Viscosity

Viscosity is generally the first leg of pubic development. After that, the class wars usually start. Typically, Mary throws the first punch, then Ed launches a paper satellite. Adam invariably starts trying to pound Truth into people whilst Yolanda flinches. Joey lunges, stopping himself mid-air like an Adobe Acrobat. Meanwhile, the primrose version of Self crumples as Ra, the god, just hangs there, suspended, stupefied. I used my dumb finder earlier then discovered I was still lost, much to my chagrin.

Viscosity also gives one impetus to simulate woodland creatures. For example, the nascent hyenas, lounging in a synthetic compound of jugular mishaps, cry with one united breath, “Look, Madge! We’re basking in it!” And then there’s that most unhappy occurrence of excrement in the jet stream that led to a meltdown in the nation’s mid-section. Blindsided, the elephant heralded a forthcoming age of Jell-O mongering. Outside the polling place, a zebra caught my eye. I took it home and felt bloated the next day. I did not eat for a fortnight thereafter. When the next election came ‘round, I encountered a giraffe outside of the polling place – a learned and gregarious giraffe. We talked of the missile crisis, chalupas, exercise fads, a Buster Keaton resurgence, the merits and otherwise of the Pissed-on Phonics craze, bling, a small section of the Louisiana Purchase (a vivisection to be precise), linguistic noodles, giant pandas, the zeitgeist and its relevance to hindsight, and the preponderance of penis-shaped objects. In fact, we bantered so long that we awoke the next morning much to our surprise outside the polling place – still. It’s a wonder we weren’t robbed, mutilated, or otherwise ostensibly violated.

To be sure, viscosity is curvy. Not all linemen are offensive, but trouble lurks within the closet. Ignatius roars, “BEHEMOTH!” Meanwhile, tenants cringe, hiding ‘neath counters and bookshelves, all the while clinging nervously to their slipshod monkey wrenches. Julia maintains a strong disbelief in viscosity whilst Cynthia channels in the corner, yelling, “SPIRITS, COME! DON’T EVADE ME, YOU ASSES! I AM CALLING OUT TO YOU. WHY DON’T YOU COME?”

Viscosity marks Time. Time marches on the front lawn. The protesters are all prosecuted, one by one. The prosecutors are then violated. Then remove the tray from the oven and set it afire. Now you’re ready to entertain with more than a dishrag!

When all else passes away, Earth included, Viscosity will remain. Viscosity is at the fore. Viscosity will see you through. Viscosity will.

Nine Inch Nails – Playlist 4 – 7

As in the previous setlists, each of the following fit onto a standard CD. All titles are album versions unless noted.

Nine Inch Nails 4:

    1. Memorabilia
    2. Physical
    3. Complications of the Flesh
    4. Demon Seed
    5. The Greater Good
    6. The Beauty of Being Numb
    7. The Great Collapse
    8. Disappointed
    9. Help Me I Am In Hell
    10. Metal
    11. Eraser (Polite)
    12. Home
    13. Sanctified
    14. Something I Can Never Have
    15. Just Like You Imagined
    16. All The Love In The World

Nine Inch Nails 5:

  1. Head Like A Hole (Slate)
  2. Heresy (Blind)
  3. Starfuckers, Inc. (Version 2)
  4. Capital G (Epworth Phones Remix)
  5. Happiness In Slavery (Fixed Remix)
  6. Sin (Short)
  7. The Hand That Feeds (DFA Mix)
  8. Survivalism Tardusted
  9. Ghosts III – 19
  10. Gave Up (Fixed Remix)
  11. The Beginning of the End (Ladytron Remix)
  12. The Perfect Drug (The Orb)
  13. Zero Sum (Other Two Remix)
  14. The Great Destroyer (Modwheelmood Remix)
  15. Down In It (Demo)

Nine Inch Nails 6:

  1. The Perfect Drug (Plug Remix)
  2. All Time Low (Todd Rungren Remix)
  3. 10 Miles High (Version)
  4. Down In It (Singe)
  5. Throw This Away
  6. Closer (Precursor)
  7. The New Flesh
  8. A Warm Place
  9. Every Day Is Exactly The Same (Sam Fog vs. Carlos D Mix)
  10. Terrible Lie (Empathetic Mix)
  11. The Hand That Feeds (Photek Straight Mix)
  12. Starfuckers Inc. (Version 3)
  13. Various Methods of Escape
  14. Head Like A Hole (Soil)

Nine Inch Nails 7:

  1. The Becoming (Still Version)
  2. Terrible Lie (Sympathetic Mix)
  3. Self Destruction, Part Two
  4. The Great Destroyer
  5. Ruiner (Version)
  6. Head Like A Hole (Clay)
  7. Piggy (Nothing Can Stop Me Now)
  8. In Two (Cut, Fused)
  9. Reptile (Edit)
  10. Down In It (Skin)
  11. Closer To God
  12. Supernaut
  13. Only (El-P Mix)
  14. Where Is Everybody?
  15. In This Twilight
  16. While I’m Still Here
  17. Black Noise

10-Year Retrospective Review – Worthington’s “micro/meta/cosm/ology, 2003”

Melissa Zieziula Worthington’s ten collected photographs presented for her 2003 M. F. A. Thesis Exhibition @ Anderson Gallery are black & white collages rendered in aluminum and acrylic and finished with a process dubbed ‘Giclee transparency print,’ a kind of digital printing process.

Worthington’s central thesis in these works seems to be that women have an innate presence that somehow exists inherently within the natural world while man’s intervention tends to interrupt this ideal state.  Worthington’s
subject is herself, in various nude poses.  The content of her works convey a grasp for the far-reaching.  She has big ideas and tackles no less a subject than ‘truth vs. Truth’ establishing a cosmology that borrows from
Catholic, Wiccan, and astrological symbols vs. man-made developments – the written word, architecture, cryptology, mathematics, and measurements.  In all of these ten works, her nude form emphasizes the earthy female (meta)
themes that spring forth.  Water, fire, birth, and growth are dominant. Meanwhile, she depicts male (micro) creations in an overlaid fashion, presenting them as somehow strange and unnecessary.

One of the most striking examples of Worthington’s idealization of the female is found in  ‘Evolution,’ which depicts the artist in the womb itself, a womb also populated by simply drawn ‘Christian-symbol’ fish.  She is subtly being penetrated by a single sperm as she swims.  It has its head only partly lodged inside her.  Meanwhile, more intricate renderings of
equations and DNA strands spiral over and around her.  She is happy to accommodate the true male presence, the sperm, but she is literally overrun by the science.  The complexity of the man-made scientific serves to obscure the raw power of the female human form.  Man falls just short.

Worthington’s obvious penchant for symbol play comes full force in ‘Encryption,’ a twist on a very Catholic sensibility.  Naked, she holds a chalice, while wearing a crucifix.  Her bare form is unobstructed accept by a layer of some indistinct rubric, a code system of some sort, a man-made scribbling.  Her lips are obviously painted with lipstick.  The link is
subtle – lipstick, a kind of sexual code – the mere act of hiding the lips reveals the true intention of using them.  Females have codes of their own, but they are far more effective.  It is lost to the man, who is too busy hiding his own true intentions behind the science of cryptography.  And so it goes…

It is clear from these ten works that Worthington uses prevalent symbols of our recent era to effectively regress the post-modern dialectic, boiling the discussion down to ‘He vs. She’ with the She being the true ‘Truth’.  The symbols themselves serve their purpose in context, but she merrily discards them from work to work, assimilating whatever will prove her point without much regard for the traditions she borrows from.  The use of her own nude form is a strong indication that she does means for the conversation to be a personal one.  Women viewers can feel empowered by her boldness.  Because of her obvious personal revelation and investment into her work, she is obviously inviting male and female alike to buy into her claims.  However, all of us already tend to believe in this separation of male vs. female
because we have all been oppressed by it.  We know it well.  She is serving more to amplify it so that we can happily rebel.

The rebellion is no more spelled out than in ‘Consumption,’ her boldest statement. In this piece, she stares directly at the camera, her hair down. She is seated, her feet tight against her body.  She reveals nothing of herself, but she is clearly nude.  She holds an Apple outstretched, which is rendered glowing, with little helpful arrows superimposed pointing towards it.  She is saying – ‘look here at the apple – not me.’  The assumed male observer must be instructed to see the real substance of the piece – the famous Apple of Temptation.  Liberated Women are already in on the joke and
can take the piece as camp mockery.  It’s as if her sexuality is there in her hand, in a true symbolic form, while her naked body itself is a ruse, merely part of nature itself.  Her black & white, austere nudity makes a joke of the full-color, ‘come-hither’ spreads of the likes of Playboy, Penthouse, etc.  The man’s mere gaze is not what’s wanted – is the message –
but the actualy shared consumption that comes with True Union.  It’s a Truth all True women already know, Worthington seems to convey.  It is a revelation of the True nature of Humankind – for both Woman and Man.

Worthington’s website, sadly, is no longer online, but a subset of this collection can still be found, as of this writing, at http://academic.shu.edu/libraries/gallery/gender-exhibits.htm#Worthington.

New Twitter Approach

What if you had to use Twitter to simply provide an update of your status? No opinions on the ‘news’ of the day. No links to other media.  No didactic renderings of philosophical thoughts. No commentary on religious and spiritual conundrums.  Just actual things happening to you personally, pertaining to you.

Well, that has been my new approach for Twitter in 2013. I am decluttering my mind, focusing on what I am personally able to report about me, myself, and I.

Selfish? Hardly. Factual? Yes. 

I am not entirely ignoring the world around me. But 2012 brought a sort of fatigue for all things contentious. I realized that getting sucked into the news, the twittersphere, the media hypnotism which frames the crisis du jour and the whatever it is we’re all supposed to be harking to is counterproductive to my own creativity.

So if self-preservation is selfish, I guess there’s some of that. But mostly it’s a weariness of the self-serving agendas, the cons, the manipulations, the real lack of substance to anything being peddled as content.

It’s a wasteland out there. News, TV, movies… all have fallen into a miasma of what might be the most appealing thing to the most people who are being forced into one of a few molds.

This blog post, for example, has been market-tested. It is targeted to those 30-40 somethings who see themselves as aware of current affairs but outside the mainstream. They are rebels but follow the rules. They work a job but their career is life itself. They have a family, but like to have time a carved-out for esoteric hobbies, such as large-scale origami or vintage refrigerator racing or competitive haiku. They live in small towns but shop in the city. They deposit with the big banks but micro-invest in efforts such as Small-Scale Methane Farming or Elastic Recycling or Non-Compressed Vegetation Re-Growth and Rehabilitation. All of these are hot, bleeding-edge, though-leader type of technologies . And this blog will capitalize on those types of… blase-blase ergo yadda-yadda mea culpa viacom viagra may be immersed in water shark-bait malleable trussle knobbed fortune’s club foot.

We apologize for the technical difficulties. We have spun into a psuedo-post-modern vortex of random surrealism. But that’s really nothing new.

Thanksgiving in the 21st Century

Pilgrims emerge from their dwellings, bringing their barter items of plastic cards to prepare for the festival of the dead tree.  An afterthought to a large meal. Turkey, pork, peas, instant mashed potatoes.  It’s the same every year.  A tradition. Winding up the cleaning up of yards full of fallen leaves to stuff bellies and march into shopping areas for that crucial sale that will make or break the bank.

It’s Thanksgiving in the 21st Century, but not really.  Nothing really different.  We’re not floating on anti-grav boots while dirigible barges float into the neighborhood with commercial wares.   We’re not taking moon trips to take part in year-end earth-viewing.

No, we’re really just treading water.  Letting bandits and bullies take what they want.  Hoping they won’t take too much and leave a few morsels for us. Pretending there isn’t enough to go around because we’re too afraid to let loose.  Turning on the boob tube (now with 1,000+ channels) soaking in whatever it is the handful of major media companies wish to flypost our minds with.  We find our niche.  We find the drug we like and we are transfixed.  We hang on to our brand that aligns with our lifestyle.

Don’t like the ‘lamestream’ media?  Switch to Fox News?  Don’t like conservative propaganda?  Switch to MSNBC’s brand of ‘progressive’ propaganda.  Don’t like overt propaganda?  Switch to a movie or a show.  Find your friendly frequency.  Find what makes you most comfortable.  Dig it.  Dig in.

Whatever you do, try to avoid any actual human interaction.  Go online.  Chat.  Text.  Become a cyberpunk.  Become a hacker.  But please don’t dwell on anything too long.  It’s time for your medicine.  Take a pill.  Take a drink.  Eat a burger. Have fun!  As long as you don’t talk to anyone directly.

Gradients of Artichokes (Surreal Fiction)

[Rough dialogue where the detective finds the ‘Secret Manuscript’]

“It this really it?”

“You tell me.  It survived the fire, but it’s in bad shape.”

“I’ll need to take it to the lab.”

The detective opened the wooden box and lifted a corner of the paper.

“It’s soaked.”

“It can be dried out. We’re lucky to still have it.  Many of our documents were destroyed.”

“There’s much more here than I thought.  I really need to take this with me.”

“Alright, let me get you the forms…”

“Forms?”

“We keep records of everything taken from our collection.”

She returned with a bent and broken binder, pulled out a group of damp pages and set them in front of the detective.

“What is all this?”

Three pages stuck together.

“Please fill this out.” She paused.  “A donation to the library is customary.”

“Lives hang in the balance, ma’am.  I can’t be delayed here.  Give the forms to my secretary.”

“But…”

The detective leaves with the box.

[Note:  the detective has no secretary]

The manuscript is ‘A Gift Horse Goes to the Dentist’, which follows.

‘A Gift Horse Goes To The Dentist’

A fictional biography

based upon events that never happened

 by Jehosaphat Q. Blatt

translated from the original

which was spoken ‘in tongues’

by Chester Knight Lester III.

CHAPTER I

Adventures in Baby-Carriage-Tipping

“Never again,” he remarked and sat silent while Lady Gaga look-alikes plummeted Wall Street in hopes of a better yesterday.  The marching band performed man-made, orchestrated maneuvers in the dark until the symphony lost count of the crows and the masochists restored Shelby’s sagging faith in polygamists.

“Iced crustacea make strange chairwomen,” she said, having only a vague notion of what she was saying since she was only repeating something she heard once on a radio show late at night after meeting with Mary Margaret.  Then again, it may have been static.

Meanwhile, Count Drachma took cottage flakes to needy prodders, whilst Julie was having her lozenges removed by the tinsel doctor.  Unfortunately, the plane was Kojacked before a crowd of angry early settlers landed.  Indeed, after economies trickled down Jack’s leg, the jousting came in droves.

“How did semen get on the corpse, anyway?” It was the first time she had mentioned this.  Jack started getting nervous.

This did not, however, prevent pigs from hurtling down the runway like models out of a bad dream not unlike one might imagine Hell to be like, should one wish to believe in such things.  Lyle, however, relied on wolverines to spay him all nice and ladylike.  He was quite surprised, then, when he noticed at the corner of his eye that Ninjas were pouring out of every orifice and reamed pedestrians until intervening police cast bull-genitals at the bucolic mob.  Katrina is really open for business, particularly to her bedfellows.

“You couldn’t be more wrong!” she shouted.  Terry ducked just long enough for the utensils to clear his/her head.

Russian President Jerkov swore up and down that his main motive was only to squash those who longed for the day when Imperialists brought automobiles before the Senate and then masturbated.  We took him away anyway while Captain Kirkov spooled at the mouth at the mere mention of silkworms.

Suddenly, a knock on the door caused Lord Willingham to jump, so much so that he bumped his head on the overhanging petrified fruit.  The lawyers came forth from the den and made the following recollections, announcements, and simple gibberish, as per usual. Meanwhile, Lady Everly ordered one of the maids to fetch some ice.  Here are the aforementioned announcements and such things:

1st Lawyer:       “Imbedded copyrights hemmed and hawed over what not to do tonight.”

2nd Lawyer:    “Seven-Elevens will remain open until closed.”

3rd Lawyer:      “Elks greeted the dusk with unprecedented ennui, emus winced.”

4th Lawyer:      “Is there a doctor in the house?”

No longer able to read, Heather over-belated chunk-sucked the value-added renegade truncated appeasement ulcers (yet over) lordships con-questioned numerous a fortitude breach.  She rated, then, on the grey scale.  Trucks begged for an away station.  Shit missed the urinal in sheer curtains.  Question-mark-shaped penises make for strange, kinky bedfellows and rather odd-looking closed-circuit television cameras.  Many found this offensive and, for this specific eventuality, the lawyers jumped into a large vat of putrified rat dung and chanted “WE NEED YOUR VERDICT, FCC!”

Teamsters and Teamsterettes, meanwhile, struck lightning, not realizing that too many showers can wash away the pores.  No one noticed, however, when Jefferson’s promiscuous cooking earned him jail time and left his wife prostrate.  Gargoyles, during this same era, prompted new fashions in a denim world.

“Blow hard and you’ll scatter the pay dirt.  Step to!” He said this almost constantly, which made Robert more alert to the silence when it finally happened.  Mimicking Elvis, Terry Lynn Sanders popped her pelvis and shot her television due to strained nerves.  Paul swam in Julie’s Liverpool, whilst beetles grazed on juicy macabre-like stenches from exotic places, such as Guilana, Jizzerbom, and Quincy (Adams rather than Jones or anything to do with Mr. Krugman).

“The poet knew all along,” she insisted.

“Mermaids make good international spies,” he muttered to himself in response.  She certainly didn’t hear it being too busy watching a dark LCD screen on which was projected a series of words, which started with what seemed to be a title: “The Tale of the Seven Mystics*.”

Zoe, meanwhile, removed layer upon layer of phlegm from Zeke’s room only to find a pesky hardened floor beneath instead of the gold bricks promised by the loot fairy.  Death always did make her giggle and blush like a schoolgirl.  He saw this clearly.  It was either Jeremy irons or Woody coats.  Coincidentally, Geraldine collects team penchants.  You may wish to ask her about it.  She was telling Victor just the other day about how all of those blood-sucking dentists stormed the Bastille, or so they thought.  Queers, on the other hand, spat all over the sidewalk while erstwhile faggots continued to jut out from the wall.  Not a pretty sight, but there you have it.

“A bloodbath can cure the common cold,” Sir Walter Valet kept chanting, up and down the library halls.  Many put up Christmas trees in protest to decrying fowl.  For example, John’s scrotum leaked acid on the freeway, causing a seven-pound twenty-ounce bundle of joyful backup on Laura’s Nubian bypass.  After several group-therapy sessions, the squid were much calmer.  The clams, on the other hand, are still sick, sick, sick.

Chewing Pectoral Sticks Can Greatly Reduce The Increased Risk Of Heart Rate.  Or so the headline read.  From underneath the bunker, Jimmy mounted his horse gallantly upon the Arch of Triumph, underneath which undulating breasts, Big-Ben-like, swung from its pendulous, crum-sucking kickstand.

“I can see you through the Keydet hole,” she said seductively.  All the while he yelled, “Jocund one, jocund one, faites-moi rire, and at the same time, screamed ‘Papa!  Papa!’.”  He instructed her to do this while maintaining a healthy erection the entire duration.  And the beat stopped for a bit whilst the nation mourned its ability to make-over an over-sung Indian heroine/crooner called ‘The Black Bitch’.  Amazing how pop music can lead you to [redacted].

“Carry on until egg whites rule the sea, and we’ll settle for just the waterways for now.  But just you wait, heroine addicts.  Joan of Arc will resubmerge, and her vessel will purport one and all to Thunderdrone, where we will all feed the chickens freely and with grueling remorse.”  When she had finished she recorded her last hit which featured the backwards message (only audible when played underwater at 1/5th speed): ‘Don’tya just wanna [expletive deleted] me now?’  Though the villagers voted against wall hangings, they thronged to see Mother Theresa’s lynching.

“Effigy sucks!”  They chanted.  It had been decided, through silent ballot, just the fortnight hence against pussies in the precinct.  Analysts now believe they did this fearing it would jeopardize emergency-response time.  Effeminists, on the other hand, drafted referendums outlawing football which is why jocular straps help suppress the giggling, witty vagina.  Moreover, semicolons partially digest food; the rest is up to masticatory machinations.  Grammarians beg to differ.

The artist picked up his brush with Death and panted, “Nevermore!  I’ve had enough of this goddamn canvas.” What emerged was a large black circle filled in with sauerkraut, but not before Death announced… “[unintelligible]”.

CHAPTER II, titled (for now) A Tree Gets Really Pissed Off is forthcoming, in which it is revealed that the oil-company ecologists have been right all along.  This is followed by numerous chapters containing Infantile Tips for Adventurous Carriage-Making.

*The Tale of the Seven Mystics:

One day, far away where the mystics all gather, there was a great meeting of the Seven Greatest Mystics of All.  At the appointed meeting place, the seven magicians of old, wise men and women who had the eons to contemplate the mysteries of life, the universe, and all things that are hidden from the masses, were at last in one physical spot on Earth.  They had traveled far and were waiting for coffee.

All had brought the magical scrolls and parchments of their trade with the intent of sharing their collected wisdom.  Some of these papers were stapled.  Thus, the magician who brought the staple remover was most revered for copies would need to be made for all.

Yet, as they all gathered near the great copying machine which was to make copies for all of the many parchments and magical scrolls amassed by these great wizards seven, the magician with the staple remover, having pulled it from his cloak, accidentally dropped it to the floor.

And all the magicians were amazed.  And they stared at this, a wonder.  And they saw that it was a sign.  One by one they looked to each other for interpretation and one by one they sounded off as to the nature of this mysterious event.

“It means that the toothy ones, the destructors, will fall at our feet,” said the first.

“It means that the tools that are used for extraction will be ruined,” said the second.

“It means that clumsiness is a virtue because those with teeth have been dropped to the ground,” said the third.

“It means that we must beware of the biting animals lest they rend our shins with their sharp teeth,” said the fourth

“It means that the end times have begun since the strong jaws of the mighty have fallen,” said the fifth.

The sixth wizard looked at the others and pondered as the seventh wizard chuckled to himself and shook his head.

The third wizard then said to the sixth, “What do you say about this?  We have all opined.  Now it is your turn.  Or how about you?”  He asked the seventh wizard. “After all, you have dropped the instrument of stapling. You may at least provide your opinion of this wondrous sign.”

The sixth wizard stood silent shaking his head.

The seventh wizard said, “I believe it means you should be a little more careful.”  And he handed the staple remover to the 6th wizard, who had been the one to drop it.

Moral:  Bring donuts prior to any meeting.  Well fed people have less of a tendency to overreact to minor calamities.

Naming The Band

The Year was 1989.  I was in college and like many ‘artsy’ types, I was a refugee of the ‘Greek’ system and joined my roommates in starting a post-punk, quasi-goth band.  The lineup:

Joe – (Vocals, bass) Never mind that he later married my sister.  At the time, he was the cool guy from California, who knew all about Gary Numan, Yellow Magic Orchestra, and Devo. He studied art and psychology and brought the impetus (and lyrics) for most of our songs.

Jeff (Guitar) – A computer geek just before computers were everywhere. He worked for NASA on his breaks. When I met him Freshman Year, he was living in the dorm room just across from mine and had posters of Metallica and Iron Maiden.  He also had spent time in California and knew the music of the Dead Milkmen and Suicidal Tendencies.  Listening to my keyboard playing (on the infamous ‘Cheesemaster 1000’) he once told me I sounded like Ray Manzarek of the Doors, which I thought was cool. He remains one of my best friends.

Mark (Drums) – Trained in jazz, but with a love for thrash-metal/hardcore, we met Mark at a Baptist Student Union picnic (this was just before the fundamentalists took over). He had been in a band called Rabid Animals.  I was born in Baltimore and he was from the suburbs there in Maryland so I felt at least a geographic kindredness with Mark, though he and I were probably the furthest apart musically.

Myself – (Keyboard and vocals) A Southern Baptist preacher’s kid who grew up in church choir, listening to American Top 40 on the radio.  Favorite albums of the time:  Thomas Dolby’s ‘Golden Age of Wireless’, U2’s ‘Under a Blood Red Sky’, and Depeche Mode’s ‘Some Great Reward’.  I had also stumbled upon ‘In No Sense? Nonsense!’ by Art of Noise, which began my love for sampling and experimental music.

Later, we added Mick, who not only had his own Tascam 4-track machine, which introduced me to underground recording, but he was a prolific songwriter and virtuoso guitar player. He joined our Senior year and I remember being very impressed with his synth-guitar rig, which, of course, allows the guitar play a whole spectrum of sound, long before Matthew Bellamy thought of his bag of tricks.

But, rewind a notch.  When we first started out our Sophomore year, we had one amp, one guitar, and a cheap mic.  We would rehearse in Joe and Jeff’s dorm room, with me on vocals singing out of a dictionary and trying to remember the words to Roadrunner as sung by The Sex Pistols.  We called ourselves ‘Stranger Tones’, which sounded suitably new wave.  Apparently, though, by Junior year, we had tired of the name and decided we would call ourselves ‘Surrender Dorothy’ from the often overlooked Martin Scorsese film ‘After Hours’ (a film Jeff introduced me to).

But, somehow that didn’t stick either and so, one afternoon in the dining hall, we circulated a questionnaire.  On loose-leaf, lined, three-hole punched paper we asked the question: ‘In 5 Words or Less, If you have to name a rock group, what would you you [sic] name it.’ I believe either a girlfriend or ex-girlfriend wrote up the questionnaire so I’m not sure why the extra ‘you’ was there, but no one seemed to notice.

Here, for posterity, are the answers (names of the contributors were included, but for privacy I will simply list their first name):

Pagan Girls of the Basilica (Ricky)

Paisley Jello Sunset* (Anne)

Nuns ‘n Moses (Scott)

Cinnamon Elevator (Cynthia)

Perilous Waters of the Mind (Linnea)

The Burpin’ Bee-Bops (Roxanne)

The Snug Nightbugs (Sally)

Rockin’ (Judy)

Ilio Cremora (Amy)

Minimal Expectations (Lauren)

Aftershock, Anticipating Fallout (Sandy)

The Un-Rock Group (Timbah)

The Nema-Toods or Earthophiles (Tim)

Keith Eddy and The Islanders (Vann)

The Song of the Whipperwill (John)

Nuns in Poses / Dying Artists (Rob)

Rooty Kazooty (Ken)

Smash Hit (Tom)

Lights Out! (Cathy)

Gophers at Split Enz (Andy)

…Cowboys (Bucky)

Sniglets in Drag (Murray)

*later showed up as a track name on one of my demo tracks

I also remember Joe’s love interest at the time, Joli, suggesting ‘Joe and the Arizona Boys’, which we always regret not using.  It had no connection, thematically with our sound, but the irony was the thing.

My own contribution was actually a rigged effort, since while the questionnaire was circulating, the principal band members and a member of the college soccer team were discussing the name conundrum and somehow the result came up to be ‘The Starke Option’.  Now, I had originally thought ‘The Stark Option’ (notice the lack of an ‘e’ at the end of the word ‘Stark’) would work, sounding a lot more ‘post punk’, even minimalistic.  I had just been exposed to Bauhaus, Joy Division, and Severed Heads.  But, no – the story behind the use of ‘Starke’ (with the ‘e’) came from the last name of an infamous member of our outer circle of friends, who was a perpetual student. His method for going through school was 1) no classes before noon 2) no more than two or three classes per semester 3) a generally relaxed attitude towards the whole academic thing.  Thus, this was ‘The Starke Option’.

No, we were not a Grateful Dead cover band.  Instead we had songs like ‘State of Decay’, a doomsday song about society in disarray, long before the Tea Party and 2012 Mayan doomsday theories.  We had a song about ‘The Persistence of Memory’, the Dali painting.  In our version, there are no dripping clocks, just a monotony of sound and words about the detachment of personality in a mechanized world.  We had a song called ‘Oligarchy’, a pop song about the ruling elite.  Joe had even designed a logo, which was a peace sign overlapping an anarchy symbol.  The ‘peace-anarchy’ concept has since been adopted by the Occupy Wall Street movement all these years later.

We had several songs written for other particular personalities on campus: K.P., Big Dog, and Little Girls.  K.P. did not stand for ‘Kitchen Patrol’.  I’ll let the reader guess what it was all about.  ‘Big Dog’ ended up being a dance song for people who don’t dance.  ‘Little Girls’ was about creepy guys who hang out in all the wrong places.  It was meant to be funny, but in the age of internet predators, in retrospect, it seems simply like bad taste. Still, the music was catchy.

We also had a series of joke songs.  Strangely enough, I was the one who ended up writing and singing these.  One was simply a punk version of The Addams Family Theme Song, with added (and ruder) lyrics.  I also wrote a song called ‘Get Standing Twisting Louie Off My Wild Bamba Cloud’, which despite the joke was our one true attempt at a traditional rock song. It was based on an idea by Joe’s brother, Floyd (who infamously was known simply as ‘The Floyd’).  It was, just as you would suspect, an amalgam of every three chord gem from the history of rock.  Joe added to the concept.  So, by the time we had performed it three or four times it had expanded to include snippets of ‘Paradise City’ by Guns n’ Roses, R.E.M.’s ‘Stand’, and the Who’s ‘Can’t Explain’.

We also had a cover of ‘Surfing Cow’ and a parody of U2’s ‘With or Without You’ called ‘With or Without Shoes’, which documents a fictitious trip to the mall with a girlfriend who stands in line too long to buy shoes.  ‘I can live with or without shoes,’ is the key line in that one.

I did write some serious songs for the band back then.  Besides a rip-off of The Cure’s ‘Lovecats’ called ‘Fifty Million Love Songs’, there was a strange, almost ambient track called ‘The Red Truck’.  Rather than pay any attention in my Calculus class, one day I simply wrote out my extrapolation of the clear yet mysterious attributes of this weird, unmarked, and totally red truck that showed up on campus from time to time, moving stuff from building to building.  It was a truck with ‘powerful frame’ and ‘inside source’.  Somehow this song seemed to pair well with ‘Oligarchy’.  But it was a little too abstract to be accessible.  There was also a jam version of it that the band wrote together.  I also wrote a song called ‘Pieces of You’, which is just about the typical thing – a frayed relationship gone horribly wrong.  I thought this was our strongest track.  Unfortunately, it came later in the life of the band.  Even better songs were written by Joe and Mick together (a true musical powerhouse) in latter-day Starke gems – ‘Application’ and ‘Cold’.

We played local clubs in Richmond – the Metro, Kahootz – as well as on campus at The Pier. Over the break, we recorded a demo, which we named ‘Eskimo’, after the movie Heathers (see the last entry) in a studio up in Maryland.  We used all the money we made playing out to record the demo.  The only other recordings were of the Kahootz show, and both shows at The Pier.  There was an ill-fated attempt at a demo also made at The Pier.  The sound man, however, didn’t know what he was doing.

By time we played The Pier the second time, we were a multimedia and art show band, with a gothic paper mache keyboard stand, prepared videos for key songs.  We were also theatrical; sometimes, in an unplanned way.  After the sound man (the same one that messed up our first demo) got drunk and was messing up the second set of our show, I got pissed during ‘The Addams Family’ and kicked one of the monitors off the stage.  For that, I was rewarded with a broken toe, a week of crutches, and the sound man stopped the show and kicked us out.  It was our last show as a five piece.

Senior year was a time of mammoth transition.  College bands cannot logically continue. Everyone has invested so much time into the academic side of the college experience, with an eye on a job, a career and it is only an accident of fate if any two members end up in the same city, in the same state after college.  Jeff and I reformed years later when he moved back to Richmond and had a brief project called ‘Alex’.  I had been recording my own 4-track gems for years and brought him into the mix.  We never played out, but did record an album of four-track underground tracks, including covers of Gary Numan’s ‘I Die: You Die’, Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ and Joy Division’s ‘Twenty-Four Hours’.  We would later join up with a true punk vocalist with a three piece called ‘Stahl Tippen Der Vecker’ which loosely translated means ‘Steel Toe Alarm Clock’, or so said a girl I once met on Yahoo chat (back when that was actually an interesting thing to do).  This was a more regressive, primitive punk group, with none of the nuances or graces of ‘art’.  Our lead singer was the real deal – a six-foot plus skinhead type with ink.  He had ‘Strength to Endure’ sprawled across his back and flames up one wrist.  Going through some old files just today, I found a playlist on a pocket-sized spiral notebook which included covers of the Sex Pistols’ ‘Pretty Vacant’ and ‘Anarchy in the U.K.’ as well as covers of their covers ‘Stepping Stone’ and, old standby, ‘Roadrunner’.  We also did The Clash’s ‘London Calling’.  All of our originals were penned, lyrically, by myself, with music by Jeff and me (I played bass).  Brad, the singer, also contributed a few.  We had illustrious tracks such as ‘Crack Whore’ and ‘Shithead’ and ‘My Country Pissed On Me’.  We also had more erudite fare, such as songs ‘Belong,’ ‘Blizzard of Lies’, and ‘Battle for your Brain’.  At one point, we even tried out a drummer.  But, eventually it fizzled out due to, well… life.  I got married and wanted to start a family.  Brad did the same.

And so it goes.

 

 

 

Heathers – 22 Years Later

“Society nods its head at any horror the American teenager can think to bring upon itself.”

‘Heathers’ (1989) is a surreal horror film, a dark romance cum black comedy that is a nihilistic kaleidoscope shedding its own unusual light on the usual high school issues of fitting in, cliques, sexuality, and popularity while hitting on deeper issues of the way people deal with death.

In tone, it’s the missing link between The Breakfast Club and Natural Born Killers. To get a sense of its underlying vibe, though, you have to first watch Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining and then A Clockwork Orange (yes, in that order). While the filmmaking is clearly not on par with Kubrick, in the 22 years since its release it’s become a classic of ‘dark comedy,’  a ‘cult’ film that attempts to make high art out of tragedy and humor out of the grotesque.  It’s a passive-aggressive art piece for the outcasts.

Full disclosure: My band in college used the ‘Eskimo’ line from this movie as the title for our first album. I remember howling in laughter when I originally saw this film. For a young person, this film seems amazingly transgressive and raw. Seeing it many years later, I have a little different take on it.

I won’t say this film is naive, but from one point of view, Heathers could seem like a flick that purports to solve all of the world’s problems through the metaphor of a high school, envisioning a world where different social classes can somehow, in the end, get along.  But from another point of view, it’s a revenge flick, evening the score for all the real and perceived sins incurred through the awkward adolescent years.

The film fixates, philosophically, on a young Christian Slater as J.D., the son of a heartless construction magnate. He’s been moved around from city to city. The Mom is out of the picture. Now he’s a loner, a bad boy motorcycle hound who scares the bullying jocks in the lunchroom by pulling a gun. It’s one of those scenes as in Crocodile Dundee when he pulls a machete on the would-be robbers and utters the line, “Now, THIS is a knife.”

The film intends J.D. to be a hero. These days, of course, he would’ve been pulled from school or jailed, but in this reality, there are no consequences. The school administration are buffoonish authoritarians save the stereotypical “hippy” bleeding heart teacher who just wants everyone to emote and get in touch with their feelings. These are Charlie Brown cartoon adults, just missing the “whaaa whaa whaaaa wha wah” non-dialogue.

The dialogue present, though, generally speaking, is the film’s strength. While the plot spins out of control by the second act, writer Dan Waters crafts witty interjections and one-liners that resonate from scene to scene creating an alternate reality of kids too cool for school.

Unfortunately, few of the characters have the depth for their quips to be anything more than throwaway lines. And, as the characters start dying one by one (in reality and dream sequences), like all horror films, we begin to care less and less as we follow the film from the eyes of the killer.

Through the entire first act, J.D. leads Veronica, played by Winona Ryder, on a series of killings based on juvenile grudges just as shallow as anything J.D. is railing against. We are meant to cheer him on because the characters getting killed are the ‘bad guys’ or, in some cases, the ‘mean girls’. But because we are set up to care about J.D., we are looking for a real rhyme or reason to J.D.’s homicidal impulses.  He stood up for himself against more clearly defined villains (the typical bully jocks).  He gets the girl, the heroine of the film.  So what makes him tick?

There are only hints that his transient childhood and lack of maternal presence may have made him grow up too fast.  Maybe his penchant for killing is his reaction to not understanding any of the half-baked religion and philosophy he’s been reading. His ability to woo Veronica, however, gives us the impression that he has some redeeming features. Few handsome leading men end the film quite the way J.D. does here.

At first, the romance between J.D. and Veronica seems genuine, but it doesn’t take long before we (and, finally, Veronica) see that J.D. is, in fact, a deranged, egomaniacal lunatic. During the second act, Veronica spends her time wisely pushing him away. Then, in the finale, although she has to fight J.D. to a bloody climax, she seems to have a strange affinity for his cause. She relishes in his final act of senseless rebellion, a suicide bombing in front of the school.  It’s a shocking end to an otherwise senseless film.

Strangely enough, Waters’ original ending was supposedly rejected by the film company for being “too dark”, which is odd considering the ending that made the film. Veronica literally lights her cigarette in the flames of J.D.’s exploding carcass. The original ending, never filmed, has Veronica seeming to blow herself up after killing J.D., followed by a prom in Heaven where all the characters reunite in eternal bliss.

Why the prom idea wasn’t used is puzzling, since it seems like an upbeat ending. There was certainly nothing to cheer at in J.D.’s suicide, but nothing to be sad about either. It plays now as sort of a terrorism tactic with no real targets and no real value (the school is left standing). (This is clearly not a film that could have been made after September 11, 2001).

The weak ending is really the final crazy loose strings of a plot that began to unravel just after the first victim, Heather #1 is killed in a staged suicide.  It’s unclear whether the film is trying to be for or against homophobia when J.D. kills his next victims, with a duped Victoria’s help. What she thinks is going to be accomplished by helping him in his plans against the two bullying jocks are puzzling. These are the same two hapless fellows who J.D. already scared in the cafeteria. Now he’s finishing them off.

For a teen with an above average IQ, Victoria seems easily led and confused. Maybe it’s the filmmaker’s keen recognition of how teens can easily fall to peer pressure, of their emotional vulnerability despite budding intellectual prowess. But, we don’t see enough of Veronica’s intelligent side to get this idea. Instead, there’s just a brief mention of how she was considered for early promotion to high school.  The rest is my own speculation.

At the end, J.D. says he’s blowing up the school because “nobody loves me and I feel so alone” while also trying to make it sound like he’s trying to bring everyone closer together by having them congregate in the afterlife. But, by this time in the movie, his avenging, dark angel schtick has degenerated into a mish mash of hachneyed apocalyptic bullshit. He’s alienated Veronica as a result of his violent impulses, so it’s a little late to say he wasn’t loved. She loved him until he started insisting on shooting everything in sight and plotting to kill everyone she knows.

He says, “Let’s face it, the only place different social types can genuinely get along with each another is in heaven.” Really? It’s the only point in the movie where the dialogue is clearly apropos of teenaged mixed-up emotional nonsense and not chock full of comedic dark irony (ala’ the famous “fuck me gently with a chainsaw” line delivered by Kim Walker as Heather #1). But J.D.’s martyrdom belies the fact that he is a cold-blooded killer. His theory that this small town Ohio high school somehow embodies all of what’s wrong with society as a whole is dim, at best.

Depending on your point of view, ‘Heathers’ is about being kind to those who are different. The overweight, unpopular girl is befriends by Veronica at the end.  Some, though, will see the film and get the impression that the core message is ‘there is power in killing’. It’s clearly what J.D. believes. Yet if we call this film a ‘black comedy’ we can say that it’s all in fun. It’s a joke. Just the normally beleaguered artsy types blowing off steam.

But there’s not enough slapstick.  Not enough true humor.  The world created here is recognizable – cruel high school kids.  But then it goes one step further – a cruel anti-hero who doesn’t really care who he hurts.  That’s not funny.

It’s worth mentioning that, in the 30-minute documentary, ‘Swatch Dogs and Diet Cokeheads’, about the making of the film, Shannen Doherty, who plays Heather Duke, says she never knew it was supposed to be a comedy until seeing the final cut of the film.

Comedy? Dark romance? Whatever it’s genre, Heathers’ slim redeeming message arrives there on the legs of remorseless violence. Even Veronica, at the end, shows no guilt for her part in the killings that occur.  In the end, the film’s overall philosophy is best expressed through its theme song, ‘Que Sera Sera’ (which appears in two different version, one by Sly and The Family Stone, the other by Syd Straw): “Whatever will be, will be.”

SUMMARY

The Good: Memorable dialogue, Winona Ryder’s compelling performance, Christian Slater’s Jack Nicholson impression. Cool soundtrack.

The Bad: A weak plot and weak characterization. Vague platitudes about social class and human kindness supported by inane death and violence with ultimately, a nihilistic philosophy hinting at religion as its source.

Best Viewed By: Students of Film and Philosophy.

Pet Peeve: Rampant encouragement of smoking.

Film’s Hidden Message: Don’t commit suicide at once. Do it through the slow, agonizing progression of lung cancer.

Electricita Mumbo Jumbo

Here is a nice playlist… You can even click a few of them and listen at your leisure…

1. The Orb – Blue Room – Blue Room CD1 – 1992 (39:58)
2. Kraftwerk – Kohoutek-Kometenmelodie (Parts 1+2) – (Philips 7″) -1973 (8:38)
3. Radiohead – Chernobyl 2 – The Most Gigantic Lying Mouth of All Time – 2004 (2:16)
4. Day Jobs – Subterfuge – Unreleased – 2011 (2:57)
5. Knotted Cord – When You Next Materialize – Polyphonic Beasts Expanded In Parallel – 2011 (4:27)
6. The Art of Noise – Information – Reduction – 2000 (5:35)
7. The Silence Bureau – The Absurd – Unreleased – 2011 (4:04)
8. Brian Eno – Beta Recall – Curiosities, Volume II – 2004 (4:21)
9. Bjork – Dark Matter – Biophilia – 2011 (3:22)
10. Brigitte Fontaine – B. Les beaux animaux – Le goudron – 1969 (3:13)
11. Joy Division – Leaders Of Men – An Ideal For Living – 1977 (2:38)
12. Praxis – Giant Robot/Machines in the Modern City/Godzilla – Transmutation (Mutatis Mutandis) – 1992 (6:36)
13. The Flaming Lips – In Our Bodies, In Our Heads – Gummy Skull E.P. – 2011 (4:43)
14. The Fall – The Littlest Rebel – Extricate [Bonus Disc] Disc 1 – 1990 (3:36)
15. Ursula 1000 – (You Can’t Control) The Spectrum Soul – Mondo Beyondo – 2011  (3:27)
16. The Aphex Twin – Polynomial-C – The Classics – 1994 (4:46)
17. Battles – Wall Street – Gloss Drop – 2011 (5:24)
18. 808 State – Olympic [Word Production Mix] – Blueprint – The Best Of 808 State – 2011 (4:54)

A Fantastic Tale of a Breakfast Gone Wrong…

Dissolution
by J.S. Fowler

It was a small pot of boiling water.  The electric stove’s left front burner glowed red beneath it. One by one, he carefully placed the eggs.  Five of them.  He set the timer.

The coffee was already brewing.  He poured a bit of grape juice in the bottom of a glass.  He added a small amount of pure cranberry juice.  Then, the remainder of the glass he filled with freshly squeezed orange.

He waited a bit as his bread slowly became toast.  He moved the dial of the stove to the half-way mark, picked a butter knife from the drawer, pulled a can of blackberry preserves from the refrigerator. The reddish glow faded from the burner.  Then he heard a crack.

“What the—“ he said aloud.  He looked into the small pot.  The mass of the eggs caused the water to come less than half a centimeter from the rim.  Some of the water spilled over causing a sizzling sound as it hit the hot coil of the burner.

Still, the cracking sound.

He looked up at the ceiling where a small bit of paint had been peeling off ever since he and his wife had moved in.  He had patched it once and ignored the problem.  In the back of his mind, there was a latent idea that at some point it would need more work.  There was nothing new.

He opened the freezer.  Ice breaking into the bin from the ice maker.  It only sounded like the eggs since he was thinking about the eggs, he told himself.  A brief trick of acoustics in the kitchen.  Still, it was a strange cracking.  And he heard it again.

This time he noticed what it was.  One of the eggs clearly had a crack emanating from the smaller of its two convex sides.

Had he dropped it too hard into the pot?  He thought that he would have noticed the oozing white of the egg yolk as it escaped through the slivery crack and instantly cooked into a wisp of smokish mist clouding the water.

No.  There was no mist.  Just more cracking.  The egg was… hatching?

The thought was stupid.  These were regular eggs.  They came from hens.  Chickens.  He had purchased them from the farmer down at the market.  True, it was one of the new farmers, a beneficiary of one of the government’s new agriculture programs.  So what if they had not met before?  He had barely noticed and quickly discounted a somewhat eager gleam in the farmer’s eye as he had taken the credits and handed him the delicate bundle of eggs.  He had counted it as a quiet desperation, an almost radiant hunger for sustenance, a product of momentary gratitude in the face of the recent economic uncertainty.  That was all.  Even so, suppose there was something diabolical about this egg.  This was boiling water.  Surely, anything in the water would be killed.  He knew of nothing on Earth that hatched this way.

The egg’s shell splintered further.  He felt compelled to watch, amazed yet somewhat horrified as this newborn chick was to be boiled alive.  Could it be saved?

No sooner than he had began to think of the safety of the small chick, there was a stick-like spindle evident, poking out of one of the cracks, like a small spider’s leg.  He thought that now would be the time to fish the hatching chick from certain doom, but as strong as he felt the need to aid the chick, he felt a more compelling need to watch its death unfold.  What would he do with the chick anyway?  Sell it back to the farmer perhaps?

Bit by bit, the egg split open.  Stranger parts began to emerge that had no resemblance to any fowl he had ever seen.  It seemed insectoid, mutant.  He began to think it was a good thing he had yet not acted to save this… creature.

With no other warning, the egg burst open.  The egg timer began to chime.  The insect creature’s legs extended out over the pot.  It’s mouth far larger than what seemed possible for emerging from such a small vessel.  The creature’s entire body, amorphous, with strange hairs and antennae seemed to expand exponentially.  It was growing.

He let the egg timer alarm ring on.  He went to grab his phone, to snap a picture, but the clip wasn’t on his belt.  It was still upstairs from where he left it in the bedroom the night before.  He turned and made his way out of the kitchen.

He made it three feet before he felt a sharp sting in the back of his neck.  A pair of pincers sunk into soft flesh and folded itself firmly around the nervous tissue surrounding his spine.  In one, viciously elegant motion, the now gigantic mouth of the creature engulfed the top of his skull and was sucking him into to its growing gullet.  Rubbery expanding flesh in a thin coat of visceral moisture slid down his head.  He could suddently see nothing nor could he move.  His feet flailed momentarily.  He could feel the crushing force of its jaws clamp like a vice as he let out a brief muffled moaning scream.

The immense pain that he expected to immediately experience subsided quickly as he became aware that he was now completely inside the creature.  His first thoughts upon being attacked was, of course, the pain and then the speed-of-light images of sounds and visions – of his family, his life, the overwhelming cascade of the last moments of a life not quite yet wholly lived.  There were flashes of childhood moments, of familiar scents, of recent joys, of recent losses.  All this gradually faded.  His thoughts.  His memories.  The pain.  Even the memory of the crushing pain.  All feeling.  All movement.  All heartbeat.  All flutter of the eyelash.  Stopped.

There was no true feeling as we know it.  He was no longer alive in the sense that he possessed this jumble of thoughts and ideas that we call identity.  It was as if he had merged with a denser, more coherent whole.  There was no longer a life before.  Only a life to become.  For him, now, there was only one impulse, one compulsion to follow…

He never did see just how large the creature had grown in its first nanoseconds of life on our planet.  As the creature quickly assimilated the adult human male and crawled though the broken kitchen window, onto the patio and out into the wooded backyard, there was one mandate, one mission…

Lay more eggs.

The Hen’s Confession

She was no longer capable of hiding a vague sense of shame. It had started sixteen months ago when the Ox had come to visit. Sure, there were obvious size differences and his strange snorting always became a source of confusion. Sometimes it became a kind of language. Sometimes it was a series of emotive outbursts.  She seemed to understand the Ox after a time, though. So, a romance blossomed. Yes, she loved the Rooster. That had been since before the egg-laying days, but the Ox had a male mystique that drew her to him, forbidden and foreboding.

When the Ox would go out to the field to work with men, she knew he would come back to the pens wild-eyed and exhausted.  She often wondered why the henhouse had been set so close to the Oxen pens, but no matter. She found it relatively easy to slip out for her nightly visits. The Rooster slept soundly and only knew the call of the sun, upon its daily arrival. She relished this time. A luscious freedom. Beyond the Ox, beyond the cool evening air. She thought of her feelings, her memories as a kind of guilt at first. Then a kind of obsession.

She approached the Pig, to seek her counsel.  The Pig shook her head. “You have big dreams, Hen. That Ox has no good intentions. Rooster is no working farm animal. He tells the time. When he calls, the whole farm starts their day. Ox – he’s a hauler. Half the time you can’t understand all his snorts and snorts.”

“But I love Ox.” She heard herself say it as she thought it for the first time. “Rooster is a fancy barnyard animal, for certain,” Hen said, but for all his strutting around and big talk…” she let her thought die away.

“No matter about love,” Pig interrupted. “You’re a barnyard Hen. You belong to the Rooster and that’s that. Enough of your crazy thoughts about that Ox. He is not going to give you the right kind of life.”  Pig paused for just a moment. “And… hey… why are you not setting on those eggs of yours and getting them to hatch?”

“The eggs will be fine,” the Hen said.

“Sure they will Hen. Sure they will.” With that Pig closed her eyes and luxuriated in the many little nipple tuggings of her suckling piglets. “Good-bye Hen.”

“Good-bye Pig.”

For discussion:
1) Do you think that the Hen continues to see Ox? Using only evidence found in the story, explain your answer.
2) Do you agree with Pig’s logic regarding Hen’s relationship with Rooster? Explain your thoughts.
3) Can barnyard animals talk? Explain your answer using only academic sources.

Journal: 8/13/2011

Recent activities:

  • Joined Weight Watcher’s.  Wife joined at work.  My work needed a body to join.  So far, so good.  I’m right around 197.  It’s definitely a different experience at the grocery store looking at food in terms of points.  But, it’s a balanced approach, as far as I can see. Nearly all veggies and fruits don’t count.  My daily point allotment is 40.  In the future, when the food rationing comes, this will be the way everyone has to eat.  Just joking.  But, it does seem like a good rationing scheme, eh?
  • Purchased an Alesis MultiMix8 USB 2.0 mixer.  It hooks up to the laptop and allows for all inputs to be picked up individually in recording software.  I use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) piece of software called Reaper.  With the USB mixer multiple instruments can be performed and recorded individually.  With a standard mixer, the connection to the computer is through the main stereo jack.  This allows only one stereo signal to be recorded at a time into the DAW.  The upshot is that each individual instrument is part of the mix and, once recorded, cannot be separated.  However, with the USB mixer. each individual instrument is recorded on its own track and therefore can be manipulated after recording.  Advantages?  Expanded creativity and time savings.
  • Reading.  Books surrounding me right now are:  Perelandra by C.S. Lewis, The Symposium by Plato and All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren.  I’m terrible at keeping a reading schedule these days.  I kinda just like to have the books around, in some stage of mental consumption.  But, I’ll get around to reading them all at some point.  Well, maybe not all.  No sooner had I ordered All The King’s Men as part of Norm McDonald’s book club (see @normsbookclub on Twitter) that I landed, at random, on one of the movie channels showing a film version of the book, right at the end.  They call that a ‘spoiler’.  My interest died.
  • Music.  The rock snob’s penchant for hating the band Rush notwithstanding I have recently obtained their entire catalog on CD, including all remastered items.  What I found in my hunt for these is that the remastered version of the album ‘Presto’ (released in 1989) has a disc that is indistinguishable from the original version.  Therefore, used CD outlets can easily confuse the original version for the remastered version.  I found this out after ordering the remastered version used off of Amazon and while driving around in my truck, which has a decent stereo system (for factory stock), and not being happy with the sound with what I heard.  The sound was tinny, with no heft in the bass, and subpar stereo separation.  I ordered the CD new from Amazon and, although the identical item by looks, the new version sounded quite a lot better.
  • In addition to the Rush, the following CD’s are sitting around me: Sonic Youth’s Live Performance at the 2003 Anthology Film Archives, Red, Hot & Rio (Various Artists), Lady GaGa’s Born This Way (Deluxe Edition), A Portrait of Aldo Nova (Compilation), Laibach’s Sympathy For The Devil E.P., and the Digipak edition of U2’s Achtung Baby. A strange menagerie indeed.

Stripes But No Stars

They converted factories full of metal

Into death

for power, for money, for glory.

For what?

To be the best? To be #1?

To prove a point about what?

An economic system?  A form of government?

Did they protect us? From what?

Ourselves?

That was somebody’s son, daughter, mother, father,uncle, aunt, cousin, friend…who died for what?

But unbelievers never count

If you’re not going to heaven

What’s the difference

If your hell is here on Earth?