Dé Luain, Aibreán 28, 2008

Red-Headed Stranger

My God, every time I hear this album I'm ashamed of myself for somehow forgetting, if not on a conscious level than certainly an emotional one, how unbearably glorious it is. I writing this as a personal letter to all my Neko Case-loving cats; in case you were wondering who her artistic father is, now you know.

Hearing "Hands on the Wheel" again was the most life-affirming experience I've had in several weeks.

And oh for fucks sake won't you look at me gush away? Fuck everything, there that's better.

Dé Máirt, Aibreán 22, 2008

N 27th Street Shuffle.

I walked to campus without a jacket, and got caught in the cold front.

I was a little slow to move when it was time to go home, I needed to resist the urge to take an afternoon nap, I needed to finish "Pride and Prejudice" and start my paper on it, and pick up cat litter and groceries for myself, and stay awake, and keep working, and keep working.

It was forty degrees and cloudy. I stepped on the Uni Place bus at a quarter to four knowing that it would eventually head eastish. We were caught in the normal crawl along R from Greek row to the Lied when the car in front of us stopped suddenly, forcing the bus the to do the same. We all jerked forward in our seats, the sound of every heavy-duty break in a 5-ton machine to an instant stop was similar to the crunch of a collision.

The teenagers in the back, white and black, from T-Town or Clinton judging by their dress and manner:

"Holy shit, holy shit did you see that."
"He fucking hit him dude"
"Oh fuck, I thought that was it."

50ish woman behind me; plastic sequined dress, face consisting of makeup, teeth, makeup, and something resembling eyesockets behind the makeup.

"Jesus Christ, shut the fuck up!!"

A white girl in a Walmart-tee from the back suddenly stood up and spoke to the driver

"Why don't you watch where your fucking going you piece of shit?"

Well he was watching where the fuck he was going, little.... miss, let's see you try to stop a bus on a dime, you mouthy little.... girl.

Makeup woman:
Jes--sus! Shut the fuck up!!!

The kids in the back began chattering, and they were not going to stop, they were excited at being excited, still young enough to be giddy at the fact that their words and emotions have influence over those of others. They're not going to shut the fuck up for at least five years.

"Shit dude, that was like Final Destination right there!"
"Did you see that shit, that was like Final Destination"
"Dude that shit was like Final Destination!"
Yes, nearly hitting a vehicle not one tenth the size of ours at five miles an hour is the ultimate near-death experience.

(On a side-note, I must say that I agree with the sentiment that the mere mention of "Final Destination" is unceasingly funny. I now understand the true genius of "The Family Guy" and now intend to make my living as a stand-up comic. My act will consist of reading off a list of films released in the past twenty years for two hours.)

The centrality of the illusion of control in America. True, a large reason why *normal people (* The minority with a stable source of food, transportation, and medical care) don't ride the bus is because of "those people," I have my class biases the same as anyone else does, but as much as I do go on, the fact is that "those people" are actually quite a bit less irritating than the typical *normal person.
But never mind, those people are mainly just an excuse. The real reason we don't ride the bus is that we feel safer in little clown cars or big manly-looking SUV's with the balance of broken teter-totters that we PERSONALLY CONTROL than we do riding in buses that could survive a small bombing that are driven by someone else. This illusion of control extends even to the lower classes, to people who are supposedly used to not having control. A fourteen year old girl got to yell at an all grown up city employee, and of course she liked it.

At the 11th and N shop a woman got on who worked at McDonald's and lived with her mother, and her siblings, younger and older, and her aunts and her first and second cousins.

There are cultures in which where even the poor and uneducated have means of emphasizing the importance of some particular point besides shear volume. Ours is not one of them.


I'll spare you her stories about how rigorously the hand-washing policy at McDonald's is enforced. In all honesty though, if you actually eat at McDonald's than a little Salmonella or anything else that will make you lose a quick ten pounds can't help but be good for you.

I stepped off at 25th and P. I had learned nothing I hadn't known. Just some more damned noise is all.

Dé Domhnaigh, Aibreán 20, 2008

Chicago B

Memorial Stadium, Schram, Harper, State Fair Park, Cornhusker, Havelock, 84th U-Stop, Waverly, Greenwood, Ashland Gretna, the same Lincoln-to Omaha jugular that we could drive blind. I'm sure your perfectly free to commute from Lincoln to Omaha via Amtrak, just pay fifty dollars to leave Lincoln at 4:30, and get dropped off right under the Dodge Street bridge around six or so.

The line wonders listlessly through the Omaha metro, from Gretna to the industrial area between Ralston and Millard, Ralston, South O, under the freeway bridges, the station, back south along the river, Bellevue, Offut, and than finally crossing into Iowa at Plattsmouth, a solid forty miles within the Omaha area.

The track wraps around the west edge of a new subdivision near Gretna, the residents tend to have very big back windows, we were rolling at no more then thirty miles an hour. It was about 6:30 at this time, and I could clearly see women organizing their purses, men straightening their ties, parents serving their children breakfast.

This is what you get from the ludicrously slow California Zephyr, intimacy. No generic Days Inn and Burger King tourist strips here. Instead it's backyards and dogs and professionals getting ready for the day and endless lumber yards and filthy gravel pools of water that the eye can follow to the point where whatever is leaking out of the wood and junk piles flows into the local stream, abandoned hotels, decaying wooden long buildings, junkyards from every curve and angle, like the one the one between Ralston and South O, the one that covers acres, the one I'm not sure that even the locals are fully aware of, or the one between Naperville and the inner ring of Chicago suburbs, that covers at least a dozen square miles.

It was cloudy and gloaming when we reached the Omaha station, so it was impossible to tell whether it was officially sunrise or not. 6:50: It was a ten-minute long "smoke stop" the others coming at Osceola and Galesburg. Other than that it was two minutes at some market town in Iowa or Illinois, a Casey's a Dollar Store, churches, lumber yards, and polluted runoff. The landscape consists of this and corn, five hundred miles of corn, unchanging until you reach the Chicago metro. the idea that the parched matchhead yellow of the western Nebraska hills is less interesting than the true flatness of the eastern plains is nonsense. Here is true dreariness, it was cloudy and rainy and no more than forty five degrees for the entire trip.

The line goes right down the banks of the Missouri, and the illusion of the water dancing in and out of your line of vision is fascinating. There were only two other people awake in my car, playing with their cellphones, shining white light on their faces, the darkness of the night lingered in the car for the entire trip.

I went to the dining car and got the cheapest proper meal available, seven dollars for rubbery scrambled eggs and "breakfast potatoes." (cold, unhashed hashbrowns.) I had my camera primed for the Missouri crossing, right next to the US 34 toll bridge, but then it came, and I realized that this had to be the ugliest Goddamn major river crossing in America. Western Iowa was corn and powerlines.

Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 16, 2008

The Pope on Pedophile Priests

“It’s difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betrayed in this way their mission to give healing, to give the love of God to these children,”- Benedict XVI

Are you sure you want to phrase it that way, Your Holiness?

Family Guy Fans

It's strange, because I talk to these people. By that I mean, I'll ask a Family Guy fan a question, and he will respond in a manner that pertains to the question. So I know these folks are smart enough to have learned the language of their own mothers.

I have also seen them react to stimuli, that is, turn their heads in the direction of a screeching car nearby, or blink when a light is shone in their faces. It could be logically assumed that if I threw a bowling ball at a Family Guy fan, he would have enough intelligence to duck.

But then I realize that these "people" think that the mere mention of Qubert is funny in and of itself, and I know that I must be hallucinating about the aforementioned abilities.

Dé Luain, Aibreán 14, 2008

I knew this Girl in High School Once

Who listed "eat, drink, and be merry" among her favorite quotes for some project in theology class and attributed it to Dave Matthews.

The disturbing thing is that this was not and is not a stupid woman, quite the opposite. And the traditional, classical education offered by a Catholic school is at least theoretically better than what you get at a Catholic school.

The theology teacher was an ex-marine who had had a testicle removed due to cancer. Lance Armstrong is his hero.

We'll still run into each other about once every two years or so, and are pretty open about our mutual scorn, it's the most honest relationship I have.

Dé Sathairn, Aibreán 12, 2008

Obama Slammed by Right for Speaking Blindingly Obvious Truth

"You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them…And they fell through the Clinton Administration, and the Bush Administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.
And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
- Sen. Obama

Response from Steve Schmidt, McCain adviser:

It shows an elitism and condescension towards hardworking Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking,” Schmidt said. “It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.”

Yup, that's right. Any suggestion that there could possibly be anything wrong with the precious snowflake culture that is the AMERICAN HEARTLAND is "elitism."

The "average American" comment is especially rich. The fact that small-town Americans can possibly still imagine themselves to be America Incarnate after a century of rural flight is a testament to the power of human delusion. We are an empire of three hundred million people, hundreds of intermixed ethnic groups, dozens of finely delineated and contradictory economic castes, and innumerable shades of different religious beliefs, hobbies, tastes in art or music, understandings of the world, etc.

If there was ever any such thing as an average American, those days are long dead. Residents of south Chicago have just as much of a right to declare themselves "average Americans" as the Wahoo homecoming queen, and though
the right is rather overt in it's opinion that the inner-city poor are an aberration from the "real America" (Never mind that they outnumber the small-town snowflakes.) far be it for me to suggest that they are racist, or even "elitist"
for doing so.

Just willfully blind is all.

For a good time, read the comments at righty blog Hot Air:


Déardaoin, Aibreán 10, 2008

Virgin Martyr Rollcall

St Lucy:

Born: Doesn't matter
Died: 304 AD

"Hereupon our saint disclosed to her mother her desire of devoting herself to God in a state of perpetual virginity, and of bestowing her fortune on the poor: and Eutychia, in gratitude, left her at full liberty to pursue her pious inclinations. The young nobleman, with whom the mother had treated about marrying her, came to understand this by the sale of her jewels and goods, and the distribution of the price among the poor, and in his rage accused her before the governor Paschasius as a Christian, the persecution of Diocletian then raging with the utmost fury. The judge commanded the holy virgin to be exposed to prostitution in a brothel" house; but God rendered her immovable, so that the guards were not able to carry her thither. He also made her an over-match for the cruelty of the persecutors, in overcoming fire and other torments. After a long and glorious combat she died in prison of the wounds she had received,—about the year 304. She was honoured at Rome in the sixth century among the most illustrious virgins and martyrs, whose triumphs the church celebrates,"

St Agatha
Born: It doesn't fucking matter
Died: About 251 AD

"According to these Acts, the Praetor of Sicily, Quintianus, conceived a passion for Agatha, who was of noble birth and great beauty. And when he could not make her consent to his wicked desires, he had her arrested as a Christian and turned her over to an evil woman, named Aphrodisia, to be corrupted. Of such methods of breaking down Christian hardihood, Tertullian wrote to pagans: Ye, by condemning the Christian maid to the lewd youth, rather than to the brute lion, do acknowledge that we more dread a stain to purity than any torment or death; but your cruel cunning availeth only to gain men over to our holy religion.

But the companionship of Aphrodisia in the brothel made Agatha only the more determined to live faithful to Christ. So the Praetor ordered her brought before him that he might try to turn her from Christian living, which he declared to be fit only for slaves. Then the Praetor gave her the choice of sacrificing to the gods or undergoing torture. And when beatings, the rack and branding with white-hot metal failed to shake her constancy to Christ, he ordered her breasts cut off. Whereat Agatha cried out and said that he who had suckled at a mother's breasts should feel shame to order such cruel indignity done to a woman. But that night, after she had been returned in irons and pain to prison, the Apostle Peter appeared to her and healed her wounds.

The following day she was subjected to new tortures. But an earthquake from Mount Etna, shook the town and terrified the people. Whereupon the Praetor, fearing a riot, ordered Agatha to be returned quietly to prison. And there, in the town of Catania, she died at peace, in prayer, on February 5th, and her body was taken and buried by Christians."


St Agnes

Died: About 303

"Agnes, whose name means “chaste” in Greek, was a beautiful young girl of wealthy family and therefore had many suitors of high rank. Details of her story are unreliable, but legend holds that the young men, slighted by Agnes' resolute devotion to religious purity, submitted her name to the authorities as a follower of Christianity.

The governor, following an edict against Christians issued in 303 by the Roman emperor Diocletian, threatened the young girl with torture. The threats did not intimidate the steadfast Agnes , however, and the enraged official sent her to a house of prostitution. Approaching her, the brothel's patrons would be seized with such awe at the holy sight of the girl that they could not touch her. One brazen young man remained undeterred, but as he neared her he was struck blind and fell to the ground; Agnes later restored his sight with prayer.

The governor, incensed by her youthful defiance, sentenced Agnes to an untimely death. It is not known whether the execution was by beheading or by the piercing of the throat, but the story tells of her ready submission to the sentence by offering herself to receive the death blow. According to St. Ambrose, one of her chroniclers, she “went to the place of execution more cheerfully than others go to their wedding.”


St Marciana
Died: "End of the third Century"

Entering the city by the Tipasia door, Marciana saw a marble statue of the goddess Diana in the middle of a square. At its feet flowed clear waters in a pool also made of marble. The brave virgin could not bear the sight of that impure idol. She stepped forward and threw the idol from its base, broke its head and smashed the entire statue into pieces.

A furious mob dragged her to the Pretorium before an imperial magistrate. The Christian virgin laughed at the stone and wood gods, and glorified the true God she adored. In loud, eloquent words, she praised Him there in the Pretorium. The pagan judge handed her over to the gladiators to be infamously abused at their pleasure. Marciana remained fearless and serene. For three hours the gladiators were rendered immobile by an unknown terror, and were unable to touch the virgin. Through her prayers one of them converted and professed Jesus Christ as the true God.

Confused by this development of events, the judge remained firm in his hatred. Unable to dishonor the virgin, he condemned her to be torn to pieces by wild beasts. When the hour arrived, she entered the arena as to a joyful feast, giving praise and thanks to Jesus Christ. She was tied to a stake and a lion was set upon her. The beast, however, approached her, touched her breast with its claws, and then retired as though moved by a stronger force.

St. Marciana was not harmed by the lion in the arena
In admiration, the populace called out loudly demanding that she be set free. But a group of Jews who were part of the multitude, always thirsty for Christian blood, changed the mood of the crowd by calling for a wild bull. The beast gored the breast of Marciana opening a terrible wound. The blood poured out and St. Marciana fell to the sand in agony. Servants removed her from the arena, stopped the hemorrhaging, and nurtured what little life remained to her.

The judge, however, called for her to be tied to the stake again. She raised her eyes to Heaven, a smile illuminating her face marked by suffering, and spoke her last words:

O Christ, I adore and love Thee. Thou wert with me in the prison and kept me pure. Now Thou dost call me – O my Divine Master – and I go happily to Thee. Receive my soul.

After she spoke these words, a ferocious leopard tore her apart, opening the road of Heaven to her


Dé Céadaoin, Aibreán 09, 2008

The Miracle of Life

We watched this sex-ed documentary in my eleventh grade biology class, if I remember right the title wasn't exactly "The Miracle of Life" but something similar; complete with vaginal-wall cam and uterovision. Perfectly graphic, nothing obscured or faded out. You may be surprised to learn a Catholic school would subject its students to extreme close-up views of a thrusting penis or the army of spermatozoa battling their way through the dead ends and black holes of the lady.

But it was quite deviously brilliant, if you think about it. It is impossible to watch this film and be filled with anything but loathing for sex and reproduction. I'm thinking especially of the aforementioned vaginal-wall cam and thrusting penis. My God; the sight of that mushroomhead suddenly appearing and hurling itself towards you; until your entire line of vision is enveloped by head-of-dick, and every pore and dent of head-of-dick can be seen perfectly by your Gulliveresque microbe eyes.

And then comes the orgasm, which is actually very comforting by comparison, soothing in the matter of mixing a cup of hot tea or staring into a lava-lamp after a six-day coke party, you see the blending of these contrasting fluids and think that perhaps there really is something beautiful about this union between the sexes.

But then comes the malignant-tumor zygote, followed by the hellish superterrestrial demon fetus, and the birth.

The birth.

You speak of the miracle and beauty of life. I don't believe that you've ever had the pleasure of seeing placental matter ejected from a nine-inch-wide vagina.

Perhaps if it were my own wife birthing my own child, I would learn to find this sudden vomiting of bloody flesh to be something more than horrifying. But I really don't think so; I mean, I really don't think so.

My ancestral faith teaches me that sex is a filthy and shameful thing; and in fact this is not completely untrue. The main problem with this idea is its narrowness; its failure to follow its own logical thread to where it must go. Because the fact is that all biological processes are profoundly disgusting. We bury our dead because if we left them out to rot it would remind us that we are all pollutants. Nothing but water degraded with nitrogen and carbon and cadmium and phosphorus and arsenic and lithium and every variety of comic book supervillain shit that makes a nuclear reactor seem pristine by comparison.

Universal sterility; the extinction of the human race after my generation, why not?
You may speak of biological imperatives, but you know as well as I do that there's no such God damned thing. Life on earth is nothing but a funny quirk of chemistry; coming from nothing and leading to nothing. Reproduce, and in five generations your genetic input will be statistically irrelevant. Fathers be good to your daughters.

The extinction of the human race, why not? It is highly doubtful that we're ever going to be any smarter than we are now, and we're certainly never going to get any cleaner, do you really want to subject future generations to eighty years of wondering around and feeling so damned silly?

Dé Luain, Aibreán 07, 2008


With all the sincerity that my cynical, nonathletic, anti alpha-male sensibility can give, congratulations to our leaguemates.

Dé hAoine, Aibreán 04, 2008

On This Day in History

Well, never mind.

It's also my 27th birthday.