Dé Luain, Aibreán 30, 2007

Wounded Knee

The village of Wounded Knee sits about eight miles off the highway along a narrow blacktop road. It was here in February of 1973 that several hundred armed Lakotas, led by AIMsters but by no means restricted to AIM members, seized the village for the purpose of calling attention to their plight. They knew that the world and recognized the Wounded Knee name and so they did. Press coverage was quite intense, as was the government's response. FBI, U.S. Marshals,Tanks, F-16s, advisers from the regular military. The siege lasted seventy-one days before the protesters, low on food, ammo, and medical supplies, surrendered. Two people, both native, died in the battle. A few government agents were badly wounded but survived. Considering the amount of shooting that occurred, the butcher's bill was miraculously low, certainly compared to the attack on unarmed Natives that had occurred eighty three years earlier. Maybe the NRA is on to something after all.

Three years of general chaos followed, AIM, GOONS, suspicious deaths, unsolved murders, low-scale terrorism and destruction, federal agents up to some unspecified form of no good. The tension between Zealots and Herodians infects life on the Rez to this day.

Some of the veterans of those days, Russel Means, Dennis Banks, etc. speak of "restoring the spirit" of Wounded Knee. A lot of talk of strong "spirituality" and moral victory. If that's what keeps them going, than so be it. The revolt accomplished nothing of course. The status-quo was re-established most vigorously, the Native activist movement became incoherent and cannibalistic. The village of Wounded Knee today looks just like every other settlement on the reservation looked then and looks now; decaying shacks, dirt trails, broken-down cars, the boldest statement is a demand to respect nothing.

A couple miles past the village lies the place. We came upon a brown circular building that turned out to be a "Wounded Knee Information Center." It was closed. Through the window we could see various museumish-looking swag. It's outside features included a water pump where I refilled my bottle and a few dozen Hurricane cans. The only spot in the entire area that wasn't littered with cans was the ceremonial circle behind the building. The importance of this place is revealed by the horse droppings as well as the lack of cans.

A small footpath led to the cemetery. Inside the hill are buried many of the victims of the 1890 massacre. The spot is also used as a general cemetery, home to those who were lucky enough to die individual deaths. The dates range from the turn of the century to the present day. There was a huge concentration of death in 02-03, another in the 1920's. So many babies here, oh God, their graves lavishly decorated with teddy bears, flowers, and cigarettes. Lots of people here in their twenties, thirties, forties. A lot of military veterans, a tiny handful of people who died of old age, their graves honored as much as the babies.

It seemed quiet, but there was just as much ambient noise as one would hear in a medium-sized town. It was the wind and the traffic on Big Foot trail, (named after the leader of the murdered band)and the birds and the rodents avoiding snakes. It was a perfectly appropriate sound. The weight of this place is overwhelming, but only for us. Three hundred people starving people butchered and left to freeze, birds briefly scatter at the sound of machine guns, come back, keep chirping. We heard nothing that we didn't expect to hear so we didn't hear anything.

I'll go to cemeteries sometimes, when I'm out getting my air. They're very pleasant; much quieter than the town park, much more intimate, and I fail to see anything distasteful about it. I can walk into my mother's house unannounced. I invite myself to the cemetery for the same reason. I go there to chide the shells who were too accepting. I try to avoid the children, they have no idea what they lost and if they saw my face they would know I'm hiding something. Mostly, I go there for the bankers and the mayors and the priests and the generals who have been dead a hundred years. I go there for the people who are used to having attention and now don't even get grandchildren who were forced to visit them. The ones with the elaborate crypts are the ones who need us. They can't talk too each other.

It wasn't so different here. Some families could only afford homemade wooden crosses for their dead. Some came from middle class-families and had their photographs etched on their headstones. They were the ones who took flattery and respect for granted, too busy and straightline to worry about aging. People people, couldn't stand to be idle or alone. They hate the nights here.

I removed my hat in the most genteel way possible. I took a cigarette from my pack and offered it in the way Robert had shown us. (Why are you acting like you know us boy?) I tried to think of something to say but, no,no, they were already suspicious enough. Too many white tourists who were deadly sincere until they got back to their hotels. We're just here to look, you know that. We're going to take some pictures too if you don't mind. We'll stay quiet, leave everything as it is, thank you for letting us come here, and don't you appreciate some spontaneous company every now and then?

Down from the hill and across from the building was another graveyard. It was a shambles. Rotting wood markers lying in the grass. A few Hurricanes had snuck in. No. No. There's enough room in this country to give everyone a permanent space. I don't understand why your graves have been left to decay but, here.

At the northeast corner I found the cross for a man who had died in the 1910's. I picked up a rock and pounded his cross into the dry ground as best I could. Than I took some pebbles and placed them around the cross. I did this for a couple other graves and I could hear Dan doing the same on the other side of the yard. They might have held for a week or so.

A married couple from New Jersey pulled up in the lot by the building and started turing the place. They were kindly.

Our group spoke a few words to each other over the half hour or so that I forget. The sky slowly went from that bruised look to mostly cloudy. It was still too warm and dusty. It would rain somewhere in the near-east, not here.

Down the hill and on the other side of the road is where the worst of the massacre took place. This is where people were shot in the back while trying to run. There's a road marker there, an elaborate one, a couple thousand words front and back, but just a road marker. Efforts to turn the site into some kind of Federal monument have fallen short so far.

The creek sits about twenty feet off of Big Foot trail. To the right of the road marker a gravel road runs off the blacktop and over a cheap bridge to a group of buildings, too small to even be called a village. We all made our own way towards the creek, we were all on our own trips now. I came to the bank, It would be more proper to call it a wash. It takes a hard rain or a real winter to get the water flowing through here. In the bed lay three empties of Natural Light and a couple more Hurricanes. Here?

I walked into the creek-bed and stood there awhile. There were fewer trees back then.
Machine gunners on the hills could see their targets in the banks perfectly well. Nothing for the people to do but keep running until they got cut apart or just stand there and face reality. Fuck that, show them you have some blood and keep running, running is the dignified thing to do. Facing reality is what turned my home into a desert. Facing reality is what's killing this place right now. People accept their places when they face reality. They stand there and wait. They drink Hurricane or Coors Light (It doesn't matter) until the good dreams go away and they can face more reality in their sleep.

The woman from the village who noticed the tourists at the spot and came to sell her trinkets, she faces reality. She was disappointed that we had nothing to buy. She had nothing in particular to say. The massacre was very sad, she said, lots of children killed.

I stood on the bridge and listened to the noise. How lucky will I die an individual death, with a Catholic-sized church organ to make noise for me,an obituary written by my closest relative, (which will probably be a second cousin) a stone with my name on it and, hell, dream big, maybe one of my own quotes?

I understand now why people fear terrorists or random loonies with Tech-9s so much. I mean it's really beneath capitalist dignity to die in a big group like that, isn't it? Thank God we have the government to protect us from that.

Dé Sathairn, Aibreán 28, 2007

Respect Nothing.

The sky, the atmosphere, had taken on a hazier look. The wall of yellow had a sponge-painted look to it, not as grainy as it usually looked but somewhat viscous. It was humid, it might well rain later.

Up 87, through Whiteclay, three or four people on the mission steps. Into Pine Ridge and east on U.S. 18, The road is inadequate, at least on the approach to town. One good thing to say about Nebraska is that it maintains its rural highways quite well. the reservation roads are something out of Connell. Anyone who tries to drive them drunk simply doesn't care if they live or not, simply,

RESPECTS NOTHING.

This was the command from one of the shacks along the Wounded Knee road. RESPECT NOTHING painted in block letters along the top of the wall near the roof. It's a common myth that nihilists are incapable of feeling passion. Actually they are often highly motivated by the naive belief of others. These people had put a huge amount of time and effort into covering their house with RESPECT NOTHING, and they knew preciously what they were doing. These people live on the road to one of the most infamous spots in North America. The sign is aimed directly at tourists boiling in white guilt and stealing themselves for an earth-shattering experience. the sign was made for us, just the four of us. It was made just to mock me, just to punish me for name-dropping Nieztsche like a junior-college dropout. You think you're bad boy? You can never bring yourself to respect nothing you closet incense-burning twit.

Sure, religion can inspire that kind of motivation every now and then, but it seems kind of lame by comparison. A three-hundred-foot statue, a cathedral that takes a hundred years to build... It's just too authoritarian, too communal. It doesn't have the same force, the same, yes magnificence, as building your own personal rejection of whatever passerby may believe.

There were a few clouds and the sky took on a sort of bruised color. We passed over a steep hill foretold by a sign that said HILL and we were in the village.

Dé hAoine, Aibreán 27, 2007

Whiteclay part 19

I woke up disgustingly early, about 8:45. Less than five hours of sleep with a head full of swill. But I live alone and wasn't used to the community arrangement. I never lost the knowledge that there were others in the room. I did end up with the honor of sleeping on the bed somehow. Dan was on the other side. It's about time we stopped living a lie.

Paul in the chair, Rebbecca already up and out on one of her scouting missions. I put on my shoes and shirt and stepped out.

It was freakishly warm again. Already sixty-five degrees on a March morning. Damn that sun. I've become sunglass-dependent in the past few years, albino-eyed. I was wearing them now, of course, but still... I hadn't really drunk enough to be hungover, had I? (a dog-lick of this shit would be enough to give you a headache you fucking idiot.) There was no way to really know how much, what with the elevated alcohol content and the "Lakota Way". Enough though, and not enough sleep. Damn that sun.

I think I was paranoid; not "feeling" paranoid in the pothead-Vizzini use of the phrase, but clinically paranoid. I could hear, I think, all of the dogs in the village. They were all barking at me. I saw three or four human figures a couple of blocks off the highway, they were looking at me, talking about me to each other over their fences. The people with houses along the highway were peering at me through their windows, trust me on that. I do question my mind sometimes, or was it the quiet? There are villages smaller than Rushville in the Platte Valley that aren't this quiet. There's always a train horn or the distant hum of semis on the interstate. This was 9:30 AM, Tuesday morning, peak of the business week. Besides the two or three trucks that drove down the federal highway in the twenty minutes I spent outside (drivers looking at me) I heard dogs and birds. Some people claim that they like it this quiet and "peaceful". They must be joking.

In and out of the Pump n Pantry, black coffee and the World-Herald, back to the hotel. One thing about Rushville, the abandoned buildings and failed businesses look better than the places that are still open. It's like that in a lot of tiny towns.

Read the paper, drink the coffee, brew some black tar in the house coffee pot. Shower, attempt to do homework through blurry eyes. Becky reading her Munro on the other side of the room, Dan and Paul still dead asleep. Still quiet.

Eighteen hours is more than enough time for four people to ruin a single room. So I decided to take on the Joyce persona to fetch trash bags and fresh linens.

The maid was one door down. I slipped out of our room in such a manner that she couldn't possibly see in side. The top half of me was sticking out the door at about an eighty degree angle. I asked her where the maid was, she said she was it.
"Could I get some fresh towels and some trash bags?"
"No problem, just bring out your trash and your towels and we'll leave you some new ones by the door. Need anything else?"
"No, no, we're fine, I mean that's all I need."

I brought out two bags of trash (Don't add any of the trash lying about the room, she'll know there's more than one of you) and the dirty towels, all three bath towels, all three wash clothes, and both bath mats, slipped out the door at the same brilliantly mendacious angle, and handed her the refuse.

"Here ya go"
"O.K. sir, is this all the trash"
"........ yes"
"Will you be needing anything else today"
"....... No, we're fine............ I mean no."
"O.k than, have a good day."

Say what you will, they haven't caught us yet. If the hotel owner is reading this, than let me just say, Dan made us do it. I'll give you his address and phone number in return for immunity, and maybe a little something extra on the side.


Noon came I realized that I wasn't going to stay awake through the whole day, so I snuggled back in next to Dan and laid down for about an hour. Much better.

I woke up feeling very hungry. Ramon and a sandwich simply wasn't going to do it. We had bought a large tin of ravioli, along with paper plates, plastic knives, forks, and spoons, two kinds of lunch meat, two kinds of mustard, pickles, olives, and pickled eggs. No can opener, though. I was not eating another sandwich. I would go back to the IGA and get a can opener. I would take that initiative.

I walked across a churchyard. That same maid was there, looking at me. A went into the grocery store and was eyeballed for the entire time. It took me ten minutes to find a three-dollar can opener. Sometimes, if you buy a can opener this cheap it will break into three pieces the first time you try to use it. I was willing to take that chance. Straight line and a goal.

The other males were starting to stir when I got back to the hotel. Good, we can turn the TV up now. I flipped through some channels and came across a soccer match. Two mid-level Premiership teams were tied 0-0, hell yes. We could all have ravioli for breakfast now. We would bond this way, become not merely friends but brothers, nay, a single being.

The TV and microwave were plugged into the same outlet. This is a standard arrangement in hotels and even some private homes. It's nothing. I put my plate of ravioli in, the TV flickered and turned off. I turned it back on, the screen turned dirty-bathwater white and flickered off again. My ravioli was done. I shut off the microwave and the TV went back to normal. It was clear that the outlet couldn't handle powering the TV and the microwave at the same time. Too fucking bad. This is America and we will discipline our technology into obedience if we need to.

I believe Paul's serving was in the microwave when the TV began squealing like a dying rabbit and belching white smoke. This went on for a good five minutes even after we shut off the microwave. We were transfixed. We're used to running our TV's stereo's DVD, and Playstations out of the same outlet at the same time. Things apparently don't work that way in God's country.
But I'm glad that it happened. It was meant to be. It was a post-modern, passive-aggressive, ultra-ironic protest against mass-media. We had already abandoned our Ipods and Facebook for the trip. Passe, anybody can do that. What we had done is traveled back in time to a Sandhills village that was still deep in the twentieth century. We had come to this hotel and, through Freudian "accident" destroyed this piece of antiquated technology. Nothing left to do now but break cuneiform tablets against the radio, but we were still kind of tired, and the smoke alarm was going to go off if we didn't do something. So I had to settle for opening the window and tearing off the curtain. (Becky said that I castrated the curtain. This is nonsense. I merely circumcised the unnecessary length.)

It was three in the afternoon now, and we were starting to feel the tourists guilt about not doing something. My drunken demand that we go to Wounded Knee became a sober suggestion, and we all agreed that it was a good one.

Déardaoin, Aibreán 26, 2007

Part 18: Penis, penis, penis, penis, penis.

Like I've said, none of us have cable, so while we are awake during traditional infomercial hours we have no idea what the dinosaurs who still watch TV for entertainment actually watch at that time of night. I remember my childhood, sitting awake at two in the morning, wanting to watch Cinemax but worried that my mom would catch me, so I watched Jack Palance pimping his juice tiger instead. The sight of so many full-grown idiots had a real effect on me, helped to make me who I am. I came to realize that the only thing sillier than society are the people who take it seriously, and that the best jobs go to those who make fun of it. Infomercials, George Carlin, Bevis and Butthead, and Ween. Ah yes, halcyon days. So ever since I became elite I've been a little curious about advances in infomercial technology.

Apparently these Extenze commercials have been around for some time. There's an old version hosted by Ron Jeremy. Though I must say it really fails to measure up to expectations. Jeremy's show follows the same formula as the new version that we saw. Man on the street interviews (Extenze is used by every man in Los Angeles.) A quick interview to see what the women folk think ("Does size matter?" Oh definitely.")

The word penis is never used. The purpose behind this directorial choice is unclear. Penis can be used freely on the nightly news. This is a late-night infomercial on basic cable. Perhaps the Extenze Corporation expects is customer base to be composed of middle-aged men, pillars of society responsible for upholding public decency. Still, this is easily Ron Jeremy's most disappointing work.

We first encountered the Extenze commercial on the first night, in Gordon. the results were immediate, it was amazing, certainly funnier than anything you'll read here. The man-on-the-street-interviews were gold. ("Yeah, I've heard of Extenze. I use it in fact. It's uhhh, nice! It really, uhhh, works."
"Well, what do you mean"
"Well, I'm, you know, bigger."
"Bigger how?'
"Well, you know."
"Oh yeah, I think I do.")

The women:
"Does size matter"
"Oh, definitely. (Delivered in monotone)
"If your boyfriend was bigger, down there, would you have sex more often?"
"Oh yeah!" (Also in monotone)
"I was in a relationship for seven years and I hardly ever had sex with my boyfriend because, you know, he just didn't have the confidence because he didn't feel, adequate."

Oh, unconsummated love! Don't be a small-cock tease ladies. Let your man know how you don't feel. Don't let both of your youths go hopelessly frigid. If you are unable to say the word penis to your own boyfriend, well, that's perfectly understandable. Just make the call to Extenze yourself and they will understand.

The highlight of the show is undoubtedly Dr. Stein. Stein runs the Stein Institute for Sexual Health and Happiness in L.A. (Cut to shot of institute, (I'd bet twenty dollars that the entire building is stuffed with shredded gift-wrap.) His credentials include appearing on several national television programs.

"Is it normal for men to want to be 'bigger'?" asked Edward R. Murrow.
"Oh definitely" said Stein. "I think that no matter what a man's size, weather he's below average, average, or even a little above average, he could always stand to be a little bigger."

"Is there real science behind Extenze?"
"Ah yes, Extenze is a complex blend of twenty-six different Nutrisuticals. All of them with the potential to improve a man's sexual performance."

Cut to the hotel room in Gordon. We laughed for five minutes at the mention of "Nutrisuticals" and than I turned the channel. We thought that we had seen all there was to see. So I returned to inventing the concept of videotaping myself and we went to bed soon after.

The next night, in Rushville, after Dan and Paul returned from oblivion, we were all sitting about the room reflecting upon the day, everyone more insomnia-giddy than drunk now. We were mocking the, how you say?, emotions we had felt in Whiteclay to re-acculturate ourselves to the world. Reasserting our English majorinity after showing vulnerability in front of outsiders and each other. The philosophies are the life, bitch! Take that proletariat.

The TV was still on. I flipped a few channels and, what do you know? Stein wasn't done yet.

Murrow continued his grilling.

"Does Extenze really work"
"Absolutely"
"When you heard that Extenze can add up to four inches to a man's size in less than a week, didn't you feel a little bit skeptical."
"........ No....... Not at all"
"Would you recommend Extenze to your patients?"
"Absolutely, in fact...........
....... I'm using it right now."

I can't stress how important it was that we saw the end of the interview. For one thing, there actually is such a thing as a "nutrisutical". Or at least, there are people who claim they exist. What does the scientific community outside the new age health shop think of the concept? Who the hell cares? The point is that Stein didn't actually invent the word on the spot, and that's a real let-down.

But "Did you ever feel skeptical" "No not at all" totally makes up for it. Never again will I seek medical advice from a doctor, a so-called scientist, prone towards skepticism. No, I will stay virile into my eighties thanks to the unyielding belief of Dr. Stein. He's appeared on several nationally televised programs. All hail the new age of faith.

The program came to a head. It was nearly four in the morning now. We talked awhile about how awe-inspiring the program we had just watched was. It was just the thing we needed after a day like this. Then the conversation turned to how tired we were and how good it would be to sleep the whole next day away. We stayed awake for another hour discussing our hunger for sleep, then we actually got around to it.

This was, without doubt, the central day of the trip. We had found whatever it was we were looking for. Now the question was what to do on our last day. The night before, when the Hurricane first made landfall, I had angrily demanded that we go to Wounded Knee at some point. Just the thing to do on a drunken lark you know. First, we would sleep.

And in closing, here's the suggestive images you've surely been looking for.

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Dé hAoine, Aibreán 20, 2007

Part 17E: Night reveals itself

They stayed for about half an hour before it was decided that it would be better if they didn't.

They continued to recommend that we go to Gordon/Gomorrah. Robert continued to say I looked like Bon Scott. He continued to ask us what we were doing here. The novelty was wearing off. The drunk, not wearing off so much, the Hurricane takes a few days to really taper off, but mixing with drowsiness. We were dividing back into our own social classes, subconciously, bitterly. This was probably a mistake, bringing them here, but we couldn't seperate, not while we still under the spell of Whiteclay and the Nuggis and the ruins of murder houses and songs that may or may not have been about dead ancestors. But what is there to say? We were back in a heated room with basic cable. We were back to our world, or at least a loose thread to it. These men drank, that's what they did. We were using them to satisfy some undefined morbidity, and they knew it, well enough. No bitterness, no hatred, just an understood annoyance.

"You've got your degrees, you've got your philosophies, but you don't live the life."

I've lived the life more than you know, Robert. Keep yourself high and on autopilot until death gets rid of all the decisions you're putting off. That's all there is that there is to know about the life, except that there are places where the drugs of the life are better and the danger is more immediate and sexier and their are places I could have gone where I could have wasted three years of my life so much more productively and had a better time. And how many wasted years have you had, Robert?
How much regret and self-loathing do you sleep with at night? And what was up with the crack about Jews? Where in the sweet fuck did you learn anti-semitism? There arn't any Jews for five hundred miles. "We're not savages, we're not Jews... We're not the bad Indians." You want me to go Breakfast Club on your ass? We "rich" white folks have lives to live too. And no kind of life is pretty, and I'm taking the wide spot by the TV to sleep on and you're on your own.

Dan decided to take the locals back to their plague-shacks. He would take Paul with them.

(Beautiful idea Dan, yes, go home friends, go home.)

(Are you fucking mad? I know you're drunk, you'll never make it.)

"Are you sure Dan?"
"Yeah dude, I'll be fine."
"Are you really sure?"
"Yeah, it'll be better this way"
"If you go in the ditch call me first"
"Alright"

Right, call me first. No need to get the authorities involved. I'll just walk there myself. I'll pull the car out of the ditch with my bare hands, administer O-Negative to the wounded.

"Where are we going" asked Robert.
"Back to Whiteclay" said Tony.
"Why did you even bring us here?"
"Comon, these people need to sleep."
"We should of just stayed there."
"Comon man"

And they were gone. It was time to sleep, Becky was long out. Just me now.
Not time for me to sleep though, time for me to play the mother, make sure the boys got home okay and spring to the rescue if they didn't. What would I tell the Sheriff? Mom, (Speaking of mothers) would you mind driving two hundred miles to pick me and a friend up? And if it's not too much trouble, could you get out of bed and start coming now? We really need to be gone by noon tommarow, before they figure out that the DUI casulties brought friends along.

Turn the lights out, keep the TV low, back in the shadows where the Hurricane shows its true self. You already know the worst is true. The worst is the only possible truth. CNN, Bill Maher is really dull when he's not in his own environment. I thought I saw on the crawl that Chuck Hagel was running for president. I saw wrong, he was only paying his respects to Magritte. It will take them forty five minutes, there and back. No excuse for taking any longer.

Fifty minutes passed. I called Dan, I called Paul, no answer. They're dead, you know very well they are. They're dead Becky. We're stranded. We're at the mercy of the locals. Mark will be on the jury, he'll have his way with you. I'll be at the oppisite end of the Sheridan County jail servicing men who traded their Harleys for crystal meth and got kicked out of the KKK for beligerence. They'll brag about it to their adoring girlfriends sporting the armcasts that their men got locked up for.

And it's my fault. I should have been the community hero, ripped the keys out of Dan's hand and declared that the Indians were spending the night here. I'll figure something out. But the dancing shadows, the mild hot flashes, the sour carbonated blood, makes things difficult. Don't panic boy. Go outside. You'll think of something there. I'll throw a brick through the Pump n Pantry and steal a cup of coffee. That will be a good start. That will get things rolling.

I walked outside and heard a dying old man from the other side of town. Where the hell have you boys been?

Déardaoin, Aibreán 19, 2007

Richard McBeef, a review

Novice readers should recognize the allusion to Richard III, Shakespeare's villain usurper. The connection to Hamlet is also obvious, as the story centers around John, a troubled but brilliant young man, who accuses his stepfather, the title character, of murdering his biological father and making unwanted sexual advances to his new stepson.
Casual readers should also be able to catch the double-phallic imagery of the title. The double-penis, or hemi-penis, is a well known biological feature of serpents. So here we see Richard McBeef as the serpent, Lucifer. The banishment from the garden, the lost innocence of youth, just in the title.

The simplicity and directness of Cho Sueng-Hui's prose continues to the story itself. He truly has a genius for economy and understatement. Cho never dilutes his message with flowery allusion or metaphor. His references are as direct as a bullet to the brain. Yet he combines the force of Hemingway with the ecstatic wordplay of Nabokov.

"Me what?! You want me to stick this remote control up your ass buddy! You ain't even worth it man. This remote was five bucks. You are such an a--- "

"What are you, a Catholic priest? I will not be molested by an aging balding overweight pedophillic stepdad named Dick! Get your hands off me you sicko! Damn you, you Catholic Priest. Just stop it, Michael Jackson! Let me guess, you have a pet named Dick in Neverland Ranch and you want me to go pet him, right?"

Some may mistake Cho's simplicity for hackery. Nothing could be furthur from the truth. We see, not only in his writing but in his neo-dadist photography, a cultured man who still deigns to respect the artistic heritage that he so profoundly transcends.


































The photos above are another example of Cho making a brilliant historical reference seem blunt, even crude. The world has lost a true master. As a wise man once said, "How long shall we kill our prophets?"

Anyone who has ever deluded themselves into thinking they have any artistic abilities
can only realize that we are so much slime compared to Cho's genius. You must read Richard McBeef. Read it, and weep at your failure.

Rating: 14/10

Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 18, 2007

Part 17E (Rhapsody in Gordon)

"You guys wanna hear a sacred Caucasian song?" I said. I don't typically say something so stupid, and this was the second dumbest thing I said that night. Fucking Hurricane.

I've grown out of Freebird. Fuck those crackers. I've grown out of mindlessly worshiping most of the traditional rock anthems. I still love Zeppelin, The Stones, Beatles, mind you, but their discographies run so much deeper than what one hears on the radio.

BoRhap though, it always delivers. Just enough metal, prog, and ballad, not too much of any of the above. Mercury was still young and frisky. Not middle-aged, domesticated, and paying his sin-wages by melting alive. Stretching 1975 technology to its limit; the voice, the harmonies, the guitar, the dynamic tension. My God it's as beautiful as a Pilsner Urquell and a cigar in hand on a summer twilight.

And we all sang together and the oppression of driving at night in general and driving through desolation in particular was lifted. And Bohemian Rhapsody did everything that a well-known song is supposed to do to a pack of drunks, which is one of those things that's terribly important to me.

The locals were practically shaking with excitement. "Let's go to the bar" one of them said. "Let's go to Gordon, the bars are open their till 2:30. "They know how to have a good time their.

"The bars in Nebraska close at one everywhere." I said.

"Nah man, they know how to have a good time there. Where are we going? Let's go to Gordon?"

We had spent a night in Gordon. The town is small enough to hear any late-night revelry going on from anywhere else in town. These men's version of Gordon was a phantom, a fantasy, like the hotel where you can sing and dance all night without trouble that we heard about on the first night. Just how isolated were they for a village thirty miles away to be a rumor?

"Doesn't he look like Bon Scott?" Said Robert.

We got to Rushville before midnight. The calls for Las Gordon with its rivers of champaign and nubile women grew only louder.

We went back to the hotel instead. To do what exactly we didn't really know. A red-on-white homosexual orgy would have been hot but it still wouldn't have been Gordon.

Fuck everything. Respect nothing. Nothing really matters.

17D: The circle/Fat-Stealer Woman/Socialism doesn't work.

The first song they sang was a funeral song, that was the consensus anyway. They performed three or four songs for us, couldn't agree on the words to any of them. They seemed to sincerely believe that the first was for dead ancestors though. I was obliged to take my hat off. Then we sacrificed a cigarette to the subjects of the song.

Then a cigarette was lit and passed around the circle. We all partook. This is the Lakota way. It also happens to be damned convenient for people who spend the day scraping up a dollar-forty at a time. A factory rolled-cigarette must be a rare treat for these men, smoke and drink like gentlemen. Nobody who enjoys the occasional drunk (or a constant drunk for that matter) never smokes. They are the only things in life that are meant for each other. If you're concerned for your health, than by all means do neither, good for you. But the rare strain of freak who drinks but doesn't smoke, something, is just a hater, pure and simple. They kill the comradery. It's like going to a party and seeing the nun who taught me fifth-grade math staring through the window. And don't even get me started on people who smoke but don't drink. Tortured obsessive-compulsives. These are the folks who kill themselves when they try to smoke through their oxygen masks.

The hurricanes went around the circle in the same way of course. Each made about one-and-a-half trips through the eight of us. I took my normal coffee-cup sized swigs, which are considered quite healthy in a college town, and was left feeling quite unfulfilled. These men were clearly on another level. This is what sharing among addicts is. Bryan whispered to Dan to hide one of the cans between the two of them and surely the rest of us wouldn't notice. I longed for the honesty of a rigidly capitalistic meth sale. Everyone gets what they paid for measured out to them at Glock-point. Straight line and a goal.

But never mind. These were affable men, talkative and funny. That counts for everything. Robert let on that maybe he just did have some involvement with AIM back in the day. "I'm on America's Most Wanted" he said. "No, that's just your butthole" said Bryan. We would buy more beer. Whiteclay has a couple of ATM machines, which I must say I found rather surprising. The average customer at Straight Line Liquor doesn't have a bank account. But my surprise is my own fault. I underestimated the place. Mogadishu has ATM's.

So it was off to the Arrowhead for a couple more, and then a couple more and a couple
more until the place closed at about eleven.

Rebecca was receiving special attention. Robert offered her his coat, and I believe they sang a special song just for her. Wasicu-weia, white woman in context, literally fat-stealer woman. A bit offensive to whites? Probably. Though keep in mind that the Lakota had no need for a generic word for white person until granddad came, stole the fat, set it on fire, pissed on the flames, and than claimed the right to shoot anyone who touched the ashes. But I stall.

The billboards came up. "Women are sacred." Robert said that they treat their women like princesses. I told Becky she could be my princess.

Jesus fuck. Yeah. That was me. I said that.

I knew it was stupid almost as soon as I said it. But it is only now that I realize how asinine it truly was. This woman went on a thousand-mile round trip with three casual acquiescences. She drank and cavorted with us without fear for four days. She drank with four old leering strangers with better panache than someone like, say, me, was able to. Princess? Jesus. A fucking warrior she is. I'm sorry Becky. Understand that my only prejudice is against those who aren't me. I don't compartmentalize beyond that.

One of the rez dogs (Sarah?) had made her home in Whiteclay and the our hosts were familiar with her. She was malnourished, but not that dirty. I gave her a pat or two and only got a layer of dust on my hand.

The beers that we bought just before closing time were drank even faster than the rest. "You're spending the night, right?" said Robert. Fat thief concave...

"What do you think Josh?"
"How are you Dan"
"I can drive dude"
"You sure"
"Yeah"
"Well, you wanna go than"
"Yeah"
"We're bringing the guys along right?"
"Yeah, of course."
"Will they fit?"
"We'll make them fit"
"Where are we going."
"Well, Tony said something about Porcupine."

Indeed he had. Apparently his mom cooks a good pot of buffalo stew. We wouldn't know.

We headed back toward Rushville, two to a seat. The low growl of the 92 Honda became a ghoulish moan.

Dé Máirt, Aibreán 17, 2007

17C: Adoption

Tony claims to be a great-grandson of Crazy Horse. This is plausible enough. Lakota chiefhood was never hereditary, and if it was what good would it do Tony now? So the fact that Tony doesn't have a sequin-suited retinue to carry him home at night does nothing to disprove his claim. Of course, this also means that neither he nor Eddie, Bryan, or Robert had the authority to adopt us into the tribe. They simply took it upon themselves to do so.

What do I say to that? I can only speak for myself on the matter and let my comrades do the same. The honor I felt was real. These men had taken us into their lives and freely shared it with us. They hid nothing, they have no social veils, which is traditionally unthinkible here in the on-grid world. That's changed a bit in the age of narcisism, of course. The age of writing concept albums about ourselves and building 5th amendment-defying photo dossiers of ourselves and writing endless tomes about ourselves. (Yes I know.)

But it was completely different with these men. they shared the details of their lives not out of vanity, not to keep themselves in the head of some girl they drank with and dude I totally know she likes me. They share themselves not out of vanity but the fatal lack of it. They live shamefully. Honesty is all they have, and I cannot excuse their suicides after building a friendship built on honesty. They live shamefully and they know it. Their ancestors who fought for them damn their surrender and they know it. So they die.

I too, live with shame. I'm a 26-year-old undergrad for God's sake. I've lied, cheated, been to jail. How then can I lecture older men? Because friends lecture each other, when there's a need to. I live with my shame gentlemen, I live with it. I do all I can to turn it into knowledge and fight with it. I strive to face my own putrid humanity in the mirror and laugh at it, with it. I strive to make others see themselves for what they are as well, to tear down the walls of tradition and pride and materialism, to deny them the opportunity to dilute themselves in the larger society and force them to take a look at what they are.

No, I am no Lakota. I thank you for the gesture but you know you don't have that power. I havn't lived without heat or plumbing, in a moldering or burned out shack.
What I am, what we are, is Whiteclaysians. The stumbling drunks and the fat-thieves, vagrant shells and rubbernecking arrogant hedonists. Singing together, laughing together, brothers in honest depravity.

Strip away society's justification myths and see your human skin for what it is. Then weep. Then laugh. Here is our unity. Here is our brotherhood. There, you have real morality now.

Wherever I stand I stand with you. Wherever I walk I walk with you. Now fight, Goddamn you. Get the fuck out of those plague-traps you live in. Stop offering tobacco to the smell of your own deaths as if it will make a difference. Track down whatever family will still have you at least hold them before the last elastic piece of your liver hardens. Live.

Dé Luain, Aibreán 16, 2007

Whiteclay Part 17B (Randian Nihilism Fearlessly Exposed.)

We walked back to the highway to find Robert's friends gathered between Straight Line and the Arrowhead. Eddie, Bryan, and Tony. "Who are these guys?" they asked. "Crazy fucking Wasicus" said Robert.

"That's a crazy fucking hat" said Eddie. "He looks like Bon Scott" said Robert.

It was decided to buy another pint or two of Sluricane and share them with the group. We were in good spirits. These were affable men. they were drunk, we were on the way. Dan stayed with the locals while Paul and I walked into Straight Line while Rebecca made her second or third attempt to pee in the woods. Did her mother know what she was doing right now?

"Doesn't he look like Bon Scott?" said Robert.

The clerk at Straight Line was an older man, I'm guessing the owner. I ordered two high-gravities and handed him my ID.


"Where you from?" he asked
"Lincoln"
"That's not what this says."
"Well, I'm from North Platte, I'm a student in Lincoln right now."
"Well, I'm afraid I can't accept this,just looks funny you know."

Paul tried to buy them and got the same treatment.

"This ID looks different."
"Yeah, they changed them just about a year ago" said Paul.
"Well, I'm afraid I can't help you fellas out, you look just like the types that the state patrol sends on one of their raids, you know., heh heh"

His laugh was so insincere as to blacken all the lights in the store. The temperature of the room dropped at least thirty degrees. I looked him straight in the eyes. They were nothing but grotesquely large pupils bordered by imperceptibly narrow irises, noticeable only for the orange glow they gave off. Paul looked up, shrugged, regathered our change, and walked out the door. I kept looking at the man.

"Why don't you tell me the real reason you won't sell to us." I said.

"I don't have to tell you anything, man lives to serve himself," he said.

"No, no" I said, "You think we're activists doing some sort of expose or something. Well, we're not really, in fact not at all. We're just tourists, no need to fear us. Just don't anger me and I'll give you an honest recording."

"You're just another damn hippie trying top make me feel bad." He said. "You're going to go drink with the unproductive and laugh about what an asshole I am. You think I care? (Glare in eyes grows more intense) I am above your corrosive altruism.
These men destroy themselves so that I may invent myself. You think you can change that? You're just another slave-mind. Your slavery is leading you right into the ditch with them and that's where you're going to stay."

A noticeable breeze kicked up in the store. The glass of the freezer began to bend and moan. I needed to get out of there. "I'll tell the world what you are!" I screamed. "My blog is read by dozens."

"Go ahead and spread your irrational guilt to the masses" he said. "I shall never live for another man. I am the lord of the dominion I have created. I cannot be stopped." Arcs of electricity exploded out of the light fixtures as I threw myself out of the door. An overpowering smell of disinfectant followed me back to the group.

"That asshole" said the group. "No problem man, just go to Arrowhead" said Tony. And indeed it was no problem. A Chadron State student sold me the two high-gravities and would continue doing so without questions as I returned again and again though the night.

"He's fucking Bon Scott" said Robert.

We marched to a spot behind the grocery and gathered in a circle by a couple of trees.

Dé Domhnaigh, Aibreán 15, 2007

Part 17A, the night begins

"What are you guys doing here?"

I walked out of the Arrowhead Inn with three Hurricane High Gravities and saw the group circled around Robert. He said that he had quit drinking for awhile, but then his brother died and he lives here now. He was fascinated with my wardrobe. On lukewarm days I wear a suit jacket that I got at thrift store in downtown Lincoln and a pseudo-beret that I bought at Target. On cold days I wear a genuine FC Juventes scarf that I found lying outside of Planned Parenthood and I used to have this fabulous little jeweled plastic cross that I wore on special occasions but where was I?

"You're bound to get jacked wearing that hat up here" Robert said. He asked me if I was Bon Scott, over and over again, all night. He kept laughing at his joke. He had Bon Scott confused with Brian Johnson, by the way. Scott never wore a hat. He did drink himself to death, which is quite common and doesn't typically garner much attention.

"What are you doing here" he asked, all night. "We seek truth" "Guerrilla journalism" etc. Robert is forty seven, one year short of the reservations average life span. Too old to buy our nonsense.

I had thought up a cover story for us in the days before the trip. We would be outreach ministers for Campus Crusade for Christ. We would be there to study the effect of neo-paganism on alcoholism in Native communities. I would wear a suit and a tie and a Geddy Lee pony tail and generally make myself look convincingly Protestant. Dan and I thought it was hilarious. The utter stupidity of it became clear at our first human contact on the reservation and we never used a cover story. My god it was a profoundly stupid idea.

We offered Robert the towels of the oppressors that we had taken from the Gordon hotel. He politely declined. "I know hot shit when I see it" he said. The next day Paul took me aside to tell me that towels are a lot like blankets, and that maybe giving them away to Natives wasn't such good symbolism after all.

"A sort of spring break parody if you will" I said. "Well, what are you doing here?"
said Robert. We finally convinced him that we were on some sort of inquisitive journey. Serving no one and nothing but ourselves but how does that delegitimize anything? The curiosity was real. The compassion came in ebbs and flows but the curiosity was real. "We just wanna see what it's like here."

They're mine now. Come and get me.

"What do you want to know?" We really should have thought of specific questions, but there's a reason Dan and I dropped out of J-school, straight line and a goal.

"Sooo, Robert, had did Lakotas deal with tornadoes before the whites came and, yeah, before the whites came?"
"We ran."
"Right".

"In the time you've been here, has it gotten better or worse on Pine Ridge?"
"Shit. it's gotten worse, the kids here today all think they're gangsters or something."

This is true, Robert is acquainted with Warren and the boys, doesn't think much of them. Generation gaps are always about culture and personality. Some people justify them with moralistic language, especially in small communities where every relationship becomes exaggerated. It means nothing.

We had begun drinking the Hurricane in the local fashion, "the Lakota way."

"What do you wanna know? There's fucking ghosts out here.
"Well, you were around in the seventies when all of that went down right?"
"Yeah"
"Can you tell us anything about that."
"Shit, I was a kid. (You don't know shit you aimless white boys.)

"Naw, for real, there's ghost out here, we call the Nuggis, evil spirits." You don't want to fuck with the Nuggis out here. You wanna see some shit? You wanna see what Whiteclay is like? You spend the night here."

He talked briefly about drinking in blizzards, gathered around a trash-can fire with his friends. He spoke of a friend who went to sleep in a field and was found dead the next day. Constant drunkenness. No medical care, ever, this happens all of the time. "He just drank himself out."

"Rushville cops are assholes" "We stomped the shit out of one this one time."
"Say what now Robert?"
"For real, there's was a kid who got hit by a car, right in front of the mission. He's a Nuggi now. You can hear him bouncing a basketball on the street. That's what he was doing when he died."
"Right. About those Rushville cops..."
"Heh, for real though. This shit is real, there's a woman with no face out here, she comes out at night. You wanna see some shit? You wanna see how Whiteclay really is?
Let me show you this house. I don't usually go there because, shit I ain't that fucking brave you know,(grunt-giggles all around) but naww, let me show you this house."

"Okay Robert."

A boy who bounced a basketball on the highway. A woman with no face who dressed sort of Victorian style (or maybe not, he wasn't clear on this) and came out at night. These are Robert's main Nuggis. Is this really all they do Robert? I am well versed in underground Catholicism and whispered rumors of Satanic sacrifice and junior-high smoking-weed-out-of-a-pop-can mysticism. I am not impressed by the mere existence of spirits. The woman doesn't have a face you say? Well, she's dead you know. And what makes them evil anyway? The kid likes basketball. Give him a Nuggi hoop.

We came to a windowless white house house just east off the highway that smelled of piss from five feet away. "I feel them in here."

The floor was broken drywall and emptied hurricanes and glass. Robert walked in, than Dan, than me, than Becky, (offered my hand to guide her over threshold, politely refused) and Paul. I could have crushed one of the support beams with a light squeeze. Is that rat shit I smell? A tattered ex-blanket that hasn't been used in at least ten years. I shouldn't assume that.

We were all more intimidated than we let on, of course, staying poker faced in front of, each other.

"You wanna see another house." I don't go there. They'll kill you at night there. But if you wanna see truth. You spending the night here?"

"What do you think Josh?"
"What do you think Dan?"
"I think I wanna see how this goes down dude."
"Well, if we're not driving back, might as well drink more."
"Yeah, yeah we'll get to that."

This house was about thirty yards off the highway right up against the state line. Drywall, glass, a void in what used to be the dining room, this is where they lived.
Dan, Becky, and I made our way onto the beams lying under the former floor. They groaned. We crawled back out.

What interests me the most about the Nuggis is the pure anti-logic of it. This man was drinking himself to death, getting quite close now. He knew it, didn't care. These houses, these rotting piles that would collapse in a stiff breeze. these breeding grounds for tetanus or Hantavirus or the plague, were dangerous because of the Nuggis. These ghosts who passed the time with boring, meaningless compulsions. The ghosts of dying middle-aged men who have never left the rez and get giddy at the thought of a trip to Gordon. The ghosts of giving up on trying to look for jobs that aren't there and sitting in front of the TV, if they have one. The ghosts of going to Whiteclay at the crack of dawn, why not?, and staying there until it's time to tell the Sheriff to bring a body bag. The faceless woman, no one knows who she is.

"You wanna see where I live? Let me show you how we live."

Robert's shack is another thirty yards farther out, carpet for a door. A torn American flag over the window, a mattress so badly decayed that the entire middle is gone, covered with filthy sheets decorated in the same 70's shit-rainbow style that I slept on when my mother was still single. It smelled the same as the other two ruined houses. "This is how we live. Robert's roommate was there,sleeping on a mattress in the same condition. mattress in the same condition. We offered him a drink (Or rather, Robert offered for us) he downed half the can and went back to sleep.

Dé hAoine, Aibreán 13, 2007

Part 16

"We came here to spend time in Whiteclay, not to go there for five minutes and try to avoid people"
Dan

It was a warm afternoon, and a soft night. A month ago now, still much more pleasant than it is today. None of us really slept right for the whole trip, and we were all strangely tired for mid-afternoon, needed time to reflate. We were going to Whiteclay that night, it was decided. We would drink with the people there and, who knows what else? Find out their reasons maybe? Anybody who has ever realized how unimportant he/she is knows the reasons. same reason you're getting drunk tonight. Find out how they got along with the Rushvillans, the liquor store owners, whites in general? Not bloody likely. Why would we want to know anyway? You crazy white boys look like trouble. There were tribal officials and historians, people who hadn't surrendered, who we could have gone to for that information. But we never made any attempt to talk to them, we would talk to the broken ones and share in their vice. We were just Wisicus out rubbernecking, and it was clear that this was all we were just from the sight of us. What we would learn is what happens to people who spend their time with nothing but their regret and their deaths, and each other.

I tried to catch up on homework, Science of food, bitch of a class. The textbook came back from the trip looking like a dalmatian. It will always be mine now.

We put the TV on Animal Planet. Education was being crammed into a commercial-friendly top-ten list. Most pirate-like animals, at number one were ants who enslaved the young of other ants. Praise God and his delicate creation.

A Steve Irwin rerun came on next. He played his usual game, abusing snakes and komodo dragons, manhandling elephants, terrorizing locals. Dan was mesmerized. He had never seen the man at work before. This was shocking to me. There are a tiny handful of things that one needs to know about mainstream culture, and Steve Irwin is one of them. My God man, don't you watch TV at the folks house over Christmas?

Night came, I put away my homework and started scribbling notes of the trip so far on the yellow legal pad I bought. I asked Becky to write about her experience with Mark. She gave me back a page-and-a-half of sheep wool. Her account posted here comes via MySpace. I suggested that she should drink the Hurricane that had been reserved for her the night before and she agreed. No problem, we wouldn't be drinking that much up there. We'd only be there for a little while, have a conversation or two, certainly not drink to much to drive. Let your hair hang low.

It was around 9:30. Time now. We were excited, We were giddy We were doing this.
We got in the clown car and I popped Night at The Opera in the CD player. "Death on Two Legs" is an excellent driving song. Through town and out of it, right on 87.

It was just a jaunt.

Interlude: (Mr Trout, I Think, Figures in to all This)

Everyone on Three

One

Two

Three

So it goes.

The line is sarcastic. I'm sure you knew that. It's meant to be a vinegar enema, meant to flush out any illusions we may have of a just and orderly world. The world is not as it is meant, life is not as it is meant. We are under no obligation to accept our places, either as individuals in society or as a species in the universe.

Justice does not come from appreciating the order of things, but by realizing that the nonsense you imagine when you blink isn't imaginary at all.

Why should I mark the passing of an eighty four-year-old broken-down stranger? Because it was as unjust as all of our deaths. Young or old, violent or "natural". When one realizes how disingenuous, how fraudulent this blessing of mortal consciousness is, that is when one can feel true compassion. Compassion for the stranger, the loser, the criminal, the enemy. All of our standards of success, achievement, virtue, become irksome necessities at best and murderous lies at worst.

The human essence does not lie in victory, monuments, anthems, tradition, profession.

It lies in a three-year-old boy, running towards a sprinkler on a summer's day, laughing at the joy of running, and than getting hit by a shock of cold water, and starting to snivel.

It lies in the same boy, a ninety-year-old man now, dying on his couch in the house he bought sixty years ago. Wailing, allowing himself to wail for the first time since he was a boy, wailing at his pain, at his weakness, at leaving his great-grandchildren before they form personalities of their own, wailing for his own grandmother.

And it lies in his youngest granddaughter, twenty five, who has always known full well that she would outlive him, sitting by his side, holding his hand, they wail together.

That scream, those deep stuttering breaths that become broken roars, that is human.

Take that sound, remember it, it's coming. Take it to your family, your friends, and everyone you meet, and fight together. Breathe the summer air. Take the time to lie in bed in the morning and enjoy the meld between your body and a half-awake brain. Than wake up and say good morning to the first person you see. Invent something, a thought if nothing else. This is enough. Think, about everything, until your own universe gets turned off. You will lose of course, but you won't be a traitor. Which is what you will be if you accept the order, the standard, the material, the fatal, the nihil.

Listen, there are no scales, there is no great thread, there is no central trunk. Listen.

Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 04, 2007

Today is the only day that matters in your life



Today in history
0896 Formosus ends his reign as Catholic Pope
1081 Alexius I Comnenus occupies Byzantine throne
1460 University of Basle in Swizerland forms
1541 Ignatius of Loyola becomes 1st superior-General of the Jesuits
1552 Mauritius van Saksen begins alliance with Karel Anikita Stroganov
1558 Czar Ivan IV gives parts of North-Russia to fur traders
1581 Francis Drake completes circumnavigation of the world and is knighted
1588 Christian IV succeeds Frederik II as king of Denmark
1625 Viceroy Frederik Henry marries Amalia countess von Solms-Braunfels
1655 Battle at Postage Farina, Tunis English fleet beats Barbarian pirates
1660 English King Charles II ends Declaration of Breda (freedom of religion)
1687 English King James II orders his Declaration of Indulgence read in church
1716 Russian & Prussian troops occupy Wismar
1737 Anthony van Heim installed as Dutch pension advisor
1818 Congress decided US flag is 13 red & white stripes & 20 stars
1828 Casparus van Wooden patents chocolate milk powder (Amsterdam)
1832 Charles Darwin aboard HMS Beagle reaches Rio de Janeiro
1850 City of Los Angeles incorporated
1859 The opera "Dinorah" is produced (Paris France)
1862 Battle of Yorktown begins
1862 US begins Peninsular Campaign aimed at capturing Richmond
1864 Skirmish at Elkin's Ford (Little Missouri River), Arkansas
1865 Lee's army arrives at Amelia Courthouse
1870 Golden Gate Park established by City Order #800
1887 Susanna Medora Salter elected 1st US woman mayor (Argonia KS)
1896 Announcement of Gold in the Yukon
1899 South Africa all out 35 vs England (Trott 4-19, Haigh 6-11)
1900 Assassination attempt on prince of Wales/king Edward VII
1900 British garrison of Reddersberg surrenders to Boer General De Wet
1902 Cecil Rhodes scholarship fund established with $10 million
1905 Earthquake in Kangra India, kills 370,000
1911 Hugh Chalmers, automaker, suggests idea of baseball MVP
1912 Chinese republic proclaimed in Tibet
1912 Army fires on striking mine workers at Lena-gold fields Siberia
1914 "The Perils of Pauline" shown for 1st time in Los Angeles CA
1916 US Senate agrees (82-6) to participate in WWI
1918 Battle of Somme ends
1918 Food riot in Amsterdam
1920 Arabs attack Jews in Jerusalem
1921 Stanley Cup Ottawa Senators (NHL) beat Vancouver Millionaires (PCHA), 3 games to
1922 WAAB (Baton Rouge LA) becomes 1st US radio station with "W" calls
1926 Greek dictator Theodorus Pangalos elected president
1929 "New Moon" musical opens in London
1929 1st AAU Greco-Roman wrestling championships held
1930 Andrew Sandham makes Test Cricket 1st triple century
1930 Les Ames makes the 1st Test Cricket century by a wicketkeeper (149)
1932 Vitamin C 1st isolated, C C King, University of Pittsburgh
1932 George Bernard Shaw's "Too True to be Good", premieres in NYC
1933 US Dirigible Akron crashes off coast of New Jersey, 73 die
1937 4th Golf Masters Championship Byron Nelson wins, shooting a 283
1938 5th Golf Masters Championship Henry Picard wins, shooting a 285
1939 Faisal II ascends to throne of Iraq
1940 R Rodgers/Lorenz Hart's "Higher & Higher", premieres in NYC
1941 German troops conquer Banghazi
1944 British troops capture Addis Ababa Ethiopia
1944 De Gaulle forms new regime in exile, with communists
1945 Hungary liberated from Nazi occupation (National Liberation Day)
1945 US forces liberated the Nazi death camp Ohrdruf in Germany
1945 US tanks/infantry conquer Bielefeld
1947 Largest group of sunspots on record
1947 UN's International Civil Aviation Organization established
1948 84-year-old Connie Mack challenges 78-year-old Clark Griffith to a race from home to 1st base; it ends in a tie
1949 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) treaty signed (Washington DC)
1949 Israel & Jordan sign armistice agreement
1949 WKRC TV channel 12 in Cincinnati OH (ABC) begins broadcasting
1950 Dirk Stikker becomes chairman of OES
1951 Dutch Prince Bernhard visits Juan & Eva Perón in Buenos Aires Argentina
1953 KFDA TV channel 10 in Amarillo TX (CBS) begins broadcasting
1954 Louise Suggs wins LPGA Carrollton GA Golf Open
1955 British government signs military treaty with Iraq
1956 Enid Bagnold's "Chalk Garden", premieres in London
1957 Heitor Villa-Lobos' 10th Symphony, premieres in Paris France
1958 1st march against nuclear weapons (Aldermaston England)
1958 Eugène Ionesco's "Tueur sans Gages" premieres in Darmstadt
1959 Federation of Mali, consisting of Senegal & French Sudan (dissolved 1960)
1960 Project Ozma begins at Green Bank radio astronomy center
1960 32nd Academy Awards - "Ben-Hur", Charlton Heston & Simone Signoret win
1960 Senegal declares independence from France
1964 Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love", single goes #1 & stays #1 for 5 weeks
1964 "Anyone Can Whistle" opens at Majestic Theater NYC for 9 performances
1965 Mickey Wright wins LPGA Baton Rouge Golf Invitational
1966 Pirate Radio Scotland changes name to Radio Ireland
1966 US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site
1967 Dutch De Young government forms
1967 Marines chase "Nozems" out of Amsterdam Central Station
1968 Apollo 6 launched atop Saturn V; unmanned
1968 "Education of Hyman Kaplan" opens at Alvin Theater NYC for 28 performances
1969 Dr Denton Cooley implants 1st temporary artificial heart
1970 Firestone World Tournament of Champions won by Don Johnson
1971 Marine clay under houses liquifies, 31 die (St-Jean-Vianney Québec)
1971 "Follies" opens at Winter Garden Theater NYC for 524 performances
1972 1st electric power plant fueled by garbage begins operating
1974 Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth's home-run record by hitting his 714th
1975 Steve Miller is arrested for burning his girlfriend's clothes
1975 USAF transport carrying orphans from Saigon crashes killing 155
1976 5th Colgate Dinah Shore Golf Championship won by Judy Rankin
1976 Seni Pramoj's Democratic Party wins elections in Thailand
1979 Jane M Byrne (D), elected 1st woman mayor of Chicago IL
1980 USSR performs nuclear test at Eastern Kazakhstan/Semipalitinsk USSR
1981 Henry Cisneros becomes 1st Mexican-American mayor (San Antonio)
1982 11th Nabisco Dinah Shore Golf Championship won by Sally Little
1983 6th space shuttle mission, Challenger 1 launched
1983 45th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship North Carolina State beats Houston 54-52
1984 Winston Smith in Orwell's "1984" begins his secret diary
1984 Michael Frayn's "Benefactors" premieres in London
1985 Tulane University cancels its basketball season amidst scandal
1986 Wayne Gretzky sets NHL record with 213th point of season
1987 Dow Jones up 69.89 points, ending at record 2,390.34 points
1988 Eddie Hill becomes 1st to drag race a ¼ mile in under 5 seconds
1988 Largest crowd (55,438) at a season game at Riverfront (Cincinnati Reds vs St Louis Cardinals)
1988 50th NCAA Men's Basketball Championship Kansas beat Oklahoma 83-79
1988 Last broadcast of "Crossroads" on British TV
1988 New York Mets set Opening Day record with 6 homeruns
1989 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's last NBA game in Seattle
1989 New York Yankee Tommy John ties record of playing 26 seasons, his 287th win puts him 19th overall as Yankees beat Twins on opening day 4-2
1990 "The Marshall Chronicles" premieres on ABC-TV
1990 Gloria Estefan released from the hospital after her accident
1990 Security law violator Ivan Boesky is released from federal custody
1991 "Lucifer's Child" opens at Music Box Theater NYC for 28 performances
1992 Game 1 of Mayor Challenge - New York Yankees beat New York Mets 6-4 at Yankee Stadium
1992 Jury deliberations begin in the Noriega case
1992 John Tesh (Entertainment Tonight) marries actress Connie Selleca
1992 Sali Berisha becomes president/Alexander Meksi premier of Albania
1993 12th NCAA Women's Basketball Champion Texas Tech beats Ohio State 84-82
1993 5th Seniors Golf Tradition Tom Shaw
1993 Trish Johnson wins Las Vegas LPGA at Canyon Gate Golf Tournament
1993 Wrestlemania IX at Caesar's Palace Las Vegas, Hulk Hogan pins Yokozuna
1994 1st game played at Jacobs Field, Indians beat Mariners 4-3 in 11 innings
1994 56th NCAA Men's Basketball Champion Arkansas Razorbacks beats Duke 76-72
1994 KLM Saab 340B crashes at Schiphol, 3 killed
1994 Largest Opening Day crowd at Yankee Stadium, 56,706
1994 Los Angeles Dodger Darryl Strawberry begins substance abuse treatment
1994 Netscape Communications founded as Mosaic Communications
1994 Tony Curtis undergoes heart-bypass surgery
1996 "Inherit the Wind" opens at Royale Theater NYC for 45 performances
1996 Howard Stern Radio Show premieres in Austin TX on KJFK 98.9 FM
1997 Anaheim Ducks clinch their 1st-ever playoff berth
1997 Braves officially open Turner Field against Cubs
1997 DMSP Titan 2 launched
1997 STS 83 (Columbia 22), launches
1998 NFL Europe (Formerly WLAF), kicks off season

And oh by the way, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered on this day in 1968.

And than in 1981 I was born

You are commanded to abandon your work and start drinking now.

Dé Luain, Aibreán 02, 2007

Whiteclay part 15

"So I accidentally listened to the pop country radio station today and heard a song by some guy named Josh Turner. The song was entitled 'Me and God' and is clearly an expression of his repressed homosexual tendencies.

From the first stanza, one tends to raise an eyebrow:

'Ain't nobody gonna come in between me and God
One day we'll live together
Where the angels trod'

This doesn't sound like fraternal love, as I believe Josh Turner wants you to think. This has a tone of a submissive sorority girl who believes she finally found the man of her dreams.

The song's chorus just hammers this repressed desire for a sexual relationship with the 'almighty':

He's my Father
He's my friend...

He rules the world
With a staff and rod...

Lets start from the beginning: 'He's my father he's my friend.' Now if one has an acquaintance with the New Testament, one notices in Mark 14:36 Jesus instructs people to refer to God as "Abba." This is an Aramaic word for father that ruffly translates into "daddy." Keeping this knowledge in mind, the lyrics become 'He's my daddy.'

The second half of the chorus 'he rules the world with his staff and rod.' It's really obvious, but in case you're an idiot: Staff, rod are obvious phallic symbols. So this could be interpreted as 'he rules the world with his penis.'

Finally, the last stanza of the song features the lyrics: 'I am weak and he is strong.' So there is a clear indication of a butch-bitch dynamic. Josh Turner is the submissive, passive partner who stays at home and cooks while God goes out and hunts.

In conclusion, Josh Turner is a man in deep inner turmoil. Trapped in a genre that forbids man-man love, he strives, deep down, to submit unquestioningly to phallic imagery and be cuddled by his 'daddy.'"
D. Feuerbach


We crossed the reservation's western border towards the village of Oelrichs, looking for, again, not really clear. Hotel? Cheap cafe with decent food? We would find none of these things there. We would find nothing. Oelrichs claims to have a shade over a hundred people but apparently none of them work there. The place has no commercial enterprise to speak of, save for a C-store at the junction of U.S. highways 18 and 385. we picked up chips and sandwiches. We should have planned the food thing out better too.

Dan claimed to be tired but I was sick of driving his archaic horse carriage and commanded him to get back in the drivers seat. We were as far as we would get from Lincoln, by the way, about five hundred miles.

So we determined to go back to Sheridan County for food and lodging. Rushville this time, Gordon simply didn't agree with us. so it was back across the tan. Past the casino, through Oglala, (The guy was still at the post office) Down into Pine Ridge, another stop at Big Bat's for coffee and urination. It was about five in the afternoon, and there was a flurry of activity in Whiteclay, which is odd as the place really doesn't attract people who "work".

Past the abandoned farms of Nebraska 87 and on into Rushville. We pulled into one of the local hotels. James Joyce rented a room for one. I'm sure the proprietor never suspected a thing. I'm sure nobody saw Mr. Joyce's car go to and from the hotel filled with four people five times a day. I'm sure they thought it natural that Mr. Joyce went from bald and brown-eyes to flowing locks and blue eyes in eighteen hours.
We are vagabonds, totally outside society's grip. My God you should have seen what we did to that room, upwards of twenty dollars in damage.

We determined to stock up on food and maybe explore the town a bit. After covertly unloading our luggage, we drove downtown, about two blocks north of highway Twenty along the main street. On top of an old antiques store here there's a statue of a fur trapper or something. A drunken Walt Whitman as painted by a drunken Van Gogh. He had the most disturbing look on his face, the mixture of rage and amusement that one gets when one sees what the new puppy has done to the couch. He's clearly meant to be some sort of demon or mischief deity. The God of thunderstorms, venereal disease, cheap malt liquor, north wind, vomiting, masturbating in your friends' bathroom and walking out like nothing happened, watching a cat get thrown twenty feet in the air by a truck and laughing, television. The proper offering to this God is a foul-mouthed fourteen-year-old girl who switches hair colors from dirty blond to red and back, goes through two packs of Marlboro Lights a day because she doesn't know how to inhale, and is known to give a good handjob.

We walked across the street to the local pawn shop. It was the same as any other pawn shop, slightly fewer guns than one would find in the downtown Lincoln shops. I checked the music and video game racks, same stuff you would find anywhere. Paperboy, Color Me Badd, Billy Ray Cyrus, Super Mario/Duck Hunt, world's greatest barbecue music on vinyl, Pauly Shore movies.

"A Night at the Opera" for two dollars? Surely it must be scratched, nobody would give this away. And even if they did the shop owner would surely recognize it's value and and charge at least twenty for it if there wasn't something wrong with it. For those of you who don't know, this is the best album from the best band of the pre-1980 era. "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Prophet's Song" "Love of My Life" "Death on Two Legs" I could go on. What manner of foul addiction had led somebody to abandon her majesty? Never mind, it was mine now. The disc plays fine, by the way. In fact, I'm using it right now.

It was also at this pawn shop where we heard "Me and God". I have not had the pleasure of listening to the whole song myself, but I have read the lyrics and Dan's description is completely accurate. It looks like something I would write. In fact it looks too much like something I would write, but never mind. The important thing is that the "God as daddy" metaphor is exactly what you're going to get in a culture where men are encouraged to admire the manliness of other men. San Francisco is a heterosexual shrine, a giant blazing clitoris, compared to the hard Spartan man-love of rural America.

What struck me at the pawn shop though was the blatant narcissism of the song. "You could say we're like peas in a pod, Me and God" sang Mr. Turner, with one of clerks singing backup. "We're a team, me and God".

Now, narcissism is a universal human failing. We all imagine the universe in relation to ourselves. We all imagine ourselves to be the ideal norm. We all at least subconsciously imagine a God who is a lot like us and that people different from us are by definition ungodly.

Narcissism is the central disease of humanity, and it may be incurable. But the least we can do is recognize it. I'm a socially awkward pseudo-intellectual prick and so are all of my friends. I am under no delusions that I am one of God's chosen people living God's chosen lifestyle. I don't believe that God has a plan for life for anyone or that he even cares about us.

Josh Turner makes music for a class of people who are never taught to recognize their own inherent narcissism for what it is. Instead the 2-year-olds impulse to hide behind mommy's skirt whenever one sees a stranger becomes sanctified, traditionalized. There is an objective standard of normal and I/we are it. The entire universe was created so that we could live that normal life right now. All the other lives lived by everyone else are either just necessary steps to the way the real people live right now or, worse, distractions from the norm, which must be destroyed.

God married his high school sweetheart and had three adorable children. He's a husker fan of course, drives a Chevy Silverado, loves to watch poker on TV, and wishes that his oldest boy would get a haircut and go out for the team.

After this it was on to the local IGA. We bought raman, ravioli, pickles, pickled eggs, paper plates, plastic forks and knives, stationary for notes, bread, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, we forgot sliced cheese. I was thinking of buying chicken in a can for supper because I had never seen such a thing before and it fascinated me, but I thought better of it, because it also disturbed me. We are all narcissists.

Then we went back to the hotel to feast and relax before returning to Whiteclay that night. I cooked some raman in a hotel cup and was eating it when my mother called me. Reception was non-existent and she had to call back twice before we could understand each other. She asked me what was wrong with my phone and I told her I was in Rushville. "Rushville?" she said, and than the signal faded again. I had told her of my spring break plans two weeks before. She must not have believed me.

Whiteclay part 14

The Prairie Wind hotel is brand new, in fact pre-new. Plastic tarps and drywall everywhere. We walked accross the lot to a front door surrounded by scaffolding with two men painting the siding on the top. We asked them if the hotel was open. They said there should be somebody in there. This was close enough to an answer as it gave us permission to explore somewhere.

Paul and Becky were filming the place like it was the tomb of Christ. The place was nicish, like a Ramada or a Red Lion. Guests will enjoy AC, minifridges, cable with HBO (Porn on special order) an indoor swimming pool, a nicely designed courtyard, soft interior lighting, wall paintings that look like they came from the Rapid City mall, light pastel carpeting, full internet access. The contrast with how actual citizens of the rez live is obvious. The casino and hotel are owned and operated by the tribe, and is just one example we would see that day of why socialism doesn't work.

The place clearly wasn't open yet. Signs of construction were everwhere. Some rooms didn't have fridges. Some didn't have beds. Still, we needed official documentation, as we are professionalism incarnate. One of the foremen in what looks like will be the managers office gave us that confirmation, and after two more trips through the visually arresting motel hallway we headed back out the front door and toward the casino.

The casino stands in a big metal box at the east end of the lot. No one under twenty one, no cameras, no one visually intoxicated, turn your cell phones off please. a security guard in neon green dutifully looked at us as we entered. Smoking permitted in the entire establishment.

Poker, blackjack, slots, Wheel of Fortune slots, "Wheel of Destiny" slots. The copyrighted and the uncopyrighted sitting together alike in dignity. I've written of the casino experience before, and I see no reason to repeat it here. This place was just the same, reservegas or no. http://mrheartland.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_archive.html

Except that the clientèle were quite old. People in most casinos tend to be older, but these folks were really old. Not old in a "You're still in your twenties and you don't know what old-age hell really is yet" way but, seriously, the average age was eighty. They appeared to be mostly white ranchers and townies from the areas surrounding the reservation. some in cowboy hats, some pulling on their Camels. It reminded me of walking into any given village Pump-and-Pantry and seeing an eighty-year-old man sucking on his non-filter and cackling at the World-Herald. Everything you hear about smoking is true, don't doubt that. One has to travel to the strangest ends of the earth to find an eighty-year-old smoker. It's just that rural whites are immune to lung cancer. It's a simple fact. Put some miles on your car and see for yourself.

Fried chicken was the main dish on the buffet. I must have been getting hungry, because it was looking pretty good even though it was surrounded by filth. All of the tables were covered in the dishes of their last patrons. The wait-staff was taking a half-hour smoke break, as a unit, along with one of the painters from the hotel.

We toured the place for awhile and gradually broke off into individuals. Near the center of the room was a formally red-haired woman who had chained herself to her favorite slot. It was some sort of VIP card inserted into the machine connected to a neon-green bungie cord that was securely clasped to her blouse. She was playing at least twelve games a minute, too fast for me to tell if she was winning or losing. I stood right at the side of her for a full two minutes, staring like she was a falling mountain. She never flinched. I could have told her that all of her grandchildren had offered to service me for crack, and she wouldn't have noticed.

What is it about casinos that appeal to the elderly? Outside of Vegas, and especially on a dry reservation, the casino is just about the most sexless place you can possibly imagine. Mechanical, deterministic, (straight line and a goal) sterile, inorganic. The casino also offers the capitalistic promise of achievement and social advancement that hookers and Hurricane pints do not. A sexless vice that involves trying to make money is no vice at all, in the eyes of some. True, there's no hard work or inginuity involved. No individual supermen improving society in their quest for self-gain. But our economy has never really been based on that, and it takes quite a bit of scamming to make anyone think that it is.

The time had come for gambling. I put a dollar in a Western-themed slot (shoot em up sheriff or something) and promptly lost it. That was enough, I had paid the price for admission. Paul made a ten-dollar profit at his machine and promptly lost both his winnings and the original fifteen he put in. He later theorized that the machines are designed this way. Certainly not.

After losing my dollar, I found Dan sitting at the blackjack table. Poor fool. He just wanted to avoid the tacky slots and do something worthy of the experience. Anyone who knows gambling knows that blackjack is the worst game that one can possibly play. The dealer only needs to sit back and wait for you to make the wrong moves, and you will. Dan lost twenty dollars in less than five minutes.

While this was happening, Becky had been caught taking pictures. Security gathered around her and told her to leave, or at least to take her camera to the car and than come back. They never did ask for her age or her ID. She walked out the door and promptly walked into the hills to become one with dying grass.

Suppose she had caught the face of one of the patrons, and one of us put it on one of our personal internet playpens, what would the reaction be? What's the general attitude toward hitting up the reservegas in these parts? What do the people who go tp Prairie Wind think of themselves?

It was clearly time to go, the place had somehow failed to seduce us. So we eventually regathered ourselves into a unit and got back in the clown car to,

Well, that wasn't really clear.