Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pyrrich Victory

Matt Branscome told me Leslie Holmes Joyner Barnett(?) reads this blog, and that about spoils it for me. She's a crummy sort of semi-person, in my book, and I long ago told her to get lost. I won't write a single word to amuse her, consciously. I don't know why she still has some morbid interest in me, or my writings, she's dead to me, and I hope she's reading this last post.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fuck the Hippies!

I hate Deadheads, there, I blogged it. I had to get it off my chest, the fans of The Grateful Dead annoy me, and always have. I have an enthusiasm for punk/hardcore music, among other musical genres, so it's fair to say I'm a bit predisposed to dislike and disrespect the "Deadheads". Growing up in the late 80's, the underground music scene was mixed and muddled- a party you'd drop in could have any sort of mix of people following whichever stereotype they had decided to identify with. There were goth kids, skinheads, nerdy punks, and punks in leather jackets. Also a smattering of "straight" kids that were slumming, or whatever. They were so much more tolerable than the Deadheads. They said "yes" to drugs, and wore it on their tie-dyed sleeves, and were so annoyingly stupid, passive and stoned, and yet remained involved in consuming all things related to this band. A band that really sucked, in my unabashed opinion, and I'm now 35 and don't dispute my youthful disdain. If Jerry Garcia isn't rotting in hell with a perpetual poison enema, I register my disgust.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tastes like chicken

I didn't see any news of it, but last night's broadcast of NBC's "My Name is Earl" had a cannabalism joke that was fairly over the top for primetime. Not that I'm complaining, because I thought it was funny,- I like "sick" or black humor, but I'm wondering how NBC let it air without one of those annoying content warnings preceding the show? The joke was the character Randy finding a cooler containing transplant organs after a tornado strikes. He stupidly assumes its contents are steaks, and cooks and eats them. But, ha-ha, they're human livers he's eating! Yes, transplant organ cannibalism jokes, pretty sick, isn't it? If I were on a list waiting for an organ to be donated to save my life, I'd be mortified. I wouldn't want to explain that to a child. Because it would ruin the joke, mostly.

Cannabalism has been on television longer than I've been "Alive", and I laughed myself crazy as I watched the "Lifeboat Sketch" on Monty Python's Flying Circus, and over the years enjoyed Simpsons Halloween episodes with cannabalism-themed humor, and the episode of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" "The Pack"(season 1) had plenty of peeps eatin' peeps, and while off-screen, the show acknowledged, for the sake of authenticity, this wasn't some nightmare sequence, it happened in the show's meta-reality. I enjoy this stuff, but am not so stupid as to be led to think eating people is something mundane, or funny if it were to happen in real life, which it has, unfortunately. I'm not saying this is something we have to warn the viewers about, which the Simpsons used to do, but there's a place for tasteless content in a world that is willing to pay for it. I say "tasteless content" in reference to the eating of human organs intended for life-saving transplant procedures, not a light topic, but the writers could find other things to make light of in this venue, not that I was asked

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ghost in the XBox Machine

My old XBox game console (i.e. not 360) upped and died on me this week, and gave me the dreaded "red eye", which was a surprise to both me and my brother. He's much more of a gamer than myself, and was even interviewed in The Richmond Times Dispatch for waiting overnight for the first XBox November 15, 2001, his 30th birthday. He's moved on to other consoles, the pc, and I mostly used my XBox as a DVD player. I played a lot of "Klax" on Midway Arcade Treasures, but I don't have the time or patience for most newer games. I still read books, like to write a letter with pen & paper and send it in the mail, rather than email or social network. That's becoming a thing of the past, and I guess I am too, but I'm wandering off-point. There has to be something going on with Bill Gates' empire if my original XBox got the dreaded 360 VD. I never even got XBox Live! Infer what you will from that, but clearly, this is built-in obsolescence. I hate that, and think Gates is a bastard of the lowest order, the kind that uses technology just to rip people off and profit. My Atari 2600 still works, my frickin' Pong home console still works! My XBox didn't last a decade. Why do we put up with this douchebagerry?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

coming soon: images!

I turned 35 last week, and a gift was a new scanner-printer-copier, thanks mom & bro. It's a HP Deskjet F-4280, and as soon as I start to get the hang of it, I'll post pictures. I'm not really that good with images and computers, so by all means, hold your breath. Still, this is a visual world most of us live in, so I'll make the effort.

I'm not psyched about being halfway to 70, but I won't make it there certainly, which is consolation. I think growing quite old must be overrated. You become weaker, forgetful, more prone to illness, and lots of other bad things. You inevitably lose loved ones, lose control of bodily functions, lose the ability to enjoy things you once quite needed, on so many levels. I know I'm focusing on the negatives, but lately I've spent some time with my grandmother, who I love wholeheartedly, but she can depress the happiest person walkin' on sunshine faster than you can say "nit". I try to cheer her up, but it's only temporary whenever I do. It's still worth it, like when I took her to Byrd Park, here in Richmond, Va to feed some ducks. We got a loaf of bread and the ducks worshipped at our feet. It's a good way to feel good about your situation, all that happy quacking, and the power, I recommend it. Anyway, so much more to come. Obama 2008!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Right-wing celebrity Bastards!

This morning, I had breakfast with my grandmother. She supported and worked phones for John Kerry in 2004. She's reticent about Barrack Obama, and expressed the opinion this morning that she thought John McCain impressed her. She's around 90, and previously referred to him as "John McClaine"- I doubt she's seen any "Die Hard" movies, but I worry about our country's future. I watched the debate, and Jim Lehrer was terrible as moderator- an ass I say! Obama was more composed, and a far better orator, no surprise, than McCain. The Senator from Arizona made many clumsy ham-handed cheapshots, gaffes, and references to Reagan than I could keep track of. He's no Reagan, just as Gov. Palin's no Hillary, not that I want her to be. Maybe he wouldn't be as terrible as George W. Bush, but that's giving him the benefit of a doubt, after eight years of wanting to gouge out my eyes, and move to a democracy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pray For Susan Hudgins

Some big dude came up to me in a sketchy local parking lot, this evening, to hit me up for change. I knew this from the start, it's one of those spots where this is a local nuisanse. The guy put out his hand to shake and squeeze mine! I hate this macho gesture, it doesn't intimidate me, so I squeezed back. He went into this patter about he wasn't going to lie to me, which is the con that never should work. I was rolling my eyes, and digging for the two quarters in my pocket to put him off my scent. I hand it to him, to cut off his sob story, as I usually do, not that I like to encourage begging. It might shut him up, and that would be worth four bits. I didn't want his sob story, which he gave me anyway, he was fresh from the pen, as he claimed, and hungry. Shit, I should have kept my money, rather than give it to a criminal with bad teeth. I could have given it to the crippled vet accross the street rather than an ex-con, of all people! Well I got shook-down for fifty cents, and what good does it do to beg for money in this world, if it dries up the empathy in charitable souls?

I have another blog, you ghosts might want to look at, it's byrownpet@livejournal.com check a later post if that link doesn't work. I tried to post on coming the other way, and it didn't work.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Electric Company Boogaloo

Today I saw a traditionally outfitted Jewish man (Hassidic? I don't know) with the hat, curly sideburn things ( feel free to post a tip on what they're called, I have read the Torah and a little about Kaballah, Kafka, etc., and am open-minded, imho- I mean no offense) and all black outfit, carrying an infant in diapers while talking on a cell phone. It was at a small shopping mall in Richmond, Va, so this was unusual, for me, but charming like a artful photo in "Life" magazine. I almost said, "By golly! What the heck is that?" and had the chaw drop from my puckered lips, not unlike the little bird I'd been whittling at my seat outside the Starbucks, from my sunburned, chapped hands. We southern folk just can't find the time to moisturize, proper-like.

On a completely different note, I have to say Target stores really have the right idea pimping "Spidey" related merchandise. I picked up a pen that not only lights up when you write, not only has a stamp of "Spidey", not only can be used to inject insulin to diabetics, it also has a bubble wand, with soap bubble stuff in the stem of the pen. And it only cost a dollar! If I were six, this would have wasted twice as much of my time as it did yours, for reading this, or maybe not. I have purchased a few other "Spidey" brand products over the years from Target, most notably the coin bank shaped like his iconic masked head of this costumed fictional character. I loved him as a kid, and dutifully read comic books about him and ate "Spidey" brand sugar confections at every opportunity, but that sugar rush wore off, sadly. I wouldn't pay to read of the wall-crawler's convoluted adventures these days, but I remain drawn to the brand, the icon, the kitsch and the big screen adaptations, minus the dance in #3. As ritual, I drop pennies into the bank shaped like his head at the end of the day, as I empty my pockets, and acidly taunt, "Penny for your thoughts, Spider-Guy?" Usually, I suppose his empty head is noting how some corporate douchebags are exploiting him, and how it sucks to have no recourse for litigated recompenesation, license rights, cereal box picture approvals (just imagine him taking a dump, with the lower half of his costume around his ankles, sadly slurpng from a bowl of Count Chockula).

nuff said

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

This ad attacking Obama for being friends with this Weather Underground Ayers guy is lame. It makes me like Obama more really. I'd rather have this country run by a man who isn't afraid of radical dissent, like most our founding fathers.

I've been reading lots about the people who created our United States, and more about American civics than most of us bother with after high school. Quite a few of our founding fathers would have likely associated with people like the Weathermen, had they existed as contemporaries. I'm referring to Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, Sam Adams- all men much admired today, for being the eighteenth century's equivalent of today's radicals. Doubtless, had Ben Franklin lived in the nineteen-sixties, he would have rubbed shoulders with Weathermen, Black Panthers, communists, yippies,free speech advocates, civil rights activists. I couldn't imagine any man or woman of strong ideas and convictions he'd avoid, or worry about his reputation for the association. In Jack Fruchtman Jr.'s American Cousins, Franklin is portrayed as a forward-thinking and great man, who associated freely with these kinds of people- abolitionists, revolutionaries, free-thinkers and men of radical ideas. That I admire, and the current presidential candidate for the Democrats for the same reason. McCain used to seem like he could be one of those types of people, back when he was proud to be called the maverick. I might have voted for that guy, but not this dopey W.-clone who doesn't even know how many houses he owns. If I were him, I don't think I'd need to add the white house.

Lately I've been reading a book about the U.S. citizenship test, which has all the questions that you might be asked, if you weren't lucky enough to have been born here like me. I'd have passed, I didn't find a question I couldn't answer, even though I think they usually only ask a few of the easier ones to most folks. I've worked with a few legalized immigrants over the years, and I don't think any of them had the english skills to answer more than a fraction of them. These are Cambodians, a Vietnamese guy(who is really stupid and annoying, not because he's Vietnamese, I should say), and Bosnians. They all have friends and family that want to immigrate here, I'm passing on the book to them, when I finish the appendices tomorrow. The questions have a lot of follow-up material that explain and put things into context, but besides some presidential trivia that would be useful watching Jeopardy, it's stuff I knew already. Thanks, largely to Alexis de Tocqueville's Democracy in America. This book should be mandatory for anyone who registers to vote, but only in a better world. Even though people would still vote Republican in that one anyway.

My brother is helping me get a scanner/all-in-one, so hopefully soon I'll have pictures and other multimedia, for all none of you that will probably ever notice. I have a video camera, but you can easily find more interesting v-content elsewhere. For instance, "Hell-bent for Election" on YouTube. Prosit!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

At Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA, you can have your picture taken with a tiny owl, perched on your finger. My brother did this yesterday, and got several prints, including wallet-sized and a keychain. Andy Warhol would have loved this, I'm sure. Before my brother in line was a little girl with a cast on her wrist, upon which the owl obligingly posed for the camera. The cast was pink, and it was easily the cutest thing to see in the world, my head almost exploded. I wish you could have been there too, if only to have seen your head explode, as well.

Williamsburg is home to William & Mary College, where James Branch Cabell once studied. He's the author of 50 books, and was once notorious for his novel, "Jurgen"- sorry, that should be underlined, as is proper for a book title, but then again, the book was scandalous, when it was published in 1919. It's full of sexual innuendoes, which offended some Boston librarianesses, but it's not vulgar, really, and I don't understand how it wasn't attacked for its blasphemy, which is cavielier and witty, which is typical of Cabell.

He had a house around the corner from me, and I love his books, which are now obscure. In the 1920's, he was a household name, and it was a kick for flappers to tell you they read his books, that branded you as a sort of rebel. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald were fans, and Cabell was singled out by H. L. Mencken as the only southern-based writer he didn't think sucked, which is typical of yankee lit sophisticates at the time, but consider James Thurber's short "Bateman Comes Home"- Cabell was a writer with imagination, style and talent, far beyond the turgid cliches of the sleepy, sultry South.

Thurber as well must have read Cabell, referencing his fictional Poictesme in his very funny "My Life and Hard Times". Poictisme is the setting for several of Cabell's novels, and it's pronounced "Paw-tem", but the author outgrew the fictional setting, and wrote several novels set in Florida, and elsewhere. He died in the fifties, and was buried in Richmond's Hollywood Cemetarey

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jason Hemulin

Yesterday this truck driver Nat told me about his daughter taking up the drums, in his footsteps. She's 16, and posts on youtube, and man was it cool and refreshing to here Nat gush about his daughter. He's a really interesting guy, and easily my favorite person to work and interact with at my job at Brass Beds of Virginia. He grew up in Richmond's Oregon Hill neighborhood, which was immortalized in a Cowboy Junkies song, look it up. He's told me some great stuff over the years, less recently about Schwinn's line of Stingray bicycles, from the 60's and 70's, also look that up. His daughter posts as "flyleafer4life" and don't you forget, she's only 16, and furthermore, she could probably kick your ass, the way Nat tells it. She rocks.

Earlier this week I finished Tove Jansson's "Moomin" book series, which was a pip- some great children's lit, from Scandanavia. English translations are in print, and well worth seeking, unless you don't read, or only read crap like 'beach" lit bestsellers. These are charming and funny books, unless the inner child in you is on a milk carton, basically.

Oh! I must recommend the Soviet propaganda cartoon "Oil, War, and Hypocrisy" from the 1940's- it's also on youtube, and a bit mind-blowing, if you keep up with current international events, i.e. the war on terrorism, Russia's aggression in Georgia, and whatever else. Like a strange ctritique of U.S. non-intervention in the 1930's, only this was produced after WWII, apparently.

Admittedly, I need to make this blog more interesting to the eye, and will work on this, and figure out how to make links to other sites to keep stoking the fires of attention deficit disorder sufferers, at the very least. I've eyed an all-in-one machine or two at Office Depot I could afford, which could help me scan, paste , etc. recently. I'm below any sort of radar, for the forseeable future, so for now, this is a red dress press, and I'm a Patty, alas.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

monkey + typewriters

efbvuarebvisehvonvoeiajvienvpdjvpjdzvmzdmvdzmvpzdmvpzedmrviodmvimvdkm[okmojkmjnbnbkzjvn xdx,xxsw,wszmiwuetbvnytnhjbnjmoomreciomeunhdcygfcwvwegvwuocbnvrnbnhrsbhsrbnrsnhbnrnbgjimnjsnnsvn jsn vkjn bks bkvfbsfb dasb v d fvd vvbdb hv dab fvjklbdfv ja fvjladf vncm vcm kmdaz;l la, and that's in code,

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Matt Branscome

Here's a poem I wrote tonight:

I am the man
who befriended a roach
there's a twist in my head
'cause I know they're so gross

But I am a sad friend
'cause I like cat and mouse
and he wasn't invited,
after all, into my house

He's stolen my garbage,
my cheeses, my cakes,
and I quite suspect
he digs the trouble he makes

But I'll get revenge
I'll be a-chortlin'
Because I've made a call
to a certain Mr. Orkin

Okay, this was inspired by the haunted apartment I live above, which my landlord leases to all sorts of undesirable losers- jam-bands, frat-boys who have moved on to the profitable careers of dishwashing, and most recently, Kyle and Alina, the young couple who loved to sceam and fight, in the wee hours of the night. They were the latest and worst, violent and drunk, or jobless and Canadien (that's how I chose to spell it), and the cops would have to come in the a.m. to sort them out lots, and shoot episodes of "Cops: Depressing White Trash Domestic Disturbances, episode 4.562", I suppose. Anyway, they were just kicked out, and as it happens, every time someone is kicked out, their beloved pet roaches try to invade my place. It's happened several times now, but I'm vigilant enough to capture these stray animals and take them to the local SPCA so that they may be adopted, perhaps by some Creationist who recognizes "God's" (Not the Flying Spaghetti Monster, of course) intelligently-designed roaches as adorable and great pets to "dress up"!

I mock the Intelligent Design crowd, and they seem to be sports about it, but why are the Malevolently Designed foks so quiet? Is it some game developing company co-opting their cause's name, I wonder? I'm inverted fundamentalist FSM, ARRGH Mateys!, But I was raised in a Malevolent Design home, and when I was told at a confirmation retreat at some smelly downtown punk club, or rather in the alley behind it by a counselor that was buying me alcohol and trying to skeeze on me, to quote: "I hear what you're saying, and Billy Joel had a song back in the early eighties that addresses the same issue exactly, youngling. It was either 'Pressure', or 'For the Longest Time', I forget which, but that's beside the point. Maybe Satan didn't split the spine of Heaven to form Earth. I know I shouldn't be saying this, but let me rap with you,". She didn't start rapping hip-hop, just to be clear. "Malevolent Design has many strange teachings that you will begin to understand, over time, but now is not the time to let science lead you astray. A general idea of the truth is that Satan created the concept of science in the minds of all beasts, birds and fungi to confuse you...Oh! Shit, forget I said that". And I almost did, thanks to the shoplifted Maneschevits wine and her tongue on my fillings. I forgot a lot that night, but not the wet stank behind that club, and I don't mean her. After, she made me swear if the cops asked about this, I'd "be cool". I was confused, and eventually confirmed into the MaleDes non-profit research group, Junior Division, which was really just some cult, according to 60 Minutes's Morley Safer. He interviewed me, but we could never decide what's true. Bastard!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Kobedas rule

April K. was a good friend of mine, we met at the University of Maryland, College Park. She was odd, with a thick Pittsburgh accent and I didn't know what to make of her at first. We were introduced by Luke, the punk guy in our dorm that I had made friends with, and the three of us were tight that year. In different ways- Luke and I took photos in a adjacent-to-campus stream of me brandishing a chainsaw, and hosted the "Morrisey Must Die" radio show, Thursdays, 3 a.m. to 6a.m. on the campus radio. April and I listened to Black Sabbath in her dorm room, and I participated in her "art shows", always clothed. I chucked College Park, but not her, and we kept in touch via correspondence, for years. Me in Richmond, her in PA, WA, me in Baltimore, etc., we were young and not fixed to any geographical point, mostly. Her letters had an effect on me, and our visits too. Except the visit to me in Baltimore that had a lot of roaches, sorry to April for that. Anyway, she introduced me to a lot of cool stuff, i.e. Pappilion, The Oblivians, Miss Secret, Boxcar Bertha, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. Hope she's not dead.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Possesive plural of "author"?

Hi! Diana Wynne Jones's new book is out and called "House of Many Ways", and it's my current read. I love all of her books, they're so full of humor, imagination and magic. This one is billed as a sequel to "Howl's Moving Castle", but she already wrote one, called "Castle in the Sky", which was excellent, with a flying carpet, Calcifer in a clever twist role, etc. I don't have a real problem here with the sequel blurb, they couldn't call it the sequel to the sequel, and the "Howl's" recognition among fans of Hiyao Miyazaki's animated film "interpretation" of the original book might catch interest. It worked on me. Already a fan of Miyazaki, I dove into the work of Ms. Wynne Jones with a passion. I read most of her books in the space of a year, carefully not glutting myself, by alternating her books with other authors', and periodicals, comic books, etc. Plus, some of them were a bit hard to find, but I managed, especially with Alibris.com, and the local crime/fantasy bookshop, Creatures and Crooks(located in Carytown, in Richmond, Virginia). Unsolicited plugs aside, it was worth it. Check out Diana Wynne Jones, and I'm a bit surprised she's not a Dame, she deserves the honor, though I think it would make her chuckle.

I am especially fond of Jones' "The Spellcoats", part of her "Dalemark Quartet". It's one of a handful of books I've felt the urge to read twice. Beverley Cleary's "Otis Spoffard" and "Beezus and Ramona" are two, as were a few classic chidren's fantasy novels, I'm not sure what that says about me. The subject seems to creep me out after seeing the documentary on Henry Darger. It's a great film, but clearly he had sex fantasies, set in fantasyland that were of inappropriate nature. I just like stories about griffins, dragons, and books with imaginary cartography, that kind of stuff.
Vote Obama!

First Excuse

Oops! "Disappearances". Yes, I am an oaf, but I do own a dctionary.

Columna Lucis

Hi. I have chosen a name for this blog in poor taste, in honor of one of my favorite writers, James Thurber. He's deceased, and even if he wasn't, he'd be unable to read it anyway. Look him up in your local library, if you like to laugh. He was a very funny bastard, and cartoonist for the New Yorker. He was a lifelong friend of E.B. White, and had an honored seat at the Algonquin Round Table. Don't look that up on wikipedia, though. Try a local library instead, it's good exercise, and you should be thankful if you have one in the first place.

Two things I like are reading and riding my bike. Bicycles are an excellent way to not be paying for gasoline, which seems like a good idea nowadays. Most of the people I work with work two jobs, one to live on, one to pay for gas, which seems like a vicious cycle. I don't think they get enough sleep, or quality time with friends and family, and a double commute would seem rather demoralizing. I live close enough to work to ride a bike or walk, so I'm usually well-rested and only work this one job. I like to read during lunchbreaks, but lately we've been having "blackout lunches", as most of my co-workers have a siesta and prefer it dark. Which makes it hard to read, of course. I suppose I'll have to get one of those little personal book lights. Some of these people read, too, but mostly just the daily paper. And I doubt they have much time for libraries, which isn't to say I disparage or pity them, I like them a whole bunch, and if I didn't, I wouldn't have worked with them for these past eight and a half years.

We work at Brass Beds of Virginia, located in Richmond Virginia. I'll attach a link to the company website hopefully soon. Our boss and owner rides his bike to work every day. I'm going to sign out, and leave you with a couplet I thought up on the can this morning:
Appearances can be deceiving
Dissapearences can be relieving