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

Thursday, September 25, 2003

College Is Just Around the Corner
At one point, when I taught at a college, I used to have this quote from Kerouac's Visions of Cody posted on my "plan." If you don't know what a plan is, in UNIX it's sort of like a rudimentary personal page you would get to see if you "fingered" someone's user name (i.e., FINGER MCOOPER). Having always enjoyed being fingered, I thought I'd post things to reward students and encourage frequent fingering.
In America, the idea of going to college is just like the idea of prosperity is just around the corner, it was supposed to solve something or everything or something because all you had to do was learn what they taught and then everything else was going to be handled; instead of that, and just like prosperity that was never around the corner but a couple miles at least (and false prosperity--) going to college by acquainting me with all the mad elements of life, such as the sensibilities, books arts, histories of madness, and fashions, has not only made it impossible for me to learn simple tricks of how to earn a living but has deprived me of my one-time innocent belief in my own thoughts that used to make me handle my own destiny. So now I sit and stew in a sophistication which has taken hold of me just exactly like a disease and makes me lie around like a bum all day long and stay up all night goofing with myself.


Tell me about it.
Giving a profound sentiment some consideration
"Getting dressed and looking great is like going on vacation," says Norma Kamali. "It's an uplift."

Well, we're going on vacation tomorrow (LA), and I sure hope (commutatively) it's very much like getting dressed and looking great, because we're staying at the Standard, and I, for one, need all the help I can get. Unlike my desert island, the Standard at least has T1 lines in the rooms, so I assume I can blog (on Leigh's laptop, of course), as long as I have occasional windows of lucidity, or at least consciousness, if lucidity is too much to ask.
Did you notice I slimmed down quite a bit? You know what they say, "The web page always adds ten pounds to your figure." Well I showed that web page who was boss!

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Just when I learned how to pronounce "Gier" correctly, she goes and changes it to "Vengua"! Are you on the lam, Jean? Or were you just fed up with constantly being mistaken for the other Jean Giers? You know, come to think of it, "Curvalicious Vengua" has a nice seductive bounce to it. Maybe you should consider changing your first name too! :-) Just kidding. Jean G. Vengua sounds beautiful.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

A Banner Day!

No banner ads at this moment! I keep refreshing just to check. How great is that?

And here I had this whole post in mind about the word panties and how fascinating it is (linguistically). I thought that a post mentioning panties a lot and linked to various panty sites (like this test: what sort of panties are you?) might change the tone of the banner ads (no more body bag sites). And get some fresh blood circulating in here through google.

Monday, September 22, 2003

Bakhtin: Words as A.B.C. Gum
Just so we don't lose sight of literature on this blog (and so as to save myself from thinking up something original to write), I thought I'd reach into my commonplace book for a couple of passages I completely adore. Those below come from Bakhtin's "Discouse in the Novel," reprinted in The Dialogic Imagination. I love his notion of language as this thing that lies "on the borderline between oneself and the other" and as something we don't take fresh from the dictionary but rather from others' usage, inevitably perfused with their expressive intentions (the image in my head is of some seriously A.B.C. gum). All uses of language, he argues, take place at least to some degree within quotation marks. I love his imbuing words themselves with intentionality--they "stubbornly resist" the author's attempt to seize them and transform them "into private property." It "is as if they put themselves in quotation marks against the will of the speaker."
As a living, socio-ideological concrete thing, as heteroglot opinion, language, for the individual consciousness, lies on the borderline between oneself and the other. The word in language is half someone else's. It becomes "one's own" only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language (it is not, after all, out of a dictionary that the speaker gets his words!), but rather it exists in other people's mouths, in other people's contexts, serving other people's intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one's own. And not all words for just anyone submit equally easily to this appropriation, to this seizure and transformation into private property: many words stubbornly resist, others remain alien, sound foreign in the mouth of the one who appropriated them and who now speaks them; they cannot be assimilated into his context and fall out of it; it is as if they put themselves in quotation marks against the will of the speaker.

*************

Thus a prose writer can distance himself from the language of his own work, while at the same time distancing himself, in varying degrees, from the different layers and aspects of the work. He can make use of language without wholly giving himself up to it; he may treat it as semi-alien or completely alien to himself, while compelling language ultimately to serve all his own intentions. The author does not speak in a given language (from which he distances himself to a greater or lesser degree), but he speaks, as it were, through language, a language that has somehow more or less materialized, become objectivized, that he merely ventriloquates.

Bakhtin, "Discourse on the Novel"




The part of his argument that I find outdated and inutile is his insistence that this dialogism and heteroglossia (terms sometimes interchangeable for him, sometimes not quite) are defining characteristics of prose literature, not poetry. Certainly today, and very arguably back then, poetry is nothing if not heteroglossic!
For those who were asking for the URL of the official Barry Manilow web site, it's here.

Sunday, September 21, 2003

Another sign that Leigh & I should get engaged.
World's Oldest Genitals Found in Scotland
The Holy Grail of Blogs

How could I have lived so long in abject ignorance? The greatest living American writer has had a blog for years & I knew nothing of it. I suddenly feel abysmally supererogatory.

From a post on his blog, I found a link to a site asking a question whose pertinence increases every day as we approach the home stretch of the election course: which presidential candidate looks the most like Skeletor?

Friday, September 19, 2003

Hurricane Ex-Lax is coming

Catherine has a completely brilliant idea--letting corporations bid to put their names on hurricanes. Like the years in D.F.W.'s Infinite Book, "The Year of the Depends Adult Diaper," etc. Also, Catherine's encounter with the aspiring mutilatant (mutilatee? mutilatand? mutilatrix? woman just wanting some mutilation?) is so perfectly bizarre. It's so totally uncanny when you all of a sudden find yourself trapped in a real-life situation.

Random neuron firing. One of the (few) lines of popular song I consider celestial poetry: "Little old lady got mutilated late last night." Interweavings of dentals and labials are just asking to be sung. Like "tra la la." And the contrast between the babbling brook fluidity of "lady got mutilated" and the long voweled, evenly emphasized, equally "t"-stopped "late last night" is fucking divine, I think.

Isn't Warren Zevon one of those recently surprisingly dead people?

Um, couldn't I maybe just go one day without sneaking death into a post? How about this Tuesday? Couldn't we have Tuesdays Without Memento Mori?

If there were a restaurant called Arcadia Ego, someone could say, "Last night I et in Arcadia Ego."

Badda Boom.

I'm dying out here, folks.
Dreary Life. Dreary Tampons.

Dreary hangover. Dreary rain. Dreary, originally meant gory, bloody. Weird how it jumped meaning somewhere and metonymically allied itself to the emotional aftermath of gory situations. Related to traurig.

Think about the metonymic jumping bean, toilet.

Laurable links to a cool page devoted to The Dial. It makes me wooze over to the shelf and pull down the one original copy I have, from March 1925. It has in it what I take to be the first publication of "The Hollow Men." No Conrad "Mistah Kurtz" epigraph. Only three stanzas, what in the final version are I, II, & IV. No "Between . . . and . . . falls the Shadow." No "not with a bang but a whimper." No "For thine is . . . ." None of the disjecta membra characteristic of Eliot during that period. Weird. I'm, like, are we missing some pages here?

Other interesting pieces: a book review by Marianne Moore, some scolding of Moore's unicorn-credulity by the "editor" (Thayer, I guess), "Strange Moonlight" by Aiken, a print by Charles Sheeler, a dialogue on government by Santayana, a great interview w/ a prickly Strawinsky (sic). The ads are fabulous. Amy Lowell's Keats bio is "Now Ready!" Dial Press is coming out with XLI Poems by E. E. Cummings (sic): "A leader among the younger American poets, whose Tulips and Chimneys showed its author to be possessed of a rare sense of the beautiful and a fine power of sensuous expression. In this new volume, particularly in the sonnets, these same characteristics are again greatly manifest." Also coming out with The Art of the Theatre by Sarah [1st I wrote "Sandra"] Bernhardt--"priceless hints to all interested in the stage."

Having a dreary hangover, I imagine pulling this issue new from the mailbox and just feel sad and envious of a lot of very dead people. Dreary.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

the picture works!

just had to get it off fucking geocities
I was just clicking along a pleasant little trail of Kerouac links . . . .

when I ended up at this spooky site. Check it out. I wanna say to whoever's responsible, go rent some Eddie Izzard dvds! Swinburne was definitely born in the wrong century (which, I suppose, he could at least take a perverse satisfaction in). Caveats: The first seven pages load automatically at a script-controlled sadistic rate of something like three minutes a page, so you might want to let them all load themselves to their hearts content while you go grab a latte. When you return, you can just backclick through them all, to see what you missed, before venturing on. Just don't go there for another hour or so, because I used up this person's allocated hourly bandwidth. I ventured on, fascinated, and eventually I emerged into the lovely photography of floria sigismondi. I have to say, I wasn't aware of her catching me wearing my iguanas on my head. But, well, you never know who's around snapping pix . . . . Anyone who can get David Bowie (who, you may remember, I sometimes dream about) to pose for her is ok in my book. And on my blog.

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Changed the damn poem again

Just one vowel.

Michael, I'm really not paying you enough. Thank you, love.

But, remember, you agreed at least to pretend to be reading other blogs . . . .

Now somebody's really having fun with me . . . .

Latest fabulous banner ad clipped, word for word, from the top of the page:
body bags
whole sale body bags body bags for human remains

Is this just some poetryblog-wag rewriting I. A. Richards's "Harvard Yard in April, April in Harvard Yard" in the style of Soldier of Fortune?

Seriously, you guys, you have to go to this site, right now!

I so totally can't wait to see the shopping opportunities that last link brings . . . .
OCD

I hope nobody noticed (but I'm writing this, of course, because I'm panic-stricken somebody did) that I've edited that last poem about 600 times since posting it last night. I just wanted to 'fess up. I keep meaning to use Kerouac one of these days as a jumping-off point to write about blog-revisionism. I figured by posting this I might make myself get around to it.
Worried something embarrassing might be showing

Because Alli Warren lamented hers and Stephanie Young took pains to reassure Alli that at least at that moment they were looking perfectly presentable, I suddenly got self-conscious and had to check my banner ads. I don't know why I was so concerned. (Why do I have this glitch-in-the-matrix feeling somebody made basically this exact observation, with more or less the same words? Was it my idol Katie, who unknowingly led me into this mess in the first place? If so, I can't find the post. . . .) Here are the ads exhibiting themselves as I write this (reproduced here--to borrow a phrase--to preserve them in their natural habitat):

Survival Kit
Save on first aid kits and supplies
Disaster recovery products & plans

Emergency Survival Kits
Survival and preparedness gear for home, auto, office or school.


At least, someone's been reading my blog carefully. I must say, I wish that, when I was teaching, more students had been issued "survival and preparedness gear."
On the Turntable, Classical Gas

I remember watching Mason Williams play
on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,
perched alone in the spotlight high on a stool,

cradling his nylon-string, sustained, I imagined,
by the studio orchestra secreted from those
at home. The percussive tick of the rolling guitar

in A minor gathers piecemeal a symphony
behind it, arousing at last the brass to D
major excitement, sennets, key change,

key change, enthusiasm, discord, life. A grateful
breath. The rolling tick, minor, returns alone. Too soon
the kids are bouncing back and forth afresh—

those tempting mattresses at the Travel Lodge
in Wicheta. . . . It’s a conversation between minor
and major, figuratively speaking (and . . .

well, less figuratively), where minor, hip, today,
represented by strings rapidly plucked, strummed, bowed
with sincerity, teaches old major, the tactless

brass and bourgeois percussion, how to stay cool
when juiced and not sound like a marching band.
I’d set the turntable to repeat at 45

(my age, my god) the green label over and over
and over, the propulsive jouissance
of the piece behind the speakers, interleaved

with the delicate heterodiegetic click
and whir of the tone-arm mechanism’s
phlegmatically conducting yet again

its appointed round. This beatific robot
gesture dwelt so securely in the firmament
of our culture’s daily now,

then. Today, nearly eradicated like chicken
pox, Duz soap, or mangles, it lingers mainly
an icon to its heyday’s dynamo.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

A lamentable display

I want to cry, I’m so devasted. I have to borrow Leigh’s computer just to blog. Every time I boot my iBook, the screen convulses in chromatic paroxysms, beautiful but stupendously traumatizing, like a couple of old girlfriends I could mention. That’s my second nightmarish laptop disaster in, like, six months. Why comes this to pass?

I’m lying prone in a bright, cramped room in Addison, Texas, accompanied by my beloved torturesses Mariann and Sabrina, just a nose away from at long last seeing every film ever inspired by the journalism of Susan Orlean. A while back, you may remember, I saw Adaptation--the other one. Now, we’re watching Blue Crush, the grrlpower surfer flick, with Kate Bosworth and Mika Boorem (two consonants away from Mika Cooper!). Rather, I’m watching the film and they’re listening to it while deftly manipulating electrothermolysis needles, jabbing and zapping my miserable butt till the cows come home--which in Addison is not a figure of speech but a more-or-less definite hour of the day that everyone acknowledges and that takes forever to arrive, not unlike like cocktail hour among our people. The dvd is in my iBook on the floor, which I plugged into the cheap TV set but a nose away from my face, a placement pernicious to the eyes but unavoidable, owing to the needle-death apparatus’s butt-proximity requirements.


The Badinerie from Bach’s Suite #2 tweedles obdurately from my purse, nipping at everyone’s concentration remorselessly. It won’t desist until Sabrina holsters her electric acicular goad, awkardly bends double, unzips the purse, retrieves my cell phone, and thrusts it in my face. Appeased, the phone instantly clams up. Leigh, it reads. I’ll return her call when I and my butt get our contractual break in a few minutes. I lob the phone vaguely pursewards. Or so I believe at the time. Instead, it nails the iBook smack in the caps lock. The surfgirls freeze.

Sabrina submits me the laptop for ministry. Getting it rebooted, getting Blue Crush up and on the waves again, refinding the moment of the crash, takes longer than we expect, what with me checking my email, scanning some blogs, and bringing up the film’s credits from IMdb (crucial to have open in a window behind the film as it plays, in case of disputes).

As I’m fiddling with the computer, I gradually become aware of occasional gentle bleeps floating on the air, as if R2D2 were snoring somewherein a corner. Sabrina & Mariann laugh. Butt poke . . . zap . . . bleep. “That’s me,” says Mariann. Butt poke . . . zap . . . bleep. “That’s me,” giggles Sabrina. I’m galvanized. Literally. It was actually kind of magical, like a science demonstration when you were little. My lovely tormentors were sending special ops zaps of electricity covertly rapelling into hair follicles in my butt, knocking out the extrusion generators there, then traveling up through my body, racing down my arms, escaping out my fingers, leaping into my iBook, transforming from zaps into bleeps and easing out the speakers, no one the wiser. Somehow or other I managed to get the movie playing on the TV again. But for the laptop’s display, it was the beginning of the end. Since then, it hasn’t gone two minutes without freezing and then psychedically chromatizing in that one-row-at-a-time recessional way they have that’s so demoralizing.

When I think of all the trouble I’ve taken always to ground myself to an outlet with one of those manacles with the alligator clips so as not to get any static electricity accidentally into the computer while installing chips and cards and whatnot! And here I was happily serving as the conduit for a whole brigade of active (if that’s the opposite of static) electricity! Well, whether I brained the computer when I threw the cell phone at it or fried it by inadvertently administering ECT (or perhaps it required the one-two punch), I don’t have a laptop for a while, and I’m probably not going to be posting as frequently as I was, until I do.
It's nice to be back. Missed everyone tons. Never got time before I left to publicly acknowledge how much I love Jean for thinking sweetly in my direction and using the words "laughter, curvy trickster" as a link here, Michael for likening my blog to "Classical Gas" (I'm taking it as a positive remark; the piece was one of my favorites when it came out & I learned it [in a futzy way but enough to show that I could learn it better if only I would work at it] on the guitar), and Kasey for hunting down the poster for the film version of Mikarrhea and making it this site's icon.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Castaway

I'm going away for a few days. To a desert island.

2 points.

1) Isn't the gradual transfiguration of the word "desert" in this context cool? Orlando, AYLI (2.7), says, "But whate'er you are / That in this desert inaccessible, / Under the shade of melancholy boughs / Lose and neglect the creeping hours of time. . . ." It used to mean just wilderness, generally—merely the opposite of civilization, of cultivation. Forests, bogs, mountains, oceans, moors—all could be deserts, without a speck of sand in sight. I guess it changed when the advance and dissemination of biological discourse sat upon and smooshed the notion of these places as utterly devoid of life. So that left only the lone and level sands. But now, what with the dissemination of the fact that deserts are really complex organic ecosystems teeming with biodiversity, is the word going to fall into desuetude? And just be applied to, like, the surface of the moon?

2) Why is the island comprehending Acadia National Park called Mt. Desert Island? And why is it pronounced like what, in the West, is sugary and served after the main course (don't get me started on the weirdnesses of, what would you call it?, ethnogastronomy. . . )?


If I can blog from there, I will. If not, see you all soon. If I survive. . . .

Just in case anyone cares, here are the books I'm taking (listed according to increasing necessity):


(* books my library is blessed to harbor already)

10. Desperate Journeys, Abandoned Souls : True Stories of Castaways and Other Survivors, by Edward E. Leslie

9. How to Die in the Outdoors: 100 Interesting Ways, by Buck Tilton, Brian Thomas (Illustrator)

8. Exploring Tropical Isles and Seas: An Introduction for the Traveler and Amateur Naturalist, by Frederic Martini

7. A Naturalist's Guide to the Tropics, by John Venerella (Translator), Kitty Capua (Illustrator), Marco Lambertini

6. Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills & Primitive Technology II: Ancestral Skills from the Society of Primitive Technology, by David Wescott (Editor), Society of Primitive Technology

5. Ditch Medicine : Advanced Field Procedures For Emergencies, by Hugh Coffee

4. Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness, by John McPherson, Geri McPherson

3. *Blueprint for Paradise: How to Live on a Tropic Island, by Ross Norgrove

2. *Henry David Thoreau : A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers / Walden; Or, Life in the Woods / The Maine Woods / Cape Cod (Library of America), by Henry David Thoreau, Robert F. Sayre (Editor)

1. *How to Shit in the Woods: An Environmentally Sound Approach to a Lost Art, by Kathleen Meyer





Saturday, September 06, 2003

Pillsbury Dough-Boy Obit
I'm sure everyone's seen this, but in case you haven't, I thought it was funny. It has absolutely nothing to do with random neuron firing, lame philosophy, literary pontificating, movies, sex, clothes & other femme stuff--unless you count baking as femme, which maybe accounts for the Dough Boy's conspicuous anti-butch aesthetic.

Please join me in remembering a great icon of the Entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies and Captain Crunch. The gravesite was piled high with flours. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still, as a crusty old man, was considered a roll model for millions. Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough, two children, John Dough and Jane Dough; plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart. The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.
Stickpoetsuperhero Soars; Crystal & I Share Recherché Predicates
Michael Wells, the celebrated stickpoetsuperhero, sweetly emails that I've given him a whole new perspective on trips with his wife to the beadstore. . . .

Thanks, Michael. Keep fighting for (poetic) truth, (poetic) justice, & (a true & just) poetics!

His site links to Crystal Lyn King's We Write To Taste Life Twice, which offers some good poems (the anti-Ballardian car-crash one is harrowing) and many crucial poetry links. Crystal & I have many things in common. We both live in the Boston area & we each affirm the following (from Crystal's list of 100 facts about her):

1. I love sweet pickles.
4. I loathe doing the dishes.
11. I love to hike and birdwatch.
16. I was an extremely picky eater as a child.
21. I've been online since 1992 [well, i got my dow jones & compuserve memberships in 1980, but i didn't start browsing until. . . well. . .there were browsers]. I've owned a computer since 1980 [my first was an Apple II].
31. I love the smell of Russian Olive trees.
32. I've saved people's lives (worked on a crisis hotline for 2 years). [mine was specifically about sex crises--which nevertheless make people suicidal . . . .]
34. I love cosmopolitans. And green apple martinis.
49. I hate the feel of water dripping off the end of my nose.
50. I never lose when I play Othello.
51. I have more books than bookshelves. Way [way, way, way, way] more books than bookshelves.
52. I love going to art museums [& concerts & movies & on trips]by myself.
64. I hate it when paper towels have goofy sayings and stupid graphics on them [although I vacillate on this one; often, with my houseguests in mind, I deliberately buy the stupidest].
68. I am not very good with money. It makes me irrational and crazy when I have to handle bills.
70. I drink skim milk.
72. I hate eating tomatoes that aren't processed (i.e. they must be in something--ketchup, salsa, pasta sauce are fine).
75. I don't know what the real color of my hair is.
81. I tend to leave clothes lying around in the bedroom.
95. I'm the one taking the pictures.


In addition, we both like the film Pirates of the Caribbean (I've seen it four times, once all by myself, oblivious that I was wearing sunglasses. I would just like to be next to Johnny Depp sometime, feel his warmth, even touch him for a while, gently, in a friendly way, with my extended tongue.) And last but definitely not least, we both chose stanton flatware on our wedding registries!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Join the Holy Orgy, Kamasutra
or
Masturbation Can Be Fun[ny]

I wrote this in my idea-journal this morning. It wasn't intended at first for publication, but as I got rolling I thought I might as well post it pretty much as is.

It really is amazing how much the blog has taken over this file (rereading this sentence, keep seeing "life," realize I wrote "file," then think, well I meant "life," and only the third or fourth time realize that I really did mean "file." But obviously "life" fits as well). What's a shame is how the character of the writing has changed somewhat. On the blog I'm aware of trying to be entertaining. Here I don't even care if if I spell words right (or double them). Just watned to get these ideas down though. This morning decided to masturbate. Beforfe last week I hadn't done so in ages--well, weeks. Then I masturbated a couple of days ago & now this AM. Is this the faint leading indicator of a new trend (or a very, very lagging indicator--blistered marathoner hobbling across finish line well past midnight--of a trend long putrifying)? Well, anyway, after coming--the orgasm, by the way, was fascinating:

[Hic multa desiderantur, Ed.]

As I was buzzing down, one of those laughs started up. (They cause problems in relationships. First, people are uncomfortable and think you're mocking them at an unspeakably tender moment. Then, as time goes by and they get it, it's always, "Hey, how come you didn't laugh that time?") And it wouldn't stop. It just got deeper and wilder (not a giggle, not a chortle, a really howling laugh). Of course, the laughter started being meta-laughter (as laughter tends to do, obeying the laws of emotional thermodynamics [where oh where is the Newton of emotional physics?--its not Freud, he's more like the Lucretius]) about the fact itself of laughing after orgasm, and then just about laughing at laughing at laughing period (when I told this to Leigh later, she compared it to her anxiety cycles, which in her case might better be termed whirlpools or even maelstroms. isn't it weird how quickly, exponentially, emotions become meta-emotions? doesn't that seem to support the dimasio-dennett view of consciousness? isn't the capacity for emotions to become meta [i actually typed "mega," which is spot-on in its own way, so we'll leave it parenthetically sous rature] the very driving force behind poetry, Mr. Preface-to-the-Lyrical-Ballads? And how's the old penis when you think about all these meta-cycles now, Professor Smullyan?)

I laughed for fifteen minutes. I couldn't catch my breath. My stomach really hurt. Maybe the serotonin-uptake-inhibiting has finally gotten completely nonselective. It's all inhibited. Like a show with a fabulous performer brought to you by a huge asshole promoter: absolutely no serotonin re-entry under any circumstances. Private function: bouncers not letting anybody in. Go ahead and riot outside if you want to, serotonin. No more room in the helicopters. You're all left behind on the embassy roof. Where ignorant ermines clash by night.

Maybe you saw this coming
So later I go into the living room. And guess what I trip over? A container full of BEADS, believe it or not. (My life conforms to Chekhov's dramatic rules.) Actually, the container had only a few dozen beads left in it, which I cyclotroned deftly to the here-there-be-monsters corners of the room. The cats (MewOn [The Runt] & RoarShock [The Blotch]) had evidently already knocked the container off the coffee-table in the middle of the night, bead-seeding the immediate vicinity, but dexterously managing to keep a sufficient quantity contained. (This passage, btw, is something like what Eliot--in "Hamlet & his Problems," which, along with "Tradition & the Individual Talent," forty years ago would have topped most lists like Kasey's, but i haven't noticed anyone's mentioning yet [which says something about something {my blindness, probably}]--would call an "objective correlative" for my scatter-shot mental state [cf. the dropped marbles figure, ante--I mean supra--I mean stand on your head and go ante/supra].)

OK, so, like a normal human being, I start crawling around naked on the carpet picking up beads. Beads, beads, beads . . . fine-motor control . . . just got out of bed . . . big orgasm . . . hard to focus . . . concentrate . . . bead . . . ouch, coffeetable . . . weird bead . . . weird bead . . . . I don't remember Max picking these out . . . . Oh, frijoles negros, that's why . . . from dinner last week (remember, my floor hasn't been vacuumed recently).

That done, into the kitchen for some coffee & cereal! which I'm very excited about because I have fresh blueberries to put on it (no, Max, the cereal). Back to the living room! Open the laptop to see who's posting what! What about the drugs? Oh yeah. Jump up and stride purposefully to the kitchen for the rainbow dolls of the morning, my foot giving a dead-on whack to the container of painstakingly gathered beads, which, because I'm a Harvard PhD, when the harvest was done I'd left sitting megalithic in the Salisbury of the floor. Field goal, fireplace! Big Bang, a galaxy, a Stephen-Hawking-speed o' light-expanding universe of beads!

I started laughing again and quickly ramped up the same meta-meta-meta hysterical cyclone. I saw myself, pistachio green, riding a broomstick, uproarious, maniacal, rapturously twistering ever faster round my gingham Dorothy heart. This went on for ten minutes more.

OK, so that's twice in one morning. Once after orgasm, once after mind-boggling stupidity. So here's the point: isn't it plausible (employing the oft-resorted-to Peirce-Eco abductor muscles) that we have the identical neurotransmitters involved on both occasions? Well, that's what I want to get a patent for bottling!
Lick My Foot, You Pussy!
M: Oy!
L (Calling from her office): What?
M (Yelling back): Nothing. I just said "Oy" because I dropped a whole bunch of fruit cocktail on my foot.

Is it normal for cats to go licking after fruit cocktail? It certainly tickles like crazy.


A Lott to Ruminate (sorry)
Chris Lott's Ruminate is really a scrumptious site. I just love everything--beautiful poems, sharp reviews, rich aimless intellectualizing, how much he totally loves the members of his family, & of course his logo-orgasmatronic commonplace book (which, like Nick P's swelling tides of aphorisms, can leave you feeling quite exquisitely played out, if you try to experience too much in one session).

A few days ago, when the voluptuously femme Blue Roo and I were mutually arousing each other with our favorite bibliophilia/scholarship-porn instances, I panted huskily that the bibliography of Borges's Pierre Menard always drove me right over the edge and into the whistling darkness (or words to that effect). For some reason, though, I couldn't find a link to it in English. So along comes Chris, ever willing to lend ladies embarrassed thus a firm hand, spreads open wide his bristling commonplace book, and lo and behold—Menard-bibliographical throbbing ecstasy! Thank you, thank you, versatile Chris!

For being so perfectly in the right place at the right time, let me at least begin to repay you with a few small nuggets on the topic of writing and reading from my own cpb:


Each plant has its parasite, and each created thing its lover and poet.
Emerson, Representative Men

We are as elastic as the gas of gunpowder, and a sentence in a book, or a word dropped in conversation, sets free our fancy, and instantly our heads are bathed with galaxies, and our feet tread the floor of the Pit.
ibid.

Our delight in reason degenerates into idolatry of the herald. Especially when a mind of powerful method has instructed men, we find the examples of oppression. The dominion of Aristotle, the Ptolemaic astronomy, the credit of Luther, of Bacon, of Locke,--in religion, the history of hierarchies, of saints, and the sects which have taken the name of each founder, are in point. Alas! every man is such a victim. The imbecility of men is always inviting the impudence of power.
ibid.

The words of the wise are as goads.
Ecclesiastes 12.11

Of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
Ecclesiastes 12.12


Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Looooooooooozzzzzzer
In case you missed it, the brilliant, vivacious, formicophile Jean Gier, of Blue Kangaroo posted the following yesterday and quickly snatched it down again [why in god's name i thought this, i don't know, for it's sitting right there plain as day. . . .:

Michaela, I'm a she! But don't let that stop you! Sorry, I should've mentioned it earlier. If you look at my link image on Kasey's blog, you'll notice the fashionable she-pouch + roobaby. Ah, yes, bodies -- I know I have one somewhere. As for my abductor muscles, every once in awhile I do try to exercise them, just to remember that they are there. ; )

:: Jean 5:32 PM [+] ::


Ooooooops. There's a beautiful irony for you.

Please, please, please, please forgive me Ms. Jier!!!! :^(

I hope Jean doesn't mind my reposting it. My life sharing absolutely zilch with that of Antoninus, my blog should be nothing but a register of the crimes, follies, and misfortunes of Michaela.

Monday, September 01, 2003

Totally Fabulous—Nick & Catherine, On the Toilet
Gratitude to Nick Piombino, fait accompli and Catherine Meng, Porthole Redux for their warm welcomes! It's so totally fabulous suddenly to find this luminous underground roomful of charming, delirious, word-besotted travelers confessing freely their obsessions into the bodiless void—right here in my own unvacuumed home—in the bedroom, on the toilet even, since I have wireless.
Busy Beads
So the kids would have something to do while I hounded them Baskervillainously, we went to BeadArt in Harvard Square to stock up on beads and wire against the coming of nuclear winter. Having anxiously called ahead to certify it was open for business (our proximal bead store in Newton slumbers Sundays), I felt like a thoroughgoing fool when we arrived. Honey, were they ever open for business! We could barely push a path through the mosh pit of beady-eyed shoppers slam-exercising their fine-motor-control skills. An unusually robust 10% or so seemed to be authentic male beaders (we're talking four, maybe). BeadArt's few chairs were, of course, draped with the usual complement of kind, patient, nonparticipating men, soft eyes focused pleasantly off in the middle distance, a few ruminating wistfully over the precise tone and phrasing they'd soon employ to deprecate off-handedly their female companion's fluent gratitude for enduring such boredom; a few others clamping down with hidden sphincterish stoicism on their dolor at realizing neither Fenway's arms nor ESPN's would be caressing them that afternoon; and the remaining breathless majority musing, silent as stout Cortez or Nick's Dutch sailors, on the unique character, the stirring phantasm, the varied texture, and the dark individuating smell of every single one of the dozens of pussies all slipping by within inches, sometimes mere centimeters, of them—and of each other—in such a small space . . . .

All Boston is jammed today, une grande confitûre de traffique; the return of the irrepressible, in full pursuit of the indelible, unleashed upon us for another academic year.

Hearing Problem
Having forged an unfortunate but irrevocable association with the name of this store, BeadArt, I can no longer hear the surname Bidart correctly pronounced in the porches of my mind's ear. If you haven't, btw, picked up Frank Bidart's (you know what I'm hearing) new edition of Lowell, you might keep it in mind. It's totally fabulous.

A Frank Confession
So. Speaking of BeadArt: once upon a time, when a friend and I, both at that time congenially nodding colleagues of Frank Bidart's, along with our respective partners gorged conspicuously past the boundaries of polite crapulence at Rialto in Cambridge, we observed Frank off behind some fronds in the distant velour dining with a slim, very kind-, alert-, wise-appearing woman, intermittantly crinkly in the corners of her eyes, a real grown-up (not like us associate grownups), but maybe slightly younger than he. We all tried to guess who this very cool and mysterious date could be. We assumed it wasn't a romantic partner. And it wasn't like he needed to entertain clients or anything. That they had long been comfortably close was evident in their relaxed postures, their casually tossed-off silences, the way each reached across the table and stroked the other's space to make a point. Waddling unsteadily doorward, we four teletubbies could do little decorous to avoid their vicinity. As soon as he saw us coming, Frank leaped up enthusiastically, as though spontaneously moved to give a standing ovation, and alerted his commensalist emphatically of her good fortune to be here at this very amiable moment. "You must meet my friends!" he gushed. Unfortunately, since but two of us could with semantic stretching be fitted under that rubric, his introducing us all required that Kate and I antecedently introduce our partners to him, which we did not-too-awkardly, so he in turn could relay the introduction on to the warm, indulgent woman, who had heard it just fine. Then beaming back and forth between us he adopted the mien (and I really don't know how to characterize this palpable presence of deeply personal history, pride, intimacy, possession, being possessed, long yesterdays, and illimitable tomorrows that we all can signal and recognize) of someone introducing a storied childhood friend, a sibling, a grown child just visiting for the holidays. "I want you all to meet my friend Louise Glück."

"How do you do."
"Nice to meet you."
"Hi."
"How are you.

Drunk, taken by surprise, unable to think of the right thing to say under the circumstances, indeed of anything at all to say, we all nodded politely and vaguely to her as if to Aunt Mildred. What in god's name were we thinking? Not one of us let slip the slightest indication that the name "Louise Glück" struck even the tiniest bell up in the farthest corner of the highest attic.

Slew to Frank. "So, uh, Frank, how'd you like the meal? Good. What'd you have? Excellent. Great restaurant. What'd we have? What did we have? I know you had the Bratwurst and Chilean Sea Bass Fajitas wrapped in Jody's Squid-Ink Tortillas, because that's what I meant to order but didn't . . . . " This took a while to sort out, but eventually, the group pulled together beautifully and gave—sometimes chorally, sometimes antiphonally, sometimes in the style of Charles Ives—a servicable account of the cocktails, appetizers, salads, entrees, wines, other wines, and after-dinner drinks, along with our evaluations, not necessarily always heavily contested, of each.

And the whole time we on our team acted no differently from the way we would have if the future poet laureate had been just some random distant relative poor Frank was stuck showing around town while she was visiting.

But for crying out loud, what do you say? I like your stuff? That Triumph of Achilles is really something! God, I wish I could write as well as you do? Would you be willing to look at a couple of short poems of mine? I really loved the stuff you were writing ten years ago! Could I possibly get you to sign my copy of The Wild Iris? There's very little you could say that wouldn't sound gushy, insipid, revealingly ignorant, boastful, condescending, or old. BUT NOT SAYING ANYTHING IS INFINITELY WORSE! Because you know very well who she is, she knows you know, she knows you don't know what to say to her, you know she knows these things, she knows you know she knows these things AND STILL EVERYONE IS PRETENDING THAT LOUISE GLUCK IS FRANK BEAD-ART'S AUNT MILDRED!

OK, so here's the perfect coda for this epitome of my loozerhood (my ex always insisted that in my case it be spelled with at least one "z," which seems to me to entail its being spelled with at least two, no make that four, "o"s, else you get "lozerhood," which looks really stupid, though admittedly it does seem kinda the appropriate way for a loozer to spell it). So here I am looking on the web to find the URL for the store BeadArt so I can make a hyperlink to the name. Guess what I discovered? On Earth they in fact call it not BeadArt but BEADWORKS!!!!

So here am I utterly incapable of preventing the sound "BeadArt" from leaping up and leaving copious spittle all over Frank Bidart's hapless name every time it's obliged to come to my door on some errand, AND THERE ISN'T EVEN A STORE OF THAT NAME IN ALL THE OBSERVABLE UNIVERSE.

Is there a chance one of these stores used to be called BeadArt? Please?

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Drew Gardner makes a lovely point about the place of nuclear weapons in our constitutional democracy:

If the idea of the right to bear arms is based on the idea that the population should be able to remove an oppressive government by force, and if the government now has nuclear weapons, then shouldn't every citizen now own tactical nuclear weapons? Perhaps give them out instead of a tax rebate? Wouldn't this ensure a patriotic attitude in the population (concern for what the country is doing) if people knew they could just nuke Washington if the politicians attempt to wage profiteering wars of foreign occupation for the enrichment of Haliburton?


I always wished I had thought of that myself! A series of talks Elaine Scarry was peddling around many years ago first brought the question to my attention--doesn''t the pro-gun-lobby's logic entail the view that Congress may not constitutionally infinge on citizens' right to keep and bear nuclear arms?

Hearing her talk, I thought she was making (among other things) a kind of reductio thrust against 2nd-amendment absolutism. If such absolutism logically entails the citizen's right to keep a nuclear arsenal, and the idea of such a right's being Constitutionally fundamental and absolute is patently absurd, then it follows that 2nd-amendment absolutism cannot stand. I often repeated some version of this as "Scarry's argument."

Many years later I read the law review article--Elaine Scarry, "War and the Social Contract: The Right to Bear Arms," 139 University of Pennsylvania Law Review, 1257 (1991)--and confirmed my long-held opinion. Not about Scarry's argument. I mean my opinion about what a complete idiot I am. Scarry actually makes a much subtler and more wide-ranging argument.

I'd love to write more about it (& about Garry Wills on the 2nd Amdmt as well) but I have to go and pick up Max & Anneliese. We have an assignation with the Hound of the Baskervilles.
Is it just me, or do your words, Monsieur B.K., seem to bear a hidden meaning? Could you have been giving your abductor (in the Peirce / Eco sense) muscles some exercise? Leading astray is what they do. . . .

I personally wouldn't call blogging a fetish, exactly. I'd call it a compulsion. I'm a bit obsessional about how some of these terms are employed. "Fetish" seems better employed to denote physical objects or body parts occupying a central role in a person's obsessional thoughts or compulsive behavior. I've been thinking a lot about OCD and personality disorders this summer. A close friend, whose identity for understandable reasons I want to keep anonymous, spent altogether too much of her summer interrupted by stays in (as well as by commuting for outpatient treatment to) McLean Hospital. She keeps revolving through various intense D's--BPD, GAD, OCD, MDD, DPD, ED--the weblike interconnections among which I was surprised to witness--and receiving various T's--CBT, DBT--along with a pharmacopeia of psychopharmaceuticals. Anyway, helping her has made me think a great deal about O/C behavior--how it's responsible for nearly all that's great and all that's horrible about human culture. Many people (Freud most obviously) have made versions of this argument, but I'm still struck by how most religions are both deeply informed by, and designed to ameliorate, O/C behavior.

I'm tired all the way through my eyes into the middle of my brain and down my spine. Have much more to say about fetishes, compulsions, web identitites, and the semiotics of embodiment. Must await return of cogency.

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