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

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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!