Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Tom Yest holiday? I can see clearly (k)now...

Dr. Janet Slowo is sitting on her sofa in her warm and inviting flat overlooking the more trendier avenues in Oslo. All her grades for the semester have been submitted. She is sipping a glass of cabernet at room temperature; vintage: 1983. She is counting her blessings: one - having Tom back in her life; two - adopting a small grey kitten; three - re-establishing contact with a former colleague who was very influential in her earlier career; four - developing her spirituality despite having not gone to a church in decades; five - buying that new rug from the corner shop; six - having finished one of the most popular novels of the year: The Duchamp Code by Don Bleu; and finally seven - the snow begins to fall as she lights the candle. She thinks about St. Lucia. She thinks about the last day of the year. She thinks.... She thinks. She. Sssshhhhhh. There is a knock at the door.

Friday, December 30, 2005

How to Wreck a Requiem? Ask Tom Yest...

The last thing to go through international spy Effe Lajefe's mind before he died was his favorite verse from the Bible: "You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead." And then he closed his eyes.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Play me a tune, Mr. Tom Yest! Play me a tune tonight...

The night before his 23rd birthday, Max resolved to listen to the complete works of Philip Glass. Granted, this amounted to listening to one work by Philip Glass over and over again, but Max was good about carrying through with his resolutions. No matter how deranged they seemed to everyone else. He once resolved to try every spice in his mother’s pantry, one per day, and after a mere month, Max could explain the different nuances between tarragon and thyme, between anise seed and dill. So, the night before his 23rd birthday, Max arranged the complete works of Philip Glass in chronological order; then the thought came to him: perhaps the real function of Philip Glass’ mystery could be found alphabetically. For the next hour, he arranged all the tracks thusly. Now it was time to push <<play>>. Half way through the first piece, the mathematical intoxication pervaded Max’s soul. Mathematics! Why yes! This is the way to approach the complete works of Philip Glass. But how to approach the mathematics of Philip Glass’ complete works? According to length of track? According to tempo? According to the vibrations per minute of the beginning tone? The mathematical equivalent of the title, converting the letters into the decimal system and then ordering them from smallest to largest? Unlike my reader, Max’s head, at this point, was not reeling with the implications of all this strange numerology for Max’s head was perfectly suited to questions of numbers and the pure truth they offered. Because, you see, Max was already well aware that to listen to the complete works of Philip Glass, in any order, on the night before his 23rd birthday would be just the thing to keep him up, thereby preventing the concussion he had just suffered from taking his life while he slept.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Tom Yest, can I have a word with you? What are words for...

“You remember pussy-boat lady with glasses, no?” Lupita rolls over to ask Tom lying next to her on a rollaway cot. “They found her body in America. She froze to death, trapped beneath her hovercraft. Her skin was frozen bleu.” “Sam, I’ve found someone else. Don’t look at me that way. I swear I didn’t go out in search of this. But you just have to move on now. Good luck.” “I swear, Barbara, you eat more bananas than my ex-wife.” “Professor X was awarded tenure yesterday; and his forthcoming book entitled Platonic Tragedy is to be published by Routledge. In it, he reveals lost fragments from a collection of half-destroyed tragic plays written by Plato. Apparently, Plato attempted to destroy them in order to secure a position under Socrates.” “Here kitty, kitty.” “Tom, just get me another gig like General Hospital. My music career is going nowhere these days, so it’s not like I don’t have the time. I’d be happy to reprise the role of Dr. Noah Drake.” “Don Bleu’s latest work is a masterpiece. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking a deeper relationship with the secrets that have shaped human history over the past 2500 years.” “Sounds hot.” And Tom rolls back over to look Lupita in the eyes: “I have to be back in Oslo by mid-May.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Do you have Tom Yest in a can? For heaven's sake, let him out...

I-83 intersects with itself just outside of Baltimore. It's a cold day, and the snow is really piling up outside the hovercraft. Veterinarian Sue Harky is contemplating returning to from where she just arrived: Santiago. The hovercraft gets caught in an updraft and skids a bit above the slick roads. Ever turning in the widening gyre, she duplicates the curve of a mollusk, the curve of her DNA's double helix. All things, she remembers, fall back upon themselves. This is a lesson Professor X once taught her. This is a lesson that will need to be re-remembered again and again. At the coffee shop just outside of Baltimore where I-83 intersects with itself, she glances around--senses heightened. There he is! The one-eyed man. He approaches her with a cup of green tea with jasmine--what she would've ordered had she already ordered if it wasn't already too late. She blows over the placid surface of the tea; it burns her lips when she sips.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Another Song for Tom Yest? Take the present, take a life...

Tom Yestem
Tom Yestesh
Tom Yest
Tom Yesteshmee
Tom Yesteshchey
Tom Song
There I am.
There you are.
There he is.
There we are.
There you are.
They’re there.
There there, don’t you cry, Lupita. I promise I won’t refer to you any more as “la puta” for it is you, after all, that will save our hero in his time of need. God bless you, Lupita “la pacata”—the gentle, the mild. Rest in peace, my sweet Lupita, for in seven days Tom Song will take your life.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tom Yest in the 1st degree? Your honor, I plead...

Professor X was just about to retire from the local community college when he was fired after his next-to-the-last lecture--the lecture in which he argued that Socrates was a fiction, a mere character in some rather badly written dialogues by a mediocre Greek writer named Plato: "There is no historical proof such a person ever existed. We do have several similar characters named Socrates in various texts by different authors at about the same time, but we have nothing from his own hand." Professor X was under the assumption that all great thinkers were necessarily writers; how else explain all the unpublished manuscripts that filled his office, closets, and garage? If Socrates was so damn great, per the Delphic oracle's declaration that he was the wisest man of all, then he mustn't have been great enough to write his own thoughts down on paper. Or papyrus. Or whatever it was that Greeks were writing on in the 5th century BCE. He thought, why that would be like me not existing except within the text of one of my students," Tom Yest penned, snapping his notebook closed as he headed for the cafeteria to join his study group. So, you see: Tom Yest really was guilty of murder. No, worse: causing a person not to have ever existed after creating him from nothing.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

A PSA for Tom Yest? And then there were 77...

Sue Harky had just arrived at the Berlin Zoo via hovercraft from Amsterdam. She would leave in a chariot pulled by two enormous polar bears. How she came to be traveling by polar “bear” express is still being sorted out. What we know is that Barbara Mandrell the mandrill was involved in rendering Sue Harky’s hovercraft unusable when, while being transported out of the zoo, Barbara Mandrell the mandrill caught the scarf attached to the sombrero being used to disguise her in the wheel well of the convertible in which she was riding and being driven by the one-eyed man from M.O.N.K., causing the car to crash into the hovercraft. Though she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, the airbag deployed, allowing Barbara Mandrell the mandrill to escape unharmed. Fortunately, Sue Harky had already vacated the hovercraft, having left it with the valet. Now it might not seem unusual for a woman such as Sue Harky to arrive at a zoo, being a veterinarian and all, but this was no professional visit for Dr. Harky. Sue was there to meet none other than Tom Yest, having cracked a portion of the Duchamp code. And all it took was a toss of a penny into the Duchampian fountain. Tom Yest, however, had already left the zoo, necessitating a rapid departure for Sue Harky in order to track Tom down.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Even Tom Yest wants to rule the world? But the point is probably moot...

During the ‘80s, Sam Heedrin drank lots of soda pop as he tried to decide the most pressing issue of his young life: was he a greater fan of Dr. Noah Drake on ABC’s General Hospital or of Mr. Rick Springfield, Australian pop star known for his hit “Jessie’s Girl”? Of course, they were one and the same person. Mr. Rick Springfield was a rock-n-roll superstar—no, megastar, but Dr. Noah Drake, despite his bouts with alcoholism, was a world-renown neurosurgeon! Back and forth, between the radio and TV, back and forth: Noah or Rick, Rick or Noah. Back and forth, like some crazy binary code that once deciphered would ultimately end back up at the same person—the one person behind both the mega-rock god Rick Springfield and the genius neurosurgeon at Port Charles’ General Hospital: none other than Tom Yest. 010001000
11010000110111101110100001000010010000100100001 Yes, Tom—a boy that he’s going to sit two rows behind in Professor X’s class at the community college. (But that’s another story altogether.) Yes, Tom—the man who would attempt (and fail) to hunt down the famous author Don Bleu in Santiago in an attempt to silence his lies. (But that’s another story altogether.) Until then, poor bloated, burpy Sam can’t decide between Dr. Noah Drake and Mr. Rick Springfield. But what he can decide upon is this: he absolutely does not like the line “But the point is probably moot” from Mr. Rick Springfield’s hit “Jessie’s Girl.” When he’s not sitting in front of the TV from 2:00 – 3:00 watching General Hospital and not scanning the dial on his AM/FM radio trying to find a station playing “Jessie’s Girl,” he reworks the lyrics to fit whatever mood he’s in that day. Here are some of his attempts: “You know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute/ I wanna tell her that I love her but I broke the heel on my boot”; “You know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute/ I wanna tell her that I love her but I’m really a fruit”; and “You know I feel so dirty when they start talkin’ cute/ I wanna tell her that I love her and that I think she’s a hoot!” Brilliant! Fuckin’ brilliant!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Tom Yest, a list? Yes, a list…

There were 78 monkeys in the Berlin Zoo: Cappuccino, Frappuccino, Macaque, Maka-monkey, Outta-me, Ape, Red, White, and of course Bleu, Howler, Bowler, Snow White, Snow Flake, Snow Ball, Rhesus Pieces, Spider, Squirrel, Champ the Chimp, Gorilla My Dreams, Baboon, Vavoom, Barbary Coast, Celebes, Celebrity, Celebrate Good Times Come On, Christopher Colobus and Nina, Pinta & Santa Maria, Douroucouli, Guenon, Langur, Mangabey, Marmoset, Proboscis, Saki, Whiskey, Wine, Tamarin, Basil, Bay Leaf, Titi, Booby, Wanga-wanga, Uakari, Wooly, Bully, and Barbara Mandrell (plus about 30 more, but they don’t figure so prominently in this part of the story). It was Barbara Mandrell the Mandrill that the man from M.O.N.K. came to see. Funny to write that, since the man from M.O.N.K. only had one eye to see with. And only one ear with which to hear. And only could breathe through one nostril. And, … well, you get the picture. The man from M.O.N.K. only got ½ of the picture, but that’s another story altogether! On his way to the Berlin Zoo, the man from M.O.N.K. took the S-Bahn, the U-Bahn, ate a bon-bon, bought a cherry bomb, made out with a bleached blonde, used ½ his brains and some of his brawn. For you see (at least ½ of the story), the man from M.O.N.K. was a portly gent with a slight limp in search of a chimp who contained a secret message in a microscopic capsule injected beneath the skin. The zookeepers and the tourists only saw less-than-half the story that day, as the man from M.O.N.K. (slightly) limped past the entrance gate, making his way to the cage of Barbara Mandrell the Mandrill. He lit the cherry bomb to distract the zoo officials, and slipped Barbara Mandrell the Mandrill out of the cage without anyone seeing. The ticket-takers back at the entrance barely noticed the man from M.O.N.K. (slightly) limping through the exit, holding hands with a much shorter woman wearing a dress and a wide-brimmed sombrero. All this from a one-eyed man!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tom Yest sits through a good lecturing? Archilochus can never at any time be a poet…

In Chapter 1 of Bleu’s The Duchamp Code, Professor X delivers a lecture entitled “Late Zoroastrianism and the Cult of Mithra” at the community college. Tom Yest sits in the front row. Two rows behind him sit Max Block and Sam Heedrin, a youthful and full-of-energy couple who haven’t quite figured out what it means to come out of the closet. They’ve never been happier. Tom raises his hand to ask a question: “So, what you’re saying is that Jesus is nothing more than a warmed-over Mithra?” Sam giggles. “Correct,” answers Professor X, “but it’s very important to realize that Mithra himself is not the original messiah either; no religion springs fully formed from the mind of God. All belief is layer upon layer of prior belief.” Max stares longingly into Sam’s copper eyes. There is an exchange of winks and grins. Professor X continues with the next slide. “This is a diagram of a taurobolium.” Sam whispers to Max, “Sounds hot.” Max giggles. The lecture continues until the sun sets.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Is there a Tom Yest in this class? Fishing, merely fishing...

In 1975, Tom Yest received a book from an unknown publisher. This book revealed the hidden mysteries and secret dealings of a heretofore unknown society. Tom Yest read it cover to cover in one sitting, committing every word to memory. When he was done, he threw the book into the fireplace. Here is the cover of my copy: The Duchamp Code by Don Bleu
Tom Yest destroyed this book not because he couldn't handle the revelations of a truth that burned eternal throughout human history, but because he himself was implicated by the text as a murderer and scoundrel. Plus the moustache on Mona Lisa really pissed him off. He knew at that moment that he would have to hunt down this Mr. Bleu and confront him on the lies his book was to spread across the entire globe. But before he had the opportunity, someone else found Mr. Bleu. Walking across the street in downtown Santiago, an army Jeep sped past a stop sign and through an intersection, knocking Mr. Bleu through the plateglass window of a pet shop, where my wife Lupita la puta and I were picking out a puppy for our one-year-old daughter. I ran to the street to write down the license plate number, but all I could manage to see was 010 before the Jeep sped out of view. If I would've known then what I know now, I would've contacted Tom Yest myself and told him not to come to Santiago. But instead, I picked up the dead man's briefcase, paid for the puppy, and left the pet shop with Lupita la puta in tow before the authorities arrived.

Monday, December 19, 2005

A Tom Yest tall tale? I can see nary a tail...

Pussenboat's Manifest (Destiny):

Sue Harky - veterinarian + makeshift captain, city of origin: Amsterdam
Gloria Kotka - cat-groomer + belly dancer, city of origin: the Hague
Max Block - philosopher + tourist, city of origin: Weimar
Jan Kropka - philology student + poet + tourist, city of origin: Wroclaw
Jimi Changa - taco shell bender + archivist + tourist, city of origin: El Paso
Lupita "la puta" Racional, "la puta" + wife, city of origin: Santiago

...and then there was me:
Effe Lajefe - international spy + newlywed, city of origin: unknown

Lupita la puta was up to her old tricks, cycling through the handful of people almost twice on the 40-day voyage to the Canary Islands aboard the Pussenboat. Because of my cat allergies and seasickness, I didn't notice the on-again, off-again intimate configurations between my wife and the other passengers. After 37 days, however, we ran out of cat food and had to withdraw ourselves from the poor starving beasts. Their moaning and groaning and meowing kept us all up at night. When we finally hit land just 3 days (and 3 nights) later, the cats were the first to abandon ship, dispersing across the island, devouring every bird in sight. And that's why there are no canaries on the Canary Islands any more. True story.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Everything changes Tom Yest? Perhaps a change will do you good...

At the corner of Eerste Laurierdwarsstraat and Laurierstraat in Amsterdam is where I met Lupita, who would later become my wife and take on the appositive "La Puta." We married November 24, 1971--exactly 23 years before the artist Rob Scholte was to close the door to his dark bleu BMW parked at the corner of Eerste Laurierdwarsstraat and Laurierstraat in Amsterdam. Rob's life changed forever that date (23 years after we wed); my life, too, was to change forever. My wife Lupita, "La Puta," however, changed lovers as often as she changed dirrrty underwear; that is to say, about once every 4-1/2 days. That is to say, nothing changed for her. Ever. After the ceremony, we walked through the Red Light District, spaced out on moon cake and Colorado bulldogs. Along one of the canals, we saw a houseboat tethered to a post with a sign that read "Pussenboat." We boarded it to find a room filled with stray cats and a handful of people, mostly tourists but also a couple of volunteers. Lupita, "La Puta," and I released the rope that had held the pussenboat to the city of Amsterdam, and we sailed out to sea. After 40 days (and 40 nights), we arrived on the Canary Islands, where the story will continue tomorrow....

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A short biography of Tom Yest? Where a train is a train...

Tom’s first lover was a linguist from Oslo: Dr. Janet Slowo. She was fluent in every dead language known to man. And she often created knew words for old ideas: putraction – the uncanny vomity feeling that dragged itself out over several months every time Tom left her for Lupita. Eighteen months to be exact. Lupita was from Santiago and wasn’t good for anything (but Tom could never bring himself to say she was good for nothing). Like some tiny, distanty planet caught in the gravitational pull of a binary star, Tom orbited between the two women (and Oslo and Santiago) on a regular 18-month cycle: on again, off again. The binary coding in endless, unrepeatable patterns: 01100010011011000110010101110101. Switching on again, off again. Tom is standing on the platform wearing a torn red sweater given to him by his 69-year-old mother; he’s humming some catchy French tune, feeling bleu, bleu, bleu as the train arrives at the station.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Do you know Tom Yest? Perhaps a cadeau...

A train arrived from the future with a small present stowed away in one of the compartments. Do you open it: yes or no? Yes. Y-E-S spells yes. Your colour is bleu. B-L-E-U spells bleu. Remember that song: "L'amour est bleu"? Vicky Leandros brought me to tears back in '67, watching Eurovision and eating Belgian chocolates in your bed. Pretending to be in l'amour ourselves. I wonder whatever happened to her. Oh, yeah, I forgot: that sweater. "Red, red, my eyes are red, crying for you alone in my bed." Hole. Holes, remember? But my mom didn't care. She finally threw out that red sweater. And the lumberjack thing. It's called a flannel shirt. Axe me no more questions, and I'll tell you no more.... I remember how she lied to me, said it didn't matter. My whole ontology dissolving around me: no shirt, no song. No you. Nor I. And none of us did anything to get away. Oh, look here. What is it? Un petit cadeau: the Best Of album, except it's the German version: "Blau wie das Meer!" And tomorrow the world!

Thursday, December 1, 2005

Clover Leaf

You can't spell Clover without l-o-v-e.

Clover Leaf
September 19, 1991(?) - December 1, 2005

If interested, please consider making a donation to the ASPCA.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

T minus 1

Today the top news story was the millions and millions of Americans who would be traveling this holiday (that is, Thanksgiving) despite the high(er) costs of travel. Whatever. I, on the other hand, will be spending my holiday (that is, Late Semester Catch-Up Day) the same way I’ve spent it since third grade: finishing up assignments that will be due during the last two weeks of the semester and working ahead as much as possible so as to have some breathing space after the semester ends.

I had to make a short (15-minute) presentation in one of my courses Monday, and I enjoyed the time when my professor could not merely read from the text but had to (at least pretend to) listen to the interesting things I had to say for once. I wish I could do a presentation every day: it might make the course tolerable. And intellectually stimulating.

Yesterday Texas music (and indeed world music) was diminished by the death of Chris Whitley—an exceptional musician with a divine gift for songwriting. I had only recently began listening to him (thanks to the payola system between music corporations and broadcasters), but over the past few months the two CDs of his I own have caught up (in terms of use) with some CDs I’ve owned for a decade. [For more info about Chris, check out the sidebar with links to his official site and to some tracks.]

Today is Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan, and for whatever reason, I have very distinct memories of this holiday from my two years there. On the first LTD, I painted my living rooms walls pastel green, thereby killing several brain cells because I couldn’t open the windows (it was rainy and cold outside). Come to think of it, my memories of my first LTD in Japan are a bit fuzzy. But the following year I was in Osaka at the United Nations Conference on Human Rights in Asia, staying with my pal Tak (whom I met in Israel the previous summer), drinking beaujolais nouveau for the first time. The cult of beaujolais nouveau is strong in Japan: some connoisseurs charter boats to go out past the International Date Line in order to get to drink it earlier than those poor suckers left in Japan. (It’s always released the third Thursday of November.)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my faithful (and even faithless) readers; I hope you have a great holiday. (And for those of you who also will be celebrating Late Semester Catch-Up Day: remember not to work too hard!)

Saturday, November 19, 2005

"Exporting Democracy"

PhosphorUS - Phos-for-You No, this is not some secret symbol from some long-forgotten Da Vinci cult/Skulls & Bones good-old-boys club. It's a molecule of phosphorus--a chemical that was used to burn the skin off Iraqis (both military and civilian) in our attempt to turn that country into a democracy. U-S-A! U-S-A! I guess the "logic" behind its use is that if we murder all the Iraqis, then Iraq will be democratic de facto--insofar as the good old boys of Halliburton actually believe in and/or practice democracy (because they'll be the only ones left there). Yeah, I know: I'm living in a fantasy where a piece of paper protects basic human and civil rights, but at least I'm not burning people alive in the name of having those people believe the same lie.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Big Murtha Fucka

Finally, an elected official that has big enough testicles to take on this illegal and morally reprehensible war. Kudos to Congressman Murtha, Democrat from Pennsylvania's 12th Congressional District. I love how the bastards (and at least one bitch who made it to the evening news tonight) have tried to label him a coward despite his years of military and public service, especially those bastards (and at least one bitch) who have neither served in the military nor have had their own children serve, especially during an actual war. Fuck 'em all. There are 10,000 ways to support our troops. None of them includes standing around saying, "I support our troops." At least one real way to support our troops is not to have them destroy a country's infrastructure and murder 10s of thousands of civilians in a country that absolutely never posed a threat to our own security. I can think of a handful of bastards (and at least one bitch) who would make good war casualties. May they never know real war, and may they finally see how wrong they truly are.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Szukam sponsora

Oh, what the hell!
Attractive college student seeks discreet benefactor. My interests include music, art, international travel, and long strolls on the beach.
I should've thought of this a long time ago....

I wish that shrill, whiney incompetent fuck would stop bitching about what absolutely every thinking and feeling human knows to be true. And no, I'm not talking about your mother! I'm referring to our "reprehensible" Vice President. Reminds me of a church sign I saw recently: Cheney is a liar.  Period.

A-fucking-men! And hallelujah!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Urim and Thummim

I’ve had these stones for six years. I found them on the beach in Israel after swimming in the deep green Mediterranean. I like the way they fit together, almost like a yin and yang. They remind me daily that there is no fixed destiny, no predetermined fate. All questions asked of this oracle can be answered either positively or negatively, and yet they always already are both. And/Or neither. They teach me more about life than a year of Sunday school or the ooga-booga of G-d. And I control the questions and whether or not I put these rocks to the test, whether or not I accept what chance provides. I notice them every morning before I leave my home, and every evening before going to bed: balanced and balancing, stable and random, white and black. Nothing, yet all there is.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Between the Thing & the Symbol of the Thing

Started a conversation a few days ago about the pathological (mis)understanding of metaphor by fundamentalists. It's what I tend to do out of the blue as a sign (or a symbol?!?!) that I usually tend to think really deep thoughts. Fundamentalists (let's just call 'em "Fundies" for the remainder of this post) see symbol in all designs of nature: a rainbow as promise from G-d, a hurricane as punishment. But when it comes to something as (purely) symbolic and metaphoric as a text (i.e., the Bible), every word is a physical manifestation of some external reality (instead of something that has been translated into symbolic language).

Case in point: just left St*rfucks a little while ago after enduring an entirely useless conversation with the clerk ("barister," if you speak St*rfuckian). My bill came to an even $6.66. He wanted to know if I wanted to buy something else so as not to have to pay an even $6.66, as if paying an even $6.66 would eternally damn my soul. "No thanks, I'm not superstitious." Then he proceeds to tell me about some (stupid) customer a few days earlier who insisted on buying something extra so as not to have to pay an even $6.66! Funny how consumerism and (so-called) Christianity go hand in hand. It's as if (purely symbolic) money really means something else!

Friday, November 4, 2005

Transcarpathian Dreaming

It's November 4th, and I've had to open all the windows this afternoon because the heat of the apartment was stifling. Working on some old photographs, I came across this one of a sanatorium in the Transcarpathian Mountains of southern Ukraine. My colleagues and I stayed in cabins a short walk away, but we would make this trip at least once a day to buy supplies (i.e., water, fruit juice, beer). Over the week we were there, I got a (not more than usual) severe sinus infection, and I bitched and complained that I was not meant to live among grass and nature. "Take me back to the concrete and steel of L'viv," I would whine. No one took me too seriously because they had all already heard my tales of growing up on a farm in east Texas. It was at this time that I learned how to say, "Важко дихати." ["It's hard to breathe."--one of the few Ukrainian sentences I can formulate after five years of not speaking the language. (In fact, I found the entry in my language notebook dated June 30, Monday.)] I remember I was still sickly during the Fourth of July party a few days after we arrived back in L'viv. None of this sickness stopped me, of course, from drinking myself blind either in the mountains or at the Independence Day party or from smoking (at least) a pack of cigarettes a day. It's strange that I documented so much of my brief time in Ukraine without managing to write down the name of this sanatorium. I took a couple of photographs of it because I didn't have any sketching supplies with me at the time, and I wanted to sketch this building at a later date. That date hasn't yet arrived. But in the heat of the Texas November, I remember the slight chill of the evenings in the mountains in Ukraine, the liters of good, strong beer, the deep conversations with Van and my other fellow travelers and (fellow) intellectuals over shish kabobs and an open fire, Aaron playing the guitar that he borrowed from a group of nearby campers, Andrew playing some classical work on his violin, staying up laughing till it hurt making stupid jokes with Peter about a Ukrainian professor at the university. While the others were forced to continue their language lessons out in an open field, Liz--who swore she was having her period just to get out of the "voluntary" hike--and I would walk to the sanatorium for orange juice. I probably drank two liters a day just to flood my body with vitamin C to help fight the infection. When we weren't going for drinks, I would sit in the cabin by myself and nap or write in my journal, never thinking that there would come a day that I would look back on all that as if it were one of the most magical experiences of my life.

Here are some other photographs I found online.

Monday, October 31, 2005


In conclusion, my humanities course came to an end yesterday. What a great bunch of people . . . well, for the most part.

On the first evening (just 3 weeks ago), I expressed my view that “literal interpretation” was an impossibility because if one is to “literally” interpret anything (say, the Bible), then every “A” is literally an upside-down ox head. Perhaps I can send my lecture notes to the White House and/or the Supreme Court--or my own professor who expressed great glee in Bush’s new nominee today--since Alito (nicknamed “Scalito”--and no, that is not a good thing) is interested in “[literally] interpreting the Constitution and not legislating from the bench.” Blah blah blah. [For those of you interested in what the US Constitution "literally" says about presidential powers, I recommend this op-ed by Bacevich.] “We the people,” by the way, would literally read:

Hook-window mark-fence-window mouth-window-eye-mouth-goad-window

Yeah, good luck with that. By the way, a goad is a long stick with a pointed end used to prod animals. It seems like a most useful tool for those in Washington. [As for me, I’ll stay down here in Texas away from the herd animals with the other Nietzschean--[literally] a somewhat silly girl who decided it would be appropriate to “supplement” my [already] 5-hour lecture on postmodernism by reading an online dictionary definition of “postmodernism” and mispronouncing words like “rhetoric” after misquoting me and Nietzsche. Good times. I can’t wait to grade her final exam.]

One of the assignments for my humanities students was to make seven entries in what I called a “landmark journal” over various landmarks in the humanities: the Venus of Willendorf, a statue of Zeus, Siva Nataraja, Jerusalem, Hamlet’s soliloquy, Rodin’s “The Thinker”, and Laurie Anderson’s “The Dream Before.” I thought it was particularly telling (and not in a literal way) that the majority of entries on Jerusalem included statements like, “I don’t know why the three main monotheistic religions can’t get along when they share so much of a common theology and history. If I were in charge, I’d kick them all out of Jerusalem and let them know how stupid they were acting.” So much for insight into the problem. I expect to see some of them appointed by some future administration to things like the Department of Education, or the State Department, or perhaps as ambassadors to the United Nations.

Check out Shmonk’s site for a photo of this year’s Jacks. Mine's the one in the middle.

Finally, happy birthday, Uncle Frank. R.I.P.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Random Number Generator

If I were forced to evaluate my Latin professor, it would read something like this: “Inarticulate exasperation does not a pedagogy make.” To prove what a great student (as well as a great teacher) I am all by myself, my average thus far is 99.4. I have learned nothing from her. [No, I never provide written documentation of my professors’ performance ever since my grade was significantly lowered by a couple of teaching assistants I tore apart in an evaluation of a course several years ago.]

[As for the rest of my graduate experience…] Defining myself in opposition has gotten me fairly far in life; however, I’d now like to be in a place that would challenge, not irk; inspire, not dictate.

“Exhaustion” is probably overused these days, but there’s no better way to describe how I feel with the fulltime graduate work + teaching (I covered a mere 1500 years’ worth of culture this past weekend; the previous weekend, I managed about 5000 years’ worth) + preparing exams + reading dense philosophical texts + managing my courses as well as my time + popping cup after cup of afternoon coffee into the microwave for 90 seconds at a time.

Had a blissful conversation with my friend & confidant Chrzanka-kan (I wanna rock you; it’s all I wanna do.) a couple of days ago. It’s the little things (like 30-minute conversations with people you like) that make life beautiful. [As opposed to the email from people you wish you’d never met that sits in your inbox waiting for a reply. What was I thinking?!?!]

November 8: If you are a [legal] resident of Texas [and an eligible voter], I encourage you to vote NO on Proposition 2. [I’m still working out my thoughts on the other proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. Considering, though, that Texas voters have approved 432 amendments thus far to the Texas Constitution, I’m willing to recommend we vote NO on all 9 proposals—unless one of them is to wipe the Constitution clean and start from scratch.]

Today is brought to you the number 2000. Welcome to Iraqnam!

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Constitution of Love

Don't expect too much brilliance (if ever such a thing had been expected here prior to this post) over the course of the next couple of weeks as I spend almost 20 hours each weekend on my feet teaching a mini/intensive humanities course out in the suburbs. I love teaching. And this class has taught me what I hate most about the courses in which I'm currently a student: lack of diversity. This course I teach has 25 student--all from completely different backgrounds/countries/religions; the courses I take are filled with self-righteous Catholics who I fear would take me out on the edge of campus and stone me should they every fathom the depths of my wickedness. Que sera sera....

Nevertheless, it's time to choose the best love song ever. I won't accept wimpy, pedestrian love songs. Feel free to either vote from the choices listed below, or submit your own tune with some sample lyrics that deserve a second listen. There's only 1 rule: the song must contain the word "love" in the title.

The Best Love Song Ever:
  • Led Zeppelin's "All My Love" - "Yours is the cloth, mine is the hand that sews time / His is the force that lies within / Ours is the fire, all the warmth we can find / He is a feather in the wind"
  • Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "The Power of Love" - "I'll protect you from the Hooded Claw / Keep the vampires from your door / When the chips are down I'll be around / With my undying, death-defying
    Love for you"
  • Olivia Newton-John's "I Love You" - "If we both were born / In another place and time / This moment might be ending in a kiss / But there you are with yours / And here I am with mine / So I guess we'll just be leaving it at this"
  • The Cure's "Lovesong" - "Whenever I'm alone with you / You make me feel like I am free again / Whenever I'm alone with you / You make me feel like I am clean again / However far away / I will always love you / However long I stay / I will always love you / Whatever words I say / I will always love you"

Friday, October 7, 2005

Land of those with the opinion of freedom

First things first: congratulations to the IAEA and its chief Mohamed ElBaradei for the Noble Peace Prize. I think Mr. ElBaradei now needs a Congressional Medal of Honor (not that that’s worth its gold veneer any more) for “speaking truth to [the perceived] power” of the Bush administration when they wanted him to lie about Iraq’s atomic program, and for putting up with having his telephone bugged [US taxes hard at work again] in the Bush administration’s attempt to assassinate his character and credibility [if not the man himself].

It seems the Catholic Church got my memo. They now will allow homosexual priests to serve as long as they meet the following requirements:
  • Celibate for the previous 3 years—even though heterosexual priests do not have to pass any such test
  • Do not “publicly manifest” their homosexuality—I guess that means they can’t wear those fancy dresses at their opulent cathedrals with sculptures and icons of a shirtless Jesus; only the straight ones will be able to do that now
  • Show an “overwhelming attraction” to homosexual culture—yeah, that’s right: culture, not merely just a “lifestyle” any more!—even if it’s only intellectually—I don’t even know where to begin with this one!
Reminds me of a joke Dick [the person, not the organ] told me in Prague:
A priest was summoned to the Vatican for a meeting. Unfortunately, the only substitute available was a young priest with no experience whatsoever.

“I feel up to the challenge, Father,” he said, “but I am not sure about how to run the confessional. What form of penance do I prescribe for the various sins I will be confronted with?” The experienced priest left him a list coordinating sins and penance, and reassuring the young man, he left for Rome.

The young priest's first confessional was soon upon him, and he was quite nervous as he stepped into his booth clutching the list his mentor left him.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I have had impure thoughts about a woman I work with,” came the first voice.

Nervously the young priest checked his list: Impure Thoughts: see also Adulterous Thoughts, Disrespectful Thoughts, Murderous Thoughts.

He then referred to Adulterous Thoughts and found that 4 Hail Marys were appropriate. Relieved, he prescribed the penance and waited.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” said the next person. “I took $50.00 from my employers desk!”

The young priest looked to his list again, and immediately found: Stealing: <$10.00 – 10 Hail Marys; <$100.00 – 20 Hail Marys; <$1000.00 – 50 Hail Marys; <$1000.00 – 80 Hail Marys and 5 rosaries.

After assigning the appropriate penance, the young priest calmed down and felt confident in his list to provide him with the appropriate answer. He waited a while until his next confessor arrived.

“Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned,” said the next person. “I was butt-fucked by another man!”

The young priest again consulted his list. To his dismay, Anal Sex was not listed. He checked for Rectal Intercourse – nothing. Homosexual Experience also wasn’t listed.

Finally, he grabbed a choirboy, who just happened to be walking by. He asked quite hurriedly, as he knew the confessor was waiting, “What does the priest give for a butt-fuck?”

“Oh, sometimes a Mars, sometimes a Snickers.”
Finally, I’d like to dedicate today’s entry to the 464 Mexicans—a 43% increase over the previous year—who have died this past year trying to enter my country. If I had my say, the gates would be thrown open, and the bridge over the Rio Grande would be paved with gold from the coffers of our two political parties. Because despite the fact that our two countries are allegedly bound together in free trade agreements, we all know that trade only applies to mega-corporations that get tax breaks [read: a free ride; i.e., they don’t pay their fair share for American resources and infrastructure even though they get to use our network of highways and interstates to move their “goods” across the borders of both countries, completely bypassing their people who are not granted the freedom that commerce affords]. It seems I’m the only American who knows you’re not trying to steal my job (just how many of you want to be professors of political philosophy anyway?). Someday we will all be as free as most Americans merely think they are now, and I’ll welcome you all with open arms.

(In the distance, a Journey song plays....)

Thursday, October 6, 2005

Just who exactly won?

Python vs. Gator

I've got my eyes on you . . .

"No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices." --Murrow
Last night, S. & I went to a preview of Good Night, and Good Luck, George Clooney's biopic of Edward R. Murrow, defender of truth, justice, and the American way--an "old world" Bill Moyers, if you will: good film, slow but subtle, graceful & right on target without beating you over the head.

We've learned that the [unfortunate] secret to half-way enjoying a sneak preview is to get in line early, which meant I headed for the bus stop shortly before 5:00. Despite the heat--which thankfully has since broken--I didn't mind waiting for the bus. But what is the deal with people stopping and offering me rides?!?! I wasn't particularly dressed well, and my looks have seen better days. Plus I've gained a good 10 lbs. in the past few months. "Thanks, but I'm good," was all I could reply. Perhaps I should've said, "This isn't the Delta, and it's not 1947! I'm 10 minutes from downtown fucking Dallas, and it's the 21st century! I ain't gettin' in your hooch-mobile!"

I arrived at the Angelika--which no longer has restrooms on the "ground" floor but yet retains an ATM that charges almost $6.00 in fees to withdraw any money--around 5:45, placing me very near [and yet somehow not at] the front. Who are these freaks that get in line for a free movie more than an hour in advance? Don't they have jobs?

We were allowed to enter the auditorium around 6:30. The film was scheduled to begin at 7:00, which meant we had a good 30 minutes to endure "those 2 crizzy bitches" [someone else's quote; maybe the quote was actually "crazy," but I prefer the "new" term "crizzy"] behind us, one of which felt it appropriate to plop her painted red toenails on the back of S.'s seat when he went to the restroom. One look and loud exclamation from me was all it took for her to immediately remove them. You'd think being born in a barn or trailer park would have made you disinterested in watching independent films on a weeknight for free, but I guess the freebie gene kicks in no matter what your upbringing.

I hate people. And to think, I used to want to be a minister or a diplomat or a porn star--anything that showed how much I cared for the plight of humans [or the march of penguins [or the plight of [flightless] penguins--who are not monogamous nor particularly bright [it would seem]--if anything that film proved the stupidity of God [if there were such a thing as intelligent design, the fucking birds would've used their wings and flown to the Bahamas! [but this is not an entry about ignert people and their ignert beliefs in pseudo-intelligence ['cause if you want good design, hire a fucking decorator!]]]. Thank g-d I got over that.

[After that little rant, I feel I should wish my various readers a blessed Ramadan, Rosh Hashanah, a late feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, or upcoming Diwali. [Sorry if I left out your own ooga-booga holiday . . . it's just too hard to be political and correct these days.]]

Friday, September 30, 2005

The Rise of the Amazons

Who knew you could buy this kind of stuff at!?!

And in case you can't think of a reason to use these items, here's a list by Annie Sprinkle entitled "101 Uses for Sex."

Explore. And enjoy!

And another thing: aid me on my quest to find the artist and title of the song that was in moderate rotation on MTV2 in the summer of 2001. The song was a fairly typical post-punk tune with some angry, skinny white guy with black hair and wearing black clothes screaming into a microphone, but on stage next to him was a black guy (forgive me, but I don't know his nationality, so it seems a bit silly to say he was African American) wearing a blonde wig a la Marilyn Monroe. That's about all I remember. Thanks for your help in advance.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Farfalen - oy vey

Yiddish hopeless, doomed

Let this be the first attempt to make Yiddish the official language of the Internet. I mean why should everyone have to 1/2 learn broken English when Yiddish lends itself much more nicely to global communication? It's all about bitching and complaining and putting curses on friends and family members as well as enemies.

Here are some links to help you along:Even though Stephen & I came up with this idea a few weeks ago [perhaps we do have too much free time], this article in The New York Times reminded me what a great idea it was. I espeically like this passage:
Yiddish is the language par excellence of complaint. How could it be otherwise? It took root among Jews scattered across Western Europe during the Middle Ages and evolved over centuries of persecution and transience. It is, Mr. Wex writes, "the national language of nowhere," the medium of expression for a people without a home. "Judaism is defined by exile, and exile without complaint is tourism," as Mr. Wex neatly puts it.
Now you have no reason to be meshuganah!

Meanwhile, leave it to the US military to not only get free access to Internet pornography (our tax money hard at work) but to also upload [illegal] photos of murdered and desecrated Iraqis. Don't bring these fuckers home; leave their sorry asses in Baghdad!

Goot gezugt!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Six of One + Dissemination

The Catholic Church’s latest witch hunt (or if you prefer, inquisition (or perhaps crusade)) against homosexuals in the seminaries has got me thinking about when I lived in Poland and Ukraine all those years ago.

I remember how strange I thought it was when Morgan told me about a fling he had with a seminarian: he met some guy out at a bar in Krakow and went home with him only to wake up the next day in a seminary where all the fellow priests-in-training where fully aware of what was going on. Morgan, an atheistic Swede who never shied away from sex, finally called off the affair after only a couple of days because he felt so dirty among these “men of God” who apparently had no problem with one of their own picking up + shacking up with other men under their noses.

Here is but one sad excerpt from my journal regarding similar things:

June 10, 2000

We arrived in L. late in the evening a few days ago and proceeded to walk in pitch-blackness to the cathedral, where we would be staying for the next few nights. The bishop offered his clammy, swollen hand to me when introduced. Fat from the table of God, this man lived (and behaved) like a god among his people. Nuns--celibate and scrawny women who devoted themselves not only to serving God but also to serving the bishop--were preparing for tomorrow’s meal: tables and tables of sandwiches and salads filled the huge dining hall. A place was made for my companions and me to eat some supper. Of course, being a vegetarian was a complication, as I did not want to only eat eggs and I do not eat fish.... It was good to see exactly how the bishop could maintain his figure even while observing official Catholic fasts. Some joke was made about me being so fat for a vegetarian.


We have been staying at the ‘parsonage’ in L. with the bishop. When W. first invited me, I ... was willing to indulge the fact that we would be attending the ceremony at which his friends would be ordained as priests. Even after the close to seven-hour bus ride from Lublin on a bus that had seen its heyday no later than 1953, I was able to discern more to the story upon our arrival. The bishop was sending out very clear signals that he felt somehow threatened by me. It was not until after several minutes of behind-the-door negotiations that W. was even allowed to share ... a room not under the bishop’s direct supervision with “that American man.” I did not even try to understand this intrigue at the time, but the next day W. gave me some background: Several years ago this bishop drunkenly attempted to have carnal knowledge of the young and beautiful W. After fifteen minutes of battling for his honor--for why indeed would sexy and young W. have sex with a 90-kilogram bishop?--W. won out and for all practical purposes has been on the bishop’s special payroll since.

“And that man there has a wife and two kids, and he still likes young boys. And that priest there tried to pick me up on Plac Litewski in Lublin a year ago but since has conveniently forgotten.” My head is reeling from these scandals.

By his own admission, W. is a cynic when it comes to religion. How could one not be a cynic when it comes down to these truths? When there is no one questioning the systems of power? In a country of such hardship, why is the bishop the fattest man at the table and the one who has the relatively new and expensive exercise bike collecting dust in his solarium? And with these celibate women running around serving these fat old queer priests, I am able to feel a little bit closer to normal and less tainted.

We caught a ride from L. to about halfway to L’viv with someone who owed a favor to the bishop. W., with a fistful of Deutsche marks—his “pay” from the Catholic Church for not confessing the sins of these queer, old priests, takes care of all the arrangements, even paying the bus fare the remainder of the trip to the city.
In conclusion, a Catholic Church without homosexuals would be like a Catholic Church without Catholics. Why don’t they stop trying to tear themselves apart--even Jesus warned against a house divided against itself!--and instead focus on a real problem: pedophiles.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Mother of All

Clover at 14

Today is the 14th birthday of the most important female in my life: Clover Leaf. Happy birthday, Mama Cat!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The World in My Eye

Here are some "blind" online images that I wanted to share. I hope you enjoy. If you want more information about any of them or why I put them here, just ask.

Image #1
Image #2
Image #3
Image #4
Image #5

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Mea culpa my ass

Our president is scheduled to address the nation tonight from the former city of New Orleans. Surely somewhere in his address he will repeat his the-buck-stops-here sentiment. But the more I think about his apology, the more worthless & futile it seems.

I certainly agree that someone somewhere has to claim responsibility for the inefficiencies and downright idiocies of this administration, but why let Bush off so easily with just a simple “I’m responsible”? Why not force an apology from ex-FEMA Director Brown? [Perhaps Attorney General Gonzalez could make some “quaint” torture suggestions.]

I’ve been reading a lot of political philosophy lately, and if there’s one theme that the classical thinkers have in common with the Enlightenment thinkers, it is questioning the origin of justice. Does justice come from the gods, or is it something merely legislated by a society? One thing is for sure: if there were any justice, Brown would be bailing water out of New Orleans bucket by bucket until he died. [Or was gang-raped by a band of criminals & petty thugs scavenging their way across the drowned Gulf Coast; afterwards, I’d even consent to a full pardon for him.] Instead he gets to “save face” by simply resigning and moving on to his next sinecure.

But now that Bush has “taken responsibility” for the lack of any real federal response to Hurricane Katrina, why should he stop there? Shouldn’t he also take responsibility for the daily suicide bombs in Iraq? [Before the US invasion & occupation, there was not 1 single suicide bomb in the entire country. Ever.] The tens of thousands of civilians killed in Afghanistan & Iraq by the US military? The thousands of US soldiers killed in 2 wars built entirely on lies? The lies & baked intelligence fed to the public regarding WMDs? The terrorist attacks of September 11th? All his fault—much more so than a hurricane!—and yet not a peep.

At the very least, shouldn’t his underlings & appointees take some of the fall? But even the sneaky and very snakey Dr. Anaconda Lies got to completely ignore warnings that bin Ladin was determined to attack within the US while she served as the National inSecurity Advisor, to go on national television & defend her incompetence & stupidity, and then to be promoted to chief diplomat of our country.

At this rate, I’d be all for bringing back the guillotine for politicians guilty of gross negligence & what any real leader would see as treason. Some heads would roll, but eventually we’d get some decent people in charge.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Tom Petty Is Right

That's right, baby: You don't have to live like a refugee! Particularly if living like a refugee means you and your extended family are holed up in a one-bedroom apartment across the hallway with 2 huge dogs. It's not that you smoke on my front porch and I get to smell smoke when I open my door. It's not that you leave your cigarette butts in the planter. (Because I'm always willing to "remind" you that people do not behave that way when they share public spaces with strangers, and by "remind" I mean sprinkle all your cigarette butts in front of your door to insure that you will pick up your trash.) [Oh, did I mention that I'm antisocial?] It's not that when everyone knocks on your door, the barking of your 2 huge dogs vibrates my walls. Or that you have a fairly steady line of visitors throughout the day bringing covered casseroles and other goodies like used television sets. (And that the dogs have several opportunities while I'm studying & reading & minding my own business to bark.) It's not that I've heard your sad & pathetic story about losing everything in New Orleans repeatedly since before you moved in next door to me, especially when the various do-gooders come over bearing casseroles or used television sets and you repeat your own sad & pathetic story to these do-gooders outside my front door. It's not that you "escaped" the hurricane in your Mercedes or your Lexus. It's not the fact that your 3½-year-old daughter likes to play outside my window in the sprinkler. It's not your pregnant wife who's about to split open and deliver another child any day now, adding one more to the already 6 people sharing one roof across the hallway. Or that I have to hear all those people come & go, or watch them parade in front of my window while I'm studying or reading or otherwise minding my own business, or walk through your throngs when I need to leave or come home. It's not that I don't have sympathy for your mother-in-law who is about to die of cancer any day now. It's not that I'm worried about her dying in the apartment next to mine; although if she expires before the baby is due, then there will be zero population growth (only 6 people still in a 1-bedroom apartment!)--which isn't really a bad thing. It's not that I'm bothered by having to speak clearly & loudly when I speak to your father-in-law with the hearing aids. It's not that the apartment manager was stupid enough to rent you an apartment in your time of need (although he conducted a credit check and background check on me when I moved in; but, of course, you'd certainly pass the credit check if you drive a Mercedes. And Lexus.) It's not that you're white and have a job and therefore are several rungs above the truly needy who barely survived Hurricane Katrina & her devastation. It's not any one of these things...'s all of them together that makes me hate your fucking guts.

But it don't make no difference to me; everybody's had to fight to be free....

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stare Decisis

Latin for "let it stand." The legal principle of deferring to previous judicial precedents. The confirmation of Judge John Roberts seems so far to be primarily a debate between keeping the law as it is and overturning legal decisions (as has happened 174 times already by the Supreme Court alone), especially regarding the right to privacy, the right to abortion, and the right to non-heterosexual marriage. [Oh yeah, it's coming.]

I'm impressed by Roberts' articulate & concise opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Although I'm never really comfortable with sports metaphors, his analogy seemed fitting: even though the umpire determines who wins & who loses, nobody goes to a baseball game to watch him do his job. After hearing so many other politicians and ideologues recently spew idiocy from their evil heads--particularly Pres. Bush, and now ex-FEMA Director Brown--I could listen to Roberts talk all night long!

On a more personal note, am I reasonably justified in my anger at Sigur Ros for not playing any venue even near Texas on their current tour? For fuck's sake, I live in an international major metroplex!

Being a part--although, granted, only tangentially--of a rather conservative Catholic (is that redundant?) university is surreal: hearing the classmate that dresses & acts the most liberal in my afternoon class say things like, "Seattle is so liberal that you just can't talk politics with those hippies" made my head want to explode. That was after walking past a closed office door & reading "Cogito ergo sum pro-vita." [I think; therefore, I am pro-life.] on a sticker. As a thinking human being who does quite a lot of his own cogitare, my gut reaction was to shout, "Without choice, there is no life!" Instead I kept silent [fully aware that silence=death] and left campus as soon as I could. My "Our Father" goes something like this: Oh god! don't let these fucking papists deny me my degree for not swallowing all that shitty dogma! Amen.

Saturday, September 10, 2005


New Orleans is one of my all-time favorite American cities. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited it 3 times in my life: February 1987 to march in a Mardi gras parade; August 1992 on a roadtrip with Stephen, Kris & Tony; and August 2001 with Stephen & Kennan.

My first trip to New Orleans was life-changing in that I saw all extremes walking down Bourbon Street on the last weekend of Mardi gras: holy rollers speaking in tongues, big-tittied women flashing their ta-tas, seemingly mild-mannered guys dropping trou for a few colored beads, Hare Krishnas dancing in circles (and then vomiting). It only made me want to return....

New Orleans

Top 10 Memories of New Orleans (in no particular order)
  • Café au lait with chicory + beignets at Café du Monde

  • Pralines

  • Scratching an X on Marie Laveau’s grave at the St. Louis Cemetery

  • Drinking at Pat O’Brien’s courtyard and being mesmerized by the fountain with flames

  • Pirate’s Alley

  • French Quarter

  • Mardi gras

  • Mississippi River

  • Fortuna’s baklava at Casa Blanca (sans the belly dancer! -ching-cha-ching-ching) – even though that was miles outside the city limits

  • Cypress
And I will return again.

Friday, September 9, 2005

Bad Haiku (Warui no haiku)

The landscape of night
Is mapped on your face; your frown--
The street where I live.

The sound of your voice
Grates on my callous heart like
Skinned knees on gravel.

Half-drowned, on the beach--
You swam for miles to rest here;
I sank like a stone.


Just a small sampling of some rather bad haiku I wrote more than 10 years ago--April 16, 1995, to be exact. Despite the obvious as well as the not-so-obvious flaws in what I wrote, my haiku are considerably better than those from a poorly programmed online haiku generator. Computer scientists have been trying for years, but you just can't program good angst!

Finally, a found haiku--if you will--from my days as a "little ambassador" to Warsaw; my colleagues & I "discovered" this brilliant piece sitting on the table of one of our several haunts, Cafe Brama:

Note from Cafe Brama

My translation follows:

It is with deep regret that we must inform
You that for reasons
beyond our control
we are removing
from our menu
sun-dried tomatoes.
The Avocado Salad,
Mozzarella Toast as well as
the Mozzarella Sandwich
are going to be served now
with fresh tomatoes.

After listening to Pres. Bush's recent speeches regarding Hurricane Katrina and his inability to lead the country--or at least the poor part of the country--through this disaster, I was thinking that perhaps the White House could hire the poor counter staff from Poland who penned this beautiful prose: it's much nicer and more eloquent than a grocery list of equipment.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

Just Do It

Despite the fact that today marks the 66th anniversary of what is typically seen as the start of World War II when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, I'd like instead to focus on another anniversary--this one, too, involving Poland and the start of something bigger.

Twenty-five years ago the Soviet-backed Polish government recognized the independent trade union Solidarność. Just a month before, unionists successfully striked across southeast Poland, but August 31, 1980, is now seen as the date when the Iron Curtain began to fall. Of course, it was a long and difficult slog afterwards, especially when martial law was declared a year later.

But the Poles persisted and persevered (see, I can say something nice about those people!), and they now enjoy a communist government that was democratically elected by the people. I’m sure Pope John Paul II is rolling over in his grave.

So, Happy Anniversary to Solidarity. They did it without (western) Europe’s support, without Amerika’s cash & bombs, and even without the initial support of the Catholic Church. [Too bad the lazy Iraqis couldn’t follow Poland’s lead….]

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Praise God & Pass the Ammunition!

After my sister called me two days in a row to tell me her theories about why a high school classmate killed himself--theories that she developed after several days of low-budget, backwater sleuthing (it's all so David Lynch, so Wisteria Lane)--I decided to do a little online sleuthing myself, so I Googled the small town press and found this row of ads on the last page of the weekly paper of my hometown. Can you find the one ad that doesn't belong?

That's right! If you chose the Church of Christ ad, then you are correct.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Him & Hurricane K (or No Poor Person Left Behind)

I became physically ill when Shmonk told me about the report/interview he heard on NPR this morning with a schoolteacher who “decided” to last out Hurricane Katrina in a New Orleans’ building because he didn’t have a car that could take him inland. He couldn’t afford to leave otherwise either because he had lent money to some of his students’ families who had cars but couldn’t afford gas.

I’m beginning to think that maybe God is a Republican and is helping wipe out the poor and homeless from New Orleans since He didn't give them all Hummers to evacuate in. He (with the help of the New Orleans authorities) will stuff them all in the stadium and them knock the roof down on them. There will be no relatives left to sue and all will be right with the world. On earth at it is in New Orleans. Amen. Besides, insurance typically doesn’t cover “acts of God.”

It will be interesting to see what that Christianist terrorist organization (the 700 Club) will have to say about it all. Just how many abortions and blowjobs made God this mad?

But I’m thinking that we’ve all become too complacent: if all it takes is a few abortions and blowjobs to bring down God's wrath, then it's obvious to me that there just aren't that many abortions or blowjobs going around these days. We should all get out there and work! On your knees! Thy kingdom come.

This posting was brought to you by the letter K and by the number 4, in honor of Special K’s email this morning reminding me of our blissful trip to New Orleans just four short years ago.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

.5-Ass .5-Price

After today I will never, ever attempt to sell my used books at Half Price Books again. I took a stack of old textbooks to their huge store on Northwest Highway Wednesday afternoon, and after wasting more than 20 minutes walking around, the buyer offered me a mere $5.00 for the entire pile. My response: "I can make more dropping them in a recycling bin!" And I loaded the armful back in the car and left.

But before I made it to a good recycling bin, I thought that maybe I'd try my luck on Last night I set up my account, and within an hour I had sold two books at a profit already 7 times more than Half Price's offer. As of now, less than 24 hours into this new venture, I've sold 4 out of the 12. I finally see what the digital revolution is all about!

As part of another revolution--this one a little more anti-social than sitting at home online all day--I came to the realization that there's not much difference (except for the drug use and momentary lapses of brilliance) between me and the character Blake in Gus Van Sant's Last Days: despite the phone ringing and knocks at the door, essentially no one is home. I've even gotten to the point of recognizing the phone numbers of the daily commercial calls--despite having my name on the do-not-call list--on the caller ID, so now I'm able to pick up and hang up on them before they have the chance to hang up on my answering machine. [That's right: I really am that anti-social.] If for whatever reason you're bored and/or pissed off at the world, here's a number to call: 623.847-3438. Feel free to take out any frustration on whomever answers; although you'll probably just get to leave a message. (The number is for a company called Strategic Marketing based in Glendale, Arizona. I say there's nothing "strategic" about annoying me.)

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Holy Mackerel

Er—I mean catfish!

Did anyone else come across this story: IHT article or National Geographic article. (Both sites have photos, though you'll need to see IHT's front page to access their slide show.) A catfish “the size of a grizzly bear”: 293 kilograms (646 pounds) & 2.7 meters long (almost 9 feet).

I think there must have been some confusion on the Mekong that day: what they really found was God Himself incarnate as female catfish. If I would’ve been there that day, I would have bowed before its Divine Catfish Self, worshipping it as the Most Holy Sacred Catfish and Final Manifestation of the Lord God Almighty—which, of course, would make me the first eligible to enter Catfish Heaven. Jesus H. Catfish, Lord of the Mekong

The sacrifice of a chicken to Chao Poh Plaa Beuk (the Thai god of giant catfish) was all it took to reel in Jesus H. Catfish. Or is that Jesus-fucking Catfish? Either way, you almost expect a giant (grizzly-sized, no doubt) loaf of bread to be nearby.

When it died after scientists harvested Her eggs, villagers chopped it up into giant round Steaks and ate Her. [“Take, eat; this is my catfish flesh.”] Her meat was described as “soft, sweet, and mild”--like an angel's, no doubt! I wonder how many Eggs of God were harvested?

After Googling several variations of “deity god catfish Thailand,” I never found more information about Chao Poh Plaa Beuk. The most relevant search results included a site where someone had written, “God, I’m hungry for catfish!” Pure blasphemy! And then there was some bullshit missionary zealotry. Don’t those people realize that God already beat them there?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Pretensions Toward Porn (A Review of 9 Songs)

I have to admit 9 Songs was one of the most uninteresting independent/art-house films I’ve ever seen: boring people listening to boring music and having boring sex. At least now I know how homely American girls do it.

There is neither plot nor character [development]. The worst part of the film was the meager attempt to tie it all up in an all-to-meaningful bow by using ice as a metaphor for the “relationship” (read: fucking) of the two characters.

Yes, yes, it’s all very deep and significant—like an iceberg; I get it: claustrophobia = agoraphobia at both the South Pole as well as in our post-modern urbanity; the Antarctic ice shelf symbolizes Lisa—both are surveyed by Matt, and both leave him cold; despite the “extreme” intimacy of the two, there is no real connection; man is doomed to endless and meaningless repetition (as exemplified by the juxtaposition of the sex scenes and the concert footage ad nauseum as well as the frozen landscape); intelligent beings are doomed to pay good money to see shit that passes itself off as art (as exemplified by both the concert footage and my own pocketbook). I don’t need to be prodded toward interpretation by a robotic voiceover, particularly when it’s all cliché.

By the third time you have to suffer through the same inane “dialogue”—
Lisa: You look silly.
Matt: I’m trying to look silly.
Lisa: You look stupid.
Matt: I’m trying to look stupid.

Matt: Forget who you are.
Lisa: Fuck me harder, Matt.
—you start to wish the director would ask his mom for more money to cover the cost of a screenwriter.

Only people who have never had or seen good sex would find this flick sexy. Pornography is cheaper and doesn’t beat you over the head with pretentiousness. Only the insipidly pretentious would find this flick deep and meaningful because of it’s art-house attempt to portray “reality” by showing raw sex footage. Pornography is more real, and the “actors” are much more attractive. And likeable.

The most insufferable review of this film was that it’s pornographic. Well, that’s just a slap in the face of the porn industry. Equally intolerable is the “emotional distress” suffered by the actress while filming. You mean you were unclear on the notion of getting paid to have sex on film?!?! Come on, just how much did you get for every scene you had to put Kieran O’Brien’s willie in your mouth? Or every scene where you had to shove a vibrator or dildo up your vag? Being an actress is hard! Wah wah! I mean, the film was only 69 minutes long (another triteness, eh?)!

Another indication that it’s not pornography is that I had to sit (uncomfortably) in an auditorium with scads of other people instead of the typical private cabin with a stack of tissue paper. So, I don’t have a problem with porn; I do have a problem with seeing shitty, pretentious films that attempt to be pornographic.

The only “surprise” was that the film contained more than just nine songs and somehow much less of everything else that makes either a good story or a good sex flick. To quote a wise person sitting next to me: “I was so glad when that ninth song started....”

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Do I have to move to bum-fuck Islamabad to finally see a cover story that is not about these poor Israelis who tearfully are forced to move from their Gaza cul-de-sacs? At least I'd like to see one article from the other perspective: imperialist Zionists end illegal 38-year occupation. (And just with two short sentences, little Frankie destroys any chance of ever entering the Holy Land again ... because you know the Mossad is monitoring my every move since I slipped through security at Ben Gurion Airport back in the summer of '98....)

On a lighter note...

...from the land of absolute monotony comes a call for diversity:

A Japanese politician came out at Tokyo's first Gay Pride event in three years during the weekend, calling for more understanding of sexual diversity in the country. Kanako Otsuji [a member of the Osaka Prefectural Assembly] chose to come out at the high-profile event because she said too many people had kept "silent" in the past, fearing "discrimination and prejudice."
As we say in Japanese:
You go, Girl!

Back on a more serious note...

...the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes is back on the front page with more lies reported by the police officers who murdered him: he did not jump over a barrier, he was not wearing bulky clothes on a hot summer day, and the only time he ran was to make his train. Oh yeah, and there were three bullets that completely missed his body! I guess 7 in the head and 1 in the shoulder just wasn't enough. Oh yeah, and he was Brazilian and not a terrorist and guilty of no crime....

Friday, August 12, 2005

Zen Pogrom

There seems to be a polyp
Up there--Doctor said, shoving
His big negro fingers in my face.
I don't like to use terms like "infect" or "colonize"--
It sounds so anthropomorphic.
Like God.
But there's definitely something there.
I can feel it, I think, when I'm about to doze off.
Infecting me, colonizing the space between the cords of phlegm
Hanging like empty nooses at the back of my throat--
And the stem of my brain.
I try to picture death every day.
It's a good enough exercise, not wise, but "quite good enough."
Like Sensei used to say.
Like reading the dictionary for traces of narrative and specters of plot.
I look for death in the really small spaces:
The dead mouse delivered early to my doorstep yesterday morning--
The one with the missing face.
Just seeing death makes it more palpable, more palatable
It's some strange synesthesia: the tasting of color, the smelling of sweet;
Or perhaps insomnia has turned me Christian and back again!
I fed Mama Cat another midnight snack. This clock has too many midnights!
She likes the can with the silvery gray skin of the fish left whole,
But I end up chopping up the chunks.
Death is too gift-wrapped these days.
I want to open it quickly like removing a Band-Aid and dispense with the formal.
Miss Manners caught me picking my nose while I waited for you.
She laughed and told me a dirty joke.
Like your dad, who's stuffed in a box--a really small place!
Where death lurks like a Hiroshima bomb.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Something I never do ...

... is reply to these chain-mail Q&A things. But for some reason I was in a good enough mood to try something different this morning, so here goes:

a. Ever been so drunk you blacked out? Yes, a handful of times.
b. Put a body part on fire for amusement: Mine or someone else's? Literally or figuratively? Twice.
c. Kept a secret from everyone? I won't tell.
d. Wanted to hook up with a friend? Yes; otherwise, what good are they?
e. Ever thought an animated character was hot? Speedy Gonzalez, certain Japanimation
f. Had a New Kids on the Block tape? No, but I carried some trading cards in my wallet.
g. Been on stage? Every day of my life.

a. Shampoo: for real friends & real poo for sham friends!
b. Soap: oatmeal bar + sweet sugar body scrub (I always have at least 2 flavas....)
c. Colour: black
d. Perfume: Platinum Egoïste by Chanel (The name says it all, eh?)
e. Day/Night: Night
f. Summer/Winter: Texas winter--it's like European summer but without all the rain
g. TV program: PBS
h. Food: Middle Eastern/Mediterranean
i. Movie: Wim Wenders' Until the End of the World

a. Wearing: grey clam-diggers (commando) + Katy 5K tee-shirt
b. Eating: blueberry crumble bar
c. Hair is: short (but not shaved)
d. Drinking: pineapple juice
e. Thinking about: working
f. Listening to: the voices in my head + Lewis Taylor's "Lucky" on SOMA FM
g. Talking to: myself

a. Cried: no
b. Met someone new: no
c. Cleaned your room: no
d. Drove a car: yes

a. Yourself: yes
b. Your friends: only the ones I hook-up with (see above)
c. Santa Claus: St. Nicholas is an historical figure, no?
d. Tooth Fairy: don't have any teeth, so it doesn't matter...
e. Destiny/Fate: no, but I've heard of Destiny's Child
f . Angels: no, they're as imaginary as Anglos
g. Ghosts: no

a. Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? at least one of each
b. Who have you known the longest of your friends: Tami W.
c. Who do you go to for advice: Stephen H.
d. When did you cry the most: when my grandma died
e. Who will respond to this the fastest: n/a
f. Who did you send this to who won't reply: n/a
g. Who sent this to you: Germán
h. Do you want all your friends to send it back to you: please, no!

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Radiant Vega

The Suzanne Vega concert at the Granada Theater Saturday evening was just what the doctor ordered (if my doctor had any sense or insight into my various & several maladies). Arriving shortly before opening act Susan Gibson took the stage, we ordered a round of drinks and just relaxed, chatting about utopias until the music began. Vega's voice was just as clear and crisp as if we were listening to the vocal tracks from her albums all those years ago + live guitar. Overall, it was a great, accessible show.

Sunday afternoon we spent several hours in the air-conditioned darkness of the 18th Dallas Video Festival. The highlight was Radiant--a science fiction drama that used creative cinematography and ambient soundscapes to create the perfect mood of paranoia & fear.

That evening Stephen baked blueberry crumble bars. Yum! I enjoyed a couple for breakfast this morning.

Looking forward to the days when I am European (or at least president of the United States) and can enjoy the entire month of August off.... But now I have exams to write, essays to grade, and lessons to plan.

Friday, August 5, 2005

Post-Carrots, Post-Sticks

At least I'd like to think I've somehow managed to move beyond both carrots and sticks, but when the sky overhead is darkening and I'm feeling what I'm feeling (in that conditioned feeling sort of way), I can't think of anything I'd like to do more than to lay on the floor and hold myself and try (at least) to feel those chaotic feelings buried deep beneath the surface that once bubbled up to the more-than-shallow surface so regularly, with so much strength, and go back there, where it all began, in the self-flagellating past when I was sorely sure that I was a bad, bad person. But I'm not. And I won't. Nor will I dig out any of those dusty two-tracks that most certainly will get me there faster. Even writing this feels like blasphemy, knowing what I know now. I guess both carrots and sticks merely wait in the wings until I'm ready to rely on their false sense of security. And discipline. Instead, I'll treat myself to some deep breathing and return to the center of the void, around which all things turn, and move a little bit further away from carrots and sticks.

Friday, July 29, 2005

The letter to the editor I should have written

I wonder if the editors of The Dallas Morning News read their editorials out loud before printing them.

Your argument that Menezes’ death was caused by the terrorists instead of the police officers who pulled the trigger could not be more wrong. If Nuremberg has taught us anything, it is that each individual is responsible for the crimes he or she commits even if those crimes are part of official policy. Merely “following orders” will not absolve you from your wrongdoings. If we were to accept your “logic,” then Janet Reno would have to answer for the bombing of the Murray Federal Building in Oklahoma City!

There is obviously a severe flaw in the training of police officers if not one of them could distinguish between a Brazilian man on his way to work and a jihadist strapped with explosives. Just because you’re scared shitless does not mean it will ever be acceptable to murder an innocent person. Furthermore, if you’re scared shitless and are just going to shoot every dark-skinned person walking down the street, find a new line of work.

In the few months I worked as a part-time clerk at UT’s International Office (which served one of the largest international student populations in the US), I became fairly adept at identifying nationalities just by physical characteristics. One of my proudest moments was when I could distinguish between the Pakistanis and the Bangladeshis. Is insisting that an armed police officer have one ounce of the intelligence of a part-time clerk asking too much?

What makes matters worse and even less acceptable is the official slander of Menezes after his murder. It was immediately announced that he was indeed under investigation for the subway bombings in London. When it was discovered that that simply was not true, we got the speculative justification that he was probably in the UK illegally, and that’s why he ran. His visa was still valid when the seventh bullet entered his head.

The murder of Jean Charles de Menezes is more than just a personal tragedy, it is a crime perpetrated by the state that ultimately distracts the people from the state’s true crime: not protecting its citizens from terrorists in the first place.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Panic on the streets of London

By the time the third bullet entered Jean Charles de Menezes' head, I'd like to think this thing called "Western civilization" still had a chance to live. But then: bullet #4. Bullet #5. Bullet #6. Bullet #7.

Since watching the PBS documentary about Emma Goldman for the second time this past week, I've been thinking a lot about the state's monopoly on murder. And why it's only when the state exercises its monopoly on murder do we call it something other than "murder": capital punishment, collateral damage, war.

Something the state's monopoly on murder should never be called, however, is an "accident."

Example of an accident--"oops, I slipped and accidentally pulled the trigger."

But then: bullet #2. Bullet #3. Bullet #4. Bullet #5. Bullet #6. Bullet #7. And he was pinned down while the trigger was pulled.

So, yes: there is terrorism in London. But don't you feel safer already? As long as your skin is rosy pink like Tony Blair's....

Friday, July 22, 2005

a beautiful thing--like glass, like gossamer, like a mimosa bloom--surrounded by thistles

These words are my attempt to describe Gregg Araki's latest film Mysterious Skin, based on the novel by Scott Heim. It is such a lush, gorgeous film about such tragic and disturbing things that you almost wish it was about alien abduction. And the soundtrack by ambient legends Robin Guthrie and Harold Budd creates an ethereal mood that complements the lushness and underlying grit of the film.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My life suddenly came into focus when I learned to channel my anger into rap music

After getting pissed off this afternoon with the video rental shop that has found it necessary to charge me more than $15 for a return that was absolutely not late and then to not respond to a letter I wrote more than two months ago in an attempt to settle the matter, my second thought [the first was to sabotage their dropbox--and now that I've blogged it, there's no way I could carry it out] was to add a line on a small index card on which I write lyrics to a rap song should I ever decide to record such a thing.

Now I see what all the fuss is about: rap amplifies and clarifies the anger I felt rising much like what a laser does with light. And now that M&M--no, wait: that's the candy!--Eminem is retiring, perhaps the music industry is ready for an overweight hillbilly from east Texas with bad skin to fill his shoes. I sound like a Third Coast Andy Warhol! At least I have some good rap lyrics already written:
I got it down to a science
We gonna stand in defiance
Don't know why you wanna hate me
Ain't gonna pay your late fee

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Body Counts

While I was driving home last night from teaching, I heard a report on The World about Iraq Body Count, an organization that is attempting to document all civilians killed in this illegal & immoral war. The numbers don't scare me so much (between 22,850 and 25,881) after the handful of years I spent walking among the ghosts of 6 million, trying not to continue that hard mathematics in my head once my eyes were closed.

What I found infuriating, however, was the "official" response from members of the United States military. I'm not talking about the quotes peppered throughout IBC's web site; although they certainly should chill any thinking, feeling human to the core. The asses that were interviewed on the radio were belligerent, defiant, and downright stupid. It made me wish I did pay taxes so I could be a part of the civil disobedient refusing to fund this illegal & immoral war.

How do we know the good we're doing if we don't know the evil?

Monday, July 18, 2005

Delusions of Adequacy

Yes! I've finally found the answer to that age-old question: What do most of my friends suffer from? I, of course, suffer from delusions of entitlement, thinking I'm somehow entitled to better friends than these....

Here is a short list of questions & comments I should've had the balls to voice over the weekend:
  • So, you're sending your 3-year-old son off to preschool this fall for socialization; when are you going to do that for your 36-year-old husband?
  • So, you were at the bookstore at midnight to buy a copy of the latest J.K. Rowland children's book. If you like Harry Potter, you'll love Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye!
  • A typical conversation works like this: a) I ask you a question; b) you answer and then ask me a question; c) I answer. That way we all have a chance to talk about how interesting we are. Your solipsistic soliloquy is not that interesting to those of us who are infinitely more interesting than you.
  • How appropriate is it to monopolize the conversation, constantly turning it back to marriage and children, when you're having a conversation with divorcees, gays, and an Indian man not yet in the confines of an arranged marriage?

Thank god I don't work with them!

Friday, July 15, 2005

David Madden-ing

I hate him! And I swear Trebek and his producers are just handing him all the Daily Doubles. How can someone know both the Bible and Johnny Cash trivia so well and not be from east Texas!

And the answer to Final Jeopardy is "What is Charlotte's Web?"

Yep, he missed it! And he still wins. Ugh.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Skylab Anniversary

Twenty-six years ago...

The Skylab space station, at 77 tons the largest object ever orbited, flashed through the atmosphere and disintegrated in a blaze of fireworks over the Indian Ocean today, showering tons of debris across the Great Australian Desert, one of the world's most remote places.

Tomorrow begins the second summer semester; I'll be teaching two sections of government. Which means I have to once again be on top of what's happening in our government. Which means I'll have to follow those insipid stories about our government that I really am not interested in in the least. Looking forward to being able to teach upper-level courses in my expertise someday. (Explaining the differences between the Republicans and the Democrats for the 100th time just doesn't do it for me any more ... especially when there are too few.)

I've been practicing Qigong much more regularly these past few weeks. I get such a physical rush afterwards, it's hard to describe. I started reading about it's history and practice online this morning. It has been scientifically proven that a Qigong master can "produce significant structural changes in water and aqueous solutions, alter the phase behavior of dipalmitoyl phosphatidyl choline (DPPC) liposomes, and enable the growth of Fab protein crystals." What the hell?!?! If I ever master this practice, I'll stick to the old-fashioned H2O structure of my water, thank you very much.

Looking forward to spending some time with my sister and niece this week. Looking forward to teaching after a two-month break. Looking forward to my afternoon coffee already.