Friday, March 26, 2010

Degassing the doldrums

I've never flown before Halloween eve, 2003. I flew to Seattle for a conference. Met a pair of old fishing buddies who're both originally from out east, Flanders, Long Island.

I've been told that street-art is nearly absent form certain cities, though it must depend on the neighborhoods and their openness to such forms of urban art. You won't find ecstatic peanuts in Mid-town. PROVE ME WRONG!

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

keep those full-body scans to yourselves

I see you’ve secured yourself a new credit card—frequent flier miles—and now you can finally go to that wonderful Cancun resort you saw on that show.

Aye, the best kept secret until that godforsaken Joe Francis spilled the beans (wrong parlance?) on the place. Gosh darn! It’ll be grand! I just love sunshine and I cannot take another winter in this dreary smog-ridden place!

let's elope in Singapore, but we'll have to veer away from our paths of excess.

Those aren’t substantial goals my fine-feathered dreamer. Your desires must drive you crazy. I can't imagine being driven in one direction or the other when trying to decide on which giant new plasma-HD-BD-ROM to buy. Don’t throw away all your money just because some stooge on the tube tells you the economy is back on its feet. It’s not, big spender.

Oh shush! you cynical libertarian! I want to have my cake and eat it! Enjoy this godforsaken mortal coil while you still have breath! Besides, I have enough savings to keep me afloat if things get really bad. You don’t even have a real bank account, just some two-bit Slovenian savings & loan contract in Lancaster.

Surrender your dreams. You’ve been born too late. 1920s housing boom’s an aging grandmother. Opine, lament, sappy nostalgia in a Seagrams fifth. You must hate the radical idea of a banana daiquiri. The American dream is s sham, dear comrade! Do you think I’m telling you this to make myself look good? I’ve shed all my unnecessary ego. This is not for myself! I’m trying to help you!

Then help me pick out a new pair of swim trunks for my trip! Wait, why am I asking you for fashion tips? Look at those rag-tag slacks you’ve got on.

(….blank stare, followed by a wry smile, exasperated shake of the head, leans forward…)
You need some serious peyote, followed by the most extreme groove of power chords, infinite reverb and chest-caving bass.

……are you sure insanity doesn’t run in your family?

I make few guarantees, and now isn’t any different.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, March 06, 2010


"What special good would it do to found an Establishment if the few who gave intimations of high talent were instinctively excluded? I wanted a chance to preach to the President and to the First Lady. "Speak to the people a little more," would have liked to say, "Talk on television about the things you do not understand. Use your popularity to be difficult and intellectually dangerous. This is more to greatness than liberal legislation." And to her I would have liked to go on about what the real meaning of an artist might be, of how the marrow of a nation was contained in his art, and one deadened artists at one's peril, because artists were not so much gifted as ENDOWED; they had been given what was secret and best in their parents and in all the people about them who had been generous or influenced them or made them, and so artists embodied the essence of what was best in the nation, embodied it in their talent rather than in their character, which could be small, but their talent—this fruit of all that was rich and nourishing in their lives—was related directly to the dreams and the ambitions of the most imaginative part of the nation. So the destiny of a nation was not separate at all from the FATE of its artists. I would have liked to tell her that every time an artist failed to complete the full mansion, jungle, garden, armory, or city of his work the nation was subtly but permanently poorer, which is why we return to obsessively to the death of Tom Wolfe, the broken air of Scott Fitzgerald, the gloomy smell of the vault which collects already the horror of Hemingway's departure. I would have liked to say to her that a war for the right to express oneself had been going on in this country for fifty years, and that there were counterattacks massing because there were many who HATED the artist now, that as the world dipped into the totalitarian trough of the twentieth century there was a mania of abhorrence for whatever was unpredictable. For all too many, security was the only bulwark against emptiness, eternity and death. The void was what America feared. Communism was the name they gave the void. The unknown was Communist, and the boys who grew beards, the people who walked their dog off leash. It was comic, but it was virulent, and there was a fanatic rage in much too much of the population. Detestation of the BEATNIK seethed like rabies on the mouths of small-town police officers.

"Oh, there was much I wanted to tell her, even–exit sociology, enter insanity–the obscene had a right to exist in the novel. For every fifteen-year-old who would be hurt by premature exposure, somewhere another, or two or three, would emerge from sexual experience which has been too full of moral funk onto the harder terrain of sex made alive by culture, that it was the purpose of culture finally to enrich all of the psyche, not just part of us, and damage to particular people in passing was a price we must pay. Thirty thousand Americans were killed each year by automobile crashes. No one talked of giving up the automobile: it was necessary to civilization. As necessary, I wanted to say, as art. Art in all its manifestations. Including the ride, the obscene, and the UNSAYABLE. Art was as essential to the nation as technology. I would tell her these things out of romantic abundance, because I liked her and i thought she would understand what one was talking about, because as First Lady she was queen of the arts, she was our Muse if she chose to be. Perhaps it would not be altogether a disaster if America has a Muse."

Labels: , , , , ,

make me a pennzoil-bombay martini

"To what extent then are people artificialized today? A fascinating debate on the reviewer over a new proposal to make humanity immortal. The brains of old men much advanced in years would be repotted in the bodies of those in their prime, who would suffer nothing by this, for their brains would be in turn repotted in the bodies of adolescents, and so on, and since new persons were continually coming into the world, no one's brains would ever be permanently unpotted. Severe objections were raised, however. The opponents of this proposal call its advocates POT-HEADS."

Labels: , , ,