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 Amazon.com. 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.