Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A whispered scream from the Great Beyond

Listening to: My next-to-last-draft of my mixmania! disk

My eyes are burning. Tonight's group drained me, shook every last particle of energy out of my cells and slammed me to the mat. Whatever goes down here is me clawing my way towards meaning without anything but momentum to carry me to some dumb conclusion.

Sometimes things happen in a therapy group that remind me of how chaotically close we spin towards one another and how, sometimes, we crash - violently. How the fabric that binds us is ripped while we cruise along our individual trajectories, how the shards of glass, sprayed like buckshot from the collision, reflect our grimaces staring in morbid fascination at the carnage.

The group I ran tonight is a crew I picked up from a counselor who could not, for whatever reason, handle his responsibility. He was a good counselor (despite his faults) and his clients had become attached to him, a situation that added to my apprehension. Had he been proudly puissant or pedantic, I might have walked in with my White Knight gear on and been a savior but his clients appreciated his loose and empathic style and I knew that, no matter how chummy I tried to be, I'd be the invading force; no use in attempting to stage tearing down his statue.

Knowing my situation, I kept my strategy simple and somewhat mercenary: be low key, up front regarding my trepidations, and let everyone go early. We'd just get to know one another and given everyone's story (and level of motivation), I could proceed with what was organic, appropriate. Figuring that playing the "good guy" during my intoduction to the group (letting court-ordered clients go an hour early is always a big hit), I could endear myself, somewhat, to the group and pave my way for the following week.

The plan I had tonight was vague enough to not make long-time group members feel a tectonic shift, specific enough to bring newer group members on board with my agenda. Clever fuck that I am, I knew my plan would pan out and our little corner of the universe would be tidy and safe. As I checked my clients in for group, there was no other truth other than the one I had written down for the night's itinerary.

In the midst of writing down names and taking payments, John* showed up. I didn't have his file and he admitted that he hadn't been to group for the past month. Given that information, I told him that he'd probably been discharged and suggested that he contact the office manager in order to get re-enrolled so that his probation officer could be notified that he was back in compliance with the terms of the court. As a courtesy, I asked him why he'd been out of group for so long, why he hadn't called to let us know why he couldn't come in. Frankly, I was expecting generic replies or excuses.. One gets easilly jaded in my field.

"Yeah," he answered, matter of fact, "My daughter was murdered a couple weeks ago"

Oh man, I said, said as I looked at the desk top and fiddled with a pen, looked across the room, looked for anywhere I could focus other than into his eyes, that's harsh, I, uh, let me call over to the office manager, let me shed my skin and pretend I'm not nearly as reptilian as I appear to be.

"Yeah, we discharged him weeks ago," the voice on the other end of the phone said, "He needs to come down here and get re-enrolled."

I cupped the phone, told him what I'd been told. John looked at me, long and desperate, "I just need to be here."

Some clients "need" to be in group because they've fucked around too long and their time is up, probation has lost patience and jail is the the next step. It happens all the time. Strangely enough, despite being court-ordered, some "need" to be there because they need to dump, to talk it out amongst their peers.

I uncupped the phone, "Re-enroll him, his daughter was murdered." The so-called "great counselor" had failed to pass that little tid-bit along but this little bit of information shifted everything.

"Oh. Yeah. Let him in group."

Group started as it should have, clients doing their "check in" (reporting on their week), what we did, what we felt, and hey, it's your turn. After everyone's turn, we got back to John and what happened. The brutal honesty, the horror, the stuff that made everyone in the room squirm in their seat and choke back their tears.

John sat directly in front of me. As he unfolded his story, his anguish, his rage, it took every bit of my strength to maintain my lock on his face.

Look into the eyes of a man whose daughter was raped, tortured, and murdered, see those doubts, that guilt of not being there to save her, hear his voice crack at the equivocation of executing, by his own hand, the son of a bitch who did that to his little girl, listen to his pain and anger and grief and then tell me you understand. Tell me you understand so I can call you a liar. I sat in that room with him for almost two hours and despite my training and experience (the loss of my own son), his sense of loss is completely unfathomable to me. The depths of that grief is incomprehensible.

Other clients tried to apply their own grief to his situation (no one had dealt with murder), hoping to help him, to at least alleviate some of his pain. I knew nothing mattered, resounded, resonated. In my experience, of my own past grief, I had been oblivious to any words offered in comfort. I knew he appreciated our efforts but I also knew that, to him, our words were hollow.

The only client who seemed to reach him was a Marine who had served in Iraq and watched a childhood friend get his chest blown away (for lack of body armour, thank you Dubya for those tax cuts!). The Marine latched onto the theme that he felt he was supposed to protect his buddy, that it was his fault, that he was supposed to have been there to keep his friend from harm but he couldn't. He also said that he still had not gotten over the sense that he had failed his friend.

"John, you couldn't have been with her to protect her," the Marine said, "Accept it. I had to do the same thing. I had to accept that I couldn't be there to save my friend."

"Your anger and grief is like a big bubble and one of these days, you'll poke it and it will pop. And then it will come back and you'll poke it again and it will pop again, and you'll see that it got smaller - but no easier to pop. The bubbles arise out of nowhere, when you least expect them, and they get smaller as time goes along. They become smaller bubbles but the thing is, they don't get easier to pop. No matter how small they are, when you poke them, it hurts just as much as the biggest bubble."

John suddenly realized what the Marine was saying. And although he hadn't popped any bubbles yet, it was evident that his grief wouldn't get any better, just easier to handle.

John wept throughout the group, expressing anger, rage, hurt, apologizing for his pain, his tears, his domination of the group's time, his weakness. Group members said, "let it out, cry, grieve, be real," almost all of them construction workers, tough guys, guys I guarantee you wouldn't want to fuck with, many of them wiping their own tears away.

They knew that John's grief was beyond them but their own grief for him - and anger and frustration and confusion at his tragedy - was valid in that moment. I'd hate to have Hannity or Limbaugh or O'Reilly comment on that scene because they would have dragged it into derision and made fun of it - so-called "Red State" men going to pieces over a brother grieving his murdered daughter. Ann Coulter would have had a field day questioning those guy's masculinity.

To John's credit, he doesn't want to see his daughter's murderer executed. Oh, he'd kill him with his own hands but he can't see the state doing it for him. "I hope he sees my daughter's face every minute he's in prison, for the rest of his life," John said, "An injection would be too easy for him. And I can't see how the government taking his life will make up for him taking my daughter. I just can't see that."

The Marine backed John up, wondered how his government could kill with indifference and to no discernable positive outcome. He saw his friends die and wonders what was accomplished because, as he said, it had nothing to do with 9/11. He doesn't see that anything we've done over there has made a difference. "They're going to vote in a consitution where women can't vote? Women can't divorce an abusive husband? I didn't fucking fight for that."

Both John and the Marine said Bush can't look Cindy Sheehan in the eye and say he understands her pain. I can only go from what they said. I spent just two hours in the room but I can say given that, as their therapist, I could never comprehend their pain - or their humanity. As I said at the start of this essay, I'm clawing my way towards meaning.

So is John, so is the Marine, so are most of us.

Please, Mr. Bush, give us, them, John and the Marine, some meaning. Quit lying to us. I have not only have clients struggling to understand what the fuck this country stands for but friends and children and family, and you have left all of us wanting. Yeah, some of the folks I advocate for are in therapy for a DUI but then - hey, Mr. President - you had a couple of DUI's yourself! So quit the pretense and come clean.

Or remain a coward. As I tell my clients, it's your choice.
*Name changed to keep his anonymity.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Someone snuck onto my computer and posted this

Listening to: Sonny Rollins, Way Out West

Deadline for Mixmania! is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT - click here if you're clueless...

Unable to sleep, too restless to read, I turn here to torture you, my intrepid readers. A glass of an impertinent little shiraz in hand to feed my jejune jabbering, you're thusly forewarned.

My little darlings are now snuggled in and slumbering with an alacrity daddy pines for but a mere four hours ago this place made Baghdad look like River City. Had I been herding cats with a head full of mescaline, I'd have had better success (and a better time) since the wee ones weren't going anywhere I wanted without wailing, warfare, and a bottomless well of excuses to get out of bed to explain why they couldn't go to sleep unless certain demands were met. The future of the US Diplomatic Corps rests in the next two rooms; either that or union arbitrators.

Lilly demanded yet another one of the thousands of "Simba" stuffed toys that she's accumulated since I took her to see Disney's "The Lion King" at the IMAX, three years ago. Since that fateful day, my oldest daughter has collected and enumerated each and every "Simba" toy she can latch her greedy little fingers into, from her "Simba" Pez dispenser to "Lion King" chess pieces (this is a kid who asks for Bullfinch's Mythology so don't get weirded out by her desire to learn chess). Dad doesn't know each and every one of her Simba's but she bygod does and there won't be peace until they're all there with her in bed.

Then it was the choice of music. At mom's they listen to a local Country station but dad's not having that and they know it. Usually the girls ask for the "ballet music" (i.e. anything soft and soothing, from honest-to-god Tchaikovsky ballets to Debussy's La Mer) but tonight she was specific:

"You know, the one that goes 'dee dee deedeedee dee dum DUM, dee dee deedeedee dee deedee DUM' - like THAT!"

Of course, Mozart, Symphony #40. After 15 minutes of previewing disks, we agreed on that one.

Moving down the ages, the demands became less complex but no less easier to fulfill. Marni had to have a glass of milk. And a Pop-Tart. And a Twizzler. And half the "Disney Match Em'" cards Lilly held in her bed, the cards being the pieces of a game Lu graciously gave to the girls, a game that is rarely played as it was intended, mostly the cards being employed in various dramas staged on bookshelves or on my dresser or wherever they decide to place them - and then fight over who gets what or whom.

Thanks, Lu. I'm bringing the "Big Bag-o'-Bic-Lighters" with me the next time I come to Illinois, K?

And naturally, no night is complete until dad tears the house apart searching for the elusive "blankey" since there's nothing more entertaining than the old man tossing shit around and swearing oaths to deities profane and more profane to seek something that, as the Zen masters say, "Is within you, so why seek?"

Ah, so. Except, it's in the goddamn bathtub, behind a shower curtain, holding a half-eaten pudding cup and a Barbi. Screw you, Zen man.

In dire need of serenity, Zeke, his usual Buddha-self, only demanded his nightly reading of "Tonka Trucks" and "The Pokey Little Puppy" and for me to lay down with him until he was safely asleep. Uh, no. It's a scenario which never plays out right (in my mind) if I'm sucker enough to lay there with him. What inevitably happens is that he ends up watching me fall asleep and then crawls over my snoring carcass to waddle into the bathroom and flush pages of The Nation into the Arkansas River. Considering that, I suspect he's a nascent conservative.

Daddy's onto them all, each little imp, and in no mood to negotiate. Compromises had to be reached immediately and, in the God-like authority of dad, compromises were grudgingly accepted. Daddy has things to do and can't lay down with you, we'll find "blankey" - I'm positive - this fight over "Match Em'" cards is resolved, and if there's one less "Simba" to watch over you tonight, I swear to God, the sun will still rise in the morning. Go to bed, go to sleep, and we'll begin the negotiations anew in the morning.

This is your future folks. I may not be able to sleep but I can assure you - with kids like these arguing the fate of the free world, you all can rest easy.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Transmission fluid, please

Listening to: Louis Armstrong, 25 Greatest Hot Fives & Sevens

Please don't mind the smell and although the metal-on-metal noise of gears grinding is excrutiating, if I can stand it, you can. Sure, the lurching, halting, jerking motion can be a bit nauseating but the hope is that if I can get this thing to the nearest full-service station, all will be well.

The first monkey wrench tossed into all of this is the fact that my previously defunct political blog is now, um, funct. Considering that two of the last three posts were blatantly political, I decided I ought to return to my original forum for political rants - Everything You Know Is Wrong - and not sully this page with the flapping of my left wing.

This so-called "Daddy Blog" (although I hope it's much more than that) ought not deal with much more than the mundane. Not that I won't address an issue relevant to my children (like how not to be a worthless hypocrite and liar like Pat Robertson) but if I need to vent on the idiocy of Bush and his war, it won't happen here.

No spiritual awakening (like with The Zero Boss - glad he's back!) here, more like a psychic reallignment. Dealing with the kids in school, with this dreaded distance between my beloved and I (geographical distance, back off you vultures), my need for another job in order to make ends meet and get me closer to my beloved... it's been overwhelming.

suggested that I might be suffering from some depression, something that I should seriously look into. As a therapist, I'm my own worst client and shouldn't rely on my own assessment of myself. A trained third-party needs to be consulted and if there is a diagnosis that needs to be addressed, I should look into treatment.

Finally, I've been consumed with Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century and if I'm going to be distracted from writing here, Tuchman's book is well worth the diversion.

In conclusion: I'm glad I've posted this. If nothing else, it means I no longer have to look at this weasel's worthless visage when I click through links (it's been tough having to see this idiot when I scroll to my blogroll).

Friday, August 19, 2005

First, last, and everything

Listening to: Mahler, Kindertotenleider

Yesterday was the first day of school and despite a few hitches here and there, it went off rather well. Lilly started 1st grade and despite her studious nature, was characteristically phlegmatic about everything.

"How did you like your teacher?"

"I like her."

"What did you do today?"


Marni, on the other hand, beside herself with the completion of her first day of the final year of pre-school, gave a step-by-step account of everything that happened. In case you're wondering, not a lot goes on in pre-school but don't tell Marni. As far as she's concerned, it's a veritable bee-hive of activity.

Pre-schhol? I don't get it, frankly. All of my children will have attended two years of pre-school prior to kindergarten but I'm wondering if it's done much other than expose them to the classroom. Everyone I knows sends their kids to pre-school so why don't we just start our kids in school at age three? Make it fourteen years of school instead of twelve.

Zeke started his first day of pre-school and I was afraid dropping him off would be traumatic. Indeed, as I escorted him through the classroom, trying to get him interested in various distractions ("SEE?!? New friends!!! Your teacher!!! A Guinea Pig!!!"), he wasn't having it and kept his grip firm on my leg. Finally, a box of toy cars caught his attention (or "Tars" in his insistentence on inverting his 'C's' and 'T's'). With him elbow deep in the box of tars, I was able to sneak out the door and make my escape.

Yet, it was traumatic. My heart was breaking. My baby was in school. Probably not the heartbreak that's going on over at Vicki's site but still, a cold slap in the face as I saw my little man take another step out of infancy.

I'm learning that along with the joy, parenthood is a matter of heartbreak by degrees.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Carnival of the Infantile

Listening to: Tchaikovsky, Swan Lake/The Sleeping Beauty/Nutcracker Suite

What's a pro-War, pro-Bush, troop-supporting murken to do when confronted with crosses and American flags honoring fallen soldiers at an anti-war gathering?


In case you missed the story:
Larry Northern, has been charged with a felony criminal mischief count after allegedly driving his pickup truck over wooden crosses erected near the roadside campsite of Cindy Sheehan and her supporters—Camp Casey.

A row of the memorial crosses, which carry the names of U.S. soldiers killed during the Iraq war, were destroyed when Northern, a Waco resident is said to have driven his truck (dragging a pipe and chains) over them.

If you've ever wondered what the 59-year old equivalent of a 14-year old punk looks like:

Pathetic, simply pathetic. More pathetic is how freepers, fuckwits, and run-of-the-mill Bushies alike find this behavior not only acceptable but honorable. Desecrate crosses marked with the names of war heroes AND American flags? Quite alright, if all done in the service of Dear Leader.

Interestingly enough - no, sadly enough, given the moral degeneracy of these twits - mowing down a memorial to fallen soldiers (many crucifxes, nonetheless) garners nary a "Tut" from the guardians of all that is Right and deigned holy or patriotic. None of them can bring themselves to call Larry Northern an emotional adolescent or a lousy American. All they can do is continue to lockstep to the cavil and canard spewed by The Grand Lesser Mind that Cindy Sheehan is "exploiting" her son's death.

What bullshit. As the excellent SusanG answers:
By this analysis, Christopher Reeves was "exploiting" his injury by advocating for cures for spinal injuries. MADD members are "exploiting" the deaths of their children by pushing for stronger punishments and deterrents of drunk drivers. The Susan G. Komen Foundation is "exploiting" a sister's death by raising money for breast cancer research through its highly successful Race for the Cure series.

Likewise, I assume my own posting of Noble's story has me "exploiting" the death of my son?

If you don't know, shut the fuck up.

Advised by a cooler head that I ought not drag Jimmie B. into this, I went ahead and pulled the trigger because, as he accuses Sheehan of having a string pulled in the middle of her back he reveals his own talking box, with the string pulled from the right. If I didn't point out intellectual dishonesty I'd be guilty of, er, hmmmmm... the same.

Grace told me in an email that "Jimmie is one of the good guys". I don't see it. Rather than attacking a woman who lost her son in Iraq, I'd think he'd show us his high dudgeon regarding a 59-year old vandal and desecrater of crosses and flags. And he can't - he won't - show us that. So much for the culture of life, so much for supporting the troops. Nor will the rest of his ilk, the 39% who still support the war, mowing down crosses and American flags, and badmouthing troops as long as it makes Dubya look good.

Tomorrow's the first day of school - for my entire brood - and my muse should be with the wee ones. Except, they're not exactly beside themselves with excitement at tomorrow's Big Event. Aside from the new clothes and backpacks and pencils, it doesn't seem to matter to them as much as it did when I was a child (then again, the snow was over my head, when I was young).

Regarding tonight's music selection, I bought this to send the girls on their way (considering their "princess fetish" and Marni's dedication to ballet). They've been familiar with the "Swan Lake" music due to a gawdawful Barbi video (rrrrrrrrrr) but Lilly was more interested in "The Sleeping Beauty". I told her that Sleeping Beauty began at track 7 then went into the room to find her watching her CD player, waiting for "The Sleeping Beauty".
UPDATE: Yeah, I realize these posts should go on my defunct political blog but sending my kids to school makes me think about how eager Bush is to send other people's kids to war - but not his own (are you gonna' enlist, Jimmie? Show us all how dedicated you are to this war, eh?).

In light of that, a letter by an Iraq War vet to today's Infantile Asshole.

UPDATE: Jimmie B. gets snippy in the comments and sweetly smacked down by Trusty Getto. Jimmie shuffles his feet and clears his throat on the issue of one of his buddies desecrating a memorial to US soldiers but still can't bring himself to condemn the act. Pathetic, since he's spent three posts condemning Cindy Sheehan, calling her a liar, a phony, and a tool of the left. He can condemn the mother of of a fallen soldier with no problem. Support our troops - what?

Likewise pathetic is although Jimmie can call Cindy Sheehan a liar, he has no problem publishing lies on his site (even when the liar Jimmie cites comes clean) and accepting them as gospel.

You shoulda' left this one alone, Jimmie.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Brooke Young is a worthless, skanky slut and deserves to die a slow, painful death

Listening to: Wilco, A Ghost Is Born

If you're here to join in August's mixmania! - HELLO!!! - click this link!

Man: Well, what've you got?
Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; &egg bacon & and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam;
Vikings: Spam spam spam spam...
Waitress: ...spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam...
Vikings: Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
Waitress: ...or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.
Wife: Have you got anything without spam?
Waitress: Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it.
Wife: I don't want ANY spam!

As a student of human behavior, the thoughts and motives of others tends to get my three or four working neurons snapping and smoking to the point that I usually have to turn down the radio and dim the lights to prevent an all-out meltdown. The price one pays for refusing to upgrade (please don't get TOOMA started discussing my 5 1/4 inch floppy - ha ha, that old joke never gets stale, eh?). Despite my many limitations, I still continue flogging my flapping synapses with inane questions like what insufficiency makes little King George afraid of a woman like Cindy Sheehan or what toilet training trauma makes a craven rightard smear a woman whose son was killed in Iraq.

Clearly, few examples are as meretricious, mendacious, or moronic as our idiot-child president or his pet hamsters at Fox News. So, rather than pointing to the absolute nadir of humanity (which is neither instructive nor interesting), I'll edge a bit up the food chain and discuss the behavioral roots of chickenboners. Spammers. Not the scourge Bush but something less dangerous.

Admit it - you've wondered what kind of unfortunate spawn of an incestuous union sits in front of a computer to email millions of mindless come-ons for worthless credit cards, so-called free plasma-screen televisions, Nigerian scams, and hot young girls who are dying to meet you tonight. Don't tell me that you haven't imagined your spammer as some maladjusted, maloderous weenie with greasy hair, sitting at a snot-encrusted keyboard to press 'Send' and infest your inbox with the digital equivalence of body lice (crabs also being something your spammer must have).

There, I've made it easy for you. Having accurately identified your mental image of a chickenboner, I'll also confirm that you are correct. Not usually prone to reducing social sub-sets (of subhumans) to simple stereotypes, I must concede that spammers are cut from the same redolent, greasy cloth, without color or character, prone to bestial behavior with, ummmmm, anything (and easilly bribed with candy).

Why? What's the equation that creates a spammer besides cousin, cousin, and the visual of rutting goats? What else creates these venal insects besides the exchange of fluids and the fly-like determination to annoy? My own theory has to do with spray paint and candy-colored flakes.

Raised on fake-fruit cereal, a steady video diet of Jerry Springer, Cops, and The Mario Brothers (desperate Capitalism at its worst), Spammers come from homes where parenting was by request and usually limited to a remote and a dog dish full of vodka. With insufficient external stimuli in their environment, spam-children begin to seek out inappropriate forms of attention-getting, behavior that eventually leads to them arriving unannounced in your inbox. Furthermore, constant electrical shocks from sticking paper-clips into an electrical socket fried out the lobes regulating inhibition in the spammer, essentially cauterizing neural connections into a pattern of behavior that can only be classically termed as "idiotic".

However, saying that spammers are the cyber-century equivalent of the village idiot over-simplifies the matter. There are far too many people vying for the postion of village idiot in our century (what with the economy and all) and "reality shows" only stiffen the competition. Far too many people are willing to open an email from Brooke Young with a subject line that reads "SEXUALLY EXPLICIT: z bike ice-cream pretender", far too many people are willing to bite at the lure of a free Ipod and then thrash around with a nifty new fish hook in their lip.

Spam may kill the internet but it won't blow up the world. For that, a true village idiot is required, a God-King Idiot who, if I didn't know his mom and dad, I'd swear was the issue of Brooke Young and a couple of horny goats. An idiot who takes a five-week vacation while our country is at war and a tank of gas costs more than a sack of weed. An idiot who would rather have a few follow his narrow agenda "and sing along to the age of paranoia" then see the rest of us prosper.

"Let them eat spam," the King Village Idiot says, "it's also important for me to go on with my life," his cowardly response to a grieving mother. Idiot.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

"Noble" post link fixed and other things to get off my chest

Listening to: Rilo Kiley, More Adventurous

Today's email brought a comment by Hellonwheels regarding my Noble posts, that she couldn't find part II - V.

Since the fuckwits at Blogger can't develop a "read more" function that can be selectively applied to posts, I was forced to post my Noble entries in the archives. I finally changed the date signatures on the posts so if you've only read Noble, Part I, you can read the remaining posts.

Bullshit Blogger also sends me comment alerts without letting me know what post the comments are attached to. Normally that's not a problem since most everyone only comments on recent posts but Hellonwheels posted somewhere in the archives and it would have been close to impossible to find it.

Fortunately, her email gave me enough information so that I could hunt her down with searches and the effort was well worth it. Hellonwheels told me in her email that she also lost a child and directed me to her heart-wrenching series of "Jacob Poems". Go there if you're prepared to cry... I was moved, devastated, and I'm still not done reading everything on her site.

That is a recommendation, BTW. I'm glad she found me out so I could find her out. And I hope she gets back here to finish reading about Noble.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Got something?

Listening to: Beethoven, Symphony #3 "Eroica"

Taking me to task for moaning the blues with my Dog Days dirge, Vicki asks if I really don't have anything to say, to which I answer, ummmm, yeah, pretty much. So what. There's plenty else to do tonight besides peeking at my pathetic little corner of the blogosphere where there's nothing to see and nil to do (go make your driving mix, ya' deadbeats). I'll spare you the trouble of surfing around for places that do this better because God knows, in this August heat, typing and opening browsers only to find yet another green poop post might send you into the kind of apoplexy that made Bob Novak what he is today.

So if you're seeking to be truly entertained by a blog as opposed to being bone-rattlingly bored by the train wreck we all call "Patriside", I recommend you hit these links (much more satisfying than hitting THE links):

TOOMA, Lu, continues unfolding the sometimes steamy saga between she and me; she took us past the rough spot and thankfully delivers us back to the luscious mush some call romance ("some who call it romance" is Edgy Mama, a huge fan of this romance and although she doesn't link me, dammitall, she's well worth the click through).

If you're on the prowl for a minor kerfluffle, Grace stands tall and challenges all shit-talkers to diss Dooce so Grace can administer a well-deserved bitch-slapping (ugh, Gawd Grace, I'm sorry, I couldn't resist, it's the tequilla talking, I swear). Personally, I've never gotten the whole Dooce thing (whatever THAT means) but just because I won't wave at a Kewl Kid doesn't mean I feel the need to pass nasty notes about The Prom Queen in Brit Lit class. I'm with Grace on this pissing contest (as all of you may have suspected, yes, the cat's out of the bag, so to speak, mind the spray).

Never, ever go over to my buddy Elisson's blog if you're hungry. Even when he's writing about gross stuff, you'll soon come across a recipe to make you forget about the turd in a punchbowl.

Chasmyn reposts an excellent (and moving) piece
to shame the shithead mental midgets who get the willies with all things "queer". Probably the best thing posted all weekend, IMHO, ample compensation for wading through my inane babble.

Finally, the previously mentioned pixie-who-spanks-me has a heartbreaking piece at the link above and then - HA! - admits her cat's got nothing today.

Not a comprehensive list but it's a good start, sufficient considering my maddening brood needs to be bathed and made ready for bed. To soothe myself, Ludwig Van lulls me back to sanity with the Third. Again, I'm humbled by someone who says it better than me, in describing what an unforgettable experience Eroica can be:
...For a minute the opening balanced from one side to the other. Like a walk or march. Like God strutting in the night. The outside of her was suddenly froze and only the first part of the music was hot inside her heart. She could not even hear what sounded after, but sat there waiting and froze, with her fists tight. After a while the music came again, harder and loud. I didn't have anything to do with God. This was her, Mick Kelly, walking in the daytime and by herself at night. In the hot sun and in the dark with all the plans and feelings. This music was her - the real plain her.

...The whole world was this music and she could not listen hard enough. Then at last the opening music came again, with all the different instruments bunched together for each note like a hard, tight fist that socked at her heart. And the first part was over.

The music did not take a long time or a short time. It did not have anything to do with time going by at all. She sat with her arms held tight around her legs, biting her salty knee very hard. It might have been five minutes she listened or half the night. The second part was black-colored - a slow march. Not sad, but like the whole world was dead and black and there was no thinking back how it was before. One of those horn kind of instruments played a sad and silver tune. The music rose up angry and with excitement underneath. And finally the black march again.

But maybe the last part of the symphony was the music she loved the best - glad and like the greatest people in the world running and springing up in a hard, free way. Wonderful music like this was the worst hurt there could be. The whole world was this music, and there was not enough of her to listen.

(from The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Carson McCullers)

As I have nothing to say, I'm happy to pass along the thoughts and words of those who do and say it well.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Dog Days of August have got me down and too damned tired to post

Listening to: Mozart, Requiem in D Minor

If you're here to join in August's mixmania! - HELLO!!! - click this link!

"Inane! Rambling! Rarely updated!"
- from "The Blog!" t-shirt

Guilty on all counts, obviously. It's been some time since I've gone almost a week without posting, though, and I think some explanation is due.

My finger points to August, first and foremost, the wretched hot weather and everything moving apace with the growth of my sunflowers. Driving across town in this, I'm met with a general malaise of suspended animation, a torpor, zombies mindlessly milling about and going nowhere. Checking the news, I check to see if there's been a train derailment because maybe a cloud of chloroform has fallen over the city. For myself, I know I could take a month-long siesta.

Lu and Wonderful Daughter were here last week - again. I'll point you towards Lu's blog for details on the visit because, well, she says it well enough for my lazy ass. All I'll say is after the visit, I love both of them much, much more.

Finally, my creative efforts have been focused on fiction. I write everyday and these past few days has been off-blog. I'm not saying more than that (being a tad superstitious) but I've been madly adding to an idea that's been kicking around in my cranium for quite some time.

That and poetry. Reading and writing it.

So much for inane and rambling. Blame it on August.
Question of the day: Who is my regular reader from Florida?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

On popping off and paying the price

Listening to: Lauren's HAWT Summer mix (yes, I finally got my mix!)

If you're here to join in August's mixmania! - HELLO!!! - click this link!

Whether it's been this early August heat or my dismal attempts to quit smoking, I dunno but something's been buzzing bad, a bee in my bonnet no less noisier than the loose bowling ball and feral cat locked in the trunk of my car. So subjected to such insane disharmony, I've managed to play asshat thoughout the internets without a hint of flair, elan, or class.

It started the other night when I went after GraceD's friend in a very unkind way. Now, anyone who knows me will attest that my passions never run lukewarm but my ire (and a few beers) got the best of my questionable judgement. I didn't know Grace was chummy with the dude (not that would have mattered, frankly) but I apparently broke the rules of civil discourse and the sentence for that is persona non grata.


A little later I took my big bat over to Outside In and pummelled Vicki for posting the personal information of a young girl who dared to write to soldiers in Iraq and state she did not support the war. Vicki's on vacation and so it took her awhile to correct the posting of personal information and state her intention was not to ridicule the girl. Still, I get the sense that I stepped on a few toes and hurt some feelings.

To Grace and Vicki, I sincerely apologize for being impolitic. I'm a loud-mouthed lefty and a pusillanimous Irishman, not looking for a fight but never backing down. If I'm to be faulted for the temperment of my passions, I'll let Marianne Moore speak for me with her superb "What Are Years?":

  What is our innocence,
what is our guilt? All are
  naked, none is safe. And whence
is courage: the unanswered question,
the resolute doubt, -
dumbly calling, deafly listening-that
in misfortune, even death,
     encourage others
     and in it's defeat, stirs

  the soul to be strong? He
sees deep and is glad, who
  accededs to mortality
and in his imprisonment rises
upon himself as
the sea in a chasm, struggling to be
free and unable to be,
     in its surrendering
     finds its continuing.

  So he who strongly feels,
behaves. The very bird,
  grown taller as he sings, steels
his form straight up. Though he is captive,
his mighty singing
says, satisfaction is a lowly
thing, how pure a thing is joy.
     This is mortality,
     this is eternity.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Get your burners warmed up and ready for August's mixmania! with a Driving theme

Listening to: Ella Fitzgerald, The Best of the Song Books

Time to start collecting names for August's mixmania! - the rules are posted below.

The votes are in and "Driving" won by a landslide. This is a pretty flexible theme, I think. Now, the songs don't have to be "about driving" although I think that would be fun and if that's the way you want to go, Godspeed. You can also make it a disk of song's you'd drive to, a disk you'd mix to sustain you on a roadtrip. It can be a disk that evokes a particular stretch of road (i.e., California's Highway One, the most spectacular drive in the US if not the planet) or destination (i.e. "To Grandma's" or "Get pumped up for a Dead show").

My own disk will attempt to evoke the atmosphere of a drive. Although I won't include it on my mix, Kraftwerk's Autobahn is a perfect (if not ridiculously quintessential) example of a song that paints a mental picture. When my mix is done, there probably won't be a single cut that's remotely about driving but every cut capturing the essence of a drive (and a particular moment) for me.

So have fun with being creative and caressing your inner-DJ.

The Rules: if you intend to participate this month, please pay attention to the following:

  1. Deadline for joining in is August 26, You need to email me your postal address in order to participate. If I don't get an email from you, you'll be left out. You can email your info to:

    patriside *at* gmail dot com

    By all means, leave a comment to show you want to participate and give everyone else a sense that they might be the lucky recipient of your mix.

  2. Your mix needs to be burned and mailed by September 1 - or at least, by the end of the first week of September. Ratting myself out, I'll admit that I mailed my mix a few days after the deadline (yeah, yeah), so I understand that sometimes we can't get to the PO right away. A few days late I can understand; a few weeks late is mindboggling.

    I don't know why I need to emphasize this again but if you agree to participate, your mix will be in the mail around September 1, got it? It's just not fair to the people who are mixing and mailing in good faith when they to have to wait and wonder for weeks to see if their honest efforts have been reciprocated.

  3. You'll get the postal address of the recipient of your mix by August 27 along with my postal address (to use as a return address).

  4. Post your songlist September 15 - yeah, I know this is different from last time, I think it will be fun to sustain the suspense of "who sent this?" and "I'm dying to know what this song is!" I'll email everybody September 14 with a reminder to post lists. Sept. 15 will be designated "songlist day".

  5. DO NOT include your songlist with the disk you mail, the idea is to get your recipient to surf around to figure out what the cuts are, who sent the disk. If you're stymied on how to erase ID3 information from the music files, I recommend you go download Musicmatch Jukebox to convert your files and then go here for a tutorial on how to erase the ID3 info (Mac users are on your own!).

  6. Burn a CD with wav files, not MP3s; if you can't fit all your lovelies on a single disk, burn 2 disks, burn 6 disks, I don't care. Just burn it with files that can be played on any old skool CD player.

That's it. If those rules are too much, don't play. It doesn't bother me to mail disks to the unfortunate folks who got burned - I *love* sharing music - but it's infuriating having to answer desperate emails sent from folks who've been left out in the cold because somebody couldn't be bothered to do what they promised to do.

And if you played last time and have STILL not received a disk, email me and I'll mail a disk to you.

Burn, baby, burn!!!