Make sure the candy's in an original wrapper: Bill Gates & Lou Reed, unheralded genius-daemons of white rap

"Better check that sausage, before you stick it in the waffle"
~Lou Reed (see below)

It's a fucking miracle that Microsoft became a bajillion dollar corporation when they were shilling their swag with shit like this, before irony was actually a marketing tool.

Did people actually buy Dos 5.0 because a white scientist rapper who sort of pre-figures MC Paul Barman -- actually, he's sort of like a combination of the scientist and Vanilla Ice from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (Vista, Vista Rap!) -- spits -- and I mean spits, because the man has a pronounced lisp -- "Suits any memory hogging beast because it frees 45 k of memory at least! And that's why everyone who's in knows, it's also the best Dos to run with Windows!"-- "And the colored girls sing, dos dos dos dos dos, dos dos dos, dos dos dos dos dos, dos dos dos." See what I did there? Bill Gates is the Lou Reed of operating systems, and, like Lou Reed, an unheralded godfather of white rap. To wit, his 1986 single, "The Original Wrapper." "I'll Be Your Mirror" it ain't.

What it is, though, is the best thing ever. Oh, yeah, he just rhymed "sanctimonious," "pugnacious," "lugubrious," and "fabulous." Because he's an idiot. I actually have a dream to do a note-by-note cover of this song, and then recreate the video shot for shot. And I'll do it, too, as soon as I have a willing baby, three assholes who can rollerskate, and a hat that's covered in glitter.

Also, The Most Transparent Writing In History Award for the year 2007 goes to Newsweek for the following sentence: "Today no other country on earth is arguably more dangerous than Pakistan." I'll keep that in mind until tomorrow, when the point is no longer impossible to argue.


Messianic Schmoodaism: The Arcade Project, 2nd Ed.

The most startling accusation leveled against a literary theorist since the discovery of Paul de Man's Nazi sympathizing journalism! Walter Benjamin: Crypto-Schmoo?!?!

That's a pretty shitty arcade, Wally. Time for a second edition!

While we're on the subject (what fucking subject?), I think I'm going to be Foucault for Halloween.

Does anybody have a really amazing turtleneck I can borrow? (If you're wondering exactly how awesome the turtleneck has to be -- see above. Yeah, you know what, just don't even bother.)

Babysnatching. Suspiciously self-satisfied toilet-cleaning. Pervasive pornlessness.

Taking a class on Utopias is depressing.

They, Utopias, ought to be these Candyland wonderbars where you pay for Almond Joys with the gold you scrape off the road and then have consensual sex with lots of models, since everybody in Utopia looks like a model, but, incredibly, everybody is still as attractive to everybody else as models are to ugly people in our non-Utopian world. And then you ought to go home and tell your long-term Utopian domestic partner about the Utopian sex you had with a lot of bookish, Wilde-witty, generous but also commanding utopomodels you just met at the milk bar and it ought to get you both riled up and you ought to have sex that's so good that it actually sublates the sex you just had with the utopomodels into a new kind of utoposex. And that utoposex ought not be followed by any kind of existential hangover -- no! No burning hatred, no staring the void in the face. Everything will be just as good tomorrow as it was today, and today was fucking great! For everybody! The afterglow lasts forever, and it's not even after anything. It's just a glow, an all-consuming heavenly halo draped around your neck like a dayglo noose that just squeezes tighter and tighter and makes you happier and happier until your head's just about to blow. Utopia is a total vacuum of phenomenality that puffs you up like an enormous blood-bloated tick -- one those ticks so full of blood that their legs wiggle in space and they can't even walk -- and then pops you with the business-end of a lawndart of ecstasy, and your jouissance, uncontainable in such a humble, limited vessel of happiness as yourself, splatters all onlookers sticky. "Dude! You got your joy on me! Awesome!"

That's what a Utopia is, don't you know. In theory.

But that's not the way Utopias read. Because that kind of description always hinges on one thing: being in a good mood. And when everybody's in a good mood, as everyone in a Utopia must be, it's not a good thing. It's just fucking creepy. Church group creepy. People get along, go along, in tremendous moods, cutting hay because it feels good, and caring about art but not that much because attendance to art is tantamount to an acknowledgment of suffering. Not ever having any desires unfulfilled or any crises or bafflements. They're never stifled. They're never unhappy -- just occasionally less than giddy. And when they are giddy, it's even creepier. Like those church people who actually go into mildly orgasmic enthusiasms when the Word of God is being read out loud, but you can totally tell they're faking their scripturegasms. But, as with all fakers, you'd never be able to get them to fess up, because once a fake is out, you can't get it back in the bottle.

Partly, Utopias are terrible because -- and I'm speaking for myself -- it's in my nature to begrudge the fuck out of people who seem content, satisfied, stationary. Partly they're terrible because of an instinctual suspicion to the tenets of groupthink, no matter how right that groupthink may be. (It never ends up being all that right.)

Utopias have a responsibility to deal with every person individually. Every person has to be just as happy as every other person. But it's impossible to deal with every person in a Utopian fiction. Utopian fictions don't even deal with one person. They inject a stranger into Utopias and just kind of let them run around finding out how looney and different this world is than their own world -- generally, in this case, the world of fin de siecle Britain, which is one of the most stodgy environments in history.

So we never get portraits of a unilaterally satisfied toilet-cleaner, going from toilet to toilet, repeating the mantra, "There's no thing as undignified work, only undignified wages, gee-hyuck!" No, we never get that.

We never get the wife who had the misfortune of marrying the guy who has the vast collection of German porn hidden under the floorboards, and one day when he's out of town she calls in a repairman to fix the leaky pipes and he says, "We're going to have to rip up some of this groundwork." And then, after they're done having a passionate love-affair against the antique table that's been passed down from generation to generation (on the husband's side), the repairman actually gets around to putting circular saw to hardwood and...

We don't get people saying, "That fucking guy, there's no way that guy is smarter than me, why did he get an A on his paper and I got a B." (Not nearly enough rhyming in Utopian inner monologues.) Instead, we get third-hand reports from officials who toss off whole conceptual rubrics that don't even make any sense, like, "We only want those best suited to motherhood to be mothers, so if a woman can't hack it, we take her babies! She had her chance! She can't complain!"

This is the machinery of Utopia. Babysnatching. Suspiciously self-satisfied toilet-cleaning. Pervasive pornlessness. In fact, general Freudlessness. A total lack of sensitivity parading as perfect sympathy.

Staying up late at night to read these tracts and manifestos of bloodless, mild, ultimately bankrupt happiness is like being locked in a gym with your high school valedictorian. The one who opted out of any and all offered honors courses because they would bring down her GPA and keep her from getting into the private school that's named after the state you're from, except it has a directional epithet attached to the front -- East Montana, or Southwest West Virginia State, or North South Carolina of Ohio... Tech. And she just got engaged. She used to do sodomy because she thought if she just went "all the way" with her beau she would go to hell.

But she's not going to tell you that. Not in this gym.

She's going to tell you about how they've picked out a perfect set of doilies for their kitchen table -- it's an eat-in kitchen, you know, with a perfect little booth that replicates the feel of a 50s nostalgia diner! They were able to get just the perfect little suite from student housing because, you know, student housing saves the best suites for the people who are happily married and oh, it's fabulous, you really should try it some time.

You swear to god she says under her breath, I installed a virus on Kim's hard drive so it would crash the day the paper was due so she wouldn't get a better grade than me because the class was on a curve and she's smarter than me but she didn't deserve it because I worked so hard.

You say, What?


Put me in the gym, and lock the door. I'm off, once again, to try to tame the screeching Victorian demon that is Utopian fiction.

Note: I must be getting bored again. I'm turning back into an ironic pervert. What kind of a way to combat boredom is that, anyway? Ironography.


I can strut my boody, make my sweet pigmeat, and other mild amusements

Anachronistic sexual innuendo of the day: "She shall have no other food; and that will make her my slave. And the man that slays me shall have her for his booty."
~GB Shaw

To wit: OED entry for "booty, n. 3." I'll bet you some jive-ass whitey academic stifled some chuckles putting this together. (And I totally, self-consciously censored Carl Van Vechten, because I'm a bowdlerizer on this blog.)

I. Simple uses.

1. Sexual intercourse; a person (esp. a woman) regarded as an object of sexual ambition or desire. Also (occas.): the female genitals. Cf. ASS n.2 1b.
1926 C. VAN VECHTEN N****r Heaven II. iii. 215 Now..that you've gone white, do you really want..pinks for boody? 1935 Z. N. HURSTON Mules & Men 192 If you want good boody Oh, go to Ella Wall. 1978 W. BROWN Tragic Magic 104 I'm giving up neither money or bootie! 1992 F. M. DAVIS Livin' Blues 36 A woman had a ‘pussy’..or ‘booty’. 1997 Touch May 20/2 Grab a glass of wine..in the upstairs bar and watch all that fine booty just flow on by.

2. The buttocks.
Prob. the earlier sense, esp. given the similar sense development of ASS n.2, PUSSY n. 6, etc.
1959 F. L. BROWN Trumbull Park 363 Getting kicked in the booty would be mighty discouraging too. 1960 N. FLORENCE in P. Oliver Blues fell this Morning vii. 189, I can strut my boody, make my sweet pigmeat. 1980 Washington Post (Nexis) 4 July C8 ‘You're cute up there,’ she told singer Esther Williams. ‘You should shake your booty a little. You have a nice booty. Shake it a little.’ 1999 N.Y. Times 12 Dec. IX. 4/3 This is a woman's best part... A skirt has to scoop under the booty.

II. Compounds.

3. booty bandit chiefly Prison slang, a homosexual man; (also) a man who commits male rape. booty call, a visit made to a person for the (sole) purpose of having sexual intercourse; an invitation to have sexual intercourse.
1962 P. CRUMP Burn, Killer, Burn 293, I lost 'em fightin' a *booty bandit in a black cell. 1993 K. SCOTT Monster 293 Fat Rat had a reputation for being a ‘booty bandit’ and thrived on weak men with tight asses. 1998 G. CANADA Reaching up for Manhood 143 All of the guys who been serving time in prison know the score... When the booty bandit stops someone else from taking the guy's dessert, it's a declaration that this is my new bitch. 1993 ‘DUICE’ (title of song) *Booty call. 1994 YSB (Nexis) 30 Apr. 54 Guys don't have to make the ‘booty’ calls these days. 2001 Cosmopolitan (Electronic ed.) June, A guy I'd been seeing made a booty call. Afterward, he said, ‘High five!’ and reached out his hand to slap mine.


I mean, if somebody asked me, would you be willing to pay 2 dollars per day for electricity, I would say yes, but every month, I find myself wondering, "which were the electricities that ran through this house for a cumulative cost of $60?!"


"Five minutes after smoking the drug, none of the doses had any effect on the pain felt.

"But 45 minutes later, those who had smoked the moderate dose said their pain was much better, while those who consumed high doses said it had got worse.

"They did, however, feel 'higher' than counterparts who had taken moderate doses."



Getting into the dictionary is one thing. Getting into the dictionary with a sentence this good -- "Augustinian monk and botanist whose experiments in breeding garden peas led to his eventual recognition as founder of the science of genetics" -- is something only Gregor Mendel could do.


Ask the Sphinx

So I've nearly finished polishing my Coleridge presentation paper. It took some doing to fight through the gleaming-bright hot hatred I've had for him ever since I realized I'd have to read him against a deadline, the old lunatic metaphysician. But, it's nearly over. All that's left is to go and read the paper in front of a jury of my peers who have glanced at the paper, underlined some sentences in much the same spirit that you blindfoldedly thwack a pinata, and have but one question: "Could you say more about...?"

It would scare me. But I've finally figured out this question's kryptonite. You can say anything -- it doesn't matter -- as long as you have this key in hand. You can talk about nothing. In fact, you're encouraged to talk about nothing. You can talk, if you want, in quasi-Marxist polysyllabics like "reified hegemony" and "superstructurally codified marginalization," even if those things really don't bear on the subject at all. Because if there's one thing quasi-Marxism has proven over the years, it's that it can be decal-slapped onto any conversation, so long as you preface your pseudo-opinion -- and this is all-important -- with the phrase, "There is a sense in which..."

"There is a sense in which..."

Because, no matter what you say, if you're vague enough, you're absolutely right. There is a sense in which pretty much everything that means nothing is, if not true, at least not false. You say "epistemological" if you're talking about what people know, and "metaphysical" if you're talking about what they believe, and you're halfway home. It doesn't matter if you're wrong. You simply beg out of your wrongness by claiming that "I would need to revisit the language, certainly," or that "I'm not thinking about this as rigorously as I would like to be."

(A useful corollary to "There is a sense in which," if you feel like you're using it too much -- a very real risk -- is, "Well, let me go ahead and problematize that by saying," or, if you're really an asshole, "...go head and re-problematize that...")

If you're feeling brave, you can slot new elements into the syntax. "There is an important sense in which..." if you think like you might be using some words that aren't totally alien to the conversation. Or even, if you want to seem like you're being more specific without providing any more information, "There is an important philosophical sense in which..." If you get crazy with it, you can start hybridizing and foreshortening terms into a kind of Cultural Studies stew. "There is an important -- and I don't know how else to put this -- theo-historico-ecclesiastical, you could say... or more specifically, a teleological, almost teleo-eschatological, in the truest sense of that word, way in which..."

So let's see how this works in practice.

Student: Yeah, I have a question about your paper. I notice that on page two you say, "Coleridge clarifies that this is not the divine distinction of election engendered by the separation of 'the Christian from the this-worldian,' but only 'the civilized man in contra-distinction from the barbarian, the savage, and the animal.'" Can you say more about that?
Me: Certainly. I'm actually glad you brought that up. See, there is an important philosophical sense in which Coleridge is superstructurally codifying a sort of marginalization that bleeds through social substrates.
Student: Can you say more about that?
Me: [flustered] Sure, I mean... I'm perfectly happy to grant you that there is a way in which what I said is not true. But there's also an important material-historical, and I mean Adorno, not so much Benjamin, though he would be useful methodologically, too... dialectic sense in which Coleridge is actually presenting a reified hegemony that it itself already encoded in the false consciousness engendered by the Anglican...


The important thing here is to seem like you know what you're talking about, without seeming like you're not surprised by the fact that you know what you're talking about.

Let's build something together.

So there's this new askwiki search engine. You ask it a question, and it answers it. It's "like an AskJeeves that actually works," says bOING bOING.

So, I'm like, ok, let's see what this thing's got. So I want to ask it a question that really has no answer, to see what it's got for me.

So I ask it, "who stole the cheese?"

A split second later, it responds, "There is a legend as to where cheese came from that says an un-named Arab nomad discovered that milk could be taken from animals, and began filling his water pouch with this milk. According to legend, one day he was out traveling when he became incredibly thirsty." It says, "From Article: Cheese."

So I go to the article, Cheese, and this story isn't even in it. Now I'm like, what's the fucking end of this story?!?

This is the most tantalizing search engine ever.

To the more straightforward question, "Was Frank Dux a liar?" the search engine returned the far more poetical and evocative, but ultimately more final answer: "As with virtually all sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing in order to be cooked." I see...

It's like having a really insufferable zen koan expert around to relay all your questions to.


"Thumbscrews" Coleridge

This might sound silly, but I'm furious at Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

I'm going to write in a clear and simple style for the next three days to make up for all the times he tortured defenseless Grammar's poor denuded body. The rack and the screw, the wheel, the maiden, fire and knives, all implemented with fiendish precision and a total lack of conscience while poor Syntax, bound at the wrists and ankles, is not even allowed to scream in agony for the soiled cravat shoved in her mouth as she is bent in ways a body was not built to withstand. Diction is cut a thousand tiny times until she bleeds a thousand tiny drops, and the last proves too much. Not only English, but Greek, Latin, and German bones poke broken through holes in the flesh of Language. Clarity's limbs are torn and piled until she is no longer recognizable for the blood smeared on her face. Lucidity weeps and Logic shivers in shock as he steps next to them with his mandible sheers, dripping the entrails of Cogency, who is still dying, though not for long, already gutted completely. All those Angels, the daughters of Philosophy, expired and expiring while the mother looks on aghast, knowing only, finally, that she will be the next to fall to the encroaching madman with the gleaming teeth, the opioid eyes, and the screwdriver... my god, not the screwdriver...

Egads! It's already too late! I too have fallen victim to this this evil creature, this Coleridge! Demons out!


A short wardrobe update, and "the best thing ever" he said semironically

I'm wearing one of the shirt I accidentally stole from my sister's ex-gangster ex-boyfriend, and when I wear it I sometimes wonder, was this this shirt that witnessed all those murders?

While I was walking home from the bar the other night, the Pumas that I've placed all of my faith and most of my hopes in over the last couple of years finally gave out and cut the shit out of the back of my heel before I even noticed it. It's complicating my pedestrian lifestyle. How much anxiety are you allowed to couch in your first shoe-shopping excursion in a new city?

So what made my day? This made my motherfucking day.

Jean Claude Van Damme starring in a film about the making of a biopic about Jean Claude Van Damme starring Jean Claude Van Damme. UHNNNNNNNN! I just popped an embarrassing Jean Claude Van Damme chubby.

It should be noted that I've probably spent more time in a room with Jean Claude Van Damme's digital simulacrum than with any human being, or facsimile of a human being in my entire life. So, this is as naturally exciting for me as it would be for you if, say, your father or your girlfriend landed a starring role in the next Spielberg / Bay CGI vehicle. You might not have my baggage, but, as a wise man once said, "Everybody's got a price. Everybody's gonna pay."

Finally: my Red Sox won. That's important. But what's more important is, the Indians lost. They dropped 3 straight games. That's hard to do. I'm convinced it has less to do with the fact that the Red Sox were good than it has to do with the tacit but overwhelming shame that has to come with making millions and millions and millions of dollars playing a kid's game when this

is yr logo. I wouldn't feel too good about it, either.

A drunken monk's tongue (Plus: for other uses, see Facial (disambiguation).)

So I tongue-kissed an ex-monk the other day. It was your basic double-dare situation. We were standing in front of a bar we'd just been kicked out of with this fantastic couple from Queens whom we met by accident. They were in town visiting a brother, and they were off the next morning to attend the annual Maryland oyster-shucking championship. We, the monk and I, had been suckered to the bar for interdepartmental hobnobbing, unbeknownst to us when the invitation was extended, and having decided that the stakes of hobnobbing were too high, we decided to talk about sex and breakfast and shotgun Yuengling and PBR (bottles!) with this couple from Queens. Eventually, after last call and every other patron had come and gone, we were asked to leave the bar. So we were standing out front, awash in the glow of having met people you actually like by accident, and there was some talk of inhibitions, and then of not having inhibitions, and this somehow naturally precipitated a drunken monk's tongue wiggling around mine for upwards of a second. It was weird. It was also just like that movie, Tremors.

That movie's fucking awesome.

The couple from Queens finally left, and it was sad to see them go. Then, we peed in an alley, and because we yelled back and forth across the alley about how we were peeing in an alley, we got yelled at by a woman in a house for peeing in the alley. I yelled something about how I was peeing in somebody's private residential something-0r-other, and this woman yelled, pissed but amused, "how's it going guys?" I stifled my urge to say "morally inferior!" and simply shouted "great!" up at her bedroom window.

And that's the story of why I had the savage hangover that kept me from reading 150 pages of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's theo-politics yesterday. Now, I have to read 150 pages of Samuel Taylor Coleridge's theo-politics, and write 6-7 pages about them in all their inscrutable neo-Kantian glory, by Tuesday morning. And I'm not very happy about it.

So I figured I'd at least get a blog post out of it, you know.


Edit: I can't believe I wrote this any more than you can.

It's a familiar hypothetical: If aliens came to earth, and I was charged with introducing them to the highest achievements of the species, I'd...

Well, the first thing I would do is dial up wikipedia and show them how there are independent entries for "facial," "pearl necklace," and "cum shot" ("redirected from 'money shot'"), all of which link to each other. More importantly, in the "pearl necklace" page, there's a picture of, well... a girl with a pearl necklace. There's no room anymore to kvetch and moan and claim the encyclopedia didn't really teach you what a pearl necklace is because you can't visualize it from the description. Oh no -- it's all there. Too, there is no longer any cause to wonder whether the world was better off when the minds of its citizens were informed by the professional thinkers and good old boys who board-chaired the Brittanicas and Collier'ses. The wisdom of the mass of men, the mob mentality's instinct as an editor and redactor, is no longer subject to reproach or second-guessing. Amazing, in retrospect, that we were willing to put up with the many bricklike volumes of you fickle, instantly outdated editions, given what essential chunks of human knowledge you elided. Veritable worlds of universal wisdom simply stricken from your record, which paraded around with unearned, undeserved, intentionally misleading epithets like "unabridged" and "compendium" attached to their shirtfronts as credentials. Swindlers, the lot, I defy you!

"An encyclopedia, or (traditionally) encyclopædia, is a comprehensive written compendium that contains information on all branches of knowledge." The 2007 Brittanica macropaedia consists of 699 articles on subjects as diverse as physics, quantum physics, and special relativity. But it can't muster a 700th to chronicle the noble, neglected facial? ALL branches of knowledge. Except the facial. Until now!

You know how I know how many articles the Encyclopaedia Brittanica has? I looked it up on wikipedia.

The "facial" entry even has a sort of quasi-philosophical discourse on the visceral appeal thereof: "Often viewers will be particularly aroused when copious amounts of semen are ejaculated onto the female's face. Sometimes this is met with wincing, flinching, and disgust from the female. Other times she is excited or surprised, which can add to the viewer's arousal... Other viewers claim the appeal is a snowflake or uniqueness argument. Namely, that the appeal and the excitement of facials is linked to the fact that no two facials are identical. Each facial has unique elements of: splash pattern, amount of semen, number of semen shots, location of semen deposits on the face, speed at which semen is ejaculated, etc."

Index. Chaos theory: see, mathematics; physics; facial (random splash pattern of).

A considerate editor has taken it upon him or herself to note that this very same "facials" entry cites not so much as a single source (which is odd, since the "pearl necklace" entry cites no less than three). What I hope this means is that somebody sat down and invented a dialogue to rigorously investigate the latent psychosexual underpinnings that give rise to the meritorious aesthetic supernova that is that most valuable few frames of B-roll. But it was probably just a guy who spent way too much time on message boards.

It's the unique splash pattern. But oh, it's so much more!

Hence the etcetera.


Equally gifted

"MTV had been on the air for nearly two years before it got up the courage to play the video for Jackson’s 'Billie Jean,' in 1983. (Jackson was the first black artist to appear on the channel, though it had played videos by the equally gifted white soul act Hall & Oates.)"
~Sasha Frere-Jones


The Blow Up 2: Electric Boogaloo

What, was I gonna not take a picture of this guy?

Let's see that again.

Have you ever even considered the possibility of talking on the phone in the middle of a public commons in this struck pose? This pose? Notice, if you will, that it's his left arm holding the phone to his right ear to free up his right elbow to support his weight against the turf, enabling him to kick up both knees at such angles to perfectly replicate a dirty, periwigged Frenchman in a chaise longue. This pose, this pose that suggests you are lounging in a Greek bath house, listening to Socrates and Timaeus talk of tyranny and divine mathematica, and you had to excuse yourself because you just got a call from your weed dealer that you really had to take? He talked like this, in this pose, for some time. I merely admired, and then Antonionified that shit for the world to see.

At least now we know that history hasn't changed people. Its greatest artists -- including Michaelangelo, Caravaggio, and me -- have cruised for people in exactly this pose to be subjects of some of their greatest art.

Of course, Caravaggio's John the Baptist wins, because he managed to stumble on some dude frolicking -- I don't know how else to put it but frolicking -- with a ram, which is, in some ways, nature's cellphone.

With that kind of flaccidity, though, you can't accuse John the Baptist of being one of history's first sheepfuckers. Unless this was post-coital. These dudes must have painted hella fast, because if somebody catches me like that, with a ram, I'm going to scramble for some pants on the double.

Deleted scene: I was at Subway, standing next to this dude and this chick. Action!

Dude: I'll have a foot long tuna on honey oat.
Chick: Eww, gross.
Dude: What?
Chick: I have to sit in a room studying with you for 16 hours and you're going to stink.
Dude: Tuna doesn't make your breath smell.
Chick: Tuna smells like vajay!
Dude: *indistinguishable*
Chick: My jay is mad clean.

Aaaaaand I'm proud to be an American, where at least I know I'm free. And I won't forget the men who died who gave that right to me. And I gladly stand up next to you and defend her still today, 'cause there ain't no doubt I love this laaaaaaand. God Bless the U.S.A!

Then I made the Hindu woman working the counter put bacon on my sandwich.


I live life like Salinger gave it to Esmé. With love & squalor.

Just now, I saw the first scary bug I've seen in my apartment. I've seen a couple of little larval creepy crawly things, but this one, it was standing on a piece of paper, like an evil ink blot that owned the joint. I had every intention of killing it, you know. But it shot away into the dark depths underneath the futon. They're fast as hell, these things.

Adjusted for scale, a cockroach is the fastest land-animal on the planet. I learned that in Cub Scouts. From my mom. She was the troupe leader, and, as far as I know, might have been lying. But ever since, I've had this kind of fantastical daymare that basically involves a cheetah running after a gazelle, but being overtaken unexpectedly from behind by a giant cockroach and devoured.

I think this might be the only thing in the world too scary to make a horror movie about.

Although, Mansquito has already been done.



This is a great day. Because I saw these the first time. Probably nsfw due to excessive use of the words "penis" and "vagina." But absolutely 100% worth the risk. The funniest thing I have seen in ages. Watch these. They're infinitely quotable, infinitely wonderful, infinitely watchable. Go to youtube. Watch the others. They're all heart-stoppingly, transcendently fabulous. TX Robert.

Penis Power

Dick Will Make You Slap Somebody

Warning to Gay Boys


AK and 45 on the side.

This is the picture the BBC used to break the story that TI has been arrested for hording machine guns. The man in that picture should not own machine guns.


Health and Wellness

A story I wrote last year, and started tinkering with yesterday. Then, I decided to stop tinkering and post it. Which, I guess, means it's finished.


My extremities swelled. My hands were outsized Mickey Mouse mallets.

My tongue secreted a green gel. I had to pour salt on it three times an hour to keep the glop from pooling in my cheeks.

A bruise on my thigh turned into a scab. The scab melted into a sore with the consistency and color of a piece of braised pork.

I lost my virginity when all this started. I don’t want to say losing my virginity started it, though. My first symptom, I call it a symptom because the doctor assumes this all loops back to one underlying malady, was a feeling that my bladder was being wrung like a rag into gyres when I peed. “It’s probably Gonorrhea,” the doctor told me when he saw the puffiness around my eyes.

“Any penile discharge,” the doctor asked.

“No, doc, no penile discharge,” I said, rather impishly I thought. A nurse gave me a shot in the ass.

My gums turned white. It didn’t hurt, though, unless I flossed or used a toothpick.

I started losing my hair. It came out in single strands, no clumps, but almost continuously like a breadcrumb trail.


I lay in Sharon’s bed, my feet straining against my new Payless sneakers, already size thirteen up from my usual eight-and-a-half. I put my fat hand on her belly. She had the kind of tan you see on porn stars, and wore pajama pants that rode low and a tank-top that rode up. The outfit showed off the fat on her back. It wasn’t regular fat, but sexy fat like a porn star's.


“Well, there’s not a lot it could be,” he said nonchalantly. “Since the Doxycycline didn’t work, I’m going to give you a refill on the Doxycycline, and also put you on Ciprofloxacin. It treats mostly the same things as Docycycline – anthrax, prostatitis, the Clap, several wind and blood-borne ailments – so there’s no harm in doubling up. If it doesn’t work, come back and we’ll get you on some Amoxycilin. How’s your balance? It might be your inner ears.” The doctor had generously checked the “generics if available” box on my prescription form.

“Your body ages, you know. There’s no medicine for just plumb getting older. Not yet, anyway. Your prostate is inflamed, but it isn’t swollen.”


“Are you suffering from rectal itch?”



The pharmacist took my insurance card and I instantly sensed that this was a man with a sense of humor. “I don’t think you have prescription coverage, but I gave you the discount. Try not to eat dairy, and stay out of the sun."


“Well, I think I’m going to go to bed,” said stretching Sharon. I stood and shifted from foot to foot, restless yes, but my dogs were barking, barking, barking into their size thirteen muzzles.

I kissed her once, then again and again, three times but three times that was really just one kiss with pauses, to amplify the mood. She seemed hesitant, not resistant but unambitious. When we stopped, though, she had a touch of the bedroom eyes, a come-hither look that beckoned me to a place that was far far away. Hither and thither and yon.

Earlier I told her a story about how I’d once thought I could hear my parents having sex, but it turned out to be an owl; my parents were at a dinner party. Later that night, she told me that I’d turned her on, and though it could have been something else I said, this is the only thing that leaps to mind. The rest of the talk was pretty clean.

I lounged, afterwards, around my house waiting for her to call. My symptoms came and went. Sometimes they seemed to be on the verge of lifting, and I would go without a tongue-salting for hours. The discharge would be back, congealed, before I even felt a trickle.


Walking past a bus stop, I heard a woman with a straight-up Murdamore drawl say, "But he don't want it, boss! We only done had sex but one time!"


Just hook it to my veins...

One peccadillo that I haven't been able to overcome since reaching grad school is my tendency to watch all three college football games every Saturday. And then all three pro football games every Sunday. It adds up to something like 20 hours of football in a 40 hour span. It's a great analgesic, as far as that goes, but it plays some serious percussion on my work-week.

I only have class Tuesday and Thursday. So I take Thursday off after class, because we go get drunk on Thursday after class, to celebrate the end of class. Then, I take Friday off, because I have a hangover on Friday. So I'm left with a four day window to do six days worth of work.

And let me tell you. It's not impossible. I've done it six weeks straight, without a stumble or a missed beat.

But it hurts, man. It hurts. I can't wait for this week to be over. I want to watch football like you wouldn't believe.


The Second Great Awakening of old-ass clothes.

"'Confute me in argument, child!' cried I. 'You mistake there, my dear... I never dispute your abilities at making a goose-pye, and I beg you'll leave argument to me.'"
~Oliver Goldsmith

Fashion in modern America is getting out of hand. Perhaps as a concession to the hustle and bustle, you can literally look presentable in less than a minute, if you swing it right. From a lottery of clothes on the floor, you select pants, a shirt, and some flip flops. You put them on. You're done. This, to me, is unacceptable. I want a return. A return to the social and sartorial constraints that caused Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz to look like this.

Though for my money the best-dressed person in history has to be Spain's Isabella. There's a painting of her as a blinged-out infant in the MMA that I've been meaning to revisit. But for now, here's here as an adult, done up nines, fly style, sly smile.

"The vet says I can't lick myself."

Can't you just picture these two getting on the bus in front of the dorm? "You goin' out tonight?" "Yeah, I think we're going to Vito's." "Sweet." "You goin' out tonight?" "Nah, I got this test."

Tell me life wouldn't be better.



A couple days before class started, all graduate students had to attend this orientation. One of the events was, several cops with silver hair and powerful mustaches talked to us about how the U is "an oasis" in the city, and euphemistically said the city has "the urban problems of an urban city." Referring, I assume, to the astonishing crime rates. They talked about "using your sixth sense" to detect a crime that was about to happen. They talked about "roving bands of juveniles," but since they couldn't say anything racially motivated, they distinguished these juveniles by saying they would be "wearing bandannas." They said, "they don't care who you are. They just want what you have."

So the U is an oasis, okay.

This is how I know I'm in graduate school. Tonight, walking home from a bar, I stopped in front on an apartment building to talk to Nick about particular novel-reading strategies -- how to compensate for the fact that one never has the time to do the work that is required -- while police officers and medical technicians wheeled an empty stretcher out of said apartment building into an ambulance, lights flashing. I don't know why the stretcher was empty. I have no answers. There were a couple of police cruisers, lights flashing, just hanging out.

Then, about a block later, I spotted a group of seven or so people. They were all huddled up together walking. It looked just like a rugby scrum. Then somebody across the street yelled, "Take her to the hospital!" One of the girls in the scrum yelled back, "What do you think we're doing? We're only like a block away!" This group of several was carrying a thoroughly unconscious girl. A cop walked towards them, saying into his shoulder rover, "We need an ambulance on Charles and Art Museum Drive right away." The girl, the ringleader, said, "We need a van here, like, right away." He yelled at them, "Is she breathing?" They said "Yes."

I kept walking.



The automythology of Kanye West is an automythology I can get behind. Sort of.

"And then there is Jimmy Carter, who is in my judgment literally the worst poet in the United States."
~Harold Bloom.

So, I have no idea why this video and song -- "Good Life" by Mr. West, naturally -- has so thoroughly owned me for the last two or three days. I've listened to it easily a hundred times, and watched the video probably a dozen. It's a great song, I think. It's got a breezy summer jam way about it, and that's about as far as it should go. It feels like a lightweight song. But it has this very strange effect on me, and it's ridiculously addictive. And the weird thing is -- and this will sound preposterous-- but it has kind of profoundly philosophical implications for me.

Plus, Kanye West is ludicrously hot.

Look at his eyes when he rushes the camera. Dude's eyes make me want to be a better man. He's kind of got this Sufjan Stevens way about him. He does everything so well, and is even self-effacing enough about that fact, that you're necessarily left looking for the chink. Where is this man not fucking perfect? Not flawless, but he even picks the most fashionable flaws. Shit, he forces his flaws to be fashionable. There's a part in the video that any other rapper I can think of would have taken out -- Kanye and T-Pain are both dancing, and it feels like T-Pain is trying to show Ye a Broadway step, and Ye can't do it right and he starts laughing, aww shucks. That's when you know you're a tastemaker.

When your fuckups trump other people's triumphs, without them resenting you.

My ex-girl friend Tempest is having a couple of her lovely photos exhibited in a show soon, and there's one of those artistic statement things on her website to comment on the method of the photos. It ends, "I find this theme of solitude, even in the company of others fascinating." Me too. It's pretty fucking sad, but such is life. Here we are with all these possibilities, necessarily delimited by our own itchy skin. Even when we want to crawl out of it, we just end up crawling in it.

Hip hop, it has not escaped notice, is often a pretty materialistic enterprise, in a way that usually skates along to solipsistic, violent acquisitiveness. So generally, when I'm listening to contemporary rap of the thug or crack varieties, I have to beat down my reservations about the implications of this kind of scary economic system of happiness, where more is better and less is lesser, and just enjoy it as a depthless, chintzy aesthetic experience. It's not like these dudes are Nietzsche or something. They're not sinking into themselves to analyze their assumptions and their very existence. They're repressive types. They're beating down the stuff they find undesirable so as to emphasize the stuff that they take to be essential, and they end up sort of flat characters, cartoons, egos overshadowed by ids become superegos, where their primal urges actually become their better judgment.

There's this thing that Juelz Santana introduced and the Dipset and Young Money guys do. They say "no homo" after they say something that could be construed as gay. You know, "suck my dick -- no homo." There's a great example of it on urbandictionary: "That dude has huge calves, no homo." I'm not sure how cheeky they're being, but I'm tempted to say not very. It really doesn't seem like they realizes how much gayer this makes them sound.

Because, in this materialistic kind of enterprise, there's a necessary process of self-mythologizing. You make yourself fearless by showing no fear. You talk yourself rich. You talk yourself big-dicked. You talk yourself hard. You talk yourself a soldier. You talk yourself the best. And to some extent, this is just the kind of rhetoric that you use to bolster your self-esteem, you know. It's the Stuart Smalley school of thought -- "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Except it's really mean. It's affirmation by denial.

But then there's Kanye. And I mean, he's the same, in a way. Except, you know, he's from an upper-middle class family, and he went to art school, and he wears sweater vests and shit, and Beanie Siegel and that weird slutlady from One D at a Time and Jezebel accuse him of being gay on a regular basis. So there's probably a bit of a classist bent to my appreciation of Kanye's philosophy. He's more like I am than most rappers. But this is, of course, hero-worship. It's like identifying with John Cusack movies. Identification as validation. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I mean, dude's obsessed with teddy-bears, and so am I. Dude's obsessed with college, and so am I.

Dude's obsessed with his self-consciousness, and so am I. His and mine. Ye's not talking about hurting anybody, and I can't tell you how much I appreciate that. He's kind of bitchy. But he's also kind of positive. Not in that, you know, unbearably preachy poli-sci rap way. He's trying to get his without stepping on your toes.

But there's this line in "Good Life." Actually, T-Pain (which is the worst name for an R&B singer ever) says it. He says, "The good life, better than the life I lived back when I thought that I was gonna go crazy."

And this is the kind of automythology I can get behind. Because, even though it's crazy corporeal, and all about bling and bitches, it suggests that there's this place of bliss available if you can just keep charging through the awful. And I don't believe that Kanye is there, in that place, but I believe that he's kind of mythologized himself there, and I can respect that in a way. I mean, it's probably telling that the two best moments of the song are about women's asses. There's "If she got the goods, and she got that ass, I got to look... sorry." But his sorry, it's fucking weird, it actually sounds a little bit penitent. I mean, it's coy, and it's impish, and it's bedeviled, but it's also sheepish. And I love that Kanye West is willing to be sheepish, even when he's planting his flag on the highest mountain of world culture, and redesigning the flag at the same time. And then there's, "Welcome to the good life, where we like the girls who ain't on TV cuz they got more..." and then the track drops out and the vocals are pitch-shifted down, and it's "...ass than the models." It's tremendous. Ye likes real people? No, Ye just wants more ass.

And it's probably just that I'm taking a class on Utopias that makes me note the kind of necessity of paradox that circumscribes this kind of thinking. Because the solution to that line that is kind of the key to what I like about the song -- "The good life, better than the life I lived when I thought that I was gonna go crazy" -- is "and now my grandmama ain't the only one calling me baby." So what does your grandma think about your whoring around?

So the good life is about cashing in money for stuff and sex, without that being a deflating, emptying metaphysical experience. It's that line from Anchorman, where Will Ferrell says, "We've been coming to the same party for twelve years... and in no way is that depressing." It's all about stasis, because these girls aren't a series of singular girls. It's just this category as interchangeable as dollar bills, one as good as another as long as it looks right. And that pisses me off, because that doesn't sound like the Good Life to me. It seems like pursuing life to the far reaches of its hollow, pathetic depths.

But still, Ye says it's there. Ye goes for his, but Ye's got to shine. It's not a choice. And it's not a thing. It's a feeling. It feels like NY, summertime Chi, ahhhh, now throw your hands up in the sky. And I think that's the most telling moment in the song, and in the video. "It feel like VA or the Bay or Ye," he says. And he points to "Ye" but it's blurred out, and a big cartoon arrow points to him. So it's a coke reference. But it's also a lot cooler. Because living the good life means feeling like Kanye feels.

(I imagine two philosophy majors in the late 1980s arguing, one saying, "the day a rapper writes his name under erasure to indicate the diffuse nature of existence and identity, I will eat my hat." Then, I picture him eating his hat.)

But then, there's a shot of the young Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson never did live a good life. I wonder how he could have lived the good life. But, he always looked good doing it, or not doing it, as the case may be.

And that's the feeling that the song makes me feel, or feel like I could feel. The feeling that there is a good life if you scrape off the patina -- the green on the bronze of life -- it starts to sparkle. But, confound it if it doesn't all come back to hot. If it looks good, eventually it will be good. Right?

Until it gets old?

You want your fuckups to trump other people's triumphs.

You want to automythologize like Kanye West. But at that point it stops meaning anything. So I guess you feel it, or you don't.


People sometimes say Kanye's a bad rapper. And he's not a tongue-twisting mind-bending word-fucking rapper. He's not a "tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate to tap, at three, on the teeth" rapper. But he's not a bad rapper. He's a good rapper. His voice is so featherweight, it's hard to imagine why it's so singular and memorable. But he has a way of saying two things that nobody else has: "Huh!" and "Ayy!" It's sounds like a minor distinction, but it's not. But he's doesn't just brand himself like a lotta rappers nowadays. He's not just about slotting in his gimmicks at every opportunity. He's surprisingly flexible. He ends up in the "vocalist" category of rapper, which is odd, because he can't really do more than your average hungry rapper, but he's carried and buoyed by the complete singularity of his voice -- a lot like Dr. Dre in that respect. Two of the best producers ever, no surprise maybe that they use their voices as their most singular instruments, even though they're both kinda shitty technicians, and only better-than-adequate lyricists.


Oh, yeah, my blog is back. Sort of.