Monday, March 31

Cat People vs. Dog People

I won't write up any of my own analyses here, though I'll definitely participate in the comments! It's not that I'm lazy (this time), I've just got about five things going on at once right now. And it's all been said before anyways. I like both cats and dogs and respect everyone no matter which they prefer (as long as they're not cruel to the species they dislike). I can see both sides of the matter and appreciate the good qualities of each, though I'm most definitely squarely on the "cat person" side of the fence. I love doggies too, especially labs and happy breeds like that, but they're too much maintenance for me (it's nice when other people have them and you can play with them or pet them for a little while and then leave!) It's amazing how up-in-arms some people get about the whole "argument" - silly actually. Some links:

There're scads more but you can look them up for yourself. Feel free to sound off on your own preference and why! Don't come in weak either, if you've got a preference, be proud of it!
Sky metal

I see their oblong faces.
What they have done to my mind is criminal.
Won't somebody please free me?
Release me from this place that's eating me?
Won't someone do anything at all?

Yet I awoke from that dream.
The air was transparent and a black vault reigned over
Chirping crickets and slugs and lightning bugs.
And I saw it streak across the empty sky.
I saw that ancient traveler's day to die.

One day she was in my life,
Suddenly like that blazing chariot this charming opiate
Stirred zephyrs that pushed the hair from my eyes,
And her heart into my mind;
And in my throat has stuck mine.

Friday, March 28

Sunday, March 23

Snuggly poley bears.

Thursday, March 20


Mother I tried, please believe me
I'm doing the best that I can
I'm ashamed of the things that I've been put through
I'm ashamed of the person I am

–Ian Curtis (1980)


Wednesday, March 19

Deep water.

I feel the weight of the ring on me, every day, feel myself worn out and aged beyond my years. I feel the eye upon me, every night, filling me with offal and tyrannical blues. Reds. Wish I'd been snuffed out before I could breathe. Wish I had the will to see through correcting that mistake now. Wish I were happy I suppose, but happy seems an alien feeling to me right now, a vintage wine I tasted a couple of time in a previous life and have almost forgotten the taste of, fleeting as it was, and I've no wine cellar and no more money and happiness seem ridiculous to suppose is in my cards.

I've lived a life. I've been part of a family and raised a child, held down some well-paying jobs and bought a new car. I just don't want to go on anymore. I don't want to keep waking up and feel that sick sensation in the pit of my stomach when I realize I'm still here and another day has to be faced. I don't want to start all over, invest myself a hundred percent in life, in career and relationship and health, for that is the alternative to self-destruction for me. I cannot bear to do anything in the middle. And I've found only incomplete crumbs of reasons to commit to that one hundred percent, and the effort seems way beyond me now in any event. I'm completely and hopelessly lost in the briar patch and out of shape for that sort of thing, like asking a broken down man in a nursing home to go be with the girl who loves him, knowing he'll want to train for a marathon for her and will probably keel over or burst at the seems giving the effort.

I think it's time to go. I wish people would understand how unhappy I am and how hard life is for me on an daily basis, with only brief respites of air like a seal coming up under the arctic ice, but there's always a bear lurking by my air hole. And the deep waters hold nothing but horrors for me. I am trapped inside a mind and body that is living a life I do not want anymore. There is the occasional spark of brilliant light and color, like the retinal afterimage made by a firefly or a distant camera flash or a falling star, but these are always swallowed up again by inky darkness, and they are rarer now and more muted and further away. A few people care about me but I don't seem to care about myself enough to be able to give what I should in return. Old friends have gone away. Old memories of contentment are far away; they only make me cry and go into a ball to think about them. Problems don't go away. People don't love you and then walk away.

Swimming the same deep water as you people is too hard. Reluctantly, I choose the bear.

Like that ugly tree,
i'm broken
peeling away at the surface
deep red is the color behind my eyes
and my mind
feels no respite from the chill
on a mountaintop in the endless night
I twist and turn
like some dream about the truth
like branches on a bitter tree
manzanita, failed life
keeps pushing roots into rocky soil
with no nutrients
keep snaking its ugly crown of heads
around the air, sniffing for
the smallest trace of vitality
but finds itself a living corpse already
emtombed in one place
freezing air and vultures
manzanita, poor dear
true natural selection would have
steamrolled you so throroughly.

Tuesday, March 18

Independence day.

I feel deep-eyed
Sallow sockets and sweat
It's so cold outside
I can't keep any warmth in my body
Like an eyeless fish, pale and scaly
I make no sound
And no one ever seems to miss me
When I'm not around

I feel dead on the outside
And dead on the inside
My mind trapped in a skull
My skull trapped in a universe
My skin is dry and starting to flake
And I see trails of missiles overhead,
Like the it's the beginning of the end
And I'm happy.

Monday, March 17


none of the images are mine, only the captions





Sunday, March 16

Not mine, but too funny not to post.

Friday, March 14


(Richard Butler)

There's an army on the dance floor
It's a fashion with a gun, my love
In a room without a door
A kiss is not enough, in...

Love my way
It's a new road
I follow
Where my mind goes.

They'd put us on a railroad
They'd dearly make us pay
For laughing in their faces
And making it our way

There's emptiness behind their eyes
There's dust in all their hearts
They just want to steal us all
And take us all apart, but not in...

Love my way
It's a new road
I follow
Where my mind goes.

So swallow all your tears my love
And put on your new face
You can never win or lose
If you don't run the race.

Thursday, March 13

Spanish Bombs
(Joe Strummer)

Spanish songs in Andalucia
The shooting sites in the days of '39
Oh, please leave the vendana open
Fedrico Lorca is dead and gone
Bullet holes in the cemetery walls
The black cars of the Guardia Civil
Spanish bombs on the Costa Rica
I'm flying in a DC 10 tonight

Spanish bombs, yo te quiero y finito
Yo te querda, oh mi corazon
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero y finito
Yo te querda, oh mi corazon

Spanish weeks in my disco casino
The freedom fighters died upon the hill
They sang the red flag, they wore the black one
But after they died it was Mockingbird Hill
Back home the buses went up in flashes
The Irish tomb was drenched in blood
Spanish bombs shattered the hotels
My senorita's rose was nipped in the bud

Spanish bombs, yo te quiero y finito
Yo te querda, oh mi corazon
Spanish bombs, yo te quiero y finito
Yo te querda, oh mi corazon

The hillsides ring with "Free the people"
Or can I hear the echo from the days of '39?
With trenches full of poets, the ragged army
Fixin' bayonets to fight the other line
Spanish bombs rock the province
I'm hearing music from another time
Spanish bombs on the Costa Brava
I'm flying in on a DC 10 tonight

Spanish songs in Andalucia,
Mandolina, oh mi corazon
Spanish songs in Granada,
Oh mi corazon
Oh mi corazon
Oh mi corazon

Wednesday, March 12


what was it like in that silence
i know what it's like outside now
i think it was louder inside
what did i think about all those years
what fear was i running from
by going nowhere at all
and why did i let this fantastic machine
disable me

i just sat there in the interminable silence
waiting for some sign of light
just some form of real adult life
that made sense and was a step onward
and put the pieces from the past into place
and it never came
i waited years in that box for a salvation
that never came


How many people know what real fear feels like? How many feel that way on a daily basis? The tightened, burning stomach. The trembling and sweaty hands, the cold feet, aching legs. The wide open eyes and mind. The nervous energy. The sensation of falling, felt anew every few seconds. Maybe it lets up a minute and you think you're beginning to get your feet under you again. Then you fall again. The real fear of losing your mind for good. Of dying or of never being able to die, going crazy and never escaping the way it feels right now, never finding that illusion of calm again. For it does seem like it must be an illusion. The world seems set at right angles. Crazy fracture lines in the sky, running through our architecture, into the ground whence we sprouted half-formed and where we'll end up half-digested. Everything seems like an old-fashioned take on a brand new cosmic panorama threatening to tear open our tiny primate minds and send our thoughts into eddies, our questions spiralling into themselves. Nautilus shells. Golden ratios. Fibonacci sequences. Infinite regression. Mirrors pointed at themselves. Parallel universes and infinite quantum hells. Filing down my teeth, hitting my head against my door. Screaming and crying into my pillow at night, collapsing in the corner of the shower. How many people fight against this most of their lives?

Tuesday, March 11


How to express the unexpressable
Are you okay?
It's gonna turn out another cloudy day
But it's gonna feel warm again
Everything blows over doesn't it
But such old memories
Leave me wondering what's real
A swingset sits empty in a gravel park
Black and white pictures
The sounds on the radio and
People I didn't know
All around me in the very place I lived
Televisions trying to pick out invisible waves
Bounced off of space
I think I found the corner of a movie theater
Counted up all the reasons I had
And couldn't get past my first hand
Couldn't stop the meltdown
But it's gonna feel warm again
There's gonna be another day
I've been trying to express the unexpressable
For way too long
The ghosts and pulses that were
Once primary feelings without names or shapes
Have become ordinary things
Periods in my life when I felt something change
And always clotted all around me
These people I felt I could never know
They say it's gonna be another rainy day
But I know, I know
You can't go through this without feelings
You sure can't go through it
With any real feelings at all
But they say the clouds will break
And it's gonna feel warm again

Monday, March 10

Sent to me by my mama. Don't know who took it.

Friday, March 7

When the stars come out
They will be bright and cold
Clear and bold
Hold me tight
When the stars comes out tonight
And in the morning
No one knows if we'll survive
Another fight or cold shoulder, so
Roll me over, gentle lover
And say goodnight.

Thursday, March 6

unknown credit
A Fun Musical Interlude

Ok, here's a little game to lighten things up (like a match in the pitch-black tar of Plato's cave of reality, doomed to die, illuminating nothing but flickering shadows of perfect things we will never see because they don't exist unless we look at them directly, like a photon or an electron or a neturino in chocolate, vanilla, or pistachio flavors).

This is for fun, there are no right answers (although I'll probably think you're a tit if you say something stupid).

Three perfect (or nearly perfect) albums in a row. Some great artists have never accomplished this, like John Lennon, who almost did it with Plastic Ono Band, Imagine, and Mind Games, but he had to stick A Little Time In NYC in there and break the chain. But some musical artists get on a roll and can do no wrong for a period of time. More than a few have put out 3 or more masterworks consecutively. Live albums, greatest hits, and movie soundtracks don't count as interrupting the studio flow.

I'll give a few easy examples, (to take those away, muahaha) and then whoever wants to can weigh in with their own! Be as obvious or obscure as you want: It's what YOU think are great albums that matters, not Rolling Stone or the NME or the music intelligentsia. But they do have to be consecutive releases. Go beyond three if you feel like you need to; I've done this several times in my own list. Or correct me if you think I'm full of it some of my choices! It's all in good fun. At least until someone loses an eye.

Bob Dylan: Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde On Blonde
Leonard Cohen: The Songs of Leonard Cohen, Songs from a Room, Songs of Love and Hate
Bowie (set 1): Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane
Bowie (set 2): Station to Station, Low, Heroes, Lodger, Scary Monsters
The Beach Boys: Today, Summer Days (and Summer Nights!), Pet Sounds
The Clash: London Calling, Sandinista!, Combat Rock
Elvis Costello: My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces
The Smiths: The Smiths, Meat Is Murder, The Queen Is Dead, Louder Than Bombs, Strangeways Here We Come
The Beatles: Revolver, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles, Abbey Road, Let It Be
The Who: Tommy, Who's Next, Quadrophenia
Dan Fogelberg: Home Free, Souvenirs, Captured Angel, Nether Lands, Phoenix, The Innocent Age
Radiohead: The Bends, OK Computer, Kid A
The Cure: Seventeen Seconds, Faith, Pornography
The Boss: Born to Run, Darkness on the Edge of Town, The River, Nebraska
Bob Marley: Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration, Exodus, Kaya
The Beastie Boys: Licensed to Ill, Paul's Boutique, Check your head, Ill Communication
Depeche Mode: Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, Music For The Masses, Violator
Steely Dan: Katy Lied, Royal Scam, Aja
REM: Murmer, Reckoning, Fables of the Reconstruction, Life's Rich Pageant, Document, Green
The Police: Outlandos D'Amour, Regatta De Blanc, Zenyatta Mondatta, Ghost In The Machine, Synchronicity
Pink Floyd: Meddle, Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, The Wall, The Final Cut
Nick Drake: Five Leaves Left, Bryter Layter, Pink Moon
They Might Be Giants: They Might Be Giants, Lincoln, Flood


You came to me on a dark night, with a comment
Shy like a unicorn, fiery like a comet;

I tracked you down and showed you care
The smell of April was in the air.

From the first you confused me; eluded me
But you clung to me too sometimes and soothed me;

So back and forth, like dueling fencers
You and I, love's most senseless dancers.

And yet you never gave the part of yourself
Which you offered to others who only hurt you;

I tried in vain to convince you to have me
You must have known I would never desert you.

In my pain I stayed constant, for I thought I knew
Then the skies poured rain and you looked above;

Sometimes I don't know if I can't stand you...
Or you're the only person I will ever love.

(Paul McCartney)

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go...

I'm filling the cracks that ran through the door
And kept my mind from wandering
Where will it go...

And it really doesn't matter if
I'm wrong, I'm right
Where I belong, I'm right
Where I belong.

See the people standing there who disagree and never win
And wonder why they don't get in my door.

I'm painting my room in the colourful way
And when my mind is wandering
There I will go...

And it really doesn't matter if
I'm wrong, I'm right
Where I belong, I'm right
Where I belong.

Silly people run around they worry me
And never ask me why they don't get past my door.

I'm taking the time for a number of things
That weren't important yesterday
And I still go...

I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in
And stops my mind from wandering
Where it will go...

Wednesday, March 5

Cotton Zen
Silver plastic Zen
Diet Coke Zen
All Zen.

Cat's purr
Wind in your hair
A triangle
All Tao.

None of these things are Zen.
None of them describe the Tao.

But you get the basic idea.


Look at all the unhappy people in the world
Who just exist from day to day
Who live between shades of grey
All the broken-hearted people
All the broken-spirited people
Who were formed of the stuff of creation
Not of quintessence, but of clay

And look at kids playing in the park
That one looks so lonely
Afraid to join in, convincing himself
It's only stupid games
Maybe he'll burn down a school one day
Maybe he'll just drift from job to job
Sit and think, and drink

Until his demons go away
Until he goes away.

Tuesday, March 4

Monday, March 3

a new dream

now I see a wooden knob
on a cupboard drawer
or an oval shape
on a wooden plane
or a flattened sky painted
with wond'rous things!

here is an old bolt rusting
made some fifty years ago
or it's a shape aglow
with evening reds and a
story that whispers in my head
when I am tucked into bed

on my naked flesh I feel
a cotton sheet as cool as silk
a square of red deformed in space
in four dimensions, locked away
and as I sleep my senses play
and know the world as though t'were real!
lost and found

forget the grand picture
there is no grand picture
only a succession of moments
and in each moment you have choices
all very simple
simply make the right choice
ignore any surges of memory
or pangs about the future
put correct moments together
one after the other
that is all

Sunday, March 2

Separation of church and school.

The Founding Fathers, looking back on an old world where religion and politics and been incestuously intertwined since the dawn of civilization, fought hard to get the principle of separation of church and state into the American Constitution, which has been much a model for liberal democracies since. The fact that our own politicians can't actually put it into practice these days - tell anyone you're a Buddhist, a Muslim, an atheist, or anything but a Christian and your political career in this country is dead - is sad, but at least the principal remains written in there and other countries now get to practice it.

What is not so cool is that a loophole or outright omission allows people to send their children to religious private schools. We pay tax money so our government can fund an education system from kindergarten through graduate studies and try very hard to see that the evil tentacles of religion don't sneak in (do kids still have to say "one nation under God" when they say the Pledge of Allegiance? Why do they have to say that thing at all? Isn't it a bit like the old films of Nazi Germany indoctrinating their children to the Nation via morning pledges to the swastika?). There are heated debates in backward areas like the Bible Belt and have been court cases in Kansas early in the 20th century and Pennsylvania early in the 21st over such contentious issues (only to religious morons) like evolution, but nevertheless science hasn't yet been brought to its knees in the public school system, nor has education in theology been instituted except as an elective study at the collegiate level, so things seem to be working out pretty well.

Except that religious adults can simply send their children to a religious school and not a public school. A child's mind is at stake, and yet in my free, local "family" newsletter (whatever that means) there appear to be dozens upon dozens of Christian academies, charters "for Christ," "Jesus-oriented education," as well as New Age and disproved, outmoded holistic hippy schools all masquerading as legitimate educational systems. This offends me. First of all, I seriously doubt the scientific method and the subjects of biological evolution and cosmology are being taught skillfully and fairly in schools like these when the School Police are not in town for an audit. In fact, I happen to know they are not because I attended a Lutheran school for a time, and was rebuked by my teacher for writing a paper about mysterious phenomena such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and ESP. No matter that the paper was skeptical about the existence of such things; the mere fact that it mentioned evolutionary mechanisms as possible explanations for some such phenomena was enough to get me called to the teacher's office and "corrected" in my thinking by a short sermon on Genesis. I didn't push the issue because I still got a good grade on the paper and wasn't as much of a troublemaker then as I am now.

The point is, kids, who are not born religious but may be surrounded by religious vermin where they live, cannot always look forward to their time at school as being an oasis of reason, a "flicker of candlelight in a demon-haunted world," to use Carl Sagan's phrase. Instead, many of these poor kids have to hear the same nonsense in class as they do at home and everywhere else they go, are severely discouraged from thinking rationally and encouraged by in-school Mass or Chapel to accept the doctrine of Faith, surely as nonsensical a philosophy as there can be, and must in their minds tie all these character-molding forces in with their ABCs and their arithmetic. This to me is just as insidious as allowing prayer in public schools or letting Presidents declare war on foreign nations because "God told him to do it," or any other such lunacy. It may be worse, in fact, because religion is being taught as fact by the same people who are also teaching them real facts like geography and spelling. How much harder must it be to reject only part of the message of these teachers while retaining the useful bits than it is to simply, say, not go to church or synagogue or mosque?

What happened to the idea of separation of religion and secular matters altogether, which after all is what the whole Constitutional fuss was about in the first place? It wasn't meant as a mere obstacle to be slalomed around by having a "wink-wink" political system where only Christians can realistically be elected to any form of higher office, and where our children can legally be taught, as long as the school is a private one, that Noah's Ark and a 6,000 year-old Earth are realities, while biological evolution and the Big Bang are hotly-debated "theories" (they aren't). Why don't ALL children have to attend rigidly secular public schools, and then if their parents want to send them for additional religious studies in the evening or on weekends, they can. Let's see how that colors children's opinion of religion, actually getting multiple viewpoints on the subject.

Most people would say, more than 200 years now from its founding, that the USA is a resounding success. I would strongly equivocate with that view. Churchill once said of democracy that it was the worst form of government "except every other which has been tried," and I tend to think of the USA in these terms as well. Yes, there are a lot of rotten places in the world one could live and living in America is for the most part nice and comfortable. But viewing it by the stricter measuring stick of tolerance toward racial, sexual, and religious/philosophical minorities, of having stuck to the letter and the spirit of secularism and personal freedom its founders imbued it with, of heeding their warnings against "foreign entanglements" rather than spread our disease of vacuous materialism all around the globe, I'd have to say that so far we're barely cutting it, trying to raise that "D" to a "C-" so that we can continue on without being held back a semester.

The ironic thing is that so many of the countries from which the original Americans freed themselves, and which then turned about and adopted similar constitutional democracies after their own populations saw how good an idea it was, are now much freer and more tolerant in many ways that the USA is. No country or union of countries will ever be perfect, but I'd give Western Europe a "C+/B-" right now on that same report card that we are so ashamed to bring home to our Founding Fathers. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and the rest of their crew would, in my estimation, be quite alarmed by how America is being run, and perhaps not so unhappy with the way certain other, newer democracies have started out. Of course, freedom tends to unleash those most virulent forces in human nature - forces like greed, oppression, sloth - which can in turn destroy the very system that allowed them out of the human psyche. It remains to be seen whether a liberal democracy is a truly stable form of government, or whether all countries who go that route end up with the same kinds of problems that America has at around the same time in their development.

It seems like quite an intractable problem to me, personally. Hand power to the masses to allow them to decide what is best for themselves. But the masses don't know what's best for themselves as a whole, only individually, so they squabble over the power like 250 million monarchs instead of a handful, and the poor, the wrong-colored, those with unpopular beliefs, and the man who is unwilling to kill for his share still end up at the bottom of the heap, stoned by the masses rather than hanged by a king's court, but at the bottom nonetheless. Surely there must be a better way. A genetically-engineered endless series of benign dictators, anyone?

Saturday, March 1

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