Tuesday, November 23, 2010

When does a cat get the better of a man?

You know the old debate - which is better: dog or cat? It gives people something to talk about.

But there's also an interesting switcheroo that happens to men regarding felids and canids. Domestic dogs generally skew masculine and cats swing feminine. Thus the phenomenon of men expressing their masculinity with dogs and dog metaphors and women expressing their femininity with cats and cat metaphors.

But something happens to men's preference when we leave the domestic realms. Men leave dog behind for cat. While wolves and larger canines have of course seen their place in the field of machismo, they can't hold a bone to the big cat allegiance that captivates macho men from Vlad Putin to Mike Tyson to the late brothers, Uday and Qusay Hussein. I'll leave it to the psychologists and the gender studies professors to unscramble the meaning of this shift. I'm just pointing it out.

("A Cabin Boy to Barbary" by Walton Ford)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Swords into semi-conductors...

In the wake of our global financial crisis I've been thinking about how we can save some money. And I got to thinking about all of these struggling orchestras around the planet. I mean do you know how many people it takes to fill an orchestra pit? How many gold trumpets and Stradivarius violins? Forget about dry cleaning all those gowns and tuxedoes, do you know how much a harp costs? It's a lot of money. So what if we were to rethink this whole dilemma. What if we were to radically cut back on the human cost of running these behemoths? What if we were to replace the cash-strapped orchestras with... a synthesizer!

OK next problem.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Homo sapiens sapiens...

An angry, vampiric species recognized by its dim deathwish and for taking pride in draining the lifeforce dry out of anything and everything around it and replacing this lifeforce with ever-more dumb and ugly so-called "development" schemes.

Want more?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Homo Sapiens...

A species obsessed with laying straight lines all over a round planet.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Plato's cave 2.0 ...

Even in motion, knowing there's more, while shackled to a clever reality, that begs to be outsmarted.

(photo by Isabella Rozendaal)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Now that Wills is getting hitched and the Beatles are on iTunes, now that plastic grocery bags are illegal in Los Angeles, now that the Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé, now that the lobsters are molting, and the pot is melting, let's celebrate the gods' snappy release of all this cosmic constipation with some brisk action! Everybody jump forward ten spaces. With purpose and precision.
Wow... Feels good. Onward!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

You can't handle the face...

I'm not sure about the public radio personalities where you live, but for many Americans the familiar roster of voices on NPR are an unquestioned part of our psychic furniture. From the rolling basso of Robert Siegel to the serious mezzo-soprano of Lakshmi Singh lies a spectrum of cool, mellifluous talkers filling us in on our world.

And as tempting as it may be to look up the faces of these old sonic allies, let me remind you that you'd be unleashing a genie that won't go back in any bottle. Once you've pondered the headshots of Sylvia Poggioli or Kai Ryssdal or Dina Temple-Raston, as I have, you'll never hear those voices again. In short, don't take a bite of that apple unless you have a damn good reason to etch the matronly swoop of Nina Totenberg's ginger bob into your retinas.

Hey, we can't all be Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.

Bonus: What's your NPR name?

Bonus Bonus: Gene vs. Terry

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Laughing to insight...

Continuing the thought from yesterday, here's a brilliant juxtaposition: Comedy and Economics! The Kilkenomics Festival, which takes place this weekend in Kilkenny, Ireland, pits outspoken comedians against top economists to get to the bottom of the world's money woes. Leave it to those verbally gifted Irish to come up with something so fantastical and relevant. I'm genuinely sorry to miss this. And I'll leave it to festival founder David McWilliams to explain why:

"If the average guy comes in and he sees a comedian asking a big question of the serious economists in a funny way, well, then ultimately people in the audience will say, yeah, I'm going to ask that question too. I now have permission to do so... If you think that knowledge is power, well, then giving people the knowledge, packaging the knowledge in such a way that the knowledge becomes accessible, that empowers the people. And a powerful people, an educated people is the type of people that don't make the same mistakes twice."

Oh, and I should mention that the festival has its own currency, the marble, which is legal tender at all festival venues.

David you have my full support on this project, and I hope to make it there to the festival next year.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Confounding Mix...

The compartmentalization of the psyche isn't a bad thing. You need to draw lines in your mind and be able to move from one headspace to another as reality dictates. But the compartmentalization of art and entertainment in the name of finding and exploiting so-called "target audiences" is getting me down.

What makes something interesting is often a function of juxtaposition. When you place a frame around something that is whole, something that is consistently itself, I end up lamenting the absence of something, rather than celebrating the (ho hum) singularity of what's in front of me.

Marilyn Minter's sexy caviar slurping photography offers a jolt, it's true, but even so I feel a little boxed in to that sexy caviar slurping modality. See what happens when you introduce a pigmy seahorse from a nature documentary into the mix? You've combined worlds, you've de-compartmentalized, you've built bridges, you've begun a dialog, you've conspired to bring down those market driven Berlin Walls in the name of something truly, um, undefined. In my view, dazzling, dynamic perplexity is a nice way forward.

(Minter v. Shallow Seas)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We revolt because we can no longer breathe...

The worlds of power will make demands on the worlds of people. It's natural. It doesn't have to be the evil warlords versus the wilted downtrodden. It can be the people and the systems who govern understanding that their efforts and their schemes produce resonant effects, some bearable and others an affront to our human conditions.

When we feel that these systems squelch too much of our being, our palette of behaviors, beliefs, identities, rights, and emotions, it is also natural that we should seek out new systems and new people to run and monitor the worlds of power. Voting is one way and rebellion is another. When the indignity crosses a certain line only the latter can express the proper discontent and usher in the proper ation. The pain and the violence of change must be recognized in a real and public way. Gentle communal violence and dignity is the way you get a nice velvety revolution.

(Still from Claire Denis' "35 Shots of Rum")

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Spoonfuls of Soma...

Of all the important things I really wanted to tell you today, and needed to get off my melon, nothing can escape the sheer blinding power of honey on vanilla ice cream. I'm blocked. And thoroughly drugged by the good sugars. I can only relay to you sizzle of the Pollock drizzle that freezes and then melts as you wait for the ice cream to find its proper temperature and texture. Lay it on a bed of shredded wheat as they do in Crete. Lay it on your troubles and watch them get sidelined for another fifteen minutes of taming. Lay into the bees and cows for stopping civilization dead in its tracks with their bedeviled treacles.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Gimme summa dat...

Creativity explained.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Welcome to my mind...

I'm so impressed with all of these people who call into radio shows and can talk through their thoughts so well. I mean the hosts are expected to communicate well, but when average citizens call in to let's say, Larry Mantle's nicely wordy morning show on KPCC, I'm generally surprised at how fluent and radio-ready us everyday citizens is. I'm aware that the callers are screened, which raises a whole other kettle of jellyfish. Maybe I'll create a radio show for people who are screened out of radio shows.

While I find myself being articulate and verbally gregarious at times, it also true that a certain portion of my consciousness is made up of wordless emotions and psychic weather systems that include dark clouds of angst and cerebral lightning. In conversation, I can and occasionally do fall into that side of the pie mid-sentence. In those instances, I am left having to explain to my conversation partners that I've lost my thought. It's embarrassing and also a little frightening, especially when you keep hearing all of those fast talkers on the radio box. Focus Pablo, focus!

I hate getting into an is there something wrong with me? state as much as the next cat. So, I've come to accept that sometimes life is like waking up in a bathtub of tar or molasses and not being able to understand why you are in a bathtub of tar or molasses.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The least just word is...

"Just"... It's most common usage, something close to "merely," often has a mean, reductive, and patently dismissive intent that some people bandy about in conversation just for kicks and control.

In other words, I seldom hear people going on about doing the just thing or whether we're fighting a just war. More likely, they're saying "Oh, he's just a blank" or "She's just a so and so" or my least favorite, "You just need to gross oversimplification..." It's one of those words that glibly collapses entire lives into little shit balls so that they might be flicked out of someone's golden way. And that kind of power play is just not nice. Or just. For those seeking justice, just sit still, it's just a matter of time before the unjust get their just deserts.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Mind guts...

In my new found mid-week bachelorhood, I've taken to solo movie watching (as opposed to the more erudite film viewing)... Just saw Shutter Island and my head is about to explode. What a colossal mind fuck! Did you see it? Did your brain melt out your ears and onto your shoulders like mine did?

I'm not evaluating movies on any logical criteria lately... I just watch whatever is lying around, less critically, more trying to "feel" the deep story and see how I react to the ideas and the ethics that drive the movie. You can learn a lot about how filmmakers portray/manipulate emotional narratives by doing this... interesting experiment. Intense!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Shepherding Syntonia...

What comes naturally to you and how does that stuff fare as you put it out there in the big real world? If you're in the head business, you will call that which is fundamental to you, the behaviors and ideas you have that reflect your beliefs and values, this: Syntonic. At the other end of the spectrum, Dystonic refers to thoughts, impulses, and behaviors that are felt to be repugnant, distressing, unacceptable or inconsistent with one's self-concept.

In the good movie The Secret in Their Eyes, bad guys are found and mysteries are solved when our heroes consider the syntonic behavior. "A man never changes his passion," says one of the characters, and this is the key to seeing through veils of confusion and deceit. In other words, people will naturally seek out their own syntonic behavior.

Taking the concept a little further, have you noticed that there are people who are very very good at enlisting others to enable their syntonic states into the fabric of reality? How does that work? Many successful people, artists and geniuses as well as many seriously dysfunctional people emit a kind of syntonic ray that sort of hypnotizes others into clearing a path for their way of being. Do we pick up on a strong and understandable syntonics at some level and then unconsciously commit to fostering conditions that will support them?

Many friendships/relationships are based on one's ability to know and respect another's syntonic states. You could say that one definition of "love" is when people are moved by and therefore deeply want to promote someone else's syntonia. How romantic is that?