Wednesday, November 26, 2014

If It Would Help I Would Paint My House Silver or Sell It or Buy a Red Convertable

Today marks the start of the five slowest days of the year in Blegsylvania. Egoslavian tradition requires bleggalgazing, and there will be though it might be posted here, elsewhere, or not at all. It will be posted here, elsewhere, or not at all regardless the five slowest days of the year in Blegsylvania. I have worked myself to peace over that. Planet and I (Earthgirl, suffering grippe, couldn't make it) had dinner last night with Landru and Ilse and Databoy at a restaurant that puts bacon on a skewer and calls the dish a lollypop, in an hour and a half no mention of the Clusterfuck, topical and/or longterm, was made. Landru did immediately check to verify I was adhering to my rule for short pants. Planet forgot her drivers license and couldn't have a Brooklyn Lager on tap, too bad. Here, because I love you, Egoslavian Thanksgiving presents: First, the New Yorker cover followed by, copied and pasted in full: Rolling Stone names Dan Snyder assholiest owner in sports:

If you've been paying attention to football this last year, you probably know Snyder as the staunch defender of an unambiguously racist name who can't stop putting a loafer in his mouth every time he opens it.

Snyder has marshaled every resource of the rich white asshole invoking tradition to defend the indefensible. There's this pro-Redskins AstroTurf campaign from a giant PR firm. There's Snyder co-opting any local media going knives-out on the name or the fact that his team is stupendously mismanaged. There's Snyder trying to buy silence from Indian tribes. There's Snyder trotting out multiple Indian defenders of the name who aren't even Indians, when he's not sitting in his luxury box with a Navajo Nation leader recently kicked out of office under corruption allegations and in disgust at partnering with Snyder's "Original Americans Foundation," a disingenuous whitewash PR group. There's Snyder sticking his fingers in his ears and pretending the Redskins were named to "honor" an "Indian" coach who turned out to be a German-American misrepresenting his race to avoid the WWI draft. Or sometimes he decides the name is meant to "honor" Indian "heritage" in general, and not as a marketing gimmick by their legendarily racist owner to identify the team with a much more popular baseball franchise.

And that's just the name. You could go on for pages about the paranoid, Hitler-in-the-bunker mentality of the team, or the blithe unconcern with a shredded field and player health that already nearly Cuisinarted RG III's knee. And you could go on for pages and pages and pages of what a clusterfuck of tire fires the Redskins have become under Snyder's tenure, all set ablaze by the flaming sack of dogshit that is what passes for his conscience. In fact, someone already has. Dave McKenna of the Washington City Paper wrote a devastatingly hysterical A-to-Z guide to every contemptuous, miserly, greed-headed, soul-dead move Snyder has pulled in D.C., every bit of it true. Snyder sued McKenna and the paper anyway, because he wanted to see if the size of his war chest would back them down. Because he could. Because he's Daniel Snyder, and because fuck you. Fuck your access to a true narrative, fuck your local pride, fuck your fandom, fuck your pocketbook, fuck your fun and fuck a genocide.

Whatafucker. I'm thankful for Tiny Daimon Snyder, Ferengi, Triskelion, metonym of clusterfuck. Hate I can embrace, hate I can focus, hate I can enjoy. Gratuitous, self-indulgent, delicious impotent hate.


Neal Bowers

Lately, the weather aches;
the air is short of breath,
and morning stumbles in, stiff-jointed.

Day by day, the sun bores the sky,
until the moon begins
its some disappearing act,
making the oceans yawn.

Even the seasons change
with a throb of weariness—
bud, bloom, leaf, fall.

If it would help,
I would paint my house silver
or sell it or buy
a red convertible.

I would, but who am I
to try to cheer up
the self-indulgent universe.



    Let's begin with the simplest and most cheerful. It is set in a village in Nova Scotia, and refers to an actual historic personage from there, the giantess Anna Swan. The title does not quite rhyme - the town's name is pronounced "-goosh".

    I Left My Couch in Tatamagouche

    I desired lemonade-- it was hot and I had been walking for hours--
    but after much wrestling, pushing and shoving, I simply could not get my
    couch through the restaurant door. Several customers and the owner and
    the owner's son were kinder than they should have been, but finally
    it was time to close and I urged them to return to their homes, their
    families needed them (the question of who needs what was hardly my field
    of expertise). That night, while sleeping peacefully outside the train
    station on my little green couch, I met a giantess by the name of Anna
    Swan. She knelt beside my couch and stroked my brow with tenderness. She
    was like a mother to me for a few moments there under the night sky. In
    the morning, I left my couch in Tatamagouche, and that has made a big

    -----James Tate

    The last line here is clearly intended to remind us of the ending of Robert Frost's 'The Road Not Taken' - 'I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference' - with the diction flattened for humorous effect. Tate could have titled this poem 'The Couch Not Taken' - but that would have been too obvious - we smile because we don't need this much help recalling Frost's poem.

    What are we told of the events that led our narrator to this life-changing decision? First, the restaurant customers and the proprietors make large efforts to attempt to include him, to help him get the couch into the restaurant. At last our narrator urges them to return to their homes and families - a recognition that their concerns are as important as his own.

    The train station the narrator sleeps outside is now, in real life, a bed-and-breakfast. Anna Swan, the giantess who extends maternal affection to him in his dream, was seven feet five and a half inches tall when fully grown. She was born in 1846. She and her husband, similarly statured Confederate veteran Martin Van Buren Bates, met when a circus he was appearing in came to Halifax, NS. They toured Europe and the United States and settled in Ohio.

    The turning point is when her giant hand caresses his brow while he sleeps. In her largeness she stands for the maternal archetype, all our foremothers. The narrator is then able to feel his connection with the rest of humanity - note that this issue of connection with the human family has already been raised by the line " their families needed them (the question of who needs what was hardly my field of expertise)". He leaves his literal couch behind - in other words, begins to live a new life, seeing with different eyes, no longer burdened with the events of his past.

  2. it happens like this :: james tate

    I was outside St. Cecelia’s Rectory
    smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me.
    It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish
    brown here and there. When I started to walk away,
    it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered
    what the laws were on this kind of thing. There’s
    a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People
    smiled at me and admired the goat. “It’s not my goat,”
    I explained. “It’s the town’s goat. I’m just taking
    my turn caring for it.” “I didn’t know we had a goat,”
    one of them said. “I wonder when my turn is.” “Soon,”
    I said. “Be patient. Your time is coming.” The goat
    stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked
    up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew
    everything essential about me. We walked on. A police-
    man on his beat looked us over. “That’s a mighty
    fine goat you got there,” he said, stopping to admire.
    “It’s the town’s goat,” I said. “His family goes back
    three-hundred years with us,” I said, “from the beginning.”
    The officer leaned forward to touch him, then stopped
    and looked up at me. “Mind if I pat him?” he asked.
    “Touching this goat will change your life,” I said.
    “It’s your decision.” He thought real hard for a minute,
    and then stood up and said, “What’s his name?” “He’s
    called the Prince of Peace,” I said. “God! This town
    is like a fairy tale. Everywhere you turn there’s mystery
    and wonder. And I’m just a child playing cops and robbers
    forever. Please forgive me if I cry.” “We forgive you,
    Officer,” I said. “And we understand why you, more than
    anybody, should never touch the Prince.” The goat and
    I walked on. It was getting dark and we were beginning
    to wonder where we would spend the night.

    This second poem is less sunny, and has two speaking characters - our narrator and the policeman. As it begins, our viewpoint character is a stranger to the goat, who appears from nowhere. The goat is at first referred ti>o as "it". The narrator knows nothing about the goat, but begins to answer people's questions - from intuition? The answers are plausible, certainly, and by the end of the poem our narrator is speaking with authority.

    The goat becomes "him", not it, after an episode of prolonged eye contact. The policeman, having asked to touch the goat, declines to do so after being warned his life will never be the same, and weeps after learning the goat's name is The Prince of Peace.

    At the end, our narrator and the goat have become the first person plural -" WE were beginning to wonder where we would spend the night. " The policeman has stepped back, with remorse, from changing his life, whereas our narrator is walking on with the Prince of Peace, traveling with him, rather than returning to his own routine.

  3. The third poem we turn to depicts a quest in a remote rural area for something precious, from the remote past.


    Jill and I had been driving for hours
    on these little back country roads and we hadn’t
    seen another car or a store of any kind in all
    that time. We were trying to get to a village
    called Lost River and were running out of gas.
    There was a man there that owns a pterodactyl
    wing and we heard that he might want to sell it.
    He was tired of it, we were told. Finally, I see
    an old pick-up truck coming up behind us and I
    pull over and get out of the car and wave. The
    man starts to pass by, but changes his mind
    and stops. I ask him if he knows how to get to Lost
    River and he says he’s never heard of it, but
    can give us directions to the closest town called
    Last Grocery Store. I thank him and we eventually
    find Last Grocery Store, which consists of three
    trailers and a little bitsy grocery store. The
    owner is old and nearly blind, but he’s glad to
    meet us and we’re glad to meet him. I ask him
    if he knows how to get to Lost River from here.
    He ponders for awhile, and then says, “I don’t
    see how you could get there, unless you’re walking.
    There’s no road in them parts. Why would
    anybody be wanting to go to Lost River, there’s
    nothing there.” “There’s a man there that’s got
    a pterodactyl wing he might be willing to sell,”
    I say. “Hell, I’ll sell you mine. I can’t see
    it anymore, so I might as well sell it,” he says.
    Jill and I look at each other, incredulous. “Well,
    we’d sure like to see it,” I say. “No problem,”
    he says, “I keep it right here in back of the store.”
    He brings it out and it’s beautiful, delicate
    and it’s real, I’m certain of it. The foot even
    has its claws on it. We’re speechless and rather
    terrified of holding it, though he hands it to us
    trustingly. My whole body feels like it’s vibrating,
    like I’m a harp of time. I’m sort of embarrassed,
    but finally I ask him how much he wants for it.
    “Oh, just take it. It always brought me luck, but
    I’ve had all the luck I need,” he says. Jill gives
    him a kiss on the cheek and I shake his hand and
    thank him. Tomorrow: Lost River.

    The authenticity of the object seems at first to have had a powerful effect on our narrator. "My whole body feels like it’s vibrating, like I’m a harp of time." The old man gives it to him for free, an act of astonishing generosity.

    We are then pulled up short by the last three words. He's going to keep looking, even though he has FOUND what he was looking for? He's "got it", but he doesn't "get" that he's got it. Maybe he needs his face slapped (a "conscious shock" in Fourth Way terminology) to break him out of his trance - but would that help? The pterodactyl wing should have been enough.

  4. Like I could have avoided looking at those shapely legs.
    I will not be abused, passively/lovingly or otherwise, for my abiding love of pork. Loving counsel: if you were to happen by Casa Satanica today, you would probably want to avoid the stuffing. I asked the Amish to add extra cruelty when they ground out out the sausage for it.