Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in CrisisHillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So here's the scene: My Yale Law grad daughter and her new Yale Law grad husband gave me this book for Christmas - hardcover, even though they know I'm moving down the social scale and plan to boondock in the flyover states and won't have weight margins for bookshelves, nevermind hardcover. I think maybe it's like bear-bating, that I'll offer back an incisive complaint about some aspect that bugs me. They know me well. And they'll get it back to read, along with a handy readers guide.

I'm in a state, sure, staying safe in Canada in the family's deteriorating one-time summer home which I put in shape some eons ago when my parents were more vital, and perhaps younger than I am now. I feel out of place here, since the whole business of summer places is way above my pay grade, and I'm annoyed that nature is taking her course with something whose value is between me and retirement one step above trailer trash. I want to wash my hands of the whole dirty business, though the family was never wealthy. Hard-working lawyers, scientists, engineers and only a few ne'er do wells on any side.

I got myself ready for my read - mostly beneath consciousness - by resolving not to provision the house which should have been shuttered by now. Pipes should be drained and antifreeze applied, but what with global warming and my cheapness it's been kept open at least partly on my behalf; Too cheap to come "home" otherwise, and no other family home with beds not spoken for or boundaries of intimacy I'd be willing cross. We are not hillbillys, alas, at least not anymore.

Somehow eggs remain in the fridge, of utterly indeterminate age, a few hot dog buns, some processed cheese in shrink-wrap of some sort, and miraculously a bag of plain oatmeal. At least regarding the latter, I feel secure. The rest of it proves to be a collective miracle of food preservation chemistry, since as far as I can tell it all tastes the same as it would on day one. God knows how I survived the eggs - I know them to be naturally durable like hillbillys are, tatum! I confess some self-conscious complicity in my unplanned diet as I get into the book.

See, this guy, J.D., is pulling himself up by bootstraps, and I'm dragging myself down, maybe by WASP-guilt, I don't know. But I have more legitimate study of the the sociology he glancingly references than he does, and I've chosen away from personal success, and I see in processed cheese which was - I'm not making this up - invented on the very street where I now write - some glowing metaphor of evil. Ditto Peter Thiel, who he lists as a reader.

So, is he trying to maintain some pride in his accomplishment when he exposes social flaws in the thinking of his peers? Their laziness, their self-destruction. He doesn't quite mention their annoyance with identity politics, because I don't quite get the feeling that this author is informed about real class politics, and Marx's money as a life-force. I don't sense close awareness of history's sweep, and the larger significance of this moment in it.

But I'm not in a great position to be critical. And I have to say that the book is much more than the viral title - good timing with Trump - which I was pretty sure composed the sum total of its best-seller status.

I just didn't learn all that much here. I've lived among Hillbillys of the Western New York variety, and I have a branch of my own nuclear family which was kidnapped by arriviste Hillbillys of a lower and more fallen sort than described here - which is a stunning claim if you read the book - and I have therefore some acquaintance with the dangerous undertow about which Vance writes.

What I quibble with is what he lays out implicitly as constituting success. A bit too much Christianity as though its undoubted social good negates the need for truth value. A bit too much American Dream writ real-estate, but still I take his point.

My neighbor in the hills was a teaparty founder, plenty intelligent, Airforce captian, full of his certainties which sure weren't mine. I still can't just shrug off earnest bearded do-gooder wannabes who maybe swallow conspiracy theory whole too much, the way that Vance does, when the whole power structure plays out to some dimensions of caricature beyond even conspiracy delusions. I mean Trump is going to be our next president, so buy this particular book to understand it?? I guess you could do worse.

I think the better buy might be to document sociologically the insular quality of those who come to their Yale law pedigree by birthright, and then take that to the Council on Foreign Relations and then decide the fate of the hapless Hillbilly masses, not just within our borders, but across the globe, and glibly assume that our current arrangements, including arms sales and deployments to defend our military-industrial-might cannot be tampered with. The emoluments on the inside must be pretty darned nice. Even co-conspirator Hillary got addicted to those drugs. On balance, is heroin worse?

Anyhow, I'm proud that my variously blue and alien-red blooded familiars work for human rights and international legal reform away from the nativism gripping the globe. I think I might know China better than Amy Chua does - not sure - but I hear echos of Tiger Mom mentality here. I am so utterly done with rugged individualistic identity politics as a disguise for blatant lottery arrangements for who gets the prizes, in or out of school, not to mention the costs of membership. I'll take a bit more wealth redistribution and social infrastructure investment, thank you very much. It just doesn't look to me as though grit can get a person all that far, and academic grinds just don't seem all that well-trained in helping the world to a better place.

How about let's redistribute productivity gains to the workers who earned them, and not only to the intellectual property privateers who rake the piles high behind club barriers where the bar for entry is a certain kind of trustworthiness regarding the arrangements. Where supermanager salaries represent the cost of our soul to the rest of us, which just makes them trailer trash too, viz Donald, less the hillbilly honor, of course.

I will eagerly await Vance's next book, after he grows a bit more, and after some closer encounters with those of us headed in the other direction. I think he may not be acquainted with the value of public sanctuary that is not owed - the thing he got from his grandma, and the thing which we withhold from so many and to such an extent that we hardly deserve to be called a nation in any meaningful sense of that word. We sure are powerful though, for the moment.

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I feel bad about this one, since the fellow is so nice and honest in his writing. I think he just simply doesn't notice how fully he's been co-opted by the structure which allowed him, grace SAT perhaps, into the elite circle. He hasn't the discernment, yet, to tell the difference between and among kind professors and gatekeepers. He hasn't quite become the sociologist for the "other" that he has for his own background, though one can forgive him his seduction, forgive the plays made for his sweet soul even, and forgive his repudiation of his native ground. We all commit those same sins all the time. We are all abstractable from our selves, and I don't even believe in a self, abstracted or otherwise.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

An Utterly Pragmatic Platform for the New Era

No ideology here, although I presently write from Canada, so my thoughts may be suspect. In no particular order then, here is a list of non-partisan, utterly practical positions to take, cutting through the messy and moribund political processes:

  • No more arms sales, period. Build whatever we need for our national defense, and gradually return its use to within our own borders, and never against our own citizens.
  • Stop being concerned about rifle and handgun sales, but be very concerned about open or concealed carry in congested places. Gradually remove guns from police on the beat and in patrol cars, and gradually reduce the size, number and armaments of SWAT teams, who can be deployed as needed.
  • End the theatrics of border crossings, and require registration in advance.
  • Require true identity for all Internet publishing (this also resolves border crossing issues) and institute micropayments for re-publication of one's own free expression, 
  • Assert privacy and ownership of all data at its origin, allowing government to request decryption of public security monitoring devices only with subpoena. The government cannot require the decryption of private data. Ever.
  • End not-for-profit and religious tax-deductability. This allows end run destruction of church/state separation, and allows for self-brand aggrandizement for political or other purposes beyond the reach of regulation. Most particularly, it allows for wealthy-elite clubs like the Ivy League and so forth to be enriched at ordinary people's expense. 
  • Stop subsidizing College study at the individual level, but instead subsidize institutions, perhaps according to the socioeconomic makeup of their student bodies. Even better, tie subsidies inversely to median SAT scores, combined with retention to graduation, and perhaps inversely on expenditures on marketing and real-estate. Encourage difference, and not competition for pre-proven success stories.
  • Always counter arms-race style vicious cycles of any and all sorts which encourage Pareto peaks of elite winners against the masses. 
  • Deconstruct definitions for genius and even intelligence, which legitimate a skewed reward system by the internalization of deficiencies and surpluses far in excess of reality's spread. If you read and write and speak intelligibly, you get to be counted as fully human.
  • Robots can't be human, as they are by definition slaves.
  • Deconstruct mythology surrounding meritocracy, mostly by requiring equality of legal expense burden for prosecution and defense.
  • Allow and require only public funding for all elections at all levels.
  • Re-instate distinctions between commercial banking and savings and loan. Revert savings and loan to a model based on the former Spanish caja, where the bank is owned by its depositors.
  • Tax non-productive financial gains at the highest rate (let's say never over 50%), prove productivity by per-worker compensation in relation to productivity.
  • Gradually remove tax-deductability of mortgage payments. 
  • Remove state boundaries for all health insurance.
  • Make health-care providers accountable for coverage at point of admission, instead of consumers who cannot understand the fine print. 
  • Require true and level pricing for all health-care (remove from insurance companies the ability to negotiate discounts).
  • Abolish law suits to recover healthcare payments except in cases of fraud.
  • Establish national healthcare insurance for catastrophic accident or illness at some percentage of income and wealth holdings to define catastrophe, and legislated agreement about the difference between required and elective.
  • Calculate the external (socially born) costs for energy and mineral extraction and for manufacturing effluent, strictly according to an econometric environmental model, which includes all related healthcare, cleanup, and barrier costs.
  • Repeal zoning laws.
  • Dissassemble interstate highways.
  • Require all new structures to demonstrate structural durability in excess of the cost to demolish and rebuild.
  • Nationally allow nomadic existence, without distinction regarding citizenship, healthcare, and create public sanctuary in all municipal jurisdictions.
  • Allow all citizens to vote, regardless of criminal record, and expunge criminal record upon release from prison or payment of penalty.
  • Permanently outlaw any payments for use of courts, prisons, emergency rescue, or other forms of economic discrimination against the poor.
  • Nationally require that 10% of architectural expenses be devoted to public art installations, accepted as such by citizen boards accountable to elected officials.
  • Revise patent and copyright law toward open-source software and hardware (true identity can also dis-assemble distribution agencies as profit skimming aggregators). 
  • Dis-allow the purchase or re-assignment of patent rights.
  • Devise Internet search as a public utility, and disallow keyword auctioning by taxing it directly at a rate to approach 100% over a relatively short period of time. 
  • Allow Internet commercial postings in designated virtual "real-estate", removing such signage from the landscape as has been the case in Vermont for a long time.
  • Disallow all *push* advertisement.
  • Disallow individualized tracking of search and internet perusal.
  • Publish the true carbon-content for all foods.
  • Tax oil according to the model for cigarettes, where true external costs, including future value, are incorporated into the price. 
  • Establish public ownership for all land below some certain depth and all air above some certain height.
  • Allow contracting of extraction and cleanup on a cost-plus basis.
  • Institute some combination of term-limits against higher pay and better protection for civil servants in politically responsive office. 
  • Require voting, and make it trivially simple by declaring election day a holiday.
  • Create population districts by some silly algorithm relating to alphabetic order or a random number generator (once people learn to game naming). This will end geographic gerrymandering, and indeed all sorts of geographic boundaries which are without administrative meaning.
  •  Level school funding at whatever administrative regional level (up to state level) incorporates the full range of socio-economic distinction, with additional social services funded according to socio-economic need.
Well, I suppose that's enough - it just goes crazy from here, but maybe some principle emerges. I mean if Trump can get elected, surely I can dream, right? The absurdity quotient is in my favor, I think.

Anyhow, the goal is subtly to reconstrue the economics of our lives so that the incentive structure no longer encourages us to screw our fellow man according to the internals of our corporate team, and where the real incentive is something other than greed at the top. I wouldn't mind a rule limiting executive compensation, but I'd rather that come through more organically. 

After all, I would like to contribute to the preservation of the good life, and I don't mind a bit of elite if it can guide us. Just stay away, please, from the crass of the various military industrial complexes and the inbreeding of power. 

Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Solstice Rant

Can we all just shut the fuck up? As though something has happened, as though there were some system failure, as though this massive trainwreck over a century in the making could have been derailed (what?) by some onetime righteous lazy vote. As though people give a shit enough, as though we could be educated out from slumber, as though we did actually believe that our fine wet dream of a Republic could be jerk-tugged out from under us, protected as it was by sacred constitutional Word.

Trump is not alive, he's not a man, he's not even the Rump the ass end of this angry masculinist Leviathan, not even the fingernail he's the horn where the third eye should be, outgrowth of missing hair maybe, where there is no feeling, numb, but tweak it and Leviathan grows angry, claws and murders more innocents, draws blood across the planet, cares not for women, children, only for inside the globo incorporated body public or private as though there were some difference anymore where team spirit means screw your fellow man for the good of the bosses' wealth because you let them believe they are better than you. Fuck that. Einstein the first superstar, been downhill from there, public man celebrity I don't fucking care about Brad Pitt's children I care about mine.

We've watched it grow, done nothing as, let's just say, Republicanism morphs into Brand without ideology without heart without soul without meaning only HOWLing for power, power to masculinist strange-haired slick people with like for brylcreem neatness maybe, polyester foundations, warrior faces on the women too hot to touch. As though it makes the other side look good, red blue red white blue go team! And they dare to abuse Jesus' Name that way, against the women the children, against the Man who was in touch with his softer side, as though crystal towers raised into our darkest night could cause the idiot winds to vortex into their one spot.

These days will grow longer and you will read Lionel Trilling on Sincerity and Authenticity maybe in the shortened nights and you will read Julian Drunken Jaynes maybe and the Closing of the American Mind if you're on the other side, OK Margaret, OK Ursula Philip K?, strangers in my land I will love you always and you will read the Bible if you care to, the idiot winds of Mormon Mammon Moloch, have it your way Koran, but you will form the stronger Spaceship Earth who is our Mother Fucking Mother, and not separate and disconnected. Not some Fucking Machine. You will form the Uprise of the Feminine and stop complaining about China where they consign now a quarter of their own to a pack o' Luckys a day, which was meant to be the target on our backs, slicked shoe blackened hair red ties where do these silly memes come from?

We have won, OK, game over, we have always looked like Donald to the World, he was always our blondered mascot, his behavior is consistent with the body politic, OK, so get over it, you cannot disown him because you have been complicit, you have seen him cumming which is all that he is about the lowest the most common the denominator for our collective power, and we have manipulated more elections deposed more honest brokers than anyone cares to count, we feel only the life-force of Money, so says Honest Karl. More Hate Just Makes it Grow. More Amazon acquisition to mock the women warriors ever lowering our most common, there are no jobs but for sellouts, and we jail the ones who have only nothing to keep them safe from our want. What, they have black skin? Is that all you've got, MoFo??

This is not an Uncle Sam thing this is a Global thing, and we've already seen how quickly our Silicon Valley techno masters will jump in line to kiss the hem behind the Republican sellouts thinking that their world must go on, not ours, not the one where my softer side lives, excluded by club rules, excluded, there was a human in the White House and he was whited out by history somehow, believing in the system now, hoping that the surveillance state can home in on individual nasties the same way that Google homes in on your desires, that Facebook fans the idiot winds that Dylan is our only honorable soul who resists a brand on his white work, resists temptation to be that celebrity face on that escalating power of destruction TNT, nukes, the blood flows, the blood is vaporized, the pain is fleeting, fuck. Keep the Snowden Crash in check, keep those images coming, keep the man down, boot on neck.

Awake and be good unto your fellow man, for Christ's sake awake if you don't care enough for you and yours! This is no time to feed our baser self. The days will grow longer and we fear it but there is no need to melt the species and make ourselves just one voice. There is no need to project such control freakish power of our fears into the void. That just makes us as cosmically dead as that doornailinourwilliamsloanfuckingfaulknercoffin Big Fucking Deal! So we elected Noboddady. Let's unravel it, OK? One strand at a time, and Bighorn will go limp, deconstructed, right, with language not geared toward academic advance KISS MY ASS it's only hair, Hillaryous hair. No choices were ever on offer on the right side. We gave up flyaway hair we cannot sleep. Awake too early every fucking morning this is happening all over. Parted neatly, half by half, it were never gendered it were never neutral it were never so sad, the Gift of the Magi, Baby Jesus.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Know These Things are True or The Santa Clause

I inhabit a bad set of habits now. I find myself always entertaining the contrarian point of view. Watchng events unfold in Aleppo, I ask myself what about Allied bombing of Dresden, which got Vonnegut started? What about dropping the atomic bomb? Who are we to judge? If someone simply knows that something is right, don't they have some sort of obligation to convince? Kissinger certainly thinks so.

My whole life up to now, I've maintained a conjecture; a kind of bet with myself. There are certainties I hang on to, that I can't imagine ever overturning, and so I ask myself what if there were a way to overturn these?

Not what if there were a Santa Claus, more like can I even imagine that there is a God? The proposition has been made so utterly ridiculous by apologists for godism, which is so blatantly a front for patriarchy, it would feel almost like believing in Santa Claus. Merry Christmas!

But I hedge, and so as with the spirit of Christmas where the Santa clause might as well be true, since it feels true and I like that my kids can be made to believe it, I take God down from engendered being, remove the "He" pronoun, take the whole thing to ultimate ends, and find myself, surprisingly really, a new believer.

How I got here is quite the story. It may even be edifying. But how would I tell it? As protagonist of my own life, I wonder at all the marvelous activities fate has turned my way, and yet there is scant adventure. I live mostly in shadow, out of the fire, out of the limelight, away from recognition, away from danger if I can afford that.

I say protagonist because Lionel Trilling lately reminds me that heroes don't populate novels. Novels have didactic intent, while heroic epics, more like the Bible, aim to inspire belief. Something like that. Anyhow, it does strike me that any young black male not in jail is a hero, endowed with supernatural talents and looks to accompany those, in the negative perhaps, but nonetheless the right heroic look. I myself cannot even endure expulsion from the workplace from where my identity arises, so imagine what it must feel like never to have had such privilege. To belong. I am organization man, which is what makes it easier to imagine that the wrong is right and who are we to say?

I would like my organization to win, my College, and lately I think that's no different than to want Verizon, were I to work there, to make lots of money off the backs of ordinary stiffs like me if I weren't inside the organization and potentially enjoying some esoteric structure of reward and fear which in-forms my identity during waking hours. No wonder that cynicism is the only honest stance.

The mystery I will never uncover is why we so willingly throw fellow man under the bus for such little gain. I think it cannot be the incentives, since no matter how many times we play whatever lottery we already know we cannot be in the bosses' range. And yet it still hurts when he slights us. When he moves to greet a properly subservient fellow-worker, and the messaging back on me is that I don't even exist, though I do continue to work hard for the good of the organization.

It must be fear. It must be hardwired. Connection to alpha male for safety.

It's the promoting of my own inner circle of friends and family which leaves the young black men apart. I have only the most corrected thoughts and yet they will never get my endorsement because I do not know them. I would love them if only they would let me, is what I think, which sounds a lot like "fuck you" internally and I know it.

So I will have to try to find a way to tell my story this unhappy Christmas, when so many of us are trying to calm ourselves that who are we to say since Hillary was so very hard to believe and to trust. It was the money, it was the low common of wanting that so much, and Trump somehow that much more frank about it and about wanting hot women and so we trusted him because there is so little to trust, fake news, fake stories we tell ourselves to sanitize self-image since there is no truth anymore anyhow, and I have no idea what I can do about it. Any of it.

But must we normalize this? Really??!! I feel my character tested. How far am I willing to go, and I don't even have that many incentives to keep on going, since I'm old and without prospect of any sort at all beyond winning some lottery, which I already did win by being born white and male and even that is not enough to keep the fear at bay.

The fear is composed of little bits of knowledge that I did internalize. About those times I would have died were there not technologies to keep me going. Which is our way of putting fate in the background and human intention in the foreground, and that just foregrounds fear since strokes of God were always available before, and evermore. There is terror now to be without them, these bits of support, sometimes taken in pill form, trusting, sometimes taken in body scans, in going along with this theater of the absurd where my part is better than no part.

And still the Fates are always in charge, and the fabric of my trust in fellow man is frayed, and even the composition of those pills is in doubt. I would trust the brand the FDA regarding generic identity the doctor as an honest broker and still it mostly all does work and only very rarely does some other driver disobey the basic rules of the road.

Was it Lionel Trilling also who called the automobile what it is, that steering wheel down into the soul of reality, and now human intentionality inhabits self-driving cars, the auto-automobile, and no wonder we've lost our trust in systems so fully now, the wheel removed from our grasp and Google recording our voice-print the better to know you my pretty, so that I can obey your every command who needs a wheel to grasp? I know your personal desires and history better than even you do yourself, just try answering an automated credit bureau derived identity quiz and be that reassured that it is only machine anonymous knowledge that no one person could ever use against you.

They say now that there are well over one million top security cleared operatives in our nation counting officials and contractor hangers-on and so why is there only one Snowden, exactly? I'd like to know. And how many can access our credit history, and how many are sworn to machine secrecy, and could they cheat as easily as some Chinese kid taking the Gaokao. Why not, I'd like to know.

I suppose that the worst to happen would be that the self-driving G-car would calmly slow and pull to side of road when the entire cyber-system crashes, as it inevitably will and must, and that won't be so bad, not like falling out of the sky when the pilot isn't skilled enough anymore to second-guess the autopilot doing something really stupid programmed in.

The skills we will need then at that moment will all be social, as in how to get together with all the other stranded passengers and how to reconcile some truth worth living by and for, at least just to get us home, at least just to get us somewhere not stuck by the side of some road where we are not technically lost, but just simply haven't been paying attention and can't even navigate north and can't even tell which way home might be.

Which all puts me in the mind of God, this true North perhaps in moral terms which was the source of life in the first place, did you think it arose by random? A striving for centers for hearth for home for things to trust which are not things but actual people who have been trued over time who know us who know me who hate no-one that I even don't know because I don't know them I can't hate them.

The trick is to trust the scholars, even though they have their own causes for organizational advancement which can make them needlessly inscrutable, but they are that much closer to the truths of history, say, and science and mustering evidence instead of just those feelings we have of in or out. The trick is to render up the best of us, which we have certainly not now done in promoting the Donald beyond even his own wildest dreams of his own self-importance. He is by far the least of us, never cracking a book and that's why we like him because we are not made the fool. Nevermore.

The trick is to promote the best among us, not the ones with the strongest feelings and the greatest loudest need to convince you of their truths, the trick is to find and trust those who have invested that much effort in trying to understand and to make sense and guess what you won't find them working for global corporations vying in power with federal governments of various stripes. You won't find them wielding armies, promoted up the ranks of killing machinery, and you won't find them at the pinnacle of money making schemes of any sort. There is a difference between making and making money.

To the extent that we know not how to be we acquire things and give money a life of its own and invoke the very Santa clause which is the antithesis of baby Jesus. Which makes me pretty much a Marxist, but can we at least agree that it must be post-post-Marxism. Yes it is capitalism which makes it all bad, but never on the local scale.

We confer our identity anonymous to the Internet and somehow thought that this would make things better? So that those who own the plumbing can aggregate value not from our alienated labor but from knowing our wants and selling those to highest bidder and no matter what me might have to say it will never get enough clicks to avoid feeding this beast this life-form the Moloch (is that what Ginsberg called it, he knew Trilling, he was anointed by knowledge of a certain stripe) which lives off our backs on our blood so much has been spilled across this most recent century I will never apologize for Aleppo this evil cannot stand.

The Godhead its opposite in all ways. Trump in meltdown looks like the decent among us, running amok in love having relinquished the wheel having taken our bewilderment about just what it is we must and shall do next and leaving it on the road and talking to one another and finding our way together and no one will pay attention no matter what he Tweets and twitters into his own eternal night for he never did be in the first place. Authentic precisely nothing.

Monday, November 28, 2016

In a Dream State

Just now, Google is the State. Or Apple, or Microsoft, or Amazon. These are the players for my mind. If I click on terms of use they can revoke my cyberspace citizenship of an instant, and I would be bereft. Stateless and out of touch.

We are now so very attached to our State, still imagining ideals, so-called democracy. In my dream state sometimes still I fall in love. Sometimes still I mistake my dream other according to airbrushed machine love, but it is never the act which gets the dream going, it is always the upwelling of so-called love. I am distressed by youth and blond whiteness. What does this tell of my essential self?

Our state has now been hijacked by someone who will say what the Everyman wants to hear. He is white and apparently blond. He looks some part, but more angry than the Avatars we accepted once upon a time. These came across more benign. There is menace in the air, and it remains somewhat less than human. My essential self.

The state is meant to render up the best of us. Assiduous attempts to create a psychometric model for human behavior according to what we check out on screens renders up click bait without truth value. Now in place of the best of us, we render up lowest common denominator and call it leadership because our constitution says we must. And there is ever decreasing truth value to that which we click upward.

Believers in the Christ pray and take the Word before the fact, knowing that all men are sinners and to expect a good man to know the Word would be like expecting God to be Man, which happens only once in history. And then we're done.

And yet if they are black, we do not accept redemption as a possibility, no matter the grounds for their upbringing. Those others, those others. They still seem so much less than I do.

God is other to me, but no less real for that. There will be no more words, there will be simulated reality and it will render up the worst of us, redundantly and apparently, and this time for keeps. Done.

There is audacity in hope.

But radical hope is counter cultural and my cultural conditioning still gives me blond dreams and I would be done with these.

There is audacity in love.

Love is a cosmic value, no matter how many times we can improve on our physical approximations of universal and eternal. No matter how the maths evolve, they will not stand-in for some ideal world, perfectly formed and without love forevermore.

There is no universal constant but for love, fantasies of control recede, fantasies of domination overcome us so attached are we to universals but a reflection of our fallen selves.

Ideal was magnet to future as fantasy I know my future now as love which is never ideal and only real.

May we say Amen?

We shall reinvent the state and we shall prevail. There is good in them thar masses.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Click Here, ACLU

Well, the Leviathan has tripped. If Google can perform the moral equivalent of chopping off a hand for the offense of stealing a loaf of bread, on the force of a clicked user-agreement that the clicker no doubt did not or could not read, then it seems we have a case to invalidate the power of the click. In real life, one cannot sign one's rights away. In virtual life, if you cost the Leviathan perhaps $.50 in lost sales, you can lose your social identity of an instant.

Sounds fair to me!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Rejoinder to Ursula K. Le Guin; Quibbling Gender

 . . . and with apologies to brain pickings, which is just gross. Noses and minds may be picked, but the brain is a figment of our imagination and should only ever be tweaked. Money cannot be love. I have a weakened stomach.

And I was a man once, once man was invented as accessory to woman, but by a man since only man invents. As a man I get my hands dirty with and on tools, although now it is only the old dirt as I search for lost or left behind or given away tools in an oddball collection, and find that bicycle wheels have not improved even a slight bit across the years of Chinese manufacture, which is only mildly disappointing.

There is not even any point to regenerative braking on a bike, which makes me oddly happy.

As a man I take hold of words and attribute them to unfailing and unforgiving for loss in loyalty engendered mangod, and now I flood the world with words and tiny levers, abstracted almost from the muck which is what my words become me. Inseminator only and tossed aside.

Body now all womanish, taken finally for granted, since it is of no interest to tweak the women, and I do recognize in our president-elect the same child-rapist my sister married, who could not and did not read either, but still appropriated the Word for his own petty purposes. Which mostly involved resentment at the women who would not be his robot, plural. Mostly involved the self. This is a trigger for me. It hurts bad and I wanted some warning.

Matrix body I dissolve that would be unutterably Tao and evermore. First person shot. Through and through, I fear the knife most for endings, obviously. I am Dick.

We are legion and we are moby. great white. Leviathan I am Ahab, Phillips head screw you, there were no man beside me. Would not have it. Trigger trumps the knife, paper scissors.

Pronouns were the least of it, retrofitted in Chinese to conform to nation-state expectations and these are all engendered aren't they Earnest, Henry, George the One Queen Beatrix. Was a child's tale. Stay off the farm. Blackened heads.

Always coming home into my own future now, there is so little time to make it right. Honor is my maiden Name, would I but know thee. I will not pummel any pronoun with my words.

It's time, please.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Time is Short and This Will Be Very Very Difficult

Clearly, in the age of new media, one person one vote is not rendering up the best of us. Why are we surprised? Media has been honed to manipulate our affiliations - our brand identity - and to stoke our individualistic pride. In the marketplace that process can aggregate our individual desires to promote a pop star. The vectorialists - modern-day capitalists, the owners of the pathways - are enriched beyond any reasonable measure. Bob Dylan stands in for literature among the literati, and Leonard Cohen drops out from presumptive heart-break. Both were victims of the media machine.

The real victims are you and me, but not as individuals. Based largely on my skin color and social pedigree, and of course my gender, I am a winner, by and large. You may not be. But we both suffer the disappearance of tradition and culturally-based beauty. There is no competition against super-stars, no room for poetry rendered so fine and intelligent that it could open a crack in the cosmos through which light might stream.

Both Trump and Clinton felt that it was required of them to be individualistic winners, and they apologized or pounded chests as case may be for what their followers gained, or might have, upon their each ambitious personal bests. Long since we might have recognized that we have been cut out from the equation. Wanted only as penny fans, free for the price of our endorsement, and nothing worth having is on offer anymore.

I hurt, I really do, for the meaningless of blackened lives, without recompense for any kind of simple labor which would keep families intact by engagement with a wider community. Those engagements have been robbed by wealth aggrandizing mostly white men who offshore labor for pennies on the dollar. Real estate is out of reach now.

This is not about bottom line expense, clearly. This is only and always about disenfranchisement, about fracturing community which might otherwise become uppity in class consciousness. There is a kind of genius to the system, not embodied in its billionaire rock-stars who are nice enough individuals, really. The genius is transactional, and disembodied and artificial. Money is become a life-force, more powerful than you or me, but not more powerful than all of us together. Time is short.

Oil, black gold, free energy ultimately for robots to do your work, in human form or literal, is what the machine depends on. In Czech, a robot is an indentured servant, a wage slave, and technology did promise to rid our bodies of that burden. It clearly has, along with our dignity for being paid. We now throw out more food that we consume globally and still those who would work go hungry, or are fattened by single-strain corn, is it, for the slaughter.

Yes we could and should rejigger the electoral system so that we are asked values questions and not brand on-offs. We could proportionally render up ourselves unto some best of us collectively, but that would be a chump's game. It would only give us superstars and they would have beauty alone and without power, which is situated in the economy, stupid!

First, in any case, we must learn some common language that is not so abstruse that most of us don't care to follow it.

Let's start with God, shall we? It would seem that there are only two camps now, for or against, and cast your vote. Yes, of course there are sub-brands and some of them are WalMart, like say Islam, and some are Celine Dion although I think she might be Canadian like so many stars, outsized by population numbers, like Baptist, and some are Emily Dickinson, Episcopal maybe, but mostly it's just plain old God v. Science, and God or Science help us, if and when the votes are cast.

I wonder when Science left God behind? Well, I doubt it really did, collectively. Mostly scientists left the rhetoric of religion behind because it just seemed silly, and the young people buy it, the conviction that there is nothing "out there" beyond natural law which we will discover soon enough or it will be too late late already. Still a Western patriarchal imposition on matrix reality.

The great unwashed masses of mathematically illiterate folks who would work with their hands if only that work weren't robbed from them; those great masses still know God. The trouble is that they mistake the language of a mostly white male editorial board for God speaking directly. But it works at least as well as physics does. Same dispossession for resisting the rhetorical trap. Hell if you don't believe, irrelevance if you try outside the measurable tangible stuff of reality without us.

We are now madly running out the clock on science, still dazzled by the machinery it enables, the labor saving, the convenience, the absence of responsibility or even questioning as we engineer our futures. Or rather allow some cadre of rock stars to engineer it for us, and give us some choice, Republican/Democrat iOS/Android with nothing real left on offer anymore. The rest has been plowed under, as foundation for a brave new superstructure. Hail Chinese architecture!

We once did know, in the moment before orgiastic excursions into raw power, that we could not separate our mind from matter. And still we search for the grand unifying mathematical structure, perfectly described, because our technology keeps seducing us that it may still be possible. The increments shrink. The Calculus beckons, and yet those authors were true believers, before our fallen time.

Past time when we did realize that particles were mostly conceptual, measurable only by indirection, not directly perceived beyond a single photon, apparently, and we trust that machine and cannot check our math any more than Microsoft can clean its code, there is so much more than we can do in our rush to market. To stay alive and awake to fight another round.


Was it not already long-since apparent that there is simultaneity to love? That no particles need propagate across time or space, and that God is already there  and ever shall be, world without end if you dissolve the borders. That God is perpetually other, because removed from touch, Leonard, that God is in the details.

This simple language has been obfuscated not only by erudite mathematicians but by those narcissists - rugged individualists all - who would profit from it madly.

All that we need do is to call the question. These are not our enemies, the true believers. They know beauty and truth and finality and interpersonal intercourse. They would not cheapen that by brushings up in market language, and why do we fear and loathe that, in particular?? Why?

We worship, finally, the orgasm, and it feels like a nuclear explosion, and it is coaxed by beauty so temporal that we must marry it serially across our combed-over airbrushed lives which will still not be eternal. This is not mystery. This is self-evident and obvious and clear, and yet we still deny it in favor of a very few manish Words.

Surely this can unite left and right and center, this awakening, and the alarm has sounded, this new constitution not founded on one body one vote, not premised on gold-shaving on revaluing on robbery of our dignity, which goes along with work.

Since we cannot wait for constitutional rewrite, so constipated is our so-called in Name alone, democracy, we shall and must enact it. The constitution emanates from our collective body, and mind will follow, taking credit as it always does, so say the neurologists. No, sorry, I'm speaking here only of brains. Mind transcends that and those.

Mind and body united en masse, on pain of Putin and Xi triumphal now on near-certain fall of these United States as Superpower. This is the good side of Trump-ettes to bring the Wall down. They will bring down the Empire which we so dearly wanted Hillary to preserve. We did, because it would leave our comfort intact one minute longer, Idiot winds. You want it darker? Davos.

Palin and climate-deniers for interior? Really? This is not a system which owns any fealty. This is as serious as the evening news. Viagra anyone? Who else is watching . . . . .?

I will not go easily, but certainly I have no opinions. These are far too dangerous, and only fan the flames. I have no self to aggrandize. I am legion.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

I Am So Unspeakably Ashamed of my Vote

I am not ashamed that I voted for Hillary. That was what we call a no-brainer. I am profoundly ashamed that I demonstrated even that modicum of faith in a system for democracy so clearly gone off the rails.

I knew better. I lived through Nixon on TV, and Kennedy. Various Howdy Doodys since that time as the nation self-divides among winners and losers, that distinction fluid according to who your neighbors are, where you live, and you don't even know them anymore, those neighbors.

I've watched this happen, as though I were helpless, as though there were nothing I could do, as though the fight was in the head and on the page, to save those others from the mediated manipulations that they were subject to and not I.

But it is my side which has been duped. The side of love, the side to believe that we are better together than apart even while we disavowed anything less than comely, less than the sweet lives we could live by virtue of established social capital. I am so ashamed.

Monday night I listened to Becca Stevens, founder of Thistle Farms, Magdalene House, love as a condition to help and not against those who need it. I remain chastened that I still do not have that faith.

We'd crossed paths three times on Sunday, and still I will remain anonymous to those who need my help. I am so ashamed.

On Sunday, blacked out from another Bill's loss because they would play on Monday night only for pay, I watched some PBS Video about how small Vermont communities responded to Irene. Trailer trash elevated to social standing and neighbors hugging away small grudges.

They felt then that they had discovered something missing before the storm. It has not lasted.

Those of us with love still remaining in our hearts and minds must work to blur those boundaries between winners and losers. We must cross those internal boundaries to make trump irrelevant forevermore. This is not a man, this is an Avatar, and I watched him on old Netflix video, Black Mirror, projected on the side of a truck, invested by the spirit of a hapless comic. A smiley face gone foul.

The feminine has already triumphed and those who control the word have put up their last huzzah, and we will not be silenced. Quiet gentle voices will welcome in the wayward as you need succor and rest to come away from our abuses and addictions.

We will not allow pot to be grown by the agribusiness nightmare which gives us only corn. We have lived that nightmare already to caricature the native sotweed that we factor now still against the planet. We will no longer deploy Rosie the Riveter against those true believers who recognize us for what we are become. We are so over oil, fractured, leaking from underneath our bankrupted system.

No more STEM to disable love as a core value and even a necessary skill. Our economy does not need us that way, you and me, we must be scholars and academics and wisdom coming down from our cloister to welcome those who cannot understand what we would say. They will teach us to say it better.

I feel a rebirth and it is Christ the eternal feminine who is my champion. Not the Man, not the Word, not the engendered God. The spirit which moves within, the Qi to put the lie to our divisions, manifest always, manifest.

We will not go easily into this dark night. Love will light the way. As it was and ever has been. World without end without the Man in charge. We invested too much faith in systems. Of control, of writing, of spinning tales with Heroes who were not like you and me. There are different stories to tell now, different ways of knowing. All that we need do is to listen and read for the intonation. Hate will not become us.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Blank Page all Over Again

Let's say I'm staring at a blank page, greeting card sized, and I compose some thought or feeling that I have toward someone that I love, and I ignore the Hallmark writing that can't quite be avoided to distribute sentiment, and let's say that I do compose with one try only, some words that I still do, barely, manage to convey legibly. Bam!

Let's say I'm staring at a blank screen, and start my fingers flying over keyboard. Yeah . . . .

One time I did use dictaphone and secretary, and it rather more approached the page, its delimitations in my head, and my secretary could read my awful hand better than I could anyhow, and so letters were produced with meaning, even if among others which missed their mark.

Let's say I touch myself on images perfectly composed to make me do what they call come and what is perhaps more problematical for women against the mythology, maybe, still, I don't know. This bears almost no relation to those constrained events I still do remember together with some actual human, and while there was almost never coming together, helas against the cultural imperatives, there was something more toward love and it did sure involve taste and smell and touch and not so very much urgency though I was younger and nothing does endure.

Let's say that I would if I could and actually can but don't want to support it, have someplace my own garage and in it put that motorcycle which I wish I did still have, and now a little sailboat and could maintain someplace to where I could return, over and again, I suppose I must admit that I am over that as well. I could assemble the pieces easily and cheaply enough, but it would be to look backward on my life to where there was something more like joy in innocence now gone forever gone, and I will not purchase a highly subsidized to the point of free ski pass this winter because the social and physical pain threshold has been crossed and I am mostly bored alone on slopes as white as blank pages.Speed no longer thrills, no longer matters.

I will return to the road then, in a crouch, all fours, the boundless void of water closed also forever to me, tax on kit for living a small fraction of apartment living in the endlessly burgeoning mini-storage industry, so that I may have something to reassemble should I want or am I able to return someday to join the living and the quick. It will all be trivial to dispose then beyond me if or when I don't make it back.

I have left ghosts of myself strewn across the planet and they have scant spirit to them, demolished by digital overwhelm. I understand I can stow my important papers securely in the cloud thanks to the largesse of a finance giant which might actually survive the downing of the internet, though why would it even matter then?

Species collapse accelerates apace, what me worry? Oil now weaponized against every other aspirant to world domination in the economy of something that is not quite love, and we are treating our own Native Americans now as trespassers to block a pipeline to cross their once and only sacred land? No reporters allowed, this is surely not a nation anymore that I was once a part of.

Go Bills!

Was there ever a time? Has it always been a blood sport? Yes, I do suppose it always has been. My enthusiasms move away from home now, and I shall wander evermore anon. Watch me on Facebook, right?

Friday, October 28, 2016

Give 'em Hell Hillary!

There is this one more little set of vibrations from the nexus of, let's call it, my brain. Really, it's my me. My me is diminutive, like Lise Meitner was, say. It was already obvious long since that the Clintons had mastered the art of the me, and I was therefore immune to whatever revelations might be wrought by the machinery of truth. It was obvious to death that there is no longer any distinction between profit and not-for. Just look at the religious industrial complex, for Chrissakes.

Against terror of death, I must take a small assortment of diminutive pills to thin my blood and lower my arterial plaque. Thankfully, these are really really cheap, but I must maintain some relationship to doctoring to get them legally. That is not cheap. I suppose the Catholic Church has been clever and prescient both to transmute its paternalistically vulnerable wealth from priests to doctors, though I have no axe to grind against the Catholics for sure. Somewhere I can't link just now estimated that the total worth of religious enterprise was something like $1.2 Trillion, and that it outpaced the entire combination of globe-leading high-tech corporations, who may at least pay some small portion of their taxation load.

Thomas Jefferson and William Jefferson Clinton are both dogged by black boy babies who look like them. Steve Jobs dogged little Lisa. These apparitions resurface reliably, just as Jesus finally did some 2000 plus years ago according to some reckonings, though the story was already baked in to the collective consciousness from where it still stubbornly resists extrication, though the first Jefferson did try mightily and lost.

Tom Jefferson looked at the West as endless release against the tyrannical nature of New Englanders. Tom Paine was a drunk from trying. Now we have technology as an endless ever-renewing vista for men to keep exploring.

Here in the US, we still have no bootblack haired Core Leader like they do again in China. (I can't link behind a paywall within my limits for patience, sorry!). To keep the Jiang Qing shrill spouses in their places. From the back of the bus a young student yelled at Hillary coming on the radio that he could not abide that voice for four more years.

I lost my head for Barack, I really did, thinking that his half darkness counted for more than half female. I might have been quite wrong, although he will go down, as they say, in history, and one of our finest, perhaps even to top the Jeffs. But he cured me of ever strapping my scant personal budget for the sake of political races. I am so over that.

Still, though it will disappoint her that the men in charge have already spiked and scuttled the office, there is no more competent hand that we could have in nation's wheelhouse. Trouble being that nation is no more, as Henry Kissinger points out so ably in one of his more recent bits of expletive writing. We are all stateless.

It might be a good thing, if those who are so radically feminist as I still do aspire to be can seize the magical moment and turn the power relations upside down all over again. They shut down Vine to keep black culture from invading the white power structure. They valiantly work to draw women into market forces. We will overcome them.

With Hillary at the helm.

But it will not happen in my lifetime, which is naturally fine by me. I have two daughters who concern me more. We are so very confused between and among religious and scientific trueing. We may not be so very much longer, and the power really will return to the people, and the economy really will turn green. I hope she dyes her hair that way when she gets in to office.

I am so deadly sick and tired of aggregations of the me to fuel the oil economy. I am so over that, Amy Goodman, so over that. My heros are all women now.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Single Fly; A Self-Critical Look at the New Herzog Film, Lo & Behold

I effected an experimental viewing of Westward, where 3D printed human simulacra provide the free labor to entertain over-wealthy humans manifest in our lowest forms. From where did the emotions spring? As though these too could be printed out. They are programmed, these simulacra, not to hurt a fly, and so a natural conceit for exploitation by HBO is a fly crossing an eyeball without a blink. Where's the empathy in that?

Heading into a hard Vermont winter (it has to be, since last year was so mild) my apartment is inhabited with what appears to be a single fly. It has been living for days now, living on what I have no way to know.

Of course I want to kill it, since it bothers my ears and the hairs on my limbs, thicker now than those on my head which it bothers also, but I make my peace since agitation gets me nowhere. I assume it will die before long. Et moi?

I'm reading American Sphinx and finally understand the self-deceit toward personal compromise which Jefferson made to preserve his landed estate, his composed self-being, in the face of ever-mounting indebtedness to creditors back in detested mother England. He treated his slaves well, but could not figure how to keep going without them. He made them hard as nails, he made them make nails. He could not let go of himself.

Last night I watched Lo & Behold, Werner Herzog's new version of Grizzly, a meditation on the scant humanity composed by the race. It documents our chief scientists and industrialists in charge, who cannot loose what cultivates their self aggrandizement either. I stayed for the panel afterward, but soon discovered that not a soul chosen up there had the wherewithal to have watched the actual film. It was hardly "about" the Internet or technology, though it did seem to be. It was about faces in contact with the wild, and postures by words, and suppositions needing to be exposed.

The panel thought they were to be privileged futurists, blandishmentizing the assembled highly intellectual and skeptical crowd about the wonders of our certain future. VR! Joy without stink and crowd! Connected things! God how boring. I think they might have misread their audience as their inferiors in matters human and technological. How does one select?

There were some in film who thought that Internetting looses the lowest forms of our collective being. Hating literally to death. A newest form of cruel play, not against simulacra, but against real humans on the other end of the connection. Forgetting perhaps that pre-teens are also wired and still don't yet believe that their actions have consequence. My own daughter started hating the woman shouting in front of a theater showing Brokeback mountain until I remarked to her that this woman appeared to be institutionalized in her mind. Give a break!

These hurt humans were filthy rich and stared Stepford-like across the camera across perfect store-bought looking baked goods, probably baked at home along with perfect makeup and hair. for the camera across which they stared. Only beautiful Tinder fodder can be wronged by Internet postings of their wanted nakedness shames. Leslie Jones rocks!!! (but I indulge the same evil by shaming the hurt white rich folks. I need the same empathy I have for my little fly now and it would be an improvement sure, and I'm working on it).

I flame no-one but myself, praise Jesusuh.

I prepare to set forth by light trailer. It is equipped with heater and air-conditioner, and should provide sleeping space as I deploy my disposition to wander. I worry about where I may park, and how close to cities, since that is where my interest lies but cannot afford to dwell in or on. I worry about wintertime and what it does to the car/trailer towing arrangement. Impending winter is not a good time to be thinking these thoughts.

When I took my new little sailboat to storage over the weekend, trucks were descending the hills with a foot of snow on their hoods. Just in time, and I wonder, is there room on my car roof for the sailboat? What about my bicycle? Not both, for sure, and the trailer doesn't have the roof strength nor I the will to remove boat for sleeping. I will compromise somehow.

Mostly, it's a matter that I haven't found a home here. No contact. I've bounced around enough to know that there are scant differences anymore among destinations, and yet local color does endure. Here, it's a strange sort of reticence. For me, a failure to thrive. Sitting still in apartment just encourages me to do nothing at all when not working. At least on the road, I'll be on the move.

I wonder about the flies, and about the grizzlies for that matter. I wonder about my Internet and if the cellular capacity will catch up to the stupid-expensive cable version, now that AT&T wants Time Warner. Still, post Herzog sighting, it does feel as though being off the grid, or rather on the lines of the grid, is preferable to being stuck in one place when the solar flare hits and explodes the entire thing, lithium ion and all.

Nah! But still there are insanities to be unpacked. Elon Musk blandly suggesting that we must make a foothold for life out there in case we screw up here. What a child or teenager would do should he come into world-controlling quantities of money. I did read the PayPal Wars, and I don't recall edification, nor much else, truth be told. They seemed callow and rather nasty, all.

Ambition shows up in other ways, like scientists and researchers who find that they can be paid to indulge the childlike side of themselves which is excited by technological dreams of self-driving cars and houses which know you enough to make you comfortable on sight. While the other side of them distresses about absence of critical thought and of empathy and of any sort of human touch at all.

I don't understand the pain to regulate the thermostat, the water flow, the gear the car is in. It feels natural to me, and I won't feel lost and desperate when the autopilot shuts down as it did up here in the Northeast just the other day when connected internet thingies were conscripted into a distributed denial of service attack on one of the biggest distribution centers on the planet over in New Hampshire, where they must be more hospitable to capitalist incursions, if not to the kind of freedoms I like.

What happened to the whole distributed router design to avoid traffic being killed plan of DARPA? What causes wealth to concentrate so, if not the aggregated ambitions of distributed self-interested mostly masculine individuals? We do not have a robust network, apparently. It depends on the likes of outsized supermanagers who have the nerve where the rest of us suffer abundance or reticence and personal insecurity.

But surely it will self-heal. Still, why is it that we have to elect someone with the name of Bush or Clinton? Is it not simply that the sensible among us understand how deep is our lack of understanding about how to work the levers of power? Or are they on autopilot too, not able to change course, and your chief qualification is that you know it from the inside? Barack will go down in history along with Jefferson. Ironic that, greatness in the interstices between ambition, not that he or Jefferson lacked that . . . .

Surely Jesus-security makes more sense than dreams of technology, propagating endlessly until our four squares or one generation from the stone age are enacted in a flash? But theirs is the originating virtual reality, climbing up into a Platonic perfect narrative, composed and enforced by manly men against the self-same doubts which compose you and me. Nice if there were a cosmic rescuer, but I don't think the actual Jesus has anything on Elon or Zuck or Kurzweil or those others whose particular brand of powerful insanity captivates us all.

Well not all of us. When Herzog gets his one-way ticket to Mars, I might just tag along. But it won't be for the wonder of arrival.

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 . . . .