Friday, December 08, 2006

Sleepy Time

I am temporarily shuttering this blog.   

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Assimilated Boy

It occurs to me that I’m living in the assimilated world. I’m living in The Borg.

In my freshman year, my roommate introduced me to two albums that I changed my entire attitude. One was by The Dictators and the other by Television; two early punk bands. Their disdain for expensive instruments, high tech recording equipment and a clean vocal line at first repelled and the attracted me.

We were trying to survive Olivia Newton John and still had Disco in front of us and here were these ugly bastards with their crude voices and cruder lyrics that took you all the way back to where Rock was supposed to be: in opposition to the establishment.

Punk is past now. Like everything else, like the 60s, like Viet Nam, like drugs and discos, everything has been assimilated.

At some point, the establishment figured out that resistance was futile but that assimilation worked perfectly 100% of the time. So if gangbangers in the hood were to start wearing pink tutus today, by tomorrow you will see a Gap ad with a much more upscale looking tutu. Something that says, “I get the whole poverty thing, but, let’s face it, I can afford better.”

Somewhere someone must be doing something new but I don’t know what it is. And I believe that by the time I heard it, it would be on a Gap ad.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Am I Now Or Have I Ever Been...

A liberal? I don’t even know what that word means to most people but to me it just means you don’t overlook human suffering for the sake of profits, you don’t represent the rich in lieu of the middle and lower classes, and that you’re open to new ideas as solutions to enduring problems.

Do I believe that all income over a certain amount should be taxed at 100%? No. I don’t even believe in the income tax. I believe in the Fair Tax which is a sales tax.

Do I believe that the economy should be brought to its knees so we can mend the environment? No, but I do believe in Global Warming and that we need to address it.

Do I believe that forced bussing was a good idea? No, I believe social experiments like that were the death knell for liberal thinking.

Do I believe everyone deserves a free ride at taxpayers expense? No, but if you took the free rides away from corporate America, you could afford to feed a lot more people who are poor or working poor.

Do I believe people are poor by choice? I've often wondered who would actually choose to be poor. I think a poor environment serves to limit your choices and low self esteem really finishes the job, but it's not like someone woke up one morning and chose to be destitute. I think that if you legalized drugs and invested some of the tax revenue in business located inside the red-line side of town, you could take the bang out of gang bangers.

So, what does that make me? A practical liberal? A libractical? A practiberal?

I don’t know, but I am worried that this far reaching and widespread repudiation of the neocons (which was deserved) is going to be followed by an exuberant swing to the left (which no one deserves). We don’t want to go back to the bad old days of printing money to throw at problems.

The Democrats need to understand that they weren’t swept into office so much as dragged into it by the vacuum formed when we threw the Republicans out.

They are very much on double secret probation right now and while I will never switch back to the Republican Party, I will be watching for the first sign of Grand Social Experiments (apart from the legalization of drugs) or skyrocketing taxes or an LBJ/McNamara approach to Iraq.

Be seeing you.

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Sunday, December 03, 2006

FFF #62: Omega Man

He ran in front of the small whirlwind with hands apart yelling, “Jehovah! I’m here! Jehova!” But the whirlwind turned out to be nothing more than a dust devil made ghostly white by the chalk flats. It blew around him, coating his face and ragged clothes white, and then disintegrated.

He stopped, forlorn, with his hands at his sides and his head hanging, black hair made gray by the chalk dust. Then trudged back to the wagon and slipped the traces over his shoulder. They had eaten their horse a few days ago but the meat had gone rancid even during the meal and they had left the carcass for the buzzards and the demons that skittered out of the ground at night.

“Why do you do that?” she asked from the back of the wagon. “Do you really think He’ll come for you if you call him by name? Do you think if you call out Yaweh, or Yehovah, or Y’hovah, or Yahuweh, or Ya-oh you’ll win the secret prize?”

He ignored her, leaning hard into the traces to get the wagon trundling along again, and searched the endless bleak horizon for a landmark, something to make his bearings, but there was little to break the view. A twisted white tree without a single leaf would erupt from the chalk here and there but even they all looked alike.

That was the reason they traveled west; because they could follow the sun.

“Are you going to answer me?” she asked as a coughing fit gripped her.

He stopped so suddenly that the wagon rolled into him and he had to scramble out from under it before he could see to her.

“It’s just a cough,” she said.

“You could kiss me,” he said. “You could kiss me and we could go together.”

“It’s not the Judgment,” she said. “No open sores. He’s not coming for me and He’s not coming for you even if you kiss me. Now start pulling the wagon or there’ll be no rutting for you at the Sabbath.”

He slouched out of the wagon, hopped down, and slipped into the traces again. He pulled them until sundown, ever heading west, and then stopped for the night. That night she let him rut with her and sleep with her to share their body heat against the plunging cold of the darkness.

And in the morning she was dead.

He stood over her body in prayer for an hour with his hands behind his back before abandoning both her and the now unnecessary wagon. The demons would have her body tonight but her soul was already in Heaven.

As he walked, he thought about how she had said to him that God wasn’t coming for her. Had that been a lie? Had she conspired to leave him here alone? But they had rutted last night. If she had been sick with Judgment he would have been infected, too, and would have been taken up the same as her.

Gradually, he began to play back the conversation in his head and remembered how she had taunted him with the various incarnations of the Name and he thought that maybe in there somewhere she had hit the right one and been spared.

A terrible thought struck him. What if he hadn’t gotten sick because couldn’t get sick? For that matter, what if he couldn’t die? What if the world required one last resident to stand for all the billions that had gone before?

A whirlwind kicked up in the chalk dust and he bolted for it, shouting, “Yaweh! Yehova! Yahuweh!”

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Friday, December 01, 2006

Flash Fiction Friday #62

In this time of continuing crisis, who can we turn to? Who will save our village? What about the children? Oh, look! Up in the sky! Oh, it’s just a plane but over here is Flash Fiction stumbling half dressed from a phone booth.

The rules:

You will send in your suggestion for starter sentences anytime during the week up to 12:00 noon CST on Friday.

If your sentence is not chosen and you feel it is too wonderful not to be chosen, you will send it in again the next week.

You will write an anecdote, short story, or novel length prose poem beginning with the sentence below.

You will add comments to this post indicating your desire to participate and the completion of your story.

You may join in at any time prior to the deadline.

You will display your story as a post on your own blog.

You will be done by Monday 12:00 Noon CST.

Those are all the rules, if you ask me about the rules or if something is or isn't allowed by the rules or if you think it's too late because it's after noon on Sunday, you will wake to find yourself in your underwear giving a speech about family values to 1,000 flag waving KKK members. And no amount of pinching will wake you up.

He/She ran in front of

Have fun.

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yours, Mine, Ours

I read an article awhile back in which Stephen King recounted the beginning of the Gunslinger series. I’m heavily paraphrasing here, but it went something like this, “I started getting heat from my publisher to follow up the first Gunslinger because the fans were really agitating for it and I thought, ‘Fuck them, it’s my story and I’ll decide when to write it.’”

Or something like that. The point he made, that the story was his and fans had no business intruding on his decision making process, hit me sort of hard because I’ve always believed that when a man starts a business it’s his company to do with as he wishes, but when he hires employees it becomes something else. There are people depending on his decisions then. It’s not their company precisely, but it’s not really 100% his anymore, either.

The same goes for story. When a writer writes a story, it’s his. When he sends it out into the world, it becomes not public property but something not entirely his.

So, who owns story? Many people may lay claim; publishers, agents, readers, scholars. Oh, and the writer. I always leaned toward the readers having the greatest ownership (in the cosmic sense) because they invest more emotionally than anyone apart from the writer and there are more them than there are of him.

And then I read King’s new book, Lisey’s Story.

Watching Lisey Landon fight off the swarms of scholarly locusts and overzealous fans that feel entitled to her dead husband’s work was a real eye opener – mostly because I had never looked at it from the author’s point of view before. Or the author's family. After all, now that the author is gone, all they have left of him are his stories.

I still don’t have a definitive answer that would split out ownership by percentages. And, of course, I’m talking about cosmic ownership rather than financial which is well covered under the law.

But, it’s fascinating to me that these constructs of pure whimsy take on such real gravity when they enter the mainstream and travel down to the myth pool where we all go to drink once in a while. I've spoken before about the crushing emotional loss of a show canceled before its time (mostly with Firefly) and the feeling of loss when you get to the last page of the last book in a longer series. Through our emotional investment, these fictions become a part of our reality -- sometimes the better part.

The book is excellent, by the way. Recommended.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Oh, Toto...

Nobody panic. This isn’t happening. You aren’t real and neither am I. It’s just that I woke up in Bizarro World this morning. What’s Bizarro World? Oh, that’s where they legalize corruption:

It's just currency

And try to turn your 32” TV into a movie theatre that requires a $50 license fee from the MPAA before you use it:

MPAA attempting to out dumbass RIAA

And ads for The Nativity Story are banned from a Christmas Festival because they might offend non-Christians:

Taking the X out of Xmans

Watching internet porn at work is self-medication and getting fired for it is wrongful termination:

I think I pulled something.

And, finally, it looks like production on Hamlet 2: Payback’s a Bitch is being held up because Rob Schneider is refusing to work with Mel Gibson.

Oh God.

There’s no place like home.
There’s no place like home.
There’s no place like home.

Shit, I’m still here.

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