"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Spam Poetry

I'm not the first person to observe this phenomena, but I thought I'd tell you about it anyway. In a spam message titled "Re: critical an orgasm is just the beginning" the bottom of the email contained these lines:

and behind him were red sorrel and white horses. then i said "what are these my ?" the angel who talked with me said to me "i will show you what they are." so zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants.

This is most likely random text lifted from somewhere meant to fool spam filters (hence me looking at it in the first place), but it's proof if anyone ever needed it of the Tristan Tzara/Biron Gysin/William S. Burroughs "cut up" method. Technique so good, even machines can do it.

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Every Part of the Body is a Sword

Rocking out with Tomoyasu Hotei vis-a-vis Tarantino's latest flick. Kill Bill, which I saw on Sunday with my old High School buddy Chris, is quite a good film. Quinten has the sense not to put himself in play and leans heavily on his strengths: mining past pop culture for its most suculent morsels and sewing together his pomo orgy of style with a deft and revealing skill for dialogue and timing. The result is succulent manga.

Critics made a great deal about the violence, but I would call it far less violent than Resavor Dogs. It's less about what blood means in and of itself -- the hard realities and consequences of living and dying -- and more about telling stories through combat; hemogloben is illustration. By abstracting the gore to an absurd level, it becomes a medium of connection rather than a bludgeoning tool, one more thing to choreograph. Much more so than any "real" action film, it made me want to have that razors edge of skill and the will to put it in action, to slice through the soft spongy guts of the cheeseburger day to day, through the fat and the blood and the shit and the mucus, to emerge in some kind of God-like arc of purpose. The Mission, yes, and a theme song too. I've a weakness for most things epic.

Tonight having a little conversation with Molly, this gem of language springs forth from her in jest, a parody of all the self-styled cynics out there who get by on meaningless work and various addictions. "I'm jaded, dammit! I've thought it through and it sucks!" A keeper.

But seriously thinking some about where I want to end up in relation to the comic book possibilities set forth in this film I saw. I'm no assasin -- a lover/creator by trade, thanks -- but might I not one day be similarly skilled? Dangerous? A professional? A man of some craft, of honor, a samauri in my own right? It's a popular fantasy, this notion of slipping outside the regular rules that people seem to have to play by -- job, singles bars, monday night football -- jumping off the squirrel-cage running wheel, becoming ubermench, awake. It would indeed be something, but would it be good?

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I hadn't checked his site in a long time because it seemed dormant, but Salam Pax is back in action giving us his blog-eye view of the situation in Iraq. There are also other Iraqi bloggers popping up, all of which makes me hopeful for humanities long-term chances.

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Michael Moore

Saw Mr. Moore yesterday at Berkeley with Luke and Kim. I went pretty much to see what the nuance of act was like, how he pulls it off and where he's going with the whole thing. See, I fancy myself a player these days, and keeping up on the scene is job one if you want to be in the game.

The two things I was happiest to hear was his sense of general optimism about the chances of getting rid of the current administration come November '04, and his call to arms for us young people to seriously participate by running for office. That's something I've thought about, and I'm glad someone in a position of power is out there blowing the conch if for no other reason than it makes me feel less egotistical for thinking I might someday hold some elected office.

But Michael Moore deals almost exclusively in rhetoric, so I end up having problems with a lot of what he says. He's Rush for the left, though hopefully without the junk habit, and as such I'm glad he's there. But I'm also chagrined that he falls into so many of the same polemical pitfalls -- hypocracy, hyperbole and other hy-isms I'm sure -- that we lambaste the Bad Guys on the other side for wallowing in. For instance, he trumpets the statistical demise of the angry white man, yet is undeniably one of said species himself. For instance, he says of Howard Dean that people aught to work him on his less-progressive positions (e.g. death penalty) yet trumpets the entry Wes Clark while only quiely and off-handedly admitting that many of his positions are completely unknown.

And he plays a dumb game called "stump the Yank" where he pulls some C-student Canadian and a straight-A's American (actually three of them) on stage and quizzes them in a rigged fashion. This after bringing up the National Geographic study which showed just how little young Americans can locate on a map. The first question to the Canadian player is "what is the name of the current US President?" which he of course answers. The accompanying query to the US student is to name the Prime Minister of Canada, which none of them can do. Everyone's a good sport about it, but I don't think this is particularly edifying or even worthwhile as an exercise. There is a point, that we Americans tend to be self-centered, but there's also the strong counterpoint that the President of the US, whoever it is, has vastly more geopolitical importance than the Canadian PM.

More broadly, I strongly dislike things which suggests that people are stupid. I find that to be a disempowering position to take as an agent for change. My preferred reading is that there are lot of people who lack a lot of knowledge, but this is more because they've been treaded like idiots by their culture and educational system than because they're inherently dumb in any way. The power of suggestion is strong, and if you treat people like they're stupid, they'll often react in a stupid fashion. I firmly believe that if you treat people with respect, communicate well, and assume they have intelligence, they'll more often than not rise to the occasion.

We need more of the latter if we're to turn things around here, and it seems to me that Michael Moore as an author and speaker deals too often in radical oversimplification and passive-aggressive condescention. As a filmmaker I find him far more deep and provocative, but when he puts himself in the focus he seems to inspire more ditto-headed "yup yup, those bastards" knee-jerk criticism of the Right than actual critical thought. We are at war -- politics is war by any other means -- but Moore's brand of attack seems to have relatively little consideration for securing the peace after the battle is won.

But I knew I didn't really like Moore's style as a speaker going into the thing, so it's no shock that I'm less than a cheerleader for his methods. As I said, I'm glad he's out there. He's a warrior, but I can't get behind him with my whole political heart. It certainly made for good dinner conversation with Luke and Kim and Nick.

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San Francisco Night

It's up an down, this city. After a long long week of work work work, I kick back with Molly the old friend and roommate and her student cadre. Art school kids, priceless company; talking communes and cutting hair and playing music late after a turkey feast. I got lost on my way over, climbed a few hills I didn't need to. But no matter, the exercise is good. Ditoto on the way home with a head full of red wine, certainly lendeding a maniac edge to the downhill capers and a kind of grim solderly attitude to the climbs.

One lady pulled over to ask if everything was kosher -- me taking up a whole lane with my swerving -- so I had to explain how crosscutting makes a steep hill easeir to climb. The best was near the peak, cutting on a long shallow downhill grade and letting go of the handlebars, looking up at the giant radio towers and feeling the closeness of the streets, the sea-tinged divinity in the breeze.

Once I had a girl on rocky top,
half bear the other half cat,
wild as a mynx but sweet as soda pop
I still dream about that

I used to listen to that blazing little bluegrass ditty projing over the w-burg bridge in the late spring sun; a golden time back east. After a night -- a week -- of pushing hard here in the Bay it makes me think of all the people I love and miss back in Brooklyn, of Nick and his old-world W.C. Fields vaudville senabilities, of Julia and her balsy comic truth, of Frank and Jeremy and Alex and Wes and Kev and John and Joe and the thing that is the Meek, of Sasha, of Brendon and Sarah and Brandy and Carrie and Archie and Hugo and the rest of the friendly faces at the lyric, of Emily and Kate and Chris Kam and Frank Boudreaux and Christine and all the people I aught to have seen more often.

I seem to have traded a life of great social comport and little substantive purpose for something approaching the polar opposite. I'm just observing, not complaining. For the moment it's contrast, that grand and holy waltz which is the essence of life. I notice things. I learn. I grow. This is good.

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In The Grand Old Fashion

I've planned to blog in the grand old fashion tonight. Make up for sparse presence the past few weeks. I've been reading Tropic of Cancer and marveling and how little I knew about the history of American writing. Discovering Henry Millar years after falling in love with Hunter S. Thompson and Kerouac and Burroughs is a bit embarassing; like introducing yourself as a stranger to a party host, late into the night and drunk and having the time of your life, feeling indeed like you belong, like you own a bit of the place.

"So this is your house?" you'd probably exclaim with some measure of mock surprise, trying to make like you didn't feel like king of the joint and you hadn't been cutting loose all about the living room. "Oh, you mean Anias Nin over there, you mean that was the love of your life..." and so on.

But the thing is, we being kindred souls and all I don't think Henry would mind.

Kindred souls. If he were around these days he'd probably get that a lot. Damn annoying too, I'd imagine, all the half-assed punks who think they measure up just because they'd slept in rough places and written a few searing journal entries.

That's a thing about me though; more often than not I assume I'm on someone's level, no matter who they are. I tend not to revere people I meet or otherwise come to feel I know. I don't know whether this is a good thing or not. Could be confidence and a desire to relate equitably, a resistance to the cult of personality. Could be pure poison hubris. Certainly leaves one hurting for role models.

A lot's been going on the past week with work and not a lot else. What with the stress and all I've been getting short with some of my co-workers, my co-worker roommate Dan in particular; our joking reparte about whether or not signing Justin Timberlake on to Music For America would be a good thing or not taking on sharp edges at times. But we're out of the worst, and I've thankfully regained consciousness of my gruffness, so things should even out. It's hard sometimes when there's no Steve Wangh to tell me I'm being an asshole.

And so I want to tell you all about the place I'm living and what -- really -- is going on inside of me, but I need to have another burbon, peruse some more tawdry whoring genius parisian-themed prose and then sleep like the dead for six hours or more. It turns out to be more of a challange to meaningfully spit content when I work at something else all day and night; I think I can make this work in any case. Too much of a habit to break now.

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Sleeping in the Office

Sleeping in the office tonight. I still set my own hours; go figure. Anyway, behold the fruits of my labor:


The real deal goes out sometime in the next 72 hours, but if you're so inclined go ahead and take a test drive. Check out what I'll be working on for the next year. It's going to be some exciting stuff.

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Where Have You Been?

Where have I been the past few days?

Probably at the office.

...details coming soon

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Forgot It

Saturday sun here at the cafe next door to my place. Lovely spot with neighborly owners, good coffee and tea and wireless internet access. The hood is good.

Out late last night, the Zeitgeist, and had the whole Jungle household crashing in my barely furnished apartment. I felt guilty having a bed and everyone else sharing our one couch and the cushions and the thermarest. I'm up in the big house on the hill, a plush Serta bought off two friendly lesbiens from Oakland. It's all fine in the morning with coffee and biscuits and gravy at Als. Maybe we'll see Bubba Hotep later today; depends on how work goes.

At the bar trying to have converstaion, trying to look at women, hearing myself talk -- my voice repeating cracky high tones -- and wondering what it was all about. Shots of cheap Irish Whisky (Powers) and pints of Steam. Stopping off at the El Salvadoran joint for way more food than we could eat and a lovely hit of orchata before coming to rest. Frisco is a small town at heart, I think. It's got that feeling; friends and family and familiar faces.

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11th Hour

Deep into my 11th hour today in the office and alone now at 6:45 on a friday, a creeping loneliness sweeps in with the dusk. Here I am on the run from things -- we all realized this was a contributing factor to my readyness to move across country -- and it's not quite working. My thoughts cling to lapsed times, deadening my soul, moments coming back into the minds eye; sometimes unbidden, sometimes dredged up on purpose for the sake of feeling. Or at least feeling what feeling was like, passion regrettably now residing in tenses past.

Don't get me wrong. It's not all desolation. There are sprouts, curious things emerging from the rich San Franciscan soil. But they're fits and flashes, a blurry moment of lust last weekend in the loft with the skate-ramp, but only a moment. Literally. Seconds: flash, eye contact, words, phone number, nothing. The rest is ashes and application, no phoenix yet, dig? Work and sleep and a (still) mostly empty apartment. The moments of coordinated unity are good, the click of teamwork, but when all the purpose falls away and it's just me and my life and my memories... well, the walls are pretty rickety.

And I'm reading Henry Miller and that's probably not helping.

So I'll trundle along. There's too much at stake to get kneecapped by something as banal and ubiquitous as catching a cold and missing your ex-girlfriend. Focus is the premium thing now.

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