Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 Complete Index

December Archive

Thursday, December 28, 2006 -- Superman And Magic

Wednesday, December 27, 2006 -- Narrative, And Freud

Tuesday, December 26, 2006 -- Temporal Dynamics

Friday, December 22, 2006 -- Anna Kournikova Gothic #2

Thursday, December 21, 2006 -- Anna Kournikova Gothic #1

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 -- Primate Bones No One Can Find

Tuesday, December 19, 2006 -- Skeleton of "Alien Mutilation" Horse ...

Monday, December 18, 2006 -- Bones Of Real-Life Loch Ness Monster ...

Friday, December 15, 2006 -- Martha And The End Of The World Working

Thursday, December 14, 2006 -- Martha And The Alchemy Of Doors

Wednesday, December 13, 2006 -- Martha In The Overall Scheme Of Things

Tuesday, December 12, 2006 -- Faust

Monday, December 11, 2006 -- The Skeleton Of A Man

Friday, December 08, 2006 -- The Lizard Seduction Test (Part 2 of 2)

Thursday, December 07, 2006 -- The Lizard Seduction Test (Part 1 of 2)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006 -- Smallville

Tuesday, December 05, 2006 -- Shamballa

Monday, December 04, 2006 -- Cosmopolitan

Friday, December 01, 2006 -- ‘Bankrupt Centipedes From Outer Space’

November Archive

Thursday, November 30, 2006 -- ‘Shadows Are Not Known For Their Strength’

Wednesday, November 29, 2006 -- ‘Now Sing Of Walls! Sing!’

Tuesday, November 28, 2006 -- ‘The Difficulty To Think At The End Of Day . . .’

Monday, November 27, 2006 -- “Oh, Let’s Go Up The Hill And Scare Ourselves...”

Friday, November 24, 2006 -- Victoria’s Secret

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 -- A Life Of Illusion (Happy Thanksgiving!)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 -- Translucent Compositions

Tuesday, November 21, 2006 -- The Guillotine As A Tool Of Cognition

Monday, November 20, 2006 -- Winston Churchill Described Paintings As Cryptograms On Canvas

Friday, November 17, 2006 -- Meanwhile, In An Abandoned Strip Mine...

Thursday, November 16, 2006 -- Butterflies From Beyond Newton’s World

Wednesday, November 15, 2006 -- Parameter Space And Some Supernatural World

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 -- Catastrophe Means Change Of State, Like Water Into Ice

Monday, November 13, 2006 -- Catastrophe Theory

Friday, November 10, 2006 -- Alison Wakes Up And Introduces Herself

Thursday, November 09, 2006 -- Alison Dreaming Of Me *

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 -- Alison Dreaming Of Being A Rock And Roll Princess

Tuesday, November 07, 2006 -- Alison Dreaming Of The Ultimate Buddy Motion Picture

Monday, November 06, 2006 -- Alison Dreaming

Friday, November 03, 2006 -- Jill, At Halloween Time #5

Thursday, November 02, 2006 -- Jill, At Halloween Time #4

Wednesday, November 01, 2006 -- Jill, At Halloween Time #3

October Archive

Tuesday, October 31, 2006 -- Jill, At Halloween Time #2

Monday, October 30, 2006 -- Jill, At Halloween Time #1

Friday, October 27, 2006 -- Ansel Adams And Alfred Stieglitz, #2

Thursday, October 26, 2006 -- Ansel Adams And Alfred Stieglitz, #1

Wednesday, October 25, 2006 -- Ansel Adams And Edwin Land

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 -- Ansel Adams And Cedric Wright

Monday, October 23, 2006 -- Ansel Adams And Margaret Bourke-White

Friday, October 20, 2006 -- Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #5: The Butterflies From Atlantis

Thursday, October 19, 2006 -- Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #4: Atlantis

Wednesday, October 18, 2006 -- Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #3: Fons Et Origo

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 -- Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #2: Paris Hilton

Monday, October 16, 2006 -- Paris Hilton And The Butterflies From Atlantis #1: Et In Arcadia Ego

Friday, October 13, 2006 -- Seeing Things In Christina’s World

Thursday, October 12, 2006 -- A Very Elusive Thing

Wednesday, October 11, 2006 -- A White Mussel Shell On A Gravel Bank

Tuesday, October 10, 2006 -- The Deliriously Beautiful World Of Unnamed Substances

Monday, October 09, 2006 -- Negotiations Between Water And Stone

Friday, October 06, 2006 -- Mischa Barton, Mischa Barton

Thursday, October 05, 2006 -- Sleeping Beauty

Wednesday, October 04, 2006 -- The Mythologies Of Facts

Tuesday, October 03, 2006 -- That Fourth Dimension For Which I Am Searching

Monday, October 02, 2006 -- Anna Kournikova’s Face

September Archive

Friday, September 29, 2006 -- Second Quarter Index Page

Thursday, September 28, 2006 -- Free Energy! Light Without Heat! Lifts And Separates! #4: “Let Me Tell You The Good Life”

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 -- Free Energy! Light Without Heat! Lifts And Separates! #3: The Paperclip Nazis

Tuesday, September 26, 2006 -- Free Energy! Light Without Heat! Lifts And Separates! #2: How It Works

Monday, September 25, 2006 -- Free Energy! Light Without Heat! Lifts And Separates! #1: Grandma Laura

Friday, September 22, 2006 -- Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! #5: The Monkee And The Fox

Thursday, September 21, 2006 -- Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! #4: The Twenty-Six Muscles Of The Human Face

Wednesday, September 20, 2006 -- Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! #3: The Architecture Of The Groupie Landscape

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 -- Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! #2: Groupie Totems, A Brief Introduction

Monday, September 18, 2006 -- Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! #1: A Groupie Metaphysics

Friday, September 15, 2006 -- Dirty Laundry In Cézanne’s Country #4: The Reply

Thursday, September 14, 2006 -- Dirty Laundry In Cézanne’s Country #3: The Message

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 -- Dirty Laundry In Cézanne’s Country #2: The Woman In The Garden

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 -- Dirty Laundry In Cézanne’s Country #1: The Garden

Monday, September 11, 2006 -- The Weird Fact And The Big Romance

Friday, September 08, 2006 -- Joni Mitchell And King George #2: An Epistemology Of Empowerment

Thursday, September 07, 2006 -- Joni Mitchell And King George #1: The War On Terror

Wednesday, September 06, 2006 -- Cordon Sanitaire

Tuesday, September 05, 2006 -- Fons Et Origo

Monday, September 04, 2006 -- Et In Arcadia Ego

Friday, September 01, 2006 -- Parking Lots At Night #4: The Next Day

August Archive

Thursday, August 31, 2006 -- Parking Lots At Night #3: The Parking Lot At Night

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 -- Parking Lots At Night #2: Dinner With Shelby

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 -- Parking Lots At Night #1: The Morning Fashion Shoot

Monday, August 28, 2006 -- Parking Lots

Friday, August 25, 2006 -- A Bigfoot Walks Away

Thursday, August 24, 2006 -- Wolfram’s Terrarium

Wednesday, August 23, 2006 -- The Pressures Of Being A Real Life Princess

Tuesday, August 22, 2006 -- Lindsay Lohan And Rupert Sheldrake

Monday, August 21, 2006 -- The Monsters In Disney’s ‘Mulan’

Friday, August 18, 2006 -- Mischa’s Dream

Thursday, August 17, 2006 -- Drew Barrymore and Eugene Ionesco

Wednesday, August 16, 2006 -- Science

Tuesday, August 15, 2006 -- Susan’s Team

Monday, August 14, 2006 -- Fangs

Friday, August 11, 2006 -- Martin’s Sweater #5: Martin’s Sweater

Thursday, August 10, 2006 -- Martin’s Sweater #4: The Raccoons Again

Wednesday, August 09, 2006 -- Martin’s Sweater #3: The Mice

Tuesday, August 08, 2006 -- Martin’s Sweater #2: The Squirrel

Monday, August 07, 2006 -- Martin’s Sweater #1: The Raccoons

Friday, August 04, 2006 -- Suzy’s Show (End Theme)

Thursday, August 03, 2006 -- Suzy Buys A Bikini

Wednesday, August 02, 2006 -- Suzy’s Dinner With Michael Crichton

Tuesday, August 01, 2006 -- Suzy And The Sea Monster

July Archive

Monday, July 31, 2006 -- Suzy’s Show (opening theme)

Friday, July 28, 2006 -- The Road To Magonia

Thursday, July 27, 2006 -- Marvelous Scripture

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 -- Pork And Beans Tennis

Tuesday, July 25, 2006 -- Cats And Cows

Monday, July 24, 2006 -- Fragments of Orwell

Friday, July 21, 2006 -- Sasquatch And Anime Girl, #3

Thursday, July 20, 2006 -- Bras, A Werewolf And Paris Hilton

Wednesday, July 19, 2006 -- An Angel, Another Angel And Paris Hilton

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 -- Golfing, A Butterfly And Paris Hilton

Monday, July 17, 2006 -- The Golden Voyage Of Susan Complains

Friday, July 14, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (10 of 10)

Thursday, July 13, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (9 of 10)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (8 of 10)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (7 of 10)

Monday, July 10, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (6 of 10)

Friday, July 07, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (5 of 10)

Thursday, July 06, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (4 of 10)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (3 of 10)

Monday, July 03, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (2 of 10)

Monday, July 03, 2006 -- Professor Martel’s Startling Conclusion (1 of 10)

June Archive

Friday, June 30, 2006 -- First Quarter Index Page

Thursday, June 29, 2006 -- The Atomic Octopus Song (Goodbye Jamie)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006 -- Scenes From “It Came From Beneath The Sea” – C

Tuesday, June 27, 2006 -- Scenes From “It Came From Beneath The Sea” – B

Monday, June 26, 2006 -- Scenes From “It Came From Beneath The Sea” – A

Friday, June 23, 2006 -- Sasquatch And Anime Girl, #2

Thursday, June 22, 2006 -- Unpolished And Uncut Stones From “Rocks On Rocks” – #3

Wednesday, June 21, 2006 -- Unpolished And Uncut Stones From “Rocks On Rocks” – #2

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 -- Unpolished And Uncut Stones From “Rocks On Rocks” – #1

Monday, June 19, 2006 -- Sasquatch And Anime Girl, #1

Friday, June 16, 2006 -- Five Songs: #5 – Lonesome Cowboy

Thursday, June 15, 2006 -- Five Songs: #4 – Pudgy Suburban Girls

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 -- Five Songs: #3 – Shadows

Tuesday, June 13, 2006 -- Five Songs: #2 – Hidden Agenda

Monday, June 12, 2006 -- Five Songs: #1 – Zombie Dog

Friday, June 09, 2006 -- Mrs. Blandings And The Tissue Horror (Part Three)

Thursday, June 08, 2006 -- Mrs. Blandings And The Tissue Horror (Part Two)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 -- Mrs. Blandings And The Tissue Horror (Part One)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006 -- The Economy Travel Package Horror

Monday, June 05, 2006 -- The Railroad Yard Horror

Friday, June 02, 2006 -- Three Clouds Overhead Started Shouting At Me

Thursday, June 01, 2006 -- The Conquest Of Space

May Archive

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 -- Dinosaurs At All The Gates Of Heaven

Tuesday, May 30, 2006 -- Return To Susan Complains

Monday, May 29, 2006 -- Mildred Wept

Friday, May 26, 2006 -- Kings And Queens Of The Ancient Seas (Part Three)

Thursday, May 25, 2006 -- Kings And Queens Of The Ancient Seas (Part Two)

Wednesday, May 24, 2006 -- Kings And Queens Of The Ancient Seas (Part One)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006 -- Something That Sets You Apart

Monday, May 22, 2006 -- How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way

Friday, May 19, 2006 -- Ashley And The Green Sweater (Part Three)

Thursday, May 18, 2006 -- Ashley And The Green Sweater (Part Two)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006 -- Ashley And The Green Sweater (Part One)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006 -- Approaching Loch Ness 2: The End Of Fashion

Monday, May 15, 2006 -- Approaching Loch Ness 1: The Monsters Of Loch Ness

Friday, May 12, 2006 -- Return To The Other Way Of Making A Frankenstein’s Monster

Thursday, May 11, 2006 -- “…We Hadn’t Gathered Them From Aliens…”

Wednesday, May 10, 2006 -- “Consciousness Not Necessary For Thinking”

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 -- Susan Complains

Monday, May 08, 2006 -- The Other Way Of Making A Frankenstein’s Monster

Friday, May 05, 2006 -- Jamie’s Ghosts

Thursday, May 04, 2006 -- Ghost Fishing In America Freddy

Wednesday, May 03, 2006 -- I’m Standing At A Broken Window

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 -- Hamlet And Gertrude Talk About A Ghost

Monday, May 01, 2006 -- Tina At The Window

April Archive

Friday, April 28, 2006 -- Sally Gorgon And The Shattered Werewolf (Part 4)

Thursday, April 27, 2006 -- Sally Gorgon And The Shattered Werewolf (Part 3)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006 -- Sally Gorgon And The Shattered Werewolf (Part 2)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 -- Sally Gorgon And The Shattered Werewolf (Part 1)

Monday, April 24, 2006 -- What Is Paraprosopia?

Friday, April 21, 2006 -- What is the Goblin Universe?

Thursday, April 20, 2006 -- Impossible Kisses: The Turtle At The Center Of The World

Wednesday, April 19, 2006 -- Impossible Kisses: The Moon In The Field Behind The Old Post Office

Tuesday, April 18, 2006 -- Impossible Kisses: I Thought It Was Wood

Monday, April 17, 2006 -- Impossible Kisses: The Empty Lot Behind My House

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Superman And Magic

JONATHAN holds up a sexy, black bra. MARTHA and
CLARK stare at the bra.

Jonathan Kent:

Son, is there maybe a little something
you’d like to tell your mother and me?

Martha Kent:

Where did that come from?

Jonathan Kent:

From out in the barn. In the hay.

Martha Kent:


Clark Kent:

It was magic!

Martha Kent:

I’m sure it was.

Clark Kent:

No, I mean it really was.
I shouldn’t have thrown this party
without talking to you. I know that.
But it’s the way things spun out of control.
It was Lana. Well, it wasn’t Lana exactly.
She was possessed by a witch,
who then cast a spell on us. And that’s
how that happened.

Jonathan Kent:

Son, I realize that after all
this is Smallville, but
witches and spells and magic?

Clark Kent:

Dad, magic exists. I saw it.
And worse, it can hurt me.

Season 4, “Spell”


“It is unclear why Superman is powerless against the random and chaotic forces of magic, which defy rational or logical explanation. One foe aware of this weakness—the super-gorilla Ulgo—capitalized upon it by using a mystic talisman to transmogrify Superman into an Ape of Steel!”

Scott Beatty
The Ultimate Guide
To The Man of Steel

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Narrative, And Freud

Freud has been much criticized since the mid-1990s. His research methods have been attacked, his conclusions derided as illogical, his theories dismissed as flawed. He was clearly no scientist. But if we think of Freud as a philosopher rather than as a psychologist, we can be grateful for at least one enormous contribution to the behavioral sciences: he was perhaps the first to perceive and understand how people’s mental health can benefit when they are able to create a coherent narrative for their lives. Freud’s so-called analytic technique was actually a process of synthesis, of composition. He would sit down with individuals who were suffering from psychological distress and would listen to them with enormous patience, in an effort to discover the complexity and history of their mental state. And during the months or years of therapy, he would take the previously disconnected pieces of his patients’ lives—dreams, phobias, emotions, childhood memories—and weave them together into a story that made sense to them (or more importantly to him, as his critics would say), a story that persuasively explained to these patients the psychological distress they were experiencing.

Freud may well have been the first to discover that creating a theory or having an explanation for current problems or distress can be comforting for many: it’s a way to make sense of apparently random pain. It’s generally why people seek psychotherapy today—not just because they want to get rid of symptoms, whether panic attacks or compulsive behaviors or depression, but they want to know why they’re having these problems in the first place. Understanding the reasons for our emotions—and creating an explanatory narrative—is, for many of us, very important.

But are the explanations we come up with correct?

Susan A. Clancy
“Abducted: How People Come To Believe
They Were Kidnapped By Aliens”

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Temporal Dynamics

If two candles are burning side by side,

it’s not too hard to stand in front of them

and blow out only one or the other.

It’s not exactly a skill we practice

but when it is viewed as an exercise

in fluid dynamics it doesn’t sound

like it’s the easiest thing in the world.

But we can all do it. You just focus.

Then—classically—you purse your lips and blow.

Temporal dynamics sounds hard, also.

Predicting the future. What will happen?

What will he or she say? What numbers win

the big lottery jackpot this evening?

I wonder if predicting the future

is also one of those things we can do

if we just try it once or twice, focused,

and figure out the crystal ball version

of pursing our lips and blowing at it.

I bet people who do see what’s coming

say it’s kind of as easy as whistling . . .

Friday, December 22, 2006

Anna Kournikova Gothic #2

Anna Kournikova is like a ghost.
Media stories are like chains rattling.
Brenda and I talked only in passing.
Where I saw Anna Kournikova’s boast
of five showers a day as a kind of toast
to the decadent pleasures of getting
dirty four times a day, Brenda’s thinking
was that Anna is just dumb as a post.

We’re all like ghosts. We materialize
in each other’s life in the words we share
then we’re gone, distant as Kournikova,
mental constructs, faces we memorize
as our words disappear into the air.
I’m glad I got to say, ‘Goodbye Brenda.’

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Anna Kournikova Gothic #1

I’d been planning to approach the topic
of ghosts using quantum entanglement
as the mechanism of a remnant,
a space where the gears of the past still click,
but today I realized the real trick
isn’t about what was and now isn’t,
the real trick is getting even a hint
about what is yet isn’t. That’s gothic.

Before our first talk that I remember
Brenda was like a ghost, there but unseen.
Then I mentioned Anna Kournikova
took five showers a day. Brenda said water
from the tap did more than just get you clean,
it wrecked your skin, it worked your hair over.

(‘Anna Kournikova Gothic’ concludes tomorrow)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Primate Bones No One Can Find

Daegling's level-headed dissection of the (surprisingly) enduring legend of Bigfoot is more thoughtful and bemused than derisively dismissive. But there's no question that the biological anthropologist—a specialist in primate anatomy and biomechanics, useful disciplines for a study of primate bones no one can find and for analyzing a creature's distinctive gait—both starts and ends his examination of evidence for the big beast's existence as a confirmed skeptic. He's a scientist, and scientists depend on verifiable data; his thorough examination—more a reasoned debunking—of the existing data brings refreshing clarity to a muddled mystery. By book's end, Daegling has convincingly refuted the few seconds of film allegedly capturing Bigfoot on the loose, effectively questioned the eyewitness sightings that blossomed after the most celebrated manifestation of Bigfoot, back in 1958, and skillfully undercut the "proof" of oversized footprints by reporting on men who constructed fake feet. And he has, almost sorrowfully, assessed the arguments of the truly obsessed, which link Bigfoot's essential invisibility to the intervention of UFOs. It's not likely to change minds, however: as Daegling himself notes, myths don't depend on facts to fuel their persistence.

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. [Reviewed at]

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Skeleton of "Alien Mutilation" Horse ...

Skeleton of "Alien Mutilation" Horse at Center of Custody Battle

by: Erin Ryder, Staff Writer, [The]
December 2006 Article # 8380

Everyone in Alamosa, Colo., suddenly wants Snippy, reports The Denver Post.

The skeleton of Snippy, an Appaloosa mare that was the first animal reported to be "mutilated by aliens," was to be offered on eBay last week with a starting bid of $50,000. But as word of the auction got out, relatives of her former owners and officials with the town's Chamber of Commerce are lining up to dispute ownership, the paper reported.

No one's quite sure what happened to Snippy, who was found dead in her pasture in September 1967. According to the Denver Post, the most popular theories involve either alien abduction or teenagers with rifles, depending on who you ask. The alleged lack of blood and hoof prints in the area where the body was found, and the confirmed lack of flesh from the horse's head to withers, only add to the mystery, as do the two .22 bullets in her rump.

But what is certain is Snippy's status as a local legend.

"I'm going to put up a fight to get Snippy," Chamber of Commerce President Debora Goodman told the paper. "She's an icon to this valley. It's important that she stay here and represent that mysterious period in our history."

Monday, December 18, 2006

Bones Of Real-Life Loch Ness Monster ...

Bones Of Real-Life Loch Ness Monster Go On Display Wednesday

KWTX (December 13, 2006)--The bones of an ancient creature that would've looked like the Loch Ness Monster will be unveiled Wednesday in South Dakota.

The fossil is thought to be the best articulated fossil skeleton ever recovered from Antarctica.

At 5-feet in length the plesiosaur was deemed to be a juvenile, as an adult specimen could reach over 32 feet in length.

The skeleton is nearly perfectly articulated as it would have been in real life, but the skull has eroded away from the body.

Most of the bones of the baby plesiosaur had not developed distinct ends because of the youth of the specimen.

The creature would have inhabited Antarctic waters during a period when the Earth and oceans were far warmer than they are today.

The long-necked, diamond-finned plesiosaurs are probably most familiar as the legendary inhabitants of Scotland's Loch Ness, although scientific evidence indicates the marine carnivores have been extinct for millions of years.

But when the creatures were alive, their paddle-like fins would have allowed them to "fly through the water" in a motion very similar to modern-day penguins.

Researchers speculate volcanism similar to the massive eruption of Mt. St. Helens in Washington in 1980, may have caused the animal's death.

The skeleton goes on display Wednesday at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology's Museum of Geology.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Martha And The End Of The World Working

“The people who run the world,” Martha said.

I smiled. I said, “The last person on earth
I want to disagree with is the girl
in front of me in a sexy dress, but,
do you really believe that this planet
is run by anyone? People plan this?”

Martha rolled her eyes. She said, “I believe
people try to run the planet. They try
to plan the things that happen day to day.”

This was Martha’s topic. Her red hair bounced
as she paced in front of me, lecturing
me about the colonization of
our global collective unconsciousness.

“Everybody knows about the weird things
associated with JFK’s death.
Princess Diana’s death is the female
counterpart of the JFK killing.
Every year the world learns more bizarre things
about Princess Diana’s death. As if
the Roman goddess of the hunt dying
while being hunted by paparazzi
wasn’t bizarre enough. Male and female.
Those are the elements of the working.
A pair of leaders. A male. A female.
And what pair is the world’s most famous pair?
The mythic progenitors of us all.
Adam and Eve. Kennedy. Diana.
And what events befell Adam and Eve?
Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
The people that run this place, this planet,
have created their own Adam and Eve.
Kennedy and Diana. Everyone
becomes—in our mind—this primordial
male or female, lives out the life taken
from the real Kennedy and Diana.
This world we’re in—our Garden of Eden—
will be the stage on which we will act out
our expulsion, our Fall, the ultimate
working as the gods of this world create
for themselves the ultimate counterfeit,
the material made re-creation
of creation itself. No god, just them.”

“Martha,” I said, nodding, “have you ever
heard that old theory that if you start up
the Zapruder film at the same time as
Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ the music
becomes a soundtrack for the images?”

Martha stared at me. She started to speak,
stopped, started to speak again, stopped again.
She looked away, shaking her head slowly.
She sighed, then spoke, her voice very quiet.

“‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is almost two hours.
Zapruder’s film is twenty-six seconds.”

“I know, Martha,” I said. “I was joking.”

“Some things,” Martha said, “shouldn’t be laughed at.”

I nodded, again, frowning. I studied
the motion of Martha turning away.

I said, “We’re not going to, ummm, have sex
tonight, if I’m reading things correctly.”

Martha didn’t look at me. She said, “No.”

I nodded a third time. Martha and I,
in fact, never had sex again after
my little Pink Floyd-Zapruder film joke.

Alchemy is about transformation.
Workings are rituals to create change.

As much as I miss Martha this stuff still
makes me laugh as I sit here typing it.

Real alchemists understand that workings
will have side effects you never thought of.

I haven’t given up hoping someday
Martha will smile at my Martha working.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Martha And The Alchemy Of Doors

There used to be a Sheraton hotel
two blocks north of the Chicago River
on Michigan Avenue at the edge
of the Magnificent Mile. Every year
science fiction convention WindyCon
was held there, running Friday through Sunday.

Now, at this particular WindyCon
the Sheraton management ended up
asking organizers not to come back
after the events of Saturday night.

But for me the events of Friday night
made a much more lasting impression than
the fun we had moving the lobby plants
into the elevators Saturday.
We moved the plants and their soil . . . no planters.

But, anyway, at two a.m., Friday
the conference hall where they were showing films
was getting ready to show a movie
called, “Moon Zero Two,” an awful movie
that’s great to watch late at night if there’s beer.

I was there with a girl named Donna, and
my friend Derrick had brought his friend Martha.
Derrick and I were staying in one room,
Donna and Martha had the room next door.

That Friday night, Donna, Derrick and I
met downstairs to go watch “Moon Zero Two.”
Donna said Martha was going to stay
in their room to watch “Forbidden Planet”
on television. Then Donna looked down
and cursed. She said she’d grabbed the wrong sweater.
The sweater with her name badge was upstairs
in their room. I volunteered to go up
and return Martha’s sweater to Martha
and bring down Donna’s sweater to Donna.

We loved our name badges that WindyCon
because we had gotten Phil Folio
to cartoon our faces next to our names.

So I grabbed Martha’s sweater from Donna
and took an elevator back upstairs.

I knocked on the door of the girls’ shared room.
From inside Martha asked, “What do you want?”

I said, “Hey, Martha, it’s me. Donna took
your sweater by mistake. I brought it back.”

“Just leave it outside the door,” Martha said.

Why won’t she open the door? I wondered.

It can’t be there’s a guy in there because
she was Derrick’s girl. Anyway, Donna
had just walked out. Martha hadn’t had time
to sneak in anybody. Maybe she’s
afraid of me? I wondered. I thought, Hell,
Derrick and I are best friends. That morning
I’d picked up Martha in Evanston and
drove her down into the city because
Derrick’s car had gotten three flats at once.

Martha and I had gotten along fine.
I thought. We stopped for lunch. Laughed at the same
Firesign Theater references. And now
she was treating me like Jack the Ripper.

“I can’t just leave it,” I said. “Donna needs
her sweater. Her sweater’s got her name badge.”

“Just a minute,” Martha said. I heard locks
clicking on the door and the chain jangled.
The door opened an inch with the chain on.
Martha stood way behind the door and leaned
just half her face part way around the door.

“Here,” Martha said. “Squeeze in my sweater and
I’ll squeeze out Donna’s. They should fit okay.”

I wondered, What the hell, is Martha nude?
How long would it have taken to pull on
a pair of jeans and put on a tee shirt?

I pushed Martha’s sweater into the room.
I accidentally—on purpose—pushed it
through the door too low. It fell on the floor.

Martha leaned down to grab it and I saw
she was still wearing the same clothes she wore
earlier when we drove from Evanston.

Martha had folded Donna’s sweater flat.
She held the sweater in the narrow space.
As soon as I took the sweater from her
she slammed the door shut. Two or three locks clicked.

“See you later,” I said. She said nothing.

I took Donna her sweater. I explained
the door business and asked her what was up.
She said she hadn’t a clue. That whole con
I meant to talk to Martha but never
got a chance, what with getting the con banned
and all because of our Saturday fun.

But just a few months after WindyCon,
when Donna and I had broken up and
Derrick and Martha had broken up, too,
I took Martha to a midnight movie
up at Northwestern University.

I think it was “Heart of Glass,” by Herzog.

As we waited in line I reminded
Martha about that night at WindyCon.
I asked her what the heck she’d been doing.

Martha just laughed. She looked all eyes and smile.

She said, “You can’t expect someone to try
to open a door till they know it’s closed.”


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Martha In The Overall Scheme Of Things

The first woman who ever slapped my face
was named Joanne. And the first woman who
ever kicked me was named Joanne, also.
On this list of dubious firsts, Martha
comes first because she was the first woman
who ever slammed a door right in my face.


Now, I’ve mentioned the Joanne who kicked me
once or twice already in these writings.
The Joanne who kicked me was, for instance,
the woman sitting in her lingerie
journaling while Steely Dan music played. *
I’ll be writing more about this Joanne.


I haven’t written directly about
the Joanne who slapped me yet. However,
she was friends with Bob the photographer *
and I have mentioned him. I’ll be writing
more about this Joanne. She played a part
in a story about a hippie ghost
late one night on Chicago’s far south side.


But many years before I got kicked and
a couple of years before I got slapped,
a young woman named Martha slammed a door
right in my face. Even though she later
unlocked and opened one or two others
I still often feel as if I’m standing
at a locked door wondering what the hell
is going on in the room behind it.
Tomorrow I’ll tell the story about
“Martha And The Alchemy Of Doors,” and
Friday I’ll go over Martha’s theory
about JFK’s assassination,
Princess Diana’s death and something called,
by Martha, “The End Of The World Working.”



* N.B. -- This "new" beta version of Blogger makes linking
to old posts very difficult. I imagine there's a way, but I'll be darned
if I know what it is. The Joanne in her lingerie post is titled
"Victoria's Secret," 11/24 in the November archive, and the post
with Bob the photographer is "Parking Lots At Night" parts 1-3,
8/29-31 in the August Archive. I'll try and figure out how to link to things
directly. -- Mark

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


I was not myself last night
Couldn’t set things right
With apologies or flowers

Out of place as a crying clown
Who could only frown
And the play went on for hours

And as I lived my role
I swore I’d sell my soul for . . .

One love
Who would stand by me
And give me back the gift of laughter
One love
Who would stand by me
And after making love we’d . . .

Dream a bit of style
Dream a bunch of friends
Dream each other’s smile
Dream it never ends

I was not myself last night
In the morning light
I could see the change was showing

Like a child who was always poor
Reaching out for more
I could feel the hunger growing

And as I lost control
I swore I’d sell my soul for . . .

One love
Who would sing my song
And fill this emptiness inside me
One love
Who would sing my song
And lay beside me while we’d . . .

Dream a bit of style
Dream a bunch of friends
Dream each other’s smile
Dream it never ends

All my dreams are lost
And I can’t sleep
And sleep alone
Could ease my mind
All my tears have dried
And I can’t weep
Old emotions
May they rest in peace
And dream
Dream a bunch of friends
Rest in peace
And dream
Dream it never ends

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Skeleton Of A Man

About a year and a half or two years after the events with which this history concludes, when search was made in the vault of Montfaucon for the body of Olivier le Daim, who had been hung two days previously, and to whom Charles VIII had granted the favour to be interred in better company at Saint-Laurent, among these hideous carcasses were found two skeletons in a singular posture. One of these skeletons, which was that of a woman, had still upon it some fragments of a dress that had once been white; and about the neck was a necklace of seeds of adrezarach, and a little silk bag braided with green beads, which was open and empty. These things were of so little value that the hangman no doubt had not thought it worth his while to take them. The other, by which this first was closely embraced, was the skeleton of a man. It was remarked that the spine was crooked, the head depressed between the shoulders, and one leg shorter than the other. There was however no rupture of the vertebrae of the neck, and it was evident that the person to whom it belonged had not been hanged. He must have come hither and died in the place. When those who found this skeleton attempted to disengage it from that which it held in its grasp it crumbled to dust.

The Hunchback of Notre-Dame
Victor Hugo

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Lizard Seduction Test (Part 2 of 2)

Sex with the person of your dreams.
Sex with this person who takes

your breath away. Sex
and these nagging doubts. Do you accept or

decline? Do you shrug off your odd doubts
or listen to your heart?


If you accept or decline,
what is your reaction to that?

Are you happy or sad?
Regretful or grateful? Angry or

relieved? The choices you make
with the lizard seduction test

and your reactions to them
are imprinted right in your brain.

From then on in your life, forever,
when you meet a lizard

it can look in your brain
and review the results of your test.

This one test tells the lizards
all they need to know about us.

This test is the passport
to pop culture success in this world

we call ours. This test
is what separates, for instance, people

like Gary Kildall
from people like Bill Gates. And you can’t lie

about the lizard seduction test.
At least not to lizards.

But the fact that a person
really might want to lie is shown

in the brain, too, and that
tells the lizards what they need to know.

Young people: Be on guard!
Old people: Stop complaining that life

doesn’t make sense! The world
and our lives within it are shaped by

the lizard seduction test.
It’s us and them. It’s true. It’s true.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Lizard Seduction Test (Part 1 of 2)

At some point in everyone’s life
the lizards give them a test.


At some point in everyone’s life
the lizards look in your mind

and determine what you
find physically attractive and what

you find mentally stimulating.
Then the test will begin.

A lizard will appear to you
as a man or a woman

who takes your breath away.
This groovy guy or girl will spend time

with you, do things with you,
relate to you, so that you will see

clearly what’s in front of you.
You will see a fun, attractive

person out of your dreams.
But also there will be clues that all

is not as beat, freak and hippy
as it seems. Little, strange clues.

Weird clues. Bizarre clues.
Like, maybe, the guy or girl will run his

or her fingers through his or her hair
and clumps of hair will come

out, stuck in his or her fingers.
Or, maybe, the guy or girl

will stuff so much food in his or her mouth
that chewed and unchewed

bits fall back onto his or her plate.
There will be oddball clues

and there will be more than one.
In itself, each clue will be fine,

explicable. As a group,
they will not point to anything

you can see. They will not
buzz and flash like a big neon sign

next to your head. But in your heart
you will know that all is not

as it seems with the ginchy guy or girl
in front of you. Then

comes the main part of the test.
The kick-ass fun person in front

of you will make himself or herself
available for sex.


Sex with the person of your dreams.
Sex with this person who takes

your breath away. Sex
and these nagging doubts. Do you accept or

decline? Do you shrug off your odd doubts
or listen to your heart?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006



Save me

Let your warm hands
Break right through

Save me

I don’t care
How you do it



Come on

I’ve been waiting
For you

I’ve made this
Whole world shine
For you



Come on

Smallville” theme

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


Somebody you never met
Will speak to you
In a language you never heard
And you will understand
Everything the person says


Monday, December 04, 2006


The cashier at the grocery story melted.

She became a pool of glass on the floor.

The chemicals that had been her makeup

separated from the glass and congealed

on the mirror-like surface of the pool.

The chemicals reflected bright rainbows.

Like small, soft mountains around an ice lake

the cashier’s crumpled clothing cast shadows

around the periphery of the glass.

A woman with a shopping cart waited

to be checked out. It was the express lane.

But now the cashier was a pool of glass.

The woman with the shopping cart sighed, groaned.

Her cart contained a dozen eggs, vodka

and a Cosmopolitan magazine.

The woman with the Cosmopolitan

stepped forward and leaned across the counter.

She looked down over the conveyor belt

at the shiny pool of glass on the floor.

The glass reflected her face back at her.

The woman scowled, licked an index finger

and smoothed-out the gloss on her lower lip.

The pool of glass that had been a cashier

glittered under the store’s fluorescent lights.

The woman with the Cosmo straightened up,

sighed again, and waited to be checked out.

Friday, December 01, 2006

‘Bankrupt Centipedes From Outer Space’

Darlene smiles at Big John. “Duluth,” she says, “Love it or loathe it, you can never leave it or lose it.”

“I always wondered what that meant,” says Big John, drawing her voluptuous body close to his own whipcord body.

“It means us, among other things,” says Darlene. “It is what it is—forever.” Then she whispers, “Hold me.”

And Big John, warm and mature at last, says, of his own accord, with absolute sincerity and trust—and no prodding from Darlene—“I will. Because I know now that that is all that a woman wants.”

Entangled in one another’s arms, neither notices the millions and millions and millions of bugs that are now streaming across the Heights, devouring everything in their path.

The macrocosm of insect life at the heart of the Mayor Herridge Swamp has suddenly metastasized. Secretly egged on by the bankrupt centipedes from outer space, the bugs have taken over Duluth through a mere shift in tense, replacing those temporary interlopers, the human race.

Now Tricia sits at the late Rosemary Klein Kantor’s word-processor and with her mandibles she proceeds to tap out a Duluth totally unlike Duluth or even “Duluth.” Mandibles clacking with glee, Tricia describes the metamorphosis from present-day human Duluth to the myriapodal one, simultaneous with the other, yes, but equally immutable and autonomous.


Duluth! Tricia taps, love it or loath it, you can never leave it or lose it because no matter how blunt with insectivorous time your mandibles become those myriad eggs that you cannot help but lay cannot help but hatch new vermiforous and myriapodal generations, forever lively in this present tense where you—all of you—are now at large, even though, simultaneously, you are elsewhere, too, rooted in that centripetal darkness where all this was, and where all this will be, once the bright inflorescence that is, or—now for that terminal shift, Tricia; press the lever!—was present-day human Duluth has come to its predestined articulated and paginated end. Yes. Duluth! Loved. Loathed. Left. Lost.

Gore Vidal

Thursday, November 30, 2006

‘Shadows Are Not Known For Their Strength’


Cameron had spotted the hiding place of the Hawkline Monster when he and Greer were halfway down the stairs. He saw strange sparks of light on a bench behind some funny-looking bottles. He didn’t know what a test tube was.

“Why don’t you light those lamps over there?” he said, motioning Greer over to a bench on the far side of the laboratory.

The Hawkline Monster was amused as it watched them. The monster was deriving so much pleasure from this that it decided to wait a few minutes before changing Greer and Cameron into shadows.

This was real fun for the monster.

Meanwhile, its current and only shadow waited for the monster to move so that it could put into action a plan of its own.

Cameron had also spotted a large leaded-crystal jar on a table in the opposite direction that he had sent Greer to light some lamps.

From the description that the Hawkline women had given him, he knew that this was the source of the Hawkline Monster . . . The Chemicals. He was standing about ten feet away from the jar. And the monster was “hiding” about five feet away from the jar.

Suddenly Cameron yelled, “It’s over there! I see it!”

Greer turned toward where Cameron was yelling and pointing. He couldn’t figure out what was happening. Why Cameron was yelling. This was not like Cameron but he turned anyway to the direction.

The Hawkline Monster was curious, too. What in the hell was happening? What was over there if it was over here?

So the monster moved . . . involuntarily . . . out of curiosity.

Cameron in the interim of artificial excitement moved over to the table where a jar called The Chemicals was residing and he was standing right beside it.

When the Hawkline Monster moved to get a better view of what was happening, the shadow, after having checked all the possibilities of light, had discovered a way that it could shift itself in front of the monster, so that the monster at this crucial time would be blinded by darkness for a few seconds, did so, causing confusion to befall the monster.

This was all the shadow could do and it hoped that this would give Greer and Cameron the edge they would need to destroy the Hawkline Monster using whatever plan they had come up with, for it seemed that they must have a plan if they were to have any chance at all with the monster and they did not seem like fools.

When Cameron yelled at Greer, the shadow interpreted this as the time to move and did so. It obscured the vision of the Hawkline Monster for a few seconds knowing full well that if the monster were destroyed it would be destroyed, too, but death was better than going on living like this, being a part of this evil.

The Hawkline Monster raged against the shadow, trying to get it out of the way, so that it could see what was happening.

But the shadow struggled fiercely with the monster. The shadow had a burst of unbelievable physical fury and shadows are not known for their strength.


Cameron poured the glass of whiskey into the jar of chemicals. When the whiskey hit The Chemicals they turned blue and started bubbling and sparks began flying from the jar. The sparks were like small birds of fire and flew about burning everything they touched.

“Let’s get out of here!” Cameron yelled at Greer. They both fled up the laboratory stairs to the main floor of the house.

The Hawkline Monster responded to the whiskey being poured into the jar of its energy source by just having enough time to curse its fate

      “FUCK IT!”

the monster yelled. It was a classic curse before shattering into a handful of blue diamonds that had no memory of a previous existence.

The Hawkline Monster was nothing now except diamonds. They sparkled like a vision of summer sky. The shadow of the monster had been turned into the shadow of diamonds. It also was without memory of a previous existence so now its soul was at rest and it had been turned into the shadow of beautiful things.

The Hawkline Monster
Richard Brautigan

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

‘Now Sing Of Walls! Sing!’

My vision clears. The stranger’s companions encircle us, useless swords. I could laugh if it weren’t for the pain that makes me howl. And yet I address him, whispering, whimpering, whining.

“If you win, it’s by mindless chance. Make no mistake. First you tricked me, and then I slipped. Accident.”

He answers with a twist that hurls me forward screaming. The thanes make way. I fall against a table and smash it, and wall timbers crack. And still he whispers.

Grendel, Grendel! You make the world by whispers, second by second. Are you blind to that? Whether you make it a grave or a garden of roses is not the point. Feel the wall: is it not hard? He smashes me against it, breaks open my forehead. Hard, yes! Observe the hardness, write it down in careful runes. Now sing of walls! Sing!

I howl.


“I’m singing!”

Sing words! Sing raving hymns!

“You’re crazy. Ow!”


“I sing of walls,” I howl. “Hooray for the hardness of walls!”

Terrible, he whispers. Terrible. He laughs and lets out fire.

“You’re crazy,” I say. “If you think I created that wall that cracked my head, you’re a fucking lunatic.”

Sing walls, he hisses.

I have no choice.

    “The wall will fall to the wind as the windy hill
    will fall, and all things thought in former times:
    Nothing made remains, nor man remembers.
    And these towns shall be called the shining towns!”

Better, he whispers. That’s better. He laughs again, and the nasty laugh admits I’m slyer than he guessed.

He’s crazy. I understand him all right, make no mistake. Understand his lunatic theory of matter and mind, the chilly intellect, the hot imagination, blocks and builder, reality as stress. Nevertheless, it was by accident that he got my arm behind me. He penetrated no mysteries. He was lucky. If I’d known he was awake, if I’d known there was blood on the floor when I gave him that kick . . .

The room goes suddenly white, as if struck by lightning. I stare down, amazed. He has torn off my arm at the shoulder!

John Gardner

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

‘The Difficulty To Think At The End Of Day . . .’

The difficulty to think at the end of day,
When the shapeless shadow covers the sun
And nothing is left except light on your fur—

There was the cat slopping its milk all day,
Fat cat, red tongue, green mind, white milk
And August the most peaceful month.

To be, in the grass, in the peacefullest time,
Without that monument of cat,
The cat forgotten in the moon;

And to feel that the light is a rabbit-light,
In which everything is meant for you
And nothing need be explained;

Then there is nothing to think of. It comes of itself;
And east rushes west and west rushes down,
No matter. The grass is full

And full of yourself. The trees around are for you,
The whole of the wideness of night is for you,
A self that touches all edges,

You become a self that fills the four corners of night.
The red cat hides away in the fur-light
And there you are humped high, humped up,

You are humped higher and higher, black as stone—
You sit with your head like a carving in space
And the little green cat is a bug in the grass.

A Rabbit as King of the Ghosts
Wallace Stevens

Monday, November 27, 2006

“Oh, Let’s Go Up The Hill And Scare Ourselves...”

“Oh, let’s go up the hill and scare ourselves,
As reckless as the best of them to-night,
By setting fire to all the brush we piled
With pitchy hands to wait for rain or snow.
Oh, let’s not wait for rain to make it safe.
The pile is ours: we dragged it bough on bough
Down dark converging paths between the pines.
Let’s not care what we do with it to-night.
Divide it? No! But burn it as one pile
The way we piled it. And let’s be the talk
Of people brought to windows by a light
Thrown from somewhere against their wall-paper.
Rouse them all, both the free and not so free
With saying what they’d like to do to us
For what they’d better wait till we have done.
Let’s all but bring to life this old volcano,
If that is what the mountain ever was—
And scare ourselves. Let wild fire loose we will….”

“And scare you too?” the children said together.

“Why wouldn’t it scare me to have a fire
Begin in smudge with ropy smoke and know
That still, if I repent, I may recall it,
But in a moment not: a little spurt
Of burning fatness, and then nothing but
The fire itself can put it out, and that
By burning out, and before it burns out
It will have roared first and mixed sparks with stars,
And sweeping round it with a flaming sword,
Made the dim trees stand back in wider circle—
Done so much and I know not how much more
I mean it shall not do if I can bind it.
Well if it doesn’t with its draft bring on
A wind to blow in earnest from some quarter,
As once it did with me upon an April.
The breezes were so spent with winter blowing
They seemed to fail the bluebirds under them
Short of the perch their languid flight was toward;
And my flame made a pinnacle to heaven
As I walked once round it in possession.
But the wind out of doors—you know the saying.
There came a gust. You used to think the trees
Made wind by fanning since you never knew
It blow but that you saw the trees in motion.
Something or someone watching made that gust.
It put the flame tip-down and dabbed the grass
Of over-winter with the least tip-touch
Your tongue gives salt or sugar in your hand.
The place it reached to blackened instantly.
The black was all there was by day-light,
That and the merest curl of cigarette smoke—
And a flame slender as the hepaticas,
Blood-root, and violets so soon to be now.
But the black spread like black death on the ground,
And I think the sky darkened with a cloud
Like winter and evening coming on together.
There were enough things to be thought of then.
Where the field stretches toward the north
And setting sun to Hyla brook, I gave it
To flames without twice thinking, where it verges
Upon the road, to flames too, though in fear
They might find fuel there, in withered brake,
Grass its full length, old silver golden-rod,
And alder and grape vine entanglement,
To leap the dusty deadline. For my own
I took what front there was beside. I knelt
And thrust hands in and held my face away.
Fight such a fire by rubbing not by beating.
A board is the best weapon if you have it.
I had my coat. And oh, I knew, I knew,
And said out loud, I couldn’t bide the smother
And heat so close in; but the thought of all
The woods and town on fire by me, and all
The town turned out to fight for me—that held me.
I trusted the brook barrier, but feared
The road would fail; and on that side the fire
Died not without a noise of crackling wood—
Of something more than tinder-grass and weed—
That brought me to my feet to hold it back
By leaning back myself, as if the reins
Were round my neck and I was at the plough.
I won! But I’m sure no one ever spread
Another color over a tenth the space
That I spread coal-black over in the time
It took me. Neighbors coming home from town
Couldn’t believe that so much black had come there
While they had backs turned, that it hadn’t been there
When they had passed an hour or so before
Going the other way and they not seen it.
They looked about for someone to have done it.
But there was no one. I was somewhere wondering
Where all my weariness had gone and why
I walked so light on air in heavy shoes
In spite of a scorched Fourth-of-July feeling.
Why wouldn’t I be scared remembering that?”

“If it scares you, what will it do to us?”

“Scare you. But if you shrink from being scared,
What would you say to war if it should come?
That’s what for reasons I should like to know—
If you can comfort me by any answer.”

“Oh, but war’s not for children—it’s for men.”

“Now we are digging almost down to China.
My dears, my dears, you thought that—we all thought it.
So your mistake was ours. Haven’t you heard, though,
About the ships where war has found them out
At sea, about the towns where war has come
Through opening clouds at night with droning speed
Further o’erhead than all but stars and angels,—
And children in the ships and in the towns?
Haven’t you heard what we have lived to learn?
Nothing so new—something we had forgotten:
War is for everyone, for children too.
I wasn’t going to tell you and I mustn’t.
The best way is to come up hill with me
And have our fire and laugh and be afraid.”

The Bonfire
Robert Frost

Friday, November 24, 2006

Victoria’s Secret

My world has become
a sepia and indigo montage

of gorgeous women in their underwear
always journaling.

I can’t tell you—well, I can, but won’t—
how much I’ve heard and read

about thongs and bikinis
and briefs and high-cuts and Rios.

And I’ve seen it all immortalized
in Gelly Roll colors

on the dark pages of memory books
that will last forever.

Businesswomen, scientists,
artists and others—all have felt

the imperative to analyze
and codify their thoughts

about front closures and back,
halters, racerbacks and two-straps.


Last week I drew a copy
of a sixteenth century fresco

by Pontormo of the Annunciation.
I used crayons

to copy the colors
of the Virgin Mary’s dress and veil.

Sixty-four crayons
make it possible to approximate

any hue, value and chroma.
Of course, the pigments and dyes

will fade in a few months,
but it was fun to draw and color.

And it’s fun to have the image around
while it lasts, knowing,

of course, that experts in Italy
are taking such good care

of the real fresco that it will last
another four hundred

and seventy-three years.
The Angel and the Virgin will last.


As I write this,
Joanne is sitting at her desk listening

to Steely Dan.
In a so-called ‘tapestry blue’ thong topped by

a matching seamless demi,
she’s transcribing conversation

onto the black, acid-free paper pages
of her journal.

I believe the pen is yellow.
I heard the conversation

when she first spoke it with Linda.
When Linda wears pantyhose

she wears her panties on top
because she likes the sensation

of the pantyhose seam
against her crotch. Joanne wears panties

under her pantyhose
because she finds the seam annoying.

The conversation lasted
almost half an hour. Joanne

has been writing
through all seven songs of the “Aja” CD.

The paper is archival.
So is the cool, Gelly Roll ink.

Four hundred and seventy-three years from now
the world will know

in considered, pretty detail
how our angels and virgins

and others felt about
their crotches and breasts, and the fabrics

that wrapped them.
Theology is man’s quest for a path to God.


Detail of the real deal,
Pontormo's Annunciation

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Life Of Illusion (Happy Thanksgiving!)

I can’t help the feeling that I’m
Living a life of illusion

Oh, why can’t we let it be
And see through the hole in this wall of confusion
I can’t help the feeling I’m living a life of illusion

Right between the eyes
Oh, how nature loves her little surprises

It all seems so logical now
It’s just one of her better disguises

And it comes with no warning
Nature loves her little surprises
Continual crisis

Don’t you know it’s a waste of the day
Caught up in endless solutions

That have no meaning
Just another hunch
Based upon jumping conclusions

Caught up in endless solutions
Backed-up against a wall of confusion
Living a life of illusion

Translucent Compositions

Yesterday, I held up a page
torn from Glamour magazine

to a bright light. Each side
showed a full-page fashion photograph.

The bright light revealed
a translucent, composite scene. I smiled.

The fashion girl
from one side of the page seemed to be sitting

in the lap of the fashion girl
from the other side. One girl’s

leg even seemed to pass through
the other girl’s embracing arm.

Today, it occurs to me
as I sit here by that same light

that the events of yesterday
and the events of today

also reveal
a translucent composition. In my mind

I see me sitting here writing,
and standing behind myself

looking right through that sexy page
from the fashion magazine.

But before I even begin
to speculate about how

someone, somewhere
carefully arranged those photographs, so who

carefully arranged me,
my first whole real thought is, damn it all,

that I’d rather have been part
of the fashion composition.

I frown. I’m never
in the right—so to speak—conspiracy.

But, like someone, somewhere
turning a page, that thought fades because

then it occurs to me
that my—so to speak—conspiracy

and the other
reveal a translucent composition, too.

And there I am! See?
My leg fits right through that fashion girl’s arm.

Translucent compositions.
I see them clearly. You can, too.

Just hold up this poem
to the proper illumination.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Guillotine As A Tool Of Cognition

The camera loves him. The camera loves her.
The camera loves you,

and the rest of us, too.
Inside itself the camera creates

a mechanical projection
of 3D reality

on a 2D matrix. Inside us
the camera creates, too,

a mechanical projection
of our 4D existence

on 3D reality.
Camera consciousness develops

inside us and develops us.
Camera consciousness frames us

and squarely defines us
as an arbitrary collection

of chemical reactions,
reactions bounded by limits

itemized on a spec sheet
put together by engineers

working to the encompassing specs
of a marketing team.

Camera consciousness composes us
for bitching front-page spreads

that tell stories much more powerfully
than language. (Someone

once defined language
as a tool of cognition but camera

consciousness replaces
trivial tool users and tools with

artists and art.) And, then, of course,
the strobe light—the beating heart

pumping life through camera consciousness—
flashes out, flickering,

illuminating the recursive essence
of the cosmos

itself with the quantum pulses
of life itself, one every

thirtieth of a second.
And we flash out, flickering, through

the snapshots. And with persistence
of vision, not to mention

memory, we pretend to ignore
everything we don’t see.

Camera consciousness clicks.
The shutter falls like a guillotine.

Reality as a bloody scrapbook,
a dripping clipping.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Winston Churchill Described Paintings As Cryptograms On Canvas

One of the things I hate most
about watercolor paintings

is the constant, blaring,
monotonous white. The paper white.

White under the blue wash sky.
White around the yellow and red

flowers. White girding and supporting
the carefully biased grays.

Watercolor painters go to such great lengths
to save their whites

that they’re constantly creating
the same painting: A white blotch

as portrayed from
an infinity of viewpoints. The white blotch.

This hazy rectangular glare—
tinted and shaded to taste—

must represent
some archetypal mystery or womb memory

or the externalization
of sparking, neural throbbing.

Winston Churchill described paintings
as cryptograms on canvas.

What secret message
does the white blotch send? And who from? To whom?

The Spirit of the Age?
Blood of the Race? Goddess of Beauty?

Whistler’s sensitives?
Constable’s scientists? Skinner’s pigeons?

Freud’s bouillabaisse
of plumbing metaphors and mechanisms?

Witches and worshippers?
Owners and property? Lost and found?

All black inkblots conceal, reveal
deeper meanings. This white blotch

conceals and reveals, too.
Deeper meanings. Complex. Seductive.

And I believe that is the solution
to these cryptograms.

The depth is the meaning.
The code is the encoded message.

The secret is the seduction.
Whether infinite blackness

or omnipresent white.
Compositions are created things.

These endless black and white mysteries
distract from both creator

and creation. Then confusion
becomes content and context.

Chaos reigns.
When creator and creation lose, chaos reigns.

I use only
opaque media: acrylic paints, collage.

I use black and white,
but only black mixed from red, yellow, blue.

I do not do chiaroscuro,
I do not do cartoons.

Compositions are created things.
I say what I say, not

what I might pretend to say
if I knew some secret language.

The word is what’s said.
Any truth is better than make believe.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Meanwhile, In An Abandoned Strip Mine...

Meanwhile, in an abandoned strip mine
somewhere between San Francisco and
San Diego, cockroaches from space
discuss the motion picture business.

“So, what do you think? Can we get Stone
to play the scientist in the next
Boa’ piece of crap? Will she do it?”

Should Stone play a super ego role?
Reid dragged down ‘Alone In The Dark,’ and
Richards screwed ‘The World Is Not Enough.’
We’re mixing id and super ego.
Stone is old but she’s still a woman.”

“The monster flicks from the Fifties worked.
The male as ego. Monster as id.
And the woman as super ego.”

“Yes, but the phase space mapped differently.
Big bugs smashing buildings skew higher
than big snakes eating random people.
Without id differentiation
the super ego is conflicted.
With Stone as a scientist we’d need,
say, hundreds of big snakes attacking
a recognizable cityscape.”

“Can’t do it. Budget’s just two point five.”

The two cockroaches from outer space
were silent for a long moment. Then
the cockroach that liked Sharon Stone kicked
a rock and said, “I hate this business.”

“Could be worse,” the other cockroach said.
“Could be out east doing politics.”

Both cockroaches from space shivered and
made clicking sounds with their mandibles.
Then they returned to discussing how
to manipulate the Freudian
phase space of earth’s movie consumers
to continue enticing humans
to continue funding the insect
dominion over the human race
while at the same time bringing on board
Sharon Stone to their giant snake film
budgeted at two point five million
and going direct to DVD.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Butterflies From Beyond Newton’s World

This geometric image, a static reflection of an irreversible and fleeting time, brings to mind another one: Kepler’s ellipse. Thom’s elementary catastrophes, as well as Kepler’s ellipses, attempt to reduce time to space and to understand it through geometry. Whereas Kepler uses the mathematical tools inherited from the Greeks, Thom has the benefit of modern differential topology. Kepler uses Apollonius’s Treatise on Conics. Thom uses singularity theory. However, whereas Kepler’s model leads us into Newton’s world, which is closed upon itself, catastrophe theory is a glance into an open universe. In Newton’s world there is no past and no future, since everything is determined by today’s data. Time holds no surprise in store for whoever can handle the computations. In Thom’s world the future is mostly hidden, and the mathematician inspects the flow of events for forms to recognize and classify, like a butterfly catcher.

Ivar Ekeland
Mathematics And The Unexpected