Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Equinox of the Forsaken

 

Welcome to the equinox.  The days are getting shorter, and the nights will be long.  I have always loved the intimacy of autumn, but now, alone in the pandemic, I fear the coming of the night.  More dinners alone, more solitary t.v. watching, waiting on the long sleep.  

Speaking of which, I had the strangest of dreams last night, so weird, in fact, even I can not bring myself to confess them.  Confess?  Why "confess"?  It is not as if I had any control over their content.  Indeed, I woke very disturbed by them.  Where is my Freud?  I need help this time.  There is absolutely no way to take these dreams literally.  If I did, I would be even more bizarre to myself than I currently am.  Their symbolic meaning, however, may not be any less disturbing.  Fuck, I am unravelling here at the old Pandemic Hotel and Saloon.

Less disturbing but strange, I realized that for years, I have dreamed of living on the upper floor of a great, old Victorian house, the kind you see in New Orleans.  The top floor apartment was huge with an open floor plan, incredibly high ceilings, and giant verandas front and back.  I know I've dreamed myself living there in dreams for many years now, though I have only come to the realization just now.  Many dreams and many nightmares have taken place there.

O.K. I know I am the one who says he DOES NOT WANT TO HEAR about your dreams.  They are boring.  You, however, are surely fascinated by mine.  

Enough of that.  

The weather here changed yesterday.  It won't last, but I was able to sit outside on the deck with a cheroot and a drink comfortably after dinner for the first time in many months.  It was rejuvenating, and the cat was happy.  I prefer sitting out among the wilder things and the fresher air.  There, the mind and the spirit are free.  The drop in temperature enlivened me to the point of productivity, too, if ever so slight.  I grabbed my big Polaroid camera and stuck in a pack of old film just to see.  The film was predictably ruined, but after trying several times, I was able to tease some images from the damaged film, all blues and greens.  The old thrill of hearing the the film pull through the camera rollers, of letting it develop for a minute or two, of peeling the positive from its backing and smelling those chemicals once again brought back many memories.  I still have drawers full of film that was never used, most with chemicals so dried that it is useless, but occasionally one or two will produce half an image or so.  I will shoot up the rest of the film.  What else am I going to do with it?  Maybe I can make something out of those almost images.  If nothing else, it is like being a kid and pretending once again.  

In my weather mania, I pulled out the changing tent and loaded more 4x5 film into holders.  So far, I haven't had any of the film I've shot developed, and in truth, I've become confused about what film I've shot and what film I haven't.  I have two boxes with sheets of film I think I took from the holders, but there are three different kinds of film in them.  You can tell that by the cut ridges on the bottom of the film.  I can feel that they are different, but I only recognize two of the types.  The third. . . ?  And I am not sure if they are blank films or if I have shot them.  I am not well organized as I have confessed so many times before, but now I am even more forgetful.  I have to devise a system.  

But it is no matter, really except for money.  They have all been simple test shots anyway and not of anything creatively important.  

I have kept a ritual for many, many years now that must be performed today with the changing of the seasons.  I have two heavy quilted comforters for my king sized bed that I bought years ago at Pottery Barn.  I bought one that is a shade or two lighter than forest green.  Later, the comforter went on sale, so I bought another in burgundy.  They are beautiful, and each equinox I change them out, green in the spring, burgundy in fall.  It is very weird to me, though, realizing that I am now switching back to the burgundy comforter that was on the bed when Ili was here.  It has been a long time, I am made to realize, but I have been living in a time warp of pandemic making.  Nothing has happened since I left my job.  Every day is exactly the same, or near enough to proclaim it.  It terrifies me to think of the time lost with more in the offing.  I am lazy.  There are things still in the places that Ili put them.  My movements are of a pattern.  The house remains much as it was.  It is like living in a museum.  Maybe I need to make a wholesale renovation.  I mean, really, the same towels are hanging in the guest bath where she put them.  Cabinets and cupboards are as she arranged them.  Drawers still hold some of her things.  I move in grooved paths without disturbing much at all.  I don't even sit on her side of the sofa.  

I guess it's odd.  

Let me suggest, however, that the weather holds great promise for productive change.  Maybe not "great," but promise, at least.  My mind feels nimble, my core energized.  I mustn't expect too much, of course, but any positive change will be welcomed.  

It is autumn.  I need to make the most of the season. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

The World Is Too Much

 

(Christine Osinski)

O.K., other people's dreams, I know, but I got up at five following a night of continuing nightmares which involved Donald Trump as a sheriff who was hot on my trail and out to get me.  WTF is going on with that?  He was even wearing a cowboy hat.  White.  I shit you not.  I couldn't chance going back to sleep.  I knew the bastard might catch me.  

This is the result, perhaps, of watching "Devil All the Time" on Netflix.  It is a novel by one of mine and C.C.'s favorite hillbilly artists, Donald Ray Pollock.  He comes from the same neck of the woods as we do, and we know those hillbillies fairly well.  C.C. even went to a reading at a bookstore and met Pollock on one of his trips back home.  He's the one that told me the movie was released.  "Pretty good," he said.  What it is is an unrelenting horror show of twisted death, suicide, and murder.  You know, just like hillbilly life.  Thanks, bud. 

Or perhaps I've not been drinking enough.  I say "enough" because I quit drinking for awhile, but that was not really working for me.  I just kept thinking, "I'm not drinking" all the time.  Everything I did, I thought, "Look, I'm not drinking."  So one night, I had some wine with dinner.  Civilized drinking.  And an after dinner drink, too.  And that was it.  And that has been where I have stayed, those couple drinks in the evening.  There may be days now when I don't have a drink at all, but I couldn't stand being abstinent. I'd rather be abstemious.  

But truly, that is almost as difficult.  I keep thinking, "Look, I'm moderate.  I'm being moderate."  

Retirement in lockdown is getting the better of me.  

I have been trying to work on some of my flaws, especially anger.  I want to be peaceful.  I want to be able to laugh and let things roll off my back.  But often, I act like an asshole.  I am not an asshole, but I have a tendency to act aggressively to other people's thoughtless or selfish acts.  I admitted as much to my mother yesterday after getting irritated by something she said.  I don't usually let my mother irritate me, but something has gone awry.  She said yea, she'd noticed.  I told her I didn't understand why but that I was self aware and noticed it.  She said it was depression.  She gets that way, too, she said.  But, she said, you have had too many things happen at once to turn your life upside down.  

Good old mom.  

It is that, but it is the world out there, of course, all of it, Covid, climate change, fire, hurricanes, floods. . . plastic.  

Plastic?

Yup.  The mass of plastic floating in the ocean now is greater than the biomass in the sea.  There is more plastic than fish.  We eat microplastic particles constantly.  We drink it.  We breathe it.  It rains down on us from the sky.  Do you know how much rubber goes into the atmosphere every day from car tires?  1.8 million tons of microplastics each year.  You know those recycle containers you so diligently put out on the curb each week?  Only 7% of the plastic gets recycled.  Where does the rest go?  It used to go to China, but they won't take U.S. waste any longer, so we are trying to cut a deal with Nigeria.  What do they do with it?  Burn it, bury it, and set it out to sea.  Why do we think it is being recycled?  That is what the plastics industries have told us.  They never really recycled it, but they put on a campaign ad that made us feel better about using plastic for everything.  

Sorry.  I went off.  That is just ONE thing.  If my mother is any indication, people in America don't have any idea what environmental laws Trump has changed in the past three years.  They haven't any idea of the impact except how it has driven the stock market.  The biggest polluters are even bigger polluters now.  

That is macro level stuff.  I just deleted the list of things that are more personal.  Too many people might recognize themselves, and I can't afford any more desertions.  

I probably need to quit going through my old hard drives looking for things.  Searching through the past, those good old days when life was fun, when I was handsome and in love, when I sailed my own boat, climbed mountains, dove in the deepest caves, played to giant crowds. . . maybe that is not helping.  

Maybe a big old ball of opium would help.  I would like to roll up into a giant velvet blanket for awhile and float the days away in a puffy dream.  

The World Is Too Much With Us

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;—
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers;
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not. Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

Not a favorite poem or poet, but it came to mind. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Same Ole. . . .

  


This photo is from 2006.  The KKK was marching downtown, and it drew a crowd.  I stumbled across some pictures I took from that rally yesterday and was slightly stunned at the contemporariness of the images.  Obama would be elected president in 2008.  How many lifetimes ago was that?  


It seems that Trump has been president forever.  We thought it was bad living under a Nixon presidency.  Jesus, Joseph, and Mary, he seems practically benign now.  

My art/travel buddy brought over a Biden/Harris sign to put in the yard yesterday with a warning: the campaign workers said to take the sign in at night.  Trumpers have been taking them down.  

I sent this picture to my friend, a former colleague and boss from the factory, a black woman who grew up in the rural south.  

I included the warning my buddy had sent.  She replied: "You're worried about them stealing your sign at night?!?!?!  They're trying to steal the whole election in broad daylight!!!!"

Well, I guess that's right.  

The kids in that Obama pic would be in their twenties now.  They are old enough to vote.  I wish I could know which way they will go.  I put the Biden sign in my yard knowing it served no purpose other than to piss off some of my neighbors.  Nobody is going to drive by, see the sign, and think, "Oh, yea. . . I should vote for Biden.  The hippie who lives there is right."  My efforts would be better served by going door to door campaigning for Trump on his "Legalize Heroin and Abortion" platform.  Even then, I think, Trump supporters would just nod their heads and say, "Right on."  Or whatever it is that Trump supporters say.  They don't give a shit as long as its Trump.  


Saturday, September 19, 2020

Rosh Hashanah

  

Whatever I imagined I would write today is gone.  This has been the most fucked up year in most people's existence.  It certainly has been for me.  You begin to think there might be a little respite, but there isn't.  The weather will change, you think, and that will make a difference.  Something.  Anything.  You think about doing something to lose the Covid Fifteen you have put on these last lockdown months. You can't figure out if this is the right time or the wrong time to quit drinking.  You've actually begun to think about how to get on with things.  Then the news comes in.  Your friends text you.  RBG is dead.  In normal times, this would be sad.  But these are not normal times in any way, and your reaction to the news is both manic and depressive.  All your wit is gone.  You know you are going into a battle you will surely lose, but go you must.  

There will be no winning, even in victory.  You realize the beast will maul you before it dies.  



Friday, September 18, 2020

Time Flies

  

(Jack Welpott)

What will be born of my wicked mind this morning?  It remains to be seen.  I did not wake with any ideas today.  The news is slow.  Biden had a town hall meeting on CNN and even they wrote this morning that he is not a "perfect candidate."  In a brief statement they admit that he may shit himself at any moment while trying to fart.  They all but say that "he isn't Trump."  I feel like I'm sitting at a Hootenanny trying to pick out the most talented jug player.  

I've just gone back to find a story I read this morning about a model who claims to have been "somethinged" by Donald Trump.  But the story is gone.  Both the Times and CNN have updated since I read them at six o'clock.  Don't most working people read the news at six?  WTF?  They can't have the papers ready by then?  I always feared I was reading yesterday's news.  

Man, I'm at a real loss today.  I shouldn't even try.  I've just written some virulent shit that I had to delete.  It is, of course, the times. . . that tried Yeats' soul.  There is no sweetness and light in his poems that I can recall, only mysticism and strife.  Yeats would have thrived in the QAnon era.  He was a whack job, for sure.  And yet. . . I have been enamored from time to time.  

The photo by Jack Welpott is not one that I remember from studying photography in college.  I was influenced by his work with Judy Dater.  Well. . . maybe it was Dater's work.  Here is part of a 1974 NY Times article about them. 

Judy Dater and Jack Welpott are a San Franciscobased wife ‐ and ‐ husband team who have been working together as photographers since the mid‐1960's. Welpott is older and was first in the field. He was, in fact, Dator's principal teacher. But Dater is far ‐better known as a photographer, and is, I suspect, on the basis of Welpott's earlier pholmgraphs in this show, artistically the dominant member of the team.

Indeed, Dater's Wiki page doesn't even mention Welpott.  But this is the book they made together.  


Dater is always referred to as a "feminist," so. . . who knows.  She always liked shooting nudes.  

I'm not sure what a pholmgraph is, nor why the article refers to her as both "Dater" and "Dator," but this is from the archives, so it may be a digital mistake.  

If you recall the photographs I made in college, you will clearly see the influence.  Judy Dater, the feminist, led me astray.  I should have made pholmgraphs instead.  

O.K.  That was pretty random.  Blame it on the brownie I ate last night.  Now I must begin to prepare the house for the wrecking crew.  Time sure flies when you're not having fun.  

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I Guess I'll Have the Rat Poison

 

I don't have any new pictures to show, and I've been letting that stress me out.  I've realized, however, that you don't need to see photos by me every day.  I've been putting up pictures of houses for god's sake.  Now I know that we all love the more honest portraits, but we are living in scary times.  I read an article on the case against Ghislaine Maxwell this morning.  Prosecutors maintain that she is guilty of enticing, grooming, and recruiting.  Minors, of course.  If they were older, it might be called "enabling," but that's just me.  Prosecutors say that her boyfriend, Jeffery Epstein, "escaped justice" and vow this will not happen again.   Wow. That's a wild one.  Put someone in a dank cell and let roaches and rats climb over him and keep him isolated until he decides to strangle himself and call that an escape from justice.  And that was before he was found guilty of anything.  This was simply foreplay.  But that is nothing in William Barr's world.  I didn't think there could be a worse person holding public office than Donald Trump, but Barr has shown me the error of my thinking.  Trump may be stupid and evil, but Barr is diabolical.  It scares me to think that he could replace Ginsburg on the Supreme Court if things go Trump's way.  Now don't get me wrong. I'm not holding Barr accountable.  You could make an argument that Jeffery Dahmer was a worse person, but the entire Republican Party wasn't supporting him.  I'm not talking simply about politicians, but about the entire Republican base.  

It gets complicated for me when I think about it.  If Jeffery Epstein were to run agains William Barr for public office, which one would I choose?  Sounds awful, right?  But that doesn't seem an unreasonable scenario in the world I find myself in.  

I know you don't watch the six o'clock news every night like I do.  I know that.  So I don't expect you saw Ari Melber's little video extravaganza on "The Beat" last night about undecided voters.  I've scoured the internet and can't find what he showed.  I can only find this:


Sounds about right.  Even the liberal panel was like, yea, Biden is a tuna melt.  

Liberals, or whatever it is that passes for "liberal" anymore, have to stop saying that "the people understand that. . . ."  Plug in anything there from something about coronavirus to Trump's lying.  It doesn't matter, really.  Whatever you put in there, the statement will be false.  "The people" are who put Trump in power.  "They" don't understand much of anything.  I'm not blaming them.  Shit be hard, dude. Work all day, put in overtime, come home, have a beer, watch "The Simpsons," smoke a joint and go to bed.  It's a hard life.  On the other side, you have people who pick up their government "disability" checks, get their food stamps or whatever they use now, down their pain killers, watch "Duck Dynasty," smoke a little heroin, and go to bed.  

The world is not made up of people microdosing LSD and working in Silicon Valley.  

Speaking of which, I have become fascinated by this.  


There is a whole series of these films from the 50s, back when they could give LSD to June Cleaver just to see what happened.  These were not hippies looking for a spiritual journey or a way into another world.  These were people who said, "Sure, doc, let's try it and see."  

It is important to note that Cary Grant did lots of acid.  He loved to trip.  He said it saved his life.  Apparently, it led him out of depression.  He gave it to his wife, Dyan Cannon, and she freaked the fuck out.  She said he was trying to kill her and divorced him.  

I wish it had been filmed.  

I'm a bit of a drug weenie.  Drugs effect me in strange and unpredictable ways.  Muscle relaxers jack me up.  So does Valium.  But I can't take an entire Xanax and marijuana paralyzes me and makes my heart race. I would like to try acid, but I'm afraid I'd never come back.  I want to try a micro dose first, just to see if I get a little zippy, but I don't have any reliable dealers in my life, so that has not been a real option.  I'd need to go to a tech company and ask around if I really wanted some, I guess.  

And so. . . the photograph was taken with an 8x10 inch camera and an antique brass Petzval lens.  Working with the 8x10 camera can really take it out of you.  They are burdensome to use, though that is what all the early photography was made on.  I often think about buying one of those expensive old lenses, but then I would have to use my 8x10 more, and that is daunting.  I sent that photo to Q last night, and he seemed fascinated, so I sent him a link to a company that makes 8x10 starter cameras cheap.  It is, I think, a gateway drug.  

Speaking of Q, last night I finished the Paris Hilton documentary (link).  It was torturous to watch.  Just horrible, and I wouldn't suggest it for any of you who did not fall for her and her sister, Nikki, when they were kids.  Even I now find her disgusting, and I thought that could never happen.  But last night, I finally got the inside dope on what dj-ing and raving is all about.  My only experience with that was in NYC at Q's 30th birthday party.  I was surrounded by pretty girls eating ecstasy out of Pez dispensers all night, so I didn't really pay attention to what Q was doing, and no matter how he tried to explain the intricacies of it, I never got it.  I mistakenly referred to deejays as disk jockeys which didn't go over well, but the only deejays I'd ever seen were at weddings where the penultimate moment (and yes, I am using the word correctly) came when they played the Village People's "YMCA."  But last night, at last, Paris gave me the insight I was lacking.  And she should know.  She gets paid a cool $1,000,000 per show.  I don't think there is a more successful deejay in the world.  

Ultimate authority.  

This is pretty much how DJs roll. And remember--this crowd votes!


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Natural Order

 

I got a call last night from the fellow who gave me Covid.  How do I know that?  I don't.  I don't even know that I had it, but I still blame him since he had just come from Australia and Thailand by way of South Korea, the earliest countries to be hit by the virus.  He never got sick, I guess, or if he did, he never said so.  He is coming back to town and wants to get together.  Oooo.   I didn't say so, but I'm not sure.  I still harbor certain emotions about that.  

He is suffering from the pandemic, though.  He quit a job at the third largest university right here in my own hometown to work for a college in the Middle East.  His work is in international education.  The job he took did not suit him, though, so he quit.  He was sure he was going to get a better one.  He had a couple different options, one in the Far East and one in Eastern Europe.  Then came corona.  He hasn't had a job since.  International Study Abroad programs are dead in the water.  God knows when that will open up again.  

He is dipping into his 401K while he tries to find something.  There are few jobs to be had in any area other than tech, and he is not a techie.  

Woe is him.  

So if you are locked down with an income. . . count your lucky stars.  I do.  What few there are.  

I found this interesting.  


Film critics like the film "Cuties" much more than the general audience does.  I wonder what lies in the gulf?  I guess the secret cabal of democrat politicians running the child sex slave trade out of that pizza parlor might be in danger now.  Look out Hillary Clinton.  We know that Progressives and QAnon are each looking to Burn the Witches.  America is a Puritan country, goddamnit, and whether you are piously religious or simply ideologically pure, the desire for retribution is equally strong.  

Burn the Witches, I say.  The Pope was right.  The earth is flat!  Copernicus is the Devil. 

Sorry, mom.  I can't seem to quit it.  

In self-defense, I ordered these. 


I plan on being the coolest motherfucker in town.  And the brokest.  But when your spirit is broken, only "things" will make you happy.  I will buy my way out of this depression even if it ruins me.  

My mother called to tell me that Trump was going to be on t.v. in a few minutes last night.  He got delayed.  He was late.  I told her that he was doing lines of Adderall to get focussed.  It is well known, I said.  "What's that?" she queried.  

I didn't turn it on.  Q had called while I was on the phone with my Covid buddy.  I called back in case he was in need of some sage advice.  He wasn't.  He just wanted to crow until he was called in to eat his dinner.  The skies had cleared above his home.  There was blue sky and sunshine.  He showed me.  Such are the pleasures that excite us now that we are enduring in End Times.  That and a good bottle of wine.  

And so a new day breaks here in the cloudy south, one hurricane walking ever so slowly across the coastline and six more potential hurricanes coming our way.  Mere mortals sit and wait upon their collective fate.  No matter where you are, I imagine there are equal horrors to abide.  

Unless you are a Trumper.  They seem to enjoy all this somehow.  They accept chaos as the natural order.  

And you know. . . maybe it is.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Just Saying

  

I haven't anything to say.  I haven't any pictures to illustrate it.  There is no embarrassing wealth of riches here.  I have time but no inspiration, and even time seems to be in shorter supply.  I lose an hour at the beginning and the ending of each day somehow.  I can't explain this.  No matter how early I get up, my life seems to begin later than it used to.  In the evening, it is suddenly time for bed.  In between, I just get tired.  Some exercise, a trip to the grocery store. . . I don't know.  Life, I'm sure, is different elsewhere, perhaps on the other side of that wall.  

I've become too good at self-isolating.  

Without social media, something I shun, I am out of the mix.  I haven't any idea of what people are doing or saying other than what I see on the six o'clock news.  It seems terrible.  

But then I drive by Country Club College.  Students returned to campus this weekend, to the residence halls, to the dorms.  The place looks like a giant ant farm. Everyone is required to wear a mask while on campus, so the kids are pouring out into the town like the buildings are on fire.  The state allowed bars to open yesterday.  I wonder if the kids will go?  My own hometown will be the Covid Capital of the World in a few weeks.  Having pocketed the bed rental money, the college will be able to send the kids back home.  

Am I being paranoid?

I should not drive by.  It is bad for me.  I have not seen so many six foot legs in a long while now.  They all seem to be perfect specimens in their six inch shorts.  It makes me feel round and fat and puffy.  

Which reminds me.  "Cuties" is apparently not a good film and is child sexploitation.  I read that.  Both the left and the right agree (which reminds me that they have become mirror reflections of one another).  Apparently, the the real life kids in the movie had whores and pedophiles for parents.  They will surely join Rose McGown for a roundtable discussion on either Fox or CNN in the near future.  I don't want to get into trouble, so I will go back and retract yesterday's post.  Netflix is predicted to remove the film from its catalog very soon.  Vigilantes left and right have taken to the streets.

We need to get back to real entertainment like "The Donna Reed Show" and "Father Knows Best."  There lay the bones of thoughtful entertainment.  

What ought to happen is that the proper authorities get a test group of men and attach sensors to their nether regions and then screen "Cuties" to see how they react.  Oh, wait. . . there have already been studies done on that topic.  You don't want to know the results.  As Trump points out, you can't trust the science.  

That's what he said yesterday about climate change.  He's got a better idea.  It's going to get cooler.  Wait.  You'll see.  

That's what we have been doing for over half a century now, waiting to see what happens.  There is no end to waiting and seeing, it seems.  There is never enough data for the dumb.  

But how do you tell Trumpers that?  I insulted my mother yesterday telling her that people too dumb to understand how government works shouldn't be allowed to vote.  When mechanics are working on an airliner, I don't step in and tell them how to fix it.  I wouldn't feel comfortable having the surgeon stop in the middle of a surgery, turn to me and ask, "What do you think I should do now?"  My mother hasn't a clue to how governments are set up, what powers they have and don't have.  She doesn't know who her state legislators are, what the role of the county government is.  She is just like Trump.  But I could see that I had hurt her feelings.  

There is no doubt that it all our public systems have gotten to be too complex.  There are over a million law enforcement agents in the U.S., but there are over 1,350,000 lawyers.  True statistic.  More lawyers than cops.   Look it up.  The number of attorneys is growing exponentially each year, yet no one is marching to defund them.  Trump loves attorneys.  He loves the courts.  He knows he can tie almost anything up indefinitely in the convoluted partisan system we have.  Even attorneys don't understand it.  I was almost married to one for a long time.  She was smart and good in her area, but when we would watch the news, she would most often say, "I don't know that area of the law."  

She was pretty, too.  Did I mention she was good in her area?  

But yes, things have gotten too complex for laymen.  And maybe it just pisses people off.  And maybe they just transfer that frustration onto science, too.  The complexities of life  have become overwhelming.  

Perhaps we should return to fables and to tales.  Paul Bunyan.  Johnny Appleseed.  The serpent in the garden.  The daughters of Lot.  

I will make it up to my mother today.  I will ask her advice on all the things I don't understand.  That's the deal, you see.  It is difficult not to act like an arrogant prick.  I know this, but I don't know that.  I will ask her about "that."   

One area all people seem to be confident experts in, however, is morality.  They know right from wrong.  I don't know how, but they do.  They feel qualified to tell me how I should feel about things.  I mean everything.  "But where do you find these truths?" I ask.  "Where are these inscribed in the cosmos?"  

"Well that's the beauty, you see.  It is not as if you have to be trained for years to know this stuff.  You just do.  And we know that we are right and they are wrong, and that is why we are better than them."  

"Than they."

"What?"

"That is why we are better than they, not them."  

"What the fuck are you talking about?  That sounds weird."

"O.K. That is why we are better than they are, not than them are."  

"Whatever, dude.  There is something wrong with you.  You're really fucked up."

"Just saying." 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Cuties


I watched "Cuties" last night after listening to my mother's complaint about the movie she hasn't seen.  I know where her criticism is coming from, so I didn't trust it.  I had to see for myself.  I didn't look forward to it, though.  Like most things, it would surely never live up to the hype.  I heated up the leftover spaghetti and sat down in front of the television.  Well. . . this was going to be difficult.  Subtitles.  And they were coming quickly.  If I looked down to take a bite, I was going to miss several lines of dialogue.  Perhaps, I thought, I could rely on my ancient French.  Not a chance.  And so the evening began.  

It was a hard movie to watch.  It is a condemnation of many things.  There is a Muslim component, a poverty component, a social media component, an absent parent component, a schoolyard component. . . . Nothing comes out pretty in this picture.  And then there is the French component.  People love diversity except when it comes to the French.  French sensibilities are much different from those of American's.  Their attitude is becoming more American, of course, as our moral complaints become global, but there are still differences in how they view sex and gender and race, all apparent in the film.  

The American complaint about the film comes from the images of young girls in skimpy clothes twerking.  It is horrendous.  It is meant to be.  It is supposed to make you uncomfortable.  It should.  If it doesn't, well. . . you know who you are.  It is a condemnation of capitalism and the profit motive and the shit show that profits from gangsta rap to the Kardashians.  It condemns religious values and parental values and the power of the street.  The girls in the dance group "Cuties" are not precocious, they are feral children in an urban jungle.  

That criticism, however is also ethnocentric and racist.  It all depends upon your lens.

I called my mother after I had finished my dinner and the movie.  

"You are right.  The movie is a horror show.  But not for the reasons you think.  I mean, the movie portrays things it holds abhorrent.  The dancing girls are a horror show, a deformed burlesque of twisted cultural values that the movie both exploits and deplores.  I wouldn't recommend you watch it, but it is not what you think."

As intense as the film is, the filmmakers didn't know how to end it.  They ran out of gas and just slapped on a moralistic few minutes that made little narrative sense.  If it weren't for that, I would say it deserves Oscar consideration in the way "Moonlight" did.  It has much the same vibe.  The ending could have worked if they had prepared the audience for it in the rest of the film, but they didn't.  Simply, things change.  The End.  

I'll be curious to hear your emotional report if you watch it.  There is much more to say about the film.  I just don't have that all together this morning.  I haven't sat down to really parse it yet.  I should say, however, that if you enjoy hentai, then your review will be much different than mine.  You will have a much more enjoyable time watching it than I did.  And that's o.k., too.  I've always rebelled against people telling me how I am supposed to feel about things.  Ted Cruz's complaint (link) makes me want to celebrate the movie.  I just can't.  Or couldn't last night.  Let me watch some more Snoop videos, though, and maybe I can get onboard.  


Update

Some references for Ted Cruz. 




And of course, America's most popular sporting event. 



Sunday, September 13, 2020

Opening the Tomb

I haven't wanted to do anything today.  That's not true.  I wanted to eat.  I started with a loaf of delicious French bread drizzled in olive oil and sprinkled with salt.  I thought to have a little, but I couldn't quit.  I had some fruit, fixed some eggs.  Then I went back to the bread and took a few hits off last night's wine bottle.  It hasn't been enough.  

I was going to exercise.  It is pushup day.  How fucked up does that sound?  I got my mat ready, pulled out the weights for bent over rows. . . and that is as far as I got.  I didn't want to do pushups any more than I wanted to do them yesterday.  They are tortuous.  It is not like working out in the gym where you do ten reps, eight reps six reps.  Nope.  It is a long, slow torture, each one just a little scarier than the one before, over and over and over.  I got dressed and decided just to take a walk.  When I got to the door, I changed my mind.  I thought then that I would just do the pushups.  I took off my gym clothes and got back into my pajamas.  I made up my mind.  I would do nothing today but eat and drink.  

Maybe it is the weather, or maybe it has been a bad idea to go through the hard drives.  For the five years that Ili was here, they have sat dormant.  Some I hadn't looked at for a long time before that.  Each one is like opening a tomb.  There is the evidence of a past life lived.  There are pictures of old girlfriends and an ex-wife.  I remember the feelings, remember the times, and remember how each relationship ended.  Living in the past is no good, though, so I made the mistake of Googling. . . them.  Oh. . . they are all incredibly beautiful with spectacular lives.  Seriously.  None of them have done badly.  They all have lives to be envied.  

By me. 

They all loved me once.  I have the letters to prove it.  

There is no going back except in hard drives.  You don't want to do it.  You ever watched those old movies where someone raids and ancient tomb?  What happens to them?  That's right, there is always a curse that gets them.  Some jin or genie exacts revenge.  I understand that curse now.  You do not want to open the crypt.  You may find treasure, but they will never make you happy.  It is best to leave the past alone.  There is no future in the past.  

I don't want it anyway.  I just want to finish the book.  And I want to live in a romantic old movie back in the days when men were men and women were everything else.  I want to curl up on the big leather couch with a tray full of snacks, a bottle of wine, and my own true love.  

"Hey, doll, would pour me a little more wine?"

"Say, sure I would.  What do you take me for, anyway, some kind of dope?  It would be my pleasure.  That would be swell."  

Something like that.  I want the smell of estrogen again, and all the oils, lotions, potions, and unguents the shelves can handle.  

I used to be a hard guy, the kind who could take it, but I've been softened up, as the gangsters used to say.  I don't want to do pushups any more.  It isn't fun. 

Keeping Up with the Kardashians

 

 The news media are reporting that global warming is causing humans trouble.  Huh?  Who knew?  Where have they been for the past thirty years?  Oh, yea. . . they've been reporting on the other troubles of our times.  God love 'em, they've come to the table when there isn't anything left.  Now they are going to tell us about it.  Oil companies are like the tobacco industry, but there has been very little reporting done about it.  News outlets work for profit, too.  If they keep writing stories you don't want to read, they lose money. So we get barraged by stories about Caitlan and Paris and the Kardashians.  And of course, now, the biggest reality show ever. . . Trump.  

Fox is winning.  Yesterday my mother was outraged over something I'm sure she hasn't watched.  She asked me if I had seen it.  She said it was a show where little girls are doing dirty dances, humping and grinding and getting down on the floor. . . .  

"No, I haven't, " I said all wide eyed.  "But I will!  What's it called?"

She didn't know.  Today I read about it in the Times.  The show is called "Cuties" and is on Netflix.  That is how I know she hasn't watched it.  She can't work the remote well enough.  From what I read this morning, the show has drawn international attention--positive--but here in America, people like Ted Cruz are calling on Barr and his Injustice Department to investigate Netflix for child pornography.  

"Calls to remove the film have been amplified by supporters of a conspiracy theory that top Democrats and celebrities are behind a global child trafficking ring."

Yes, mom, Hillary has been a global child trafficker for years.  She keeps them in a pizza parlor ready for action.  WTF?  

What can you do with people.  My mother is outraged by this but about climate change she throws up her hands.  

"What are we going to do, stop driving cars?"  

People on the right just love themselves some child porn.  It is evil.  They are against it.  They just can't get enough.  

I've written before about the American problem.  It can't differentiate between sensuality and sexuality and so conflates the two.  I don't know Indian culture, but is seems they might be very American in this way.  

I'm a sensualist who comes from a hillbilly family on one side and a family of criminals on the other.  They are very American.  Quintessentially.  They don't understand me.  

People like Ted Cruz, from the big oil state, will point to anything other than the Real Troubles of Our Time.  Netflix, not Big Oil or Monsanto is where evil lives.  

And my mom just follows along.  She is a Trump supporter, of course.  

There just can never be enough Christian t.v. 

It rained off and on all day yesterday, so I continued my searches through old hard drives.  I got very distracted.  There are billions of photographs I have simply stored and never processed.  I've been taking photos for a long time with extended periods of partner-induced camera torpor along the way, but I have amassed a very, if but spotty, picture of my life and times.  All I could think when looking through the endless files is that I wish I had taken more.  Therein lies real human history.  Like the great philosopher Rod Stewart proclaimed, every picture tells a story, don't it?  Wait.  Proclamation or question?  It seems a statement, but then. . . "don't it?"  Maybe he wasn't sure.  

I am.  

Today the rains will fall again.  I will try to do more than reminisce, but I am lazy and indolent.  Seems like a good day to go to brunch, but of course we do not live in such times.  Well, unless you believe the whole pandemic thing a hoax.  Bars get to reopen here tomorrow even though our Covid count has recently been on the rise again.  The kids have moved back into Country Club College this week.  I am going to be more careful here in my own hometown.  Those little Covid carriers don't give a shit.  You can see it in their greedy, partially educated eyes.  It is a private college and very expensive.  They come from good families, by and large.  They all look like Paris Hilton.  Surely they are Republicans.  

And you know that they are my type.  
 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Exotic Suggestions du Jour

  


This photo used to be the screen saver on my computer.  For some reason, out of the blue, Q sent it to me last night.  It was never made clear why.  Funny enough, I had been going through old hard drives yesterday trying to find the lost "Lonesomeville" files.  I am, and they are, an organizational mess.  Old files, old computer desktops, everything I had, are just dropped into storage without sorting.  I open one folder and there are twenty more.  I open one of those, and again, more files.  Inside each file is a hodgepodge collection of images.  Many of the files are misleadingly or wrongly labeled.  Some are merely labelled with dates.  I spent the entire afternoon reliving the past, in a way, as I looked through images I haven't seen in years.  Here is one of the proto-Lonesomeville Polaroids when I was just learning how to manipulate them in the manner that would define my style for a couple years. 

How amazing is that?  What causes such coincidences?  I had never thought about these two photos together.  As a matter of fact, I always wanted to figure out how to do what Roversi had done.  I am pretty sure I made my image before Roversi made his.  Maybe he copied me.  

It wasn't a wasted day so much as an indulgent one.  I mainly looked at images without reorganizing the mess.  I was simply being prideful most of the time.  I found old images of myself, too, which filled me with an abundance of conflicting emotions.  There are not many photos of me extant.  Nobody ever thought to take them unless I asked.  The majority of the images of me are ones that I took in reflections.  Go ahead and apply your own theories about all that Freud.  

Soon enough, the afternoon was gone.  

I did find what I was looking for, however, so the day was not a total waste.  Just a rabbit hole.  

A few days ago, I wrote a reflection on an op-ed piece that opined that people who are going to vote for Trump do not like Trump, they just hate the people who hate him.  I've realized without too much need for reflection that the same is true of those who will vote for Biden.  Nobody wants either of them to be president.  How crazy is that?  We live in a country where nobody is voting for but everybody is voting against.  My animosity toward stupid is growing daily.  I heard interviews with Trump supporters at a rally last night.  When asked why they weren't wearing masks, people said that there was no pandemic, that the entire thing was a hoax and an attempt to bring down America.  How in the fuck do you deal with that?  My Trumper friends would point to interviews done with Biden supporters that are equally dumb.  

I blame social media.  Give an asshole a microphone. . . . 

My tree guy stopped by my house yesterday.  Yea, I have a tree guy.  He's from Indonesia.  He's done my trees on a number of hurricane occasions.  He likes to stop and chat from time to time, but I haven't seen him or his trucks forever.  I figured that he took the money he made from me and retired.  Yesterday, however, he explained that he had gone to Cuba at the beginning of March to see his girlfriend, and then the pandemic lockdown happened.  The government made all foreigners in Havana go to a hotel where they were quarantined for a few weeks.  Then they moved them all outside the city to another hotel in the east.  It was very nice, he said, and they fed them three times a day.  But international flights were stopped, and then, inexplicably, the airport was shut down completely.  He said that while he was there, he bought another house, a piece of property outside Havana.  He does this through his girlfriend's family.  Finally, just a week ago, he was able to leave the country.  He was stuck there for all those months.  

I then told him my tale of woe, told him that Ili left, then I retired, and then the pandemic.  He was very sorry to hear about Ili, he said.  He liked her, but "it is very difficult with women.  You never know for sure."  

I asked him how they did with Corona in Cuba.  He said they had it totally under control.  When the government makes rules, you either obey them or go to jail.  People did exactly what they were supposed to do. 

"If you want, we can go to Cuba.  My girlfriend is a surgeon and she has many nice friends."  

Now there's a thought.  I could even buy myself a hacienda in the mountains overlooking the coast.  Hell. . . he may be onto something.  

When I went to visit with my mother, I told her the story.  She was amused and said, yea, there is that.  I told her that I had reservations about such things.  I've "dated" women from other cultures and found some discomfort in the unfamiliarity there.  Many do it, I know.  Thailand is full of old American men looking for. . . whatever they are looking for.  But I am a romantic.  I'm not ruling anything out, but, as always, I'm not looking, either.  Still. . . in a tip of the hat to the exotic, I ordered takeout sushi. 


A romantic dinner for one.  I stopped and got two nice bottles of unfiltered sake to keep me company.  

Maybe tonight, I'll watch a movie about the bad old romantic world of the past where things were wrong and everyone suffered.  Perhaps "Farewell My Concubine" or "Indochine," or "The Lover."  Maybe "The Year of Living Dangerously" would be more appropriate.  But I haven't seen "Mongol" since it was in theaters.  There are choices.  Movies alone.  I'd better plan my menu now.  I can't afford another night of sushi.  

Friday, September 11, 2020

9/11




 I woke early this morning after not sleeping so well last night.  It was five o'clock.  Rather than roll around in the bed for another tortuous hour, I decided to get up.  It occurred to me out of the blue that today was 9/11.  That was strange.  Why would I remember that upon waking?  I am not the kind of person who pays much attention to such things.  Halloween, maybe.  Yes, and Christmas.  Thanksgiving, not so much.  Easter, no.  There are just too many calendar days given over to something.  The entire month of February.  I do not go in for public celebration or mourning.  I am not one for group things at all.  

So it is that makes me wonder what brought the date to mind--especially at five o'clock in the morning.  

The medieval calendar was even more concerned with celebrations than our own.  Most of them were religious, of course, but they were much more raucous.  I think they even celebrated a "backwards day."  I'm not positive, but there were many carnivals and fairs and feasts, so many, I once read very long ago, that businessmen pressed the church to vastly reduce the number.  The rise of business and commerce and the falling of religion seem to have gone hand in hand.  But I do remember reading that one out of every three days was some sort of celebration.  

Sounds fun, but I might have gone mad.  

Today, we are simply asked to recognize the date for the most part.  There are not as many holidays as there once were.  Economies just can't afford them, I'm afraid.  

I must admit, though, now that I do not work, I often have extreme difficulty recalling what day of the week it is.  And that, again, compounds my incredulity at remembering that it is 9/11.  

At five-ish, when I opened up the computer to read the news, CNN had no mention of the day.  Hmm.  Perhaps I was up so early I was simply reading the 9/10 news.  Perhaps five is too early for CNN to refresh.  When I finished, I turned to the Times.  Nothing about the day in the headlines.  Nothing about it until I scrolled about halfway down.  You could easily have missed the stories as the titles--they were not headlines--were in a much reduced font.  And this was the N.Y. Times.  New York--you know, where they had the twin towers.  

People forget, of course, and the drama of the past is reduced with each passing day.  So why in the world did I recall it?  

Ah. . . but wait.  I remember that morning well, as I am sure many of you do.  I had just written a pleading Dear Jane letter to a girl I was losing.  It was supposed to bring her back.  I sent it after midnight.  When she got up to read it, the world had forever changed.  Needless to say. . . .

It is not simply a public day on the calendar for me, then, after all.  

Life, in the end, is merely personal, isn't it?  The passing headlines only matter as they affect our private lives.  The rest is simply abstractions that we can care about in abstract ways, but without skin in the game, it is just a game without immediate consequence.  

That is why climate change news astounds me.  It has real personal impact on us all.  The California wildfires are raging.  People have died, have lost their homes and possessions, are getting respiratory and other diseases by the score.  

Abstract.  I am concerned with hurricanes.  There is the real horror.  

But even if you don't live in either of the vacation states, you are experiencing the consequences of rampant CO2 and other terrible chemical production.  The pandemic is one of the results of climate change, but I guess it is too much like Seven Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  Or is it Six.  Most people have a hard time following the chain of events that begins with driving your car and ends with stressed out bats that no longer have immune systems that can kill the corona virus.  Which is amazing considering that even the dumbest people somehow followed the chain of unreason from Hillary Clinton to the child sex ring at a pizza parlor that is part of an evil plan to take over the world.  

In another "Got Him Now" moment, Woodward has the goods on Trump and his knowledge of Covid-19. No, let's not call it "knowledge."  Intel.  Trump had intel.  Got him!  Last night, hundreds of people showed up at an airport hanger for a Trump rally and didn't wear masks.  Trump, once down 14 points to Biden in the polls has withered that lead to Even Steven in my own home state.  Covid rates are on the rise here again.  Just when you think it can't get weirder. . . . 

So I went to lunch yesterday with an old work pal.  Yup.  I met her at a restaurant near the factory.  We sat outside at one of our favorite restaurants on one of the coolest days so far this summer.  It was pleasant.  We talked mostly about people at the factory.  She wanted to know if I had heard from Ili, of course.  Nope. She said that Ili had been trying to get her to go to lunch, but she was not interested.  She is my pal. Always was.  She asked some questions, but I said I had no desire to speak ill.  Of course, she said.  

"But she was crazy, right?"

"Well, sure.  I mean, she dated me."  

What more does one need to know?  

We sat for a long time, but she had to go back to work, of course.  I drove by the factory on my way home, the place where I spent over forty years of my life.  I had no emotion about it.  It was fine.  

When I got home, though, I was overcome by a great fatigue.  I am often enough.  Sitting in isolation, I am much more aware of the nagging pains and problems wrought by my accident, and indeed, I am beginning to realize that something was knocked out of me that is never going to return.  I am not going to be like I was before.  I am on half days now, and even those hours are slow.  And when I think about that, I think that Ili was lucky in leaving.  I was relying on her more than I realized.  We were going places--Miami, California, Paris--but I was slow.  I was like a child in some ways, I think, one you have to look after.  

Maybe.  I don't know.  I do know I am not taking care of the things I should now.  My life is falling into shambles.  I am not keeping up with the constant motion and decay.  I wake early, but I am tired.  And more and more, I am remembering the weirdest things.  

I remembered that today was 9/11.  

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Adapt or Die

 


I just deleted about an hour's writing.  I was opining about the problems of our times and the apocalypse that seems to be in the offing.  The world is experiencing rapid change, and it isn't merely social.  The environment is under siege from profiteers, but it is easier to cry about twenty year old deeds and to pursue justice against the dead or dying.  "Crimes" of enticing and eliciting people into making bad personal choices take precedent over corporate crimes that are killing us all.  Social science is easier than science and politics is easier still.  Everything is personalized and is presented as being universal.  We use the tar brush profusely and then wonder why people can't agree.  

But there I go again.  I shouldn't read the papers in the morning before I write.  Perhaps I shouldn't read them at all.  A population of politicized people is simply fodder for profit and corruption.  

God loves a sinner. . . or so they say.  

I can't go on.  

I was going through some old hard drives looking for lost Lonesomeville photos that have come to my attention.  As I've said, my files are a mess.  I found a lot of forgotten things in them, of course, and became distracted.  This photo was taken with the recently sold Hasselblad Xpan.  Makes me wish I hadn't sold it.  Selavy.  The world will never be like that again, anyway.  When we finally come out of our pandemic semi-lockdown, the world will look much different than it did before.  It will smell different and taste different and look different.  There is no going back.  Trying to cling to something is always unproductive.  Adapt or die, I guess.  

Apparently, that is the case (link).  

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Revolution of the Ignorant

Thomas Friedman talks about the Revolution of the Ignorant in todays op ed piece in the NY Times.  He doesn't call it that.  That is my phrasing.  But that is what he describes.  He calls them "humiliated."  They vote for Trump no matter what horrible or crazy shit he does because he is willing to sock educated elite liberals in the old kisser.  He stands up for them, and they like it.  They gave it to Hillary last election because she called them "deplorables."  They didn't like that much, so they voted for the Class Clown.  It didn't matter that he was rich and walked around with his pecker out.  As a matter of fact, they enjoyed it.  You must remember their favorite forms of entertainment.  They are not watching "Masterpiece Theater."  In fact, they want to defund it.  No more money for art.  No more money for NPR and PBS.  More money for religious schools.  And, oh. . . more disability money for those who don't like to work.  Studies show that Trump supporters who are against the government dole are more likely to be collecting disability and welfare checks than others.  They feel they are justified and entitled to them. . . unlike those "others."  

So, no matter how much you show them that Trump is a dishonest, corrupt, selfish liar, they don't care.  They already know that.  It doesn't matter.  They hate the educated elite and their Ivory Towers.  Trump is their man.  

Of course, we've been saying that here for eons.  And I agree with them in some ways.  The big mistake in this argument is calling them "liberals."  The educated elite have moved on from there.  They are not liberals.  They are theorists.  They are social policy wanks.  They don't question much other than the established order.  Jesus--I need to quit it.  I sound like a Fox show host.  I'm speaking in unqualified absolutes that oversimplify the case.  What I've said can be no truer than the opposite argument.  

Look what they have done to me.  

That's what happens, though.  It is difficult to keep your head in times like these.  I see the absolutes coming from each side.  Well, not so much from Placeholder Joe.  He just keeps whining about how much tragedy he has suffered in his life which he says qualifies him for office.  He is like that relative you don't want to go visit because he goes on and on about his dead wife and how hard it has been.  No matter how you try, you can't move him off the subject, his soliloquies always delivered in that same awful moaning tone.  

All to say, things look dire and joyless unless you are a deplorable.  They still party like its 1999.  According to Newsweek, their rally in Sturges has accounted for 260,000 cases of Covid.  But I'll bet you dollars they don't care.  None of them are saying to themselves, "That's just awful."  What they will say is, "How in the fuck do they know that?  That's just bullshit.  What did they do, test everybody who was there?  Fuck no.  They just make this shit up to make us seem bad.  It is political.  They will do anything to discredit Trump."  

Keep trying to convince them with science they don't understand.  How's that working out for you?  

But enough of that.  Let's talk about me.  I haven't told you about the yellow jackets yet.  I have a colony that burrowed in the jasmine under one of my giant camphor trees.  I didn't know they were there until my yardman showed me.  He was in pain.  He'd just gotten stung on the top of his balding head.  My mother had a colony in her yard that came back every summer for years.  She was scared of them and couldn't get rid of them, she said.  She had lots of stories abut them coming after her, so she stayed out of that part of the yard.  I went online and looked them up.  Supposedly vicious little fuckers.  The yardman asked me to get rid of them.  O.K. I said.  Will do.  

I went to The Google.  I looked at ways to get rid of them.  Vinegar.  Try vinegar.  So I did.  And boy, they went crazy.  But they didn't leave.  Hmm.  I went inside and used The Google again.  Wait!  Another article suggested they liked vinegar.  Hell, I might have just given them food.  Back to the drawing board.  

Detergent, some articles said.  They don't like it.  So I mixed some up in a big container of water and poured it down the opening of their underground fortress.  Now, remember, I have a degree in zoology, and I know that hole doesn't runs straight down into their lair.  Indeed, it will go down, then up, then sideways.  Whatever you pour into the opening is not going to run into the place they keep their queen.  They aren't that stupid.  But, I hoped, the article was correct and they wouldn't like it.  

When I poured it in, they certainly didn't seem to like it.  Yellow jackets began pouring out of the opening in great numbers.  I jumped back a number of yards to watch, waiting for them to attack me with their viciousness.  They didn't.  But were they certainly doing an in air jitterbug.  I retreated back into the house thinking I'd done it.  They would pack up and leave.  

Of course, when I went out later, they were using the hole like nothing had happened.  Thinking maybe one dose wasn't enough, I tried it again.  Same thing.  A big outpouring of wasps, then later, normality.  

Another article said they hated eucalyptus oil.  It also mentioned tea tree oil, so I drove to Whole Foods to get some.  I couldn't find any eucalyptus, so tea tree oil it was. The little bottle was quite expensive, but what was I to do?  

Back home, I poured half the bottle into a cup and filled it with water.  Down the hole and around the opening.  Let's see how they liked that.  

Same reaction as the detergent.  Later that day, they were still there, so I doused the opening with the other half.

Sitting with my mom, I told her all of this.  I told her I didn't like killing things, so I would just keep irritating them and maybe they would leave.  She said they wouldn't.  They were programmed to protect the queen, she said.  They would stay.  

She was right, of course, so I decided on last resorts.  I got an insecticide from the garage and poured it into the hole.  I stepped back and watched them swarm convinced this would be the last dance.  

I was wrong.  Those little fuckers must be immortal.  

I decided yesterday on one more solution.  I got a spray bottle of Home Defense insect killer, stuck the nozzle into the hole, and gave the pistol grip a good number of squeezes.  Then I stood back, and as the wasps came swarming out of the opening, I showered them with its mist.  I did this for a very long time until not so many were coming out any longer.  

I felt terrible.  

Later, when I checked, there was not so much activity around the opening of the nest.  I haven't looked yet today.  I don't want to.  I feel myself a killer of wasps.  They serve an ecological purpose I read.  They eat insects.  They are part of a healthy ecosystem.  It went against my spirit to shoot them down that way.  

I did it for the yardman.  That is my only justification.  I'm not sure its good enough.    

I found today's pictures on the internet.  I was doing a google search for something and found these on the website of one of the women I worked with many years ago.  Do I have these?  In putting together my Lonesomeville book, I didn't see them.  There were other pictures out there that I don't seem to have any longer, too.  I am a mess.  I may never find all the images I have produced over the years.  I don't even know how to search for them other than going through every one of the dozens of hard drives I have picture by picture.  In order to save some record of them, though, I post them here for you/ for me.  I think they are pretty groovy.  That's what we used to say. 


 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Suburban Nature


 There are things I keep forgetting to tell you--for instance, that the lizards at my mother's house keep killing baby snakes.  It is the weirdest thing I've seen in a very long time.  My mother and I sit out in her driveway each afternoon, so we get a lot of suburban nature.  I've become the nut that talks to animals.  I drive the birds crazy with my constant bird chatter.  I am quite the whistle mimic.  I can imitate a great number of bird calls, and having a degree in zoology, I know how to use them.  Birds use their songs to establish territories and attract mates.  Males and females of the species often have different calls.  I like to torment the males, challenging their territories with my own rancid calls.  I can hear the confusion and pissiness in their call backs at the retarded bird who can't quite get the song right.  It breaks me up and entertains my mother.  

My mother often has black snakes around her house.  I tell her this is a good thing, but they get into her garage and she's afraid they will slip into the house.  I worry about that, too, 'cause that shit can scare you. I'm not brave about snakes.  In school, we had to collect and study vertebrates in our county.  I wasn't much of a collector.  I was more of a chaser.  I'd pretend to try to catch things like lizards and snakes slapping my hands down behind them so that they would run to the next person.  I know that a lizard bite is not going to hurt, but anything that opens its mouth to defend itself is off limits for me.  Fuck that.  I wish I were braver and could let the little fuckers bite my earlobes and hang on like earrings the way I see others do, but that just isn't me.  Get a lizard out of the house?  Get me a spatula and a cardboard box.  Yes. . . I'm that big of a sissy.  See Woody Allen and the lobsters in "Annie Hall."  That's me.  

A few months back, as we lounged with beers in the driveway driving down the property values in the neighborhood, a skinny black snake came slithering through the grass.  It was longish, about two and a half feet, I'd guess, and he made his way into her rose garden and disappeared.  Another day, he slithered across the driveway then circled around to have a look at me.  I talked to him the way I do the lizards.  

"Hey, buddy, what's going on?"  

He responded by coming closer and raising up like a cobra.  After telling my mother they were good and nothing to worry about, I was ready to kill him and shit my pants.  I was ashamed immediately by my undignified reaction, and made a joke about it to my mother who laughed heartily, but it didn't really palliate my embarrassment.  I mean the poor thing wasn't as thick as my thumb.  

Each afternoon, the lizards come out to enjoy the heat radiating off the cement driveway.  They have two main occupations, mating and eating bugs.  The males are at least twice the size of the females, and they come out and do their lizard dance, displaying their red throats and bouncing up and down in a spastic display.  The little females look at them.  The males, eventually, will run over to the females and do their dance again.  Then, in a quick and violent move, they top her, entwining her with their front legs and tail.  I pointed this out to my mother and explained that lizards have two penis, hemipenes, to make the odds better of getting into the females cloaca.  My mother and father paid for me to get that degree, so I want to pay back when I can.  My mother's reaction was, "Huh.  Really?"  I'm not sure she believed me.  Sometimes as one male tops a female, another male will make an attack.  It is something to see.  He'll run full speed at the mating pair and knock the topper off.  If a lizard can look dazed, the topper does.  Then they will face off and one or two of them will run away.  

When they are not mating, they eat, mostly ants that crawl in the cracks in the cement, but sometimes something bigger.  With the bigger bugs, they chew.  I made of point of clarifying this for my mother, too.  

But of late, I've noticed them attacking baby snakes.  At first I thought they were worms, but I had to get a closer look.  Nope. They were not worms.  They were baby snakes with a ring around their necks.  The lizards are vicious in their attacks, and the baby snakes writhe in apparent pain enduring bite after bite.  Eventually the little things can barely crawl and the lizards leave them alone to die.  They don't eat them.  They just kill them.  I will have to look it up, but I would assume that the adult snakes eat the lizards.  It seems weird to me, reptiles eating reptiles, but it shouldn't surprise me as mammals eat mammals constantly.  

I've watched them kill three or four baby snakes so far.  It is sad, but it is the way of nature.  I still talk to the lizards.  I talk to the birds and the snakes, too.  I care far less for the dogs walking by with their owners.  I have to say that my mother's neighbors have some of the ugliest mutts I have ever seen collected in one place.  It is as if they all went to the pound to find the ugliest canine.  

My own neighborhood has spectacular purebreds, beautiful creatures, inbred and fatally flawed.  

There are other things to mention, but I slept very late and the day is getting away from me.  I need to move.  I hope you have enjoyed this little insight into the suburban wild kingdom.  I don't get to talk zoology any more, so no matter, it was fun for me.  

Monday, September 7, 2020

Depravity and Grace

  

More pictures from The Covid Diaries.  People-less faces of buildings and things.  What can I do?  I have no one to frame, no one to lens.  Still, I learn.  I've been working on color grading in post production and now in camera with the new Fuji.  I figure this could be the opening shot in a movie.  Unexciting but serviceable.  

Just more of my neighborhood discoveries trying to compete with those more adventurous who are out there on the highway in search of the "exotic."  

Vs. my mundane.  

Re: Q.  He is on the road, another trip, another vacation, yet his missives are filled with pictures of pools and dogs.  WTF, dude?  Where are the leggy women and decrepit gas stations?  

I'm kidding.  He's a family man, a father, a pet owner.  That shit I just described is flotsam from a time gone by, something from the bad old past when people liked titillation.  The old Soviet Union taught us about art.  It should serve the good of the common cause.  Art should be Ideologically Correct, not a revelation of some depraved artist's dreams and desires.  Fuck Picasso, that old misogynist.  Fuck Modigliani.  Fuck Matisse.  Fuck 'em all.  

Better off with kids and dogs.  

And the facades of buildings.  

You have nothing to fear from either Q nor I.  We are going to serve up a happy dance of color and fun.  While he focuses on the family, I will show you the architecture of our time.  

But wait, you say!  I thought Billy Monk was a cultural hero representing the unrepresented, a changer of social norms, a freedom fighter for the oppressed and marginalized?  

Well, you know, times being what they are. . . .   This is no Weimar Republic of depravity.  We are not Q.  Sorry, I mean QAnon.  How can they steal a whole letter of the alphabet?  It seems wrong, but everything about those Russian trolls is.  

Still, you have to admire them.  It is a lot easier than science.  

To spice up my life in these dreadful times, I decided to take a chance on sushi.  Oh, god, holy fuck. . . it was delicious.  Miso soup, garlic lime edamame, and tuna nigiri.  I brought it home and ate it on the deck with the cats.  But I had to wait for my order outside at a sidewalk table.  The music was playing, the sun was softly setting while couples sat elegantly at white clothed tables looking around and staring into one another's eyes.  People held hands and giggled as they walked by on the sidewalk.  

It made me very sad.  It has been so long since I've done such a thing.  I am suddenly that lone old guy watching passersby, mouth agape, eyes pleading.  It happened so quickly.  One moment I was on top of the mountain looking out, the next at the bottom of the glen flailing.  

Maybe it is better than the slow decline.  Who knows.  

I will need to recover some grace.  Grace, in the end, is probably all we can hope for and maybe all we have.  If we are lucky.  I will work on grace, having lost hope and now accepting charity.  

That is what I have learned so far here in the Time of Covid.