Random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Fresh woods and pastures new

Finally. Months late. Mikarrhea is moving to http://www.mikarrhea.com.
Please update yer blogrolls and bear with all the bumps of transition.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Third Factory

If you haven't yet visited Steve Evans's elegant site, Third Factory, you should. He's smart, writes really well, reviews widely & informatively, and has stocked up a ton of alluring goodies, esp. on poetry. His reading lists alone --like Jordan Davis's-- inspire awe. Greta & I being hopeless Roland Barthes partisans (indeed, at this very moment Greta is sitting with her laptop at the dining room table trying to put a paper together reading Woolf's The Waves through Barthes' A Lover's Discourse; she's having a hard time, owing doubtless to the opacity of the latter [she may have to settle for reading the one against the other]), I was pleased to see that Steve published a few years ago an excellent retrospective essay about Barthes he's made available. Check it out.
Ozymandias redux redux redux . . . .

click for 800 x 600

Waving at the distant Ozymandias stuff again has brought very kind emails (thanks again!) from some who (like all but six unfortunates) weren't in the stands during the original bout. Brian Richards has drawn my attention to Guy Davenport's essay on the circumstances of the sonnet's composition, which i'm now eager to read. i must admit i had such meagre knowledge of them i was completely unaware Shelley seems to have produced "Ozymandias" in competition with his friend Horace Smith, whose sonnet, the egregiously titled "On a Stupendous Leg of Granite, Discovered Standing by Itself in the Desarts of Egypt, with the Inscription Inserted Below," was published a month later than Shelley's. In hunting around for stuff on the web about Smith & Shelley, I found the image above in a gallery of lit-inspired (Bukowski & Yeats, too) designs at the superannuated site of the beautifully named Tadhg Aidan O'Higgins. It nicely juxta- and superimposes the two sonnets over a desart setting. Theorizer of literary taste and value might benefit from considering Shelley's poem against Smith's. Ditto Keats's orthopteran sonnet against Hunt's (on the web side by side here, along with a vote bizarrely showing Hunt besting Keats by a factor of three-to-one [sample comment: "John Keats's was very long, and too many similies. Leigh Hunt's was simple and nicely written."], confirming once more the sagacity and helpfulness of some literary information circulating the web.).

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Giants and Girls

You simply can't miss out on the copious Giants and Girls gallery.

Thanks to the ever-spectacular boynton.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Pome of the day

Thank goodness he wasn't talking about women. No relation, of course, to mikarrhea. More on men's masturbatory problems in future posts.


In vain we scan the springs of human woe,
To find a deadlier or more cruel foe
To erring man, than this sad self-pollution,
This damaging wrecker of his constitution.

In its foul march it tramples vigor down,
Darkens the soul, usurps the mental throne,
Prays upon the vitals of its filthy slave,
And drags him early to a hopeless grave.
Could this truth to all be known and foreseen,
A sea of misery would be spared the world,
And hell's own engine from the land be hurled.

The fire of heaven on Onan quickly fell,
Cursed was the culprit ere he sank to hell,
Brief was the period 'twist the noxious deed
And the dread chastisement, pollution's meed.
Just as certain now as then, is the indulger undone,
Not by ethereal stroke as there we see,
Bur equal in effect and certainty,
For death results although by slow degree.

---Published in an 1855 issue of the
Ohio Medical and Surgical Journal.

Submitted by David McNeil to RALPH
the Review of Arts, Literature, Philosophy, and the Humanities
Volume XVIII, Number 2 --- Late Fall, 1999
Merry sport to brighten monotony of military dog-handling
On Jan. 13, Spec. John Harold Ketzer, a military intelligence interrogator, saw a dog team corner two male prisoners against a wall, one prisoner hiding behind the other and screaming, he later told investigators.

"When I asked what was going on in the cell, the handler stated that he was just scaring them, and that he and another of the handlers was having a contest to see how many detainees they could get to urinate on themselves," Ketzer said.

via WaPo
All the great historians were poets

Taking a cue from Gary Sullivan, Jonathan Mayhew, unacknowledged legislator of the world from Kansas, invokes a rarely-invoked power of his poetic license to declare the Reagan administration "not to have happened."

Michaela Cooper, unacknowledged legislator of the world from Massachusetts, supports Mayhew's move, saying breathily, "The cultivation of poetry is never more to be desired than at periods when, from an excess of the selfish and calculating principle, the accumulation of the materials of external life exceed the quantity of the power of assimilating them to the internal laws of human nature."
Le Plaisir du Texte #27

It's been too long since I've visited deep-browed Ray Davis's uberous demesne, now going by the name pseudopodium.org, so I'm tardy noticing some wonderful recent posts on the central role of personal pleasure in criticism --a view I flog ad nauseam (very well, I contradict myself; I'm fat, I contain donuts), for example, here, here, and here. Check'em out. He's much smarter than I am. He, too, has a disagreement with the ruler-wielding Aaron Haspel (whom you may remember from The Great "Ozymandias" Debate, here, here, & here) but wisely throws up his hands rather than allow himself to be dragged into wrangling: "[W]hat are we supposed to do when someone argues against the possibility of taking pleasure in Frank O'Hara?" What indeed? At night sensualists jump on rulers with a thump . . . .

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Imprisonment & deportation of journalists at LAX

An appalling piece by Elena Lappin, a British journalist with the Guardian, documenting her detainment, interrogation, handcuffing, imprisonment, and deportation. Where? Los Angeles. Why? For arriving at LAX on an ordinary reporting assignment, without a journalist's visa.

via Discourse.net, Michael Froomkin's blog. Froomkin, a law professor, has a wonderful analysis of/screed against against the infamous torture memo.

He also provides a link to another blog, Whiskey Bar, that sets especially purulent passages of the memo against the hypocritical Christian banalities sanctimoniously intoned on another occasion by its evangelical lead author, Mary L. Walker, evident soulmate to the wacko Lt. Gen. Jerry ("my God is bigger than his god") Boykin, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Matters, under whose charge falls the Military Intelligence department, whose officers, you remember, are the drivers of the Abu Ghraib torture trolley. Why are so many evangelical wackos involved in the direction of torture at the highest levels of our government? WTF are they doing anywhere near the highest levels of our government?

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Islam puts pubic hair on your head

Earlier, I was tying a scarf on my head and having a little trouble adjusting it. Having posted that last bit about how onerous it is for women to maintain appropriate coverage out in public in Iraq, it hit me again what an unbelievable pain in the ass it must be to have to always make sure that not the slightest stray hair on your head is "showing." No "showing" your hair, even if it happens to decide to show itself. If an Islamic woman removes her veil in the forest, is she really "showing" her hair? Is it like in Judaism, where they cleverly get around this question by saying you have to cover your head in front of god? After all, god is supposed to be everywhere. (Irrelevant aside: Max once asked my ex, if god is everywhere and I punch the air, am I punching god?, and my ex, going with the flow of the logic, said, yes. Max replied triumphantly, so then when I pee, I'm peeing on god!)

The Japanese taboo against pubic hair comes to mind: apparently, in the Japanese hierarchy of obscenity pubic hair is considered even more obscene than the genitalia it surrounds and obscures. I remember watching Japanese porn videos in a Tokyo hotel: all pubic hair and genitalia were meticulously digitally fuzzed out, but semen prodigiously splurted from behind the digiblur, and the camera's authoritative sharp focus confirmed the presence of, if not caressed, skinfold puddles of it. Now, if I had to label something the offensive part, it'd be the cum, not the genitals. But then again, that's me. (Always weird to be reminded there are such cultural differences-- makes me wanna do research in comparative obscenity-- although, come to think of it, that's basically just another name for the first fifty years of cultural anthropology)

What's the natural consequence of suppressing through social mechanisms of shame the display of some part of the body? Um, could it be to eroticize it? By collectively agreeing to (or at least acting within the boundaries of) a taboo on pubic hair more stringent than that in the U.S., the Japanese pack pubic hair with a greater sexual charge than we.

OK, so you see where I'm going. . . . Islam, by enforcing women's head covering, is effectively trying to turn all women's tresses into Japanese pubic hair.

Shouldn't a "correctly" socialized Islamic person seeing a woman's head hair in public have pretty much the same charged response as a "correctly" socialized Japanese person confronted with luxuriant undergrowth between a woman's legs? The charge might carry attraction, revulsion, or some combination of the two. But the sense of significance, of scandalousness, of rarity, and above all of the female hair-violator's unambiguous and blatant sexual display would attach almost inevitably, regardless if a particular spectator were male or female, straight or gay.

I wonder if some Islamic men think of the West as foremost a civilization where women constantly run about displaying their pubic hair in public and freaking everybody out . . . .
Reporting from Iraq while female

via here
Because it is considered inappropriate for a woman to be out on her own and daring to ask questions, the man you're talking to -- bureaucrat, cleric, armed militiaman -- won't talk back to you. He'll look away when you talk to him, and will talk back to the floor, the wall or any man who happens to be with you -- usually your driver.

The woman is supposed to be chaperoned by a mahram, a close male relative, but the driver will do if no one else is available.

Driving around presents its own challenge. It is considered shameful for a man to be seen in the back seat of the car with a woman in front next to the driver. A male Iraqi colleague from Najaf pleaded with me to let him sit in the front as we left a meeting with tribal chiefs who came to the door to say goodbye.

"They will say he is not a man to let a woman sit in the front," he said. I stayed put and told him it's time the men got used to it.


Attenuated too thinly and borne back far too far into the past, the last thread's unrecoverable.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Snowe job

OK, so what's with last weekend? Well, it doesn't merit the delay. If I wasn't getting gentle-but-palpable noodges from some corners, I'd let it bob merrily off in our wake, scarcely worth the effort of retrieval, let alone resuscitation. But, whatever --a million years ago I spent a sunny October afternoon sparkling around Boston Harbor, practicing person-overboard (ok, pfd-overboard) drills in a day-sail sloop: I've a vague memory of the figure eight maneuver involved.

It begins, I think, by bearing onto a reach and tacking away a certain number of boat lengths from who- or whatever just fell into the water, so you have enough room to jibe around and enough wind to bring you back to the right spot in one smooth pass.

Mindful of the value of preliminary divagation, to recapture last weekend I should probably invoke Lucy Snowe and sail back a couple of boatlengths of weekends previous. Whatever else I may have forgotten about Villette, and it's basically everything except the protagonist-narrator and two or three other characters, I'll carry to the gates of senility the memory that twice during the novel, which otherwise faithfully follows the amble of several years of unremarkable existence in a quiet French town, Lucy Snowe turns directly to the dear reader and admits she hasn't been exactly honest. Remember several weeks ago, when she had described that perfectly uneventful afternoon? Well, it turns out that something really crucial to the story transpired just then, but she didn't feel like troubling dear reader with it at the time.

Say what? Um, Lucy, why narrate to the reader your confessing to a lie? Who would know the difference? You could just as easily make up a lie that you don't confess to -- rearrange the chronology however to suit your narratorial purpose -- how could we catch you out? Or go back and change what you said so you're not concealing anything. For all we know, after all, everything you tell us is a lie. I mean, you're a fucking fictional character!

Narratorial mendacity by omission--while nowhere near as culpable as the out-and-out lies of the narrator of Who Killed Roger Ackroyd?-- is mendacity nevertheless. Whatever it may amount to ontologically with respect to a fictional narrator, it's the weedlike bane of the friend-blessed narrator's personal blog.

OK, so a bunch of entries ago, I described the evening we played Trivial Pursuit at Mia's & how I got all I'm drunk and want to make out with everybody and Sherman got all respect my limits, bitch. One sentence in my post was not as truthful as it could have been: "As we were leaving, I gave Eliza a really unconstrained kiss & it made me happy that she was, well, very polite in enduring it good humoredly." The words following "she was, well" might be better emended to read "evidently willing to collaborate wholeheartedly in a transaction something like this: one girl dangles a nylon line and another holds a lighter to its end."

The point isn't which girl's who. It's that at that moment we're both the little melting cerebellum in the flame.

I gave Sherman time to drive Eliza home and say goodnight. Too much time, obviously: her windows were totally dark. Re-dressed, she brought out beers from the fridge & we sat on her couch. It was like 2:00. I called Greta, who was drinking whiskey with her brother at their parents' house sixty miles away, and told her I was at home and had fed the cats, which made her happy 'cuz she'd been worried about my driving. Eliza's hair was down, which was distracting. We drank beer, made out, talked, made out, decided we were staying at second, drove to Mobil mart for cigarettes, and eventually splashed into bed from all directions for hours. Had Greta been there with us the night before, everything would've happened pretty much the same, we assured each other before I left to get my kids for the day. This wouldn't go into the blog, at least not unless everyone was comfortable.

When I told her everything that night, Greta wasn't comfortable. We were sitting quietly in our living room, but it seemed we were veering --a helluva lot faster than we would have been, even in daylight, through a canyon in our own country.
Sour apples

I'm feeling really depressed and angry at Apple tonight. We have --I'm not even going to tell you how many Macs we have-- and I'm not counting the piles of clunkety Mac junk I inherited when my former employer moved (remember the LC? Mac II?). Well last week I bought myself a Sony Clié handheld and then discovered today that Sony doesn't support Apple (grrr David Pogue!), that they announced this week they're going out of the PDA business anyway, that the latest version of the Palm OS doesn't even install with the new Mac OS (Panther [what's with the team, car, and raw material names {cobalt}? what happened to plain old 10.3.5?] they should name their next OS something like my currently chipping nail-polish, autumn berry), and, worst of all, my "mainframe" (my central G4 powerbook pretending to be a desktop) completely died or at any rate lapsed into a persistent vegetative state augmented by endless loud depressingly wet clicks. I'd backed up many, but by no means enough, of my most valuable documents. I lost lots of mp3s and jpgs I had considered dispensable and not worth backing up until today.
Coming, mother

OK, I'm a complete asshole for taking so long to furnish the details I promised about another weekend of debauchery. So sue me. It's not an easy job finding time to blog when you are a parent (ok, noncustodial), have an insane girlfriend, and still try to pursue a life of creative full-time alcoholism.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Quiz on Bush's speech

So you think you were paying attention to George Bush's words at the Air Force Academy Graduation yesterday? See if you can fill in the blanks in the following quotations from Bush's speech with the actual words he used! If you really can't figure out the right answer, here's the text of the speech.

  1. Each of you receiving a commission today in the United States military will _____________________________.

    1. be expected to vote for me this November
    2. also be awarded a dinner for two at the Olive Garden along with two tickets to a special military matinée of Mamma Mia
    3. also receive notice your commission may be arbitrarily extended for an indefinite period at the whim of Secretary Rumsfeld
    4. also win a complete set of American Tourister luggage in camouflage ballistic nylon practical for armoring Humvees too
    5. also carry the hopes of free people everywhere
    6. from now on have to surrender for the duration of your service any and all photographic or video recording equipment in your possession

  2. In some ways, this struggle we're in is unique. In other ways, _______________________________________________________.

    1. it's one of a kind
    2. it's not a struggle at all
    3. it's Vietnam all over again
    4. it resembles the great clashes of the last century
    5. there will be adverse consequences

  3. Fighting this kind of enemy is a complex mission that will require ______________________________.

    1. the Impossible Missions Force
    2. 500 billion more dollars
    3. my re-election
    4. minimizing political dissent by any means available
    5. the abrogation of the Geneva Conventions
    6. occasionally torturing evildoers to death
    7. all your skill and resourcefulness
    8. much lying on the administration's part

  4. Our goal, the goal of this generation, is the same: ____________________________________________________________________________.

    1. Power
    2. A comfortable retirement
    3. To be famous
    4. Screwing the generation behind us
    5. We will secure peace and defend our nation through the forward march of freedom
    6. We will defend our nation and secure our freedom through the forward march of peace
    7. We will secure our defense and advance peace forward through the march of freedom
    8. We will defend our nation's security through the forward march of peace
    9. We will march forward into peace and freedom with the security our defenses provide
    10. We will march forward to defend peace and our nation's security and freedom
    11. We will march freedom forward to secure our nation's defense and our peace
    12. We will secure our nation and defend the peace through the forward march of freedom
    13. We will defend our security and free peace to march our nation forward in purity and essence of our precious bodily fluids

  5. ____________ believe that _________________are essentially corrupt and decadent.

    1. Guelphs, Ghibellines
    2. Symphony performers, rap stars
    3. New Critics, Literary Theorists
    4. Christian monks, major corporations
    5. Elves, Orcs
    6. Christian fundamentalists, homosexuals
    7. The Nazis, abstract artists
    8. Communists, the bourgeoisie
    9. Freedom-lovers, terrorists
    10. Terrorists, free societies
    11. Evolutionary psychologists, radical scientists
    12. Republicans, Democrats
    13. Democrats, Republicans
    14. Supporters of N.L. teams, designated hitters

  6. With all the skill of our law enforcement, all the stealth of our special forces, and all the global reach of our air power, we will __________________________________

    1. still make fools of ourselves
    2. nevertheless fail to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, as long as our military controls their country
    3. nevertheless with much fanfare continue to wrongfully arrest Muslims, like that attorney in Seattle we were so sure was involved in the Madrid bombing
    4. strike the terrorists before they can strike our people
    5. still bomb the occasional wedding party by mistake

  7. The terrorist movement feeds on the appearance of ____________________________.

    1. wackiness I cultivate
    2. inevitability
    3. weakness in their opponents
    4. Osama bin Laden videos every few months
    5. Harry Potter videos every few months
    6. butchness their beards bespeak
    7. Punxatawny Phil on February 2nd

  8. Yet the nations of the Middle East will find, as we have found, the only path to true ________________________________________________________________________.

    1. freedom is the path of progress and justice and democracy.
    2. progress is the path of democracy and freedom and justice.
    3. justice is the path of progress and freedom and democracy.
    4. democracy is the path of progress and justice and freedom.
    5. progress is the path of freedom and justice and democracy.

  9. Voices in that region are increasingly demanding __________________________________.

    1. that America leave, immediately
    2. reform and democratic change
    3. security from violence and crime
    4. that we cease closing down in the name of freedom newspapers we believe publish hostile opinions
    5. my head on a platter
    6. reliable electricity
    7. HBO
    8. a regional tour in the forseeable future by Hoobastank

  10. Like ________________________________, the terrorists seek to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed, and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity.

    1. Pol Pot
    2. Stalin
    3. evildoers everywhere
    4. other totalitarian movements
    5. Congressional Republicans

  11. We will lead the world and keep unrelenting pressure on _______________________.

    1. the UN
    2. the French and the Germans
    3. anyone who dares to cross us
    4. the media to report things our way
    5. the enemy
    6. the sleep-deprived Abu Ghraib detainees
    7. the brave men and women of our Armed Services

Monday, May 31, 2004

Another weekend

of texas-sized excess, drecksess, sexsess, vexcess. No nights slept in my own bed since, what, thursday? Except now, I'm embedded with exhaustion. Greta watching latest bachelor-style contest on tv.

Towels soaking with sturm and drang to wring out over the keyboard as soon as possible. We're probably not, for instance, seeing Angelina for a while.

Saw once more and met anew many wonderful people at Sherman's party, which we finally arrived at around 11 pm and decamped around 5 am.

My eyes glaze over. Much to tell. Much tricky complex blogging ahead. Sleep comes down.


Saturday, May 29, 2004

Well, I've been up all night (again)

Partytime wasting. O Mother of Pearl.

Angelina visit. Stayed up all night, ingesting, congesting, jesting, suggesting. A grand gest. Finally went to sleep for good at 2 PM. Up again, trying to revitalize to go to Sherman's party. Have to get up early to take Max to a chess tournament. More anon.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Axis, Bold as Love

This story is already five days old, but since I hadn't seen it before today (via Amorous Propensities), I thought maybe others hadn't either. The image of the 33-year-old history professor flashing her panties to the audience during her lecture on imperialism is, to borrow from Ziggy Stardust, stuck on my eyes.

Axis of Eve is just beating around the Bush

Lizzy Ratner
Sunday, May 23, 2004

Elizabeth Eve never thought of herself as an exhibitionist. But these days, the 33-year-old history professor with the gold nose ring can barely contain the urge to lift her skirt and flash her skivvies.

"There is something so liberating and exciting about it, you've got to try it out," she said recently as she fidgeted, fully clothed, on the couch in her friend Tasha's Manhattan apartment. "I was teaching a class on imperialism, " she continued, "and I was delivering all this material that was kind of new and upsetting, and everyone was getting all worked up and upset, and I was getting all worked up and upset, and all of a sudden, all I wanted to do was flash my underwear! It was crazy," she said with a throaty giggle.

That's because she wasn't wearing just any panties. Elizabeth is part of Axis of Eve, a fledgling group of rabble-rousing feminists and anti-war activists who have taken to flashing their undies as a form of political dissent. The Eves, as they call themselves, are on a mission to sex up protest. They take to the streets wearing "protest panties" which come emblazoned with anti-Dubya double-entendres like "Expose Bush," "Lick Bush," "Give Bush the Finger" and "Drill Bush Not Oil." When the Eves flash them at rallies, the effect is somewhere between a 1970s' love-in and George Bush's worst, frat- addled nightmare of a panty raid gone awry.

"The panties have this way of just mobilizing, energizing, inspiring," said Tasha Eve, a cultural anthropologist who co-founded the Axis with one of her best high-school buddies, Zazel Eve . . . .

The whole story from the 5/23 San Francisco Chronicle.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Enough about me

Found this little quiz via franny on tony pearce's blog. why do people have such a hard time thinking up interesting questions? i really am going to have to make up one of these myself one of these days.

1. which political party do you typically agree with? democratic/green

2. which political party do you typically vote for? democratic

3. list the last five presidents that you voted for? [assuming this question really wants the five different nominees i voted for in recent elections] gore, clinton (2), dukakis, mondale, carter

4. which party do you think is smarter about the economy? i don't think parties possess intelligence, but, if i have to answer under protest, democratic

5. which party do you think is smarter about domestic affairs? ibid, democratic

6. do you think we should keep our troops in Iraq or pull them out? pull'em off

7. who, or what country, do you think is most responsible for 9/11? osama b.l. (both talibani & saudi arabian govts tilled, fertilized, and watered the ground whence the attack grew but, i think, didn't understand there were actual 9/11 seeds planted there)

8. do you think we will find weapons of mass destruction in iraq? no; at most maybe a few pre-1991 pieces or two

9. yes or no, should the u.s. legalize marijuana? hell, yes.

10. do you think the republicans stole the last presidental election? doesn't everyone?

11. do you think bill clinton should have been impeached because of what he did with monica lewinski? are you fucking kidding?

12. do you think hillary clinton would make a good president? probably.

13. name a current democrat who would make a great president: barney frank!!!!!! (my representative [swoon])

14. name a current republican who would make a great president: mccain, olympia snowe, or bill weld, conceivably

15. do you think that women should have the right to have an abortion? um, duh

16. what religion are you? fundamentalist bible-thumping atheist

17. have you read the Bible all the way through? yes. i love it. but i've read the complete sherlock holmes more and probably lord of the rings as well and certainly the sibley and peterson field guides and also paula legoun's beauty bible. dictionaries and thesauruses are my real bibles.

18. what's your favorite book? any specimen in fine or better condition of the first printing of audubon's elephant folio, of laurence sterne's the life and times of tristram shandy esq., of the first folio of shakespeare, of the first edition of johnson's dictionary, of anything personally hand-printed by blake, and also that copy of johnson's shakespeare once owned by melville and now in the houghton. ok, i wouldn't kick a first edition of bentley's annotated paradise lost out of bed either.

19. who is your favorite band? speckled

20. who do you think you'll vote for president in the next election? Kerry

21. what website did you see this on first? tonypierce.com + busblog (via franny)

These rather more evocative questions come from Kitty Bukkake, also via Franny

Tony gave me his blessing to add the honest bloggers-only quiz Kitty Bukkake addendum, so be honest:

1. Do you try to look hot when you go to the grocery store just in case someone recognizes you from your blog? yeah, good luck. but i try to look hot anyway.

2. Are the photos you post Photoshopped or otherwise altered? no. except scaling them to size.

3. Do you like it when creeps or dorks email you? no creeps or dorks have ever emailed me. well, ok, dorks have (we're talkin' computer-people here), but i like dorks. those waxing admiring over my openness about masturbating i just don't answer (though i'm secretly flattered)

4. Do you lie in your blog? No. Except sometimes I exaggerate a bit for effect. But I do disguise identities, which from time to time can involve a kind of flagrant misdirection.

5. Are you passive-aggressive in your blog? Hmmmmm. I think I'm passive and aggressive alternately.

6. Do you ever threaten to quit writing so people will tell you not to stop? Now, there's an idea . . . .

7. Are you in therapy? If not, should you be? If so, is it helping? Yes, yes, yes, yes

8. Do you delete mean comments? Do you fake nice ones? No, no. but i just got comments last week and haven't had any mean ones.

9. Have you ever rubbed one out while reading a blog? How about after? I'm embarrassed to admit I've never actually encountered the expression "rubbed one out," but, making a guess about it's meaning, I'd have to say-- no, yes. OK, well, maybe there was one yes in the first position. Depending on what you wanna count as a blog.

10. If your readers knew you in person, would they like you more or like you less? Less, I imagine. I try to keep all the truly awful stuff off the blog. And I rarely pass out on couches of those I don't know in person.

11. Do you have a job? No

12. If someone offered you a decent salary to blog full-time without restrictions, would you do it? Are you fucking kidding me? Could this question be from an actual blogger?

13. Which blogger do you want to meet in real life? tie: everyone on my blogroll, of course! (except the wingnuts) but in the mood i'm in right now i'd love to have a weekend at a country estate where somebody gets murdered, with katie, cynthia, kasey, josh, tom, margaret, richard, chris, nathalie, ray, cat, stephanie, michael, franny, ana, and, of course, dave

14. How many bloggers have you made out with? 0

15. Do you usually act like you have more money or less money than you really have? i have no idea. probably less.

16. Does your family read your blog? hope not!

17. How old is your blog? 9 months

18. Do you get more than 1000 pageviews per day? Do you care? no. i don't care that i don't get 1000. but i'm sad when it's like 12.

19. Do you have another secret blog in which you write about being depressed, slutty, or a liar? in the works

20. Have you ever given another blogger money for his/her writing? is this a weird question? why would you pay another blogger for writing . . . .?

21. Do you report the money you earn from your blog on your taxes? excuse me, money i earn on my blog?

22. Is blogging narcissistic? Yes

23. Do you feel guilty when you don't post for a long time? Yes

24. Do you like John Mayer? i'm not sure who john mayer is. i have the sense he's a recent pap music person?

25. Do you have enemies? i don't know

26. Are you lonely? sometimes

27. Why bother? um, well, exactly. pleez lemme know if you get a good answer.
I'm such a profound fuck up

I just realized I'm missing Andrea Seigel's reading from her novel, Like the Red Panda, at this very moment at Newtonville Books.

I suppose I could have posted a little more about Zack Lynch, "evolutionary biologist, enterprise software marketer, and economic geographer" (a rising interdisciplinary amalgam, just now) whose blog is called Brain Waves. (I'm considering changing the name of my blog, by the way, to Vagina Waves Back.)

You may have picked up that I'm a little dubious about evolutionary psychology. I know it's an extremely cheap shot simply to hold up a small slice of an academic discipline's discourse and point and laugh. But I can't resist.

Zack has a recent post about the Gruter Institute's 2004 seminar Law, Behavior, and the Brain (my emphasis):

Owen Jones began the meeting with an ambitious list of questions that legal scholars should be asking behavioral scientists. Among them was this one: "What proof do we have that evolutionary biology and cognitive neuroscience will be important 20 years out?" Hopefully, my talk on our emerging neurosociety and the important role that biochips and brain imaging will play in driving future societal change put this question to bed.

After lunch legal scholar J.B. Ruhl explored how complex adaptive systems research could inform legal research and policy. J.B. was particularly interested in the policy implications of neurotechnology, an area I am sure we will be hearing more from him in time.

Peter Huang gave a very forward thinking talk titled "Effective Regulation of Affective Investing: Regulating Emotional Investing in Bipolar Securities Markets." Peter's knowledge of neurofinance and the potential policy implications was extremely impressive.

In the last talk of the first day, the ever insightful neuroeconomist Kevin McCabe provided an overview of his latest neuroeconomic research. Let's just say that Kevin understands intelligent experimental design is critical to getting anything out of an fMRI.

Into the stew of neologisms --neurosociety, biochips, neurotechnology, neurofinance, neuroeconomist-- I would like also to stir neurocasuistry and neurochicanery. And I look forward to finding biochips one of these days in the Whole Foods snack aisle --perhaps improved by the use of biodips. My guess: the first neurocuisine cookbook will be titled Brain Food
About this author

Zack Lynch is an evolutionary biologist, enterprise software marketer, and economic geographer, who has worked over the past decade to understand how technology and society coevolve.

He is currently writing a book on Neurotechnology and Society. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Karen Walker (aka Megan Mullally) on Speed: You think you're gonna see a nice relaxing movie about amphetamines and all of a sudden you're stuck on a goddamn bus!
Drunker than i thought

Sherman just called and reminded me of something i said last night that i'd conveniently lacuna'd away in the interim. I remembered that we'd been discussing top-five-celebrities-you'd-sleep-with lists. I even remembered mine (which I will post later, cuz i gotta go in a second, but i have to get this out first.) What I had forgotten was that we played Would You Fuck [your favorite celebrity] If You Had to Do It In a Threesome With [somebody you despise here]?

Apparently, I announced that I would be willing to fuck George Bush if that ws the only way I could get to fuck David Bowie. Apparently, I enumerated specific acts I'd be willing to engage in.

I think Bowie's really sexy.
Moveon.org should buy a half-hour of network time for this
Fabulous, really moving speech by Gore, outlining an airtight case against the Bush administration and calling for the resignations of Rumsfeld, Feith, Wolfowitz, Rice, and Tenet.

via Atrios
Arranging Matches

Feeling much less suicidal today, no doubt due to generous applications of wellbutrin, prozac, and dexedrine.

Greta & I went to see The Go-Between last night & were ecstatic to find Mia there. After, we all went to Sherman's & drank wine.

Years ago, I bought the L. P. Hartley novel whence Pinter distilled his exquisite screenplay, but, true to form, never read it and now don't know where it is --a drag, because I'm itching curious to see if the novel is as consummately and delightfully Jamesian as the film now strikes me. Personally, I think Losey and Pinter construct a vastly more beautiful and breathtaking edifice than James's What Maisie Knew using much the same general blueprint and materials. (They sort of take Maisie and infuse it with the tragic magnificence of Portrait of a Lady or The Wings of the Dove.) Both narratives are centrally about the confusion of, and damage wrought on, a sexual innocent tossing in the wake of a passing erotic triangle of adults. But unlike Maisie, which if I remember right plays out partly in London and partly on the Continent, The Go-Between is set entirely on the property of a grand English country estate during the Edwardian period, the final minutes of the spectacular high tea of the British Empire, which lends the suppressed-passion microcosm a macrocosmic resonance. The film has a lot in common with The Hunting Party, The Remains of the Day, and Howards End (indeed, practically the entire oeuvre of Merchant Ivory), which Greta & I call Arranging-Matches Movies, after the routine where Eddie Izzard caricatures British Film:

[Drawing Room. Enter Nigel]
Nigel (subdued, hesitant, serious): What are you doing, Sebastian?
Sebastian (equally subdued, serious): I'm arranging matches.
Nigel: Oh.
Nigel: Then I guess I'd better go.
Sebastian: Yes. I think you better had.

I wanted to wax on for a while about the weird emotional power behind the stifling lack of emotional expression that's so characteristically British, but I won't. I have to pee and get up off this couch. (Not in that order, perhaps.)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The real OC

I have a miserable fatal attraction to the nightmarish details of the oc gang-rape trial (and, of course, "haidl + video" is another popular mikarrhea-draw). I read Scott Moxley's OC Weekly stories and am slightly comforted, at least, by his beautiful unrelenting sarcastic outrage. But they drag my depression to such black depths that such small comfort isn't really worth it in the end.

I'm sorry, but anyone who doesn't see that the mere existence of Haidls, Cavallos, and Islamic and Christian Fundamentalists constitutes a prima facie refutation of the proposition that there exists a people-of-the-book-style god is, in my view, a blithering idiot.
The Go-Between

I usually regard my decline from "ordinary person" to "film person" (slimy, amorphous, of negligible third dimension) as a consequence of viewing at a 1974 high-school-auditorium Friday-movie-night the bewildering spectacle of Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell's collaboratively directed Performance, starring Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg, and James Fox. Glancing at the Harvard Film Archive schedule just now, though, I was reminded that the ground for my climacteric was actually substantially broken in 1972. (Who cares? you might well ask. Well, i do, anyway --ask, that is. The answer is, Shhhh, we're following the blue sinusoid-less-traveled through a Kodak landscape undulating for miles around a worthwhile movie recommendation.) In March, 1972, my friend Bommer & I accompanied my former fifth-grade teacher and fifteen or so of her latest crop on a three-week excursion to Greece (wondered when she'd finally get around to blogging this. . .). The Joseph Losey film The Go-Between, with Alan Bates, Edward Fox, and Julie Christie, mitigated the flight both going and coming. In Greece --at a hotel in Nauplion with a rickety fillagreed bird-cage lift-- Irene, Bommer, and I all started (unscheduled evenings, proximity, ouzo, strip poker, the seventies) having sex. Somehow or other The Go-Between --among its ingredients: intergenerational sexual obsession, secret assignations, the jading of innocence, jealousy, an aura of poisonous exoticism, subtle Jamesian social manipulations-- seemed a fertile correlative to our situation and endless source for hermetic quotations and allusions. That summer, our relationship in rolling boil, we saw it together again, pretty much cementing its iconic position. I guess it's the first smart film I ever took really seriously. The music, by Michel LeGrande, a progressive series of complex and ominous variations on a single theme, is still my favorite film soundtrack. It's a perfectly beautiful and depressing movie for today. Showing tonight at nine at the HFA.
Rain, dawn

I'm not happy. For the past week or so I've been letting myself fall even more apart (into more pieces? further? spread out over a greater area?) than usual. I feel bloated, ugly, horrible, inept, clown-footed, useless, loathsome. Did I mention depressed? I weigh as much as a prize ox. I weigh forty pounds more than I did when Greta came back from France five years ago. And I can't stop ingesting for anything. This morning I felt sicker than I can remember feeling in years. I awoke with an awful hangover and tried assuaging it by drinking a gallon of milk and a bottle of fuzzy water. I was a water balloon sloshing within it a mercury balloon. I felt like I was going to give birth to quints the way John Hurt did that eponymous alien. I honestly thought I might be dying (you know, like those people do who drink too much water after a marathon) and decided, fuck it, it would solve a lot of problems, most immediately my feeling sick.

Greta & ended up sleeping all day, until dinner time. Now I can't get to sleep. She has no problem sleeping pretty much around the clock. I guess maybe she's more depressed than I am. Or maybe better at medicating. Speaking of --I haven't taken any prescribed medication in over a week. Or put on any make-up. Or scent. I smell bad. This blanket smells bad. The kitchen smells bad. As does life, in all its appallingly tedious variety.
Night thoughts

"Nam Sibyllam quidem Cumis ego ipse oculis meis vidi in ampulla pendere, et cum illi pueri dicerent: Sibylla ti theleis; respondebat illa: apothanein thelo."
Sex, Disease, Discourse, Foucault

Wonkette, who evidently passed a pleasant night drinking with her, quotes Jessica "Washingtonienne" Cutler on dating in the Internet Age: "You don’t know if they'll give you a disease or write a blog about you. It makes you wonder."

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Bloggrrlz Community News

Senator undecided on firing aide over sex blog

Greg Wright
Gannett News Service
May. 21, 2004

WASHINGTON - Sen. Mike DeWine said Thursday that he has not decided whether to fire an aide who allegedly posted her exploits in an Internet diary, including accepting $400 from a married man for sex.

"We're in the process of completing a review," the Ohio Republican said. "It's a personnel matter."

DeWine said he expects to make a decision soon.

The entry-level assistant used the pseudonym "Washingtonienne" in a blog, or Web diary. The Web site has deleted many of the entries.

Another Internet publication, Swamp City, first reported that the woman works for DeWine. She was not at work Thursday.

DeWine first must find out whether the woman's blog was true, said Jamin [um, I believe everyone has always said "Jamie"] Raskin, a constitutional law professor at American University. DeWine also is investigating whether the woman used a congressional computer to post it.

In the blog, the woman said she had a variety of partners. These included an older man, a co-worker with whom she was involved in an "office sex scandal"; and a married Bush appointee who also gave her money.

If her blog is true, DeWine could give her the boot easily, Raskin said. Laws that allow most government workers to do what they want in private life do not apply to congressional aides, he said. Lawmakers, who have exempted their operations from most labor laws, can let workers go at any time for any reason but cannot discriminate by sex or race.


Our mouths glistening, our bodies sluggish, with goat meat.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

A word from Specialist Graner's inner corrections officer

"The Christian in me says it's wrong, but the corrections officer in me says, 'I love to make a grown man piss himself.'"

from here.
Just maybe a little bit

In a memo signed on Aug. 18, 2003, the Pentagon's Joint Staff -- acting on a request from Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and his top intelligence aide, Stephen A. Cambone -- ordered Army Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller to conduct an inspection there [at Abu Graib Prison]. Miller, who oversaw the interrogation efforts at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, finished his tour on Sept. 9 and left behind his own list of interrogation techniques.

"I think what Miller was trying to do was say, you need something that's maybe a little bit more rigorous," Pentagon spokesman Lawrence DiRita said Friday.

from WaPo

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Nellie, more accessible

I figured out how to make my introduction to Nellie McKay mix into an mp3 file. OK, so I'm an idiot.

Il n'y a plus de Lumière chez les gendarmes

Who's gonna do the wisecracks now? Munch? Lawnmower'll never be the same.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004


For the last three days Greta & I have been listening to Nellie Mckay (Mc-EYE). We're totally, droolingly in love with her. We'll be listening to her for many millions of months. And recommend her. Indeed, we go so far as to say, anyone who despises Nellie McKay need not frequent these environs any longer. Go find your cfnm elsewhere. You must be totally fucked up. Here you can buy her album at Amazon. Here's her website. Her coolness is inversely geometrically proportional to her wholesome appearance. Please worship her.

Here's a quick mix I made of some good passages from her first (& only) album. Especially great if you have headphones. It's about 6 minutes long, .mp3 format., Quicktime, so maybe you need to download that first. Dunno. Please lemme know if there're problems. I mean with the transmission. Not with your appreciation.

Mika's Nellie Mckay mix

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

A drunken, overhung, busy, delirious, improvident, emotion-ramifying, obligation-yanking, slumber-flustering passion-bronco of a weekend. Sloppy, chin-dribbling guzzles of sleep snatched thirstily in places not my bed--the rank trash-museum my Honda's rear seat during the school fair, the darkened-recroom couch of Procrustes at Greta's family party, the Prairie Settle (boasting rare Grapes-of-Wrath-period indurated cushioning) in my ex's living room.

One highlight. Max's piano recital, Saturday afternoon. I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but he's pestilently cute. That's not just parental bias. The contrast between the audience's oohs and chuckles over him and its smiles of dutiful patience towards the others, nearly all more advanced than he, embarrassed me. The only kid who joyously nodded his head to the beat as he played, the only one indeed who didn't look painfully constipated, he gave himself over to the music so wholly the entire audience was unconsciously nodding along in rapt unison--not unlike that orgasmic George-Shearing-performance "IT" moment in On the Road, except I don't think the piece Shearing performed to such an ecstatic response was "The Dancing Sailor."

We finally had the long-awaited movie-trivia (Trivial Pursuit Silver Screen Edition) night at Mia's Saturday night. It was Mia, Eliza, & I against Sherman, Faviola (who didn't like being Meryl and whom I refuse to call Benny or whatever it was she was urging at Eliza's fabulous party a couple of weeks ago that I never blogged about), and this really cute, slightly fey, clever young-looking prof in the Chinese department, named (here) Hank. (Tragically, Greta had to stay at her parents' house that night, because she was wanted to help prepare a big party on Sunday.) Three of us either had been or were film professors--and the others certainly remembered many a detail that the supposed professionals didn't--so it was a really laughingly hard-fought fun game. Of course, our team one. Everyone was drinking beer except me, so I kept a bottle of Zinfandel by my side all night (unfortunately, it was not the same bottle throughout the evening). I got predictably kissy and touchy with everyone within reach. Poor Eliza and Sherman bore the brunt of it. As we were leaving, I gave Eliza a really unconstrained kiss & it made me happy that she was, well, very polite in enduring it good humoredly. I tried to do the same with Sherman but he told me to respect his boundaries with such unconcealed irritation that I slunk away mortified and wounded.

Kissing people rashly can sometimes get you into trouble.


Friday, May 14, 2004

Boys to thank

Thank you, Jack Kimball, for kindly having me on your list (which brought me a nice e-mail from, and links to, Tim Peterson). Why are so many Boston poets leaving town in the near future? Is there something I should know about? Thanks, btw, also to Aaron Tieger, of Carve fame, tragically one of these mysterious deserters, for a sweet message. Please visit these poets' luminescent blogs, if you haven't already.
Elvis gone for good, sighted recently at Harvard

Chris Lott, our correspondent in Alaska, whose site is always a pleasure to roll retrieverishly around in, sent me this thoughtful notice from imDb news a while back, under the heading "My Condolences" (thanks millions and sorry for not posting it sooner, Chris!):

New York Times Confirms Mitchell Is Out as Film Critic
New York Times executive editor Bill Keller confirmed Tuesday that Elvis Mitchell had resigned as film critic for the newspaper. Keller did not respond directly to reports that Mitchell was miffed by the newspaper's decision to appoint A.O. Scott lead film critic, saying in an internal memo: "Despite what you may have read elsewhere, it is an amicable parting on both sides, a little wistful but not acrimonious." Keller also did not respond to reports that Mitchell had been talking to Columbia Pictures President Amy Pascal about running the studio's New York office even while he was reviewing the studio's films. Keller concluded in his memo: "Elvis has brought our readers (and shared with his colleagues) a profound knowledge of film, an original and exciting voice, and a great deal of fun. As one of the editors who hired Elvis, I will miss him a lot, and so will everyone who worked with him."

You may remember that not so long ago I waxed rhapsodic about Elvis, quoting to excess from his Dawn of the Dead review.

Can you believe the bizarre tragedy of it all? The irony? The tragic irony? The ironic tragedy? In sum, the utter inapplicability, strictly speaking, of either literary term to this case?

Over midnight IHOP after Mean Girls the other day, Mia wasn't moved. She said she thinks Elvis's reviews are all over the place. I disagree, of course. But then again, I've got the words "random neuron firing" tatooed on my mons veneris. Mia went on to point out that Elvis's Columbia shenanigans were pretty plainly in violation of CJR-ish ethics and, more important, he'd dumped a mutual friend of ours. Well, in that case. But I still hope he continues his film writing . . . .

Cynthia, who goes down in Mikarrhea herstory as the first person, aside from Michaela herself, to post a comment (thank you, love!) and is one of two (along with Wendy) fabulous and indispensable red-haired Harvardlawbloggrrlz, reports she missed Elvis's having Bill Murray visit his film class at Harvard last week--in the very same classroom as the course she TAs for. I don't know if I could've maintained decorum seeing in the flesh two celebrities I have throbbing crushes on. But I would've liked to have been put to the test.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

If I lived here, I'd have confessed by now

One of many nightmarish design ideas available from www.pbteen.com.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Did the Pipefitters' Union sign off on it?

via Arthur

Ban on low-slung jeans sought
From correspondents in Miami, Florida
May 12, 2004

AMERICAN singer Britney Spears may have to rethink her wardrobe before visiting her home state of Louisiana, which is mulling new legislation to outlaw low-riding jeans that reveal underwear or too much skin.

The proposed bill, approved by the state's House Criminal Justice Committee last week, would outlaw wearing clothing in public that intentionally exposes undergarments or "any portion of the pubic hair, cleft of the buttock or genitals".

Violators would be required to carry out three days of community service at a local fire station and pay a fine of up to $US175 ($252).

The bill is due to go before the full Louisiana legislature sometime during the current session, which ends June 21.

Local councilor Glenn Green, a staunch supporter of the bill, told the committee last week that teenagers' fashions had gone so far that legislation was needed to bring them back within the bounds of decency.

"I don't relish seeing the beginning of the crease of people's buttocks," local press reports quoted Green as saying. "And I don't enjoy watching young men letting their sexual organs show through their red or black silk underwear."

Agence France-Presse

This report appears on NEWS.com.au.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Yes. Comments are finally here.

I feel like such a grownup. Blogger's automatic comment-code-adding feature was completely dysfunctional for me, so I had to insert the code in by hand. And for some reason, the last few times I've republished my blog, the process has gotten irretrievably hung. I'm hopeful everything's working OK now.

Monday, May 10, 2004


Too good to be true.
Blogger's new interface

Is fucking fablous! I should even have comments now (a million years ago i promised cynthia i would). O brave new world!

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Most egregious instance of victim-blaming chutzpah ever

I'm sorry I somehow seem to keep posting about rape in one way or another. I promise I'll post something about poetry again soon. But I just keep reading these unbelievably awful stories and can't not broadcast them.

This one (via Daily Rotten) really takes the cake--and blasts it into stratospheric dust with a home-made 500-pound fertilizer bomb. Three Orange County teenagers, one the son of the local sheriff, are charged with gang-raping a completely unconscious (prob. GHB drugged) girl, "Jane Doe." The evidence? They videotaped the whole thing!

The description of the video is beyond horrifying. The person who discovered it and called the police thought the three were having sex with a corpse. Here's a taste of the final sequence (don't read it if rape-descriptions get to you):

The last section of the video shows Haidl and Nachreiner penetrating Doe’s vagina with the large end of a regulation-sized pool stick. They shove it in repeatedly, dance, laugh and mug for the camera. Haidl slaps her stomach three times in rhythm with the blaring hip-hop music. One defendant asks—out of curiosity or perhaps as a challenge--how deeply they can force the pool stick. Spann and Haidl put their hands on Doe’s lower abdomen to see whether they can feel the penetrated stick. Nachreiner jams the pool stick into her vagina until Haidl holds Doe’s butt cheeks apart so Nachreiner can insert the stick into her anus. During penetration, Haidl slaps her butt hard. Doe lies seemingly lifeless. The boys toss Doe on her stomach. They use the pool stick on her vagina, anus and then on her vagina again. Doe does not so much as flinch, but begins peeing on herself; a puddle spreads on the pool table. There is laughter and giggling. Someone says, "Fuck, yeah!"

Sorry. I just really felt I needed to give some sense of the enormity of the crime to put into context the astonishing viciousness of the defense's position. These are the opening paragraphs of the news story describing the trial:

At the May 3 start of the Orange County trial of three teenage boys accused of gang-raping an unconscious minor, a defense attorney made a startling assertion: the alleged victim enticed the "sweet," "caring," "kind" defendants into a sexual frenzy and then, while faking unconsciousness, sexually assaulted them. At one point, the attorney, an incredulous Joseph G. Cavallo, blurted out to the jury, "Why isn’t she being charged with this crime?"

"She knew how to use her body. She knew how to use sex," said Cavallo, one of at least nine defense lawyers (not including the publicist, a jury consultant and an army of private investigators) representing Gregory Scott Haidl, 18; Kyle Joseph Nachreiner, 19; and Keith James Spann, 19. They’ve pleaded not guilty to 24 felony counts for the July 2002 Newport Beach incident. Referring to a video they made of the incident, Cavallo said, "The boys had every reason to believe she consented: she orchestrated it."

Here's the rest of the article.

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Pinker difficulties

Recently, one of the behavioral cycles I found my body recapitulating from time to time comprised picking up, reading fifty pages or so in, and throwing to the floor, Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate. Eventually, however, I ran up against the chapter "Politics," in the section "Hot Buttons," and the respectable "fifty pages" in the second step quickly reduced to "maybe a page." After a couple of weeks' hiatus, the cycle recommenced optimistically this morning, but the textual increment instantly shrank to one sentence:
And onto this battlefield strode an innocent E. O. Wilson.
I heard the voice of my darling dead Walter saying --in the inimitable way he had of dragging out the short "o" sound over two pronounced syllables, one a seeming octave above, the other a tone or so below, his ordinary speaking note-- "Oh, sto - op!"

So I did.

Friday, May 07, 2004

How fucked are people?

This report from the BBC via Daily Rotten

Police in Pakistan's Punjab province have formally accused seven people of aiding and abetting a revenge rape on two women.

A landowner reportedly attacked the women after discovering that his own daughter had illicit relations with the brother of one of the women.

The women and the brother come from a poor family.

Police say the landowner's attack was authorised by a village assembly to avenge his honour.

The village assembly, or panchayat, met on April 30, and consisted of around 50 people from the landowner's clan, police say.

The revenge decision was then publicised over loudspeakers in the southern Punjab village, according to the police.

They say the women - one in her late teens, and her sister-in-law - were taken forcibly to an outhouse and raped while some of the landlord's relatives guarded the premises.

The whole story

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Keep your Senator off this letter (Yawn)

Chris C Mooney (crusader against the anti-science orcs) quotes an article in The Hill describing the response of utility lobbyists to Russ Feingold's call for scientific guidance in redrafting mercury-emissions regulations.

The Wisconsin Democrat [Russ Feingold] is asking colleagues to sign a letter urging President Bush to allow science to guide development of new mercury-emissions regulations. The utility trade group doesn't want them to.

"The letter seeks reassurance from President Bush that mercury science will not be politicized," wrote Edison Electric Institute lobbyist Ed Yawn in an e-mail to utility lobbyists Tuesday. "Please try to keep your Senator off this letter."
I'm not a complete idiot

I do realize that by quoting in Mikarrhea the search strings whereby the sexually obsessed land here, I create a feedback loop geometrically increasing, with each quotation, the number of such strings I get. But I think something about them is compelling. So I guess that says more about me than about them or the psychological disposition the strings synecdochize. Anyway, I'm getting literally dozens a day. Here's one that just arrived a few minutes ago:

+prisoners +abuse +"Abu Ghraib" +panties

Yeah, you wish!
You didn't get 'em at any of those other links, did you, panty-boy?

OK, penis-pulling ape (nod to Cynthia). This is you. Think about it for a while.

Happily, her acute parents beat me to the punch

I had every intention of saying the following, only, as you'd naturally expect, ballooning it with the jargon of cultural criticism, which to this day -- like the vireo, whose syringeal anatomy allows it to sing two notes in harmony-- boggles science by its seemingly paradoxical ability to ring at once both recondite and trendy.

It's all a question of choosing which narrative mold in which to gel a single liquid: the lurid and endlessly surprising tale that ordinary women are in the American military.

This is from a story in today's Baltimore Sun.

The way the Englands see it, what is happening to their daughter is like what happened with Pfc. Jessica Lynch - only in reverse. Both were from economically stagnant small towns in West Virginia. Both joined the service soon after high school, hoping to better their opportunities and see the world. Both found themselves - Lynch with a maintenance division, England as an administrative worker - in situations that went far beyond their prescribed job duties.

And, just as government and news media accounts of Lynch's capture and rescue portrayed her as more of a hero than the actual circumstances merited, the portrayal of their daughter is painting her as more of a villain than they say the facts, once known, may merit.

"Just like what happened with that Lynch girl, this is getting blown out of proportion," said Lynndie's father, Kenneth England, "but in a negative rather than a positive way."

Abu Ghraib again

I don't know why I'm so obsessed with the Abu Ghraib story. Well, yes I do. So many of the images in the news are of sexual domination rather than the infliction of physical injuries obviously requiring medical treatment. We don't see the images of the beatings, the phosphorus skin-burning, the cut stitched up by a guard, the boots stomping on bare feet and hands.

I cherish pleasant memories of having participated in consensual acts resulting in images that look similar to many of those we do see, not to mention acts that would have resulted in such images had someone remembered to bring a camera. And I look forward hopefully (though perhaps vainly, considering my antiquity) to cherishing new memories in years to (sigh) come. At various times I've masturbated imagining myself a sadistic prison guard, the prison guard's victim, and some random outsider (Hildy Johnson? Clarice Starling?) coming (sigh) upon a scenario already in progress. Rather than Silence of the Lambs I'd prefer to see Caged Heat again. Or any WIP flick, for that matter. (But that's maybe 'cause I've seen Lambs again more recently.)

I'm honestly not trying to paint myself as an inveterate dominatrix or serious B & D partisan (says she whose signature image can hardly be construed as doing anything else). OK, put it this way: I'm not a member of Samois or the Boston Dungeon Society (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm much more of a returning visitor. Whatever. I can see I'm never going to situate myself clearly, let alone accurately.

Obviously, the key word in my experience is "consensual." I have no doubt the coercive circumstances of those poor Iraqi prisoners were unimaginably nightmarish, and in multiple ways they suffered excruciating physical and emotional pain I'd be traumatized just to witness, much more to experience directly. I wouldn't be surprised if some of the bleeding from the psychological wounds these MPs inflicted can never be staunched.

Having said that, my heart really goes out to Pfc. Lynndie R. England, the unfortunate poster-girl of this debacle. The way I read this story in today's Times, she fell in love with and got pregnant by a monster who should long ago have been inducted into the fraternity he's made his post-Marine career terrorizing, on the other side of his nightstick, cattle prod, and gun (all the while pursuing his avocation, terrorizing his wife). The only reason Pfc. England was in Tier 1 at all, apparently, was to be with him. Lynndie, you poor fucking idiot.

Abuse Charges Bring Anguish in Unit's Home

Published: May 6, 2004

CUMBERLAND, Md., May 5 — Specialist Charles A. Graner Jr. is a guard at one of Pennsylvania's most heavily secured death row prisons, accused by his former wife of violent behavior.

Pfc. Lynndie R. England was married and divorced before she was 21, worked at a chicken-processing plant in West Virginia and wanted to attend college to become a storm-chasing meteorologist.

. . . .

An internal Army report made public this week described Specialist Graner, 35, as supervising some of the abusive behavior. He also appears in several photographs, including one in which he stands with arms folded over a pile of naked Iraqi men.

Specialist Graner, who wears a Marine Corps eagle tattoo on his right arm, served in the corps from April 1988 until May 1996, when he left with the rank of corporal, according to military records. He went to work immediately at the State Correctional Institution Greene, in southwestern Pennsylvania, where he has held an entry-level corrections officer position ever since.

Two years after he arrived at Greene, the prison was at the center of an abuse scandal. Prison officials declined to say whether Specialist Graner had been disciplined in that case, citing privacy laws.

Inmates and advocates for prisoner rights asserted in 1998 that guards at the prison routinely beat and humiliated prisoners, including through a sadistic game of Simon Says in which guards struck prisoners who failed to comply with barked instructions.

After an investigation, the warden was transferred, two lieutenants were fired and about two dozen guards were reprimanded, demoted or suspended.

Specialist Graner was involved in a bitter divorce. In court papers, his wife, Staci, accused him of beating her, threatening her with guns, stalking her after they separated in 1997 and breaking into her home. Since 1997, local judges have issued at least three orders of protection against him, records show.

One court document filed in February 1998 typified Staci Graner's complaints. "Charles picked me up and threw me against the wall," she said. She added that he had begun sneaking into her home at night to scare her. "I just don't think this is normal behavior, and he does frighten me," she wrote.

Guy Womack, a lawyer for Specialist Graner, said, "He is not violent in any way like that."

. . . . .

The face that has become best known in the scandal belongs to a woman who, her family contends, was the least involved: Private England, who flashes jaunty thumbs-up signs in several photographs.

Trained to be an Army administrator, Private England, who has not been charged, helped process prisoners by taking fingerprints and filing reports. "She didn't guard them, she booked them," her mother, Terrie England, said. "She just happened to be there when they took those photographs."

But military officials say Private England, 21, may have frequently visited the prison because she was romantically involved with Specialist Graner. They say she is pregnant and has been sent to Fort Bragg, N.C., where she continues to be questioned by investigators. Her parents said she had not told them she was pregnant.

Friends and relatives describe Private England as tough and independent, "a woman who's not afraid to break a nail," said Mrs. Shoemaker-Davis, who was previously with the 372nd. She joined the Reserves over her mother's objections while she was in high school because she wanted money for college, relatives said.

"It's not that we couldn't afford it," Mrs. England said. "She had to do it on her own. She's stubborn like that."

Private England was born in Kentucky and moved with her family to a spacious trailer in Fort Ashby, W.Va., after her father, a railroad utility worker, was transferred. As a girl, she loved violent weather and stood outside to catch glimpses of lighting storms and even a tornado, her parents said. Briefly married to longtime friend, she was divorced before she left for Iraq last year.

Her parents said she was thrilled to go to Iraq, but has become bitter by her experiences there.

. . . .

the whole article
Fashion police "incident" sparks drive for world domination

via Smoking Gun Mug Shot Archive

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Recipe for Mikarrhea

When I clicked on this referral, here's what I got. No, it doesn't make sense to me either.

l queso suizo. 2. Verter la mitad de la mezcla y continuar con la otra capa de pan, jamón, quesos y la mezcla. Derretir el cuarto de mantequilla, verter por encima, luego poner las papitas un poco partidas y meter al horno. Hornear a 375 grados por 40 minutos. 1 1/4 taza de harina 1 taza de leche agria 2 cucharadas de azúcar 1 cucharadita de vainilla 2 1/4 cucharadita de polvo de hornear 2 yemas 2 claras batidas a punto de merengue 1 cucharadita de sal Preparación 1. Precalentar una plancha para waffles y rociar aceite en aerosol o spray. 2. Cuando todo esté bien unido agregar las claras y envolver con la mezcla. 3. Verter la cantidad necesaria en la plancha de waffles y cocinar hasta que estén dorados. Servir con frutas frescas y azúcar en polvo. 1/2 taza de cilantro fresco 1/2 taza de perejil 1/4 de pan rallado 2 cucharaditas de orégano 1/8 cucharadita de pimienta en grano 1/8 cucharadita de comino 1 libra de pollo sal y pimienta al gusto 1. Mezclar todos los ingredientes en el procesador de alimentos, exce

Correct Views on Erotica, Cold-War Mentality

This is a few days old, but since I haven't seen it much outside the sex blogs (e.g., erosblog, Daze Reader, & Amorous Propensities), I thought maybe it might be worth drawing attention to.

Russian Museum to Exhibit Rasputin’s Penis


The first Russian museum of erotica is opening in St. Petersburg, Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily reports. The museum is founded by Igor Knyazkin, the chief of the prostate research center of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Knyazkin told the newspaper that museums of sex and erotica exist in many European countries and he wanted Russia to be a civilized country with a view on the future and with correct views on erotica.

There is one exhibit in the museum which makes Knyazkin be especially proud of. This is the 30-centimeter preserved penis of Grigory Rasputin. “Having this exhibit, we can stop envying America, where Napoleon Bonaparte’s penis is now kept. … Napoleon’s penis is but a small ”pod“ it cannot stand comparison to our organ of 30 centimeters…” the head of the museum said.


Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Take my breath away

Driving home from Richard, my therapist, I was stopped at an intersection (Arsenal & Greenough, if you know the area), listening to loud, loud radio, when I saw a hawk, just extended wings really at first, rise above the shrubbery by the Charles, about 150 yards directly ahead. It ascended at a constant clip straight up into the sky, a red-tail, you could tell by now, arms all out but curving forward, like Superman, or Christ affixed, prone, fetched from on high by a tractor beam (the music loud and fabulous, the chorus arriving, all triumphal chords). Since the song began and I cranked up the volume, I'd been imagining the memorable film montage I'd edit to it one day, a rhythm of devastatingly arty and ironic frames transforming its grandiose cheesiness. For some reason, the hawk-and-chorus conjunction set my whole inside into a meltdown. This was fun. My skin was buzzing. In my stomach I had a feeling of acute plummeting, corresponding nicely with the hawk's levitating. I watched for it to flap its wings. It didn't. Just kept rising. Could've been inflated with helium. Very cool. A couple hundred feet up, apparently in response to a musical cue, it banked left across the sky, radiating the shameless fusion of ecstasy and self-regard you often get in an irritating maestro's largo glove-sweep. I really wanted it to flap its wings, just because . . . well . . . it wasn't fair that it didn't have to. But it wasn't going to. It was all about delay, refusal, tease. I was actually shouting, screaming really, "Omyfuckinggod Omyfuckinggod Nofuckingway!" And laughing. At myself, the levitating hawk on an invisible line, the cheesy song --the whole imbecilic situation.

The light changed, I turned left: following the hawk was on my way. Another light, the hawk way ahead, a half a mile already, incredible shrinking, still unflappable. When it had become a little breve ( ˘ ) in a lot of blue, I saw another red-tail ascending just in front of me (incongruous at this tangled cement juncture of Arsenal St., Market St., Western Ave., & the exit- and entrance-ramps to Soldiers Field Road, a classic fucked-up confusing disaster of a Boston intersection), turning and turning in the proverbial widening gyre, a mode of elevation (if I can wax birdy for just one second) BIZARRE for falcons (I'll be delving into this further in my highly anticipated journal article, "Not on Extended Wings: Egregious Bird Mistakes in Poetry"), but virtually diagnostic of buteos (which is why the less frequent crucifix-in-a-tractor-beam ascent of the first red-tail was so cool). Two hawks soaring to triumphal harmonies! everything tingled.

As I accelerated to the right onto the ersatz expressway Soldier's Field Road becomes here, leaving the new hawk behind, I saw that from far to the left the first one was heading back my way, now in a glide, wings tucked back, scimitar shape. Small still and decendingly rapid, it disappeared behind some annoyingly looming buildings along the left. I stomped the accelerator to pass the obstruction and reconnect with the hawk as quickly as I could. I yelled to it a bunch of times not to go away, but my windows were shut. The stupid buildings refused to go away and unblock my view of the lefthand sky, even though I was going about seventy and my head was was having the hardest time not using its rest. A quarter of a mile ahead I saw the line of buildings would finally give up, opening up my sky, and just there on the right was an emergency pull-out. This was sort of an emergency. I zoomed into the pull-out, screeched to a halt, and leapt out of my car, this being my story, like Uma Thurman. The Soldiers Field Road cars were roaring by, though seemingly at, me pretty much at the loud speed I had just been going. I scanned the sky across the highway, probably with a curiosity-arousing expression of desperation (oh where could that daughter of mine have flown off to?), and very aware that I looked like an idiot. Why the fuck don't I always carry a shitty pair of binoculars in my car for emergencies? A movement nearer and higher than I expected caught my attention. The red-tail, not twenty feet in the air, was across the way gliding quickly straight in my direction, wings still locked back, but now on a landing trajectory. As it passed directly overhead, where it seemed I could jump up and touch it, it shifted into slow motion, spreading its rust tail, then flashed in a blink into the riverside greenery again. I'd be willing to testify in court I never saw it flap its wings at all. In addition to the tingling, I was jealous.

What was the song? This is really the whole point here. It's very, very, very, very humiliating. "Africa," by Toto.

I got back into the car and drove off to Jessica Simpson singing "Take My Breath Away."

I really despise Jessica Simpson.
Latest popular search string

As I expected.

iraqi prisoner abuse cfnm

I've gotten a dozen of that string (or its homologues) since the last post. Don't you just love the company I keep?

I absolutely have to enter the keywords after the last rubric, if just for the record:

nanotechnology, anorexic nation, prozac nation, iraqi news, msnbc ... sex pics, child sex abuse, movie sound ... videocards, videocard, piss bitch, prison bitch names ...

Doesn't it have the electricity of a recording of a pure stream of consciousness? Or of a soliloquy of an MIT sophomore with Tourette's Syndrome?

I'm going to hazard the prediction that, until something more egregious launches to knock it out of Earth's orbit, this picture will hold the dubious distinction of being the most-masturbated-to image ever flashed generally on newscasts around the world. And if you think the opprobium (death threats, assaults, etc.) unleashed on that poor jerk in Chicago who caught that ball was bad, wait till this unfortunate girl re-enters American society (if she ever does). I wouldn't be she for anything on earth.

I realize there are some irony-stabilization issues with my last post. I'll try to address those soon. Now it's off to the rapist.

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