Archive for October, 2006

Dinner

I slipped a package of sliced Cabbot cheddar cheese into my back pocket.

‘Can I have a quarter-pound of soprasetta please?’ I asked the guy at the Brattleboro Food Co-op’s deli-counter. Strolled down the cracker aisle while my meat was sliced. Grabbed a box of Carr’s Water Crackers and stuffed them in the pouch pocket of my hoodie. Went back to the deli counter, retrieved my soprasetta, tucked the package neatly into the leg-pocket of my cargo pants.

For dessert I grabbed a Vermont Cookie Company maple-nut brownie. Then I walked right through the door.

I HATE HAPPY PEOPLE

I’m not entirely certain what I mean by that. But I get the feeling my readers will appreciate it — because my hunch is they hate them too.

And it’s funny — because I like everybody really. But I was just in a bar full of Happy People. At a Halloween costume contest. Trying to send an email off real quick before I puked.

And then I left. Came to another bar and decided to work out some of my frustrations in writing before I went back there to throw punches.

Perhaps I should forgive them on the basis of their Youth — they’re not old enough to know how miserable they really are yet.

Why should I risk incarceration, being beat up in self defence — or worse yet, being banned from one of the few places around town where I can access the Internet? Nah — I’ll just let time take its own revenge on them.

Ok great — I feel much better. Not happy, per se, but contented to know soon it will suck for them too.

Yikes. I think there’s something Wrong with me.

Ain’t Down with That Honky Bull.

I made a bet a while back.

It seemed like a good bet at the time — a sure thing — a Sucker Bet even.

Now I think I may lose. But the weird thing is…I want to.

Here’s the Deal:

My buddy KC gave me 2-1 odds on $50 bet that the Democrats would win the House and Senate in November. That means if Republicans retain control of either I win a cool $150 — fate of humanity be damned.

KC reasoned that the Bush administration had screwed up so badly that there was no way Democrats could lose. At cursory glance his reasoning looked sound. Hell the Democrats don’t even need to try to win this one. Don’t upset their chances by acting like an Opposing Party — just try to stay out of the way while their adversaries shoot themselves in the foot.

But then I thought to myself…

Hold on a minute!

Something about my friend’s reasoning sounded too familiar. And I realized: We’ve been down this sordid road before.

Like in 2004 — when I swear to God a slice of Cheese Pizza could’ve fared better against George W. Bush than did John Kerry.

So: what did the Republicans do in the last 2 years that’s so much worse than what the so-called President did between 2000 & 2004?

Well.

I made that bet a few months ago — I’d say in May. Bush made new mistakes by then — ie Katrina — maybe enough to lose the House, even. But the House and Senate? Not a chance.

I’m often fond to point out that the only thing I like less than an evil Republican are the witless Democrats who do nothing to stop them. At the time the bet was made I was mightily peeved that Democrats weren’t running their ’06 campaign on a unified Impeachment Platform.

I am still angry about it. Because I want the world to see the United States of America give George W. Bush & his murderous cronies the fair trial that is their Constitutional Due; to show Planet Earth’s peaceful inhabitants that the people of the United States of America ain’t down with that Honky Bull!

Dig?

Since we failed to dislodge Bush from his ill-got power in ’04 — and I say We because Kerry’s failure belongs to us now — it seems to me the strategically best next move is one to Impeach.

But we were told — by types who were supposed to know better — that impeachment would be impractical at this time.

This raises an interesting quandary that relates to my earlier post on Gonzo Fantasy and the art of subcreation. When, as JRR Tolkien described, the Storymaker (in this case the politician) “Makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is ‘true;’ it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it while you are, as it were, inside.”

In the world of Political Reality, we’re told, a unified move to impeach Bush would be political suicide for Democrats. So although impeachment is the Right Thing to Do, it should be sidelined for the sake of expediency.

America’s electorate agreed, by and large. Afterall: if the Opposing Party says Impeachment is impossible — who are we to argue?

The Storymakers told and thus made it so.

I believe Impeachment would’ve won ’06 for the Dems. And I made the Bet on the presumption that their refusal to discuss impeachment — and the lame attitudes that caused that refusal — would once again cost them dearly at the polls.

That was in May. Since then two factors have played hugely into the election’s potential outcome.

1. Ned Lamont

2. Mark Foley

Ned Lamont is the Connecticut cable TV tycoon who, in that state’s August primary, ousted Joe Lieberman from his seeming unassailable slot on the Democratic ticket for US Senate. It was a veritable rebellion; voters turned out in droves for Lamont because of his opposition to the Iraq War. More importantly, Lamont supporters turned out in droves to vote for themselves. To answer the question that vexes:

Who has the Power?

By defeating Lieberman, Connecticut voters proved that the Power may indeed lay within the electorate. And it sent a message — one we’ll do well to send ’round the world on November 7th.

We ain’t down with that Honky Bull!

As for the bet…KC & I are both broke, under-appreciated artists with no way to Pay either way.

It has been a real pain in the ass to write lately.

As my regular readers — and friends from around town who happen by the speedWay — know, I’m shall we say temporarily between homes. This entire blog is composed (on my own laptop — thanks mom), variously, at coffee shops, bars, late at night in the 24-hour computer lab at a nearby college…wherever I can thumb a free lift for a few hours on a loose wifi signal.

The Gonzo Fantasy piece, for example, was finished and posted on battery power between 7 & 9 AM from the stoop in front of the Weathervane bar.

I’ve written 75 posts that way — a damn fine accomplishment if you ask me.

But the whole shenanigan has lost some luster lately. Not the blog — certainly not my readers! — or the writing act itself. Being homeless, though. It’s gotten to be hard on me.

It’s preposterously stressful. More precisely put:

It sucks donkey balls.

Well, one might ask — then Why Don’t I Do Something About It??

Anyone who asks that very likely has never been homeless for a stretch of time. Most everyone hasn’t. So if you wonder, I respectfully ask you:

Precisely what do you propose?

First off, a bit about the reason I’m homeless — which I’ve been chronically, off & on, my whole adult life…

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I’ve talked about it a bit in some previous posts. Homelessness is a classic symptom of PTSD. Unfortunately having a home is no cure, as I’ve learned the hard way when I have lived somewhere.

Another symptom of PTSD is a lack of awareness of being struck with the disorder. For years I assumed my Problem — among other things — was homelessness itself. But it’s not. So, when I have lived somewhere — before I knew about PTSD — inevitably something else would go Wrong. And the stress I once associated with homelessness would merely be transferred to a different, equally maddening Problem.

Ususally a broken car, lost job or some other Factor which would contribute heavily thenceforth to my inability to pay rent. And soon enough I’ll be homeless again.

So goes the insidious, oft-cruel nature of PTSD.

But…why does Mike E have PTSD? That’s a fair question. Not sure if everyone will be comfortable with the answer; but then I’m not precisely comfortable reading Ishtar’s first-hand accounts of the daily viciousness in Iraq. The viciousness bothers me. But I read them anyway because Ishtar writes them well and I want to Know.

I had pedophiles in the family.

What can I say?

It happens. And it fucks life up for people.

And it’s important for me to say so. Same way it’s important for people to know how fucked up everything is in the Congo or Darfur. It’s essential that I write about it tonight, too — because as I said it has been a real pain in the ass for me to write at all lately.

Reason for that is on account of being homeless. It drains me. Makes it hard to come up with something to say…so I guess that’s the Story.

What can I do but write it?

Gonzo Fantasy

I was duped.

Click for music

Somewhere in the desert between Barstow & Vegas at the Edge of my adolescence — I was Plumb Lied To.

To wit:

Moments later, my attorney slipped into a drug coma and almost ran a red light on Main Street before I could gain control of the Shark and take the wheel myself. Feeling fine. Extremely sharp.

Total Control Now.

Ahh yes. This is what it is all about. Two Good Old Boys in a fire-apple red convertable on a Saturday Night in Las Vegas. STONED. Ripped. Twisted.

Good People.

Hunter S. Thompson wrote that. He was drinking heavily & for long with his friend Oscar at the Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills, one Friday afternoon back in ’71, when a uniformed dwarf cautiously approached their table with a pink telephone on a tray.

“This must be the call you’ve been waiting for this whole time.” said the Dwark.

Indeed. I gobbled the story down like a trunk-load of drugs. Better than drugs! Like a trunk-load of gonzoi doparhythm.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas — and Hunter himself — taught me how I alone happen to know precisely what the fuck I am doing. He made me want to bet smartly on me.

Dared me to bet my own life, even.

The call was from Sports Illustrated. That’s verifiably true. They hired Thompson to write a 250-word caption blurb about the Fabulous Mint 4oo motorcycle race in Las Vegas. They would leave at once. And expenses — rented hot-rod, sound-proof sweet, VIP parking — be damned.

The sporting editors also coughed up $300 cash which Doctor & Attorney famously spent on the following:

Two bags of grass. 75 pellets of mescaline. 5 sheets of high-power blotter acid…

I don’t have a copy of the Good Book with me. Am I getting this right? There was a salt shaker half-filled with cocaine, I recall. Plus a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers & laughers. And also a quart of rum. A quart of tequila. A pint of raw ether and a case of Budweiser…

They blew out of LA at dawn, purports the story, and were somewhere around Barstow when the drugs began to take hold. Then they drove around Vegas until their stash was gone. Wrote a couple Rolling Stone articles about it. Random House bought and published the articles as a book.

And that’s the story about how Hunter S. Thompson hit the Big Time — back when any jerk with a typewriter & a headfull of mescaline could do it that way.

But it doesn’t explain why I cried so when I saw the Good Doc’s obituary. I mean I wept wildly. There’s one quality in writers I admire above all; words that bring good folks together as friends.

And Hunter above ’em all was — is, truly — like a cosmically old Friend to me. One I’d long hoped to meet.

You know why I cried? Because I never got a chance to thank my old friend. To say:

I’m proud to call you my Hero.

Oh & yo Doc, one more thing — you are a pansy-eyed Amature Twerp and if you shot yourself — for real –well then I say you eat douches.

Dig this: A 1971 letter — published in 2000, 15 years after I first read Vegas — from Hunter to his Random House editor, Jim Silberman, in response to Jim’s peculiarly keen observation:

What depresses me is your statement that it was “absolutely clear” to you that Raoul Duke & his attorney “were not on drugs [in Las Vegas].” Because my conception of that piece was to write a thing that would tell what it was like to do a magazine assignment with a head full of weird drugs. I didn’t really make up anything — but I did, at times, bring situations & feelings I remember from other scenes to the reality at hand. I might even claim, for that matter, that this was done by consciously tripping the fabled “LSD recall and/or Flashback Mechanism.

Um.

So…the trunk of the Great Red Shark actually didn’t look like a mobile police narcotics lab?

So Hunter Thompson drove sober.

LOSER!

His acid-crazed attorney didn’t want to be electrocuted to death in the bath when the White Rabbit peaked?

Nah — the Samoan just threw a little hissy-fit when he lost his rubber ducky under the tub.

Thompson’s mind didn’t recoil in horror then at the sight of his body parking the Shark — floor-mats soaked in ether — on the sidewalk in front of Circus Circus?

Well. Yes he did park on the sidewalk. But it was an emergency; his attorney spotted an old lady with no one to help her cross the street!

Why not? By his own admission every word in the book was bogus. A fraud on its face. But he was on someone else’s corporate tab. So of course it had to be done.
All this begs the Question: did he — or did he not — drag that fence 30 feet across the Las Vegas Airport runway so his Attorney wouldn’t miss his flight?

Either way I tell you what Buster — don’t FUCK with the Drug Coma on Main Street!

That one is sacred. Let me have my jollies. Don’t mess with a man’s Gonzo Fantasy.

We’re all friends here :)

At the age of 15 I believed every word written in Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Down to the last drop of human adrenalcreme!

Why?

Children are capable, of course, of literary belief, when the storymaker’s art is good enough to produce it. That state of mind has been called the “willing suspension of disbelief.” But this does not seem to me to be a good description of what happens. What really happens is the storymaker proves a successful “subcreator.” He makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter. Inside it, what he relates is “true;” it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it while you are, as it were, inside.

JRR Tolkien

Weird: 15 years after I first read Vegas — and a half decade since it’s been revealed fictional — I don’t believe any less in the truth twoard which Hunter strove. If anything…way more.
I also believe Gandalf smote that Balrog on the snowy mountain and survived. Remember when they found Gandalf with Treebeard? I felt joy. Why? Gandalf is my friend. Must be, since I think it totally rocks, still, the way he didn’t die.

And what of DR. HST? Credit Where Due:

Hunter S. Thompson was a Fantasy man. Surely as Gandalf rode Shadofax fast the Good Doctor wrote some curiously potent fantasy. Most remarkable were his repeated, admirable attempts — sheriff’s race; Rock & Roll vote; unique friendship with and all powerful early endorsement of President Carter — to spike the punch-bowl of Reality.

He duped me in the best possible way. I never doubted a word he wrote. Yet he made it all up. Or did he? Honestly — why would he leave drug infested LA for an all-expense paid Vegas weekend without a trunk full of goodies?

Some suggest Hunter’s work is G-Rated fiction; a Secondary World subcreated from his own, far more depraved Reality…

Did he sample human adrenalcreme? I sure don’t know — and I never will. I’ll wonder though. But always get my best Hoot when I don’t know.

But this is a different subject, & there’s no point in trying to come to grips with it here. What I’m talking about, in essense, is the mechanical Reality of Gonzo Journalism…or Total Subjectivity, as opposed to the bogus demands of Objectivity.
>>HST re: Vegas 1971

To help grasp the Gonzo concept I offer the most succinct yet thorough description Hunter wrote on his self-invented style:

You Cannot Always Find Two “Reliable Sources” to Verify What You Know is True. And that is where I parted company with those bastards a long time ago..

I propose a hybrid genre; one I’ve barely touched on here. What I’m into in essense is Gonzo Fantasy. A kind of neuromolecular Make-Believe; an alternate to the bogus-load o’ bull we’re duped to believe is Reality.

Keep it unreal!

the White-Winged Vampire Bat

Looks like a baby Yoda or something don’t it?
white-winged-alien.jpg
I am fascinated by this creature. I consider their kind among the smartest, most gentle predator species on Earth. Scientists call these Diaemus Youngi; the White-Winged Vampire Bat. They feed on blood from the feet of sleeping birds.

Bats are weird. They’re the only mammals who fly. Nocturnal creatures, who hang upside-down from their feet to sleep. Plus: they can’t see. Bats navigate with an audio spacial-recognition system known as echolocation. Chirped at high frequencies, the sounds in the linked audio clip help the Myotis bat locate prey insects up to thirty feet away.

To help us grasp the echolocation concept I point to the experience of a blind human:

Ask people about Ben Underwood and you’ll hear dozens of stories…about the amazing boy who doesn’t seem to know he’s blind. There’s Ben zooming around on his skateboard outside his home in Sacramento; there he is playing kickball with his buddies. To see him speed down hallways and make sharp turns around corners is to observe a typical teen – except, that is, for the clicking. Completely blind since the age of 3, after retinal cancer claimed both his eyes (he now wears two prostheses), Ben has learned to perceive and locate objects by making a steady stream of sounds with his tongue, then listening for the echoes as they bounce off the surfaces around him. About as loud as the snapping of fingers, Ben’s clicks tell him what’s ahead: the echoes they produce can be soft (indicating metals), dense (wood) or sharp (glass). Judging by how loud or faint they are, Ben has learned to gauge distances.

It is suggested that bats evolved through natural selection from gliding mammals such as the flying squirrel. Perhaps, the theory goes, random DNA mutations — passed down through generations — stretched and thinned the skin in flying squirrel’s flaps until they gained enough control over their glide to enable genuine flight.

One wonders: Is the boy’s seeming supernatural ability to echo-locate developed — from the age of 3 — out of a random genetic mutation of his own?

Vampire bats have gained a Bad Rap for bloodletting their prey. The vulture has a similarly bad name because they pluck nutrient-rich flesh from the bones of dead animals. It tells something about our Mind-set, that the vulture — a hunter who waits patiently for nature to run its course — are considered lower on the Food Chain than predators who violently kill their feed.

As if what vultures do is disgusting.

Yeah — but who wants to get their blood sucked by a bat? Well. If I were a prey animal — humans were once, until we learned to protect ourselves from wild predation (now we prey on ourselves) — I’d feel downright jolly about it. Specifically, if I were a chicken given the choice between being captured & killed & eaten by a fox and having blood drank from my toe while I sleep…I’d take a good bloodletting.

I say the White-Winged Vampire bat is among the smartest of Planet Earth’s species. Because they don’t diminish their own food supply; these bats don’t kill their prey.

And — as the good folks at New Mexico’s Rancho Transylvania have learned — White-Winged Vampire bats are phenomenally gentle, among predatory species. Bats kept in captivity there feed on chickens. Each chicken plays host to a bat once a week. The chickens stay healthy. And rarely awaken while preyed upon.

They don’t feel a thing.

a sensible career move.

Haven’t opened my computer for 6 days…which means I’ve neither posted to my own blog nor read any of the surely wonderful things my friends here in the blogCosmos have written lately.

I feel Guilt.

Really? Oh yes.

Suddenly I feel like a dumb Fuck-Up on my blog just like I do in Real Life!

So goes: the honeymoon phase between my now not-so-new blog & I.

Has anyone around here figured out how to blog for Pay yet?

Am I serious? Oh shit yes! With no apologies to the Purist. My blog brings me Joy and if I were already loaded with dough joy might be pay a-plenty. But it’s not and neither am I — moreover, it’s getting cold in Vermont. I try to be upbeat about homelessnes; a chronic affliction which, if nothing else, has worked a wonder-job on my empathic qualities

Also on my faith in the marketable quality of my writing. More precisely, faith in the certainty that I must sell some before my poor brains freeze.

Think I’ll write a fast book about drugs. I say Basketball Diaries was the last thing done well on the topic. A dizzying plentitude of brains have been warped by all kind-o drugs in the quarter-century since — so by my pro estimate we’re due for a few choice words about Why.

My book about drugs will be Good. Shit it will be the shaZam funny-Bomb. Except in the parts where you’ll cry.

Hell Yes! This is my smartest idea since I snuck into that college class about Organic Chemistry.