Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

31 January, 2004

Skin

I went to run a couple errands and stopped over at Toad Hill for a Cardiac Special since it would be on the house. Had a brief chat with JimmyD and Jessie. If I move, I am gonna miss that place and everyone there. It's like my Cheers. I dropped off a copy of a King Crimson bootleg for Ron as well so now I only owe him a Genesis show from 1980. He has given me a couple books, the latest one being Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas R. Hofstadter. I've read part of it before so now I have the impetus to read it in its entirety.

Then it was off to the gas station. The cutie with the red hair was there and she was wearing a long slit skirt. Now, it's not often one gets a casual glimpse of skin during January here in these northern climes so I was thrilled. As she shuffled between the register and the credit card machine, I took as many glimpses as I could. Driving away, I couldn't get the sight of her legs out of my head. Next thing I know I'm hornier than a 2-peckered goat at a fucking bee. Life's good that way.
|| Palmer, 11:29 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Terce

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav'd a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Thy testimonies are wonderful
therefore my soul keeps them.
The unfolding of thy words gives light
it imparts understanding to the simple.
With open mouth I pant
because I long for thy commandments.


I had a deep dream last night as was wished for me. I don't recall most of it, only the naughty bit.

I went up to my parents' bedroom in the old house in Chicago where I used to live. I went to the the little cubby hole hoolie where my mom had a typewriter set up. I looked at the shelf above the small desk and there was a window which looked out into what I took to be the Austrailian outback. A herd of kangaroo-like animals the size of elephants was walking by. As the one at the fore passed, I could then see a male of these animals humping his goodly female. She walked slowly walked forward and so he did as well, thrusting all the while. The pair turned so I saw them in profile. The male had an enormous penis. I was stunned into humility. The creature then ejaculated. Gallons and gallons of its semen flooded the hindquarters of his partner. At the sight of this, I felt highly inadequate. From this, I awoke.

Today is going to be bad - I can just feel it. I have a court date next month for which I can only blame myself for having chosen to live with a doofus of a roommate. Then, this morning, The Caffeinatrix was quiet and unperky. I hate to think she's pissed at me for some reason - hopefully she was just tired. And I'm expected to go get drunk in Edgerton when, in all honesty, I'd prefer to remain sober. It is a sure sign of maturity - no, not maturity, but change that I like to remain sober when I'm feeling depressed. I think I need a hug.

I hope that everyone has a good day...
|| Palmer, 9:07 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

27 January, 2004

Pointless Noctural Emission

A fellow online diarist who lists her age as 17 asked me to comment on a situation. I replied and asked for confirmation on which entry she wanted me to comment upon. I presumed it was her current one - about having given some guy a blowjob and not being paid for services rendered. But I ain't sure. I was actually very surprised because who in their right mind would ask me for advice? I feel like I've misled the girl with an entry somewhere. While I'll give her my $0.02 on whatever she asks, I shudder to think that a youth of today would take anything I say to be of value.

I just ate a pickled jalapeno and, while it was mighty tasty, it has severely impeded my appreciation of coffee as the luscious black elixir only exacerbates the heat from the pepper. Along this line, Pam informed me today that the restaurant we were planning on going to doesn't open til 5. This, you may recall, is the joint with the flourless chocolate-chipotle cake. And the bar we were planning on taking up residency at doesn't open its doors until 4. So we'll have a few hours to blow before seriously sitting down to imbibe. Well, no doubt she'll be able to relocate our misadventures to a good alternate location.

I started up my chat client in hope of finding a friend of mine online but it's not to be. Instead I'll have to be content with listening to some gospel and trying to sort out my brain box.

I started out this entry having something to say but it has escaped me. I had some thoughts on my father's alcoholism but have decided against writing about that because A) I can't form anything coherent on the topic right now and B) I fear that a certain reader might castrate me.

So I go poking around other diaries. Lots of people have those survey hoolies on theirs. I don't know that I've ever done one of those. And I'm unsure if it's because the questions are too generic to be useful or perhaps just that many of them are facile attempts to draw lurid details out of a person. Hell, I blather on about all kids of banal crap here already. And, if you wanna know some lurid detail of my life, just ask me directly. A good questionairre for me might go something like this:

Did you play air pedal steel guitar this morning? Yes, yes I did.

Name a female singer whose brother wrote House of Leaves and is very hot and to whose music you are listening to right now: Poe

It is 8:30PM (that's 20:30) - are you still drinking coffee? Yes

Did you eat chocolate today? Yes

Are you wearing that pair of boxer-briefs? No.

What is irritating you right now? The fact that I cannot remember the name of that text editor that allows you to adjust the transparency of the window. Also the source of a spoken word bit in the song "Sever Tomorrow" by Porcupine Tree. (The "The only way to survive is on your knees" part.) Whenever I hear it, I think of Brian Blessed in his role as King Yrcanos in the Doctor Who episode Mindwarp. Along this same line, the identity of the voice that is coming over the PA before Pink Floyd hit the stage on November 17, 1974 at the Empire Pool. Check out the Getting Better All the Time bootleg. It sounds just like the sperm whale in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Same voice, same hurried manner of speaking with the same enunciation and inflection. I swear to Christ. I know DNA was a fan of Floyd but it could just be a coincidence.
|| Palmer, 8:24 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Odds'n'Sods

Over the weekend, Stevie and I found some toiletries that belonged to the woman whom I replaced as a roommate. We disposed of the tampons but kept the apricot facial scrub goop. This morning I found it in the shower so I gave myself a facial. Scrub, that is.

So I slapped some on my face and scrubbed with all the precision of a surgeon. I felt the bits of apricot pits exfoliating away all my facial imperfections. Dry skin - I cast thee off with a vengeance! After rinsing, I rubbed my fingers over my face to discover that it was now all smooth and clean. I figured my complexion had been improved exponentially and reckoned myself a goddamn Adonis.

I had to run out to the airport to fix a computer so I stopped in at Toad Hill to grab a cuppa joe for the road. Stepping inside, I found a new, yet somehow familiar, face there. The Caffeinatrix introduced me to her - Kelly. Kelly was all smiles and of the most affable disposition. She told me that she used to work there several months ago and that I looked familiar to her. We figured out that she moved on just after I made the joint my home away from home and had returned for the day to help out. Then a weird confluence involving recent strands of thought ensued.

Firstly, I found that Kelly is a yoga instructor. Then The Caffeinatrix directed her to the hoolie I had made up and posted on the message board. Kelly locked onto the bit about the Mulletaceous Period and inquired as to whether we had seen the documentary American Mullets. Well, The Caffeinatrix had loaned me her DVD copy of it within the past couple weeks. Then, unsurprisingly, The Caffeinatrix started up the bit about holding my hoolie. I turned 15 shades of red. So I go to the airport and fix The Pollack's laptop. I get home to find that Jeffrey had called. I called him back and we chatted for a while. (You may recall that he has been reprimanded many times for staring at women's leotard-clad asses during yoga classes.) Actually, Jeffrey came up in the conversation at Toad Hill when I told Kelly about his adventures in ass-watching. Upon doing so, The Caffeinatrix commented that she thought that the first time I was ever there was with him. She then remarked on how well he and I get along. I thought about it for a second and figured out what she meant. Jeffrey and I do have a great rapport. We make each other laugh constantly as we are both well-read and can make puns almost at will.

As I said, Jeffrey called. The romantic entanglements continue. He says that he's lost a couple friends this week already because of petty bullshit. Bummer. Well, he is on his way to Iowa to hang out with a friend of his who ran the caucuses. For my part, me and my complexion are gonna get dinner.
|| Palmer, 7:55 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
My Liver's Health Depends on My Friends' Happiness

Having chatted with Miss Pamela and traded emails the past couple weeks as well as some stuff I've just read, the idea of monogamy springs to mind.

Pam has made a few comments about the guys she flirts with online and I wonder, if given the chance and the right circumstances, whether or not she'd stray from her marriage. I like to think that her comments are just bits of hyperbole, her way of dealing with her frustration and that they reflect desires she dreams about but has no real inclination to fulfill.

When she writes of the drama that is her marriage, I immediately recognize it as the stuff of a Laingian Knot.

I'm happy you're happy
I'm unhappy you're unhappy

Jack's unhappy that Jill's unhappy
Jill's unhappy that Jack's unhappy
that Jill's unhappy that Jack's unhappy
that Jill's unhappy

Jill is guilty to be unhappy
if Jack is unhappy that Jill is unhappy.....

Jack is guilty that Jill is unhappy
because he feels that he should make her happy

Jill feels guilty
that Jack feels guilty
that Jill feels guilty
that Jack feels guilty

I've talked about monogamy before, specifically when I was ranting on about Naomi Wolf, but I think it bears repeating. To ask if human beings are monogamous is a bit disingenuous because you're trying to restrict 6 billion creatures into a neat category and that usually ends in tears. Similarly, to say that men are not by their natures monogamous is equally unenlightening. We humans, as a group can be both. Some people are copacetic with the idea of a single partner while others are not. You've gotta take things on a case by case basis, if at all possible.

Then there's the happiness web. If Pam is unhappy, her hubby is unhappy and vice versa. And I'm a small strand in the web. Pam and I have been friends for roughly 16 years and I care about her. So I want her to be happy. I do like Bill - he's a stand-up guy, otherwise Pam wouldn't have married him. But I'm loyal to Pam. I want Bill to be happy so Pam will be happy. (See what I mean? It's all a Knot - all human relationships are.)

All of this had made me think of my relationships. I dated a woman for 2.5 years and, after 6 months, our sex life went downhill. She rarely wanted to make love. Hey, I realize that at least half of the reason was my fault and I was too stupid to understand this at the time. This aside, though, I never had sex with another woman while she and I dated. I flirted like a motherfucker and made out with some women, I think, but my cock belonged to her even if she did hide it away in the deep recesses of our closet. And I wonder if I could do that again given the same circumstances. I think I'd be able to deal with it better in the sense of having slightly more advanced communication skills now than I did then. I'm fiercely loyal - to the point of stupidity, I suppose, even when I have good reason to think that a woman is "cheating" on me. I use quotes because a part of me feels like, if there's no ring, it's not cheating. I've been the other man for a woman who had been dating the same guy for a while but I came to realize that it cuts both ways.

This is one area (of many) in relationships that I completely fail at - I'm like the Studebaker of boyfriends. Half of my brain has totally bought into American individualism so without that ring, that Lockean contract, I give free reign to my girlfriends. Who am I to tell her how to live her life? I feel like I have neither the authority nor the expertise to do such a thing. I don't wanna be a controlling dickhead like many other guys are. But, at some point, you have to step in and say, "Hey, some of this stuff you're doing and people you hang out with - they make me feel like a worthless piece of shit". It's not about being a dictator but more like a series of checks and balances. And I am almost completely unable to do that. Maybe there's this thing inside my brain which believes that such a statement is opening up too much and/or would just cause a girlfriend to distance herself from me further and perhaps just end the relationship.

As a kid, divorce was something that happened to other people and on TV. Then my aunt & uncle divorced. Then my parents. Then I got older and it was my friends - some even twice. And when the Circadian rhythms of my friends all hit their nadirs simultaneously, I see just how lonely people are at times. It feels like I've been transformed into Eleanor Rigby. And when that synchronicity happens, my liver really feels it because I end up getting shitfaced with them to drown sorrows. Then again, when the rhythms are at their zeniths, they wanna drink and be merry so my liver suffers anyway.
|| Palmer, 5:36 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Words 'n' Clauses 'n' Phrases

I walked over to Toad Hill yesterday afternoon as the frosty flakes fell. The wind had been calmed and it was just beautiful outside as I took running slides down the pavement. As I approached the cafe, I noticed a guy across the street clearing his driveway with his snow blower. It was Swenson - it had to be him. That round figure with a slightly wobbly gait. As I drew nearer, I saw a cigarette dangling from his lips and it was case closed. I dropped off my stuff inside and crossed the street to see Jim. It took him a few seconds but he finally remembered who I was. We worked together at a lumber yard about 5 years ago. Jim is an old duff. Mid-60s and just fucking hilarious. Every other sentence out of his mouth was a wisecrack. And he knows every Ole & Lena joke. (Ole & Lena jokes are Norwegian jokes. Think Fargo.)

He was such a blast to work with. We'd load up a box truck with cabinets and countertops and then drive off to a construction/remodeling site. There'd always be a smokey treat hanging from his lips and it bounced up and down as the truck went along. He'd be so busy telling jokes that he'd hardly take a drag and the square would just burn down to this long ash. How it never fell into his lap is beyond me as the truck's suspension was for shite. I'd be in stiches the whole time. The wrinkles and creases on his face all went along smile lines. A natural perma-grin. And we'd stop for coffee all the time, which was a good thing. He knew all the cute, young clerks at gas stations and flirted with a wink and a sly grin on his face. Oh, and his wife, Jeannie. I only met her a few times but she was really cool. She'd make fun of him and, in general, give him tons of crap. I could see why they'd managed to stay married for so long - they could make each other laugh incessantly. I finally let him continue his snow removal but not before he extended an offer to come over anytime for coffee and to shoot the shit.

Once in Toad Hill, I chatted briefly with JimmyD and Raj before hiding my head in that book about Chinese medicine. After a little while, I noticed someone out of the corner of my eyes sit down at an adjacent table and looked up to see Jolene, the fraulein who lent me the book. I said hello and made a modicum of small talk. As I read, I came up with some questions and, since she was sitting a few feet from me, I interrupted her reading of the paper to ask. I felt bad because she seemed really hesitant to field my questions and gave me the impression that I was intruding. To me, it would have been intellectual nonfeasance to remain silent. I mean, she understands the stuff whereas I am just beginning to learn. I'm like her padawan learner, if I, a nerd, may borrow from a movie. That and she's hot. So, not wanting to be a dickhead, I asked a couple questions and let her be. The day she lent it to me, she talked about it so enthusiastically and so willingly. Well, I think she learned her lesson - don't sit by me if I'm reading a book that you've lent me and expect to remain completely undisturbed.

This morning I cruised down to the credit union. The teller was this woman of undeterminate age. She's fairly short and her faces looks like that of a teenager but her breasts are enormous. She was in a foul mood so I said, "Good morrow!" and cunningly asked her how she was doing. (When I haven't had enough coffee in the morning, I sometimes use "morrow" instead of "morning". Not that it's inappropriate it's just that most people aren't into archaic words that have fell out of use centuries ago like I am.) In the most fake, monotone voice she replied, "I'm doing OK." So I called her on her bluff and tried to lighten her mood. Finally, I got her to smile a bit, wished her a good day, and ambled off.

Then I stop in at Toad Hill only to get sexually harrassed. Whenever I walk in there and The Caffeinatrix is working, she always flashes me this beautiful smile - like she's gonna bust out laughing. It's so warm, so inviting. Anyway, I get some java and a chocolate scone to quell my cocoa cravings. Then came the comment about "holding my hoolie". It was in reference to the scone but she twisted it into a double entendre.

"Hoolie" is a word that, to my knowledge, comes from Oconomowoc, WI. It means "thingamajig" or "whatchamacallit". Language is so neat! After the above incident, I realized that I often lapse into these phases where I used homemade phrases that don't have generally currency. So, if I use one in an entry, I apologize ahead of time.

Aside from "hoolie", there's "daily". It's used as an exclamation as to replece "Christ!" or something similar. At first, it was to decry an annoying daily occurence but fell into use for any old irritating thing. Then there's "kernel"? I don't remember how this one came about but it's used to question the purpose of something. For instance, someone will say something and, if it doesn't make any sense, you'd ask, "Kernel?!?" Another popular ditty is the phrase "helpful AND friendly". Emphasis on "and". This is most often used to describe the nice things a guy does for a woman with the ulterior motive being getting into her pants. Nice things being things that the guy doesn't normally do.

Like I said, language is a hoot. My vernacular is a weird mix of terms and phrases culled from various places. Having friends that were in the military, some terms from the Marines and Army found their way into my lexicon. For instance, I rarely say "bathroom" and usually say "head". Stray bits of Latin and German find their way onto my tongue as I've studied them. Knowing several people who grew up on farms, I have a repertoire of rural idioms, some of which are common anyway, like "bleeding like a stuck pig". And a couple Catholics I know sometimes use the phrase "cheese'n'rice!" instead of "Jesus Christ!". Or "For the love of Mary!"

The friend who gave me "hoolie" also gave me "well I'll be dipped in shit and rolled in corn flakes!". Swenson once described the result of a drinking binge as leaving him "drunker than 2 barrels of shit." I don't understand it either but it's humorous.

Add in heavy does from TV/films, Shakespeare, et al and writing/conversations become a lexigraphic bonspiel!

There's another thing to check out: from which books do nerds quote most often...?
|| Palmer, 1:34 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

26 January, 2004

Empty Nest Syndrome

I've been looking at the pictures that have been coming back from Mars. Holy fuckshit! Is anyone else impressed beyond all? Right now I have the large "Empty Nest" picture up. It's so big that I can't fit it all in even with my browser in kiosk mode. OK, so it means I need a bigger monitor but fuck! This huge panoramic view of the Martian surface - it's sublime. As a kid, I always enjoyed looking at photographs from the Viking. What's really cool is that I can look at marvelous pictures of another planet a few hours after they were taken. Staring at the image, I imagine what it would be like to be standing there. The picture gives such a feeling of serenity but I'd imagine there's more at play than meets the eyes. Man, it would be so cool to perambulate around Mars. Take a lazy stroll over to the face and see if there's a door like in the game Zak McCracken and the Alien Mindbenders. Then head over to the adjacent geographic features and measure them to see if Dick Hoagland is right. Then I could pull out the telescope and look at you jokers back here on Earth. The feeling of solitude would be...ultimate.
|| Palmer, 9:31 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
An Exercise in Writing

The Siren's Wail

Sitting here in my cubicle pondering the world, I think I'm beginning to lose touch. Don't tell me this is dying, because I haven't changed that much. While I type away, I like to look at all the souls floating by me. They all hover just above the floor going wherever it is that souls go to when they've had enough. Sprinkled amidst them is one fully biodegradable model - Palmer. For some reason he hates me so I avoid him whenever possible but it's not very easy sometimes. He and I used to be good friends, though. We had a falling out, as friends often do. Shit! Here he comes - I had better go…

One night Palmer was having a cocktail (a gin & tonic) at his favorite watering hole. He always sat at a table by the door in case he needed to make a hasty exit. In walks a nice brunette. Well, she stumbled in, if you must know. She had tender, fair skin and beautiful brown eyes. Her eyes were shaped such as to give her this slightly sinister look. But what was really odd was that she wore an orange jump suit, which had a long zipper down the front. She did look good in it, however.

Pushing aside a few patrons, she made her way to the bar. The bartender flashed her a look of recognition and poured her a drink. Palmer's eyes were distracted by a blonde who was to his side. She wore a short skirt and was bending over the pool, table cue in hand. Suddenly he felt a presence. Turning, Palmer noticed the brunette making herself comfortable at his table. With slightly slurred speech, she introduced herself as The Siren.

They struck up a conversation. It flowed and ebbed. They talked about everything - society, philosophy, life - and nothing - society, philosophy, life. As he was about to make one of his typical witticisms, she cut him off in mid-sentence and said, "Let's go back to my place."

A short walk later, they stood before her apartment building. She led him around to the back, to a door. After it was unlocked, he followed her in and down a set of stairs which was illuminated by a single light bulb. It was only about 10 stairs long but the trek seemed to take forever, as if they were walking down four times the number of stairs.

At the bottom was another door. The Siren unlocked it and pushed it open to reveal another set of stairs, this time leading up. They began to ascend it. Every dozen steps or so was a landing and change of direction. As they treaded upwards, Palmer remained silent, as did she.

Each step they took echoed down the stairwell. Palmer listened to The Siren's breathing and, with each one, it grew more shallow. But she never paused. Finally they reached another door with the number 7 upon it and The Siren unlocked and opened this terminal door.

It was her apartment. They both stepped inside and a light came on to reveal an average living room - not especially messy nor especially clean. Taking Palmer's hand, The Siren led him to her bedroom and pushed him onto the bed. The springs squeaked as he landed. She straightened herself and grabbed hold of her suit's zipper. Slowly she dragged it downwards. As the folds of orange moved apart from one another, The Siren's skin slowly came into view. Once completely unzipped, she pulled her arms from the sleeves and the suit seemed to split in two. Her firm supple breasts leered at Palmer.

She bent over and pushed the suit down her legs, taking it off along with her boots. Once again, she drew herself up until she was standing completely naked and erect, her arms at her sides and her legs pressed closely together.

Palmer felt a throbbing sensation between his legs. He slowly raised his arm and readied himself to extend it to touch her when she jerked her legs apart in an almost mechanical motion. He paused. Then she put her left hand between her legs. At first, Palmer thought that she was going to play with herself but her hands moved in a studied way and it appeared that she had clasped onto something with her thumb and forefinger.

She began to draw her hand upwards while the rest of her body remained motionless. Palmer recoiled as he saw a hint of crimson emerge. She was unzipping herself. Her hand continued up her belly, between her breasts, and over her face.

The silence was broken by a loud THAP! as a slender metal tube had fallen out of her and hit the floor. Palmer began to feel drowsy watching the whole thing unfold. Quickly, his consciousness fell away from him and he slumped onto the mattress just as The Siren's body collapsed onto the floor.
|| Palmer, 12:30 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
A Quote for the Day

People suffer illness "because they do not have love in their life and are not cherished."
Sun Si-miao

Damn Chinese doctors and their pithy phrases!
|| Palmer, 11:33 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Where's the Good Dale?

The snow let up briefly so I was able to go shovel snow without it seeming too Sisyphean a task. And since I'm such a nice goddamned atheist neighbor, I even shoveled for our Xtian next door neighbors. I am just too nice. No wonder I always finish last. Of course, the moment I stepped back inside, the snow started falling again. What really intrigued me was that the kids across the street went over to a neighbor's house and fucking got Snickers bars! How the hell does that work?!? I had no idea there was this magic house of treats on our block. Here I am being Joey Good Plow and nary a morsel of chocolate in sight fur mich. Was up wit dat? OK, so I'm 31 and the prospect of chocolate reduces my mind to that of a 6 year-old.

Earlier I was downloading some reference materials for my Call of Cthulu campaign. As the data flowed, I surfed some porn. I snagged some video clips from a web site. At first, they were amusing. The women weren't Saarlaks and all was fine and well. Then I began to feel a bit queer, a bit odd. I couldn't put my finger on it. Finally it came to me. All of the videos were shot in this room with crimson walls and I think my subsconscious thought it was watching porn from the Black Lodge in Twin Peaks. Deep down I imagined that Laura Palmer and Annie Blackburn were rogering each other with dildos or some such thing. Harumph.
|| Palmer, 11:27 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

25 January, 2004

Your Brain on Language

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
|| Palmer, 11:03 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Top 71 Movies That Nerds Quote From

From http://keepersoflists.org/index.php?lid=991

1 Monty Python: Search for the Holy Grail
2 Star Wars
3 Princess Bride
4 Space Balls
5 Indiana Jones
6 Matrix
7 Star Trek
8 2001: A Space Odyssey
9 Ghostbusters
10 Highlander
11 Anything pertaining to Monty Python or Mel Brooks
12 The Terminator
13 Young Frankenstien
14 Austin Powers
15 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
16 Airplane movies
17 Army of Darkness
18 Blazing Saddles
19 History of the World- Part One
20 Office Space
21 Breakfast Club
22 Robin Hood: Men In Tights
23 Monty Python and the Holy Grail
24 The Blues Brothers
25 The Naked Gun movies
26 Nightmare On Elm Street
27 Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
28 Bill and Ted's Most Excellent Adventure
29 Pulp Fiction
30 Real Genius
31 South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
32 Sixteen Candles
33 Dumb and Dumber
34 Repo Man
35 Star Wars (any)
36 War Games
37 Barfly
38 Hackers
39 John Waters Movies (All)
40 Fight Club
41 Goonies
42 Revenge of the Nerds
43 Any film with computers or space in it
44 Tron
45 Every Star Trek, Star Wars, and Monty Python flick
46 Blade Runner
47 Dirty Harry
48 Queen of the Damned
49 Ishtar
50 Short Circuit
51 Batman
52 spice world
53 A few good men
54 Fletch
55 So I married an Axe Murderer
56 PeeWee's Big Adventure
57 Power Rangers
58 Willow
59 Starship Troopers
60 Close Encounters of the Third Kind
61 Winnie The Pooh
62 Zoolander
63 Freddy got fingred
64 Just one of the guys
65 Mystery Men
66 The Thing - John Carpenter's
67 Dusk till Dawn
68 The Mummy
69 Crimewave
70 Boyz And Girlz
71 Meet Joe's Liver

I quote from many of these. But the list needs more Kubrick films: Dr. Strangelove, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Full Metal Jacket. Also, The Wild Bunch, The Name of the Rose, Big Trouble in Little China, Deliverance, House Party, Touch of Evil, JFK, Roshomon, Apocalypse Now, O.C. and Stiggs - Christ, the list is endless!
|| Palmer, 9:25 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Media Bias?

Now I've found something interesting. Book TV is having a debate about media bias. On the right is author Laura Ingraham and CNN lackey Tucker Carlson. On the left are Al Franken and a guy from City University of New York. I will say that I love Carlson's bow tie. And he is a fucking cock. I hate him but I probably hate him because we argue the same way. If I were in his shoes, I'd be saying the same stuff. I am so jealous of his tie!

It's a nice, spirited debate and, having majored in communication arts in college, it's right up my alley. To me, the mass media here in the U.S. is skewed to the right. But perhaps the larger problem is that, to me, is the banality of much of the news. It frustrates me to no end that something like Princess Diana's death is endlessly researched so that people know the most menial details like what the driver at for lunch that day. But for many issues that affect us more greatly - such as Supreme Court cases, taxes, and the like - things that are going to have a direct effect on you. Your pocketbook, how your children are educated, what is in the food you eat, the quality of the air you breathe, the health care you will receive, and so on.

Is news around the rest of the world so horrid? Do you folks in other countries have news shows that lead with concepts such as "Bennifer"?
|| Palmer, 5:45 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
25 January 2004 C.E.

I watched a couple home improvement shows with Stevie this morning. I don't know why as I generally can only handle them in small doses. It did remind me, however, to look for an article in an old issue of This Old House magazine concerning libraries. By this I mean home libraries/studies. Beautiful, ornate wooden shelves than span up vaulted ceilings. That's what I'd like to have someday. This expansive room with with a vaulted ceiling and the walls would be lined with books. Well, a couple at least. I'd need some room to hang paintings and such. It'd be great to have a Victorian motif with various bric-a-brac of medieval origin adorning the shelves and walls. Like Dumbledore's office, for any Harry Potter fans out there. An astrolabe hanging here, an analog clock there. A sextant sitting atop a shelf next to gaudy candles. A Galilean thermometer and an old telescope. Little homunculi dotted about the room. Plus books galore. A mess of modern texts with some codicies and incunabula scattered about. I love medieval illumination! I would ramp up on my Latin again so I could sit around smoking a pipe and read Caesar's Gallic Wars again ("Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres...") and The Aeneid in the original. And a large stained-glass window in front of which will be a lecturn with a copy of the mini-OED on it for handy reference. And a small liquor cabinet astride my desk with fine spirits including some absinthe for those retro moments to go along with the laudanum I would prepare. A snuff box on the desk amidst a slew of pens and papers.

On the walls would be paintings. I want Waterhouse's Belle Dame Sans Merci so I can gaze at that long, dark mane drawing the knight to his fate. There'd be a replica of Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights - a full replica of the tripdytch with the heavens painted on the outside of the doors. And a Magritte and a Balthus too.

I want it to be like a combination of library and curiosity shop. And that I'd have a killer fucking stereo system in there goes without saying. Plus I'd have a secret door. You pull a book and it unlocks. Opening it reveals a small passage leading to the roof where I'd have a small observatory. I could sit up there and look at the stars. It would be a place where I could go to get away from everythign and everyone, when necessary. I'm no gentleman but I could feign it well with such a setup.

The Caffeinatrix gave me explicit orders this morning that I am not to move to Chicago. While I normally acquiesce to the biddings of beautiful women, I could not. The plans move forward. Then she proceeded to lecture me on the virtues of Hal Hartley's films so I have to go rent some of those.

There was an intersting tidbit in the paper today about an English professor at a college near Chicago who proclaimed that the 2001 English Standard Version was "the best available English Bible". I will have to check it out. Does anyone know of a version of the Bible which is extensively footnoted? I'd like to have a version with notes that indicate where placenames mentioned are nowadays, how certain words may have been translated differently, etc. There's gotta be one like that out there.
|| Palmer, 3:20 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Shamans, Gurus, etc.

Book TV is showing the speech of an author about the Kennedys. blah As a family, as a cult of personality, the Kennedys really don't interest me. But to each his own. We've got digital cable - a few hundred channels - and there's total shite on. How many fucking home improvement and Monster {insert object here} shows do we need? Here we go. Local access cable channel 4. Some nutcase talking about Biblical prophecies'n'such. It's over - damn! Now they're just showing evidence that someone there knows how to use a toaster.

Oh Lord! Now there's this newage show on. Some middle-aged woman speaking in hushed tones like an NPR announcer. Why people take anything these kidns of people say seriously boggles my mind. Her smiles are fake, her pauses are drawn out interminably to lend a sense of deep contemplation - I think I might fall asleep. I love how these people just dish out short, pithy phrases which mean little to nothing and how many listeners just read into them all kinds of crap. Aphorisms do not a profundity make. I have this sickening feeling that her audience is composed of paying members.

Does anyone here feel that one person or one person's ideas resonate with you so loudly and intensely so as to drown out all others? Or am I just some kooky product of the Enlightenment? I mean, do you folks believe any and everything that a particular person says? That her opinions and tastes are all agreeable? To be sure, I rally around people and their ideas. But I pick and choose, and not summarily accept. It's just one of those bugs that gets up my ass - people who avoid thinking for themselves. For me, it's a lot more fun to sift and winnow through things, to take a bit from Kant and a bit from paganism, some communitarianism, evolutionary science, and who knows what else. Every school of thought has something to offer. Everyone has something to teach you. Bloody newagers!

Stevie's projects are coming to fruition. The last door is being hung as I type and all of the lightswitches on the ground floor have been changed. Next the trim and door jams are going to be installed. Soon he'll be decorating.

I'm feeling frisky so I think I shall read some erotica...
|| Palmer, 11:22 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Regarding Fellini Moments

A Fellini Moment was defined by Derek Dick, a.k.a. - Onkel Fish as follows:

"The term 'Fellini moment' came about on the back of a long snake of a tour curve when the surreal became normality and events and experiences took on new meanings. In all the madness of such a lifestyle there are moments of serenity when time stops and you catch a glimpse at the true wonder of the World we live in. These moments stand out in a day and there are some days when these events gather in clusters or curves. This is a Fellini Day. The term is a direct reference to Italian film director Federico Fellini who would sprinkle his movies with moments of tangential beauty or draw our attention to a detail of wonderment that would often go otherwise unnoticed in our hectic every day lives."
|| Palmer, 7:19 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

24 January, 2004

A Fellini Moment

Bri and I dated for only 5 months or so. But our schedules were generally so busy that we really didn’t see much of each other and the 5 months was really only 2 or 3 of actual dating. We’d grab moments between her classes sometimes – I’d pick her up and we’d steal away to Lake Wingra and have a picnic or we’d just have lunch at a restaurant. But the bulk of our time spent together was on Friday nights/Saturday mornings. Most of the newness of our relationship was explored here, we got to know one another during these interludes. Friday nights were spent going somewhere or doing something and Saturday mornings were spent traipsing around the Farmer’s Market after we made love.

I don’t know about any of you, but I am generally pretty frisky when I wake up and doubly so if I was awake next to a woman. So, one fine spring morning in the merry month of May, I think, I come to consciousness and find that Bri and I are lying on our sides, spooning, with my arm lazily hanging on her. I wasn’t really sure if she was awake yet or not but I heard some soft sighs and she moved a little bit so I knew that she wasn’t totally cocooned in sleep. So I took my dangling hand and slipped it underneath her t-shirt and began to gently rub her stomach. With a short, circular motion, I felt the smoothness of her skin as her belly slowly drifted up and down. At once, she began to stir and stretched out her arms yawning.

”What are you doing?” she asked knowlingly.

I meekly replied, “Nuthin’.”

Bri rolled over onto her back and pulled me closer with her arm. Kissing me, she said “That feels good.”

Her eyes closed once again and a grin painted itself on her face. I pulled her shirt up to her breasts and continued to let my hand wander upwards in an ever-widening path. I let my fingers graze the underside of her breasts with each pass. The look on her face was calm and happy. It changed a bit as I began to concentrate on her chest. First up to a shoulder and then down around one side of her nice, soft pillows. Her relaxed smile dissipated and was replaced with a more serious expression. Seeing this, I began to cup her breasts as my hand circled each and finally ran the palm of my hand across them with her nipples trailing between two fingers. It didn’t take long for them to become hard.

All the while, Bri had her eyes closed as she just soaked in the caress of my probing hand. For my part, an erection was slowly coming on as my hand and the bottom of my arm swept across her body. I watched her chest rise and fall as single deep breaths were followed by a couple short, shallow ones. The only thing running through my mind was just how beautiful she was lying there. Watching the ripples in her skin made by my strokes, my eyes went from her tummy to her face where careless hair draped over her cheeks. I found myself attracted to every inch of her skin and I noticed little blemishes that I hadn’t before which made me only find her more attractive.

Having run my fingers lightly down her cleavage for a few minutes, I took my index finger and ran it down to her belly button barely touching her skin. Once there, I ran it around the rim before softly poking it in. I began to get more excited and pulled the blanket down to her feet which exposed her aqua panties. I returned to her tummy once more but my circular motion went downward. With each circle, my fingers drew nearer to the waistband of her panties until they were inside. My chest tightened as I felt the first wisp of hair. One final stroke and I lodged my hand down there and began running my fingers over her mound and through her pubic hair. She squirmed a little and, after a few more seconds, I withdrew my hand. Her thighs and legs then became the object of my attention. Down the outside of her leg and back up the inside. My fingertips were now particularly sensitive and the feel of the stray hair on her leg made a tingling sensation. Up and down, each time moving closer to the lips between her legs. I finally quit teasing and rubbed my hand straight up and over finding it warm and moist. Her hips shook a little bit and I repeated.

Then she cut the calm with this little girl voice that she would use when we were in bed: “I’m getting wet down there.” Then she giggled like a schoolgirl. Having had enough, she sat up and slid her panties down her legs and off her feet before turning to me and pushing me onto my back. Seemingly all in one motion, my boxers were thrown to the floor and a condom placed on my throbbing hardon. Bri liked being on top so she mounted me and slid herself on me. I could hear the squishing of her juices as I felt the intense heat between her legs.

Hovering over me, she slowly went up and down and I began kissing her tender breasts which were swaying just above my head. My hands kneaded her ass and stroked her back. And her face. Bri’s face was a wonderful sight to behold when we made love. Eyes closed, her mouth had a wide grin of contentment – she smiled the biggest smile. My hips found the right thrusting rhythm and I went in completely, her pussy consuming me.

Out of nowhere, I tilted my head backwards and looked out the window. The sky was a brilliant blue dotted with a few light, puffy clouds. A bird had made a nest on the window ledge of the house next door and she was calling out. People chatted away as they walked the pavement below. I think I looked out there for only a second before returning my gaze on Bri but it felt like I had taken in the whole world. When my eyes were fixed on her again, she somehow looked even more beautiful. Her skin somehow felt softer and tasted sweeter. Her flower seemed hotter. I felt lost but in the best possible way. It was as if I suddenly found myself at the crossroads of everything good in the world. It was spring and the sun bathed our skin in a warm glow and a faint breeze blew across my face as we came as close as people’s bodies can. I felt in tune with the people outside, the birds, the sun – and with the woman for whom my feelings were growing out of control. All of my problems and frustrations melted away into nothingness and everything just seemed right in the world.

Bri came and then I did. I hadn’t had an orgasm since the previous Saturday so the condom was full and I felt a bit of pride, a sense of virility. I held her for a little while wishing that we could stay this way forever and that making love would be like this each time. I don’t think we said a word. Holding her, I listened to her breathing, listened to her sighs of contentment, and kissed her head that was snuggling on my chest. We were both sticky with sweat and the breeze returned cooling us both and lulled her and me back into the arms of Morpheus to dream...
|| Palmer, 9:18 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Till We Have Faces

All things considered, I feel a lot better today than yesterday. This perhaps is because of the sun. It drove away the gloom and, although it's cold outside, I feel much warmer. Praise be to the distant Sister Sun!

I am expected to be out at The Pollack's this afternoon but I really am not in the mood to get drunk. To be social, yes, but not to get kerschnickered.

I think one of the reasons I am in the mood I'm in is that I went to bed last night thinking about a Fellini moment I had with Briana a couple years or so ago. So now I can't get her face out of my mind. It's not a bad thing - it's an extraordinarily beautiful face.

Faces...faces...I have this weird feeling that "faces" is going to be the theme today. It's funny that I should be writing this to a group of people whose faces I've never seen but, hey, it's a gut feeling. Well, in a couple hours my hypothesis will be tested.
|| Palmer, 3:16 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

23 January, 2004

You All Ready For Me To Drop Science On Your Ass?

Well, the sex blogs are gonna be in mourning - Helmut Newton died. I've seen some of his work and it's OK. Nothing especial, IMHO.

And Rush Limbaugh is going to have to face charges. Poor guy. Mr. Prosecutor has 10 felony counts for him but offers a bargain: Rush plead guilty to 1 count and get 3 years probation. And fatboy's lawyer says this is unfair! That he's being singled out for being a celebrity. Oh, that's right - if you're a celebrity, you get 100% of the charges thrown out instead of 90%. Christ, do you think Joe Six-Pack could get such a good deal?

Speaking of celebrities getting busted, Art Garfunkel was slapped with a fine for possession. The accounts I've read are all sure to mention that the cop didn't recognize him. I guess Paul Simon would have gotten off scot-free.

Oh, I love this. God came to some Latter Day Saints nutcase named Rulon Jeffs and told him to excommunicate several people from the church. This also involved the men leaving behind their wives, children, and possessions. Wives (and presumably the children) would be "reassigned". Among those dissed were a couple gents in their 90s who were favored to take over the leadership role in this Jonestown when Jeffs usurped the position.

Thankfully contact has been reestablished with the Mars rover so research into mineral exploitation of the planet can continue. Wait, no. It's in critical condition. Nevermind. The evil capitalists have been thwarted. ;)

On the good side, the European Mars Express has confirmed the existence of water ice on Mars' southern polar cap. Hell, maybe we can terraform the place, melt the water, and make Mars a nice spa resort destination.

From The Times:

ISAAC NEWTON had one, as did Michael Faraday and some chap called Murphy. What if you could distil your own sharpest observation into a scientific law that would bear your name? The literary agent John Brockman recently posed the question to the scientists, thinkers and technology innovators who visit his online salon at Edge.org. Now 164 of them have replied — and their insights make for wonderful reading.

Sir John Maddox, former editor of Nature, offers an immutable law of the peer-review process: “Reviewers who are best placed to understand an author’s work are the least likely to draw attention to its achievements, but are prolific sources of minor criticism, especially the identification of typos.”

Then there is Devlin’s First Law, from the acclaimed mathematician Keith Devlin: “In the hands of a charlatan, mathematics can be used to make a vacuous argument look impressive.” (His second law: “So can PowerPoint.”) But the most precise formula comes from Kai Krause, the legendary developer of graphics software. According to Kai’s Exactness Dilemma, “93.8127 per cent of all statistics are useless”. And who can argue?


Here's Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

Punset's First Law: "If fully conscious, don´t trust your brain."

Gershenfeld's Law on Research: "Experiments take pi times longer than planned (no matter how many factors of pi you account for)."

Kai's Existential Dilemma: "I think....there....4a.m."

Bharucha's Law: "To understand what people are thinking and feeling, look beyond what they say." (Why are we men so horrible at this? Girlfriends have always seemed to know what's on my mind despite how well I tried to lie.)

Now who says scientists have no sense of humor or don't live in the real world?
|| Palmer, 7:12 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
If I Could Hold On To Just One Thought

It is a rather nice winter day. It's been snowing lightly for a few hours and we've gotten a couple inches or so. The wind is blowing the flakes around but it's fairly warm outside so Jack Frost has to ply his trade with some effort.

I bowled last night and knew things were gonna be interesting when I arrived at Kias' house. I parked across the street and, as I drew nearer to his abode, I could hear the strains of "Magic Bus" by The Who get louder. Ambling inside, I found a glass sitting on the counter next to an unopened bottle of Early Times. Uff-da! The music was cranked up pretty loud as Kias had recently bought a new amplifier and was putting it through its paces. We drank the whiskey and shot the shit amidst the din of Meaty, Beaty, Big, and Bouncy for a little while before going to the lanes.

It had been a while since I rolled but the usual suspects were present: Karl, The Doucher, and Dumb Donald. Minta is working 2nd shift and so unavailable to bowl while Rueben's wife forbade him to bowl because of some incident involving another woman coming onto him, the details of which are not clear. We bowled our archnemesis - Jarlsberg Automotive. Dooner was hot though Willa was not. Kip was nearly unstoppable. Ergo we got our asses stomped. But I had a good time and it was nice to see the girls while drinking some tasty New Glarus Spotted Cow ale. (The "girls" are the naked women on our playing cards from the 1970s. You see, we play poker as we bowl.) I hit the road fairly early not wanting to be shitfaced for the drive home.

I woke up this morning slightly out on the overhang but quickly got better with some mocha breve in my gullet. The Caffeinatrix scolded me for having given her some of the chocolate cookies I baked a couple days ago. She said she ate all of them in one day. Hell, they were tasty enough. The secret is my liberal use of liqueurs. Pete inherited his great aunt's liquor cabinet when she passed away a few years ago and it included a bottle of Creme de Cocoa. I have no idea how old the stuff is but it has a Wisconsin State Liquor Tax stamp on it and those haven't been in use since the late 1970s. So we're dealing with booze that's at least 25 years old. It replaces some of the powdered cocoa. The recipe called for a teaspoon of vanilla extract so I put in half of that and a teaspoon+ of hazelnut liqueur. I think it worked well with the minced walnuts, personally. I'm not a particluarly skilled baker but I can fuck around with recipes generally.

Anyway, I was accused of having made something too good, something tempting in an evil way - like that apple. Otherwise, The Caffeinatrix was in a good mood. It rubbed off on me and I got motivated enough to go pick up some batteries for cordless power tools that were waiting for me on the south side of town. After that, I came home, filled out a job application for the city, and dropped it off downtown. With that completed, I shoveled the driveway. It's still snowing but I figure that it will make things easier when I do it again once the snowing ceases.

Honest to Christ, it is just gorgeous outside. The snow has covered up the grays and browns once more. It's too bad there's no once around to go sledding with me. Or to just take a walk by my side as we traipse through the thicket of white.

Tomorrow I head out to The Pollack's for his belated birthday celebration. And then next Wednesday I go to Milwaukee to hang out with Miss Pamela. Yesterday she asked me to meet her at her place of employment as a couple of her co-workers want to meet me. I shudder to think what she has been telling them about me. Lies - damn lies!

Maybe I'll go on that walk. Come home, start a fire, and do some reading. I feel like I've got more to put down here but my mind is a miasma right now. Too much on it and too little ability to be coherent...
|| Palmer, 12:08 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

22 January, 2004

If It Wasn't For You Meddling Kids

I watched La Cité des enfants perdus (City of Lost Children) yesterday. Not having seen it in a few years, it was fun to revisit such a wonderful film. Darius Khondji, one of my favorite cinematographers, shot it, the direction was great, as was the acting. It's like a fairy tale for adults. An evil scientist (irony at its best) is stealing children so he can extract their dreams and stay young. Miette is a little headstrong girl and the most mature character. She befriends a fun fair strongman and they rescue the abducted children. Along the way, you meet all sorts of grotesque characters in a dark, damp world of grays, greens, and browns. The film is similar to a combination of Terry Gilliam's Brazil and The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen which are also like fairy tales for adults.

Several people I know really loved Forrest Gump and, when I told them that I thought it was horrible, they often defended it by saying something like, "But it was a charming fairy tale for adults!". While I think I understand what they were getting at, I just couldn't see it in that light. To me, it was a gross over-simplification of reality. There was no magic to it. Fairy tales show life, including its darker elements, filtered through an enchanting, childlike world of imagination.

As Richard Zacks pointed out, all of the classic fairy tales that parents read to their children or Disney puts on the big screen were originally much more sinister. Sleeping Beauty was raped was while under the spell that made her unconscious. Goldilocks became a young girl only in 1918 - she was an old woman prior to that. In a 19th century version, the bears impale her on a church steeple. The original Little Red Riding Hood was emblazoned with sexual tension and a dirty pun. In the end, she was eaten by the wolf.

Scholars attribute what we now consider the "darker" elements of these stories to the fact that, a few hundred years ago, they were told to children and adults. Today, at least in America, these stories are emasculated. I wonder if this is an American phenomenon. As one person here pointed out, it seems like American want to shelter their kids from reality. One upshot of this is that, upon turning 18, they are suddenly thrust into the real world.

In the mid-1990s, 10-12% of male school children in the United States was on Ritalin. How many of them really had Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder? Add in the girls and you have - what? - 12-15% of all school kids in the US hopped up on amphetamines? Doesn't this seem even a little askew if not downright ludicrous? How about kids on Prozac? We give such anti-depressants to kids as young as 4 here. 4 years old! In one year, the number of children on Prozac went up 5 times. Around the same time, the number of kids under 18 on Prozac or an equivalent was moving up towards a million.

These numbers scare me. Not the least because no one really knows the long term effects of these drugs on brains that are still developing. There is no doubt in my mind that there are kids out there with mental maladies that really benefit from these drugs. Are kids in general really that fucked up? Hell, maybe they are. But could we also be screwing with kids brains that are screwed up enough by virtue of being teenagers?

Now, I don't mean to insult teenagers - I just know what a weird time of your life it is. Saying it is an awkward period is like saying that the evacuation of Dunkirk was a bit disorganized. I probably have greater sympathy now for teens than I did when I was one myself. This is because I know just how genuinely fucked up many adults are. One day things are all hunky-dory and the next thing you know you start getting hair in various spots where there was none before, your voice drops or your breasts grow, girls hit menarche, etc. Hormones are raging rendering you a complete knob end. The adult world doesn't seem so far off suddenly and peer pressure kicks in. Hey, it's a crazy, mixed-up time and you have little experience to draw on for reflection. Hell, teenagers generally don't wanna reflect - there's all these distractions like memebers of the opposite sex, drugs, and just going out and being stupid.

And it's not that teenagers are necessarily stupid - many tack the windy seas of teenagehood and become fully-functional adults. But adults are supposed to help kids. You know, be active in their lives. When I was having some particularly nasty problems at 16, a couple teachers stepped in lent a hand and an ear. Teenagers can also be kept on the right path with the foot, namely, in the ass. That's where my dad came in.

It seems like the hands-off approach is much more prevalent now than when I was a teen. This is a whole lotta anecdotal evidence, I admit, but talking to teachers and social workers, I get this picture that American society expects kids to figure everything out themselves. Got a problem? Take a pill. Parents are too busy working or just don't give a shit. My friend who got married last month is a teacher and he has countless horror stories. A parent of a 12 year-old came up to him and basically asked him how to be a parent. Ya know, they don't give teachers these Dr. Spock-like manuals on how to be a parent. And, because of a fear of lawsuits, teachers have limited abilities to handle disciplinary problems.

Not every kid is on Ritalin. Not every kids brings a gun to school and shoots up their classmates. What's their secret? Why do some kids play violent videogames and not become violent themselves? What does it mean to be a boy or a girl? How should this affect how society treats you? What does TV do to kids? Questions, questions, questions. At least on that last one, I can look towards an old college professor.
|| Palmer, 1:06 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

21 January, 2004

Blinded Me With Science

While I was at Toad Hill the other day, another regular came in to get a cuppa joe to go. While I don't know her, I've been there several times when she was and I've noticed that she is a very friendly extrovert. Anyway, she makes a comment about the Mars lander and goes on to accuse NASA of having sent the roving robot to see if Mars could be another potential supply of natural resources we could exploit.

Earlier today I read the diary of a woman which was a list of questions directed at "evolutionists" by a "creation-scientist". The diarist is a born-again bible-basher so I assume that she agreed with the premise behind it all. And since directing a question like "Where did matter come from?" to an evolutionist is like asking a paraplegic about running a marathon.

These little instances demonstrate, to me anyway, a great distrust and ignorance of science. Rather than having a sense of wonderment that we've sent a machine some 48 million miles to another fucking planet and being in awe of the magnificent vistas of the Red Planet, all she can do is bitch. And rather than actually learn what evolution is and how science works, my fellow ODer just regurgitates the pieties of a lunatic.

Environmental conservation, agricultural science, medicine - they all have underpinnings in evolutionary biology. As Theodosius Dobzhansky said, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution." And I bet that woman at the coffee shop has no problem with the chemists that devised the materials of her clothes, the engineers whose work became her car, the people who formulated her hair care products, etc. Why do people distrust scientists so much yet run around enjoying all of the toys they create? Why do people think there's this cabal of cigarette-smoking scientists plotting evil?

I saw this program on the Science Channel this evening about the genetic disorder called progeria syndrome. It causes its victims - children - to age at a vastly accelerated rate and they usually die as teenager. Their faces become deformed and they have a whole host of medical problems. The show profiled a scientist who was studying children afflicted with the disorder so he could find a cure. THIS is the kind of thing that I think about when I think of science. Well, that and guys in lab coats ensconced underground ramming various sub-atomic particles into each other to shed light on string theory. Scientists don't oppress minorities, they spend years of their lives digging up dinosaur bones with paintbrushes and those things you use to rearrange your cuticles.

Learn about what scientists do and why they do it. Are there frauds and cheats? Sure, just like any other human endeavor. But, unlike, say religion, science is a self-correcting process. Check out last months Popular Science for a list of some scientists caught cheating. Have you ever seen the Church list the names of paedophiliac priests?

Does no one actually appreciate the work that goes into the things that make our lives easier and things that add pleasure and depth? Does anyone else have an appreciation for this wonderful world and its wonderful web of complexity? Science has given me a tremendous appreciation for life, for this world, and beyond. So instead of just talking out of your asshole, try learning so that you can at least make an informed criticism.
|| Palmer, 5:05 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

20 January, 2004

I've Known No War

I appeared in the paper today. The second time ever. (The first involved being at a bar to watch the Badgers in a bowl game with my drunk friend raking on Mormons to the reporter. Then Chris Farley showed up...) The Wisconsin State Urinal printed that letter to the editor that I whisked off a couple days ago. It was, of course, bastardized and, to my eyes, barely recognizable and nearly unreadable. They kept the first and last paragraphs and even they were trimmed. While my general point got across, readers were deprived of my wonderful prose. I crafted an asute letter with each paragraph wielding metaphor and simile to compare the editor's view to that of the habits of children while the great librarians were akin to loving, knowledgeable parents. And the fuckers eviscerated it! At least they corrected my spelling faux pas.

Dinner turned out pretty well. Stevie really like the black beans. There is precious little foodstuff that bacon cannot in some way enhance. Yes, that wonderful, magical animal.

I think something is wrong with me. Different at the very least. Stevie and I were talking about Dean's speech and the conversation turned to speeches generally. I asked him if he'd ever heard the Great Speeches of the 20th Century set. He hadn't. So I grab the box and show it to him. He was enthralled. It's a 4CD set collecting bits of great speeches from - you guessed it - the previous century. So I listened to some of the tracks. Lou Gehrig's farewell speech, FDR declaring war on Japan, Ronald Reagan on the Berlin Wall. The very recent ones have great fidelity but are somehow not as appealing to me as the ones from the early 1900s such as Woodrow Wilson addressing the American Indians. The voices are tinny and sound as if they're struggling to get out of the speakers. But these are the ones that capture my imagination. I suppose it's because the I watched the ones from the 1980s and 90s on TV. They have been sound byted to death and have lost their impact on me, in a sense. But hearing Hitler speak about the German occupation of the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia just takes me into terra incognita. As I've had some German, I understand bits & pieces but I mainly listen to the tone of his voice, his enunciation. I try to relegate history to the back of my mind but it's difficult. Pogroms and fire bombings. Children being vaporized in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Bataan Death Marchers who dug graves only to be buried alive in them. I manage to shove the images of these things into some recess and keep them at bay for a little while so I can listen to Hitler as someone who could not imagine the horrors he would sanction. To hear a dictator in the making as opposed to a personification of Lucifer.

World War II occupies this weird spot in my brain. As far back as I can remember, my father has been fascinated by it and he reckoned himself an amateur historian. We had shelves and shelves of books dedicated to nearly every aspect of the conflict. He had most volumes of History of United States Naval Operations in World War II by Samuel Eliot Morison. If had wanted to know all the details of the war in North Africa, it was there. Books documenting tanks, planes, guns, uniforms - it was a mania. My dad would go to bars and strike up conversations with any WWII veterans he met and was especially keen on guys who saw action in the Pacific theater and even more so about those who were at Iwo Jima. While he met former Marines who said they were there, none of them would talk about their experiences. Who can blame them for not wanting to relive the carnage in public?

"The Marines worked together to drive the enemy from the high ground. Their goal was to capture the area that appropriately became known as the 'Meat Grinder'...The 36-day assault resulted in more than 26,000 American casualties, including 6,800 dead. Of the 20,000 Japanese defenders, only 1,083 survived...Historians described U.S. forces' attack against the Japanese defense as 'throwing human flesh against reinforced concrete'...Twenty-seven Medals of Honor were awarded to Marines and sailors, many posthumously - more than were awarded for any other single operation during the war."

Iwo Jima is only 8 square miles of island and in March of 1945 it had 25000+ corpses littering it. I can still remember this picture in one of my dad's books. It showed the charred face of a Japanese soldier. The Japanese were dug in and lived in a series of pillboxes and tunnels. American G.I.s emptied these tunnels one by one with grenades and flame-throwers and the picture in my head is of a Japanese soldier who was emerging from one of these tunnels when he had a stream of flaming oil shot at him. Not sure why that image is burned into my memory but it is.

So I grew up and started going to bars and met veterans myself. Mostly from Vietnam but a couple from Korea. Two or three sobbed uncontrollably as they told their stories of having a friend die in their arms. I used to work with a Vietnam vet. The shit he did, the hells he endured boggle the mind. Shooting 2 old ladies in the head as per his COs orders. Being alone in a foxhole for nearly 2 weeks. Killing (and gutting) a teenage boy who attacked him.

It's funny in only the saddest way how history repeats itself.
|| Palmer, 10:30 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
I'm Living My Life Like a Good Homo Sapien

Well, today was amusing in its own way. I made a nice little CD for Jimmy Downtown. The Caffeinatrix had let him hear one I made for her and he wanted a copy. I knew, I just fucking knew she'd like it and I suspected Jimmy D would as well. You see, one day The Caffeinatrix was feeling kinda blue and it somehow rubbed off on me. So I threw together a mix of rockin' and humorous songs in Media Player. I liked it so much, I burned it so I could listen to it on the stereo. I eventually just gave her the disc. She related to me that she was having a bad day and was stuck in traffic when she popped the CD in and it immediately lightened her mood and made her laugh. I mean, how could it not? Her fave, at the moment, is "Because I Got High" by Afroman. The other 2 songs she mentioned were "Fuck the Creationists" by MC Hawking and "Gin & Juice" by The Gourds. Yes, it is the Snoop Doggy Dog song and it's done by an alt.country band. Not only is it tuneful but it's just friggin' hilarious to hear a guy with a harsh Southern drawl crooning out lyrics about ho's and the chronic. "Beeotch! Beeotch!" hehe Plus I dragged out some Man or Astro Man? for the disc as well. They play surf music with a sci-fi theme and incorporate bits from old, cheesy science fiction movies into the songs. And he also got Hindu Love Gods (featuring the late, great Warren Zevon and most of REM) doing Prince's "Raspberry Beret". There are just too many to name. Lots of humorous stuff plus just good ol' shake-yer-ass rock'n'roll.

After having dropped off the CD, I headed over to the credit union and then to Mad City Music where I picked up a couple CDs: Polaris by the North Mississippi All-Stars and There's No Eye in Pussy by local rockers Brainerd. (If there's anyone from Minnesota reading - yes, they were named after the town in your state.) You've gotta support your local musicians. Because of this attitude, I was also sorely tempted to by the album by fellow-Madisonites His & Her Vanities but restrained myself.

I got home and started prepping dinner - jerk chicken & Soupy Black Beans. OK, so I'm mixing Caribbean and Cuban cuisines here but, hey, I've gotta get leftovers and shit that's been in the frig for ages used up. I then got a chance to see the replay of Howard Dean's frenzied non-victory u-rah-rah speech. Stevie felt it was disconcerting while I was rather impressed that an American presidential candidate could be passionate and himself instead of just reading some canned speech that he wrote not a word of and was subject to the whims of pollster and spin doctors. Is Faux News making fun of him? I guess so. But, I tell you what, Dean took 3 years of Dubya's speeches and showed he has the pathos of a bowling ball. Have you ever seen and heard Martin Luther King, Jr. speak? Or Adolf Hitler? Regardless of what they said, those guys knew how to get a crowd fired up. They were aflame with passion. Now, I grant you Dean is neither of those guys and his little listing of States'n'such yesterday was not a lengthy persuasive speech but he had chutzpah! Pericles didn't fucking stand there and read from some primitive teleprompter when he delivered his famous speech in favor of the Peloponnesian War. On the whole, American political oratory is for shite. Speakers don't write their own speeches and every word is run through a supercomputer to ensure maximum potential for a sucessful poll the following day. I don't wanna hear some pre-packaged, flag-waving piece of bullshit aimed at telling people who read at a 4th grade level what they wanna hear. Read some Edmund Burke and get a set of balls.

It's rather nice having more daylight. The sun rises earlier and sets later. Beltane cometh.

I spoke with my friend Jeffrey in Minneapolis. We spoke at first about a possible visit and Howard Dean's fiery verbal gymnastics. Then he told about his troubles with women. His ex-fiancee is apparently moving there and another friend of his said some unsavory things about Jeff and another friend of his who was also present. So basically all the important women in his life are upset with him for one reason or another. Poor fellow. Luckily the women in my life are relatively pleased with me or at worst disinterested. While we were speaking he was also chatting with someone who asked him what the phrase "cook the cookies" meant. He and I both scoured the Internet but could find no reference to this idiom. So if anyone's ever heard of it, please lemme know.

As a sidebar, of sorts, to some queries regarding underwear, I wore my lone pair of boxer-briefs today for only the 2nd time. They're acceptable, I suppose, but not wholly comfortable. They just seem slightly restrictive and always make me cognizant that I am wearing them. I have, on the odd occasion, gone out sans undergarment but the weather right now is not conducive to keeping my testicles out of my throat if I were to do so. I think I started doing this a couple years ago while dating a particular woman. Often times she would strategically neglect to wear panties for a night on the town. During a time of some friction in our relationship, I adopted a if-she-can-do-it-so-can-I attitude which extended to many things including making underwear optional. While I will save my stories concerning me and her panties for another time, I will say that I freeball very intermittently and never if I'm going to be drinking - a lesson I learned the hard way.
|| Palmer, 9:59 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Let's Undress Just Like Cross-Eyed Strangers

There's a really good show up at Wilco's web page. It's from September of last year when they opened up for REM. The really neat part is that singer Jeff Tweedy barely sings and leaves the vocal duties to bassist John Stirrat. He's got a good smooth voice - unlike Tweedy's - but his singing style is sloppy like Tweedy's hence it's perfect for Wilco tunes.

I can feel a Wilco bender coming on. In fact, I think that after I hear "Misunderstood" - one of my favorite tunes by them - I'm gonna throw on A.M.. Haven't heard that album in a while. There's just something about them that feels like now. Ragged. Their music is ragged yet so melodic and catchy. And the lyrics are generally either a bit melancholic or just plain odd or both. But odd in a slightly caustic way. Jay Farrar writes some oddball lines too but his have less friction. I dunno. Maybe Jeff Tweedy just uses more hard consonant sounds or something. Whatever the case, brain says Wilco - ears get Wilco.

I had a meeting with one of my business partners yesterday evening. It went well but he told me something that, upon reflection, made me livid. He works for my former employer and was at a party recently held by one of the IT managers there. I know this manager a bit having been at his house a few times to fix his home PC. Anyway, at some point, this manager character starts listing the names of the homosexuals at the office. Then his wife pipes in and relates a tale of how she knows a gay man who, along with his husband, adopted a mentally retarded kid. She followed this with a comment like, "Can you imagine what they do to that poor kid?" This incident came up as my business partner is gay.

Driving home, the story ran in my head like a ticker tape. I'd always thought the manager to be a fairly nice guy, if a bit white bread-middle managementy. And I'd chatted with his wife on 2 or 3 occasions and she seemed nice. Well, that'll learn me for equating niceties with not being homophobic. Now, what in the name of fuck does this woman think those men do to the kid? Is she so detached from reality as to think that all gay men are paedophiles and go around indiscriminately sticking their cocks into every asshole owned by someone with a Y chromosome? This is exactly why I fucking hate small towns. They are dominated by small-minded dipshits who have no idea that heaven & earth really do have more than is dreamt of in their narrow, inbred, backwards philosophies. No amount of middle-class suburban sheen can darken that whiter shade of trash.

I spent much of yesterday morning reading more about Chinese medicine and re-reading sections of a book about the evolutionary origins of religion. In doing so, two things occured to me. Firstly, was just how interesting the Chinese (Oriental?) view of the world is. It is so incredibly different from mine - the West's. And I don't even know very much about it. As for the medicinal bit, I am getting lost. The task of remembering the various bits is in-and-of-itself daunting but add in having to absorb concepts foreign to my mindset makes the process even more imposing but ever so fascinating.

The first thing I came to terms with Yin and Yang. (And, as Jolene pointed out, the "a" in "yang" is pronouced like the "A" in...I dunno..."Reeperbahn".) Then came Qi (pronounded "chee"). And then the Spirits and Essence and now I'm on the Yang Organs. It's all neat and orderly in its way but I'm still getting used to the method of its madness. For instance, Blood is not the nice sanguinous liquid with which I am familiar. It's that and a whole lot more. Similarly, the Heart is not just that wonderful bundle of muscules in your chest either. This whole thing is going to require me to do a lot of re-reading and begging to Jolene for clarification.

It was a rather nice feeling to be reading something so wholly foreign to me. Most of the stuff I read is supplementary to what I already know. It fills in more details and adds to my knowledge of a subject with which I am already familiar. But now I find myself in unfamiliar territory. So I've decided this is gonna be my theme for 2004. I mean, since I can't come up with any resolutions to save my pitiful life, we'll just do what we can. So my bibliophilic inclinations will be steered towards topics and authors that are new and different - to me, at least. Same for everything else. Films, foods, people - the lot. So start sending me ideas and I don't care how odd or far-fetched they are - I want 'em. Tell me to read a particular author. Non-Western and/or female. I read books by virtually all white men. Know a good Mongolian folk band? Let me know. I've got a submissive side so threaten me with pain unless I cook tripe for supper one day. Think of all the stereotypical things straight white male atheist geeks like and do and give me the opposite.

As I said above, the other book I read was about religion or, more specifically, why our brains have it. I've read it before but, after reading some entries here by Xtians, I went back and re-read a couple chapters. Absolutely fascinating. Much better to my mind than Michael Shermer's mass mental negligence theory. As I sat there reading, two women sat down behind me. (I was at the cafe.) They were teachers and one was roughly my age and gorgeous. I felt almost embarrassed when I realized that she could see that I was reading an insiduosly intellectual tome. I'm shy by nature so when I encounter a woman whom I find to be overwhelmingly physically attractive, I am a bit intimidated. (My Chinese medical diagnosis is probably too much Po or something like that.) The thing is, it's generally easy to overcome this or to turn the tables. I mean, I'm 6'2" and weigh about 225# (that's about 16 stone for all you English folk) so I'm almost always bigger physically. In addition, women whom I find to be stunningly gorgeous are usually dumber than a box of hammers. Ergo it would be easy in most circumstances to be kind of imposing, if I choose to be so. I dunno - there's gotta be some Freudian thing or Jungian complex at play here.

What's funny to me is that, in general, the women I find to be overflowing with beauty are seen as average-looking by my male friends. My female friends usually agree with me, though. I'll be in a tavern with some guys and point out a chickie across the bar to one of them. They'll usually say, "She's OK but her friend is hot!" This friend is almost always straight and thin. Pam told me in chat the other day that I was born in the wrong time. When I asked her what she meant, she said something like "Because you like women with long hair, hips, etc." Great. Well, I've never really been hip nor into fashionable things so I guess finding a woman that doesn't look like an extra from a Sally Struthers commercial is normal for me.

Oooh! Fishbone is playing now!
|| Palmer, 8:48 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Where's Ed Anger?!?

I am still peeved! There was an editorial in one of our local papers in which someone expressed relief that our city's Read It/Share It program had been dismantled. I was so pissed off that I emailed a response.

The program solicited suggestions for a book for the city to read. A title was chosen, the library would buy lots of copies, and then the library would host discussion groups. So the woman says a "hallelujah!" and bitches that there are not enough copies of best-sellers. What I found profoundly irritating were her little attempts at being funny and hip in only the most trendy, post-modern way. For instance, she said that she would never attend a discussion group as it would be a waste of time since there were other books to read. So obviously she doesn't really give a shit about what she reads. It seems that, for her, reading is about getting an ephemeral thrill - shame on you if you dare think about what you read. She also knocked the concept in general by saying that it was an example of "group-think", whatever the fuck that is, and that this scared her. Of course, it is not a case of "group-think" for everyone to go out and read the latest opus from Dan Brown because it's on some NYT list.

If the program was 86'd because of budget contraints, why not speak of those? And why not say 1 good word about the librarians who bust their balls in loom of decreasing funds?

It never ceases to bug the shit out of me seeing people being fucking cheerleaders for the lowest common denominator. Let's make everything for stupid people. Fucking philistine!
|| Palmer, 8:39 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Operator, Get Me Bishop Wilburforce

Despite being a godless heathen, I sometimes poke around blogs/diaries in search of a good religious diary. Almost invariably, I read that Christ luvs me or some such thing. Unfortunately, most of these diaries are by teenage girls and have entries like "I prayed for Bobby to ask me to the prom" followed by various quotations from the Scriptures. It's all, for me, pretty boring stuff.

I wonder why I never read a religious diary in which the author actually ponders anything or details how his or her beliefs figure into daily life. None of these people seem to reflect upon anything. Let me try to clarify.

Pretend that a Utilitarian has a diary. This person might scribe:

"Today I was confronted with a situation involving moral choice. I was forced to choose between two courses of action: A and B. So I did some hedonic calculus and determined that, while A would have been nice, I was morally compelled to choose B. Here's the high comedy that ensued..."

However boring the quotidian routine of a J.S. Mill adherent may be, at least they offered insight into how his/her beliefs inflected their daily life. And I wish a Christian would do that. Or a Muslim. Or a Hindu. Or whomever of whatever religious stripe.

What do your beliefs do for you? Are you inspired to proselytize? Do they inculcate a sense of hatred towards some of your fellow human beings because they do not share your beliefs? Would you vote for a pro-life candidate even if the rest of his platform is for shite? Did you denounce homosexuals and then find out that a friend or family memeber or co-worker whom you like was gay? What challenges your beliefs? I mean, come on, even St. Augustine was prone to doubt at points in his life.

Are there any Confessions out there?
|| Palmer, 8:39 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Under Cover

Someone emailed me today and asked me a couple questions one of which was if I wore boxers or briefs. While I was happy to answer, I find myself curious: do women really care about what kind of undies we men wear? Well aside from my one correspondent. You women out there - what does a certain type of underwear mean to you? If a guy wears briefs, for instance, in what way does this color your perceptions of him? As a corollary, are women curious as to what kind of underwear other women prefer? Do you female folk have chats about the merits of thongs vs. high-cut thighs in public restrooms? Enquiring minds wanna know...
|| Palmer, 8:36 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
Why?

Why in the name of Mary is it newsworthy for a debunked bullshit artist like Uri Geller to come forward and give the results of hypnosis? The AP article said that Geller was "best known for his claimed telekinetic ability to bend spoons". What the fuck?!? Geller is a fraud, a con man, liar, a cheat. You can't bend spoons with your mind and James Randi came out and called Geller and his bullshit. Why is the AP not coming out and calling a spade a spade? Geller has no credibility, least of all when he hypnotizes people. He's a fake and a fraud who's merely changed his publicity hound methods. But it sure worked.
|| Palmer, 8:35 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

18 January, 2004

Tits, Winkle, and Vibraphone

Telephone conversations with my dad mostly consist of listening.

He lives alone, knows few people where in his neighborhood, and is, in general, a hermetic curmudgeon. After having been so alone for over 3 years and finally having got his driver's license back after almost 2 years without it, you'd think he'd be a little more gregarious. But instead he stays housebound all the time. I just wanna scream at him, "Do a little painting but go out sometimes!! Ya know, people just aren't going to flock to your house to give you company. Seek and ye shall find!" Sheesh! He called me yesterday and, since I have a boring life, I told him that there was nothing much new to report thusly giving him free reign to babble on and tell me how lonely his is and how horrible his life is. I was in a bit of hurry yesterday so I had to cut him off after 20 minutes but said that I'd call this morning and give me a hand with Genuine Fractals/Photoshop. And I did.

Answering the phone, he was half-conscious. It's 11 fucking o'clock in the morning. You know your son is going to call - be awake! After a few minutes of decidedly futile computer instruction, he said, "Well, thanks for calling - bye." Thanks the gods! I couldn't handle another 20 minute conversation about nothing. And I don't mean this in a nice philosophical/existential way either. Cast Beckett and Sartre from your mind and think more a glum Jessica Simpson. Nearly every time I talk with him I end up feeling depressed afterwards. It's like he somehow offloads a bundle of blues onto me. And I don't want it. Damn filial obligations! Christ, is it any wonder I don't want to be a father? I'd be doomed to be just like him. Like it says in Isaiah 14:21, "Prepare a place to slaughter his sons for the sins of their forefathers". Whatever any other passage of the Bible says to contradict this, we do pay for the sins of our fathers - I don't care what anyone else says. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. I see it in my relationship with my father and in the relationship he had with his. I have no idea how far back it goes but I'm willing to bet 150 years all the way back to Germany. At least I've developed into a pretty good listener.

Last night was amusing. Just before leaving to go to Dogger's, Kias stopped by. We shot the shit for a while. Lito has become a father! And trivia up in New London is less than a month away so I've gotta procure a laptop.

You see, once a year, I am holed up in a farmhouse up north for 24 hours to play trivia. The contest runs from noon on Saturday until 9AM on Sunday and it's all done over the radio. The DJ asks a question and we have 3 songs worth of time to call the studio with our answer. It strains one's ability to stay awake but ephies are still legal. There are usually about a 8 of us there but people shuffle in and out. We drink beer and coffee and there's always plenty of Mary Jane which is sorted & de-seeded on an Elvis picture. Such has been tradition for 15 years of which I've been a part for the last 5 or 6.

Willa will be there supping Diet Mountain Dew and smoking enough grass to put down an elephant. He abstains from beer as, after his fiancee abandoned him at the altar, he drank himself into a life-threatening stupor. So reacquainting himself with John Barleycorn will basically render his pancreas and kidneys and other viscera useless and bye-bye Willa. Then there's Chet the Dope-Smoking History Teacher. Wish I had him as a teacher in high school. Zeke - Zeke is just nuts. Kias and his brother Dumb Donald. Damn Finns. Always drinking all the beer and bragging about Finnish sperm counts. Big Daddy. He seems to attend every other year. He's funny. And his wife is hilarious when she's kerschnickered. One time she found out who my boss was and gave me all kinds of dirt on her - what she was like in high school, about her divorce, etc. Let's see...who else may be there? Figgi used to appear clad in black trenchcoat clutching an empty Tide box filled with grass and dope-smoking accoutrements. Unfortunately, he died last year. Macaulay. He was a blast! Emigrated from the UK. Last I heard, he divorced his wife, cheated her out of some money, and is now incommunicado in the South somewhere. Lito stops up sometimes. He basically gets shitfaced and causes trouble. We'll have to wait and see if the old lady let's him play with the boys this year. And then there's Johnson the Drunken Swedish Attorney. See entry for Lito. Benke will be there - he kills me. Between he and Willa, that pipe always has some lips on it. And of course there's Joe, the owner of the place. He's a farmer and he's got a nice sleigh that he uses to give rides to people during the winter. He is probably the least sane of the bunch. Oh gods, I can't wait...

So Pete and I went over to Dogger's and played Dungeons & Dragons. Marv, the DM, and Dogger were hungover so it was pretty mellow. Still, it was a good time. We went off on lots of tangents. At one point, totally out of the blue, Marv did that Monty Python bit, "Even words like 'tits', 'winkle' and 'vibraphone' can not rival the embarrassment potential of sound." Then Pete dragged Mystery Science Theater 3000 into the mix. That episode where Crow goes back in time to keep Mike from working at the cheese factory. At the end, Crow is working there. He's sitting at a table with the hair net thingy on and says something like, "Grand Funk Railroad is coming to Eau Claire!" OK, unless you're from around Eau Claire, it's not really funny. (Or at least from Wisconsin.) But, since most of us were from that area (and all from WI), it was fucking heeelarious.

Along these same lines, my Call of Cthulu adventure is progressing nicely. The Caffeinatrix lent me a bunch of books and pamphlets about the history of Madison so it has given me some good source material. Plus Jolene lent me a book about Chinese medicine which has not only been interesting in and of itself, but also has provided some great material for the game. The down side is that I think I've got deficient Qi. I met her at CZ where she gave me the book. I began to give it a once over and asked her some questions. Like how does a sweet little thing like her from small town Wisconsin get into Chinese medicine? She replied that, at some point, she became frustrated with Western medicine and turned towards the Orient. Seems odd but I like odd people. Then she described to me another book she has that is exclusively about the tongue. What struck me was the enthusiasm with which she told me about it. Either she has a thing for tongues or is just smitten with a bit of an oddball topic. Either way, I think it's hoopy. And Ron offered to gimme some books. Apparently his front porch, which is enclosed, has hundreds of books on as he has no more shelf space. So he said he'd go through them and swing the ones he no longer wants my way. Not that I have anymore shelf space either, but I'll find homes for them all.

This morning I went to Toad Hill, drank some java, and checked out the paper. The Caffeinatrix pointed out a brief interview with Bernardo Bertolucci in The New York Times Magazine which was cool. I think she has grasped the extent of my geekiness. Ms. Vicki was there too and, in an amazing instance of restraint, did not kick me in the shin. This, as Martha would say, is a good thing.
|| Palmer, 12:51 PM || link || (0) comments | links to this post

16 January, 2004

You, Madam, Are An Asshole

I found this quote today:

"Heterosexual intercourse is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for women's bodies."

It was made by Andrea Dworkin. Now, I grant you that I haven't read the book from which it was culled so I don't know the context of the statement but, unless it was uttered by a fictional character that the narrator portrays as insane, doesn't this make little to no sense? I wonder how she justifies the remark. How can she equate het intercourse with contempt? She generalizes here so ALL het intercourse is contempt. Issues such as procreation, consent, love, et al are thrown out the window. It seems to me that this statement is the pure, formalized expression of contempt for humanity.
|| Palmer, 10:28 AM || link || (0) comments | links to this post
The Dance

I've had girlfriends tell me that I keep my feelings and emotions bottled up, that I rarely tell them whatever it is that's on my mind. While I suppose there is some fairness to the criticism, I've always felt that my mindset is pretty easily discernible by the music that I listen to. For instance, a couple days ago I was talking to Ron down at Toad Hill about music. Now, I can't remember exactly how it all went, I let on that I listened to a lot of Uncle Tupelo during the final days of my relationship with The Tetragrammaton. He said something akin to, "Oh, you must have been listening to Anodyne." And indeed I was. Hell, when you find that there's only distance between you and the one you love, lyrics like "We quote each other only when we're wrong; We tear out the threads and move along; Can't seem to find common ground; I can't see the sand and it's running out" just take on great meaning. They somehow seem so personal - like the songwriter wrote them with you in mind.

I admit it: I am a music junkie. There's hardly a thing that isn't enhanced with a nice soundtrack. It can motivate you or it can draw you into its spell so that you're paralyzed and you just absorb each and every note, every nuance of the singing. Or music can open the happiness floodgates in your mind and compel you to get up and shake your ass. And there are times when a song will, as above, allow you to just wallow in your misery until you've almost drowned in it and pulled up from the undertow at the last second. But there are times, such as right now, when I'm listening to something and have no idea what it reveals of my mind. At the moment, I am listening to A Trick of the Tail by Genesis.

ATotT was one of the first Genesis albums I ever bought. I had heard the song "Squonk" on a radio show in 1983 or so and fell in love with it instantly. I mean, almost from the first note, the music hit me and ingrained itself into some part of my being - a real love at first sight kinda thing. It had a rather bluesy feel with the guitar taking a rather more prominent role than in other songs I had heard by them. When I bought it, I was enthralled by the album cover. (And yes, I bought it on vinyl.) What did the artwork mean? Who were these brown figures on the yellow background? ATotT was also the album that I lent to my friend Pete in the 7th grade that pulled him into the world of Genesis.

The album starts off with "Dance on a Volcano". The phrase refers to the state of ignorance just before a tragedy. Usually it is used in reference to US and European upper classes in the 1920's just before the Depression. Steve Hackett's guitar playing is suberb throughout. (I only wish it was slightly higher in the mix.) Phil Collins' drumming is also uniformly excellent. Genesis have, in my opinion, masters of dynamics. Slower, quieter parts next to faster, louder parts. And they also used uncommon time signatures and changed tempos often several times in one song. All of this was lead by Collins. He is the time-keeper. Songs come to a screeching halt and then launch into hyperspeed at his behest. "Dance on a Volcano" has Collins all over the place. The song is full of stops and twists and turns. Mike Rutherford's bass provides a solid bottom-end and Tony Banks's keyboards provide great atmosphere on this piece.

The album continues with "Entangled". It is a dreamy acoustic guitar piece. Lyrically, it is about a patient in a hospital who is cured only to have a rather large bill foisted upon him. The moody guitar of the first half is augmented by ethereal mellotron playing in the second instrumental half. The chorus sound of the mellotron is so otherworldly - a dense wall of voices - like what you'd hear taking a walk through the Elysian Fields.

After the concord of voices fades, the listener falls into the song that got me addicted, "Squonk". A squonk is a small mythical creature that cries when cornered and eventually dissolves into tears. There is excellent playing throughout and is one of Collins' best vocal performances ever. The organ playing....how do I describe it? The keyboards sound "fatalistic" and a bit dreary, fitting the lyrics perfectly. They seem to characterize the failure of the hunter more than the fate of the hunted.

"Mad Man Moon" follows. Piano is to the fore here. It comes in at the 7-8 minute range and a few different "movements". A slow, plaintive opening. Then a shuffle in the middle which is followed by one of Banks' classic fugues on the ivories. And then a reprise of the beginning of the song to close. One thign I really love about this piece is it's "expansive" mood. Listening to it, I don't feel like what I'm experiencing is localized. It's like I'm seeing a panoramic vista - a dream or an unbounded mindscape.

Side 2 opens with the fun "Robbery, Assault and Battery". In concert, Collins would introduce the song in a very humorous manner. For instance, when Genesis played the Chicago Auditorium in February of 1977, he said it told the story of a thief attempting to rob the Chicago Transit Authority. It's a bouncy song that has a great synthesizers solo in the middle. "Ripples" is next. It was introduced as being a song about "the passage of time and the coming of old age". Once again, this song features piano prominently. Steve Hackett throws in an excellent solo during the instrumental section. The notes are long and protracted in his signature tone which is like gossamer. Another very beautiful song.

The title track now weighs in. Like "Robbery, Assault and Battery", it is a light-hearted song. The lyrics were inspired by The Inheritors by William Golding.

The album ends with the great instrumental, "Los Endos". The very beginning of it is a spacey swash of cymbals and chimes. It kind of feels like music to announce the entrance of a group of faeries that flutter into your room. Then the song kicks int a very Santana-esque slice of fusion. (Indeed, Collins has admitted that this part was greatly influenced by a song on Santana's Barboletta album.) The bass chugs along and there's a flury of drums flailing in the background. The listener goes with the flow for a few minutes until this section drones to a halt. Then a familiar guitar part comes out of the distance. The chorus returns amidst the din of thundering drums. Then a grinding, chugging sound emerges. It sounds like a dark army marching and it grows louder until...release! The song then moves into familiar territory.

That's one of the neat things about "Los Endos" - it reprises themes from other songs. The opening bit is taken from a song that didn't make the album, "It's Yourself". The guitar from "Dance On A Volcano" is used again during the darker, more forboding middle section. Then the final part uses the melody from "Squonk". You're left feeling as if you've gone full circle. Like you've taken a journey and ended up where you began.

I'm not really sure what this says about how I am today. I've got some stuff to do but those things seem so mundane. I wanna dream. I want to be somewhere else. I feel like...like...frigid beauty...(not really sure what that is)...
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