Monday, November 30, 2015

The Solution

Are people finally realizing that poisoning the planet is a very bad idea?  No.  Not enough to change things.  Not if it is going to cost big money money.  There is a show in Paris this week.  We'll think about it for a little while.  But then there will be sporting events to tend to, and way leads to way. . . .

What we need is a population increase.  It will make us feel better.  If there were only more people on the planet, by gosh, we could solve this thing.  I see parents everywhere making a better world.

I was a zoology major a long time ago, back when people wore "earth shoes" and said "small is beautiful," when everyone toted bags with ecology symbols on them (does anyone remember those?).  At my university there was much research into solar houses that left little carbon footprint, and many people were working on ways to get rid of gasoline powered cars.  Back then we knew that the average Mexican used five gallons of water a day compared to the American's one hundred.  But we also knew that industry and farming used far, far more.

What happened?

I think it was cocaine.  I remember the world changing when it showed up everywhere.  It wasn't the drug so much as the greed that went along with it.  Suddenly sleaze was in.  Greed was good.  And everybody was reading a book about that fuck Lee Iacocca.  And you know who was right behind him?  The Donald.  And suddenly everybody wanted to be on the right side of the dollar.


I found a wonderful radio station this week, and of course you don't have to be here to listen to it.  I heard the most wonderful things on it, and not all of it was music.  There were lectures and papers. . . I didn't know what was going on. . . but I liked it.  It is radio with a purpose.  WMNF.  Try it (link).  It might be the antidote to this (link).

R.I.P. to the understatement. Welcome to death by Internet hyperbole, the latest example of the overly dramatic, forcibly emotive, truncated, simplistic and frequently absurd ways chosen to express emotion in the Internet age (or sometimes feign it).

Other examples: THIS (for when a thing is so awesome you are at a loss for how to describe it); feeeeeels (for something that gives you multiple feelings); unreal!!!! (for when a thing is totally believable and only mildly amusing); yassssss (because “yes” will no longer do); -est (greatest, prettiest, cutest, funniest) EVER, which now applies to virtually all things; and “I can’t even,” for when something leaves you so emotive that you simply cannot even explain yourself.

Eternal rest can also take the form of “dying” (death in process), “not breathing” (first sign of possible death), “all the way dead,” “actually dead” and “literally dead” (just so you know), as well as “literally bye” (for when you’re about to die), “ded” (when you are dying so fast that typing an “a” would delay the entire process) and “RIP me” (after you’ve had a moment to process it). There’s also kms, or “killing myself,” which, as 15-year-old Ruby Karp, a high school student in Manhattan, explained it, can be used to say something like “ugh so much homework kms!”

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Hideously Clever

. . . and then I was home again.  On the avenue for lunch and sangria, in bed for a nap, up and to the gym, then some marketing, feeding the cat, dinner for one, quiet, left to my own thoughts and resources, the endless thinking. . . .

There are routines to break.

But the house was fresh and clean, the maids coming while I was away.  It almost sparkled.  And there was jazz and low light and old fetishes all around.

And there are routines to break.

Up this morning with coffee, I read the news, read the Times. . .

So many routines to break.

And so. . . Sunday morning. . . I am unable to come up with anything at all.  But I remember I sent myself a text from the bar yesterday at lunch.  There was something amusing in it.  And so. . .

Sitting next to Billy, an older, sophisticated drunk who has been around town since the very beginning. Finishing up his third vodka and fortieth story, he calls for his check. "I feel a lot better than I did when I came in," he says. "Jesus, I got so drunk last night, I could barely put the ball on the tee this morning," he jokes shaking his hand dramatically. "I looked like I had vodka palsy."

There is often something very clever about hideous men.  

Saturday, November 28, 2015

What Are You Doing?

Man, I had a hard time yesterday making pictures.  It has been a long time since I shot "in the field," so to speak, and I managed to screw up all the camera settings so that I shot everything too wide open and too slow.  Nothing was in focus.  Everything was blurred.  It wasn't until late in the day that I realized what I was doing and what needed to be done.

It was a beautiful day at the beach.  There is certainly no recession here.  The streets were full, the restaurants crowded.  I took a walk on a now-popular beach early in the morning with all the people my age.  Nobody under the age of thirty was up yet, of course.  After my walk on the beach, I came back to my relatives house to shower, then I was out for lunch on an upscale square by the bay, happy, tacky, and prosperous.   The line at the Cuban restaurant I like was around the block, but I squeezed through and went to the little bar as I have done for years.  It even seemed the bartenders there remembered me.  I ordered chicken and yellow rice and a glass of Sangria.  Felt smug as the Christmas carols played behind me.  Christmas in the tropics.

After lunch, I walked around the square trying to capture "the mood."  What else was there to do?  Privilaged children of prosperous parents waited impatiently for ice cream outside the numerous shops that lined the square while relatives took pictures with their phones to post as quickly as possible to Facebook. I was nervous, of course, being a man without a woman or a child.  I may have been the only one, suspicious as a rabid dog or a gypsy come to steal the babies.  If they only knew.

I soon tired of this usual scene, though, and headed back to the downtown section that on the Friday after Thanksgiving seemed simply abandoned though it was truly waiting for the sun to set, the fabulous restaurants with their white linen tables and tuxedoed servers standing at rigid attention.

There is something fabulous about an abandoned downtown in the late afternoon that I cannot resist.  After walking with the unfortunate who peopled the lesser bars serving happy hour beers, I found a street side couch with a pretty waitress who was willing and even happy to bring me a vodka and tonic.  She managed it with aplomb.

Later, back at the house, all the t.v.s were blaring, everyone glued to some news story or another, shooters everywhere.  Endless opinions swirled around as the leftover turkey was served from a soup tureen over noodles.  Luckily, I had a bottle of vodka in the car.

But I cannot write it now.  I can't think.  The clan is up and there is an endless chatter.  They want to know what I am doing.

You know something?  Me, too.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Stardust and Gold and a Billion Year Old Carbon

A beach window with a Christmas sign, the sort that I like, old fashioned and rich.  Thanksgiving over--it is Christmas now.  My relatives left after the sun went down last night to stand in line at Target which opened at six.  They were going to save big.  I scoffed.

They came home with everything they wanted--Blu-Rays, X-boxes, and. . . . By eight o'clock they had hooked up the 55" HD television.  They got it for $300.  I'm not kidding at all when I say I was flabbergasted.

There is a thriftiness in life of which I am unaware.  Everyone lives well.  They have cars and clothes and games and food.  O.K.  I have gained about twenty pounds eating their food.  It is full of calories--gravy, sugar in the corn, mashed potatoes, lots of bacon and sugar buns. . . .  Nobody goes hungry.

The house was full for dinner.  My cousins loved reminding my mother that she was "the last one left."  She is, they meant, the last of her generation in the family.  It is the sort of mean things that hillbillies say without thinking, I guess, but I could see the sharp pain in my mother's eye.  There were cousins and second cousins and girlfriends and babies and missing cousins and second cousins who are missing or not wanted.  I drank two bottles of champagne, beers, and plenty of whiskey.  I was anesthetizing myself, I reckon.  It wasn't misery, exactly, but something else.  It is not that I don't like these people, for I do rightly enough.  I am simply not used to so many things, so much "America."  There is endless nonsensical chatter and the blaring of commercial t.v., radio shows, and barking dogs.  It is simply part of the woof and the weave of their lives.  For me it is something else.

People went and came with their boyfriends and girlfriends, husbands and wives and babies, sitting and chatting, catching up, commenting on how big the children have gotten and how so-and-so plays volleyball and is hoping to get scholarships.  . yada, yada, yada.

None of them ever finish school.

But where I used to feel. . . how do I say it delicately. . . something. . . I feel . . . something else, now.

I am in a strange land believing I was never meant for this life, life on this planet, any life at all.

I went upstairs to get my dopp kit, and came back down through the living room with the big t.v. on my way to the bathroom.  Player's good drug ears heard the rattle of pills in their bottles as I walked.

"What's in there?" he wondered out loud, but it was no wondering at all.  He loves to call me out, to defame me, in front of the crowd.

"Oh, you know, the usual old man stuff."  What he heard was a handful of Xanax someone had given me to get me through the blackest of nights.

There are plenty of black nights, but never enough solutions.

I try to write now, but everyone is up.  They come into the room and talk.  The t.v. comes to life.  People rehash and opine on others.  Everyone has the answer to something.  If only they could run things, we'd all be better off.

Children.  They are endlessly enamored of them.  There can never be enough pregnancies for them. legitimate, illegitimate, it doesn't matter.  As long as there is the endless stream of reproductive miracles to replace those who are passing.  Shit and death are everywhere.

I am a mess.  I had to get away from home to realize how much so.  I am tired of it, tired of it all.  My mother wonders what I am doing.  She means at the computer I assume, but even if she doesn't know it, she means so much more.

We must decide if we are going home or staying one more night.  I don't care one way or another.  I've never felt so much this way, whichever way it is.  The world used to be so much for me.  It gave me everything and made me gold.  I'm a billion year old carbon.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

It's Not the Kids, It's the Parents

I drove my mother to the relatives for Thanksgiving yesterday.  I was feeling punky, so it was a chore to get going.  But my mother cheered me up.  She hates my driving, so it was all just peachy as I flew down the busy interstate constantly switching lanes.  Oh, she was happy all the way over, just sitting back relaxing and enjoying the view.  Ho!

We go to town early in the afternoon, so I took her to the beach to get some lunch.  Jesus, there were pretty girls in bikinis everywhere.  I needed to loose thirty pounds immediately.  But that wasn't happening, so we chose a restaurant bar that served mahi sandwiches and margaritas on the rocks that were really good.  I used the universal symbol of shaking my glass at the waitress so my mother wouldn't hear me ordering another and another.  Even the coleslaw was perfect.

And so it goes.

Then we were with the relatives.  Player and his new girlfriend were at the house, so we chatted.  She is a young girl, just nineteen, with a two year old.  I, of course, was endlessly fascinated.  What can be more interesting than other people's. . . umm. . . situations?  Player is still Player, and his girl is still more attractive than he deserves.

"How'd you two meet?"



It turned out to be the Stinkyfish site.  He just moved her into his parents house a few days ago, so she is still tiptoeing around.  By nightfall, though, after mom and dad were home, after we had eaten a Stoffer's frozen lasagne, after some drinks, I sat with Player and his girl and got to see it all.

"Oh, man, be sweet to her," I would say.  "I'm not like you.  I'm an Emo.  I just want women to love me.  Women want you to be sweet."

I was getting Player into all kinds of trouble he didn't even know, yet.  But that's the way I am, I guess.  What's the name for that?

I got them to go outside to see the moon.  "It's the Full Beaver Moon," I told them which evoked a lewd remark from Player.  He was drinking Hennessy and she was wearing Coco butter.  They laughed at the implications of that.

I am glad they are here.

I haven't had time to check the news this morning, nor go to my usual sites, but I did look at Q's blog.  It was what I expected.  Whatever.  It is not that I don't like kids.  I love them.  The best thing about them is that they don't endlessly go on about their parents.  They hardly mention them at all.  They are in the moment.  They are fun.  I enjoy them more than most adults.

So no--I'm pro-kid.  But this American fetish of being a parent is awful.  Nobody else in the world goes on this way.  Americans are privileged bourgeois elitist who hover and worry and take their identities from their kids which to me seems really fucked up.  They wear their children like a badge. It is a protective shield.  "I'm a parent, goddamnit."  Etc.  It is all wrong.  All the rest of the world must be aghast at best.  But we all know it comes from a place of wealth and privilege.

I may be wrong.  I just remembered the Chinese.  I don't care, though.  I don't have to be in the right to criticize.

I couldn't read all of Q's post, so I am not sure how it ended.  I am besieged by two year olds and the Macy's Day Parade or something.  All the televisions blare it as they blared FOX news last night.  Oh, I have to tell you, they love them some Donald Trump.  They can't get enough of that shit.

I must rush now if I am going to get a walk on the beach.  The rest of the clan will be showing up sometime after noon.  I will want to be prepared.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


I slept well, woke up sick.  That is the way of the world, though.  Microbes will get us all in the end.  We will find out that all things that plague humans are microbial in nature, no matter what we name the disease.  We were proud that we could battle bacteria, many of which are very, very good for us, but we've done virtually nothing about viruses, mold, or funguses.  I know someone who is infected with mold spores in his blood stream.  Nothing to be done.  Didn't Dylan have a fungus of the heart?  Still there are good molds and funguses, but I've never heard of a beneficial virus.  Is there one positive thing about them?  Google virus and look at the images.  There is the picture of evil.

So I am in a rotten mood, I guess.  Family travel doesn't seem as appealing today.  I'd rather stay in my own house, my own bed, with my own comforts.  Rather. . . .

And in my rotten mood, I am tired of people who are "thankful."  People will be thankful for the most improbable things.  Mostly they are thankful for their children, of course, even though every survey of parents of grown children say that if they had it to do over again, they wouldn't have children, that what they sacrificed in life wasn't worth it.  They are thankful for their families in general, brothers or sisters or fathers or mothers, wives and husbands.  They are thankful for their friends.  There is a fanatical fascism in it all to me.  People need to respect my "trigger."  There should be a limit on this sort of speech for it disturbs me as speech about race, violence, god, or physical abuse pulls triggers for others.  On college campuses, professors are being asked to put "trigger warnings" in their syllabi so that students who might be upset by the topic can opt out.  If there are speakers on campus that trigger emotional responses, colleges are supplying safe rooms with counselors and stuffed animals and pacifiers to comfort the emotionally disturbed.  I want to add another trigger to the hierarchical list.

I want a thankless world.  This needs to be added to Title 9.

And so I prepare to go to the Hillbilly Holidays where I presume we will need to be thankful.  There will be a room full of people who have lost deviant, criminal brothers and cousins to AIDS, who have been incarcerated for the possession of drugs and weapons, whose children will not speak to them, who have filed bankruptcy not once but twice, who have reached an age of retirement without any savings, who are living in halfway houses for a second or third time, whose spouses have cheated on them so that they divorced, later remarried and suffered the same fate again, who are married but miserable, who care for parents with dementia. . . .  I'm certain I have left out a lot.

We will recall all the good times that are gone, I guess.

I think I'd better take some Xanax with me.  I don't think my mind is right.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Little Light for the Night

Finally, the weather changes.  I had my heater on for the first time Monday as low temperatures went down to fifty degrees.  The sky is clear blue, the light diamond bright.  And the cat, who has slept out day and night all summer, won't leave the house.  Yesterday, I actually got to wear two layers.  Maybe now the madness will end.  Sure it will.

Now I must prepare for a trip to the coast to see my mother's relatives.  I will spend three or four days living with other people and having dinner with some I have not seen for a couple years.  It should be fine.  There is a beautiful little downtown area and what used to be an upscale shopping square by the water, and there are beautiful beaches and bookstores and a tremendous Cuban place where I love to sit at the bar and eat.  I look forward to it in many ways.

But poor pus-pus.  She will live with heartbreak.  I worry for her now.

What is there to talk about but food and drink and environment and weather?  Oh, there are the emotional states, too.  And there are the inherent dangers of our time.  If you write every day, you realize the paucity of subjects and despair when you can't write intimately and wonderfully about them again and again.  Perhaps I should resort to anagrams and poetry.

I've been asking around to see if I am the only one who falls asleep terribly early now that the darkness has come.  I am not.  I felt guilty about my nine-ish bedtime, but there are many others who have fallen prey.  I've given in and don't mind a bit.  Not at all.  In truth, I like it.  And when I wake in the night, I have taken to getting up and drinking a glass of water, turning on a dim and hidden lamp, and lying back down thinking not to sleep but just to relax.  And I fall back to sleep every time.  The little lamp must give me reassurance and comfort in the dark.  I know that light is not good for sleeping, or at least that is what I have read, but I find it impossible to quit thinking the awful things in the dark and that my thoughts and dreams become much more pleasant in the half-light, more innocent and childlike.  Some nights, I get nine hours of sleep which seems a miracle itself.  If you are suffering from something similar, I'd suggest you try my remedy.  Sometimes, too, I will put on a jazz station that is barely audible, but only if it is near time to get up.

Last night with the heater kicking on and the big quilt covering me and the half-light barely showing the room, I sunk deep into the mattress and felt. . . something.  Perhaps, as it has been said, all it needs is a light for the night.

I have much to do in preparation for tomorrow's departure, and so I will get to it.  The benefit for you, I hope, will be some new photography.  If I am lucky. . . we shall see.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A Morning with Rolling Stone

Holy shit--I was right!!!  This is the worst stuff I've heard since Billy Joel/Elton John (link).  What has happened to SNL?  I haven't watched it for many, many years, but. . . really?  I clicked some links to the AMA Awards show, too, just to stay current.  No, no. . . no.  I'm sticking with those crazy jazz guys from the fifties, I guess, smoking boo and popping a little horse.  I guess music has always been a bad influence.

Speaking of which--this (link).  As you can see, I've changed my morning reading habits a bit.  It makes me feel good.  The Times is wearing me out and CNN is pure shit.  Rolling Stone seems a bourgeois rag now, too, but surely there is something good there once in a while.  The Guardian, perhaps.  But the article.  I little lysergic acid every four days is better than Adderall, they say.  I'd guess so, too.  Before it was made illegal in 1966, it showed much promise in treating many psychological and some physical ailments.  But those goddamned kids got hold of it, and you know the rest.  But I think I'm in favor of giving people over 62 a mild dose of LSD every four days just to get 'em going.  I'm going to ask my mother what she thinks.

But she'll say no.  She won't even drink much coffee.  I will, though.  I do.  And thanks to recent studies, I feel much better about it.  I've been in the dumps lately, just pretty much immobilized, catatonic, really, and I've had some pretty desperate thoughts.  Oh, maybe I've made a mess of my life--I don't know--but it is the idea that others haven't that is so difficult to quit thinking about.  I mean, it isn't true, but alone in the night, it feels true, and really, what the fuck is truth, anyway.  So when I read this, I felt a little more secure:

"The researchers also found that study participants who drank at least a cup of coffee a day had between 20% and 36% lower rates of suicide, although those who drank less than a cup had 36% higher rates."

I'm sticking with the coffee.  The study shows many other health benefits, too, like fewer heart attacks and cases of diabetes even though coffee drinkers usually have many other bad habits.  I have them aplenty.  I will send the article to my mother and tell her to trust me on the LSD thing as I have a good track record of being right about medical issues.  

I went a little nuts with the Rolling Stone thing this morning, but you should probably look at the link, too (link).  People who didn't grow up when I did probably don't understand how nudity is liberating.  I saw practically all of the movies on this list when I was growing up.  "I Am Curious (Yellow)" was one of the first.  I don't remember if they had a ratings system yet, but I was allowed to watch this and other movies (like "Swinging Swedish Stewardesses") when I was fifteen.  The doorknob masturbations scene with Sandy Denis in "The Fox" knocked me to my knees.  Maybe it stunted my psychological growth--I don't know.  But yea, mainstream movies were pretty different.  Maybe LSD had something to do with it.  

Drugs gave us Ronald Reagan and the Bush family and all those Conservative Christian Crackers that are out to make every life miserable.  No, not the drugs, but the looney drug abusers who have had such a big influence on Miley Cyrus and Boy Bieber (but apparently not Adele).  I never thought William S. Burroughs a hero, nor Henry Miller, for that matter (drugs and sex if you missed the equation), and I certainly didn't want to be like them, but they are more appealing in most ways than that dandy Tom Wolf.  And though H.S. Thompson was pure genius, he is a poster boy for what a certain kind of living will do.  And as I write this this morning, I realize that hardly any life is appealing.  Who would I want to live like?  The Kennedys or the Rockefellers, maybe.  Surely there are one or two in each family.  But probably only in theory.  

Nope.  I can't think of anyone whose life sounds appealing this morning.  We're all weird and life is dangerous.  Where do I procure the kind of LSD required for micro-dosing?  

O.K.  I need another cup of coffee to see me through the day.  And the day after, and the day after. . . . 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

I'm Pretty Sure Other People Are Happier

I watched a movie you might want to skip.  No, simply skip "End of the Tour," the film about David Foster Wallace.  Did it get good reviews?  I read that it did, but I didn't research that.  Nobody could have seriously given that a good review.

But I had nothing else to do, and since I paid money to rent it, I saw it through to the end.  The key there is that I had nothing else to do.  After a sad and tired Friday, I had a dull and uninspired Saturday.  I took a walk.  I sat without reading.  I ate little.  Listless.  And after making a barebones dinner of fried eggs and canned soup to accompany the bad movie, I went to bed to read, but not for long.

And you know the rest.  Woke in the hollow blankness of the night, vulnerable, paralyzed, unable to sleep, unable stopper the flood of paranoia and unhappiness.  I'd had enough by five.  Lights on.  Coffee.

I look around.  There is always so much to do.  When we are young and have nothing (if you did not grow up privileged and was able to start with everything), we have the need for "stuff."  You need things to cook in, things to serve meals.  You need tables and chairs and what will pass for a bed.  An apartment, a Papasan chair, some peaches crates, a mattress on the floor.  Someone gives you a chipped dresser.  Your mother gives you some kitchenware.  Books, records, a stereo.  The shit keeps piling up.

Then you wake one night and all the beautiful shit you have collected, better stuff now, beautiful things, bookshelves full of hardback books rather than ratty old used paperbacks, matching leather chairs, expensive lamps, cameras out the wazzoo, pictures, computers, HD televisions, antique pine furniture. . . you wonder what you will do with all of it.

And your body hurts and you don't want to work on the house nor in the yard.  You don't want to call a tree trimmer and you don't want to do anything.  And you wonder how you have always managed to end up alone.

I will throw everything away.

There is nothing worth reading in the paper.  And when did my music collection get so bad?  Nothing gives pleasure.  Nothing satisfies.

I'll say one thing, though.  David Foster Wallace was pretty brave at the end.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

"It Is What It Is"

I am completely at a loss as to what Adele is, but it is all I see each morning on CNN online.  "25", the long awaited. . . .  So just now I Googled her and listened to some snatches of songs.  Whoa!  That is some horrible stuff.  I can see why it is so popular.  It is mind boggling.

The package I mentioned yesterday--it was a book.  And it was one I ordered after I read the article on Melancholy in the New York Times.  I had Googled the author and ordered her book "Bohemian Manifesto," for a couple bucks.  It is one of those embarrassing little books I like to buy when I am in Anthropology, the ones sitting around in piles on tables so romantic and fey I can't stand it.  I love them and have a house full of them.

So I began reading it yesterday.  It is fun.  It is phrase book, in part, a researched attempt at codification.  It is full of terms like "outsider" and "antiauthoritarian" and other lovely words that have dropped out of our vocabularies.  I will be plagiarizing full-blown phrases until they are my own.  The words are on glossy pages filled with watercolors.  A bourgeois Bohemia.  You can't tell a Bohemian not to be bourgeois, I think.  You can't tell a true Bohemian anything at all.

She makes Rimbaud romantic again even though we know he was just an evil little shit with a potty mouth and a brain that would have been medicated if he had been born at the right time.  He was surely the kid everyone hoped would drop out of their class so that things could be pleasant again.  He became an African trader and died poor of complications brought about by syphilis.  Bohemia looks better on the young.  Bourgeois Bohemian looks much better later on.  If you make it that far.

I am alone for the holidays once again.  It is a thing I've come to know and appreciate, the hollow emptiness of it, standing on the outside looking in, a quiet spectator who slips away to the early solitude of home and bed while others attend a family event or a party.  I used to envy them that, but I have become very uncertain about that.  I've lived long enough to watch all the dreams shatter, the families break, the reforming of new attachments.  The world won't stand still.  It won't even slow down.  I have a few--very few--friends who have gotten married and raised their children and have stayed together, and it is lovely.  But I think of all the things that they missed, too, all the sadness and sweet melancholy and truly deep feelings that exist beyond happy.

I realize that I have never been enamored of happiness.  I have always queried, "What do you learn from happiness?"  And I don't think there is a thing to be learned from it.  It is a state, truly, and not a a way of being.  There is no meaning in happiness.  It is just the absence of stress, of pain.  A meaningful life, however. . . well, that is the thing.

And so where I was happy, I now look for meaning.  It is a disease, maybe, the search for meaning.  If you are not existential, you can accept that there is a transcendent meaningfulness and assume you are part and parcel of it.  But I can't.  I am cursed to think and discover, and perhaps you are, too.  It is a wonderful curse, I think, though it may not make you happy.

No matter.  "It is what it is," as the kids say.  Ain't it the truth.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Genetically Modified Syphilis

My mornings are changing.  I just can't read the news anymore.  I look at headlines and pass or I skim an article and realize I don't care.  A few catch my interest like today's story on the legalization of genetically modified salmon.  They grow twice as fast because they have a transplanted eel gene that keeps their growth hormone production high.  They are real monsters.  And the best part about it is that they don't have to be labelled as genetically modified for sale in markets.  Oh, there is a clause that allows companies to label them if they want, but it doesn't sound like a marketing scheme that will work well yet, so. . . .  That story got my attention.

We've all been eating genetically modified plants for years, of course.

STDs are on the rise, especially syphilis, and more surprisingly especially among gay men.

That's about all I was interested in this morning.

It is wet and gray and warm here.  I stayed up much too late last night and now I am sleepy and late.  I look forward to sneaking out of work early this afternoon.  I will, just you watch me.  I want to go to the gym and get that done, then go marketing for food for the weekend.  Then I want a cocktail and then I want some sushi.  After that, I want to get on my couch and watch a movie, and then I want to go to bed.  That is the exciting life of a single man.

There are things I want this weekend, too, but I can't remember them just now.

I went to a birthday celebration for one of the "group" at the factory.  It coincided with a union social which I can't be part of since I am "management."  I sat with the birthday girl and a small group before the other began and drank and talked as I don't in my role as factory boss, and as always, I was shocked at the reaction of others.  Am I that weird, I wonder, or are they that personally conservative?  I don't know which it is, but I am leaning toward the first.  I just can't stand normal social patter.  That is why I am best away from the throng.  I know one day they will turn on me and kill me like a pack of wild beasts.

One more cup of coffee, then the shower.  There is a package in my mail bin that I saw last night but didn't open.  I vaguely remember ordering a book from Amazon, but only vaguely.  I think that it must be a book, but I really don't know which one.  Something I couldn't get electronically, I guess, and maybe it is used.  I hope it is exciting.  Was I drunk when I ordered it?

Maybe it will be a surprise, though, and not be a book at all.  Maybe it won't even be something I have ordered but will be a unsuspected present.  Does that ever happen to you?  Isn't it the best thing in the world?  I should begin doing that, just sending unsuspected presents to people.  Trouble is, I don't keep an address book.  I don't know where anybody lives by street address.  Not even my mother.  I know what street she lives on, but I never remember the number.  I will have to remedy that.  All of it.

This has been a most up and down year for me with wild cycles, but it is ending on a bad note and in toto, the year has been a big bust.  If you are a reader you know that.  I've been kicked around a bit and have had other troubles besides.  I'm pretty busted up and wondering.  Every day, though, there is less to wonder about.  Still, I hope I don't give up on wondering.

For instance, why can't they genetically modify syphilis?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Quiet Mind

Most of us have lived the majority of our lives during the War.  It has been expensive and has practically bankrupted the country.  But it seems "we" have targeted the wrong enemy.  Truly it has been like most wars, driven by private interests and greed.

I'm talking about the War on Drugs.  Hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested, incarcerated. . . maybe.  I don't have the figures.  But the War has done nothing to staunch drug use.

Especially the overuse of antibiotics.  And here is where it gets really interesting.  Those motherfucking doctors who are so stingy with the pain relievers and feel-good drugs when I need them are thrilled to give me antibiotics.  Yes, these geniuses have given them to us since we were children.  The consequences are now becoming clear--food allergies, autism, attention deficit syndrome. . . .

And now, this (link).  Doctors and veterinarians bought off and in cahoots with drug companies.  They've all profited handsomely.

But fuck it.  The planet is sick anyway.  People just love a disaster, and now we have one we can all share.  So far this year, my a.c. has not been off.  It is still hot and muggy here in my own hometown.  Even the New York Times has recognized the problem (link).   For those people with their heads up their asses about other world problems. . . now they, too, can suffer.  This is a fashion crisis.

Now that a few days have passed since the bombings in Paris, now that the emotions have begun to subside, we see that not everyone agrees about terrorists.  Some people want to make certain that we realize that terrorists are people, too, and have rights just like Caitlyn Jenner.  If you think your kids aren't going to join ISIS, you are probably wrong.  It is the only anti-establishment movement that they know of if they are not into transitioning into another gender.  It is the New Bohemia.  It is radical alternative.  Sorry, but they don't want to become hipsters, and hipsters are not sure what they want to become.  They are looking pretty fey right now with their concerns about soccer, cricket, fashion, bicycles, and craft beer.  That was quite the revolution.

Q tells me, however, that feminist have a plan to eradicate ISIS.  He is a big believer in the female race.  I can agree, I guess.  He's convinced me that this is really their fight.  And I believe that hipsters and feminists are basically the same thing.  I'm pretty certain that ISIS can't withstand that sort of ideological assault.  There will be many strongly worded and accusatory letters to the editor citing the gods of post-structural criticism.

The house is quiet and empty now.  I am once again completely on my own.  Perhaps the first part of this post is a reaction to that, a reaction to what races around "out there."  The quiet, sweet world is shrinking faster than the polar ice caps.  There is little promoting kindness and contemplation.  Or so it seems to me right now.  I will try to create my world again through reduction and selection.  It is a matter of focus.  When everything around you is loud and moving fast, it is important to quiet your mind.  Let me see if I can do that, if I can dampen the din.  It would be the most pleasant of things.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Making Crackle

I've committed to the Hillbilly Holidays.  I will visit my mother's relatives for Thanksgiving.  My only true concern is the cat.  Otherwise, why the hell not?  Hell, I may even take pictures.  That would be a novelty.  I will be in a place where no one knows me, free to wander about in the most mischievous way.  That is what I say I want all the time.

We'll see.

Poor pus-pus, though.  She is not happy when I am gone.  How could I possibly know that?  It is mystical knowledge, pure and simple.  I am giving myself over to it.  It is so much better than argument.  It is the purest form of knowledge.

I read a snarky article (link) about a letter a "possible" mother wrote about her daughter's reaction to Cam Newton's touchdown celebration in the end zone last Sunday.  I say "possible" because I do not trust that this letter is totally legit.  I do not, however, like the tone of the author in his defense of player celebrations.  I am not usually for policing of behavior, but I wonder if they would have a problem with me celebrating the way I want which is usually taking off my pants and doing the Hokey-Pokey. It is a true site to see, better than David Venable's Happy Dance by far.

Here is the letter.  I dislike the "mother's" tone as well, by the way.  It sounds to my ear a bit like Nurse Ratched in "Cuckoo's Nest."  Perhaps that is what the sports commentator was responding to as well.

Dear Mr. Newton,
Congratulations on your win in Nashville today. Our team played well, but yours played better. Kudos to the Panthers organization.
That game happened to be my nine year old daughter’s first live NFL experience. She was surprised to see so many Panthers’ fans sitting in our section of the stadium; that doesn’t happen much at fourth grade football games. And she was excited we were near the end zone, so we would be close to the “action,” particularly in the second half.
Because of where we sat, we had a close up view of your conduct in the fourth quarter. The chest puffs. The pelvic thrusts. The arrogant struts and the ‘in your face’ taunting of both the Titans’ players and fans. We saw it all.
I refuse to believe you don’t realize you are a role model. You are paid millions of dollars every week to play hard and be a leader. In the off season you’re expected to make appearances, support charities, and inspire young kids to pursue your sport and all sports. With everything the NFL has gone through in recent years, I’m confident they have advised that you are, by virtue of your position and career choice, a role model.
And because you are a role model, your behavior brought out like behavior in the stands. Some of the Panthers fans in our section began taunting the hometown fans. Many Titans fans booed you, a few offering instructive, but not necessarily family friendly, suggestions as to how you might change your behavior.
My daughter sensed the change immediately – and started asking questions. Won’t he get in trouble for doing that? Is he trying to make people mad? Do you think he knows he looks like a spoiled brat?
I didn’t have great answers for her, and honestly, in an effort to minimize your negative impact and what was otherwise a really fun day, I redirected her attention to the cheerleaders and mascot.
I could tell she was still thinking about it as we boarded a shuttle back to our car. “I guess he doesn’t have kids or a Mom at home watching the game,” she added.
I don’t know about your family life Mr. Newton, but I think I’m safe in saying thousands of kids watch you every week. You have amazing talent and an incredible platform to be a role model for them. Unfortunately, what you modeled for them today was egotism, arrogance and poor sportsmanship.
Is that what your coaches and mentors modeled for you, Mr. Newton?

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

An Arrogance of Knowing

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Newton's Third Law.  Is it true, or is it only our description of the way the world is constructed?

Who knows?

Our understanding of the world is a continuing struggle.  And when we get older, we must wonder--is it worthwhile?  For all that we once thought we knew or held to be true will have come under scrutiny.  It is tiring, especially when our hormone levels have dropped to the the point of mere survival.  Who has the energy for it?

And so the aged wish to retreat into the past, to sit with people who share the same cosmic view.

It is impossible.  The only retreat is into madness.

I guess there was a point where I believed in some sort of Newtonian psychology where every action had a. . . .

I still do, but I don't know shit about anything any more it seems.  There is no neutral.  Even a people-less photograph denigrates someone.  The image above is an ideological statement.  It can't be avoided.  All knowledge is suspect.  Every viewpoint is just that.

That is the enlightenment of the contemporary western world.  Post-structural.

I think, though, that those who think differently will eat me alive.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Light for the Night

A lazy Sunday, soft and gentle.  I didn't get out of bed until nine.  And finally it was time to have brunch out of doors at my favorite Italian restaurant.  A walk on the Boulevard, then some chores in the studio before a light aerobic workout at the gym.  A beautiful salad, a chicken pressure cooked with onions and wine, jasmine rice and Brussels sprouts and a cold white wine with mother.  A visitor just before eating, some talk.  Some reading and early bed.

I'm getting there.  The body/mind thing.  Then the spirit.  I have hope.  A peaceful life full of art and literature and music.  Early bed and early rise.  An avoidance of bad ju-ju.  Before you know it. . . .

I don't want to speak of anything serious today.  Talking to people about the Paris attacks does little good.  I am radical in my views and people either agree with me or they don't, but either way, nothing changes.  The world is too crowded.  The planet is sick.  The disparity between the rich and the poor is far too great.  Every privacy is breached.

I don't want to talk about it, but talking about anything else seems ridiculous.  One day, Facebook is full of pictures of babies and posts about the powers of mystical yoga.  The next day, everyone's profile picture is draped in a French flag.  At home, people spend days and nights watching football.

The magical age of television has ended.  It was wonderful and lasted for several years.  It was rich and bountiful.  But it is over and gone.  It is time to look around again, just to walk and look and process.  There is the long dusk to consider and a light at night by which to read.  And sleep, long and luxurious.  I find that once I wake in the darkness, the room feels cold and empty, but I have a trick now, a little soft light that I have placed behind a chair so that the light is dim and delicate and seems to come from nowhere.  It is easy to fall back to sleep in that ether of light, easier than I would have believed, so sweet and lovely.

"What did he fear? It was not fear or dread. It was a nothing that he knew too well. It was all a nothing and a man was nothing too. It was only that and light was all it needed and a certain cleanness and order. Some lived in it and never felt it but he knew it all was all nada y pues nada y nada y pues nada." (Hemingway, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

What You're Looking For

It was going to be a quiet weekend, a monastic one full of self-care and healing.  Saturday began early with coffee and the news, so I got to the gym early.  It was empty, so there was no fighting.  It was still early when I finished working out and stretching, so I decided to get a little sun by the pool.  It was still early, so the sun was gentle and warm.  The old gals were in the pool doing their water aerobics.  The boom box was playing some jazzercise version of The Eagles to keep them moving.
Did you do it for love, Did you do it for money, Did you do it for spite, Did you think you had to, honey.
For some reason, though, it didn't bother me at all.  The lyrics seemed better this way.  So I toasted on one side, toasted on the other.  It was noon when I drove home.  Showered.  Dressed.  Went to the Boulevard for a Wahoo Rachel and a salad.  And some white sangria, just to be careful.  At the bar, some old gals my age started getting chatty.  They decided to get some white sangria, too.  If I would only listen to my mother's advice. . . .

After lunch, I strolled the Boulevard which was unusually crowded with stylish young women.  Girls.  Seems that very blowzy, short dresses that seem more like short nightgowns are being worn with an incredible variety of footwear.  I like the look.  It is beautiful.  I liked them with high-tops.  I liked them with boots.  It was too much for me, though.  I am not in shape for it.  I headed for my car to return home.  Ah, yes, alone again.  I worked on some photos and decided to drive to the gym and run the printer.  I grabbed some drinks and a hard drive.  The afternoon was cooler than it has been for months, so I opened the studio doors and a Dale's Pale Ale.  Life was right. . . almost.  I don't have much longer in the studio and that breaks my heart.  I walked about strategizing on where I would put the things I would keep, what things I would give or throw away.  So many days and nights here.

Now the afternoon was drifting away like a sad dream.  There is no loneliness in being alone, I think, if one knows what one wants and knows what he wants and does not want to do.  Soft music, soft and lovely air.  A soft but sad melancholy, too.  I can get better, I whispered. . . no doubt.

Doodledodedodedoo.  The ringtone on the iPhone.  It was a buddy wanting to know what I was doing.  He was out on his motorcycle and would drop by, he said.  I was drinking the last of the drinks and so when he came, we decided to get some sushi in a bit.  He went home to put away the bike.  I finished up in the studio.

It was just going dusk when I met him there.  He was curious to see the waitress there that all my buddies talk about.  She is an unreal doll, made up to perfection, red lips, red nails, blonde hair twisted perfectly.  "You should get her to the studio," they all say.  I've looked at her, though, and am not sure she would look as good as they think in photographs.  Even if she came.  Oh, I could tell her, "My friends are all adamant that I ask you this.  They are stricken by you.  I have an art studio around the corner.  I make pictures.  They all want me to make a picture of you."  I could, but I don't like to shit where I eat, so to speak.  And I doubt that she would be interested.  I've watched her there, and she is not confident.  She has a demeanor that is hiding a terrible insecurity, I think.  The photographs would never please her no matter how they came out.  I think I know that.  But she is nice, and we talk about the books she is reading.  I try to imagine her life outside the restaurant, but I can't, really.  I see an old movie, her living in a manner and a style that is impossible now.  It is better, I think, to leave the mystery.

We sat at the bar and a fellow who looked like he had good taste sat at the stool next to me.  He overheard my buddy call me an old man, and he turned and laughed, "Those are fighting words."  He might have been my age, his hair white but his face smooth like a babies.  He had an accent.  He was Irish, grew up in England, lived in L.A.  My buddy asked him where, and he said something.

"It's a nudist resort," I said.  He chuckled and repeated it to make certain.  Suddenly we were all pals. He even had a taste for the waitress, it seemed.  I was sitting between two rich guys who talked about things I don't imagine.  I got some more sake.

That's when I got the text.

"Hello, stranger."

It came up as a number, not a name.  Now who could it be?  I did a number search that showed where the phone was registered.  Another town on the coast.  Could be a lot of people.  I did an internet search and found who it was.  I am often clever that way.  It was the first model I ever shot with in the studio so many years ago.  I wrote about her here on the blog a long time ago, called her Gorgeous Girl.  She reminded me.  She liked the monicker.  She was in town and wanted to get a drink.  No, no, no, I said to my buddy.  I just wanted to go home.  I'd had more than enough for a day.

"It's only 7:30!" my buddy cried.  "Jesus, have a drink."

She said she could meet me in thirty minutes.  I knew what her thirty minutes would be, I said.

"Don't be an old man."

But I am.  Why won't people let me be an old man?  My pleasures are simple ones.  I am boring.  I just want things to be easy, and I certainly didn't want to get caught up in a night out.

After a series of texts, I concluded, "Don't count on me.  But if you are coming anyway, let me know when you get here."

She is young, of that "downtown" age, knowing and wanting to go to all the good and secret martini and cigar bars, speakeasies, she said, on rooftops through secret doorways.  I've been through secret doorways.  I know where they lead.  I know what happens.  And I know what the next day is like, too.

I named a place in my own hometown that makes the best cocktails.

My buddy and I had just sat down at the bar when I got a call.  "I'm here," she said, and sure enough, when I turned around, she was standing on the sidewalk.  My buddy waved.  He said he would have one drink just to meet her, then he was going to meet another fellow for a beer.  She walked in like a Hollywood doll, leopard print cocktail dress, her dark hair pulled back, red lips. . . Jesus.  She was still a knockout.

After introductions, she sat down and read the cocktail menu.  She began asking the barman about the ingredients she wasn't sure of.  He was happy to answer her.  I could tell my stake was going up.  Just last week, a woman I know was having drinks there and texted me that she was talking to the bartenders about me.  She mentioned my last name.

"How do they know my last name?" I asked incredulously.

"Your credit card, silly.  They gave me free drinks since I said I was your friend."

"What!!!  They never give ME free drinks."

I guessed that with G.G. there, I would be enhancing my reputation.

She ordered the Jackie-O and I my usual ginger and rye.  My buddy was drinking one of there expensive scotches.  And so the back and forth, the up and down, talk about her life, questions about mine.  She pulled out her phone and showed the bartender a picture.

"He took that!" she said jerking her head towards me.  "Isn't it great?  You've got a fantastic artist drinking here."

I blushed, I think.  She told my buddy, "He's a good writer, too.  I really like his stories."  If she was blowing smoke, it was working, but one is always susceptible to flattery.  On the second round, I knew my buddy wasn't going anywhere.  He'd forgotten about the buddy and the beer he'd mentioned earlier.  But I knew, too, that I wanted to go home soon.  G.G. was texting and still wanted to head downtown.

"I'm just an hors d'oeuvre," I said.  "The main course is downtown."

Per usual.

And so I settled the bill and we all walked out into the night air.  She was looking for something, but I was pretty sure it wasn't downtown.  You don't find anything that is good for you downtown.  I have learned that a long time ago.  I wasn't looking for anything, and I knew it was at home waiting for me.  I've learned that a long time ago, too.

We watched her get into her car flashing that very long leg.

"Have fun," I said, "and don't be careful."

"Jesus, I can't believe you are just going home.  She's looking for something tonight."

"I know," I said.  "I ain't it.  But I'm glad I came.  That was fun."

And it was.  But here's the kicker.

"The bartender's a nice guy, too," he said.  "He didn't charge me for my second drink!"

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Idealized Lives

I found this photo on a Flickr account by someone identified only as RM.  I tried doing a Google search, but couldn't find any other information on the photographer.  I love this photograph, and I apologize to the artist for not being able to say anything more about her.

I sent this to Q who said that it was "a piece of lightning."  I sent some other photographs of kids, too.  He is encouraging me to "rant."  O.K.  This is not THE rant, but here it is: I am sick of people's pictures of their kids.  They are all the same.  Here they are in their Halloween costume.  Here they are at the park.  Here they are at the birthday party.  I can't tell one kid from the other.

To wit: read this article from the New York Times (link).  I didn't read the entire thing.  I get it.  People are desperate to portray to the world some kind of ideal life.  But Jesus Christ. . . I'd rather see this.

That's it, really.  I'm done.  I just think all this idealized childhood is unhealthy.  A certain amount of it, sure, but it should be like Greek theater.  There needs to be a counterbalance.  

It is envy, perhaps, since I don't have anyone to photograph on a daily basis.  I used to, if you remember the pictures of the boy I used to post.  Hardly idealized, but beautiful, I thought.  He will like them when he is an adult, I know.  They will thrill him.  He has all the other photos from his parents and relatives, but he will have something that others will not have as well.  And they will speak to him.  

If any of you want me to photograph your family, let me know.  I will.  Just be prepared.  

I can't let this post go by without mentioning the bombings and shootings in Paris yesterday.  My friends on the left believe that illegal immigration is a good thing.  It adds to the ethnic mix societies so badly need.  So do my rich friends who like them for their cheap labor.  It seems everyone but Ted Cruz is for it.  I'm O.K. whichever way you want to go.  In a poststructural world, though, you can't just have the structures you want and tear down the rest.  You can't label people "terrorists."  They are just people with different values.  You can't want to have no teams, keep no scores, and declare everyone a winner, then complain.  

Best places on the planet to live?  Every time they do that thing in magazines and newspapers, what are the top places?  Oh, you may want to go, too, but they are pretty set on keeping you out.  They are bad places, really, that try to keep out "others."  

Again, though, I don't mind it either way.  I like both.  I can do either.  Let's play.  Teams or no teams. . . it's alright with me.  

Friday, November 13, 2015

I just wrote a massive rant about the Lonely Children of China.  Now that the One Child policy has changed, they all feel lonely.  "We are a selfish, spoiled generation," they say.  "Now we are left alone to take care of our aging parents."


But I have started to rant again and have to delete.  Does the world really need more people to be happy?  And what is with all this happiness bullshit?  Why do people think they have to be "happy"?

Rant, rant, rant.

And children?

No, I must stop it.  I will piss everybody off.  Delete, delete, delete.

If I want to rant about this shit, I should make a Facebook page.  But I've saved my rant in the archives here, and I can pull it out and publish it any time I want to.  Just don't make me do it.

There is an existential loneliness that is real.  People try everything to distract themselves from the void, but the void is there and it is real and it lies before and behind you and all about.  There is a big nothingness that scares you and me and everyone, and it can't be filled.  Some people try to fill it with drugs, with toys, with children, with religion, and all those things help. . . for awhile.  Sooner or later, though. . . .  Raskolnikov vs. Meursault.  Which do you prefer?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Carol Doda, RIP

I thought she was, but she wasn't.  Now she is.  Carol Doda, the "8th Wonder of the World," died Monday at the age of 78.  It began with the Republicans, of course.  She was the first topless dancer, and she danced for attendees of the Republican National Convention in 1964 in San Francisco.  Of course.

After that. . . .

Ms. Doda had silicone injected into her breasts to make them larger.  She didn't have implants, just injections.  I read that the silicone wouldn't stay in place, and before every show she would have to massage it back into place.  Reportedly, they injected her with the same substance used in Silly Putty.

She was famously photographed by Diane Arbus whose work questions the line between what we view as "normal" and all else.

We can wonder about Carol Doda's life, of course, wonder if she was "happy," if she ever regretted the path she took.  Who among us would trade places with her?  But who among us would have liked a world without her?  Perhaps there are many, I don't know.  I would ask the same questions about other historical figures.  Gorgeous George, for instance (but that is another post).  There are people who live in the margins and others who like to visit.  There are those who do not go but are glad that they are there to define their own values by contrast.  And there are those who would have no margins at all.

The human experience is so deeply weird when taken in whole, it is a wonder, really, that we don't all go mad.  Of course, many of us do, even in the comforts of our own suburban homes.  Especially here, in America, the most overmedicated country in the world.  We take more anti-depressants and other mood enhancers than the rest of the world combined.  I don't think we are as goddamned happy as we are supposed to believe.

No, I wouldn't want to be Carol Doda, but I'm glad that somebody was.  I can't say the same about many others.  But if you don't like that she was what she was and that she became famous for it, blame those Republicans at the San Francisco convention.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Face of Social Justice

Here's a photo of one of the biggest assholes of the week.  You've already seen it, I'm sure, but if not, watch this.  She teaches media for the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Her name is Melissa Click.  She has no business in a college of any kind--maybe the Barber College.  She is, I'm afraid, the voice of the left at U.M.  I don't know that for a fact, so. . . I just surmised it from the video.  Look at that face.  This is the Face of Social Justice.  If she is allowed to remain on the faculty of the school, students should boycott.

But they won't.  Did you see how they immediately obeyed this witless twit?  If she had yelled out, "Kill this dirty fucker now!" I have my doubts we would have heard from him again.  I wouldn't want to be one of the kids shown in the video.  It is a permanent record.  They will have to live with that for a lifetime.

But Professor Click?  She will be on all the morning talk shows.  She will get prepped and primed and she will come on as a rational human being who was simply overwhelmed by emotion in response to the injustices she saw all about her.  She might be asked if she thinks it right to meet injustice with intolerance, and gently she will say no and that she has already apologized for that.

Or, perhaps, she'll do the better thing and join FOX News as an analyst and commentator and really capitalize on her moment of infamy.  That's what I would do.

I might have liked her more if she hadn't involved students and had just busted up the kid on her own.  It is that insipid crying out for others to do her bidding that is so very awful.

But we meet these twisted ideologues every day.  I know a vegan who is tenting her house for termites.  I don't blame her, but. . . wtf?  I guess she figures its O.K. as long as she isn't eating them.

I keep wondering what the kid with the camera was about to expose by filming by the tents.  It seems very cultish to me.  But he is lucky it wasn't Black Muslims from the Nation of Islam.  Those guys don't fuck around.  I've seen them in action.  The kid would have run away faster than The Gingerbread Man.  Allahu Akbar. 

And it is true at my house this morning.  I went back to Bed, Bath, and Beyond last night with a 20% off coupon and bought the Cuisinart Grinder/Coffeemaker.  They even said they'd take back the hideous Mr. Coffee without the box or a receipt.  I am a fan of B,B, and B now, a big fan.

And so this morning, I sit with cup after cup of fresh ground Kenyan coffee.  I am a happier man.  An effete man, sure, but happy in my snobbery.  I will take greater pride in my coffee maker than ever before.  I will show it to people when they come to the house.  I don't recommend getting one, though, if you are happy with your Mr. Coffee.  Your coffee is fine--for you.  But it is like everything else that goes into your mouth.  Once you've upgraded. . . you can't go back.

Some of you will agree with that.

O.K.  The factory whistle blows.  But if you are anything like me, kids, you will write an email to the School of Journalism at UM and tell them what you think of Ms. Click.  I will revel in it.