Wednesday, March 11, 2009

America's Tug Boats in Crisis

This is a cross-post from Best Recession Ever.

Friend of the blog Matt is a San Francisco Bay Area tugboat engineer, and he reports that: “When the economy or market was doing well, we would do five to six ship jobs a day. That`s four tractor tugboats doing five to six jobs a day. Right now each boat is doing two or maybe three on a busy day. “

We aren’t entirely sure what this indicates, because we are not actually economists but unpaid, under employeed bloggers who barely can make it out of the house to buy milk for our flocks of mewling children (hush, little ones. Daddy is blogging), but our guts find it alarming that even people in cool, tough guy professions are feeling it.

Are the rodeo clowns next?

It’s also our way to talk about tugboats and the fact that we know a real life tugboat guy, which blows our minds.

How many tugboat guys do YOU know?

How many can you even name, besides Hal Lindsey and Sterling Morrison?

Tugboats are AWESOME!


Nude Fat Man Eating Cookie Dough VIII: I Am The Lizard King

Cookie dough, as you may have gleaned, dear attentive reader, is my ambrosia and nectar, my soma and my score. Raw, uncut cookie is the stuff that pumps through the chambers of my dreamer’s heart.

Specifically Sam’s EZ Riser Chunk o’ Chips Cookie Dough in the Slap n’ Serve Tube.

The crack of a new tube splitting open on the dark mahogany-colored arm of the barcalounger (Is it wood? A polymer of Midwestern origins? Pressed offal? Will ask Mother. Do not expect a coherent answer, as she is Mother.) is enough to send me deep into À la recherche du temps perdu-type revelry (note: I have not read that particular book, though I sat through a dreary documentary on it hosted by the bald man from Star Trek on my public television station, waiting for an Are You Being Served marathon. By the way, the marathon was a satisfying omnibus, though it’s flow would have been greatly enhanced if that moist-eyed public television man didn’t plead for cash in such an excruciating inauthentic manner) crystallizing that exact moment I last cracked a tube, usually twenty minutes prior to opening the new one.

There were at one point entire DYNASTIES of spent tubes scatter’d throughout the room, a veritable core sample of my ever more fine-tuned taste. From my perch, I could observe in sharp relief my progress of a connoisseur of this glorious stuff. That is until mother, operating under the influence of stars not of our galaxy, “cleaned” (destroyed, pillaged, etc.) my room. But that holocaust I cover elsewhere.

Now, from time to time, I am forced to shift out of my domain, if only to attend to needs best left unspoken (Note: regarding toilet use). On the days I might have to LEAVE THE HOUSE (sending correspondence to world leaders, visiting the hobby shop that I might educate the feeble Corey on the dazzling range of Dragon Lance collectible fantasy figures. Like explaining a Faberge egg to a chicken) I pack a few dozen tubes in my shoulder sack.

If I plan to dart about inside the house (for a man of girth I am surprisingly catlike. As a self-trained dancer and exhibitor of Sensual Though Not Dirty Beauty I have developed an uncanny grace and economy in movement), I have cached dough in clever hidey holes throughout -- sometimes too clever, as will soon be clear.

On the day in question, I was making my way through the hall to the den, a wraith in a white sheet (sheets are required in areas shared with Mother, due to a cosmically inane series of misunderstandings). I was making my way to the den to see if I could muster up some old Sear’s catalogs that I might study the girdle pages more closely, when I felt the Plunge. The fading was pronounced and I felt the spectacular dread of being caught out. No dough, no dough, no dough. Blackness. Detuned violins.

I clawed at the telephone table in the hall. I must have.... hid… YES! YES! I DID! But, hullo, what is this? It wasn’t Sam’s EZ Riser Chunk o’ Chips Cookie Dough, this was… MRS. TAFFETY’S COOKIE FUN PASTE?

This tube was Jurassic. This was the stuff I cut my teeth on, my first score. And this tube would have to do.

I gobbled it. And then the bats.

Some sort of diabolical chemical process had twisted this tube into a paisley broth of hippy bathwater, lysergic to a degree that would crumble the skulls of lesser souls.

I was soon swatting at a panoply of shrieking Mother-headed bats with wings of cat fur. They plunged at me like Stukas, shrieking “CLEAN YOUR ROOM! CLEAN YOUR ROOM! CLEAN YOUR ROOM!”.

I roared, I pleaded, I cajoled, I laughed like goddamn fiend. They raised up then formed into one giant monolith of cookie dough, bible black and as strange and new as the morning of creation. It was Me, I was It. It was God. It was Wife. It blurbled in an atavistic tongue only we shared…. EAT ME! EAT ME! JOIN ME AS ONE! FAAAAT MAAAAAN!

And I could feel my mouth unhinge like a great primordial snake and I devoured it, there in the hall by the telephone table. I was It. We were enjoined.

And into that murk, Reason made its advance.

A small voice, my voice, made a plea. “The show…. The show is starting…. The show.”

The Lost Season! They’d been advertising that in the Arts and Entertainment Section for months! The lost season of “Are You Being Served?”

I marshaled every quark of my superiorly trained soul and chipped at the dark forces grip on my will. Steely iron determination and the unabashed power of PURE NUDITY conquered and banished the demons. I was free, standing in the hall, sweating, nude and ALIVE! ALIVE DAMN YOU!

Psychotropics be damned. I had a damn show to catch.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Me, doing more blogging, because what the hell else am I going to do?

I'm going to be blogging on occasion at Best Recession Ever, a blog that whistles cheerfully amid the collapse of the West.

I'll be cross-posting here, so, while you should be support Mac, Aaron and Jeremy, if you're in a hurry, you can just read my stuff over here.

I don't know how to say the above without sounding like an asshole.

I'm sorry.

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You see civilizational collapse. Quaker Oats see GOLD!

If this ad specimen is any indication, Quaker Oats is putting their chips against our current economic system collapsing to the point where the gainfully employed are forced to commute by jetpacks, high above the churning, ultraviolent CHUD-populated exburb favelas of our nation’s near-future.

Fast, cheap, fuel packed foodstuffs are going to be big come the Collapse, so if you’ve got any cash, put on the Quaker.

If only there were a way they could augment their oatmeal with some sort of protein supplement; a “soylent” if you will.

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Saturday, March 07, 2009

West Elm sells Legos.

Our new bed is made of Legos. Large and tasteful (well, a catalogue marketer's idea of tasteful) Legos.

Today was my second Saturday of economically induced leisure (laid off like so many burnt kitchen matches, in other words) and the parental hut, the master bedroom-cum-sushi bar that has been under construction since October is nearing completion. The general contractor has been amazing -- attentive, flexible, and agreeable. He's also anxious; after this job, well, there isn't. Work has dried up, so he's going to lay off his guys.

Anyways, enough. Yes, we all know. On to beds.

Specifically the bed that has sat under my wife's desk for two months, in pieces in a 7 foot long cardboard box that my kids have been using a mural surface. It's from West Elm. You no doubt have received the catalog: vague, unmemorably tasteful furniture.

I pulled that crap out today, wondering if I'm going to have get the scary yellow DeWalt drill out.

Nope. I was assured in the directions (the English directions. The French directions came out first, and I was alarmed) that all I would need for the Chunky Dark Wood Bed Frame was a Phillips screwdriver.

And it was true. I put together this bastard in forty-five minutes, as I'm sure that thousands of other bloated suburbites were doing this Saturday afternoon with various IKEA, West Elm, Pottery Barn SKUs. Mass produced esoterica, gauranteed to spark a vague racial memory of Tuscan Danish Shaker Basque Provencal Kenyan Dorset Balinese workmanship and a warm afternoon in cotton sheets drinking tea and reading the Herald Tribune printed on the local linty foolscrap.

Only you don't drink tea and you read the Onion online. And all you have is a screwdriver.

West Elm and their ilk sell efficient shipping and clever modularity. The aesthetics don't happen until the copywriter sits down to write the catalogue, to build the narrative that make these allen-wrenched, machine painted monstrosities be something more than what they are.

I'm not saying anything new, I know. That's just what I was thinking in my pajama pants and t-shirt this morning, swearing at each new batch of plastic wrapped bolts, each matte black and slightly oily to the touch, waiting to be allen-wrenched into place.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Nude Fat Man Eating Cookie Dough VII: My uneasy relationship with the local demimonde.

Truth and Beauty. Beauty and Truth. Truth, Beauty, Beauty, Truth in endless variation. Beauty.


These are my various milieus.

My pillowy length is a delight of colors and textures of supreme luxury and delicacy (though I have been assured by the jackbooted bluenose bumpkins that run this bowel of a fetid pig wallow of a septic tank that is this rotten specimen of town that distributing TASTEFUL images of my Beauty (NOTE: WITHOUT SEEKING COMPENSATION) to the suffering cohabitants of my street will be met with the full force of their “laws”.

I don’t recognize their “laws” of course.

Vicious, risk adverse, unimaginative gray patches of civil code AUTHORED BY TROG BURGERMEISTERS is a term better suited to describe ‘em.

My laws are transcendent. But you knew that, because your sensitivity, while crude, holds a flicker of understanding.

(Through my tutelage you can open your aperture to let in the Light a bit more, if you get my meaning. I do offer instructional tapes for a reasonable cost. Contact me through the FACEBOOK to discuss if you are interested.)

But while the various Burgermeisters cannot share in the transcendent laws of Truth and Beauty, they DO have the truncheons on their side, and the berserker that is Officer Penske. His WILLFUL ABILITY TO NOT LISTEN TO REASON was rendered starkly on the day that my sheet slipped as I was enjoying walking bare foot through the grass on the parking strip last April.

Owning a taser is not license to use it indiscriminately against citizens, Officer Penske, if you are reading this (assuming you have that capacity), especially ones that are clad only in sky.

Anyhoo, communication is distribution, and it turns out that the mailboxes of feebs and ninnies aren’t the ideal medium to share (FREE, WITH ALL COSTS AND BURDENS SHOULDERED BY ME, A MONK WITHOUT DENOMINATION) Beauty.

My charity for humanity never fails to stun me. My munificence may in fact be my downfall. The fact that my mother still freely walks abroad in the land despite being demonstrably insane (evidence: she switched the Glade Air Dazzler to a horrible cloying Jasmine Breeze from the pleasant and sensuality-positive Coconut Accents), and if that isn’t evidence with goddamn pretty bow on it that I have the patience and charity of Nature Herself, I’m at a loss.

I also have a problem with the tiny holes of the rotary dial of the phone, but that’s neither here nor there for our purposes here.

Anyway, I realized that the Art For the Undeserving Community distribution strategy was a dead-end. So, despite resisting the call of the High Art Establishment my entire career, and I decided to submit. Moloch honey, Nude Fat Man is a-comin’ home.

In this sad affair, the gatekeeper to the Teat of the Demimonde was none other than Maggie Oxford, culture affairs editor for the Valley Penny Shopper. I have been following her work for years, and I particularly enjoyed her ENVISICERATION of the Lamplighters’ staging of Driving Miss Daisy. Ms. Oxford is “blessed” with what I thought was a Dark Mirror of Truth that she held up to the wreckage of San Guano’s cultural collapse. It turns out all that vituperative ink was spilled in service to a mere subcortial amphibian rage against Truth and Newness. Everything will be clear soon.

(The fact that she is a friend with Mother I took as a McGuffin. I was wrong.)

So, charity bites again. Operating under a bunch of romantic moonshine, I assumed that Ms. Oxford and I were as one in our sensitivity to phoniness. So I picked out a few choice snaps, shot with the Polaroid. They were innocence itself, mere indications and shadows, tone poems on Biological Texture and Beauty. The was even one that for the life of me looked EXACTLY like a satellite photo of the Nile Delta I had seen in a textbook during my school days.

Nothing explicit. True, it skated on the Erotic, but we are adults (Ms. Oxford is more than that. She is very, very old).

I included a note, a bit of pith, something to the effect “What ya think, doll?” with contact information. I also THOUGHT I had included an artist’s statement, but I later found it woven into one of the cats’ pelts. (I think art should explain itself, but remember I was trying fake the role of rule-player)

Ms. Oxford took it the wrong way. The SWAT team frightened Mother a bit. I had hid in the junipers as is my habit on hearing sirens (the State is fragile myth, my Pollyannas. They will come for the Beautiful first). I now itch in the nethers.

Mother, in a prolonged fit of lucidity, seemed to manage to piece a coherent story together from the snatches of evidence the detective put to her attention. After fifteen hours, she was back home. I was famished, too. The kitchen is a low and chthonic place, not suited for a conduit to the Bright and Divine, such as myself. I also caused an INSIGNIFICENT fire when I put some bologna in the toaster in order to fry it. Heat is heat.

Mother is angry. Ms. Oxford has told her that their friendship was over, and I guess Mother treasures her vulgar dealings (MAH JONG) with that sentient piece of leather.

Mother walks in spiritual blindness. How else can her mourning over this loss of a deficit be explained?

That’s it for now. Be well.

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Monday, March 02, 2009

Here's my new portfolio site.

I think some stuff is going to come out:

Greg Mills Copywriter