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

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Plot and the epistemology of containers

If you're outside an opaque container--box, building--you can't see what's inside. If you're inside an opaque container, you can't see what's outside.

Mystery plot: what's inside the box, vault, cave, house, building, etc.?
Horror plot: what's outside the box, vault, cave, house, building (in which a character takes refuge)?

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Porn spam II

Why is spam almost always selling erection-related products and never selling, say, make-up (I'm bracketing, of course, the undeniable population for whom make-up is an erection-related product)?

True, ads for make-up are geared to appeal mainly to one gender and, more, to the fraction of that gender most strongly affiliated with certain behavioral stereotypes.

Unlike ads for porn and viagra.

Aren't women supposedly the ones genetically programmed to have trouble resisting the urge to buy ('cause, remember, they're the ones who gathered the berries)? Just speaking for myself, if I got more make-up spam, I'd definitely succumb. I do get Sephora spam, but it's a bit too expensive.

Why isn't the "cc" in "succumb" pronounced as in "succinct"? I guess 'cause then it would sound like you were saying "suck some."

My mind circles one topic obsessively like a bear chained to a staple.

Meditating on haiku-like porn spam in my mailbox this morning
Drown that clown!
Ejaculate like a Porn Star!
Volume Pills

[image of blonde awash face-to-boobs w/ semen, worshipfully tonguing a very large, very purple erection]

Who or what in this metaphor is likened to "clown"? And, more to the point, why?

Is it the sex partner? Why call your partner a clown? Does anyone find clowns especially sexy? Even slightly sexy? I mean, aren't clowns supposed to make you want to laugh derisively? I can't even imagine somehow holding in my mind, without making a strenuous effort of godlike Keatsian negative capability (or without possessing to an extraordinary degree Fitzgerald's first-rate intelligence, the test of which he patently took from Keats), the attitude of derisory amusement and the sensation of sexual delirium. And, on top of that, finding attractive the idea of "drowning" that strangely desireable graceless ignoramus in my semen!

So is it the penis, then? Granted penises share some qualities with rude mechanicals, what must it be like psychically to think of your penis as a clown? And to want to buy volume pills so as more completely to drench that drench-deserving clown?

You would be, um, hard pressed to find someone more tolerant (not to say enthusiastic) about porn than I. Moreover, I look back very fondly on all the cum facials I've ever received (not that many, really, but enough to say "all") and look forward to more. Nevertheless, I can't say I'm transported to delight over my morning coffee on seeing a raging truncheon-penis and a naked woman lathered in semen. It's like looking at close ups of surgery.

I wonder if surgeons have any problem looking at surgical pix over their morning coffee?

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Fashion is a continuation of politics by other means

I'm serious. This is an observation about gender-equivalent behavior. It seems undeniable to me.

OK, sure, so what then is war? A continuation of fashion by other means?

Sure. And they're commutative.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

And they want to see the balls of a bow-tied conservative

reduced to a pile of thread on live television by a Hollywood special effects expert

Liz Smith reports (via the Progress Report):
'TUCKER CARLSON, the bow-tied conservative of CNN's "Crossfire" chats with Elle magazine this month, on the subject of women and sex. Carlson says "One area of liberal phenomenon I support is female bi-sexuality - this apparent increased willingness of girls to bring along a friend. That's a pretty good thing." What do women want, Elle asks Tucker? "They want to be listened to, protected and amused. And they want to be spanked vigorously every once in a while." He also admits if he had to spend his life as a woman it would as Elizabeth Birch, "formerly of the Human Rights Campaign because you'd be presiding over an organization of thousands of lesbians, some of them quite good-looking."

She's fired. At long last.

oh dear. somehow i knew it would be out there (but i never really wanted to know, you know?): www.omarosa.com

yes, that omarosa. (how many can there be?)

via old hag
Breakfast thought

Death smells an awful lot like bananas.

Bananas with reverb pushed to 11 and feedback no matter how you orient yourself.

Olfactorily speaking.

Monday, March 08, 2004

They say it has to be 300 words or fewer

Date: 3/8/2004

To: Editor, Newton TAB
From: Mika Cooper

The drive for a constitutional amendment to prohibit same-sex marriage (SSM) flouts our nation's foundational promise of liberty to form associations and pursue happiness as we choose, unencumbered by religious strictures accorded the force of law.

In pronouncing SSM a desecration of our hallowed tradition and rebuffing duly betrothed couples of the same sex, our government applies an incontrovertibly religious test, a usurpation categorically offensive to our constitution. That the framers may have been too blinded by their era's prejudice against homosexuality to decry this infringement (most also repudiated racial and sexual equality, to their discredit) does not license our being so.

Even had marriages everywhere always been restricted to one man and one woman (they haven't), that fact would justify nothing. That some with power have ever denied cherished benefits to others without supports no argument at all. Slaveholders opposed to emancipation, masculinists to women's suffrage, British colonizers to American self-rule—all loudly brandished history and tradition to defend contemptible, self-interested views, as SSM's detractors do now.

To contend today's nationwide wildfire of enthusiasm for SSMs threatens, rather than bolsters, the institution of marriage is absurd on its face. The true villains bleeding that institution of its historically rich and various cultural meanings are the hypocrites pretending to see in marriage's essence no value more fundamental than spouses' capacity to reproduce sexually together. These sophists' conspicuous failure to deplore beside SSMs myriad heterosexual marriages marked by infertility, however, confirms it's not procreative potential they disinterestedly venerate but SSM alone they despise.

I wholeheartedly support Michael Striar's call on Mayor Cohen to brook no longer in Newton the flagrant violation of the promise of equality and religious neutrality enshrined in the constitutions of our state and nation. Mayor Cohen, make Newton proud; start performing SSMs tomorrow!
Biotechnology in Agriculture

I ate some papaya seeds this morning, thinking they might be like pomegranate seeds. In a way they were: I felt like I was stuck in hell for the time it took me to wash the awful peppery taste out of my mouth. I googled "eat papaya seeds" to see if they were poisonous. It returned a biology lab teachers' site, where I learned they weren't and that a simple experiment demonstrates the awfulness of the taste is caused when an enzyme in the gelatinous glop encasing the seed combines with the crushed seeds' innards. Clicking around the site, The Access Excellence Collection (which boasts experiments with wonderful names like Alcohol Tolerance in Drosophila and You), I also learned, from the following fascinating description, the proper use of the word "superovulated," which I had till now always conceived as an antonym for "impregnable." I bet those Kalver (sic) training cows are a hit with the farm hands (to use a slightly inaccurate synecdoche).

Biotechnology in Agriculture: Non-surgical removal of fertilized embryos from the Bovine Uterus

by Richard J. Norris

Target Audience:
This activity can be used with Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Advanced Livestock, Genetics, and Biotechnology classes.

Students will simulate the step-by-step procedures needed to non-surgically remove embryos from the uterus of a superovulated cow using the Kalver training cow.

Students will use the Kalver trainer (artificial cow with anatomically correct reproductive tract) to demonstrate and practice the proper procedure for non-surgical removal of fertilized embryos. The students will perform each step of the procedure just as they would on a live cow. Students will operate in teams, one being the flush technician and the other acting as assistant. Upon completion, students will have a complete knowledge of what is being done to remove the embryos and will be prepared to observe and assist with the flush of a live animal.

* Flush supplies for simulation flushes or demonstration purposes are available from "Biotechnology Comes to Life" c/o Dr. Richard Norris, Maries Co. R-II Schools, 503 W. Third St., Belle, MO 65013. We will put together sample flush materials and supplies from used items from previous flushes. We also have video tape of actual flushes and the resulting embryos. Your cost is our cost plus shipping.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Sex blogs

I'm so with Franny on this.

god bless evan daze. where does he find this stuff? and this stuff?
Most days I don't scrape together enough time to check evan's site. But whenever I do, I'm very, very, very grateful. The same is true, btw, for Richard Evans Lee's Edifying Spectacle and its blognates. I nominate them both for MacArthurs.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004


My friend Melodie will likely be dead by the end of the week. In her early forties, she's been fighting what began as uterine cancer for more than two years. Now the orcs are swarming across her liver. I call her my friend, but that word goes spider-webby, social nuances suddenly become complicated, in the penumbra of death. Melodie lived across from my ex many years ago--a sort of post-college Friends situation. When we were together, before we had kids, we saw her all the time. We fixed her up with a friend we played softball with, Greg, and they eventually got married. As years passed, we had kids, the great divider; they didn't; and we saw them less frequently. We had traded the sorts of things we used to do with them—clubs, shows, openings, readings—for a mess of potty. Long after I moved out, I heard she had cancer. I hadn't seen her in more than a year. I never actually had much of a direct relationship with her. It was always mediated either through my ex or through Greg. I'm certainly not close enough to her to go see her now. Especially since Greg is doing the utterly understandable deathbed-gatekeeper role—inviting the deserving friends in to say goodbye, closing out the ones who weren't sufficiently steadfast. I talked to Joanne, who, deserving, saw Melodie today. They looked at old pictures together. At one point Melodie looked up from them. "It was really good, wasn't it?" she said, clear-eyed. I can't stop thinking about it. I thought about writing a poem. But I don't know the poetic vernacular for death these days. Or the cycles of friendship. Nothing really seems adequate.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Days absent

Sunday night friends came over to celebrate Leigh's birthday and watch the academy awards. It was basically the same gang that was at Sherman's a couple of weeks ago. Now everyone wanted a blog pseudonym like his. Especially if I was going to continue to mention illegal drug use. So, in attendance were Sherman, Mia, Hamish, Meryl, Marissa, Desirée, Bart, Greta, and Lysandra. Let them figure out who's who. We had a lot of fun. At least it appears that way from the pictures.

Despite considerable preparation and anxiety and the best intentions, the following day Greta slept through the seminar in which she was supposed to give a presentation on a Hillis Miller article on Bleak House dating from the dawn of history. When she realized the situation, it was like the seal on the airlock was suddenly breached and in one microsecond her emotional control was sucked spinning and flailing into deep space out past the sombrero nebula. A couple of days vanished. This afternoon we cautiously nudged open a side door and slipped quietly back into the stream of things and people, hoping no one would notice we'd been gone.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Why our country is great #336

How could there be any lede (let alone ensuing grafs) more evocative of the essence of America? (Interesting that while lede and graf are utterly common spellings among journalists, I couldn't find these entries in any online dictionary. The variant spellings supposedly date from the time when journalists had to provide typesetting instructions within the text and wanted to avoid confusion between text and metatext.) Anyway, the lede would make a fabulous first line for a poem.

Bartman ball gets explosive send-off

February 26, 2004


The baseball blamed by many Chicago Cubs fans for the team's playoff disaster last year was reduced to a pile of thread on live television Thursday evening by a Hollywood special effects expert.

Fans sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" before the ball was destroyed in a flash of light inside a bulletproof tank in a stunt designed by Oscar winner Michael Lantieri, who worked on "Jurassic Park" and "Back to the Future."

"We're using a combination of pressure, heat and explosives in this bulletproof tank to destroy that ball so it will not resemble a ball at all when we're finished," Lantieri said earlier Thursday on NBC's "Today" show, which was broadcasting live from Chicago.

Hundreds of people gathered downtown Thursday night around Harry Caray's Restaurant for the event where the ball was destroyed in a tent outside the restaurant. Some fans were decked out in Cubs gear, others wore replicas of the famous broadcaster's signature glasses and one man was covered in ivy.

Whether the ball was possessed by the curse that legend says afflicts the Cubs or not, fans were happy to see it go. To some, the destruction is a sign of the good things to come this season.

more . . . .

Bartman Ball

The obliterated remains of a baseball sits in pieces inside a clear case after being blown up Thursday. The baseball was deflected by a fan during the Chicago Cubs' loss in Game 6 of the 2003 National League championship series against the Florida Marlins and blown up to help Cubs fans forget about the incident. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Friday, February 27, 2004

Ideas of Order

In college, my Stevens obsession rode hard upon my Eliot. I haven't revisited Stevens much since then, so it was a nostalgic treat to have the chance to reread some of his poems recently with Leigh and talk about them. The time of Frost has passed with the snow and the time of Bishop will come near Easter; for now, her Frost, Stevens, and Bishop class dwells with the Bard of Hartford. We talked especially about "Ideas of Order at Key West," and of course, as is always the case when I revisit poems eons later, I see all these ideas jumping around that I don't remember having met before.

The pentameter opening stanza has lingered with me forever, for some reason:
She sang beyond the genius of the sea.
The water never formed to mind or voice,
Like a body wholly body, fluttering
Its empty sleeves; and yet its mimic motion
Made constant cry, caused constantly a cry,
That was not ours although we understood,
Inhuman, of the veritable ocean.

I like the sound of the phrase "the genius of the sea" and the rhythm created by the plump caesura's sitting amidst "Inhuman, of the veritable ocean." I guess almost all the lines from this poem that stick like little fishhooks in my brain-folds are awash with the sea. Others:

It may be that in all her phrases stirred
The grinding water and the gasping wind;
But it was she and not the sea we heard.

The ever-hooded, tragic-gestured sea . . .

. . . the sunken coral water-walled,

The meaningless plungings of water and the wind,
Theatrical distances, bronze shadows heaped
On high horizons, mountainous atmospheres
Of sky and sea.

The ultimate stanza, like the first, persists in my mind's ear like an earwig:

Oh! Blessed rage for order, pale Ramon,
The maker's rage to order words of sea
Words of the fragrant portals, dimly-starred,
And of ourselves and our origins,
In ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds.

Stevens's musicality leaps up, asking for attention. Isn't it wild how many words have "r"s in them? First the "ray" words-- rage, Ramon, fragrant--then the "er" "ar" "our" "or" words--order, maker, words, portals, starred, origins, demarcations, etc. Not to mention all the "s" sounds. I'm fascinated by his suddenly introducing the oxymoron-flavored notion "rage for order" at the end. Whatever human emotions have been on display in the poem heretofore, rage hasn't been one of them. Indeed, the singing woman, in her ordering capacity, her capacity as "maker" and "artificer," seems, if anything, to constrain rather (or at least contain) the violence of the sea in putting it into words. By introducing rage into this final stanza, I suppose Stevens is refiguring the storm-force of the sea into the aestheticizing, poeticizing urge.

Leigh makes a great point. She noticed that even though Stevens insists on the irresistible organizing power of the singer's song over the natural world around it (a Tennessee jar at the beach, litorally), insists that it is she he hears and not the sea, he offers no specific characterization whatsoever of the woman or her song. The poem is all about them, yet withholds describing them in favor of bravura evocations of visual and auditory experiences the seascape affords at sunset. The poet's oft-reiterated claim notwithstanding, the reader's experience of the poem is one of coming to know this singer and to understand the relation of her art to nature through nature first--that is, through Stevens's poetic transfiguration of nature.

The poem ends with the coming of night: the poet, contemplating the lanterns of the fishing boats mixing with the stars, organizes into patterns the play of lights against the backdrop of night--a very different experience from that of the rough and tumble of wind and waves in the first section of the poem. All senses come into play in the calm night, striving to resolve subtle distinctions in perception ("fragrant portals, dimly-starred" "ghostlier demarcations, keener sounds") to make meaningful words "of ourselves and our origins." But the night's vagueness is sublime.
The Urinals of Dairy Queen

As soon as I saw it, I thought to myself, I've got to put this up on Mikarrhea!

Then, thankfully, I thought, How pathetic is that?

The Urinette She-inal shown below is number 5 on the list of the top ten urinals in the world, according to Urinal.net ("Don't see your favorite urinal on this list? Let us know!")--a list as remarkable for its contents as for the fascinating questions it raises about research criteria, methodology, and comprehensiveness, as well as about the motivations and scientific ardor of, general character of social conversations among, and average number of friends possessed by the researchers. What stories do they tell at the bar at the annual convention? "You shoulda seen this beaut I came upon by chance in Yemen. . . . "

These urinals are located in the Dairy Queen restaurant in Port Charlotte, FL.
The urinal below is a women's urinal, a Urinette "She-inal". These pictures were submitted by JM.

women's urinal
"The 'She-inal' was designed by a Pensacola, FL woman named Kathie Jones. In the early 1990's she set out to design a urinal intended specifically for women, but this fixture never caught on for various reasons."

women's urinal, closer
"While it's as not as versatile as a regular toilet, it still takes up the same amount of floor space. The funnel-like device that is is shared by everyone using the urinal also proved not to be a popular feature. Because of those reasons, not more than 700 'She-inals' were sold before Urinette, the company that manufactured it, sold the manufacturing rights."

Dishonest Dubya

Click on the picture. It's totally fabulous.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Define alegory

It's gratifying to know my performance garners the evaluation that I'm "as literary minded as the Bard himself." Unfortunately, plentiful evidence (egregious problems with spelling, punctuation, diction, and even the concepts being tested) suggests that the person who wrote the quiz "How much of a literary geek are you?" (via Cup of Chicha) lacks the qualifications to judge.

You're a literary minded as the Bard himself!
You are a complete literary geek, from knowing the
classics (even the not-so-well-known classics
and tidbits about them) to knowing devices used
in writing, when someone has a question about
literature, they can bring it to you and rest
assured; you know the answers.

How much of a literary geek are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Now that Dean's out. . .

gay penguin for america

click image to go to Gay Penguin for America site!
How well do you aim when you're drunk (and you're handling a drunk penis in full spray)?

The benefit of sitting down to pee is that you never have to play this stupid game in real life. But judging from evidence I've seen, some men themselves completely throw in the towel, so to speak, after they achieve a certain blood-alcohol level anyway--just when a towel would seem to come in most handy. Not that they resort to sitting down to pee, mind you. Instead, it seems, as soon as they get through the door and manage to fish their penises out, they just give the room a general spraying in hopes that a respectable volume will land somewhere in the vicinity of the bowl, or whatever the target in that particular room is supposed to be.

men peeing

Monday, February 23, 2004

Have you seen this woman?

Her name is Ida. She was last seen in this house exactly one year ago today, when this image was captured. So this is a sort of anniversary-of-her-disappearance post. Here are some other pictures from that night.

If you have quicktime and click here, you can see a one-minute clip from the drunken video shot by Dorian from which most of those pix come.

If you listen carefully, on the audio track you might hear Ida (if that indeed is her real name) saying enthusiastically, "We should all go out sometime!" You might also hear Leigh saying, "We're taking Ida everywhere we're going now! Wherever we're going, Ida's going!" (You might also hear a drunken person we'll call "Ian Randolph" babbling inanely.)

As I say, I haven't seen hide nor hair of Ida since that night. Undoubtedly something happened to her to prevent her from hanging out with us. If you know her whereabouts, I'd be grateful if you'd ask her to e-mail or call. One of the pictures is of her fingernails, since she is extremely good at painting them.
Time, time, time--see what's become of me . . .

. . . as I look around at my possibilities. I was so hard to please.

A disinterested voice cries out against a little-noted but fundamental unfairness written into the U. S. constitution.

Meanwhile, Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber posts the following:
Yesterday, a colleague pointed out to me the following passage in the late Jean Hampton’s Political Philosophy. Professor Hampton, who died in 1996, must have thought it inconceivable that a certain person would achieve high political office:
Now while it is undeniable that some people are smarter or more virtuous or stronger than other people, these differences by themselves do not seem relevant to establishing political domination. Think, for example, of all the ways in which people are different from one another, physically, mentally and temperamentally. If someone has greater muscle strength than another, does that mean that he gets to rule the other? No: Arnold Schwarzenegger is not considered, by virtue of his physical prowess, a political authority. (p. 19)

young arnold

arnold & joe weider

arnold terminator

Saturday, February 21, 2004

Inside the Times

3 leads 2
headlines a caption fragment
the supreme court agreed

to consider if president
bush had the authority
to detain indefinitely

an american citizen
seized on american soil

by declaring him an enemy
combatant a judge refused
to block san francisco

from issuing same
sex marriage
licenses saying it

caused no immediate harm a
dark energy is steadily pushing
the universe

apart suggesting the universe may end
with a slide into senescence
rather than a violent apocalypse new

data from the hubble telescope
suggests for musicians
solid walls

make good neighbors
a vengeful hussein

stir again
a marsh arab

poles his canoe

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Public transport in Mongolia

PF, having passed through Mikarrhea to Yuri's recent public transport experience, responds with his own vivid evocation of riding a crowded bus in Ulaan Baator, aboard which a fearsome woman maintains stringent behavioral norms with alacrity. If you visit PF, stay and look around. He has lots of adventures in far flung places that will make you jealous.

Aroused by intelligence (& those displaying it).

That's why it's hilariously stupid to try to regulate sex in the academy, whether between teachers and students or between members of the same department. For a lot of people, sex and the academy are practically the same thing.

I didn't say for everybody.

via Richard Evans Lee's Pansexual Sodomite

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