Sunday, November 7, 2010

dragging his hinger through the sky of my skull shell of sky and earth

I haven't written about my reading lately. I get these massive reading slumps, always have, long before I began yodeling about them online. I'll read a novel, be absorbed by the novel, it won't release me for weeks. I can't read anything else for weeks. I'll start novel after novel, read ten pages, be thinking about the novel that won't release me. I haven't had a reading slump in months. Holyfuck, I miss those reading slumps.

I'm three-quarters through Beckett's Molloy. It's the first time I've read it, feels like the fifth, feels exactly like rereading Moby Dick for the fifth time did last Fall, the love, the fuck you, the laughs, the fuck you. Being dicked willingly by an author who wants you to know you being dicked is an awesome and sore joy. I haven't laughed out loud more at a novel since the last time I did until the next time I do. I've not said Fuck this novel then compulsively picked it up again since rereading Moby Dick for the fifth time which pitched me into a colossal reading slump. Holyfuck, I've high and unreasonable hopes for a colossal reading slump after Beckett's trilogy.

Yesterday's hike:


Samuel Beckett

dragging his hinger through the sky
of my skull shell of sky and earth

strooping to the prone who must
soon take up their life and walk

mocked by a tissue that may not serve
till hunger earth and sky be offal

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Nothing Must Be Allowed to Interfere with This, Your Willed Indolence

Three days after the election that changed the face of America forever and this weekend the story is the public execution of Keith Olbermann (soon to be followed by MSNBC's craven (and last place) swerve to the Right)?

Three days! Know what else the completely coincidental timing of the Olbermann controversy eclipses? Another completely coincidental random event, Ben Bernanke's sudden interest two days after the election in stimulating the economy.

I've notes for this post on how Olbermann's kangaroo trial is a call-and-echo between the ball-less MSNBC and the womb-less NPR and its cowardly clusterfuckery, but three fucking days, three fucking days, after the most important election ever until the next, the Villagers' weekend topic of choice is the public execution of Keith Fucking Olbermann?

God we're fucked. I rise to the chum. Think, rooms full of people who'd be the smartest people in the room in an overwhelming majority of rooms are brainstorming the new marketing possibilities as a result of Tuesday's election results. They had Bernanke good to go two days after, success, barely a whisper. We're talking about Olbermann instead of Tea-Partiers this weekend. Sheeyit, the catering bill of Corporate's giddy brainstorming parties this weekend, just the celebratory $1000 bottles of single malt scotch alone.

Holyfuck the next two years of noise, prelude to the following years of noise, I can't give myself the freaking weekend off from hearing, I can't give myself the freaking weekend off from listening, I can't even give myself the freaking weekend off from contributing my little bleat.

For this fall’s freshman class, the statistics reached remarkable levels. Stanford received a record 32,022 applications from students it called “simply amazing,” and accepted 7 percent of them. Brown saw an unprecedented 30,135 applicants, who left the admissions staff “deeply impressed and at times awed.” Nine percent were admitted.
  • Wyoming and West Virginia?
  • Maryland election results: winners and losers
  • Ehrlich? Shocking.
  • Art teacher punches student in mouth, is not married to BDR, BDR is happy and sad to report.
  • John Irving, whose early novels were welcome bridges to me from crap fiction to non-crap fiction when I was a teenager, sounds like an ass.
  • Uh-oh, list time already. Starts in earnest when NYTBR's big Sunday before Thanksgiving issue kicks off Giftmas season.
  • I copy of this was thrust into my hands with urgent praises. I gave it a hundred pages, and no.
  • You can buy me this for Giftmas, please. Never mind. I just bought it. My Giftmas shopping is done!


August Kleinzahler

Nap. Go looking for the fox
in Holland Park at dusk. And if you see him,
and he sees you, well then.
Smoke even more ganj, and at hours
you're unaccustomed. Nothing
must be allowed to interfere
with this, your willed indolence.
Set forth among your dreams as a traveler
in a distant rain forest, awonder
at the hibiscus-like carnivorous blooms
spangling the tendrils and moss.
They nor the sleek ebony jrdaka
will bite, nor even give affront
because you are swaddled in a cloud,
a molecular raiment of scent
by which they will know you.
The world is full, full of care,
grief but another tortured littoral,
hostage to the sea and rough weather.
Decamp to the sheltered valleys.
You will find comfort there, and safety,
and, for no reason, remember a colored plate
belonging to a favored storybook
your father would read to you
when you were only a very small girl.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Must You Learn From Your Makers How to Die?

Well, just in case professional Democrats didn't beat all the damn out of me before the election, they've already begun beating what's left out of me in the 48 hours since. Evan Bayh lectures me on political realities. Evan Bayh and I probably agree on the construction and mechanics of political realities, even agree on the logic behind the motives for the design while disagreeing wholly not on those motives but on the efficacy of the plan. I think we can stretch this descent into Serbia to thirty years if we just treat the serfs fairer, he thinks we can stretch this descent into Serbia forever by reaming more serfs faster while broadcasting them constant cracker-chow celebrating Serbia as the greatest country ever.

Here is a political reality - Barack Obama will win reelection in 2012. I've bet pints at every stop on my personal train from Obamagasm to Obamalame, from Obamapology to Obamapostasy, I bet pints now.

This has been the plan all along, the re-Clinton Presidency, those eight years of center-right neoliberalism Corporate adored that's now hallowed by dopey ticket-punchers and trumpeted by professional Democrats as a golden age of Liberalism. There will be another Republican president, just in 2016. There's too much pre-looting structural damage the Democrats can do before Corporate calls in Republicans to daisycut another two decades of earned pensions of America's serfs.

UPDATE!  Just out at 11:15 AM, NYRB, professional Democrat Mark Lilla says:
The one Democrat to get it, at least in his 2.0 version, was Bill Clinton. He took the lesson from the defeat of his health care initiative and the thumping he took in midterm elections and changed course. Most importantly, he managed to get a Democratic version of welfare reform passed, which symbolically was very important for independent voters. I worry that the Obama election has put the limousine back in American liberalism and has made the Democrats forget the lessons of the Clinton years. At the moment they seem unreconciled to the fact that in democratic societies you go into elections with the nation you have, not the nation you’d wish for. 


Randall Jarrell

In peace tomorrow, when your slack hands weigh
Upon the causes; when the ores are rust
And the oil laked under the mandates
Has puffed from the turbines; when the ash of life
Is earth that has forgotten the first human sun
Your wisdom found: O bringers of the fire,
When you have shipped our bones home from the bases
to those who think of us, not as we were
(Defiled, annihilated - the forgotten vessels
Of the wrath that formed us: of the murderous
Dull will that worked out its commandment, death
For the disobedient and for us, obedient) -
When you have seen grief wither, death forgotten,
And dread and love, the witnesses of men,
Swallowed up in victory: you who determine
Men's last obedience, yourselves determined
In the first unjudged obedience of greed
And senseless power: you eternal States
Beneath whose shadows men have found the stars
And graves of men: O warring Deities,
Tomorrow when the rockets rise like stars
And earth in blazing with a thousand suns
That set up there within your realms a realm
Whose laws are ecumenical, whose life
Exacts from men a prior obedience -
Must you learn from your makers how to die?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

St Mary's College of Maryland

Before I begin praising St Mary's College of Maryland, an important disclaimer: of all the wonderful benefits of working at Hilltop, the best are the tuition benefits. I got one of my degrees here free as an employee. Planet, should she go to Hilltop - and I've discouraged her from going here, which was easy - would get free tuition (we'd have to do room and board, and that's more than fair, yo). If she goes somewhere other than Hilltop Hilltop will give me one-third of whatever Hilltop's tuition is for that academic year to use on whichever college Planet chooses. One-third of Hilltop's tuition will cover one third of Oberlin's, Kenyon's, Bowdoin's, Hamilton's, Allegheny's tuitions. One-third of Hilltop's tuition would fully cover Planet's tuition and room and board at St Mary's College of Maryland. Doopty, I'm financially inclined to like St Mary's College of Maryland.

That said, SMCM was as impressive a visit, from campus to tour to information session to conversing with an admissions officer, we've had. The campus is gorgeous, marshes, woods, water, and it's laid out so it feels both spacious and monastic (the two schools it reminded of most are Kenyon and Allegheny). The architecture, even of the newest buildings, embraces the history of St Mary's City.

The campus is green. They're trying to restore, as much as possible, the habitat of the woods, marshes, inlets, in St Mary's City circa 1634. An incredibly cool vibe.

Most impressive though is that - and I know I was being worked, it's what colleges do - they seem to honestly want to compete against the private schools we've visited. When asked what he considers current peer schools, the admissions officer said William & Mary, Mary Washington, Gettysburg, Dickenson. My Hilltop friends who would know, people I know who have kids have gone, all glow about SMCM, think it's attempting, and succeeding at, a remarkable mission, a public school giving their students a quality education equal to the most elite of private Lib Arts colleges.

Here are two more disclaimers: St Mary's City feels three hundred miles away but is only a hundred. I would like my daughter to go to school only a hundred miles away from home, and so would her grandparents. Two, do you know that I pushed the plunger on O'Malley because Maryland is still a cool place, let the motherfucking crackers continue their siege of motherfucking Georgia, it strokes my Maryland bone that my state is trying something as excellent as St Mary's College of Maryland, which Ehrlich would have cut funding for. Oh, here's the view from the back porch of one of the dorms:

Anyway, we've told Planet we'll get her a good used car if she goes to St Mary's College of Maryland since Hilltop will cover the tuition and St Mary's City truly is out in the middle of bumfuck. Don't know if she go there given the choice, but the latest plan is that she won't be applying early decision to Bowdoin. Yay!

    D.C. United would like to cordially invite you and your family to a special event with D.C. United on Saturday, November 13th at RFK Stadium that will include several players and Kevin Payne (D.C. United President & CEO). D.C. United is looking to create an informal club made up of members of the local community who care about the growth of soccer and dedicate a portion of their time and energy to promoting D.C. United. We would like YOU to be a founding member and help D.C. United create the foundation of this club. This event will be an opportunity for you to learn more, ask questions, and give feedback for the development of this 2011 program that will unite fans, front office staff members, & D.C. United players. The event will be from 3pm - 5pm and will involve the following activities:
      • D.C. United locker room tour that includes a reception w/ small hor d'oeuvres
      • D.C. United player clinic for kids in attendance
      • Presentation of program by Kevin Payne
      • RFK Stadium field level activity
PLEASE RSVP by Tuesday, November 9th to (YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR PHONE NUMBER) with the number of adults and kids 16 and under that will be attending you. We ask that you only bring children in your family or other adults that would be serious members of this club. A confirmation email with itinerary will be sent on Wednesday, November 10th.
    • Again with the no-kaboom, but thank you, no, I humbly suggest I'm not the right person for this position. Fine metaphors abound.
    • Another reason I'm glad to have left typepad.
    • Nanowrimo? No. Three, four years ago this was a much talked about annual event in Blegsylvania. Now, no.
    • This week's new releases w/MP3. 
    • Arcade Motherfucking Fire is on my radio as I type this, and motherfucker, do they motherfucking suck. What the fuck is wrong w/people? 
    • Name that (non-Arcade Fire) totalitarian tune
    • Steam engine
    • UPDATE! Today's theme song, on multiple levels.
    • Richard's comment made me think of this song:


    Rachel Loden

    Consider the late Eurasian entity, how it lumbered
    into the groggy arms of history where it was

    buried. Which is more than you can say
    for Lenin’s body, chilly like a mammoth

    in an ice floe, if less hairy. An old man in the square
    asks ‘Who is laughing at us?’ then drifts unevenly

    away. The czar’s nephew comes alive
    in Finland like some cyborg, sent into the future

    with a mission to annoy; there are the plagues:
    evangelists, economists, and experts

    of all kinds, Americans who read the future
    in a glass of tea, and analyze ‘the Slavic mind.’

    At home, cold warriors, like dying jellyfish,
    grow dim. Why no joy in Washington, no dancing

    in the streets — we ‘won,’ but sleep uneasy
    in our victory. The evil empire, vanquished, seeks

    a plusher berth within — a red and rising sun?
    A few blocks from the White House, my city twists

    and keens, and someone’s child is bought and sold.
    — We do not die of darkness, but of the cold.

    Tuesday, November 2, 2010

    Politics Is a Grain of Rice Stuck in the Mouth of a King

    You cannot live in Washington DC and not know when something KABOOMS! with the Redskins, and the benching of Donovan McNabb in the last two minutes of the fourth quarter with the Redskins down six is KABOOM! enough, but when the head coach says McNabb isn't smart enough to grasp the terminology of the plays, isn't smart enough to call two plays in one huddle, well, KABLOOEY! Shanahan's a pig (I once posted a photo of him leading a Bush rally in Colorado, but thirty seconds at google and I can't find it), may or not be a racist, but he didn't use the language he used, after all his year's of experience as a head coach, accidentally.

    I'm told this election is KABOOM! I don't know if it is, but as someone who used to think every election is KABOOM! this election isn't KABOOM! to me. I haven't donated a penny. All this talk about me voting or not, I used to give money to the DNC, they don't need my fucking vote, they don't even need my money though they want it. Rahm Emanuel calls me a fucking idiot? Obama dismisses my concerns as childish and unrealistic. Corporate, Democratic Division, doesn't send these messages accidentally.

    I will literally cross that street and vote today Yes on Question A and for the apple ballot for BoE at the request of loved ones. I will not be holding my nose, though having that motherfucking insufferable assclown TBogg quoted at me as goad almost makes me not vote. Still, this election cycle I'm neither kaboom or anti-kaboom, I'm just no-kaboom.

    Last Friday the drivetime hosts warned to not get carried away if the Skins went into the bye 5-3, if they'd been 3-5, after last season? we'd have signed up for that and then yesterday, gleeful KABLOOEY! the world is ending! and there will be another election in two years with daily media KABOOMS! every other day until Corporate, Democratic Division, still thinking me a fucking retard and leftist loon, decides they again need my money and vote and make me promises they've no intention of keeping, and I'll forget all the KABOOMS! but remember I'm a fucking retard. I may never get to anti-kaboom. I'll be happy to stay no-kaboom.


    Denise Duhamel

    The perfect voter has a smile but no eyes,
    maybe not even a nose or hair on his or her toes,
    maybe not even a single sperm cell, ovum, little paramecium.
    Politics is a slug copulating in a Poughkeepsie garden.
    Politics is a grain of rice stuck in the mouth
    of a king. I voted for a clump of cells,
    anything to believe in, true as rain, sure as red wheat.
    I carried my ballots around like smokes, pondered big questions,
    resources and need, stars and planets, prehistoric
    languages. I sat on Alice's mushroom in Central Park,
    smoked longingly in the direction of the mayor's mansion.
    Someday I won't politic anymore, my big heart will stop
    loving America and I'll leave her as easy as a marriage,
    splitting our assets, hoping to get the advantage
    before the other side yells: Wow! America,
    Vespucci's first name and home of free and brave, Te amo.

    Monday, November 1, 2010

    The Whole Point Was Getting Rid of Glut for Which I Starved Myself and Lived with the Heat Down and Only Shaved Oh Every Five Days and Used a Blunt Razor for Months So That My Cheek Was Not Only Red but the Hair Was Bent Not Cut

    Yes, this was theme song for some month in the past year, but a line from George Carlen's bit posted yesterday (sneakers w/lights) put this song in my head and it's not going away, which is a good thing because it's a great song.

    Blaming Obama for my complicity in a system Obama devoutly believes in (and I do OK too) is easy, fun, cynical. If it's true Obama is just a tool following orders or has some autonomy and chooses policies to the right of my stupid expectations or he's a cynical politician reading the poll numbers or he actually believes his bullshit about compromise and reconciliation, all and more could be true and we're all equally fucked and we're all equally responsible.

    We like being herded. It's entirely possible we're not coded to be herded and are easily and happily broken to be herded and we are totally coded to like being herded and our shepherds give us constant reinforcements and rewards.

    There are few more attractive rewards than getting to play subject object subject object subject object object subject. We can subject object subject object subject object object subject until we're all complicit pedantic fucks competing in whose subject object subject object subject object object subject is awesomest. Maybe  we're not complicitous and pedantic by nature but are trained to be and we are naturally complicitous and pedantic fucks demanding our just recompense for our complicity and pedantic fuckery.

    I pretend I don't like that game that much anymore until I'm twitched by jones and it clicks that motherfucking soulsucker one ratchet notch more, that death march to Fuckit I sign up for fully aware I'll never get there, both by intent and design.


      Gerald Stern

      The whole point was getting rid of glut
      for which I starved myself and lived with the heat down
      and only shaved oh every five days and used
      a blunt razor for months so that my cheek
      was not only red but the hair was bent not cut
      for which I then would be ready for the bicycle
      and the broken wrist, for which-oh God-I would be
      ready to climb the steps and fight the boxes
      with only nothing, a pair of shoes, and once
      inside to open the window and let the snow in
      and when the fire was over climb down the icy
      fire escape and drop the last twenty
      feet with notebooks against my chest, bruises
      down one side of my body, fresh blood down the other.