People can establish a sense of ownership in an incredibly short time. Like, you get on the bus and walk past everybody to an empty seat and get settled in, then at the very next stop you look up at a boarding passenger and think to yourself, “Who's this new guy on my bus?” That's your inner two year old, the one who just learned the word “mine.” The same part of the brain creates ideas like, “This was always a Jewish neighborhood, now it's all Colored,” or “How come there's so many Mexicans in Texas?”
Monday, June 10, 2013
Science fiction is whatever we're worried about now, spray painted silver. Our monsters are metaphors for what scares us most. RUR was about industrial class struggle, Flash Gordon fought World War II in advance, 1984 was about 1948, and we knew all those crappy '50s flying saucers were piloted by godless commies. So what are we afraid of now? Zombies. They stay scary, year after year, because, what if somehow you yourself became a mindless shambling thing, just a blind hunger groping around wanting more more more for no good reason? What if the brains you ate were your own?
Monday, June 3, 2013
Here's the thing about memorabilia; it turns out it's unnecessary. Say you leave a ticket stub in your cufflink box. Years later, perhaps on some rare occasion when you need to wear cufflinks again, you might stumble across this item, and you'll think to yourself either, “How could I have ever thought I'd need something to remind me of that important and pivotal moment in my existence?'” or, “What's this doing here? I have no memory of attending this event. What the heck is a 'Meat Puppet?'” Learn to trust your brain. It forgets stuff for a reason.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Retailers love three-day weekends. And remembering is easier than decorating. That's why we have Memorial Day. When there was Decoration Day, every May 30th people would make time no matter what day of the week it was to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. The holiday was initiated about a century and a half ago by northerners and freedmen to commemorate the Union dead fallen in the war against slavery. There are people, credentialed and tenured, who will tell you the Civil War wasn't about freeing the slaves. These people are full of shit. That's exactly what is was about.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Tell you what pal you get up at 4:30 a.m. in the morning go to the airport fly to O’Hare catch a shuttle to Racine Wisconsin and have a buffet lunch at the Iron Skillet and a meeting about tractor videos at a little table in the hotel lobby then take a walk around an American city where your close study of the signs along Main Street suggests that the remaining citizens support themselves entirely by selling each other tattoos and soy dirty chais you try that just once yourself pal then come back here and complain about late rants.
Monday, May 13, 2013
I'm very fond of amphibians. Frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, efts. They're a charming evolutionary dead end. I almost forgot caecilians, an “order of limbless vertebrates with rudimentary eyes, whose vision is limited to dark-light perception and whose anatomy is highly adapted for a burrowing lifestyle.” Lifestyle. Like condo living? Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that amphibian populations are dropping precipitously worldwide and they eat mosquitoes, so an itchy mosquito bite can serve the valuable secondary function of feeding not only the offending insect but also maybe a fat toad, giving meaning and purpose to your blood sacrifice.
Monday, May 6, 2013
Our perception of pitch and harmony is dictated by the geometry of our cochlea, the little spiral that does our hearing for us. That's why some musical ideas remain, even after decades, as popular as a cuisine based on steel wool and chlorine. As if a seamstress, tiring of shirts, skirts, pants, had invented a new garment for a body part that simply did not exist. Doesn't the term avant-garde imply that somebody is being led somewhere? It seems if you claim to be a leader you'd occasionally look over your shoulder to see if there was anybody back there.