Saturday, November 30, 2002

Miel's Sister's Two Best Jokes

My sister tells a mean joke. Here are her two best:

Truth and Reality
Son asks his dad: "Dad. What's the difference between truth and reality?"
Dad doesn't answer but says "Go ask your sister if she'd sleep with anyone for $200,000.
So the son asks his sister and she says "Yes!"
Son comes back and says "Dad, she said yes. But what's the difference between truth and reality?"
Dad says: "Go and ask your mother if she'd sleep with anyone for one million dollars."
The son goes and asks his mother "Would you sleep with anyone for a million dollars?"
The mother says "Yes! Of course! Are you crazy?"
So the son comes back and says: "Dad I asked her. She said she would. But what's the difference between truth and reality?"
The dad says: "Well, son. The truth is we're sittin' on a gold mine but the reality is we're livin' with two whores."

The Snail

A man is sitting in his living room watching television. He hears a knock at the door. He looks down and sees the creature knocking is a snail. He picks the snail up and throws it as far as he possibly can.

A year goes by. Two.

Again, he is sitting in his living room. Hears a knock at the door. Answers it. It is the snail. The snail says "Now what was that all about?

OK--these jokes are out there in the world. And they may not be funny without her delivery. But she makes them surreal somehow and very funny.

I could devote my whole blog to this sister and how funny she is. I'm really missing my siblings right now...


What is the maximum number of times one person could have sex in their life? I've decided...through much mathematical reasoning that it is 90, 885 times. But let's make it an even 10,000.

Of course, there is this metaphysical problem of differentiating 'times you had sex.' For example, sex with multiple partners, etc. Does that count as 7 or as 1? It's even not clear what counts as 'having sex.' I can define it however you like. If you define having sex as: A small tickle that occurs at the back of your throat; Or: Everytime I blinked my eyes; Or: Wanking...well, obviously you'll come up with different figures.

So be reasonable here. Use the commonly held definition. And do the math for yourself.

Being with one person for a looooonnnggg time said to bad for one's sex life, etc. Just not true--being with one person for a long time allows one room for innovation. In fact, el chico and I have invented many sexual postions that you haven't even thought of yet--let alone tried. Here's a non-exhaustive list of said positions. I promised I wouldn't post any of our 'secret ones' so I should say we have lots more. (Sorry, I'm just too shy to describe them...try and use your intuition):

The Dusseldorf Convex
The Mobius Jack-O-Lantern
The Repeat Offender
Fleeing Across the Border in a '69 Chevy
Neat-O! (® TM)
You just lie there, OK? I'll do all the work! (® TM)
The Dancing Rabbit
A Serenade At The Villa

I have to give el chico credit for inventing 99.99% of these...Admittedly, he might have drafted them early (probably during his teenage years) but I got to edit the final versions.

If perchance you have the post-Thanksgiving blues Turbanhead'sThanksgiving greeting is bound to cheer you up.

Friday, November 29, 2002

OK you people I know what you really want...

Yes, OK. I write for me and not thee. But look below. This is all the links I got. So ya want links, ya got links.

Skim to the bottom my blogpal 'cause the following bits just for me:

John Donne Meets Martin Scorcese

I've been kind of freaking out lately when I hear that church bell by my house tolling because every time it tolls I think 'Jesus. I'm going to die.'

Yeah, I hear the fucking bell tolling softly. I hear that bell. Sure, I goes to church. Because the church is in charge of us all and father whats-his-name he forgives my sin. I give lots a money to the church because I know that God...He's in charge of us and when the boss says to do something you just don't ask, you do it. So when that church bell is tolling I'm thinking: That bell is tolling for me. I could say to myself--it's tolling for someone else. But I'm smart and I know that it's tolling for me.

I say to myself: Who's that bell tolling for? Is that bell tolling for me? Ya tolling for me bell? Who ya tolling for? Ya tolling for me?

Because no man is an island motherfuckah. We think what we do don't matter nothing to nobody but if one of my boys is killed that affects me. I go to his house, I give his widow some money, I know that it affects me. 'Cause I know we all got afflictions. We all got tribulations. We're all out there trying to hustle up some money but when it comes right down to it we're all going to die and no money is going to stop that. So you just put yourself in God's hands my friend and hope that it doesn't come down to that. When it comes right down to is you can't trust nothing and no one in this crazy world. God's your best security and don't ever forget it.

Jorge Luis BorgesMeets Quentin Tarantino

Mr. Pink: Hey man, you ever think the universe is like a library. Like a big fuckin' library. It's totally vast but like normal size bookcases and the bookcases are all, like, identical to each other except for this big ass mirror that reflects everything. But because of the mirror you think it's not infinite. Because they're kind of trying to trick you with that mirror. The mirror makes you think it's not infinite because if it truly was infinite they wouldn't use the mirror, see? But it's just a trick. They use the mirror even though it is infinite.

Mr. White: What if I have to take a crap? Does this infinite universe library have a shitter?

Mr. Pink: Yeah, man. It's the universe! Of course it has a shitter. There are these little closets. One for sleeping and one for satisfying your fecal necessities.

Mr. White: I traveled a lot in my youth looking for drugs. I took some serious mystical shit out there. One time I imagined I was dead, and I was falling but my fall was infinite and I thought my body was even sinking and decaying right there. And I was just dissolving.

Mr. Pink: What the hell were you on?

Mr. White: It was ecstasy.

Mr. Pink: The way I imagine this universe idea is that it is eternal. We're not the best librarians. We're just trying to write it all down but we just can't. Everything you can imagine is in the library. Ever single language. The librarians are always trying to figure out the library and they just can't figure that shit out. There's all these weird symbols and shit and they try to figure it out and since the library is eternal they just have lots of time to figure it out. There are all these languages and they try to come up with theories about the languages because the library tells the future too, man. You can find out when you are going to die and shit.

Mr. White: So like the librarians are just trying to figure out some mysteries and they just can't do it? They just start to give up because it's just too fucking hard?

Mr. Pink: Yeah man, cause language is totally weird shit man. What if I said "dhcmrlchtdj". That could mean something. In the library it does mean something. But for us man, it don't mean shit.

Mr. White: That's some weird shit. So are we going to kill this guy or what?

Mr. Pink: Yeah, but doesn't it make it all so much easier to think about how everything is just going to be the same whatever we do and it's all just an infinite order we can't do nothing about? You know what I think? It's all just repeating over and over. I hope that's what's going on. We're just going back and forth through the library and when we've gone through the whole thing it just starts over again.

Mr. White: Yeah, and after we finish with this let's go get a cup of coffee and some pie.

But that's NOT WHAT YOU WANT is it? You want links, don't you? Well, OK I GOT LINKS

Home Despot

Evil Clown Generator

Zombie Alert

Brains For Zombies

True Porn Clerk Stories

Pee Mail

Fugly Gallery

Fame Tracker

Christian Sex Site

Philosopher's Drinking Song

Tortured Artist Test

Japanese Commercials

Custom Bumper Stickers

What Is Brujeria?

Osama's Bin Bloggin

Horrible Affliction Test--lots of pop ups

Huh? Corp

Index of Animated Little Creatures

Mr. Rastin's Second Grade Class--Poetry

Top Ten People America Wants to Kick

Are You Tinkerbell?

Guy Made Up His Own Christian Sect

17 minute movie about guy who gets porn on computer at work

Human Swiss Army Knife

So?? Are ya happy? Don't say I never gave ya nothing.

Current Miel Bla Bla to Future Miel (Try to remember the blog is written for me, not thee)

Nicotine patches+illness with mild fever+search for amazing web graphics=far out dreams. The pictures. Were like Kadinsky but even kadinsky couldn't have painted these. Primary colors. Harmonious but hectic design.

The internet is becoming another reality. Thought: So much is happening 'out there.' Beginning to understand science fiction geeks somewhat better.
The internet was presented in picture form as an infinite white plane filled with vibrant colored geometric figures--like double triangles. Similar to birds they were folded in the center and could flap their wings. There was also a painting with the same black/primary colors with various colors of ovals presented in varying distances.

I was watching this movie. I think the actor was supposed to be Johnny Depp. It was a mafia movie. He was in the mafia but he killed someone and couldn't bear it. Can't explain the part about what he did. I was in the movie as well. Many things happenened but one striking part was two small girls whose mother was very indifferent to their illness. I took them to the hospital. It was very difficult to get there. I had so much panic they wouldn't arrive in time. It was the '40s. The black maid tried to explain the indifference of the mother by telling me something but I couldn't listen to her because I was running to take the girls to the hospital. Of course, there were many anachronisms like disposable diapers and a Trans Am.

The blogging world was indirectly represented this way: Suddenly, I was watching the movie...The movie was on DVD. The DVD allowed you to push buttons--like the buttons you can click on blogs. However, it wasn't a sequential movie. Rather it was the story of thousands and thousands of people that were only tangentially connected. Each button was one of the characters. You could watch each character's story all the way through and when the character that was also in the movie popped up a little button would arise on the side. You had the option to keep watching the story or go and press the button and switch to the story of the other character.

I wasn't merely watching the movie, however. I was also painting. I was painting pictures with strange letters. But they were amateurish in some ways and I couldn't sell them on Ebay. [Inspired by the shocking discovery that they sell antiquities on Ebay.] However, I did make an incredible one. Not only did I make an incredible picture I made up an incredible word. Unfortunately, I can't remember it. I keep thinking 'gnomic' but that wasn't it. Anyway, it was the word for a newly invented alphabet. [Inspired by visit to 'Movable Type' site yesterday perhaps and desire to understand HTML and all the rest of that crazy web shit]

I made a painting that had an entirely new numbering system. I think it is a bit like the Mayan numbering system in that it used dots.

Funny thought just now: Taxi Driver "Who's that bell tolling for? Is that bell tolling for ME? Who ya tolling for bell? Ya tolling for ME?

Thursday, November 28, 2002

What the hell is WRONG with women?

Chekhov's View?

Ivanov treats Sarah like crap

Sarah loves him anyway

SVIETLOVIDOFF can't get chicks

A social explanation for why some women might be doormats

Tons of Chekhov stories online

Reading a certain blog prompted some thoughts about niceness and men. The blogger says: "I never have good luck with women because they all want the fun, dangerous, interesting guy. They want the law-breaker, the pot-smoker, the wife-beater." Sorry...I'm not going to give the link because I don't want to make the guy feel bad and PRAY he never stumbles across this little essay.

Hmmm. I cannot speak for all women but this is far from the first time I've heard such sentiments expressed. It's like the 10,000th time. It rarely goes unchallenged for some reason even though it is deeply confused.

I think the unnamed blogger is making a kind of 'category mistake.' He seems to think women want the law-breaker, potsmoker, wife beater qua law-breaker, pot-smoker, wife-beater. (We'll just leave the idea about whether smoking pot is a vice to one side.) I think he is trying to explain a real phenomenon: Why do women end up with someone who is not good. More than not good--cruel, vicious, selfish, self-destructive, stupid...and sometimes (although not always) not even all that physically attractive? His explanation is rather troubling since it suggests that men who have no luck with women must do the foolish thing of treating women kindly, generously and with complete respect.

Of course, a man who believed this could not completely respect women since he is compelled by an explanation that is extraordinarily dismissive of women and really suspects them of something pretty base. Since other explanations are available (e.g.: Perhaps some men successfully trick and manipulate women? Perhaps some of them are even kept in a relationship through fear and violence? Perhaps these women are not aware of the man's vices and will leave him when they become aware?) yet he opts for the one that is the most suspicious of women.

So already I'd say: Are you a 'nice' guy? And do you think women don't like you because you are nice? And does this bother you? My friend, look inside because if you think that then what you are doing is acting nice without truly wanting to. You think we don't notice the niceness lies only in the realm of action and not in the realm of feeling? This belief merely reveals that you are restraining yourself from quite a few un-nice things. And it's getting to be a bit of a burden for you. You look at others who don't restrain themselves and rather than feel disgusted and appalled at their cruelty you feel envy.

The idea that women will always turn away from a man if he treats her with love, compassion, respect is absurdly false for many reasons but I'd like to explain some of them here.

(On the contrary: The man who desires women but whose desire is informed with knowledge...who identifies with women--has lots of older sisters, e.g. always gets plenty of chicks.)

(Again--generalizations about anything as complex as a human being are impossible. But don't fall back on the simple explanation that women want to be mistreated through masochism alone. E.g., the 'Belle Du Jour' exception. She wasn't looking for mistreatment for its own sake. She was also looking for freedom from the oppression of being loved for what she was not. Her husband's love erases her with its pedastal building. She doesn't know who she is, but she knows she is not worthy of that. So she does something else instead...OK, she becomes a prostitute and gets into S&M but I still say it's not as simple as it looks!)

(Special note to Zarathustra: I'm imagining what you are going to say in my head already and already want to sock you! I challenge you to say something devastatingly brilliant and not just some kinda pimpin' thing. But I'll leave the brilliance to you.)

First of all I do want to say that the nice man who is acting merely from self-restraint while the resentment at his lack of power builds up inside just isn't all that attractive. It isn't all that hard to feel the rage and resentment simmering below the surface. But should they be angry at women? Or at society for offering such a one-dimensional model of what it is to be a man--one that leaves out so many other variations on manliness? (At this point you're supposed to say: Society! It's society's fault!)

Second, such men often haven't successfully integrated their sexual and romantic passions with a real interest in connecting with the passions of women. Sometimes it's the old virgin/whore complex. Sometimes it's just that their sexual passion takes the form of contempt, uncomfortable with the contempt they then repress the sexual passion and interact in a way that seems devoid of passion. Yes, many hetereosexual women do want someone who is in touch with his passion and who can act on it without extreme levels of inner conflict. (Perhaps in the blogger's experience these men were often pot smokers and law breakers...this could never be true of a wife beater.)

So shoot us! (Oh, I almost forgot. Sometimes men do shoot us...) Is this a crime to want unconflicted passion? So sometimes women go for someone who is a little less of a conformist, a little more 'bad' because for such people overcoming inhibitions seems to be easier. You may think that the women want to be treated badly...but it is always so much more complex...and even interesting than just that.

Then there is the pedastal problem, brilliantly dissected in the movie Magnolia... The man who talks about some woman who rejects him. What a bitch she must be! Without of course realizing that if she did love him his interest would die immediately. It's brilliant.

I've always wondered: Why do American men react with such rage at rejection. Rather than sorrow? In the Russian novels some men do hate women...It takes such a different form. Well, perhaps not. Rage does sometimes occur when the idea that the woman chooses to sleep with a rival. So maybe it is because American women are free and will inevitably sleep with a rival should they reject you.

After all my Chekhov worship I just read about 20 Chekhov short stories. He doesn't have a very high opinion of women--at least not judging from many of the stories. This doesn't affect my adoration for him though--Naturally, there are women whom it is hard to admire so I guess...he just paid more literary attention to them. (See, I can rationalize with the best of them!)

Finally, I guess there are plenty of weird things about women. I suppose I'll get into those eventually. There is this obvious psychological trick that is played but it seems to devastate some women. The I worship you/now I am indifferent to you/now I might worship you if you just did the right things/now I am indifferent and somewhat scornful. It's sort of simple behavioral modification. But oh so effective!

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

"It Doesn't Matter. They still get their war."

Hmmm. Weapons inspector has no background. Oh, he S and M. Look at that man! Just look at him! That man is going to be responsible for a war.

Me: Just the thought of anyone having SEX with him fills me with terror.
Husband: What the hell is he holding? The fate of the free world is in this man's hands. Something has gone terribly wrong.

Enlarge the photo...It will be a horrifying experience. But it...

The true story about how I insulted Henry Kissinger to his face...

It was 1976. Carter's inauguration. My father was living in D.C. We went to the capital building. We were in the elevator. Two men got in. My mom whispered to our friend: "It's Henry Kissinger. And James Baker." I said loudly in a deliberately obnoxious voice "Who's Henry Kissinger?" I knew. Even though I was only 7 I liked to be deliberately provocative even back then. He said to me (always the egotist): "You do not know who I am little girl?" I said: "Sure I do. I saw a mask of your face at Bert Easley's Fun Shop!"

My mother was mortified.

A crowning moment of glory in such a young life!


Above comic from "Get Your War On"

Gee, a whole lot of people have come to visit me lately at this blog, I mean.

It reminds me of the time my friends had a party in my apartment. When I was out of the country. They told me over the phone which was lucky because when I came home my blender had mysteriously become a different blender. Apparently, they had left the original blender on the stove and turned the stove on. Seeing the alteration in my blender was a strange moment for me. I believe they thought that because of my flaky ways I would never notice the blender transmogrification.

So it just feels...strange. People around when I'm not home.

Now you might say: "Gee, Miel. That's so great! Linking to you is a sign you truly matter in this vast, dark universe. It must have been that someone said: This wise young woman has something to teach us

Or perhaps: I just don't know what it is about that Miel. Her angst seems at first like everyone else's angst. But no, it's special. There's just something...special about her.

Or: Her analysis of reality shines out like a bright beacon in this dank tunnel of madness.

Well, if someone did happen to say these things to me, they would be wrong. No, none of these people is here to see me.

I'm just a conduit to their mindless pleasure. I'm nothing to them. Simply a vehicle for something they value far more: A funny story.

On the bright side search for what the fuss was about did turn up a remarkable little film about August Strindberg talking to a floating helium balloon. Best dada I've come across in all my months searching for the holy weblog.

Thanks to desultory's blog.

Strange Experience

She sits at the kitchen table. It is 4:30 a.m. If she does not finish her project, this will be the 5th (or is it 6th?) deadline she has missed in the last 5 months. She's in a slump. The dark wind howls. A storm is coming in. She has run out of cigarettes.

Suddenly she hears...clear as a bell...the voice of Yoda: "Do. Or not do. There is no try."

Does it inspire her? Does it break her slump? Does it save her from an unending hell of unemployment, scorn and failure.

No. She just says. Fuck you, Yoda! There is so 'try.' Sure, trying doesn't get you any credit. But there is trying. You pseudo-zen muppet!"

No one ever listens to Yoda. Have you noticed this?


Sometimes my holy blogquest turns up something good. But the best thing of all is always reassurance that people are much more insane than you would expect at first glance. This woman's campaign for a Hitachi Magic Wand...I'm not sure I get it but like many things that result from sheer obsession, I'm on her side (even though her political writing is incomprehensible to me).

Magic Wand For Katie

Tuesday, November 26, 2002

A little inside debate with you Zarathustra

Basically, some GMO foods are allowed to be eaten although often not enough is known about their impact on health and agriculture. But much GMO corn is not approved for human consumption in the U.S. Millions of taco shells were recalled in the U.S. because they contained GMO corn. The problem is that when you export the corn it cross pollinates with local corn and basically the local corn strains no longer exist. This happened in Chiapas and it has created economic havoc for farmers there. Gustavo Castro

While starving desperate people need food any way they can get it--offering them GMO corn when they are trying to prevent an alteration of local agriculture (which they will depend on for future subsistence) is not done to save lives. It is done to promote GMO food usage in the third world and to make a profit for biotech companies.

Why should we assume the Africans are just dumb pawns of Europe? Can't they think for themselves? Decide what is in their long term interest? Yes, I believe they can. Time's assumption seems to be: Oh, those meddling Europeans leading the stupid Africans by the nose. As you can see, it bugs me. Third world countries are leading the fight against GMO foods. I expect they know what's up.

Maybe the leaders of third world countries should just say--"Thanks. We don't care. We'll take what we can get." They are not in a position to bargain, obviously. But I don't think we should necessarily blame them if they are reluctant to embark on an genetic, health and agricultural experiment and foist it on a desperate population.

I don't know what the ultimate answer is--I guess: Take the food, save the people for now. Deal with the consequences later. But don't you think that's a little disturbing? The U.S. press's coverage is typically condescending (at best) to Africans.

Each website has its own biases but here are the links I found in my quick browse.

GMO food info

some links about GMO foods

One reason Zimbabwe is concerned with accepting GMO foods

Things I don't understand: Economics

The other day at the 7-11 the man behind the counter laughed at me because I was sort of just throwing money out of my wallet. He said something about it and I said "Well, it's just paper. Right?" He answered "Yes! Philosophically, it is just paper."

The 7-11 guy (who is from Middle East or Southeast Asia or something and probably has a Ph.D. like most immigrants from there working crap jobs) was amused by my witty little joke. But I'm afraid I really meant it. Money means almost nothing to me unless I truly am on the edge of bankruptcy or imprisonment. As I've said before, I have no money over and above what it takes to pay my bills. This is a problem in my life since eventually charge card companies will figure out that I'm just not good for the money they seem to be giving me so that I can eat more than Goya black beans out of a can. No, OK. So that I can go to Europe and buy fur coats off Ebay.

To me, it's like 'free money!' I call it 'backwards saving.' Yet, the tiny bit of rationality left in my tiny and drug-damaged brain makes me realize: Hey, no one else is doing this. Or at least not in such a devil-may-care way. Hence, there must be a catch...somewhere.

I make thousands of bad economic decisions every day. No parking? Have to leave 15 minutes to take the bus? Hey! I know. I'll park in the no parking zone and use that fifteen minutes to blend my eyeshadow and read my junk mail. The amount of video late fines I incur could send a kid to college.

This blog attests to the fact that I am overly impressed by abstract concepts. So it isn't as if I can't understand anything abstract. However, money is just a little too abstract for me. It just doesn't seem real. I never keep track of it and often lose checks, etc. I get parking ticket after parking ticket. I realize many people run out to the meter to make sure they don't get a ticket. Unfortunately for me, I don't even remember that I brought my car or where it is parked. I live completely in the moment. (Actually, I started this blog to help me understand time--another abstract notion that I fail to grasp sufficiently to run my life well. So a parking meter is especially beyond me.)

I read today that the winner of the nobel prize in economics has finally brought economics a bit closer to how things appear to me.

Economic research often assumes that people are motivated primarily by material incentives and make decisions in a rational way. They are assumed to assess the state of the economy and the effects of their behavior by processing available information according to standard statistical principles. This approach has been formulated axiomatically in so-called expected-utility theory, which is the predominant economic theory for decisions under uncertainty.

The prevailing view in psychology in general, and cognitive psychology in particular, is to regard a human being as a system that codes and interprets available information in a conscious manner, but where other, less conscious factors also govern decisions in an interactive process. Such elements include perception, mental models for interpreting specific situations, emotions, attitudes and memories of earlier decisions and their consequences.

In extensive research on human behavior based on surveys and experiments, Daniel Kahneman and other psychologists have called into question the assumption of economic rationality in some decision situations. Real-world decision-makers frequently appear not to evaluate uncertain events according to the laws of probability; nor do they seem to make decisions according to the theory of expected-utility maximization. UNQUOTE

According to the Nobel website human beings use rules of thumb rather than accurate estimations based on probability theory. (No duh! They're just figuring that out now?. Oh well, I guess I'm glad someone with a Ph.D. noticed.)

Isn't the cog psy definition of human being classic? "[A] human being as a system that codes and interprets available information in a conscious manner, but where other, less conscious factors also govern decisions in an interactive process." Gee, I guess this explains why my childhood friend Chris lit those warehouses on fire. It must have been those 'less conscious factors.'

Here's what the newspaper said about Nobel winner: It said that he found that people made irrational economic decisions such as going 15 minutes out of their way to save $5 on a $25 calculator but not going 15 minutes out of their way to save $5 on a $125 coat.

Well, I guess that's better than spending an hour searcing local cafes for a free New York times while one's car gets a $25 parking ticket.

I guess economics always seemed like a bunch of crap to me for the following reasons (1) It assumes that people make decisions according to a very truncated and mathematical model of self-interest and then makes predictions about behavior on this faulty model. (2) It builds in values without arguing for or reflecting on those values. E.g., the coat. They can't explain why some people might say: I want THAT coat. Yes, it costs $5 more. But I just want THAT one. But there are worse examples.

And I came to this conclusion simply through a single argument I had with an economics graduate student at a party once! I may not understand many things but I do know that if you beat someone in an argument their discipline can't be all that great, right? Right?

Things I don't understand: Why Aren't We Allowed To Be Crazy Freaks All the Time?

Now I have this constant and never-ending jones for 19th Century Russian lit. It's like a need. I'm a junkie.I realize that some could think that this is mighty intellectual of me. But I finally figured out what it is about these books I love. They reassure me. Because the people in them are just as crazy as me. Yet, they are crazy in a way I fully understand.

(Unlike French dramatic movies where the heroines suddenly go crazy for some inexplicable reason and start ripping their clothes off or painting their faces with lipstick and having sex with icky people they don't like).

If we were to believe these writers it's simply normal to go nuts. When you are in love, you follow someone around, you gnash your teeth, you stay up all night outside their window, you throw yourself under a train. If they decide they love you back you reject them and attempt suicide with a borrowed pistol. When you pass a bad check you steal money out of your father's pocketbook and go to the gaming tables laughing like a fiend, waste it on prostitutes and then when the night is over stare up at the stars wondering what is to become of you.

Even old ladies in wheelchairs blow the family fortune at roulette.

You lose something you care about, it drives you so crazy you die and so you become a ghost and haunt people under bridges.

Can you dig it? No? Well, OK that's the part I just don't get. Why is it suddenly so unacceptable to engage in unacceptable behavior? The world is madness. Why the disapproval towards the mad? What is the source of the reluctance on the part of so many to become truly crazed?

Oh c'mon. Everyone can relate to this can't they:

Sometimes in the evenings he wraps himself in his dressing gown, and trembling all over, with his teeth chattering, begins walking rapidly from corner to corner and between the bedsteads. It seems as though he is in a violent fever. From the way he suddenly stops and glances at his companions, it can be seen that he is longing to say something very important, but, apparently reflecting that they would not listen, or would not understand him, he shakes his head impatiently and goes on pacing up and down. But soon the desire to speak gets the upper hand of every consideration, and he will let himself go and speak fervently and passionately. His talk is disordered and feverish like delierium, disconnected, and not always intelligible, but, on the other hand, something extremely fine may be felt in it, both in the words and the voice. When he talks you recognize in him both the lunatic and the man. It is difficult to reproduce on paper his mad talk. He speaks of the baseness of mankind, of violence trampling on justice, of the glorious life which will one day be upon earth, of the window-gratings, which remind him every minute of the stupidity and cruelty of oppressors. It makes a disorderly, incoherent potpourri of themes old but not yet out of date.

Anton Chekov, "Ward Number 6"

Link to "Lady With Lapdog"

More stories by Chekhov (aka Chekov)

Russian Lit links

Twitch's introspective Russian poetry badly translated into English

Monday, November 25, 2002

Very upset!

At 7-11 I saw a magazine that said Ben Affleck was voted sexiest man alive. How can that be? What is the criterion for sexiest man alive? What is happening to America? Wait! They didn't ask me for my vote. When do I get to vote?

Ironically, this happens on a day when I've been composing an ode to JLo in my head. I only have the first line so far...JLo if you are reading this--please forgive my poor efforts. You deserve true poetry.

Ode To JLo

WHITHER, midst falling dew,
While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
Thy solitary way?

Vainly the fowler’s eye
Might mark thy distant flight to do thee wrong,
As, darkly painted on the crimson sky,
Thy figure floats along.

Seek’st thou the plashy brink
Of weedy lake, or marge of river wide,
Or where the rocking billows rise and sink
On the chafed ocean side?

There is a Power whose care
Teaches thy way along that pathless coast—
The desert and illimitable air—
Lone wandering, but not lost.

All day thy wings have fanned,
At that far height, the cold, thin atmosphere,
Yet stoop not, weary, to the welcome land,
Though the dark night is near.

And soon that toil shall end;
Soon shalt thou find a summer home, and rest,
And scream among thy fellows; reeds shall bend,
Soon, o’er thy sheltered nest.

Thou ’rt gone! the abyss of heaven
Hath swallowed up thy form; yet on my heart
Deeply hath sunk the lesson thou hast given,
And shall not soon depart.

He, who, from zone to zone,
Guides through the boundless sky thy certain flight,
In the long way that I must tread alone
Will lead my steps aright.

OK...I'm just kidding! That is really 'To A Waterfowl' by William Cullen Bryant...but some of it applies to JLo dontcha think?

I want a puppy way more than I want a baby

Reading Zarathustra's blog reminds me of this strange intense love I have for dogs. I don't have a dog because rents are so high I cannot afford to leave myself at the mercy of any landlord. I have no evidence for this but to me dogs are capable of morality. (I'm not even sure I literally believe that.) Was it because I read Julie of The Wolves one too many times in grade school. Oh, my family dogs! I will always love them but especially the last one. He died a few years ago. He was a person (another Scott Peck concept I picked up from grade school? Or some other young adult novel I read?) He had inner and outer beauty. Australian shepherd...male. I swear: He was capable of unconditional love and had a sense of humor as well. He was fluent in several languages, in fact. He used to help me with my calculus homework and break up family fights. (Really--he would stand on his hind legs and put his paws on your face if you were fighting.) He had psychic powers.

I had to make my husband understand and appreciate dogs before I could get serious with him. He was a cat lover before. Any man who ever wanted me has always known: You must be able to recognize the humanity of the canine to hold a place in my heart. I'm suspicious of those with affinity for felines alone. Dogs, being persons (but better in many ways than homo sapiens) are not all charming and wonderful. Some are not good at witty conversation and have bad taste. But those who are special are immortal in spirit.
How I got this way...

There's this stereotype of someone who spends a long time on the internet...No friends, kinda homely, not really doing much with his/her life, possibly a smelly social pariah with bad home decor, lives on pizza, obsessed with obscure references to things no one cares about...supercillious because you don't know the obscure references, socially isolated, self-absorbed, lacking in personal maturity.

Oh, did I say: Not doing much with his or her life?


Well I for one would like to challenge this stereotype!

Because frankly, I wasn't this way before the internet. No, the internet made me this way...

I could give many examples but I really must do something with my life. But here's one: Rather than look for my hairbrush before work I decided to write in this blog. Hair remains unbrushed. I'm hoping it will pass for that 'messy Victoria's Secret' look. What do you think? I used to run five miles a day. Now I smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Oh, I could go on and on. And I will. That's the sad part. I really will.

Bla Bla

We've all heard of tasteless jokes...but tasteless compliments? I received one: That dinner was so good it could make Gandhi break a hunger strike. Have all these books on Gandhi. Did he have a sense of humor? Yes. Forgot the crack about Western civilization.
I dreamed a whole short story last night. Girl in Cordes Junction. Goes home to visit artist mother after college. Virgin. Mother works in shed behind house. Armando is helper and she sleeps with him eventually. Annoying stepfather with smelly hair oil. Early 1960's.

Weirdest part--all dreamed in dialogue. Dreamed in written form.

Nicotine patches. Make you have vivid dreams. Too bad that effect wears off eventually.
Message to Alynda: You out there? Doing OK? I'm not sure you read this blog but since I found yours you must have at least once. I want to write you an email but I avoided my email this weekend. It reminds me too much of real life! I linked to your blog and love it and will love to read more....but definitely no pressure...
Is it dangerous that we can (in theory) have every desire satisfied? What happens to people when they know that they could (conceivably) get anything they wanted?

Especially when they can't (actually) get everything they want?

Sunday, November 24, 2002

Bad poetry

Now we don't have to write our own bad poetry. The internet will do it for us. I'd be worried about the future of intentional poetry but the poems it makes are so very, very bad. I recommend the 'communal poem' link on that site, though.


There was this point in time when I wanted to be an artist even in full view of my utter lack of talent. I think it may have been because my friends are artists. Or because I used to come up with bizarre ideas and artists are allowed to realize bizarre ideas (e.g., I had this dream of decorating the Hoover Dam in some just seems so plain).

Or it may have been because it's always bothered me that so many things get thrown away. It seems like we could find a use for all the piles and piles of so-called junk our society creates. People in Guatemala never believe me when I tell them that almost every appliance I own comes from a box on the sidewalk marked 'free.'

So on my way home from school I was always putting things in my bookbag. I had this bookbag that said 'garbage' on it...I think it had an accent over the second 'a' as sort of a joke--the French pronouciation. And I really did put broken safety glass, etc. in it. I developed this habit of never walking without looking at the ground. I found a $3,000.00 pearl necklace due to this odd trait. I was about to make a mobile out of it when I realized those pearls might be real. (That's what I did with most of the junk--mobiles and collages).

What amazed me always was the number of hubcaps everywhere. If you walk around in a big car-laden city there are dozens of hubcaps everywhere. I used to take them home. My mother would beg me to get rid of the freaky collections I've accumulated.

I scoffed at her. Now I am drowning in whacky stuff. (Actually, some people actually covet my weird stuff...I give lots of it away.) Mothers often turn out to be right, sad to say. I should add, however, that I have fully furnished my home and almost never paid any money for said furniture.

In the end, I never did anything with the hubcaps. But lookie here! Now this guy shows what a lot of talent and a little industrial detrius can do.
Maneki Neko is part of a secret experiment. You see, I believe in the powers of Maneki Neko.

Maneki Neko - the lucky beckoning cat
The temptation to analysis

There's always this temptation to analyze people in a dismissive way that I have to fight.

Last year I was on this walk by my house. I noticed that there was an open house for a condo. Two people let me in. A man and a woman, married couple. It turned out that they had remodeled these two condos. They were trying to 'sell' it to me. It's always uncomfortable when people try to sell things to me because then they appear particularly desperate. I suppose I know they are engaged in a truly hopeless activity...I have no money so selling to me is futility itself.

The man was young but not handsome. He had thick coke bottle glasses. The woman was younger and prettier. Of course my first unfair thought was that she was with him because he had the 'mark of success.' The Harvard MBA or at the very least the Harvard MBA mindset. This prompted thoughts about what makes women drawn to such men...the money makers. What makes them want to become the helpmeet of a man on his empty quest to own and buy.

I imagine them discussing, in a casual way, the condos they had remodeled and owned. She does the books or whatever it is that is beneath him to do. She is fully identified with his project. I supposed that this made her feel better about herself. She can tell her former girlfriends from college...the ones that live in her head by whose standard she shapes her life: "John's managed to remodel so many old houses. We've just been working and working but now that we've sold 10 this year we can afford to take it easy. Oh, did I tell you we're spending 3 weeks in Aruba in January?" Her mother, her sisters, they are envious.

Her worth is affirmed. As is his. He has different people in his head but they all approve of him...for the time being.

On the weekends they occasionally watch television or shop. They buy the right things, shop from the right catalogs, never do the strange or unexpected. They live their life according to plan.

The analysis basically takes the form: This is what they want. They structure their lives around getting what they want. But what they want is silly and not worth wanting.

Which begs the question: What is worth wanting? Haven't figured that one out yet.

So you see how cruel this sort of analysis is. Yes, it is easy to do. And I'm sure it is accurate but only on the most superficial level. It interfered terribly with dating in college. Such as when the skinny boy who liked Thomas Pynchon wanted to impress me with his gourmet Chinese cooking but only merited my dismissal when he went on too long about the thrill of drinking 'gourmet tea.'

I've never trusted people who like Thomas Pynchon too much.

And the guy who made me soup in a whole pumpkin but then I found out he liked Billy Joel.

It isn't as if I look down on them, on any of them, although it might seem so. It is just that...back then...and maybe now I am so terribly reluctant to admit I want anything. The vulnerability involved in caring is something I have a need to avoid. I can't face the possibility of making myself presentable to the imaginary audience through what I acquire or achieve. So in one way I admire their bravery and really there is no contempt. It's much more as if I envy their hopes but look at them as a cautionary tale...and certain people are too quickly dismissed as a warning of what not to become.