The Necessity of Insensitivity

An angry letter about our newspaper was sent to me by mistake, but since I have it, I will write an opinion about it.

Background: six college kids were out on a bender, including the driver. The bottom line is that youthful carelessness and alcohol combined to kill a 22 year old college student. The story was written matter-of-factly, and there was no editorializing or sensationalism. But by its very nature, news stories have to be insensitive to some degree, since that’s one of the elements of balanced journalism. Sensitivity is usually a form of editorialization, and that is unbalanced journalism.

The angry letter includes this: “Lets start with how completely INSENSITIVE you were. The least amount of class I have EVER seen in a paper, and that is stating something. The quote unquote mug shot of [the suspect] should have never been put in there. This tragic accident was already enough for the people involve and their families. I can truthfully say that by seeing my BROTHERS ‘mug shot’ in the paper, when he had just gone through what he had was even more heartbreaking.”

This angry young lady didn’t write this letter because our newspaper was insensitive, although of course it was. She wrote this letter not because the article was incorrect, which it was not. She wrote this letter because her brother’s negligence killed someone. How do I know this? Our newspaper, and all newspapers, and all television and radio news outlets, and all internet news outlets, write and publish stories just like this one every day, and she never, not once, wrote of letter of this kind until now.

Every day. Murders. Rapes. Horrible car crashes. Crime. Death. But not a word from her until now. And if her brother hadn’t been involved in this incident, would she have written this letter? No. Her brother, not my newspaper, owes us and everyone else involved a gigantic apology.

By the way, incensed letter writer: the way to avoid having your picture on the front page of the newspaper is to avoid drinking and driving. Sadly, your brother probably didn’t learn this simple lesson.


A Gateway to Shutting the Hell Up

When I was 18, I envisioned an automobile transmission that used some sort of cone-shaped gear that would allow the engine to turn at the exactly correct speed for maximum efficiency. Instead of spooling up, shifting, spooling up, shifting, etc., it would simply hold the rpm at the perfect torque, and the driver wouldn’t feel a shift at all. My “friends” at the time, two rich douchebags who thought they knew everything, laughed at me. (One of them was heavy into a conspiracy theory about the oil companies suppressing a carburetor design that allowed cars to get hundreds of miles to the gallon just be heating the fuel-air mixture to a very high temp before induction). In fact, these guys laughed at a lot of my ideas.

On Friday, I bought a new Nissan Rogue that has just such a transmission, which they call a “Xtronic CVT® (Continuously Variable Transmission).” It probably uses a system of belts to get past the shifting, but it is essentially the device I envisioned 28 years ago.

So my next invention will be a time machine, so I can go back to 1982 and tell those guys to shut the f*ck up.


Death and All His Friends

Recently I have been contemplating death. It surrounds all but the shallow, and we face it. It is both terrifying and comforting. My most powerful feeling about my own death is how Abby would feel if I died. That’s a new feeling for me, since Abby is relatively new to my life.

But consider this from Wikipedia (although I have been reading about this for 30 years)…

Recent observations suggest that the expansion of the universe will continue forever. If so, the universe will cool as it expands, eventually becoming too cold to sustain life. For this reason, this future scenario is popularly called the Big Freeze.

The future of an expanding universe is bleak. If a cosmological constant accelerates the expansion of the universe, clusters of galaxies will rapidly be driven away from each other, leaving observers in different clusters unable to either reach each other or sense each other’s presence in any way. Stars are expected to form normally for 1012 to 1014 years, but eventually the supply of gas needed for star formation will be exhausted. Once the last star has exhausted its fuel, stars will then cease to shine. The stellar remnants left behind are expected to disappear as their protons decay, leaving behind only black holes which themselves eventually disappear as they emit Hawking radiation. Ultimately, if the universe reaches a state in which the temperature approaches a uniform value, no further work will be possible, resulting in a final heat death of the universe.

It certainly makes my own life and death insignificant.


The A and the A

Let me clear the air about a couple of modern myths that cripple us as a society.

  1. Alcoholism is a disease. It almost unfathomable that anyone would characterize this dangerous, destructive, selfish behavior as a “disease.” If there was ever a perfect example of an enabling gesture, this would be it. I call it what it is, plainly and simply, a choice. Human beings are sentient, which means that they can chose how to behave based on inputs from the environment combined with their cognitive means. Lately I have been hearing the phrase “if you do it, you own it” more and more, and I like it a lot. It expresses laconically the way I feel about humanity, that each of us is responsible for our actions every day. The greater good would be served much better if this phrase could become the gold standard of behavior, instead of the sad excuse-making machinery that apologizes for alcoholics, and more broadly the whole cadre of addiction, by writing off their behavior as “a disease.”
  2. Adultery “just happens.” Though I am not a religious person, I easily and quickly call adultery a sin. I am both amused and appalled when I hear adulterers claim that they “never meant for it to happen,” or that, “it just happened.” Perhaps it just happened while you were coming down with a case of alcoholism. As an atheist, my concept of morals is that they are part of our lives because they work, because they structure the behavior of humanity for its greater good. Fidelity is one of the most noble of moral causes. If you are not up to keeping the promise of fidelity, don’t make it.

Before you launch into some infantile tirade about some loved one who was rescued from alcoholism by AA or some other lame addiction-replacement group, or that you made the “mistake” of falling into an affair, consider this: I will delete your comments. You should probably start your own blog.


151 Haiku About Farting

Hot, wet and stinky
A protein-laden delight
Bushes Best Baked Beans -D

A Brief Biographical Sketch of the Fictional Tammy Harjo:

-Cotton candy hair, soft yet brittle.
-High school was “the greatest”.
-Owns two jackets with leather fringe.
-Favorite drinks are Crown and Coke, Seagrams wine coolers, and Silver Bullet.
-Really wants a Jeep, but drives her brother Danny’s Ford F-150 pickup. (Her Ford Fairmont is in the shop, ‘Hank’s Auto Ser.’ Hank is her uncle’s best friend.
-First marriage to high school sweetheart, who was essentially Todd from Beavis and Butthead. He hit her. She screwed his two brothers. Divorced after 9 months – no children.
-Music: Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo, Feel Like Makin’ Love, Dog and Butterfly, Open Arms, etc.
-Job: Secretary. Had affair with boss before he went to jail.
-2 DUI convictions.
-Once danced with the drummer from Little Texas.
-Thinks AIDS is God’s revenge against gays.
-Al Bumen, her stepdad, owns the local used car dealership. He really likes her, but not in a way a stepdad should.
-Has had crabs twice.
-Favorite color: pink, because it can be both naughty and nice.
-Favorite TV shows:
-The Dating Game
-The Newlywed Game
-The Jeff Foxworthy Show
-Hee Haw
-Carter Country
-Thunder in Paradise
-Twin Peaks
-Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
-She’s the Sheriff
-Walker, Texas Ranger

Car tag: SNAZY
Car tag: DUH

Plot of D’s first novel:
-A Superpotent Human Nurd…
-Accidentally kills a bunch of people when he sneezes in public
-Runs off to the arctic
-Dr. Frankenstein trails him

“Being Catholic probably explains why he doesn’t like butts.” -?

Special contributing editors to The Green Bøk, Part 5, include…
-Holden McGroin
-Hugh Jass
-Seymore Butts
-Hugh G. Recktion
-Mike Oxlong
-Amanda Hugginkiss
-Gay Hunsucker
-Homer Sexual
-Mike Hunt
-Jack Meoff
-Philip McCrevass
-Phil McCracken
-Pat Myass

I sprained my left buttock.


Our opinions of slippers:
-“Slippers wear out.” -M
-“Too feminine.” -R
-“Great movie.” -O
-“Wear them continually, and if they’re glass, don’t throw stones at your feet.” -T
-“Eeely!” -M
-“Utterly cromulent, they embiggen each one of us.” -D

To do list
-Act like I care
-Eat carrots
-Remember my potatoes
-Improve orgasms
-Step on no pets
-Be naked
-Cow – – – milk
-Attack and defend
-Be an evil genius
“Let’s go pray, fellas!” -Football player
“Hey cameraman! Pose!” -Other football player

Always put Horace before Descartes.
(If you don’t know why that last line was funny, there’s no point in continuing to read this stuff.)


A Covering of Pure Epidermis

The Frizboid Integument: it takes the umbilicus of 4000 ferrets to make one ounce of “real” polenta.

Hummus on pita, off you better beat-a.

“It’s a doomsday machine with a joyful twist.”

Bag of Bags
Sack of Sacks
King of Kings

Poodle con Carne
Gato con Queso

“Twat like a dyke?” -Misheard
“Nut shiny pants.” -Misheard

“When God was handing out holidays, Buddhists thought he said ‘Go take a dump,’ so they weren’t even in line.” -D

-Assal Horizontology
-Pagile Blanketty
-Spam Cloister

This year I’m using the 1040 Moist form.

Hyperphonial coprophiliac: do I actually eat with that mouth?

I am ointment man, and I spank my trunkula hourly! Minutely on weekends!

“I’m so ‘I don’t know’ I don’t know anything any more.” -K

Sexless food tubes.

Hey, it’s the tenth anniversary of the eleventh commandment!


Grinding the Peeve into Dust

I have to complain once in a while, or I wouldn’t be blogging properly. Today, it’s about adults using the word “yummy.” Come on, people, I know you hear it a lot, but it’s a little child’s word. You use it when you want to get your four-year-old to finish his bucket of twisty lard.

Sidebar: how can parents look at all the absurdly fat people around them and then give their kids enough calories in one meal to feed all of Kenya for a year? Eventually I imagine this problem will fix itself when parents are too fat to reach their children’s mouths to feed them. Natural selection.

By the way, I have seen parents I respected and admired get outmaneuvered, and easily so, in a battle for desert. Vis: pile of green beans. “Eat those green beans or you don’t get dessert.” Child picks at them and whines. “Okay, eat just five more and you can have desert.” In the end, of course, the kid gets all desert. I once knew of a kid who wanted ice cream for dinner, and when she didn’t get it, stormed out of the house and down the block. By the time mom wrangled her, they made nice by sharing ice cream for dinner. Mission accomplished, tantrum.

If I had a little one, I hope I would be like the Soup Nazi: “No dessert for you! Come back in one year!”

Parents, why do you even have dessert in the house? And so what if you kid doesn’t eat all his food? Have you seen any starving kids in the suburbs lately? Maybe it would do kids some good to starve on a couple of nights. Maybe he’d appreciate his green beans after that.

In conclusion, grrr!


What’s in a Sentence? I Mean, Besides Verbs and Stuff…

D’s favorite sentences:
-Be thrilled. Wear my flip-flops.
-It’s just like Kennedy’s brain.
-He just exploded all over the bathroom!
-Did you see that? It went right up her ass!
-It was Wion’s way of nurturing him.
-I did not start it! You invaded Poland!

D’s favorite lyrics:
-Well, I stand up next to a mountain, chop it down with the edge of my hand. -Jimi Henrix
-“There are a thousand things,” he said, “I’ll never say those things to you again.” -The Cure
-Give it up! -Joe Walsh
-Honkin’ donkey kitty cat. (maybe) -Cocteau Twins
-And the Devil wants to f*ck me in the back of his car.” -NIN
-Boomtown people got nothin’ to eat. They scratched in the dirt tryin’ to plant the seed.” -Big Pig

D’s least favorite sentences:
-I’m not sure if I love you any more.
-Are you growing a beard?
-Once we take this white area, we can move our borders.


The Unforgettable Fire

Question: does burning solid waste pollute as much as burning high-sulphur coal? (I think you know where I’m going with this.)

Also this: often an argument made against ethanol fuel is that is consumes food crops. Point: 66% of Americans are obese. Also: 80 percent of corn grown in America is fed to livestock, not humans.

I’m really sick and tired of how childish and short-sighted this country has become. Or always was. Maybe it’s not this country, but human nature.


A Hunger that Never Dies

The ornate brown and gold book has slicker pages than other notebooks I own, so the ink flowed more swiftly. Occasionally it would fly off the pages, and go places I regretted.

  • Is today that day I forgive the world?
  • Create an image with words instead of creating an image with suffering.
  • For me, the maxim is: If you can’t say something intelligent, don’t say anything at all.
  • Today my mind is buried deep inside my feelings.
  • I deny ever having been me.
  • Whisper my name. I call yours and you do not answer.
  • I would take humanity, the whole world, tenderly in my arms before I destroy it.
  • I am sorry for the awkward way I loved you. For years you filled up my heart. (You know who you are, even if you don’t know it’s you.)
  • I was once close to her. Now I am only close to this moment.
  • Sometimes I feel like I need my anger the way I need my next breath.
  • I cannot make sense of my dreams, even though they make perfect sense.
  • Who am I? Funny question, since I ask as though finding the answer would make a difference.
  • Even after she left me, she said she would never leave me. (about K, 1988.)
  • Sometimes I am like insect repellent, which is okay, since sometimes people are like insects.
  • Staring at myself in the mirror for a long time, I slowly seem to see someone else.
  • Ignorance is abyss.
  • You can’t look at something without changing it.
  • It’s impossible to hope for a moral society when 97% of the participants willingly murder their fellow mammals for pleasure.
  • You mostly want what you want because someone a little smarter and a lot richer told you to want it.
  • Get down behind me and kiss my path.
  • Who are you anyway, you humanity? Your grand plan is to consume and procreate, like flies. You add to that a culture of suffering and atrocities, and act like you are God’s gift to the earth.
  • Crying: never enough, always too much.
  • The darkest place on earth.
  • How can you see me as “sweet” when sometimes I can barely see myself as sane?
  • In this moment, I understand your denial. How else could you bear your existence?
  • “I think I hear the answer, but it is only the wind and the dark and the vast emptiness.” -Journal, 1979
  • The fork in the road: dreams or mirrors.
  • The last foxhole atheist.
  • Infidelity: the object for some is getting caught, because it punishes their partner for being such a disappointment.
  • I leave dark scars on your life.
  • Story idea: held in my hands, trembling, insane words written in my own handwriting, that I don’t remember writing.
  • The work of love’s axe on the frozen sea.
  • I am a totally superior person and a completely inferior man.
  • During a particularly dark vision, I stand up and walk around the room, but am unable to escape myself. As dark as it was in 1978, 1985, 1988, I think maybe it is darkest now, this moment, this vanishing point.
  • These bones are wearing out. Would you pay to live forever, or would you eventually pay to die?
  • Bomb me into the fucking stone age.
  • I never knew how to let her go. It doesn’t matter if she let me go or not: she’s gone.
  • Wallowing in the muddy sludge you get when you mix broken dreams with alcohol.
  • “Maybe I’m boring and don’t know it. How terrifying.” -Journal, 1980.
  • I want her to come home. That day will never come.
  • It’s not a sore spot. It’s a dark spot. It’s less about losing her, and more about going back to that lonely place.
  • …that darkest part of me, the cold, hungry, injured animal part of me, understands the terrorist, the murderer, the despot.
  • I feel fragile, like old yellow paper.
  • Nobody is as lonely as I am. Not even me.
  • How can women love men who spit in public, but not love me?
  • Just what I need: another black-souled woman for my collection.
  • My wildest sin is dreaming. My worst mistake was caring.
  • Real men don’t let bumper stickers think for them.
  • How could I have held their hands, and let them go? Your hands.
  • I love like a woman, but I hate like a wild animal.
  • What do I want? I want to keep you warm.
  • I’d rather live a dramatic life, as long as it’s good drama.
  • Tears are an admission.
  • When asked for one word to describe me, Whitney was split between “intense” and “passionate.”
  • STOP! In large crowds, I find myself calculating how many cluster bombs it would take to kill them all. I have to stop that.

Thus the end. In many ways, I am relieved.


Scenes from Apartment 11

Here are some profound excerpts from the ornate brown and gold notebook. The first words in this book are, “A black paradise.”

  • I know I am in love when she and I stare into the sky.
  • Specious conclusion: that you deserve a second chance just because you screwed up the first one.
  • I was wrong to think we were part of each other.
  • Write more, think more, be more.
  • The kindness of winter: its cruelty pushed away all other cruelty.
  • Going a little crazy? Give me something to do.
  • An artist creates his own moral Universe.
  • Letting it be quiet.
  • Perception of blackness is a surrogate for perception of nothingness.
  • Women become an abstraction.
  • Validity of despair: only if it is tied to something creative.
  • There are so many ugly people in the world, in so many senses of the word ugly.
  • Don’t waste time justifying yourself to those who can’t justify themselves.
  • Certain shameful things give us those feelings because they so deeply, secretly excite us.
  • Has every moment been like this? I am refining my vision of destruction.
  • The fundamental solution to the core problems of humanity: to act properly as an individual.
  • Objectivity: the impossible objective.
  • The future is your only choice.
  • Bachelorhood: the freedom to joylessly masturbate to the uninspired pornography of your imagination.
  • “Richard,” she said, “you must be so lonely.”
  • You can’t believe in God based on what you lack.
  • Always just tell me the truth.
  • There is nothing more beautiful than tears.
  • It may be an insane place, but it is mine alone.
  • Possibly the best thing about my apartment: you’re not here.
  • I don’t want your apology; I just want you to shut the fuck up.
  • What sets me apart from the millions who toil like Sysyphus every day, pointlessly churning out paperwork or rubber dogshit or the culture of disease and excess? What sets me above?
  • Only nature seems fair, because even when it destroys you, it does so without judgement.
  • Christianity’s most arrogant assumption: that God needs us.
  • I spit, and hear no splash in the bottomless pit of your life.
  • The biggest crime is failing to face the truth, to say, “Here I am.”
  • Time can only take you so far down the road, and then there is a fork.
  • “No talking to imaginary people.” -Sign in New Orleans restaurant The Hummingbird, circa 1991.
  • Time is the illusion.
  • Words slip away, but an act of affection speaks louder.
  • Midnight is not the enemy.
  • My vision for the ascendancy of man is one in which the masses are able to stop acting like children, which 99% of them do 99% of the time now, and finally behave as adults in every sense. Adults don’t need their fears.
  • My friends are not the enemy.
  • When the night settles around me, nothing can touch me.
  • How dark can it get?
  • Your dreams know who you are.
  • A hurt I cannot name: words are not sufficient for this pain.
  • I am not the enemy.
  • Have the strength to be happy.
  • No matter how much they sympathize, they can’t feel it with you, or for you. You must feel it alone.
  • There is a big difference between letting yourself feel sad and making yourself feel sad.
  • Confusion is not a feeling.
  • Women are not the enemy.
  • I don’t have to get what I need. I am what I need.
  • You run home to your spiritual mommy.
  • You are the enemy.

There. Now I can sleep.