Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Word of the Day: wamble

wamble (v)

To move in a wobbling or weaving manner; to rumble (as from an upset stomach)

"'Fancy her white hands getting redder every day, and her tongue losing its pretty up-country curl in talking, and her bounding walk becoming the regular Hintock shail and wamble!'
"'She may shail, but she'll never wamble," replied his wife, decisively.'"
--Thomas Hardy, The Woodlanders ("shail" means to walk sideways)

I haven't seen my (male) neighbor who wears a wig and a dress -- a miniskirt, in fact -- and wambles down the street in high heels since the other day. Or maybe I have and I just didn't recognize him out of drag. To each his/her own. Still, it's curious and not something I expected to see in this working-class district.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Random Acts of Poetry

lazy river

After Hard Rain

A puddle
makes a sad mirror,

another plane
of shadows.

Here a sky,
there a darkling

any fool can say

what's true.
At peace,

your thoughts paint

a slow river.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Quote of the Day

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
--Chuck Palahniuk

"The person who experiences greatness must have a feeling for the myth he is in. He must reflect what is projected upon him. And he must have a strong sense of the sardonic. This is what uncouples him from belief in his own pretensions. The sardonic is all that permits him to move within himself. Without this quality, even occasional greatness will destroy a man."
--Frank Herbert, Dune

I think the governor of South Carolina is feeling very relieved today.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sign of the Times?

blvd drinks

I just noticed today that one of my favorite Jersey City signs (above), a Journal Square touchstone of sorts, has been replaced by a "modern" version, a tawdry plastic slab. I won't drink to that.

(That's a picture I snapped of the sign a couple of years ago. Click it for the full glory.)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Search Continues

Recent Google searches that have brought people to this site:

Derrida for idiots

"In philosophy, you have to reckon with the implicit level of an accumulated reserve, and thus with a very great number of relays, with the shared responsibility of these relays." Idiots should just forget about Jacques, I think.

scenester hipster

If you're googling this, you are a hipster. Admit it. Go here: http://pitchfork.com/

Fay Wray nude

I get this one a lot. I must have blogged about King Kong at some point. I think there was a (censored) "nude" scene in that movie, but Kong's index finger covered up the naughty bits. Sorry, pervs.

spacesuited women

I get this one from time to time. Odd fetish, I must say. Ever made love to a woman in a spacesuit? You might also enjoy taking a shower while wearing a raincoat.

Rastafarian proctologist

Oh, this person needs help -- mental AND physical. Pokemon!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Word of the Day: rowel

rowel (n)

A small wheel with star-like points at the end of a cowboy's spur.

"The 'long-pointed rowel' was also looked upon with disfavor. The 'goose-neck' with the 'Texas-star rowel' was a popular spur, as was the 'flower rowel,' a large spur with many points set close together and giving the minimum of punishment."
--Ramon Frederick Adams, Cowboy Lingo

I've only ridden a horse twice, but I didn't wear spurs! It was an odd feeling being on top of a swaying animal (although not as weird -- or as swaying -- as the time I rode an elephant). I don't know what to compare it to. The horse was hard to steer I remember. It was sort of like driving a car that doesn't have power steering.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

The Magick of James Bond?

Hmmm. This review of The Bond Code by Philip Gardiner points out the numerous examples of esoteric codes and references to occult, gnostic and alchemical topics in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, such as the odd character names:

Auric Goldfinger (alchemy)
Le Chiffre ("the cipher, or code")
Sir Hugo Drax ("the Dragon")
etc., etc.

"...touchstones to the esoteric appear in many places in Fleming's writings. There is a Bill Templar in Diamonds Are Forever, alluding to the Knights Templar. The Ourobourous (the alchemical symbol of a serpent eating its own tail) is part of the name of the Ourobouros Worm and Bait Company in Live and Let Die....Gardiner points out the resemblance in the novel Casino Royale of the first Bond villain, Le Chiffre, to the occultist Aleister Crowley."

And Fleming apparently corresponded with Crowley, had an intense interest in Jung, knew of an esoteric meaning behind the number 007, and so on.

Interesting. Still, I don't think the character "Pussy Galore" was intended as a reference to the ancient Egyptians' worship of felines.

Micro Fiction: 'Número incorrecto'

Ivan looked down and there it was, on the sidewalk just outside the pet store: a small, folded piece of green and gray paper on the sidewalk, with the number 20 printed on one corner. The Victorian font made it look like a twenty-dollar bill, but he doubted it. Probably a coupon or an advertisement for some 900-number phone-sex scam, he thought, picking it up, just in case. He unfolded it, and there he was: Andrew Jackson with his shock of wind-swept hair, looking more like a mad scientist than a 19th-century president.

So, a real twenty -- or was it? He held it up to the sun, half expecting it to be counterfeit. The ghostly little hologram of Jackson's face appeared. Genuine. What luck! Right away, as he stuffed it into his pocket, he began to feel guilty. Who had dropped it? Probably some cash-strapped single mom with a squalling baby to feed. He thought about spending it, saving it, donating it to charity, or even dropping it. Surely someone more deserving would find it, someone who regularly stooped to pick up all the lost pennies Ivan was too lazy to retrieve from the sidewalk.

Or he could spend it on fish. He was at the pet store to buy some tropical fish, some neon tetras, for his aquarium. He stuffed the 20 into his pocket and walked into the store. Birds twittered, parrots squawked, puppies barked, and somewhere, down one of the aisles, a child was crying.

Over all the noise, Ivan heard his cell phone jangling. He fished it out of his pocket, already half suspecting who it was. "Hello," he said. "Maria!" the woman's voice demanded. "Quiero Maria!" It was the same woman who had been calling him all week, constantly asking for someone he didn't know. "Wrong number," Ivan said, trying again to remember how to say it in Spanish. "Qué? Uh? Uh?" the woman said. "Sorry," Ivan said. "No habla. There's no Maria here." "Uh?" the women repeated. He shut the phone and put it back in his pocket.

The fish tanks glowed and bubbled at the back of the shop, past the cages of parakeets, lizards and furry little rodents. A mother and her wailing child, a little girl of about three or four, were blocking the aisle. The girl apparently wanted a guinea pig. She kept pointing to one of the cages and pleading, "Please, Mommy." "No, not today," her mother said. "I'm out of money."

Ivan waited for them to move, so he could get by, but it wasn't happening. The girl wouldn't let her mother pull her away. She kept pointing to the guinea pig and screeching "I want it!" While he waited, Ivan thought about what he could spend the 20-dollar bill on. He could buy five new fish, or enough fish food for months, or one of those faux driftwood thingies to decorate his tank. He couldn't decide.

His phone rang again. "Maria!" the woman screeched when he answered. "Maria! Maria!" "There's no Maria!" Ivan shouted. The mother and the little girl looked up at him quizzically. Then he suddenly remembered how to say it: "número incorrecto!" he said. The woman on the phone moaned with disgust and hung up. Ivan was relieved. No more wrong numbers now, he thought. Now all he had to do was decide how to spend his 20-dollar windfall.

"I'm sorry," the mother said to her child. The girl stopped crying at last and turned away from the guinea pig's cage, looking forlorn and defeated. She had the face of a weeping angel. Ivan suddenly felt sad for her.

"I'm sorry," her mother said again. "I'm sorry, Maria."

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel


Rain, rain and more rain. I didn't know New Jersey had a monsoon season..... Discovered a leak in my aquarium! Replaced it with a new one (just $15) after much "fishing" with a net, siphoning and bucketing. Surprised at how serene a new box of water makes me feel.... The free AM New York rag has an article today about how cool the JC is: "The culture and the whole feel of Jersey City is unmatched....The arts scene is well-supported and the level of community development is incredible." Amazed and pleased to learn I am living in such a nirvana.... Saw a woman wobbling down the sidewalk on high heels yesterday. Thought for sure she would fall over. But then she turned and entered her yard. Got a quick glance at her face and noticed five-o'clock shadow. Felt confused. For a moment....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

'Fox Bat Strategy'

Lynch Hands 80
David Lynch and the Thought Gang band (I think that's their name) are about to release an album at the end of this month: Fox Bat Strategy. There's a stream of one of the songs, "Shoot the Works", at the Entertainment Weekly site here. Retro surreal.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brain Dump

Take a rain check your coat at the door of opportunity slips away the mice will play fast and loose ends. Still waters run deep blue sea of red ink well I'll be a monkey's uncle Tom's cabin fever in the morning, fever all through the night and day late and a dollar short and sweet nothings. A fine kettle of fish out of water under the bridge when we get to it or leave it takes all kinds of people on the street of broken dreams. Like a bat out of hell out of Dodge ball game plan of attack the problem child of nature calls. Mmmm kay?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weekend Netflix Report: 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

More painters should try their hand at film directing, I think. Julian Schnable does a terrific job here with a true story that many far more experienced directors might think unfilmable: the horrifying experience of stroke victim Jean-Dominique Bauby, the former editor of French Elle, who became mute and completely paralyzed except for his left eye. Schnable shot most of the film using "subjective camera" -- i.e., we see nearly everything through Bauby's eyes (or, er, eye) as he learns to communicate again through the only means available to him: blinking. He's played by Mathieu Almaric -- Bond's nemesis in Quantum of Solace -- who is quite effective in this very different role. His voiceover renderings of Bauby's inner thoughts, ranging from sarcastic humor to black despair, are moving, even though all the dialog is in sub-titled French; his subtle vocal inflections define the character beautifully. This is a sad story, but one that conveys a hopeful message: we're more than just our bodies, and even in dire circumstances, imagination can set us free.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Weekend Horrible Movie Report: 'The Wicker Man'

The Wicker Man (2006)

Art House Productions presented a showing of The Wicker Man in Jersey City on Friday night, as part of its "Movies Under the Drop Ceiling" series of free video-projected stinkers. (The audience is encouraged to laugh, yell at the screen, and throw popcorn at the actors.) The Wicker Man is a 2006 German/American remake of a 1973 British film of the same title. I haven't seen the original, but I understand it was fairly well received and is even considered a cult classic in Britain. The remake is truly awful, laughably so. Any movie that features Nicolas Cage running around in a bear costume -- in a scene that is NOT intended to be humerous -- has left the domain of serious cinema and entered the of realm of the unintentionally hilarious. Cage is Edward Malus, a cop looking for a missing girl (who turns out to be, surprise, his daughter) on an island ruled by a matriarchal bee-keeping cult headed by Ellen Burstyn....yada yada. The suspense collapses under the far-fetched plot, and the dialogue is like this:

Edward Malus: [runs over to help Rowan and pulls off the mask of his bear costume] My name is Edward. I'm gonna save you.

Edward Malus: [Pointing a gun at Rose, who has been riding an antique bicycle] Step away from the bike!

Edward Malus: [before his legs are broken] This is murder! Murder! You'll all be guilty, and you're doing it for nothing! Killing me won't bring back your goddamn honey!

Well, it was free. A good time was had by all.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Word of the Day: selcouth

selcouth (adj)

Something rare or wonderful.

"A constant, selcouth sound like cicadas, or the surf."
--Coleman Barks, Winter Sky

I used to go to sleep to the sounds of the surf. It was a CD of waves breaking on a beach, and the soothing, repetitive swooshing drowned out some annoying ambient sounds, allowing me to drift off to the Isle of Morpheus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The T & T List

Dead battery
Jupiter 2
Sandwich Cubano
Rachel Maddow
Finger Lakes
The leak
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
Joe Boxer
iTouch app bubble wrap
Papua, New Guinea
Groove Street

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Watch an amazing QuickTime video that reminds me of a Hieronymus Bosch painting -- except it's animated.


Check out these disturbing family photographs. You thought your family was weird?

(The family photos are G-rated, but the page includes ads that may not be safe for work.)

Monday, June 08, 2009

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 10 small

More clip art philosophy by me (and Dr. Seuss). Click here to catch the big fish.

Random Acts of Poetry


Tending to imagine,
at the post office, even,
he made a white dove
out of an envelope.

At home, the walnut mother
sat calmly in her bowl,
happy among framed pictures
until night fell.

His wringing hands
roiled the clouds,
made weather wetter
for chessboard royalty.

Nine-o'clock black
was the nothing of space,
or an empty mind
long erased by age.

Dropped matchsticks
formed broken crosses,
stick-figure portraits
of starving saints.

Later, he turned pages,
touched dead heron wings,
let his insides bleed
a comet tail of words.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Word of the Day: anodyne

anodyne (n or adj)

Something that lessens pain; something that isn't likely to disturb or annoy.

"Now, the anodyne had not produced the effect which it appeared to have done; instead of healthful sleep, it had brought on a kind of light-headed somnolence, in which the mind, preternaturally restless, wandered about its accustomed haunts, waking up its old familiar instincts and inclinations."
--Edward Bulwer Lytton, Zannoni

Last night, as part of the JC Fridays celebration, I stopped by the Fish with Braids gallery on Jersey Avenue. (In Jersey City in New Jersey -- everything was "Jersey" last night. I should have worn a jersey.) The "show" there included a display of living plants, dead mice and a dissected rat in various containers, along with a variety of tablets and pills (and dirt for the plants). It seemed to be an aesthetic and quasi-scientific examination of the effect of, say, Tylenol (anodyne!) or penicillin on philodendrons, rodent flesh, and such. Not an anodyne experience, but one I won't soon forget.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

A WTF moment: Saw a woman wheeling a stroller, and inside was a chihuahua dressed in a ... dress.... I'm currently "reading" The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Feeling admiration, again, for Murakami's surreal take on daily living -- and puzzlement over his obsession with cats. Some of the book involves lucid dreaming, I understand, though I haven't reached that part yet. Someone on the radio last night said: "Lucid dreaming is the leading cause of accidental suicide. People think they're asleep." That struck me as extremely funny for some reason.... All these people trying to give me The Watchtower (you know, that Jehovah's Witnesses' magazine) give me the creeps. There seem to be more and more of them. They're always standing around at Newark Penn Station, smiling enigmatically. And this morning, on my way to Journal Square, I passed a woman on the Boulevard who asked, very politely, "Something to read this morning, sir?" as she held out that rag. "No thank you," I said. "Have a nice day," she said. I know what she was thinking, though: "You'll burn in eternal hell fire, you damn foolish sinner"....

Monday, June 01, 2009

Much Ado about NOTHING

Blue Cadillac front, Elvis Presley Auto Museum

General Motors declared bankruptcy today -- no surprise. I've been thinking about all the GM cars my father used to own. One of his insurance clients was a Chevrolet-Oldsmobile-Buick dealer, and he always felt he had to buy a GM product from him when it was time to get a new car.

He had a sporty Oldsmobile Cutlass at one time -- a two-door that became impractical as the family grew. We later had one of those enormous Chevy Caprice station wagons. I remember the Caprice was supposed to be a step up from the Impala. Funny how those micro-distinctions between Chevrolets, of all things, seemed to matter at one time.

My father did buy a Ford at one point, after agonizing over what his customer would think -- but the guy later said he really didn't care what kind of car we had. The last car my father owned was another GM product, though, a Buick Century that my mother still drives. It seems like a dinosaur to me, as different from my little Mazda as a wood-cabinet hi-fi is from an iPod.

(That's a picture I took at Graceland of one of Elvis's Cadillacs. Click it for the larger version if you're into bumper titties.)