Wednesday, January 27, 2016

It wasn't personal

He asked death to get him off the hook for old time's sake, but it couldn't be done. It was only business.

Abe Vigoda, best known as tessio in The Godfather and Det. Fish on Barney Miller. Has died. Along with him dies my dream of making a film called Planet of the Abes.

Abe and Spider Man

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

If only we had been nicer to the slave owners!



Hillary went off the rails 
 at the town hall that served as a debate. She suggested that reconstruction was bad and the cause of racial issues in America. Did she study history in college? Does she know how offensive that statement is? WTF, Hillz. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

His base

It looks like O'Malley has tied up the support of his base. This dude

How Trump Becomes President

I can imagine only one scenario in which Donald Trump could become President. That scenario is this:

Trump wins the Republican Nomination. Hillary wins the Democratic nomination. Bloomberg runs as an independent candidate. Hillary is "damaged" by some "scandal". Bloomberg scoops up enough votes in Florida and New York and throw those two big states to the Republicans. Trump wins a narrow victory in the electoral college.

That is the nightmare scenario. Fucking Bloomberg.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Trump v Cruz

Vox discusses why some of the GOP elite seem to prefer Trump to Cruz. They get it dead wrong. The reason the Bob Dole wing of the Republican party prefers Donald Trump over Ted Cruz is simple. Trump can't win, Cruz possibly could.

The calculation is this: Trump on the top of the ballot guarantees that Hillary Clinton (or Berni Sanders) becomes president and likely gives control of congress back to the Democrats. Dole et al think that the Republican party can survive that over the long term.

On the other hand, a Cruz candidacy is likely to create the same effect, but there is a small chance that Cruz could win. A Cruz presidency would wreck the economy for a generation. It would be a disaster of diplomacy. The nation would almost certainly enter into at least one new war. Our allies would possibly abandon us. We would come very close to becoming a failed state. And no other Republican could be elected president in generations.
\

That is their fear. It is a rational fear.

Notes Toward a Unified Philosophy

Notes Toward a Unified Philosophy
by Nathan Tyree
1. It is always the case that either p or ~p. This follows from the rule of non-contradiction. It is with this singular fact of logic that we begin to build (and justify) an integrated belief system. Any system of belief that does not take account of this rule will knock the pins out from under itself, and collapse.

2. Although certainty is an impossible goal (from Descartes) we can have knowledge of an objective reality external to ourselves. If one fails to believe in an objective reality, we are free to assume that they suffer from a disassociate disorder (e.g. schizophrenia). Berkley, of course, argues counter to this.

3. Cheese fries with bacon are tasty. Not just tasty in the highly subjective use of the word, but down right delicious. Berkley also argues counter to this, but he was nuts. The tastiness of cheese fries stands as a singular objective fact about external reality.

4. I am the empty space where a man used to stand. A cipher. A zero. Or just slightly less. This knowledge, this understanding of what I have become is strictly a priori.

5. An a priori understanding is that knowledge which can be had independently of any sense data, or previous experience. All things which can be taken as a priori can be gleaned from reason alone. The a posteriori, on the other hand, requires some previous knowledge, or sense data. 2+2=4 is an example of a priori knowledge, whereas the location of the Red Sea is strictly a posteriori.

6. She is gone. I know this to be true from observation. It is, in fact, a narrowly true logical proposition. That is, by substituting synonyms for the words in this premise we would develop a second true proposition (true in the narrow sense. There are no broadly true logical propositions). From the fact that she is gone I can continue to extrapolate the knowledge that she will not return. Neither will Pinkerton.

6a. Although I could not posit that no other sentient beings exist, I can conclude from observation that no other sentient beings are in this house. The cat does not count.

7. There is no god. We accept the common Judeo-Christian-Muslim definition of god (see Anselm) as the greatest conceivable being. We follow also the standard understanding of god as some entity that possesses a litany of wonderful attributes (these include, but are not limited to: omnipotence, omniscience, omni-benevolence, and an unchanging timeless nature). We further believe that this definition is self-contradictory, and therefore incoherent (see 1 above, see also Epicurus). No such being can exist (in reality).

8. We also accept that without god (or some external force) life can have no intrinsic meaning. Since she was the prime mover, the giver of meaning, without her life is meaningless. We follow with Sartre the belief that for man (and man alone) existence precedes essence. We are uncertain what this implies about freedom.

9. She muttered things under her breath as she packed. These were things I probably didn't want to hear. Even if she had said them loudly, I would have ignored them; would have blocked them out. I closed myself in the bathroom, letting the door serve as a thin barrier between us.

10. I feel like a rusty carburetor in a world of sleek fuel injection systems and computerized starters. A 1976 Chevy Impala that has been junked, stripped for scrap and piled or filed away behind the high fence that marks the edge of some back country road where a city will never grow.

11. The second law of thermodynamics tells us that the universe is in an increasing state of entropy. It all goes to shit in the end. Even the sun is running down like an old watch.

11a. We are all on the fast track to oblivion.

12. Her hair is brown, hangs around her shoulders or rests in a bun at the top of her head, and always smells like violets. Her eyes are an impossible shade of blue. They are so pale as to be almost transparent. Those eyes can harden; become obsidian, adamantine, and intractable. Those eyes can cut.

13. She left some of her clothes behind.

14. I'm just wasting time here. This is the equivalent of mental masturbation.

15. Morality is subjective. It is a product of culture and the human tendency toward empathy. Since we can account for our moral judgments psychologically there is no need to posit some natural objective standard of morality. Don't even get me started on Euthyphro.

16. She didn't agree. Neither did that little blonde.

16a. Humans are classified as serially monogamous. I was sure that she would understand my primate nature. Walking into our bedroom, she lost sight of that. I guess these truths don't always apply on the individual level.

17. The door slammed so hard that the entire house shook. I was crouched on the edge of the sofa, pretending to smoke a cigarette. I didn't run after her. I didn't beg her to come back. At least I've still got my dignity.

18. Dignity isn't everything.

19. It is absence that defines existence. Darkness is the absence of light. Cold is the absence of heat. Death is the absence of life. This room is full of absence. It is absolutely brimming with lack. Nothingness. The vase may be beautiful, but it is the empty space inside that lends it utility. Life is kind of the opposite. See 8 above.

20. My grandfather used to grow corn, and potatoes, and peas, and every other vegetable you could imagine. He would spend hours every day working the soil in his little garden, turning it and plowing it. It was, I suppose, a sort of meditation. Now he can't remember his own wife. For a deeper understanding of the implications of this see The Antichrist by Nietzsche.

21. I received an e-mail the other day that was titled: "Lose weight while you die with the Dr. Kevorkian starvation diet". It was sandwiched between missives promising to add inches to my penis, and help me find an affordable home loan. I deleted it. Maybe I shouldn't have.

22. When I close my eyes I see her damn face. It's like she's hovering over me. She's in cinemascope, in Technicolor, in THX surround sound. She bounces around my head like a record some asshole neighbor plays too loud at three am. She won't let me sleep. She doesn't want me to eat. I'd call her if I knew where she went.

23. Her mom hasn't heard from her. Unless, that is, she's lying.

24. Humans are purely material beings. We do not posses a non-physical spirit, mind or soul. We do not survive death. We are also prey to entropy (not to mention a certain species of politic worm). Anyone who says differently is selling something.

25. I feel like radio static in the space between AM stations with lousy reception on a long drive across the darkened highways of the rain splattered upper Midwest on the cusp of a new century.

26. I also feel like a head in a vat. I can't think of any counter argument that could convince me that I am definitely not a head in a vat. Fucking Descartes. I read about a two headed baby. I don't feel any less freakish than that weird little mutation. They're going to cut off the extraneous head. I don't think that's fair.

27. Nihilism may be the answer. Self destruction also seems like a viable option. Maybe I'll increase my cigarette habit.

28. I miss her.

29. The Hemlock society suggests taking a large overdose of narcotics, then putting a large plastic bag over your head and holding it in place with a big rubber band. This way if you vomit, you will still suffocate. It's supposed to be painless; down right humane. It certainly beats the hell out of putting a bullet through your skull. If I did shoot myself it would wreck the living room. Who the hell would clean up the mess? It's a moot point anyway. I don't have a gun. Pills though, I've got plenty of those.

30. Socrates drank hemlock.

31. An axiom's truth cannot be determined through the truth of its parts.

32. QED

Thursday, January 21, 2016

America



America

Old Fish

Down here the min­ing com­pa­nies built the towns. Every­one owed their liv­ing to the min­er­als com­ing from the belly of the earth. Even if they didn't swing a pick in the dark, they worked at one of the room­ing houses, shops, or saloons that the min­ers needed. As things will, the shaft min­ing dried up. The bosses brought in giant elec­tric shov­els for strip min­ing and most of the min­ers, no longer needed, left to find work on farms or in fac­to­ries. The big shov­els tore wounds in the earth. to get to the coal, nickel and Galena hid­den below. Those giant ruts stayed and even­tu­ally the sky filled them and they became lakes that would out­last the com­pa­nies respon­si­ble for them. Around here they call them strip pits. Some of the pits were fed by streams and with the rains came the fish. They grew in abun­dant vari­ety and every young man was expected to make his first catch in one of those pits. The giant shov­els, aban­doned, were left to rot where they stood; not unlike the min­ers that pre­dated them.

When I was five my dad took me on my first real fish­ing trip. He would have got­ten to it ear­lier, but he had spent most of my life on the road build­ing a pipeline to move nat­ural gas across the coun­try. We took his lit­tle flat bot­tomed row boat out to County Pit 23 and shoved off into the water. He rowed while I looked around at the oak and elm trees that lined the banks. I was try­ing to spot a sas­safras tree so we could dig up some root and make tea that night. My best mem­o­ries of my dad up to then were of boil­ing the root, strain­ing it then adding just enough sugar before we hud­dled together on the couch and watched what­ever mind­less thing the TV had to offer.

Dad found a good spot and handed me my rod. It was a trusty Zebco 33. His was fancier. We were after cat­fish and flat­heads so we used chicken liver as bait. Chicken liver is great for cat­fish. When it hits the water the blood spreads and swirls and the smell moves out like a sig­nal. Cat­fish are drawn like sharks from hun­dreds of yards away. Shad works well too, but you can never get the stink off your hands.
Dad popped the to
p on a can of Pabst and cast his line. Some­thing hit almost imme­di­ately. He strug­gled a bit, then pulled in a small cat. It was too lit­tle, so he tossed it back.

Grow some more, lit­tle man,” he said to the fish as he let it slither back into the murk.
Two hours of that and dad had hooked three good sized cats. All I had man­aged to catch was a baby drum, which I badly wanted to keep.

No, son,” the old man said, “we’ll come back and catch him when he’s all grown up.”
I asked for help rebait­ing my hook. Dad linked the liver over my hook then I cast into a shady spot near the bank and waited. Min­utes passed. I kept watch­ing the bank, want­ing some­thing to hap­pen. Then my line went tight. Some­thing big. I thought that I had the daddy of all cat­fish on the end of that line. The thing wanted to pull me into the water as badly as I wanted to pull it out.

Dad grabbed my arms and helped steady me while I fought. When the thing cleared the water I was ter­ri­fied. The thing looked like a leg­less croc­o­dile with fins. It was part mon­ster, part dinosaur and part fish and I knew that it wanted me. Its  dead eyes spoke of rep­til­ian hunger and pre­his­toric rage. This was that crea­tures’  planet and he wanted it back.

I took hold of the rough thing and tried to work the hook out of its razor jaw. My fin­gers went too deep and I felt the fire as the sharp teeth sipped through my flesh. Blood seemed to be every­where and dad moved so fast that the boat almost over­bal­anced. He tore the thing from my hands and cut the line with his pocket knife. The mon­ster slith­ered back into the murky water with tan­gles of my skin still hang­ing from its teeth.

I watched the gar until it van­ished into the mud and knew that I would never swim in that pit again.

First appeared in Fried Chicken and Coffee

This seems like theft

So, I discovered that apparently someone is giving away copies of Mr. Overby is Falling (that's one of my books). This site lists it as a free download.

No one got my permission for this. I think this is theft.

I'm a bit upset.

Poor Old Ezra

We keep Ezra Pound in a cage and charge the suckers in the crowd five bucks a head to file silently past and watch with slack jaws and milky eyes as the old man squats, naked, bestial and recites endlessly from the Cantos .

Toback leans in close to me, his shoulders descending from his neck as if a lead weight were hanging on them, sighs without remorse and says: "You take too much." I let my hand slide down the cool of metal that describes the bars that hold the old beast sternly in place. Somewhere, just beyond my understanding, I ache.

Occasionally someone will try to speak to the old poet and he will growl. The noise, guttural and raw rises from his throat and the crowd pauses. They wonder if this is the beginning of some new poem. Perhaps a sonnet. Perhaps a foray into postmodernism. They've never read Moby Dick.

Pound squints his eyes at them. They are eyes filled with dark light and bad intentions. Those eyes speak of things best not considered. They speak of ovens and showers and badly skewed rhymes.
A small boy, his hair askew, breaks from his mothers grasp, runs to the cage and shoots his tiny ballad fist between the bars. Ezra Pound stops and move toward the child. At first it seems that he will attack. But then, and with much portent, Pound gives the boy his annotated copy of The Wasteland and a few worn crayons.


and this 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Trump can command fire?



So troops, hang in there, because help’s on the way because he, better than anyone, isn’t he known for being able to command fire!

- Sarah Palin endorsing Donald "the fire man" Trump

PalinTrump

This is no surprise. It is kind of delightful to see the crazy stupid people find each other.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Last Debate


At the risk of sounding tautological, Clinton lost by not winning. The trends aren't in her favor at the moment. Sanders is gaining in Iowa and is starting to be treated like a serious candidate by the press. Her attempts to attack Sanders's support for single-payer health care this week were widely perceived as backfiring, especially among liberal primary voters who might be tempted to support Clinton out of practicality. She needed to a debate in which she could show that Sanders was out of his depth, not someone you could plausibly see actually functioning as president. She didn't do that this time around.

Vox

It seems pretty clear that Sanders won this debate. Will it be enough to push him over the top in Iowa?

Friday, January 15, 2016

John Goodman v Godzilla



10 cloverfield lane

This trailer is alluring. Honestly, they had me at Goodman.

schadenfreude

Lawyers, Guns and Money tackles the legal argument surrounding birther-ism. It's a great article, and reminds us all to enjoy the irony of Ted Cruz's chickens coming home to roost.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trump's Hitler- er, we mean Freedom Youth




Although I question your commitment to Sparkle Motion, I offer this video without comment.

A free Book

My novel Stygiophilia is now on line, free - feel free to read it. Or don't. Whatever.

here it is

Healthcare at Vox

This article at VOX does a very good job of explaining the Sanders - Clinton healthcare fight. But, with one massive error: They call Clinton's rightward movement on healthcare an attack from the left of Sanders. That's madness or stupidity.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Bears

Jezebel has the best review of The Revenant that we have read so far:

The undeniable standout performance in The Revenant is obvious to me. It’s all anyone’s talking about. The real hero of this otherwise C-grade dud is the BEAR who came out of hibernation to do this shit. They asked her (Yes, you SEXIST) to rip this guy to shreds and the only headlines she gets are about a completely misinterpreted bear rape scene.

Read the entire review here

Dog Whistle Through a Loudspeaker

"These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty … these types of guys … they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. […] Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road."

That's Maine Governor Paul LePage. He actually said that, in public on the record. Doesn't he know that you are supposed to save the KKK rhetoric for closed door meetings with supporters?

here's more on this

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Asleep inside a deconstructed horse



Alejandro Inarritu’s The Revenant is a massive film. Big is the word that keeps crashing in your brain while watching it. The vistas are big. The Themes are big. The characters are big (psychologically if not always physically). The brutality is big.  This is just a big damned film. 

Brutal is another word that cannot be escaped. Toward the end of the movie there is a fight in which one character has his fingers chopped off and it is the least violent thing to happen in the scene. This is Cormac McCarthy violence. Blood Meridian violence.  And it is everywhere.  The Americans are violent. The French are violent. The Native Americans are violent. And, above and beyond all of that, nature is violent. In tooth and claw and trunk and branch.

Perhaps the most extraordinary part of this film is the camera. Inarritu uses a disinterested style in which, through long almost languid shots, the camera finds the actions (or sometimes fails to find it). We in the audience must just observe. The camera, like nature, is disinterested.

I recognize that my thoughts here are scattered – I saw this at an advance screening last night and have not really slept yet. Sorry

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Roger Simon on guns



Thank you, Roger Simon:


I say sadly because it is hard to believe that, between now and Election Day, we will not have more mass shootings, more preventable deaths, more avertible tragedies.
“The gun lobby may be holding Congress hostage right now. But they cannot hold America hostage,” Obama said. “We maybe can’t save everybody, but we can save some.”
The president is trying to save some. Your vote is an opportunity to save more. And it is better than just shedding a tear.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Antonin Scalia, the worst person in America

Antonin Scalia is the worst person in America. I don't say that he is teh worst American, because he is decidedly Un-American. He is a slow witted bigot. A dimwit to rival all others. And this fuckwit, blowhard, empty suit with no understanding of history or the constitution has more power than nearly any other person in the nation.

This man is the best argument for voting only for Democrats for President for the rest of history.

YeeHawd

These are all on the Twitter:

#YallQueda #YeeHawd #VanillaISIS #YokelHaram #CowTippingTerrorists #FailQueda #Infantada #WhiteSIS #SaturdayNightTreason 

Why? Because redneck gunhumpers decided to commit arson on a federal wildlife reserve and when that sociopathic behavior led to legal consequences, more redneck idiots with guns decided to stage an armed insurrection. In an act of terrorism / stupidity they have invaded government buildings. This is low rent terrorism at its dumbest.

Wants some links to the story? Here ya go:

one 

two 

buckle my shoe 

Bigots

This sentence sums it up:


But living in a country where supporting and encouraging hate is part of political discourse is a grind.


Lawyers, guns and money