Tuesday, August 11, 2009

To the residents of Abu Dhabi, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait, et al.

You really want to see naked ladies. I know you do, and I really hope that some day you may have that option (as long as the naked ladies are consenting, competent adults with full agency). But you aren't going to find naked ladies here. Every day, my traffic log tells the tale of hard-up folks needing some huggin' and kissin' in your part of the world, and it saddens me.

It also creeps me out.


Monday, August 03, 2009

Songs I hummed today

I am an inveterate hummer and whistler, this in spite of having a horrible memory for melodies and being tone-deaf. I am also a terrible whistler.

But no matter. It's not my problem; it's everyone else's.

Anyway, I kept a running tally of the melodies I heard in my head today that came out in a tuneless rush (out of my mouth). These are they.

Who'll Be the Next In Line? (The Kinks)

Thelahujinjeet (sp?) (King Crimson)

The Common People (Pulp)

Let There Be Rock (AC/DC) (I think with this one I may have managed a quick vocalization of LETTHEREBEROCK out the side of my mouth. I probably sounded more like Brian Johnson than Bonn Scott, and that causes me a lot of heartache.)

The Primo Vere section from Carmina Burana (That's not the scary part. It's the light and airy part afterwards that sounds like an Alpine pagan mating ritual)

Is it Really So Strange? (The Smiths) ("I left the South. I travelled north. I got confused – I killed a horse. I can't help the way I feel.")

White Man in Hammersmith Palais (The Clash)

Happy Talk, from "South Pacific"

That's it.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Lothar's Floating Morsel

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another goddamn thing wrong about advertising.


That is demographic targets, the low hanging fruit, that poor bastard abstraction that is being profiled and dissected and talked about in dark rooms in hushed tones.

The mythic user that uses things following the exact prescribed CORRECT method, the moron who smiles because her kids have fucking stars radiating from their eyes because they picked up some 39 cent stuffed toy made by political prisoners play skeeball at Chuckie Cheese's.

They are the people that you see on TV that makes you yell "fuck you, asshole! Nobody loves room deodorizer that much!"

Bad companies build castles on these sandy foundations, and are fucking ANGRY when the whole of humanity fails to produce one of these automatons.

Good brands, the best brands, don't presume to know what the consumer is going to do with their product.

Post-it notes?

Yes, I'm talking about Post-it Notes.

This is a terrible entry.

How are you?


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Golden Treasury of Eyestrain!

Because I'm turning forty this year and I'm not about to take up physical activity, I have set out to read 75 books in 2009.

I've tried to read books that "count", thorny books I've been meaning to read but were intimidated by.

I'm at around 54 right now, and I'm working on two right now, Fooled by Randomness and The Trouble with Testosterone.

Here's everything I've knocked down to date:

A Few Seconds of Panic (A journalist attempts to be a professional placekicker in the NFL)

Polyphemus (Creepy short stories)

Alan's War The Memories of G.I. Alan Cope (Lovely Biographic Graphic Novel)

Burma Chronicles (Graphic Novel the author's experiences living in Burma)

Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?: 23 Questions from Great Philosophers
(Leszek Kolakowski)

The Wasp Factory (Disturbing novel)

The Beautiful Struggle (Lyrical autobiography of an African American guy who blogs for the Atlantic)

The Spiritual Tourist (British journalist investigates various Gurus)

The Politics of Chaos in the Middle East (Book about the various factions within Middle Eastern politics)

Understanding Comics (Nice meditation on the art of Comics)

City of Glass The Graphic Novel (Graphic Novel version of Paul Auster's crazy novel)

Cults In Our Midst (Book about scary cults!!)

Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (33 1/3) (Slim little book about the Pogues album)

The Borscht Belt (History and anecdotes from the Borscht Belt from Joey Adams, old school Jewish stand-up comedian and tummler)

Science, Politics and Gnosticism (Cranky rant from a conservative German political scientist)

Myth and Reality (Mythic vs. reality-based temporal experiences. The author, Mircea Eliade, makes a roman a clefy appearance in Saul Bellows' Ravelstein as a pro-fascist crank)

Every Force Evolves a Form (Really, really good collection of essay written by Guy Davenport. Amazing stylist.)

Feet of Clay (Pathology of Gurus. I was on a cult jag.)

The structure of scientific revolutions (Many people talk about this book. I decided to read it. Painful.)

Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers (Airy Fairy book about Japanese aesthetics. Probably a good bathroom books for homes with an abundance of potpourri and smelly candles)

Nixonland (A doorstop of a book about the rise of Nixon)

Truth About the Irish (Terry Eagleton. Pretty slight but funny)

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ (Really good book about internal Iranian politics by an Iranian American guy)

Moonshine (OH MY GOD. Great book. Author hangs out with a revenue agent, busting moonshiners. Alec Wilkinson is the author)

Noodling for flatheads (Author examines various curiosities of Southern American culture, such as eating squirrel brains. Funny book.)

Something Wonderful Right Away (Oral history of the Compass Players, the forerunner to Second City and various improv comedy troops)

catapult: harry and I build a siege weapon (Two guys build a catapult. Better than it sounds)

The Devil We Know (More Iran. Not as fun to read as the Ayatollah book above)

Your Name Here (POEMTRY, John Ashbury.)

A Childhood: A Biography of Place (Hair raising memoir of a Georgia childhood)

The Wisdom of Doubt (Exhaustive philosophical apologia of religious doubt)

Moral Minority (The Founding Father were children of the Enlightenment and skeptics.)

Patriotism and Other Mistakes (Various essays by George Taleb about various aspects of public life)

Imagined Communities (Benedict Anderson's look at the invention of nationalism)

Marriage, a History (See title)

Boys on the Bus (Journalists are bored and drink a lot during the McGovern campaign in '72)

Jesus Interrupted (Book about inconsistencies in the New Testament)

Being Good: An Introduction to Ethics (See title)

Creationists (Forgettable collection of essays by by E.L. Doctorow)

TWELVE YEARS An American Boyhood in East Germany (Great book by James Agee's son, who grew up in East Germany)

Veeps (Funny survey of American Vice Presidents)

On Being Certain (Neurologist and physician posits that the feeling of certainty has nothing to do with outward reality)

The Devil's Candy (Book about the film version of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities")

The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China from the Bottom Up (Great book about misfits in modern CHina. Sort of like a studs terkel book)

Politics of the Governed (Partha Chattergee's rejoinder to the Benedict Anderson book referred to above. Newly emergent post-colonial democracies are missing an opportunity when they attempt to emulate the institutions of former colonial powers.)

Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America-and Found Unexpected Peace (Believing LA TImes reporter covers religion, and is subsequently grossed out.)

Inventing American History (Boston Review Books) (Three slender essays about how popular history is tweaked and glossed over in order to serve national mythologies)

The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture
(Okay, I sort of ended up with this one in a roundabout way.

At my last on-site freelance assignment, there is a pretty good little bookstore nearby where'd I'd peruse the shelves during my lunch break.

I was poking around in the philosophy section, looking at shelf after shelf of books whose titles I couldn't understand when I came across something called Slavoj Zizek presents Mao: On Practice and Contradiction. I'm a begrudging fan of Zizek, mainly because he can be funny and he's as pragmatic as a crazed Marxist can get, and I'd imagine he'd have an interesting take on Mao.

I pick up the volume, and I see that all Zizek did was write an introductory essay to Mao's On Practice and Contradiction. And who the hell wants to read Mao?

So I note the title of Zizek's essay "Mao Zedong: The Marxist Lord of Misrule" and decide to Google it when I get back to the office. Sure enough, it's there in it's entirety. I print up for the train ride home.

Interesting essay. Lays the foundation for an expensive future visit to Amazon. But one strange little passage sticks with me (Read it. It's long but weird):

"Mao's speculations closely echo the so-called "bio-cosmism," the strange combination of vulgar materialism and Gnostic spirituality which formed occult shadow-ideology, the obscene secret teaching, of the Soviet Marxism. Repressed out of the public sight in the central period of the Soviet state, bio-cosmism was openly propagated only in the first and in the last two decades of the Soviet rule; its main theses are: the goals of religion (collective paradise, overcoming of all suffering, full individual immortality, resurrection of the dead, victory over time and death, conquest of space far beyond the solar system) can be realized in terrestrial life through the development of modern science and technology. In the future, not only will sexual difference be abolished, with the rise of chaste post-humans reproducing themselves through direct bio-technical reproduction; it will also be possible to resurrect all the dead of the past (establishing their biological formula through their remains and then re-engendering them - at that time, DNA was not yet known...), thus even erasing all past injustices, "undoing" past suffering and destruction."


COSMISM! Sound like a worthy candidate for my book buying dollars! Red zombies!

Now, it just so happens about a year ago I went through a Stalinism phase, because who hasn't, right? (Note: I was not an actual Stalinist. I was just interested in that period in Russian history, okay?) One of the books I picked up was a strange, very interesting book called New Myth, New World From Nietzsche to Stalinism, which made that case that Soviet ideology in the twenties and thirties ripped off a lot of ideas from Nietzsche, while at the same time holding him up as reactionary boogie man. (In the same order I also picked up the excellent Everyday Stalinism. If you're interested in Russian or Soviet history, this is a good 'un.)

Amazon very thoughtfully recommended The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture when I was purchasing my crazy Nietzche book (same author!), and the name stuck with me (I didn't buy it at the time because it seemed creepy and I had yet to stumble across the madness that is Cosmicism).

So I Googled The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture and did a search of the index, and yep, you got your dang Cosmicism right 'chair. So I bought it.

And it's good! It's a multi-disciplinary collection of essays by various scholars and it traces different aspects of Soviet ideology, philosophy of science, and aesthetics to different strains of pre-revolutionary Russian folk mysticism, Theosophy, masonry, Mysticism, etc.

Funny how the mind wanders, isn't it?)

Cultural Amnesia (Exhaustive book of biographical essays about various folks, which, in sum, prove that the author Clive JAmes is way smarter than me.)

Occidentalism (The "Occident" in this case being liberal democracy and Enlightenment values. The authors trace the history of anti-liberalism through Imperial Japan, Germany, Russia, Zionism and various strains of Islamism. Interesting book.)

Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years (Michael Palin. Duller than one would think)

The Waste Books (Many, many aphorisms written by 18th century German person, Georg Lichtenberg)

In Praise of Barbarians (Disappointing collection of shrill essays written by Mike Davis, who wrote the excellent City of Quartz.

Who Hates Whom (Breezy book about ethnic hatred and modern warfare)

After January 1st, I think I'm never, ever going to read ever again.


Monday, June 08, 2009

I don't know what the hell is going on anymore

Hello. Yes, I haven't blog because I'm an out of work spaz, and my time is better spent staring into the abyss that participating in human society.


I've been freelancing. It's been mindless fun. I forgot how mindless advertising really is. The pressure of keeping up with the douchebags is less urgent when you're paying for your own health insurance.

The reason I started up blogging again is I started up on the vile and idiotic Twitter, and then realized I already have a perfectly outlet for vapidity and hideousness in this, my black hearted ol' blog.

I am turning 40 on Friday, by the way.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

I am a bad blogger. Bad.

I've been scrambling for freelance work and I've finally hit my stride, so that's good.

Now, blog:

Ruby was playing dress up today with... a crutch.

She was putting on scarves, underwear and old baby clothes on this crutch.

Here's her monologue: "Yes, don't worry Mrs. Jones... our clothes will cover your boobies AND your vagina. Our clothes are very good."

I am working on an animated short, starring none other than our good friend the Nude Fat Man Eating Cookie Dough. A commercial producer friend of mine forwarded Mr. Nude's entry on to an animator, and he's a fan. So we developed a six minute script, and it looks like it's happening.

Which terrifies me. I don't know why. But it does.

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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.