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May 6, 2012 - April 29, 2012

Wednesday, February 09, 2011


Stocking Seams

"I like the way the line runs up the back of your stocking..."

ROCK AND ROLL IS DEAD. One of the responses to my extortion of praise for the Glossary moved me.  'I Used to Love Penny' said:

This one caught my attention, not because it is funny, but because it identifies the underlying pathos.

"There exists an unpolled universe of dirty old men who are silently amazed by a mystery no one mentions: that intangible something in the air which smells of falling temperatures in the ardor of young men. What's going on inside those baggy pants? Or inside those tiny skintight selves? No one wants to ask; is this because we do not care? Or have we rather consented, knowingly or not, to slowly bleed to death the real cause of unsafe sex: the gender that is the unsafe sex. "

Stand up young men, stretch your bodies in the sun. Run along the edge, jump off the top, wrestle with the unknown! Don't let the gynocracy get you down. Don't let them cut out the parts of you that make them tremble.

In the space of time between the extinguishing of man and the disappearance of our race they will, with weeping and wailing, lament the loss of trembling.

What almost no one appreciates is how quickly this has happened. The currency of female sexuality today is the pierced tongue and the 'tramp stamp.' Only a generation ago it had to do with the tease, not blatant billboard advertising of wares and techniques. Now we have 'urban dictionary' entries about the donkey punch and the dirty Sanchez, with both sexes chortling over their single-entendres.

No wonder there's a general decline in male libido. I just want to clarify one thing, the 'dirty old man' reference. Frankly, I don't find anything sexually attractive about young women anymore, including basically any that are under 40 or 50. More and more, the young ones strike me as guys with tits and twats. The new term of "connecting" as a euphemism for unromantic screwing is enough to make me feel I have outlived my time.

People, even commenters here, keep asking why I continually refer to myself as old even though I'm only 57. This is a huge reason why. Maybe I'm wrong, but I have the distinct impression that if you lift the back of a twenty-something girl's top these days, you'll see a tattoo a few inches above her bottom that's designed to visually amuse her latest 'lover' while he pounds away doggy-style. What's that all about? Wer're supposed to take her seriously as an emancipated, fully equal person of note and individual accomplishment? Phooey.

Old.I.Am. The same way I feel about seeing Fergie at the Super Bowl imitating rapper accents and showing off a singing voice that, well, let's face it, ain't no Doris Day, Lena Horne, or Tina Turner.

Real sex is in the past. Which makes it harder to care about anything and everything.

I keep wondering what percentage of everybody is now just statistical units of lust and consumption and bathroom breaks, text-messaging acquaintances instead of living life with real intimates? Maybe you can educate me about my world-class fuddy-duddy-ness. But I'll leave you with this while you think about it:


Of course, it doesn't help my cause that David Lee Roth looks increasingly like a dissipated old accountant, balding, bloated, and boring. Oh well. Nobody ever promised that life would be fair.




Tuesday, February 08, 2011



Just for fun:

Zombie on Caruso

Skip to 3:55 in if you're impatient.

DIVIDEND. Yeah, it's old, but I think you all deserve a laugh, and somehow this is still as fresh as the first spring daffodil we're all waiting for. I'm not completely sure the video will play for everyone, so here's an excerpt in prose:

Rob Zombie directed an episode of CSI: Miami recently – but he probably won’t be directing a second one.

Last night on Fox News’ Red Eye, Zombie seemed like he really wanted to vent about the “longest three weeks of my life,” directing David Caruso on the hit CBS show.

Zombie says he started out “enthusiastic,” but by the last day, “I wouldn’t even get up from the chair, I was sitting behind the monitor, he’d be like ‘how was I?’ and I go, ‘I don’t give a shit.’”

So what was the deal with Caruso, who is famous for basically this? Zombie said he set up a scene for Caruso to drive into, when he was told, “‘David’s not great with driving.”

I was like, ‘okay, we won’t have him driving car, he’ll already be parked, and he’ll step out;’ they go, ‘he’s not good with doors.’

Apparently he’s also not so great with sitting either.

Zombie hired his friend Malcolm McDowell to play the bad guy in the episode, and McDowell “purposely came in with the idea he was going to drive David Caruso up a wall.” Zombie said McDowell would make him wait to do his close-up shots and, the greatest sin of all, would step on Caruso’s famous button line at the end of each scene. “Mission accomplished,” he said. (And cue Who scream.)

And, yes, this is a rerun, but who could resist?



No need to comment. I'm not extorting appreciation. This is just a great unselfish act on my part because I don't have to go to court today.





Country Mouse,
City Mouse




THOSE WHO KNOW BETTER. I was going to write about this with maps, showing the incredibly tiny geographic percentage of the country that voted for Obama, but my Marine friend dissuaded me. "Nobody cares about maps," he said. "Election demographics are a snooze. Besides, you've already done that. It was a snooze."

He's right. To an extent few people realize, being a regular blogger means learning constantly how wrong you are about what moves people. So I'm forced to a more obscure and ambitious differentiation.

My point being that it's the Obama supporters who are the ignoramuses, not the much ridiculed people who oppose him.

Yes, there are people throughout the length and breadth of America who support Obama. In every state, city, and township. Why maps don't work. At least not geographical maps. But when I was in college, I learned that the definition of place is not entirely geographical. I learned, for example...

Well, let me back up for a moment. Before college I had realized that the concept of "place" is an incredibly plastic and malleable thing. I have spent most of my life less than ten miles from the New Jersey Turnpike. Most people who do not live in New Jersey tend to conflate the Turnpike with the state itself. Funny to those of us who live here but intensely relevant to my larger point. What we all know without having to articulate it is that the Turnpike is its own place, separate from the places where we actually live our lives, even if those places are less than a hundred yards from one of the portals called exits.

The Turnpike has its own police force, its own governance and administration, its own maintenance crews, its own diminutive cities and icons. While the loci called rest stops have names drawn from New Jersey history -- Clara Barton, Walt Whitman, Frank Farley (?!), et al -- there is no cultural diversity to speak of and no external connection that isn't a pretense. Except for their names, all rest stops are the same rest stop, the fuel attendants all wear the same uniform, and the gas pump and fast food prices are equally, well, uniform. In short, the New Jersey Turnpike is an incredibly skinny, incredibly long, incredibly homogeneous, incredibly segregated subset of New Jersey. It does not interact with its neighbors; it simply sits alongside them, confident of its own superiority to the customs and chaotic variety of whatever it transects. For when you enter the Turnpike, the toll card is like a visa to a foreign nation, revokeable at any time, even if your visits are a daily occurrence.

Back to college. Where I learned that there's an elite distributed across the country who are a lot like the Turnpike. They have more in common with one another than they do with the geographical places they're supposedly located in. Lake Forest, Illinois, is Grosse Point, Michigan, is Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, is Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, is Rumsen, New Jersey, is, well, you get the picture. The children go to the same prep schools and colleges, the daughters are debutantes shopping for the same dresses, and -- as much as any conclave of Armenians -- they all know each other before the first day of orientation at Pine Manor, Smith, Middlebury, or Yale. They're their own place, their own country. And they're pretty sure they own the rest of us.

But they're a tolerant bunch and they also grant visas to the token commoners who are prepared to play ball. Hell, a turnpike doesn't make money without consumer traffic and payers of the tolls. Obama Nation from the top down perspective. Just imagine what it's really like to be them, though. You go to your restaurants and you don't know where the food comes from or how. The same with your clothes, your electricity, your cab rides, even the elevator you take to your highrise office. Absolutely everything in life that makes life work is a mystery you're superior to, until it gets broken. At which point you demand the proles see to it. The same way the Turnpike knows nothing of the real economic engine which feeds it drivers. As long as everyone bows at the toll gate, they are the masters of all they survey.

Not the only turnpike-style enclave however. There are also the takers in the urban realm, who are likewise all from the same place, hands out and empty except for their fistfuls of grievances and demands. And the government employees who grow up in a culture entirely alien from real American life, where time in grade trumps competition and talent in the whole nationwide school system, as well as municipal, state and federal employees of every stripe. Yes, they may live next door and drive exactly the same SUV and minivan you do, but they have less in common with you than they do with their fellow featherbedders in every other state and commonwealth in the nation. They just don't see life the same way you do. You're the Turnpike travellers. They're the toll booth attendants, exacting their (more than) fair share of every mile you travel.

Does interacting with us change them, elevate them, ennoble them? No. Does the New Jersey Turnpike visit and gain illumination from Moorestown, Gloucester, or Paramus? No. All the defining transactions are different. Homogeneity and heterogeneity are fundamental enemies. The former possesses a sense of unconscious, non-introspective entitlement. The latter is too, well, heterogeneous even to observe that a distinction exists. They're our next-door neighbors, aren't they?

And so we, the ones who are actually out here living in a dazzlingly variegated world of individuals, unique circumstances, and affecting human dramas have no conception whatever of the tiny, narrow world in which our 'superiors' exist.

For example, the racial comfort of the Lake Forest-Rumsen-Chestnut Hill set prospers, as do all their ideals, through non-contact with any unsettling reality. There are no temptations to be racist on Nantucket Island or Malibu. They live inside the Turnpike sound barriers and hear nothing that could disturb their certainties.

The same goes for even the suburban, middle-class denizens of this other, 'unexceptional' America. The competitive strife and urgency of the real-world market is merely quaint when it is visited by people who can never be fired for incompetence and who are looking forward to automatic promotions based on showing up somewhat regularly.

And so they miss it all. All the good, wondrous, beautiful, moving stuff. That a tractor in the field isn't a calendar picture-in-waiting but a multi-generational, multi-dimensional manifestation of the meaning of life. That there are soldiers who actually serve their nation in the full knowledge that they might perish in that service and still regard the transaction as worthwhile. That tradesmen of all sorts -- from candle shops to car repair garages to plumbers and purveyors of affordable furniture -- are betting their homes and families on their ability to outstrip the competition. These benighted ones -- from debutantes to shop instructors -- don't have to get it.

They see government the way they do because they are the indistinguishable statistical units they don't understand our resentment about being seen as.

If everyone you know went to Groton and Princeton, who are the "people" the constitution maunders on about? Nothings and nobodies. Literally. You're already a commodity. Why shouldn't everybody else be, too?

Which maybe explains why teachers in New Jersey simply can't begin to understand why they should give up anything when the state that's paying their salaries in perpetuity is utterly bankrupt. What's the problem? Where's my ice cream cone? I've been waiting for more than two minutes now...

My Marine friend warned me against making the 'Two Americas' argument. I accept his admonition. But I think the America I grew up in needs to understand exactly who and what they're dealing with.

And I didn't show you a single map. But have you figured out my title?

I'm a Country Mouse. I live at present more than ten miles below the bottom of the Turnpike. (Talk about low on the totem pole... Or should that be low on the Turnpike toll?) AND I'm a...





Do I care that Obama
 has 'quit' smoking?



NEWS FLASH!  uh, no. For multiple reasons. I don't think he was ever really a smoker in the first place. Look at him. He's a phony poseur. Not a smoker. Could he light up in a cold, whipping windstorm outside on the White House lawn? Not a chance. The picture says it all. He's just lipping the thing, not sucking his lungs full of delicious toxins. Besides, who's really going to tell the president of the United States that he can't fire up a coffin nail in the Oval Office? Nobody. Unless it's the First Lady. Which would make him just as PW'ed as we all knew he was anyway.

His quitting is a lot like the way Hollywood leading men suddenly give up drinking on-screen because the script says it's time for them to get after the plot.

Phooey.

Actually, I'd feel better about him if he were a real smoker. Begging time off from the Nobel Committee to sneak out the servants' entrance and scarf down two butts in a row in the frigid Oslo winter. Or ducking out of the West Wing to snarf one up before the next round of dignitaries arrives. You know. Over there behind the 175 year old Jackson boxwood. Maybe that would put him in contact with real citizens from the White House kitchen and laundry. Fat chance. They don't know shit about plovers' eggs and thousand dollar putters, do they?

All this is just amateur bullshit. How long have they been saving the fact that our president's terrifying two-cig a day habit has finally been broken, thus proving what a MAN he is?

Phooey. Or did I say that already?

Yeah, I did. I'll say it again. Phooey. He smokes like a wannabe starlet desperate to get the part of the whore-with-a-heart-of-gold on a Lifetime movie. Meaning, uh, like, he's never done it before.

Kind of like the way he carries out his duties as president.




Monday, February 07, 2011


February Fun

The Number One Super Bowl Highlight

THE PUG AD WAS #2. No. Not dead, dying, or even seriously indisposed. Just a cavalcade of distractions starting about midweek last week. Late-ish one evening, maybe Tuesday, a 100-lb deerhound pup suddenly starts throwing up all over the place for no discernible reason and doesn't stop for a couple of days. Then a greyhound goes drastically lame, requiring a second huge (panic and) contortion of routine and special procedures. A case of pharyngitis in the stepdaughter ranks. Concomitant modem and phone problems. And on top of all this, Jury Duty. Which seemed to have been dealt with until it suddenly wasn't, maybe Tuesday night, and precipitated lots of drastic reshuffling to comply with the appearance mandate, which is continuing in an aggravated fashion even as we speak. Explanations and elaborations to follow, unless they become too painful to speak of.

That's February in these realms and always has been. T. S. Eliot was a great poet but a rotten judge of cruellest months: February by a landslide. Hoc dixi.

Apologies. The Super Bowl was dutifully watched. Delighted that at least one prediction of this site was proven wrong. Congratulations to Green Bay.

Gotta go. Injured greyhound stumbling up the stairs when he should be in the training room getting his pads off and his long sideline face on. Back at you as soon as the juror who decided the case by looking at the back of the plaintiff's head has extorted the necessary verdict from the absent defendant's peers...


8-Mile. The "mile" roads are rings around the rotting heart of Detroit.
I've driven on all of them. This isn't pop fantasy like Fergie dressed up
as Tina Turner in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. It's Detroit, MI.

Bad attitude still? You betcha. Johnny Friendly is still president, and his union pals are still in charge.

As I said, back at you later.





Renewal


FIGHT OR FLIGHT. I admit it. For a while there I lost heart. Then I heard from an old Marine friend. Who said, "Just keep going. Because you can't not keep going."

He's right, I suppose. It doesn't matter who believes or doesn't. I still believe. Regardless of everything. Even if I'm dumbly repeating myself. Every "new" post idea I floated by him he politely confirmed I'd already made, abundantly,with graphics and music in support. "So I must be done," I said. "Not by a long shot," he replied. "Sometimes what people need is the image of the loser who insists on raising the rifle to his shoulder and firing again, even though all is lost." Trust a Marine to invoke that particular recipe for, uh, victory.  Victory Pyrrhic and Parthian.

"All is not lost," I protested. "Thiis is still America."

"Precisely," he said. "That's what InstaPunk is. The never ever giving up thing. Where else do you find that? Your readers and commenters. They are your army. With good reason. They follow because you fight. You're all the writers who ever actually cared about people, and they know it. You never ever ever stop. The only one who ever almost forgets that is you."



"Don't.," he said. "You were Nuke. Doesn't matter if now and again you're as low as Shane. Try to remember. You're the weirdest man on the planet, part savior, part cold-blooded killer, and part thoroughgoing thinker. Nobody could be as hard and hated as you without possessing some deep virtue. Remember that."

I'll try. Except that Marines have never been noted as philosophers. Go figure. He's probably just one more insane non sequitur in the double failure of my life. Which I tend to think of as two inverted peaks of self-destruction.

Unless I just like the music.

Tomorrow I'm putting my boots back on. And the spurs. If it weren't illegal, I'd also holster a .45. If I had one. If I had one in the closet downstairs. Which I don't. Of course. Obviously. Speaking metaphorically. Of course.




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