please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Sociopath

I was walking down the steps from Bitchslap's yesterday. He and the B-Lady are in Virginia, and I'm feeding their cats, taking in their mail. I see The Sociopath standing in the yard, and hail him.
We quickly exchange howdys, and I cut right to the point; "So, when's the rooster leaving?".
You see, he already has chickens in this, an inner city neighborhood, but that's fine. Chickens don't, as a rule, start crowing at sunrise, and continue for at least an hour following. The fact that he "accidentally" bought a rooster, knowing what I know of The Sociopath, says more to me about his sick need to experiment/fuck with people than his inability to delineate between barnyard fowl. This person lives across the street from me.
This particular person also is in the habit of taking pictures of the rest of us, in the neighborhood, without our permission. One evening recently, I was giving Simone a hug, telling her that I was glad to see her, and she says, "Why is that guy taking pictures of us?"
I turn around, and there's The Sociopath, who chooses to make us feel more comfortable about the whole thing by flipping us off. I've also seen him with a zoom lens, checking my action while I'm relaxing here in Bachelor Pad One. So he has lots of pictures of me flipping him off.
Now, he's not being driven by any political convictions of any sort, as far as I can tell; guy's just a freak. I suspect though, based on his lack of concern for anyone else's needs, that he'd have some half-ass reason for his shit, if questioned. Something along the lines of the problem really being my own, I suspect.
I received a message from Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) this evening. You know him. He was one of those people that 'the terrorists' sent an anthrax letter to, along with Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Tom Brokaw, someone from the New York Times and several other high-profile liberals, shortly after The Nice Mister Ashcroft warned that there were sure to be terror attacks made with anthrax specifically. Not 'germ warfare', but 'anthrax'.
Then several Americans who were not famous received the packages, and died, just so we could all note the seriousness of those who had sent them, and I know that I wasn't the only one noting that if some Arabs on the other side of the world wanted those who were against them dead, they rather markedly went after the wrong people. My pal Booty (sorry folks; he's Lebanese) asked me, "Who would attack with a disease there's already a cure for?"
"The government," I immediately said. Mind you, I was in a bad mood, since we'd received a cinder block through the front window of the restaurant he and I worked in, that morning. Probably because a sand nigger worked there. Hard to say though.
In any case, Mr. Leahy reminded me that one of our two lady justices is leaving the fold, and how probably the world-destroyers currently running the show would try to put in some fool who wants to act like we're some damn teevee show from the '50's, which will lead to whatever is left of the Democratic party stalling, but not ultimately stopping, this horrible charade. He also reminded me that the legislative branch doesn't serve at the pleasure of the president: they're there to make decisions, so as to somewhat check the power of whatever imperial exec is currently in power. Said exec might be insane, you know, and Republicans are more than happy to admit that the Leg. is important when someone who wants to help people is in, and needs to be stopped, but now they're saying that since our current exec is so clearly not insane and obviously working for the good of us all, any argument is clearly mere obstructionism.
I'm not going to bother pointing out how many times The Chimp has lied. It's a matter of public record. I'm also not going to waste too much time on a history lesson concerning the rise of the Imperial Executive (LBJ overruling the Senate War Powers Act, over the Gulf of Tonkin 'incident'). And I'm certainly not needing to remind you of the words of the nice Mr. DeLay (R-Tx.) after he failed to change the fucking Constitution just to make some badly-needed political hay for himself; you know, about certain justices needing to feel the pain of their decisions...Suggesting that we all have the right to go after any judge we do not like with rocket launchers. Of course I needn't say that this administration has overthrown the rule of law so severely that they've changed the nature of the game. It used to be that if the cops came to drag me away, I could reasonably expect a fair trial (assuming that I was white). Now, hell; it seems like my odds are just as good shooting it out with them.
I'm just going to remind you of the words of Stereolab, who I'm listening to right now:
"If there's been a way to build it, there'll be a way to destroy it. Things are not all that out of control."
This is war, baby. Get it on.


The Echo Chamber

I recommend that you go over to I will wait here for you.
You Back? Good. Did you then hit all the links on there? And the links on all the blogs he links to? Well, you might have noticed that I've been over there arguing with all of them for the better part of two weeks now, since it's important to me to talk to people that aren't like me, and even more important for those people to hear someone else, for once in their damn lives.
Did you check The Erudite Redneck? He's funny as hell, and actually seems to get it. He understands that really, deep down, the real enemy isn't the feelthy A-rabs but what homegrown fascists have already done and are still doing to us. Mind you, maybe I'm doing my godlike best to recreate him in my own image, but that's what it looks like. All the rest of them have a sickening amount in common.
Okay, as far as I can tell, they hold the following to be true:
Hillary Clinton is evil, and this is simply scientific fact folks, so you'd better not ask why, or you'll get a response in all caps.
Religious folk in America are a persecuted minority, surrounded on all sides by the rest of us degenerates who want to destroy their...Right to molest their children in peace? I dunno.
Despite the fact that they are a scrappy little embattled minority, their views are those of most of the country, and therefore, the majority. They are equally proud of this.
The Media is run by liberals (I know, if you spend half a day paying attention, you know that one's not true, but they have been told this, you see, by their friends in The Media).
There was a 'legal' justification for invading Iraq (which is then never explained), and even if it wasn't legal, then it was just the right thing to do, since all these geniuses with access to the internet are shrewd observers of world affairs, and know who's evil, and needs to be destroyed. They did not get this from the media. They just know.
You can't even bother trying to elucidate your point with liberals, as the basis of all liberal thought is, in essence, fallacious. Therefore, all you can do is hope they don't write in, and if they do, attack them in the most childish way possible, then say "God bless".
It is okay to disagree with the current administration, but if you do, you're giving aid to whoever The Enemy is supposed to be these days (I forget; is it still Commies? Drugs? No, no I got it! Terr-or-ists, which is to say the brown people). So actually, if you disagree with the nice man up there, you're a traitor and a criminal, and no, it's not actually okay to disagree.
There is something somehow valiant about all this blind following they do. It is the sort of thing that, if they ever questioned it, would make them insane wondering why they so routinely shovel their children into the maw of hell defending America's greatest corporations. Whoops. Editorial comment. Sorry.
'Profanity' is somehow not acceptable. Dirty Words are the sort of thing one's Wife (!) cannot ever see, so let's keep these discussions of genocide Family Friendly, okay?
They are the good guys who have the truth on their side, and it's the other guy who is always calling names. Except if you call them on their bullshit, then it's right back to all caps and plenty of namecalling.
The Talking Points sez that liberals are always feeling offended by the observations of us, the good people, so if they raise a valid objection to your jiz-headed reasoning, accuse them of being offended by the good, simple honest truth we are conveying here.
They know better than to talk the old language of hate, so they use the spin-language of hate, making certain that they portray themselves as the minority, surrounded by people who want to take their babies or something, and making sure that they never quite say "We just wanna kill all the niggers, fags, liberals and anyone who isn't a fundamentalist", since that would make them sound like dangerous nutjobs, of course. And end off with, "God bless", of course.
It is not a good thing to be either rich or intelligent, as these are things that liberals often are, however, it is a good thing to be rich because obviously capitalism is the only decent economic system ordained by god, and since I am conservative, I am more intelligent than you. You just don't know it, because you've been brainwashed by the rich, elitist, Jew liberal media.
When you're over there, check out the comments in particular. Along with way too much of me, you'll find people who are busy congratulating each other for hating the same things, for the most part. I want to tell myself that liberals don't do the same, but I know for a fact that they do. That's why I've never bought the whole "sinking to their level" argument. Like I'm better? No. I'm just an ideologue like them, except I'm not, since what I think is right, and they're wrong, and I'll kill them if they don't shut up, and...
Excuse me. I imagine that the reason that none of them of yet have commented upon my own postings is that I tend to go on and on, causing a person to try to read things off of a blinking screen, which I know is annoying. It's also clear that a lot of them can't fucking read (well? it's pretty clear they can't spell). And I'd like to say here, once and for all, I am a person from the country who now lives in the city, and isn't a fucking crybaby about having to deal with people who aren't like me, gets drunk and high and has all manner of sex with all sorts of people because I am an American goddamnit, and I can do that. I love my family and my friends, and defend them with a fierceness that you think these doinks would admire. They don't seem to get the fact that I see them as people who would imprison at least, kill if they could, the people I care about, and that I'm not afraid of fighting their simple asses, since there may no longer be any other way.
I don't appreciate their childish predjudices being presented as thought because it is the opposite. They rail against the ideal of diversity because they haven't even tried. I have, and I despise liberals as much as I despise conservatives. I despise ideologues in general because all I see, as always, is a bunch of people who want to control other people. The fact that these people I am discussing here are doing the work of highly paid spinmeisters for free is a sign that yes-I am surrounded by idiots.
They are sheep and they deserve to suffer. And they will. And they do.
Now, back to writing funny li'l stories about all the things I've seen/done.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Summer's here, and now's the time for dancing in the streets. It is not, however, time to be stuck in a little pickup all day, delivering auto parts. A couple of summers ago, though, that's exactly what I was doing. The work wasn't a problem, and the traffic ultimately wasn't, either. As always, it's the personalities.
My boss-to-be decided to open my job interview by going on at length about a factoid he'd just heard on the radio: that Russia and France had been selling jets to Iraq. He went on about this at length for a while, then stopped and looked at me. I don't know if he finally remembered that this was a job interview and he wasn't doing any interviewing, or if he wanted me to say something.
"Don't the French make notoriously bad jets?" I asked.
He looked at me blankly for a minute, not sure where to go with that one, and then said, "No, no they don't. Anyway..." Then the interview began.
I really have heard that about French jets, and have had that opinion of mine both confirmed and discounted since, but what was really going on in my mind was, 'What was that?'. Was I expected to either join in his little dissertation about how you can't trust your so-called allies in this world and how it just goes to show how foreigners are always evil, or come back at him with some weird defense of Russia and France's trade policies? Fact is, I felt like I was being politically vetted for a job in which I would be bringing auto parts to garages all over the tri-county area, and not being an envoy, say. The idea that there would seem to be some loyalty test involved with this not-enough-pay job irked me somewhat, but I always say, we don't talk politics or religion with the bossman, unless he's paying for that, too.
He was a pretty staunch Catholic, too, but in his defense he had also done his reading, and knew a lot about history, the Bible and other religions. This didn't prevent him from getting all exercised about the things he heard all day on talk radio, and I sometimes wonder what The Invisible Hand is doing these days, making a bunch of people who are pretty damn angry and irrational all the time anyway even more bloodthirsty. What end do they expect to achieve? It doesn't necessarily make them buy more products (unless you count those Made In China American flags that were so cheaply made that in those days they littered the side of every road I saw), and so far doesn't seem to drive up the enlistment rate in our volunteer army (no more so than the lack of decent paying jobs, health care or money for education does).
He and I got along pretty well, probably because I refused to argue with the guy. I did my job, made small talk, saw to it that if we got into anything deep, it was history, language, etc. He and the rest of the management seemed really happily surprised when I told them that I needed a week off to go see The Grand Old Opry.
"You like country music?" they asked. Well yeah, I said, and did not elaborate that I also enjoy target shooting, sometimes have pork three meals a day, and if allowed to, could probably drink my body weight in whiskey.
"You like bluegrass?", the little guy assistant manager asked. I love it, I said, and-
"Oh! Then you should've gone to that Brooks n' Dunn show last night with us! It was..."
I waited for him to finish. I did not then say that I think shit like that is not country at all, but more like 80's rock. Closet-case hat acts like that put me off my feed, sir, and worse yet, most of those guys make their money off of lying to their audiences about our place in the world, and just spreading more hate. Patsy and Kitty, Johnny and Hank, Hank and Hank wouldn't do that to you, and neither would Bob or Roger. This music is religion to me, and these people who couldn't get a job doing better things are defiling the damn temple. What I said instead was, "I mostly like the older stuff."
I kept on discovering strange things in the worldview of these people, who worked in this warehouse a mere five minute bike ride from my house. There was this guy with the goatee-'stache combo, tucked in polo shirt and pleated shorts (why do all the conservatives I meet these days look exactly like gay men?) who smoked cigarettes just like I do, so we talked a fair amount out on the loading dock. I was listening to him lecturing one of the younger employees about how 9/11 crashed our economy. At that point, I felt I'd been there long enough to disagree with people who were not my boss, so I pointed out that the economy started tanking more like '99-2000 or so, after the dot com bubble burst. Not that 9/11 helped, mind you.
He completely disagreed, which was weird because he was one of the many people who were there after losing his job in that other industry whose illusory successes so filled the Nineties with promise. It was like he'd forgotten: Oh yeah, we spent most of the '90's investing in a bunch of companies that really didn't exist, except on paper, just like we did in the '20's, with the usual results. It sure drove up the stock prices for a while, and made us all look a lot better on paper than we really were, and it was all damned lies. He'd forgotten, though. The A-rabs, you know.
And of course I couldn't say more: well, and if you have a problem with the A-rabs, maybe you should ask why so many of those A-rabs on those planes were Saudis who are supposed to be our buddies, and maybe you should ask too who paid them to be there, since no good at all could come to the Arab world with this act. The only person who would profit from it was an unpopular executive who was finally selected in some sort of judicial coup, not so long before, and who hadn't gotten his way on anything he'd tried as of yet, and needed a war to boost the economy, and his pals in the resource-extraction and defense contracting rackets were saying, "Scare 'em enough, they'll elect you God and let you do anything. They'll beg you to make 'em slaves." If I suggested that probably a small handful of Americans brought about the death of roughly three thousand Americans that day, it'd be interesting, for sure, to see what would've happened to me.
But hell, there's certainly precedent for it: that great bugaboo of right wingers everywhere, FDR, certainly knew that Pearl Harbor was coming. He wanted a war too. That great Republican McKinley (or perhaps that even greater propagandist, Hearst) saw to it that the battleship Maine blew sky high in Havana harbor that morning in 1898 so we could go to war with the not-so-powerful-anymore Spain, and take Cuba, The Phillipines and ultimately, Panama away from them...Or we send a bunch of nuts with guns out to illegally encroach on Mexican territory, and when they finally are run to ground in some mission in San Antone,
they are slaughtered for their trespasses. By the time that any questions are being asked, everyone's too busy screaming, 'Remember the Alamo!' to pay any attention. At the end in Veracruz, General Santa Ana said, "God is a Yankee." LBJ lied (or was lied to) about what happened that evening in the Gulf of Tonkin, where it seems pretty clear now that the only thing that didn't happen was any U.S. ships being attacked. It didn't stop us from falling into twenty some odd years of Vietnamese muck that has us in pieces to this day.
So as I say, precedent exists, but it's not like I'm there to tell all the people; I'm there to deliver the goods. But even that was a problem: All day long, I'm out in the suburbs, so I see all these people who buy the lie. I'm delivering auto parts to these assholes in SUVs who I guess like spending too much money on gas, going to work in what remains of the software industry, built over the corpse of what was once great soil for growing crops. Here I am delivering auto parts to make their gleaming death chariots go, so they can drive some more, necessitating more wars in parts of the world where there just happens to be oil.
So in the end, I finally had to stop. Got sick of being stuck in a Toyota Tacoma all day (and boy, wasn't the person who named that one not from the Northwest or what? It' s like naming a car The Cleveland or something), and got sick of the childish people I encountered out there. I know that if a change is ever going to be made in the ultimately self-destructive course this country is on, it's probably going to have to happen in the 'burbs. I just can't hack it, though. They are their own death, and they're proud of it, gawd bless 'm. I have many more stories about the nice people there ( I could do an entire posting about the guy who ran the German auto repair place out in Hell's Burrito), but I must stop, as I am often told, because we must be nice in issues of Faith.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

A place of pause

I was playing a bit of the music I used to make, tonight, to The Cult Baby. There I was, ten years ago, so much more certain that I could say whatever I felt like in public, ridiculing religion in particular, and making fun of my fellow musicians in general.
I was one half of a duo named 'Selah', which is Hebrew for 'a place of pause', which is why there is both a Selah, Oregon and a somewhat more famous Selah, Washington (since Tree Top apple juice is made there). It's a fantastic place name, and due to its literal meaning, it appears at the end of each of the Psalms. Pause here.
Mind you, at the time I had thought that it meant the same thing as 'amen', which as we all know means, 'it is so'. I was wrong, but before I found out what it really meant, I was once assailed by a toothless sexagenarian at the Country Fair who looked down at Ichabod and I sitting on our haybales, serenading each and every person who walked into the fair that day...Noticing my shirt which bore our band's name, she said, "Se-lah! That's Jew-ish! You know what that means?"
"'It is so'?", I said.
"It is said!", she said.
She was wrong too, and was a person in her sixties who had been unsuccessfully been trying to sell acid right in front of us for too damn long. The day before, Ichabod and I had gone into that place, and had walked around all day, marching with the rest of the people, slow-ly, trying to get to some place or the other, and providing the music that guided the march. People seemed to enjoy our weird little raga-punk groove, and I had said, "Tomorrow, you and I will come back here and sit on a haybale and play music for each and every person that walks in here."
For the most part, that's what happened. But we were interrupted by Dick Ranger (who gets his own blog posting, one of these days), and the aforementioned toothless, sixty-something LSD purveyor. Then I went to go see my daughter, who was in town, and...
Awwww...What can I tell you without being maudlin, or a cliche, or something even worse, A Goddamn Bore? We were really good at what we did, and we made people happy. We played music that no one else in our limited little scene (the open-mike scene of middle-90's Olympia) was playing...And ultimately our thing was undone only by the personalities involved, not heroin, schizophrenia or any of the things that normally undo bands.
We made four studio recordings in our day, a lot to say for a band that nobody has ever heard of. The last was at Smegma studios here in potland, surrounded by singles and albums on the wall, cut by people far more famous than we, and many more who never went anywhere. We also recorded a record at KAOS radio studios in Olympia, which I believe neither of us currently know the whereabouts of, and another that was recorded with state-of-the-art technology, but was nonetheless recorded in Ichabod's bedroom.
The first was recorded at DreamKitchen studios in Olympia, by one Carl Dexter, who was a member of the band Dream Kitchen, and provided bass on that first record. We had wanted a tamboura, in keeping with the eastern punk feel, but it had sounded too tinny, so we went with a conventional bass, and had just gone from there. Only two songs from that session survive in my own personal collection, and in those days, we had little in the way of non-improvisational ideas.
The idea had been to wed the music of the east of the past and the west of the present, and I feel like we did a pretty good job. Later, when we went electric, more than one person dismissed it as having already been done due to the profusion of surf rock bands that had tried, roughly speaking, the same thing. In those days, for instance, we had noticed the extreme similarity between the sitar and the banjo, and made a song cycle for banjo and doumbek (or sometimes, spoons) that sounded like hillbillies meeting the Buddha. I once described our music to a live audience as 'raga-punk and archaic barnyard scratch'.
Our ideas for song names were spawned out of the half-assed spirituality that we were practicing in those days. I had told the folks at the Country Fair on that previously mentioned occasion that we were 'here representing Chaos'. I spoke at length with Ichabod on that day of the need for 'serving the Cosmic Groove', and how one would do that anyway, regardless of intent. In those days, I tended to start the evening waist deep in the Puget Sound, balanced on one foot, hands in an attitude of prayer on top of my head, shouting, "Humata, Hakata, Hvesta!" ("I praise aloud the Thought Well Thought, The Word Well Spoken, and The Deed Well Done!").
And like all Holy Men, I carried around a little totem (a statue of Ganesh, for some reason) that seemed to add some sort of religio-cred to what I was doing. I had the most annoying habit, in those days, of placing the damn thing down in front of me at, say, a coffee shop and saying a little prayer before defiling my body with the dread caffeine. This was better, you see, and can you also see how it makes a great deal of sense that this, the most 'spiritual' phase of my life, was marked by my very worst behavior?
Because I thought that I was Right.
On that recording at DreamKitchen, our first tune ultimately was named "Ormus", which is a bastardization of Ormuzd, which is a bastardization itself of Ahura Mazda, 'The Wise Lord', from Zoroastrianism. The above holy formula (for greeting the day, as it happens, not bidding it farewell) is from that religion as well, practiced by the Farsis in India to this day (they also have their own dialect, also called Farsi, from a bastardization of the word the locals had for 'Persian').
Like Ahura Mazda itself, 'Ormus' was the wellspring from which all else came. In that song, there are several sketches of ideas that would later become full-blown songs. I've always been obsessed with the idea of The Source. I once proposed that I was going to follow one of the many streams that I'm familiar with to its source and sit there meditating until I learned whatever it was I needed to learn. When I speak of the City of Water or Holy Shelter Swamps in my writing these days, that's what I'm talking about.
It is also what The Band was talking about when they spoke of "Up On Cripple Creek".
Our other recordings, especially after the migration to Portland, are electric, and are informed by ideas gathered by our time spent in other bands, together (Rustiq, Guild of Saints, Bringers of the Dawn, Sons of Fatima, and the one-shot Tumalo Turnip Truck). In the case of those other bands, it was our likelihood to enter into brief partnerships based on individual productions (Sons of Fatima), the fact that late-night deejays on KAOS were fond of sleeping, and would invite noise bands on to take hallucinogens and stay up all night, playing music (Bringers of the Dawn and Tumalo Turnip Truck: we once left all our instruments plugged in, feeding back, as we left the studio for an extended bonghit break), earlier ideas based around more traditional formats (Guild of Saints), and later experiments with new technology (Rustiq). We got better and better, but at the same time were moving in massively different directions: Ichabod was heading toward that sort of drone-rock that I often call 'room noise'. I myself was still interested in mining the east-west connection for all it was worth, in as much as very few people (with the notable exception of our idols, the Sun City Girls) had bothered doing so. We collected several of our jam sessions on primitive recording devices (some of the best stuff we did, if you ask me), made that final album with Mike Lastra at Smegma, and just sort of petered out.
These days, Ichabod is living up in St. Johns with his girlfriend, whose mother died a few years back, and had enough money to buy a house. They are living the urban-rural dream of living within the bounds of a city, but raising crops n' chickens. Me? I think bands are stupid, unless you are merely having fun, not trying to get famous, or if you are changing the parameters of the discussion that is popular culture itself, which is a hard and rare motherfucker, if I may say so.
I have threatened for years though, to put together a compilation of our greatest 'hits'. The greatest band you never heard of, unknown to the wildly popular music scene then happening around it, titled "Deny Not The Carnival of Values", after a thrown-off comment of mine, which seemed to take on a meaning of its own, in retrospect.
One last thing: I also once made one hundred dollars for one hour's work with this band. Ichabod has long been a caregiver with a local chain of homes for the developmentally disabled, and like other companies, they too have their company picnic. The picnic is both for clients and staff, and since no entertainment was booked for the event, and the entertainment budget was $200, we stepped up and said, "suuuure..." At first, we attempted rusty version of our old act; classical guitar, banjo, doumbek, spoons...But we had been electric for too many years, and were having a hard time keeping it together. We also ran through our catalogue, such as it was, in about a half-hour. Without even really discussing it, we decided once again to embrace the chaos. It was open noise jam time, and I figured that the hippies (for the most part) that worked for this outfit would quickly be on our asses for spoiling the mellow. Then I looked up.
The schizophrenics loved it. They were dancing ecstatically, as if they'd finally heard some music, after all these years of just barely holding it together, that made some damn sense to them. The caregivers looked on, shaking their heads and eating potato salad, as their charges found sense and meaning in all the undifferentiated noise and bizarre anti-rhythms we were filling the park with on that day.
It occurred to me that one day, if we felt like it, there was a market niche for us that we might exploit. So far, hasn't happened.