Archive for January, 2002


Thursday, January 31st, 2002

I guess kerr and denys are no longer a couple.  I’m sorry.  I have been disconnected too long, and I have only been checking denys’s site (which has been ‘sleeping’, so to speak).  My sympathy is terribly belated, but I am sorry it ended, even though I have no idea what it may have become, and even though it has nothing to do with me.  Love is a wonderful, electrifying, agony.  I want the honeymoon to last forever.


Thursday, January 31st, 2002

I have found (again) something I have needed to find.  This is just one excerpt.  Please check out the entire site.

This is not really the Age of Information, like they say it is. This is the Age of Too Much Information. The problem is that 99% of it is self-generated, recycling the same spin in endless combinations of interchangeable data. I think it’s an evolutionary product of the ability to Cut and Paste. All this information obviously hasn’t made us smarter, and it sure as hell hasn’t made us healthier or happier. This is a giant Glass Bead Game, a giant Gameboy, an immense Barnum & Bailey smoke and mirrors production designed to steal our money, steal our time, burn away our precious life, and give us unnatural values.

Our only hope for escape is independent study, boring as that may sound. We are losing the ability to formulate ideas – 5 minutes of listening to any radio station pretty much clinches that idea. That’s just it – we have to tune out – we have to stop listening to the Matrix. It’s all the same and it’s everywhere – you know what I’m talking about. We have to find ways to tune back into the universal, and steal our time back for ourselves; to have a life. Time is our total capital; why waste it being told what to think or how to act by some mass panderers?

Dr Tim O’Brien


Wednesday, January 30th, 2002

I cannot begin to worship this woman enough.  Mary:  Do you labor to make your words the way they are, or do they just come out that way?


Wednesday, January 30th, 2002

It’s 2AM and I’m just starting:.  My last cup of coffee for the day, and my first blog entry in months.  There’s a storm coming, and in less than eight hours, I’ll be riding in a friend’s car on the way to Hampton Beach, NH, to enjoy the fray. 

An web acquaintance, dg, presented this gem recently in her blog.  She mentions an article about an old man who died far away, but it might just as well be describing me as the mummified one.

Anyway, it just so happens that earlier today, around the time of the first cup from the first pot of coffee, I wrote an e-mail to an old dear friend that went like this:. 

Nothin’s new.  I sleep all day.  Life is work, sleep, work, with an occasional ‘eat’ thrown in.  No suck no more.  You know, 40 was not the end of my youth (youth is defined as that period in my life in which sex came easily?and so did I), the end of my youth came at 43.  My gut expanded, my breathing became gasping, my shoelaces moved out of reach, and I became entirely invisible to everyone under thirty.  It seems like it all happened in the space of a few months, but it actually happened in a single instant.  I turned old.  It is not a chronological condition, it is a choice.  You, for example, are still young.  However, at a finite moment in November of 2001, while halfway up Belmont Hill laboring on my bicycle, I gave up.  I chose to become old.  I stopped trying to fight the inevitable evolutionary process of Darwinian selection, and I stopped pretending that youth is permanent.  I got off my bike to breath. 

Today I am fighting with the phone company (I hate authority) and pleading with the weakest of all possible champions?state government?to intercede on my behalf.  I fantasize of other interventions; there is something to be said for learning how to fly and not how to land.  But the truth is that it probably doesn’t matter at all.  It is not about getting a good internet connection, and it’s not about them being wrong, even if they are.  It’s about letting go and entering the flow, like a red leaf drifting down on the crystal surface of a mountain stream.  This is life, and while many bitter circumstances seek to exclude, many others are waiting for me, urging me to go another way, offering to include me with them in an entirely different thing. 

Death is really not so bad (not that I know, for sure, but I have a beneficient suspicion).  I mean, there’s separation and loss, and so on.  But there is a place to go, also.  Even if I have to relinquish all claim to whatever identifies me as me—my body, my personality, my talents, my diseases—and go on from death as nothing more than food for worms, that is still a place, and far be it from me to disparage any other dimensions, places which I may well have enjoyed before, precious experiences which have merely slipped from my mind of this moment.

And here are all

Wednesday, January 30th, 2002

And here are all the non-bloggerized posts…

23 Jan 02 11:20:13 AM

Do you want to know who a terrorist is?  My second grade teacher was a terrorist.  She was an ex-nun (she must have been asked to leave) and she had painted-on eyebrows which enhanced her already menacing grimace.  She never smiled.  She loved to flaunt her authority over little people to terrify them and make them cry; she was, in polite-speak, a dis-empowering mentor.  Crasser words of fewer letters have been used to describe her. 

A child was taken from her class with an ulcer and, according to my sister, the cause was Mrs. Moore’s angst provoking meanness.  My sister and I had a lot in common.  As children we were each trying to manage a barely containable rage.  As adults we led fairly dissolute lives—she recovered, I have not.  She had some spunk; I have always been more passive and avoidant.  But regarding Mrs. Moore, my sister and I were of the same mind. 

If terrorism is imposing unnecessary fear upon innocents, then my second grade teacher was a terrorist.  Indeed, many teachers, bosses, cops, even political leaders would meet that standard of terrorism.  In fact, the randomness of daily life has certainly moved many of us into and out of that role, to one degree or another.  As schoolyard bully, sibling monster, frat-house prankster, political candidate, conspiracy theorist.  Sometimes one cannot help but impose unnecessary fear upon an innocent; it can be entirely unintentional.  The crucial question is what constitutes ‘unnecessary’ fear? 


20 Jan 02 1:16:49 PM

I’m going to confront something significant, and of course it begins with me.  You know how they say if you want the world to change, start by changing yourself.  (Somebody says that.).  It’ll be ugly, and I will describe it all here in detail. 

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be January 21 this year.  His birthday was January 15, 1929, but Martin Luther King, Jr. Day does not just celebrate his birth–it does that certainly.  But much more it celebrates his life, and our lives during his life.  It is a time to remember the dream–the dream which we all have; a nightmare it has been for some–of our fullfillment as human beings, and the restoration of justice and freedom to all beings.  It is not a day for the guilt of the unjust, nor for the anger of the aggrieved, but a day to contemplate the substance of things hoped for, a day to boldly pronounce our assurance of things not seen. 

He was not–and you and I are not–alone.  Life is much more than mere biological animation; love is the Prime Actor, fundamental to all.  Testament to that is the way he died.  His murder sought to prove that physical death was the end of him and his message, certainly those applauding his death (or conspiring to cause it) held just such a desolate and truncated view of human existence. 

I know better, and on January 21, 2002, I will acknowledge in some private act of meditation an assurance of things not seen, powerful things within and underpinning life, real forces that will move the earth–indeed the world–toward the inevitable conclusion of hate and fear.  These are the things to which Martin Luther King, Jr. called our attention in some very fond moments during the fear-filled days of the 1960’s. 

Our days today are no less fear-filled:  The United States of America recently took prisoners of war, in hoods and shackles, to Cuba and is holding them outdoors, in cages of chainlink fence–a human kennel.  The Secretary of Defense says, with thinly veiled contempt, that those conditions are better than he thinks they deserve.  The installations on Cuba today are more threatening to our freedoms than anything during the Cuban missle crisis.  Also, the Attorney General, the head of the Justice Department, can’t prosecute the criminals of Enron and its accounting firm, Arthur Anderson, because they are all his friends.  And the hollow puppet that is our president, the presumed leader of the most powerful nation on earth, literally fell on his face this week, and now I seriously doubt his sobriety, in any sense.  That’s nothing compared to the fact that he was installed by a treasonable supreme court, and holds the position at the whim of powers who remain in hiding–a condition that is current, yet anathema to freedom.

I suppose if I don’t like it here, I can leave.  But I won’t leave, except by the route which they forced Martin Luther King, Jr. to take.  Because in the midst of this nightmare that is the United States of America in the second millennium, there still is room to dream, and there still is time to make those dreams come true. 


18 Jan 02 11:41:39 AM

Did you ever try to live life dead?  Did you ever wonder what that would be like?  It’s slapping the sunburn, or pressing your thumb deep into the center of a bruise, or probing a zit with a needle.  It’s staring into the sun until you’re blind, banging your head against the wall until the pain goes numb, and turning up the volume until you can’t hear.  It’s kind of a tantrum, but it’s more like hiding–hiding from any chance of contact, like going under water whenever anybody notices you, and staying there as long as it takes. 

It is the refusal to be responsive, a deliberate snuffing of any bright wit or original thought that seeks to emerge.  There is a margin around the edge of life, a high ledge where life is lived dead, while the living–most of you–glance with concern at us through the windows as we stiffly shuffle by.  We have made our home within the shadow of an eclipse, and, instead of the sun, we worship a brilliant corona of longing for life that flares and rages gloriously and cannot be seen by those who live life alive. 

We don’t believe we will ever fulfill the dream, but we do dream of basking in full sun, we dream of days filled with relaxing warmth and easy human contact; some of us even fantasize what real intimacy might be like.  We dream as if we might ever come out from darkness, as if we might ever leave behind the precious blazing ring which encircles the sun and defines everything for us–everything–including the sun. 


14 Jan 02 11:25:13 AM

Dreamed about flying again–or floating, rather.  It’s more like swimming over land, not quite weightless, but not anchored foot after foot to the earth.  It allows locomotive innovations, like when I have allowed myself to drift so close to the ground that there is not enough room to get my feet under me, then I can push-off with my hands and rise gently above twice my height.  But there is always forward motion, as if that were necessary to keep from crashing. 

There were firefighters doing mundane things, but I was not among them.  Two young firefighters were walking toward me on a road in the woods; there were only a few houses around.  I wondered where my gear had gone to, the boots and bunker-pants, the coat with my 10-letter name stitched across the back–who has that?  There was a small memorial stone set upon a wall in the courtyard of a home, and unable to stop moving–being a-float as I was–I bumped the wall and knocked the stone to the ground.  I worriedly returned it to its perch upon the wall as early morning sounds of running water and someone moving about emmanated from a bathroom just behind the wall.  I wondered what spirit keeps this place, and who they were in life. 

Then I drifted out into the street in front of the house to a busy, peopled, city street, and met a young woman carrying a baby who asked my help as we both got on a train.  She said, “…if it’s OK,” as she handed me some books to hold, as though she expected me to withdraw my assistance when I saw the titles, which revealed her to be a pro-choice feminist.  I said, “It’s OK,” as I helped her through a cramped passageway.  We stopped and I admired her baby’s dimples.  She said that they were not dimples, which they were not exactly, but I don’t know what she said they were.  Then the baby said, “I’m celibate.”.  And I thought it odd that a six-month old should know such words. 


01/10/02 12:07:15 PM

The conflict in my computer system resulting from my uninstall of IE5.5 has been resolved.  Hooray (sort of).  I don’t like IE5.5.  I prefer 5.01, but that probably reflects my reluctance to change more than anything.  Stumbling around my hard drive, I re-ran one of the five versions of IE5setup.exe that linger there and voila!  IE5.5 was back, curing the fatal inconsistencies it had introduced in my system. 

Progress is inevitable, right?  You bet your pension it is, but ‘progress’ is just a word, and its definition has changed since the Progressive Era began near the beginning of the Twentieth century.  Someone at work said he thought I invented cynicism.  I haven’t been around that long, but I will still accept the compliment.  I have only been around (consciously) since the 1960’s and if I define progress by, say, the amount of sex available to me, then progress ended in the 80’s.  On a more elevated plane, if I define progress by my degree of enlightenment, then my peak was a few months before sex peaked.  The only thing which has been increasing consistently throughout my life is the potential for enlightenment.  I dare say this is the true definition of progress. 

The potential for enlightenment increases as naivete and ignorance decrease.  The problem is that as we shed our naivete and ignorance, our responsibility increases; this is the rightly lamentable loss of innocence and, though lamentable, this loss need not be catastrophic as long as we respond with love and intelligence to the realities revealed.  The cynic in me sees a society that feigns innocence merely to avoid the response which is required by reality.  Perhaps all I see is a reflection of me: I am certainly in denial of my own loss of innocence, and my experience of life is demanding a response which I am shunning.  However, I often note small clues that the disingenuousness I see is not just a reflection of me, clues like the U.S. republican party’s statement today cautioning others against starting a “partisan witch hunt” in response to president Bush’s close ties to Enron Corporation.  That’s the company caught in flagrante delicto while raiding its employees pension investments.  I think I recognize intellectual dishonesty because of my own intimate experience of it. 

And why not a partisan witch hunt?  You mean, partisan witch hunts are only OK if there’s cum stains involved?  Or is it that partisan witch hunts can only be perpetrated by those same self-righteous hypocrites who are in fear of them now?  Ah, the irony. 

However, I believe–cynically–that this country’s concern over Bill Clinton’s semen will, in the end, prove to be far more significant than will its concern over the big-money criminals who–with reckless disregard for their legal and moral responsibilities–did real, numerically quantifiable catastrophic damage to the lives of thousands of working class people.  I expect this because in this country, money is king; because business–especially big-business–is everybody’s buddy, we all need it to succeed and its indiscretions should be overlooked for our own good; and because these irresponsible, unconscious and dehumanizing businessmen are indistinguishable from the people we have chosen–by our fears and our aversions–to run our government. 

Oh, and I predict that our government will execute some black operation to remove attention from this scandal.  Some event which will have a ‘Condit-saving’ effect as did September eleventh.  From what I have seen in my life in America, nothing would surprize me. 

But then I am a cynic. 


01/08/02 12:31:56 AM

on the ground

I am having the worst stretch of bad computer-luck since 1990.  The latest is the refusal of Microsoft’s vastly bloated shell program, Explorer.exe, to do anything.  Period.  Last night I thought it might be a good idea to install Microsoft’s Personal Web Server; I thought since I do not have internet access anymore that I would use the local web server to simplify my viewing of the pages I write.  Now, I have not only lost the shell program (which, when working, produces the start button, the taskbar, and the system tray, along with about a million other features of almost every Windows program), but I have also lost IE5 and access to all of the cool little apps which I relied heavily on and which resided in the system tray.

I know how to fix it: I have to reinstall IE5.  But I can’t do that because I have always installed it using Microsoft’s Active Setup, from source files that stay on Microsoft servers.  It was easy with that fabulous connection I had, once upon a time. 

Am I failing to get some cosmic message here?  Is my effort to maintain a feeble presence on the web ill-fated?  Does some vast higher power want me to stop writing here–or stop posting here and start writing, perhaps? 

And since I am cranky anyway, what the fuck is all this excessive use of the phrase, ‘On the ground…’?  Whenever a journalist or politician makes any reference to being physically present in a place, the invariable fashion lately is not to say simply that so-and-so is at the battle front, rather they say something like, ‘Dan Rather is on the ground in Afghanistan.’.  Oh, if only that were literally true…  Or better still, ‘Strom Thurmond is on the ground at the capital.’.  In addition to the annoying fact that this stupid blemish on the vernacular is never going to actually effect the demise of either asshole, it is further annoying for the fact that it represents language which captures absolutely nothing aesthetic, poetic, meaningful, emotional, or even utilitarian about reality.  It is, in my paranoid opinion, a code-phrase–since it has no other purpose–signalling complicity in the prevailing soup of lies which is being paddled by sinister conservative cowards in a cauldron of social frenzy which they keep as hot as possible.  Such a signal is not insignificant, for any one of us who dares not conform to the waxing forces of perception control might just end up in that soup. 

This new McCarthyism (not my phrase) is a bundling-bag of dishonesty keeping us from knowing or touching what we have actually become.  Somehow, by believing the lies about who is dangerous, about what qualifies as patriotism, and about what constitutes terrorism, we will remain virginal–unsoiled though we roll in the hay with smelly characters of despicable intent, the likes of Bush, Rumsfeld, and Ashcroft.  Conformity is something I reject for its own sake; that may be my flaw, and it may have cost me many beneficial alliances over most of my life.  But in the current tide of events, it may well become a virtue.  The non-conformists became the heroes in 1939, in Berlin. 

Greenpeace is a terrorist organization, under the criteria of the so-called Patriot Act.  The frat party that was the Boston Tea Party was a terrorist act, based on that legislation.  What I am writing here is probably breaking numerous federal laws, but that puts me in ‘good’ company, right along with Bush and Ashcroft, and if what I wrote was actually important enough to be noticed (a thinly-veiled challenge to the inaptly named Justice Department) then I might get in trouble. 

But I am an American.  Maybe I waste my life, behave like a jerk, ride my bike in the snow, and fantasize about being powerful while embracing the role of a victim.  But I have something which some on this planet who might read these words don’t have–the right to say them.  That has been a jewel of petty value to us Americans; we have undervalued our freedom so much that we deserve now to have it threatened–we need to have it threatened–if nothing else to reveal to us who we can trust, and teach us what our freedom is really worth.  It saddens me to see how the majority of Americans seem to care little about who can be trusted, and are exhibiting their indifference by letting their civil freedom be slowly withdrawn from their custody as if they cannot be trusted with it.  And it astounds me that they seem to agree; they seem to think that big brother really should keep the treasure that belongs to them–to each of us.  If I were a conformist, I’d agree, because in America you succeed, and excel, and prosper (like GE and Time-Warner) by alliances–by winks and nods and considerations exchanged. 

But I do not agree, because we hold these truths to be self evident; that all people are created equal and are endowed (by their creator, or maybe just by chance) with certain inalienable treasures.  Inalienable; they cannot be removed.  So if you try to give it away, you’re lying and you’re participating in a complex of lies that does not merely repudiate some quaintly American notion of freedom.  If you try to give away the treasure of your freedom, even by degrees, then you are participating in nothing less than the repudiation of an absolute truth. 

So there.  Now go play, and be nice.  And remember, fear makes you mean, but fear is an illusion.  The feeling is real–indeed it is–but there is nothing it can do to you.  Nothing.  Be nice. 


01/6/2002 11:49:13 PM

painful moment

My e-mail sucks.  I am off line (as stated ad infinitum previously) and I am forced to use web-based e-mail clients (ala hotmail), at work, between phone calls or, more accurately, between shifts.  The situation is simply not adequate.  In fact, while writing a long, very long e-mail the other night, I bumped the wrong key on the one-thousand-and-one-key keyboard at work and POOF, the whole window was gone, and my delightful prose with it. 

In my doomed e-mail, I was responding to what I had read in a favorite journal, and though I have avoided trying to rewrite that message for fear that I could not reproduce the perfection of the original <grin>, the internal nagging of this squelched expression demands another attempt. 

I should just give up, right?

answer me.

somebody tell me to just give up. To take a break
from matters of the heart. To be a kid, to stop
urgently vying for something that can wait.

Give up.  Indulge your neediness, let it be not enough, let it hurt.  It won’t wait, it can’t wait.  But it won’t take long. 

I have spent a life dry as a stone because I just skip across the pond, afraid to sink in.  A self-centered person is not what you will become by giving in to a brief wave of selfish neediness.  Be petulant, unreasonable, demanding.  And do it with passion, thoroughly, enthusiastically, and with your whole heart.  For the depth and intensity of the emotion will pass with age, and the opportunity to cry in your pillow for something as subtle and delicate as the petals of an opening heart will become ever more rare, and one day will come no more.  And I miss it.  It was miserable, not because I cried, but because I fought crying, I fought sinking in, I levitated by excruciating effort and floated right past every one of the glorious, gorgeous, genuine passions of my own heart’s ‘petty’ agony, and I successfully evaded every experience, more or less.  They will never come again. 

Once, I let myself weaken, and I sank in a bit.  He had just started college in Amherst, Massachusetts, and I loved him like the earth loves the sun.  One Sunday afternoon I brought him back to school after a weekend home.  I stayed longer than I thought I should want to, but not as long as I really wanted to.  That night when we parted, I wanted to kiss his mouth, to tell him I was in love with him, to grab him and hold him and not let go until I don’t know when…  We leaned on my car for a few minutes in the driveway of the place where he stayed.  He was so beautiful… blond curly hair, green eyes, tanned, and he had a smile that made me die, over and over again.  This was the moment, either grab him, or go… the pressure was building… I postponed, I delayed.  I had a lump in my throat.  The silence hung heavy between us… the pressure…  Grab him.  Or go.  Or grab him.  Or go. 

I left.  I hated myself for leaving, I hated myself for loving him.  I was crying so hard I could hardly drive.  Just as I got to a bridge not far from his house, something welled up that was stronger than fear, and I turned the car around and went back.  His roommate answered the door, and then closed it.  When Dave came outside, he took one look at me and understood.  I didn’t need to say a word, but I blurted out, “I love you.”  Then I grabbed him, and balled my eyes out, and nothing since has ever felt as good as holding him tight in my arms.  And being held. 

Going back didn’t result in Dave and I living happily ever after, but somehow that doesn’t matter.  Dave was straight (mostly), and he’s married now.  But going back got me everything that there was to get that night; I went back and got everything from that moment that it had to give.  And for a moment, that was more than enough. 

Give up.  Let go.  Sink in.  The painful moment will never turn out exactly the way you want it to, but it will always give you more than you hoped for.  If you let it. 



01/5/2002 1:29:24 PM

This is the crippled version of my blog.  Cobbled together and composed offline, it represents my final clawing at the mouth of the abyss — you know, the place where deepness dwells, where a writer goes to sit alone in silence and screaming isolation bouyed if at all by a hopelessly blind groping desire to touch the truth. 

And what would it matter if I did find some facet of truth?  Is not that Holy Grail accessible to every person who bears a breath of life?  Is it not a pathetic fantasy of self-flattery that you, dear reader, might need me to help you find that glistening obsidian?  Hah!  What arrogance. 

Thus, by this “crippling” I feign mightiness; indeed, out of my very paralysis arises my claim of a capacity to dance.  And who can say it is not so?  For once the realization is safely removed from the realm of possibility, then anything goes, for everything is safe and nothing can be lost.  How can the dead-limbed ballerina be bested?  From her noble chair she reigns as if having transcended the mean limits of her physical body and, having defeated death itself, now dances with her mind. 

Right.  I pretend that I stopped the process of serious writing because I discovered push-button publishing, and I further pretend that when those buttons were taken away, so was my ability to write.  I think that, more acurately, I threw away the process of disciplined writing for the sake of the blog, and that is not the blog’s fault. 

I want to write, yet I want to avoid writing.  I want to speak, yet I want to make no sound.  I want to bleed, but I do not want to touch the razor’s edge.  Well, this is it.  This is the moment to bleed, to scream, to write; this is the moment to dance. 

Every moment.