X is for influences, extrapolation, inspiration, trepidation, identification, and amelioration.
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The television screen has become the retina of the mind's eye. That's why I refuse to appear on television, except on television. Of course, O'Blivion is not the name I was born with. It's my television name. Soon all of us will have special names designed to cause the cathode ray tube to resonate.
-Professor Brian O'Blivion from Videodrome.
After a session of Magic The Gathering games at a friend's I settled into my cushy chair to watch Videodrome before bed. That was Tuesday night and I had a nightmare. I was in a dark place looking past a glass into another room. It was well lit there. People seemed to rotate in and out of view as if on some huge Lazy Susan. As each one came up, I would inscribe circular symbols accordingly. It followed a sequence of the first two symbols sharing a color and the last two were just a mix of white and gray. There was something very wrong about the whole setup.
When thinking about it Wednesday morning I realized that I might have taken the Magic card iradicate (from Urza's Destiny) to horrific level. For those not versed into Magic, the card performs a game effect of removing all copies of a creature from the game, a form of creature genocide.
Around noon I decided to have lunch at the nearby cheap Thai restaurant. While waiting for my food I began to feel increasingly unwell. My food arrived and I ate some of it, but I was feeling worse. I left my barely finished meal and proceeded home. My vision became splotchy. I was scared that I was going to lose consciousness. I made sure to take in deep breaths to keep calm. I finally made the three blocks back to my building and boarded the elevator with a man and a woman. She was going on and on about going to court for drinking or something. She couldn't believe she had a probation officer or something like that. She was smiling and giggling and I wanted off that elevator.
Once inside my apartment I grabbed a bucket, a glass of ice water, the phone, and collapsed on my bed. That's when the shakes hit. I wasn't cold, but my body shivered. I don't know how long it lasted, but it was very scary. I tried to calm myself. My mind wandered to the recent interview I heard on NPR. Don Miguel Ruiz, is a Toltec master and at one point in the interview he talked about a breathing exercise. You would visualize that you were surrounded by love. Every breath would be filled with love and you would exhale evil, disease, and ill thoughts. "Why not?" I thought to myself. I tried it. Either the shakes diminished by themselves or the technique worked.
Once I started to feel better I went looking for information. I suspected one thing that sprouted from the root of my fear. I know I have been using alcohol to cope with past depression. No longer having much cause for depression, I realized a stronger urge within myself to drink. I decided to stop drinking for good at the beginning of this week.
I knew it was not over. As it became later, I felt a growing unease. I laid in bed listening to a radio play, Letters from Rebecca. It was about the late New Orleans writer, Rebecca Bruns. It covered the correspondence between her and Michael Corrigan, a San Francisco writer. It covered twelve years until her death from cancer. As the show reached its conclusion I noticed a chill. I shut the radio off and tried to sleep, but the chill spread and I started to shiver. It was getting worse. I was now heating up fast in a body fever. I started to imagine my friends and family sending me letters of support. The letters passed through me and took a little bit of the heat and pain with them. The letters came faster and faster until they were like a river. It was keeping the pain, the heat, and the shaking under control. I wandered through states of consciousness like this for hours. At 2am, it had subsided. I went to the bathroom and got more water. Back in bed, I was still uncomfortably hot and irritable. Yet things were more under control. I was taking the pain and the heat and reconfiguring it in my mind. It became an imaginary process of energy conversion. I "slept" this way throughout the night.
I think I got off lucky. As much as I can appreciate the ability of my imagination to get me through this, I can only wonder what it's like to go through severe withdrawal. Worse still is to think of going through this without being able to imagine anyone cares about you. As lonely as I sometimes feel out here, I still have friends and family a phone call away. Those living on the street face greater horrors and greater apathy.
I am not doing a recanting of drugs and drinking. I feel that the dangers that exist when going to these substances can't ever be ignored or marginalized. I don't care if I never drink again. I am glad to be rid of it and focus on the better aspects of life. Perhaps one sign of maturity is the realization of how meaningless the party life is when your have nothing to really celebrate. And how you don't have to artificially alter your consciousness to have a good time.
Kids naturally enjoy altered states. Getting dizzy is fun. I have no desire to stop anyone from experiencing things for themselves. It's the only way many people learn. If we could only change the social environment to make this experimentation safer, perhaps we would get by with a lot less problems. Tough love is not love. More laws do not make us better people. Zero Tolerance expects perfection from imperfect people.
I think I fall prey to addiction easily. Magic The Gathering is certainly an addiction, as are many video games. Chocolate, coffee, sex, religion, and even certain websites can be addictive. Marketing geniuses feed our cravings for more. Is it a side effect of a consumer driven society? A society yet to make good on the complaint of not getting "no satisfaction?" We try and try and try.
So when our needs are never met and our curiosity knows no bounds where do moral lines exist? We sought entertainment in fictional TV shows. Now we seek entertainment in reality TV shows. Boundaries are blurring, if they were ever there.
"But why would anybody watch it? Why would anybody watch a scum show like Videodrome? Why did you watch it Max?"
"Sure, sure. What about the other reasons? Why deny you get your kicks out of watching torture and murder?"
-Harlen and Max from Videodrome
The Taliban is cutting itself off from the rest of the world while other nations are jumping online. The online world can't cope with community standards. What moral standard is entirely global? Is the Internet ushering in a post-moral age? What place does authority have in such a realm?
Freedom in cyberspace'd be fine and dandy if we happened to live there.
- Stever Aylett, from Slaughtermatic
The freedom of cyberspace is tenuous at best. The digital Nirvana is as likely as a successful e-commerce website. What was behind the past surge of idealism and altruism? Were people merely trying to tap into the personal authority lost so long ago that it only comes in dreams?
There also exists many different energies that are not perceivable as objects or matter. For instance, we cannot see emotions, thoughts, or another's dreams. Obviously, that doesn't mean they don't exist; they are a part of our daily experience and therefore we understand they exist in ourselves and in others. So, recognizing that each of us is composed of something more than material energy, we must ask, Who is the I AM? -- Is it the body, the thinker, or the dreamer?
The Toltec knew that our reason's perception of reality was just a point of view, one that generally doesn't consider how we fit into an expanding, living, intelligent universe. As we begin to identify the I AM, we become aware of how limited we have been conditioned to think we are and how little of our energy supply we use. To transcend the realm of our old dream and move into our full potential, we need to transfer the point where we assemble our perception from our reason to our will. Shifting the source of our personal power from our mind to our spirit allows us to access silent knowledge and create the energy necessary to remember what we have forgotten. We can all dream a new dream and live a life of freedom - it is simply a matter of choice.
I'm not too crazy about new age mumbo jumbo or any religion. If I had a phobia, it would be a fear of belief. But I have to admire a way of life that thinks life is a dream, a game, and that you can change the rules. I am changing the rules and today it's that I don't need to drink. I suspect there's a lot of things I don't need, but my TV will never tell me what they are.
Long live the new flesh.
-Max from Videodrome.
He that pursues fame with just claims, trusts his happiness to the winds; but he that endeavors after it by false merit, has to fear, not only the violence of the storm, but the leaks of his vessel.
- Samuel Johnson
One could call it progress that fame comes about more often now through physical beauty and acting ability than from the amount of people one has been known to slay. We still have Milosevic. As the first former ruler to come under a war crime tribunal it could certainly mean something. Though I bet it's more from the fact that both his parents and his uncle have committed suicide. I'm sure Hitler would have been the first if he hadn't done himself in.
"The acme of Culture, in Rosie's world, would be a Ricky Martin/Barbra Streisand duet of "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" at Radio City Music Hall for the Celine Dion NBC Christmas special. Her brain is a landfill of junk culture, and she uses her show to promote the worst of it. David Letterman and Jay Leno keep some ironic distance from the culture they promote. Rosie doesn't."
- David Plotz on Rosie O'Donnell in an article for Slate.com
There are hoards of folks that have achieved some measure of fame that can only be attributed to a certain percentage of the population identifying with them. Rosie O'Donnell's fame is assured as long as people can justify their celebrity worshiping and their listening to popular music. There are also those that merely endulge celebrities for their looks.
"What is my idea of Heaven? Jennifer Lopez's bike seat!"
- Chris Rock
"My butt is so good, it's like the Amazing Perfect Ass."
- David Duchovny
"Look at my ass. It's so round scientists use it to calibrate their instruments."
-Dana Carvey playing George Micheal on SNL
"We made up names for him like Roly-Poly DiCaprioly and the Snail, because he was so round he looked like a snail, all balled up."
-Cameron Diaz on how Leonardo DiCaprio is putting on weight for the "Gangs of New York" film. High School all over again.
"I would like to live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were ever supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever."
-Miss Alabama, spaced out at the 1994 Miss Universe contest
But beauty alone is not enough. To ogle is one thing, to fantasize is another. When a celebrity speaks about sex, it's like a classic Paine-Webber commercial. Who they are sleeping with, who they are not sleeping with, why they are not sleeping with someone, and any detail in between becomes quote worthy.
"The virginity issue ... it's a personal decision and it reflects how I feel right now about myself. There are so many emotions involved that I would like to be able to wait until I know I'm with the right person and I'm married."
- Britney Spears
"When I'm onstage, that is the first thing I tell the audience: Ladies and gentlemen, this is the I-don't-care. You need the I-don't-care attitude when you're onstage for the show. There are a lot of taboos nowadays with sexuality in our society and I think it's ridiculous. I think it's time for us to stop saying AH! about something so normal... It's sex. Yes, sex, sex! Who cares? Sex. I don't care."
- Ricky Martin interview on MTV.
"I've requested that Nickelodeon air both versions, edited and unedited, because sometimes you feel like a nut, and sometimes you don't."
- John Ritter on the Three's company episode were his scrotum is briefly seen.
"At one point, it was all about going out - everything had to be over the top. That was an empty place to be. Now it's all about balance. I like to stay at home on Friday nights and listen to The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama."
- Carmen Electra
I am still very romantic. And I am sure that it is more beautiful to love properly and lose everything than never to know what love is.
I haven't given up hope that, somewhere out there, somebody is waiting for me and I can fall in love again.
"At the end of the day I really like women. I'd love it if the girls in the cinema watching Lara Croft find me just as hot as their boyfriends do."
I won't even drag out the disturbing quotes about Angelina and Bob's lovemaking. I'm not sure if she's just trying to play someone on the verge of sanity or not. It's not like she would lack company in Hollywood circles. But when she keeps telling the press strange stories, one has to wonder.
"This is going to sound insane, but there was a time I was going to hire somebody to kill me. The person spoke very sweetly to me, he made me think about it for a month. And, after a month, other things changed in my life and I was surviving again. With suicide comes all the guilt of people around you thinking they could have done something. With somebody being murdered, nobody takes some kind of guilty responsibility."
It sounds like BS, but she likes to cast herself in the extreme.
"I feel that if there is any kind of energy for me, it's because people know that I am extremely human."
- Angelina Jolie,from the Toronto Sun.
The whole of Hollywood seems set in the surreal. A people left too long in the sun, it has baked their minds as surely as it's bleached their hair. For some, their lives are spent acting in murder mystery dramas as much as performing them in real life.
"The whole show-biz story of trials in America shocked me. How you dress the killer to make him more appealing to the jury. They put the Menendez brothers in little pastel sweaters instead of their Armani suits so they'd look like students at Beverly Hills High. It's all bullshit, total bullshit - and it works. . . . Robert Blake is the low-rent version of O.J. He's a formerly famous person as O.J. was, and he's the chief suspect in his wife's death. Either he killed her or he hired someone to kill her."
- Dominick Dunne, the author who admitted to trying to get someone to kill the man who strangled his daughter.
"As a father, I was just a disciplinarian before, and now I'm everything to my kids. People ask me what's the hardest thing for me, and I tell them I was always a great dad but I'm a horrible mom. I don't cook. . . . A man's natural instinct is to solve problems. Like when Jason said Sydney did a lot of things and I never caught her. I said, 'That's one of the reasons why I love her. She's smart enough not to get caught.' She's her mom all over again, she's got those German genes—her grandmother, my wife, now my daughter. Those bitches'll wear you out."
"As a man, you gotta punch the guy that fucked your wife."
"Did you ever fool around on your wife? Everybody fools around and lies about it. Everyone lies. Look at Clinton. Deny, deny, deny."
- O.J. Simpson
If people are not killing for fame, they are dying for attention. That inevitably leads folks to point fingers of blame.
"I think he promotes suicide, and with him promoting suicide, he encourages people to kill as many people as they can before committing suicide -- very similar to what happened at Columbine."
- Brian Rohrbough on Marilyn Manson
"I am truly amazed that after all this time, religious groups still need to attack entertainment and use these tragedies as a pitiful excuse for their own self-serving publicity."
- Marilyn Manson responds
Who isn't seeking fame? Musicians are feeding the public the novelty of pushing the extreme. Musicians, more than anyone, ride the wave of 'cool.' The best position for them is in opposition to the moral right and current authority.
"Marilyn Manson is an affront to me. What the world needs is a good shot of morality."
- Alice Cooper defining his current level of fame.
"I like some of the Eminem stuff because it's kind of clever. I like the rhythm. I like the attitude, and I can imagine if I was a young kid now, I'd like that."
-Paul McCartney. The more the older folks like him the less we may hear of him.
"All the cool musicians are vegan."
- Alicia Silverstone, this one just makes me laugh.
"In case anyone from the conservative American right wing is reading: all of my songs are actually love songs for Hillary Clinton. And if you play them backwards you can hear little messages, like: Support Planned Parenthood, let's have more gays in the military, Marilyn Manson is a true American hero, etc."
-Moby, the vegan, trying to undermine Rush Limbaugh's tendency to use his music on his radio show.
"The fruits of Babylon? Babylon don't have no fruits."
- Bob Marley, in an interview with Dermott Hussey about the herb.
The desire to be a musician has a stronger pull then mere acting. This has brought many actors to dubious ends. Some can actually sing. David Hasselholf is rumored to. Kevin Bacon sings with his brother as the Bacon Brothers. You just can't seem to stop pretty girls from grabbing the mic. I have to admit I was shocked and amazed to hear about Steven Seagal.
Recently, Steven performed to over 50,000 people in Seoul, South Korea
at Michael Jackson's benefit concert for he children of South Korea. The benefit concert also starred Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross and Boyz II Men. In selected concert venues, both in the United States and internationally, audience reaction to Steven's music and performances has been overwhelming, leaving no doubt that he is a consummate musician and performer.
-From his website
I'm just glad Jean-Claude Van Damme hasn't started singing. While he had a debut as a gay kick boxer in Monaco Forever, he has not come under the outing calls of Cruise or Travolta.What is up with Scientologist's fear of being called gay?
Of course, as soon as I mention Travolta I have to point out that he was in The Devil's Rain. He's afraid of Michael Pattinson and Paul Barresi claiming he's gay, but not that he had a part in this film. I guess you have to have priorities. But I would be more upset at claims I was a member. It seems that they don't have a sense of humor about their beliefs.
"You have to make fun of the things that you believe in or they become rigid and sabotage you."
- Rob Brezsny
Recently I came across one of their churches on 601 Aurora Ave. North.
The strange thing I noticed on the other side of the building was the barbed wire.
There are other buildings nearby with barbed wire, but this is the only one I saw with the wired angled inwards. This means something. It could just be a mistake.
Established security standards for overhangs require the barbed wire and supports to face outward, toward potential invaders, on a 45-degree angle, he said. That would stop climbers from getting up the fence at all.
There may be something there. Is this resistance to ridicule a sign that it rings true? Once again I go to Mr. Bungle. Their song "Quote Unquote" used to be called Travolta until someone found out and threatened a lawsuit.
One thought it lasts a day and at that rate he'll most likely live forever!
He's a bird in flight, a hermaphrodite
And he fucks himself as he fucks the world
His twitching brain can dance within
Gyrating more like gelatin
A secret means of ecstasy
Acute and very olfactory
To see is colors crawling in the nose
To hear is stinking highs and lows
He's got an itch but nothing with which to scratch the itch - so wish it away
With his mouth sewn shut, he still shakes his butt
Cuz he's Hitler & Swayze & Trump & Travolta
Riding the waves of fame doesn't seem like a trip for the faint of heart. Under the microscope of public scrutiny flaws are magnified and theories indulged. Your picture is taken countless times, but you can't control the lighting. On film, the difference between the good guys and the bad guys can come down to the angle of the lights. In print, it comes down to the quotes picked out. Is our legacy as stars or monstars a mere matter of the quality of our PR manager? In 50 fifty years who will even remember us? What about 100? 1000? What about 10,000?
There are plenty of the well-endowed, thank God…It strikes me as unfair, and even in bad taste, to select a few of them for boundless admiration, attributing super-human powers of mind and character to them. This has been my fate, and the contrast between the popular estimate of my powers and achievements and the reality is simply grotesque.
If we would amend the world we should mend ourselves and teach our children to be not what we are but what they should be.
-William Penn (1644-1718) founder of Pennsylvania
It's been really nice in Seattle lately. I'm impressed with the summer so far. Today I decided to equip myself with a baseball cap. It seemed prudent after Sunday's suffering. My SGI baseball cap had to make due during my walk about the wonderful world of the All Star game at SafeCo Field. The Seattle fans are deservedly high about their representation at the game. The 4-1 American league win came from a Cal Ripken homer that put a great end to his years of playing. Sammy Sosa is right. He is the man.
The pre-game beer allows dedicated troopers to get into the All Star mood. I'm sure the players have other methods. But just as the All Star game brings players from distant cities, it brings fans from galaxies far, far away.
I want to apologize for my lack of bravery. I felt it was not safe getting near people wearing giant peanut shells on their heads. It looked like a giant peanut cult.
Baseball and religion go together like domestic beer and trough urinals. I know the Angels are playing the field, but what position does Jesus prefer? If you trust him, he will come. Notice the strategic placement of the guy in blue and yellow. He is handing out free anti-acid pills for those that get sick of hearing how much we should trust Jesus. But I would say this guy was only a little nuts.
Due to a sense of pity I did not take any pictures of the poor folks walking about with "I need tickets" signs. I didn't see anyone with "I need to sell tickets" signs, but I kept getting the image of them seeing each other and then running towards each other in slow motion. The cheap way to see the action would be from the parking garage across the street and boy does that suck.
It's Playstation 2 to the rescue. This picture doesn't do the GFX justice. They are reeyall purty. But I had enough and went home. I noticed an unmarked van filled with police officers. Some dozing and probably catching up on much needed rest.
It had been a rough day already. There are few things worse then accidentally shooting a fellow officer and luckily it didn't happen even after 20 rounds. The Seattle police have been having a rough time in general.
In the Central District tensions are still running high over the death of Aaron Roberts. The problems are many and the solutions are hardly straightforward. As with any racial divide there is a point where a feedback loop occurs. Certain members from each party continually reinforce stereotypes. The influences of their actions become magnified. This makes it imperative that concerned members from both sides make proactive efforts toward getting to know each other.
If the majority of the time a police officer makes contact with people is in the context of a crime, it affects his perception towards those people. If a civilian's method of communication with a police officer is a hard stare or an angry curse, he will never receive a positive reaction. These reactions are built upon cumulative experience and are hard to shrug off. There is no communication, only reaction.
As the congregation grows
The lung of solitude deflates
To my ears the greatest sin
Feel a bit like Beethoven
Simultaneous they speak unbeknownst
Exiled to the inner voice, difference is...
He had no choice
We can't seem to find the air
To get our message through your heads
Poor respiration is sure
To keep clear communication obscure
As if I should care
As if you are listening out there
The louder you speak the more I can hear
The less I can understand
Pound on it, pound it in
To my ears the greatest sin
Feel a bit like Beethoven
Paint my lungs so silently
The darkest color of your noise
A crowd will contradict it's own audibility
Can't hear the dialogue for the voice
No one is listening
Yet ears are ringing
Ears are ringing...
-Mr. Bungle, from Slowly growing Deaf (Sleep Part I)
I think it's time to put the notion of role models to rest. From President to Priest the concept that a position in society grants role model responsibilities is purely absurd. Teach children to always strive to be better regardless of the ambitions of their peers. Let's stop pretending that we have to protect children from concepts we don't think they are ready for. Honesty works wonders.
The most obvious example is the insane degree we invest in the effort to fight something as unfixable as drug use by young people. $17.9 billion tax dollars went to a losing battle last year. The feedback loop here is best shown by how promoters are afraid to let DanceSafe enter their clubs. The government's effort to protect people from themselves puts more people at risk. This is the legacy of a warfare approach. This kind of war is an affront on personal freedom. It is driven by the idea that a public educated about drugs can't possibly decide to merely refrain from them. It is driven by a fear that things will somehow get worse if people didn't have to commit a crime to discover their susceptibility towards addiction.
A sympathetic Scot summed it all up very neatly in the remark, "You should make a point of trying every experience once, excepting incest and folk dancing."
-Sir Arnold Bax
I find it nearly impossible to understand why someone should be so concerned about what someone else decides to do to his or her own body. The ancillary crimes of DUI and the like should remain as penalties to discourage such idiocy. Honest drug education will curb more dangerous experimentation and the possible lethal drug mixtures that plague the ecstasy scene.
Education, communication, and simple honesty are the tools of liberty. And just think of what $17.9 billion dollars could do when funneled into the poorest communities every year. Think of how much differently history will look back on us.
If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore; and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God which had been shown! But every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82)
It's been a while since I've put this qwerty instrument to use here. I'm been doing large doses of Summertime Seattle. Sunday I soaked up more than my fair share of solar radiation. If not for the healing power of Solarcaine ® Aloe Extra Burn Relief, I would have suffered a bit more. I spent most of today catching up on sleep lost due to the pain of most of my hair-challenged head becoming an acute shade of red.
On the upside, it appears that my job concerns are over and I can abandon my dependence on unemployment checks by the end of the month. I still have a lot to learn, but I have become quite skilled at CosmoWorlds. So the list of out-of-production pieces of software that I'm proficient in has increased. This will certainly fit nicely on my resume next to the Amiga BBS software program, CNet, and Superscape's VRT package.
The folks at Superscape have not been idle. On my last birthday they announced a new interactive gaming initiative with CNET Networks, Inc. By the way, they have nothing to do with the old Amiga program. Or do they? Or maybe this is just another example of the human ability for pattern recognition.
Oh an egg comes out of a chicken
Oh a chicken comes out of an egg
-Mr. Bungle, from the song Egg
The Universe gives us meaning. We give meaning to the Universe. The Universe is constantly flying apart. The 10 trillion billion stars will eventually burn out. As distant galaxies fade from our view they will merge with their nearby counterparts. The Milky Way will do the same with nearby galaxies like Andromeda. As above, so below. As the people of our world enjoy such things as the internet we rapidly fly apart from each other. Our words and images propel separation as much as they pull people together. In cyberspace, like forces attract.
Après la pluie vient le beau
- French saying that roughly (since I don't speak it) translates as "after the rain, comes the good weather."
The internet community has had it's knuckled whacked and the most rabid of idealists have found their funding wells have dried up. Running an internet business is more then matching a noun to a dot and a com. While the dotcorpses continue to pileup I can only stand in awe of the one billion dollar burnrate of Webvan. Now that the first bust is almost over, we can begin again a little smarter. Mistakes will continue to be made and people will continue to flame each our in message bases.
Continuing with my long-standing trend of adopting new features to this site only as a way to fill up certain hours of my life that I couldn't imagine to do anything else with, I have decided to not add any ability for people to add comments to anything posted here. I have this strange desire to fully understand (with the current exception of the webstats) all the features on this website. Besides, I enjoy the near anonymity here. I have yet to receive a single hate-filled email or even a surly rebutting of something I posted. Feedback has been friendly and few. My cyberspace is slowly condensing into a friendly constellation of internet stars. Matthew Rossi who recently posted his alphabet essay is continuing to inspire me to read and write more. I doubt that I can manage to be as prolific a writer or as well read. I do these things in spurts. My mind digests in tiny bits, tinkers with them, and begs for more. I recalled to Matthew how a close friend and I shared the same dreams for a while. I now see strange patterns of his posts in random bits of life. His obsession with narcoleptic dogs came at the time the person in the next apartment got a dog. I know because it barks by their door for long periods. They probably left the dog alone and it doesn't realize its owners are likely to return. When I was still typing about my new red skin, the dog was barking. It doesn't sound like a big dog, but even the little ones have good lungs. I don't know how many minutes of this barking went on because I have the sliding-glass door open and the automotive cacophony that is Interstate 5 blends this nameless dog's bark into the sonic background of cars, horns, and sirens. When I finally noticed the barking stopped I wondered why. Pattern Recognition logic whispered words of narcolepsy. Digest, tinker
Most people understand that cats are completely different from dogs, and generally they like them for different reasons. One quality people like in cats is their independence; they appreciate a pet who can take care of himself. "I never have to do a thing. He cleans the room, makes his own clothing, and drives himself to work."
Unlike dogs, who are needy and dependant, and who like you merely because you know where the food is located, cats don't get all hung up on fake affection. They don't go nuts and slobber all over you when you come home, the way a dog does. They parcel out a certain limited amount of physical affection from time to time, but it probably has more to do with static electricity than anything else.
- George Carlin, from Napalm and Silly Putty
That's from his new book and yes, it inspired my recent post of band titles. I recommend it as a way to fill up the time waiting for your Denny's Super Bird. If yours doesn't come skewered by tinsel tipped toothpicks, you can probably blame my group of friends that used to terrorize local franchises and at times each other with Stupid Denny's Tricks. A title inspired by David Letterman. I also use his Top Ten thing in the previous link. Am I making your head hurt yet? After yesterday I guess I need to share the pain. The "trick" was to launch these toothpicks (2 per order) via straw into the soft tiles of the ceiling. Style points are earned by grouping them into recognizable patterns. The ceiling was so high that they stayed between visits. We built upon past victual volleys. Bonus points were awarded for connecting things in this Scrabble-like game. After a remodeling our "art" was removed. Anyway, Here's a band name to start you out; The Four Hoarsemen of the A Cappella.
It is a bit odd that in the log entry I am quoting Eric Brooks and he has the Daily Carlin page. That page links to George's page and it has a That Time of the Month page that is currently about fearing the TV coverage of Bob Hope's death who just so happens to share my birthday. That reminds me of firstday and the Alan Moore written Superman story called For the Man Who has Everything which I was able to enjoy as part of the collection reprinted in The Greatest Superman Stories Ever Told. This brings me back to another AIM conversation with Matthew where the merits of this Super Hero were discussed and he told me that the Alan Moore story was the best ever written. Needless to say, I had to read it. I read it tonight and he could be right. Since I don't plan on reading all that is Superman I will leave it at that. The story sparked thoughts about what kind of fantasy would leave me content. It also left me to wonder about the possibilities of things like the Omega laser system. Here is something that can briefly create the pressure and heat of the surface of a star by pumping 60,000,000,000,000 watts on a pin-sized spot.
I'm yawning and rubbing my radiation red head. This is going up a little past 5am so I won't have time to edit. I have much more in store. Could I update every day this week? Adjusting for those entries falling over to the next morning perhaps. The story is being still being rewritten. "We'll make a blogger out of you yet boy!" Ouch!
Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power, which, if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or a Shakespeare.
There are times when I just don't know what to make of my dreams. They can fall so far away from any sense towards my current situation that I suspect they are just escapist fantasy for my enjoyment. Last night I had a couple of dreams that I have some inkling of their source.
The first dream begins with me sitting with my legs crossed on a smooth granite floor in the middle of a semi-circular room. My family is bustling about with boxes, apparently moving in to the space. It feels like a renovated fallout shelter with a bunch of circular rooms connected together. Somehow it occurs to me that it's about 1990 and my family was moving in to this place in Wheaton. I was trying to piece together the how and why. Was it some alien abduction time displacement as in Flight of the Navigator? That led to a clairvoyant realization that my DBR was leaning against a wall in an adjacent room. So I try and start to explain to my family what I think has happened. I woke up a little while later. I was still tired. As I passed into unconsciousness my thoughts were centered on the significance of the dream.
I'm in a city park in this dream. I'm sitting on a bench. It's a long bench. The scene fades to white before I can see the end of the bench. It is filled with people. I'm talking about the dream I just had. When I mention the strange house, clairvoyantly I see my mother with a hand over her mouth talking to the person next to her, "We, would never buy a place like that." I can't remember much else.
Last night I watched an Outer Limits episode called Alienshop. An Ex-con is trying to support his pregnant wife, but is constantly tempted to do it by stealing. He stumbles (while fleeing from cops) into the shop of this old bald guy. When he decides to leave, the old guy picks up a wallet from the floor and asks if it was his. The old guy gives him plenty of time to think about it. We are left with the feeling that he is not what he seems. Our Ex-con buddy claims it was his and takes off. Soon enough he learns that by casual touching, brushing, or bumping people the contents of their wallets end up in his new wallet. So he walks down the street like a pinball bouncing between people bumpers. He goes shopping and surprises his wife with new furniture and an expensive ring. She doesn't buy his story. No one would. (Note that all the dialogue is from my vague, late night recollections and to be taken with the proper dosage of salt.)
"We can't afford a new TV? Where did you get all this?"
"I won a lottery."
"That's great! How much did you win?"
"Um, I'm not sure."
"What kind of lottery doesn't tell you how much you won?"
It's obvious why this guy got caught and went to prison before. Every single character except for a priest and his wife doesn't trust this guy for a second. He shows her how the wallet works and she is convinced its evil. I mean, the damn thing is made from genuine Australian crocodile skin! So he returns to the shop. I forgot to mention that it's behind this lame fog transition. The next time you find a shop and it's down an alley behind a layer of fog, beware of bald men bearing strange wallets.
"What kind of game are you playing with me?" He asks the old guy while shaking the wallet in front of him.
The bald guy pulls the old "You can stop this at any time" routine. He tells him about how the Chinese (deploring violent means) catch gorillas with a box. There is a hole on side of the box. It is big enough for the gorilla to put his hand through, but not while grasping the food that lured him. His gorilla greed traps him. Naturally, our bone-headed boy needs to learn this the hard way. The fact that this show has to fill an hour-long time slot may have something to do with it.
We find our prodigal protagonist pondering the bald guy's words as he makes his way down the street. What is he thinking? "What should I do next?" "How can I learn a lesson in the next 15 minutes? Minus the 2 and a half minutes of commercials, that is." Maybe he was pondering Confucius philosophy? "He who stands on toilet is high on pot." Miraculously, as he passes his usual bar where he drowns his sorrows about the lack of finding work when not actually looking for it, one of his drinking buddy's stops him to give him the great news that old Scrappy Pappy hit the betting pool win to the tune of 40 grand…and it's drinks on Pappy. They waste no time and enter the bar where everyone is getting sloshed.
This is the climax for our guy, the momento of trutho, the fateful turn toward good or evil. His buddies don't know about his cool wallet. Earlier when they got the faintest hint he had money, they were hitting him for free drinks and the bartender mentioned something about his tab. He ran out the door at that point. The size of his bar tab is not mentioned. It's probably not in the class of Norm from Cheers, but he made a hasty exit even with a magic money wallet. Anyway, since they don't know about his wallet one of them brings up the fact that our guy passed up the chance to pay two bucks for his share in the 40 thousand. Our guy decides give everyone in the bar a pat on the back and finally ends up shaking hands with Scrappy Pappy. He makes his way to the exit and pauses to look in the wallet. It's filled with all their money. Suddenly Pappy yells out, "It's gone!" and he's looking at his hands. It's not the money that he's talking about. The visible skin cancer on his hands cleared up. "They said I was sure to die from it." Pappy states. Yup, our guy's hands don't look too nice.
The next thing we see he is against a wall with open sores on his face acting very sad and stuff. Poof! He's back in the shop and back to the scene of the old bald guy is asking if the wallet is his. Oh, wow it was all a lesson by this alien posing as an old bald guy. What lesson? To settle for a crappy job and be sure to buy lottery tickets, silly! And never pay your bar tab…ever.
I was walking back to my apartment last night, heading down Pike street. It was a typical lively Friday night with all sorts of interestingly dressed folks about. I was passing by and noticed a bike chained to a rack. It looked familiar. Specifically the Syncros stem…(I've been a fan of their products, but was unaware of Brutus until now. Now I will be sure to buy abuser friendly Syncros products)…and the yellow RockShox Judy SL front shocks caught my eye. I stared at the bike and stared some more. The frame was not the same and other than the two parts I mentioned nothing else was either. It just hit home again to me that my DBR was in parts scattered by thieves on different bikes. It was gone for good.
What does all this have to do with my dream?
Perhaps I shouldn't shelter strong feelings for material things? I can't go back. I don't know. One thing that is interesting to me is that I normally don't have clairvoyant abilities in my dreams. The most common ability I have is telekinesis. It's a fun ability and all, but I tend to have the same problem Luke Skywalker did about the size of things. I can make my body go out of phase and pass through physical objects. I can also fly, barely. I'm worse then the guy from The Greatest American Hero. I can attribute these things to influences from movies, books, and comics. I was always disappointed with Dream Warriors, but it's Freddy so he has to do his thing. Did these abilities come from our dreams or are they just a latent thing locked up in our minds, lost in history.
This mode may only be practiced by highly advanced adepts, for it involves the restoration of primordial powers inherent in all humans but long lost to virtually everyone. These powers, such as clairvoyance, extrasensory perception, healing, moving objects at a distance without touching them, and other so-called 'miraculous' powers, can be reawakened and bought under voluntary control with chee-gung, but only after many years of diligent practice.
Daniel Reid, The Complete Book of Chinese Health & Healing.
So what kinds of powers do you have in your dreams? In the spirit of his suggestion and since he went along with it I'll play. My three favorite entries:
The 12.02.2000 entry, The Ballad of John Namest.
The 02.21.2001 entry, Streaming Grammy raving.
The 03.05.2001 entry, Don't Believe the hype or anything else.
I'm going to fix up the story and post the next chapter soon. I really petered out at the end. It was past 4am when I got tired and just wanted to get to the end. I will add more detail to the end.
Perfect freedom is reserved for the man who lives by his own work, and in that work does what he wants to do.
-R. G. Collingwood, grabbed from #60 Eddie Cambell's Bacchus Magazine.
Please forgive the roughness of this story. It is entered in the wee hours nearing 5am. I will polish it when I have a firmer grasp on consciousness. I am but a simple caveman?
The Temptation of Barney Smith
Chapter One: A Night on the Town
The phone rang. Barney was nestled deep in an overstuffed chair with a tattered copy of A Tale of Two Cities on his lap and a mug of hot chocolate at his lips. He breathed a barely audible sigh and grabbed the handset.
"Hello." His tone was vaguely friendly, detached.
"Hello, this is Donna with Pennywise Periodicals, how are you doing today?" Her tone was as light as a winter snowflake.
"I have found that the great works of yesterday want for the insistence of today." His tone was the dry of the Sahara and the aphelion of her sunny greeting.
"OK. The reason I was calling was to ask if you or someone in your household might be interested in saving up to 40% on many major magazine prescriptions?" Her tone remained as defiantly bright as the noonday Sun.
"Well, what magazines are we talking about?" His tone improved. Savings of any kind had that effect on him.
"We offer many of the most popular titles as rated by…"
"Just name them Please."
"OK. Home and Gardens?"
"No home or garden. Next."
"Read about women I can't have? No thanks."
"Um…Muscle and Fitness?"
"Not enough vowels. Next."
"Car and Driver?"
"I don't have car and don't have a driver's license."
There was a pause.
"Oh, um. Walking?"
"Ah, something I actually do. So do they give you tips? Is it just walking or do they cover skipping, moseying, and the finer points of strutting?"
"Well, I'm not quite sure."
"Ah. Put me down for a year and I will see for myself."
"Wonderful. Well. Let's see. First I need your name."
"OK. That's B as is brother. A as in asphyxiation. R as in Run. N as in now…"
His dropped the phone as terror grabbed his heart and a strangled gasp passed his lips. He rose to his feet and screamed. The loud dull drone of his alarm woke him from his dream.
He eyes peeled open. His vacant room came into focus as the dream faded into incoherent images and words. By the time the warm water of his shower hit his pale face he had forgotten the dream almost completely. He forced himself into the routine. Routine was his fortress from thought.
"You look like shit." Eddy candidly remarked from his office. His cam was cropped to his head since he decided to skip putting on clothes again.
"At least I'm dressed." Barney replied from the office adjacent to his bedroom.
"My rating went up 50 points after that earthquake killed 500 in LA. I'm thinking of going voyeur-bait."
"Sure, you could charge by the chin and make a fortune."
"You wound me. And I was all set on letting you in on some free tickets to Fetal Head Wound at La Scalla tonight."
"You know I hate that place."
"Oh, but you don't know who I'm also giving the tickets to."
"I'm not in the mood."
"Which is precisely why you must come. Have you checked your ass for fungus? You haven't left your place in months."
"You mean it?"'
"Yes, you pudgy faced freak."
"I knew you loved me. Just think of how much your ass will appreciate it."
Barney flicked off the connection and started working. As a modern accountant his job was to save people more money than his fees. Automated accounting programs still lacked intuitive reactions to the changes in law and commerce. Despite the fluctuations of markets and legislatures it was a routine.
La Scalla was a poor LA copy of a poor bar in Paris, a perfect place for the likes of Eddy. His appreciation of the finer things in life was limited to two categories, chocolate and women. He often engaged in them at the same time. His accounting expertise kept up his supplies, but his indulgences were not as enjoyable unless he had an audience. He was a burly brute of a man that was surprisingly agile as demonstrated on many a dance floor. His impromptu moves matched the beat as beads of exquisitely expensive chocolate scented sweat were flung from his flailing form. Eddy was one of the few people that made the GMM hair look good. Genetically Modified Mood hair reacted best to extremes. The combined effect of the athletic ability of his ungainly bulk (most prominently portrayed by his pelvis perfectly punctuating the percussion) and his lusciously long, mesmerizing multicolored locks created more circles of admiration around Eddy than the bio-fluorescence dancers currently in vogue. Yet, even the cheering crowds from his Dance Capades weren't audience enough.
That's where Barney came in. Barney was the outward antithesis of Eddy. Scrawny, quiet, and eschewed all body mods. This included letting his hair recede to its horseshoe shape and his wearing of glasses. His acerbic wit and fascination with literature of the previous millennium regulated his conversations in most nightclubs to folks he didn't fancy talking to. After much debate, prodding, and passionate pleading by Eddy, Barney found himself what essentially became a sort of uniform to wear when accompanying Eddy. It was a simple collared shirt, well-fitted slacks, a utilitarian belt, and comfortable formal shoes. It was all black. Barney amused himself with the thought of this uniform making him Eddy's shadow filtered by a funhouse mirror to appear tall and thin.
Eddy came to pick Barney up in his vintage 1978 Silver Anniversary Limited Edition Pace Car Corvette. It was literally a shell of its former self. The Botany Bastard single-handedly destroyed the auto industry by freely distributing his bio-engine seeds. They grew into an engine that ran on air pollution and garbage. It was nigh impossible to find anything that ran on gasoline, let alone the gasoline itself. Improved engine performance now went to those with the greenest thumb. Lucky for Eddy, Barney was all thumbs and a few were green in hue. Eddy's vette had already earned a reputation among the speedsters and roadhogs. Barney had "tuned" the vette's engine for a steady diet of discarded candy boxes. Air pollution ceased to be a viable source a year after the bio-engine's debut. While most engines spurted and sputtered from a chaotic mix of trash, Eddy's hobgoblin consistency of gobbling chocolate goodies gave his corvette the go. Eddy knew that Barney loved riding in the vette and that the only way to insure Barney's attendance was its two-toned magnificence.
Eddy's grin grew to absurd proportions when he spied the line that stretched around La Scalla. A nice audience for an entrance, He mused to himself. The valet manning the door caught sight of the vette and brought a expression to his face not too dissimilar to Eddy's. A Fatty tip from a fatty, He mused to himself.
"Fast Ed Dee! I knew you couldn't pass up a Fetal head Wound if you could help it." 'Zero to best friend in no time at all,' was Vinny's personal motto.
"What can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment." Eddy's hair pulsated in a cheetah stripe pattern. Heads were already turning as wisps of whispers parroted "Ed Dee's" name.
"Well, you're a glutton for something. That's for sure."
"You wound me."
At that moment another valet was returning from the back lot. Vinny gauged the distance and with a shout hurled the keys. The valet leaped into the air and performed two forward somersaults before catching the keys in his teeth and landing in the driver's seat of the vette. Vinny spun on his heel shutting the door in one smooth motion.
Eddy's hair was coruscating velvet butterflies of fun as he spotted the female recipients of his generous ticket giving.
"Barney, I'd like to introduce you to Ashtoreth and Astraea. Twins." The last words ignited a throbbing purple veined surge of color from Eddy's locks.
Barney managed a thin smile. He could feel the color wash from his face at the mention of twins. Eddy grabbed Ashtoreth and started for the dance floor. He stopped short and made a head gesture at Barney that ended at Astraea. He turned and was swallowed by the crowd.
Barney turned to Astraea. She was certainly as pretty as her sister, but seemed more innocent somehow and yet held a certain aura of understanding. Barney was beside himself and before she even uttered a word he saw him. He made a feeble excuse and went after him. His quarry made for the exit and Barney pushed through the fashionable masses in pursuit.
For several blocks Barney followed. He ignored the constant mental shout of danger about this side of town.
"Looks like we got ourselves a lost boy." It came from a man that jumped in front of Barney. The death's head tattoo on his brow beat a sense of fear into Barney. That's when he was sent to the ground by a blow from behind. Someone rummaged through his pockets.
"Oh, goodie! A GIC!" Someone exclaimed. He had found a GIC on Barney. A GIC was a Genetic Identification Chip, a modern dog tag. Barney mused how much GICs looked like ancient coins. They contained a genetic marker that could recreate the subject in a variety of forms. One of the thugs held one of those forms in his hands. It looked like an old fashioned Viewmaster toy. He placed Barney's GIC in the device. It created a 3D representation genetic marker. Every time the lever was thrown on the Viewmaster the representation aged a year.
"It's this loser's own GIC. Let's fuck him up." with that they began to do exactly that.
Barney's consciousness faded as the night seemed to erupt in a glow not too different from a certain car's headlights.
Dyncorp is ushering in the Robocop era, at last . . . I was wondering when the privatization of law enforcement would begin and lo and behold it already has . . . Maybe the key to understanding the Clinton/Bush era is to look to bad science fiction books and films. They seem to have uncannily predicted certain aspects of contemporary America: Rollerball, Bladerunner, Robocop, Soylent Green etc. presented a vision of America as a fascist, eco-damaged, corporate-run dystopia . . . Strange
- BILL, feedback from a Undernews reader
Writing about the future can sometimes be seen as the author's view of the present. It's a funhouse mirror effect exaggerating some aspect in order to get a new perspective. Things that I have been reading on the web, reading in books, listening to on NPR, seeing on TV, talking about with folks, etc. have been coalescing into another attempt at speculative fiction. I will try and release the results next week. If I tried to today, it will be a few paragraphs of story and 3 pages of footnotes. Humorous, but not really what I want to do. I will tell you that it was going to be something short like the Our Sponsor story, but something happened and the story mushroomed into something more. A short little exchange with Matthew and ideas flow like Guinness in an Irish pub.
What is it I want to do anyway? I opted for the handwritten long essay form of weblogging for 2 years now. It was a deliberate attempt to for me to spend time with the writing and discourage frequent updates. This didn't mean I spent a lot of time editing (Love your editor), but I tried to make it interesting. I'm looking at a lot of work in the weeks ahead. August is going to be a frantic month of Siggraph followed by my brother's wedding. My current goal is weekend updates, but even that might be a pipedream.
The planned update schedule:
- The usual random quickies will continue to appear…well, randomly.
- Temple of Pong updates will appear only when something really interesting crops up in the gaming world.
- 3Dgameforce articles will be once a week after the redesign is finished and a better server is located.
- Log entries like this are weekly, I hope.
I thought the movies, in their rush to the PG-13 rating, had forgotten about breasts. In the age of computerized sci-fi special effects, beautiful skin finishes a distant second at the box office. Once teenage boys wanted to see Emmanuelle undulating; now they want to see Keanu Reeves levitating.
-Roger Ebert on Swordfish
I may not like movies as much as Roger, but I think that the bad ones are getting to him. Some of the movies coming out of Hollywood are so bad these days that I have come to suspect producers are pulling a MST3K on poor Ebert. Roger has come through by writing reviews more funny than the movies he's reviewing. While the self-made critic has the comedic edge on him, you can always trust Ebert to give it to you straight. So I can overlook that he's not the best on history.
Only Admiral Yamamoto (Mako) is seen as an individual, and his dialog seems to have been singled out with the hindsight of history. Congratulated on a brilliant raid, he demurs, "A brilliant man would find a way not to fight a war." And later, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant."
Yamamoto studied in the US and knew the American people. He made this statement after he learned that Japan's ultimatum came in 55 minutes after the attack. The traditional version of the quote is, "I fear we have aroused a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve."
...our hopes are not high after an early newsreel report that the Germans are bombing "downtown London"--a difficult target, since although there is such a place as "central London," at no time in 2,000 years has London ever had anything described by anybody as a "downtown."
I'm not an expert on London, but I think there is a downtown. In the end, he does sum it up well.
"It is an unremarkable action movie; Pearl Harbor supplies the subject, but not the inspiration."
Pearl Harbor is the best reason to see "Tora! Tora! Tora!" When you see an ad for Pearl Harbor it's just Jerry's way of telling America "Who needs to follow history when you can buy the hottest stars and ILM special effects? Sit back, stuff your face, and watch stuff blow up." Come on kids of America. I know you love your "reality" TV shows so hear me out. By the way, I do mean all kids. Pearl Harbor is rated PG-13. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" is rated G. If that's not a sign of a changing MPAA, I don't know what is.
"Tora! Tora! Tora!" is not only a better name then Pearl Harbor, but it's based on DUH DU DA! reality! It is the signal used during the attack. Tora means tiger. In fact, the whole movie has a near documentary approach to history. The US planes trying to take off are real (remote controlled.) The Zero that crashes into the hanger actually crashes into a real hanger. All the Zeros are modified training planes. No Zero's were available that were air worthy.
I have a feeling that if I see Pearl Harbor I may have to publicly humiliate Jerry in way that will only be revealed in the fullness of time.
Time for a little game of guess where the quote came from. Here are quotes from both movies. The first is the poem the Japanese Emperor had written and the 2nd is from nurse Evelyn Johnson. Which goes to what movie?
"If all men are brothers, why are the winds and the waves so restless?"
OK, maybe that's too easy. "Tora! Tora! Tora!" was originally going to be directed by the legendary Akira Kurosawa, but his casting of Japanese businessman (to fund his next picture, no less!) and his descent into obsessive detail (once having them repaint the set a different shade of white) caused him to be "released" from the film. His attention to detail was evident in many of his movies like the Seven Samurai. He was a director that while occasionally falling into sermonizing (not casting any stones here) wove deeper threads into his films.
"I'm gonna give Danny my whole heart, but I don't think I'll ever look at another sunset without thinking of you."
No Regrets for Our Youth, as I have mentioned, delineates the life of a woman who has clung steadfastly to her antimilitaristic stance through World War II. There is a certain scene where she stares with contempt at an old acquaintance who has thrown his support behind the war effort. The popular Hara Setsuko, who played this character, was at the time a paragon of female beauty. Watching this scene, I was shaken to my core by this powerful portrayal, almost never seen before in a Japanese film, of the dignity of a woman.
-SATÔ Tadao, President of the Japan Academy of Moving Images, critic, and author.
Kurosawa's most popular movies in the US are the Samurai action movies. It feeds into the fact that Hollywood is offering us a diet of high-explosive action and lowbrow humor. Iranian censors ban The Circle while the MPAA and most Americans ignore it. When Americans do pay attention to international films, they celebrate them by copying them. Often we get pale versions of the originals with more popular actors and more expensive special effects to hide the lack of depth. There are those that can cast their line into the great sea of celluloid and come up with something better then a rusty tin can.
Robert Rodriguez came out of Texas carrying a guitar case of action and has since proven that he can put a interesting spin on other genres. His membership to the Quentin Tarantino circle of friends is likely due to the mutual love of old movies. They mined one movie in particular. This movie has had its plot, its characters, and even tiny scene details "stolen" more times then any other movie. That movie is Django.
Back in 1966 Sergio Corbucci released Django. He knew how to put the spaghetti into the tired western genre and had fans screaming for another helping. This was matched by the screaming of its critics, especially the Christian ones. The corrupt priest and the benediction given right before a shootout gave their cries enough ammunition to have it banned in several countries. Sergio went on to create arguably better movies, but Django's images resonated with many. Rodriguez changed the coffin to a guitar case and modified the part about Django's injured hand. Tarantino lifted the "ear slicing" scene for his Reservoir Dogs movie. Sergio only made one official sequel despite the many films (over 50) that bear the Django name. However, Django Strikes Again failed to be released into the US. At the time in 1987 Rambo rip-offs were coming out more often then new reality shows from Fox. Promotional artwork with Franco Nero (Django) toting a machine gun and headband was likely dismissed as another Rambo knockoff.
Another Sergio, Sergio Leone, not to be confused with Sierra Leone, (an African country largely ignored by American press despite numerous atrocities committed there…When was the last time you heard them mention Bosnia?) made an even greater impact by employing an unknown Clint Eastwood in Fistfull of Dollars from 1964. That film was the start of the trilogy that culminated with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Where did Sergio get his inspiration? Akira Kurosawa.
The chain of inspiration goes both ways and crosses itself. It is the strange tale of how Japanese Samurai movies inspired Italian directors to create American Westerns, which inspired American directors to put the Hollywood spin on the lone gunman/swordsman action/drama.
…Kurosawa's movies instead argued for a liberation from old, strait-laced moral attitudes with their depiction of a set of characters who said and did what they wanted to, and of a peculiar energy and vigor that flowed from that freedom. He taught us that we were not merely trudging through hard lives in a dark time, but were alive during a fascinating epochal transformation that had not been seen before.
First of all, let me be the first to shout out how much I love . A lot of people have a hard time with hearing the truth. Much less, in an "In-our-face-pull-no-punches" style. Certain hateful people decided to go on a "morality-kick" and we were all suddenly expected to be held to some ridiculous standard like we're public officials or something.
Her reaction was the same as mine. "So what?".
Game. Set. Match. End of conversation. The only true way to squelch a controversy.
-Eric Brooks, trying to move past the "Kaycee" fallout
It pisses me off that people got hurt over this Kaycee business, but I am encouraged by how people can care for those they have never met. Let's move on to "better" things like...
Top Ten things to do with your $300 Bush Tax
10: Pay what you still owe in taxes last year.
9: Buy Jenna Bush a gift membership to Beers Across America.
8: Fix the damn window in your four-wheel drive.
7: Stock up on the Sex Olives!
6: Top off the gas tank in your SUV.
5: Buy a friend in the form of a online zine.
4: Support a good cause like the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund or the Nosepilot guy.
3: Give it to a homeless person.
2: Buy a next generation game console. I'm thinking PS2.
1: Buy me something, because I'm so damn sexy.
You know how much I love the future. Let me make some odd predictions.
Future band names
Sound of one Cheek Farting
Barry Manilow's Ass
Keeping the Day Job
Groping for Groupies
Straight as Pubic Hair
The Seven Seals: David Koresh Tribute band
The 7 Layers of Taco Hell
Future Book Titles
Bookended by Bush: The Clinton years
Screwing the Pooch: The life of Rob Scheider
Jerry Bruckheimer's Future movie titles
For those Under 60 IQ...
Straight to Video
The Crack Rock
Remember the Plot?
Screw the Plot: We bought Detroit and are Blowing it up block by block!
Enemy of the Historians
X Y (where X=previous Bruckheimer film and Y=A number equal the total permutations extracted from the original formula limited by the tolerance of the public. Essentially Y=infinity)
Peering ever deeper into the future I will share some speculative fiction. If you want me to write more, email me.
Katlin watched her hair gently fall from her brush and marveled at the way the early morning sun highlighted the golden strands. "Oh no" she sighed. She had forgotten what stroke she was on. "Fifty strokes in the morning and fifty at night." was clearly detailed in the handbook1
. It had to be somewhere around thirty, but she decided to do another thirty to be sure. Her PI2
. was at the top of her class, despite the shift towards creative logo piercing. Pure good looks and a solid reputation of loyalty never went out of style she reminded herself pursing her lips at the mirror. But it had been a difficult day yesterday. Her best friend Heather had confided to her at Church while in line for Starbucks3
. Heather was shopping Saturday and fell in love with this Gucci outfit and her confidence in her Tommy sponsor4
was slipping. Heather was supposed to see a Brand Counselor today. Katlin wondered if Heather blasphemed, it might affect her PI due to their close friendship.
"Bus ETA is two minutes." Her LIT5 warned.
"Oh phooey6" Katlin dropped her brush, grabbed her LIT and went to meet the bus. "That's eighty strokes tonight," she thought to herself.
Katlin tried not to appear to notice Jake staring at her four rows ahead. The furthest seats were the most desirable and only the most desirable sat in them. The air was thick with the prepubescent banter of lower classmen. Heather was sitting next to Katlin going on and on about that stupid Gucci outfit. Jake eye's had the force of GAP7 ads and hers were inexorably drawn toward them.
Unfortunately, Jake had a reputation incompatible with Katlin's sponsor. He was an iconoclast and the rumor was that he was responsible for circulating information on how to fake ADD for Ritalin and other nefarious acts. Besides, she was dating Bobby, Quarterback and the most popular boy in school. Their reign had lasted throughout their junior year and she wasn't going to throw it all away for the wild promise held in those eyes. She turned to Heather and smiled and tried to listen and never turned her gaze anywhere near Jake.
The first class bell had rang and Katlin was already in her seat. She was ready to join in the daily prayer.
The Sponsor's Prayer
Our Sponsor who art in H.E.A.V.E.N. 8
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy market Sung
"Thine will be Done!"
As voted in H.E.A.V.E.N.
Give us this day, our daily ad
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors
And lead us not to brand disloyalty, but deliver us from indecision.
For Thine is the market, and the power, and the popularity, for ever and ever.
The handbook is the standard document issued by a sponsor outlining the guidelines of brand loyalty.
2 Popularity Index: Tallied from global databases of peer opinion and sponsor loyalty records.
3 First Starbucks appears in December 1999. It's a Christian Church in Munster, Indiana.
4 In 2001 Chris Barrett and Luke McCabe, high school seniors in Haddonfield, New Jersey, sparked the movement that led to all students having corporate sponsorship. This led to the abolishment of public schools and a wave of expensive private schools and specialized learning institutions.
5 LIT: Learning and Identification Tool. The first prototype was developed in 2017 in response to the Valley High Massacre. Since all material possessions except sponsor clothing were banned on school property, a way to give students their homework had to be developed. Its construction is fairly flimsy to discourage its use as a weapon and to help instill a sense of nurturing for material things in the student. The PI penalty for replacement varies with the sponsor. The device consists of a large touch-sensitive screen that the student can write on with a finger. It is also networked with two-way voice and video capability. Slower students can interact via voice recognition. When positioned properly, it can also recognize sign language.
6 Any speech deemed as potentially offensive is prohibited by the majority of sponsors. Details are in the sponsor handbook.
7 Antonio Vasalas, a GAP researcher decided to take the old GAP slogan "Fall into the GAP" a step further. His psycho-gravitational advertisements brought a whole new meaning to compelling content. Anyone viewing them would completely focus on the ads as long as they were in view. After a 72 car pileup on a LA freeway psycho-gravitational advertising was banned. Its references have become somewhat of a colloquial expression.
8 Homogenized Economic Activity Vanguard of Entrusted Nations: Global trade organization enriching lives all over the world and providing guidance to underdeveloped countries to join the global economy.
"Pretty much every night I was out until around 4am, either at some clubs, or after hours hot tub parties, or whatever.. but I was getting out and apparently, the bug up my ass rolled over and died."
(As of 6-3-01 his site was down, then up on the 5th and now down again. Rolled over and died, indeed.)
He's back with some great links. The first of my favorites is a video of a biker that shows where SEGA's Hang On got its name. Next we get some Metal Gear Solid 2 madness. To cap off my favorites is something interesting considering the rumors of a Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon cartoon. Naked, flying, Kung Fu.
The warm weather lifts everyone's spirits a bit. Fun in is the air.
"Look, TSG has as much respect for the presidency as the next web site, but you gotta figure that First Daughter Jenna Bush is going to turn up soon in one of those "Girls Gone Wild" videotapes."
Maybe it's time to unplug a bit. It's difficult when you have technophilia, but seriously folks. I am a futurist as much as a historicist. I try and not play favorites, but sometimes the future can look pretty good.
Creature comforts will leap forward. A television, having studied and learned its owner's reactions to various shows, will suggest programs to make one laugh (or, if you prefer, cry). The Affective Computing Research Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has already designed skin-surface sensors that are able to divine emotions, including happiness, sadness, anger, and fear.
So maybe AI is a bit far off, but your computer might soon become a digital mood ring. Imagine a program that helps people fight depression or anger. Wouldn't it be nice to see less suicides and murders in the news? What if we had this technology for Robert E. Howard? We are certainly trying to put ourselves into our work. From this work we then fashion our desires and dreams. Pygmalion meet Tom.
Technology is speeding up old processes all the time. While you are voting who is hot or not you can now choose to contact them. Darwinian selection in the hands of computers is going to push technology beyond any human's ability to understand it.
Even hardware can evolve. The field-programmable gate array chip, invented in the 1980s but just now reaching its potential, gives a glimpse of how future computer circuits will design themselves. Unlike a typical silicon chip with etched immutable switches, or "gates" in chip parlance, the field-programmable chip can be reconfigured instantly and endlessly. Better yet, it can be bred rather than designed to do a task. Adrian Thompson at the University of Sussex in England demonstrated this breeding capability in 1997. He set up 50 random chip-circuit designs coded as binary strings, that is, as sets of ones and zeros. His aim was to evolve a circuit that could do a specific task— distinguish between two audio tones. He simulated biological evolution by mating circuit designs that, when downloaded and tested in a field-programmable gate array chip, performed slightly better than they would have had they chosen between the tones at random. Then he let the algorithm run and the circuits mutate through 4,100 generations. A set of instructions called a fitness function killed off inefficient arrays and mated efficient ones. The design at the end of this ruthless chain, downloaded onto a chip, worked perfectly. In a statement that portends a new world, Thompson said he had no idea how the circuit works.
We will likely have the creative edge over our digital counterparts for a long time. Programming will get easier as the tools make it harder for us to make mistakes. In tools like X3D-edit this exists to some degree. "It can't be all sunshine and rose gardens, John. People will abuse this high-tech stuff.", you say?
Martin is nobody's fool. He knows that highly evolved computers could be harnessed for nefarious ends. For example, they could be used to target compulsive gamblers and entice them to quicker ruin. They could even be used to crash global stock markets. Amplifying human power means betting on the better angels of human nature to squelch darker urges. But Martin argues that we have won this wager since the invention of the first tool. "It has always been the case that we learn to suppress the bad effects of technology and exploit the good effects," he says. "I think we can keep doing that for the foreseeable future."
I am a peace loving soul, but I feel the tug for action as others do. When I was young, I followed this tug in less then ideal ways. I learned and changed my ways. As a society we have to realize that we need to make mistakes. We have to allow for failure and abandon the road of zero tolerance. We have to continue to be more clever. I have struggled with the moral implications of working for the military and have come to realize certain things. The vast majority of them seem as peace loving as I am. To advance the technology of the military can result in more peace and less death. For example, the development of remote vehicles and pinpoint weapons can create situations where there is little risk for loss of life while destroying the military assets of your enemy.
I know I tend to believe that most people are inherently good. Even if everyone was entirely selfish in their motivations, the logic of reciprocity would promote good actions. People will always do bad things. That's what it means to have freedom. Making the penalties for doing bad doesn't mean ANYTHING if the rewards for doing good never change. It's a fundamental flaw reflected in the game Black & White. Most of all, war has NO benefits to anyone or anything.
Which had been impossible for six hundred years while the Sleeper sat with still hands and closed eyes in his cavern of steel beneath the Sargasso Sea, monitoring the thoughts of the world, keeping the peace.
Laurrayne and Leaf chose to be enemies.
For how else could war be effected if there were no combatants, no opposite sides, no antagonists?
And they sought out Kadir and Ophir.
For how else could Man begin to resume his climb of Progress to his Destiny, if there were no wars to spur creativity and challenge his abilities? If the monitoring of the Sleeper could not be ended so that Man might once again bash the brains of other men, and think his thoughts of tomorrow, dream his dreams of the stars?
-Harlan Ellison, Asleep:With Still Hands
Is that the problem? We can't motivate ourselves beyond merely trying to beat the other guy? If Man wants to truly evolve, it's time to learn some simple self-motivation. Maybe, I've been too harsh in my dislike of the Oprahesque cloying of life-affirming poppycock.
The fight for ideals can no longer take the form of fight between nations, because the lines of division on moral questions are within the nations themselves and intersect the political frontiers. There is no modern State which is completely Catholic or Protestant, or liberal or autocratic, or aristocratic or democratic, or socialist or individualist; the moral and spiritual struggles of the modern world go on between citizens of the same State in unconscious intellectual cooperation with corresponding groups in other states, not between the public powers of rival States.
War has no longer the justification that it makes for the survival of the fittest; it involves the survival of the less fit. The idea that the struggle between nations is a part of the evolutionary law of man's advance involves a profound misreading of the biological analogy.
The warlike nations do not inherit the earth; they represent the decaying human element....
Are we, in blind obedience to primitive instincts and old prejudices, enslaved by the old catchwords and that curious indolence which makes the revision of old ideas unpleasant, to duplicate indefinitely on the political and economic side a condition from which we have liberated ourselves on the religious side? Are we to continue to struggle, as so many good men struggled in the first dozen centuries of Christendom -- spilling oceans of blood, wasting mountains of treasure -- to achieve what is at bottom a logical absurdity, to accomplish something which, when accomplished, can avail us nothing, and which, if it could avail us anything, would condemn the nations of the world to never-ending bloodshed a nd the constant defeat of all those aims which men, in their sober hours, know to be alone worthy of sustained endeavor?
-Norman Angell, The Great Illusion, 1910.
Tom is messing with the dark forces. I propose we do some Echelon bombing instead. But who should be the target? How about Jakob "useit" Neilson? Here is the HTML:
An innocent little trick like this is not likely to have the Secret Service bust down Jakob's door, but having a large amount of CAT5 cable tied together is always a good idea. These online activities are bleeding out into the unplugged, unwashed world. In the small country of Korea we can get a glimpse of what the growing gaming industry can do.
Jakob <a href="http://www.useit.com/">Neilson eats fissionable quiche with Bubba the Love Sponge. Both are Beyond Hope
in winning the mindwar for the niche Consulting market.</a>
At times, it seems like the whole nation is caught up in the confusion. Sandwiched between news of the latest political scandals, Korea's broadsheets revel in details of Lineage controversies. One March article in the Dong-A Ilbo reports on an online protest—when "more than 1,000 players gathered within the Lineage world"—after unscrupulous gamers took advantage of a computer glitch to make bootleg copies of the game's prized virtual weapons. Korea's intellectuals and literary hopefuls have also gotten caught up in the craze. Gamer Lee Seung Woo, a draftsman by day whose real-life hope is to find a girlfriend, has written a still unpublished novel about male friendship set in the game. Then there's literary critic Park Sang Woo, whose book on Korea's game players draws on the ideas of French philosopher Michel Foucault. "For the gamer, the game world is much more attractive than reality," he writes, based partly on his own experience. "Reality is only a space in which he makes a small amount of necessary money for continuing the game."
Another double rainbow picture. The first one is on my poetry page.
"Some people redesign. I just stagnate. Well, maybe not stagnate but I'm certainly not up to those standards, am I?"
Matthew has cleared the dust from his part of the internet and a web design guru has graciously donated her time to overhaul the look. I'm certainly not one to judge web design standards. As far as stagnation is concerned, I'll refer to the old druidic axiom, "Perfect balance, results in perfect stagnation."
The druids have a doctrine of constructive imbalance. The idea is that the proper prodding of imbalance creates growth in the individual. Pop psychology pundits preach balance, but there are benefits to a bit of bedlam.
Society needs parents who spend time with their kids. Heck, society also needs balance; why focus obsessively on some unworthy job that offers little fulfillment or social benefit? But society also needs people who will work like crazy to the exclusion of all else, and it will always reward them for that.
Subversion is a blue, electrically charged light and I am the errant insect. I have done my share of sending loosely grammared English towards the Internet Lingua franca through laziness rather then animosity to English teacher's authority. I do have a tendency to question authority, but authorities continue to make themselves questionable. This is not about being paranoid. I'm sure that the powers that be are wise to my humor by now and I won't have to suffer through a Steve Jackson Games Secret Service style raid. Just in case, I have tied a bunch of CAT5 patch cables together that I scavenged during the dotcom fire sale so I can rappel out my window when they bust the door down.
You balancers are never going to beat out the monomaniacs. Besides, what exactly do you think that most people are doing with their free time? The average American watches four hours of television a day. The average worker spends perhaps 45 minutes a day commuting. If some people voluntarily spend this time on the job instead, is that so terrible?
So enough about balance. This is a call to all noble obsessives to leave the shadows and to enter the shining light of acclaim, where you belong. When the balancers get you down, remember the words of the novelist Steven Millhauser: "For what is genius, I ask you, but the capacity to be obsessed?"
Some laws you just can't help following or rather you can't help from them following you. Murphy's Law is an especially sticky one. It might not be a law, but the young tend to dislike authority. Case in point:
WHAT AN INCENTIVE
Who is subverting who? Am I really against authority and do all kids jump at the chance to throw things at cops? Are kids absorbing and embracing the messages of violence and sex portrayed in every corner of the media landscape?
High-school students were recruited last week by the Ogden police department for an Olympics-inspired training in riot control. An expert from the London Metropolitan Police instructed a "civil disorder squad" in the proper responses to being deluged with insults, stones and fiery Molotov cocktails by a crowd of hooligans.
Getting enough "rioters" was easy. Police Lt. Scott Sangberg told the Ogden Standard-Examiner: "We just told them they would have an opportunity to throw things at cops and call them names. And all these kids showed up."
As "toxic culture" dysfluences spread, did Lord of the Flies ensue? To the contrary. Perhaps no period in history has witnessed such rapid improvements in adolescent conduct. From 1990 through 1999, teenage violence and other malaise plunged: homicide rates (down 62 percent), rape (down 27 percent), violent crime (down 22 percent), school violence (down 20 percent), property offenses (down 33 percent), births (down 17 percent), abortions (down 15 percent), sexually transmitted diseases (down 50 percent), violent deaths (down 20 percent), suicide (down 16 percent), and drunken driving fatalities (down 35 percent).
I am not making this up. One tragic event in is put under the media magnifying glass. Every special interest group has the answer to "why." The pressure then goes to every lawmaker to legislate how to stop it.
Even the adults need shaping up. Time to bring in the Marriage Czar and piss off the atheists and those decadently dedicated singles.
Efforts like this are complete wastes of time and money. People don't grow better by having more restrictions. It only fuels anger and resentment.
Corporations understand kids, because they are just another market. To understand the kid market you have to know what is cool. The cool hunters are on the prowl. The media throws up a mirror and then a feedback loop occurs. The prevailing culture archetypes are the male Mook and the female Midriff. The corporations don't believe in the images they are selling and the kids don't belief in them either. The one thing they all believe is that for now that image is cool and they will ride it to the next image and the next.
Standby for the revolution after a few words from our sponsor. Who might that be? Who is going to grab minds of Generation Cool? Could it be someone from Ohio that takes the now defunct Amihotornot.com meme to the online community level? Picrave's search feature is limited to the ages of 13-30. It's Logan's Run online. I turned 28 Tuesday. I'm running out of time. I think I can survive not being cool. My name is not Logan, but what's in a name?
The newcomer provided a missing rhythm. The name expressed the community's embrace of the missing rhythm and also some expectations about the music that might be heard.
But the specific rhythm of the newly-named could be foretold no more than the final shape of a tree can be foretold from a seedling. The child was placed in no school to stunt her growth to the expected size and shape. On the contrary, the girl-child as well as her newborn brother were left free to emulate, or ignore, uncles and aunts, cousins among the animals, everyone and every- thing under the Sun, not excluding the Sun.
The grownups watched, not to close doors, but to open doors, to let the children wander where they would unharmed.
-Fredy Perlman, Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!
"Call me Id's mill," Grandpa says. "The Flour it yields is baked in the strange oven of my ego---or half-baked, if you please."
Chib grins through his tears and says, "They taught me at school that puns are cheap and vulgar."
"What's good enough for Homer, Aristophanes, Rabelais, and Shakespeare is good enough for me. By the way, speaking of cheap and vulgar, I met your mother in the hall last night..."
-Philip José Farmer, from Riders of the Purple Wage
The trek to California has given my wayward indulgences new direction. One can drown their frustrations in Barcadi for only so long. My near future is seeped in XML, X3D, Cosmo, and writing. But first, there are a few things worth looking at that happened while I was away.
In a word, Kaycee. Randall van der Woning was pretty close to the whole thing and a good summary by him can be found here. The whole thing erupted on Metafilter. Things started rolling. Theories were explored and then the bubble burst.
Kelli Swensen and the N'Sync girls created Kaycee (probably to meet boys online, etc). Julie's photos were used because she was the star player in a High School near the girls. She was a popular girl so they made her into a fake online entity.
A good way to read up on this is from the Yahoo page since Metafilter is down to a DSL line for now. Though I still have to point out the poke at Plastic.com. The major media is following up on the great investigative work done by the Metafilter community. I'm sure an after-school special is the horrible price we will all pay for it.
Debbie (Kelli's mom) found out about the fake girl. She took over and introduced the cancer to try to touch the world. Debbie made Kaycee into her third child. It went on for too long. She decided to end it. Debbie doesn't think she did anything wrong. She claimed to never get any gifts or money. She refused to tell who spoke on the phone as Kaycee. Charges have been filed by different parties. Law enforcement is involved, including Postal Investigators and possibly other law enforcement agencies. Expect it to hit the mass media in a few days.
It affected a lot of folks. Some indirectly like Powezek and others more deeply like Randall. It is a bigger mess then what we tend to see from Internet hoaxes. They all seem to fail and this one ending up hurting a lot of people despite the alleged good intentions of the mother. I vaguely remember visiting the sight some time ago and that I decided not to return. I'm not a fan of the Oprahesque cloying of life-affirming poppycock.
It is fascinating how intrusive the tone of modern society has become and how many people embrace it. Websites as personal journals and confessionals (weblogs) are getting more common. Even professional journalists are falling for the addictive ability to write in an instantaneous, editor-free, environment. It's always nice to have someone fix your grammar, but it can be annoying to have someone chop off that bit of prose you worked so hard to put together. Authors like Neil are using the format to promote their books rather then confess their top 5 crushes. So why doesn't everyone slide into barroom chat mode like I did last time?
The cultivation of audience expectation is a hallmark of traditional media. While Stephen King can afford to write crap like Hearts in Atlantis his bread and butter is horror. That might just be more finely polished crap actually, but it sells. Playboy caters to men that like to see cars, toys, and women that they will never own or date. They can't change their format to what the actual 'girl next door' might look like and pictures of the car you probably already own and is parked broken in your driveway.
On the other hand, I am obliged to write whatever the fuck I want. Was vulgarity necessary? No. I felt like writing it and did. I know a few of the people that read this site regularly (or at least claim to) and I know that they will cut me some slack and forgive my indulgences. The Personal and the Individual in writing is a matter of concern to me. How much of 'me' is too much? Eventually I will revise and develop opinions I've previously logged. Keeping them in the archives intact preserves some humility for me, but I feel compelled to drop the regular cataloging of my opinions in favor of trying on a more journalistic approach. I also want to do some regular fiction writing. If anyone has some input about where I should channel my energies, feel free to email me.
"the central purpose of journalism is to provide citizens with accurate and reliable information they need to function in a free society."
-The Elements of journalism
I must write. I need to express myself. The marquis in Quills was portrayed to need it a bit more. I found the movie entertaining, but I had to keep telling myself that it was based on a play and not reality. One of the scenes I found quite excruciating was where he dictated a story through several maniacs. It reminded me of one of the Freddy Kreuger (5?) movies where it was claimed he was "the bastard son of a thousand maniacs." I know that from the many sperm ejaculated from one guy, let alone thousands, only one can claim fertilization.
The everyday details of life can mean something. I was walking up 6th street on my way back from Uwajimaya. A man asked me, "Who is the guy next to Abraham Lincoln?" He was referring to my t-shirt. It was the shirt I bought at the Rage Against the Machine 1997 tour. There is a rendition of Uncle Sam and a nameless suit with the caption "Who is bought and sold?" on the front. So much for the revolution, eh?
Walking underneath highway 5 on my way home I noticed this bit of graffiti/vandalism/free speech, "At least time travels."
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I once had a girl,
Or I should say
I tried to have her.
Isn't it good?
She asked me to stay and she told me to sit anywhere,
So I looked around and I noticed there wasn't a chair.
I sat on a rug
Biding my time,
Drinking her wine.
We talked until two,
And then she said,
"It's time for bed."
I couldn't get it up and she started to laugh,
I told her it never happened before and crawled off to sleep in the bath.
And when I awoke
I was alone,
I was denied my bone,
So I lit a fire,
Isn't It Good?