Archive for the ‘Atlanta’ Category

Colorful Postcards From Your Oglethorpe Mother, No.1


15 Dec

peggy-nix

Women Of The Year

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Hi Ricky—Should be studying for Research Design exam—the last of the semester—but I just got some unbelievable news that I had to share with at least one person in the family—in order to get my feet back on the ground. Mr. Roberson, assistant director of public relations here at the school just hunted me up in the coffee shop, gave me his card, and said they want to nominate me for the YWCA's women of the year award. I am astounded, and really thrilled. Even if I don't get the award, to have been nominated by my school is truly an honor. That may make up for the "C" I just found out I made in biology, when it comes to my grad school application. Something has to because, now that I am so close, I don't think I can deal with not being able to go to grad school. I actually had a low B going into the final, so the grade I made on that pulled it back to a C, damn it. Oh, well! (That's what they tell you to say—just shrug you shoulders and say, "oh, well!")

I just turned in my final paper in Art and Culture—17 pages and I just quit abruptly—out of time and steam. Dr. Collins, the teacher, said not to worry—I have an A, thus far, and he's sure I did well up to the end. I told him there was one thing I could be grateful about—I won't have to lug that huge book around anymore. He laughed. He said having me in one of his classes made it much more interesting for him. I said that probably grad school wasn't going to be as much fun for me, most of the people will be closer to my own age.

There was frost on the ground this morning, and ice on the windshield. Speaking of windshields, I sure am glad they didn't get away with your car. Having a car stolen or even an attempt made is an affront to one's person. Sorry it happened.

Well, enough of the procrastination! It's off to the study tables. (They have wonderful fluorescent lamps on each table in here.) Colorful postcards from your Oglethorpe Mother...

Happy holidays!

Love, M

Date: 12/15/98 10:10:36 AM written by M.Nix@students.oglethorpe.edu

All So Lovely And Fine


25 Oct

samplex

HEY LIV. BROADCASTING FROM WASHINGTON, DC. Cute, colorful, and as complex as a single flower in the sun, Olivia Pantelidis is the name I immediately loved, and loving with the prattling passion of history, I presumed it to be Greek in nature. Perhaps I am wrong. Yes, Olivia Pantelidis, I just had to write it again, the other names are all so lovely and fine, Liv and Okimikko (Japanese-flavor I note), but it was your whole given name which drew first blood. Thanks for writing back. Despite those terse beginnings, we have materialized much fun playing among the words.

Meanwhile, to answer your question, I live in Washington, DC, a block away from the stadium where the REDSKINS footballers used to play until moving to a new expensive facility in the suburbs last year. Good riddance I say, but I'd really love to see a baseball team play there for many reasons which I will spare you for now.

...like a whisper among the rapids. I write many words on many pages and build my websites one page at a time. Desperation is the poet's business. And my poems rot because I haven't put very many online yet, but the space is allotted, and some poems are planted there.
There's also a public hospital, a large highschool, a single small Ma & Pa grocery store, and the National Guard facility in my immediate neigborhood. Nothing else but old rowhouses, many in slum condition, offer my life much urban immediacy. Litter and glass plague these neighborhood streets and alleys. Gunshots are not so rare. Graffitti slang, not EVEN artistic, is sprayed wildcat upon this wall or that building. Wearing my social engineering cap, I lust for new business sections to open up down here, in well-designed heavy commerce worthy of a vibrant city just bursting to emerge from this neighborhood. My property is about half a mile from the River Anacostia flowing just the other side of the stadium. We are prime commercial, but alas, the city suffers and rages and dies, arguing poorly for residential nothingness. There are few wise men here. A city of imposters and ugly metaphors. Fakes and spastic manipulators. Tyrants and suit salad liars. The city is withering on the vine of potential growth. Down here they call it a race issue. It's really an ego issue. Meanwhile, we wither no differently than the ivy on the pole.

mothergrad

Peggy Nix, Gabriel Thy, Sue Hedrick

It's no secret I too curl up among my words and the books that publish them. My own few favorites are scattered around my website. You can visit the Scenewash Project 20003 and click to THE LITERARY CHIP. Still not a whole lot there yet, but I aim to establish a little here, a little there, and take heed that I am slowly bringing it all together. This is practically all I do in my miserable life among the mobs of malcontention, but that might be exaggerating ever slightly, like a whisper among the rapids. I write many words on many pages and build my websites one page at a time. Desperation is the poet's business. And my poems rot because I haven't put very many online yet, but the space is allotted, and some poems are planted there. Check around. Be my Australian friend. I don't have one yet.

It seems like we've damned near established some sort of literary correspondence, and while I get really busy sometimes, I do appreciate an interesting correspondence. I freelance, and work several current clients on a sporadic basis. I work and take great peace and ponderance in my garden, and am enlisted in the minds that matter to fight back all the garbage entropy and grime have a way of bringing to my attention . . .

She's a 63 year old junior at Oglethorpre University in Atlanta, down in the state of Georgia, so go figure. She loves school, and has never been happier in her life! She studied Nietzsche this past quarter and now feels driven to discuss a poem with me...
I do all this from home, and in fact, rarely leave the Dollhouse & Grill [our pet names for the house & yard], and am somewhat agoraphobic in that way. I live here with two others. Peter and Sue. You can read about them on the website as well. I'm currently trying to finish Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. You really should read this book, without question. It is a rare instant classic, much better than (Gunter) Grass's The Rat, which I only mildly found amusing or interesting. In fact I was disappointed, I must say. Perhaps the title was not indicative of Gunter's other work, but it reminded me of Thomas Pynchon's Vineland, and although I love Pynchon's earlier work, Vineland and this latest book, Mason and Dixon (a much difficult read, and I have read very little of it frankly.) leave a lot to be desired. Vineland kicked its own ashes down the road as far as I am concerned, a pale shimmer of past literary glory, this book. Mason and Dixon is something altogether different. Written in Olde Englische, I don't know if it's worth the read or not. But for now it remains on my shelf, a gift from Sue, barely opened.

Don't use Netscape, eh? Which browser DO you use? Tell me about your computer, if you've a mind to go there. I work from a Power Macintosh, of course, an 8500/120, but I hope to upgrade to a G-3 soon. Anywaze, it's been fun chatting widja . . . keep it cool, and we'll just play this mystery, word by word. As some unknown poet wrote some time ago, twig by twig we build a language. That reminds me, my mother wants to discuss a poem I just had published, but one I had written a while ago. She's a 63 year old junior at Oglethorpre University in Atlanta, down in the state of Georgia, so go figure. She loves school, and has never been happier in her life! She studied Nietzsche this past quarter and now feels driven to discuss a poem with me, so I suppose I must oblige her. I've got to write her now, so tiddly widdly, until the next time we meet, Olivia, just call me...

[1998, Washington DC ]

First Glimpse At Weideman & Singleton Engineering


20 Mar

topography

Topographic Survey with electronic distance meter

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Date: Fri Mar 20 11:29:10 1998

Attached is a local DC web competitor's pricing schedule, Peter, cheap in some areas, high in others, but that's how the game is played. Learned this when working for Weideman & Singleton Engineering in Atlanta, 1789 Peachtree St., NW, established in 1905, oh how the memory works; I still can't remember where you work, or any of my more recent addresses in the field—when tabulating multimillion dollar construction bids.

Each company decided for itself where to stick high values and low values in different areas of the bid, say, low in rock excavation and high in manhole depth footage, or the reverse, and perhaps, low per foot rates in clay pipe laid but high in gravel bedding for that same pipe. Depending on the unexpected conditions of the job, a company could go bankrupt (in three and a half years at W&S I witnessed a few who did, who suddenly were bounced to sub-contractor status rather than rootin' tooting' general contractors in the big scheme of things, having lost their bond rating) if they put no money in rock excavation, say, in digging out the pipeline over the course of the 10 mile job they suddenly hit an underground vein of previously unsuspected rock, the same for gravel bedding for the pipe in other circumstances. If rainy season roared in requiring much gravel or swampland required much more gravel to be poured into the trench for longer lengths than expected, a company could get rich or lose its shirt depending on how it had structured its bid, which had been accepted out of all the competing bids on a bottomline low bid, but structured individually, a la carte so to speak, based on that company honcho's intuitions after walking the job and reading the specs as presented by our firm who represented the county and city municipalities which were upgrading their sewerage or water pipeline system.

Just thought I'd take a shot here at describing some wonderful business experiences I've never forgotten from my early days when still in my late but married teens.

In the case of GSIS prices, the high-low game is still in place. We offer compatible set-up rates, lowball monthly server fees, and higher training fees. Evens out.

GT

Typesetter Services


05 Dec

007nsamplex

Dear Illuminet,

Len Bracken (U.S. author of Guy Debord—Revolutionary, Feral House, 1997), a friendly acquaintance of mine here in Washington, DC suggested we offer my typesetting and design services to you since we had handled the original typesetting operation for his GDR title.

He said that you had two or three titles requiring immediate servicing. We are certainly prepared to discuss the possibility of handling your account. On the platform issue, we use PageMaker 6.0, Illustrator 6.0 and Photoshop 4.01 on a Macintosh 8500/120.

Although I currently live and work from my home in Washington DC, a writer and web designer, most of my family ties are to the metropolitan Atlanta area. It perplexed me when Bracken was unable to shed any light on why you had contacted him rather than seek a local typesetter, although he hinted that perhaps we might barter some sort of publishing for typesetting deal. Whatever the variables, please feel free to contact me by email. A phone number will be supplied if needed.

Gabriel Thy
Creative Director, First Canary
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems

Scenewash Project 20003

Or Long Parallax Mapping the Unknown Wink And Nod


12 Oct

loss

Loss is loss...

samplex

Sister forwarded me this untidy question. Wrote back telling her not to worry. Hoax, isn't it, she asked. Sister and husband, hardcore fundamentalists, emphasis on hardcore and fundamentalists. Amazing Mark was worshipping inside RFK Stadium last weekend. Half million strong masculine Promise Keepers rally. Reportage, parallax crew, Channel 9. Didn't hear from Amazing Mark, not even cheap ring, although sister e-mailed that I might if he must. Reside a mere two and one-half blocks away, but floating decimal point crime zone is deterrent to uninitiated. Turns out church crew turned in. Bussed out immediately with zero time for extenuating family wink and nod, driving back to Atlanta overnight to arrive just in time for sunrise Sunday service. Anywaze, proxy hoaxes are enough to sweep this observer back into typewriter and rotary telephone age, given dynamics it took for trinity branch to go wired in first place. Hicks, neither Amazing Mark nor sister attached personal commentary to fast forward hoax interrogatory.

No hoax attached to entry level politeness. Can't recall from memory what mapping she wanted to clarify. Seems data points got lost in shuffle of years and data dump of March 21, 2003. Date will live lifestyle of infamy—for would be same observer's first and only attempt in hacking Terminal, yes, already infamous Bitterzone Terminal, made manifest at 318.63 feet above sea level...

When I realized what had happened, experienced quietly, a surreal moment. No red flags, no anger, no bitterness, no crisis, no panic. You've heard many times of an event so overwhelming, so complete, it knocks breath and anxiety right out of you, like exploding powder into the remaining spill. So was as if great weight lifted, put on shelf life, an established life of average to near genius, recycled, overcooked canned goods which saved a generation. Stunned was this observer this happened right before my own spoiled eyes. They have seen the glory. The coming of the sword. Had to rely on muscles not machines. Pick and shovel, steam shocks and accumulative error.

File recovery utility used to grab bundle of files packed into digital equivalent of file cabinet full of papers and folders dredged from river basin in black scoop of mud and water. This note, evidence of subterranean recovery. My bulging body of correspondence with Steve, Lynn, Richard, Jennifer, Tom, and other fine feathers suffered the most, although my 900 page novel untitled vanished, lost to progress.
Confident, prepared myself for successful hack, MacBible turned to page where one mere line of code seemed simple enough, even for terminal virgin. Need for ginning up guts to enter terminal also simple enough. For weeks voice recognition application squatted desktop fated for trash can. App just couldn't nail my accent. Was doing no harm, but taunting me, for it knew I was known to keep clutter-free desktop. MacBible, aware that rogue icons occasionally refused to go away quietly in early version of OS X software, provided solution in quantum burst of few words and kinetic characters.

Fired up terminal, navigated successfully to proper node, typing in string of code to dispose of rogue icon. Poof, watched little bugger disappear. Then reached with right hand across keyboard to grab tall glass of iced water kept on flat desk environment. Flash message, gone too quick to read. Next. Massive screen flutter. After second or two, screen activity ceases until quarter minute later message appears stating all user's personal data was erased.

No undo possible.

Sigh. Note date. Confirm Sue—chief engineer of die Librahausen—out of town. Impeccably. Always seems to be when I commit colossal zig when should have zagged. Don't think reach across keyboard wrong. But to this day, years later, don't know why ten years of data, emails, artwork, other personal files were zapped. Simply walked away. Massive weight of creative loss transmuted to an unbearable lightness of being not felt in better part of two decades. Would retrieve some restitution from webserver. File recovery utility used to grab bundle of files packed into digital equivalent of file cabinet full of papers and folders dredged from river basin in black scoop of mud and water...

This note, evidence of subterranean recovery.

My bulging body of correspondence with Steve, Lynn, Richard, Jennifer, Tom, and other fine feathers suffered the most, although my 900 page novel untitled vanished, lost to progress. Cared less about that monstrosity than intimate sentiment fellow writers offered...

GT

Postscript On Skills, Puppy Mills, And Petitioning For Redress of Grievances


17 May

collage

He's Got Skills

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We had decided to launch a web design business. I had shown initiative and a certain level of flair as a designer in these early days of low bandwidth and high expectations. I needed a sales force. The always debonair Steve Taylor was indeed a force of nature, but the looming question was would he find this business partnership something he would take seriously enough to apply some of those "looking good selling ice to Eskimo" skills.

My own brother Clyde, a home and commercial roofing magnate in Atlanta, after six months of prepping me to run a new satellite office he wanted to open in the DC area, went silent, just a few weeks before, and I had sensed something was fishy, and that this "opportunity" was not going to happen for me. Clyde finally answered his phone that morning, and acted as if nothing was supposed to be going on between us although just a few weeks before this was to be a life-changing transition for both of us. Finally, I pressed, only to hear him say to me, wryly, without apology or irony, that he had just bought a boat. Yep, I knew it. Clyde is the type of person who obsesses and is always churning over the details of a new financial strategy, and was doing just that for months on end with me until the tell-tale silence two to three weeks before.

Steve, my closest friend at the time, was also given to similar mystifying behavior. I knew Clyde's to be pure selfishness, down to the last atom in a Heisenberg count like any achievement oriented American businessman because that's what it takes in today's guttersnipe environment. Mr. Taylor however, was apt to opt for degenerative spiraling for what seemed it's own sake, a nasty habit I knew salted my own basket of fries from time to time.

That background bring us to this rather muted exchange between Steve and myself, though the poison of past experiences was bubbling just below the surface tension of events real and imagined, traded calmly via email on Saturday, 17 May 1997.

GT: I know we can do this web design thing with great rewards, but there are things to work out and follow through upon. With the three of us wanting the same thing at the same time, the world doesn't stand a chance denying us. I am ready. BUT IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? (Moody Blues 1971), So your early morning enthusiam about getting together early this afternoon is already waning?

What usually happens is that I’m making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I’m frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time.
[TaylorS] If I mentioned getting together early this afternoon, that was at a point when I thought that the Help Desk would pull me off Saturday coverage (a previous, months-ago commitment.) As is, I was required to work until at least 5pm today as you hint about games in the park, and suggest we can't brainstorm if I drink.

GT: Whoa! That would be a first. SET dropping by to pow wow without drinking.

[TaylorS]—Point withdrawn.

GT: But I've been needy all afternoon thinking it would be great to have a confidence builder named Steve Taylor in my orbit, but as typical, I seem to be on my own with every personal tragedy always in some queue, while others seek out me as a close ear over and over again. Perhaps you feel I let you down the other day, but I didn't.

[TaylorS]—I don't feel let down. Your work helped solidify a reputation I was already building with a reputable media contact. Maximum respect to you. Every thing you do at Howrey or wherever is your own autonomous call, but not every thing you do is self-edifying, gratifying maybe, edifying no, and that's all I tried to point out.

GT: Sue just called, and rushed in with consoling voice to comfort me in what she knew was an agonizing afternoon after that Clyde bomb. Very sweet of her. She was there this morning. She heard my side of the conversation and she knows Clyde first hand and why I had to finally tell him what I told him.

[TaylorS]—To hell with Clyde.

GT: But I understand, Steve. If you don't want to come by, simply don't. You know, I'm too cynical to beg. Do drop by when you feel it convenient. Blah, blah, blah.

[TaylorS]—My main concern with stopping by is bike time. I would rather not put my [currently] less self in the line of traffic fire for too long.

We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let’s get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It’s wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I’m feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.
GT: Okay I got that garbage out of the way. Uh, where does that leave me? Oh yeah, standing smack dab in the middle of your maybe. Bottom line? I think we can discuss formulative details if you leave you own neuroses at the back door, and I leave mine there too, and we talk real talk and real turkey without bombast.

[TaylorS]—That could happen.

GT: This Clyde thing is synchronistic fatalism at its most timely. Let us learn from that fiasco, and invent ourselves properly. And another thing. Answering machines (despising my own voice) somewhat intimidate me, as does writing e-mail seems to intimidate not a few others. I know I come off rather sarcastic at times on the box, but I don't really mean to sound that way, nor do I wish to impugn your work habits, especially at the jobplace. What usually happens is that I'm making a joke from frustration in trying to reach you, a joke you would probably volley in infinite jest if we were face to face or even voice connected, but be assured I'm frightfully aware the problem is mine, and that I need to improve my voice machine skills to a more Stevelike level since I do tend to puzzle you, or rather grizzle you with my sour messages from time to time. I apologize for any and all.

[TaylorS]—Thanks for clearing that up. understood.

GT: Okay you just called and it seems we are on for this afternoon. Great! Let's make it mean something. With all this defeat in the air, I feel like shit, real nasty run down my leg and up again shit...

[TaylorS]—We're on.

GT: And I also realize I grow a little short and disrepectful of you at times, and really don't want to continue down that path, but indeed you should start measuring up at the plate, and I think all will be just dandy between. Let it be said you and I are not my brother's brother...

[TaylorS]—Hey, I've certainly started to scorn youthful hubris in early-twenty-somethings, so I can see from where you are coming.

Earlier, this is what I posted to Sue:

What was not mentioned in that note to Peter was, no, I am not expecting SET to stop everything to focus on OUR project. We all have to eat and blow great wads of money in places we think make us feel manifest, moxy, and maximized carbon-based lifeforms, but I am simply saying, let's get serious, or else just simply quit this shadowboxing shit. It's wearing me out, and going nowhere fast, uh slow? And now that the Clyde and Ricky show is floating belly-up, I'm feeling a little, no, a lotta sick inside.

The SI Is Not Sports Illustrated


20 Mar

dissent

Dissent

samplex

Originally published Mar 20, 1997; this discussion took place in the founding days on The Spectacle SI listserv between Sam Hutchinson in italics, and myself.

I don't want to dis your friend too hard here, but are you kidding me? If we are going to set up such a silly Marx/Engels parallel, then undoubtly the most apparent Engels would be Vanegiem. Now I will go out on a limb here and say that the truest heir to Debord's paper throne was Malcolm Maclaren. I recognize punk as more than a passing fad. It was a very subversive passing fad... The only significant press time Situ theory has received since '68 was that insane summer of '77. Count the ego drive that inevitably destroyed the movement each was so critical in creating and you have the beginnings of a very subtle parallel to be drawn.

True. Bracken acknowledges this, but still draws heavily from the language of Marx, while like the original situ thinkers, rejects the Soviet model, and rightly so, doesn't say too much about the Chinese model, but loves himself a Chinese woman, or two, actually can rarely ignore the opportunity to add several Asians to his whistling sidecar.

I question this Bracken's thinking concerning Situ theory. Capitalist pig? Situationism was not Marxism. it grew from a distrust of Marxism as well as a distrust of capitalism and a refusal of the polar dialectic the two combined to create. anarchy, if it is good, attempts to break out of these convenient structures of left and right and find a new form, a new city, a new avenue to the conditions of freedom... What have we learned these past few days? Me, I have basically decided that situationism can not be revived. it would be like this "punk-revival" that is so big these days. in mimicing the stances and attitudes of punk, you essentially repress you ability to create new stances and forms. punk was a violent refusal to allow that freedom, the freedom to create new stances, the freedom to be revolutionary, to disappear from the zone that is pop.music.rock-n-roll, for lack of a better term. as Peter Buck once said of the early days of R.E.M.: "When we would go to New York and play, everyone was like, no, that's not punk. Punk is three chords and spitting. But we always saw punk as being able to so whatever you wanted, even if you wanted to be a folk-punk band..." I think we can easily substitute "situationism" for punk in all of the above sentences. To relive the exploits of the past is to deny a creation of a now. If we are to be situationists of a contemporary epoch, we must at least have the nerve to bury the remains of the past. Otherwise we are just necrophiles fucking a long dead corpse. To sum up: I don't live in Paris, 1968. I live in Atlanta, 1997.

I wouldn't change a single syllable above. Bravo! Why can't Bracken fathom this? I think he was off on some island, too conservative, too young, or just too damned preoccupied with books and scholarly pretensions, and therefore not a part of the punk scene to admit that the world has screamed past 1968. But then, I'm not a textbook revolutionary. I'm an observer observing the observers, executing bad policies, that is to say, putting to death bad policies I have tested and found wanting....and as my doubts are eyeball high, the jury's still out given the book I'm just been paid to typeset, it's probably best for me to duck from this discussion for now.

At this point, I don't think any of us on this list are revolutionary. I bought this computer.

To your point, Sam, I shelled out big money on this upscale computer so that I could join the world of blips and bleeps, to face the fears of the future with ev'ry article of faith I have to exploit my need to communicate from the best beaches of childhood memory to the most stormy seashores chanced by aman in search of the most valuable one liner ever heard in the English language, and live out a simple life making simple choices, one or two maybe a few at a time, but I certainly do not feel qualified to speak for, or against, this bustling deaf world at large, except in spoonfuls of salt or vinegar meant for beggars and brothers who prove themselves not on the field of battle but upon the waves of friendship. I'm not neither parrot, nor paratrooper, sheep or wolf, victim or executioner until I have no other choices. It's time we realized that we cannot control the entire world with a well-placed verb, noun, or screaming decibel of a three-minute song, but it is the almighty decimal point that is being propped up by controlling powers pacing strategically around the globe that must be analyzed, attacked, and destroyed in due time. But most of us don't want to be around when that happens.

Bracken drives a Beemer, or is it a Volvo? I have no problem with that, and neither does he, obviously, but why if a typewriter is a revolutionary's best friend, tell me in the name of Bill Gates (my own nominee for Anti-Christ of the hour), does buying a computer make one "unrevolutionary"? This is one aspect of the materialism/born with nothing, die with nothing question I have never quite understood, although in some respects I feel the same burn because my wife has a tendancy to want to buy a new house, or the latest anything all the time. I confess to a degree the same desires, but mine are generally focussed entirely on software and hardware, and of course books. I don't need clothes or car. My house is satisfactory except for the inner city warzone where it's located keeping me juiced on paranoia with a nearly debilitating fear to tread outdoors.

Anyone taken as an individual is tolerably sensible and reasonable—as a member of a crowd he at once becomes a blockhead.Friedrich Schiller

The question of Marcus is a tricky one. He was my introduction to the SI and I agree that it's a great read, but on re-reading him last year in the midst of hundreds of other people's versions (I kid you not, I can send the 8-page bib.!), it is clear that Marcus either knows little about the politics of the SI post- '62 and/or glosses over many things in order to push his 'bohemian losers' line. There is a certain aestheticism and romanticism in Marcus' account that renders everything in the book as simultaneously crucial, vital, necessary and doomed, marginal, pointless. From what little I know of Len Bracken, I think he's just taking these kinds of qualms and magnifying them (in best pro-Situ fashion) into a stance of unwavering enmity.

schiller

Friedrich Schiller

I think you are probably right about this. The only flaw in this argument however is Bracken's own romanticism about everything Debordian to the point that he disagrees with damn near anybody who publishes an opinion concerning his master, so that his own opinion remains prominent in the minds of any potential acolytes. I rely upon Bracken's real life example in these matters because he is my strongest closest contact with all this revolutionary posture, and I'm new to the specifics of the SI, despite have been an independent rebellious sort while struggling for self-awareness for much of my life. Bracken, like myself, is a sports enthusiast, although I'm way past my prime. Yes, I had read Lipstick Traces, already. Still have my original hardcover on the bookshelves. But Bracken is local. He stormed in wearing this Debordian crown of thorns. He claims a certain pride of Debordian discipleship, so I'm sure he would not appreciate these "non-dialectical" details of his life coming off my keyboard, but to me the reality is that everything is dialectical or nothing is dialectical. I do not understand this solipsistic need to get social approval for one's revolutionary postures. Either one is revolutionary or one is not. The label is nothing but air and alphabet. Aestheticism, however, is not among Len's own bag of tricks, except as it regards his own personal hygiene and that of women. Is the situationist spiel merely a thinly disguised front for bagging women, I ask. With Bracken, it seems so. I hardly think the SI is Sports Illustrated. But thanks for the perspective...

Acerbic Wit Gone South


15 Oct

bringing-home

Bringing It All Back Home

samplex

Originally published on October 15, 1996

Or just imagine you're speaking to a mute. I've seen Boston Common a couple, well, maybe three times. It seems the southern sibling pair have the upper hand and most of the punchlines, but of course the jokes and the hardships ARE aimed at them. But hey, after Carter & Clinton with brothers and mothers hanging from limb to limb from the less than shady side of the tracks, what can you expect the social parrots to seize upon? Tennessee Williams? William Faulkner? Drunks of an elite sort? Ted Turner? Uh, well, Hanoi Jane seized Ted by the gonads I guess...but, Landry, your rage (hey I am just as southern as you) over peanut patch humor seems ever gently exaggerated. I say this because I LEFT Georgia to escape the redneck posse and the arrogant southern gaff which at the time frightened me more as a fellow southerner (and I was much more genteel in 1983) than an army of angry Negroes on the prowl, or so I thought. I since have grown to miss the good parts of the south, but I also am abruptly reminded of tough love every time I go home and stop at a roadside pisser looking a mite different than the locals would have me look.

Hell, when all one’s friends suggest the bogus mood and intent of failure is all I am, can be, should be, I guess after a while that’s all the wit I’ve got in the crapper. I only hope I make it out of my DC period.
The irony is, particularly since from earliest childhood and teenage sibling mythmaking hours curled up around a Dr. Pepper in a crystalballing projection, I the oldest and the smartest, was SUPPOSED to grow up with the handsome pipe in mouth and patches on my elbows professorial look. Be mayor of my hometown. Be rich, a lawyer, and a philanthropist. Instead I am a bitter old fog with a belly Bull Connor would envy, bad teeth and a scraggly beard James Dickey had in mind when he wrote Deliverance, nary a day in college nor a dime to my name, so embarrassed about my appearance and paranoid about the criminal element in the hood that I am afraid to leave the modest ghettohouse my wife struggles to pay for. Now THAT is what is called NOT living up to one's potential...

The road not taken. Or just another sappy success story. You pick 'em.

So mirror mirror on the wall, is art my saving grace at all, or is this dribble just another blind alley and a terribly blind date.

The billion dollar baby question is why am I clutchingly afraid to produce anything. With a post pedigreed background like mine I am no less a fingerpainting in the mud than some new Pat Conroy in the making, but I have nothing to show for all my grief or imagination. Aborted novel. Aborted poems. A web site not worth the monthly fees, much less an audience. Hell, when all one's friends suggest the bogus mood and intent of failure is all I am, can be, should be, I guess after a while that's all the wit I've got in the crapper. I only hope I make it out of my DC period.

GT

"I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the side..."
—Bob Dylan

Making Tracks With My Moonie Girlfriend


01 Oct

teresa

Teresa

samplex

Originally published on October 1, 1996

Hope you don't think that you have figured out the whole of my philosophical slant in these few paragraphs to have blitzed your eBox in recent days. The more I write the less I am confident any real communication can exist outside of fuzzy logic. A thousand pages later, and there is still room for clarification, redundancy be damned. However any aspiring philosophy must start from a foundation of concrete suppositions. The GT foundation rests solely upon a single concept. I am nothing in a crowd, and only something by the gift of God.

The concept of God working through the genuinely dependent individual rather than institutional flavoring is not unique to me, nor is it universally accepted, but I suspect I have been dipped in the collective spirit of this contemporary age in order to put a uniquely quiet 21st century spin on this ancient wisdom, and perhaps shed some light on a problem which pits humanity not against itself but against the old demons of the past, and in a word, is the sin for which we—the generation now kicking against the pricks—are being judged right now.

In an early poem (circa 1981 of mine) I accuse Lucifer as the author of time. All of nature's manifestations are both inspired and corrupted by the torque of time's perspective. We work finally within this framework of time, but we should suspect its motives.

Perhaps the best model I can use to relate what I mean when I unilaterally dismiss collectivism as the prime mover of spiritual and physical matter, and thus, an unrivaled conductor of truth is the marriage, or lover's problem. I suggest that no matter how close we want to become the mirror of our partner, or merge dissonance to create a more diversified whole, an irreparable separation is evidenced against us. While ancient teachers suggest that the two become one, this metaphor has rarely been illustrated in fact. History as failure in this regard has shown a bigotry against this unification of two into one. And if two cannot become one, how realistically can dozens, thousands, millions, billions, simply and without fracture? Thus my point. Even the individual is plagued and ultimately corrupted by opposing forces. One may argue this diversity strengthens the individual, and thus the whole of thousands can thus be strengthened by this diversity, I hold with the old proverb that a house divided cannot long stand.

Competition and greed. Nothing satisfies us when we know someone else has something that seems better than what we have. The marketdriven culture (just as Marxism predicts) is a vicious line of defense against human nature and natural forces from the outside. But the “clock” can never be turned back without catastrophe. This is human nature corrupted by greed and envy. Doublespeak crowds into every arena stealing from the human spirit every good motive as time’s own author extracts a token penalty for every semblence of progress. Confusion multiplies itself with human numbers. We do not argue good versus evil. We argue me or us verus them.
This approach say other, less insightful accusers, steers me into the traditionally conservative camp. I will not reject the label out of hand, but I hardly think anarchism the way I define it can be held up to the conservative light without displacing a few fundamental concepts of both.

Personal responsibility leads to acceptance of a status quo. This does not mean doing nothing to change the world in which we live, but I am simply restating the oft noted idea about not wasting precious time on vociferous alliances whose represent a major threat to personal autonomy.

We are not born with natural or civil rights outside of the social contract, contrary to what our founders told us, or what conservatives and liberals try to insist is their birthright. As an American citizen, yes, certain privileges are bestowed upon her children as natural rights and civil rights because of a social contract, but as a human being without God, there are no rights, only grievances and positions that one wins or loses in steady nullification of the natural because the world is a conduit of transgression, a mean, ugly, terrifying assault on self and the other. Of course there are wonders and pleasures in this transgressive world, but these wonders exist despite our presence, not because of it. Political correctness is the perfect metaphor for this condition where meanings of words are diverted from a common meaning to a more specific task warranted by the political realm. The graces of political correctness are far removed from any natural graces, but are designed by man's misapprehension of God, of perfection, of the spirit of best practices, we might say today.

Too many folk presume on the basis of envy and tokenism that what Joe Blow possesses (however he gained it, and yes it appears self-evident that evil has always lent a helping hand to all so-called progress), Jim Jackoff is entitled to the same. The conspiracy of universal equality—while a feel good aspiration—is not played out in reality bytes. None are free from the taint of evil, and yet we struggle for greener grass while negating the same spirit that made the grass seem greener to begin with. Competition and greed. Nothing satisfies us when we know someone else has something that seems better than what we have. The marketdriven culture (just as Marxism predicts) is a vicious line of defense against human nature and natural forces from the outside. But the "clock" can never be turned back without catastrophe. This is human nature corrupted by greed and envy. Doublespeak crowds into every arena stealing from the human spirit every good motive as time's own author extracts a token penalty for every semblence of progress. Confusion multiplies itself with human numbers. We do not argue good versus evil. We argue me or us verus them. Confusion versus confusion. Good and evil.

Here's a clarifying sidebar. The year—1982. Mid-summer. Midtown Atlanta. A few days before I'd been approached by two strangelooking women about my own age just outside the Omniplex. I was 26. Teresa was defiantly overdressed in several layers of streetdrag wool skirting and sweater. I do not recall the other woman's appearance anymore because it was Teresa who gave me her phone number and the Moonie tract. Not being naîve to the Unification cult's ways and means, having hit the books on as many of the major denominations among world religions I could find in the library—for several years by now—seeking an anecdote to the poisonous experience, I and many, have suffered at the wishing well of the Jehovah Witnesses, I decided I was prepared enough to befriend this curious girl with eyes wide open.

Teresa sat in a chair on a perpendicular wall where she was soon approached by an older woman of the faith. They were soon engaged in conversation that barely rose above a whisper. I thought nothing of this, and heard only occasional snippets as I dug into a random book I had pulled. This was a libraaaaaaary after all. Bits and pieces of their chat floated over to me. I was surprised to learn Teresa had been born a third-generation Christian Scientist. Seemed this was a girl with quite a checkered past.
For the next two weeks we saw each other daily. I visited the Unification House in the quaint Little Five Points neighborhood. She came by the Howell House highrise apartments, no relation to the Tom Howell I would later meet here in Washington, I was then sharing with my mother for tea and crackers. It was actually my mother's place, but my visitation with her lasted for six weeks upon returning from Corpus Christi where I deadpanned for the previous twenty months. We traversed the city on foot for five or six hours every day, she in low-keyed proselytizing mode, I, in a gentle informative resistance.

One day we crossed West Peachtree and turned down Peachtree Main along the infamous corner now revitalized but on this day was still marked by the tiny triangular 24-hour Dunkin Doughnuts and just beyond, the Christian Science Reading Room. Teresa, I knew already, was a product of the 1960s subcultural elite. I knew for instance that she had spent her adolescence in a nudist camp, and that background emerging from the fog of unbearable shame had driven her to the neurotic devices of concept-defying heavy clothing and long frizzy hair in which she hide her dark but very attractive facial lines. I knew she confessed great comforts in the teachings of the Moon organization even when she found them lacking, or pleasantly wrong, evident in another anecdotal tale I will save for another time.

Keyword—beauty, animals, humans

Beautiful weather, a little warm, but Teresa still wore her heavy skirts and sweater tops. We crossed the busy intersection. I never asked her if she was too hot. Evidently she dressed herself as she chose. None of the other female devotees wore such covering on these hot summer days. A simple concept explained my reaction—I took people as they were. Teresa was always polite, gentle, soft, compelling, and now she was questioning me had I read the two or three theological booklets she had given to me a day earlier. These rather thin booklets were published in a very simplistic styling, oversized pages, large typefaces, and hordes of colorful cartoon drawings, reminding me a child's publication. This literature literally reminded me of the kiddie biblestory volumes I had voraciously gobbled up as a child, only thinner. These were workbooks, with a quiz at the end. I had not read them. Confident I already knew all the answers I had put them aside meaning to take a half hour to skirt through the topics to meet my obligations to Teresa, but at this point I hadn't done so. Besides I had loaned Teresa a 1500 page theological hardcover called the URANTIA BOOK that had been given to me by a former lover a couple of years before, so I expected a day or two grace period. I never got my volume back. Of course after admitting that I had not read the booklets but I intended to do so, Teresa countered with predictable and similar remarks.

These confessions led me straight to the point I wanted to make to her. Everybody believes their own version of the truth is self-evident and required for everybody under the sun. "Oh but if you would just read these..." she countered. I again repeated the premise that all works claim the truth, and great works have great legions of followers. Nothing is proved right or wrong except in the minds of believers of this or that truth. Whatever Teresa might claim, Johnny Can't Read has a contradictory truth. Jimmy Can Read has another. Evereybody's running around in this crazy attempt to convince everybody else that they are wrong. Teresa smiled at this empasse. Just then we were rounding the corner. I spied the Christian Science Reading Room, and having never stepped into it to date, thought this was the perfect time to test the spirits in living color, so I asked her if she wanted to dip into the Christian Science operation for a few minutes, cool off, rest our feet...

She acquiesced with a sweet okay. We strolled to the reading room. This was not a very large place, fitted into a space nestled in the vee between two major thoroughfares converging at roughly a thirty degree angle, but it was airconditioned and pleasant and waiting for us. I found a chair a few feet from the bulk of the library. Teresa sat in a chair on a perpendicular wall where she was soon approached by an older woman of the faith. They were soon engaged in conversation that barely rose above a whisper. I thought nothing of this, and heard only occasional snippets as I dug into a random book I had pulled. This was a libraaaaaaary after all. Bits and pieces of their chat floated over to me. I was surprised to learn Teresa had been born a third-generation Christian Scientist. Seemed this was a girl with quite a checkered past. They argued in ever polite tones. The woman persisted. Fifteen to twenty minutes into this routine I overheard the words good and evil, and some reference to the edenic tree of knowledge of good and evil.

Was this the stroke of God himself drawing us into the Christian Science Reading Room for an example of divine truth, I put to her as we strolled on toward downtown on this sweltering summer afternoon. She finally burst into a rapt amazement, profoundly moved by my explantions, and was giddy that God had shown her a sign. Otherwise nothing would have occurred to her. No threads ever match up. Nothing is connected. An intellectual zombie I’m afraid is all so many of the most devoted folks on earth appear to be.
That was when I spoke up. "Does not the tree of the knowledge inspire knowledge of the DIFFERENCE between good and evil? I inquire of the old woman who to this point had only nodded a respectful hello to me upon entering the room. "Yes, you can say that. Different translations render it a little bit differently, but you can read the CORRECT rendering in OUR books." I replied that I had to confess that I did not know the difference between good and evil. Fire immediately plunged into her eyes, a gift from inside her. "Oh you certainly do, and if you do not, you can read it in our literature. You only have to READ it to understand," she growled. I countered again that men for thousands of years have argued over these things.

I'm not sure what I said next but I drew upon current ecological and ecopolitical concerns or some matter such as this, to give a few examples of what I meant by my own confusion with this complex issue of good and evil. She flew into a unmistakable rage, "Oh you are just a troublemaker. You'd better leave. Right now I say. Just leave, and don't come back. I mean it. Don't come back!" I returned the book I still had in grip to its rightful place, and said not another word. Teresa was ushered out alongside me. As the glass door swung close, the pinchedface woman, probably in her late sixties, muttered the word troublemaker one more time just in case I had missed the point.< On the street again I immediately sensed what had just happened and inquired of Teresa, "Do you know what just happened?" She didn't know what I meant. "Do you remember what we were talking about just before we stepped inside?" Again she couldn't piece her memories together. I played it out for her. "We were trying to convince each other to read each other's books. I told you that everybody believed they already had the truth, IF ONLY OTHERS WOULD READ OUR BOOKS." Teresa's face was beginning to show a glimmer of recognition, but I continued. "Then we step inside and you are barraged by yet another somebody who does exactly what I predicted. It's in THEIR book, THEIR truth, THEIR certainty that all life must bow..." Was this the stroke of God himself drawing us into the Christian Science Reading Room for an example of divine truth, I put to her as we strolled on toward downtown on this sweltering summer afternoon. She finally burst into a rapt amazement, profoundly moved by my explantions, and was giddy that God had shown her a sign. Otherwise nothing would have occurred to her. No threads ever match up. Nothing is connected. An intellectual zombie I'm afraid is all so many of the most devoted folks on earth appear to be. Teresa didn't suffer a loss of faith with that event, but I was overwhelmed by the finger of God in this point blank proof of what I knew to be oh so true... We are all fools in this game nobody can win. My girlfriend, however, would soon go the way of all proselytizers once she finally realized I was never going to be a convert. With a touch of sadness I realized our salad days were numbered.

From East To West We Convolute The Test


01 Oct

teresa

Woman In Regress

samplex

Originally published on October 1, 1996

Hope you don't think that you have figured out the whole of my philosophical slant in these few paragraphs to have blitzed your eBox in recent days. The more I write the less I am confident any real communication can exist outside of fuzzy logic and be bop maxims. A thousand pages later, and there is still room for clarification, a thousand year swoosh, redundancy be damned. However any aspiring philosophy must start from a foundation of concrete suppositions. The GT foundation rest solely upon a single concept. I am nothing in a crowd, and only something by the gift of God—delivered to me from inside me, those experiences which inspire learning, and by the brutal questioning of all of it.

The concept of God working through the individual rather than institutional flavoring is not unique to me, nor is it universally accepted, but I cannot dodge the notion that I am charged in the face of this de facto collective spirit of our contemporary age to put a uniquely 21st century spin on this ancient wisdom, and shed some light on a problem which pits humanity not against itself but against the old demons of the past, and in a word, is sin. In an early poem (circa 1981) of mine, I accuse Lucifer as the author of time. All of nature's manifestations are both inspired and corrupted by the torque of time's swirling perspective. We work finitely within this swirling framework of time, so it is obvious that we should suspect its motives, for the scientific evolutionary mind must suggest that even the most inanimate forces in the universe are driven by native purposes.

Doublespeak and unmasked falsehood crowd into every arena stealing from the human spirit every good motive as time's own author extracts a token penalty for every semblence of progress. Confusion multiplies itself with human numbers. We don't argue good versus evil. We argue me verus them. Confusion versus confusion. History failed versus false consciousness.
Perhaps the best model I can use to highlight the point I am making when I unilaterally dismiss collectivism as the prime mover of spiritual and physical matter, and thus, an unrivaled conductor of truth is the marriage, or lover's problem. I suggest that no matter how close we want to become the mirror of our partner, or merge dissonance to create a more diversified whole, an irreparable separation is evidenced against us. While ancient teachers suggest that the two become one, this metaphor has rarely been illustrated in fact, and only to prove the point that live and die in separation united only for a brief interlude, known only in need or conversely, in giving. History as failure in this regard has shown a bigotry against this unification of two into one. And if two cannot become one, how can dozens, thousands, millions, billions simply and without fracture?

Thus my simple and undeniably old-fashioned point. Even the individual is perpetually plagued and ultimately corrupted by opposing forces. One may argue this diversity strengthens the individual, and thus the whole of thousands can thus be strengthened by this diversity, I hold with the old proverb that a house divided cannot long stand. This approach say other, less insightful accusers, steers me into the traditionally conservative camp. I will not reject the label out of hand, but I hardly think anarchism the way I define it can be held up to the conservative light without displacing a few fundamental concepts of both.

My slant of personal responsibility leads to acceptance of a status quo. I am not talking about doing nothing to change the world in which we live, but I am talking about unholy alliances to the threat to personal autonomy. We are not born with natural or civil rights outside of the social contract. Too many folk presume on the basis on envy and tokenism that what Joe Blow possesses (however gained, and true, evil has laways lent a helping hand to so-called progress), Jim Jackoff is entitled to the same.

The conspiracy of universal equality while a feel good aspiration is not played out in reality bytes either. None are free from the taint of evil, and yet we struggle for greener grass in precisely the same spirit that made the grass seem greener to begin with. Competition and greed. Nothing satisfies us when we know someone else has something that seems better than what we have. The marketdriven culture (just as Marxism predicts) is a vicious line of defense against human nature and natural forces from the outside.

But the "clock" can never be turned back without catastrophe. This is human nature corrupted by greed and envy. Doublespeak and unmasked falsehood crowd into every arena stealing from the human spirit every good motive as time's own author extracts a token penalty for every semblence of progress. Confusion multiplies itself with human numbers. We don't argue good versus evil. We argue me verus them. Confusion versus confusion. History failed versus false consciousness.

"Oh but if you would just read these..." she countered. I again repeated the premise that all works claim the truth, and great works have great legions of followers. Nothing is proved right or wrong except in the minds of believers of this or that truth. Whatever Teresa might claim, Johnny Can't Read has a contradictory truth. Jimmy Can Read has another. Everybody's running around in this crazy attempt to convince everybody else that they are wrong. Teresa smiled at this empasse.
Here's a clarifying sidebar. The year,1982. Mid-summer. Midtown Atlanta. A few days before I had been approached by two strangelooking womenabout my own age just outside the Omniplex. I was 26. Teresa was defiantly overdressed in several layers of streetdrag wool skirting and sweater. I do not recall the other woman's appearance anymore because it was Teresa who gave me her phone number and the Moonie tract. For the next two weeks we saw each other daily. I visited the Unification House in the quaint residential Little Five Points neighborhood. She came by the Howell House highrise apartment I was then sharing with my mother for tea and crackers. It was actually my mother's place, but I stayed with her for six weeks upon returning from Corpus Christi where I lived for twenty months prior. We traversed the city on foot for five or six hours every day, she in low keyed proselytizing mode, me in a gentle informative resistance.

On this particular day we crossed West Peachtree and turned down Peachtree Main along the infamous corner now revitalized but on this day was still marked by the Dunkin Doughnuts and just beyond, the Christian Science Reading Room. Teresa I knew already, was a product of the 1960s subcultural elite. I knew for instance that she had spent her adolescence in a nudist camp, and that background emerging from the fog of unbearable shame had driven her to the neurotic devices of concept-defying heavy clothing and long frizzy hair in which she concealed her dark but very attractive facial lines. I knew she confessed great comforts in the teachings of the Moon organization even when she found them lacking, evident in a few details I will save for another time.

But on this day she was questioning me had I read the two or three theological booklets she had given to me a day earlier. These rather thin booklets were published in a very simplistic styling, oversized footprints, large typefaces, and hordes of colorful pictures. This literature literally reminded me of the kiddie biblestory volumes I had voraciously gobbled up as a child, only thinner. They were workbooks, with a quiz at the end. I had not read them. Confident I already knew all the answers I had simply put them aside meaning to take a half hour to skirt through the topics just to meet my obligations to Teresa, but at this point I hadn't. Besides I had loaned Teresa a thousand page theological tome called the URANTIA BOOK that had been given to me by a former lover a couple of years before. I never got it back, but of course after admitting that I had not read the booklets but I intended to do so, Teresa countered with predictable and similar remarks.

These confessions led me straight to the point I wanted to make to her. Everybody believes their own version of the truth is self-evident and required for everybody under the sun. "Oh but if you would just read these..." she countered. I again repeated the premise that all works claim the truth, and great works have great legions of followers. Nothing is proved right or wrong except in the minds of believers of this or that truth. Whatever Teresa might claim, Johnny Can't Read has a contradictory truth. Jimmy Can Read has another. Everybody's running around in this crazy attempt to convince everybody else that they are wrong. Teresa smiled at this empasse. Just then we were rounding the corner. I spied the Christian Science Reading Room and asked her if she wanted to dip into there for a few minutes, cool off, rest our feet...

She acquiesced with a sweet okay. We strolled to the reading room. This was not a very large place, fitted into a space nestled in the vee between two major thoroughfares converging at roughly a thirty degree angle, but it was airconditioned and pleasant and waiting for us. I found a chair a few feet from the bulk of the library. Teresa sat in a chair on a perpendicular wall where she was soon approached by an old woman of the faith. They were soon engaged in conversation that barely rose above a whisper. I thought nothing of this, and heard only occasional snippets as I dug into a random book I had pulled. This was a libraaaaaaary after all. Bits and pieces of their chat floated over to me. I was surprised to learn Teresa had been born a third-generation Christian Scientist.

She finally burst into a rapt amazement, profoundly moved by my explantions, and was giddy that God had shown her a sign. Otherwise nothing would have occurred to her. No threads ever match up. Nothing is connected. An intellectual zombie I'm afraid is all so many of the most devoted folks on earth appear to be. Teresa didn't suffer a loss of faith with that event, but I was overwhelmed by the finger of God...
Seemed this was a girl with quite a checkered past. They argued in ever polite tones. The woman persisted. Fifteen to twenty minutes into this routine I overheard the words good and evil, and some reference to the edenic tree of knowledge of good and evil. That was when I spoke up. "Does not the tree of the knowledge inspire knowledge of the DIFFERENCE between good and evil? I inquire of the old woman who to this point had only nodded a respectful hello to me upon entering the room. "Yes, you can say that. Different translations render it a little bit differently, but you can read the CORRECT rendering in OUR books." I replied that I had to confess that I did not know the difference between good and evil. Fire immediately plunged into eyes. "Oh you certainly do, and if you do not, you can read it in our literature. You only have to READ it to understand," she growled.

I countered again that men for thousands of years have argued over these things. I am not sure what I said next but I drew upon current ecological and ecopolitical concerns or some matter such as this, to give a few examples of what I meant by my own confusion with this complex issue of good and evil. She flew into a unmistakable rage, "Oh you are just a troublemaker. You'd better leave. Right now I say. Just leave, and don't come back. I mean it. Don't come back!" I returned the book I still had in grip to its rightful place, and said not another word. Teresa was ushered out alongside me. As the glass door swung close, the pinchedface woman, probably in her late sixties, muttered the word troublemaker one more time just in case I had missed the point.

On the street again I immediately sensed what had just happened and inquired of Teresa, "Do you know what just happened?" She didn't know what I meant. "Do you remember what we were talking about just before we stepped inside?" Again she couldn't piece her memories together. I played it out for her. "We were trying to convince each other to read each other's books. I told you that everybody believed they already had the truth, IF ONLY OTHERS WOULD READ OUR BOOKS."

Teresa's face was beginning to show a glimmer of recognition, but I continued. "Then we step inside and you are barraged by yet another somebody who does exactly what I predicted. It's in THEIR book, THEIR truth, THEIR certainty that all life must bow..." Was this the stroke of God himself drawing us into the Christian Science Reading Room for an example of divine truth, I put to her as we strolled on toward downtown on this sweltering summer afternoon. She finally burst into a rapt amazement, profoundly moved by my explantions, and was giddy that God had shown her a sign. Otherwise nothing would have occurred to her. No threads ever match up. Nothing is connected. An intellectual zombie I'm afraid is all so many of the most devoted folks on earth appear to be. Teresa didn't suffer a loss of faith with that event, but I was overwhelmed by the finger of God in this point blank proof of what I knew to be oh so true...

We are all tools in this game nobody can win.

GT

S A M P L E X

"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""


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