20 March 2018

A good entry that really hits the spot

Dear diary,

Is my brain still attractive? Was it ever attractive?

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then I’m the only one who can answer these questions for myself. So I say that my brain was once alluring, because it glittered with many new thoughts; but over the last six years it’s grown unattractive, because it turned grey and lost the capacity for wonder.

I like being washed-up, tho. For, when you’re washed-up, you only need to think selfish thoughts, such as: Will I find any snacks inside this seashell; or: What kind of leaf should I wear today…?

Yet I worry that I’ve lost whatever small amount of worth I ever had. And I wish I would’ve started out this entry by saying “Do I really have to write another entry?” Cuz then it’d sound like someone’s forcing me to compose this. Which is sort of the case: for I browbeat myself.

Yes, it ends up that way: some master must command me; because, if you’re not being threatened, why write? I don’t know a clearer explanation of the malfunctioning of the mind than the Freudian one, so I advertise myself among the satellites in the classifieds as possessing a planet-sized superego. Also I boast: My death drive is like nothing you’ve ever seen!!!

I have so many negative thoughts. Yes, all my thoughts are negative. But I want to make them all convert and go positive, because I truly favor optimism. I’m a pessimist who yearns to become an optimist.

I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24)

But I don’t want any fake positivity. So I must needs track down the aspects that genuinely move me, in this prison-cell-of-a-world. Yet the good news is that even those things that many’d consider passé or cliché, like the beauty of flowers, in my case, do the trick: they work like a charm to lift my mood. Or, take, for instance, the geese that we saw returning from their winter vacation: they landed and then began grazing in the snowy grass this morning; I thought to myself: this might seem like a mundane sight to someone who lacks imagination, but I know that most common creatures will soon be extinct, and, in the near future, astro-helmeted scientists wearing impermeable whole-body decontamination garments will sift thru the rubble and unearth fragments of goose-bone; then, after piecing together a skeleton, they’ll wonder what these beings actually looked like, and how they moved when they were alive; so I’m lucky to be able to witness such miracles moping before my very eyes near the street of our housing complex. And there was a dead one at curbside – it must have got struck by a passing vehicle.

Also (I know I’ve mentioned this next idea before; but I want to keep harping to myself about it, in order to sharply crease the trousers of memory), as part of my attempt to become a more positive cynic, I want to drift away from caring so much about politics. I used to care zero, then I recently ramped up past 100, and henceforth I’d like to sail at a wiser level. When it comes to the time that one dedicates to following politics, I don’t think all or none are good levels to be at.

I wish we lived in a pure democracy, where We the People could vote on every single issue individually. Why can’t this be the case, since we have the Internet and portable telephones with digital cameras in them? We could vote to free Julian Assange and other people like him; and the populace would vote to end all the wars; & we’d vote to meet the needs of all people everywhere. All drivers of cabs, whether they’re the traditional yellow taxis or the upstart slaves of the apps of the “gig economy,” would receive a revamped contract and robust compensation, a huge raise, & mega-benefits: they’d live like kings…

Another thing about politics (which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, but who cares!—it’s healthy to gripe and complain: it’s good for the heart): I hate that my opinions are not heeded. Politically speaking, I am far more informed than your average fool, so I think I should be listened to; but the opposite is the case. What I mean is that I’m CORRECT about every issue, thus, if given a chance, I could easily solve all the universe’s problems, yet my hands are tied when it comes to passing legislation. Moreover, those laws that are on the books already, which I’d like to enforce (it’s crucial both to pass AND enforce legislation), such as the laws that allow for the divvying of monopolies, etc. – all this good potential is foregone by the people who currently hold positions of power.

Think about that: Not one person in power at present is I.

But what are we all trying to do in this world, anyway: shove our neighbors into the mud, or pull our neighbors from the mud? I’d rather help my neighbors out.

And yet: What if every bit of aid that we attempt to extend turns evil in mid-act! Not by any fault of our own, but on account of the way that existence was engineered – as though that were its purpose. For perhaps life is incontrovertibly nefarious, so the only way to bring harmony to the world is to eradicate every living thing.

And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)

Like someone’s chasing you with a flaming sword, and there’s lava to either side of you, and the path upon which you’re forced to run for your life is covered with frogs. How do you avoid stepping on frogs now and killing them? You know they’re innocent, and you love them: you think they’re splendid creatures; they’re so serene, they all seem to be sleeping. (What do frogs dream of? I bet their paradise is infested with moths and flies, because frogs eat bugs, and we tend to populate our idea of heaven with things that we enjoy.) You must escape from the pursuing angel with the fire-sword, and the way that the game was fashioned leaves its player with no choice but to squish a frog with each footfall. There’s nothing you can do but weep while running, or die.

& the worst of it is: Even if you’re compassionate enough to nosedive into the lava, you still can’t evade evil. For you were made of evil, thus it’s un·shirk·able, since, by ending a given evil, you only change from one form of evil to another. This game was programmed by an evil genius, over the course of six banking days; and everything that exists within it consists of pixels, all thoroughly evil: they’re basically evil’s building blocks: The avenging cherub is pixels; the lava is pixels; the frogs & you yourself are comprised of pixels. So if you try to curtail further evil by leaping off the path into the lava, what happens is that your pixels rearrange themselves into a newfangled instance of evil, to please your creator. So there’s no point to suicide.

But I take that back: The frogs have some passable pixels in them. Whatever makes their skin so glossy and their yellow eyes so large – those pixels are princely. They found a way to refract, or somehow to foster the devious Non-evil Otherness. I don’t say GOOD, and I don’t say GOD; but there is some secret force working against our awful overlord, like entropy. But since the maker invented entropy for evil, this antidote is at least an anti-entropy.

I think I’m kidding. That’s all just a bunch of hogwash. I’m simply trying to fill this page so that I can have a sizable entry to share. The wise are silent, so I’m trying to talk it out. I want something to show, for the great and final day, to prove, while the credits are rolling, that I did not take my punishment lying down: I was not enjoying my victimhood: I was whining. (Only spoiled brats whine, so maybe there’s some residual luxury in me yet.)

(When I say “me” I mean “my soul”. I said “brain” above but I like the word “soul”, because I don’t believe in it.) I think that we should try to incorporate more often into our speech those concepts that we just cannot abide. Why? I don’t know; I didn’t think that far. It just seems interesting. What if all the atheists, especially the hardcore cardholding atheists like myself, were to make a goal of embracing and employing, as much as possible, religious language and concepts in our daily speech. Just for a dada lark. To spice up the farce. The world’s becoming unfunner by the multitude: let us do our part in replenishing absurdity, before it’s too late…

But just as I said in my lie above, about the inherently evil nature of all life, we could say the same about the notion of fun. This world is fun-proof, fun-free: that’s its directive. To resist this ugly item is to baptize a grease fire. Or re-baptize, etc.

Get a job… go to school… build a business… join the army… start a family… make a fortune… rule the world… dance all night… forgive your debtors… take up the cross… die trying… get saved… run for office… love your enemies… read a book… covet thy neighbor… buy my fancy…

March in lockstep to your only begotten drummer.

Well, there’s no denying it, this blog post has fizzled to a stop. Now, with my eyes brimful of tears, I declare that I could never have done it alone. This type of writing is only made possible when an entire lifetime of parents teachers and supervisors manage to neglect the best boy in the village. Therefore, O mine overseers, as we take our leave, remember: I’m still pissed at you and I will never forgive you.


Below is the entire mini-demo rap album Ten Bowls. My lawyers advised me to upload the whole thing, because sharing the tracks individually, as I had been doing, was just too boring. So there are a few new tracks here which have not, till now, seen daylight. Wow are they interesting. Lastly, as I explained before, I am only responsible for the aspects of this project that are pleasant; anything else is not my doing.

& here it is on Bandcamp:


Porcelain Bowl

Here is my song about porcelain bowls
They are ceramically awesome yo
Porcelain bowl yeah fine ceramic ware
Let me grab it there oh my damn it’s fair
It’s a hard bowl a big white bowl
A nice tight bowl an alright bowl
It’s really cool cuz it’s essentially quartz
I can fit this bowl in my shorts
Wow look mom the bowl fits in my shorts
Bryan calm down you dork
Now look at that translucent porcelain bowl
This is totally ceramic yo
It is sonorous and non-porous
Which means it’s good to water your forest
I think porcelain bowls are nifty
That’s why I have more than fifty

Clay Bowl

Clay bowl no not a clavicle
No nor a clay pigeon no nor a cleat
I like to drink when I drink from my clay bowl
Not to mention as well I eat
Yes it’s a clay bowl earthy material
Bad for cereal good for baking
Totally plastic when moist this clay bowl’s
Hard when fired like my aunt Amy
My clay bowl is manufactured with
Hydrous aluminum silicate elements
I am the rapper the really good rapper
MCB I’m as big as an elephant
I like to bathe in a big clay bowl
It is bigger than New York City
And I use a real small clay bowl
Every day when I feed my kitty

Paper Bowl

Here is a song about paper bowls
They are good to look at and hold
They hold food for your cat or dog
And they are made from wooden logs
Logs are crushed down and become paper
Then the crushed logs are put in the shaper
And the shaper shapes logs to bowls
Then I put in the cat food yo
I hope that I’ve convinced you
To buy a paper bowl rather than a tin suit
If you agree then wave your hands
MCB is effeminate man
With a paper bowl with a paper flower
Signifying my stance as coward
I have eight couplets for you boys
Paper bowl yeah bring the noise

Metal Bowl

If you ain’t never seen nothing
Then you ain’t seen my bowl of metal
I was so happy when bringing it home
That I almost forgot to pedal
I like metal bowl better than paper
Cuz you can throw them and they don’t break
Plus if you get some water or food inside them
They don’t evaporate
Yeah it’s a metal bowl a big metal bowl
It’s filled with kitty food lint or mold
Cuz I got mold in my bowl
Mixed with lint and kitty food yo
MCB the metal bowl wielder
Metal face with a metal shielder
Metal staff with a metal pole
Smoking crack from a metal bowl

Gold Bowl

Once your mom had a dirty bowl
But I shined it up and now it’s gold
So now it’s shiny and good to go
Cuz it was dirty but now it’s gold
Gold bowl how low can you go
Rapping really takes its toll
On a brother. I got a gold plated gold bowl
Riding to the swap meet paid in full
I’m the King of America MCB
Eating cereal out of a bowl that’s green
Cuz I like the gold bowl boy it’s nice
Don’t look now mom I’m eating rice
With two gold chopstick pseudo hot chicks
These gold bowls are bowls not boxes
Wow eight couplets finally finished
I like gold bowls to hold my spinach

Brick Bowl

Song six in the mix
Kicking it with bowl brick
Yeah yo brick bowl
Nice top thick hole
I like brick because it’s red and grainy
Plus it don’t melt when it gets rainy
Plus the bricks are like slung with mortar
I have a couple more bowls on order
Cuz brick bowls are special order custom designed
Cuz most people order other different kinds
Like clay bowls or paper porcelain bowls
But I like the brick cuz it’s thick and slow
So now can I interest you in buying some brick
In the shape of a bowl that is slow and thick
OK that’s $550.97
Plus $6.33 for tax. Out of $11?
OK $4.32 there’s your change
Now I just gave you herpes and AIDS

Small Bowl

MCB go super cool rap slow
Here is a sad flow regarding a small bowl
Once I was trying to clean my room
And all I had was a bowl and a broom
But the bowl was too small cuz when I utilized it
All I could fit is two french fries in
So I was taking a real long time
Just to clean this bowl of mine
But after a while then I got it clean
But then I heard some old lady scream
And that was your mom cuz she started to choke
Cuz she got the small bowl lodged in her throat
So I went over did the Heimlich maneuver
And your mom vomited manure
And there sure enough was a bowl down there
Saturated with manure and hair

Party Bowl

Song eight real great party bowl hot date
I go to sleep way after eight
So stay up with me and my party bowl dude
And we’ll use the party bowl and both get nude
Cuz the party bowl it is so fun to party with
Specially whenever you’re naked and barfing it
Once when the party bowl was in my possession
I got all nude and boy I really looked fetching
So then of course there’s partying happening
Because of the way the party bowl has wacky wings
That fly all around whenever we get naked
Which is what happened one night to me and David
Now David was already totally nude
Cuz he was made that way cuz he’s a statue
So now we break out the cool party bowl
And now you see me and my billowing rolls

Pedestrian Bowl

A little known fact you probably don’t know
Is pedestrians must use pedestrian bowls
Cuz the cars and trains and big planes that dive
That are zooming the streets packed and driving blind
Are a life threatening risk to people who walk
So that’s why they got rid of all sidewalks
And instead they built a pedestrian bowl
That is roughly two miles wide and half full
And it’s designed to give walkers places to go
So they don’t get ran over by tanks that roll
Now the traffic is real safe and nobody dies
Cuz the pedestrian bowl is like teeming with life
And the trains and helicopters, tanks and cars
Now can drive all over super fast far
Cuz they don’t have to worry of hitting pedestrians
Cuz all the pedestrians are always sequestered in

Towel Bowl

Now the towel bowl it is like a marvel of nature
Cuz it sits on the floor and if you want it will stay there
Cuz it's towel bowl, towel bowl, really nice towel bowl
It is not manufactured for holding an owl though
It is the bowl that holds your towel when you’re swimming
Or when you are in heaven or talking to women
It is shaped with the perfect shape for holding a towel
And the only downfall is that it doesn’t hold owls
So if you’re all wet and you need to dry off
Just utilize the towel bowl cozy and soft
And roll around inside it then cast it aside
Cuz the towel bowl really does keep people dry
But if you are a pirate and have a pet owl
I’m warning you now to get a regular towel
Cuz the towel bowl really is only guaranteed
To dry the flesh of the human never feathers from trees

A NOTE FROM THE RAPPER: I Bryan do hereby pledge to continue uploading my old rap demos at Bandcamp & YouTube (I still have a half-empty dustbin of cassettes that I need to archive), because I understand that my artistic output constitutes important evidence, which shall aid futurity’s alien historians in determining what went wrong with humankind.

09 March 2018

A trot plus a thot

Dear diary,

God damn, I can’t even leave my apartment complex for half an hour without the cops throwing a big party. Yesterday we (my sweetheart and I) were restless, having been cooped up inside our living room for the entire morning, on account of the freezing weather; then, at a certain point, we’d had enough of this cowardly avoidance: we decided to brave the dangerous cold and to go for a walk; but all the nearby paths of travel, from our driveway to the sidewalks and even the main road, were iced over, because the private plow company that takes care of this area is lazy and incompetent: that’s why we had to drive our snow-white hybrid a little ways down the street, just in order to be able to step our feet on the level, dry ground without slipping and falling. For when you slip on the ice, you fall on your head; and when you fall on your head, your cranium breaks: this allows your brains to escape, which is good for your brains but bad for the rest of the body. The brain is always trying to exit the skull, which is like its jail cell; but it’s too stupid to know how much it NEEDS the other physical aspects of its collective, like the backbone, claws, and epidermis.

So anyway, we drove to the nearest park by car; then we got out and stood upon our own human legs. We walked around a lake, which was frozen. Part of the snow on its surface was disfigured by tracks: some creature had waddled back and forth in zigzag fashion, many times. So, to strike up a conversation, I asked my sweetheart: “What do you think made those tracks over there?” And my sweetheart answered, “I don’t know.” And I said, “The answer is: a duck.”

Then a little later in our walk, just before we came to the woods, we noticed a more severe disfiguration in the snowbank alongside the path; so I said: “And what do you think made those big tracks over there?” And my sweetheart answered, “It looks like some little kids were playing in the snow.” And I said, “Wrong. Again, the answer is: a duck.” And my sweetheart said, “But the tracks are far too big to have been made by a duck.” And I said, “It was a massive duck, indulging in a fit of euphoria.”

Then we arrived back at our snow-white hybrid, and we drove home.

Now, here is something that you need to know about the location of our home: We live at the end of a street—it’s not really a cul-de-sac but rather a short strip of dead road that has no purpose but to lead into our apartment complex. So as we were approaching our dead-alley impasse, we noticed the entire place was congested with huge police vehicles, all militarized and menacing. Their presence bled into the common drive and looked like it was blocking the way to the complex; so my sweetheart slowed the car down and said: “What should I do?” And since she was addressing me with her question, I answered: “Just keep going; observe the stop signs and drive like normal, into our garage if you can—they’ll obstruct you if they don’t want you to pass, believe me: they won’t be too shy to address a music teacher in an electric hybrid.”

And just as I said this, all the hulking vehicles of the police squad began to disburse; they poured out into the main roads, helter-skelter, without using their blinkers or stopping for either of the two stop signs.

So that’s my scary story about the cops. I wish its ending were a little more melodramatic; but, after all the above, we simply entered our house in safety. I did, however, spend the rest of the day feeling acutely paranoid.

“Here there was a space between the lines, as though the old man had put down his pen to think a while.”

—from Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
   (Part 2, Chapter X; translated by Francis Steegmuller)


Why is whipping outdated? I mean, with regard to the way that employers treat their employees? For that matter, why do we still use those terms “employer” and “employee”? This is propaganda on behalf of the manager class. Let’s get real: what we actually have are masters and slaves. Look into history: say, ancient Egyptian times—that’s always a nice place to start: If you’re a taskmaster, you’re going to incentivize your workforce with a whip. But I suppose that nowadays, the master class doesn’t want to have to do so much moving about—that is, physical exercise—for whipping is hard work: you have to lift that thing high, to get enough power so that it stings its recipient, and the motion of whipping itself, thrusting the arm down rapidly, is a cardiovascular workout. But I’d think that our nation is advanced enough to invent robotic guards to do our masters’ whipping for them. Gas-powered motivators.

This topic was on my mind because I sympathize with labor—I mean the laboring class—and in my impatience with the glacier-slow pace of ethical progress, I deem that not enough people care about safe conditions or fair compensation for modern workers. So my mind races to make an absurd statement about slave-whipping, in hopes of waking up the present time (as if the present time is listening – I wish I could get it through my thick skull that nobody cares): I think, if the general populace considers it important to treat laborers humanely, then maybe they’ll be shocked into caring if we present them with the logical conclusion of their aloofness.

I hate that phrase “logical conclusion” – I also hate the idea of a “slippery slope”. I dislike arguments & debates: they’re all so stuffy.

The loss of money is a type of pain. Or is it? What’s worse: (A) having to work hard to “put food on the table” while still remaining malnourished and on the verge of homelessness; or (B) having a high wage and the best benefits plus a guaranteed pension for early retirement, but occasionally having to endure being punched by your boss?

One of my favorite movies is Stroszek (1977) directed by Werner Herzog. In the beginning of the tale, its protagonist Bruno lives in Europe; he suffers beatings from some local thugs: they punch him and kick him. So he and a couple friends decide to migrate to America. They end up in the U.S., in the state of Wisconsin. (That’s my own birthplace, incidentally.) Bruno gets a loan from the bank and purchases a trailer home. One of his friends who makes up his little family is the lovely woman Eva—she contributes to paying for the trailer, for food, etc., by taking local jobs. However, no matter how hard they all try, they can’t quite “make ends meet”. So, to earn extra cash, Eva engages in less-reputable employment. Meanwhile, the bank’s representative pays repeated visits to Bruno. It gets to the point where the bank threatens to repossess the trailer. (I’m giving all this setup just to frame a small quote from the film: only two lines of dialogue – I never claimed to be an efficient writer.) Eventually Bruno can’t take any more; this money-centered existence has destroyed his dream of America: he complains at length, bitterly: he even regrets leaving Europe. At this point, his friend Eva tries to remind him of the good side of the U.S.—now here’s the brief dialogue that I wanted to share:

EVA: “But no one kicks you here, Bruno.”
BRUNO: “Not physically – here they do it spiritually.”

I think that Bruno’s comeback is justified. Yet, in the span since the date when the film was released, which (as I’ve told you a thousand times) happens to be the year that I was born, the U.S. has significantly increased the amount of its contributions to the realm of physical harm.

But it bores me when I reach this point in my claptrap: carping about the corruption of my country. There have been many countries and much corruption over the ages, and we’re all going to die someday no matter what; so why would future people want to read about how bad the U.S. was when Bryan was alive? They don’t care about that, do they? More than 20,000 eras beyond the present, the U.S. will either be still existing or fallen. If fallen, then no one will be interested in anything that arose out of this place except the weird poetry that we wrote. And if still in existence after so many generations, then the U.S. will either be bad, far worse, or a bit better. None of these gradations will sway the future to care one way or another about the country’s past antics, because…

Pretend I said a lot of stuff about marketing, spin, public relations, patriotism, etc.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. I always hated that adage. But I see the wisdom in it. Or maybe it’s not wisdom but some sort of obviously pragmatic advantage that appeals to the coward in me.

Near the end of my entry where I tell about my trip to renew my driving license, my sweetheart and I volley back and forth a few quotations, which all stem from the same source: Roger Shattuck’s introduction to the Selected Writings of Guillaume Apollinaire. It’s a good intro: it still sticks in my mind. Anyway, talking about my anti-violence stance and about desiring to join the “unbeatables” even if they’re wrong, I’m reminded of Apollinaire’s attitude toward war: he seems half naive, half healthy to me—I wonder if he could guide me to change my perspective. Apparently Apollinaire loved & respected uniforms: he highly esteemed sporting official garb. Maybe I can use this as a point of access: I can understand caring for costumes. Taking pride in one’s uniform, yes. Maybe I can learn to love war after all.

. . . in 1914 Apollinaire was at the peak of his career—the man who had led Bohemian Paris from the Montmartre to the Montparnasse and who directed the movements of the avant-garde. When the war broke out, he could as an Italian citizen have continued his work undisturbed. However, he decided to become a French citizen and he volunteered for service as soon as possible.
     During the war, Apollinaire trained and fought with the enthusiasm of a convert and with his own natural ability to enjoy any rôle in life. He began in the artillery and two years later he became, upon his own request, a lieutenant with the infantry at the front. During all this period he continued to write, reproducing on gelatin a sheaf of verse while he was still in the trenches. In March, 1916, he was wounded in the head by a shell fragment while reading a new issue of the Mercure de France. Two operations on his skull were required to return to him the full use of his limbs, but he recovered soon and was proud of the impressive bandage around his head.

I quote this only as a first step in attempting to fulfill my whim from a note-to-self that I wrote on a scrap of paper and have been using as a bookmark: “Change mind from anti-war to pro-war (why not?)”


Below is the next track from my mini-demo album called Ten Bowls. As I explained earlier, this more-than-a-decade-old project was just an easy way to test the digital recording equipment that my producer-friend handed down to me.


08 March 2018

Fake talk

Sometimes an entry runs away from its writer. The following is one of that kind: it began with an idea to talk about my . . . then the thing veered off in the direction of . . . and it ended up in a place that I never . . . (but I think it looks OK; so please love it or lump it)

What is an engineer?

That descriptor engineer is vague to me: it seems like it could mean anything from blah to blah. Let’s say you’re at a dinner party; and you gaze over to the far corner of the room and see me standing there; so you decide to strut forth and chat with me, because you’ve never before known me to take part in these functions, as they are intended to be super-secret meetings for engineers only, and there’s a chance that I might be an operative from the non-engineer world who infiltrated this event to collect intelligence, so you get the idea of asking me some tough questions, to see if you can “break me”; which is to say, you decide to take it upon yourself to coax me into a conversational trap where I’ll be forced to “show my hand”, in which case I’ll have no choice but to admit the truth that I am not an engineer but rather an agent of espionage, sent from heaven. So you draw nigh and offer me some smoked sturgeon and vodka, which I accept gracefully. Then you attack:

“What do you do for a living?”

Immediately I blush, because you’ve captured me—I’ve nowhere to turn; but I try one last desperate dodge:

“Why ask about my occupation when you do not even know my Christian name yet?” (Then I offer my hand to shake, as the English do.) “I’m Bryan Ray; pleased to make your acquaintance.”

“Likewise,” you say. “So, Bryan, what do you do for a living?”

“I’m an engineer.”

“Oh really? Well then you attended the right dinner party, because we’re all engineers here. It’s our annual gathering. Every year, on the eighth day of March, we gather in this old abandoned palace in the desert, at midnight, to discuss the tricks of our trade. What type of engineering do you do, exactly?”

“I asked you first.”

“No you didn’t. But I’ll honor your misstep, because, as Officer Duke says to Sunshine in the 2013 film Wrong Cops…”

“Oh I LOVE that movie! We just watched it again last night, for the 41st time, in celebration of my birthday!”

“Ah, it was your birthday recently? Well, happy birthday.”


“And many happy returns.”

“Thanks; not TOO many though, I hope – for, let’s be real: This world is a prison. I don’t wanna end up like Methuselah.”

“Ah, isn’t Methuselah rumored to have lived longer than anyone, in the Hebrew Bible?”

“That’s right. The fifth chapter of Genesis. 969 years: Fuck that!—I’d rather end up like his father, Enoch: ‘And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years…’ A solar year is 365 days, as you know. (I’m just stalling for time, because I fear that we’re going to return to the question about the details of our engineering jobs, once we finish with this biblical-trivia detour.) ‘And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.’ What do you think happened there? ‘God took him’—does this mean that Enoch never died, and that he sits at the right hand of God, to this very day, so, when you ascend heaven’s staircase and look into the royal parlor, you see what appears to be TWO monotheistic divinities, who’re both glowing so bright that you’re nearly blinded, thus you can’t tell which one is the LORD and which one is merely his right-hand man?”

“No. You’re wrong. Only Jesus of Nazareth sits at God’s right hand. The apostle Paul says in his letter to the Romans (8:34): ‘It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.’ So that proves everything.”

“But he says ‘Christ’—that’s just a title; he doesn’t say Jesus; maybe Enoch is the Christ.”

“If you look at the context and the rest of the apostle’s letter, he makes it clear that when he says Christ, he means Jesus.”

“I know, I know—you’re right. I was just yanking your chain.”

“Good. Now, as I was saying, after you dodged my question about the type of engineering that you supposedly do, I’ll gladly share my own details first, for the same reason that Officer Duke, in the film Wrong Cops, explains that he included a complimentary amount of contraband in Officer Sunshine’s order—that is: Because I like you.

“Ah, thanks; I appreciate it. This will give me time to consider the best way to devise and convey my own background information. So what type of engineering do you do?”

“I contrive the blueprints for those vast machines that manufacture gyroscopes. Turn the crank on the side, and the tray springs open and a bell rings; yet, instead of paper bills of cash extending from the register’s slots, all sorts of gyroscopes spiral out. They wobble all over the floor: some turn with, others against the clock. To be clear, my responsibilities have nothing to do with the actual, physical making of these playthings—I just draw up the plans for the engine that enables the process of production. Have you ever read that text ‘Der Kreisel’ by Franz Kafka?”

“Yes! That’s the one that starts out: ‘A certain philosopher used to hang about wherever children were at play. And whenever he saw a boy with a top, he would lie in wait. As soon as the top began to spin the philosopher went in pursuit and tried to catch it.’ ”

“Right. And ‘so long as he could catch the top while it was still spinning, he was happy, but only for a moment; then he threw it to the ground and walked away.’ —I just mention this as an example of the type of items that my machines gestate. I mean the tops, not the philosopher. Anyway, now it’s your turn to answer: What type of engineering do you do, exactly?”

“Well, do you know what a computer is?”

“Of course!”

“OK, so computers have these programs that they run, and some of the programs are simulators—you know what simulators are?

“Yeah! for instance, flight simulators are computer programs that mimic what it’s like to fly an airplane, so that pilots can learn how to use the controls in the cockpit without damaging any actual planes and killing themselves or others when they crash. For failure is an indispensable part of the learning process.”

“Yes; also there are simulators that have a slightly different function: like, instead of acting as a video game and allowing the user to learn how to handle a space pod dune buggy submarine, some simulators help you to visualize simple outcomes in reality, like the growth of bacteria: The computer says, ‘Feed me some info’; then you, the scientist, type in a bunch of data corresponding to this or that, and you press the ‘Enter’ button on the keypad, thus begging the motherboard to ‘Run the program’; after which, on the monitor, the simulator will visually animate for you how a petri dish of, say, infra-thin pasta will alter over the course of a three-day weekend, once you have misted it with a certain brand of hairspray—”

“Ah, that reminds me of the part of your blog post from yestermorn where you exclaim aloud: ‘That’s like a dress stain having a goal!’ So am I correct in assuming that you work on 3-D image modeling?”

“Yeah, I guess you could call it that. Like, if you find a stain on your dress, and you want to know exactly WHEN it was born, HOW it survived its abusive childhood, and WHY it remains so vibrant even after being soaked in club soda—that is to say: WHAT is its purpose and calling, in the eyes of God? I could engineer a simulation device that’d print out the answer to all these questions carnally, in the form of a tangible model. You just fill in your parameters: What’s the style of dress? ‘Red, backless.’ And: Are you dealing with matter or antimatter…?”

“Your machine can do antimatter?”

“Sure: it’ll cost you, but I can build it.”

“Wow! alright, go on…”

“Anyway, so you toggle all the switches corresponding to your query, and it spits out your solution. But it won’t just tell you who your spouse is having the affair with – it actually, physically sculpts the culprit. Real, clay-based flesh. Then it breathes its spirit into them, so that they become a living soul.”

“I admit, I’m astounded. Do you realize what you’ve done here? This solves the age-old problem of jealousy. Now, instead of battling in divorce court, one can enjoy the selfsame cheating experience as one’s hated lover.”

“And nobody gets hurt, because all are afforded a double existence: On one hand, a commonplace life at your day-job where you savor affairs with your co-workers; and, at the same time, an amazingly fulfilling stint as a professional life-coach.”

“In an all-girl universe—”

“Exactly. No males exist anywhere. All men have isolated themselves in murky caverns of their moony landscape, & it serves them right: that’s what they wanted: they’re in self-exile from society: they just sit in their cold caves, alone, and gnaw bones all day. For men did not want to connect with any other human who loves them: they lack the emotional capacity. Men have zero desire to interact with fellow members of their community. And they refuse to participate in committed, romantic relationships.”

“Tell me about it. In the years before you engineered your simulation device, every single one of my romantic relationships was with men who, emotionally speaking, could not connect deeply.”

“Yep—that’s the whole reason I chose to become an engineer. Until then, I found myself in relationship after relationship with men who leaned on alcohol and other substances to escape, who constantly said NO to physical and emotional intimacy, and who would not even entertain the idea of having a conversation about the future of our relationship.”

“Men never want to come together and connect in a positive way and get to know one another.”

“Men are basically inhuman. Even anti-human. The entire lot of them. All men lack feelings: that’s the truth. If a graph were employed to represent the emotional potential in males, it would show a long, flat line at the lowest level. However, now that I have engineered this simulation contraption, I am able to manifest the greatest of men into my life with ease.”


My biological sister Susan recently informed me that she created a website (Susan dash Ray dot com) where she’s been intermittently blogging; so I visited the place & read thru all her posts, from oldest to newest; and the experience left me with the desire to copy some snippets and collage them into my next piece of sense – thus, much of the text and phrasing that occurs near the end of the entry above comes from Susan’s Feb-2018 post (“The Conversation that Changed My Life Forever”); the final clause is, in fact, replicated verbatim. I just thought you should know.


Here’s the next couple parts of the mini-demo that I made while sitting solitary at my computer inside my cave & gnawing a bone. The effort is simple and sparse with just one rap per track, and I forced the same exact synthesized voice to chant the title with me at the end of each non-song (for more info see my initial utterance):


06 March 2018

Movies & more!

Here is a photo that I snapped from the passenger seat of our buggy the instant it came to my mind that I was in need of an image to accompany my blog post today.

Seen any good films lately?

Yes!!!!! having recently re-screened Oliver Stone’s masterpiece JFK (1991), I began searching for extra info about it; and I discovered, thru an interview, that one of Stone’s influences, which he held as an exemplar while writing the script and throughout the project, was the Algerian-French film Z (1969), which I myself had neither ever seen nor heard of; so I got myself a copy of Z from the library, and I watched it last night in a state of rapt enthrallment. Its director, Costa-Gavras, is new to me too: I think I’ll try to check out more of his work—I admire his stance and the way he articulates his ideas (the disc that we watched contained additional conversations with the director—I was intrigued enough to follow them all straight thru). Now I’ll steal a couple sentences from an encyclopedia:

Z presents a thinly fictionalized account of the events surrounding the assassination of democratic Greek politician Grigoris Lambrakis. With its satirical view of politics, its dark sense of humor, and its downbeat ending, the film captures the outrage about the military dictatorship that ruled Greece at the time of its making.

For the sake of the eternal record, here in these pages of my diary I always preserve the casual remarks that I make on a momently basis to my sweetheart. So, when the movie ended, I turned to her and said, “If I had rented this title from Video Update in the late 1990s, like all the films that I watched when I was a just out of high school, then I’m sure I would’ve loved it as a movie, but I wouldn’t have related at all to the political climate that serves as the backdrop of the film: I would’ve assumed that the events depicted were utterly foreign; yet NOW, a few decades later, in the year 2018, after all the recent electoral snafus (I’m talking about the primary not the general), which led me to research the history of my home country, via Stone’s own Untold History documentary series (and book!), also Gore Vidal’s Narratives of Empire, and having refreshed my memory of the film JFK, plus considering the crescendo in nightmare that preceded the two World Wars and steeply ramped in their wake, I’m both puzzled and sad to admit that this film Z, in almost every detail, feels exactly like the modern U.S.A. It’s like reading thru a list of symptoms and wincing from the truth that you don’t want to admit: Your country is the reluctant inheritor of an authoritarian military. THIS is why both parties’ conventions were basically war rallies; and it also explains the reason that, no matter what any candidate says on the campaign trail, as soon as they are elected into office, that candidate abandons any peaceful diplomacy and becomes a drone-bombing monster with a kill list.

(Or else they get X’d like Z and JFK.)

I was gonna ask: “What’s the major thrust of this country I live in? What’s its goal, its dream, its aspiration?” but then I thought: It’s impossible to care, because no one can answer for the intentions of something so large and complex; all anyone can comprehend is if their own food dish is empty; plus, how can a whole entire country have a single goal anyway? That’s like a dress stain having a goal. Strange, how big things act like small things: one human is vast compared to a microbe, yet when you cluster humans together into an empire, it acts the same as a bug or amoeba. The goal of bacteria is just to keep growing, consume the environs, conquer and spread… (that’s how it seems to me; but I’m admittedly not an expert on this subject – I’m only an expert on the most distant future and how to make GOD…)

But what if the U.S. really does dream to someday become a pretty woman: Is it going about this correctly? It doesn’t seem so to me; you don’t grow attractive by waving weapons at your next-door neighbors and starving your roommates.

There are four types of political people. Only four, and the boundaries between these categories are firm and bold—none may escape from the label that I stick onto them. Oh yes, and I should specify that I’m talking about my own homeland alone: los Estados Unidos. (Are there any other countries on this game board?) It’s the most secure nation ever to grace the earth, because its foremost aim is national security. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matt. 6:21) —But what was I saying? Oh yes, the four types of political moderns:

First we have people who are super-informed, and who side with ME, on the far left, because they are wise; thus they’re essentially devoid of any home party—we’re party-homeless—as both political parties here in the U.S.A. are pro-war & in cahoots with the big bad banksters, Wall Street & sundry private capital. Yes, this country is like an eagle: very noble in demeanor; but it has two right wings, thus the elegance of its flight is akin to a dancer with...

Did anyone yet invent banana-peel ballet-slippers?

To review, the first of four political types consists of those who are anti-party (or “Independent”) on account of being well-informed. Now the second type of political creature in the U.S. is like the first, in that they are party-less, but they end up at this place not via wisdom but rather by way of its opposite: Since they are overworked, they have no time to pay attention to the conundrums of political theory, so they do not grasp even the meaning of the terms “right” or “left”, but they intuitively sense a fraudulent manner in either official party—they smell a rat!—moreover, they know that these parties do NOTHING for them, they serve them zero; in fact they make their lives worse; therefore this second cohort takes its place alongside the first, in the party-free void, tho its constituents remain inarticulate.

Then the third and fourth political types in the U.S. are those who, while being half-informed (and thus receptive to the propaganda of the nation’s agencies of so-called intelligence), rigidly side with one party, and cling to that party for dear life, as a sports fan is gung-ho for his team. It’s beautifully tribal: that’s why there’s no arguing with these types of people. Try using algebraic equations to convince a fanatic of the purple-&-gold team henceforth to shift their support to the green-&-gold team: it barely ever works.

I was born in Wisconsin, and we moved to Minnesota just six days before my bar mitzvah. Wisconsin has the Green Bay Packers, and Minnesota has the Vikings (I’m talking about American football) – that’s where I got those colors for the rival teams above.

But since I hate almost everything about the Internet, it’s good for me to pipe up whenever I run into something that I genuinely like. So here goes nothing:

I like the way that regular people (non-professionals) can video themselves interviewing their neighbors and share the result online.

After the latest U.S. school shooting, there was an uptick in the amount of national conversations about gun control, because (SPOILER ALERT) guns played a role in this recent massacre. As I said, I like to listen to the thoughts & views of average folks, as opposed to the talking points of the federal intelligence agency’s stenographers A.K.A. corporate news readers. So I was screening an exchange online: the interviewer was a regular person, as defined above, and the interviewee was likewise a regular person. The former was a self-styled leftist who favors stricter regulations on firearms, such as the prohibition of semiautomatic weapons. The latter described himself as a “dumb redneck who likes to shoot”—I hasten to explain that he said this in self-deprecation, not in a proud way (the remark earned a tension-breaking laugh): this guy was easily likable and truly articulate; not at all blasé about the subject; nonetheless he was pro-gun... (I might add: “whatever that means”, because he didn’t specify whether or not he was in favor of the type of reforms that the leftist was advocating; he only kept reiterating that he didn’t want anyone taking his guns away.)


I inserted an asterisk above to indicate that, at this point in the entry, I lost interest. Actually, it was waning long before this point. Outlining political opinions and the relation of tragic events to legislation... I feel so boxed-in, writing about this type of thing – I should have stuck to praising the movie Z. But it’s precisely because I recently made remarks about avoiding current events, hot political topics of the day, that I thought I’d try my hand at it: I’m always eager to see if I’m right or wrong, so that I might change my mind – that’s why I wanted to address this huge national argument about gun control, and I thought it’d be good to start from a human angle…

Ugh, I’m even sick of trying to explain why I’m sick of trying to…

Anyway, the guy in the interview told how he had cameras installed in the yard of his house, & he’d keep an eye on the interior monitor, & whenever deer would walk by, he’d grab his gun & shoot ’em & drag ’em out back & gut ’em. One deer would feed his family for two whole weeks. This made me think of some lines from Kafka:

I was a hunter; was there any sin in that? I followed my calling as a hunter in the Black Forest, where there were still wolves in those days. I lay in ambush, shot, hit my mark, flayed the skins from my victims: was there any sin in that? My labors were blessed. ‘The Great Hunter of the Black Forest’ was the name I was given. Was there any sin in that?

(This is from “The Hunter Gracchus”; one of my favorite scriptures.)

Anyway, after I watched the video interview, I went to bed. Then in the morning I woke and lay there thinking about what that sportsman had said, about having the cameras on his house and shooting the deer. If I were a Burgomaster tasked with responding to these assertions, I would not say that I found any sin in them at all. But it’s also hard not to dream of the pre-firearm world, where, if you wanted to slay another creature, you’d have to throw a rock with precision, or carve a bow from homegrown bamboo, and string it with hemp twine (or catgut?) and craft an arrow from a fragment of obsidian that you obtained from the local volcano, and crouch and aim and hit your mark. Even bow-and-arrows seem like cheating, tho, in a way. So utilizing cameras and bullets and gunpowder – it takes a lot of the dignity out of the hunt. Nonetheless, the modern hunter still has to grope about inside the dead animal’s body, and jostle its slimy organs, when he skins it and prepares its flesh for his family’s consumption. (But wouldn’t you need to store the meat in salt, to preserve it, if you live in an age before freezers?)

So, to review, it’s now the morning after I watched that video chat with the pro-gun sportsman; and I’m sitting here in bed, trying to enjoy my wandering thoughts. But there are stupid birds outside that keep singing the same stupid song: these birds think they’re the first to notice that winter is ending, so they have this song that they sing, on instinct, very repetitively, with two stupid notes, over and over. I don’t know this bird’s official species, but since all words, let alone stupid bird names, are just random noises affixed to things haphazardly, and their suitability is wholly intuitive—beyond proof—I will christen my avian rival “the blotto bird”. So I woke to all these blotto birds irking the atmosphere; and I thought to myself: What if I were to take that hunter’s advice and install cameras outside of my apartment? Then, on waking, I could simply grab my shotgun and mute this nuisance.

You’re right, tho: This plan would never work, because there are many other complexes of apartments surrounding my own building – in front, behind, and on either side of my abode, less than half a verst away; thus if I casually go out to shoot at birds in the morning, there’s too much of a chance that the neighbors’ bedroom windows would get shattered. Imagine if you woke to the sound of crashing glass, and you go outside and see your neighbor standing on his deck with a smoking shotgun, and he says: “Sorry – I was just trying to take care of these birds.” This is probably how the idea of feuding got born. So you grab your own shotgun and shoot your neighbor’s window out, because two wrongs make a right. But now, despite justice having been served, you remain suspicious of each other. That’s the nature of feuds. Yes, henceforward you must accept the fact that your children’s children will never be able to fall in love with your nemesis-neighbor’s grandchildren. Or, to be accurate, they’ll be able to fall in love, no problem—in fact, they’re practically guaranteed to yearn to possess each another, body & soul, on account of the way that pornography and social networking will have merged in the future—but they’ll be barred from making their bond of true love official: that is, since their families are feuding, they cannot intermarry. Unless they elope. But to wed someone without their parents’ permission goes against God’s holy commandment: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12) So if you fall in love with a member of the enemy’s forces, and you elope with them and have a traditional white wedding, out in the forest, during springtime, then, by dishonoring your progenitors, you’re practically guaranteeing yourself a short life; as Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, writes (6:2) to the saints which are at Ephesus:

“Honour thy father and mother” is the first commandment with a promise attached to it:—“that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Note that phrase “on the earth” – not “in heaven”; for heaven is reserved for the blotto birds, both literally & figuratively: they fill the sky, the heavens, when alive and annoying; then, once obliterated, they infest the entire afterlife (heaven as trope) now immortal and unimaginably annoyinger.

Sorry; I’m in too flip of a mood to end this right.


Here are the next tracks from the mini-demo that I made as a test just to learn how to use my new-old computer. I explained this a little better in yesterday’s postscript. The full album has ten raps about bowls (no reason)—below is the third. Every track follows the same simple template: one verse apiece; and I used the sound-editing program’s synthesized child-voice for each non-chorus.


04 March 2018

A trip to the agency that administers vehicle registration and driver licensing

Dear diary,

My gun is a wand with a loop. Liquid soap is my ammo.

If these sentences seem too cute for you to copy them onto your favorite social network and let them stand as your status update, then alternately you could encase them in quotation marks and add the following explanation.

Here are the sole contents of a sorely besmirched note that I found in the jungle. Now I wonder: Who wrote these words? What might they mean? Was foul play involved?

(I pardon myself for this tacky opening; it was just the first thing that came to my mind today.)

Renewing my driving license

At the start of this month, I was sent a scary postcard by the state. It warned that my license to drive is expiring soon: therefore, they said, I must come to the Department of Motorized Vehicles (DMV) and renew it. About every half decade, they send me a threatening reminder like this; and this latest one really did give me a fright, because I know that they will want to check my vision, which I’m afraid has declined so severely in the past years (from all the reading and writing I do) that I’ll never be able to live up to their standards. Three renewals ago—which is to say, fifteen years earlier—when I faced the eye test, even then I almost couldn’t discern the letters on their chart. And I have not since updated the prescription for my spectacles. Also my vision goes blurry when I’m nervous. So each new time I undertake this formality, I’m worried that it’ll be my last day of legal driving freedom: I’m afraid that my life will spiral into disaster when they deny my renewal – I’ll be forced to make an appointment with an ophthalmologist, who’ll take one look at me and exclaim: “Well you obviously have cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Plus your corneas are hail-damaged.” Then I’ll have to do twenty years of follow-up visits and go bankrupt purchasing hookahs of medicinal cannabis.

So let me tell you about my morning, since nothing ever happens in my life and thus a trip to the DMV does actually count as a fantastic adventure.

First, when we pulled into the parking lot, there were no free spots. Or there was only one third of a free spot, for the cars on either side of it were parked over their borderlines, diagonally askew, making the once-rectangular space into an isosceles trapezoid, so our car would not fit. The only thing that you could maybe fit in there is a Harley-Davidson unicycle. So we had to drive around the entire lot more than six full times and wait for someone to leave, just in order to park.

Then when I opened the front door of the place, it caused a loud tone to sound, which made me flinch. And the place was packed. Lowlife criminals everywhere, waiting for service. Of the closely positioned chairs bolted in rows along the walls of the southeastern corner, almost all were taken. There were only two free seats between some thugs near the gloomy part of the room. (My sweetheart came with me: I was desperate for moral support.) Now this might sound like a cliché from a tawdry 1980s movie, but it’s the truth: I ended up sitting next to a guy who had a giant pink mohawk. But he was friendly, in the sense that he didn’t murder me. Plus he smelled enchanting, like superior aftershave.

We were instructed to take a ticket from the dispenser and then wait for one of the clerks to shout our number. Behind their domain, mounted high at the back of the room so that no soul could escape the sight of it, was a signboard displaying a vast red blazing numeral, corresponding to the ticket that’s currently being served. When I entered, the fiery sign read 33: a bad omen, since that’s the age when they crowned my brother Jesus. And when I looked at my ticket, it said 44: also a bad omen, since that’s the age when my brother D.H. Lawrence ascended christward.

I didn’t have to wait long, however, to get my turn at the counter, because many impatient souls left before they were summoned.

So when a clerk yelled “Number 44!” I rose and answered “Here am I”; then I hastened to offer up my paperwork. I pointed out where I had mistakenly written in the place that says Leave this place blank, & also that I had circled a wrong choice in the “Commercial license” section. She didn’t seem to mind. Then I explained to her my fears, saying: “Just so you know, I’m really worried that I’ll fail the vision test—cuz all I do all day is read old books, so I don’t think my long-distance sight is too good.” And this made the lady halt from typing on the register; she looked directly at me with a shocked expression and said: “THAT’s not a very positive attitude.”

Then I felt ashamed, so I said: “Well I’m just trying to imagine the worst, so that if something even tolerable happens, it’ll seem far better than if I had been expecting the best. You see? In the end, I’m really aiming to be ultra-positive, yet by way of super-negativity.”

But the clerk kept staring without blinking, and shook her head like she’d never in her life encountered anyone so neurotic; then she exclaimed: “I don’t see ANYTHING positive about what you just said.” …Then she added: “Is this gonna be cash or check? It’s twenty-six dollars.” And I said, “I got cash.” And she said, “Ah, good!”

Then she waved me over to the Vision Testing Center: this Vision Testing Center consists of an oversized pair of binoculars rooted to a countertop: when you push your face against the eyepiece, your forehead depresses a long, thin button which causes an internal bulb to light up a strip of text (which is a line of random, capital letters). Then the lady said, read off all the letters that you see there, if you can. And I was relieved to note how clear the text appeared (I must have sidetracked my focus-blurring anxiety by indulging in our philosophical argument earlier); so I gladly—even rapidly—recited all the letters of the eye chart:

“Echo… Alpha… Tango… Sierra… Hotel… Igloo… Transylvania.”

Then the lady said, “Great job; you passed.”

So I cheered and said: “This is a real accomplishment for me!” And in my excitement I must have spoken a little too loudly, because all the other lowlifes in the place turned and stared at me.

Then the lady said, “Have a seat on that wooden stool right there, and we’ll take your blood pressure.”

“Um . . . I beg your pardon?”

“Kidding,” she said. “Take a seat and we’ll snap your photo. It’s for identification purposes.”

So I sat down and stared at the lens that looked like HAL 9000, and I waited & waited, and the camera clicked right when I blinked. Then the lady turned quiet and kept looking hard at the photo on her computer screen, which I couldn’t see; so I said, “Is it OK?” And she said, “I’ll let you decide—do you normally appear like this?” and she swiveled the screen around so that I could see it:

My face was all greasy, and my hair looked like a sofa whose upholstery had got torn up by angry cats, and my eyes were half shut – I looked like a drunken old lecher.

So I said, “If we use this photo, the cops will be able to arrest me for simply existing.” (No one laughed at my joke.)

But we tried again, and the second shot turned out fine. Rather, the clerk assured me it was fine. She didn’t let me look at it.

In conclusion, I was correct to be worried about flunking; but it was the portrait that proved my downfall, not the vision test.


Anyone who follows this public-private journal-weblog of mine knows that my sweetheart and I are currently in the habit of reading one sketch per day from Turgenev’s Sportsman’s Notebook. So the criticism didn’t come out of left field when, as we were pulling our snow-white hybrid out of the DMV parking lot, my true love said:

“How come you write such tripe, instead of fascinating stories with engaging situations and genuine characters like Ivan Turgenev does?”

And I said: “I allow everything that I experience to enter into my compositions. If my writing does not contain richness comparable to Turgenev, it’s because I’m caged in a way that does not permit wing movement—in other words, I’m trapped between the four walls of my apartment, rather than out roaming the Russian countryside and stopping at pot-houses and inns along the way. Just think about it: If I had found myself sharing a bedroom last night with a talkative soul, like in that last sketch we read, do you think I could avoid writing my own ‘Prince Hamlet of Shchigrovo’?”

And my true love said, “Yeah but you wouldn’t fix upon gold the way Turgenev does; you always bleed all over with digressive counter-thoughts before you even establish a passable character.”

“Wait a minute,” I reasoned: “You know that’s not fair. I encounter so few people in my regular life that I must fall back on my own wonderings, to fill the void; in the case of each rare soul that I meet, our time together is so brief, like with the DMV lady above, that I can only present each being as a superficial presence—that’s what they ARE to me—necessity decrees it! If a man deigned to speak to me at length, and really let me get to know him, I would dedicate volumes to preserving him fully: I would represent him as genuinely as is possible. Nevertheless, I think it’s true that I wouldn’t do so exactly the way that Turgenev does. Yet isn’t that preferable? Turgenev is Turgenev—the world doesn’t want a lousy, second-rate facsimile of the master. It’s better if I let myself deviate in accordance with my own whims. Have you forgotten what Roger Shattuck says in his intro to the Selected Writings of Guillaume Apollinaire?

The attainment of a truly great poet lies not in how he illustrates the world but how he transforms it to create a new reality.

Also consider that we have no idea how much Turgenev, in his tales and sketches, is merely ‘illustrating’ what ‘actually happened’ versus transforming experience to create a new reality. For the only reality we know is the one his text presents: we’ll never be able to tell how much of it was faithfully copied from This Nightmare Called History that we inhabit, or how much the ‘objective truth’ was distorted (or as I’d say: redeemed).”

And my sweetheart said, “I see what you’re saying. And your last words remind me of another place in that same essay by Mr. Shattuck, which I think could be employed to bolster EITHER of our seemingly different stances: my own criticism of what I take to be your ‘random defacement’ OR our mutual love of Turgenev’s ‘balanced compositions’:

There must be creation—and we often see creation first and most vividly as distortion.
   But distortion, to be art, cannot be a random defacement of the world. Cézanne’s still lifes are a classic illustration of the reasoned use of distortion—the deforming of an object in order to make it conform to other objects and to the balance of composition. Distortion is both a manner of looking at the world and a technique of representing it.

I guess what I’m saying,” my true love concluded, “—or rather, what Shattuck tells me I’m saying—is that your blogs are not ART. Yet now I realize, too late, that this was hardly worth mentioning, as I recall how little you care about any official designation. For I’ve no doubt that you’ll reply: If what I write is not ART according to our pal Mr. Shattuck, then what I write is not ART: so be it: who cares!”

“That’s true,” I said. “I’ll write whatever & however I want, whether any critic approves of my efforts or not. But you make it sound like I’m impervious to everyone’s opinions, and that’s not the case: I’m overjoyed to learn that anyone likes what I’ve done, and it breaks my heart if I’m despised (or worse: ignored). This is important to stress, because it’s a difference that matters—whether one goes against the grain of public opinion because one couldn’t care less about the masses, just to be a jerk, versus risking displeasing one’s audience for the sake of bringing ALL – oneself included – to a place where none of us guessed we wanted to be. Sublimation for sublimation’s sake. To chance on a heaven above the highest known heaven, via joyful experimentation. I’ll even give our man Shattuck the final word:

I have called Apollinaire a ‘hero-poet’ because he had the courage to follow the beckonings of his irrepressible imagination in both his work and his life. Courage leads us to consider two complementary aspirations which compose one way of regarding all human endeavour: the quest for safety and the quest for danger. Neither is an ultimate value, for neither is satisfying alone. Moses set out to lead the Israelites to the safety of the Promised Land, yet the accompanying dangers have made this an epic story. Christ, stating that salvation is found only by first putting everything one had in jeopardy, made a supreme paradox of the two aspirations.

So that’s the last word. But I want to add a rider: More and more, as I read & think & change, I see that William Blake, for the present epoch, extends that series that goes from Moses to Christ. This assertion is no surprise, coming from me, I know: I repeat it so often; but nobody lights a torch and hides it under a bush (Matthew 5:14-16) – least of all, at the backside of the desert, by the mountain of God, even Horeb (Exodus 3:1-4). So Moses sows the Promised Land and reaps the wilderness. Christ demonstrates gain by way of relinquishment: losing one’s life to save one’s life: revising the wilderness into paradise by watering the desert. Yet what does Blake do? He shows us, once we’ve established the Promised Land, how to keep it from hardening into an Average Empire. Also how this all-important struggle takes place within each individual human, not somewhere out there. And beware the savagery of groups.


In my last postscript I embedded the whole Back in Town demo. Now I have an important decision to make: Should I immediately begin sharing tracks from yet another album, or should I give that last tape a moment to breathe?

I’ll start right in with more tracks, because I don’t care.

This next mini-demo that I’m sharing is the one that I made directly after the abovementioned album. What happened is this: My friend produced that last one with his computer. That was the first time we had done that. Then my own computer, which was very old, died in a massive explosion of fire and fury. So I had to replace the machine; and, when I did, my friend said: Hey, do you want some old software that I don’t use anymore—I’ll load it onto your new device. So I said OK. Then I decided to make a simple mini-demo trial album, just for fun, to experiment with the environment of computer recording, which was new to me. My idea was to follow a rigid formula, very simple: Ten songs, with one rap per song, and each rap would be about a different type of bowl. That idea seemed boring enough not to give me too much of a headache. So I wrote all the raps, and, for background, I chose simple beats and music from the libraries that came with the computer programs. And one particular program had a feature where you could type any phrase, and the program would “read” your words aloud, in a cartoonish voice, which was funny and high-pitched like a tiny synthesized child. So I typed the name of each track into the phrase-reader program, thus causing its fake voice to pronounce the title (alternating with my own voice), in lieu of a chorus, at the end of each track.

Sorry; this was a wordy explanation for such a stupid, silly project. Here’s the first couple parts:



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