Gag gift

I don't have to be back in class for like 40 days and 40 nights and, as in the film of that name, I will count the break a success only if (if only) I can avoid having sex with Shannyn Sossamon.

(Here she is praying I don't go through with it.)


The fleshy part

(The 10th, and possibly the most harrowing google image result for "fleshy part.")

I am currently regretting the fact that I went with the 14" cheese-steak for the price of a 7" cheese-steak at a sports-bar called Bert's at lunch. It raises at least one interesting question -- what, legally, is the definition of "steak"? If you wanted to, say, level a lawsuit at a restaurant -- how far would their "steak" have to be from that normative legal standard "steak"? Because the first thing that pops up in my dictionary is, "A slice of meat cut from the fleshy part of an animal or large fish." Which doesn't carry with it any of the quality control that is, to my mind, implicit in and conveyed by the word. Can you imagine if they'd just decided not to invent the word steak and just gone with fleshy part? Going to a the local fleshy part house for a sirloin fleshy part? Firing up the grill and throwing down some t-bone fleshy parts? Groaning about having to watch those awful, awful hot men hock for Taco Bell's Triple Fleshy Part Burrito during every commercial break? Having the classic Simpsons' line instead be "Money's too tight for fleshy parts"? I can tell you one thing, and I will tell you that one thing -- if the special had been a 14" fleshy part sandwich for the price of just 7" of fleshy part, I'm pretty sure that's a sandwich I wouldn't be regretting.

Also -- Last week, I sat in on a lecture, and the lecturer said that "mutton" was a kind of cow meat. I wasn't so sure, so I went to the lecturer afterward and I said, "are you sure mutton is a kind of cow meat?" She was absolutely sure. Now, having thoroughly searched the surprisingly extensive wikipedia page for "mutton" for such phrases as "cow," "beef," "steak," "fleshy part," and "any other animal that's not a sheep or goat or lamb or something like that," it is becoming more and more clear that mutton can, under no circumstances, be a cow. Not even in Britain, where, it was intimated by the lecturer, it was more likely to be a cow. I know that because there's a "Britain" section to the wikipedia entry for mutton, no shit.

So now, I'm trying to find a way to reveal that I'm right about mutton, without it coming off as gloating. I'm thinking about wearing a t-shirt that says, "Mutton Can Under No Circumstances Be Cow," and explaining to everyone that it's the hot new fashion the kids are wearing, like No Fear and Shemalé in their day. I'm thinking I could organize a campus even called Mutton Week under the auspices of some shadow corporation called NoCow or Cows AREN'T Us (a limited liability corporation), with a mission of getting out the facts about mutton and ending all the pernicious misconceptions. I could get a bunch of freshman to stand on the quad and hand out literature and do something theme-appropriate like, I dunno, wail on some cowbells or something. I could dress up like the gypsy from Jane Eyre and go into her office hours eating some mutton, and then deliver a seemingly mad, yet curiously precise disquisition on the nature and history of mutton, and then jump out the window to evade campus security. I could revive the old theanonymouspervert@gmail.com gmail account and send her an anonmyous tip from the anonymous pervert, on the preconception that, as long as my name isn't attached, she won't know it's from me -- the only problem would be finding a way to say something perverted about mutton that's still actually about mutton, sort of like how I imagine it was sometimes difficult for Bill Nye the Science Guy or Beakman (either of the Beakmans) from Beakman's world to simultaneously follow every standard of scientific rigor and falsifiability and remain accessible, you know, for the kids. But I'll probably have to just go on letting her believe that mutton is cow, and infecting whole new generations of readers with this damned lie. The needle and the damage done. I just hope she doesn't get to you, or anyone you know.

Etopian upiphany

There's nothing like standing over the dirty counter eating expired olives off a dirty spoon during a bout of stress-induced insomnia to make you think, "really? this is what my life is like? really?"

It's like that scene in Mrs. Doubtfire where... ah hell, what's the point...


The 23 skin tones of Law & Order

I have a crush this big
on Mariska Hargitay.

But watch out Mariska, cus here comes Alana de la Garza.

It's like Angie Harmon was some kind of weak, broken prototype, like an Apple II or something, and then the Law and Order people were thought Hey, why don't we just invent new, faster, sleeker, slimmer quasi-cultural, powerful, vulnerable women who navigate positions of authority while still keeping in check ungovernable torrents of unsheathed, raw emotion? Aren't ethical undecidables always more affecting when they're being agonized over by attractive people? What sweetens the bitter rhubarb of a gristly murder or a toxic rape like a dip of nearly white, but not quite white sugar? Kid lost both parents, will never be the same? Who better to agonize over it, but ultimately not be able to help and be wrenched by the agony of impotence, like a butched-up whisp of cotton-down cloud blown in from the Big Rock Candy Mountain? When someone looks into your eyes and reads your very soul, who better to do it than somebody with gigantic eyes? They're like Bambi's mom all dolled up in formfitting polycotton blouses -- that old Law and Order staple that, try as it might, never gets old -- for Maxim's annual Hottest Jurisprudence issue.

The job gets to them, you know -- but they need it. They need the job.

"Why do you do it? What keeps you going?" asks one minor character per season.

"I have to," she responds, eyes glistening with Vaseline, lips trembling like jelly on a trampoline. "It keeps me single."

Law and Order, I have the biggest crush on your formula. It's like Doctor Pepper. All around the world, plug it in, and it just works.


People who weigh 100 pounds: an ode to preying on the weak

Here's a poem I composed mentally this morning in the bathtub.

I'm fond of folks who weigh 100 pounds
Because to them, you're just unstoppable.
You can pick them up
Against their will
And throw them in a lake,
And there's nothing they can do.

Sometimes they surprise you
With their craftiness --
They slip out of a
Less than vicelike hold --
But on offense,
They're for shit.


She'll be coming round the mountain when she etc. (An unbecoming becoming)

You really ought to go here and let this guy scare the shit out of you.

Yesterday I finished Ulysses, always an apocalyptic, if not to say apoplectic moment, a bit bittersweet because you realize you're done and that's all? but really you're not done because you can never finish. Finishing the book is worth about the same as knocking out Mike Tyson in 2003 -- impressive as to bragging rights, but short on actual accomplishment. You can't even go back in time and fight him in 1991, and even if you could he'd break your face.

Speaking of accomplishment, though -- I did get to read this passage aloud in a room full of awkward people.

"I feel all fire inside me or if I could dream it when he made me spend the 2nd time tickling me behind with his finger I was coming for about 5 minutes with my legs round him I had to hug him after O Lord I wanted to shout out all sorts of things fuck or shit or anything at all only not to look ugly or those lines from the strain who knows the way hed take it you want to feel your way with a man"

Who saw that obscenity trial coming, eh?

And it's not to say that this was a pertinent passage given the context of the conversation. Apropos of what you might call nothing; but there was no way I was going to read that passage whilst scrambling to finish that fucking book at One AM and not repeat it nine hours later, in the heat of the moment, as it were. If I don't get to read that out loud, what am I in grad school for?

Now: watch the room cast their eyes straight down as if a homeless guy, reeking of piss and wine, came in and sat with an instructor's copy of Gifford's Annotated, pulled his spectacles low onto his nose, and said "let's begin," with what look earily like the professor's bloodily dismembered ears strung on a string round his neck.

Disclaimer: this reflects only my own carefully dissembled feeling of exhilarating awkwardness after reading the passage in question, and in no way reflects on the awkward feelings of any of the other awkward people in the awkward class.

Disclaimer 2: That might have been a reference to Universal Soldier, but you'll never catch me.

I am now plowing, or piledriving if you prefer and I do, my way through Walden, one of the million-billion foundational works of literature which I cannot do what I do without having read, and which I have not read. I am on a photo-tour of the Grand Canyon, strafing through in an Apache helicopter, shooting at anything that looks like it might have once been alive, vomiting into the Colorado River from 300 feet in the air, just to leave my mark. It is not the most sensitive reading strategy, but sensitivity will not change the fact that time is of the essence. (Does it ever? Isn't it always?). The upshot of this is, it's pretty hard to read Walden right now and not think, Obamamania would have made this motherfucker sick. And that's kind of funny.

Worst thing today: I read this sentence -- "As I did not teach for the good of my fellow-men, but simply for a livelihood, this was a failure" -- and it sort of stuck in my craw, because earlier I met with a student who got Frank Churchill and Mr. Martin confused in Emma. Not just one time, though. In general. This is basically an impossible mistake to make. I carefully explained, "Frank Churchill is the gay guy in Clueless. Mr. Martin is Breckin Meyer, the skeezy skater stoner."

"Ah!" she said, with a blaze of inspiration. "Christian and Travis!"

My fingers, heart, and birdlike soul flutter with anticipation for her final paper.

Quoth McNulty: I am a leader of men.


I put it to you, Thandie Newton

If you're having sex with a guy, and the guy dies, but you don't realize it, how long does it take before it turns out that you have to drink when you're playing a game of "I've Never" and somebody says, "I've never had sex with a dead guy"?

Edit: if you google the phrase "I've Never," one of the first hits is this.

Plus: Tupac and Tim Roth in Gridlock'd. How fucking cute is this?


Tan, cankerous, cantankerous

I wonder how often a body gets sick because it gets germs on it -- say, by making grazing hand-to-hand contact with its Chinese food delivery dude -- and then engaging in a thorough-going round of nose-picking.

Of course, I insist to the death that this is a purely hypothetical consideration.


Disclosurebot on the fritz again

I wrote this last year, and I just found it, and it made me feel better, because apparently I used to feel worse.

Improvement -> Progress -> Enlightenment.

Crawl -> Walk -> Fly.

Drawl <- Squawk <- Cry.


I refrain from writing about school, because I don't anymore often think it wise to give in to my inner disclosurebot, the part of me that relishes using rhetorical jazz hands to just barely cover up the inner horror of what the fuck? I always tend towards drama queenery in these situations. I always tends towards hyperbole.

I am mentally exhausted. I feel like I'm having my brain broken into by a gang of croupiers to whom I owe everything and can't pay. Grad school feels like gambling to me. Like searching for food. You poke a stick in a hole and wiggle it around for a while and hope there's a snake in there that's good eating. We call those "arguments." Pockets inside out like a hobo with a lipstick clown mask. Intuition on hook, on pole, over shoulder. Catch me a whopper. Or a crappie.

I have a presentation paper due at noon today about Edmund Spenser. I have to read it in front of all of the prospective students, coming here to visit, to see if they want to come here, for good, for ever, and never ever leave like me. I can never ever leave. Don't be like me! They're coming to get a taste of grad school, and I have to parrot this paper that couldn't be farther out of my period of specialization -- especially true since I have no period of specialization -- to them. The paper is about rape, something about which I know nothing. This fact does not make me refrain from making grandiose statements like, "if the rape is pleasurable, that only makes it all the more horrible." Because that's true, right?

Let's see that one in slow motion.

I'm caught between the poles of feeling incapable of doing what is required of me, because I would prefer not to, and feeling like a gyrating, breakdancing wind-up monkey who has been wound up for some reason to dance a dance it's never danced before in front of a Carnegie Mellon audience.

I don't even feel inadequate, is the thing -- not in the way you'd expect, not from me. I'm just pissed off that so much has to be done so fast and I move too slow. It's like indignation, directed at abstractions. I tried to work ahead this week. I did. I read Agamben, and I read Henry James, and they took so long to read. I started ahead, and I was already behind. That shit is demoralizing. Now I'm tired, and it's 7 am, but I can't go to sleep, because I have to finish this paper by noon, and then I have a meeting at 2:45. I'm supposed to tell a professor which classes I want to take next semester. I'm not actually supposed to sign up for the classes. Just a meeting, to tell the professor which classes.

And what's terrible about it is, the internal clock is ticking, and every time the clock ticks, the battery hooked to it drains a little. Brain drain. 100 pages of Agamben to go by 24 hours from now. Pain/gain. 145 pages of Henry James to go by 48 hours from now. Train in vain.

Stop writing blog post, go write presentation paper. It's not yet impossible to do what I have to do, but I feel it slipping away, and the question, "when am I going to have to have time to sleep?" sounds less and less like the kind of question you ask when you want your predicament to sound important, and more and more like the kind of question you ask when you really don't know when the next time you're going to be able to sleep is. Or maybe I just want it to sound importanter. All I want to do is watch the next episode of Dexter. Sleep is the enemy, not because it's the cousin of death, but because I want it and I can't have it. It's the enemy like you're the enemy, so long as you're a person I want and can't have. The less I sleep the longer it takes, and the more I sleep the less I can do. No matter what I do I end the week on a wing and a prayer.

I feel. Like a stupid monkey in a crucible having its stupid monkey metal burned down into ore and its stupid monkey mettle tested. I feel like there's a team of tenured machinists staring down at my jaws-of-lifed open corpse nodding at each other, "We can rebuild him." Everybody's looking at you and your ribs are spread open and your nose is wide open. Do something funny! Dance!

Nobody blame the monkey for he knows not what he do. First things first, you dig the hole you fill it up you dig the hole you fill it up you dig the hole you fill it up. When you're done with that, you dig the hole you fill it up you dig the hole you fill it up you dig the hole you fill it up. Finally, you...



Don't mess aound with the Demolition Man

I assume it will be relatively uncontroversial when I say that Demolition Man is the greatest movie ever made. Oh, sure, there will be some Bordwells and Eberts and other buffoons piping up from the back of the class, concealing their yells of “Citizen Kane!” and “The Godfather!” with faux coughs, and maybe even some turtlenecked europhiles in sharp black glasses and shapeless brown pants sniffing “Rules of the Game” or “8 ½.” But these people are easily dealt with. How, you ask? How do we know that Demolition Man is the greatest movie ever made? I'll show you, in 48 seconds or less.

That's how we know, motherfucker.

It's a scruffy puppy of a movie, automatically and by definition more adorable – more worthy of adoration – than any of a thousand born and bred showdogs with million dollar pedigrees. Film school be damned; I just want to love you.

It's the movie that singlehandedly makes Brave New World a good book. In class the other day, I was trying to defend the aesthetic merit of Brave New World, but ended up coming clean that my enthusiasm for the book is mostly predicated on a love of Demolition Man. But since basically nobody in the class had seen Demolition Man, and since those who had seen it dismissed it out of hand, it sort of fell flat. I rhapsodized for a minute on the joys and pleasures of Wesley Snipes with a platinum-blonde hightop fade. Then somebody said, “I'd hate for you to pick the movies I had to watch.” Fortunately I was wearing a Spielberg Hook shirt at the time, and I was able to deflect with, “yeah, well, I'm wearing a Hook shirt.”

Now, I actually think Hook is a pretty fucking badass movie, but I had to let it go. It turns out, enthusiasm and disdain make worse bedfellows than Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon with an industrial tub of tractor grease and matching gag balls. Sure, I got sniped at for thinking the movies I like are bad movies, and sure, that could make me furious.

But goddamn it, my enthusiasm for Demolition Man will not be tainted by rage!

So, you may be thinking, Ye Great Unwashed Uninitiated, aside from this abstract word-sculpture about the Greatness of the film, what are its particular virtues. I refer you, in the first case, to Wesley Snipes's aforementioned platinum blonde hightop fade.

Snipes plays his sinister comic genius thing to the hilt, never deigning to ham it up, even when he's hamming it up. Even when he's unfreezing a load of “cryo-cons” and he yells, “Jefferey Dahmer?! I love this guy!” In this future – the alternate future of Demolition Man – Jefferey Dahmer was cryogenically frozen to undergo behavioral modification and rehabilitation. Which, it could be argued, is a step up in the romance department from being beaten to death, in prison, with a mop handle.

With the right scripts – and far be it from me to suggest that Demolition Man was not one of the right scripts – Snipes could have been gigantic. A fat flaming supernova of stardom. Instead, he's in prison for tax evasion and financing a black militant separatist group / kung fu retreat. Nice going, Wesley Snipes's agent. May the Lord bless him and keep him from being beaten to death with a mop handle.

At one point, Snipes lifts a futuristic manhole to the futuristic sewer and ejaculates: “Oooooh, shit! I love that smell. Reminds me of biscuits and gravy.” Talk about the right script. The future-sewer reminds Simon Phoenix of soul-food.

But if you need more – oh, there's plenty more. Take, for instance, the mid-90s dream team cast.

Courtney Cox's inept underling from Ace Ventura, Roger Pedacter, plays an inept cop who greets Stallone by saying, “I formally convey my presence!”

The warden from The Shawshank Redemption, rocking an immaculately shorn and ice-shiny dome, plays the inept police commissioner. Sample dialog: “Caveman! Let's finish with all the Rip Van Winkle!”

A pre-insufferable Rob Schneider -- if there ever was such a thing -- in his first teaming with Stallone (Judge Dredd anyone?), plays an inept cop. “We're police officers! We're not trained to handle this kind of violence!”

Benjamin Bratt plays an inept cop who becomes an inept bandito. Quoth Stallone: “a bump on the head and you think you're Pancho Villa?”
Bratt: “Who?”

("Hi, I'm Benjamin Bratt, and I'm not that famous, somehow.")

A pre-"I'll do the voice-over for a thousand commercials for products I would have told you I'd kill myself before endorsing a decade and a half ago" Dennis Leary plays Edgar Friendly, the leader of the resistance movement.

And he clearly writes his own dialog. It's weird, and it's fantastic, and it's fantastical. It would be like... like, if Shakespeare was working on a play, and he wrote a part for Emily Dickinson, and then let her write her own soliloquy, that's what it's like.

[Enter Emilia]
Bornitholio: But soft! Hark Emilia anon! What news from the Duke?
Emilia: It is a balmy ray of weight –
That circumscribes the spider door
And falls – sirroco'd – in a chain
That – not – is slanted paramour
Bornitholio: Whaaaaaa?!

Leary delivers a rant that, while being perfectly and representatively Dennis Leary-esque, also sums up every criticism I have of Kant's moral philosophy. And I'm not even joking. This movie's that good.

Edgar Friendly: You see, according to Cocteau's plan I'm the enemy, cuz I like to think; I like to read. I'm into freedom of speech, and freedom of choice. I'm the kind of guy likes to sit in a greasy spoon and wonder, "Gee, should I have the T-bone steak or the jumbo rack of barbecued ribs with the side order of gravy fries?" I want high cholesterol. I wanna eat bacon and butter and buckets of cheese, okay? I want to smoke a Cuban cigar the size of Cincinnati in the non-smoking section. I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-o all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal? I've seen the future. Do you know what it is? It's a 47-year-old virgin sitting around in his beige pajamas, drinking a banana-broccoli shake, singing "I'm an Oscar Meyer Wiener."


Shortly before this, this magical movie moment, Stallone buys a rat burger in the underworld from a monobrowed Mexican vagabond. A RAT BURGER!

Stallone: “Que es este carne?”

Monobrowed Mexican vagabond: “Este carne es de rata!”

Stallone: “Rat? This is a rat burger? Not bad! Matter of fact, it's the best burger I've had in years. Prego... see you later.”

He chokes down the last bite of rat burger brilliantly.

But that's all topical triviality. You want message? Demolition Man has message. It's a Message Movie. It's actually a perfectly orchestrated allegory of the Dionysian vs. the Apollonian, and the impossibility of mediating between order and chaos. It's rife with aporia and undecideability. But you know what the upshot is? A little bit of Bacchus isn't such a bad thing.

Stallone: “This isn't the wild west – the wild west wasn't even the wild west! Hurting people's not a good thing... well, sometimes it is... but not when it's a bunch of people looking for something to eat!”

It turns out, according to this movie, you're supposed to have sex! You're supposed to blow shit up! But you're also supposed to honor thy neighbor and give peace a chance! This movie's fucking awesome!!!

When you finish the movie, and the lights fade, and the credits roll, and you're sitting there bathed in and beaming with a positively orgiastic afterglow, you think there are no treats left in this Halloween bucket. But then, a racket kicks up. Not just any racket. It's Sting. Sting from the Police! Performing a song called “Demolition Man,” complete with lots of falsetto gospel wailing! A little deep searching in the credits reveals that Sting released an ep called Demolition Man.

Are you fucking serious?! Sting!! “Demolition Man” by Sting!!!

Right now I bet you don't believe me. I bet you think I'm making shit up about Demolition Man, because you buy that it's great, but there's no way it's that great. But you're wrong, sucka!!!

What a fucking great song! What a fucking great Sting! How do you not have tantric sex with that guy? Plucking his bass with his thumb, trying to look all tough... just adorable.

I first saw Demolition Man in the theater, on a road trip with my mom, as a nine year old. We were on our way to WWF Summer Slam in Detroit. It was the epochal Summer Slam in which Lex Lugar body slammed the formidably hefty Yokozuna to assert, in symbolic terms, America's socioeconomic and cultural dominance over Japan. After he did it, red white and blue balloons fell from the rafters and everyone chanted “USA! USA!” as large groups of congregated rednecks are wont to do when sweaty men in skin-tights hug each other sweatily. Sadly, I didn't see any of this, because my mom was falling asleep, and badly wanted to beat the traffic before the main event. I had to read about it the next month in the WWF Magazine.

(I was THERE! Right before this...)

It seemed, at the time, like a lost opportunity. Like THE lost opportunity. But what I lost that day, I more than gained. It was like losing your penis and finding the lord. Like dropping a slice of pizza cheese-down in New Jersey, bending to pick it up, and suddenly finding $20 in anywhere other than New Jersey. Like drinking poison Kool-Aid only to be taken by space aliens to another, wonderful world.

I kept coming back to Demolition Man.

I bought the novel. Not, you understand, the novel upon which the film is based. The novel which is based on the film. There's a gag in the movie – the three seashells. There's no toilet paper in the future. Instead, on the shelf where they're supposed to have the toilet paper, they got these three seashells. Stallone can't figure out how to use the three seashells. Rob Schneider mocks him -- “he doesn't know how to use the three seashells! Heheheheheh!” The last line of the movie is, “How's that damn three seashells thing work?”

This was, in the immortal words of Michael Cera, an awesome mind puzzle for me as a child. How does the damn three seashells thing work? I think I am, in some respects and for all my skepticism, hopelessly naïve. Now I understand that the three seashells thing probably does not work. It is merely there to sucker rubes like myself. And I can accept that, the same what that I accept that there is probably not something called The Force, which is stronger in some than in others. But the book, Demolition Man: The Novel? The book is even more infuriating. After John Spartan has kicked Simon Phoenix's cryogenically frozen head off (“Heads up!” which is a genius callback to a line from the first scene in the movie – Phoenix: “I swear I'd lose my head if it wasn't attached.” Spartan: “I'll keep that in mind.” Then Phoenix flicks a cigarette into some gas and all this C4 blows up, and I'm like, dude, C4 only blows up when an electrical charge passes through it and fire is not electrical, and why is all this C4 in motherfucking barrels? Who has barrels of C4?​​), and everything is in chaos, Spartan is walking away with Lenina Huxley. And, like in the movie, he asks how the damn three seashells thing works. But this time, the novel tells us, she leans in and whispers in his ear. She WHISPERS in his EAR, says the omniscient narrator, and we are not told what she says. And he says, “Well, I'll be damned.”

I was so pissed.

I still get a little riled up when I think about it. Suffice it to say, I only read Demolition Man the book once. Which was for the best, because when it came out on VHS, it was mine – the same copy I own to this very day. It's one of those nebulous VHS tapes. I have no idea how I got it, where it came from, if I stole it, if it was bought for me, if I bought it with paper route money. No idea. All I know is, that for as long as I can properly remember anything like an itemized list of my possessions, this copy of Demolition Man has been my constant companion. (And lord willing, will be for many years hence.)

In high school, an entire summer went by wherein I watched at least part of Demolition Man every day. First Leno, then Conan, then Carson Daley, then an hour cop drama the specs of which I've totally forgotten, then The Hughleys, then an hour of Bernie Mac. Good TV trailed off at about 4:30 a.m. Then, every morning, without fail, I'd pop in Demolition Man and drift off to the most beautiful, beatific sleep you can imagine. This is undoubtedly why – or at least part of why, though it might not be crazy to go the whole way – I am the well-rounded, fully functional member of society you behold today.

The genius of the movie is that at no point can you tell whom the joke is on. It fulfills every requirement of the Great Terrible Movie. The strange thing about it – and the truly, unprecedentedly great thing – is that, I'm pretty sure it knows it. Normally, that's grounds for immediate dismissal from the Great Terrible Movie sweepstakes. You can't try to make a bad movie, and make a bad movie, and have it be a good movie. The reason Breakin', or Bloodsport, or Mighty Ducks is so great is, you get a pretty solid sense that the people making the movie were absolutely sure that they were on to something. Any bad movie that underachieves is just a bad movie. It takes talent, to paraphrase Ebert, to make a titanically bad film.

But just as sure I am that Demolition Man knows it's a terrible movie... I'm pretty sure it thinks it's pretty great. It resides in the same anti-genre of affection-parody as Hot Fuzz, but is, at the end of the day, vastly superior, for all Hot Fuzz's greatness. Because Hot Fuzz is knowing. Demolition man isn't even thinking. It's the filmic equivalent to getting hit in that spot in your knee that makes your leg kick, and having your leg kick, where Hot Fuzz is getting hit in that spot in your knee, realizing your leg hasn't kicked, and then kicking your leg because your leg hasn't kicked. I appeal directly to the court: which evinces a healthier nervous system?

Plus, it's got one of the Top 5 weirdest sex scenes in movie history, wherein Stallone proposes to have “Bony... the wild mambo... the hunka-chunka...” with Sandra Bullock. “Fluid transfer?!” she squeals.

Fucking Demolition Man rules.

Loving you is easy cuz I'm dead

I've been watching a lot of Law and Order lately, since, in the deep
of the night, I can't stand to be alone with my thoughts. The two best
quotes, so far, have both been from SVU, both stumbled upon
accidentally in episodes I watched - but which did not run - back to
back. The first is from a 911 operator; the second, a lonesome

"Sweet mother of god... It's the carjack rapist!"
(Eat that, Dexter, with yr ice-truck killer!)

"You can't trust a woman with a pulse!"

Sent from my mobile device


Working through a Sarah Palin fantasy

I'm not gonna lie to you, I'm a little bit wine-drunk, and this VP debate is killing me. I really do want to make out with Sarah Palin, though. But I want us to be wasted off shared swigs from a sticky flask, and I want something sharp and hard and preferably plastic to be poking her in the back. I want Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar on Me" to be playing on the stereo of my IROC-Z, and I want us to be sitting in it on a road that runs through a cornfield. And I want her to be really impressed that I have a sweet IROC-Z. I want it to be 1986. I want her to be 17, but look just like she does now, and I want her to be snapping gum and wearing at least one wrist-band, and if we're really telling it like it is, leg-warmers and hotpants and a Depeche Mode t-shirt that's way too big. I want us to share a Newport Medium, and I want her to blow smoke into my mouth because I want her to, and not necessarily because she wants to, although she's certainly curious. I want her to be blind without her glasses, and lose her glasses in the cornfield, and I want to watch her wander, frantic, through the stalks, groping and grasping at straws and stems. I want to laugh under my breath, and I want her to think maybe I'm laughing but not be sure, and not feel self-assured enough to call me on it. I want her older brother to stumble upon us, and threaten my life. I want her to cry and apologize, first to him, and after he leaves, to me. I want to say, "whatever," and screech away in my Camaro, leaving her knock-kneed and sobbing in the dirt.

And I want to have a sweet peach-fuzz mustache.

And I want to be wearing Wranglers.

And I want to have a guitar in the back seat.

And I want her to never run for public office because of this sole traumatic event, and become a failed conceptual artist who makes installations about how much she hates me, and then, when she runs out of money and her parents won't help her anymore, a hot, mean kindergarten teacher.


It's important to have priorities

In the last 24 hours, I've written 800 words on Emerson's "Self-Reliance," for a paper due tomorrow at 8 a.m., and 4,500 words on how and why Demolition Man is the greatest movie ever made.

It was so worth it.

PS -- if anybody buys me this for Christmas, I will be their humble and grateful serf for life, and they will be my liege lord, and I will work their fief, and plant and tend to their soy crop, and just generally be good merry company and a shining, loyal sidekick.


Hey... I'm back!

I was pissed off at first when I found out that Paul Newman died. Then I thought about it, and I tried to think of anybody who's ever lived who was or is cooler than Paul Newman was, and continues to be. And I couldn't think of anybody. He was, and is, the coolest person I've ever heard tell of. And I just couldn't stop thinking about how cool Paul Newman was, and is. And I wasn't mad anymore. I was just kind of in awe of how amazingly cool Paul Newman was, and is. What a cool guy.


Vorpal sword

One time, my friend was hitting on a girl with a glass eye at a bar. I came up to them and spanked her with a ten dollar bill. She was kind of offended. I said, "I'm really sorry I just did that, and the fact that I'm apologizing means, I need another beer." She had a glass eye.


MOTHER FUCKER!!!!!!!!!!!

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks:

10-23 Calgary, Alberta - The Warehouse *
10-24 Edmonton, Alberta - Starlite Room *
10-25 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan - Amigo's *
10-27 Winnipeg, Manitoba - Pyramid Cabinet *
10-30 Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon *
10-31 Iowa City, IA - The Picador *
11-02 Columbia, MO - The Blue Note *
11-04 Omaha, NE - Slowdown *
11-05 Lawrence, KS - Liberty Hall *
11-06 Denver, CO - Gothic Theatre *
11-08 Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge *

* with Blitzen Trapper


Very, Very Jones - bundled with - Maximum Buddhism

I've invented a new religion. I call it Maximum Buddhism. It's for Buddhists who like to party. Tenets of this religion will be forthcoming.

I'm in a seminar with Terribly Important Critic A. I mentioned a passing interest in the life of a colorful character named Jones Very, a 19th Century poet who thought himself, at various points, to have achieved a total correspondence to Shakespeare, and then to Christ, as in "I stand here before you today the greatest of poets and the son of God." He would go to meetings and such, and argue with people, and when they argued back, he would say, "your argument cannot be correct, because I am Jesus Christ, and everything I say is ordained by God." Once, when a manuscript of his was returned with a spelling error pointed out, he insisted that the error could not be corrected, and was not an error, for it was dictated to his hand by the Divine Muse.

Jones Very had one of my favorite sentences ever written about him, by A. Bronson Alcott: "I received a letter on Monday of this week from Jones Very of Salem, formerly Tutor in Greek at Harvard College — which institution he left, a few weeks since, being deemed insane by the Faculty." Jones Very was swept off to an asylum, but no one was able to clinically diagnose him as a madman. So, they let him go, and when they did, the inmates thanked him profusely.

So this guy's pretty awesome, and there's a touch of the ghost story about his life. But the upshot is, Terribly Important Critic A sent an email to Dreadfully Significant Critic B, and recommendations were doled out, in case I want to delve further into the life of this slipshod prophet of Concord; and not only that, but Terribly Important Critic A wants to know what I think. On the one hand, this is more work for me, and I loathe doing work. On the other, I am either 1 degree -- or 15 years of backbreaking reading, writing, and toil, more than a dollop o' remarkable luck, and a renewed ideological interest and financial commitment from the upper echelons of the US Gov. in higher education in the field of the humanities -- away from the inner sanctum. I feel more or less the same way I did opening for bands that opened for the Dismemberment Plan and Built to Spill. Right on the fringes of something that some people care about, and are impressed with. And even though nobody thinks I'm important, or is particularly impressed with me, I'm closer to the people that they're impressed with than they are. This is the part of my personality that badly wants to become a limo driver, or a Hollywood assistant. I believe this aspect is also known as shameful self-aggrandizement. I ride swanker coattails than you!

Worship me, tiny men of the world, for I am your Lord God!



Think about everyone you know.

Got it? Good.

Now think of the person who has the highest, evenest ratio of smarts : terrible personness.

Say you have a friend called Nancy Smalls. She's a lovely woman, not too bright. She can read without moving her lips, but she has to concentrate. She drives her kids to the mall, and she enjoys M&Ms. She loves her husband, and while she gets exasperated sometimes, she's never dour. She gave money to the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, and then again when the Tsunami hit. If you eyeballed Nancy Smalls, she might have a smartness in the .55s (out of a possible 1), and a terrible personness of .13 (again, out of a possible 1).

Nancy Smalls -- .55 : .13

Not that good.

Now let's say you have a friend called Flowbear. He's faking his way (with flying colors!) through a prestigious humanities department's graduate program. He loves to put plastic bags full of shattered bottles in baby carriages, and then wait across the park so he can relish the screams. He pokes holes in every condom box he comes across with a needle he found in an uptown alley. He carries discs of frozen piss in a cooler so he can slide them through cracked car windows. He filled every washing machine in a Laundromat with smashed-up packing peanuts and barbecue sauce, and then ran loads with stolen quarters. He once epoxied a sleeping guy's nuts to his comforter, epoxied the comforter to the radiator, turned the thermostat up all the way, and stole the poor bastard's every pair of scissors. He would love to throw up in your freezer. Say Flowbear's got a smarts rating of .79 (out of a possible 1) and a terrible person rating of .83 (again, out of a possible 1). He would have a pretty solid, though indubitably improvable smarts : terrible personness ratio.

Flowbear -- .79 : .83

Not bad.

Now think of the person you know who has the highest, evenest ratio. The ratio most closely approaching the holy 1:1.

That person is your Valedicktardian.

That's the punchline? Yeah, that's the punchline.

Congratulations, Valedicktardians!


Future of the Left is the best band in the world, and fuck you

This year in music, for me, has mostly been characterized by sissy whiteboys with acoustic guitars crooning about their pain pithily and with aspirations to literariness. It makes me feel like I'm getting old. So it's some small consolation that I'm still able to reca'nize that the greatest thing in the world is Future of the Left's album, Curses.

"I don't need a point! I don't need objectives! I don't need a purpose! I don't need a prison!"

People tend to complain when artists browbeat them. I read this all the time re: Nabokov. People can't stand it when artists are assholes to them. Me, I can't get enough. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing I loathe more than idle provocateurism in art. I hate it when somebody does something a schizophrenic diva might do just because people are watching (or, even worse, just to make them look), and screams "free speech and boundary-pushing!!!" as a authenticity signifiers. This mentality, if I might be allowed to sound pretentious, still toils away under the auspices of progress, and who needs progress? I just want catharsis. So did this Greeks. This is time-honored shit, right here, and nobody since Medea has been more cathartic than these insufferable Welsh hard-ons. I imagine it's sort of analogous to how I can't stand it when people make scenes, but I love it when people fucking fight. Not to call attention to themselves, just because they want to fucking fight. I love it when my best friend is looking me right in the eyes and poking me in the ribs with a sharp stick just to make my face flush so much I want to choke him out, and I go for his throat, and he pokes me in the eyes, and we hate each other intensely for three-hundred seconds and then share a handshake and split a milkshake, still wearing each other's sweat and rug-burned from glancing-blow headbutts.

"Ran out of limbs on our big day! We left our thumbs in the hotel!"

It's indicative of something in human nature -- or at least the degenerate substrate of human nature which I inhabit -- that the greatest band in the world, to me, is not one that makes me want to donate a bunch of money to UNICEF or put a few coats of fresh paint up in the inner city. It's a band that makes me want to throw a mason jar full of piss, pus, and cum at some dumb cunt's head just for having the bad taste to exist. And then stand over him Ali-Liston style, just so he knows -- I'm a fucking lion, and you're a fucking pussy.

"Colin is a pussy, a very pretty pussy, Colin is a pussy, a very pretty pussycat!"

We're talking about unchecked aggression here, Dude.

There's always been talk of "glee" in anarcho-punk, but I've never seen it before. Not before Future of the Left. Anarcho-punk, sure it tried to seem like it was gleeful, but it was really dour, even when it was yowling "I am the antichrist!" It never enjoyed the fact that it wanted to burn down the system, and it never enjoyed trying to burn down the system, because it was too busy trying to do something. It never had time to play. Even Jack Rotten was a dull boy. Trying to blow up Parliament with a powder-keg isn't nearly as much fun as shooting a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

"Why put the body where the body don't wanna go?!"

Which is why Future of the Left's is such a brilliant gambit. It loves the system, because it can revel in hating it so much. They are, if you'll forgive me for it, the most Zizekian band in the world. If they got rid of everything they loathed, they'd have absolutely no reason to exist. If utopianism wasn't as empty an impulse as ever breathed into man by God -- if Zion neared completion, if everybody was invited to rollerskate around the hallowed halls of Xanadu, these motherfuckers would get into such a funk. When they're happy, they're bored, and when they're bored, they need to fuck something up. So destroying stuff is really the only option. Not for any reason. Just because whatever. Happiness and agony are the same thing. As long as you have something outside yourself to hate, you don't have to think about hating yourself.

"Tories! Tories! Thanks for the Tories!"

The Future of the Left is the only name this band could possibly have. The future of the left, it turns out, is risibility, misanthropy, and hatefuckery. You need help? Well, fuck you. I sympathize. Only Future of the Left matters! Except they don't even really matter that much. Fuck this band! The logical conclusion of socialism is hating everybody equally. That's the only way to be really honest.

"Violence solved everything!"

Future of the Left used to be, more or less, mclusky. At least insofar as Andy Falkous occupies the frontman position of the bulk of both groups. And what's weird is, mclusky was a better band. They were even more pissed off. They were less tired. They buzzed more viciously, like a hot-pink chainsaw assfucking primetime-era Pixies songs. They had catchier songs with less fat, better bridges on more fire, sharper hooks, scathinger one-liners. ("All of your friends are cunts, your mother is a ballpoint pen thief," indubitably my favorite couplet in the history of lyric poetry.) There is absolutely no question that mclusky Do Dallas is a much, much better album than Curses, in any proper sense, like where you give an album some bullshit letter grade or numerical ranking, put it in your "best albums of the decade" list that never means anything, except insofar as it can fuel people to spit spite at you, whatever. But I've listened to Curses maybe three times as much. I don't understand it. And I don't want to. It's an ugly, messy thing, and it's overly ornamented, and it's overthought, and it's agonized and precise and it ought to be depressing. But it's the most exhilarating music, man. They're like the fucking Music Man.

"Open wide for sudden folk song."

I love Future of the Left so much that I wanted to buy a Future of the Left t-shirt. And I found an awesome one. It's got a guy on it, and all his fingers are thumbs. But it's only available in women's sizes. Fortunately, I know my size in women's sizes, because I'm the kind of guy who knows his size in women's sizes. So I've got a women's shirt coming at me, and I'm like "damn, why couldn't this be a men's shirt? What woman in the world would want to wear this shirt?" But you know what? I wouldn't be at all surprised if they knew no women would buy it, and they just think it's hilarious that fanboys like me will debase ourselves buying women's shirts, and scold us for compromising just to become advertisements for them. Then when we criticize them for exploiting gender norms, they'll kick us in the balls, spit in our Activia, call us cunts, and make out with the girl we're in love with while we wheeze in pain. And we'll love it, like please sir can I have some more.


Foreign crack addiction, ass vs. pachyderm eugenics

If you had an addiction -- say, an addiction to foreign crack -- and you wanted to kick that addiction, not necessarily because you don't like the feeling you get from having a nice, relaxing smoke of crack, but rather in the interest of furthering the safety and independence of your own sovereign body, and freeing yourself from the depressing, dangerous, and economically lopsided jaunts to 110th street on a Saturday night, it would make a ton of sense to go to your local pharmacy and demand that they give you home-fried crack safely, cheaply, and preferably mined from the Alaskan wilderness, until wind-, solar-, and bio-crack are made available and cost-effective to the general consumer. Right?

In forty years or so, someone will make a movie, and in that movie, a crowd of thousands will start chanting "drill, baby, drill!" like a bunch of Bacchic orgyists. And it will be absolutely fucking chilling.

For the last couple weeks I've wanted to do a sort of controlled physiognomic study wherein I take sample groups of, say, 1,000 Democrats and 1,000 Republicans, and then show them screen-shots selected at random of individuals in the crowds of the respective national conventions. They would then have to answer one question, either in the positive or negative: "Just to look at 'em, does this person creep you the fuck out?" I would be you shotguns to pot-stickers that there would be a noticeable lopsidedness in the results, on both sides. Because Republicans are just fucking creepy.

Infinity minus one (RIP DFW)

My brain won't stop telling me that David Foster Wallace wasn't supposed to die like this. I've always had something against David Foster Wallace. I think it's because I think of him as having everything I've ever found lacking in myself. Or if not lacking, just not superabundant. I think of him as being me, only moreso. Which I imagine is the way a lot of people feel about him. Us, only moreso; the logical conclusion of a type, an extremity, a limit-case, a Representative Man. Me as me as I could be isn't as me as David Foster Wallace managed to be, only moreso. And being moreso is supposed to be a good thing. But I guess sometimes it's not. Or maybe it is, I don't know. Who am I to say?

Hey you.

You'd be better if you were a better athlete. A prodigy. A virtuoso. Not just with your body. With your brain, too. You'd be better if you were better at math, and philosophy, and where they coincide. You'd be better if you had a head for the witty rejoinder. You'd be better if you would just write a book. You'd be better if you wrote a great book. You'd be better if you wrote a bunch of great books. You'd be better if you had the respect of your peers, and the disdain of those who envied you, just because they envied you. You'd be better if you had all the potential in the world. You'd be better if you'd fulfilled your potential, and still managed to come up with more potential, still gave Them the sense that They had something to wait for from you.

You'd be better if you were constantly under the pressure of following your own headlining act. An anointed genius, baptized with praise, with nothing left to prove, and only life to live. On leave for the semester. And feeling pretty alone.

I'm sorry I didn't like you, David Foster Wallace. I'm especially sorry I didn't like you because you were too much like I wanted to be or wished I were, thought I could be under different circumstances. Now it couldn't seem more absurd. I'm sure it wouldn't have helped just to be liked more unequivocally, less ambivalently by me. I'm sure it would have changed nothing if, whenever your name came up in conversation, I hadn't scoffed a little and compared your writing to a clever riff on a terrible joke, or a pretty good cover of a pretty bad song. I always said that like it was a bad thing, when it was really all I've ever wanted to do, and all I've really ever admired. So why did I say it, about you, like it was a bad thing? Home improvement, self-improvement, taking a chainsaw and painting it pink.

Everything about life is so scary and hard, and a velvet hammer can still break your heart. I guess I feel guilty, but I don't know what I did. I think back and wonder, did I actually try not to like your books when I was reading them? Why would I do that? And then I think, why can't I like more things better, why can't I give up want and ambition and just love? Why can't I be me, only moreso? And then I feel ashamed. Because I'm right back where I started, wanting to be what I thought you were. And you were just like I thought you were, only moreso. God damn it. Maybe I just didn't want to be one of your characters. Maybe you didn't want to be, either. Maybe I have no idea who you were: you were different from anything I can possibly imagine.

We are here on earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different. But it doesn't make any sense when the person you most want to be in the world can't take it anymore. It doesn't make any sense.



I am what the Belgians call l'overwhelmed.

(I've always wanted to start a synth-pop group called Loverdose, and call the first album L'Overdose. I think this concept has some legs on it. Which gives me ideas for the album art: see below.)

So I went to that shitty party last night that I warned you about, dear reader, and I listened to assholes talk about "Palestinian liberation" and say things like "dude, I've been to Palestine and I've talked to Palestinians" to lend credence to more or less inscrutable statements about the state of the national will. So that was no fun.

(The party-proper actually was pretty fun, but these guys were terrible, and I'm attempting a quasi-literary disjunctive framing device, so just go with me on this.)

So then I was on my way home, and I ran into my ex-stripper friend (meaning, my friend who used to be a stripper), and she said, significantly, "you're coming with us." So I went with them. "Them" being my ex-stripper friend, whom I will call Shamiqua, and her friend, whom, for reasons the hilariousness of which I cannot properly express, I will call Xena.

Some months ago, I had the strangest date of my life, by a good margin, with Xena. It was 72 hours long, and made us kind of hate each other. But not really, because we totally love each other. And it wasn't really a date. But really it was; but then it stopped being after we watched Rookie of the Year, The Mighty Ducks, D2: The Mighty Ducks, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Superbad, and Wedding Crashers consecutively over a 13 hour span. That'll take the motor out of pretty much any structured social engagement.

But this is just back story. The point is, there's nothing quite like walking despondently home from a Party For the Right to Fight (for the Sovereignty of Palestine, If Deemed Ideologically Tenable and Economically Sustainable) and being rescued by two frantic, insane, bafflingly uninhibited women.

Xena takes this sort of retarded Wordsworthian joy in taking off her pants and running around in the street at night. We're talking flesh to sky, as naked as your mama made you. No mediation. A Catholic Christ-cookie on the tongue conveys immediacy no more immediately than do her naked haunches, tromping through the streets of one of the most dangerous cities in America, at 2:30 in the morning. It's fabulous, too, because there's really no more awkward-looking clothing configuration than a hoodie, with the hood up, and a totally bare ass, especially when the person in question is conveying herself in a way that can best be described as a gambol. If you went to a tailor, a haberdasher, a department store, a boutique, and said "dress me in the outfit that will confuse everyone who sees me as much as possible," they could do worse than to take away your pants and drape a hoodie on you. She got about a block before she said, "I wish I had worn panties today so I could just go the rest of the way like this." But she had no panties. Because, you understand, she was naked from the waist down.

What was even stranger, though -- so much stranger than fiction that it's actually stranger than stranger than fiction, so that even if I say it with my word of honor attached, the only response the reader can possibly plausibly have is to say "that's a lie," only except but it's not a lie, it's the truth -- was when Shamiqua, ex-stripper nipples exposed over the top of her tank, asked bare-bottomed Xena to stand stock still. When inquired why, "why stand still?" the response was, "because I'm going to motor-boat your ass."

And then she did. She got on her knees, took a couple of ducksteps forward, and did just what she said she would do.

And then Xena said, "Nobody's ever motor-boated my ass before! Let me do it to you!"

And then she did.

And then we watched The Never Ending Story. The motherfucking Never Ending Story. And argued about whether its resemblance to The Princess Bride were significant or merely superficial. Xena did interpretive dances with blankets, and hooded herself, as if for a little red riding. When you put it all together, it was way too comfortable to be awkward, but way too uncomfortable to be to not weird me out, and possibly scar me for life. But in a good way. It's a dashing scar. Like a 16th-century Spaniard with a rapier injury, and then he's like, "you should see the other guy." Debería ver el otro? Whatever.

More importantly, though. I have no money. I should have moved. My car is dead. I'm starving. I have to grade and read stuff. I'm watching football and not really enjoying it. And if you know me, then you know, that the fact that I'm watching football and not really enjoying it is scaring the shit out of me.


Contrarianism: The Great and Unified Theory of Beer - OR - how to, by claiming not to, act superior to people who like some things better than others

I just stubbed my fucking toenail clean off my fucking toe. It's really painful. It's my tiny toe, so it was just a tiny toenail. But there are many nerves in the toe. A google search for "how many nerves are there in a toe?" yields results such as, "Many times there is no known cause for lesser toe deformities," and also, "Each toe has three phalanges, except the big toe which only has two."

But moving on.

Have you heard?! I'm a teacher! I teach a class. But I actually mean, I lead a discussion section, which is really a much different kind of thing, but who are you to argue? You're not a teacher. Or if you are, then you know what I'm talking about!

It's weird. I sit there and look at 18 inscrutable 18 year olds and ask them to say things and then they say things and then I ask them what they mean and they tell me something else and I ask other people what they think about what that person just thought and they tell me something else and then I ask them what they mean. It's pretty great, because it's a process that can go on pretty much forever, thank you very much différance. Somebody told me, "A 50 minute discussion section is 1 point and 2 jokes." I made a joke about crack, and a joke about a Jesus, and told them narrators are unreliable. It took 50 minutes! I'm a teacher!

I threw a party at my apartment last night, and if the greatness of a party can be judged by the drunkenness of the three drunkest people at the party, I had one of the greatest parties in the history of parties. Somebody told me to punch him in the face and, when I demurred, began to punch himself in the face -- and he has no memory of it. Somebody physically threatened me for a reason I wasn't clear about, locked himself in the bathroom for many hours, vomited many many times, and wouldn't come out -- and he has no memory of it. A backpack was lost, and never recovered (seems to have fallen into the black hole of Narnia or equivalent). A purse was left on the lawn outside for 18 hours, and went mysteriously unstolen! I bought a tiny Hieneken keg, with the intention of doing the world's tiniest keg-stand, but the logistics boggled the mind, and the tiny kegstand went unstood.

Grad school people and townie intellectuals are funny, and this I say with the warmest fondness and greatest admiration. But they truly are a ridiculous breed. They play on the affections of the mind as does the Welsh Corgi, nature's most baffling, yet truly and easily its most lovable mistake.

We grad students have, for instance, arbitrarily provincial -- but knowingly and smirkingly provincial -- tastes in things. I bought a 30 pack of Miller Light, and right at the beginning of the party, before any of the Miller Light had been drunk, several fellow grad students and townie intellectuals went on a beer run. They came back with a 12 pack of Stella Artois, which I swear to god tastes indistinguishable from PBR but is more expensive and has a swank, expensive-seeming filmy covering on its bottleneck, and a 12 back of National Bohemian, which is exactly like PBR except cheaper and without the sophisticated can design and award-winning pedigree of Milwaukee's Pabst company. This morning, there remained in the fridge 22 Miller Lights, 1 Natty Bo, and 0 Stellas. There was a full Natty Bo in the freezer for some reason, but I threw that away. So call it 24 leftover beers.

So, quantitatively, the overall need for a beer run comes through the mathematical ringer thus:
30 Miller Lights
-8 Miller Lights
+12 Stellas
-12 Stellas
+12 Natty Bos
-10 Natty Bos
=24 beers left over.

Which, for those keeping track, is, minus the one wasted beer, exactly the amount of beer that is left over due to the largess of the beer run. But all the beer that was left over is Miller Light. Which, despite tasting more or less indistinguishable from all other kinds of lager, isn't made in Europe or Baltimore, and is brewed by an ostensibly More Evil Corporation that runs lots of commercials during shows that grad students don't watch, and therefore tastes much, much worse, though indistinguishably so.

(This is, naturally, leading up to my Great and Unified Theory of Beer, which I feel will ultimately be remembered, by those who deign to remember me, as my greatest contribution to the field of aesthetics, and the theoretical discipline of the gustatory arts. The Great and Unified Theory of Beer runs roughly thus: people who claim to like expensive beer are vainglorious assholes and liars and particularly self-deceivers (cf. the Calvinist Elect), and those who like certain kinds of bad beers over others are charlatans or under the sway or charlatans (cf. Scientologists), and should be liberated into the fundamental fact of beer: it all tastes pretty much the same, and none of it tastes any good, but it happens to get you fucking drunk (cf. miserable, sad-sack, bad faith-addled, existentialist, morally crippled, and otherwise ineffectual atheists who pretty much have things right about the world and just want to get fucking drunk (cf. me)).)

I do love hip young Baltimoreans, because they, in general, skew Baltimorean in their purchase and appreciation of things (Yuengling and Natty Bo over Miller Light and PBR, The Wire over Deadwood, Dan Deacon and Beach House over any other music that's better than Dan Deacon and Beach House, Spiro Agnew over Walter Mondale, David Hasselhoff over Lorenzo Llamas, Montel Williams over Ricki Lake, etc.). You'll often find people walking down the street humming the lesser known tone-poems of Francis Scott Key while robbing each other and smoking crack. I'm sure it's the same in most other places. I'm sure Portlanders mutter about rain while ironically chopping down trees in ironic t-shirts and ironically nuthugging jeans. But most places have better stuff than Baltimore, such as irony.

Except we have The Wire. That's pretty sweet.

Since somebody was locked in my bathroom for 7 hours, I had to pee in a wine bottle and then wash it down the sink. I contemplated pouring it out the window, but being on the 15th floor, there were just too many gravitational and dynamical, sheer-force related x-factors. I couldn't calculate such things as the yaw, tilt, and roll of half a bottle of wine's worth of piss as it falls 200 feet, and so couldn't come up with anything like a definitive final resting place. I was, as such, forced to assume, in the great spirit of Occam, that the final resting place would ultimately be the worst possible resting place (for example, the water dish of a Welsh Corgi), and decided on the kitchen sink. I ran the garbage disposal afterwards, but I'm really not sure what I thought that would do. In retrospect, I probably just should have re-corked the bottle and waited for the bathroom to open back up, right? But who can look that far ahead. There were pills in there. It could have been days, and who remembers a bottle full of pee when you've got an overdosed corpse behind a door to which you don't have the key to deal with?

I'm going to another party tonight. It's not going to be nearly as good as my party, because my party was amazing. But you know what? I'm going to go to this party tonight, and I'm going to drink beer from Mexico, and listen to Detroit techno, and wear shapeless and ill-fitting clothes, and take all corporate advertisements at face value, and also take them very, very seriously. Because, you understand, I'm such a free spirit.



Shit has been bananas even as it creeps along at a narcoleptic snail's pace.

I am back from my yearly sojourn to Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival, and its attendant 5-day bender. Here's my stolen press pass.

It scored me exactly 1 (one) free Fuze. I had to walk up to the press tent, wearing my stolen press pass, and walk up to the tables full of press-type people, and reach under the table into a bucket full of ice. I was just loaded enough to have the requisite bravery, but I also crept past that point of loadedness into the jittery, delusionally hyperselfconscious loadedness that makes you think every time you do something wrong SWAT is going to crash in through the windows and Mace you in the nuts. It's the first thing I've stolen in a while -- since I didn't actually steal the press pass, somebody else stole it and then gave it to me, and that shit don't count -- and, all things considered, a Fuze was the perfect choice. I got my heartrate up -- especially when I made eye contact with the pretty girl in a staff shirt who I thought was going to bust me, which brought back blood-curdling memories of the time I spray-painted "Center School Sucks" on the brick facade of my elementary school, and then was caught by a lady teacher because I wore cowboy boots and skidded on some gravel during my getaway -- and then I soothed myself with an icy, fruity, absolutely free beverage. Why am I not sorry? Because they stopped selling three-day passes, which "sold out," so I had to buy passes for all three days separately, which came all connected, almost as if they were a single, three-day ticket. So, if you want to get technical, that Fuze ended up costing somewhere in the neighborhood of $40, which means Pitchfork should get down on its knees and kiss my Mace-burned balls. Though, a photographer friend did steal me quite a bit of beer from the backstage area. So maybe it's a wash. After drinking said beer, I was drunk, which caused me to do things like try to take candid shots of unsuspecting girls who I thought may or may not have been pretty and were walking ahead of me towards the train. The result is a surprisingly realistic depiction of what I felt like after seeing Animal Collective (and drinking free beer).

This is the only one I took, because an overpowering wave of creepiness washes over you when you take a picture like this. You look at yourself, and you say "Really? Really?"

I'm going to try to start writing more short posts. I've been psyching myself out with the blog lately, looking at it as a commitment. And the thing in the world I least like to perform are commitments. So I am artificially cutting this one short, with the best intentions.


Meat Howitzer

Sweet Jesus, I really, really, really want a cheeseburger.

The fast food in this city is epochally, apocalyptically terrible, though. If I had to guess, I'd say they only make new food on Tuesdays, and they only serve you the stuff from last Tuesday, which they have left to rest on top of a dehumidifier to make sure that, if bacteria is going to fester, it's not so much bacteria. I always feel like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, when he goes into the fast food place with the Mac-10 and complains that his burger doesn't look like the one in the picture. Except I don't have that haircut, and I'm not being directed by Joel Schumacher (thank Christ).

Otherwise, I'm more or less just like Michael Douglas in Falling Down, and Robert Duvall won't stop stalking me.

The only place that's given me a halfway decent dead animal is Burger King, and I've only gone there once. I tried to go there again, but some bastard in a '79 Granada was taking up both lanes of the drive through entrance, and then I thought I though the next street was one-way but it actually wasn't, and before you know it, just like that, I was on the interstate like whoa, how did I end up on the interstate? And I'm fiddling with my GPS thing, trying to turn it on and program it to take me to "Points of Interest: Burger King" with 94% of my attention span, the rest being devoted to not sideswiping yourself or someone like you. (Shoutout to Matchbox 20!) But somehow, in the twists and turns of the streets of this city -- which I swear to God was laid out by an autistic monkey with a broken copy of Sim City DS -- I ended up in the parking lot of a grocery store, and left with, like, romaine lettuce and sprouts and made a salad with expired bleu cheese and a small army of those fake soy bacon bits. Which is so fucking disappointing when you're looking to get a hot injection of concentrated fats and salts in your mouth from a patty-shaped fleshcannon, a regular meat howitzer. I don't want to be the asshole who walks into Ruby Tuesday's alone and sits down at a booth and doesn't even act like he's waiting for somebody before finally breaking down and ordering a Triple Prime Burger (three different kinds of cow!). So there's really no alternative to shitty fast food, and none of it's even within walking distance.

But you know what? I'm going to fix up, look sharp, and go get myself a wad of pounded flesh that's been ripped from the corpse of a soft-eyed, headless beast while it hangs by its ankle from the ceiling of a death-factory that takes up a whole city block, then fed through a machine with teeth and gears that pulverize it into a lumpy paste, before being frozen and driven across the country and fried by a teenager who probably hasn't washed his hands since getting his girlfriend pregnant earlier this afternoon while trying out that new KY his 'n' hers.

Fuck me. The things I'm willing to do for a cheeseburger. And I don't even really want one anymore.


Under Siege 2 and tennis. The perfect day? You decide.

(I don't want anyone to ever know how long this took me to make.)

I woke up this morning at around 6:30, because my body knew I had something to do today. (Breakfast at Wimbledon! Watch Wimbledon!). I finished watching Under Siege 2: Dark Territory for the third time in two days. This movie features a seventeen-ish Katherine Hiegl, baby fat included, getting hit on relentlessly by a a twentysomething Morris Chestnut, who still had a geeky rap-star high top fade.

(Note: photo may not accurately represent the geeky high-top fade of Morris Chestnut.)

It's rare for a movie to feature two actors (Hiegl and Chestnut) who would become so much more attractive when they rounded the 30s.

("Hi, I'm Morris Chestnut, and I'm hot as balls.")

Throughout the movie, Steven Segall does that deadpan cocksure snark delivery that only he can do. It's a strange effect. He takes a trad, uninteresting line of dialogue and delivers it in such a way that it seems he's enormously satisfied with himself and absolutely demolished the other conversant in a game of one-upsmanship, but trying hard not to let you in on the fact that he's enormously satisfied with himself. He single-handedly ensures that any chemistry that threatens to burgeon between the (so-called) professional actors falls flatter and limper than a drag queen in a Shirley MacLaine wig after three hours at Comic-Con. It's so wonderful.

There are, like, three things in my life that I love unequivocally: televised athletics, pop music, and bad movies. (Good movies suck so hard compared to bad movies, I don't even know where to start.) But god damn if I didn't hit all three of my sweet spots today.

So I tune in to Wimbledon, and I watch two incredible but heartbreaking sets get carried by Rafa Nadal, who is a possessed evil demon of athleticism, against Federer, who I'm convinced is some kind of seraph avatar implanted on earth by God to make us remember that everybody else is comparatively pathetic and needs some help if they want to get saved. Except Federer looks so humble and mortal, and he's clanging unforced errors into the net and past the baseline and I'm starting to get frustrated.

Then, I fall asleep.

I wake up furious at having fallen asleep, and am startled to learn that the angelic light of Federer has smiled upon me, in the form of a rain delay, and they're just now coming to the end of the fifth set. A mad dash to the tv that results in a bruised shin yields up five more minutes of agony, as Rafa, in all his damnable good humor and warm, humble competitiveness, aww-shuckses his way to his first Wimbledon final. Federer, in the post-match interview, calls him "the worst opponent," cracks a melancholically classy Swiss smile, and manages to convince me that I want to take one for the team and jump his bones to console him.

It's been a tough year for me as a casual tennis fan, because I've had to pick between my all-encompassing Underdog Complex, and my hatred of presumptuous "you heard it here first" bandwagon croneyism. I liked Rafa, when he was still my little well-kept secret, the Roland Garros juggernaut who turned into a bumbling, Clark Kentishly inept misadventurer on grass and hard courts. But now everybody's jumped all over his hot Spanish tip in that way that is most infuriating. He's still "the underdog." But everybody is so fucking quick to point out, it won't be a surprise if he wins. What good is that? So I've decided that I heart Roger Federer, because there's nothing more infuriating, on a human-interest level, than somebody slipping past his prime in the public eye. It is, in a way, the ultimate underdoggedness. This is, of course, presumptuous, because he's still the best all-around player in the world. But it really hurt to watch him get ripped up on his turf. It was like watching a peace-loving Athenian statesman get speared through the thorax by a rampaging Visigoth usurper, all the while intoning philosophical maxims about democracy and beauty. It was like watching the temple burn against a backdrop of mass cattle rape. Federer walks on water, but Nadal runs through concrete. If Bruegel the Elder had painted a war-torn tennis-scape about the triumph of evil, it would have looked like this.

Also: Why is it that the good people at Campbell's, in their infinite wisdom, deign to release oodles of soups with one hundred calories and eight hundred thousand percent of your daily sodium requirement? I wonder what grocery store soup would taste like with no added salt. But that's sort of like aspiring to do a line of blow off your own tit -- food for thought, sure, but odds are nobody's going to be around to be impressed.


Disco Rick and the Dogs - I Know a Bitch

I strongly advise you to download and listen to Disco Rick and the Dogs - I Know a Bitch

When I was ten years old, I bought one of the worst albums ever made.

Having earlier that year been freshly enchanted by the sultry spell of Snoop Dogg's debut album, which prominently featured a more-or-less unknown quantity/entity known as "The Dogg Pound," I could have perhaps been forgiven, in my enthusiastic adolescent idiocy, for being taken in by The Dogs... featuring Disco Rick.

My dad, who had days before passed on an ultra-fast Mazda RX-7 convertible in favor of a sensible, hunter green 626 sedan (four doors for two kids), was these days feeling himself gracelessly sliding into the throes of the kind of middle-age that is no longer questionable. (You're no longer a "young 39." You're just an old guy.) Here's a man who can't even put his mid-level hospital executive opulence to work for himself the way he wants to. I may have used this psychological spike in my favor when I asked the man, in the parking lot of Sam Goody, whether I could buy a cd with the dreaded sticker on the cover. With his money.

I'm pretty sure he said yes right away, but, not wanting to waste a good thing, I mounted a tightly-wound soliloquy in defense of profanity in art -- the first of many to come. I actually bemoaned the state of the music industry. The fact is, dad, they just don't make 'em like they used to. Sure, there's music without swearing, but it's cut-rate, made by hacks just looking to make a buck since so many children out there don't have uber-hip young fathers who divvy their disposable incomes to sons for albums with that sticker. Fascists!

I told him -- and I remember this sentence almost word for word -- "sometimes I love Maria Carey, but sometimes I just need something else." Something that says fuck. We walked through the record store, and I spotted the ugly orange packaging with the familiar canine appellative, and I was drawn in, inexorably, inevitably. Like a needle into a diabetic after a whole thing of candy beans. When he bought it for me, I hugged him, just like I hugged him after he bought me my first Playboy. I suppose I reserved the most awkward and touching means of conveying my appreciation for the things that he did to corrupt me.

Having learned my lesson from shredding the wrapping and popping an Ice-T album into the car stereo on the way home from the same record store with my mom months earlier (she bought the album for me, then bought it away from me for $20, to preserve my aural virginity), I gripped the tiny Goody bag in my sweaty fist and waited, breath bated, to get home. Safely shored up in my room, I put the cd into a the carousel tray of that great lost piece of novelty-arcana, the three-disc changer, and waited for its gears to grind and whir the disc into place. I pushed play, volume low, my head pressed up against the speaker, and tried to relish in the cursing. But the fact was -- and I knew it already -- this was garbage.

I didn't have "Miami booty bass" in my vocabulary yet. I couldn't have told you that it was "a ninth-rate 2 Live Crew cheap rip." I couldn't thrown critspeak at you -- "rote Roland 808 polybreaks, mangled by wack rappers." I didn't even have hipster dismissals like "epic fail" at my disposal. But the instinct was there, and I remember thinking -- what a waste of great song titles.

Seriously. Pretend you're ten, and check out this motherfucking track list!
1. Intro
2. Talking True Shit
3. Radio
4. Get Down
5. Fuck All Night
6. Life About Crack
7. Sexy's Got Beef
8. Nasty Dance
9. Work That Ass Baby
10. Got That Spirit
11. I Know a Bitch
12. Hyped Up
13. Dogga Mix
14. Fuck You All III

Fuck You All...... THREE?!?! What could that possibly mean?

But, as I say, the album was largely a disappointing experience. I would listen to it at night, song blurring into undifferentiated song. But there was always a glimmer that I couldn't put my finger on. A diamond in so much dogshit. It took a while to discover why.

By outlandish chance, this album happens to hide, buried as a deep cut at track 11, one of the greatest songs ever written.

It's called "I Know a Bitch."

The song is this call-and-response thing that turns itself inside-out when it turns out the guy with the Flava Flav voice is the lead, and the guy with the Chuck D voice is the hype man, even though the low-voiced guy kicks off the song. It's essentially a three-minute, semi-rhymed heart-to-heart conversation between these two guys.

And it's about how these two guys know a bitch named Charlotte.

It starts with one of the most shocking exchanges I've ever heard in a pop song. The hype-dude barks, "I know a bitch!" and we're rolling.

(I know a bitch!)
What bitch?!
(She's number one!)
Number one?!
(I told the bitch to lick my ass with her tongue!)
Did she do it?
(Yes she did it!)
God damn!

Now, on paper -- and on record -- this'll throw you off. (Was it really so ambiguous that he needed to specify which organ he told the bitch to lick his ass with?) But let me assure you. The best metafiction in the world can't fuck with the bizarre, uncontrived, honest-to-god bullshit genius that spills out of this song's ears. And you realize it right when the riff enters. Buried under waves of shifty, corny, boom-bap drums, there is discernible an eight-dollar guitar plucking out a one-bar, Special Ed. version of the Sanford & Son theme through a rickety old chorus pedal. Our hero takes over. Things start happening. Everything's happening!

Here's the breakdown: the song's an absolutely tortured, virtually cubist narrative that folds itself in half like a man fellating himself, then spins his head around like the Exorcist girl and spits it at you. It ping-pongs from wanton sexual braggadocio to homicidal cautionary tale with an almost Twainian flair.

So this guy got this girl to lick his ass with her tongue, and he's pretty excited about it. He wants to tell his buddy. He's bragging, talking Big Willy talk, and his friend is impressed. "God damn!" But then it turns out, shock of shocks, the other guy knows that bitch too!

Mannnnnn, I know that bitch!
(You do?!)
Her name is Charlotte!
(That's right!)
She sucked my dick and licked my balls last night!

And the only information the narrator needed to make this Holmesian deduction was 1) the aforementioned rimjob and 2) that his sidekick "grabbed that stupid bitch and started slamming." The "ming" becomes "Mannnnnn" and the perspective shifts, like a fucking virtuoso Altman one-shot, and we're swept magically away to the Projects, where the narrator had taken Charlotte the night before -- "I took her home... but not my house." And, he laments, "Just lookin' at her house just broke my heart." To which his companion replies, "Oh shit!"

I went inside!
(Man you crazy?!)
I didn't care!
(You didn't care?!)
I got all tangled up in them spiderwebs!
(God damn!)

And then the story turns, brilliantly, from wretched griot pathos to Laurel & Hardy hijinks.

I sat down!
(Where you set?!)
On the couch!
(On the couch?!)
Somethin' bit me in my ass and I said ouch!
(Oh shit!)

So the braggadocio of the sidekick has been swept away, and we're fully inhabiting the narrator's, our hero's strange yarn. He's recounting last night, when Charlotte, we recall, "sucked [his] dick and licked [his] balls." But the tale, my dears, is about to take a hard left into experimental fiction, atemporality, and what Frederic Jameson would call "the Absolute."

Charlotte, telling our hero to "sit tight," retires to her bedroom. The sidekick has grown concerned by the shoddiness of the place, and, fearing the worst, he urges the hero to "leave that room!" But it's too late. Well, it's gotta be too late, because this is last night, when Charlotte "sucked [our hero's] dick and licked [his] balls," remember? But the claustrophobic feeling of looming danger is becoming too much to bear, and soon it's not just schoolmarm worrying anymore -- it's prophecy fulfilled.

She came out!
(What she had?!)
She had a knife!
(That's your ass!)
I grabbed my hat and my keys and I ran fast!
(Haul ass!)
I ran fast!
(How fast?!)
I didn't stop!
(You didn't stop?!)
When I got to the door, the shit was locked!

Notice how the narrative subverts itself, turning and slipping, like an eel contorting itself into a Mobius Strip. We've been set up to expect a relatively standard romantic dalliance. A little dick sucking, a little balls licking. But what the fuck? The bitch they know... she has a knife! So, like any sane man, our hero does what you'd expect. He runs. He runs fast. He doesn't stop. He runs and runs. He calls a good deal of attention to his running. How far does he run? All the way to the front door. Which is locked! Curse that vile woman, that tricksy spirit! But we don't know, yet, how tricksy she is. We don't know anything!

I looked around!
(Where's that bitch?!)
The bitch was there!
(Oh yeah?!)
She was so damn bald she had no hair!
(God damn!)
I said god damn!

This is what our one-night stand has come to! It was just two men, civil, mutually appreciative, having an intimate conversation. They brag, they strut, they relish their (in some ways shared, in some ways even homosocial) conquest of Charlotte, the woman each of them "knows," and each has known in the biblical sense. But the confessions have taken water, now. Charlotte is crazy. Not only is Charlotte crazy, Charlotte is "so damn bald she [has] no hair." The men have let their guard down and fessed up to the fact that they have both been serviced by a variously wigged black widow spider of a woman who seduces only so that she can kill. They had both represented themselves, like rounders bluffing aces with deuces, to have annexed a piece of prime real estate. But it turns out, "just looking at her house just broke my heart," and all that heartbreak and property entails. So, in this situation, what is a player to do? That's what the sidekick wants to know.

(What you do?!)
I tried to fight!
She grabbed me by my neck and the bitch tried to bite!
(Oh shit!)
I pushed her back!
Bust her in her eye!
(My, my!)
Knock the bitch down on her back and said goodbye!
(Bye bitch!)
Bust down the door!
(God damn!)
Break out in the street!
(Yo, aye! What you should have done was called the police!)
Fuck you!
(Fuck you!)

A lovers' quarrel has turned into a brothers' quarrel, as the two men relish the ass-whupping our hero has administered to Charlotte. But then the sidekick, perhaps fearing for his friend's safety, perhaps even touched by a patina of guilt over the potentially excessive brutality of our hero's savage attack, endorses a less vigilante justice. Though he is vigorously rebuked by his friend, he stands his ground. "Fuck you!" The story, you may have noticed, has changed tenses. It's now operating primarily in the present. It's a colloquial device, of course. It lends immediacy and urgency to the happenings, it heightens the feeling of imminence, it makes the flesh crawl. And it is the avenue through which the story takes its strangest turn yet.

I know what!
(Yeah, what?!)
Ummmm... I just turn and kick the bitch in her butt!
(Good luck!)
And if I win!
(What if you don't?!)
Just help me out!
(Fuck that shit!)
I just beat the bitch down with my dick!
(That's it!)

We've gone through a wormhole! Our hero is back. It's last night! He's improvising! His fight with his friend has thrown him back into the fracas! It's a 'Nam flashback with the added ontological heft of Doc Brown's Delorean! He's running, experiencing fight or flight, and second-guessing himself. "Ummmm," he ejaculates, as a placeholder to make way for extemporization. Perhaps run is the wrong response! Perhaps I should fight this bitch! I should "turn and kick the bitch in her butt!" His friend is supportive, but not entirely convinced. "Good luck!" he snarls, equally supportive and dismissive of his friend's chances. He plays the voice of reason, almost pleading -- What if you don't beat the bitch? What if you don't?! His friend, our hero, pleads in turn -- help me out! I need your support in this most trying of times. But his sidekick is having none of it. Fuck that shit! But then, in an inspired burst of confidence, our hero decides to apply a basically indisputable fighting tactic. The ol' junk beatdown. Now his friend is starting to come around! And we're there! They're there, together! Our hero, fighting Charlotte, calling out to his friend from the ether for advice, for an arm to lean on. Be the wind beneath my wings, he almost cries! None of this happened last night -- now it's all happening tonight! Judgment night! It's all happening! And out of this night flashes the pursuing Charlotte, presumably still hairless and wielding her knife with the spastic, flailing limbs of a Mel Brooks vampire.

Oh, here she comes!
(You better run!)
Fuck you! I ain't the one! I'll just turn and shoot the bitch with my gun.
(What gun?!)
I got a gun!
(What kind of gun?!)
A Mac-10!
(A Mac-10?!)
I'll just shoot the bitch once and once again!

I don't think I've ever heard this part of the song without laughing. "I'll just shoot the bitch once and once again!" It's just a really funny line. But for a long time the yucks obscured the metafictional gambit. We're back! We're there again, and Charlotte is hot on the trail. So what to do? Like Eddie Valiant, our hero digs through boxes of Acme products and comes up with, not a crooning sword, but a Mac-10! And he knows what to do! Ratatat! And his sidekick has come through the wormhole with him! He didn't even know he had that gun! He's Neo in the Matrix, and he needs the programming to fly a helicopter! He's talked the world into being, and now he's got to live with it! Bang bang shoot shoot.

We'll jump that bitch and then we'll bail!
(We goin' to jail!)

A phallocentric Thelma and Louise! On the run for the murder of a vile, villainous woman! No doubt scarved and sunglassed, our heroes make off in a drop-top Bonneville, persecuted for the very act that lends them empowerment! Ahhh, but our hero, while not having passed the Bar, knows a little bit.

No we're not!
(Why not?!)
It's self-defense!
(Yeah, bet!)
If she die, that bitch will never come back!
(B'leedat, b'leedat!)
And if she do?!
(What do to?!)
Run fast!
(Run fast?!)
Pack all our shit and let's haul ass!

Our men, clearly rattled by the paranormal happenings that have so wrenched the joints of their lives in just a few moments, are willing to doubt even the certitude of the corpse of a bitch that has been shot "once and once again." Look. Did they shoot Charlotte? Did they not? Was it last night? Was it tonight? Are they going to shoot Charlotte? How did our hero get away? Was his sidekick with him? Did Charlotte suck his dick and lick his balls? Did she not? Did she not suck anybody's balls, not even the sidekick's? And here's the real curveball... does Charlotte even exist?! Charlotte, the French feminine of Charles, meaning "free man." She's a free woman, unbridled, unmoored, unkillable, so free she's not there, so free she's everywhere at once. Is Charlotte Kobayashe? Kevin Spacey playing cripple, the devil who convinces the world he doesn't exist? Were they blown by a ghost? Did they manage to shoot the devil in the back? What if they missed? It all evinces the Cold War paranoia of an arms race. If we've gone this far, how far is too far? Once a hail of gunfire has solved a problem, who's to say you won't become the problem to solve? Riddle me this, I'll riddle you with bullets, motherfucker! You never bring a knife to a gunfight, that much is clear -- but is it really any better to bring a gun to a knife fight? These men have clearly violated an ethical imperative, but they know that the universe -- perhaps Charlotte herself, the free woman who is evil through and through, the fabric of whose freedom seems to be constituted by her aggressive and liberated ("free") female sexuality, which clearly intimidates our heroes, and is perhaps the very reason she signifies evil to them -- Charlotte is the great equalizer. They've shared her, and now they'll both meet their fate at her hands. Even if they win, they lose, and they lose by winning. These men will always be haunted, not only by their journey through the Stargate to a new past-present-future, and the all-to-real possibility of this deadly living woman becoming the living dead, but also by what she symbolizes: The kneeling proletariat, the femme on her knees, an endless sea arranged on each other's backs in a pyramid, making a staircase for the socially mobile -- those with the cars, the guns, and the butter. You look over your shoulder, climbing this great wall of limbs and minds and souls, and you see nothing, you're in the cave of the open air, an omnipresent, Lacanian manifestation of the vagina dentata, just waiting to chomp down on you. They're all beneath you, slipping out of view even as it parallaxes. But they are there, always ready and waiting to rise up in a tide and swallow you beneath them, to even the ground and trample you with their bootsoles -- to take your boots, the very boots you've been trampling them with, and to return the favor. You reach the top of the pyramid, and you stare off the plateau into the canyon below, and you realize that escape is exile and freedom is irrelevance. To "haul ass" is to evaporate. You -- like Thelma and Louise -- have only one choice.

You have to hold hands and jump. Only then can you end the song with satisfaction.

*note: I've never been clear if the concluding vignette -- "I was fuckin' this hoe, she was suckin' my dick" -- is about the same bitch, Charlotte the free woman, or a new bitch. I can't help but feel, though, that if this song were a performance by Marceau, or a film by Godard, or a story by Artaud, or a piece by Duchamp, one would be roundly scorned for asking such insignificant, sophomoric questions about the exegesis. Either way, it significantly alters the moral content of the story, perhaps simply reflecting the irreversible, unstoppable, even mechanical repetition of bourgeois domination in the age of late capitalism. Plus, it's hilarious. "He kicked in the door and shit on the floor and I shot him in his ass with a .44!"