Mortaljive: The Rest is Silence

There is no still point in all the Universe, and that is the rock upon which I stand

Friday, December 26, 2008

David Brooks is Off Today

I was reading a piece in the New York Times by Paul Krugman, wherein he lays out a case for the new Obama administration to pay attention to FDR's programs. I am a Krugmanite. Or Krugmaniac. Or Krugolyte. Whatever he says or writes I tend to regard with respect. But that's not the reason for this modest posting.

At the end of Krugman's latest piece in the New York Times there was a funny little sentence. Remember now, Krugman has recently been awarded the Nobel prize for economics, so he isn't just a columnist: he is someone to be regarded with a modicum of respect and consideration. Anyway, at the end of his piece in the Times was the following sentence: David Brooks has the day off. And that struck me as funny and odd and absurd and obliquely pathetic. Confession: I think Brooks is a bullshit artist who molds reality to slide into his comfy pants. During the past six years or so I have watched him (as little as possible, actually) on The News Hour as his skull has dropped lower and lower towards his chest, his broad forehead seeking its appointed destiny with the good earth, where all pundits skulls must one day rest.

Ah, good old David Brooks, a small man who fills the screen with his shaking head as he utters platitudes and fal-der-all and terribly wise remonstrations of whoever makes his lips quiver. And guess what? The New York Times felt it had to inform me that David Brooks "was off today" at the end of an article by the Nobel winning economist Paul Krugman. Guess what again: I don't read Krugman to find out what the fuck David Brooks is doing, or what his vacation days are, or just about anything at all about this drooping apologist for the malevolent claws of New Age Conservatism. As a matter of fact I would appreciate it if the Times didn't tell me what Brooks is up to. They might consider ending a Krugman piece with the following:
David Brooks is nowhere to be seen today, which is the way some of us like it.
That would do just fine.

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Rudy in the Hall with Diamonds



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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Slush, Slush, Sweet Charlotte



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Baby Jesus Advice Column Stuff



Merry Christmas. Feel good for a time, then let it go...

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Baby Jesus Conquers the World!



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Friday, December 19, 2008

Merry Christmas!



I have a relative who sends out a yearly holiday newsletter. The harmless banality of her winter missives is worth noting: her annual letter is basically a collection of "we visited the boys and the grandkids" and so forth (we were blessed to be together, count the blessings, etc.). This year the sender mentioned her Bible Study class. I resisted the temptation to suggest she read Paul Krugman to really help get a handle on where humanity is currently residing.

One day I will write of how Christians have destroyed Christ (actually, I kind of already have) as this is a theme that resonates inside me. It's not a funny idea: it wears me out just thinking about it. Here we are in the Great Mystery of Being and millions of us clutch to outdated, tribally specific texts from the Bronze Age as the alpha and omega of religious thought. As Joseph Campbell was known to say: We are fishing for minnows while standing on a whale.

The beauty of True Believers is the William Goldman-related fact that, in the rest of human life as in Hollywood "no one truly knows anything." But Krugman knows a thing or two, and he has helped me get through some of the most fucked-up political years on this or any other planet. Thank you, Paul. I won't deify him because, as a pantheist, he's already as much god as you or me (perhaps we don't know our essential selves for a good reason...whatever). We seek the deeper oceans while swimming in the sky.

All I know is that I used to love Christmas, and now all it brings to mind is an image of Bill O'Reilly scowling, or Bill Donohue or some other blowhard who is trying to frighten our nation's elderly into some crazy yuletide protests. As a non-christian, I liked the story of the little magical baby who will grow up to be killed and then vanished from behind a rock--yay, you're killed but you're not dead, and now you're flying up to heaven! For the followers of Christ: look around at your fellow believers. Do you really want to spend eternity with them? Really?

I went to a funeral earlier this year where the priest spent a good part of his blathering explaining why the non-catholics could not take communion, and why catholics who hadn't confessed recently couldn't take communion, and why we were going to burn in hell if we didn't take advantage of His Amazing Offer to kiss his ass! I'm embellishing this only slightly, but while I was sitting at this funeral I let out a guffaw loud enough to shame a crab-eating macaque. I don't think I can make it through another religious wedding or funeral or graduation. I have lost my patience. Goodbye to all that.

Happy Holidays!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Snow in Portland, Oregon!

Our backyard was blurry



Post-surgical Phil was hanging in there



Santa appeared to be in need of surgery as well



Mrs. Jivester & Rudy



Chauncy in the snow



Lieutenant Special Hector reporting for duty



Luna on the picnic table



All in all, Rudy dug the snow the most!



So, snow in Portland, Oregon is really all about the dogs...well, mostly...

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snow in Portland



Cold, cold, cold...

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Monday, December 08, 2008

War On Christmas to Merge With Wal-Mart

In what many are saying is a "natural fit" the mega-mega-super store Wal-Mart has agreed in principal to host all Yuletide related hostilities.

The War on Christmas, which traditionally begins in late spring and continues on into the New Year, had been an orphan of late as shoppers across America were increasingly reluctant to shoot elves. Perhaps not coincidentally, the newly released "Bloody Baby Savior" action toy failed to attract the audience Wal-Mart executives had hoped would appear on a midnight clear. Developing...

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Ode to a Picnic Table in Late Autumn



in the summer, the picnic table was crowded
so crowded in fact that we tucked our elbows in
or risked bumping another
and knocking drinks onto the ground
root beer seeping into the carpet of needles
a forest stained

before, in the spring, we felt a chill
but everything was greening out

the air itself was younger, growing, laughing
we wondered about soup and how to bring it
without a thermos:
we ate sandwiches of mercy
the ground beneath our feet pretended we were trees
our bark was made of cookies, of applesauce

in the turning of the year, in the rounding of the earth
we thought we were in a circle and so came back
in autumn, to the table, and to witness the leaves that kept on falling
wet, cold, the trees so tired they set down their burdens
on the darkened earth

in late autumn we did not sit at the picnic table
we barely stopped to even look
we walked like quiet deer off to the west
back to our car as the light expired

soon we were outside our home, standing on the porch
this is where we were when winter called
where it whispered something behind our backs
just as we closed the door and went inside

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Saturday, December 06, 2008

No, You Will Not Go to the Next Round

"In Thailand this year, a gunman shot eight people dead after tiring of their endless renditions of a John Denver tune."

And you thought Simon Cowell was rough...

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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Your Secret Highway Song



don't want to pay the bills
don't want to fix the drain
don't want to drive on down
all the avenues of pain

don't want to fight anymore
don't want to run away
don't want to slam the door
i just want you to stay

you can leave me anytime
you can live a life that's really yours
you can do it all
this is just so fucking crazy
this is just so teleprompter dumb
reading me the news tonight
singing me your secret highway song

i remember when that road was new
i remember when the light was young
i remember seeing you
i remember tasting you
i remember everything
i remember your secret highway song

don't want to die alone
don't want to die in a crowd
don't want the skin and bones
i just want what's not allowed

don't want your empathy
don't want no ghosts around
don't want the winter broken heart
so hard to dig in frozen ground

you can leave me anytime
you can live a life that's really yours
you can do it all
this is just so fucking crazy
this is just so teleprompter dumb
reading me the news tonight
singing me your secret highway song

i remember when that road was new
i remember when the light was young
i remember seeing you
i remember tasting you
i remember everything
i remember your secret highway song

don't want to pay the bills
don't want to fix the drain
don't want to drive on down
all the avenues of pain

don't want to fight anymore
don't want to run away
don't want to slam the door
i just want you to stay

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Excuse Me, But Aren't You Just A Little Bit Chubby To Be Doing That?

Back in the 70s I had the great pleasure of being a complete idiot, a talent I have retained all these years, I might add. Often drunk or stoned or both, I defeated my inner desires to make sense of the world on a daily basis. The best that can be said of me in that time is that I met and had the company of truly unique human beings. One of those human beings, a large gerber baby of a man who had dark curly hair and would often pull at his penis through his giant denim pants, well, he had a tremendous talent for turns of phrase. I cannot do justice to him here (or am just plain refusing to) but one of his catch phrases still pops out of my mouth from time to time, usually apropos of nothing. The phrase he uttered at seemingly random moments was the title of this posting:

Excuse me, but aren't you just a little bit chubby to be doing that?

This phrase, as far as I can remember, was never actually used on a chubby person, but rather on anyone or anything that was doing anything at all. It made no sense back in the 70s, and even less now, but hearing it always made me laugh, and still does. You can find out how depraved you are by imagining saying it to random people you have interactions with in your life: a police officer writing a ticket comes to mind. Wouldn't it be awfully tempting to walk up to the officer and mention that perhaps he was a bit too chubby to be doing what he was doing? It's not supposed to make terrific sense, so don't even try. When I witnessed the Phelps Clan stirring up the locals with their hateful epithets I dearly wanted to ask them if they weren't, in point of fact, just a little bit too chubby to be doing what they were doing. But I did not, and the rest is history.

Here's some song lyrics in honor of my dear lost friend, but if you try to sing them ask yourself: aren't you just a little bit too chubby to be doing that? You'll be glad you did.

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You're Just a Little Bit Chubby to be Doing That
by mjs

hey you, put those tools back, you won't need them
forget about the hammer and the nails
close the can of paint, cause painting you ain't
you're just a little bit chubby to be doing that

hey you, get off that german tank
tell your brother to get out of europe
to beat a swift retreat will take some mighty feet
and you're just a little bit chubby to be doing that

(chorus)
when you are chubby you are able
to lift a fork and then to lift a spoon
sleep in real late, don't need a date
it only takes one to fill an empty room
ain't no need to pass the hat
money ain't where you're at
you're just a little bit chubby
you're just a little bit chubby
you're just a little bit too chubby
to be doing that

hey you, i don't want no cable installation
and don't try to fix the kitchen sink
try as you might it ain't all right
you're just a little bit chubby to be doing that

i heard that guy talking on the tv
telling me just what i ought to think
well he's a fool, and it ain't cool
when you're just a little bit chubby to be doing that
just a bit too chubby, that's a fact

(chorus)
when you are chubby you are able
to lift a fork and then to lift a spoon
sleep in real late, don't need a date
it only takes one to fill an empty room
ain't no need to pass the hat
money ain't where you're at
you're just a little bit chubby
you're just a little bit chubby
you're just a little bit too chubby
to be doing that

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