Friday, January 29, 2010

Steve Jobs is the Devil

There is no doubt in my mind that Steve Jobs is evil to the core. He personifies the smooth recklessness that is quietly pulverizing the wolf habitat. Wal-Mart is easy to vilify. Of course it's easy to mock fat hillbillies riding motorized carts with soda pop and bulk cheap cheesits. Bravo! We all saw Wall-E. That's like shooting a one legged kangaroo.
But if something about Wal-Mart makes your stomach queasy then look at Steve Jobs sometime. He's all over the place now with his abomination the iPad. This is a true monstrosity of unconscionable engineering. Glossy cases with "simplified" interface and (I assume) some modicum of eco-friendliness. Ugh. It makes me puke in the cracked waste basket near my bed. It makes me shit streams of plastic mercury in the air. FUCK STEVE JOBS! This is a true monster. His phony blue jean image, unshaved. SO EARTHY! I bet they spent hours designing his image. He's probably a fucking robot! I know he's radioactive. Please understand that he is absolutely not your friend. Everything he does is sending horrible ripples through humanity and at the end of it you will be able to update your facebook status. THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

Why do I have to defend this? I can't understand why this is not obvious to everyone. Didn't we go to the same high school? Ok, see, it's pretty fucking simple. iPads are so incredibly refined that there is nothing in them that doesn't do major damage to habitats SOMEWHERE ON EARTH. Ok, yes, you look out your front window and say to yourself, "I don't see a strip mine. I don't see a civil war. I don't see mercury poisoned water. So I'll buy an iPad." You CUNT!

Alright, I take that back. Sorry. I get emotional. But I know this is the blind obedience Jobs has bought with his disgusting whoring. He's the worst of the worst because he's so unassuming. Everyone loves him! American! Tall! White! Rich! Smart! Everyone loves him! I should be reminded of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (his victims are sold in meat pies), but instead I'm reminded of Ellsworth Toohey in The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. Why? Because the obedience seems so complete. People actually look to Apple to decide what to do next. I'm horrified by this because I don't see the access to information as being worth the cost. No. The cost is actually necessitating the access to information. It's run amok. We need Apple...because Apple exists. (I just shivered).

I recall the arguments logging companies used in the northwest. They wanted to cut the trees down and then discuss whether or not it was right. "Get out of our way so the courts can decide if what we did was wrong." hahaha. Those guys at Maxxam knew exactly how to work the system. These were 800+ year old trees. Pricey redwood. Steve Jobs wants his fancy banisters to last. Of course he does. He's got the money...because you gave it to him.

Jobs is behind the technology that spells disaster for so many communities. I'll only say that silicone refinement has decimated the water quality in San Jose and Dallas. Destroyed it!
Coltan is the name for a metal used in computers and other things. Does Steve Jobs ever mention it? Why would he? He'd have to mention the WAR IN THE CONGO that is taking place because everyone wants control of the Coltan mines there. You think manufacturing a mercury-free LCD screen is some clean organic process? Are you a complete idiot? You think there are elves in the forest who pick mercury free diodes from flying fairies? I promise you that there are multiple hazardous waste satellite stations at the mercury free lcd factory because they also make screens with mercury. Furthermore, the reason the mercury and lead were in them in the first place was because someone realized you'd be GIVING EVERYONE CANCER IF THEY STARED AT A RADIOACTIVE TUBE!

Most of all, what bothers me deeply, is how swiftly the mouths of America open to suck down Steve Job's technological climactic juice. You whores! Steve Jobs pulls his pants down and every cock in America gets hard. Please let me see your anus! Please let me suck your balls! It's horrible. Horrible. So obedient. No one questions what is going on. Steve Jobs is introducing another gadget?? Well, it must be good. I want one! How much does it cost? Only $500. Hell, that's not even the price of a slave from the Congo!

Let me tell you, as your friend, that nothing Steve Jobs has to offer is good. It's new and you are like a little 3 year old who wants new things, who wants everything to be easy...and swift...and wireless. But it isn't easy. It's extremely difficult and costs many lives and causes permanent damage. That $500 represents death and destruction. Every second you think you saved because you were able to track your goddamn LL Bean shirt from Maine to your house COSTS SOMEONE ELSE TEN TIMES THE TIME! You just transferred the dirty work to someone born under a different flag.

Can you grasp that? Can you peer out of your bubble for a second and realize that nothing is easy. What you call easy, is just someone else doing something for you. In this case it's a war in the Congo, ships crossing the ocean, slave labor in China, more ships crossing the ocean, non-union mothers dropping their kids off at day care so THEY CAN SELL YOU AN IPAD?? That sound easy to you? Unless you are the fucking president of Costa Rica you should not own one of these monstrosities. Never have I met a person who actually needs this much technology at their disposal or is worth the destruction that it left in it's wake. No. You want to believe that because you own a computer that you deserve a computer. No. Wrong. I'm telling you that is not true. You and I do not deserve these computers. We simply stole the resources from the future to use right now because we are selfish. We rationalize it so well (Steve Jobs is so helpful in pointing out how good it all is) but there is no justification for it except if we are those who devour planets. Are you that? DO NOT BUY ANYTHING STEVE JOBS HAWKS! NOTHING! An alien visitor to America would probably think Steve Jobs was leader. Maybe that's true.

I'm telling you without a doubt that historians will look back and mark Steve Jobs as an evil genius. Bill Gates will be there too on the list of monsters but Steve Jobs will get top awards for duping America into funding ecological and human genocide. The propaganda was shiny and let you take pictures. The final responsibility is ours, of course, but the future historians will conclude that we were outmatched. No one could possibly see what such a smart white rich guy was doing behind the curtain. He's a wizard! It's magic! Let's buy one! Help the economy!

From Apple site: " iPad. Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price. Watch the keynote. Watch the video"
Magical?? Revolutionary?? Is it a video of war crimes and dying wolves? Retarded kids in San Jose wearing Apple shirts? Probably not. Propaganda is untruthful by definition.

So historians will say, "They had good excuses. We can't blame them. They thought they were being good citizens. They were being loyal. How sad."

Rabbit Run

This is the first book in the Rabbit Angstrom series. It's good but Updike learned some tricks by Rabbit Redux that make a difference. One passage here has a minister trying to convince Rabbit to return to his wife after he left her for no reason. (except he thinks she's dumb)

Rabbit says, "I do feel there is something out there waiting for me to find it."
The minister says, "All vagrants think they're on a quest, at least at first."

Ah, that's a dirty thing to say. To passively accuse Rabbit of being a vagrant and then to disparage the noble motives he think he has. I will meditate on this comment to see what wisdom it has to offer. When is a quest a bit of folly? And once the veil of the quest has fallen then what is left? Was it aimless? Didn't Jesus wander the desert as well? I wonder. And if you find something in your journeys then was that a coincidence? Does the vagrant justify his wanderings by inventing clues along the way? The people we meet are road signs pointing a new direction. See? I'm not wandering, I'm looking for direction...and the impulses that spur me on are no less valid than the new order from a company that forces you to work harder to make more money.
And I've met vagrants who no longer think they are on a quest and didn't ever think they were on a quest. So what about them? What if some vagrants really are on a quest? Why deny them that peace? Who is this minister to define another man?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Salinger RIP

I'm a Salinger fan. His writing didn't hide his distate for phonies, but it didn't attack them either. His works sort of defended the theory that in a world of phonies, it's better to be phony than not. If you're a phony then this means nothing to you. If you are sometimes a phony then it's only a vague sense of loss. If you are a phony but think you aren't then this will make sense but you will also know you are lying to yourself and that you can't win. If you are not a phony then life is hellish as it stands so this is no consolation. You're probably calling me a phony right now...which I am...sometimes.

Anyway, the writer is dead. He lived in Cornish, which is south of Lebanon on the NH VT border. It's like an hour from here. He lived in a house with no number. I meant to go visit him and ask him to sign my red hunting cap. I guess that will never happen.

I wonder if living outside of new yorker essays and dinners in Washington and prologues to new editions changed his writing. Was he happy with his style and was afraid it would change? Because I don't think his style works today. It's kind of phony. Dry. Unaffected. What's he trying to prove? Fuck Salinger! You think you're too good for us? For love Esme?? Farewell to Banana Fish?? That's a bunch of phony bullshit. I quoted you just three days ago and you don't have the respect to come out and mingle? Asshole!

And another thing, you cunt, I wish I could go live in a cabin and study yoga and zen and eat turkey wraps but I can't. See? I can't do that. So what the fuck? I wish I were as cool and rich as you to write about people killing themselves and shit and then buy a cabin and prey on teenage girls. Bravo! You phony bastard! The highlight of my day was talking to my librarian crush Courtney about you dying. Wait, I got an idea. I'm going to write a J.D. Salinger story. And let me tell you that I'm on the floor right now with a broken back. Ain't no girls waiting outside the door of this group home. Nope. I'm dirt poor. Borrowing other people's food stamps to stay alive. But do you think I can do it? Let's see...
What shall I call it? Something pretentious, like

"The Pink Blankey Man"
by J.D. "I'm so fucking special" Salinger (AKA Oggy Bleacher)

Prim had wet herself so she went to the bathroom. Her pink blankey dragged on the ground. She saw her father in the hallway, weeping.
"Daddy, are you ok?"
"No. No, Prim. What are you doing up?"
"I wet myself from a bad dream. There was a wolf and then the ice cream melted."
"Yes. Yes."
"What time is it? Is it school time?"
"No. Go back to bed. Oh, Prim?"
"Yes, daddy?"
"Never mind. Go to bed."
"Yes, Prim, yes, Buttercup."
"Will you be my pink blankey man again."
"Not tonight. No. I don't think so."
"Just once more. Then I won't ask again."
" It's...your"
"Once more?"
And Prim's father picked up the pink blankey and wore it as a cape and flew and said, "Captain Frabjulous of the Pink Blankey brigade to the rescue."
"But you don't say it right," called Prim. "Say it right." She bounced in place. "Say it right!"
Prim's father dropped the pink blankey.
"That was right. That was how I always said it."
Prim knew it wasn't right. She couldn't explain how it was different but it was different.
"Ok." she said. "OK. I'll go night night."
Her father was silent, lit from behind by a desk light, as Prim shuffled into the bathroom. She stopped at the door and couldn't find the light switch. In the dark she thought she saw a wolf hide in the toilet. She was startled but her father was quiet so she said nothing. She found the light switch and clutched her blankey to her chest as she turned the light on. But she knew the blankey would offer her no protection. It was merely a pink blankey, after all. There was no wolf but in the trash Prim saw a box that said "Pregnancy Test". She went back to bed but didn't sleep.

the end

There. you think I gotta go live in a fucking cabin now? Huh, you phony moron? No. I still gotta get up tomorrow and collect aluminum. My back is killing me. I can't bend my fingers. Be a man. Stop reading Hermann Hesse. Asshole! I can't wait for your estate to publish all your crappy books that you've been sitting on. Look at me. I'm just dying to read them.
ok, now you can rest in peace.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All I wrote today. fingers swollen

“But we can rebuild in the forest,” Oggy began. “We can rebuild the hut.”

“Oggy, we’re not living in the forest if my mother has a hotel room. No.” Isabelle's voice was like that of a wife; she wasn’t reasoning, she was telling with a tone of annoyance, even disgust at Oggy’s suggestion they construct another plastic cabin in the woods to replace the one destroyed by the tweakers.

“What about the resources? There’s the electricity, the water. Food. All that’s coal derived. We’re living off dead plants and animals. It's monstrous. Watching T.V. There's no justification.”

“When can we move into the hotel?”

“Wait. Philosophically, what you are doing is destroying the world.”

“I don’t give a fuck. We’ll get a hot shower.”

“Steve’s got food stamps," Mary reasoned. "He’s buying a hot plate and everything.”

“But what about the oasis project,” whined Oggy, "and the worm bin?"

“The what?”

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Citizen favorite part

I love this conversation between Kane and Susan. They're in the fireplace room and everything is falling apart. Susan doesn't pretend she loves him anymore and she's given up on the opera dream. Kane has no ambitions left. He's tried to make her happy by staging an opera for her to sing in but it failed so now he's gone backwards to being simple. And that doesn't work. He can't win. We've all felt this way.

I can't get over how powerful it is that he repeats the same line. "I thought we might have a picnic tomorrow."
She's laid down an argument that's impossible to beat. And she's being so bitchy because she wants out. And if he bites and starts to argue it makes him seem like he's actually still trying to fight for her love or to salvage the marriage. But because he repeats that line it's like he's completely defeated. He's almost talking to himself. And his delivery is the from depths of sadness.
They eventually go on the picnic and he is completely miserable and she is still complaining. He hits her and that about wraps up the marriage. But this one line repeated is priceless. I can't find a clip with that scene in it but it's my favorite in the whole movie.

01:41:10 Kane: ...but you get into the habit.
01:41:12 Susan: It's not a habit, I do it because I like it.
01:41:16 Kane: I thought we might have a picnic tomorrow.
01:41:21 Kane: Invite everybody to spend the night at the Everglades.
01:41:24 Susan: Invite everybody. Order everybody, you mean, and make them sleep in tents.
01:41:28 Susan: Who wants to sleep in tents when they've got their own room...
01:41:32 Susan ...with a bath, where they know where everything is?
01:41:34 Kane: I thought we might have a picnic tomorrow.
01:41:41 Susan: You never give me anything I really care about.

This taught me a lot about writing dialogue. When you have two people with truly different agendas then you aren't always supposed to get an argument. Sometimes you go with the argument if it suits you, but sometimes you just have two people who aren't on the same page at all. They don't argue, instead they just maintain their course and it's not even a collision. It's just the fact they are in the same room that they are talking at all. But really they aren't communicating. This is dramatic dialogue because it doesn't ever really take place in real life. We've learned the art of arguing like on soap operas where it escalates. But this is dramatic in the sense that they are saying what they are thinking regardless of what the other person is saying. They aren't listening at all. Sometimes you want characters to be snippy and contrary, other times they don't care anymore and at that point only the audience is seeing both sides. See? It's a device to get the audience to ignore the words. It's also non-linear because the argument gets derailed. He still wants to have the picnic. But is it about a picnic? It can't be. He's miserable. She doesn't want to go. So what's it about? The argument isn't about a picnic and the first clue is that he repeats himself.

interview dos and donts

shake hands without wincing
bring all the application info you need
wash crud out of eyes
arrive on time
thank the interviewer

admit to spending 8 months on the beach in Mexico
explain your hand is swollen because you were playing pick up basketball
tell the truth on your application so it appears you are insane
admit to living in a group home "That really sucks"
say things like, "Does it really matter?"

Fortunately, I interviewed in Laconia for a job in Laconia and the job pool is at an all time low here. The interviewer was doing a reference check on someone else while I filled out my application and she asked, "So did he work for you before or after he got out of prison?"
Unfortunately, I'm still easy to pass over.

The stop after that was the food stamp office where just sitting in the waiting room was enough to make me not want to apply. I'll lick paper tray liners at McDonalds before I accept food stamps.

It was kind of research for the social services element in my santa cruz story but it brought back bad memories of incomplete applications, mysterious forms, criteria to be elegible that make my head spin, babies crying, out of work men standing at the window (they kept it closed because of the swine flu) shouting, "What am I ghhona eat? Ya cancelled my caahd. I ghot cancah ya know?"

So it was on to the family dollar store to buy peanuts and prunes as part of my fruit and grain diet. rice and beans. no more milk. no more bread and cheese. Grain salads and fruit from now on.

Then a few hours at the goodwill reading room otherwise known as the old chair closest to the book shelves. I was looking for a grain and nut recipe book but I ended up reading an essay by a tramp in 1934 California. He described the conditions in federal camps. 200 men kicking stones in a dusty town. He decided these men were pioneers in a world without new places. It's hard to leave behind somewhere familiar and take to the road but that's how America was colonized and also Australia (island prison). But in 1934 the land had ceased giving back and there was less of it to farm so the men wandered. They were maimed by accident and drink and disease but they were no less intelligent than your average man. Their ambitions were simply obsolete. They merely wanted something extraordinary to do and that opportunity had changed from pioneering to technology...and the majority of the men couldn't make that transition so they picked apples and drifted with the wind. That was the author's conclusion. He wasn't a journalist but his writing was very good. He'd probably been a school teacher in the past and now slept on a blanket near the road and observed.
None of them expected a hand out but with a maimed hand or foot they only had their brains left, and that was helping them survive.

I thought it interesting that I read the essay at the Goodwill in 2010 after visiting the food stamp office and an employment agency as my day trip away from the group home. I had to hold the book so as not to hurt my swollen finger. When I coughed my ribs ached. The author was trying to make sense of it all. He wasn't just reporting. He was writing an essay on the condition and philosophical essence of the hobo. I felt close to this man, Eric Hoffer. He didn't need to write that essay and by the time he wrote it (the essay compilation was from the '60s) he'd probably made it in life. But the need to share this experience and this opinion impressed me. The book had essays by B.F. Skinner and Jean Paul Sarte. And this one time hobo from 1934 who slept on a blanket and played checkers with a guy who only had one hand. I just checked up on Eric Hoffer and he's an unusual person.

At the Goodwill, a couple nearby was reading the off a rack of used CDs. "Charlie Daniels, Fire on the Mountain....Celine Dion...."
An old french guy with a walker and those gigantic black shoes you get when you have diabetes was talking to the sale lady, telling her about another time. A woman picked up a sparkly blouse, looked at the price tag and moved on. A guy with a cane was browsing the diet books. Outside it was starting to snow after two days of rain so a clerk went to put salt on the sidewalk. Cars rolled by with their lights on.

The opinions in the book were like the snowflakes falling on the wet sidewalk. If the conditions were right they would collect and you might even be able to notice them and make decisions because of them, but with rain they would go away and in the spring a child going to play basketball at the park would never know they existed. B.F. Skinner devoted his life to understanding behavior...but look around a Goodwill on some afternoon and tell me what impact B.F. Skinner has had. At the social services office there were handouts on everything. I looked at one that gave advice on brushing teeth, going to the doctor, getting food stamps, getting work, getting a GED. One that sticks out was a colorful page with children's songs on it.

"This little piggy went to market
This little piggy went home
this little piggy went to church
this little piggy went to school
this little piggy went to work"

Then there were instructions on how to wiggle your kids toes or fingers (if they had 5) and sing the song. It was about singing and bonding with your kid. And how to get them to read. And I guess it's a little bit of brainwashing. Market, home, church, school, work. The little piggy never goes and robs a bank. He never drifts aimlessly to Mexico; the little piggy has a pattern and he sticks to it. Brush your teeth. The food pyramid. Exercise 30 minutes a day. Stay in school. Don't do drugs. There was one pamphlet that had a circle with three stages:
1. Honeymoon Phase,
2. Buildup/Tension,
3. Abuse.
It asked, "Does this look familiar to you?"
The office wasn't filled on a Tuesday at 3 pm but it wasn't empty either. I stayed an hour just reading all the pamphlets. They kept asking me if I'd been helped and I kept saying I was all good. I just wanted to see what was going on in there. I'd heard tales and I'm getting to the point where emergency assistance is needed.

I've been reading Hesse's Glass Bead Game again and dreaming about Waldzell, the elite school for musicians and glass bead game players. He talks about a bent toward universality that the students are recognized for. This is interesting because I wonder what kind of universe they think they lived in. There were no social service offices in Castalia. No car mechanics on disability. No mothers who need to set up a ride to interview about food stamp extensions. No this little piggy songs to teach kids. So, they studied history through the eyes of others. But is that the same thing? Can you really refer to the human condition once you read someone else's opinion? The students of Waldzell lived like monks. Outside the walls a world of politics and war took place but they only read and wrote histories. There were no infants. No parents. No mothers. No econoline vans. No jammed fingers or bruised ribs. No dust bowl tramps playing checkers. I wonder if that influenced his decision to call the school Waldzell. Kind of a play on Wall. Like a walled city that only analyzed experience. But universal theories require more than just book knowledge.
Who knows? Shawn just dropped by and told me the poker game starts in 5 minutes. I gave him the chips and now I'm off to play some cards. That's what we do here in this hobo camp. we play cards and ponder the human condition. B.F. Skinner just got paid better.


As part of my "Get fit before I die" plan I joined the men's pick up basketball league at the Laconia community center. If I had use of my fingers I would take a picture of the three injuries I sustained in my first 3 hours.

The first happened in pregame warm ups. A bad finger jam on my right ring finger. The next was when I battled with a guy who outweighed me by 50 pounds. We both dove for the ball and I got the worst of the collision and rolled head over heels on my shoulder. But, as is normally the case, I think I broke a rib somehow. It's all connected.
Lastly, someone just rolled the ball near me and as I went to get it I tripped over my own waterlogged legs and fell to the ground on my knees. This wouldn't have been so bad if I had managed to keep my fingers from ending up between my knees and the floor. My pinky took the whole weight of my body and the tip now looks like the tip of a mercury thermometer.
I was trying to rebound and my entire back seized in a spasm to my neck.
I think I made 3 shots and missed 4. 6 points. 0 blocked shots. 2 assists.

I told a 20 year old, "I haven't played this game in 22 years."
His expression was like, "That recently?"
Then I said, "I played baseball." and immediately regretted it because that's just a glory days line. I might as well say I played whiffle ball or frisbee football in Junior High School. I was a great lawn darts player in 1983. Scott had a set and we played in his backyard. You toss the dart way up in the air so it comes down in a hoop.

I took some pictures before I mangled both my hands beyond repair. I'm typing this with my toes.

I spent some time at the employment agency and finally landed a real job interview...assembly stuff...anything to get some money. But now I've got a broken rib and mashed pinky and swollen ring finger. I can barely put the lid back on the aspirin bottle. So will I be able to fake it at the interview? We find out.

The coordinator gave me an ice pack to put on the finger. I'm too tired to stay awake. Probably broke a blood vessel in my heart and am slowly bleeding out.

Except for the injuries it felt good to be running and sweating and boxing people out. Full court to 11 points. Lots of long jump shots and missed passes. The average weight was like 250 so when they push me around I move willingly. My back is killing me right now. If I'm able I will go back tomorrow after the assembly job falls through.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Heaven's Gate

Anyone who hasn't seen Michael Cimino's film Heaven's Gate is missing something. It's a rarity because not many directors get unlimited fund and then make a film about community and honor and love. The version I saw was 4 hours long and there is another hour out there somewhere. This scene at a Wyoming skate hall in 1890 is as unusual as it is mesmerizing. It's gratuitous and almost completely visual but there is a point. I don't think this is the best scene in cinema history. (That might go to the ending of Citizen Kane.) but it's still a huge production and until Donald Trump decides to fund, film and edit a movie then you aren't going to see something like it (although the waltz at the start of the film is completely insane). The budget was like $3 million and Cimino spent $30 million. So what you are really watching is his career and United Artists Studio going up in smoke.

Some writing analysis...

Since I've been thinking that the real model of my Santa Cruz story is kind of a cross between Uncle Tom's Cabin and Crime and Punishment here is a comparison of both.

Crime and Punishment...

This evening, however, on coming out into the street, he became
acutely aware of his fears.
"I want to attempt a thing like that and am frightened by these
trifles," he thought, with an odd smile. "Hm... yes, all is in a man's
hands and he lets it all slip from cowardice, that's an axiom. It
would be interesting to know what it is men are most afraid of. Taking
a new step, uttering a new word is what they fear most.... But I am
talking too much. It's because I chatter that I do nothing. Or perhaps
it is that I chatter because I do nothing. I've learned to chatter
this last month, lying for days together in my den thinking... of Jack
the Giant-killer. Why am I going there now? Am I capable of that? Is
that serious? It is not serious at all. It's simply a fantasy to amuse
myself; a plaything! Yes, maybe it is a plaything."
The heat in the street was terrible: and the airlessness, the bustle
and the plaster, scaffolding, bricks, and dust all about him, and that
special Petersburg stench, so familiar to all who are unable to get
out of town in summer- all worked painfully upon the young man's
already overwrought nerves.

I love this execution. The internal dialogue is priceless. He's fixating.
And the narrative adds to the dialogue without interjecting the author's opinion. That is the hardest part in my opinion. Third person narratives are so hard because it is so easy to slip into a commentary of the events...which is subjective. But if you are writing subjectively then your opinions will overwhelm the writing. You can do it but it becomes commentary and the reader begins to feel he is being led to a conclusion. That's why this is the crowned achievement in writing. You have to pull off a triple fraud of creating characters who don't exist, allowing those multiple characters to voice their own opinions, and narrating as though you were just describing events and had no opinion of your own. That's not easy. I'll tell you why it's not easy. Listen. To accurately find the voice of this manic, fixating young man, our hero Dostoyevsky had to visit that crazy land himself. See, that's the part they don't tell you in English 101. Unless you want to write like a chump from New England then you have to get out of yourself. And if you are lucky enough to buy a round trip ticket then you will get to write about what you saw. There is no way Dostoyevsky spent 5 years in a Siberian prison without having a lot of time on his hands to fixate on revenge. He knows the sound of an internal monologue that eats itself. You aren't reading a guy's own speech to himself as he prepares to kill a pawn broker. No. You are hearing Dostoyevsky give himself a pep talk to get through another frozen winter night in a gulag. But it doesn't sound like that because D. has found a voice that isn't his own.

Let's see if Harriet Stowe gets the same results...

Tom spoke in a mild voice, but with a decision that could not be mistaken. Legree shook with anger; his greenish eyes glared fiercely, and his very whiskers seemed to curl with passion; but, like some ferocious beast, that plays with its victim before he devours it, he kept back his strong impulse to proceed to immediate violence, and broke out into bitter raillery.

"Well, here's a pious dog, at last, let down among us sinners!—a saint, a gentleman, and no less, to talk to us sinners about our sins! Powerful holy critter, he must be! Here, you rascal, you make believe to be so pious,—didn't you never hear, out of yer Bible, 'Servants, obey yer masters'? An't I yer master? Didn't I pay down twelve hundred dollars, cash, for all there is inside yer old cussed black shell? An't yer mine, now, body and soul?" he said, giving Tom a violent kick with his heavy boot; "tell me!"

In the very depth of physical suffering, bowed by brutal oppression, this question shot a gleam of joy and triumph through Tom's soul. He suddenly stretched himself up, and, looking earnestly to heaven, while the tears and blood that flowed down his face mingled, he exclaimed,

"No! no! no! my soul an't yours, Mas'r! You haven't bought it,—ye can't buy it! It's been bought and paid for, by one that is able to keep it;—no matter, no matter, you can't harm me!"

"I can't!" said Legree, with a sneer; "we'll see,—we'll see! Here, Sambo, Quimbo, give this dog such a breakin' in as he won't get over, this month!"

The two gigantic negroes that now laid hold of Tom, with fiendish exultation in their faces, might have formed no unapt personification of powers of darkness. The poor woman screamed with apprehension, and all rose, as by a general impulse, while they dragged him unresisting from the place.

Even though the moral framing of Stowe's two characters benefits Uncle Tom more than Legree, her voice never breaks into commentary from the slanted narrative. The author doesn't really dig deep here. Certainly, this is a broad rendering of two metaphors, good and evil. She understood that and aims mostly to get the dialect correct. She's dealing with a story of ideas and it isn't so important to create deeply dimensional characters like Raskolnikov above. I would bet no slave was so easily defined as Uncle Tom in real life but Raskolnikov rings completely true to me.

Let's see how old Oggy Bleacher measures up...

Mary appeared shoving her wire frame shopping cart, her chin jutting forward from her taut neck like the prow of H.M.S. Cranktastic. The plastic cart wheels rattled and banged along the rocks and sand until they came to rest near Oggy’s broken bicycle.

“Oggy, you seen Izzy? Eh?”

“Isabelle? She’s around here,” said Oggy. "She was planting flowers." Mary’s teeth rattled in her jaw and her head twitched to a nonexistent rhythm. She scratched her arms, especially the delicate sores that had developed near her juicy injection sites.

“You see her tell her I’m looking for her. Ok, baby?”

Oggy said OK. "You look pretty today," he added as Mary lunged in the direction of the food table.

Oggy held the derailleur spring in one hand and a pair of rusty pliers in the other. The spring had broken in half but Oggy believed he could stretch the spring back into the original length and then add a hook at one end and thus put it back into action. The problem he was experiencing was the pliers themselves were rusty and the gripping surfaces did not meet so it was with great patience that he used the hole for the bolt to bend the spring around. When the spring broke again he scoured the area surrounding the food table until he found a wire twist tie. After ten minutes he managed to construct another spring from the twist tie and adjoined that spring to the original spring. He hooked it back onto the derailleur nub. Oggy delicately turned the bicycle onto its seat so he could turn the pedals freely.

A skinny man who looked to be around 50 years old sat down on the curb and adjusted a thick aluminum foil hat on his hat. He looked up into the sky, formed a pistol with his fingers and shot several simulated bullets into the air, at an invisible target. Scowling, he adjusted the aluminum hat again and mumbled, “Transmitting frequency changes. Changes in time and in method. Transmitting frequency. They’re listening!” He spoke directly to Oggy although Oggy was concentrating on turning the pedals of his bicycle.

“I put pepper in my ears. Cayenne pepper is the best for getting the bugs. Organic cayenne pepper in the ears kills all the bugs they put. I tried water. Water. Water. I tried to kill them with water. But the pepper works best.

The wire broke from the derailleur but Oggy did not curse. He turned to the aluminum foil man and noted that the man’s face was tortured by red blotches. Terrible psoriasis flaked from his ears and cheeks. The man rocked back and forth.

“Pepper.” He repeated.

At first reading, I think what doesn't work is the writing itself. The language still is forced. But then what impresses me about the poetry of D. and Stowe wouldn't work today anyway (as though I could ever mimic that verbosity). But, it worked for their era because it defined their era. That's the difference. I think what's missing from the Santa Cruz story is a new language style. It feels like this is still boring English. I don't know. I'll tell you the only thing I like about this passage is the attempt to fix the spring that goes on the bike. I think if I can communicate that kind of detail over and over then I'll be happy. It should, if I do it right, irritate and annoy every civilized person. It even annoys me now just to read it. Fixing a ten cent spring...with a wire twist tie? But they can't be annoyed with the author. That's the difference. If they are annoyed with the author then something has gone wrong. If they are annoyed with Oggy then that's character. That is character on a par with Raskonikov mumbling about his murder plan. Maybe even on a par with Holden Caufield's love for his crazy hunting hat...

"When I was all set to go, when I had my bags and all, I stood for a while next to the stairs and took a last look down the goddam corridor. I was sort of crying. I don't know why. I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around to the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice, 'Sleep tight, ya morons!'"

You get an idea for what Holden is like but J.D. Salinger is innocent. That's writing.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Health is expensive, but sickness is even more expensive

My grandfather used to say, "Oggy, take care of your health."
He'd had knee replacement surgery and even a heart attack or two. They cut veins out of his arm and leg and rerouted some valves in his heart. Those surgeries bought him a decade or two and the lesson he'd learned was how important health is.

When I was 15 years old I filed that lesson right along side flossing my teeth after every meal and "Picking a career path" Ha!~

Well, now that I look in the mirror and ain't too proud of what I see I've revisited the old man's words. Also, I've been on the wrong end of a surgical knife recently so I've got some experiences of my own. But when I get a chance to lecture some punk rockers with their skinny jeans and dyed pink hair and lip rings I feel like my words aren't taken seriously.

"Take care of your teeth."

They aren't interested. I'm like Kathleen Turner's grandfather in Peggy Sue Got Married. "I wish I'd taken better care of my teeth."

blah blah blah. where's the party?

Well, I've been writing and reading and playing guitar lately. I went to get that job brushing snow off cars in the car lot but the line was out the door. Masters degree or better. So I'm still unemployed and not getting much exercise. I eat an egg in the morning. And at night I have a hot dog. Those 10 skinless dogs I bought two weeks ago are still around. I've got two left and they have to last a week. The problem with not getting any physical exercise is revealing itself every time I go to take a shit. See, I had some of my colon removed a year ago and when that happens you gotta make some changes. It was fine as long as I was riding my bicycle and assembling bicycles and foraging for food in Mexico eating beans and juice, but reading and writing on a bacon and egg diet spells hell for my asshole. Thus, my quest for some colon cleanse pills from a co. in Venice that treated me nice in the past. It's like Grandpa used to say, "Health is expensive, but sickness is even more expensive." I've plugged like three toilets in a row. So if my shit can't get down a toilet pipe what do you think it felt like coming out of my ass?

So, my lesson of the day is to get some exercise, eat fiber like corn and beans and rice and if you are like me and bookmark so many web pages that you had to categorize your bookmarks then you should have a bookmark category that says "Health." I feel this is kind of contradictory since the manufacturing and disposal of computers is creating an ungodly amount of pollution (in my mind it's like a Haiti earthquake every day) so I guess it should be "Relative Health" because if you eat fiber and get some exercise then you will be relatively more healthy than if you were like me and didn't do much except write and read and play guitar.

Why do I think no one is going to do this? At what point in my life did I lose my credibility?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Piano virtuoso

I was reading my memory of the Food Not Bombs lunch line and I realized that the people we were serving food to were as far from functional living (i.e. contributing to society) as you or I are from playing a Beethoven piano concerto at the San Francisco Symphony. Just look at it like that. Technically, in 10 years anyone can play the piano. But if you don't play a single note of piano that entire 10 years then you aren't going to be able to play the piano, let alone play it with the S.F. Symphony. What's my point? Well, technically, by 18 you should be able to contribute something to society. But if you manage to live 18 years without once contributing something to society (because you were stoned or hiding under a table or getting abused by your priest) then guess what? You haven't logged the hours to get a job. And then the State steps in around 18 and you are almost guaranteed to go to jail...where the record of preparing inmates to contribute to society is WORSE THAN THE MANSON FAMILY.

So, it's easy to say these fine folks choose their way of life...just as easy as I could sit you down at a piano in Davies Symphony Hall, strike up the band for Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (You must know that one) and expect you to hammer 50 minutes of music out. You can do that can't you? Right? I mean, what the fuck is wrong with you? ANYONE CAN DO IT! So if you can't do it then you must be choosing to be a failure. So pathetic. Disgusting. Filthy. Unsophisticated. Worthless. How can you make such a horrible choice? You must be mentally defective.

But the question is how to take a 22 year old junkie convict and get him to play a piano concerto because otherwise you've got a huge problem. Santa Cruz just magnified that problem because the density of unskilled homeless was like Calcutta. Anyone have any suggestions?

The problem is further complicated when you consider that there aren't even enough jobs to go around FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WANT AND ARE ABLE TO WORK. And there isn't enough money to train everyone. And in the end the folks we served had already learned basic survival skills, how to eat one day at a time. They didn't trust someone who offered them training. They already knew how to survive so any advice sounded suspicious. How many of you would start practicing the piano for 5-7 hours a day STARTING TOMORROW if a social service counselor told you it would improve your chances of getting a job in ten years?

Forgive I...

Robert rolled up on the wobbling Food Not Bombs bicycle with a IWW flag waving on a bamboo pole lashed to the trailer frame. He had patched the inner tubes and used extra rubber cement so they seem to be holding air. All the fresh fruit salad survived the trip from the kitchen across town. All the bagels and bread were lashed safely under bungee cords along with the box of Food Not Bombs solidarity literature. Robert pushed the bicycle up the hill to where the weeds had been trampled by previous meals and the resting bodies of undesirable poor. Robert quickly set up the folding table and placed the boxes of bruised apples and bananas to one side. He opened the five gallon buckets of soup.

“I’d like to remind everyone to rinse their bowls in the bucket of water. This greatly helps those washing the bowls later on. Also, the compost pile is in the corner of the garden so any left over soup can go in the pile. Thank you.”

The line grew quickly as the homeless poured forth from their disabled vans and soggy cardboard shacks. They stood bouncing behind one another looking at the table of food, picking out the apple they would grab, squinting for a better look at the bread and juice and shiny ladle that meant nourishment.

“I like it when they have the tofu. Tastes like meat.”

“Eat that shit with the salt. Fucking good.”

“They got crackers? They got the crackers today? Anyone know?”

“I see them juices. Them are good. Get the vitamin C one. I needs the vitamins.”

“This cost money?”

“Naw. Just eat it till it’s gone.”

“They don’t charge nothing?”

“Naw. They doing this for the state or something.”

“Like welfare? Food stamps?”


“Is it vegan? I renounced animal products.”

“I’m hungry as fuck. When the line moving?”

“I brought me a big bowl. Eat it with the pepper.”

“I hope they got the tofu. It tastes good.”

“You see any fruit? Save me an orange.”

“You wanna buy some crank? A good cut?”

“I’ll trade you some weed.”

“Izzy around? She gives a mean blow job.”

“Anyone driving to San Francisco?”

“That bitch hanging out in the woods. Bangin’ that hippie.”

“She out of jail? Six months went fast.”

“I once had a meal in Texas with the steak and chicken. All breaded up. Fried. With soda pop!”

“You get breakfast this morning?”

“Steve was all fucked up. He said the oatmeal was poisoned. Poured it out. I got a slice of bread.”

“That’s bullshit. Steve’s a wild motherfucker.”

“Izzy’s got a pussy like a wind tunnel.”

“Cunt’s had like three miscarriages.”

“One of was ‘cause of me. Haw!”

“All that crank you sniffing. No wonder. Your cock juice is genetically retarded.”

“You hear that? My stomach calling fer food. Empty as fuck.”

“Where you sleeping tonight?


“Finally. Line’s moving. I’m gonna eat that soup. Look out!”

The hoard moved through devouring every edible crumb and potato skin. Plastic bowls ended up in the compost bin, the cardboard fruit box, the bike trailer, the river. Some were rinsed and returned to the dirty bowl box. Robert tended to the compost pile, turning it with a pitchfork, adding straw, aerating it with love and care, relishing the rich aroma of decay. Kim scooped the soup into the bowls with a stainless steel ladle, the symbol of Food Not Bombs being a purple fist with a carrot in it.

“Of course you can have more. And if you want to help rinse those bowls that would be a way you can contribute to this meal,” she said cheerfully to a toothless hobo with advanced diabetes sores on his feet.

Oggy sat next to his bicycle repairing the 20 year old derailleur. The spring had detached so the gears no longer changed. A new spring may have cost twenty cents but in keeping with his philosophy of repair and reuse, Oggy was bending the broken spring into something that would still work. Blar stepped behind him.

“Excuse I.”

“It’s alright, Blar. How you?”


“Yeah? Yeah? Where you living?”

“Here. Blar live here in the weed world. Live in the field. Eat the seeds.”

“You living on sunflower seeds still?”


“Seeds and water?”


“That’s what we all need to do. America is eating every resource and putting them in cars and technology.”

“Aye. Blar knows.”

“They give you a nickel back to use a plastic bag. But we throw out computer towers and car tires. Every fish in the ocean has mercury poisoning. I read a warning at the market. Warning: Mercury is harmful to unborn children. What is that about?”

“Blar wave goodbye to world now.”

“I don’t want to be negative. Abe told me not to be negative. He said I need to be more active in the world with my yoga and poetry. If I dwell on the decay then I get negative.”

“Blar go.”

Blar brushed dirt back into his footprints and moved onto the straw where his impact wasn’t recognizable even to him. He stood up and touched his forehead several times and mumbled a chant.

“I and I walk light. Walk light don’t touch the earth. Earth heal in time. Earth heal and grow up with flowers.”

He stepped gingerly onto the cement street and turned left toward the river levee.

How dumb are New Hampshire folks?

I just had to share this gem craigslist post. I mean, this guy is asking for actual thieves to come forward and be filmed while they con people so it can be broadcast. But it'll be anonymous? And if I respond then I'm saying I'm not a policeman??? Uh, you have to be the dumbest guy in the room. You are asking actual criminals to agree to be filmed committing a crime!!! And you think some kind of disclaimer is going to make a detective pause before responding to your ad and posing as a criminal??
I agree that the series would be interesting, but only because it would be a series of actual crimes. Why not just film people conning some other folks and then GIVE THE MONEY BACK AT THE END. See, so there isn't a crime committed. Cause if you commit a crime and film it for the travel channel that doesn't cancel out the crime. Unless I missed something while I was in Mexico. I should write to him and say I can get someone to sign their house over to me for ten dollars in 24 hours. But before I show him I need him to sign his house over to me.

Need real grifters for possible up coming book and show

Date: 2010-01-22, 3:39PM

I am seeking a few talented grifters for a realty series based on real life con games and swindles. Unlike the American version of the show the real hustle, this book and following series will focus on primarily major league fraud, congames, and theft. Complete anonymity assured if preffered. Otherwise I may be able to use you in the show. Please get in touch and tell me what your area of expertise is. By contacting me you certify that you are in no way associated with law enforcement.

  • Location: NH
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: To be discussed, based on merit

Original URL:

Quotes from tonight's poker game

"It was like fucking a wind tunnel..."

"Why would I be pissed off my full house loses to your four of a kind?"

"I said, 'I'm not being mean. I paid for a whole seat. You just need to stop eating Twinkies.'"

"If I win Powerball I'm gonna buy a big ham steak. And potatoes. I'll eat steak every day for a week."

"I can't afford jalapeno poppers. I got some bread in the fridge."

"Forget everything I said. I'm just pissed that I'm 40 and living in a group home."

"No no no no. He said he had a pair of 7s. I don't care what the cards read."

"It's just she's a cunt. She's gotta stick her cunt into our business. I hate her. It's pure cuntery."

"If someone mentions God again I'm gonna go berserk."

"When my unemployment kicks in I'm gonna buy popcorn and beer.

"Someone probably died right there."

"I saw Paul Revere and the Raiders on acid."

"I won't even look. Blind. I'll bet 5."

"Are you fucking kidding me? You beat me with two flushes in a row?"

"Oh, yeah, they're gonna offer me a job as president of the motherfucking bank. Right after they take their dick out of my ass."

"You want to remind me that I folded four of a kind? You think I need to be reminded?"

"My dad gives me advice on where to buy shoes. I'm 40 years old. Do I look like I need advice on where to buy shoes?"

"Drink another beer. Quit your whining."

"3s and 9s are wild. 4s buy an extra card but only if you pay 5."

"If you don't keep quiet I will call the police. The rules say no noise after 10pm."

Friday, January 22, 2010

Teacher Available

Just to show you anything is possible, the NH Board of Education has approved my application for an alternative credential. I am now available to teach music, middle school English, and Earth and Space sciences. I repeat...I am now legally able to teach in public schools. So if you know of a job please forward it to me. I can also coach baseball...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"A fuck innocent of madness..."

Here's a sample from Updike's Rabbit Redux, since I know no one has taken my advice and read it and also to demonstrate that I do not sit around and talk shit about everything. I defend my tastes. That's all. This book is next to me when I find myself at a dead end. I read and forget my troubles.

"Her thighs part easily, she grows wet readily, she is sadly unclumsy, at this, she has indeed been to bed with many men. In the knowing way she handles his prick he feels their presences, feels himself competing, is put off, goes soft. She leaves off and comes up and presses the gumdrop of her tongue between his lips. Puddled on the floor, they keep knocking skulls and ankle bones on the furniture....a fuck innocent of madness."

I mean, this is not only why his first Rabbit book was banned, but it is some damned good writing. Notice his use of the comma. "Puddled on the floor, they keep..."
You could write "Puddled on the floor they keep..." But that pause the comma gives is important because it is a picture in itself. Is that a prepositional clause or an adjectival clause? Puddled on...
Anyone know? Whatever it is, I don't think the comma is required, but he puts it anyway. A fuck innocent of madness. Sadly unclumsy.
I'm just in awe. He's got the long game and the short game.
Richard Ford wrote a similar series. One of the books is called Independence Day. I recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Proletarian Chess. The rook guards the pawn.

Here's a chess variation we played in Santa Cruz...

Robert and Professor Law played a Leninist version of chess. The pieces and the board were basically the same (no bishops were used, of course, as religious figures were the first casualty of the revolution) but instead of the traditionally bourgeois goal to trap the all important King, Robert had suggested we play a more egalitarian game, something more in accordance with our political goals. So, all the pawns were positioned on the back row and the rest of the pieces guarded them. The object was to take the last of your opponent’s pawns. We called it Proletarian Chess and boisterously declared traditional chess capitalist propaganda.

Robert: “Pawns are the working class. They are not to be sacrificed for the sake of one feudal King. Fuck the King. Let him fight for once! You lose a King and you lose one guy who can move one space. The King doesn’t do shit. The whole history of chess describes the inverted priorities of mankind. The king moves backwards but the pawns only move forward. See? Karl Marx understood this! It should be the knights and rooks and queens of the world who are elected to sacrifice themselves for the good of the population, to protect the working man. Instead the proletarian is drafted to the front line where he is victimized on the black and white battle ground. Our chess games represent a quantum leap in human sociology.”

There was another variation called "Revolution Chess" where one player had only pawns and the other player had all the other pieces (even those mystical wizards). The proletarian side had to capture both kings and the bourgeois side had to capture every pawn. But that variation really was very hard to play and was more symbolic than anything...symbolic of how the working man gets screwed every day.

Survival of the fittest...

"REVIEW | Missing Pieces: Amiel’s “Creation” Lacks Sense of Awe

...the scientific discoveries responsible for Darwin’s lasting fame remain in the shadows to leave room for...abstract conundrums, resulting in a dry period piece missing crucial information."

A biopic of Charles Darwin?? And I couldn't give away my script of Thoreau. So unjust. Although as I read through the review I couldn't help think this is what the review of a movie based on my script would sound like...bad bad bad.
"Walden fails to deliver any appreciation of nature. Watching it while eating popcorn felt wrong. Preachy, too self-aware. Go watch a national geographic video instead...Thoreau remains an enigma...etc."

I like to think it would improve if only someone paid me $80,000 to write it. But that's not true. There would eleven people telling me what should be in the script. It would just get worse and worse until you end up with something that lacks sense of awe. But I'm trying Henry, I'm really trying. Your turn will come.
I sometimes think it should just be a silent movie. Or maybe Thoreau is dead and walks the land. Or a talking rabbit escorts the audience through Walden. Or we all watch hippies take apart buildings brick by brick and plant trees...

Haiti still needs help

I'm going to play this song but I spent today wandering around in a blizzard looking for work. I'm very close to taking a sign to home depot. "Will work"


I was the only pedestrian in the two foot snow drifts, crawling under broken branches in search of the school district. See, because I can not drive my van to a school admin. office. not if I want a job. So I walked. And the van is a death trap in the snow anyway.

Then I walked to a car dealership because they were looking for a lot attendant. I gotta get some money coming in. This is insane. Everyone and their mother is on unemployment. Food stamps. unemployment. But you got kids working at dunkin donuts, making coffee. Can't I do that?

But the dealership is past where the sidewalk ends so I'm way way out on the edge of town up to my knees in snow trying to walk there. Almost ended up on the lake to hitch a ride from a snowmobile. But I turned around and went to the library to read the help wanted ads. Then I read a writer magazine and it must've worked because I came back here and read some of the Santa Cruz book and I know why it doesn't work. It's a summary. I'm trying to take a shortcut to the end because I'm running out of time. I'm not savoring the development of the Hannah Montana crusade and the guy named Blar who would not touch you if you had eaten meat and a guy who wore aluminum foil on his head and also a guy who lived in a van (freak!) and said Stephen King killed John Lennon. That was his thing. Stephen King needed to be arrested for killing John Lennon. He was dead serious and went to jail many times instead of shutting up. He had a big mouth and was so annoying. He would eat at the Food Not Bombs meals and proselytize about Stephen King being a murderer. His whole proof was this grainy picture of Mark David Chapman that looked like Stephen King. Proof! But we had so many other problems than who killed John Lennon. Christ, I lost the sight in one eye and also had a deformed foot.!These are the details that I want to get to in the natural course of the disaster I'm trying to plot out. But when I start trying to sum it all up then it's not good. But now it'll be different because I'm going to build with little blocks. No more big blocks. I'm Russian. Tolstoy! Dostoyevski built with little blocks. That's why his books are still around 150 years later.
I guess an example would be…

Blar kneeled in the corner of the community garden near the compost pile, contentedly brushing dust back into his own footprints. He wore a muslin head wrap and a bed sheet skirt tucked between his legs like Gandhi. He mumbled in a thick and mysterious accent, “Fix th’ ‘ole in th’ eart’. Blar fix when he walk. No trace. No trace of Blar in th’ worm world.” It took him an hour to walk the twenty yards from one end of the community garden to the other. Blar took one step backwards, kneeled on a doubled over piece of curtain, mumbled, “Eart’ forgive I.” and set about pushing dust into the barely visible imprints of his cloth slippers.

here’s the Haiti song…

(sort of sung to the tune of Gilligan's Island)

Haiti is part of an island

The other part is the Dominican Republic

An earthquake destroyed Haiti

But the French are also to blame

The French are also to blame.

You see the French were slave trading monsters

They sold Haiti’s natural resources

They turned a jewel into a cess pool

Then America exploited what was left

America exploited what was left.

So Haiti was the poorest nation in the world

Because they’d been robbed for 200 years

Then an earthquake destroyed their slums

Now everyone seems to care

Now everyone seems to care.

Let’s sing a song for Haiti

The country time forgot

Give your dime to Haiti

Then go smoke your pot

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Hampshire Writers

Oggy Bleacher finally gets his name in lights. Right, technically these computer screens are light?

Who knows?
That cyberdyne job was worth something...
Robert Frost look out!
They specifically asked for no profanity but I snuck an F bomb in there after deleting like twenty other swear words. Got away with it!
Since not a single local paper wanted my humor column "Manager's Special" I guess I've found my new audience. Although, judging by the other stories on that site, my little flash fiction is probably going to have some people writing in to request their money back. Ha. They'll probably lose advertising dollars! I guess dark times call for dark humor.

Monday, January 18, 2010


I already hate the Rocky wall hanging...
it's super gay.

name change

I just want to point out that I changed the title of the blog from "Man In the Van" to "Man in the Van"
Someone pointed out the subordinate preposition and article don't need to be capitalized in a title. But to capitalize just one of them is even more inconsistent. I left it that way for a long time. But it is 2010 and I think it's time to change it up. I didn't give it much thought back in 2009 when I had moved onto the hobo alley in Santa Monica and was fighting for survival every day and was having ass surgery and playing for spare change on the street. I had no internet access and didn't think the blog would last. I was playing guitar under a string of solar powered Christmas lights. A capitalized letter didn't have much meaning.
But it has lasted over a year and now the title is formatted more symmetrically.

The American Challenge

Something was missing from my room...but what? I looked everywhere for that one piece of accenting decor. Like in the Big Lebowski. The rug brought the room together. I found it at a pawn shop where all my expensive clothes went today. Yes, I went to sell things to buy some bread and butter but I COULD NOT resist this item.

No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. That IS an American Flag border. Flags and eagles. Why not? You see, this velvetine wall hanging was manufactured around the time of Rocky IV...the one where he fights Drago in Russia. How funny is that? Russia. The Cold War. The Berlin Wall. Rocky III. We lived through those times. No wonder we're so fucked up. Something like 130 million people live on less than $4 a day since the fall of Leninism. Way to go Reagan! And everyone blames Communism. In 30 years it's only gotten worse! Maybe Karl Marx was onto something!

Anyway, 1985 was a dark time. The picture is from Rocky III when he beats Mr. T Clubber Lang but we'll have to forgive the inconsistencies.
It was manufactured as swag in 1985, which is when Rocky IV was released. Maybe that is why there are four "Rocky" words. Or is that a stretch? Rocky IV, incidentally, has the worst of the worst gratuitous scenes in the world where Rocky ponders his decision to fight Drago by...get this...DRIVING REALLY FAST in his sports car. It's so so awful but I admit I loved it as a 14 year old pup in 1985. It was so awesome. I thought that when I get signed by the Red Sox I would ALSO drive fast in my sports car. I even saw a big poster of a Lamborghini in my brother's basement that used to hang in my 1985 bedroom with my Dwight Evans poster (maybe I'll get it and hang it up here hahahah).
Eddie is right. The L. Countach is the red one. The black one is a Jalpa. I think he drove the Jalpa in the scene I'm talking about. I had a poster of a white Lambo Countach 5000. It was so awesome!

It's all coming back to me...

Now Rocky hangs where he belongs in the Laconia group home. It's an American Challenge to keep getting up every day. The felon down the hall was yelling at the Christian death metal musician this morning.
"You clean ya hair outta tha sink! What the fuck!"
Then it snowed a foot and everyone was out shoveling, Mary wheezing and huffing asthma medication.
Bob, the man who has a death pool on him (I chose May 20th) was not in the action. His club feet and walker prohibit anything but a slow shuffle to the bathroom where he empties his colostomy bag. MMMMM. That's what I like smelling when I cook my breakfast.

But Fred says the valve factory might be hiring in February. So there's that to look forward to. Free showers to get the lead off your skin!! What a deal. I bet they bury you in the company graveyard, which is sealed with cement. hahahahah

So, Rocky is my new idol. It's the American challenge. To get up when the Dragos of the world have you beaten. You have to get angry and stay angry. It's not how hard you hit, but how hard you can be hit and still fight. Every day here is like getting pounded in the head at a WWF cage match. But I get up. And I think, I'm going to crack this nut today. I'm going to write the Santa Cruz book that only I can write. Let me tell you what that means.
Just a taste....

"The public council meeting was attended by the Food Not Bombs crew, and Pirate Radio had a live broadcast from the bushes near the City Hall with updates from a news runner who relayed the proceedings every twenty minutes. Robert stood on the lawn outside the City Hall where he was contributing his part to a Communist Manifesto Marathon.

“…The average price of wage labor is the minimum wage, i.e., that quantum of the means of subsistence which is absolutely requisite to keep the laborer in bare existence as a laborer. What, therefore, the wage-laborer appropriates by means of his labor, merely suffices to prolong and reproduce a bare existence…”

For the past 14 hours someone had been reading from the Communist Manifesto and the goal was 24 hours of disadvantaged proletarians reading their bible. Donations were accepted in a paper cup. Nearby, Justice was strumming his worn guitar and singing, “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me….”

A man in a flannel shirt passed quickly and yelled out, “Get a job, you worthless bums!”

Justice called back, “Hey, wage slave, fuck off!”

Robert continued, “…all that we want to do away with is the miserable character of this appropriation, under which the laborer lives merely to increase capital, and is allowed to live only in so far as the interest of the ruling class requires it…”

In the City Hall the public comments had extended into their third hour as citizens from every corner came out to voice their opinion on the Wal-Mart question. Mayor Kennedy tolerated the mayhem with aplomb and kept the wheels of democracy turning, evicting hippies like a man with a bandanna over one eye and a sign that read "Santa Cruz says NO to Hannah Montana."

But is that going to work? I don't like it. It feels like I don't have a muse. I'm not telling it to anyone. I'm out of my element writing in the third person because I think it has to be for everyone. I stare and stare at the screen. I'm writing something but it isn't my book. I'm describing the book I want to write but the writing itself isn't natural. Please, let me write this book as I know I can. But I read it and it sounds like anyone could write it. That's not good enough. Because I know things about this situation that no one else does. So only I can write this particular book in this particular way. See? I know the story, but that is minor. The story is simple. I've got that. I know what happens. But there is a whole vegan underbelly to it that is indescribably insane. Like when Rabbit in Updike's book goes to get laid and his kid and the lady's kid (not his wife) are sleeping and the lady's robe opens up and she doesn't put it back. And it is on. And...the details. That's all I can say. SO WHAT that there is a communist manifesto marathon?? Big deal. Anyone can tell you about that. I know other things. The tears and the sweat and the reek of stale coffee in reused cups and the college drop outs shuffling on the lawn and the books of Zen poetry and the plans to start a commune in the forest and the yoga and chess games. What about those? What about the...ah...this is it. This is the shit. The girl, the molested girl...who was hugged by the pirate radio DJ and the hippy boyfriend said, "No. You don't touch her." And there was a fight on the lawn by the boxes of plastic cups...all the while the girl's mom was being arrested for walking on the highway (hitchhiking to pick up some extra money giving blowjobs) and of course there was the high fever the hippy got that blinded him in one eye so that when he went before a judge on civil disobedience charges he was wearing a pirate bandanna over one eye because any light caused extreme pain. His defense speech was laced with quotes from Socrates. He was amazed he was found guilty. Crying, he left the courtroom on crutches because his left foot was completely deformed.

I tell you that it is an ocean of details that I can only inject one syringe at a time. That's the problem. There is too much to tell because you will never be able to keep up with the truth. It's impossible. I can tell you what went down there but then you will look at your front door and think "That's out there. That is all out that door." and you won't want to leave. ever.

So, the American challenge is to get all those details into one seamless thread that makes sense. But how?

furthermore, it has to be done by the second week of February so I can submit it to the amazon book challenge. That is also when all my money will be gone and I'll be back in the van without electricity.

help me, Rocky. Help me.

Here's that first paragraph, edited as though I were writing to someone I wanted to entertain. See, that's the thing. I want to entertain. I'm not just trying to tell the story of some useless hippies. I want it to be entertaining. Anyone could tell the story of the Dust Bowl. A bunch of poor farmers wander to California. Pick peaches. Get exploited. Some leave. Some survive. It's America. But Steinbeck wrote the story that he saw. And it was good. I still cry on the last page in the rain in the barn. That's the story. Sort of contrived, but it works. It's Rocky...

The public council meeting, the part that was predetermined by shady back room dealings, was attended by a divided Food Not Bombs crew. Kim and Robert wanted to treat the Wal-Mart vote like a democracy where their voice would be added to the chorus of dissent and thus bring about real change, celebration and deeply moving unification of community. Freedom wanted to join the Anarchist Brigade and firebomb the whole building, igniting revolution and eventual return to agrarianism. The city hall would be renamed "Che Guevara Revolution Hall" and would house the new Bureau of Equality. Consensus was never reached. Pirate Radio provided a live broadcast from the bushes near the parking garage with updates from a skinny news runner who relayed the proceedings to Radio Head Tom every twenty minutes. Robert stood in ragged canvas pants, barefoot, smoking American Spirit Cigs, rocking on the lawn outside the City Hall where he was contributing his part to a Communist Manifesto Marathon in a strong voice. He hardly needed the book so perfect was his retention of the philosophic and contextual material.

It's better but I'm still not rolling in my seat. It's not really entertaining. It's just informative. Is it worth cutting down a tree to print on? Not really. Would Rocky think it's good?


You drink enough Hornitos tequila and you will end up at a group home. oh yeah!

The Hangover

Terrible movie. I want to get as old and feeble as Roger Ebert so I can think this was a funny movie and not a blatant rip off of a bunch of crappy movies like The Bachelor Party and Very Bad Things.
everything bad about cinema
lacking character
lacking humor (I did not chuckle a single time)
insult to all humor
the opposite of good
did I say repulsive yet?

Sample scene: Mike Tyson singing "in the air of the night" and then punching someone. (lisping) "I wanths my thiger back."

My reaction: drop my pants and piss on the computer screen. (lisping) "Dothh thhathh work for you, you tribal monkey fuck?? Huh? Can you feel that coming??"

I actually think someone sent me this script for an analysis. They didn't make a single one of my suggestions.

avoid this movie. piss on a plate and then microwave it. You'll have more fun!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Computer hacked

Some drunk madman hacked into my computer and posted and made comments, ruining my otherwise spotless reputation. pay no attention to anything he said, which is to say keep doing exactly what you usually do.

sexy chickthink

fuck bono
I'm a
fuck the beatles
I'm a poet
goddamn this keyboard
I think everything is fucked up
went ouyt with
a man whose heart was broken
he was fucking a weitic
who was fucking 3 other men
so we had to turn it around
this world isn't perfect
you all with your pathetic lives
quite desperation
I know you

don't question me
keep on sleeping and then the world will end
the granite will tell you tale
no worries
we'll sing a song at your wake
and you will be in a box
later we will lie about how interesting you were
in real life
and your woman will be scanning the crowd for someone else to fuck

and we will drink too much
and make too much noise walking up the stairs
and we will listen to Journey
and dance
and your body will rot
in the ground
but for one moment we will remember you
and that second is yours
in this selfish time

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Star Trek 2009

This was totally watchable. And the slightly crazy Star Trek device to reinvent the series was a good move. It's not really a prequel. No, it's a reset button with the help of a black hole. It goes to show you that there is always a way to start over fresh and there is always an original take on an old story...using original an alternate reality. And Kirk isn't exactly Kirk anymore. It's hard to explain. He doesn't have to have the same affectations because he's different. It is a leap to think all these individuals would end up on the same star ship in an alternate reality that would be completely different. But, as Spock would say, the conclusions are plausible.

my own library

Thoreau once said he had a library of 1000 books and 800 of them were his own. That's cause he self published A week on the Connecticut and Merrimac Rivers book. Imagine, no one wanted to read about his trip up the river to New Hampshire! Why not? So interesting. He ended up with what didn't sell. Then his sister ended up with those after he died along with the copies of Walden that got returned from the book dealers. It was a bomb because it discussed simple living. Why anyone would chose to live simply in 1845 was a mystery to them. A month ago there was a meeting in Copenhagen to determine the fate of mankind. I'll bet no one brought a copy of Walden.

Anyway, I've now got a library of 15 books and ten of them are mine. I need to sell these books to make back the money they cost me. Food stamps are looming in my future unless a bar books the Riverbank Review Band that I just started.

Uh, so, the books cost like $5. I will personally scrawl something indecipherable on the front page. Remember, this is an anthology of writers from Los Angeles who answered a craigslist ad and sent in a story. most of the authors didn't proofread their story. and really, it makes no difference. One story is about Kermit the frog hiring a detective to spy on Miss Piggy. The detective is Elmer Fudd. It's surreal, I think, which is another word for shitty.

my story has no point either.

Yeah, operators are standing by. My goal is not to pass these 10 books to my brother when I die. He will just refuse them along with my remains.
"Take those dirty hippy ashes off my property," he will say. "And I wouldn't take those books if I had a fireplace to burn them in and it was below zero."
You, Obi wan, are my only hope.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I know it isn't much, but we've all got to contribute something. So, since I won't be involved in the musical benefit concert someone will have somewhere I will perform here instead.
Here is a link to the real Red Cross to donate
that's the group that my philanthropic buddy Dan works with in Sri Lanka and since Dan will probably end up in Haiti due to this earthquake I think they're the ones he'll be working with and he'll make sure your money pays for something useful to the Haitians. Right, Dan?

The catchy tune is by the Bloodhouse Gang.
Dear Chasey Lain.

I was wandering around in the magic internet world and cross referenced a few things and came upon this tune. It is so so bizarre. You would think I could just write a song of my own. I mean,

"Dear Chasey Lain I'm writing to explain I'm your biggest fan. I just wanted to ask could I eat your ass write back as soon as you can."

Lyrics like that amaze me. You don't need a lot to write a song. In fact, the trick is to not try hard at all. Just think like a drunk 16 year old. What will they think is cool. Then sing it. If you try hard the kids will sniff you out. They smell phony. This song is not phony.
So I sing it with the Haitians in mind. Donate to the rebuilding of Haiti and carry this song with you.

I don't want to steal the spotlight from Haiti but there is a small tragedy related with this song. Chasey Lain is an adult exotic performer. For you old timers that means she is a hardcore porn actress. Someone probably did write her a letter asking to eat her ass. It's a natural response to seeing her ass. If there is one thing that will distract you from 10,000+ deaths on a poor island it is the tawdry details of a porn actress. Hell, this earthquake is the best thing that happened to Tiger Woods.

Anyway, Chasey is a mere 3 months older than me and in porn years 38 is like 90. (38 is like a teenager in writers years) I'll let you go to your porn catalog of choice for nude pics of Chasey. (I would never put that smut on my blog.) Hell, she got into porn around the same time I did. I feel like we know each other.

But 20+ years of sex for money have taken their toll on Chasey. It probably wasn't the sex, but the crystal meth, fasting, cocaine enemas, and non stop exercise of pole dancing that did the most damage. She lived fast and miraculously survived. And in researching this song I found a pre-scene video someone recently shot of Chasey getting ready in makeup. It would've been on the DVD extras, if the scene ever got produced. D.A.R.E. hasn't produced a video this scary. Chasey, who once had nice, pretty features, has become a trembling, tweaking skeleton. She's got all the trademarks of a crack head/tweak freak/meth monster. It's one thing when an ugly person becomes uglier due to meth. But when a pretty girl loses all her looks then you get a good idea of the power of poison. I mean, she lost the one thing that was making her money! But in my musings on addiction I think there comes a point in a person's life when their addiction is the only thing they feel is their own. They know it is killing them but since something has to kill them (abusive boyfriend, cancer, Newt Gingrich) they would rather die by their own hands. Everything else feels alien, but the addiction is the one thing they OWN. They aren't proud of the addiction but they are proud of the ownership, so they don't give it up. This is a topic in the Santa Cruz book.

That's one theory I have because the addicts I've met (that could be a nice essay) all had that similar pride that would ordinarily be directed to a skill like painting or woodworking...but that skill never developed because of one trauma or they built an addiction and directed their pride to that. And the addicts I've known also have developed an unusual skill in finding and doing drugs to the verge of death. Don't think it's an easy thing to be a strung out crack head. No. That ain't no easy road. The ins and outs of scoring crack with no money would make your head spin. None of the addicts I've known looked like Chasey so they had to use their head. I've seen the same tactics used by luxury car salesmen and stock traders. Everyone wants to score. But drugs just eat the brain until there is no self reflection. Who knows what a meth head sees in the mirror...

I don't want to promote that video because it's impolite and was posted only to humiliate the girl. Why anyone still books Chasey for scenes is a mystery. I don't understand it. Maybe she lowered her prices. She's not healthy. I've seen her exact symptoms in hardcore crack addicts living on the street. I realize one stripper falling on hard times is not a huge tragedy, but it's related to the song so I thought I would comment. She doesn't have a Red Cross fund to donate to so give your money to the Haitians. You can only save so many people a day...
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.