Archive for the ‘Editor’ Category

Grammar Nazi


22 May

Who's and whose. It's and its. Bear and bare. See grammar. See grammar rollover and play dead...it happens, especially in the train of thought sometimes with the best and busiest of writers. Don't sweat it. That's why professional editors fit into the communication community quite nicely (and of course, being human they occasionally miss errors; more frequently these days it seems, as Paige attests). Self-editing is important in the case of casual writing for those who can bear it, but the attempt at frank thought by others less diligent is often more important, unless of course one runs smack up against a GRAMMAR NAZI. But be careful as you don that suit. You might be surprised to find that homophones are just the beginning of what a true grammar nazi is keen to enforce. I recall an assignment in junior high was given to look for errors in the local newspaper and other media of the time. I was hooked. Still delight when I find the errors. Of course, I never take personal offense anymore, and you'll get over it. Mere trifles. I did, and I was smug if not frosty about this and so much other sheet music when I was young—but I do congratulate those of you who still care about how you present your thoughts, and am not suggesting you change any of your linguistic insights. Just thought I'd trot out my own grammar nazi among familiar minds for old times' sake—please forgive any errors that remain in this text, even as I attempted to perfect my script.


Language Theory, Deluxe Brown Shoe Cynics & Other Wet Blanket Ratios


28 Oct

wordwakers

Word Wakers

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The following excerpts are from an essay cast by poet Marjorie Perloff as excerpted in Nothing to Say & Saying It, the online blog by John Gallaher.

Language poetry, together with its related ‘experimental’ or ‘innovative’ or ‘oppositional’ or ‘alternative’ poetries in the U.S. and other Anglophone nations, has often been linked to the two Steins—Gertrude Stein and Wittgenstein (as I myself have argued in Wittgenstein’s Ladder), to Guillaume Apollinaire and William Carlos Williams, the Objectivists and New York poets, Samuel Beckett, the Frankfurt School, and French poststructuralist theory. Those who denigrate Language poetry and related avant-garde practices invariably claim that these are aberrations from the true lyric impulse as it has come down from the Romantics to such figures as the most recent Poet Laureates—Rita Dove, Robert Pinsky and Stanley Kunitz. But laureate poetry—intimate, anecdotal, and broadly accessible as it must be in order to attract what is posited by its proponents as a potential reading audience—has evidently failed to kindle any real excitement on the part of the public and so decline-and-fall stories have set in with a vengeance. Great poets, we read again and again, are a thing of the past: a ‘post-humanist’ era has no room for their elitist and difficult practices. Accordingly, the main reviewing media from the Times Literary Supplement to the New York Times Book Review now give ‘poetry’ (of whatever stripe) extremely short shrift.

"The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work."
But what if, despite the predominance of a tepid and unambitious Establishment poetry, there were a powerful avant-garde that takes up, once again, the experimentation of the early twentieth-century? This is the subject of the present study. Designed as a manifesto, it makes some of the polemic claims we associate with that short form even as it suffers from its inevitable omissions. Because I am here interested in foundational poetic changes, I shall have little to say about many of the poets who have been most important to me and whom I have written about again and again over the years—Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, and Wallace Stevens, Guillaume Apollinaire and Blaise Cendrars, George Oppen and Lorine Niedecker, David Antin and John Cage, John Ashbery and Frank O’Hara.

‘To imagine a language,’ said Wittgenstein, ‘is to imagine a form of life.’ This book studies such key poetic ‘imaginings’ both at the beginning of the twentieth century and at the millennium, so as to discover how their respective ‘forms of life’ both converge and cross.

  • Language Poets Wiki: The Language poets (or L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets, after the magazine of that name) are an avant garde group or tendency in United States poetry that emerged in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Language poetry emphasizes the reader's role in bringing meaning out of a work.

  • Textual Politics and the Language Poets: "Let us undermine the bourgeoisie." So Ron Silliman ends his contribution to "The Politics of Poetry" symposium in L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E 9/10 (October 1979). Writes Gabriel Thy in response to Silliman: "Better as discard than trump. It's no accident the truck feeds millions, ignoring the silly man crammed with errors."

Efforts Of Comportment In Linguistic Scholarship


15 Oct

palin-supporters

Palin Supporters

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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.

Glynn Academy, 1970

Glynn Academy, 1970

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.

Money For The Poets


08 May

kerouac-cassidy

Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy

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DECADES OF PUBLIC and private funding have created a large frumpy professional class for the production and reception of new poetry comprising legions of teachers, graduate students, editors, publishers, and administrators. Poets? Based mostly in universities, these groups have gradually become the primary audience for contemporary verse. Consequently, the energy of American poetry, which was once directed outward, is now increasingly focused inward, but I guess it's been this way for a long time. Me? Think I'll pull, push, exhort, pry, torque, haul ass my own weight outside the grinding gears of establishment bureauocracy poesy. Hence this website and its demands on atomic clearance, where animated bias is the pungent cream of festivities. Click. Click. 404 error. File not found on this server. Click. Click. Damn, this is what I hate about linking to outside tiddly winkers. Link expirations. Here today, gone tomorrow. I had linked to a page touting a national poetry month special called Show Me The Money. It was a good read, but now the link is dead, and I should remove it to keep my SEO score respectable. This is the primary reason I link to Wikipedia pages. They may not be the most thorough or even the most factual presentations of a given subject, but one can link to them and count on their continued existence. At least until their self-funding dries up. Money, money, money...

Read it all.

My Only Book Review


16 Oct

jaden

Jaden

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Nearly two years after its publication, and despite the dissemination of forty or so copies among the few friends, family members, and strangers beating back the night sweats of literary intent, I have come to accept the fact that I write in such an outlandishly dull way as to render this special class of improbable bibliophiliacs completely and utterly devastated to the point of unleashing their inner mute upon the very grains of sand upon which I stand.

Now, I have not handed this book away to just anybody with a cap size or a Big Gulp to spare, but only to those who pleaded, cajoled, paid for in the case of some of the more deep pocketed critics, wished for, promising a review each and every one of them, and if cool beans are a good source of protein, threatened my well-being for a personal copy of this collection of visceral sweat and tears, bloody for the twenty-five years it stewed in the making, usually a signed copy, and usually accompanied by some petty insolence that they loved poetry, or some such glad-handing gush as that. Notions of the silent rejection, notwithstanding, The Silent Cull & Other Mechanical Ideas, Collected Poems 1980-2005 is not your usual thin volume of contemporary poetry, but is four hundred pages of seething canonical arrest, and I use the word "canonical" and "arrest" in all their usual connotations plus a few more that I insist are both canonical and arrested within the pages themselves, banking on subtleties of style and insight that are only coming apparent to the ill-prepared general public in these, our own spectacular terror-driven chaotic times. Well-minced words are a swallower's delight, and this book rarely portrays paradise, or other romantic follies of the past or future tense of mankind, but in its own galloping way wraps itself in the contemporary physics of time and thought itself, tackling its author as much as the culture that spawned him.

But this entry is not about describing the book. It has been aptly described elsewhere.

Here I wish to fan myself with those few words of praise, or words of any kind that have wafted my way in the context of this inpenetrable book. The following paragraph was sent to me by a local artist, a young painter of some early renown, still in his late twenties, whose first son was to be born on my birthday (the second of my friends whose firstborn sons arrived likewise) named James Coleman:

I really like the book man, I read it out loud to Christie at night when we go to bed, they say the baby can hear it and its good to read to him, but I dont know. I really love it man they say if you reach one person, blah blah blah, well thats me. I can sit on the roof and smoke a cigarette, lay in bed at night, damn i would even take it to the beach. It flows it pulsates, it moves me. Im not kissing your ass, I have no reason to. Just wanted to give you an honest opinion, and for whatever reason, it speaks to me. When I read it I feel like I did when I was in college smoking opium and reading boulbelaire or at the coffee shops reading dylan thomas, thinking I should start a fight. What I am trying to say is that at this point in my life your book works for me. Great job man, Im not a literary figure or even a good writer but just wanted to tell you. If I see you and I am drinking and tried to tell you all this, you would think I was full of shit.

What can I say? For all the silent pretenders haunting my crude ambitions, this single review is just about the most stirring string of thoughts an old poet, fat on the failures of inertia, far past his gameface prime, could ever hope to absorb.

Thanks JColeman...

Back When Pretentiousness Was God


05 Feb

empire

American Empires by Gabriel Thy

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Originally written to a young American cohort, Matthew Manus, who requested that I reserve this domain name and web server for him. I had visited Matthew and his girlfriend Michelle in Paris a few months before with my wife, This email is dated February 5, 2001. The website was never deployed by Manus, and the project-oriented relationship ended abruptly in May of that year, having never really recovered from the Paris event.

Cheerio my friend. Welcome back to the Gabriel of old—your web site is ready and already has a default page loaded, and this works during testing. Note that the default page must be named "index.html" to match 'XusNET webserver configurations. You have full FTP privileges. You can create new directories, read from, write to, and download anything from your domain's directory. The following information should be entered into your FTP client so that you can access your web site.

          FTP INFO...
          HOST: ftp.siftology.org
          USER ID: siftology.org
          PASSWORD: cleverjones
          Directory: /

Your new web account is configured. Check it out mon frere! Let me know if you have any troubles or questions.

Look forward as always to your cheerful voice once you return to France from the land of Joyce. Me, I'm still properly sick with the flu, no day better than the next, a week now of fever, scorched throat, pain in both ears driven with ice pick precision, the usual sinus stuffiness and upchuck too. But I am as inspired as I've been in years to focus on our global critique, but tire easily and return to bed often.

Rebunk has sparked a flame under me to—once and for all—draw the lines of where I stand on this Debord crescendo. Of course, it looks as if I'm going to have to torch his own Aussie canopy with a direct hit of GT phlegm since, as Kubhlai pointed out recently, he has never ever really put his own two cents on the line, but continues to hide in silence or behind the SI bulk of work he has archived. It's time to quit pussyfooting around. The imperative that I slash away this fog that's been hovering over me for some three years now has reached illuminating proportions.

parisfour

Sue, Michelle, Robert, Matthew in Paris

The Jappe book on Debord is helping pin the Frenchman down for me, and as I suspected, there is so much that I find self-contradicting, just as I find much of the Christian outlook self-contradicting, that I must keep good notes and finally put my own sorry self to the test of my fellow sworgsters. I will start with that very last fragment Zizek (a new name to me, but a piece full of typical dishonest extrapolation) Bunkee sent over the SWILL. I know Kubhlai and I are on the same page, whatever that happens to be, and I think you are there as well. But Rebunk and Crash have shown us nothing but bookmarks from the past, and no clear definition on who in the hell they are as individual credits to their race for humanity's sake.

I cannot help but believe that within the common parallels nee inconsistencies (notwithstanding some quite distinctive divergences) I find in the comparative Situationist-Christianity creeds lies the answer to my own special dilemma as to which spectacular point along the political scale I stand or AM SUPPOSED TO STAND (according to my own nature, and self-interests).

We can make metaphor and we can mix metaphor, poorly or insightfully, forever my friend, but sooner or later, and NOW is MY time, I just have to know what IT IS I KNOW. And there is much I've soaked up in pieces that Debord (the braggart who said he learned nothing from scouring books, but everything by dallying along the streets) touted that I do not believe is true, sweeping generalizations absurb on the face of all things self-evident (relying on dubious constructions such as nearly everybody else's false consciousness while touting the reality of his own desire to make his every point), and even more absurd considering his call to action, knowing the chain of corruptibility people everywhere will die to protect.

You and I have agreed on this point before. But what we must do, or perhaps this is my own chore, is prepare a solid critique of Debord, taking agreement where we can, and marking void those points of fantasy we find impossible to swallow, given that our own cultural bias will never be his, and therefore quite interestingly enough, absent the francophilian and xenophobic texture of many of his assumptions.

While France has its immigrants, America is worshipped by the hordes and hated by another substantial group as well. Paris, well, it's merely a city of glamour, now mostly in the past, for better or worse. However, I suspect that this heady investigation will lead me to suggest that Debordism is very close to Nazaritism (the words and praxis of Jesus) and that any rejection of Debord is a rejection of Jesus on the very terms that I have long been availing the old prophet and dismissing the more recent one. But I must know where I stand with both men.

This exploratory surgery may not interest you at all. But nothing less than this exacting sort of critical analysis will set me free of my own confusion and foster the next step towards defining ourselves as AMIST, SIFTOLOGIST, GEOSOPHIST, in that order.
Debord writes often about the essence of humanity, while ignoring the general corruptibility of that same humanity. This was the point Kubhlai tried to make in his most recent post trying to draw Rebunk into the ring. Yes, a lot of this teasing might sound like retrograde religiosity. Perhaps it is, perhaps it ain't when brought up to date in modern terms we wish to introduce, perhaps with very different social schematics, although we'd be hard pressed to suggest a singular Christian scheme given the complexity of the Catholic-Protestant fillibuster. Your recent remark that originality is not the aim, but rather, relevance is the cornerstone of our endeavor is brilliant!

Remembering our own initial urgency in SWORG terms to embrace the man in the street, Debord fails this universal test, a victim of his own cultural inheritance. His patented exaggerations and smug dishonesty hardly qualify him as the honorable man of action he had aimed to be. He was a man of books and eloquence, staged harrumph and star egotism, and could not feign ignorance, or even virtue long enough to save his own life. Considering he didn't consider writing or contemplation worthy of the name—action—his greatest action was putting a gun to his heart. That greatness rests solely in its finality. Deborg boasted that almost everyone he met wanted to follow him; well, I seriously suggest one cannot comprehend the truth of an intrinsic vision without feeling the floodwaters of petty and trifling rejection.

So after I get the Paris Summit site fully completed and uploaded, I would hope that we might collaborate on a few nails in staking Debord to the cross side by side with the praxis of Jesus, not Pauline Christianity mind you, or at least not until summarizing the similarities and disparities between the two primary men in focus. This exploratory surgery may not interest you at all. But nothing less than this exacting sort of critical analysis will set me free of my own confusion and foster the next step towards defining ourselves as AMIST, SIFTOLOGIST, GEOSOPHIST, in that order. To humor the clowns, I await your response.

By the way, I ordered two copies of [Henry] Miller's The Cosmological Eye a couple of days ago, one to replace my ragged copy, and the other to toss into your care package. You should return in person to the VV and request a refund, pocket the francs, and think of the sad state of business affairs some find acceptable in a world seething with shoddy co-operation. Uh, long live the revolution. Don't you just despise us impatient Americans!!!! Unfortunately I tossed the receipt in a momentary lapse of judgement just days before your recent call, not that you had anything to do with me tossing or not tossing the receipt. I was supposed to be saving ALL those receipts, and have most of them, but alas.

Yet, I was stillllllllll thinking...

If Poetry Broke Mirrors


09 Feb

mirrors

If Poetry Broke Mirrors

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Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2000 12:29:13

Dear Gabriel, I am pleased to announce that the semi-finalist winners have now been selected in Poetry.com's International Open Poetry Competition. These winners will be notified by U.S. mail within the next few days. Sincerely—Howard Ely

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2000 13:04:50 -0500

Dear Gabriel, we are pleased to announce that the deluxe hardbound anthology AWAKING TO SUNSHINE is now scheduled to go to press on May 1, 2000. As a contributing artist to this edition, you have been mailed a copy of your poem and an Artist's Release. If you already returned your proof, thank you. If not, please proofread your poem and return your release as soon as possible so that we can maintain our publishing schedule. Sincerely,

Howard Ely
The International Library of Poetry Judges Committee
http://www.poetry.com

Sometimes I think I've bit off a little more than I can chew, but I is having such fun. Writing, publishing, entertaining fans and customers alike is quite a rush, and keeps me bouncy in the morning. I used to think all my dead friends didn't miss out on much. Now, I think I was wrong. Thanks. Winning second prize, and fifty bucks for writing a poem was indeed a spirit lifter.

Evermore,

GT

Media Competence


30 Jul

Media Competence

Media Competence

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At 7:46 AM -0700 7/30/98, Melanie Morreale wrote:
Gabe, thank you for taking the time to read the chapter and for your two reactions below. This chapter is now in the hands of our development editor for the point-by-point, checking commas sort of editing. Your global feedback below is helpful because it isn't the type of feedback we get from the dev. editor. The chapter will be in a basic course textbook for 18-22 year olds; so figuring out their take on technology etc. is a challenge. Your thoughts are helpful in that regard. This chapter was written by my co-author for the book and I would like to share your thoughts with him. Would that be ok? Totally up to you.

Melanie R. Morreale, Ph.D.
Associate Director
National Communication Association
5105 Backlick Road
Annandale, VA

My emails are generally considered public knowledge, so I am not prepared to deny you the energies you've requested, Melanie. Sure, I'd be honored. Thanks for any small corrections in my text you make. On a reread today in your mail I noticed them. But I'll leave that to your discretion.

Thanks again,

GT

[dropshadowbox align="left" effect="lifted-bottom-left" width="350px" height="" background_color="#ffffff" border_width="1" border_color="#dddddd" ]Date: Wed Jul 29, 1998 - This streak of gray nostril had been pulled tight like a surveyor's chain into the passion of yet another tugboat writer being considered persuasive enough to waive a gentleman's hearing in front of the Ways and Means Committee to pave with back doors and easter eggs his Georgia bread, crass, even crafty brown swallow throat now suddenly quenched with ease for a generation.[/dropshadowbox]Here's to wordwhacking you Melanie, so firstly, I apologize for the already lengthy spell of silence. I'd read the pages by the third night I had them from Clyde, in two sessions; spent the next days critiquing your various points with Sue, my great listener. First of all, it was a marvelous read. Please, I thank you for the opportunity. Your own emphasis of perspective only came into question a couple of times as a result of the "superficial" read you requested, and so I pondered the dilemmas often as the days squeezed by perhaps not as superficially as expected.

The bulk of the chapter is readable, enjoyable, informative, accepted on its own terms.

Two issues however. The implied conviction of whether the entire planet will be, should be, can strategically ever become, a no nonsense, it's modern, it's everywhere, saved by the wire community, peaceful but noisy, dangerous but secretly altogether in a place where nobody's left standing but the adverbs, flogged by an environmental urgency I think is still bound over to the jury for further investigation. Dystopian nightmares are real and spreading into the camps of former stalwarts for jurisdictional containment. It seems to me that the numbers boasting a mere 20% global computer infiltration, but hurry, or you'll be left out in the cold sales pitch, is a mixed message, a statistical non-sequitor in a world in which we rarely predict correctly all the unplanned but highly mitigating circumstances of each twist in fate. Technology's dance is indisputable. But will today's technology and that proffered place where each generation of merry practitioners will lead the spectacular world to greater fulfillment, ultimately transform the global village into a common ground or is this beast of information wires truly the reckoning hand of divisional chaos?

What are we truly desiring in a future life aided by technology always mere digits away? Will it feed me? Love me? Save me from geological catastrophe? Teach me? Improve my longevity? Shorten it? Spy on me? Enslave me?

It's no small hope that we might indeed gain certain creature advantages at the expense of a distant past, but are we merely indulging a playful fantasy when we imagine that all things move in pace and engage with as much quality as we would like them to, especially when our daily lives produce great evidences that this is rarely true, for even among the most genuine and cultured spirits, the synchronized lifers or conversely, those aflight the butterfly paradox each of us face a plethora of pandoras the whole sensitive as we struggle along the yellow bricked information superhighway. And because everybody in the wired, wired west already knows this to be the dirt intrinsic to less bitter and progressively better existence as long as it's moderated by human notions of fun rather than work, ease rather than complexity, whimsy rather than concrete order, this critical mass where technology's push into our lives may dominant our consciousness is subject to the high standards cold media must meet if indeed humanity is to be served rather than be rendered servile to the peculiar needs of spectacular technology. This sounds complex, but it's not. Humanity can only move as fast as its slowest members.

And secondly, I found your section on hierarchical E-mail protocols rather strange, almost quaint. Not a day passed when I wasn't reconsidering just what sort of response you on perch should reasonably expect from a petite reactionary passing the inkwell in a far more pressing pose than that of the unsifted writer, but nevertheless you did ask for a response, and I agreed to provide this fair shot. Once upon a time dear ole Netiquette was all the rage, but SPAM trolls and advertising bandits have shown some staying power, despite all the hoopla to stop the intrusionaries in their tracks. Truth is the Internet in many ways simply mirrors society. In other ways, former fine lines of distinction are blurred in advancement of the more idealistic equal access instincts, the alias-generating naming riffs, and other democratic nee individualistic protocols not easily packaged in a one size fits all sense of abiding the technology. This struggle to map our peaceful future will be here for several generations yet, I think. Of all the discussions we had the other day on the boat, I was most caught off guard when you asked for predictions, say, to the end of capitalism, the end of paper, books as we know them...

Who knows? It depends on whether we can all just get along I suppose, long enough to figure out a way to play nice among the Others, and avoid blowing up the sandbox in any number of well-tested ways. But I did enjoy the chapter, and in meeting you and Clyde on Skip's boat. Is this work ever to be made available to the web?

Oh, and there was one other thing. I think for kids raised on computers and the Internet, this textbook chapter might seem a bit obvious, and somewhat sterile to the heres and theres of wirepower, but then I confess I am not an educator, and may presume that kids who know the technology also assume responsibility for their actions. But even as I write that line, I realize how stupid it sounds.

Best regards,

Gabriel Thy
Creative Director
Graphic Solutions Ink Systems

Dollhouse Jitters v3.2


06 Apr

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I certainly did not expect these jitters, these vapor trails from Jennifer, but the matter's truth was this: she'd E-mailed me a copy of her rather lengthy application for a Fulbright. I dove into it and made my remarks on the printouts. I later responded with an mail that she thought was very insightful on my part since she also was aware of which sections were weak or vague in stating her purpose. I also told her that I'd scratched a few notes on a recurring grammatical redundancy I thought should be clarified line for line, as there were only a dozen or so I found, but that we should confer, each with our copy in hand to make the changes. Over the phone perhaps. She never responded to this suggestion, but made her own edits, and sent it off accordingly. The bad news is she didn't get the grant. Not that I'm inferring that the dozen or so prepositional overloads played any part in that rejection, but I would have wanted, as long as my basic grammar skills were serving best practices, to have presented the most formidable paper possible. Errors and typos are proliferating life forms in E-mail, irregularities and broken adverbs in poetry or narrative, but in a paper of great value such as a Fulbright, and now an admissions application, one might presume writing technique a judged criteria in meeting the standard.

But it was specific enigmas of my own seasoned worth I was struggling to penetrate as I calibrated my parachute into the dark-eyed forest of Jennifer's parrying lust, a lust that this seasonal break had graciously prepared. No time like the bounty of the present, we had agreed to believe. Snatch from others before they snatched from you, Jennifer had haughtily explained during some otherwise unsurprising post-coital moment a few years before.
After all, doctoral work beyond field studies lead to teaching and publishing. Clean, concise writing is mandatory. Merging short sentences overburdened with unnecessary prepositional clauses into longer, smoother, well-balanced thoughts might prove an edge in competition with someone whose style was peppered with these flaws, right? I explained this, and she agreed. In this light I suggested we take her page line by line. We did, and in half an hour or so the operation was successful. Jennifer agreed with every instance of poor writing I pointed out, and we collaborated as I in my own mind's eye I have often imagined Will and Ariel Durant collaborating, on its fix. The whole exercise was fun, a jolly uplifter, and because I could only feel our bonds becoming stronger, quite erotic as well. She certainly turned out a more efficient paper than the one she showed me. The striker came as we were congratulating ourselves on a job well done. Her words were, "Well when I asked you for help, I did so because I knew I was coming to the master..."

Those few words reverberated in my head over and over again that morning. Eureka! I thought to myself. She is indeed beginning to show signs of melting this resistence she has shown to acknowledging me and my desires to play the slave-master games she was taking to the world of strangers, with ME! Over the years it has been true that dear sweet Jennifer Hoke now Connolly has uttered some of the most profound compliments I've ever had foster my unstable spirit. But while we communicate almost to a mind meld when in the presence of the other, long absences and her ever-wandering eye for sexual excitement elsewhere has left their telltale tracks on my love psychology, as the words keep pouring in, and the tonguekisses, and fingergroping, and the lapdances, and displays of nudity, and even the spreading of the black forest of sexual secrets as late as five years into my marriage with Sue. And now Jennifer was married, undivorced, and still no more a legally free sexual lizard than myself, although she was decidedly with the extra eighty pounds and thigh pimples I was carrying, more of a catch that I could ever pretend to be. Preoccupied with specific enigmas of my own seasoned worth I was still struggling to penetrate as I calibrated my parachute into the dark-eyed forest of Jennifer's parrying lust, a lust that this seasonal break had graciously prepared. No time like the bounty of the present, we had agreed to believe. Snatch from others before they snatched from you, Jennifer had haughtily explained during some otherwise unsurprising post-coital moment a few years before. Appalled at the time, I kept shuttered my opposing counsel, and soon learned to adapt her streetwise feminism to the face to face requirements of my own game logic. No present like the gifts of lust when she's right there humming your name. This, dear friends, was the basic principle some of us imagined the rapidly expanding universe was supremely groomed to respect.

stilllife2xShe had already that morning reveled in the notion that sex with Tim was impossible. No nookie last night or this morning. "That's strike two! Only one more night, and you're out!" I exclaimed in my best Jerry voice. There were no more details. No biggie. I was charting my own rough seas. I truly believed, odd as it seemed, that the third strike would solve the pesky problems of to whom and exactly when Jennifer would serve in the careful night that her own acts of shameless lust, shell games, and mollycoddle leftovers would take her. Then there would be New Year's Eve and the limosine extravaganza, if we could ever confirm a driver. Sue was still working behind the scenes on the problem. She assured me things would work out. Rick Alcalde had stepped in, and exerting some influence. An Arab named Ali was tenative. Patience, Gabriel, patience. I had news for her. I was practicing a very ruthless form of patience with every breath I took. One more night, and it would be strike three for Tim.

But I was showing sympathy for Tim. At the kitchen table I defended Tim's valor and good manners.

       "Jennifer, you know, Tim's had it tough with women. His very first was some radical feminazi, not to be redundant, but to show emphasis, a "woman" named Elizabeth. She practically ruined any natural impulses even the shyest guy might show in normal gender chase scenarios. He's only been with three women I believe, but it's not like he doesn't try. He repeatedly gets twisted up in situations he plays perfectly but which always seem to crumble in some 'Oh I've got a boyfriend' rap, when he finally gets up enough nerve after trying to interpret all the signs properly to ask her to some event, usually a show, maybe a Christmas office party, or some generally safe outing. Tim's a perfect gentleman. None of that 'hey baby, let's hang at the Crow Bar, get drunk and screw' shenanigan for Timothy Scott Shipman. But it never works out. Despite what I consider an overload of detrimental habits Tim doesn't hurt for friends, male or female. Plenty of chicks want to be his friend, but won't treat him like a man with a dick. I sympathize, I really do. These women seek him out at work, call him on the phone, are just in the neighborhood et cetera, and yet it all collapses with that old female standby, oh I've got a boyfriend."

images-2Jennifer listened. A wicked smile was forcing itself into one corner of her plump pouty lips and along the ethnic proportions of her maximum eyes. Her skinny frame could be measured like gold but was as pale as Romanian snowcaps spotted only with a scatter of tiny black moles, for beauty is a card that always gets played on both sides of the crack in a blocked equivocating gush. My fair lady's oversized white tee-shirt hung straight to just below her hips, where the barely concealed black triangle of penal amalgamation held firmly in check bare legs of an active New York City sophisticate along the curvature of her perfectly plush baby cheeks. Didn't say much, but still she listened with an attentive responsiveness I sorely missed in my own number one. A playful growth of dark hair made its way from her tiny wrists up arms crossed loosely against her alabaster flats, as I laid out the laundry list recalling one longtime friend's handsome manhood to another longtime friend who now, as I think back, always one to revel in the past, could always be counted on to reek with a persuasive unabashedness, a wafting perfume of charm and self-assuredness that always fills the room wherever she goes, even if playing dumb is the program she happens to be compiling or executing at the time. I placed a cup of Earl Grey on the marble garden table we used as our primary dining furniture when we weren't plopped in front of the national vibrator, the television set, telling her that when reduced to a prime number, Tim was always the gentleman's gentleman. This was one trait I was certain the two of us shared (degree depending on barometer readings, the culture in which we stirred or were buttressing, and the price of tea in China). Nevertheless, within our own circulation various femme divines and their counterparts, the fatales would love us, pamper us, covet some feature like my eyelashes, et cetera, or at least that was the case during most of my first three decades before my unfairly fair looks went south and my outspokenness apparently took on a more frightening apparel, but like the annoying and sinister creak in the patently bored, they simply have never wanted to date us back in the day or fuck us if it came to that, no, just friends, just friends, just friends, damn that primal pecking order...

She'd even married a rather goofy-looking, goofy in an English sort of way, harmless-souled bloke with stringy hair down to his knee-knocker bollocks, named Desmond Connelly, a drummer in whatever occasional rock band would offer him a gig, in the meantime. One of his bands had once opened for Daisy Chainsaw, and so claimed a leg up in the race for FUCK ME fame, but I admit I now forget their name.
I wondered what she meant. Here we were curled across each other's legs when I finally dug in my cleats, kicking up some dust that had settled over volumes of unchallenged specialty rants. Jennifer was quite vocal in singling out guys she would simply melt to meet. And she was equally bombastic in slagging the run of the mill, the grotesque, the merely fat and ugly whenever the topic or her eyes would beg the question, which spelled biblical proportions. Again in NYC last May, one night she was treating us to the steamy public access channel. Male after male failed to meet her specifications. I listened in astonishment as she pelted the screen with her invectives. These were amateurs. There were fat guys, skinny guys, hairy and balding guys. Modestlooking women, lookers, and worse, sucked and spread the cape cod for them and the camera. Jennifer admitted to being put off by the glams, as I piped in to defend the ordinary against the pros. So what was her problem? Jennifer was obssessed by looks, anyone who knew her knew that, but her aesthetic standard was some fuzzy line drawn in the sand on a windy day. Jennifer herself is not a classic beauty, but she was nobody's fleadog either.

I wanted to know more about what drove her to these distinctions, almost to a rage, whenever she saw or thought about two people fucking, or buying clothes, or walking down the street.

"Yeah, what's THAT about?" she'd bellowed in May as we discussed sitcoms sprawled across her bed while Sue hacked away nearby at Jennifer's old 386 monstrosity trying to fathom her Windows OS and why the diskful of bondage JPEGs we had brought her as a gift were not viewing properly, "There's no way Trudy would be with THAT guy in real life." She was referring to NBC's The Single Guy, and more specifically, the character Sam happily married to Trudy, that Asian sizzlebutton, played by...

Here on the Dollhouse sofa, carefully weighing the consequences, I wanted to finally strike a blow for clarity.

poster-wall"You know Queenie, I've listened to you rage against the physical appearance of men for years now, and have never quite understood it. I remember back in the Eighties when you would squish and squoosh over the glam boys in the bands, and now you seem to go out of your way to slag guys that I think look a whole lot better than me. How am I supposed to feel buckled up against this kind of analysis as you drape yourself all over me?" She hated to be called Queenie. Her step-father called her Queenie, and she hated him. Jennifer knew how to hate. It was true we hadn't actually stuck the duck since '89 I figure, but that was about the only area of intimacy we hadn't shared since then. She'd even married a rather goofy-looking, goofy in an English sort of way, harmless-souled bloke with stringy hair down to his knee-knocker bollocks, named Desmond Connelly, a drummer in whatever occasional rock band would offer him a gig, in the meantime. One of his bands had once opened for Daisy Chainsaw, and so claimed a leg up in the race for FUCK ME fame, but I admit I now forget their name. She hadn't until our May train trip to New York even seen Sue since '88, but that reunion was a pleasant enough long weekend, although as usual Sue suffered a bit more than the two of us. Well hell, Sue paid for nearly all Jennifer's eats and drinks, even cab fares that entire weekend, so goddamned happy I suppose we were to get out of the house, and get to see her in the big city just as she was leaving it—buying friendship perhaps? Actually things almost ended as soon as they began. I was about ready to peel out of Manhattan the very next morning after we arrived in late afternoon by train.

We had gone out to eat and on the way back to her place, Jennifer instead wanted to dip into this dirty floor males only dive. Within minutes of our first beer, she eyeballed some gaga longhaired guy she wanted to shag. Off she went to squat on the stool next to him. There were no other squats available at the bar. I plunked down on a hard wooden plank solo in front of the pool table. A bellyful of Mexican cuisine had made this long day even that much longer. I was beat. Sue, now sitting alone in a booth across the bar, was fading fast, blackout mode, a rarity for her, but thanking our personal angelic guardians, whenever I'm in control of myself, she ain't. When I'm in blackout mode, she's okay, can drive, et cetera. It's an amazing thing, but after thirteen years of examples, we know each other's signs, and the angels know us both, and keep us balanced accordingly, so far, knock on woody's woodpecker, a hundred percent safety record. Our troubles multiply when we party apart, so we try to not stray too far. I don't mean we cling, I mean we go out together. If one or the other of us stays home, there is not the other to pick up the slack.

Meanwhile, after ten minutes or so of pool table blip, I graviate over to Sue Baby. She's shellshocked. Her face is warped, her eyes zippered in flatliner notes, nothing getting in, nothing getting out, her speech as slurred as David Duke's Louisiana gubernatorial campaign in the national press. Boy, that was quick. She had been fine a half hour ago at the restaurant, but I knew her pain. Here we were all the way up from DC on Jennifer's last weekend in the Big Apple (her calendar for visitation rights) before she relocated to Ithaca and Cornell, and guess what, she's on the prowl. All the while she's been feeding me lines like she never goes out, never gets laid, never, never...

WELL, EYE NEVER!

It was time to get Sue to bed. I slid from the wooden booth and approached the Cornellian Bitch now furiously in heat.

"Jennifer. Sue's way past the point of no return. She needs to get to bed. I certainly don't want to interfere with your evening, so if you have a spare set of keys, or will just take a cab back to your flat to let us in, you can then return, and I'd really appreciate it..."
"Okay, give me about ten minutes, and I'll come with you. That sounds like a good plan," she replied with a wink in her voice and a crosshair in her eyes. I returned to Sue, still bleached beyond inert status. She was falling. We waited. We waited. We waited. I threatened several times to make a pest of myself in front of Jennifer and this artistic boy, but I restrained myself and finally she was off her stool, and we were out the door hailing a cab, Sue propped up on steel-wool whiskers of a cat cruising along at least its eighth life in a decade, collapsing into bed fully clothed, finally killing the cat. I, on the other hand, tired but sober and maybe somewhat constipated, was heavy with disgruntlement that Jennifer was pulling this disappearing act, but I wasn't going to let on. Obviously, she needed to prove something to herself, and to us. "Go have a good time, get fucked in the biggest way!" I laughed as she shot me that wicked eye mote one last time, tossing her long black hair in a quick self-assuring whip as she pulled the door to the fifth floor Lexington Avenue walkup quietly shut. I fell asleep I'm sure but soon I was awakened by the crying.

Jennifer was back in the apartment, balling lion's tears. Her crying lasted for ten minutes, no, twenty, maybe thirty minutes. This was an old familiar tune for her. All those punk rock nights when she'd hurl herself into electrifying tantrums and fits only to collapse like the mournful baby tiger burning bright into a squelching night that junkies down on 15th Street would wager would never end. It would be the next day before I would hear all the dumb, gratifying details of this latest, but I knew she had been stood up. I remained quiet, daring not stir even as traffic on Lexington still rolled on, I imagined. I didn't know what time it was supposed to be where or with whom, but I figured it was time to let this event fade away to the spectral light. Frankly, I don't comfort others very well. It's not in my DNA. Well, it might be in my DNA, but it damn sure wasn't introduced to me in enough quantity or quality to amount to a strong suit in my upbringing. I really have to know something reassuring about a person before I can open up in that way. I'd found both Jim Morrison's Giant Feast of Friends and family blood is thicker than water panaceas to fall far short of the mark, and approach certain aspects of human tradition as suspect until I have something real to share. Keep away from boilerplate sensation. I'm pretty much tangential to the "comforting words" curve in ordinary circumstances. So I didn't want to hear her sad tale regardless of what time it was inside that black room. All I knew was, she was moody and her mood was dark, and it was too late to turn her clock around. She'd failed in her devious dismissal of her guests from DC. For this bit of cheek, I was winking to the cracks in the walls, confident that even the sensually replete knew the bitter sting of coming up short during a spotty career of last calls. Details in the morning. That would be soon enough. Soon enough I said to myself, after she had the gall to tell her powerboy that we were her parents from out of town visiting...

8f74Sooooo, dark eyes flashing, she announces she had come to the master. Despite her quiet moods, when Jennifer had something to say, her words could pick the teeth right out of your spit-shined mouth one red tooth at a time.

I never got much of a response to my question. She had her quirks like the rest of us. So I let it rest. Pecking order questions pushed their way to the table of contents my mind kept refreshed at unheard of megahertz speeds on their way to the consequence grinder, shades of Pink Floyd's The Wall tearing across the penny, the railroad cars, and the faceless vegematics of modern love syllables. She had come to the master, she says. Of course it was only recently, through our E-mail splash during the summer of 1996 that she was even giving me the benefit of the doubt in being a writer of consequence after years of failing to return letters I had written her save an occasional holiday card, but I never rocked the boat on those issues in the past. Hell, I even had to force feed my own wife the canvas of words I called writing. She has NEVER wanted to read them on her own volition, while I've had to demand she listen as I read them to her on those occasions I was desparately needing some minor sort of recognition or feedback, simple attention or to make a point. She always shot back with the same, "As usual baby, your stuff is good. What do you want me to say?" Jack Johnson, in many ways, the sharpest and the deepest of my 1980s friends, meanwhile could never bring himself to read much of my writing, always claiming a bout with dyslexia, or that he preferred to read my novels not in chunks but once all together in a full book. Steve Taylor recently had come bursting upon the scene declaring first his own pride in literature, and topping that with the cherry bomb that what I was writing was literature of the first order.

Another newcomer Lynn Landry has never stooped to such trusty accolades, but she has consistently offered strong support since we first began corresponding after she took off for pink rasputious SF, California soon after shacking up with Jack last winter. Tom Howell and Len Bracken suspect me of incomprehensible mutterings worthless to one and all, Blumstein too, although in the last year it seems he has begun to respect me on a level that makes sense to me, as well as to him, leaving me to exclaim, "We've come a long way, Baby!" Tim Shipman once declared that he didn't understand poetry, and that he didn't always understand me, but he recognized genius, and I was some kind of genius. Peter Burris had heard from Edd Jacobs in 1986 that I was a smart cookie, but Peter had seen little evidence of it, and instead he was watching from afar the ever jugular rat races to peg his own winners and losers still perched like stray cats upon the language police blotter with whatever sense he could make of it all, just in case his own maturing snobbery might wane.

Review: Guy Debord, Revolutionary


31 Jan

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Guy Debord & Etienne

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Originally published on January 31, 1997

I'm glad I went into detail. I checked my database. November 14 was the transition date from Big Al to the current notation.

You asked me for editorial comments on "GUY DEBORD - Revolutionary" by the indefatigable Len Bracken. I have not forgotten, and was quite pleased that you asked for details of my impressions, so I suppose I should lay in a few lines on the topic right here, seeing as life is settling down again for me, and shorter than a thrice-used candlestick.

Considering the Situationist International's (SI) big cheese was, by revolutionary and philosophical necessity, a subterranean conspiracy veiled in secrecy, trapped in a state of chaos by idiosyncracies leaning toward an accelerated paranoia and strong diva tendancies, the volume was a decent read for the first biography ever written about the man (vested propoganda offered as fact by Len) in English. Especially for newcomers to Guy Debord and the SI. I was surprised by the general sense of objectivity in handling the material, having presumed Bracken to be a terminal sycophant of Debord as the self-anointed philosopher king of the whole romanticized SI movement.

I was able to argue plainly and successfully my objections with Len to the man and the philosophy based on details the book offered over the last week of proofing and finalizing the 420 page manuscript. The author's style was rather straightforward, his own voice almost non-existent, a minor flaw in the book as I pointed out to Len.

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Guy Debord Revolutionary

As any serious reader might be, I was plagued with the question, who is this Len Bracken fellow of few daylight credentials? Again, I emphasize, this was no ordinary biography, given the secrecy of much subversive material hidden by its originators, so as might be expected much of the narrative is speculative and heresay. Debord's two wives are still alive, intellectuals in their own right, and yet were not interviewed personally by the biographer.

And while Bracken's bibliography and footnotes are extensive, this dependency on so much second and third hand information will no doubt register as a flaw with serious reviewers. Historical threads of Debord's intellectual ancestors are woven rather seamlessly into the cloth of the story, while personal anecdotes from behind the scenes are perhaps in short number. By the end of the volume I had gained probably for the first time ever a respect for both the biographer and the subject, while still disdaining the ultimate outcome of such a philosophical stance. Debord was a tyrant and a romantic. He carved up friendships with bold sweeping strokes. (Hmmm, something I might actually respect in the man given my own circumstances.)

Bracken indeed proved himself capable of putting flesh and flaw onto the man and the myth, much to the book's advantage. To his credit, Bracken's usual bluster and misplaced pomposity (Bracken's Breath) that this was a book that will be read for 500 years fortunately was kept out of the pages, and I could only plead in a feeble GT grit and grunt that my own ears had not been spared the oft repeated utterance, no doubt a trumped up cry for respect of a very needy author and personality.

I had to insist repeatedly that I was no cheerleader type, no empty flatterer, a symptom of my childhood no less, but that my comments were sincere and as comprehensive as I could make them. It was a roller coaster ride around here, but I think we did a pretty damn good job on the proofing, the layout, and an unbias review of the material. Could he not just leave it at that? Needless to say, I was not sad to see that job finished, and a satisfied Bracken wheeling out the door.

I am promised another $250 plus two copies of the finished product to add to the original $500. One can only speculate if I'll ever see either. Small press insecurities chewed at Len persistently over the month we worked together. Adam Parfrey is not intentionally a fly by nighter, but the Feral House Books wing span ain't exactly an eagle's badge of honor either...

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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