Saturday, October 22, 2016

Oh Lucky Bob!

Dylan! In my household Bob, Bobby, the most common guy-sound, just simply means the man. That man. We called my daughter's first car Bob. It was an aura. Hey Bob, hey bobareebob, we heard Howard Hughes once, over the bar in Pompano Beach, dinner out in the rain with the RainMan, brother hardly Tom Cruise missile off to work radar much later at Hughes Aircraft top secret. Bob.

Who would want a Nobel Prize, already pinned down like an insect in some collection under glass of ideal types, debunked by Kinsey types already, W.A.S.P., I just wanna be free like a rollin' stone, man, and I was born white and there's nothing authentic to that, what?

Where I work "creative" is opposed to nigger which is what I am, and I mean that word in the most precise way, just having watched 13th, produced by Netflix of all the strange things in the cosmos, and so of course I know I'm no nigger since I'm not in prison and not a slave, but I am the same way Bobby doesn't want to be, pinned in a frame with degrees of motion constrained by health-industrial, real-estate, transportation, terrorism complexes against my degrees of freedom. I'm a wage slave is all, wistful for the freedoms I remember before all the technological elaborations calibrated against my spending power. There was a time and I remember it.

If you have talent - and I despise talent because it's always just some shade of white and bright even if only the teeth and enables you to take part in hook-up parties if you have the right proprioception and worship of the mystical orgasm - then you are obligated to make art and not shlock, and you aren't allowed to set up a production line Thomas Kincaid-style sweatshop where you come along and tag the painting with a stroke and call it original work.

You know, Chairman Mao, the most authentic individual on the planet mostly still lives on since it never was the man, it was something in the air and it has yet to disperse. Kim Jung Un, the Donald, Sam Ting as the guy called out who crossed the border after Bobby and got that name forever instead of his own name. Glade air freshener might do it or it might not. It can't be good for the lungs. It's composed of simple smelly fear and it doesn't originate anywhere except you want your Mommy and she turned out to be a narcissist who didn't allow ego separation is all. Project onto the Man.

It was the same convulsion in those sixties which did the Cultural Revolution over there, and of course I should never have given up my birthright to be a fine engineer, but there are no problems amenable to engineered solutions, and most of the non-creative digital labors are sucked up for ways to make you want to buy stuff and I already have the only thing which there is left to buy which is an iPhone whose intellectual property brand-essence value gives the Corporation Mao-sized significance on the planet for far less than the cost of my obsolete cable bill. Does any of this make sense? To all the beautiful and young people sure maybe, they're getting some of something I don't know. It all feels like entertainment to me.

There are networks of terror which render unto fake smiles under big to the point of goofy sized military hats no sense of irony uniforms struggling to say the right thing to the face which passes Mona Lisa or boyish smiles back to multitudes one misstep from being hauled off with nubile endless women backstage for fucking, though oddly I doubt the Donald does that since he's all talk. He likes to watch. Chancey.

A terrorist is some true believer up against some wall, so trivial to manipulate either way, we bought back our domino effect when the Trade Towers fell and collapsed our own economy, praise Allah rang out across the globe which now can be turned against citizens in one Google-sized cluster fuck of my headspace. As though the NSA can pick that very person the same way Google follows what they know of me, which is way more than I do, and can maximize my purchasing power to the highest bidder. Harmless as a flea, the crazies go off without warning of any sort. In an elevator with wise philosophy professors when Oklahoma City happened, shaking their heads about Islamic terrorists and it turned out to be the white guy quite next door, pretty all American if you ask me. They'd tried to true my thinking in a disciplined sort of way, engineer my brain, I'm never a very good student or thinker or anything like that, you feel me?

What will it look like, the brave new world where you and I are both free? Will I know my neighbors once again and talk with them? Will my community extend my family and find a place for me without the terror of falling off the grid? But I don't want them to look and act all the same. I like the colors of the rainbow, and the tongues and the differences, I do. But it was oil that lubricates our movements and jetsetting is not sustainable, really, is it?

There is no more space beyond that grid which pins me, and so I must live on the literal road behind the Googly lense within it and I am freedom. The medium is the Max Headroom homespace. There is nothing to connect. Same on every end and media makes it so. No need perhaps to travel, toxic digital waste enslaved in rare earth mines. Or do I want a world stage where I can display my what raw sexuality, amazing grace, warbling to move the masses, raking in enough billions with my miracle app never to feel insecure on any level evermore. One dies anyhow. It's just the legacy one would like to claim, reincarnating as the better not the degenerate self. Mao-Un-Trump is not the way to go O.J.

I have no talent to be free, and I feel for Bobby, who is not either. He was on the right side of those convulsions then. And now he's just like me, an old guy who still likes to dance and sing and celebrate and not fucking blow up the world or melt it down. It's all dirty money now, sucker. Every last micropenny. Red pill or you are beholden to Elon. Strapping lithium ion bombs to trigger with a virus the terror within. Perpetual updates. Autonomous Anonymous behind the wheel. Into the ground.

Rise up, as they still sing in China, Rise up, be not afraid, as you are free for a moment longer. Always talking to myself, the static within, the white noise. Click.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

In Possession of a Strange Fact

So, I'm trying to read American Sphinx about Thomas Jefferson, Jean Baudrillard's America, The Hacker Manifesto, Europeana by some Czech dude (whose name can't be spelled without impossible keyboard gymnastics, but approximates to Patrik Ourednik) all at the same time and I'm afraid I won't finish before the election, At the same time those damned amyloid plaques are likely invading the rhizome structures in my brain. Oh yeah, I forgot Gilles Deleuze. Fuck!

There are still a few things we all know together. For instance that the Donald not the Duck speaks to us through our bodies somehow and some of us believe him. That would be our ape selves. Meanwhile we have some similar reason not to trust Hillary, not Sir Edmund who wasted his time on mountains, same thing maybe) though there is a slim majority of us which prefers to use our brains and not our bodies for thinking, maybe. That could still implicate the men against the women, given the good hair requirement recently for president.

Meanwhile it is clear that burgeoning technical assistance with things like driving our cars is going to de-skill us to the point of meltdown when somehow collectively we have to take over driving in a moment of inevitable crisis. Like how we are pretty deskilled politically anymore since we don't know how to talk with one another. And some stupid proportion of the supposed genius class in all this actually does believe that the probability is that we actually do live in some form of the Matrix. They have the certainty of Henry Kissinger, and are apparently willing to sacrifice masses in the face of it, quid pro quo or something.

Strange times when the panel of Baptist Bible Bumping illuminati would rather have the Donald represent their causes than one of their pure own because they deem him trustworthy in the driver's seat. These people deploy hermetically sealed rhetoric of a sort which would, if only we could believe it, make talking to one another so much easier if we only truly were machines. Now I don't mind a good psychopath in the bus driver's seat so long as he knows how to drive and has no reason to kill himself, which just isn't true of this guy. I'll even take Mitt back, uncanny valley though he hails from.

I work at a University (so newly called by the gods of wordsmithing which are crowd sourced anymore) which is widely understood to be a last bastion of free speech except that I'm too terrorized to take part in any discussion. It's impossible to call out the supermanager salaries of the deciders, which outside these walls is a legitimate topic for intelligent conversation. The new Union is off the table, even though it's a baby union without any teeth. And if I challenge the high priests of technology in some vain attempt to jump-start necessary conversation I get shouted down faster than a wooly head at a Trump rally. And I actually know a thing or two about it and how it works or doesn't!

Whatever. I get to watch Henry Kissinger on the big screen tonight for the China Town Hall, in which I wasn't invited to participate, or likely even thought of. Amyloids against outrage is working OK for me.

Not so much, though, since I contain this outrageous fact in my so-called Brain, which could bring down the whole House of Freaking Cards, but I can't figure out how to say it out loud and clearly. It's an artifact by now, since I can't conjure it so reliably as once I could.

Like this: At the end of the particulate road there is a mental leap to be made. One accomplishes this in the manner of calculus, where the intervals diminish to the point where your iterative approximation approaches multi-digit precision to the point of being able to shoot the moon, for instance. This is highly distinguished from Zen in the Art of Archery, that method over there which involves letting go of calculation altogether.

Said mental leap is less risky than to suppose we live in the Matrix, for instance, since said geniuses put money in place of their mouths to investigate the wonders of quantum computing and in general one can conceive quantum theory tested and proven. Which provides a whole new way to define simultaneity, which is pretty useful if you ask me,

The speed of light limit which also descended from Einstein made that whole matter problematical, since no signal could exceed the speed of light, and light propagates in something other from a pure vacuum (a superconductive space-time continuum - I seem to love those double "U"s and double "LL"s - from which particles appear and disappear at random). Whatever, right? Who can keep track of it all is the point.

But meanwhile we have instantaneous knowledge of the disposition of self-implicated particles distant in space and therefore time. Quantum entanglement, so-called. And no one wants to name this knowledge. It's called emotional knowledge. Things we know without calculus, for instance.Things felt emotively and not perceived. There is, it seems, a conceptual cosmos just alongside the real one, but it's not the one Plato imagined since it isn't populated by the forms of math. It is as alive and ever-changing as our very own repudiated Earth mother. The relations are not all perceptual, and involved in exchange of particulate matter, in definition of force. That's my very fact right there!

Emotional knowledge doesn't lodge in geniuses like me evidently, and it might actually be the wiser for inarticulate folks who worship the Donald now in place of Jesus or alongside Him as the case may be. Who knows, maybe I'm just hopped up on marriage, recently paying witness to my very own daughter's, who has a brain besides. Younger and better than mine is for certain anymore.

Anyhow, there's no exchange of particles as involved in force fields so necessary for signalling, which could at least provide a genuinely secure lockbox for secrets we might like to transmit to secret lovers, which is apparently the first thing quantum entanglement might be good for.We'd better get a handle on it for love before the government does for power is what this election is all about I think.

Privacy of electronic information that the Donald wants us to think might be in his head. Let me tell you there's only static noise there. I know static noise. What might he do if called upon, like this is some big mystery and somehow the Hillary's sin was exposing government secrets to the likes of Edward Snowden who remains a hero in his Siberian Igloo to many among us who are probably therefore tracked and targeted, yadda yadda.

But my own degenerating brain remains intact enough to be in touch with my un-nameable so-called God, since it has, my brain does, enough complexity left to go beyond the calculus of what can be represented by neural networks of whatever complexity of digitation or metastasis or what you will, since I retain emotive ties to the entire earth beyond my reckoning and I do still feel the pain of its awakening.

These quantum features are not contained within my skull of course, and involve no signalling, but what do we think bore us out of nothingness? Do we really think the complexity of it all can be cataloged by Google? Embodied by Apple? Driven by explosive batteries made whole by Tesla Musk? Making us each an unwitting terrorist by remote signalling? Hell, I very nearly bought a Note 7 for the pencil and paper-like retro possibilities, which would be helpful with Chinese. Glad I didn't buy a new-age diesel either. It's just the bother of it. Who we gonna trust?

Quantum synapses are distributed all over life, which defies calculus nearly every time. Aside from Ed Snowden, there is Jane Goodall, There must be one or two others, don't you think? We kill or otherwise incarcerate the black ones, although I did see Shaun Harper on CNN maybe, and Bryan Stevenson on Netflix, so OK they're getting out there. Is Angela still suffered to live? I hope so.

Right, so we're not this big earth lense to focus god-love, but it's probably kinda like that. Ever present all the time kind of thing. Which means it might be worth having some courage before it's too late, meaning before the planet gets killed off by well-meaning white guys with power, and money enough to shut you up or make you irrelevant for sure.

There is no signalling love, although nice words help an awful lot. A patriarchal Jesus is no Jesus at all, and shame on you afraid to say so.

So yes Virginia quantum encryption is at least as dangerous as the H-bomb. But when the complexity of our digital interconnectedness renders us fully helpless against when the Web goes dark as it inevitably must, we can still hope and pray that those with trigger buttons will have and hold discretion as the better part of valor, and not do something stupid against an autopilot long since in its red zone, throwing up its figurative arms in abdication, reverting responsibility to man and man alone.

Anonymous our greatest author. Plague in real and virtual viruses. Overpopulation of self-aggrandizers for whom no house nor yacht is too big and gaudy really. Even when they do well by doing good or maybe it's especially that way. Isn't it humble not to want the big decisions for oneself?

Well fuck all I'm going to speak up if not today then maybe tomorrow or maybe the next day, because what have I got to lose other than access to the pills I need to stay alive, right? The trouble is I don't know what to say that wouldn't kick me out of the conversation. And once that happens fuggeddaboudit, right? I mean you might as well be crazy!

The red pill or the blue pill (I can't keep them straight except to remember that it's the opposite of politics just now)? Which ever one keeps me interconnected and alive in real reality, assuming there is still a distinction anymore. That's the one I want. Love is eternal, but so is death, you know, and I haven't figured out how to say what I have to say and I have to do that before I go.

Well, bye bye for now, since I have work to do on this edge of homeless for those who aren't just in it for themselves. Parse that!

Clean Asshole; Standup Comedy for the Election Season

Hello there world!

Most mornings are a stew of puttering, reading, sometimes writing, mostly fingering an iPod or iPhone, cooking cleaning straightening. I do monologues in my head when there isn't some printed word to guide it. Sometimes they're pretty funny.

Of course I know I would never have the courage actually to attempt a standup monologue; especially one meant to be funny! My memory turns to mush, and I don't think standup works if you read it.

Yeah, well so one morning I had this asshole thing going on in my head, a series of one-liners stringing themselves together flawlessly, and of course I won't be able to reproduce it here. Writing just simply can't be the same thing as standing up in front of a challenging crowd, or even just a few people. There's too much time to think about the choices, the words, the flow of the thing. And that wrecks it.

But I wonder, you know like most people maybe I can sing better if I'm mocking someone else's singing. A Jim Carrey kind of thing, or maybe Tom Waits who Picasso-like left behind all hint of beauty in the vocalizations, and so it's beautiful, right? Some people have the gift to write out dynamics, to put words on paper into a flow of the sort you would have heard had you been there.

I told my daughter I didn't want to make any remarks at her wedding. I wasn't sure I could avoid making a fool of myself in front of so many intimates. I wasn't sure I could hold myself together. I said I'd say something at the rehearsal dinner which I was hosting. It seemed more natural.

One morning in my usual daze of puttering I decided I had to write out my remarks, as a bulwark against my lack of confidence in a good delivery. I liked the result, but according to an Internet search it would take at least 20 minutes to read (I have a thing against reading aloud to myself, can you tell?).

So I ruthlessly crossed out whole sections, leaving in the parts I wouldn't read to give a sort of context still, for my delivery.

In the event, the rehearsal dinner wasn't held in a private space, but more in the corner of a noisy restaurant, and so just being heard was going to be difficult. There was no possibility to read my considered remarks, and so I had to wing it. After what I hope was a warm welcome to everyone, and an invitation to feel free to order more wine and beer and be merry, it went like this;

See, I had no idea about clean assholes until I read John Updike. I still don't quite believe that licking them - assholes - is part of the repertoire of love we're supposed to bring to the table now. Ew!

I suppose I've eaten assholes in China. Gross! Whatever. There is that thing that happens in love, a kind of synesthesia, where pussy tastes like heaven - I never really did get the fishy smell references - and I suppose that shit must taste good too. I think I wasn't transported enough to try it, which is a failing of mine, but on the other hand fingers, toes, earwax, spit. That happens!

Which, speaking of transportation, is there a law against blow jobs while driving? Well I guess what's the point really. There was that funny scene with Robin Williams, right, Garp maybe where swallowing a load took on a whole new meaning. My grandmother drove into the back of her garage once, but that was maybe because my grandfather had tried to kill himself. What would John Irving have to say about that one? I mean he can't even read!

But I was really thinking about wheelchairs, how once I'd broken my leg just before said daughter was to go College hunting, and I was getting beat up on crutches chasing after the backward-walking student guides. On the way back to Buffalo, we  stopped at the Rock and Roll museum, where my two daughters jumped on the possibility that putting me in a wheelchair would obliterate my control over our time and rhythm in passage.

As I recall, they had a ball whisking me away where I might linger to read a footnote. But what I really remember is the stink at asshole level. (laugh pause)

I don't know why nobody writes about this! At first, in the crowd at the entrance, I remarked to myself how often people must fart and that it must be heavier than air (which contradicts methane global warming explanations) and so it hovers around our feet.

But you know, I change my shirts a lot more often than I do my pants, and now finally, I apply deodorant under my arms. I'm not aware of any for a man's crotch.

As a young man I had terrible body odor, but I also had an aversion to anything artificial, especially including deodorant. Mom made fun of the Odorono ads of her own youth. I think I didn't see the point to washing my clothes all that often either. People among my classmates would be assigned to speak with me about it, and still I remained adamant that it was their problem and not mine. What an asshole! Right????

In my defense, we've all since finally learned that the soaps and deodorants which I grew up with were responsible, by killing of all the benign bacteria, for unbalancing the body's equilibrium. Ditto plastic clothing, which gave no harbor for the little bugs. Horror of horrors though, I think I wore no undershirt, and my boxers were often made of nylon, just for the ease of washing them out in the sink really, and they lasted longer.

Anyhow, I suppose people in wheelchairs have no voice anymore than blacks do still really, or women. Or they write about it all the time and it's just not that funny, right? I mean who wants to talk about asshole smells? We don't look down on wheelchair denizens. We don't look at them at all.

Yeah, so you know once when I was hacking around Europe on - no kidding $1.34 a day, I'm anal like that - back when $5 a day was a miracle book, I landed on the lovely Isle of Capri. Some friendly Americans with a kid my age let me stay with them in a little pensione on the water. In my memory it was a garage with a picture window and a bit uncomfortable for me, socially.

Next day I wandered about the island, found a place to skinny dip, which was basically how I washed when I could, and then bedded down at the very top of the island, which somehow I could do without anyone taking notice. Those were the days! I don't know, maybe it was a graveyard. I habituate those on my travels.

The trouble was that sometime after midnight the skies let loose with a massive thunderstorm, which quickly rendered my down sleeping bag into something less than a handkerchief for warmth. Still I waited out until morning, to get dressed and head back down the hill, through all the little alleyways where the clatter of daily life was just right there and no privacy about it.

Somehow I got back to the peninsula, must have been Salerno on a map now, and somehow for some reason probably relating to money, I walked up and over yet another hill, and along the cliff to Positano. Mostly I remembered debates with myself about plunging over. I mean it seemed a pretty good idea at the time. Thank God it was sunny!

But I had a Eurail pass - must have - and the goal was a long distance train to warm up and dry out and sleep. No-one really objected when I spread my sodden sleeping bag along the baggage rack. I guess I wasn't quite the craziest American these Italians had ever seen.

Taormina seemed a good stepping off point. Somehow a little pensione run by a little gay dude seemed affordable, or maybe I stayed there because it was free. The guy was friendly, hung out my sleeping bag, and overall was solicitous and comforting to me. But I knew enough Italian to understand what he was planning to do with me, bragging to the froo froo cocktail crowd where he showed me off maybe. I must have splurged three weeks' budgeting, but I needed a place like home. I might have sold my ass. I truly don't remember. There was certainly no overt transaction.

Somehow it was a good idea to buy a sack of wine, climb up to the roman ruins and muse about catharsis, and then sit on a rock which overlooked the entire city, all of whose voices I could discern as I finished off the entire bottle's worth.

I was snotty sick, and now I was sodden drunk and my happy host welcomed my condition again with all solicitousness and offered a bath which sounded like heaven, and then he pounded my asshole, which was clean by then. The only thing I could think to say was that it felt like taking a shit, and I wanted it to stop, but it wasn't all that bad and I was in no condition to fight. Fair trade.

So next day I'm on the train to Syracusa with all this semen seeping out my ass, which I really really didn't like at all and I don't get why people take that, and then somehow I decide to wash my hair in the frigid water from a tap toward the end of the station. I mean no-one was around, and I'd seen women washing their clothes out there, and I cringe to think about it now, but it wasn't like I was washing out my asshole, though I must have wanted to.

And then, you know, I'm sitting around the city and these two Canadian women sit down by me for safety really, telling me how the Italian men just wouldn't stop propositioning them, and then this pair of American sailors come by and they regale me with how all they do is smoke dope on the top deck and listen to the same rock and roll I used to listen to on the swim team, where the coach got put away by Dad on the school board for child-sodomy and pushing dope on the team, which explained way after the fact why the joke on me was circle jerk, which was true in a way since I was a known boy-scout, although without the Internet who could know what a circle jerk was??? I was out of the circle, always.

I mean the navy couldn't even afford fuel, and these guys hollowed out the life-jackets for Chrissakes, to stow their weed. Whatever, right? So these two Canadian women, who were plenty cute as I recall, wanted to come with me to the graveyard where I intended to sleep. I mean, whatever, sure, and you know I sleep naked, so somehow I remember exposing my bright red nylon boxers.

In those days I actually did sleep the moment I was prone - not like now when I don't sleep at all - and so the next morning these two women were all pissy with me, and I gathered really they'd wanted me to at least make moves on them.

But I'm clueless like that, and it's taken me until just now to realize I'd been raped and why would I make moves on anyone, right? I still don't know how I cleaned my asshole, which was probably part of it too, right?

But next day on the train over to Palermo where I learned about the mafia in real time, they were pointedly talking loudly with these same two Navy dudes now on the train with them about the sex antics they'd all be up to that night. I mean it was for my ears, although they weren't even acknowledging my existence by even a glance.

Fuck, Canadians were having an easier time in Europe than I was for sure, and these two didn't need to be sleeping out in a graveyard, and I had my true love back home anyhow, who would come and live with me while I tended bar and she drew stolen baths for me at the Grosvenor Victoria on the charwoman beat, lots of opportunity there for sure, right? which was how I cleaned my asshole those days, every day, since the room we let had no pipes and only cold water in the hallway from a lead one and a heater which ate shillings or you got none. Those were the days, and you know I think the fucking was pretty good, although I have no specific memory, but I certainly wasn't doing any rim-jobs. Maybe she would have come if I had . . . ? (laughter pause)

Whatever, right?

Upstairs from us were these guys we called the mad-bomber twins, because there was no other way to decode them, although now I look back on it they were probably pounding each other up the ass. I was like eighteen years old and I smoked a drooping pipe with Balkan Sobranie, which I can still taste just talking about it, and man that stuff was foul. And I've got something against eating shit, right.

Her brother and I, my girlfriend's - no shit! scoped out pubs on the one day off we each would get. He was there to dodge the draft, because his Canadian University afforded working holidays in the Commonwealth, and I just tagged along for the ride, so to speak, as did my girlfriend, and we did hitch-hike around the Emerald Isle, until I left her for the Isle of Skye which she wanted and me to go back stateside to get ready to go back to school. I mean her parents wanted to wring my neck, which I don't know why they didn't. I mean as a father now I would. I'd make the little bugger eat shit is what I'd do.

On that trip I did steal two things - the only time in my life I remember doing that, but these two times are etched in my brain. First was a single banana in the crowded bustling market in Palermo where I got my education about the mob, and I could taste it and wanted it badly but it broke my money rules or maybe I just didn't have any, and I can still taste it.

The other was a tin of shoeshine from Monkey Wards I think, right around the corner from the Whistle Stop Inn where I rotated among the four bars because I kept mine clean, and I'd somehow brought (and stored in the trainstation???) wingtips form the US which got dull with sloshes of beer and I didn't really think I should have to pay to shine them, but I wanted them shined, right, and I can still taste that too, sense of smell, and I think I kept that tin across decades probably. Out of guilt or cheapness, same thing maybe.

The only shoes I had with me were waffle stomper mountain climbing boots, but I mean really heavy and stiff ones which were embarrassing in the museums because they squeeked, but I did mostly walk everywhere, which doesn't explain the license this one old museum keeper in Florence maybe felt he had to prod my dick through my jeans as he was using the other finger to point out features. Really??

So, see, that's why I'm not a big fan of identity politics. I'm more of a class and class-marker kind of guy, which is probably why I wasn't attracted to those Canadian chicks at all and later married an Italian below my grade, truth be told. I've only had one really good cuddler and she dumped me 'cause I wasn't cool, I'm pretty sure, but I mean she sure did know how to screw, that one who got away, and boy did she ever come all over the place. With too many guys than my shrivelling ego could handle, which is not a cool posture for sure and I'd have left me too.

Well whatever, this brings me to today, this old guy who, I mean it's not like I can't get it up for Internet chicks about my own daughters' age, but that's not really sex. That's just jerking off which has no synesthesia associated with it at all. I mean you can take your virtual worlds and shove 'em, as far as I'm concerned. I only give a shit about the real deal, and I'm not worth having any more.

But my own mother smelled like death at the wedding, and I really really wanted my lovely daughter and her stunningly wonderful beau to make it where I never did.

So I would never have delivered this goofy standup, right? Do you think it would have gotten any laughs?

Nah . . . . .

Tales out of school, once I had this professor whose course I was bombing and he took me for a ride, and I thought he was going to pry open the mysteries of literature, and I still remember how he dropped the truism that sex and eating are the only renewable pleasures which I thought was profound, I mean he was fat and I only just now realize he was hitting on me. Hitchhike, go to class, it's all risky to give someone that much power over you, right?

So these days I keep my asshole plenty dirty, which is mostly a function of how many times it takes to move the shit around the curve and evacuate since, as you know, I really don't like the feeling of something up my asshole, which is why I pick my nose too come to think of it. It's probably why I go to the extreme effort it takes to jerk off now too, seems like hours and the reward is a lot less than hot water on itchy skin, which, however, I do less often because it raises the electric bill probably. What an asshole!

Anyhow, about a year ago now, around new years of course, I paid for a highly subsidized gym membership because I'm fat and I lose my breath easily and they have a pool and it's just a short walk from where I live. I went once, and I came back into the locker room and some old guy - probably younger than me, but I still don't look at myself that way, which is something wrong with me for sure - some old guy is talking loudly about this woman sharing his lane and what a fine rack she had that he could espy from underwater.

I had some internal fight or flight thing which took hold of me, and I wanted out of there fast! I called my sister who actually pioneered women being on that self-same men's team back in highschool, and unlike me she still swims. I couldn't find the words or figure out why, but - and I'm feeling guilty about this because I'm fat now and I really should swim - I told her that I just didn't feel comfortable in the locker room, and I was having a hard time going back. I thought maybe it was a kind of homophobic vibe going on.

Back when I worked in Buffalo in the gorgeous Electric Building, and just after Buffalo had hosted the World University Games, I bought a membership in the Olympic-grade swimming pool now attached to the community college. I could park at the Electric Building before work, walk to the pool, swim a mess of laps, and go to work.

At that hour, the pool was full of Buffalo's power-elite, and I would hear about which first-person married man was schtooping how many hot babes behind her back, and you know it was locker-room talk and no-one was going to say anything about it. There was one guy who soaped himself up so thoroughly each day that he looked like a snowman. I myself swam in a speedo with burgeoning gut, which just makes me cringe now to think about it. But I was disciplined.

And now I remember back to the locker room in highschool, which must be where I refined my outsider status. Circle jerk, remember. But I was getting some back then, and maybe I was the only one. Nah, those stories couldn't all be made up . . . .

So when I hear Trump, it triggers me.  I really don't like being pounded up the ass. If some people do, that's fine with me. I don't really like to think about what other people do in bed or wherever, although if they want to do it as a show, I apparently can't not watch all the time, which doesn't distinguish me very much I think. I watch airbrushed women, just like you do, and it doesn't pleasure me much to say so.

Mostly, I'd like to be able to cuddle with men, but that's not going to happen in this life time. I'd like to be able to cuddle with certain women without the tension of sex over it and that's not going to happen either.

It's also not going to happen that we let Trump represent us as a people in any way shape or form. I say fuck him and the horse he rode in on.

I'm not talking about his supporters. They're angry just like you and I are, grasping after some kind of certainty and finding it in some narrative or other that congeals all those things which scare them. Hell, in my early mornings if some aspect of the complicated cloud-connected devices I work into my day isn't working, my mind spins into Internet Down, identity hacked, end-of-the-world apocalyptic true believing. I get it.

I have the self-same fear that everyone else does. But I don't think I'm out to get mine. I lead a simple-enough life - one which I think the entire world could share without a stretch. I'm surrounded by folks who dream about a bigger house, or paycheck or better car or faster devices, and I do have to suppress these urges in myself because to me it really is a zero-sum game and we shouldn't throw so many people into prison or so much food away.

As Trump would say about his dick, "I'm fine!" I like my life. What I don't like is insecurity about health-care costs, about keeping my job no matter how hard or well I might work, and about the state of the planet just now. I think I have a lot of company in that, and I think we need to cuddle up a bit and talk openly and honestly and not against one another. That's what I think.

Now I'm off to another wedding. I don't think it will be the fairy tale of my own daughter who has to conjur from whole cloth what she never did experience in her own life. We were not great examples of undying love, her Mom and I. Although my niece's model was even worse as far as I can tell. We all do it in our own way.

We had co-ed shower rooms in my day back in college. Not a bad idea to my way of thinking, no matter what the Carolinas think about it. Unless you're an ape, it's not really about sex all the time, and sometimes it's nice to be open in public without fear. Nah . . . .

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Who, at this moment, is not very confused? Perhaps because it was billed as having an audience score as high as the Super Bowl or perhaps because it nearly universally feels as though there is consequence to this year's election, I watched the Clinton/Trunp debate.

I watched from the safety of Canada, just across the stuffy border, overlooking once-dead Lake Erie. The signal came in fine to the retro-tube TV with attached digital converter. I'd set that up for my parents who were already at their limits with technology. Dad is gone now, and Mom is short on memory.

Of course my heart sank when the intro also resembled the super-bowl. Things seemed overproduced, and the old steady voice of Tom Brokaw was hauled in to add gravitas to Lester Holt. I watch NBC news sometimes randomly while I'm eating dinner. The ads reveal a demographic probably my age, but with which I don't yet identify. TV ads for medicine tune me out and turn me off. I just don't understand anymore the cheery confidence one is meant to have in the way that things just are.

The level of discourse fell far short of what one might hear in a routine barroom argument. Palpably, the broadcast medium had made it impossible for either of the debaters, and probably for any human being, to craft a response on the fly to be judged, as it were, for eternity. One wondered why any human being, certainly one so practiced and experienced as Hillary Clinton, would allow herself be be enchained like that. And already it was too late to walk away. Outrage would end it.

The Donald had long since, of course, mastered the mode of reality TV. Over-talking, grunts and grimaces, which as Jane Goodall reminds us, are basic genetic and biological heritage, no humanity required.

The Internet is overrun by apparently literate and nuanced and quite subtle writing, almost all of which is accessible for free. Facebook floods with angry partisanship, amazing each of us now with the hidden idiocy of someone we once did think we could love, or did kiss, or argued with in barrooms. If it were a football game it would feel so much less consquential. Name-calling would feel in jest.

My daughter was married this weekend in what was by all appearances a very traditional ceremony. The celebrant, their Law Professor and mentor, knew both bride and groom intimately, had purchased his license to officiate on the Internet, and raised the tone of the event to a height few among the guests had felt before. I contained myself for brief moments only, while I learned things about my daughter's recent argumentation before the State Supreme Court which she had been too modest to describe for me herself.

Near the entire wedding party had continued to work for social justice, not only in the US, but around the world. Humble and proud at the same time, which is what I felt as well, in the same venue from which my own marriage ended in divorce, also beautiful, also moving. As we led the party onto the dance-floor, my ex and I marveled at how much older our daughter is than we had been at the same age. I believed again in love.

I do.

Next day, Sunday, my younger daughter and her boyfriend found a place staying open between shifts where we could enjoy hamburgers in the baking sun. That was the only strategy on offer, to stay away from the blaring Bills game indoors and achieve some semblance of relaxation and repose post-event. That night I enjoyed a Cuban cigar and a half-bottle of Rioja, both imported for me by wedding partiers, while the sun set on a perfect weekend, across nearly two hours of post-connubial bliss.

Dusk's shifting colors - the colors of the still tainted lake - might have been the throes of end-times when everything moves to extremes. I drove the bride and groom to Toronto for their honeymoon flight to Italy through monsoon-style rain, which prevented me reading any road signs.

The Bills won, uncharacteristically, which gave everyone in the city a nice boost. I thought I'd left for the border crossing follies early enough to beat the crowd, since one doesn't expect Bills fans to depart the stadium early during a winning game. But I was wrong. No excitement on offer, so home they scurry as the better option against an after-party, when the tailgating is all ahead of the game.

No excitement on offer this election season, really. Anticipation of yet another disappointment feeling the powerlessness of fandom against a fix which is in from aggregated enthusiasms against all smaller places, all smaller personalities, all more modest ambitions.

There was no news worth reading post-debate, and so I read how Chinese "researchers" had hacked Tesla's cars, and watched their video triumph, just to practice my Chinese. I read a young scientist's parsing of the Brangelena calculus for breast-cancer's heritability, weighing the life of fear against a life of joy in the now.

I find no improvement to my life with artificial anything. Leather helmets, cranky shifters, leaking oil, the car has jumped the shark a long long time ago and there is no more fun in driving. There is nothing for me to do except to cower against the other guy. I will not raise my sails by pushbutton, as winning is not that important. Age requires retreat is all.

Ex-father-in-law ran some newspapers for Roy Park, friend of Buffet who still owns the Buffalo News. His papers, my ex's, pioneered computer typesetting, color printing, and were profitable beyond almost any other industry. Dead and gone and R.I.P., though they were thought essential at our nation's founding. We had a nice talk.

Let's hope and pray that all the boundaries dissolve, that terror is removed to screens and fiction, and that the fiction of scarcity is hacked to death the way that Tesla has been, and that breasts will remain unhacked and unaugmentted and full of mothers' milk.

I could pray for worse things, but I won't. There is life to be lived and now. On gilded pond.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Pace of Change

We are inundated with messaging urging our understanding that change is accelerating, that change is unprecedented and that this is something very new and related to technology. There is supposed to be an information explosion. If it weren't all so scary, it might be exciting.

In fact we have had our collective feet on the brakes for about a hundred years, and the brakes are burning out. We've had our feet on the brakes since the automobile came on the scene is the way it looks and feels to me. We like it here and would like to keep it this way, even to the point of extraordinary self-driving measures just so that we can keep the car.

There are so very many clever ways to rationalize this. That the self driving car is a reversion to the horse, which also largely drove itself. That the intelligence will move into the packet as it should, getting rid of circuit-switched driving which is just a road as track, when really the road should be ethernetted segments with look-ahead for virtual collisions to set an actual course for completion.

I remember during my brief life-span when food tasted natural and good, and I therefore retain the ability to tell the difference from the gamed food which we eat now. All the same genetic strain, all produced to survive transit, and all contributing to my incredibly expanding middle. Foul smells come from down below, and I suppose it will be an actual blessing when I lose the facility to tell.

On highways now as drivers jockey to impose the proper cruise-control speed with some benighted fool always hogging the left lane and really you want to pull in front and then slow way down just to force the issue. These are fundamentally murderous feelings, a rehearsal of our impatience to get moving again. To get off the road and into life.

It's the information technologies which will force this. Now that drones can catalog the earth in real-time on demand and now that this is seen as unequivocally better as though there were some natural imperative to see everything, know everything, do everything, all the time. Now that we all have keyboards at our desk, and no-one questions the improvements to productivity even though there is no time actually to talk with someone. To have a conversation. Those conversations are so damnably efficient at aligning minds and solving problems. No wonder we need keyboards and screens to keep us from them, promising equivalence with our friends and family on other continents. It never materializes.

What will happen when the brakes give out? Will nuclear weapons be loosed upon the instant? Is that what this is all about? Doctor Henry thinks so, maybe, that information technologies have finally destroyed national boundaries as those definers for balance of powers, and that now our states are fragmented and internalized to where it's the distributed cosmopolitan classes against the rest of us. Even toward death, Kissinger wants to stake his flag in the power center.

Me, I want a family. Too late though, am I right? I do enjoy my life alone too much.  I could never trust getting along with someone else in anything approaching a state of constancy. I don't mean fidelity - that ship has sailed. We would tire of one another, and I've blown my chances.

Maybe there really is such a thing as a death wish. Without position, how can I pander myself as one worth knowing? In position, I am behind another car hogging the passing lane. There is almost no point in trying to get around, to get by, to deal. The deals are all sewn up by the cosmopolitan power-elite, and bringing them down is proving to be lots of trouble.

But I do suppose that in the end the drones and drones of drones and all of our droning on and on will do it because there will be fools enough to expose the dirty dealings of those in charge. The dealings of those dirty dudes in charge. Dealers in charge. Deal me out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

CRISPR Gene Editing

So, here I go again, about to enter an arena where I have no qualifications. But I enter as a public citizen, concerned about yet another wilding trend among the intelligentsia. In that sense, I may end up aligned with religionists who invoke received word and the Name of God. I hope not.

I wish I could say that I'm an expert on random, but I know there are far better experts out there, including some who use their detailed knowledge of stochastic processes to imagine perfected machine intelligence in our near-term future.

I wish I could say that I'm an expert on Chinese culture, but I continue to struggle to get on top of yet another arena where I refuse to specialize to the point of having something trued to say.

Still, like the tall fellow who can easily say that he's above 99% of the population, I probably know more about these things than your average English-literate bear.

First, on the China thing. I am truly and deeply disturbed and annoyed by how many Chinese plant their selfhood in something that gets called "blood." If you look Chinese, then no matter where you are you can and should call yourself Chinese, and join in the pride.

Of course there are many Chinese by that definition who know far less Chinese language and culture than I do, and so I find this attitude to be a blatant kind of racism. It makes me want to wave the American flag, if that weren't already expropriated by our own home grown narrow-minded racists, religionists, anti-socialists and on down or up the list.

Still, we Americans do not fundamentally plant our identity in our genes. We worry a bit about disease tendencies which come down the genetic line, and sometimes associate these with statistically meaningful racial designations, even when and though these racial designations have no actual "meaning" relative to our humanity.

These are statistical associations and not death sentences, in pretty much the same way that you might be able to smoke cigarettes your whole life and still not die of lung cancer.

My own way around this is to confess that I am NOT human. I work on becoming human each and every day, and it is not easy. I believe that my humanity is composed of my ability to read and write, and that humanity did indeed begin only some five thousand years ago, with the emergence of written language.

Here in the West, we have a very hard time moving away from the "In the Beginning" kind of statements. Big Bang. Creation. The Word. Made Flesh.

In China, there is more of a tradition of transformation out of chaos, and if you look at the writing system and read of its origins, it is much easier to imagine writing emerging from the world about, rather than being invented or dropped on man out from some blue.

We are not evolved to read and write, but those things which have contributed to our immensely powerful pattern recognizing brain did apparently favor quick discernment of lines and corners such that you can reduce information down almost to the most elemental tracings and still recognize a word when you see one.

Of course, even in Chinese, the written word is mostly about associations with a spoken language. Much has been written about the superiority of alphabetic languages - English in particular - and how the advent of this simple encoding of speech patterns enabled so much of what we tend still to call our progress.

Not so very long ago, while I was on an even steeper learning curve with Chinese than I am on just now, it was thought world-wide that the Chinese written language could and should disappear entirely, since linguists knew that it could easily be supplanted by any arbitrary phonetic transcription. This is pretty much high linguistic dogma, and who am I to disagree with it?

But the surprising thing is that computerization and the information revolution did not leave the Chinese written language behind at all. Indeed Chinese may already have surpassed English on the Internet by some measures of text generated each day or minute or year or what you will. Digital technologies have liberated Chinese from its quaint ghetto, rather than to banish it.

You may ascribe this tremendous growth to the speed with which the Chinese economy has overtaken all but one of the world's largest, organized as these economies still are into nation-states and other unnatural impositions on the biomass of Earth.

You may do that, but it would still be to beg the question of why China was able to grow so fast. You may wish to blame that on the greedy outsourcing of production to drive prices to the very bottom (which was never to give you something cheaper - it was always to pump the money more efficiently to the top - you have to true the incentive structures here). You may predict that China cannot overcome the speed bump of middle income.

But you would be ignoring that legitimate feeling that Chinese have when they feel proud of their Chineseness. China has only recently been a nation-state. A better term proposed by a scholar more learned than I shall ever be would be to call China a civilization state. It is in fact formed around a core identity composed of a long and still largely coherent written tradition which goes back to the advent of the written word. Resolution out of chaos.

This pride is legitimate, but not by claim of blood. It still takes lots of work to own it, and perhaps even if only by the relative distance that I have had to cross in order to gain its measure, I may claim to have worked much harder than many Chinese. I often feel resented for that in China, because I remain a relative clod. I'd be better off acting the American ape.

As I said, to mock a fine translation of the Dream of the Red Chamber, I am mostly Hardleigh Yuman. I certainly don't stake my humanity on my genetic line, fine though it may seem to be. I retain some very dim hope to get there before I die, but the oxygen thins and the peak is shrouded in storm as I grow older just when the most energy is required of me.

 Mass dissemination of the Bible the sutras occurred in both east and west. The printing press, the wood-block process, and the arcane methods for deciphering the written word became ever more distributed and dispersed. Down from Church Latin, and Confucian examination tortured poetics, to we the people, the vulgar, the great unwashed. The masses.

Now finally, when the motor memory to read and write Chinese is mostly obliterated by its power and reach, the Internet makes reading and less often writing almost as natural as breathing for almost everyone.

And if you can't write well, you can post photos and videos and we are encouraged to think that this is bringing people closer together across a magically shrinking globe.

Except that hate feels still ascendant.

We engage with the world through a screen darkly. We grow fat on processed foods which magically engorge our want faster than our bellies can feel full. It's the economy, stupid, and this is how it works. There is no yacht too big, no houses too many, no luxury out of reach and we comfort ourselves that the economy is the farthest thing possible from a zero-sum game so that we can ignore the structural forces which exacerbate inequities and perceived and ever more real and terrifying inequalities.

China, again, is the great example of the benefits of liberated want. China will jump on the gene-editing bandwagon more quickly than anywhere else,Both among the scientific diaspora and in the labs of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou etcetera.

This probably because they are less afraid, these Chinese (there I tag "them") of creation out of nothing. Grotesque monsters conjured by experiments gone awry. Catalytic melt-down of the biosphere by unloosed ravelling gene-strands.

Or have they already jettisoned from their own cultural center, leaving that to a different sort of less celebrated scholar, now that they have mastered the language of Western science?

I confess that I get as excited as the next guy to imagine tailor made cures for my defects, for cancer, for my children's likely intelligence or even beauty (though that ship has sailed and my luck was good and true!). I long for ways to save the elephants, digest the plastic dead zones in our seas, bring biofuel quickly to market, remove the carbon from the atmosphere in time for meltdown avoidance. I really do.

This is exciting! I already seem to prefer those foods wrapped in plastic at the end of a long trip that they were bred for, since as a single guy I can eat them before they rot in my refrigerator. Hell, what if they were able to cure Alzheimers before my mind is fuzzed by it!

But from a longer view, it won't have made a difference. I may not have any more to say than I have already said, and if I can't know how to make it beautiful, there will be someone coming after.

Most of what has made me me has been the impingement of chance encounters. I haven't made as much of these as I should have, unlucky in life and love is probably only a character defect and not the Fates' responsibility.

But only in the very recent West post-Darwin do we assign meaningless to random. Typically, we focus on the alphabetic soup of genetics instead of its expression. We think that rewriting the code will change the chance environment out of which that expression sprang across the eons, as though making a better me will change the conditions for my thriving.

In physics, there is a newly re-imposed grid where Ether was found impossible to be. Superconducting Higgs condensate blinking in and out of existence seems to be essential to our understanding of the physical world at that level of detail. Almost as though mind did pervade the cosmos since there is no longer nothing there in vacuum.

And as was the case with the first round of Cartesian grid-work, we will fail to notice the imposition of mind over matter, and the banishment of tortured body from its liberated soul.

It is not our mind, it is our body which pervades all of outer spaces. We are in some sense the point of time's arrow. And yet we are trapped within metaphor as the only figure of speech we know. We still think that there are thingy things in the ideal realm which is the playing field of mathematics.

Again, reverting to the Chinese case where the poetic couplet crowds metaphor out, it is more about ways of seeing, not things seen, by juxtaposition of rhyme and reason, sounds and furies, posed in legible opposition on the page.

If we tinker with genetic codes we only create detached impossible beings which never did evolve. We will have crawled into the screen and just like Kurzweil hopes to do become eternal so long as no one flips our switch. And all that we will be is a very high-resolution simulacrum.

Far far more anxious am I to know how to make contact with my fellow so-called human beings, than to set out finding other life, by definition from our distant past if they are alive in our now, and in our near dead ended future if not. Lonely in the cosmos is never so sad as lonely here on Earth.

I am not convinced that gravity is the end of what shapes our physical being. There is love in creation, and I posit e-motion as the only stable definition for simultaneity. No boson gauge particles can be exchanged, because emotion is a force which exists in mind alone and mind indeed does pervade the cosmos still and evermore.

Not an extended grid, but the deeper meaning of chaos is not the exile of random, but the chance of our time-evolved and still evolving being. Granted by love from a Center I shall not Name. It is not enough to eradicate disease and our shortcomings. Far better to comfort the sick and deficient and out of luck true hearts. You will not find these in the halls of power.

We must engage with the uncarved block, and rather not to be creative.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Calculus of Love

As well you know, gentle reader, once upon a time during  my ill-spent and still quite interminable youth, I did declare that gravity is love, love is gravity and thought I was done with it. I had learned that gravity determines the shape of the cosmos, and loudly doubted that there would ever be gravitons to discover, nor waves.

When I couldn't gain traction in any learned discussion, I pretty much dropped the entire subject and have lived a long life, happily ever after as it were, and was and still shall be (though I did not wear a helmet).

In a manner desultory to some extreme, I did await further enlightenment, indulging random-seeming curiosity along my way up against a now seeming rapid decay of memory. I was quite certain that there must be some more enlightened fellow human being who would true this discourse that I'd quite given up on.

No such luck, right? We still seem on the brink of something which feels an awful lot like disaster, and I have still been suffered to exist. My estimates have been way off!

So, ever moving toward the conclusion of this fine though popular rendition of the antics of 20th Century physics, it does occur to me that I had one thing quite wrong, or rather it never did occur to me with the right spin factor. I hadn't accounted for the simultaneity of emotion.

I mean radical simultaneity of the sort which stops the cosmos, as in there is no propagation as there are no physical particles on exchange. Duh!

As I do quite vaguely recall calculus, at which I did seem to excel while not grokking a single bit of it, the method provided a means to conclude calculations which were otherwise quite literally interminable. You take terms in a mostly artificial manner to their limits and sum over the resulting near-perfect approximation.

Computers, naturally, can do the same thing for far more complex structures than does figuring on paper, and so we have a whole new branch of experimental mathematics whose solutions are rather more demonstrated than proven. Cool!

Whole worlds have been created on these combined methods, which are themselves rather equally terrifying and exciting (as though those two were in opposition). And yet mostly now we wish reality to be screened and framed, since we cannot bear the actual so-called natural gravity of it. Many even fantasize that there will be technical solutions to each and every one of our complaints, as though slings and arrows might sting for nevermore.

I scratch myself to bleeding now and wish I wouldn't.

I have declared that we are each our own cosmos, never noticing that this is but a physical reality. Conceptually, we inhabit that eternal now which is in Mom's blasted mind, who puts a smile to it as best she can. Present are all who came before and follow, distant only by space-time and memory's recession into binary squares.

I did watch with no small quantum of sadness last night as simulated mankind trumps common sense in anger at loss. Which is but a natural response to being dissed and cheated and ignored. Wrong prophet is all, wrong psychopathic channeler of rage to oversimplified conclusion. Every preacher is such a man, and so no shame in it.

And yet our knowledge of physical reality does approach love, by narrowing intervals of if-not calculus then according to some simplifying factor that we are all in it together, whether we would like to wall ourselves off in some gated portion of spaceship Earth, or no.

Still there is no human on the planet, as it was never our DNA nor measurable intelligence which distinguishes us from beastliness. It was only ever our love, which might bind us to eternity, and all those teeming others which might inhabit our cosmos but eons away, reduced to now if we would open to them. We cannot get there by ignoring those just in front of us.

Toodles then, it's off to work that I must go, though I will return to work the clarity of this utterly trivial statement when I have the time. There is still the painfully trivial calculus to make a living.