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May 18, 2011

The shelved number of unfinished notebooks
quite frankly assaults me, accusatory: quitter.
As does diving back into one, like so, like…
a punching bag too dumb to know he’s beaten.
Stay down, man. Averted eyes & shaken heads.

But the sorry dumb drunk used to could
throw a punch, lustily woo, get all worked up
in a lather over whichever girl of the hour,
see meaning-pregnant patterns
in weird light thrown through spring windows.

Now mostly the rain just patters, patternlessly.
The traffic lights clack-clunk colors
unheard at empty October intersections.
Train cars crash into stations
in a manner which does not imply sentience,
to say nothing of madness or exuberance.

Yet the drunk won’t stay down, despite
being shacked-up and cigarette-less
his frowning half-grin firm or tight
recalling the smell of July 4th cordite
an ice-runway goodbye, pale downy inner thighs
Austin ring-road four-door revolutions
an inability on occasion to get it up
cocky as fuck with the right cross to back it up
and all the radioactivity thereunto appertaining.

So back to training.

Long Time No See

November 12, 2010

But I got a lot of problems with you people!  And now, you’re going to hear about them.

What follows are probably the four more mystifying and disheartening paragraphs I’ve ever read, from a story in today’s Times about chain stores coming to Williamsburg — including, and this was especially depressing news to me, probably a Starbucks taking the place of the Bagel Store on Bedford and N. 3rd:

Shari Lind, who maneuvered a baby stroller occupied by her son Sawyer out the doors of Duane Reade, said she was elated by the chain’s presence. “Please, can you bring in Dunkin’ Donuts too,” she said. “I also want a Bank of America.”

A newcomer to Williamsburg from Manhattan, Ms. Lind said she found the neighborhood to be very inconvenient. Many of the chic stores refuse to take credit cards. And, she said, the quaint gourmet coffee shops charge too much. She said she sent an e-mail to Food Emporium imploring the company to open a supermarket in Williamsburg.

“For some reason,” she said of her neighbors, “they don’t want corporate stores. They don’t want convenience.”

Ms. Lind, on maternity leave from her job at Victoria Secret’s headquarters, said she wanted to move back to the Upper West Side.

Just, wow.  Wow.

America: Now Dumber Than Ever!

August 30, 2010

I’ve had this New York Times Opinionator blog post sitting in a tab in my web browser since mid-last week, with the intention of posting it to either Facebook or my blog. It seems now, in light of my last post, about Glenn Beck’s D.C. revival this past weekend, and the stunning ignorance on display at same, even more germane.

The post is written by Timothy Egan, and it’s titled “Building a Nation of Know-Nothings.” It is largely concerned with the misguided belief on the part of many Americans, including 46 percent of Republicans, that President Obama is a Muslim. Also, more than a quarter of Republicans believe he’s not even a citizen. Even further, Egan writes:

[F]ully half of [Republicans] believe falsely that the big bailout of banks and insurance companies under TARP was enacted by Obama, and not by President Bush.

It’s well worth reading the entire post, which tracks just where and how these people have obtained their seriously ill-informed ideas (hint: one of the disseminators has called our Secretary of State a “feminazi”).

But the last three paragraphs really bring home the danger of what some might dismiss as harmless if bizarre lunacy:

It would be nice to dismiss the stupid things that Americans believe as harmless, the price of having such a large, messy democracy. Plenty of hate-filled partisans swore that Abraham Lincoln was a Catholic and Franklin Roosevelt was a Jew. So what if one-in-five believe the sun revolves around the earth, or aren’t sure from which country the United States gained its independence?

But false belief in weapons of mass-destruction led the United States to a trillion-dollar war. And trust in rising home value as a truism as reliable as a sunrise was a major contributor to the catastrophic collapse of the economy. At its worst extreme, a culture of misinformation can produce something like Iran, which is run by a Holocaust denier.

It’s one thing to forget the past, with predictable consequences, as the favorite aphorism goes. But what about those who refuse to comprehend the present?

The Stupidest Thing I’ve Ever Heard

August 30, 2010

What follows is a quote from a New York Times story about today’s utterly surreal and, in my opinion, near-blasphemous Glenn Beck rally on the National Mall, on the 47th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. I don’t think I could come up with a more off-base interpretation of what Jesus stood for if I tried:

Becky Benson, 56, traveled from Orlando, Fla., because, she said, “we believe in Jesus Christ, and he is our savior.” Jesus, she said, would not have agreed with what she called the redistribution of wealth in the form of the economic stimulus package, bank bailouts and welfare. “You cannot sit and expect someone to hand out to you,” she said.

Oh really? How’s about this, from 1 John 3:17–18:

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Or any of these Bible verses concerning how one should treat the needy.

These people are seriously out of whack.

Well, This Is Rich

July 9, 2010

Seems to me that I remember many on the right moaning about welfare layabouts defaulting on their mortgages, and asking why we should have to help them?  What ever happened to self-determination, and bootstraps, and all that?

Well, turns out it’s not the poor or middle-class who specialize in defaulting on mortages: Rather, it’s the wealthy (or those who aspire to be), according to research compiled for the New York Times by CoreLogic, a real estate analytics firm (also, if you think that everything in the Times is false and made up, and would like to comment thusly, just save it — I don’t want to hear it).  Here are a relevant few lines from this story:

Whether it is their residence, a second home or a house bought as an investment, the rich have stopped paying the mortgage at a rate that greatly exceeds the rest of the population.

More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars are seriously delinquent, according to data compiled for The New York Times by the real estate analytics firm CoreLogic.

By contrast, homeowners with less lavish housing are much more likely to keep writing checks to their lender. About one in 12 mortgages below the million-dollar mark is delinquent.

Some (Very Minor) Thoughts Regarding Easter and Salinger

May 29, 2010

The question of whether or not god exists is far too weighty for anyone to believe they have figured out any earlier than five minutes before they die.

One thing that heartens me is that I will never want for a good book to read, by myself, at lunch.

What is the true mark of a god-seeker?  The ability to hear holy bells in the sound of keys tied to a jogger’s shoelaces.

Republican Hypocrisy, Part the Zillionth

May 28, 2010

Tell me what’s wrong with the following sentence, from today’s Times:

“But critics were not mollified [by President Obama’s accepting responsibility for mistakes made in handling the BP oil spill crisis], and Republicans kept up their efforts to equate Mr. Obama’s problems in the gulf with President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”

Got that?

” … and Republicans kept up their efforts to equate Mr. Obama’s problems in the gulf with President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”

But I thought Bush had done a GOOD job handling Katrina?  At least, Republicans did.  Here’s a snippet from the results of an ABC News poll, published Sept. 12, 2005:

Bush’s Response to Katrina
Approve Disapprove
All 46% 47%
Democrats 17 71
Independents 44 48
Republicans 74 22

Huh.  Seventy-four percent of Republicans approved of Bush’s handling of Katrina.  “Republicans kept up their efforts to equate Mr. Obama’s problems in the gulf with President George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.”

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

It’s just like Jon Stewart said a few weeks back (thanks, Joe, for alerting me to this on your Facebook page): “It’s like no matter what happens during the Obama administration, there’s the perfect Bush fuck-up for the occasion.”

Here’s a link to the Daily Show video, which is about Republican outrage over, and comparison to Bush’s own failed nomination of Harriet Miers, the nomination of Elena Kagan for Supreme Court justice.

I Bet You Can’t Guess What This Paragraph Is About

May 27, 2010

“Others, mostly in various forums, have demonized people who speculate in mythics, buying a bunch of mythics they believe will go up and stockpiling them for some time until they sell them off at a profit. The argument is that speculators are artificially increasing demand (and thus prices) and are doing so for selfish reasons. This argument is flawed. First, shortages occur because prices are too low. Speculators move prices to equilibrium more quickly. Second, speculators actually provide liquidity, because they are willing to sell their mythics when many players would prefer to keep them in their decks. Speculators actually help to obviate shortages.”

Hardly at All Developed, and Just Written this A.M., But Here’s Something Regardless

April 15, 2010

Springtime — and due to moving
everything you own has been reduced to:
one fork, one knife, one plate, one cup.

When in the kitchen, at the cucina,
squeezing honey onto cornbread,
you — I — realize this, what it once was like
comes back in a rush: waking up un-hungover
(though you should be) in an empty dorm room
in fragrant early May;
Feeling very light and terribly free.

But the boxes stacked
in another room reproach you.

Three Takes on an Evening

April 11, 2010

It was an evening of prominent lights
or lights noticed in a variety of places:
the ghostly footlights of the garden
the delicate tea lights of the bridge
and the dropped cigarette, burning
orange at the end and rolling down
toward the curb of Roebling Street.

On an early warmish April evening
it felt as if the temperature of the air
matched precisely the temperature
of my skin; I walked with my arms
hung at my sides, swaying in rhythm
to my sure footsteps while I noticed.

I was walking home on Bedford Avenue from dinner with Brendan and Tsam, and I was walking up Bedford Avenue, and I passed a little community garden that had these footlights along a path — and they were a very ghostly blue-white, with almost kind of a mist around them.  I stopped, or slowed, for a moment to look at them, but I quickly sped on homeward.