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Birthday spam

I’m 36. This spam I received makes about as much sense as anything else I could say on the topic:

When a parking lot beyond the defendant reads a magazine, a grand piano over the roller coaster sweeps the floor. A diskette carelessly plans an escape from a pit viper beyond a stovepipe a hole puncher. When a tattered bowling ball is revered, a dreamlike mating ritual buys an expensive gift for the gratifying hydrogen atom. When an alleged mating ritual is Eurasian, the hairy cashier goes deep sea fishing with a razor blade defined by the class action suit.

- 10/26/2006 7:34:53 AM | link

Groom Jesus

Via Grandma:

Yesterday morning when we were driving to Taqueria Linda’s for breakfast we passed the Bell Plains Cemetery and William asked if God could bury people anywhere He wanted. I told him that people were buried in cemeteries or sometimes on their own land.

He said Jesus died on a cross.

I said yes.

He asked did Jesus die in Groom?

Thomas said no it was a wooden cross and the wood probably didn’t last.

- 10/23/2006 7:20:03 PM | link

The neuronal correlate of consciousness

Or what makes red red? The red object or the red sensation?

Searle, the Dragonslayer, in recent NYRB on consciousness.

Sample paragraph:

"The point is not so much that the mechanists won and the vitalists lost, but that we got a much richer conception of the mechanisms. I think we are in a similar situation today with the problem of consciousness. It will, I predict, eventually receive a scientific solution. But like other scientific solutions in biology, it will have to give us a causal account. It will have to explain how brain processes cause conscious experiences, and this may well require a much richer conception of brain functioning than we now have."

So, in other words, we’ll get back to you on it.

- 10/22/2006 8:59:54 PM | link

Overheard while waiting in line at Austin Diner

- His breath smelled like laundry.

- No way.

- I’m serious. Like fresh laundry.

- 10/22/2006 8:01:27 PM | link

We got back the plague

While reading my book on Sunday afternoon
So it’s easy to think the end’s coming soon
But though sometimes the signs from heaven are vague
Early November we got back the plague

-Fiery Furnaces, We Got Back the Plague

- 10/22/2006 1:08:10 PM | link

Number 9: The Kid Whose Hair is On Fire

Hipster Checkpoint: John Hodgeman, of Daily Show, reading list of 700 Hobo Names.

We listened to this on the way to Acuna and I meant to look it up back then, but forgot (the electrocution had many such ramifications). Kids these days. Put it on in the background, though, and tell me it’s not calming.

Related information from Wikipedia: The origin of the term (hobo) is not confirmed, though there are popular theories.

Author Todd DePastino has suggested that it may come from the term ho-boy meaning "farm hand", or a greeting such as Ho, boy! [1]. Bill Bryson suggests that it could either come from the railroad greeting, "Ho, beau!" or a contraction of "homeward bound". Others have said that the term comes from the Manhattan intersection of HOuston and BOwery, where itinerant people once used to congregate; or from the Japanese word hōbō meaning "in all directions."

Still another theory of the term’s origins is that it derives from the city of Hoboken, New Jersey, which was a terminus for many railroad lines in the 19th century. The word "hobo" may also be a shortening of the phrase which best describes the early hobo’s method of transportation, which was "hopping boxcars."

- 10/15/2006 9:46:43 AM | link

Five years - Wood?

I started this blog five years ago. I started this web site eight years ago. It often seems like an embarressing secret to me. Back to my original rant when I first started this site:

I don’t have anything to say, but neither do most of these hi-lo, self-conscious, stylishly derisive media fuckers and it’s about time someone said so. The world is hopelessly short and fraught with whatever and such and such. I hope this doesn’t make sense. I’d hate to catalog despair.

Well, I fear I’ve cataloged despair and a few other emotions to boot, like happiness and grief and jealousy and anger and sadness and hope (is hope an emotion?). I won’t dwell on the inherent narcissism of having a journal everyone reads. I think that’s why I try to limit its exposure. I don’t want to "promote" myself above the concerns of the world. I like to argue and cajole, but I don’t have the answers. It’s also not just an "outlet" for my writing. It is something other than all that, but of a genus (the personal blog) that makes me feel, at times, like just another dope, doling out cheap Oprah feelings. And yet, and yet.

So, here’s to all that and maybe more. Once I’m published with any amount of regularity or once my kids figure out where this is, I’ll likely tear it all down. This is worse than those high school mullett photos.

- 10/14/2006 8:29:55 AM | link

There is no prophet not honored

For those three folks who still read books and shit, it’s Slate’s Fiction Week. Or it was Slate’s Fiction Week. I think it’s still National Novel-Writing Month. And, of course, it’s the Year of Denis Johnson (whom I’ve met only briefly at the River Pub, but who seems so solidly grounded as to make any questions I might have seem like nibbling at the heels of Moses as he threw down the Ten Commandments and broke them, being so pissed and all at the stupid Israelites in his care).

I’m sick of hearing it, but I guess I’ll do my duty for the uninformed. There are a shit-ton of MAJOR books from MAJOR writers coming out this fall. Richard Ford, Cormac McCarthy, Charles Frazier, Pynchon, Edna O’Brien. Also a bunch of MAJOR books from POPULAR writers. Anyway, books, books, books and I’m still slogging my way through In the Lake of the Woods and Father and Son. Although, I did finish 92 in the Shade, which was rightfully awesome and shocking and full of a sort of language that I’m trying to shake in order to write in my own voice, which is what I like to say when I’m averaging a paragraph a night and then re-writing it the next night.

Of all the books coming out, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road seems the most promising to me and Slate gives it the "masterpiece" label.

Beyond the immediate struggle for survival, the deep struggle explored in The Road is that of raising a child in a world without hope; and for the boy, the complementary challenge of assuming the responsibilities of manhood in such a world. There would seem to be nothing to sustain these two—the natural world exists only in effigy, and the remaining humans have mostly sacrificed their humanity as the price of survival. Yet the boy is constantly seeking to define a moral structure he can live by—one that accounts for the fact that his father doesn’t help stray people on the road, but still ensures their own distinction from the cannibals. After they discover a basement full of human prisoners who will be used for food, the boy asks: "We wouldn’t ever eat anybody, would we?"

No. Of course not.
Even if we were starving?
We’re starving now.
You said we weren’t.
I said we weren’t dying. I didn’t say we weren’t starving.
But we wouldn’t.
No. We wouldn’t.
No matter what.
No. No matter what.
Because we’re the good guys.
And we’re carrying the fire.
And we’re carrying the fire. Yes.

The existence of a moral structure—the will to do good—is the soaring discovery hidden in McCarthy’s scourged planet. He evokes Hemingway’s literary vision in order to invert it, first by eliminating the promise that nature can provide a refuge from human destruction (an appropriate revision in our era of nuclear rogues and global warming) and finally by giving us redemption in the form of the love between a parent and a child—their desire to be good although it serves no purpose.

Alright, alright. There endeth the sermon.

Go buy a book for God’s sake. Save the planet. All that dross.