville we had more trouble with the battery, not because there was no charge, but because in the jump the positive connection had gotten loose. You leave those fearful hazard lights on too long and you drain the battery. You get a jolt that starts you, but it’s no good if your connections are loose. If you’re stuck in the past, you’re a broken picture of a broken man on a dive bar wall in an empty hotel. That house on Friday was filled with alt kids who were mentally electric, in motion. From them and from my other friends in the ville I got some kind of a jumpstart. The hazards are off and now I just need to keep connected to the positive.


Sold my car to the sixteen year old for 500$!!


How long is your to do list? I have neglected so many things for so long in deference to my plate spinning labors at the HAC that it now seems that my to do list expands exponentially in every diretion that I look.

I don’t suppose that I am feeling overwhelmed, it’s just like that moment when you walk into a house that hasn’t been cleaned in a very long time and you have to ask yourself, “What order do I tackle these messes in?” Ok, a little overwhelmed, but not reduced to inaction. I think you start and end in the kitchen? Thoughts?

I’ve shifted into practical gear. Instead of packing for my trip to the ville I threw all my dirty laundry in the back of the van and availed myself of Bob’s laundry. Joseph covered my gas to the ville as a travel expense relating to our potential project. I’m not sure how much I am going to talk about that here. I think maybe not much at all. I’m sure you’re curious, but I am mostly going to follow William Gibson’s advice, if you keep letting the steam out then the water will never boil.

Let’s just say I am at the research phase of the project. I know what I don’t know, what I need to know, and how I plan on learning it. This will involve digesting several of the books in my library on Tibetan Buddhism. Reading cover to cover the back issues of “Enlightenment” magazine, kindly supplied by my brother Phil. And a friendly chunk o’ time at the old Wash U library located convieniently a short fifteen-minute walk from my front door. I need to become an expert and get the back-story on the New Age. Derek, who are my must reads?

There is also the not so small matter of altering my style, so you can gauge my progress through the reduction of stylistic faux paus. In my personal writing I’ve always been a member of the stream of consciousness Gertrude Stein indifference school of free form, but as Mary oft points out “Mr. English teacher” the medium is the message and your credibility can hang on a semicolon. Given the spiritual subject matter of this book, credibility will be key. I will also presumably be outsourcing a line edit. I mean, whom am I kidding? This lake has depth, but the surface she is choppy.

Sunday in the ville I woke up on Jen’s couch and went back to Bob’s. While he continued his kip, I finished up my laundry and watched “Joe Vs. The Volcano,” quite an appropriate film for my circumstance. Tom Hanks three years in a dead end job for three hundred a week, my exact situation. Volcanoes or bust baby.

Karen, my friend who teaches high school here in St. Louis, has just discovered Joseph Campbell. She’s using it to give her students a language to talk about The Odyssey.

M.B. “Really? I thought everyone found Campbell and Emerson in High School. Then you get a little older and read Nietzsche so you can put their idealism in context. Sort of a “wow” followed by a “hang on a minute”.”

Aren’t you going to miss these quotes from M.B.? Last Wednesday started the hundred-day count down to her move to be with Maureen. Yet another series of transition questions loom: do I get another roommate, a smaller place, move in with my sister, move to the state in which I hope to attend graduate school while keeping fluid enough that I don’t get stuck should something else open up, etc.?

Are you cool? Do you want to move in with me? Beware potential roommate, for I am not substantially on the sane side of circumstance. I am generally and without a doubt a fosterer of fun, but creativity and destruction have been carpooling in my fast lane for some time now.

Ha. Well anyway I’ve been thinking about old Joe Campbell (The Power of Myth guy on PBS every year) and the call to adventure to which the hero must rise. What comes after the call? Why, the arming of the hero by Athena on the beach of course. That sounds fun, except she’s going to hand me a mop to start with.

Funster scene #32 from the most recent lost weekend:

Julie Minn, of Minn’s cuisine, has joined our table. Bob is drinking my family recipie for modified Manhattans, a special secret blend of herbs and spices meant to enliven any family card game. Rod and I have taken to bottomless gin martinis, over which the eight-ounce peppercorn filet that is resting against my rib cage has only so much sopping up authority. They are bottomless because Rod never finishes one before he calls for a “topper,” and so our support staff has run an I.V. line from the shaker at the bar.

We are the only ones in the restaurant. We are hidden from the bar by an oriental screen. The bar patrons have given up on their own coversation and are watching us through the screen like a Mylasian puppet show.

A side note – I am a world traveler who has had filet from London to Honolulu and Ruth’s Chris cannot touch the magic that is wrought in Julie’s kitchen. That filet alone is worth a trip to the ville. It is the best I have ever had and it is consistently so. I am never disappointed.

Now my Scottish Brogue has come out and I am being encouraged to say ridiculous things like, “There is no teetotalling in Davy Jones’ locker!” One of the women at the bar is so impressed by us that she retrieves a bottle of her home brewed brandy from the trunk of her car and adds a layer to our inebriation. We shoot snifters of the honey-flavored distillate and compliment her grace and fortitude.

Illegal Tense Shift

What would classical German philosophy be if not for its’ historic romantic obsession with the Orient? Rod was wishing to sing the praises of the Orient for Julie and began an oration on the Tao Te Ching, to which I raised some objections of interpretation, and before I knew it Rod had stormed off. Yes, we had a fight about the Tao Te Ching and he went home.

Having lost half our floor show through Rod’s departure we adjurned to the Dukum for Irish Car Bombs, Guiness, and the sort of rollicking that leaves bumps and bruises that lack interpretive context. The weeklong Bob fest had begun (there are still several days to go. I’ve tagged out, but Bill is arriving after his gig in Columbia with poker and Jazz on his agenda). Would that we had overlapped, but alas I had a dog at Vanessa’s to retrieve and a Mark to pick up from the airport.

Mark and I had a nice chat about his time in Seattle and we got him out the door this morning in plenty of time to make that 2:30 class.

Sebastian is barking at door-to-door Catholics. I just had to put him in the basement.

“Are you aware that the Catholic Church is the only Church established by Christ?”

“I’m aware that Paul thought that.”

“Catholicism is the faith from which all other Christian denominations have branched off. Catholics are the only keepers of the apostolic line, I’m sure you know what that is.”

I’ve heard some good lines before Gracie, but the apostolic ones have never worked on me.

They were two very sweet old ladies from a local church that I was very nice to, even if my dog did scare them a bit. He did not like them one bit. I took their literature and we chatted pleasantly for a short while. Unfortunately that probably means they’ll be coming back to make disciples of all nations. Did you know that Nietzsche was both the son and the grandson of prominent Lutheran ministers? Imagine that. When one stops looking for the logical conclusions of a theology and starts looking for their logical precursors then dinosaurs and Zarathustra become much more problematic.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

It’s not unusual for life to present us with a mixed bag. It’s near midnight and I am at Bob’s fiftieth birthday party hosted by Jen and Derek. Jen’s son Sam has a high fever and they’ve just lost a cat, Boone, to mysterious death. In these circumstances they are still hosting this party out of love for our friend Bob.

There is no easy way to say these things – and I’m sorry Beth that you’re hearing about this in this circumstance - Wally died yesterday. I won’t go into the details here, but I will briefly say that Wally was a bar regular of Kirksville who has touched many of the people who read this blog. T.J. didn’t come to the party as a consequence and Craig’s odd behavior now has a context.

It’s a loss that is hanging in the air giving the proceedings something of a somber air.

Wally was a proud man who brought a sincere love into immeasurable lives. I know many people who bar tended in the ville who thought of Wally as a father or grandfather. He was and is family. I’m at a loss.


Friday, November 12, 2004

Here's one for the record books, I am blogging from the Dukum Inn. Craig has installed a computer where there was once the severed head of a deer. We've been here since five and had dinner - yes burgers in the Dukum through the old Taco shop window. Stephanie is behind the bar and the old Bogie's staff is running the new kitchen. We're out the door for a party with the Beta Omega Beta's that starts at nine p.m. Mike Davis, Arnie, Alahna and Linda just left, but we'll see them tomorrow at Bob's big blow out party hosted by Jen and Dereck - from which I imagine I will blog. Last night was an epic wander that would take more time to recount then I currently have.

There is only one quote on the wall in the men's room here, it's been carved into the steel stall wall with a pen knife.

"Genious is what man creates when he is looking for a way out." Sartre.

How's that for a fine howdy from the universe.

Time to Brachiate monkey - get swinging.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

I am sitting at a computer in Jen’s kitchen. There are two goldfish to my right swimming around a large plastic sponge Bob square pants. We walked Jen’s dog Goldie up to campus and back and I am now waiting for Bob’s office hours to end so we can make our 7:30 reservation at Minn’s Cuisine. There was just enough Gin in the cupboard for a gin and tonic, which I am drinking out of a glass that is covered in playful kittens. Jen’s house is also covered in playful kittens, of the live variety. Couches suffer, eyes water, but laps are generally warm. A grey kitty named sprite is sitting on the actual monitor of this machine. Bob just called and is ready to go eat – so more later. Remind me to tell you about Adam and Joseph. My afternoon meeting with Joseph went very well. We have a deal that will keep me in q-tips for the next six months.


Hiatus - c u in a bit.


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Stolen from Michelle de Seattle:

Threat rating: High. The Bush administration is
concerned that it may not get a second term.
Therefore, we are going to change the rules so
that each Democrat vote only counts as 0.2
votes because Democrat is a shorter word than

What threat to the Bush administration are you?
brought to you by Quizilla


A cute kid came by with his mom. He just turned sixteen and is looking for his first car. Her father-in-law is a mechanic so the radiator problem etc. is not going to cost them much. He’s been saving his money and he’s the one that saw it out in my driveway. He convinced his mom to come look. I told them I was out of town until Sunday so they would have a chance to think about it. Maybe bring her father-in-law by to take a look at it. I told her everything that I could think of that was wrong. It would be a great first car.

I bought a piece of artwork this morning that I’ll tell you about later. I think I got a good price for it. I also put my name on waiting lists for booth space at two different antique malls. I have sooooooo much shit I could sell. It’s time to start unloading. Why did you buy art? It’s a gift. Oh, ok.

I met Tyler for a working lunch and he advised me how to proceed in developing a contract that would protect both of our interests, Joseph and mine, in this book deal.

I have been a bum for the past few days, no point not being one. The beard is coming in nicely and went well with my ripped up jeans and various t-shirts. Brad is pro beard, M.B. is anti beard, she thinks I look like a seventies porn star. It’s always odd to have people weigh in on your face.

M.B., “Beards are for people without jaw lines, you have a jaw so ditch the beard. And when’s the last time you saw yourself with short hair?”

Karl, “1991”

M.B. “What’s the first thing they do on queer eye? They ditch the hair. I imagine you have a totally different face from boy Karl, you might consider revisiting the length question.”

So, I figured if I was actually going to have a business lunch in down town Clayton I’d get dressed up a bit, so we did camel hair professional Karl, in blue silk shirt and navy slacks, black belt, black shoes, and shades of course. I felt like a costumed crusader next to Tyler’s casual sweater look. Identity is always a performance and he conceded that he’s normally in a suit.

Karl, “Does this coat go with all this blue?”

M.B., “Are you kidding? Camel hair goes with everything.”

Karl, “Off to have lunch with the law.”

M.B., “Is Tyler a Democrat or a Republican?”

Karl, “Democrat, why?”

M.B., “Because if he were a Republican you’d have to say you were going to have lunch with your attorney, but since he’s a Democrat you get to say lawyer.”

Now that’s funny!

I’ve been cleaning the house much of the day for our evenings soiree. I am tired and can’t find my portable cassette recorder anywhere. If you will it, it will come. I am so glad that I found my portable cassette recorder, rinse, repeat.


Decompressing. Sitting at the dining room table with my feet up, having my morning coffee and talking politics and history with Mary Beth. Playing with the dog while we talk. His coat is softer then I remember it. Feeling a sense of ease throughout my body, wondering at this lack of clench. I am no longer up to bat, the pitcher is no longer sending signals to the catcher behind my back. I’m done guessing and that game is over. There is a path that I am on, a path to pay the bills, a path to slowing down my life, a path to slowness, a path through language.

When the dog needs to go out I stand on the back stairs in the morning cold and I think about last night’s meal, Coho salmon caught by one of my relatives on some Canadian fishing trip. Most likely it was my uncle Arlyn who sat in the boat with the minnow hooked through the eye, bobbing up and down in the chill air on one of the great lakes.

Along came this cold water thing, this searching spine set to perpetual forward; then net and cooler, knife and freezer. One side with scales finds its way down the Mississippi in a motor home, my parents on their way to meet a new grandchild brining incidental gifts, sharing sharp cheddar and this foot long musculature, an incident wrapped in newspaper.

The cold of the morning reminds me of the cold of that water. We are what we eat.

I had set the oven last night to 300 and oiled the scales with extra virgin, the cat meowing at my feet with such insitence that I put him out of the kitchen and closed the heavy wooden door. Still frozen, I poured a quarter cup of lemon juice along the salmon’s length and cracked pepper, sprinkled sea salt, foiled and set to baking.

Somehow my basil had survived the fall. Somehow there was even new growth. Pine nut pesto with the last of the garlic, the last of the leaves, oil and Parmesan. Mary Beth came home from work and opened a bottle of red. I poured a glass and put the pasta into the boiling water. The pasta was old and clumped like the heavy Asian noodles that Mai Lee serves with the Bok Choy. I stood over the steam and stirred. When mixed with the pesto the flavor was right, even if the texture was odd.

Brad showed up with a bottle of gin, “Here I was worried about whether you were eating, running out of food, and you’re having me over for a salmon feast.”

This lived in house will soon house a lived in life.


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

So that’s it then. My new career as a ghostwriter and new age marketing specialist has been launched.

Ok, don’t get mad lawyer boys, because of proximity and familiarity I’ve contacted Tyler about drawing up a contract for Joseph and I. We’ve reached an agreement and I am heading to Kirksville on Thursday for our first face-to-face meeting. I will be killing two birds with one stone by arriving just in time for Bob’s 50th birthday party.

I gave two test drives in the car today, so we hope that sells soon.

Joseph and I had a long talk today about all things new age and I think we’re on similar pages if not the same page. How would I describe that page? Open-minded pragmatists who are suspicious of all things ego derived when it comes to healing. I will maintain professional distance and set appropriate boundaries, but I must admit that I like him. I tried to get away from this project actually, had decided against it, but the universe apparently had other plans. There are more things in heaven and in earth then are dreamt of in my (work) philosophy.

I think my former employer has a good heart, but if anyone was ever caught up in ego he would be the poster child. I may have said this before, but as I see it some people come to “healing arts” through a pseudo martial arts paradigm where everything is “levels” – brown belt, yellow belt, etc. I have said this before. Anyway, good luck HAC, you’ll need it. I am apparently now on to other things.

How did you get involved with this Joseph character anyway? Neil Delmonico is a Sanskrit scholar and friend, a one time drinking buddy, he directed Joseph in my direction. I asserted, somewhat fallaciously, in the weekly announcements of my former job that I was leaving the HAC to write professionally. Apparently I wasn’t wrong. Thank you HAC folks for all your well wishing. Thought forms to the rescue.


Monday, November 08, 2004

Carlo continues to emote:

Sorry to continue to be overtly political when we’re in the healing time, I just have a fair amount of time on my hands to rant, being unemployed and all. I blame myself. I could have done more to turn Missouri blue. The talk around the hypothetical water cooler has turned from moving to Canada to moving to blue states. No point staying where you’re not wanted. This is not casual banter. Resumes are being rewritten, the fine print of leases have registered their first gaze. With Eden-ic Illinois’ smoldering Sauget smokestacks so close how could we not be tempted to throw up our hands and hop shorelines? Liberate the liberals! Let flow libation! We will drink to your deception with a rousing chorus of “not my candidate, not my problem”. Drinker’s denial I know. Good thing Bush is a uniter and not a divider.

So, let’s change the subject. I have managed in the past two and a half years to pay off more than half of my personal debt. That means in just two and a half years I can start living like a human again. Wait. Scratch that. I am going back to school to incur the national debt of Paraguay. Toxic blogger detected… take steps to improve attitude. Blah.

I’ve been looking things up on ebay that I might sell on ebay, it hardly seems worth the effort. Factor in time and hassle and a garage sale wins out hand down over the internet marketplace. Maybe I need a booth in one of those places with booths. Would anyone pay my phantom toll?

I completed my proactive list for today around five and I’ve written a proactive list for tomorrow. So you’ll be happy to know I am being proactive. I am feeling better from the illness of the weekend and have been sleeping ten hours a night. I am bored. I have no money to spend on drink or think. My gas tank is full, but I must conserve it and anywhere I might go “they” would try and sell me something anyway. I tried to find something light to read on my bookshelves to no avail. If I don’t come up with something soon I believe I will sleep another ten hours. That’s a good sign right? I’m getting my rest.


Go read this please, it's quite nice.


"You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a
reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating
the very phrases which our founding fathers used in their struggle
for independence." (C. A. Beard)

"They that give up essential liberty to obtain temporary safety,
deserve neither liberty nor safety." (Ben Franklin) !!!!!!!!!!!!

"A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves"

"Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to
stand by the president or any public official, save exactly to the
degree he himself stands by the country." (Theodore Roosevelt)

"Most stupid people are conservative, but not all conservatives
are stupid" (John Stuart Mill)

"That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize
Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of
Conscience” (Samuel Adams)(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

"For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing
to know the whole truth, to know the worst, and prepare for it.
(Patrick Henry)

To establish any mode to abolish war, however advantageous it might be to Nations, would be to take from such Government the most lucrative of its branches. (Thomas Paine)

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your
right to say it" (Voltaire)

Stolen from Michelle De Seattle

Woman rants about Dubya on blog, gets nighttime visit from Secret Service.


I’ve read several “apologies” from Bush voters and their sympathizers and I have to admit I still don’t understand how anyone could vote for him or even abstain. In four years we’ve seen our economy wrecked, our international credibility reduced to zero, two nations destroyed, and hundreds of thousands of people killed or wounded for life. Our own media has been forbidden from showing us the casualties of war. How do you win reelection on that record? How do those facts give you a moment’s pause in the voting booth? What’s to weigh? We know what Bush stands for, death and corruption, oil profiteering and the erosion of your civil liberties.

There is no greater source of recruitment for future terrorists than what we have done to Iraq. We’ve created the perfect seedbed for an unending war, which means an unending demand to sacrifice your civil liberties in the name of safety. Has anyone read 1984? It’s the playbook.

Rumsfeld, Cheney, and many others in the current administration were all on staff in the Nixon White House. Perhaps the tacit corruption of that administration is lost to the fog of history, otherwise why would we have it again? It’s not just similar; it’s literally the same people. Nixon hired John O'Neill in 1971 to discredit Kerry and he went before congress to deny all of the facts about atrocities in Vietnam, atrocities that are now well documented and considered historical fact. The swift boat people are an instant replay of that 1971 drama. This doesn’t matter if you can assume a uniformed populace, not ignorant, just uninformed.

The obvious Cheney Haliburton no bid contracts are insane. The case for war in Iraq was never satisfactorily made. Powell’s presentation to the U.N. was embarrassing at the time, not in retrospect. He was embarrassed to give it, and can’t wait to get as far from these people as possible. Clinton and the U.N.’s sanctions had worked. There was not a link between Osama and 9-11.

Moderates are telling me that they bought the notion that Kerry was a flip flopper – so you change your mind when new evidence appears – great that means you’re intelligent. Even still, if Kerry were a drooling monkey he’d be a better alternative to the current simian. Anything different would be an improvement. The best bumper sticker I saw over the last few months was, “If you’re not outraged then you’re not paying attention.” So that’s what I’ve learned. We need to find a moderate way to help moderates pay attention. It’s not a question of intelligence, it’s a question of awareness.


Am I loosing ground or gaining it?

I slept ten hours last night. I dreamt that I was at a wedding, the wedding of one of my brother’s, but I’m not sure which one. It wasn’t a wedding in the past. It was in the future, in a futuristic house with a central pyramid shaped room with a glass ceiling and several chambers off that large central room. The wedding celebration was happening on the same day as my final day of work at the HAC. I was wearing an electric blue sharkskin suit coat and I kept doing little dances. At one point I did a five-minute tap dance number with Fred Astaire. I was supposed to assemble a home gym for my old boss, but I kept getting interrupted and I was more than indifferent to the completion of it. He was going to leave me a goodbye note, but in the place of the note I found a raw pine two-by-four with odd symbols burnt into it with a wood burning kit. My dream life staged a little psychic celebration to be free of the HAC.

The bills are paid for now. The freezer is full of frozen stew in little one serving containers. The car buyer did not show up. A neighbor told me I wasn’t asking enough. Joseph made a counter offer which I am considering. He assented to my asking price by building in a great deal of additional work. The Red Sea is hiring bartenders.