Saturday, June 24, 2006

Dog Story, Not a True Story

"You need to get some other opinions about your choice of dog" was what Rachel said to me," cuz that
cur you got on the end of that leash is ugly as a serving chipped beef and gravy."

"Don't be ragging on my mutt" I said. I hunched over my desk and typed a few words . The words "goddamned it all to hell" appeared on the spread sheet I was working on. Rachel dropped a file on my desk and looked at what I'd written on the monitor.
She snorted a farting laugh through her nostrils. Syquantcro, a tech seated at desk across the room, was on the phone and had to swallow a burst of laughter when he heard Rachel's nasal rattling noise. The she hit in the back of the head.

"Lose the dog or you get no more Sausage Helper".

I glared at her and typed "Great god in the merciful heavens goddamnit it all to hell."

A lightning bolt powered through the window and struck the Syquantrco, who dropped his phone as he sat upright , starting to fume. He was on the office floor, twitching madly, reaching for his cell phone.

Rachel discovered snakes in her top desk drawer, which made her scream. The scream
seemed to cause the store room door behind her to open, from which a giant squid tentacle reached out and wrapped it's slimed, barnacled
length around her waist and then pulled her back through the door.

Outside the sky had gone dark, there were screams in the street, car horns blared, tires screeched, sirens sounded, planes fell out of the sky, and Godzilla's gilled silhouette walked past our tenth story office windows. Ugly lizard, I thought.

Then my phone rang.

"Jackster here" I said.
"Dude, this is God. How am I doin' in yer regard?"
"Whoa. Who is this?"
"God, bro. Whatcha think of the show? Damning it all to hell, I mean, like you asked."
"It's boss, boss. The city is falling apart like a cheap madras shirt."
"Excelllllllennnnttttt" said God, his voice drifting off into a murmur of bliss. After a second, he said
"Yo, Jackster, open your top drawer."
I interrupted my observance of watching Godzilla
mate with a ninth floor office building window across the street and slid the top drawer open.
In there was a paper plate with what looked like
a two old serving of chipped beef on toast.
"What the holy gazebo is that" I said.
God paused, and then offered "Bro, it's time to get another dog..."

Monday, June 19, 2006

X Men 3

XMen lll was a such an uninspired dud that it makes me ashamed to have ever claimed the status a comic book fan boy. The loss of Brian Singer as the director has taken an obvious toll, and the sympathies we've built up over the competing angst of the good guys versus what is really the race hatred of the evil mutants, led by the
coyly nefarious Magneto, just becomes harsh nastiness. There are cool effects, to be sure, especially Magneto's twister-inspired conversion of the San Francisco Bay Bridge into a walkway for his army to Alcatraz, but one expects a cool scene or two in dud movies. We shall depart here , forgoing further discussion. It is anti-climatic bore.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Ted at Fifteen

I still cringe when I remember being a barely hatched fifteen year old trying to write wonderfully complex and baffling rhymes just like Bob Dylan did, not understanding a single word I'd bothered to pass along to paper yet certain, somehow, someway, that that the abstruse (read incoherent) lines of mine had worth , value, and trans formative power. The task, for Ted At Fifteen, was to change the way the people in the world saw the world and help all the lonely people to straighten their perceptions , their own houses and from there create a new, better world based on sharing, caring, hugs, good intentions, and truth.

I was a serious, silly kid, half deaf with a hearing aid in both ears, sullen ,serious, humorless, very naive, obsessed with great issues and girls, and having no idea of how to solve the multiple crisis’s that spoiled the planet, and having no idea of what to do with a girl if one ever fancied hanging around me. Oh, to be fifteen again, Dylan posters, a room reeking of incense, Moody Blues albums blaring (when I was contemplative and scratching my lower lip with a pen \whose tip I turned into a tooth-marked nub), or Mountain , when what remained of my fascination with WW2 movies turned to distorted electric guitar caterwauling. I had yet to develop a middle ground, a sense of practical action. That was something that came , alas, with age, something I lacked. No matter how I scowled or grimaced, everything amounted to a sulking and moping. My expressed cynicism was sarcasm on a bad night, my irony was a mere mocking of adult phrases by repeating them in contorted voices, my art, my poetry, was deep as any indelible ink stain you cared to stare into. Precious, pretentious, naive, that's what I really knew about myself under the subterfuge of hip reference and gesture.

I was a fraud. My harmonica playing gave people the blues, my poetry made other people's fingernails dirty from head scratching. The poems sucked royal, you understand, a deadpan imitation of Dylan and Jack Kerouac's worst habits, the sort of prematurely varicose verse that revealed that the serious lad who hunched over his desk writing these bits in Quixotic longhand had not been tested in unprotected circumstance, which is to say that I had no experience except for feeling awkward and taking a dump (although I don't remember any of that, hence there never being a poem about it in my large and uneven oeuvre.Anyway, I grew out of imitating the uneven efforts of Dylan, Kerouac and finally came up with my own distinct style of uneven work. That much I will say about my work; when I am bad, the results are distinctly mine. No one sounds quite like me, but it is fairly obvious that I had to spend a good number of years imitating a number of influences before my own voice emerged from the mimicking of other writer's cadences. So thank you Dylan, Kerouac, Mailer, Lester Bangs, Hemingway, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, thank you for the inspiration and helping become the confusing morass of uniquity that is my convoluted state. I am one among many who are afflicted with that minor narcissism of lovng to hear myself write.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006


Ann Coulter is not a fan of free speech. the way she obsessively and pathologically typifies any and all who disagree with her as "traitors" , ie, all registered Democrats, makes it clear that her preferred method of resolving debates would be mass arrests, Stalinist show trials, and public executions.    This, I believe, is her deepest, most fervent desire. For a self-proclaimed "Constitutional lawyer", she seems constitutionally incapable of addressing her opponent's arguments rather than their character and motives. The fact that Cindy Sheehan and the 9/11 widows she excoriates in her new book have substantial and powerful arguments besides their moral authority as victims is a matter Coulter doesn't bother with; it's too late to make a case for the righteousness of the Iraqi War, and it's obvious to everyone that the Bush White House has squandered through unrelieved incompetence and arrogance whatever moral pretext they might have had in the fight against terrorism.Poor, poor Coulter has hitched her dingy to this sinking ship, and she is too much of an unblinking sociopath to admit that she made a very bad choice and cut her loses. She has exhausted her arguments and becomes the pundit's version of an old rock band touring with creaky renditions of yesterday's hits; liberals are bad, liberals are evil, liberals are godless. The especially unChristian rantings of Ann Coulter this time out no longer sound provocative, nor create fruitful debate, or force anyone one of us to interrogate our own beliefs, as good debate ought to. Her new book and her latest rounds of distracting ad hominem is much the same as hearing the news that the news that the Rolling Stones are touring and have a new record out; you wonder out loud who among the many you meet in the world still give a rat's ass what kind of noise this band of gnarled geezers makes. Oh hum, okay, fine, what else is on? Ditto for the latest outbreak of Coulter's crone-ish cynicism. That Coulter sticks to Ann sticks to CHENEY/ROVE talking points instead of sussing through the problematic nature of policy and the ambiguities inherent in trying to manage a roster of projects, and her inability to think beyond ideological purity, ala William Buckley or George Will, makes her views into harangues and rants, shrill forms of posturing. She ratchets up the volume as the moral authority of the Bush White House erodes and Republicans are continually mired in corruption and incompetence. Other conservatives have been smart enough, wise enough to distance themselves from the Iraq war rationale, concluding that it was a mistake, a horrible, tragic, moronic mistake. But not Ann; rather than rethink her position as a competent analyst would, she avoids talking about the White elephant in the room and continues to rail against liberals, apropos of nothing, with the same sarcasm and condemnations she was using six years ago. Her flustered, unblinking hissing fit on the Today show against Matt Lauer, who questioned her intentions in the way she addressed the 9/11 widows, shows America the image whose own fingernails are barely keeping their tentative grip on rationality. All these liberals continue to mock her and thwart her plans to make America pure and chaste, and all the effort has caused both her body and her wardrobe to loss heft. Why, those short, short skirts barely cover those bird legs, with their bony knees and those thighs that ripple with the loose flesh of someone who has lost too much weight too quickly. But no faster than the rate her credibility has waned to such substratum levels that only low-rent Machivelles find her appealing. Damn those liberals, damn those mothers who've lost sons and daughters in fruitless combat, damn those who take their right of dissent and redress at face value. Traitors, traitors all!!!

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The DaVinci Snore

There are critics and Catholics plenty enough blogging about the blasphemy and historical errors that glare in Ron Howard's film adaptation of The DaVinci Code, and I won't reiterate them here. The subject of long standing conspiracies concerning a secret Catholic society's efforts to conceal the true nature of Christ on earth has become a bore as well as cottage industry in publishing, and all I can say to that it's not likely to spur an interest in Renaissance Studies or an examination in core Christian virtues. We are in love with our distractions and special effects, and a mass audience such that that author Dan Brown has reached prefers to be lied to in the name of entertainment rather than grasp a more personal truth from the glibly mentioned philosophies and attempt a better, less consumptive life as a result. Entertainment is fine, of course, but we are being crushed by our banality. The disturbing thing about The DaVinci Code isn't the blasphemy, the errant reading of Catholic history, or even the disrespect it shows towards the Church, but simply that it's a bad movie, a dull movie, a ham-fistedly constructed movie. It's not thrilling, scary, provocative, alluring. For all the racing around, the murders, the frantic scurrying about European cities and mountain ranges, the film is static, and very, very talky, with the experts and priests talking very, very fast to outline the convolutions of this knotted plot. Director Ron Howard's usual graces--pacing, narrative construction, tight editing--
are absent here, and can assume from his absence from the talk show circuit to plug the film that he wanted a safe distance between his name and the mess the DaVinci Code movie turned out to be. A New York Times full page ad last week for the film last week featured star Tom Hanks' name in banner print over the title. One would note the lack of critical blurbs. Under the title , in very small print, were the rest of the credits, and last of all, very tiny, almost invisible,
we find the words "Directed by Ron Howard". It's doubtful Howard's lone and diminutive mention in the ad is due to modesty.