It was a bright day until someone asked the meaning of life, not in the form of a question, but in the form of a meme. Seems my good friend Mike Twigger, as is his way, reposted a rather humorous image with its own text superimposed. In other words, that image to the left of this paragraph. What follows next is a matter of interpretation of what seemed a fairly straight forward riff on scientists, what they know, and how they play it. Then out came the bunny rabbits one by one, doing the bunny hop.
I say, "Good One!"
Laura Waldron then pipes in, "So it's right to force unwanted pregnancies on women?"
Never one to succumb to tired old fiddlesticks, I retort, "Is it right to force unwanted hangovers on young males? Stretching an argument into something else is easy..."
Laura then has the audacity to relieve me of my sensitivities, "Yeah, what does a guy's hangover have to do with a woman's body? Stay on subject."
Now this was just plain vulgarity to my ears. Stay on subject? After she'd jumped from that image to forcing unwanted pregnancies on women?
But Twigger takes her bait. I mean, how long can one argue Laura's point? Argue it into the ground? It's already in the ground. Dead and buried. I have my view. You have yours. Nuff said. But Twigger weighed in. "I agree as a Christian [that] life starts at conception... therefore the baby should have as much right as the mother... although if it affects the mothers health then yes abortion should be available and safe. I believe there should also be surrogate mothers who could carry the baby to term if the real mom didn't want the child."
Well, that last point was interesting. Taking fetus from one oven to another. But that argument about saving the mother's life in a crisis over the life of the fetus has always left me a bit cold and unconvinced. However, Laura responds to Mike before I have the chance to build anything on that small piece of well-treaded ground, "Surrogate mothers expect to get paid. Unwanted pregnancies leads to the birthing of unwanted children which leads to said children being neglected and abused. Speaking from experience here."
Damn interesting comeback. I suppose she now prefers that she'd had been aborted. Now, that's a revolutionary statement, if truly believed by its speaker, which I strongly doubt. But I leave that alone for now. Instead I stay on my original course and her first point once removed, that is staying on topic, or at least the topic she wanted to rehash, "Hahahaha. Laura. I knew you would say that. You took my bait. So to recap. What does determining a living cell found in the womb of a pregnant woman to be life have to do with forcing unwanted pregnancies on women? You, Ms. Waldron, jumped the shark, first."
Her reply was simple. She was catching up. "Because of what the meme implies. Duh. And its so obvious that its a pro lifer meme."
Well, it was time to wrap all this together in a neat package before I could return to her most recent jewel. Is life more important than a wretched childhood, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, my dear, and perhaps one day you will realize it. Oops, I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is what I said next, "I call that a bunny hop. Memes can lead anywhere. Like, uh, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar can lead some of us to think well, duh, sometimes, life is just life. End of story. Nothing about abortions or a right to choose or baby names or rapists or regret or sex with your daddy. Besides Laura. If you drink too much, just expect a hangover. Complaining about it or slicing and dicing about how you got that drunk doesn't change anything. You're stuck with the hangover. How you deal with it is the almighty gift of initiative. But then, sometimes bunny hops just get a bit off the beaten path, don't you think? THAT was my point to you at the top of this thread. The question wasn't guess a meme, it was about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media who should know better. That's a meme that begins and ends with the information as it was given. We now see where taking unauthorized bunny hops can lead.
Then Miss Liberty and all her tired, her poor, her huddled masses came a knocking with a link that is supposed to prove something to me, again having nothing to do with the original laugh track at scientists and the media. "Oldest, largest, and only statewide Pro-Life organization in Texas. I don't think I came to any false conclusions or BUNNY HOPS. I think youhoweverare trying to be contrarian with me and it won't work as I'm the biggest contrarian I know. You may want to make the meme about the nature of life versus the hypocrisy of scientists and media and make it this deep thing but it was intended to be an attack on Women's CHOICE, on the rights to our bodies, and if women don't fight this attack on us, then what's next? Making rape legal? See you can say its an orange all you want but the truth is, it's an apple."
And she really thinks she's clever, parroting these threadbare statements. After all, apples and oranges in her arguments would be the same because they are both fruits, or to her point, designed to keep women away from the authority over their own bodies. But I press on, "You want to know what's next? Simple. You framed it yourself, in so many words. The question stated: is your own wretched childhood more important than the non-existence from which you were spared, or is it not? That is the pro-lfe meme, dear contrarian," adding, "I refuse to fall for retread handbook. You stretch a simple question about the origins of life into a parade of boogie men without once mentioning the predominant track of using abortion on demand as a high dollar, high risk prophylactic."
"I also refuse to accept you binary proposition. Death is all around us. I can do little about any of it. I take no religious or political position on abortion except to dig further for the truth wherever I find it. But I do find its current practice vulgar and self-serving. If you, Laura Waldron, are so wise as to assign policy binaries on every swirling detail you are fortunate to be able to observe, I dare suggest that you are indeed better off having been born even though you may have experienced a shoddy childhood, rather than to have been neutralized as a thriving embryo. Frankly, this is a tiresome and well-documented argument you make. I found freshness in precisely the point that the image and caption Mike posted made clear, and nothing else, since as I say, if I want an abortion debate there are infinite other places to find one that an ironic Facebook post. The fact that you ran in to make it something else on the basis of a tired meme was your prerogative I suppose, but it certainly isn't the only meme attached to the meaning of life that makes stellar commentary useful and exhonerating. In other words, I write for my own reasons, and you and your transitional memes have nothing to do with it. Lastly, I trust my sarc has not exceeded but merely equaled yours towards me, tat for tit, apple for orange, squeezed or simple peeled, for I would never want to make you feel stupid."
To be continued, if Laura Waldron has more to add. With kind regards to its awesome powers of community, nevertheless King Facebook is not my home. There are reasons for that, also, but I'm sure the usual meme would not suffice, but for sake of shortness of breath, let's just agree that it does (whatever that might be).
I saw the seven words, then it finally registered with all the synchronicity of a lighted odometer turning over from all nines to all zeroes. This was it! The riddle had been solved! In ill-considered black and white here before me, written three days earlier, on my mother’s 48th birthday was the culminating stroke of this freaky name-change operation thing I had charted for months with soft sell handshakes and strange grimaces to any new person who happened to meet me.
And I took the name Gabriel Thy...
The Howell House was clean and active, even upscale I suppose one could say, secure and nearly two-thirds geriatric. My mother lived four floors above me up on the sixth floor of the 18-story building. She was on staff as the senior citizens coordinator and bookkeeper, and I occasionally helped her out with some of the more confined and colorful patrons doing odd chores for them. I was anxious to tell her of my discovery, although I could hardly expect her to understand the impact this fresh twig of myth and reality would have on me, Richard, the eldest of her seven children. It was her birthday and we were to have dinner together. I was bursting with excitement but I was understandably challenged by a mother's sense of her own naming rightsto bring the gift of reason to the dinner table that night.
How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one’s business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
As it was written on the page, the nameGabriel Thywas not given but was taken. This seemingly minor detail concerned me for a quite a while, not in a truly bothersome way, but as a nuisance, like a flapping scarecrow in a field of errors. Having taken this name was it no longer a gift? But when someone gives you a nickel, don’t you take it and perhaps slip it into your own pocket? Such were the subtleties of bible and literary scholarship, and so it was with my own problematic gestures.
I was thoroughly bewildered. The name was certainly an odd one, a very special one. I liked it, approved of it, but without a doubt it certainly had a very pretentious ring to it. I was not at all certain I in good faith could take it. And what would I do with it? The cornpone religiosity, the in-your-face God-component of the now prophetic name-change operation, self-fulfilling and otherwise, was obvious to me. But I was sure others would laugh me right off the sidewalk. What about those who already knew me as RSNa right interesting vintage acronym already, particularly when pronounced Risen or risin as in...Christ is risen! How would my family, particularly my mother react to this news, a most suspicious tale ringing with tremendous religious overtones, or as others might prefer, smacking of superstitious or worse, some kind of dangerous demonic affiliations? Of course many people have changed their names with no other purposes other than enhancing one's business, hiding an ethnicity, blending in, or sheer simplicity in mind.
Having finished with ecclesiastical literature, about this time I had also finished reading, was presently reading, or would very soon be reading the herded vapors of Gide, Camus, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Miller, Darwin, Kerouac, Nietzsche, Castaneda, and Douglas R. Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, A Metaphorical Fugue on Minds and Machines in the Spirit of Lewis Carroll, the latter, a landmark ransom for me, among others. But I would not wholly give up the ghost. I clung to every shred of hope massaging my investigations that God would clear me for landing his understanding, that each and every one of the moderns were wrong in their denial of deity, dead wrong in their intemperance in disparaging the creative power from without, even as they worshipped the creative power within whether it be DNA or environmental advantages. Time and time again I found the writers complaining not against Christ but rather against the wretched incarnations of the church, its scavengerlike methods poisoning their minds against all of the burlier forms of theology and the God of Abraham, Issac, and Jesus of Nazareth. Still I persisted just as I persist today.
And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I don’t remember my mother’s initial reactions to my telling the tale of the harbinger bringing forth her son a new name. Not then, not there. She in all likelihood, since I don’t specifically remember her response, sighed and said something along the lines of, “That’s interesting, son,” while thinking to herself that this was just a passing artistic phase or something or another and to follow form she’d share no words either of encouragement or of any personal horror. She’d always thought of herself as somewhat of a mystic, but was not easily persuaded that any such thing would rub off onto her children. So I use the words "not then, not there" simply because there was no mindjarring quarrel I recall from that Sunday night, and shortly thereafter, speaking both epistemologically and chronologically, things begin to shift into place with great importance.
The name was mine to take. That much was had been chanced upon, had been written, had arrived in a happy circumstance. There was no doubt in my mind that this was living theatre, that I had been given an emblazoned word of prophecy in Corpus Christi, and it was fulfilled here in Atlanta because I had stayed the course. But I also intuited that there were certain terms involved, certain measures and quotas to be filled, certain spiritual hoops to be jumped through in order to discern whether or not this was this real McCoy. Because it was my understanding that I’d come to this earth through the wondrous body of a woman, was named by that same woman, had bullishly married and was now irreparably separated from another woman once twice my age, it was preserved in my mind and reinforced by circular logic that if this name change was truly from God, my doubts could only be dispelled if endorsed by a woman. And by no stretch of time or imagination was this an easy task to discharge, seeing as I knew almost no women at the time and had little coin with which to persuade others that this was on the level, was no prank, no plot to appear artistic and sublime, nor merely a passing fancy. Yes neighbor, I was feeling tragically symbolic, alone but for the voice of God resounding in my head, just as intricately wrought analysis of my daily experiences had led me to belief.
I was working three hours a day downtown delivering pizzas and sandwiches on foot to the downtown Atlanta highrise luncheon crowd. I saw many faces and shared a quick grin or a few words of friendly chat, but my social importance was next to nothing. When I had a few dollars to spare I’d occasionally dip into a rather eclectic pub down Peachtree Street a few blocks from the Howell House for a pitcher of cheap suds, but knew only a few guys, the bar maid, and maybe one woman superficially at best. The happy hour crowd was always buzzing with a spattering of high profile cultural scooters including the nucleus I later grew to appreciate individually as an art curator, a couple of attorneys, an old hippie or two, a librarian, a couple of salesmen, a science fiction aficionado, a banker, a copywriter, an amateur actress, a faux cubist painter, a few struggling musicians, a chess champion, and a CDC technician.
The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
This circle of soon to be regulars was still small at the time of the White Crow writing. All of them knew me as Richard, slightly weird and chalked up with an armload of library books. Keep in mind of course that when I introduced myself to someone, that was the last mention of a name-change operation, the line was dead until the next stranger was introduced. I didn’t go around like some enfilading riflemouth spraying people with some nonsense line in search of attention. In fact I was often quite self-conscious when introducing myself. Within a few days (three, four, five?) however I was to meet a young woman four or five years older than me named Kathleen Baker, a woman whose more delicate features were overshadowed by the liberal contours of her body. She weighed over 300 pounds, sang classical music with the voice of a monk, and immediately seemed to enjoy the nimble dispatches my wit invested among the afternoon mélange. Thinking again as I write this, perhaps I hadn’t told my mother of the Gabriel Thy transmogrification after all, not then that night of her birthday, for whatever reasons I now forget, because with each ascendant memory, in fact, as I am thinking about this concentratedly for the first time in many years, it seems that Kathleen Baker’s were the very first ears to hear the entire mess of fish from beginning to end, sans of course, the still confidential part about needing a woman to validate the transition (part of the test is to not publicly reveal all the details but to allow the truth to unfold according to God’s will and not mine), and that she energetically embraced the novelty of what she was hearing and resolved at that very first meeting to call me Gabriel, Gabriel Thy, enough said. And so in that unorchestrated off the cuff fashion this woman became the first person to know me only as Gabriel Thy, not Richard Nix.
Yes, that was it. She listened to my poem and she approved. Mother would learn only later, and now I recall another event which I shall get to shortly. That afternoon at the Stein tavern I did however note my apprehension at appearing far too pretentious for these cynical hobbyhorse times by dubbing myself Gabriel Thy. I was a nothing, a fledgling writer, a seeker after an illusive and much debated truth, caught within the mechanical web of all breeds and conjugation of fact and fantasy, and yet despite my busy faith and rote exhilaration, I could not call myself a christian because quite frankly I couldn't fathom exactly what the word meant anymore, if indeed I ever did. There were so many conflicting versions of the title that I just preferred to leave it alone, to let the scavengers pick the bones clean if need be.
Little did I know at the time that even as I in all seriousness was changing my name thousands of others were performing a similar operation. The nihilistic era of the rude nickname had arrived in spades, the new epithet of the unsung, pacing the steamy streets and charlatanic nightclubs with the vengeance of a caged wolf, with little respect for anything, hardly sparing themselves. Visceral yearnings in youth were reshaping a new generation’s perspective on love and hatred, and the mad rush for mostly vulgar monikers had already begun in earnest.
Names like Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious became the norming curve for acceptance into this thriving cult of nothingness. My own name mutation, void of applause or record deals, shock value or normalcy, was a serious matter, referencing everything I earnestly believed about the nature and signature of the Creator, flagging for all to observe, his will for me and mankind. To understand this name would take time for me as I experienced what surely would be a new direction in destiny. The easy part was over. Onto the Directed Path of God’s dotted line I was willing to sign, but where, and how?
My anxiety with these problematic questions did not evaporate with the introduction to Kathleen. I still begged in my spirit for more validation.
urge may take or leave dot women
drunk before malicious identity
essential pedestrian shakes
against pagan blue vision
rock shadows beat to boil
burn and beauty shock
black rust dream lilies
old men crowded minds
cancel this stop
a spoiled fuss
two years ago free agency
she sweats as she pockets
below the previous rail
to standardized poverty
a typographical error
the deliberate cinema
we can't discriminate, silk
soft asphalt, hard styrofoam
reloading ten eligible goals
not on my highway says Ned
just easier leaves eyeball
rolling upscale bouncy
seekers without likes
to cowering experts
drowned in fact
an addiction to friction
abundance of ordnance
always in the airspace
progressing past pulse
draft free weight
spend up girls
purchasing resistance care
vague trust critical zones
education irreducibly slow
we digital tongues
ignore the door
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dreamand not make dreams your master;
If you can thinkand not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kingsnor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is moreyou’ll be a Man, my son!
The mainstream media keeps trying to make Sarah Palin irrelevant and within the NYC-Washington Corridor she is exactly that. But the highbrow mainstream media might want to put down their lattes and New York Times and embrace the concept that Palin is still relevant. Her words and endorsements will matter in the 2014 Midterms. And beyond? Who knows.
David Brody | The Brody File
My friend with the Mexican mustache, savvy art collector and former Mike Gravel campaign strategist, José Rodriguez, could not contain his glee that he had gotten another whiff of the Sarah Palin meme, and so rushed right in to let me know how beneficial to the nation she would be should she stretch her wings to fly right at the old bastards who are in cahoots in destroying the economical sustainability of this nation in the long run, just one of their many political sins, "Cruz Palin 2016! Please help make the GOP irrelevant."
I had to capitalize and punctuate his words to meet the standards of this punk rock blog. You must understand, I have always been a grammar Nazi, having fought at least two underqualified English teachers in junior and senior highschool right straight to the revolt of the class when they tried unsuccessfully to assert their ignorance over what I knew to be true. I would walk away with a F in Comportment and a visit to the principal's office on my final day of Eighth Grade with an A in scholarship. That story I tell elsewhere, so I'll just flash my hall pass to get on with this one. So. Later, in the Tenth Grade, I refused to reread Huck Finn as I had read that book silly a dozen times as a grade schooler on summer break on my own, instead cutting up in class, clown and resident know it all, but was woefully prepared for the more sophisticated written essays of the highschool finals, so to my surprise I turned in an empty page. Still, Miss Harris, whose fiancée, was just starting out on the PGA tour, and who had only come to Glynn Academy as a sub after Christmas holidays to replace the beautiful young but tough Mrs. Mayhew who took a leave of absence to have the baby she'd been carrying long before the first September bell of the school year 1970-71. Mrs. Mayhew was also my first Negro teacher. I liked her. She was deliberate, adjudicated, serious, temporate, friendly, charming, but when analyzed as a complete package suggesting woman in charge who knew her place she was as tough as nails, as I said.
Did I mention I later ran for Senior Class President at another school from which I in two years would graduate, on the platform to bring a junk food canteen to campus? An idea that has become the contemporary norm but is now frowned upon just like it was back then at the front of the caloric revolution, an idea of freedom of choice, of brief respite, of the mouth-watering zest that sometimes is just a little bit more satisfying and attention-grabbing than the traditional wares of zealotry...
At the end of the first quarter of fifth period Mayhew English, we got our report cards. I was pleased I had received an A in Scholarship, but was stunned when I saw a B in Effort. I also received an A in Comportment, but it was the B in effort which startled me, as rumors soon circulated that I had received the only A in that fifth period class, and that she had only given out four A's across the five classes of sophomore English that she taught that semester at Glynn Academy, located in Brunswick GA, Glynn County along the famous "marshes of Glynn" made memorable by some romantic long-bearded mid-19th century minor poet named Sidney Lanier, for whom the nearby grade school where my youngest brother, John, now also a painter but always a woeful student, was attending.
I recall the class had mostly been rote memorization at that point, no essays, just spelling and a rehash of grammar studies we were forced to memorize year after since since we were first taken from group tables and put into individual desks like the big kids we would become.
Yo Rodriguez. Palin's not running for anything, but Cruz will take a bite out of that left-wing biscuit of you'rn...or put another way, I'm sure he'll step right up to announce without a drop of insincerity, "I'll be your Huckleberry. Seems I recall a chief strategist, a mutual friend of ours I'll just call Paul, declaring on the same night he announced he was considering a run on the Green ticket for Governor of New York state as we were all sweating over dinner at the 14th Street Busboy's & Poets in the summer of '08, that destroying the Democratic Party was at hand, and favorable. What a tangled web...and what strong, large memories some of us have. While yes, some just have large mammaries. And others, not that it matters on the golf course have neither."
Funny, as a ballplayer, I was often diagnosed as an over-achiever, capable of great moments, and of carrying a lackluster team far beyond its means only to crash at the last moment. Second place, not third, or last, or in the middle but second place was the recurring theme of my competitive life. Second most econonomic cab driver after just a few weeks on the job. Second most productive and accurate surveyor after being given my shot at party chief with my own crew. Race through dominating the regular season only to lose in the playoff finals to a team we'd slammed by large margins several times already. This was my luck, my meme, my path to the stars. Never quite the top dog, always stuck in the doghouse at number two, and I don't like the way that sounds.
However, after turning in a blank sheet of paper in response to twelve analytical questions, no multiple choice here, sitting in the same desk in the same classroom where I had achieved a rare A only to get a B in effort, you could have knocked me over with a feather when a few days after that school year had ended, and the final report cards were mailed, and I opened that envelope with great trepidation, I discovered to my amusement that Miss Harris had capitulated to my commanding spirit,and had given me straight A's across the board, including the course final. Deportment, Effort, Scholarship. All A's.
If Mrs. Mayhem's intuition had presaged the Miss Harris teacher-student debacle, the Miss Harris scourge would presage the coming generations, although let's face it, student punks were a dime a dozen at least since the times of the Greeks. Did I mention I later ran for Senior Class President at another school from which I in two years would graduate, on the platform to bring a junk food canteen to campus? An idea that has become the contemporary norm but is now frowned upon just like it was back then at the front of the caloric revolution, an idea of freedom of choice, of brief respite, of the mouth-watering zest that sometimes is just a little bit more satisfying and attention-grabbing than the traditional wares of zealotry, an idea I also picked up at Glynn Academy, an historical school founded in 1788, had sported the first "rest area" I had ever seen (although I'm sure large urban highschools in other warped regions of the country were even back then in the very first year of forced integration in the south), an entirely different breed of failure and excess freedom running rampart apart from my own small town observations, aptitude, and media-crunching misapplications. But as I learned somewhere in the finer thills of Huckleberry Finn via the aristocratic airs of the cinematic flair that a tuberculosis sickened Doc Holliday, who hailed from Valdosta GA we should not forget, one should first write about what one knows as long as you include lots of links because the following generations will know nothing about any history that preceded them until it affects them more than a poorly formed sentence from the gangrened mouth of their hanging judge.
The world is a very strange place. Not unlike the movie Tombstone.
Anvil Booker was no guarantee,
Nimrod's son, wide awake, my generation,
not what you wanted, not now not here
coy, once upon a time nickels and dimes
one way or another one of these days out of time
Mrs. Brown's lovely daughter,
broke paperback writer,
only a pawn in their game, swallows peppermint twist
open all night, parade of the horribles,
Nadine Brown put 'em on the glass
like old fashioned love songs
"My brain is hanging upside down, neat neat neat"
a few observations, sunspot backyard garden party
forsaken fragments of fresh flesh must of got lost
met privately with their lawyers, guns, and money
fortunate son sitting to my right in submission,
no sanctuary, superstition, surrender,
none but the brave,
Mrs. Robinson snatches Mr. Tambourine Man,
and the one they called Mr. Integrity. Ooh la la. Each other's bad company,
girl gone wild, night moves, sultans of swing, mother and child reunion
only the good die young in Oliver's army,
Mother's little helper not faking it,
one man's a gang, one headlight.
One tin soldier on the sea of Galilee,
Arial Sharon still in his coma after seven
years of plenty, on the road again,
one way out, not a trillion dollar golf game
peace minus one, pay you back with interest
one step into the light, one of us, Obama's presidential rag
people who died, peeling back the foreskin of liberty
for the piano man Pee-ro Juan Valdez Sam Quixote
parasite host, pump it up, it's a political world.
Private Idaho went M.I.A.
planet earth 1988, police story pretty vacant,
plastic bag, picture this, get a grip on yourself
perpetual personality, the pied piper,
please push no more, the power genocide
gunpoint affection, this year's prophet
get back, get down, get ready, get up,
golden shower of hits, going going gone
get your body beat, get off, harvest
halfway to crazy said Avil,
the happiest days of our lives,
hate to say I told you so
growing up the children
of dust, groom's still waiting.
The church of the holy spook,
cigarettes and citizenship
packed into an old blue chevy van,
made it to oh Atlanta and back then died
after that singular trip from Corpus Christi,
sold it back to the same gypsies I paid on eggshell.
Elvis is everywhere, a field of opportunity
Eli's coming, eminent domain, embryo dead, Elvis on velvet,
fire on the mountain, flowers on the wall, civil war
face to face, remarks Eve, of destruction, Ezra's Cantos
fake friends fading fast, long as I can see the light
pipes Anvil, looking for a leader lost in America,
a brutal planet, every picture tells a story,
every grain of sand fighting in the streets,
Cleveland rocks, Detroit City falls,
drops into the night, city baby
attacked by rats coast to coast
cold professional, common people
coal miner's daughter, glory days
claw at idiot wind,
as somebody screamed give peace a chance,
others bellowed they would go down fighting,
same fate, no regulation, no legislation
prepared the goon squad, the goody two shoes
troops of tomorrow, red shirted radicals,
the queen of the silver dollar,
rabbit fighter, punk rock girl, the righteous ones,
or the green shirts of the green green grass of home
for the grinder, the grey seal.
Richard hung himself,
the rhythm of the rain was
a major contributor. Famous last words,
return to sender. Over my head. Pablo Picasso
never had to paint it black, use magnum force,
just his lyin' eyes, mandolin wind,
and maybe I was a golf ball,
quips Anvil, adding
Massachusetts was his favorite nation,
miles from nowhere when you live in sweet home Alabama
especially when the Medicine Jar
still owned Maybelle's guitar.
Now it has always been mate,
spawn and die (probably of mind games)
so the show must go on,
but things smell a bit fishy,
Shirley, should I stay or should I go?
The silver dollar forger is a Shi'ite punk,
Master Jack, you know Sister digs the sharpies;
Modern Romans haven't a clue, have no momentum
again miles from nowhere when Michael rows
the boat ashore itchin' for action,
the memory of Mesopotamia not lost
in the air that I breathe
the age of consent
blindhammer in bikini
red between the lines
or the defenders of the faith,
deep one perfect morning
because the night principals
of the death & resurrection show,
are dedicated followers of fashion
moving in stereo,
ignoring my back pages no matter who you are
as the age of quarrel plus outsider sacks
our comfortable lives. Anvil
with his never say never
lonely teardrop Mike Twigger ax
admires the question.
Why are you so paranoid, they accuse. Anvil's quick
to point to territorial pissings, then indigestion.
If I had a hammer,
I'd nail your silent face
to the flapper girl's chest
like a yellow corsage, and tear it down;
turn on your receiver, Tupelo Honey
to love him is to know him, tiny dancer,
the boxer, Polly, she's a rainbow zombie
lost in a whiter shade of pale, tangled up in blue
now that I have a reason to believe a change
is gonna come when I paint my masterpiece
as I turn, turn, turn, turning Japanese
rogue children go bang, divine service,
don't pass me by, don't stop,
do you know what I mean,
do it again, cover me...
like a hurricane, blowing old time rock and roll,
too late for a handshake, I roll over Beethoven,
thunder struck, roll over and over, doing the stray cat strut
to your ritual noise. Yeah. You really got a hold on me.
Yakety Yak. No more heroes. You cannot walk here,
sky pilot, paper plane, ancient name. You remind
me of Snoopy versus the Red Baron, but she's
not on the menu, spotlight, look, she's a phone sex girl
a pleasure victim, til the wheels fall off, a thrasher
positively 4th Street, toys in the attic,
too far gone, a telephone operator,
said so the daily news,
cry baby cry, a dirty birdie,
a dirty punk, chemicals and circuitry
diplomatic immunity, Uncle Albert, Admiral Halsey,
dust in the wind, driftwood, the undefeated, the voice,
don't let me be misunderstood, don't call me white,
the cover of the Rolling Stone, uncertain times under attack.
You ain't seen nothing yet,
keep on smilin' homesick again
the hunger within, the human highway
for what it's worth, friend or foe, fake friends
famous last words with no particular place to go,
first time I ever saw your face, fingernails
running up that hill riding the storm out,
ringing them bells breathless for my brown-eyed girl
give it all girl in the war feeling stronger every day,
you may call me the breeze, but I can't stop
the world dancing with myself, God wrote,
looking for you...record collector,
just like Jim Morrison did.
Thank you for the music, nothing is true,
I get around, I speak American, now you will pay
gimme gimme gimme, glory days, play my game
I walk the line, not what you wanted, I shall be free No. 10,
I'll meet you in Poland, my Blakean year, I won't back down,
If you want to sing out, sing out, rise above, Walt Whitman
won't mind, but if you leave me now, Jim Dandy
In the sweet bye and bye like the early Roman kings
it's not the spotlight, it's the end of the world
as we know it. Kansas City. Is there anybody out there
the night they drove Old Dixie down, just one fix,
just my imagination, keeps getting better,
just what I needed, remember I was vapor
respectable, reelin' in the years
with or without reason...
with every breath you take, so this song has no title.
Okay, we believe you. Meanwhile, we have been swamped holding hands, dodging insults, and writing long personal notes to members of every walk who are struggling to register or to log-in, or to get to the homepage after logging in, or haven't gotten a password, or they've got three, or they get an error message, or can't get into the Members Area, or have forgotten their passwords or they use the wrong passwords in the wrong forms, or they are senior members who like pens and paper, or they are concerned about privacy, or who can't distinguish between language describing an online account and that of a chapter membership...
You know who you are. That's no reflection on you. It could be a computer problem, a browser incompatibility problem, or a knowledge problem. Life is not all plug and play, even if the manual tells you it is. Just to show you we care About your well-being, we'll share a few pointers with you.
So let's see if we can't construct a page that speaks to that small portion of you (about one in fifteen) who are having the problems. This is not your usual website, because the SAMPLEX is not your usual hangout. We strive to be an organization of caring, exemplary folks who desire to do our best by others, by our community, by our nation, and by the awesome power of nature itself.
Part 1. So, let's get down to business, shall we?
Click REGISTER from main menu bar on the homepage.
Fill out form, including the username of your choice, your real names, and your email address, the address where you will receive a system-generated password or choose your own password. Solve the Recaptcha, if applicable. Click register button at the bottom. If successful...wait for email to arrive. Could take a few minutes, Could take up to 48 hours, depending on when you register. Have patience, please!
If you receive an email with a system-generated password announcing you have been approved, you can then use the MEMBERS LOGIN tab whenever you visit the site.
You will be taken to your personal Profile page. Scroll down halfway or so. Change your password to something you can remember, type it twice, make it at least medium complexity, and remember to click the blue UPDATE USER button at the bottom when you are finished. We understand that for a few of you, this part of the form is missing for some still unresolved reason. If this is the case for you, please use the PASSWORD RECOVERY tab on the main menu bar. You will be sent an email with a link to take you to a form to choose your own password.
But back at the Personal Profile page. Look up at the black bar at the top of that page. Pull down the SAMPLEX tab to click VISIT SITE tab.
This should take you back to the homepage. At that point you are free to visit the Members Area.
You SHOULD ALWAYS be logged in to your account to actually access the Members Area, AND you must use the pair of second tier credentials issued you in orientation or at a members meeting to view the links.
Part 2. I followed those directions, but I still can't log in!
Yes, we hear you loud and clear. You are one of the three percent of the original ten percenters who are still having login problems, even after we walked you through the entire process. But have no fear. We empathize. There are always more reasons why something doesn't work for most of us, and it's not always our fault or your fault. It COULD be somebody else's fault! Imagine that!
The problem could be a server hiccup, or a network slowdown. Take a deep breath. Try again.
Or you might just need to start by trashing your cookies, flushing your cache, and restarting your machine. If you leave your machine powered on for weeks at a time, turn it off, and unplug, yes, unplug it for ten minutes to allow any static build-up to dissipate. Plug it back in. Turn on your computer. Try your browser. Still no cigar? Try another browser.
Perhaps the browser you normally use is just not well-suited for our system. It happens. MSIE 7 is a frequent culprit on modern systems, particularly our WordPress engine. But others can choke occasionally as well. Try another browser. Try Chrome, or Firefox, or Safari on the Mac. Each has been known to help others login where another browser did not, depending on which platform and version of OS you have configured.
If you have completed all these steps, and you still cannot log-in successfully, write us again, and we'll discuss what, if anything, we can do to help. But you MUST describe your problem and the actions you have taken precisely, or there is little we can do to help you because we will be as confused as you are in pinpointing exactly where you are in the process.
Thanks, and good luck! We want everybody to be able to sign on, but we recognize that even the friendliest technology can hamper any of us with limitations every once in a while. Don't sweat it!
Part 3: Accessing The Member's Area
To access the Members Area, log into the site as usual, then hit the SAMPLEX link at the menu bar from the Personal Profile page to get back to the homepage where you will click the Members Area link on the main menu bar. A members page will be returned, but you must have the universal 2nd-tier credentials (a separate username and password that are different from your site login credentials) to access them. This 2nd-tier credential should be given to you at your orientation, or at members meetings on the 2nd Monday of each month. Please do not ask the Network Administrator to give you these credentials, as that defeats a certain level of security we must depend upon, since we in this department have no way of verifying your membership.
There is another way to access the Members Area without logging into the site, but we prefer members not exploit that path. All users should be logged in before accessing the Members Area.
That's it! Happy SAMPLEX vapor trails!
Question: Why must I sweat through two logins just to get to the Members Area?
Answer: We have this two-tier login system because we have an Open Registration at this time. This means anybody can register as a user of our website, but since we do not wish to share our private chapter information with non-members we currently have a second tier login to protect the Members Area documents. If you do not know your Members Area login credentials, please contact the Membership Director, Peta McMillen. She can confirm to the network administrator that you are a member in good standing, or issue you the Members Area username and password herself.
Question: I can't get into the Members Area. When I click on Members Area, I am taken to a page that asks me for just a password, no username.
Answer: Yes, this might happen, depending on how you arrive at the Members Area pages. Just type one or the other of the two second-tier credentials you have been given for accessing the two pages of the Members Area. Only one of them will work, but we will occasionally switch the password on that particular form, so try one, then the other, and you should get in without problem. However, you will still need to type in your Members Area username and password one more time to access the document links.
Question: We have a family membership. I am presently awaiting the up to 48 hours to have my registration processed. Must my wife also register and log in or else have hers or the family membership terminated?
Answer: This online registration at present has little to do with your membership in the SAMPLEX other than confirming the identity of our online users for security reasons. Online membership registration exists solely for the purposes of the website, and is free of charge. Chapter membership for the purposes of conservationist principles and all the fun that follows incurs annual membership fees to support our facilities, including this website. There are no terminations of Chapter memberships for failure to sign-up to the website at this time! Just please list your the membership on your profile page once you register. Good luck!
Question: I am having trouble with the Slide Out Contact Form. It won't send my mail. What am I doing wrong?
Answer: There is a bug in the code that we have no been able to squash. However, we have found that if you quit your browser completely, then reboot it, the form will work again. We apologize for this inconvenience, and will continue due diligence to help make the LCCIWLA web site better as we continue to grow.
So my pal Joey Higgins invites me to stay at his house in Boynton Beach, FL. We do a demolition-construction job for this guy who has no permits. We get our first check before I've opened a bank account. So I sign it over to Joey.
He takes off for the weekend...goes shooting on the other coast. I watch the house. Feed the dogs. Feed the fish. Brush the pool. When he returns, he doesn't give me my money from my check. Next week no money. Then he wants me out. I say okay, give me my money so I can pay for my greyhound reservation back to DC. He says he paid the bills. All $262.12 of my money to run his house. My laptop and two external hard drives are not sucking that much electricity. Plus there was no discussion of expenses. At least give me the opportunity to offer. Don't just steal my money. Plus what about the food I bought that he ate... saying that doesn't help out the house... so he doesn't want to give me my money from my check. I start earning money for 3d art done for Tom Howell's steam punk comic. So Joey lends me the car keys to go get beer. Then reports the car stolen. i spend a weekend in jail. Then have to walk the streets of Boynton Beach till my reservation date with Greyhound comes up. Money comes in from Tom Howell and Ashby and Seamus to answer my distress call. I spend last weekend in Miami. A $5.00 tri-rail to Miami, $12.99 a night at the Miami Beach hostel. a bed, jaccuzzi, bar, and bath. Refreshed I get to the Greyhound Station in Fort Lauderdale and arrive in DC. Quite an adventure. All in all. But Joey Higgins in no rasta mustafa. All of those at Dupont [Circle] back in the day who warned me of this wannabe were right. just another wannabe. Thanks all for your friendship.
"You DO seem to have quartermaster issues, Roland..." I wrote three or four entries below this description of one Roland Currie, a six foot six giant of a man and virtual reality graphics expert with whom I have been acquainted for about twenty years, although our relationship was nearly entirely accidental or second hand, a byproduct of a mutual friend, Tom Howell, or Howellnymns as I like to refer to him in print.
However, I also got an "F" in Deportment that quarter, and upon my wish was sent to the principal's office on the last day on school that year since I thought it might be fun. It was, and a bit painful, also, but fun just the same. An experience, a gas, a gag, a goof. You see, I was a straight A student, and I learned to rebel early against feckless authority...
Robin Slusher, a pretty girl from the North Country I presumed, poked me gently, "Gabriel Thywhat are quartermaster issues?"
"In Roland's case, roommate and landlord struggles...go figure, I use a single world to replace several, and then have to explain the stretched single-word metaphor to the public thus defeating my original intent," I obediently supply.
"Hahaha-go figure! I retired from the Navy and we use that word often but never in that particular wayI was just curious. Just googled it; you used it in an "Army" way. Navy uses it differently. I was institutionalized; sorry.
"No problem, but as you well know, words are authentically extended from their original usage quite frequently..." I responded, with a sigh of relief that this wordslinging tete a tete was over, adding one more round for good measure, "Roland's been on both sides of this enterprise. He knows what I'm talking about even if some of the rest of you do not. And that is not a slam on any of you. You may just not be aware of the entire scenario as I framed it. But I too, am saddened that Roland is having troubles. I was hoping good things for him in Florida."
But no. Somebody else was pricked by the word I had used to describe a condition I knew Roland was now facing again as some kind of karmic swarm.
His best friend DC "Max" Hughes rushed into the area where words only have subtlety it appears if they are perceived and experienced that way by the "official" lexiconographers. He copies and pastes the following:
Quartermaster is one of two different military occupations.
In land armies, especially US units, a quartermaster is either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior unit, post or base supply officer is customarily referred to as "the quartermaster". Often the quartermaster serves as the S-4 in US Army, US Marine Corps units and NATO units.
The function of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Corps is to provide the following support to the Army:
general supply (except for ammunition and medical supplies)
Mortuary Affairs (formerly graves registration)
subsistence (food service)
petroleum & water
aerial delivery (parachute packing, air item maintenance, heavy and light equipment parachute drop, rigging and sling loading.)
shower, laundry, fabric/light textile repair
material and distribution management
"Well, thanks, that was very thorough. In the Navy, a quartermaster deals with navigationthat's why it confused me," offers Slusher.
I have no choice but to respond to this jolt of authoritarianism, "What's your point, Hughes? Rock & Roll hardly translates to fucking, but there it is, fucking you, fucking me, fucking Elvis...muster your thoughts if you have a point to make. I certainly am capable of defining quartermaster as stated in the military protocols (or Wiki), but I used the word as a metaphor for this material fiasco that Roland seems to find himself struggling against from the opposite side now, not so long after a fiasco involving another in which he held the controls. Uh, the simple notion of managing one's quarters, supplies, and provisions is one of man's most basic transactions.
"Got a stick? Poke me. I'm done."
But true to his nature Max wasn't done, "Quartermasters, counterintuitively, do not handle quarters; lodging/housing."
To get to the point the customer service rep said, “The invoice says returns are SUBJECT to restocking fees. ‘Subject to’ means you WILL get restocking fees”. I said no it means I “MAY” get restocking fees and that she didn’t get to decide the meaning of words; that the meaning of “subject to” had already been defined. So….I didn’t have to pay.
Are you kidding me, I thought. So, true to my own nature, I continued to beat the dead horse just to see how much snot would spray across this language cop boondoggle he seemed genuinely certain I needed in order to improve my writing and not appear to be the fool, "Is Roland Currie not complaining about lost provisions? Shower, laundry? Do puns not exist in your splendid mind? As I wrote earlier, in Roland's case, his roommate and landlord struggles cover a lot of ground...go figure, I use a single world to replace several, and then have to explain the stretched single-word metaphor to the public thus defeating my original intent. Last time I was a scout quartermaster, I was in control of issuing Army issue cots and sleeping bags, cooking pots & utensils, et cetera to my fellow scouts. Max, you just don't get it, do you man? This discussion reminds me of when I was in the eighth grade. English class. We had to write a short story. I wrote a sports story, a baseball story. I used the word carom, as in the high fly ball caromed off the left field wall. Teacher marked my usage wrong, saying it was not a word, a made up word. I told her it was most certainly a word. I had heard it all my sports-conscious life. In baseball, in basketball, even in golf. She wanted proof. I pulled the dictionary, found the word, showed her, and the entire class, and she still denied me the word because the example the text gave was "as in the game of billiards." She was very young, and a very pretty slender red-head who, as I learned later from my mother who worked for the US Navy, dated a lieutenant stationed there at Glynco Naval Air Station. But she was stubborn, and so was I. Needless to say, I rebelled, and soon owned one fifth of that class as a five or six of my friends and I sat in the back of the class and played a game I'd invented in the 4th grade, the rest of the year, goofing off and making each our "A" in English despite her best efforts to restrain or punish us. However, I also got an "F" in Deportment that quarter, and upon my wish was sent to the principal's office on the last day on school that year since I thought it might be fun. It was, and a bit painful, also, but fun just the same. An experience, a gas, a gag, a goof. You see, I was a straight A student, and I learned to rebel early against feckless authority, and you sir, seem to have completely lost your good sense in arguing this point with me. Guess, I can add this exchange to my memory banks. Oops, banks hold money, and an exchange is where Obama plans to send me to purchase overpriced insurance. I fear this analysis in writing from one's own nostrils will never end."
Robin was beginning to feel the weight of the argument upon her own quarters, "I'm sorry I mentioned it. It was a genuine questionnot intended to start a fuss. HeyDave Howard got fired because people didn't understand the meaning of the word 'niggardly'...that's even worse than an "F" in Deportment!"
"Robin, just because you might have refrained from mentioning it doesn't mean Max would have taken the same tact..."
Tom Howell was always a deft and absolute genius conversationalist, but was never much of a writer. Not that I didn't think he couldn't write a fine sentence when the muse shed her grace. Quite the contrary. He held his own on the page, but he seemed reluctant to go large, and he might have known that he did tend to write commonly at certain times when the task required a more spectacular presentation. I always sense he must have had some history to overcome before he could become a competent and confidant writer.
Roland was not amused apparently by the way his thread had dissipated into another topic, as he still continued to argue with his old friend who have done him wrong. So he wrote a humorous line of clarification he think I needed. "Roland did not have a landlord. Roland was invited to crash at a "friend's" house."
"And now you are going to start up another ruckus, Roland? Those words were used loosely to describe what is generally speaking a housing situation. Okay, I am indeed done. This is stupid." My words again.
"Ok, since we've totally hijacked this post anyway.....your Wittgensein quote reminded me of when I had to return some wood flooring to Lumber Liquidators. I was unsure of the square footage of my house and the salesperson said just order a lot and return any extra. So, I did and they try to charge me $100s in restocking fees. To get to the point the customer service rep said, "The invoice says returns are SUBJECT to restocking fees. 'Subject to' means you WILL get restocking fees". I said no it means I "MAY" get restocking fees and that she didn't get to decide the meaning of words; that the meaning of "subject to" had already been defined. So....I didn't have to pay." Slusher was finished.
But Tom was just knocking the dirt off his brown shoe act, and injected, "I was invited to crash at Gabriel Thy's house and stayed on for what seemed like years. I gave him the benefit of my wisdom during many a Black Label fest, proving in a double-blind test that Black Label was NOT a premium beer and "Life was NOT a submarine." Gabriel will be forever in my debt."
"LOL. Based only on the unassailable notion that life is a bowl of cherries. But what about iLife?" ask I, feeling the pull of nostalgia, as Tom was the only person in this discussion with whom I had actually spent any amount of sweat, sanctimony, and satisfaction. Or put another way, spent time shackled to the same ditch with half a notion of what it meant to be chasing and still defining that spectacular pursuit of happiness we learned about as kids and young scouts, he in mostly rural SW Virginia, and I, in mostly rural SE Georgia..."
But Tom and I had only recently become reconnected after a fifteen year exile during which we only heard from each other once or twice. I had turned my back on that early DC crowd for the most part, turning inside, to a nearly agoraphobic state, as my social life went from zero to nothing.
"Gabriel has a penchant for coining his own words, someday I hope he'll be able to bank on it," remarks Tom.
"There has been so such coining here today. iLife is a Mac term," I respond, thinking he may have imagined I just did it again.
"Life is a sandwich, the more bread...no, no, wait Submarine is a sandwich! I prefer 2nd Life anyway," he pretends he's extending the game. But I've had enough. Tom came late to the party, again. Wait a minute, he's usually early. An entire day early...
"How are you old man? Doing great things I presume..."
"I'm in a Writers Group here and learning to make eBooks with InDesign 6. Future plans are for enhanced eBooks," he replies, ending the mystery as to why he recently wanted to bury the political hatchet he and I had been swinging the past few months on rare occasions. Scorned for my politics by nearly all the old crowd of woeful leftists from the old days, most had just ignored me altogether. But Tom and I had only recently become reconnected after a fifteen year exile during which we only heard from each other once or twice. I had turned my back on that early DC crowd for the most part, turning inside, to a nearly agoraphobic state, as my social life went from zero to nothing.
The Internet, and later, my splash into the not so fine art painting mud pit changed things for the better. I began to venture out again, but that social season only lasted for another three years until the 2008 financial collapse and subsequent election of Barack Obama to the US presidency changed my path again. Only recently had Tom finally come aboard this network. And after a few battles with each our unmovable arguments, aren't they all, he was tired of stultifying politics and wanted to talk writing which I thought was a strange move for him, not the political rot, but his interest in discussing this craft you are now reading. Makes sense now. Tom Howell was always a deft and near genius conversationalist, but was never much of a writer. Not that I didn't think he couldn't write a fine sentence when the muse shed her grace. Quite the contrary. He held his own on the page, but he seemed reluctant to go large, and he might have known that he did tend to write commonly at certain times when the task required a more spectacular presentation. I always sense he must have had some history to overcome before he could become a competent and confidant writer. I understand that Tom, too, has renegotiated his survival strategies, moving his psychic investigation and motion picture experiments back to the Smokey Mountain railroad town of his beginnings, Roanoke, VA. We salute you, Thomas Jefferson Howell, as you pace along the hardy roads of old picturesque Virginia in becoming a man of letters in some small gratitude to your namesake, perhaps of note only to a few tar & feathered friends, but in the end, as you once echoed the trope from a Dollhouse easy chairGabriel, when we die we die alone.
My nephew Dylan and his wife Jennifer named their firstborn son Jefferson, who is a precocious sunny blonde lad now about four, and to this day he answers to Jefferson, when he answers at all.
The police, bless their constabulary hearts,
are not hunkered down in classic cars to protect you,
only to clean up forensically, forbiddingly, financially,
and why would they, marked like soldiers
by a cool persistent hatred they face
as in Europe with the no go zones ruled by caliphate shrill,
instilling fear, impregnating this spree, the next wave,
the chosen nightlife of any who would be thugs
thorns, and punks, as if any of these activities
actually improve their crippling lives,
beyond that adrenalin whiff of cheap thrill,
roving contraband and stolen moments of danger,
their own smart little taste of war,
finger food, foot powder semaphore
pacifists and gangstas alike
share like crude needles of rude joy, the underground life
embracing each decoy, as this jealous age decays into another
a half-life, a quarter-life, one painful stretch at a time.
"Ignorance and virtue suck on the same straw. Souls grow on bones, but die beneath bankers' hours.""