Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fifty-Nine Today

The Wonderful and Frightening World of Mark E Smith. Innermost circle of rotating musicians in My Sillyass Deserted Island Five Game. Click The Fall tag for much more. I suspect that many of the youtubes are dead, the posts go back years. Sorry, I love you, I'm not going to go reanimate corpses.

  • A patch of green amid the ruins. 
  • There were eight octogenarians, four men, four women, at the table next to ours last night at Yuan Fu. They were discussing Trump - Earthgirl and Planet can vouch. They said everything anyone who isn't pro-Trump would say, though an 80 year old woman saying she doesn't want to know what Trump has or doesn't in his pants is funny. One guy sat silent the entire time until, finally prodded to say something, offered, Adlai Stevenson is rolling in his grave. Shut up, Herman, said (presumably) his wife.
  • Death and Donald Trump.
  • Draft Paul Ryan?
  • Psst - it'd be easier, if no less futile, to portray Trump as a con man if your hand-chosen Tube wasn't Marco Rubio, a man whose first and last name appropriately contain terms carnies call paying fools. 
  • Today in Death to Clinton.
  • On Gaddis's JR
  • I was reading JR simultaneously with Vollmann's Dying Grass but ceded JR to Dying Grass not for Dying Grass' sake but for JR's. It deserves to be read alone. But I've picked up Infinite Jest, I've picked up Vollmann's Europe Central, I'm now reading them simultaneously.
  • The Infinite Jest before returning to JR's rereading is deliberate - I was 200 pages into JR, I'm going to have to start again at the beginning, I need to give myself a couple of months break before that.
  • The Europe Central is unexpected, but a friend asked me where to start with Europe Central, he picked up a copy, I picked up my copy, here I am.
  • Thirteen Bernadette Mayer poems.
  • Mary Ruefle has two new poems (one below) at Paris Review.



Mary Ruefle

I am never lonely and never bored. Except when I bore myself, which is my definition of loneliness—to bore oneself. It makes a body lonesome, that. Today I am very bored and very lonely. I can think of nothing better to do than grind salt and pepper into my milk shake, which I have been doing since I was thirteen, which was so long ago the very word thirteen has an old-fashioned ring to it, one might as well say Ottoman Empire. Traditionally, thirteen is an unlucky number. Little did I know at thirteen that I was on the road, by a single action, to loneliness and boredom. My friend Vicki and I were sitting at the lunch counter in Woolworth’s, waiting for the milk shakes we had ordered—hers chocolate, mine vanilla—when she got up to go to the ladies’ room. The chocolate shake came while she was gone and as a joke I sprinkled salt and pepper on it, because I was, though I didn’t know it, young and callous and cruel. Vicki came back, she took the paper off her straw, she stuck her straw in her milk shake, she sucked through the straw for what seemed an eternity, and then she swallowed, which seemed like forever. This is the best milk shake I have ever had. That’s what she said, though she didn’t say it as much as she sighed it. The best shake I’ve ever had. In such sudden and unexpected ways does boredom begin. I tried her milk shake, I told her what I had done, the vanilla shake came, and we salt-and-peppered that one, too, and afterward we were bored, so we went shopping—we were in Woolworth’s after all—though by shopping we meant shoplifting, as any lonely bored thirteen-year-old knows. Vicki stole a tub of the latest invention, lip gloss, which was petroleum jelly dyed pink, and I stole a yellow lace mantilla to wear to Mass on Easter Sunday, though I never wore it to Mass; I wore it to confession the Saturday before, confessing to the priest that I had stolen the very thing I was wearing on my head. Why not? I had nothing else to confess. Playing a mean trick on my best friend, even one that turned out all right, didn’t seem worth the bother. What bothered me was that the priest seemed bored by my confession; I had thought to shock him, but it was he who shocked me, as I had so little experience of adult boredom. He gave me three Hail Marys and closed the screen. What was happening? I had shocked myself by stealing the mantilla and then confessing it, but bored the priest, whose boredom now shocked me, though it would bore me later, years later, when lip gloss was as common as clover, when the idea of Catholic women covering their heads was antiquated, when priests were suspected of being callous and cruel and the combination of salt and sugar was a raging trend, served in all the swank joints and upscale places. But, as I said, I am never lonely and never bored, and if today is an exception, it is the age-old exception of every day, for every day turns into tomorrow, and tomorrow turns into today, and today into yesterday, and I confess there is very little any of us can do to change it.


  1. 1}i wondered if "milk shake" was autobiographical

    i conclude it is not - it refers to "the latest invention, lip gloss" - max factor began to sell lip gloss in 1932, whereas mary ruefle was born in 1952

    2)recently i found a downloadable copy of owen flanagan's book "the bodhisattva's brain - buddhism naturalized" and i have begun to read it

    3)earlier this week billmon - proprietor of blog "whiskey bar" in earlier years - deleted his twitter account after posting

    They're just isn't enough healthy tissue left to save. Gangrene. Gangrene is all.

    but this afternoon he reinstated it, with his first post being

    "Forgive me. I was wrong to despair." -- Legolas

  2. billmon's next tweet commented on herr drumpf's "raise your hands and pledge" event which happened today - billmon referred back to a a post of his in 2004 which included, among other things, this quote

    "I want you to stand, raise your right hands," and recite "the Bush Pledge," said Florida state Sen. Ken Pruitt. The assembled mass of about 2,000 in this Treasure Coast town about an hour north of West Palm Beach dutifully rose, arms aloft, and repeated after Pruitt: "I care about freedom and liberty. I care about my family. I care about my country. Because I care, I promise to work hard to re-elect, re-elect George W. Bush as president of the United States."

    One Nation Under Bush
    October 29, 2004