Déardaoin, Bealtaine 29, 2008

Watching TBN in a state of hyper-awareness

Veterans being honored in a tunnel of stars and stripes. Pray for our rulers. Pray for presidents and prime ministers, pray for those who have authority and their will be peace in your life. The storm of Yahwah lashes an arrogant land and brings darkness to the home of Back To The Bible.

Kenneth Copeland; God will perform. (Say it with me, he will perform.)
Kenneth Copeland, mocking the hypothetical orphan taken in by a wealthy Christian family. "I want to meet my biological mother" he says in a third-grade mocking tone. Why? Copeland asks. Such is the love of God for his people.

Dr. Creflo Dollar.
God will cure your debt.
God will cure your debt if you believe.
Stop trying to think your way out of debt.
"That smart head of yours got you into debt in the first place, now didn't it?"
(Nods and grumbles of agreement."
"Turn off the part of your brain that THINKS and turn on the part the BELIEVES in the UNLIMITED POWER OF GAWD."

Faith in the White House
Fields of Crucified Strawmen.
Liberal critics quoted in mocking-third grade tones.
Out of context in such a manner as to make it appear as if they were bothered only by the president's religious faith and not the way it is used to justify Iraq, Patriot act, homosexual pyramids.
Actress playing young Barbara Bush portrayed with unmistakably Marian glow.

President's drinking days presented as both story of redemption and proof of manliness. Midland Texas is an Eden where the blatantly feudalistic mingle with their barrel-chested employees.

President heroically rejects temptations of secretary-succubus-witch, despite protestations of congressman ""whose name you would immediately recognize."

Religion makes you a better person.
You must choose.
There is only fundamentalist Christian morality or Gomorrac nihilism.

Only President Bush can lead in the greatest national crisis since the Civil War. (World War II, Cuban Missile "Crisis" oh please.)
Thank God we don't have a European style relativist-socialist-atheist-witch.

I sweat profusely and stare at myself from outside with a clarity that my nation is above.

Dé Céadaoin, Bealtaine 28, 2008

I Think I've Made My Peace With North Platte.

I've always found those who think that one is not a true patriot unlessone thinks that the U.S. is superior and entitled to exert its will rather strange. We love what is ours because it is ours, without justification.

And yet I have never been able to feel that way about my hometown. The Marilyn Manson Hoodies Nickleback on the jukebox, and pathetic alpha-male tattoos have never reminded me of anything but my wasted years, and I hated it all and them all.

But now I think that, yes, I do feel warm towards these folk. It isn't love, neccessarily. But I can emphesize with their anger, their confusion, their rage/envy towards those places that are not at the edge of the world.

I've told my family that my hair is unkempt because I hate barbers. I can tell that they think I'm just being flip; that they are unable to comprehend that I really would suffer all of the social liabilities that come with wild hair rather than suffer five seconds of barber talk. Fine.

My father stays up watching soft-core Cinemax porn after mom goes to bed, and exaggerates my grandmother's memory problems. Fine. She is in her eighties, and clearly is losing it; but it is also clear that she will go to her grave with a basic understanding of what is happening to all of her descendents and their spouses. She is aware enough, and Grandpa faces death with all of the courage and grace that Catholicism promises it will give us.

Dad liked "No Country for old Men." Mom found it unberably strange. It's kind of funny, because mom is the smart one. But she is also deferential to a fault. Always searching for concensious and normality, a mother if you will. My father, rightous defender that he is, almost certainly didn't approve of the bad guy getting away, but he is also the kind of man who would have had a gutteral understanding of Cormac McCarthy's bleakly defiant masculinist vision, that one must protect one's family from death incarnate not in spite of the fact that it is futile, but specifically because it is futile.

I've learned to love the space that a western town gives itself; the wide streets that are dead by ten o'clock, seemingly every yard big enough for two loud, raggady-ass, dogs, the new butt-rock radio station that will help ol Flatrock get over its inferiority complex towards even its peers; other outstate market towns like Grand Island or Norfolk.

Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 24, 2008

So For Those That Know me, The Story of my Cat Situation

I happened to be walking to the neighborhood liquor store sometime around the turn of April. The cat that was to become Telly was sitting in one of the unmowed yards around 23rd and Q. She meowed at me and I said hello. Then she came up to me and I gave her a pat.

She proceeded to follow me, determinedly so. Whenever I would stride more than twenty feet ahead I would hear an angry meow and turn back to see her bounding towards me. I came in and out of Mums with my Sunday night pint of Beck's and saw her clawing at the wall wondering where I was, and from there she continued to follow me home. I came to notice that I was gaging oncoming traffic to see if there was time for both of us to cross.

When we came to my apartment house I figured that it was the least I could do to give her one of my tins of tuna. She was visibly malnourished, bag of bones and all that.
The next day I gave her a bath to wash off the street grime that was far too thick for her to lick off herself. She took this as well as you could guess.

I spent the next week putting out internet ads that went unanswered. I did have some hope in the Cat House, a no-kill shelter in my neighborhood, but they turned out to suffer the same fate of most no-kill shelters; overcrowding due to lack of death.

So Telly became my cat, and she came to gain a healthy amount of weight, and then she came to gain some more weight around the lower belly and nowhere else, and there were protrusions in this belly that strongly resembled legs.

And so the kittens came on Thursday-Friday. The eldest is twelve hours older than
his? siblings and is one of the two gray ones, Dad must of been a tabby. The other two resemble their calico mother. One has nearly the exact same orange/white band color pattern of mom and the other is almost completely orange. My next-door neighbor must have heard the high-pitched wail of the Prince of Wales, but so far he hasn't ratted me out to our landlord. (Hello, Mr. Anderson.)

It goes without saying that taking care of four newborn kittens in addition to their mother is completely beyond me. So I contacted the local humane society to see if we could work out some sort of loan program until my grandchildren are weened. This worked out as well as can be expected. If I were to turn the family into the pound, they would become city property. Telly would be spared or euthanasized base on her health/aesthetic beauty/temperament(!!!) after four days, and the kittens would be spared or killed based on the same pragmatic criteria. I would be lying if I said that I had a problem with this logic. Stray animals reproducing at random are a serious menace, and this is certainly the proper way to deal with everybody else's cat.

As for mine, I decided to follow the normal ghetto protocol for unwanted children and dump them off on grandma. My parents will take Telly and her brood in until the brats are weened and pass the kittens on to the lonely hearts of North Platte.

I pride myself on not being a superstitious man, but I also pride myself on seeing that which is before me for what it is; and I can't help but think that Telly was smart enough to know that she needed a human being to take care of her for the sake of her babies, and this is why she followed me home with the tenacity of a Catholic woman feeling guilty about still being single.

And yet she gives me the filthiest murder-look whenever I try to intervene in her affairs, and I must say that I like that in a woman.

Déardaoin, Bealtaine 22, 2008


Your brain and the world outside of it are completely and hopelessly independent of each other. Every emotion you feel for the universe outside of yourself and all of the people in it is false. There are no relationships. There is no bonding. There are no friendships. There is no love. There is no family. There is no sex. There is no patriotism. There is no country. There is no tradition. There is no symbolism. There is no ceremony. There is only a desire to connect that cannot possibly be fulfilled, and is itself born of the narcissistic desire to find purpose outside of oneself born of the horror of realizing the utter pointlessness and banality of one's own internal dialogue.

There is no escape. Have a nice "weekend".


If you don't have an honorary degree, than your free-speech rights are being violated.


Remember kids, calling a liberal a traitor for criticizing the president is free speech. Protesting Phyllis Schlafly because she assumes that every woman in the world is a leather slave like herself violates free speech.

Any questions?

So I'm Thinking of Going Home This Weekend

But I drove my van for the first time in four months today, and wouldn't you know it I'm low on oil and need to get it fixed up. I could afford it if I skimped on some vice or another, but it does raise the question, if I only made the three hour drive to North Platte say, once every three years or so, would that make me a bad son?

I'm thinking in particular of the Christmas of 06; my dad had ordered the new version of "The Longest Yard" on pay-per-view to watch with my sister and I while my mom was at work at the liquor store. I have a fair amount of respect for the old Burt Reynolds version. It certainly doesn't have the artistic quality of a "Godfather" or "French Connection", but it does have that same sort of August afternoon wariness, the sort of anti-authoritarianism and hangover-urine bitterness that made 1970's American cinema something we can be unabashedly proud of. It goes without saying that the Adam Sandler version does not fit this mold.

I remember when my mother came home Dad said with pride that "we had watched a funny movie together and had a good time." He actually believed that it had been a true bonding experience.

There was a point in the movie where I was flipping through the World-Herald and started laughing at a story about a Sudanese restaurant that was forcing baby monkeys
to fight each other for the amusement of its customers, and Dad must have thought I was laughing at one of Sandler's zany homoerotic shenanigans.

There was a point in the movie where actor/wrestler Goldberg was shirtless and triumphant about something, and my father muttered "What a man" to himself.

I've said before that there is no such thing as a man having a non-sexual appreciation for the masculinity of another man, and I stand by that statement. If you are not indifferent to another man's biceps, then you want to nibble at them, it's as simple as that.

And I suppose that I shouldn't be the least bit surprised at my father's latent gayness. He has all the attributes of a closet case; an obsession with proving his manliness at every opportunity to a point that a twelve-year-old boy would find silly, transparently insincere peons towards tolerance of gays, "I have no problems, with gays, I've just never seen a met a homo that was really happy," (I'll spare you his thoughts on lesbians.) and an obsession with the traditional masculine ideal of the father protecting his family from enemies that goes far beyond absurd. (We were visiting Lincoln when I was a boy, and while driving down a darkish section of O street he mentioned that he was driving faster to avoid the gangsters that were surely hanging out in the shadows, when I grew up I learned that this darkish section was Wyuka Cemetery.) This fantasy of his (There's no other word) with killing the intruder clearly indicates some deep hidden frustration that must be unloaded on another man with violent abandon.

But than it's all well and good to speak of the warped psyche of the rural American male in the abstract isn't it?" This is my father I write of, and I've already said far too much.

Dé Domhnaigh, Bealtaine 18, 2008

Chicago D

The sprawl isn't as bad as in the urban areas of California or Texas. By the time you reach the inner suburbs, Brookfield, Cicero, the neighborhoods very much take on the look of any midtown. Somewhere in Chicago proper is a massive junkyard, slightly to the northwest of where Jurgis Rudkis's Packingtown was. The line comes into Union Station along a large stack of tracks with chunks of industrial brickabrack lying all about the ground. Not an impressive enterence to the Loop by any means. But still, there was the Sears Tower.

It was the afternoon rush hour when I got off the train; 5:30 P.M. but damned if this place isn't well-designed, it's easy to move about quickly even when it's crowded.

The Art-Deco architectural touches are very nice, but beyond that the place has the same generic anywhere look you could find in any major metro train station, airport, or shopping mall for that matter. The corned newsstands with Cigar Aficionado and The New York Times on display, the food courts with the mix of national and somewhat less than culturally defining local chains, a little bar whose "Irishness" was denoted by green neon lighting and servers wearing green vests under their jackets.

But the cultural sterility has a strange sort of appropriateness here. Union Station is the pituitary gland of the Midwest. It is because of the railroad that Chicago was able to beat out St. Louis to become the great interior metropolis. The wars between competing lines are the reason why the California Zephyr meanders so; competing railroads drawing random lines from Chicago to Des Moines, St. Louis, Omaha, Kansas City, Twin Cities, Denver. If one line took the most direct route than simply make one up of your own, create towns out of thin air (Crete, Dorchester, Exeter, Friend) and send out flyers telling immigrants that the land is filled with milk and honey. So you end up with the ultimate all roads lead to Rome scenario; the highways follow the railroads after all. before the interstate was built there were about half a doezen driving routes from Denver to Omaha and no choice was more than half an hour shorter than any other. Drive east on O Street, down hwy 34, across the Plattesmouth bridge, and through Iowa, you'll eventually role into Chicago on Ogdon avenue.

I bought egg rolls and a soda for supper from a group of Salvadorians who spoke Spanish to each other and the customer in front of me before switching to English with me. I could tell they were Salvadorians by the baseball hats.

I stepped out onto Jackson Street knowing only that I could never dream of affording a room in the Loop, beyond that I didn't know where I was going to stay, plus it was St. Patrick's Day, and though I had arrived too late for the parades the fact is that I was a fractionally Irish man in one of America's great immigrant cities, and this would have to be celebrated. But first the library.

Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 13, 2008

You do Realize

that my content warning makes me even more badass than I was before right?

Dé Luain, Bealtaine 12, 2008

Chicago C

As one comes closer to the Mississippi River the landscape changes; well, it changes noticeably if you're rolling at thirty miles an hour anyway; I don't know that you would notice it or not if you were driving on the interstate. There's occasional tall hills and even some wooded space along with the corn, and it has a lovely stark effect on a cloudy day; but like I said, you've got to be going damned slow to notice.

Burlington Iowa is a very pretty town, with the richest families living in the best houses on the ridges just above the river. The line meanders through all sections of the town in some sort of eight hundred degree loop, so you actually get to see the nice parts of town in addition to the rear-ends of lumber yards and the potholes that had combined into a single creek leading from the industrial section of town to the river; but than I'm sure you already know about the dead zone in the Mississippi delta.

The river is truly sublime, even before it takes in the Missouri and Ohio it's still wide enough to envelop your vision, and with the spitting rain falling all over the Midwest that week it was very much like being underwater.

Heavy rain and snowmelt raised the river past flood stage last week and a barge going up the elevated river ended up hitting the Santa Fe/Amtrak bridge. I must say that I wish I had taken my trip than; the extra eight hours of detour though St. Louis or wherever the trains went would have been worth it for the sake of being part of a minor disaster; and oh what a thrill it must have been for the pubescent boys of Burlington; to see a destructive event whose lack of carnage was more than made up for by the scale. It is easy to imagine the drunken teenagers drowning themselves trying to reach the wreck on some wretched home-made canoe, and it warms the heart like Christmas.

I chatted with a couple of the people whjo live in the area; a woman from Mt. Pleasant Iowa and a middle-aged grease monkey from Galesburg Illinois, and I noticed that they both had this sort of breathy, nasal accent similar to what you hear from a very old Nebraska farmer. It's certainly distinguishable from the "generic American" that is, urban Midwestern accent, which is much the same in Chicago or Omaha r Kansas City. The sample size is, technically, far too small for a mere Bachelor of English to pronounce the existence of an upper-Mississippi Valley accent, but I talked to a couple of people about it; this guy I met in the city who used to be from Moline and this very lovely girl on her way home to Iowa farm country from DePaul, and they both said, "sure, why not." So I do declare it. Perhaps someday I'll actually look it up on the internet just to make sure that no one has claimed to discover the upper-Mississippi accent before I did.

Illinois consisted of more corn; and villages that were even smaller and more ragged than those in Iowa; I was starting to see "Old Style" placards hanging from the main street pubs. Finally, at about four in the afternoon, we rolled into a place called Samonauk, and the sight of a "Kohl's" "Supertarget", and "Bennigan's" assured me that we were only seventy miles or so from getting somewhere.

Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 06, 2008

Oh Gary Indiana

I didn't happen to swing your way when I was in the Chicago area, no particular reason, its just that there's so much ghetto south of thirty-fifth street, too much to explore in just a day or two.

But anyway, I was just wondering if I ever told you how beautiful you are.