Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

block

my mom is big on road trip games.
not so much perdiddle; a savage game of wits and response, where you look for cars with one blown-out headlight, call “perdiddle” when you see one and then punch your fellow passenger in the shoulder as hard as you can. no. this is not mom’s game. and we don’t count license plates, too. everyone’s eyesight is too bad for that shit. we have no time for your specifics, license plates. we’re all so blind, we probably shouldn’t even be on the road.
none of these are mom’s game.
mom’s game is Name That Tune. what you do, with Name That Tune, is you pick out a song, and you hum it.
this game is pretty easy with mom. if you aren’t sure what it is she’s humming, anything from the collective works of Rogers and Hammerstein is a safe bet. I’m pretty sure me and Mar both know the scores of ‘The Sound of Music’ and ‘Camelot’ by heart. they were our Saturday morning wake-up calls, for better or for worse.

annd, we’ll have to leave it at that. WordPress just ate the other, larger half of this post, and I’m not gonna rewrite it now.

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across the ocean

“I don’t care if people understand or not. I just want them to leave me alone. I don’t have any nostalgia for reality. I’m happy living in the 2-D world.”

ladies and gentlemen, a whole lot of Japanese men are straight giving up on the whole relationship with a real member of the opposite sex thing. this artcle, about this odd manga subculture, is very interesting, and you should read it instead of, you know. getting anything done. after all, this is the internet.

the dishes are moving

the good ol’ health care battle rages on in Washington.
I suggest you read this article that was in the Washington Post the massive lobbying efforts by the medical industry, and then go and throw garbage at your community hospital executive. just think of it: a huge, incredibly profitable industry built on medicare payments and human sickness. why would we want to interrupt something so lucrative with a public option devoid of a desire to turn a profit?

Racism
it is late. it sounds like my neighbors are dragging a bag of rocks back and forth across the floor. and I just ate a big-ass peanut butter and jelly sandwich. and all the while, we are having a national debate about race because Henry Louis Gates Jr. mouthed off to a cop and got arrested for it.
I don’t think anyone’s gonna really dispute that fact. all that really matters after that is whether or not you think race is involved, because Gates is black, and the arresting officer, a James Crowley, was white, therefore influencing the situation.
I think that’s impossible to know, and because that’s the case, it’s unfair to assume that it was. at the same time, many black and hispanic people in this country don’t like getting the police involved in anything. and that’s not because they’re all imagining hostility from the authorities.
Gates didn’t get arrested because he was black, it was because he pissed off a cop. he got on some cop’s shit because he thought he was being treated unfairly — or because he was jetlagged, a little cranky, and not in the mood to get talked down to in his own home by some asshole with a badge and a stiff smell of stale superiority.
no. my read is: it only became about race when Gates suggested it was. it’s not about racial profiling, it’s about cops. I don’t think James Crowley is a racist. I just think he lost his cool. when McDonald’s employees do that, they short you on your order of fries. when cops do that, you get arrested for disturbing the peace and later released with your charges dropped. which is a shame, but is at least an anecdotal acknowledgement of what a lot of people already think. maybe not quite a national zeitgeist. but an operating assumption.  

it’s raining
so while I’ve been out in the world, galavanting here and there, taking care of fuggin’ business and not posting on your favorite blog to read while you waste time at your work, I’ve been listening to a lot of  ‘Blonde on Blonde’ by Bob Dylan.
it’s kinda funny. these are all songs that you’ve heard a million times, but might never have placed or named. I’ve read that the meaning of ‘Visions of Johanna’ has been debated a lot. that maybe Johanna was god, or that maybe a lot of it was just babble because Dylan was high when he wrote the lyrics.
I might buy the god part, but the rest is bullshit. because he’s singing about Louise, who left him, for better or worse.

milkshakes

indianapolis

I have a big stack of books I am gonna start to read.
‘the communist manifesto,’ ‘rule of the bone,’ ‘interpreter of maladies,’ ‘insurgent mexico.’ I like having a big stack of books that I’m always getting around to reading. I may be lazy about it, but I’ll always get it done, god damn it. the slacker’s battle cry.

I’ve been slacking on the blog writing, and the Indiana photo stories have dried up. oh yes, I suck. I have had other shit going on, man, I’ve been busy. but, that up above, is from the northern steps of the Indianapolis war memorial, and that is a hell of a big cloud floating above.
I like that city. someone in the family once described it as a giant strip mall, and that’s not too far from the truth. it is  full-on Middle America, and that might be a knock for some people. but, eh, fuck it, whatever. it’s quiet, and wide open, and the roads make sense. and I like that cloud.

this food is ridiculous

portage

I have made the mistake of letting Indiana grow cold in my head before actually sitting down and writing about it. but I think the above picture will serve as a good jumping-off point.

what we are seeing: this is July 5th, a Sunday at the lake shore in Portage, Indiana. the beach here is about, 15 miles, from mom’s house? I don’t know. that’s Lake Michigan, there, in the background. 
this beach used to be owned by the steel mill that is on the other side of the boat access, but the National Park Service bought it and got rid of the acid ponds.
and, yeah, that’s kind of Northwest Indiana for you, physically. cornfields up against decaying industry. and bikers. there’s a lot of bikers there, too. just another part of the natural landscape.
who we are seeing: mom is grinning, because mom is in her element: the family outing. she’s got the sunglasses going, and the camera bag, and in it is the digital camera that she has trouble operating.
and the hat. mom is big on hats, as you can see on Mar’s head. I was wearing one, too, as I took this picture, but I don’t think Mar is looking at my hat. I can’t tell if she’s looking at my cousin, Matt, the guy with no sleeves, or me. she could be staring blankly at Matt while he tells her an anecdote about college football, but she looks pissed, in the why-are-you-taking-another-goddam-picture kind of way.
Indiana was a fast five days, filled with a lot of driving and duffel-bag living but I don’t feel like I did it too quick. I feel like I didn’t spend enough time anywhere, but I can appreciate its brevity. maybe that’s what made it so damn refreshing to be there. it is quieter in tone, even moreso than here. less on the people, more on the sleepy. whether you think that’s a credit or not depends on the person. I kind of like it.

I think I’m gonna do this slowlike, with the Indiana photos. maybe more later.

taking Mar her bike: Indiana road trip

“what smells like dogshit?”
I didn’t get in to Valparaiso until around, what … 1 am central time? about a twelve-hour drive. didn’t look at a map. barely left the interstate. didn’t turn the radio on until Kentucky. didn’t roll the windows up until West Lafayette.
in Kentucky, in the evening, between Lexington and Cincinnati, there were fireworks exploding just above the trees. it was July 3rd.
“it’s you, isn’t it?”
in fact, it wasn’t. my cousin who was there, also named Matt, suggested it may be the dog sitting under the table. the mystery was never solved.  but I found it amusing that this was among the first things my mother said to me.
do you, smell like, dogshit. I was back. I was back in Indiana, if only for a moment.

indiana

I’ll write more later.

poor ol Mark Sanford

I heard this song tonight. kinda catchy.

Al Franken is now the senator from Minnesota, after the state’s supreme court ruled unanimously in his favor in his court battle against one-term incumbent Norm Coleman.
make note. when Stuart Smalley enters the capital six months late, there will be 60 Democrats in the US Senate. that’s, yes, a filibuster-proof majority, but if the Democrats are able to successfully hold together the entire caucus to defeat such a challenge, I’d be surprised.
I wanna see a Mr Smith filibuster. maybe it’ll come in opposition to the energy bill. or to whatever version of massive labor legislation that is making the US Chamber of Commerce shit its pants. when was the last time a filibuster took place? aren’t these senatorial comets? things that exist, and pass in the night, so rarely?

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