Monday, December 29, 2008

Astra quae disploduntur terror

Red globe hovering o’er
the puddled street
casting a brooding glow
in the quiet night

Swolt and seething
the hydrostatic balance teeters
Autolytic pulse ever quivering
as oscillators scream ascendant
Impotent rage fuels carbon detonation
unbinding the manifold:
Human Combust

Friday, December 12, 2008

APF 6700 Car-Vue/Q-Mast

The Orville Corporation has unveiled its latest design for a multi-modal communications mast/car park for the benefit of the Allied Pungeoning Front. The superstructure will feature a civilian configuration of an unguyed aerial transmission tower conjoined with a multi-storey car park.
• Proposed location: Barney Scholls Road, Heritageville
• Projected height: 667m
• Projected voltage potential: 120kV
• Proposed parking allotment: 720 vehicles
• Estimated completion: February 2011

The transmission array will afford full pungent response broadcasts with several half-wave radiator options.
Parking platforms will be accessible via guardrail-buttressed spiral ramps.
Another highlight will be ‘Concourse Q,’ providing commercial and limited-use space for boutiques and restaurants. Especially exciting is a planned linear-induction motorised people-mover -- one that functions vertically as well as horizontally. (An Orville first!)
Above Concourse Q will be Sky Deck Alpha. The 360° Observation Platform here is expected to be a major public draw, with its majestic views of the greater Heritageville valley and Classic City.
The APF also has plans here for the Sky Lodge -- a convivial, members-only lounge modeled on the handsome study at Seaside Pungeonary, with contemporary jet-set décor.
The Pungeonary Pavilion itself will be at the very top of the superstructure between Transmitter A and Heli-Pad 02. The Pungeonary will be directly wired into the Q-Mast, fully able to broadcast live pungeonings, or to act as a relay facility, beaming activities from remote APF annexes.

Among the Grand Opening festivities will be the introduction of mascot “Fake Craig” -- a mannequin host outfitted with a hidden cassette recorder containing courteous phrases such as, “Welcome to Concourse Q,” “Have a nice day,” and “Cuddle on, dudes.” A hidden pulley will also enable Fake Craig to “high-five” the visitors. Kids are sure to be enthralled with this cutting edge technology with a friendly face.
The APF is expecting the Car-Vue/Q-Mast to be a rousing success. And the Orville Corporation will surely deliver.
So come out to the APF 6700 Car-Vue/Q-Mast in February 2011 and see the future, today... tomorrow.

[Spectrum is blue]

Monday, December 01, 2008

Oratoria dello Psilologo

The People’s Rights Festival was your typical uni-town, hemp-clad happening that featured low-grade art, music and “awareness-raising.” An annual celebration that even the most apolitical could enjoy, checking out bands, people-watching and whatnot.
But this year rumour spread that Big Name Orator would be passing through town to grace the stage with his beknighted wisdom.
The excitement that seeped through the crowd was palpable. Folks who wouldn’t be caught dead at this type of event were seen wandering down from their council flats, curious to listen to a Big Name, yet their pudding-like pace trudging down to the stage on Town Square didn’t appear particularly inspired.
A bus pulls up behind the stage -- that must be him! Out he strolls, escorted up the stairs to the mic.
The speech itself, coming from a professional speechmaker, sounded beautiful at first, of course.
But then the template became obvious.
• Feel-good phrases that rhymed like a stale storybook
• Call-and-response platitudes
• Heads dipped in a content-less saccharine prayer

Everyone felt good.
Then it was over. Back onto the bus and off into the sunset.
Folks from the council flats plodded uphill back to their domiciles, their chins no higher nor lower than before.

In the time passed between then and today, what has changed for those who witnessed The Preachening? Apparently, very little.
Wasted words or words of waste?
With empty speechifying and false hope built up upon nil, would it be fair to consider this an ‘anti-sermon’?


POST-SCRIPT: The hippiesque crowd, types normally proud to remind others of their ability at BS detection, swallowed the idealistic yet hollow oration. Those “dumb proles,” judging by their nonplussed gait moping back to the flats, were not quite impressed by the same experience.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

C’est à rire: Just one of those days

“Engine won’t start.”
“Spring open the bonnet, I’ll have a look. Try the ignition again.”
Seconds later the TAOMPV’s motor comes to life.
“Thanks, mate.”
“Not a problem,” says the mechanic, pulling his hands away, letting the bonnet clang shut.

Cruising down the motorway at a smooth 70 kph, Ian Stoddard notices a faint vibration coming from the van.
The bonnet is quivering.
The bonnet explodes open, locking vertically, completely obscuring the windscreen.
Stoddard swears under his breath.
Time dilation kicks in.
Plant foot solidly on brake pedal without slamming it. Press it down firmly until it touches the floor. As you do that, pull over to the centre turning lane. There’s less of a chance of collision there than crossing over the two lanes to reach the hard shoulder.
The van comes to a full stop in the centre lane. Stoddard puffs out his cheeks and exhales sharply.
Time elapsed: eight seconds.

“My own fault,” surmises Ian. “Should have checked the bonnet myself to see that it had latched.”

As the van pulls up to the TAO offices, a greenish splatter of goo nails Ian’s arm.
“Jeez, that’s a first. Isn’t getting hit with bird dreck good luck in Italy or somewhere? Could’ve used the luck earlier. Or maybe I did.”

“That was the last job for today, Ian. You can take the rest of the day off,” said Miss Wood, the receptionist. “What’s wrong? You look shaken up,” she asked, cocking her head with a crease in her brow. She was the closest thing to a confidant at the office, but Stoddard wasn’t up to regaling her with white-knuckle tales of terror.
“Oh... nothing. Got bombed by a pigeon. Thanks, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The house was quiet when Ian walked in. He took in a deep breath, paused, and blew it out slowly.
‘Wonder how the rabbits are doing,’ he thought as he opened the back door.
Two dogs spun around, caught unawares. The bottom of the hutch was ripped apart.
“What the--”
The mutts made a beeline for a gap in the hedges. Gone.
Left behind was the lifeless, mangled body of the white rabbit, pink eyes staring blankly up at the blue sky. Stoddard uttered a dry, point-blank curse. No sign of the brown rabbit.
“Maybe he got away. I hope.”
He found a shovel and carved a shallow grave in the back corner of the yard.
‘Rabbits scare easily, right? Hope it was over and quick for her.’
Filling the hole, he was struck by the contrast of the soft, white fur, bit by bit, vanishing under the rich, dark soil. He finished the burial, leaving it unmarked, and walked back inside.
The sun was dipping below the trees but he didn’t feel like turning on the lights just yet. He stood before the picture window, hands on hips, and drew another deep breath through his nose.
Across the street stood Professor Hubert’s bunker atelier. Some movement in the shrubbery caught Ian’s eye. A shabbily dressed fellow was trying to squeeze in through the loosely secured rolling doors.
“What next?” he muttered as he rung the authorities.
Coppers pull up scant seconds later, cautiously entering the same way. In no time they emerge holding the perp by his collar like some naughty cat caught with his paws in the fish tank.
“Dumb hobo, doesn’t even know what he’s looking for.”

Stoddard collapsed on the lounge, stretching his arms out, letting his head roll back upon the cushion. The weight of a boulder off the shoulders.

Pupils edge to the eye’s corners shooting daggers at the phone. Another breath and he answered:
“Ian Stoddard? This is Ms. Pierce from the Heritageville Courant-Ledger. How are you?”
“Getting by, thanks. You?”
“Great. I wanted to do an interview with you for an upcoming music edition this month.”
“Regarding which band? I’m in four or five at the current moment.”
“Oh, it’s not about your bands; it’s about you, the musician, being in all those bands.”
Humility kicks in with a waft of bland paranoia.
‘After today’s events, does one really need an ego trip?’ Stoddard grills himself.
‘Maybe. But all that has transpired is happenstance. How one deals with it is freewill.’
Complaints? Curses? Bewailment? An ego-soothing appearance on Oprah?
It is to laugh.

“No, but thank you, Ms. Pierce. I do appreciate the thought. Good day.”
Stoddard pushed himself back into the cushions, smiled wryly, and watched through the window as the sky turned from indigo to violet, and finally to black.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Terre des Nuages: A First Time for Everything

(In the spirit of Engrish, apologies for the translation.)

Le salon dans le manoir, d’ordinaire brillant et confortable, les positions a assourdi maintenant et un peu fade. Cinq ou six flânent environ dans les procès et les robes, prévoyant silencieusement le voyage de 3 heures. Les sonneries de téléphone, ponctuant encore les ombres. Venir par le récepteur, l’un peut entendre d’à travers la pièce le Turc qui plaide -- les sanglots hystériques, presque comme un animal. Etre seulement une connaissance récente, elle est doucement dite qu’elle devrait les restes derrière. Le pleurer continue à verser en avant, comme le téléphone est doucement abaissé dans son berceau. Le voyage lui-même est subjugué.
Le long du voyage le blanc de flammes de soleil dans un ciel silencieux qui sent glacé dans son bleu, même pour mars. Le tordre et tourner de la route par les contreforts de l’Alpes-Maritimes rampent vers l’haut par les arbres épais. Sur une pente herbeuse repose un signe en bois, une lettres taillées expliquant sèchement ‹ la Source d’Eau Musicale de Montagne ›. En haut de la colline les forces de Citroën augmentent par un écart dans les arbres, où tient une chapelle en pierre rustique à côté d’un cimetière modeste.

« La révélation d’une mort de l'ami toujours décontenance, inutile de dire. Peut-être ils sont morts de circonstances tragiques ; peut-être c’était le simplement vieil âge. Nous avons de la peine brièvement et nous nous déplaçons sur avec les mâchoires moitié-empoignés, rappelant les vies ils ont mené au lieu de la façon qu’ils sont partis ».

En entrant la chapelle, l’un est rappelé d’est dans une grande loge, avec sa maçonnerie de granit et son bois en chêne. C’est-à-dire, jusqu’à ce que l’un remarque les bancs d’église et le cercueil fermé. Les détails exacts commencent à palîr dans la brume de porter le deuil. La famille et les amis semblent promener de, offrant des condoléances. Les hymnes lointains résonnent par les chevrons. Un registre de quelque genre est signé avec les mots déjà oublié.
Quelques-uns errent hors de retour pour un souffle frais. Sous les arbres l’humeur est un peu moins formelle mais non moins douloureux. Les amis tirent avec effort sur leurs Gauloises. Les mains dans les poches. Les pieds tiennent à placer le sol. L’air mord pendant que le soleil d’après-midi dernier coule derrière les grands pins.
Un homme se tient stoïquement toujours, pourtant dans il est consterné : il a perdu juste son petit frère. Deux soeurs, inconsolables, et une mère cachée parmi un cercle de beaucoup bien-aimé. Et dominant sur tout le monde est le patriarche : craché de portrait du de la décédé, plus grand que vie, une épine raide et la crinière blanche d’un abbé de Provence. Son visage, travaillé dans l’agonie gelée, rendant compte son plus jeune fils, un autre homme plus grand que vie qui saisirait n’importe quel moment... allé.
Il y a homme que qui jamais a fixé sur les visages d’hommes et de femmes qui a survécu leurs enfants ? Un homme qui ne ceci a jamais vu tient maintenant ruminer, rendre compte qu’il voit pour la première fois. Il se traîne loin de la foule, le passé la dispersion humble de tombes qui est être le lieu de Benoit reposant, et les promenades dans la forêt. Plus lent il piétine, la brosse croque sous les pieds, jusqu’à ce qu’il vient à un grand rocher de granit. L’homme redresse son manteau et sa cravate et assied languissamment, engourdiment, seul dans les bois, où tout est fait conscient, et il peut commencer à pleurer.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Secret Star of Sunday’s Grill-Out

Icon upon cardboard
perched on a utility room shelf,
for years you sit there
making an impression
a bulldada visage to be
affixed to future communiqués...

...Exemplum gratia:

“Challenge Accepted.”

One good thing that should come out of critical analysis is that people will wake up and take charge of their destiny.
Of course, there is a downside to knowledge. Many people do not have the courage nor the intestinal fortitude to stand up for what is right.
At the Grill-Out, this fact was pointed out very well. Sure, the easy way out is to celebrate in the dark behind walls. Many people are thrilled to death because they think that our demise is going to be a real benefit to them. Despite what appears to be true, will it really be? When they fail, the rest could fail as well.

The sanctity of the Grill-Out was upheld. The pursuit... the victory... the coup de maître of Slack was reaffirmed. The challenge was accepted with vigour, as the rich smoke billowed upward from the green.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Mystery Device at Pilastro Terrasport

“I wonder what the ‘Hell/Hole’ was?” Grandmum quipped while frying eggs one summer morning. Junior blanched at mention of the ‘H-word,’ but silently he wondered too about the attractions he wasn’t privy to in Madeira Selváge the previous night.
There was the Palace of Crystal -- what appeared to be a revolving maze of mirrors. And that strange building with the balconies -- was that Frankenstein chasing that shrieking teenager? And the aforementioned Hell/Hole -- an imposing black façade with a hideous winged demon lording over the glowing red portal.
“Can we go in there?!” Junior had pleaded, pointing.
“No, you’re too young,” the adults muttered back.


For years the enigma of the Hell/Hole lurked in the back of Junior’s imagination. What was it? Dungeon? Fright Haus? Prototype Pungeonary?
Eventually, documents came to light revealing to Junior the curious lair and its fate.
His eyes pored over the ledger and accompanying photos. His brow knit and his shoulders slunk forward.
“That’s what the Hell/Hole was?!”
The grainy picture showed an old vertical cylinder with a walkway around the top. Junior recognised it immediately.
It was one of those glorified centrifugal force chambers with the dropaway floor bit. Just like at the Third Kingdom, the cylinder would spin, people would stick to the walls, and vomitus would spew laterally, arcing rivulets around the chamber, much to the horror of the other occupants.
Hell/Hole, indeed.
“Hmph. This is more silly than scary,” Junior reflected. “Imagination let down by reality yet again.”
Yes, Junior, reality will do that to ya.
But it doesn’t hurt to imagine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hester Panim and the Blind Bacchae

Johnny Gutts is a man bound by his moral code. He was always a curious sort, never conscious of the spine that was already there. Questioning doctrines, ideologies, meta-memes — what have you. The quintessential Protestant Agnostic, wary of what lies beyond human ken.
“The older one gets, the more one learns... The more one learns, the more one realizes how much they have yet to learn... and the virtue of humility is thus nurtured.” [Aversion to Epistemic Arrogance]

A weight hangs — a deistic eye in the sky that looks back, whether proverbially, theologically or even evolutionarily — over one to do The Right Thing. Genetic mandates to preserve the soul, perhaps?

Atheism as an all-encompassing weltanschauung had already been tossed out by Mr. Gutts.
“Where is the sense of the ‘What if’?”
This ism’s own metaphysical certitude had cemented itself as yet another brand of ‘faith’ — albeit one with its own built-in dead end. Not that some atheists don‘t hew nobly to their own particular moral codes. But look at those many whom one would expect rational thinking, who instead volley forth uncritically into a froth over such vague yet in-vogue tropes as Foggy Envirotheism, Utopioid Rousseauan Hand-Holding and other secular antinomian harangues they foist upon the rest of us.
One belief/faith supplants another.
It is in man’s nature to have a god — God or no God.


Mr. Gutts had always appreciated the hedonistic aspect of every young lad’s lifestyle, especially while enjoying the salacious favours of one Miss Nichts. But in one instance the young lady reminisced freely about some debauched past deed, one that even the most irreverent and libertine would find cause to blush.
“Well, it doesn’t matter ‘cos I’m an atheist,” was her dismissive quip, cast with a hollow shrug.
The tone of voice, one with peccant glee, came across as throwing one’s palms up, waving away everyone and everything but the self. It gave Johnny pause, as her Faith in No Faith seemed to give her carte blanche for writing off both consequence and conscience.
Johnny Gutts thought long and deep.
“What a shallow life one must have if their raison d’être is predicated on what amounts to be an adolescent excuse...”

The Bacchantes found the pool of Narcissus and inward they gazed...
On the opposite bank sit Dionysus, Azathoth, Set and YHWH, quietly humming the melody of “El Mistater.”

Perhaps the gods have the last laugh.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reactions and Responses on a Blue Sky Tuesday

• Scene: Lunch counter. TV above blaring the latest news. An older gentleman takes a stool at the counter. It is probably his first time at this establishment. He wears shirtsleeves and a dark bow-tie. His hair is a simple, grey flat-top and he has old horn-rimmed glasses. He looks as if he belongs in a small-town Southern drug store, accustomed to providing scrip to blue-haired ladies with their aches and pains.
But he sits here with a tight jaw, looking up silently at the TV with a rigid spine, perhaps holding in some ache or pain of his own.
He nonchalantly orders a reuben.

• A few seats down is an unkempt college student furiously working on his second Scotch before one o’clock. His eyes burn at the TV overhead as he swears under his breath at the news. Is he angry because he is drinking, or drinking because he is angry? One might suppose the latter.

• Down the street a husky fireman stands on the corner, a fire engine parked haphazardly behind him. He holds out a galvanized tin bucket as he pleads for donations from the melee of passers-by.

The news is a thousand miles away, but every locale has its reactions.

• Here, a mental reaction: The old man’s silent reserve and hardened focus belie the thoughts churning in his head. Is he a vet perhaps, thinking of the past? Or maybe a grandfather thinking of the future?

• Another reaction -- this one verbal: The student with fire on his tongue. Alas, heated words borne of liquid courage.

• And a third reaction: An emergency professional, again, a thousand miles from the news, doing what he can physically, even monetarily, to alleviate the situation.
A reaction and a response.

At this point, any observer can spout platitudes (”Actions speak louder than words”) or pithy quotes (“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it” -- Charles R. Swindoll) that may accurately illustrate the sentiment of an unfolding scene as such.
Instead, may this author offer humble and simple words:
Hats off to the reflexes of mortal men and first responders whose sense of duty transcends the self.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Adult Heresy: Puer Aeternus

Witness the adult who insists on frantically coat-tailing whatever Cultural Yugo comes sputtering down the pike, retroactively clinging to some imaginary vestige of ego-pampered youth, reinventing salad days in which he was only a flavourless vegetable.
The failure of the Societal Superego to temper the Peter-Pan-meets-Pauly-Shore Syndrome in aging men* has resulted in legions of middle-aged, middle management turds grasping for relevance with false nostalgioid opiates (as if real nostagioid opiates weren’t bad enough).

Taken to its gerontological and psychological extreme, what would we have?

Paunchy, pasty putzes toolin’ for tail in the high school parking lot, blasting Creed from their T-top Z-28s? Graying geezers drooling on their GAP Kids™ t-shirts and teddy bears as they relish a future of unfettered infantilism? Depends™.
Yes, it all hinges on what a civil, sane society will allow. Perhaps an end to people just muttering and looking the other way. Pungeoning protocol dictates a “cut to the chase.” “Calling it like you smell it,” if you will.
Which brings us full circle back to a Societal Superego that needs a shot in the arm. A Collective Consciousness with cojones that isn’t afraid to Take the Punge. A no-nonsense potency with the austerity of a drill sergeant, ready to pounce and punge any who dare commit Adult Heresy.

*Do not be mistaken in thinking that this is solely a men’s issue. It is equally pathetic when middle-aged women engage in such questionable self-affirming activities as trolling for boytoy, vain implants, and the wearing of mix-n-match animal prints with one-size-fits-all white stretch pants.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Petrolic Assault Upon Opthalmic Economy

“It’s petrol! It’s in her eyes! Why are you standing there?!”

LXXXIX Gulf Coast summer day
Dry & Dusty Fill’n’Go bakes by the highway
Door flies open with staggering, shrieking woman, clawing at her EYES MY EYES MY EYES MY EYES PETROL MY EYES PETROL MY EYES!!!

Cashier and customers taken aback
Something is seriously Not Right with this unfolding scene
And through the door walks in Miss Shotgun
Traveling chum nonplussed; Shotgun rider unruffled, unmiffed; Standing there standing there... the face of Adjunct Nonchalance.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Labours, Laughs, and the Augean Lodge

‘The Professor’ Jones: “Hey ‘Somber, this friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend just tipped me off to this alumnus guy who pays five bucks an hour to do odd jobs. Seeing as we’re broke-ass university students, we should jump at the chance.”

LordSomber: “Okay.”

Let us posit that a young man’s character can be developed through the crucible of Herculean tasks, most notably the chore of the Augean stables, and tempered with a sense of levity. The more difficult and absurd the task, the more a man must be able to laugh at himself.

The asphalt ends and the dirt road begins. A right turn takes you up a gravelly drive thickly shaded by old oak and pine. The trees clear and there is a secluded bungalow amidst the junk and rusted cars. Near one corner of the building is a wood frame with meat hooks swaying in the lifeless breeze. Probably for dressing deer and game. One might hope.
Upon entering the house, watch your step. Yes, that is dog faeces and it is everywhere. Oh, and ignore all those stacks of men’s magazines -- you’re out here to work. Ol’ Man Willie will assign the tasks.
A bedroom door slowly opens. Perched on the end of a bed is a squat, shirtless, penguinesque little man surrounded by three dogs.
“Don’t be so stingy with your kisses, Lucky Lady!” Willie cackles as he tongue-smooches one of the mutts sitting in his lap.
Welcome to the Lodge.

• In the attic of the Lodge on a steamy July afternoon, the temperature rises to a sweltering 115°F. Trudging through abrasive pink blankets of glass-fibre insulation, a thought occurs to the miserable crew: “What is it we’re up here looking for again, Willie?” From below, muffled snores punctuate the quiet. “Insane,” the crew chuckles.

• In the old Sig Ep house, Willie “orders” volunteers down into the dark, claustrophobic sub-crawlspace beneath the kitchen. Plumber/Philosopher Dan and LordSomber search valiantly for a mysterious clog in the PVC piping in the blackness. Oh, here it is: Bluuurrrrpp-p-p-p! From the plumbing shat out a pitch, viscous goo of month-old rotting food flecked with prawn shells. Lovely. Even those “hard rockin’” Kilkenny Kitties were too wussy to come down and help out. That in itself provided more amusement than the foetid dreck in which we were drenched.
But those lads weren’t without their mischief. One day out at the Lodge they threw an old petrol can onto the Burning Pile. With a gut-wrenching whooomph the can exploded in a ball of flame, the resulting mushroom cloud climbing 20 metres at the least.
“Dammit, you’re gonna wake Ol’ Man Willie!”
Tip-toeing inside expecting to face wrath, the crew instead found the man snoozing upon his bed like some beached whale. The guy could sleep through the apocalypse. An apocalypse the rest of us would probably be cleaning up. With a laugh, of course.

Unfortunately, Willie’s unhealthy lifestyle and penchant for quaffing copious quantities of brew led him into a diabetic state. Not that that deterred him and the self-styled kingly ways in which he lived in his domain of dog dirt.
“When I die, they’re gonna have my body lying in state in the campus chapel for everyone to pay respects,” he would say smugly with a wink.
And when that day came not long after, his funeral was but a modest one in the local Presbyterian church. In the casket he lay, fingers laced, with a wry smirk on his face. Cheeky bugger always did have the last laugh.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Good times flow gently.

The friends are over. They’ve got dope lined up and the booze is pouring. The hot tub beckons with succulent babes ready for hot aktion.
But what is that rumbling in the background...?
You see, pungeonings can happen at any moment. Out of the blue. When you least expect it.
That’s why you need SARC. Orville’s Self-Administered Reality Check can help you with Situational Assessment, PsyOps Detection and Rhetorical Metastasis. It’s proactive and doable. Easy to use with immediate results.

SARC. Find it before you find yourself in over your head.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Aktion Fünf: Kultural Kuru

Johnny Gutts is on a tear:
“Hark! Jobbernowls and ye gormless, lend me thine ears! Hear out the spumid stultiloquence of the local Scribe of That Which Is Hip. Hent thee upon his bombastry, where he swasiviously divulges all that is Cool. Mandatory irony: Check. Childhood TV references: Check. Faux-Prole fashions: Check. The credenda you need for the gulpins to heed! The nupson and ragabash have not the sense to swallow your suppalpations, for they already walk your talk with thelematic precision. And your pogonophilic womenfolk already swoon o’er your sleathy earthiness, for your watered-down, bletcherous bohemianism they find ludibund if not novel, and quite for the sake of itself...”
Okay, okay, Johnny, we hear you. Here, have a relaxant.
He does seem to bring up some good points, though.

Some say excessive nostalgia is a symptom of cultural decline. Could it in some way instead be the cause?
Currently, Nostalgic Turnaround curves are flattening (NT -- The amount of time expired before nostalgic tendencies set in) and society is running out of things to be sentimental about. We see an increase in the phenomenon known as Futro (the way the future was supposed to have been -- think jetpacks and bubblecars), but Futro is merely a mirthful variant of Retro.
With non-original source material (rendered cultural by-product) being scarfed and regurged at increasing rates, perhaps society is at risk of some kind of Meta-Taint.
As we know, Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (Mad Cow Disease, kuru, et al.) spreads when livestock are fed the processed remains of same-species livestock. Perhaps there is a cultural cognate of this malady?

Aetiological agents identified thus far by Psyopsy range from the longest of scarves down to the tiniest of soulpatches. But these quantised agents are not the problem in and of themselves. The concern is the propagation and re-rendering of these memes to the point where they become socio-degenerative Cultural Prions (similar to Infotoxins).
Society once had the luxury to nostalgically laugh at past memes and fashions that barely had a 20-year shelf life.
In the ‘70’s, we said, “Look how silly we looked back in the ‘50’s.”
In the ‘90’s, we said, “Look how crazy we looked back in the ‘70’s.”
Today, thanks to prionic memes, we can simply glance about and say, “Look how stupid we look now.”

Culture Vultures have always been with us, but now we have Cultural Cannibalism -- hipsters who binge on the art and music of others yet don’t do the proverbial homework, resulting in massive amounts of content-less effluvia. There’s a reason why those Man-Purses are so big -- they’re colostomy bags.

Solution? In today’s hand-wringing victim culture, legal recourse is a dead end. Old-fashioned ridicule is a great disinfectant for any cultural contaminant, though. Better yet is a shunning indifference. That way, when you’re forced to acknowledge them you can just look at them, shake your head, and say, “Like you matter.”
Give it a go, Johnny -- much easier on the blood pressure.

Monday, July 07, 2008

L'escalier des mémoires

“That house... it used to be brown. Who was it that had lived there? Was it Cathy? And the next house... an artist lived there. Guy or chick? Can’t remember...”
A stroll down Browar Street on a broiling July day elicits memories that rival even Ned Merrill’s fever dreams.
“...And that white one at the top of the hill, Omar lived there. There was this party there one time...”
The sun beat down on cracked asphalt. Crepe Myrtles swayed with the hot breeze.
“That’s Chatham’s house behind those hedges... Had a gathering on that porch after the big walkout at work... Norma invited me...”
The afternoon, in its lambent haze, had taken on odd tints and highlights. Rust tones here, green notes there. The burning sky a seething shade of lavender, as if that colour could choose its mood.
Browar Street ended at the bottom of the hill where Pauskil Lane crossed it.
“Hey, there’s Mullins’ Mill... can’t barely see it behind the tall weeds and sawgrass. Man, what a place. Art shows, bands... all in that big ol’ building...”
Images drift from the brain’s attic.
A summer night, a huge old brick mill lit from within.
The procession enters through imposing double doors. The orchestra members stride two-by-two, male and female, arm-in-arm through the cavernous interior. As they approach the stage they pass a vivisection table in the center of the great room. Its stainless steel gleams in the candlelight. It is nicknamed “The Monkey Table.” There is also a shopping buggy, some chickens and an assortment of candelabras.
The musicians ascend the stairs to a stage shrouded by a massive black curtain. Behind it lay their instruments, and behind it they will remain and play for the duration of the show. The real show is out there on the floor.
The image fades.
“Huh. Never did find out what the actual show was out there on the other side of the curtain...”
A man is hanging a For Sale sign up on the gate to the mill. He turns and nods.
“I recognise that guy -- what was his name..?”
Strolling up Pauskil Lane, thunder murmurs from the west.
“That house there... I’ve been in there. Who lived there?”
Definitely a day of fidgeting for names.
The breeze grows, as does the thunder. The street is a narrow but shady one. One side has modest homes; the other, brush and foliage. Amidst the green, there is a set of brick steps, leading up to... nothing. Nothing but vegetation, someone’s home no longer there. Nature taking back what once was hers.
“I do remember those steps -- they led up to nothing...”
What the stairs lead to may as well be a stage shrouded by a massive green curtain. Behind it lay memories of someone else, and behind it they shall remain.
The real show is out here “on the floor” -- in the present, if you will. If there is something at all to be remembered, should it not be this?

Monday, June 30, 2008

Diario finale: Incagliato in Pretare

“120 trillion kilometres from home.
Atmosphere is thin, yet suffocating. Burn injuries: Are these from the disastrous atmospheric entry or the planet’s natural radiation? Blood and sweat mix, trickling down my scalp.
Environmental suit is charred and has lost resilience. Thoracic respirator seems to be functioning. Communicator is useless.”
“Am in pain. Inability to keep quiet seems to attract local humanoids. They communicate verbally, but hearing them is difficult in the thin air. They have a device that produces a very bright flash. Does not seem to be a weapon. They bring a four-legged beast that tries to attack. Can repel it. Gravity is light here.
Hiding behind a wall where it is dark...”
“Shock is wearing off but the pain grows. Find refuge in higher terrain away from local population. Manage to find some small animals for sustenance. Don’t know if local fauna are toxic, but have little choice at this point...”
“Burns are getting worse, as is dehydration. Found shelter under tree-like vegetation. Odds of survival are nil. Cannot say if mission was successful, as computer survey results of Planet Esotöb3magA-III were lost in descent. Data transmission reception unconfirmed. Skin sloughing off and life force is diminishing. May those on behalf I have ventured, for the record, know that I have done my best, to my ability, all circumstances notwithstanding.
Final entry out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Service, Commitment, Sacrifice: The SetUp™

The concept of the SetUp™ arises out of a global perspective, interfacing people and situational activities within a positive context. It can show you what you can become, while showing you what needs to be accomplished. The SetUp™ can show you how to fit into the whole; it can help you integrate all aspects of consumption intake, and it can help you facilitate a trans-consentive awareness based upon emotive applications of image toning, synergetic flow-control purgatives, and dynamic enhancement.
With the SetUp™, you can maximize your consumption intake through a rotating benefits exchange system. By using co-orientation and augmentation of internal resources, your cognitive domain will be market-attuned. You will freely enjoy commercially expressive activities, as a normative reactivity to dynamic incentives enhances your scope of self-referentiality.

--- --- ---

And now a few words from SetUp™ Facilitator Eljack McGhee:

So you’ve been wondering...
What exactly is the SetUp™?

A: I’m glad you asked. The SetUp™ is America’s premier lifestyle product, designed to identify and disseminate excitement patterns throughout its 1500+ offices nationwide, interfacing people and situational activities within a positive context. And you can see how that’s going to help you, right?

Q: Yes, I can. But what makes the SetUp™ different from the rest?

A: In a word, sacrifice. The SetUp’s comprehensive Relinquishment Program maximizes consumption intake through a rotating benefits exchange system: your wages, your car, your house -- even your children. How’s that for a broad church?

Q: It’s very broad. But what if I’m of the opinion, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?’ Know what I mean?

A: We know exactly what you mean. Think of it this way -- you wouldn’t want another man, possibly a foreigner, sleeping with your wife, right?

Q: Certainly not.

A: Okay then, let’s get you set up.

Q: That seems like the most reasonable thing to do. I hope it isn’t difficult to switch over from my existing product.

A: That’s the great thing -- it’s no hassle to get you switched over. It’s already set up!

Q: That gives me peace of mind. But what if I don’t like it once I join?

A: I assure you -- that simply cannot happen.

Q: But what if I don’t like it?

A: We’ll slowly poison you with sweet fragrances. In the meantime, let’s get you set up!

--- --- ---

The author would like to thank Eljack McGhee of The Orville Corporation and Peter Glavodevedhzhe for helping him to get “set up.”

Monday, June 23, 2008

Life of Reillys: Seafóid Kibble Argóint

Through the streets of Sheffield again drifts the hoarse hollering of Mrs. Reilly. Her snotty kids sulk about, littering the neighbourhood with gum wrappers. Mr. Reilly can also be heard shouting under his braying wife. Out on the kerb, rubbish has spilt from the bin to the pavement. An empty tin of Mighty Dog pet food glistens in the midafternoon haze.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Karma Fundoo: Tamas guna getcha

The Adage as Crutch

“If it walks like a duck...”

At one time or another in conversation we all rely on proffering little truisms that supposedly illustrate a situation at hand. Such verbiage as “Don’t bite the hand that feeds,” and “Don’t count your chickens...” can often elucidate an unspoken Big Picture.

But all too often we hear the urgent appeals to empty platitudes, most of which are strident injunctions meant to serve the speaker’s ulterior motives.
Basically: The Pig Parent’s impious harangue tailored to convince the listener to adhere to the agenda of his banal Life Script.

As most people with a clue already know, the scarcity of righteousness is artificial, and resorting to pleas with hack, fortune-cookie clichés only spells out too clearly the feeble fundament you lean upon.

No Brain, No Gain!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Schlaf verrostet nie

Where the barber meets the prince
between brick and cirrocumulus
stands oxidized metal heralding
some quaint neuer Weg
to starch our shorts

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Jimbōchō Dimensional Conduit

Quiet, dusty bookstore in a small corner of the megalopolis.
Between the tomes glide alien tones of Hammond and Leslie, sonic statues striding in a minor key.
Attack, decay, sustain, release.
The dry smell of disintegrating pulp and the twilight of vibrato -- dusky notes of simmering violet, sage green and translucent oxblood... a constellation of miniature gongs resonate through the aisles that would bring to Toshinori-san a kind session of many smiles.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Escape from Asylum Le Rixe

At first a stately refuge with hedonistic accommodations:
A home studio with “coat cheque” to fuel the all-night sessions.
A deluxe jacuzzi (with ‘therapeutic’ pretenses) where ‘Bobbing for Satan’ was a joked-about pastime.
The meditative chamber of Bad Greiferfuß, in all its purple murk.

And then slowly, like the paint peeling from the walls, ghosts emerge from the past and present:
Dogs barking at empty transoms. The baying of wolves from beyond the fence. Spectres said to drift down the main hall. A seat at the piano in the empty, darkened parlour that brings forth an invisible presence to stand at one’s back.
All this and the contagious madness that spreads to the living:
LeVira, the shut-in with a litany of dodgy excuses for every neurosis.
Behold, a nutritionally inventive new pizza topping: nail clippings. That should suitably supplement an otherwise dreary diet of white wine and menthols.
A proclivity for phony artsy friends is embarrassing enough, but when self-destructive tendencies come to the point of inviting sociopaths over for tea, one could say a line has been crossed.
Witness the vile yob known as The Hackler. Choking the dog in a spun-out bevvied stupor? That would be he. Chicken bones on the doorstep? His brand of voudou. A cinder block smouldering inside the shattered remains of a 24-inch television screen? Well, let’s just thank Mr Greenberg’s photographic prowess for capturing the posterity of that scene on an 8x11 glossy. As it drove even him from the asylum.
In the event, it drove everyone of sound mind.
Yes, the line is well beyond crossed.
Stealth evac to the true asylum: The Men’s Lodge.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Il portello rosso: I percorsi che scegliamo

Éncore! Éncore! roared the crowd as the curtains closed.
The cast made its way through the dark recesses of the theatre towards the dressing rooms. When supporting actor Ian Stoddard pushed open his door, the reception was much the same.
“Good show, mate!” “You were great up there! Tops!”
Drenched with sweat, Ian silently waved thanks as he reached for a pitcher of water. The backstage crowd was the usual assortment of Stage Door Jennies, toady arse-kissers, half-lashed crew members and the odd friend or two.
“Ian, you were the best one up there -- you should star in your own show!”
Molessa Vega was always first in line to flatter. An actress herself, Vega was incessant with her thespian-of-the-week conquests -- of which Stoddard had been long-studied prey.
“Thanks, Molessa,” Stoddard offered weakly as he swabbed a damp towel across the back of his neck. The cramped dressing room was wedged with a dozen people, a dank sauna with conversational volume at maximum.
In tow behind Molessa was her friend Deedie. Meek and somewhat comely, Deedie was just the opposite of the cloying and predatory Molessa.
“Heya, Deedie,” Ian nodded, polite but distant.
“She likes you a lot,” Molessa hissed in his ear, tugging his sleeve. Though weary from the show, Stoddard could tell this was a conquest-by-proxy set-up. Molessa would probably later invite them all to her place where she could eventually isolate and sink her claws into him.
“I need some fresh air,” he said, already halfway out the door.

In the alley Ian was calmly smoking a fag, watching the crew load up in the humid June evening.
“Hi, Ian.” It was Deedie, hands behind her back, toeing the ground nervously.
“So, you had to get out of that craziness too?” he casually smiled.
“Yes... it was a good performance by the way.” Her skin glowed like porcelain under the street lamps... her hair, india ink pulled into a bun. Beauty without pretension. Ian felt moved.
“Fancy a stroll?”
Ian knew straight away that Deedie was much too young for him. But there was a sense of... simplicity, purity... innocence, perhaps(?) that he found refreshing; and that was something he could walk down the street with, wearing neither suspicion nor shame.
The conversation remained topical yet pleasant. At one point, photos of parents were extracted from wallets for a laugh. Her father, reedy with a small moustache and glasses, seemed the actuary type; her mother, homely and nondescript.
“This is where you are staying tonight, isn’t it?” she said, pointing upward at the hotel.
“Why, yes it is... erm... care to come up?”
A cad or a gent? Ian knew the implications could be taken either way. And yet the gleam in her eye could also be taken either way.
Ian swung the door open to reveal the grand suite.
“Oh, it is marvelous,” beamed Deedie.
“It is, thank you. Shall I fix a nightcap?”
“Why, yes. Mind if I have a look about?” she purred, her eye’s gleam that much more noticeable. The breezy air of insistence with a waft of inexperience.
“Sure... go ahead,” Ian said, opening the fridge. Nice kid, he thought to himself. Why does she hang around with that trampy Molessa?
A beer in each hand, Ian approached the bedroom doorway, a crimson glow emanating. He entered and stopped.
In the red haze upon the bed lay Deedie, spread half-passed-out, her thumb tucked into her waistband as if awaiting some move to be played. Her eyes rolled and her lids descended like the curtains at the show. Ian blinked.
The lass is getting ahead of herself -- what is she thinking? Did your girlfriends push you to do this? You can’t be more than nineteen.
Ian turned, walked into the living room, sat in the dark and waited. He dozed for a spell until Deedie stumbled forth, bidding a hasty goodbye out the door. He had to be as embarrassed at the time as she was.

But down the road, further encounters were not discomfiting at all. A kind smile, an avuncular hello here and there -- it was all good.
Ian did not quite remember when it was when Deedie left town, as eventually everyone comes and goes in good time. But years later someone dropped a tidbit that shook him awake.
“You know, Deedie makes adult movies now.”
“No, I did not know that.”
For some reason, Ian thought back to the wallet photo of her parents. The bookish father and the mousy mum, clad in their polyester best, so many years ago. The humble, young couple with a future ahead of them. He pushed the image from his mind.
Freewill. We all choose our paths, don’t we? Somethin’ like that, I suppose.
In time, Ian came to terms with this young woman, and, as distant as he was, accepted her choices in life.
But in the back of his head, he had more than a hunch that young Deedie, with the path she had chosen, found the end of that road with an early demise.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Despertar em Montego

O when the goddesse taketh notise of thee
raises her arm, bekninge
from the trone upon grēves
an avowel nŏu ben sted
unbewarned ten paces ago
the hastive lightnesse shoulde maketh thou pause
but humilitie pressed thee biforen
homem invisível of the tenth stratum
once consentaunt as a deist
under palmes what ofthaued but brefli
were those nociens by a smile

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tales from The Grid — Vol. 1.1

• Canuck Hook: False appendage prop used by customs agents to scare musicians into relinquishing possible contraband. Fortunately, the sole, remaining roach had already fallen out of Dr. Carter’s wallet, where he swiftly scooped it up and gulped it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tales from The Grid — Vol. 1

A collection of Spinal Tap moments from days of yore.

• Cojones del Acero: Entering an office in a Manhattan high-rise, the band is silently nervous as bigwig record label executive deigns to have them before him. Before you know it, bandmate Sarge Puss is interrogating the exec on potential dental insurance coverage. Eyes roll. Attempts to kick the musician under the table prove unsuccessful.
This same Sarge Puss had the nards to change his clothes commando-style in the rat-infested alley behind the 9:30 Club, while others lobbed beer bottles at the teeming vermin around him.

• The afore-mentioned roadkill art opening punk gig.

• Odd First Impressions: Upon arriving at a Charleston riverfront club to load in, the band spies an ambulance parked on the bridge, lights flashing.
“What’s going on up there?”
“Oh, some guy threatening to jump off... just a suicide attempt. Welcome to West Virginia.”

• Your Number One Fan ...for about 30 minutes: Mangy hayseed making out with mousy minor on empty dance floor during soundcheck.
“Man, you guys rawk!”
Later, during the set, said hayseed climbs on stage mid-song with a tattered sheet of his own “lyrics” and attempts to commandeer the mic. The 5’0” female singer is not impressed. Fisticuffs ensue.

• The final leg of a grueling tour: A +2200km jaunt in 36 hours to make it to the “rockingest club in Azalea City” run by the fabulous Roberta Vallée-d'Aoste. Upon arrival it is apparent that this “club” is little more that a mall outparcel with a “Frat Deco” motif. Ms. Roberta herself turns out to be a middle-aged woman in haircurlers with banana-tiddies. After half a set: “I’ll pay y’all now if you quit.” This could be accurately described as the tour’s dénouement.