Monday, January 31, 2011

Across the Floor

He had lost control of his feet. This didn't usually happened but when he saw the way the dark haired girl ran her hand through her hair, he found that his feet had chosen for him. He walked up to the group angled towards the dark haired girl.

“Can I get your opinion?” he said over the roar of the barroom. He connected eyes briefly with the raven haired girl before quickly directing his attention towards the other girls in the group who were turning around to face him. “I'm doing a test. Tell me which one you like better, okay?” He took out two trial-sized colognes and applied them to each of his wrists. The he held out his hands palm up towards the center of the group. When the girl with the dark hair leaned in for the first sniff, Spin said, “She's very pushy, isn't she?” A few of the other girls giggled at his remark.

She clearly wasn't used to being talked to like that. Her manicured eyebrows furrowed and she pursed her full lips. Despite the remark, she still smelled the colognes first. “This one,” she said indicating the Pacific Ice on his left wrist.

Spin made small tally marks on each wrist as each girl in turn stated her preference. In the end the results were 3 to 2 Pacific Ice. “Thanks for participating in this informal survey,” he said and then immediately changed the topic of conversation. “I come to this bar a lot, I like the atmosphere and the pool tables.”

As the conversation naturally shifted to introductions and small talk about work and interests, Spin took the chance to lean his shoulders against a column near the bar. The girls moved in a little closer. When Spin said something funny, he would reach and playfully touch the girl he was talking to on the arm, but he kept his attention off of the dark haired girl who, by now he discovered, was named Rachel.

The blonde girl, Kelsey, who stood closest to Spin really liked his stories and would laugh animatedly at their climax or exaggerate a frown if the topic was more serious. Now Kelsey was pulling her hand through her hair and collecting it in a bundle and releasing it onto her opposite shoulder.

When Rachel who for the most part was being ignored started to look around the bar for other people to talk to, Spin said, “If you girls don't mind, I want to talk more with Rachel because she hasn't gotten much floor time.”

“Sure, if it's okay with her,” most of the girls said nodding and looking at each other.

Spin guided Rachel by her finger tips to a dimmer corner of the room; he noticed that she didn't recoil from his touch but actually held firm. Spin leaned back into the floral wall-paper and Rachel came up to his left side. He smiled at her and she showed her teeth too.

“You know, I bet you think you can get any man in this place,” Spin started to say. “But you'd be wrong. You see, you can only get a man who chooses you. Look around, there might be other men in her who you would like to meet, but they are all surrounded by girls. I'm sure there are girls in here who would like to meet me but they won't get the chance because I'm perfectly happy talking to you. So appreciate your time with me.”

She was clearly bewildered by his speech, but not unconvinced. The silence between them was growing. “So,” Rachel offered, “what do you do for fun?” Spin started to tell her about his friends and the exciting traveling he had recently done. That and other activities he mentioned really resonated with Rachel who wanted to spend time in Paris for at least a summer before she was going to settle down.

Throughout their conversation, their bodies were moving closer together and Spin would periodically emphasize a point he was making by resting his hand on Rachel's bare shoulder or on her forearm. After much teeth showing, Spin suggested they take a seat in a booth to continue the conversation. This time when he squeezed her hand, she squeezed it back.

The booth was vinyl red and lavishly padded with deep inlaid black buttons. Both of them were happy to rest their feet after standing for more than fifteen minutes.

Now, the pleasant gaps in their conversation began to widen as the mood shifted. They played with each other's hands and Spin put his fingers through Rachel's dark hair. They gazed into one another's eyes for several seconds and Spin leaned in for a kiss. His lips met hers and he gently sucked on her ring piercing at the center of her bottom lip.

Now's Wings

A gulf,

Deep enough to kill a
          f
       a
     l
   l
  i
 n
g
|
body

Stands between every moment,
And
I have this choice.

With each hesitated second, its width expands
Threatens to expose a secret
Volatile
Enough to shatter the life that’s become.

Not paralyzed, recognizing fear shakes my limbs;
Release myself from false directed expectation,
I     L     E     A     P
Across the divide on wind’s shoulder.

But to leap revealed the nature of a good secret,
Which froze me from dipping into its unknown
And gliding with now's wings, I did let go.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The greatest secret of the West, of Civilized Men, of society with a Christian legacy, however hidden and denied, is that those with the most power are easily seduced, not only by people but by murderous ideas, by phantasms whose existence they deny.

This secret manifests itself in a particular binarism, a way of dividing the world into good and evil, each pole corresponding to a great variety of terms, with one side generally dominant and controlling: Active and Passive, West and East, Inside and Outside, Consent and Coercion, Justice and Tyranny, Health and Sickness, Authenticity and Fakeness, Nature and Corruption. They move into descriptions of people, Black and White, Male and Female, Straight and Queer, Rich and Poor. Rich Dad, Poor Dad is a very popular book's title, as is Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Sometimes I want to write an inane book like that so that I can live on the proceeds for the rest of my life. Rich Dad, like most bestsellers, reinforces a dichotomy while appearing impartial. It argues, essentially, that the poor dad is poor because he has chosen to be poor by being profligate, and this supposed to be empowering: any dad can become a rich dad, if he just works hard enough! This leaves out the question, of course, of the multitude, the other millions of poor dads who will be left behind, the ones who actually influence the world the most and make everything run.

This type of individualistic and individualizing thinking is the means by which dichotomies are reinforced: the Good and the Healthy are nearly always the Few.

One who accepts this thinking, who finds no possibility but to accept this thinking, finds oneself at an utterly awful crossroads where it feels like a choice between becoming a rapist and castrating himself. This is the straight white male fear, which can occupy anyone: Either I fuck someone over, or I get fucked over. There can be no compassion, no generosity, no forgiveness, no trust. I am Tony Montana, or Dylan Klebold: you are all my enemies, so I win. If I lose, it is only in a bloody apotheosis.

This mindset is not “a part” of rape and murder; it is the foundation for rape and murder. This explains, on its own, why men commit the vast majority of violent crimes.

Case studies are needed at this point, but are difficult to provide, precisely because white middle-class men are the most unassailable group, and they are growing as Arabs and Latinos follow in the footsteps of the Jews, believing that they, too, are white. Tim Wise points out that we must begin to look at this problem of near-random shootings (Arizona, dozens, maybe hundreds, of American high schools)as a white, male problem, and that we have thus far failed to look at it, almost at all, because we are, as Americans, terrified of the notion that there could be anything wrong with this group.

And this will continue to be true as long as people believe that race equals skin color, and sexual orientation equals who you fuck, and gender equals your genitalia. These arguments are equivalent to saying that the iceberg is constituted by its tip. And if you believe that, your ship is going to sink.

Of course each of these factors play a part in the larger topics of race, sexual orientation, and gender. But to reduce them to these is disallow an understanding, on the one hand, of the way in which oppressions between these groups are interrelated, and, on the other hand, of the effects of these oppressions on the privileged groups. Because if the story of Columbine, Jim Jones, or Jared Lee Loughner teaches us anything, it is that there is a kind of suffering--not oppression, but suffering--visited upon those who are in positions of relative privilege.

This suffering has to do with the feeling and the belief that one's kingdom is crumbling, has crumbled, has been undone by hordes of filthy, corrupt, perverse devils. "A donkey, a donkey, my kingdom for a donkey!" This may as well be the battlecry of the Tea Party Movement, whose collusion with Loughner has been widely denied although everyone knows that the Tea Partiers are just as strong in the belief that one should take up arms, as a white American, to defend the interests of white Americans.

We must take as one of our starting points the understanding that this belief is genocidal. It relies on what James Baldwin called the "dream of safety" whose endpoint can only be "the nightmare orgasm of genocide."

Most people, Americans especially, will be shocked and disgusted by Baldwin's idea. We would have to recap in order to see where he was coming from.

More than almost any author, Baldwin looked directly at the experience of Black Americans since slavery. He was particularly attuned to the aspects of this experience which were overlooked for they were shameful, both to whites and to blacks: the way in which racism acted on a psychological register which overlapped with the material, the way in which racism function in terms of homophobic and sexist violence, the way in which racism was a crime against the dignity of both the oppressor and the oppressed.

His short story, "Going to Meet the Man." The story is about a Southern sheriff in a small rural town. More directly, it describes his thoughts as he lies in bed, next to his wife. His thoughts are obsessed with thoughts of "the niggers," how they disgust and shock him, how they occupy him with rage. Having engaged in behind-closed-doors conversations with white men, and having been one myself, I can tell you that this is completely normal. There is no word that better describes the attitude of the American white man for the black than envy (and I would say the same goes for straight men toward gays and men toward women). "There were niggers in the Army right now and God knows they wouldn't have had any trouble stealing this half-assed government blind--the whole world was doing it, look at the European countries and all those countries in Africa (209)." The blacks, with their scheming, albeit stupid, ethical laxity, are stealing this country from under our feet!

What, however, keeps a man in this stultifying position of loss and envy is his separation from the blacks, which, he believes, will temper his jealousy, his rage, his resentment. If only I can keep them out of my life, I will be able to focus on normal things. As long as he does not face them, Baldwin wrote, he will not have to face himself.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

New Topic

This time I'm offering a choice between two topics. Feel free to relate them.

Seduction and Secret
1/29-1/31

--
"He leaned up a little and watched her face. Her face would now be, forever, more mysterious and impenetrable than the face of any stranger. Stranger's faces hold no secrets because the imagination does not invest any in them? But the face of a lover is an unknown precisely because it is invested with so much of oneself. It is a mystery, containing, like all mysteries, the possibility of torment."

--
James Baldwin from Another Country

Thursday, January 27, 2011

RE: game theory

I have been watching http://academicearth.org/lectures/introduction-to-game-theory and I think I figured out a way to phrase what we are trying to do in our revaluation. The concept I was referring to is called dominant/dominated strategy. A strategy strictly dominates another strategy if, in all cases, regardless of another's actions, there is a better payoff. What we should do to break the dilemma, then, is to create a pure, perfectly dominant strategy. A perfectly dominant strategy would be one that, regardless of the situation, dominates all other strategies. To create this we need to change our payoff to be one that is outside of another's control, thus making others' actions irrelevant. This can be done by the promotion of the feeling of self-pride, pride in having done the action knowing the consequences. The outcome of the action is irrelevant (even if it hurts another, but this will be discussed later). What matters is that we shape our payoff to be the pride that comes with acting, not with the consequence. Cheats!


The problem with this idea, like Alex mentioned, is that it leaves no place for ethics. It's effective as a cold war strategy, and it's the reason John Nash was so enormously well-received, despite his paranoid schizophrenia. It's the idea of purity, the idea of an infinitely superior position, a position so superior that it will never be demoted by another seeking superiority.

You can't "break the dilemma" once and for all because you can never make the payoff entirely outside of the other's control. The actions of the other are always relevant. This is what ethics means. It's not a popular viewpoint, but I think that a new symptomatology of things like paranoid schizophrenia and autism could show a relationship between these disorders and ethics. For instance, autism is characterized by a 'lack of theory of mind,' an abiding disregard for the viewpoint of the other, or an ignorance of such a viewpoint. Simon Baron-Cohen published a fascinating paper arguing that autism is much more likely to occur in children of mathematicians and scientists than in children of those who work in other areas.

I digress, but I hope you see my point. I'm sure there are even mathematicians who have used formulas to argue against Nash's theory, but they don't get much funding because the government wants ways to win wars, and as a way to annihilate other people, game theory works quite well. That doesn't mean it should be eliminated or that it's wrong. You can't annihilate annihilation. But you have to move outside of it as well.
How do you redeem those who believe that they are safe from everything? How can safety be something besides genocide, besides the killing of that element which is seen to be dirtying a pure culture?

Safety is given to us by our blessedness as much as our technology. Frankenstein and I, Robot are the literary manifestations of what we fear and what we know: that techology can make us less safe, or more of a threat to ourselves. Safety is not something which can be guaranteed in a risk society or a society of control. But despite this the society relies on the guarantee of safety to do work. You can't have a massive social venture without an insurance policy, or, if you do, it's a guerrilla movement, it's underground, it's a resistance. You will be smoked out of your holes if you don't take out an insurance policy.

It used to be that an insurance policy was like the bridge, it was something to be suckered into. In the age of betting against the market, is it still that way? It's hard to say.

Insurance is a scam only insofar as the state is a scam, only insofar as the society of control fails and breaks down.

As the sunset echoes

As the sunset echoes wave across the horizon,
Apportioning in descending orbit certain evening calm,
Anon to arise from measured depths unseen by worldly eyes
To always battle that notion of tomorrow,

The heavenly bedsheets blaze God's purple into distant black,
And we, hand-in-soft-hand among half-moon friends
Rapt into a spiral whirlwind of woven human connection,
That lifts the crescent-company above God's vanishing bed.

Dance-sing-touch-celebrate another day well lived,
Resonated with the fundamental frequency's sinuous oscillation,
Struck firmly each moment in flesh, land, and sea,
That struggle-free must abided be.

Feet like drum sticks, we clock in chaotic concord
To commemorate the many lost and dead on this dying day,
Yield to the spinning disco stars our ceaseless attention
Drawing muscular moments into long sensuous hours.

At gentle glimmer's candle warmth anew on the polar shore,
The moon-time artists weary-worn settle to the terrestrial floor.
Grateful, God's smile punctures the hazed dawn,
Appreciating us dancers' surrender, with an open welcome, 'come on'.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

O wtf we have ads on our blag now. We better be rakin' in fat $$$$
Every time I see you
I want to bolt out in song.
My voice cheers for happy tears
And I can't be silent for long.

Your curled flowing tresses
That I love draped across your brow,
Are more fuller than the feathered colour
Deepest on the crow.

Yet your eyes that peer past
The lively raven locks
Are more tempting than the sweetest helping
Ever offered me in stocks.

Although it may be hard to win,
I know my voice can sing,
But if not the phrase, than its import I raise
Can my hopes your joyful smile bring.

If you will be mine forever,
My promise shall never deplete
For we shall never be poor for lack of musical score
Since my love remains engaged on repeat.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Schmuckler

This isn't quite finished but I wanted to get it up here anyways. It still needs an ending, but I hope you find it an amusing story.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
He saw here on the squat machine. She was his kind of woman. Her glutes could have been taken from Playboy. Schmuckler was watching her in the mirror as he did his reverse shoulder rolls with the 5 pound weights. She went up and down in rhythm with the metallic slide of the exercise bar on the guided track. When her thighs were parallel to the ground her butt was shaped like a pear. It looked more like a pear than any pear Schmuckler had ever seen before.

He sat down on the bench leaning against the vertical back rest and started to swing his skinny body with each alternated bicep curl. He was lost in her reflection and completely forgot he was working out. His eyes had moved to the woman's teal sports bra that was pulled taught across her spinal ravine. He wanted to be her dashing Indiana Jones and rush across that unstable bridge to get to her hidden treasure. All he lacked was the basic handsome requirement.

The woman straightened her legs and stepped forward to lock the bar back onto the machine. Schmuckler continued to sway his body left and right so that his loose tank top shirt revealed the lack of firm muscle and healthy skin that he believed he still possessed. Intuiting some imaginary social cue, he dropped the green dumbbells to the ground which wasn't louder than an orange's thud on the floor.

“I see you like to do squats,” Schmuckler said running his hand past his sweat band and through the donut of graying hair.

“That's right,” said the girl. She tucked her bangs behind her ears so she could put her earbud headphones in. She was easily half his age.

Headphones. Schmuckler liked when women played hard-to-get, and he was up for a challenge today.

“Tell me your thoughts on this place,” he coolly improvised. He removed his horn rimmed glasses, breathed on them with an open mouth and rubbed them on his sweaty tank top shoulder strap. This obscured his vision even more. The grease on the lenses made her look like she was melting. Am I too hot for ya? He couldn't help himself from chuckling out loud. He didn't listen to a word of her response.

“Looking at you, I can tell that you come here a lot.”

“I can see that you don't,” she said and turned away.

This did not bother him. Throughout his life, he learned not to give up, and he wasn't throwing in the sweaty towel yet. For the other gym-goers who were halfheartedly watching them talk, they could easily tell that the girl was fed up. She was trying to back away from the bald pasty man. But Schmuckler, blind to her cues, kept imagining her undoing her black hair and shaking it loose as she swaggered over to him resting her hands on his shoulders and pulling him into her chest. He let out a sigh as his imagination took him there.

For several minutes, he mildly harassed her around the room staying close as she tried to continue her workout. Although numerous features of the aging man could easily scare off potential women, the girl in the black skin tight shorts was most disgusted by his ceaseless sly yellow grin. Although Schmuckler's youthful body was lost years before, the gentleman held on tight to his self-image. Good for his self-esteem but not so much for his prospectives.

The girl had resorted to turning up the volume on her music player, going to the other side of the gym and even closing her eyes while she worked out. But Schmuckler didn't keep his distance and started to lift some weights for show while biting his lower lip.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Artillery ads aimed
at lowest common denominator.
I scramble to safety under rhythm's carapace
and close my eyes to drown out
the grasping hands of my fleeting eye
Hold Hold Hold stand
Hold Hold Hold stand
Hold Hold Hold stand
4/4 time chants to me
Simple, I know
but sanctuary


I can't decide whether to use sanctuary or shelter for the last word. PENIS ENLARGEMENT, GET THIN QUICK, FIND GIRLS IN LA.

New topic for 1/23-1/25

Figure I do this while I have the chance and we're all straight men and all the other restrictions that would come with this once our writer-base expands. Write about your Queen, as you would have her.

Bias

Neurological pathogens
sharp needle of disease
scrape a sample of
biological tissue
Blowing, light as leaves
in autumn breeze.
Since sense seems abandoned. //
right reason, ha
We mad as scientist forge
forward our method loses
experiment.




Getting closer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sometimes dreams come a little later than expected and are the harsh reality of a world you'd wish to oblivion

New Topic

Pertinacity is the new topic for 1/20-1/22

Tim will choose the topic for Q from 1/23-1/25

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Nepenthean Phrase

“Doctor, I want you to hypnotize my husband so you can teach his subconscious a phrase that will make him forget the last quarter hour he just experienced.”

“Ah ha,” Dr. Punjester said. His interest was aroused. “A nepenthean phrase, very interesting, but not complicated. Why, may I ask, do you want to obliterate your husband's short term memory?”

“I can't trust him with my secrets Doctor,” Mrs. Oafleton said. She recrossed her legs and took a drag on her French cigarette. “It's rather a private issue that I'd prefer not to discuss with you. Because of our professional relationship of course.”

“Of course. Confidentiality is my specialty. I won't pry into your marital affairs any further Mrs. Oafleton. What's between you and your husband should stay that way. What phrase would you like to choose?”

“Large banana,” the married woman said tilting her head back as she put the cigarette to her lips.

“Large banana? My, my. As you may know, that fruit is just about the most popular in this country, madam.”

“Never-the-less, my husband has a near fatal allergy to bananas, and we can't have them in the house. I can't tell you how much I miss those large bananas. My life would be so much more pleasurable if I could have my fill. You understand the dilemma don't you doctor? When my pathetic husband goes to the super market, his throat closes up. Bananas may be the death of him.”

“Very good then.”

“Good, so it's settled. Now remember, I will bring him by early next week on the pretense that your hypnosis will cure his severe migraine headaches. So you might as well through a cure in as well.”

“As you wish.”

On Tuesday morning, Mrs. Oafleton surprised her husband with the news that she had scheduled an appointment to see a headache specialist across town. Together they both left their home and drove to Dr. Punjester's office. Mr. and Mrs. Oafleton were told to go right in by the receptionist because the doctor had cleared the whole morning of other appointments.

“Mr. Oafleton, thank you for coming,” Dr. Punjester said as he rose from his desk. The two men shook hands. “Now please get comfortable so we may begin. No time to waste.” Mr. Oafleton took a seat on the Suez-lounge and reclined himself. The doctor took a wide-legged stance near Mr. Oafleton's feet and pulled out a gold pocket watch.

“Keep you eyes on my watch,” he said as it began to sway. “Allow your eyes to feel sleepy. That's right. They are getting heavy, aren't they? Like sand bags or two lumpy sacks of potatoes carried on each shoulder of an Irish farmer. Feel the lids touch together and feel relaxed. I will snap my fingers after I count back to zero from three. When you hear the snap you will be completely under my influence. Prepare to surrender to me. 3-2-1-0.”

*snap*

“Now! Nod your head up and down.” He did. “Good boy. Shake your head vigorously.” He did. “Now put your finger inside your left nostril.”

“Dr Punjester! Please remember our business,” Mrs. Oafleton said. The smoke from her freshly lit cigarette was spiraling towards the ceiling.

“Just having a little fun, Mrs. Oafleton. I suppose you could say it's a little dirty habit I have. It's so fun to play with my patients. What else did I go through all that medical school for?” Dr. Punjester turned his attention back to her husband.

“Mr. Oafleton, now listen intently. From now until the end of your life, when you hear the phrase 'large banana' you will forget everything you saw, smelled, tasted, touched, heard, and thought within the fifteen minutes prior to hearing the phrase. Nod your head if you understand and will obey.” He did. “Good. And you are also permitted to stop suffering from migraine headaches. Now, when I snap my fingers, you will gently return to an engaged state of awareness feeling as excited as a school boy watching his favorite Saturday morning cartoons.”

*snap*

Mr. Oafleton opens his eyes and within moments he was awake and engaged.

“Honey,” Mrs. Oafleton says, “how is your migraine headache feeling?”

“Quite fine dear. Let's go home and watch some T.V. Thank you Doctor.”

Two weeks after his hypnosis, Mr. Oafleton was still headache free. He was feeling so good that his job performance had also improved. His boss was so impressed, he let Mr. Oafleton out early. On his way home, he decided to buy flowers for his wife as a surprise. When he entered the house, his wife wasn't in the living room or the kitchen. Thinking that she must be taking a mid-day nap, he quietly walked into their bedroom.

Sprawled limply beneath Mrs. Oafleton's naked back and buttocks were two hairy legs. Her curly hair was bouncing up and down in rhythm with the sex.

Stunned, Mr. Oafleton stood immobile at the doorway. He did however drop the bouquet. “I love your large banana!” Mrs. Oafleton yelped.

Mr. Oafleton's eyes went blank.

“Oh yeah! say it again,” Dr. Punjester, the hairy adulterer said while gyrating his hips. “I like when you talk dirty.”

“Large banana, large banana, large banana!”

Mr. Oafleton's memory was never the same again after that.

The Prisoner's Dilemma ptII

I have been watching http://academicearth.org/lectures/introduction-to-game-theory and I think I figured out a way to phrase what we are trying to do in our revaluation. The concept I was referring to is called dominant/dominated strategy. A strategy strictly dominates another strategy if, in all cases, regardless of another's actions, there is a better payoff. What we should do to break the dilemma, then, is to create a pure, perfectly dominant strategy. A perfectly dominant strategy would be one that, regardless of the situation, dominates all other strategies. To create this we need to change our payoff to be one that is outside of another's control, thus making others' actions irrelevant. This can be done by the promotion of the feeling of self-pride, pride in having done the action knowing the consequences. The outcome of the action is irrelevant (even if it hurts another, but this will be discussed later). What matters is that we shape our payoff to be the pride that comes with acting, not with the consequence. Cheats!

Monday, January 17, 2011

New topic

Will says new topic is Oblivion. I'm putting this all up on my calendar again. This period goes from 1/17-1/19. 1/20-1/22 will be P, chosen by Alex.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Heroes and Villians

A tall man pulled back the bolt ejecting the empty shell and thrust the next into position. He hoisted his rifle to his exposed shoulder, looked past the brim of his hat and lined gun's sight up with the target's Adam's apple below his black beard. Pete Gunsgallow gently pulled the trigger proving that his life is not graceless. His muscular arms lined with gray and black wartime tattoos don't buckle under the rifle's recoil.

After the direct hit, he slammed the butt of the gun on the ground like a walking stick. During his second tour of duty, an explosion coordinated by Iraqi insurgents had mutilated his leg. The limp in his stride is now barely noticeable but sometimes the pain returns. The doctors were able to remove all the shards and fortunately no bones were broken but they can't identify the cause of his intermittent pain. Bits of shrapnel had torn apart his left thigh and removed him from his God-given right to fight. At least he had no regrets. Before his injury sent him home on disability, he killed fourteen of those brown-skinned terrorists.

The only colored tattoo on his body is the American bald eagle soaring against the backdrop of a fluttering American flag. The eagle can be seen flying across his left ribs towards his navel through the opened front of his sleeveless jean jacket. He opened a can of Bud “full fucking taste” Weiser and half emptied it in a gulp. Beer numbs his pain. He wiped off the foam from his manicured mustache and scratched his bushy side burns.

Gunsgallow struck a match along the splintered table in his backyard to light a Marlboro Red that he pulled from a crushed soft pack. Despite the direct hit to the target's vulnerable throat, Osama Bin Laden's portrait remained pinned to the bald cypress seemingly alive and well. The bastard still held his omniscient gaze and never broke his eye contact which seemed to say, “you are forgiven.”

“Fuck you!” Gunsgallow exploded with a hot cloud of smoke bursting from his mouth. Biting the Red between his teeth, he grabbed his 9 mm semiautomatic from the table and loaded in the extended magazine clip. Gunsgallow did not conserve his bullets. The shots echoed through the bayou along with his war cry, “yeeee haw!” He replaced the blacks of Bin Laden's eyes with bullets.

“Howdy. Business as usual?”

“Oh same as always, reckoned you'd make it today.”

“Always make it on 5 cents off Monday. Can't pass up the bargain,” Jim Goodman hands the clerk a twenty dollar bill for his gas. “You know, why don't you give me two good pieces of that jerky your wife's been making. I hear she's got it better than before.” Goodman stands across the clerk and places his leather wallet on the counter. He rolls up the sleeves of his blue shirt and leans on his elbow.

The clerk picks up a pair of orange plastic tongs and opens the plastic case that holds several strips of lean jerky. He finds one of the most appealing and picks up a bag to put it in.

“No bag. Them's for you and me right here and now. What do ya say?”
“Thanks partner.”

As they're finishing up their salty snacks, a man walks into the gas station and quickly slips around to the back refrigerator section. The clerk was busy telling Jim about how he had shot the steer and cleaned it up himself and how his wife's been making the dried meat snacks. Neither man paid any notice to the stranger assuming he just wanted a cold drink.

“Hands up. Empty your drawers.”

Both men look back at the man who'd previously came in unnoticed. He holds a gun and switches his aim between the two at the counter. A black ski mask disguises his face revealing only his eyes and white teeth. With his left hand, he throws a pillow case at the clerk. “Fill it.”

The clerk opens his register and starts to move the cash into the bag. All six eyes are on the transaction. The robber dances his body's weight from foot to foot and holds his gun's aim on the clerk. He keeps turning his head towards the door to make sure they're all alone.

While the crook is focused on the money, Goodman punches the crook in the face. He follows the momentum of his punch in towards the robber, and Jim skillfully twists the gunman's wrist and wrenches the handgun away. He kicks the robber to his knees and aims the gun's barrel between the crook's eyes.

Pete Gunsgallow walked towards the pin up of Bin Laden and counted 28 hits out of the 30 shots from his handgun's clip. He snubbed the cigarette butt with his finger and thumb and flicked it into the swampy grass of his yard beyond the trees. Gunsgallow took long slow strides back towards the table with his thumbs latched into his belt loops. His leather work boots clunked against the soft ground. He chugged the rest of the open Bud, crushed it and tossed it into a pile of others. He reached for another inside the open fridge pack on the table.

“Fuckin' empty,” he said. He swung his fist, dented the cardboard box and sent it flying. Since it was still light out, he decided to go to the gas station for some more beer. He loaded the handgun and put it in his dirty jeans' back pocket. He never went anywhere without it. He climbed into his rusted Ford pick-up truck and saluted the photograph of his dead army companions that he had clipped on his sun-visor. Then he turned the ignition and put the truck into drive. The tires crushed the empty Bud box on the driveway as Gunsgallow left.

After Goodman had subdued the robber, the clerk puts the pillow case by his feet, closes the register and immediately calls the police on the phone. The robber's immaculately snow-white teeth are clenched together. He has his hands on his head and watches intently for a mistake. But Jim knows how to handle a gun, and he holds the crook's pistol steady and ready for any unexpected moves.

“Fuckin' asshole,” the clerk says. “You won't be messin' with any 'Bama men again soon. The deputy's on's way and'll be locking you up.”

“Take off the fuckin' mask,” Goodman says waving the gun upwards. The crook's confident blue eyes are locked on the black man's face. He doesn't make an effort to follow the order. Instead, he silently lifts his lips in a crooked smile.

“Take it off,” Jim says with forced emphasis, but the crook doesn't seem threatened by Jim and the gun in his hand. The robber bets that Goodman will not shoot out of anger but only out of necessity. So he decides to wait for a moment of weakness to reassert his position of power. But Goodman doesn't give the robber a chance, because he grabs the top of the mask and pulls it up.

Pete Gunsgallow probably hit a squirrel on his drive to the gas station or a cat if he was lucky. At least no one else was in the other lane when he swerved into it. He didn't bother counting how many beers he drank anymore and only noticed when there were none left. He wasn't even sure if the pain was still in his leg because he didn't bother to get sober enough to find out. He pulled his truck into the station and stepped out onto the pavement. He lit a fresh cigarette and walked up to the door leaving the truck running and the door agape.

As Jim Goodman lifts up the mask, Gunsgallow opens the glass door. He sees the black man holding a pistol to the submitted white man's head. Gunsgallow does not hesitate. He grabs his American made 9 mm semiautomatic handgun from his back pocket and aims. Hollow point bullets tear apart Jim Goodman's chest and skull eating away his life. Goodman's body is thrown left and right with each impact slamming him into the glass counter. With the cigarette gripped at the edge of his mouth, Gunsgallow shouts “yeeee haw” as the shots ring out.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Oh! Dreamer please do not wake

Oh! Dreamer, please do not wake.
Let your mind soar free in the worlds of possibility
Take each liberty you can imagine and try even to fly.

Fear not death or failure or wasted effort,
And Breathe that crisp heavenly air into your blood
While you still can.

Oh Dreamer. Do not fail me;
I call on your strength to guide my way.
For I am blind without your contrail wake.
But please glide on not for me but for your sake.

On Being Left Handed

My hands have been with me throughout my life. In my family, I was only one of two who put the pen to the page with his left hand. Before I knew it, I was being forced to adjust my opposing tendency to that of the accepted multitude. In baseball, I threw with my right arm and caught with my left.

I struggled with being left handed especially once it dawned on me that I was learning baseball in a right-handed world. Once I learned that not all players used their right arm to throw, I tried to switch but it was too late to be effective. Yet, I still practiced batting lefty and did become a switch hitter. It even says so on my Agway Giants baseball card. I was 10.

When I started playing drums four years later, I won one for the lefties. I rejected the right-handed style of playing the drum set and with my teacher Pete's help, I developed an open style that I still practice today. The method increases the autonomy and independence of each limb around the set.

Even now, I sometimes question which hand is my hand. Most people seem to clearly have a dominant hand. But for me both have their purposes and strengths. Sometimes I notice myself using my right hand and then try to switch to my left because I think that I'm suppose to be left handed. When I walk my dog, I hold the leash in my right hand. It makes me wonder what a real left hander, uninfluenced by a right-handed world, would do? In a world so clearly defined as either this or that, where do I stand on such a clearly defined distinction for so many people?

I am proud to have been diagnosed with chronic left-handedness syndrome. Although this does put me in a minority, at least there have been and are many great people who show me I am not alone and do not have to hide my difference.

My hands have been with me my whole life. Although their prior chubbiness has given way to a knobbier look, these two hands are still my most valuable tools and my direct link to the outside world. I am glad I am among those who were born to awkwardly push their pen against the grain of the paper to create words with their left hand and right brain.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

tidings of purpose

Awake ye dreamer
seize thy method.
Intention forward to madness
hammer reason thy shape.
grasp the reign of kingdoms coming,
charioteer, brother.
no seaswell, you. Forward push has thought,
no random crush of moondrive.
Awake ye dreamer, awake,
thy throne and legion wait
deepwellthought command

Monday, January 10, 2011

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Prisoner's Dilemma

A lecture and in part a diatribe against self-sacrifice

The classical economic quandary, the basis also for Game Theory. It is through this simple setup that we see how rational, that is self-promoting, behavior leads to irrational (uneconomic) end states. Some (in my opinion morons) would take this as a case against self-motivated behavior and argue who the prisoners should sacrifice themselves for one another and only then will they be able to solve this whole thing. Such ideas are infantile and, at their very core, self contradictory. (I'd tone it down if I were actually giving this lecture, which I would love to. Right now it's caricaturing that which it is criticising)

The Dilemma

The prisoner's dilemma, for those who don't know, is a simple enough premise;
Two prisoners are both suspected of the same crime. There are two potential options for each prisoner: confess that they committed the crime or accuse the other. They cannot talk to one another. The sentencing for the four possible outcomes is as follows:
Both confess: 1 year each
1 confess/1 blame: 5 years to the confessor, 0 for the blamer
Both blame: 3 years each

The economic maximum (greatest total profits, in this case, fewest total years served by all parties) is reached in the situation where both prisoners confess. However, if any of you have seen A Beautiful Mind, you may recall the scene with at the bar with the women and them all exploding. This scene is attempting to depict the realization of what is known as Nash's Equilibrium (named after John Nash). According to Nash's Equilibrium, each party will act in such a way that it will yield the least profitable outcome (blame/blame). This is explained by the fact that, no matter what, if you blame the other person, you receive less personal punishment. (If they confess and you blame, 0 is better than 1 and if they blame and you blame, 3 is better than 5)

Now, this idea could be (and probably has been) picked up by those who are at war with personal maximization, the Collectivists, to use Rand's term. It is evidence that non-group oriented selfishness is a plague. You should always serve your brother by confessing and when each of us realizes this, only then will our utopia be reached. This is all well and good, but we as rational (read cynical, as per its definition: a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested points of view) people understand that people will always act as to maximize themselves. Our task, if that be our line of reasoning, would be to change the behavior of another to better suit ourselves. This is the most poisonous and hypocritical of faiths. We would seek to shame or coerce another through invocation of the group's benefit into a self destructive act that always benefits (converse to Nash's Equilibrium, you always get a lesser sentence if the other confesses) ourselves. Thus, this doctrine is, at its heart, a lie and the deepest poison.
But we, however, are good economists, and as such, will not rest as long as there is inefficiency such as this. How do we propose to accomplish this? Simple Alchemy (simple, not easy): we become the person to whom jail time contrasted to 'freedom' is irrelevant. To become this person, external freedom must become nothing. For this, we need True Freedom.

(As an aside, we, as a religious species, have a tendency to seek a 'messiah;' another who will take our sentence while we reap the benefits. We pray and wait for this being when the path lies before us. We all wait for the messiah instead of becoming he who is free. See, as far as our understanding is concerned, everyone benefits from the messiah except the messiah. This is absurd in the eyes of the understanding.) (If I were actually giving this lecture, I would go more in depth into this and probably rearrange this whole thing).

True freedom is the freedom is the realization that it is the self, the I, which determines good and bad, want and abhor. The I is, in part, gained through the realization and acceptance that voluntary action is motivated by self interest and that it is the self which determines what it is interested in.

TBC...

My beautiful hands, creators of...

contaminate a holy word
to take and shape and bless
becomes:
shifting shadows of puppet strings
sickly sweet smiles of poison
Breasts temptations use him, milk him
drain his lifesoul.
Dance behind scenes, Dark Cabal,
pull your lever.
(Lever made by sightful hopehands.
Aspire to achieve what our fingers find in heaven
we shape anew)

Jenni's Jacob

“It's not my fault,” she said. Jenni stepped onto the blue couch and sat on the backrest with her feet on the cushions. Jacob remained in a low chair with his elbows on his knees holding his head in his hands.

His dirty laundry was piled up near the bathroom door. Used plates and a few empty beer bottles and to-go containers rested on the coffee table between them. Their apartment was chilly but not cold, and Jacob still wore the same pair of jeans and shirt from Friday.

Jacob wanted to go somewhere alone to sit and think through what Jenni had just told him, but he couldn't leave. While on business in New York, she got drunk and slept with a co-worker. Jacob felt aggressively sick. Jenni told Jacob about the incident because it was something, he “ought to know.”

“Did you hear me?” Jenni said snapping her fingers. Jacob nodded once but wasn't fully listening. Instead he focused on the stitching patterns on the couch because everything else seemed to be spinning.

“It was a mistake, Jake,” Jenni said and then turned around to reach her feet to the carpet and jump down. “It doesn't mean anything. We were both drunk and it wasn't even that good.” She looked at him but he didn't notice. “I didn't mean it. It just happened,” she walked towards the padded arm of the couch. “You know I'm out of it when I drink. Anyways it doesn't matter because I still want to be with you. I'm here now. Right?”

Jacob reached out to touch Jenni's arm but she abruptly pulled it away. Shocked Jacob could feel his head swelling and forced the muscles around his eyes and chin to remain still and dry. Again, he lowered his face away from his girlfriend.

Jenni put her left leg up onto the armrest and her hands on her hips and looked down at Jacob sitting in the chair. His knees were higher than his waist and his spine was curved. He held his head in his hands.

“Why don't you order us a pizza,” Jenni suggested. “It'll make us feel better.” Jacob noticed that his breathing had grown shallow. He ignored himself and took out his phone and found Pizza John's saved in his contacts. Maybe she was right.

“Hi, I would like to order a pizza for delivery . . . One large with cheese, mushrooms, olives, and jalapenos . . . Jacob . . . 2-1-4-33-52 . . . Thanks.”

After Jacob hung up, Jenni put both feet on the carpet and walked up behind Jacob. She grabbed his shoulders and pulled him back into her chest. She wrapped her arms around his forehead and squeezed her breasts into him. She was smiling.

“How much time do we have?” Jenni asked between a few kisses on Jacob's neck.

“Twenty-five minutes.”

She slid her slender hands down his biceps and let her blonde hair cover her face as it fell down his chest. She kissed his throat using her tongue.

Jacob ripped himself from her embrace and pivoted around to look at Jenni's green eyes.

"No more," Jacob said.

"But you just ordered a pizza. Wait for that to come Jake."

"I hate when you call me Jake." He put on his untied boots and leather jacket, closed the door and was gone.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I stand atop this mountain after fasts, meditations, and travels having reached my personal perfection. The solitary path endlessly led through burnt desert and luscious valley and brought me moments of pain and bliss. None of which lasted. Now I am here looking out on our world, and all I see are connections and possibilities.

My personal loyalty to deliverance obliged me to continuously abandon worldly relations and pleasures for the realization of this wisdom and foresight now available before me. But I fully enjoyed all events that came upon me, yet, I practiced engagement without attachment. I savored the moments of lust and love as well as the emptying loss. However, beware those envious of my attainment, for your variation of the path will undoubtedly require your single-minded dedication to an ever changing destination.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Loyalty-Giving what I would like to receive. True to myself in the dark. Sacrifice for what pumps this heart, and powers my brain. Acting in the best interest for a cause no one may ever see but my conscience. That which is man made, and in nature doesn't alter what this spirit is dedicated to.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Recent activity

Sorry, I've been feeling under the weather and my head has been really fuzzy recently. I'm grinding away at my backlogged projects and I will post them as they're finished.

Tim