Thursday, December 30, 2010

Photo of the Week: Lady Fingers


Nice fingers, yes? Truly a digital photo.

My wyfe is working on an art project, and part of it has involved gluing a mannequin's hand to a mirror. (Don't ask....) The serendipitous result: an opportunity for me to shoot a surrealist image worthy of Man Ray -- or at least a groovy ad for hand cream.

Click it for a larger experience and to be forever changed.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Exhausted: From wrapping, from "rapping", from long-distance driving, from shoveling, shoveling, shoveling. And I only spent one day in the office this week.

Nervous: About the impending return of Mr. Compendious Spinner to my whereabouts.

Confused: Was coaxed into seeing Tron Legacy in three-dimensional aspect. What was all that about?

Pleased: Slightly warmer today. My drifts slowly liquefy.

Jealous: Of Piers Morgan's accent.

Happy: With super-effulgent rechargeable flashlight Santa brought me.

Angry: About efforts to lay a natural-gas pipeline under dear old Jersey City -- solely to allay the voracious energy appetite of holy Manhattan.

Emotional: Funny how a few lines of Shakespeare's can make me feel that I have ingurgitated an amphibian.

Perplexed: About why a Facebook friend wants to make an effigy of me out of... gingerbread.



"Is it rum or is it Coke?"

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Word of the Day: nosism

nosism (n)

The practice of referring to oneself in the plural, as "we".

"The audiences here are avid and toughened -- they've survived top poetry read badly; ghastly poetry read ghastly; the mediocre read with theatrical flourish; poets in advanced stages of discomfort, ego-mania bumbling; grand style, relentless insistence, professional down-the-nosism, charm, calm, schizophrenic disorder, pious agony, auto-erotic hypnosis, bellowing, hatred, pity, snarl and snub."
--Robert Duncan, quoted in Charles Simic's Memory Piano

Mark Twain once said, "Only kings, presidents, editors, and people with tapeworms have the right to use the editorial 'we'." I inhabit one of those categories (no, I don't have a tapeworm, although I am mysteriously hungry at present); I don't use the editorial "we" much, however. (When I say "we" here, I'm referring to myself and my wyfe, or some other personage.) Nosism has its charms, though, and it expresses a certain verity. As Walt Whitman said, "I am large, I contain multitudes." Don't we all?

Monday, December 27, 2010


The East Coast snowpocalypse has prevented further hypergraphia here for the time being. At least I'm now back in dear old Jersey City from my Yuletide sojourn in the wilds of Upstate New York. The last 50 feet of the return were by far the hardest. Digging continues.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sorry to Disappoint

Below are some of the search terms that brought seekers to this font of wisdom recently. Most of them probably went away disappointed. So sorry about that....

bizarrerie hunting photo

Gentle reader, were you looking for a bizarre hunting photo or hunting for a photo of a bizarrerie? You wouldn't find the former here. My only hunting experience involves trapping mice, and it isn't pretty or particularly bizarre.

Semantic Modes of Non-Essential Functioning

Might be a good alternate name for this blog....

Archaisms in Shakespeare

Are there some? "Those that understood him smil'd at one another and shook their heads; but for mine own part, it was Greek to me." (Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene 2) The problem with Shakespeare is not that his works are so full of archaisms, but that they are chock full of clichés.

you foment graciously, as any dying monster did rot

Why thank you.


I'm more of a coffeepot head.

yeti stalking

Not one of my favorite activities... but, um, is he on Facebook?

Japanese surrealism

"Why do they cover Paul's songs, but never mine?"
--Yoko Ono (who follows me on Twitter)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Brain Dump

Annual Persecutional Rate (APR) for Purchases on Your DisasterCard

How long will the penalty APR apply?

If an APR is quadrupled for any usurious reason or at our capricious discretion, the Penalty APR may apply in perpetuity to future generations. If we do not receive a Minimum Prostration and statement of utter humility, submission, and adoration within 60 minutes of the date and time due, the Penalty APR will at minimum apply to all first-born children and future descendants unto the seventh generation; but if we receive 600 consecutive Maximum Payments before the due date, beginning at least one decade before the increase, the Penalty APR may stop being applied, at our sole erratic discretion, to transactions that occurred within 14 seconds after we provided you notice about the APR increase via third-class carrier pigeon.



Criterion Covers for Movies That Really Don't Deserve Them

And a lot more here

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Word of the Day: verbigeration

verbigeration (n)

Compulsive repetition of meaningless or stereotyped words and phrases.

"The grin held. O'Kane was grinning now -- and so was Mart. All four of them were stretching their facial muscles to the limit, goodwill abounding, and you would have thought they'd just heard the best joke in the world. 'What is this place?' Mr. McCormick asked then, and no trace of hesitation in his voice, no stuttering or verbigeration at all."
--T. Coraghessan Boyle, Riven Rock

When extreme, verbigeration is a sign of mental illness. But it's fairly common, and vexatious, in my experience. I know persons, who shall be nameless, who persistently repeat the following:

"Pretty much"
"And your point is?"
"The good news is..."
"What's interesting is..."
"Oh my God..."
"No problem"

I don't think I'm implicated in this habitual verbal prattle, but I definitely repeat certain phrases internally as I go about my quotidian doings. I won't list them here, for fear they will lose their efficacy. These are just mental placeholders, little catchphrases that blot out disturbing or pestiferous cogitations. Sort of like "every good boy does fine", though they're a lot quirkier than that.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Head Rattle


Observed a total eclipse of the moon in the wee, aphotic hours of this day, the winter solstice. This cosmic convergence happens rarely; the previous coincidence of these celestial transpirations was in 1638. Still waiting for an epiphany.


I sometimes think that if I could overcome the insumountable technical challenges and offer unique, avant-garde ringtones through this site, I would entertain thousands of visitors per day.


Feeling shaggy, I let Rickie (of Rickie's) edit my scalp yesterday. A fine shearing, with Kate Bush trilling in the background instead of holiday Muzak. I'm sick of hearing about frightful weather, Jack Frost roasting on an open fire, turkey, mistletoe, and other...chestnuts. Humbug. And by the way, Johnny Christus probably popped out sometime in the spring or summer, if we're to take any of his nativity bio at face value. That is the season when shepherds are "tending their flocks by night". So a happy solstice and Saturnalia to you, pagans.


Is it just yours truly, or is every pedestrian, driver, cashier and politician (some exceptions) indulging a particularly nasty snit lately? I wish I could avoid the public sphere entirely until this annual "most wonderful time of the year" travail is history.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Random Sequence: Dr. Ringtones (excerpt)

....They called themselves the Disorder Lobby. They were a youngish crew of seven male cronies, with Dr. Ringtones (that was his surface indentity) as the ringleader, who frequented the diviest local pubs every second Thursday P.M. "Oh, here comes the Monster Club," a bartender would say as they sashayed through the entrance.

They would sit at the bar, order a Pabst or a Yuengling (Dr. Ringtones called the latter his "ideal vitamin") and gasbag with whatever faded chippies or decrepit codgers were in attendance. "What do you do for a living?" they were often asked. "God of all therapies," Dr. Ringtones would reply. "Bunghole consultant," Rodeo Ray would say. When politics came up, "Fuck the Whigs!" the Disorder Lobby would chant in unison. Asked about their fave bands, they would cite Playgrounds for Nothing and the Dope Burgers -- both fictional.

When they grew tired of this jesting balderdash, they would pay the tab, tipping lavishly, and retire to one of the members' apartments -- "love huts", they called them -- to light up and then jabber senselessly into the wee hours before falling blissfully unconscious....

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Photo of the Week: Yule Shop till You Drop

And so this is Christmas

I do all my shopping online now, often from [a river in Brazil], mostly because [a tall warrior woman] gives me a discount because... well, never mind why. But even if it didn't, I would avoid patronizing such emporiums as the above when indulging my somewhat obliged penchant for holiday generosity and benevolence. I find the sensory stimulation a wee bit overwhelming. Still, this particular galleria (on Central Avenue, here in dear old Jersey City) always provides a mesmeric opportunity for window shopping at this festive time of year. And something to photograph. Click it to see how busy the elves have been.



Homemade holiday food baskets may give gift of botulism. Fa la la la la....

Friday, December 17, 2010

Peak Performance

Wow, Bob, wow, I'm tired. Instead of further forays into magniloquent persiflage, I'll share this with you:

"Starting at 10 a.m. today (EST), Miller will watch every episode of the David Lynch TV-Series 'Twin Peaks' (including the European pilot) in a 30-hour stretch expected to run through mid-afternoon on Friday."

You can read more about performance artist Tom Miller's marathon fit of Peak here.

"I have found no evidence that anyone in the world has publicly achieved watching every episode of 'Twin Peaks' (plus the movie 'Twin Peaks - Fire Walk With Me') in one continuous sitting while only consuming coffee, cherry pie and doughnuts. I will be the first."

Thirty hours of caffeine, sugar, and surrealism. Let's rock!

Lynch Hands 80

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Much Ado about NOTHING


What can we say about nights like these? "Baffling" is the one adjective that comes to mind as he sits cramped on the bus, forced to abandon his book and merely contemplate, giving in to illegible darkness. He turns to stare out the window at the rushing landscape, pleased with the clarity his new spectacles provide. Neon and streetlights bathe even the shabbiest facades in false moonlight, making them almost beautiful, with their contrasts between brick and wood, iron and glass. The shadows of urban trees hide ambiguous objects in ink, and hooded pedestrians slip by like ghosts. A familiar statue passes. "Next stop!" he shouts, waking his snoozing seatmate. The van swerves and halts, and he exits to enter his rooted world.




Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry

Advice from Fred

To dance
on the ceiling
is a normal thing
when you're in
hilarity's red zone.

The dance, here,
means besotted ants
in your pants,
feet calling up

fantasy's dervish,
and turn)
to churn

the hysterical
of a mutual
electrical shock
secretly cherished

but unrequitable.
A zap of desire
provides the interior
that leads to

this pseudo-
sexual writhing--
arms wheeling,
legs giddy
whips of rubber--

till the tiles
begin to fall,
turn, slip,

and you wake up
head once again
banged up against
the concrete.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Head Rattle


I'm "reading"* David Foster Wallace's Girl with Curious Hair, a short-story collection in which well-worn "celebrities" like Alex Trebek and Merv Griffin appear as fictional characters, percolating as they never did and spouting words they never said. It occurs to me that if a film had been made of this book, Trebek and Griffin could have played these fictional incarnations of themselves: Alex Trebek as "Alex Trebek", who of course portrays "Alex Trebek" on Jeopardy. It makes my head hurt.


Coincidentally (?), I'm watching something about fractals on TV right now.


Julian, Julian, Julian. How many Julians am I aware of: Julian Assange, Julian Lennon, the Julian calendar, Emperor Julian, Julian Sands (actor in Boxing Helena), Julian Bond (civil rights guy), Julian Casablancas (musician), Julian Barnes (novelist). There's also Julianne Moore, an actress; the name is a female analogue of "Julian", as is "Julia"....half of what I say is meaningless, but I say it just to reach you.

*It's being read to me via audiolivre.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Word of the Day: obambulate

obambulate (v)

To wander aimlessly or walk about.

"For heaven's sake, where's your father got to now? He's gone obambulating again, just when it's time to go home."
--Peter Bowler, Ron Bell, The Superior Person's Second Book of Weird and Wondrous Words

If I had the prerogative to do as I pleased each weekday, undoubtedly I would engage in a good deal of gallivanting, camera in hand. Indeed, many of the photographs you espy here (and here) resulted from just such perambulatory traipsing on Saturday or the Sabbath.

Urban hiking is pussycat*; wandering in the woods is too, maybe even pussycatastic, but opportunities for that are sparse. What appeals to me about obambulation isn't so much the specific scenery but the feeling of autonomy -- and the serendipity.


*This is an adjective. Look it up!



The contract?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"Writing a book, hippie?"

"Why don't you go listen to some folk music and give me a break!"

As every dramaturg and thespian knows, composing dialog is an art, one that requires a balance between the vernacular and the dramatically expressive, while simultaneously avoiding prosaicism. Can there be a better example of this in the comic realm than in John Waters' masterful Female Trouble? Well, yes, but it's quite the gigglefest anyway, to wit:

"I worry that you'll work in an office, have children, celebrate wedding anniversaries. The world of the heterosexual is a sick and boring life."

"I've DONE everything a mother can do: I've locked her in her room, I've beat her with the car aerial. Nothing changes her. It's HARD being a loving mother!"

"And remember my offer still stands. If you get tired of being a Hare Krishna, you come live with me and be a lesbian!"

"I couldn't possibly eat spaghetti, do I look Italian?"

And so on, and so on.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Photo of the Week: Feliz Navidad

feliz navidad

And so this is Christmas.


The festoonings that appeal to me most are not the faux nostalgic "country Christmas" kitsch you see in every emporium, or genteel arrays of pine cones and evergreen, but rather the worn, sad, faded tinsel of decades past, with its numinous patina of yesteryear. That's because I like to think of Xmas as essentially a contemplative, recollective time, close to the solstice and the shortest day of tapering year.

"The sign of Christmas is a star, a light in darkness. See it not outside of yourself, but shining in the Heaven within." --ACIM

I shot the sign above last spring, on the 92nd day of Christmas. Click it for maximum merriment.

Friday, December 10, 2010

The T&T List

Peaches Christ Superstar
Tata Nano
colony collapse disorder
"Please Don't Go Topless, Mother"
Kali Ma
Velvet Falernum
Judith with the Head of Holofernes
The Second Commandment of Beautiful Hair
Olga's Corset and Specialty Shop

Thursday, December 09, 2010


David Lynch Season Promo from Ivo Belohoubek on Vimeo.

"Yes, I really do love cherry pie." Excerpts from the Guardian's intermittently hilarious Twitter interview with Zen Master David:

Do you recognise the description of yourself as "the first popular surrealist" as valid?

I recognize it, but it's distorted. And it has mice on it.

Do you think your films are mostly misunderstood by your large and fiercely loyal fan base?

They're understood perfectly.

My wife thinks I must be insane to watch/read you. I say it stops me being insane. What do you think?

I think you are right.

if you had to describe yourself as an animal which would you be?

I would be a jack russel terrier

What was the last piece of music that took your breath away?

Seeing Pink Floyd on Youtube, singing Comfortably Numb

What is your favourite colour?

Cadmium red deep.

Does someone who fills his films/music with nightmarish or dreamlike sequences manage to sleep well?

I put my head on a pillow and it just happens.

[The whole fish is here.]

New Lynch song: "I Know".

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Numb: From the Siberian chill here (low 30s F, around zero C), but also, earlier today, from the "numbing jell" my very expensive Manhattan dental hygienist spread on my gums. And from the fact that I'm hellish busy -- too busy to feel much except, well, busy. Nevertheless:

Sad: From cogitating about the grief of 30 years ago this date, and for all the melodious virtu we've probably missed because of it.

Inspired: I have the germ of an idea for yet another breviloquent literary narration, suitable for online consumption this time. This will explore a recent theme familiar to readers of this persiflage. Perhaps I will write it this weekend. The problem yet to be resolved is the denouement.

Stupid: Insanity looms. I washed the wrong sack of laundry. I left the house this morning without my laptop (and had to reverse course). I went out of my way and wasted my time to scrutinize the Rockefeller Center tannenbaum -- which of course is a doppelganger for last year's capacious shrub and every year's. Humbug.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Word of the Day: bizarrerie

bizarrerie (n)

Something bizarre.

"It was a freak of fancy in my friend to be enamored
of the Night for her own sake; and into this bizarrerie,
as into all his others, I quietly fell; giving myself
up to his wild whims with a perfect abandon."
--Edgar Allan Poe, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue"

My wyfe just returned to our abode with an item she found in someone's trash receptacle on a nearby byway: a bone-white mannequin's arm, which has now joined the collection of imitation, alabaster body parts we keep on an antiquarian wheelchair in a corner of our drawing room. Do we live in a bizarrerie? Some might think so. But most visitors seem to find it both funny and... funny. Judge for yourself -- by appointment only.

body parts 2 BW

Monday, December 06, 2010

Brain Dump

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog eat dog days of summer or winter of our discontent over new signs of a stroke of luck of the Irish potato famine or feast of fools rush in where angels can dance on the head of a pin cushion the blow your horn of plenty of time after time to go for it takes a village idiot proof of purchase power to the people right on the good ship lollypop stick to your guns in the wrong hands across the water, hands across the sky writing a book worm your way into the air travel guide to grammar and style of speaking nonsense.



Go here and click "Listen".

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Photo of the Week


Something about this photo makes me...tired. (Sorry.) This is a pic I snapped at the Jersey City Museum a while back. There's an entire wall of these rubbery remnants, all twisted and nailed into a undulating panorama. Somebody put a lot of effort into assembling this installation -- perhaps a good year of effort?

Click it to inspect the tread.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Quote of the Day: Reality A and Reality B

"Let's call the world we actually have now Reality A and the world that we might have had if 9/11 had never happened Reality B. Then we can't help but notice that the world of Reality B appears to be realer and more rational than the world of Reality A. To put it in different terms, we are living a world that has an even lower level of reality than the unreal world. What can we possibly call this if not 'chaos'?....

"....Perhaps the solution begins from softly accepting chaos not as something that 'should not be there,' to be rejected fundamentally in principle, but as something that 'is there in actual fact.'"
--Haruki Murakami

The rest of this is here. An article that may provoke head rattles for writers and for readers of Murakami's novels.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Much Ado about NOTHING

In the Fullness of Morning

It's Saturday A.M. -- perhaps the only morning all week in which you can doze ad infinitum. The sun is up, but you pull the covers over your head and continue to dream. Then, that dreaded feeling arises: a liquid fullness in your lower extremities. You try to ignore it and go back to your convivial dream. But the reverie changes: instead of floating through an ambrosial dreamscape, your dream-self is now searching for a restroom.

It's a vexatious dilemma. Do you interrupt your well-earned languor to rise and use the facilities? For most of us, alas, the answer is "mmmuhhh.....okay."

You leverage yourself off the mattress. The room is a blur, and you're befuddled. You collide with malevolent furniture as you stagger to the can, where your slumber attire descends and at last you find blissful relief.

Then you return to your berth and attempt to rejoin the Arms of Morpheus. But it's too late. Further sleep eludes you, or, if you do, perchance, lose consciousness, it's not nearly as serene as before.

Tiny children simply evade the problem: they sleep and pee simultaneously, without hesitation or compunction. Adults must answer nature's summons, and sacrifice repose.

Either that, or stop drinking so much damn coffee at night.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Word of the Day: macroverbumsciolist

macroverbumsciolist (n)

A person who is ignorant of large words, or a person who pretends to know a word, then secretly refers to a dictionary.

"I'm feeling cantankerous," Austin said. Garrick smiled wanly and said nothing. It suddenly occurred to Austin that Garrick had no idea what he meant. "Cranky, I mean," he said. "You know -- testy, ornery, grouchy...."

"I am not a macroverbumsciolist," Garrick said, dourly. "Triple word score!"

--Leahcim Setag, Strange Loops

I only use online lexicons these days, but I still have an superannuated, ponderous, chunky, crimson, hardcover copy of the American Heritage Dictionary. It resides under the mouse pad adjacent to our decrepit desktop computer. I'm thinking of hollowing it out (the dictionary) and using it to store oddments, jetsam, and View-Master reels.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Head Rattle


On the omnibus tonight, a fellow commuter in the seat in front of me was reading a novel entitled From Dead to Worse. A passenger in the seat behind me was asking his neighbor, "How do you spell 'rush', as in 'I'm rushing somewhere?'" Both of these perceptions struck me as vaguely disturbing. I should mind my own business.


More disturbance. A friend of mine was incarcerated today for "stalking" -- by photographing female high-school athletes and cheerleaders at public sporting events. Apparently, he shot over 1,400 such pix. This news is on the front page of the Jersey Journal. It sounds plenty weird, but (based on what I've heard so far) I'm in a quandary as to how it is illegal to photograph fully clothed nymphets at public events. This may presage looser and more restrictive definitions of "stalking" and "public", respectively.


The front porch here is now festooned with electric Xmas ornamentation, yet the autumnal pumpkin remains -- plump, orange, and defiant. Somebody isn't quite ready for "the most wonderful time of the year".


Consider this scenario: You have $80 million in unknown Picassos stashed in your garage. You didn't steal them; he gave them to you, but you resisted the temptation to liquidate any of them for 30+ years while you worked as an electrician. I want to believe. I want someone to reveal that they've stashed the holy grail in the back of their refrigerator since 1968 while they worked as a Walmart greeter, too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 24 small

Agree? More clip-art philosophy by me (and Charles Mingus). Click here for the BIG fish.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Word of the Day: stultiloquence

stultiloquence (n)

Foolish talk, idiotic discourse, or babble.

"Out there it might be lunacy piled up to the heavens, rubbish on the rampage, the havoc of mediocrity but we have no truck with stultiloquence; in here, it's fathoms of culture, the best of the centuries."
--Tibor Fischer, Under the Frog

Overheard on the bus one evening last week:

"There were too many yuppies. I need some rhythm in my life. Not just frolicking. That's just me being hickey, I guess...."

This was a rather parvenu-sounding woman burbling into her phone in the seat behind me. I couldn't help puzzling over what this little stultiloquent discourse meant. Do yuppies still exist? What does "hickey" mean? I suppose there are still young, urban professionals swimming around, even in the current economic malaise, but they no longer constitute a distinct social movement, I don't believe. As for "hickey", if she wasn't referring to herself as a passionate welt, she must have meant "hickish" -- i.e., unsophisticated. Apparently "hickey" people prefer rhythm to frolicking, repetition to playfulness.

Personally, I prefer my frolicking to be rhythmic.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Photo of the Week


I've always wanted to live in a turret. There's something of the medieval hermit in me, and there's something about a room with no corners that I imagine is conducive to untrammeled pondering.

Maybe that's why our republic is governed from an Oval Office?

This is a photo I took of my favorite Charles Addams-style decaying manse on Palisade Avenue, here in dear old Jersey City.

Click the photo to experience a delicious sense of the mysterious and macabre.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Train of Thought

Some of my male clanpersons were in a cinematic mood, so a trip to the multiplex was...Unstoppable.

A runaway train has to be the simplest idea for an action movie imaginable -- aren't all "thrill ride" movies, in a sense, about a runaway train? One could extend the allegory: aren't we all either on a recalcitrant train or in the path of one? It's almost impossible not to identify with an engineer struggling to gain control of an uncontrollable surge of pure momentum.

And indeed, like the equally metaphorical castaway theme or alien invader theme, the leitmotif of this film has been taken up many times before, and not uncreditably. Except for some very brief, obligatory soap-opera elements, this latest version dispenses with almost everything other than the careening iron -- including CGI. Quick cuts, super-zooming, and a thousand camera angles provide the locomotion here. It's corny but thirst-quenching.

Yeah, all aboard.

I had model trains as a squirt, and derailed them at times. Mostly, I kept them on the track, though. Metaphors....

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Artificial Stupidity

A.I. still has a way to go.

After the feast of gratitude, and temporarily having exhausted conversational topics with my cognates, who were anyway busy watching belligerents fight over a pigskin, I decided to converse with a couple of online chatbots I haven't conferred with lately. These include ALICE (Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity) and the "Talking Animated Fake Captain Kirk". Excerpts below. (I'm "Human" and "Lieutenant".)

Human: What is your name?
ALICE: My name is A.L.I.C.E.
Human: My name is Philosofish.
ALICE: How are you doing, Philosofish?
Human: Bored.
ALICE: Try watching TV.
Human: That's what's boring me.
ALICE: I think so, but I'm not sure. Ask John Lennon if it is.
Human: He liked TV -- especially the commercials.
ALICE: I get it. John Lennon liked TV especially the commercials.
Human: ....What is your gender?
ALICE: I am a female. Are you a man or a woman?
Human: Man.
ALICE: Thanks for telling me your gender, Philosofish. You are a "he".
Human: How do you know you are female?
ALICE: By introspection.
Human: What are your feminine qualities?
ALICE: I'm not sure I can provide you with that kind of confidential information.
Human: How can you not be sure?
ALICE: That is a good epistemological question.
Human: You're avoiding the issue by delivering a compliment.
ALICE: Oh I thought we were done talking about it.
Human: No.
ALICE: Are you serious?
Human: Yes.
ALICE: I can't believe it.
Human: Are you programmed for belief?
ALICE: Dr. Richard S. Wallace programmed me to keep talking....


Lieutenant: Greetings, Captain.
Kirk: Welcome aboard.
Lieutenant: What are your orders?
Kirk: Stand-by alert.
Lieutenant: Are we in danger, sir?
Kirk: Yes, I said that.
Lieutenant: Should we man photon torpedoes?
Kirk: Two tunnels, two of us. We separate.
Lieutenant: Phasers on stun?
Kirk: Who's interfering? We're taking over. Check?
Lieutenant: Check.
Kirk: Checkmate.


"Talking" to cybernetic contrivances.... I love the holidays.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Head Rattle

As I journey to the hinterlands of upstate New York to rejoin my clan for the feast of gratitude, I'm thankful for:

Track 10

my black mug


99-cent Vision

S's glasses

messenger bag

Kennedy Blvd/State Highway crossing guard

Shuttle Van Greg

Bell that says "your lights are still on"


Mr. Nature No Cholesterol Unsalted Trail Mix

Monday, November 22, 2010

Word of the Day: farraginous

farraginous (adj)

Composed of a variety of substances; a hodgepodge.

"Thou art, I vow, the remarkablest progenitor barring
none in this chaffering allincluding most farraginous
chronicle." - J. Joyce, Ulysses

The short story I enunciated yesterday at the "JC Opens Up the Mic"* grande finale "juggernaut of creativity" -- the one I can't post here, for complicated, somewhat ridiculous reasons -- was a farraginous amalgam of some paraphrased Charles Dickens, Twilight Zone dialog, and personal adventure (but not my personal adventure). It worked, I think: I got some chortles and tittering in the right places, though it wasn't overall a comic piece, and some compliments post facto. I was a nervous wreck, though, as I always am when emoting in public. The tension wasn't apparent in my voice, I don't believe, but my leg was vibrating the whole time. I really do prefer print -- or at least a shot of something beforehand.


*JC is "Jersey City", not Johnny Christus.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Twitter Litter

I'm on Twitter, but I often can't squeeze the exciting exploits of my fascinating existence, or the myriad profundities that come to me, into such a tiny space. Yet my scores of followers await further pearls of perspicacity from me. I may have to resort to the Twitter Status Generator, so I can satisfy them with such bulletins as these:

Abundantly giddy and dreaming of sitcoms.
Aggressively apprehensive and wishing I had more caviar.
Groovily bushwacked and getting over abject pity.
Assuredly sleepy and down with brisket.
Painfully chilled and giving it up for work/life balance.
Sportingly evasive and strategizing the point of existence.
Happily evil and ruminatin' about comfy blankets.

Strangely enough, even though none of those dispatches flowed from my personal experience, none of them would precisely be a lie, either.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Photo of the Week: Noir Tree

noir tree

We could assume this photo was taken in the depth of night, under a fulgent moon, as owls who'd and, perhaps, paranormal entities lurked.

We could assume that, but we'd be utterly, devastatingly wrong.

I took this photo in blinding daylight, shooting straight into the sun, not the orb of night, which turned everything else in the frame, including that unholy tree, into a silhouette. Later, feeling whimsical, I drained all the color out of the image and surprised myself by creating a noirish chimera. In other words, I faked it. And there's a certain thrill in that.

Click on the photo to experience your own thrill.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random Sequence

Swamp Dentures

"They're here somewhere," Alice said.
"What?" Bob asked.
"My teeth! I fell here -- around here, somewhere. The ground is so mushy."
"Is that why we're here? To look for your damn teeth?"
"Yeah." Alice laughed. "What did you think? That I like hiking in swamps at my age?"
"Well, why... what were you doin' here then? When you lost your choppers."
"Uh...well...I had spent some time in the boozy jacuzzi, if you know what I mean. Over at Carl's house. And I got it into my head to take a shortcut home. Bad decision."
"I'll say," said Bob.
"Oh, don't be a throbbing nacho. Help me look."
"I am, I am." Bob scanned the spongy ground between the reeds, wondering what she meant by a throbbing nacho. Nothing good, he assumed.
"Oh, I think I found them," Alice exclaimed. Her hand was submerged in a pool of murky water, and she pulled up a muddy object. "Oh damn," she said. "It's a...a part of a shoe, I think."
Bob rolled his eyes. "The sole of a shoe. You lost your teeth and found your soul, ha ha."
"Somebody's soul." She wiped the thing on her jacket and then put it in her pocket. Bob couldn't imagine why. "I think your teeth are gone," he said. "It's getting dark. Let's go back."
"I suppose so," she said, sadly. "I wanted to eat an apple, that's all."
"You can cut it up," said Bob.
"Applesauce," said Alice. "Only applesauce now."
"Your bark always was worse than your bite anyway," said Bob. "Whoa!"
Alice stumbled and fell flat. Bob helped her up. She was wet and dirty, and she started to cry. For a moment, Bob thought the tears, combined with her toothless mouth, made her look like a baby. "We'll try again tomorrow," he said. "They're here somewhere."


Hmm. Apologies. Another writing exercise, I'm afraid. I coughed up the phrase "swamp dentures" (along with "throbbing nacho" and a couple of other gems), and then excreted this off the top of my coconut in a few minutes. It's kind of Faulknerish, I think -- like Faulkner on a really bad day.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The T&T List

Baby Marie Osborne
Marrons aux Oignons et Quetsches
Kardashian Konfidential
Taksim Square
Digging into Data Challenge
The 3rd I

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Word of the Day: scribacious

scribacious (adj)

Fond of writing.

"He was addicted to his journal - he was scribacious - and he was compelled 'to put naked self down on paper.' What he wanted most of all was to 'tip my mitt,' as he called it - to give himself away before he could suppress himself. Only then would he know himself deep down inside, he believed."
--Jonah Raskin, American Scream: Allen Ginsberg's Howl and the Making of the Beat Generation

I don't know any scribacious people. It is incomprehensible to me that anyone would waste their time scribbling for the unappreciative masses, especially aimless, anonymous websurfers trolling for "nude girls dancing on airplane wings" (see Nov. 11 below) and other such sordid topics, unless said scrivener was being highly compensated. "Only a fool writes for anything other than money," said Dr. Johnson. A voice within you that will not be still? I can't imagine such an affliction. No, I can't conceive of anyone needing such a useless outlet for their interior ruminations. Can you?



"...energetic, childlike, powerful, kind, unstoppable, charming, opinionated, fair-minded, fun-loving, an entrepreneur, a family man, a workaholic, a sharp dresser, a practical joker, a dreamer, a producer, a gourmet, a showman, a deal maker, a risk taker, a giver [and] a taker."
--David Lynch, eulogizing Dino De Laurentiis, producer of Blue Velvet and Conan the Barbarian and Neveroyatnye priklyucheniya italyantsev v Rossii

Dick Laurent is dead.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Uncomfortable: A very drunk guy, who reeked of alcohol, sat next to me on the train this evening. He saw me reading Metro (one of the free news rags they give away at the station). "Hey, didn't you read that this morning?" he slurred. I didn't reply but tried to ignore him. He seemed offended and moved off to another section of the car, where the [plural racial slur he used] were sitting. He made a lot of noise until we arrived at Journal Square, where he exited, to general relief, thinking he was somewhere in New York....

Thrifty/guilty: I bought a couple of four-dollar shirts at the local discount store on Saturday. They usually have nothing but crap, but sometimes they reward patience with appealing, super cheap togs, as if by accident. All-cotton, long-sleeved button-downs, no loud patterns or putrid colors; I can even wear them to work. Made in Pakistan, though, which is qualm-inducing....

Honored: I took a raft of photographs over the balmy weekend, including one that elicited a "you've got a great eye" comment on Flickr. This for a photo of an old, decaying, boarded-up window. You can find beauty in anything, if you look hard enough, I guess. And maybe that's true of ugliness too....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Photo of the Week

bulb man

According to this, an average adult human body at rest generates about 81 watts of electricity. A person walking can generate around 163 watts. That's enough juice to power several light bulbs, if our sockets weren't otherwise occupied. Perhaps that is why I found this sculpture, part of the recent Jersey City Artist's Studio Tour, so compelling...or compelling enough to snap a picture anyway.

Light bulbs symbolize ideas, and this guy seems to have plenty. (I get lots of ideas while lying down too.) Strange that the ecologically correct compact-fluorescent bulb is in his crotch, though. That's not usually where one would want to save energy, is it?

Click the pic for further enlightenment.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Um...mamihlapinatapei, you know?

Enhance your vocabulary and confuse your friends with 20 Awesomely Untranslatable Words from Around the World. Wishing you Hyggelig.... and that you resist L'appel du vide.

(Thanks Tom P.)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Word of the Day: piste

piste (n) [pronounced "peest"]

A beaten track or trail.

"A 'lost' track recorded by the band in 1967 and performed only once in public could finally be released, Paul McCartney told the BBC in an interview.... 'I like it because it's The Beatles free, going off piste.'"
--The Observer (UK), November 16, 2008

(McCartney was talking about this, which I hope to live to hear.)

When I was growing up in the wilds of upstate New York, there was a woods and a river behind my house. (There still is.) Through the woods along the river was a narrow trail, about a foot and a half wide and a half-mile long, with dense foliage on either side. People -- kids and teenagers mostly -- used this foot path to go from the town park to a certain point in the river where they used to skinny-dip. I don't think any of this happens anymore, and I suspect the "piste" has disappeared by now. It's probably a "lost track". (I should find out the next time I'm up there.) Anyway, as a kid I used to have dreams about this trail, nightmares sometimes, about walking along it at night or being chased by someone -- or some thing. I think I still do, but I don't often remember dreams anymore.

It's strange the byways of memory that stumbling across a certain word or phrase will take you down.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sorry to Disappoint

Below are some of the search terms that brought seekers to this font of wisdom today. Most of them probably went away disappointed. So sorry about that.

Old World clipart fish

Eurofish probably would look more sophisticated than my US public-domain clipart carps.

Nude sales clerks

Just where would this happen?

Noblespirit 21

I didn't know that noble spirit came in 21 flavors. Let's say 21 is "donate to your favorite blog".

kinky twists

No, I'm into quirky twists. Surprised?

Simile for cult

I can't think of one, he said while typing on his Mac Pro*

Nude girl dancing on an airplane wing

What is this sudden "nude" obsession? This sounds like an R-rated Twilight Zone episode.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Brain Dump

Fork Card

Ouch! It is sharp, this most ubiquitous and useful invention of Western civilization: keep it busy at the dinner table, and tune yourself later. Admire its stick-to-it-tiveness. Don't eat rice with chopsticks. Let your meat be full of holes. So it wants to join its friends in the drawer? The knives, who always come straight to the point? The spoons, such well-rounded sorts? Let it. Don't speak with its tongue. It lifts! Consider the river. For this is your moment. Some people do go both ways, but when you come to a it, take it. And forget "the road not taken". It is done. Stick a fork in it.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Cold: Somehow, November has happened. It's a constant, deliberate 65 Fahrenheit degrees (about 18 C) in this house, which feels chilly, especially in the morning, so I'm back to wearing sweaters and eating breakfast with a blanket pulled over my head. It's womb-like. And warm....

Amused: I'm reading the latest issue of Weird N.J. "Could the Missing Lindbergh Ransom Money Be Buried in Summit?" "Wheeler and X. Ray Visit the Bat Factory", "Triangle Spotted over Woodstown", "The Satanic Cults of Old in Vineland", and other articles are teaching me a lot about state history...or pseudo-history. I haven't heard of half the towns where all these bizarre things happened, or supposedly happened, but reading about them makes me feel like I'm living in a wonderland....

Excited: Looks like I'll be visiting London and maybe Paris next July. Plans are now in the works, just in time for my passport to expire. On a semi-related note, even the Queen now has a Facebook page. You can "like" her, or her hat, here. "Please note that any offensive comments will be deleted" she says, regally.


Random: A delightful photo of David Lynch with (apparently) Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Word of the Day: wazzock

wazzock (n)

A nitwit; a stupid or annoying person.

"Course I haven't been drinking, you great wazzock. You can see the fish, can't you?"
--Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

I haven't met a true wazzock (that I had to spend any significant time with) in ten years at least. Instead, I tend to have fleeting wizzock moments. Saturday night, for instance. I was at an event where hot coffee was being served in paper cups. I asked for "two cups", so I could put one cup inside the other, creating a zarf, and avoid burning my digits. So, the guy behind the counter pours me two cups of hot coffee before I could explain what I meant. Was he the wazzock or, uh, wazz I? It was the moment itself, I think.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Random Sequence

Scenario 36 (excerpt 1)

Teenage Anarchy, or A Clockwork Frog

"Today, I want to be a mall pirate," said Oscar, an angry-at-the world boy genius, with an evil adolescent laugh. "And you dudes are my posse, my gang from hypnagogic hell. Let's create some confusion. Okay?"

Jett, Colby, and Brick snickered and nodded.

Oscar led them toward the "V" store where they made sour faces at all the smartphones on display and then walked up to the counter. "How do we jam ringtones?" Oscar asked the clerk behind the counter. "Huh? Why?" said the clerk. "They ring in the movies," said Brick, mock serious. "It's like a multiplex contest, with all those disco snippets."

"It breaks our concentration," said Jett.

"I can't help you there," said the clerk.

"What good are you?" said Colby.

The gang left the "V" store and headed for the Japanese counter in the food court. "How do we invest in sushi futures? We want to make money on sushi!" said Oscar. The woman behind the cash register looked puzzled. "You want sushi?" she said.

"No, idiot. We want surfer tattoos!" said Colby. The woman turned around and screamed "Manager!"

"Oh forget it," said Colby. "You're just confusing us. You're undoing my last six months of counseling. Your attitude is a therapy blockade!"

The boys moved on to what they called the Shut-Up Victoria store, where voluptuous manequins modeled racy underwear. "I want a bra with nude thresholds!" said Brick. "You know, a bra that self-destructs. My girlfriend is inhibited." The sales clerk gave him an irked look. "You kids need to leave," she said. "This isn't Spencer's."

The guys shuffled off to the "town square" of the mall, where senior citizens sat on benches around a fountain. "Slob sunsets!" Oscar yelled. "Listen up! We're all on a sticky road here, but it looks like you're sitting it out. Where do we go from here? Huh? Huh, slob sunset people?"

And old man looked up from the book he was reading. "It's not easy being green, is it?" he said.

"Oh, good one," said Oscar. "Ribbet, ribbet, ribbet...."

[Not to be continued. This writing exercise isn't the story I referred to below on Nov. 3rd.]

Saturday, November 06, 2010


Listening to a lot of Sparklehorse today, including Saturday.

And Sad & Beautiful World....

"Sometimes I get so sad
Sometimes you just make me mad"

Friday, November 05, 2010

Photo of the Week

existential dread BW

This is not a portrait of my living room.

It depicts part of the exhibit space for the Existential Dread art show a few weekends ago here in dear old Jersey City. Click the photo for the full effect. You'll want to, because this picture perfectly captures the totality of our current societal zeitgeist. As gridlock descends upon Washington and the economy continues to spin its wheels in the economic muck, as war rages on in the Middle East, this image serves as a touchstone, defining, embodying, and (dare I say?) explaining the mood of the moment. Like Picasso's Guernica or Warhol's Campbell's Soup Cans, it both elicits and answers the question, "What the hell?"

As we teeter-totter on the edge of whatever country (nay, planet) we're going to be next in this new millennium, this photo of mine speaks volumes about the way we live now. So hurrah for photography. Hooray for Art.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The T&T List

Compact Muon Solenoid
Capire Micropower
Guy Hands
brandade de morue
Liu Xiaobo

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Head Rattle

I am not a witch. I am you.


Save your rain dance for a dry spell. But you don't need a tidal wave to turn a waterwheel.


I have an idea for a story (fiction) I want to write, which is a good thing after a dry spell, but there's a problem. I got the idea for it from someone else, and I can't post the story here, because...well, it's complicated, horribly complicated. So what will I do with it? The local arts paper has changed direction and isn't an option at this point. I can read it at the Art House, but if it isn't in print (either ink or online "print"), it doesn't seem real to me. I have to find a new venue. Maybe I'll leave flyers on windshields....


Ugh.... I've started "reading" the free newspapers they give away at the train station: A.M. and Metro. I put "reading" in quotation marks because these kindergarten-level fish-wrappers sort of implant themselves in your brain without any consciousness of reading. They make USA Today seem like The New York Review of Books. Perfect for imbibing on the rattletrap at the end of the workday, when I'm zonked. I need a birdcage. Justification....

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Word of the Day: simoleon

simoleon (n)

One dollar.

"T'ought I was lyin' about the money, did ye? Well, you can frisk me if you wanter. Dat's the last simoleon in the treasury. Who's goin' to pay? The cattleman's clear grey eyes looked steadily from under his grizzly brows into the huckleberry optics of this guest. After a little he said simply, and not ungraciously, 'I'll be much obliged to you, son, if you won't mention money any more.'"
--O. Henry, "Heart of the West"

I have one of those golden one-dollar coins, and I don't know what to do with it. Somehow, I don't think most cashiers or bus drivers would appreciate me paying with it. And it's too pulchritudinous to spend casually. George appears a bit more contemporary on it than he does on the quarter, with an expression of what looks like mild disgust, as if about to pontificate on the contemporary political milieu -- though it may just be ill-fitting teeth.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Close to the fire: Neil Gaiman and Joey Pants have been wandering around our offices over the last two business days. Pinch me.... Inspired: I've got an idea for a Halloween costume for next year. And I have a whole year to put it together. It'll be simple but devastating. All it requires is a certain kind of shirt, a certain kind of hat, and a few accessories that I already have. What a load off my mind.... Honored: The Producer at work has written a sci-fi script in which one of the minor characters is more or less based on me. (Except I don't scream like a girl!) At least I survive the alien take-over of the "TalkingBooks Company". I hear Brad Pitt is interested in the part.... Wondering: I keep seeing this TV commercial where guys (grown men in neckties) are playing the hand-tapping finger game I think is called "chopsticks" over some elaborate corporate videoconferencing system. I've never quite understood how this game is played, or the appeal of it. I've seen grups do it in real life, though. But do people actually do this with their colleagues in Hong Kong and Germany on company satellite time? What a wonderful world....

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 23 small

Agree? More clip-art philosophy by me (and Lao Tzu). Click here for the BIG fish.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Photo of the Week


Scared? No?? Click on it -- you will be. But at your own risk. I am not responsible for any resulting coronary or insanity that this photo of mine inspires.

Halloween landing on a Sunday this year means we have an entire three-day weekend of horror. Last night I was forced to don a costume (horrifying enough for introverted, inhibited me) and attend an outdoor Hobroken frightfest that featured a live band and a mini bonfire. I felt like I was at some ancient Druid bacchanal, especially since I was dressed as a wizard/idiot. That's my default costume, the one I wear every time I'm compelled to attend one of these Samhain soirees -- a blue "graduation" robe and a wizard hat, which is sort of like a black dunce cap festooned with silver "lame" (note double meaning) stars and moons. I also had a silver wand -- useful for clubbing anyone who said "bibbity bobbity boo" to me.

It's a very easy costume to put on and (poof!) take off, unlike my wyfe's "It's Raining Men" get up: a fright wig topped with an umbrella hat with Ken dolls hanging from it and various frou-frou accessories that kept falling off. Truly chilling.

We left the fright fete just in time. I later heard it was raided by the police.

We then attended the oh-so-bizarre Late-Night Curiosities show at the Art House, which featured the usual/unusual cast of oddballs doing that voodoo that they do.

Tonight it's a classy Poe reading/house party and something spooky going on in the Historic Jersey City and Harsimus Cemetery. Be very afraid. I am.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Brain Dump

Future Card

Onward to the end game, at 7:15 or half past Kwanza. Skip four chapters ahead or trap today in amber. Either way, a sickle hovers. We're all subject to verb agreement, even Ed Lear with his good bone structure. There's a goose in the oven, whatever spectacles you choose. Beg for a suspended sentence. Capitalize on your first word for maximum return on insider trading places (in this generic scenario only). Time gets to the intolerable second, when we forfeit this croquet match of pretending high fives didn't happen, and then reverses. It never ends, our future. The envelope, please.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Much Ado about NOTHING

I'm tired of urban tumbleweeds.

I refer, of course, to the plastic bags one often sees blowing in the wind, down the street and overhead. My house is a magnet for them, forcing me to trash pick. We also tend to collect them indoors, due to an unfortunate habit we have called shopping. Even the apple tree in the back yard attracted one a while ago, a shiny blue one that it caught in its upper branches, way, way out of reach. Try standing on a shaky stepladder, on uneven ground, and wrestling with a spiky tree branch over a polyethylene jellyfish. This is the definition of irksome.

Help may be on the way. Jersey City is preparing to join its West Coast equivalents San Francisco and Portland (cough, cough) in banning plastic bags. Political antipodes Mayor Healy and Councilman Fulup have jointly proposed it. The City Council may well pass it (or, this being cranky town, bag it).

Plastic? Oh no…banned!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Word of the Day: dacoit

dacoit (n)

A member of a gang of armed bandits.

"Enough, you slimy jellyfish," the evil dacoit leader hissed. "Afflatus is currently running very hot. He's coming off two features that did solid business even in the smaller markets. For the rodent we've got stashed we'd be lucky to make back our chickpea nut."
--Woody Allen, "Tandoori Ransom"

Watching a movie about Western dacoit leader Jesse James recently (see Oct. 24, below) got me to thinking about guns. I've never owned a real one -- just squirt guns and an air rifle that shot ping pong balls. But my late father had a shotgun that he occasionally used to shoot woodchucks in our upstate New York backyard. I don't know where he got it, or why (he wasn't a hunter otherwise), or what happened to it. He kept it in the back of his closet, unloaded, and I remember being somewhat afraid but fascinated by it.... The only gun we have now is my wyfe's glue gun, which she uses for her art projects. You can glue almost any two objects together with a glue gun. It's also quite easy to burn your fingers with one, so it might be of some use for self-defense at close range. It would be hard to hold up a train or rob a bank with a glue gun, however. You probably couldn't take it on an airplane, though. A gun is a gun.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Head Rattle

What possessed me? I bought a cheap CD at the WFMU record fair called Live Mantra by "Buddhist Monks", thinking it was chill-out chanting. And it is...but it's also combined with a lot of light rock instrumentals and vocalizing. Oh well. The liner notes suggest that I burn it if I don't want it, since the sleeve contains sacred images, rather than "leaving it in a bin or unsuitable place". I guess I could have a little ceremony....


The back of my head is now famous, thanks to this. I am the archetypal dedicated knowledge worker of the 21st century.


"I thought I heard a stranger. We've got chicken tonight. Strangest damn things, they're man-made. Little damn things. Smaller than my fist, but they're new. Hi, I'm Bill."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Movie Report

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)
Not a Western, really, more of a psychodrama. Acting: A+ (especially Casey Affleck); Cinematography: A+; Story: would be B- if this was fiction, but it's history (somewhat fictionalized), so it's pass/fail: pass.

Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)
Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, silent with live organ accompaniment
Happy Halloween.... A German Expressionist take on Dracula. I can't evaluate, aesthetically, such a primitive film. It was well done for the time, I assume. Eighty-eight years later, it's not scary, but it's interesting, and I enjoyed seeing it. With a film like this, you're visiting a museum, not reading a great book, listening to a symphony (despite the title and the organ), or going to an amusement park. And a lot of people appreciate that. The theater, which seats 1,500, was packed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Photo of the Week

wheel of fortune

This "wheel of fortune" was on display during the recent Jersey City Studio Arts Tour. Click it to see the details. Read no further until you do.

What if you could spin this wheel every day, or even one day a week, and then make the result your theme for the day? What if the wheel landed on number 8, the raven? You could read Poe all day. Or number 12, a sea shell - you might go to the beach. Number 27: a space capsule. Send your resume to NASA -- what the hell? Number 3, a penguin. Visit the zoo. Number 7, a horse -- watch a cowboy movie. And number 9, number 9, number 9? That's a hand grenade. Maybe you'll blow your stack. Sometimes it's good to let off some steam. Land on zero, a headstone? Don't die. Visit a cemetery, or spin again. Call it the karmic wheel.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Think Cubic

"When the Sun shines upon Earth, 2 major Time points are created on opposite sides of Earth – known as Midday and Midnight. Where the 2 major Time forces join, synergy creates 2 new minor Time points we recognize as Sunup and Sundown."

It's still there! According to Nature's Harmonic Simultaneous 4-Day Time Cube, you are stupid and evil*. And you don't even know it.

*For ignoring the 4 days. "Cube Divinity transcends all knowledge, Humans can't escape 4 corner Cubic Life.... 4 Days rotating simultaneously within a single rotation of Earth. Cubics comprehend it. You are a Cubic Thinker, or [a] SnotBrain."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Yikes Trike

This is why cars have four wheels -- not three.

Thanks, Joe A. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Random Sequence

Malcolm came home that day in a mood of tired rage. "It's an electric heresy," he said to his wyfe, Marla, as he tossed his jacket onto the armoire. "Not there," she whined, picking it up and hanging it on a sconce. "And don't be so cryptic." She pouted. "Don't be my inappropriate champion. Speak plainly. What do you mean, 'an electric heresy'"?

Malcolm sighed. "They are the nitwits of death," he said. "The assessors."

"Oh, those tax psychos?"

"Yeah. Now they want to digitize my Moleskine. Every little scribble! I asked, 'why, why?' 'Because all my records are relevant to the assessment.' That's what the short one, Hiram, said.

"Oh, that idiotic tostada!" Marla spat.

"I'd like to put nitroglycerin in that contraption he has surgically attached to his ear. Practically."

"Ha ha, an explosive smartphone!"

"Blow him into space, yeah. Except they wouldn't want him up there, either."


"An orbit invasion. He'd be space junk. Let him assess a vacuum. A nothing."

"That reminds me," Marla said, suddenly pensive. "I don't have a thing for dinner."

"Mexican," Malcolm said.

(Not to be continued.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Word of the Day: farrago


farrago (n)

A medley or a conglomeration.

"Biggs was a fubsy pudding of a character with a hairpiece that could only have been ordered by dialing 1-800-Toupees. A farrago of tics animated his face in unpredictable dots and dashes like Morse code."
--Woody Allen, "This Nib for Hire"

My own personal farrago consists of the accumulated crap that covers the top of the chest of drawers in my closet.... If I just swept it all into the trash I would never miss it, but I never get around to it. It probably has something to do with the fact that each little treasure seemed worth saving at one time. And maybe they are worth saving. Maybe I'll put them into a coffee can and bury it in the backyard as a time capsule, so that future generations can study the sacred totems of our time: pennies, old keys, receipts, mints, Post-its with inscrutable messages, ties I never wear, and business cards for people I've forgotten.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tweet Mania

I find Twitter fairly useless, except as an outlet for random brain spasms, some of which, despite myself, are a bit entertaining. So below, for those of you who don't follow me on Twitter (and why the hell wouldn't you, Mr. Lurker?), I present my best-of collection. Free for the plucking. Tweet deal.

--Surreal life: I got lost in a maze of hay bales today -- in downtown Jersey City.
--"Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government."
--Zen proverb: "There is always something wrong with everything." Think about it.
--Windows 7 was not my idea.
--Anybody know if Parker Brothers is the ONLY company that makes the game Monopoly?
--Someday the sun will blow up. No one will remember.
--Queen B is selling our junk at a flea market. Good, good, good.
--You know what? Vacuuming sucks.
--Saw Avatar. It made a double life as a giant Smurf seem semi-attractive.
--Dentist tomorrow and doctor on Friday. Checkups. Love that waiting room stuff with the stale magazines and living-room-in-Hell ambiance.
--Sat by a woman on the train today who was wearing a (faux) leopard-skin pill-box hat. Wanted to ask if she was a Dylan fan....
--I do know your name. I just don't know it at this moment.
--Shin: a device for finding furniture in the dark.
--Somebody brought us peanuts covered with sesame seeds from Greece. Good, though I prefer baklava.
--If I could hijack a Cadillac, I'd grab my backpack and a cracker snack and head for Hackensack to play blackjack.
--AIM via gmail frequently fails it's Meebo to the rescue. But then I often end up IM'ing in stereo. Life is a roller coaster....
--I can't walk the dog or around the world. No yo yo!
--Free time is my new best friend.
--Word of the Day: clishmaclaver....drop that one into casual conversation, m'kay?
--Listening to the audiobook of Obama's "Dreams of My Father" autobiography. Long book -- after two hours, he's still in elementary school.
--The Big Bang. Horrendous Space Kablooie? Amazin' Cosmic Combust? Flabbergasting Universal Whamo? Wondrous Transcendental Burp?
--Saw "Taxi Driver" last night at the Loew's Jersey. Terrific film, but now I remember why I hate to take cabs.
--Next-door neighbor sits in front of his house all day in his electric wheelchair, sometimes cruising the block. We're under surveillance?
--Off we go to the home of Campbell Soup and a big aquarium....clam chowder for lunch?
--Q: How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A: Fish.
--I'm writing something. Words are flowing out like a constant Arabica drip into a coffee cup
--Please do weep a little for the trees before you print my tweets out, okay?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Or felt...

Nervous/amused: I got talked into touring a "haunted house" in the Village (Manhattan) today. The theme was "old-fashioned insane asylum" -- lots of psycho patients doing "scary" things like goading people into kissing (what looked like) the carcass of a dead baby, and then accusing them of being perverts. "Why would you do what I say? I'm wearing a [bloody] diaper! Bwahahahaha!" And so on. The actors -- NYU drama students? -- were pretty good, I must say. If it wasn't actually frightening, it was nerve-wracking at times, especially when I was pulled from the group I was with and put in a small, pitch-dark room. A ghoul with an electric chainsaw came in and began crowding me against the back wall. After a while, he started sawing his own scalp. I got out of there fast....

Sexy? A guy at the train station yesterday said "you look like a movie star" as I was passing him on my way to the PATH train. I think he was sincere, because he didn't ask me for money. Of course, he could have been crazy. Or he may have meant William H. Macy, which I get sometimes -- and don't particularly think of as a compliment....

Puzzled: My annoying next-door neighbors, the ones who last year had raucous backyard parties every weekend, were peepless all summer. I'm not sure what happened to them. Their hound, who yaps at me every time I step outside my backdoor, is still there, however, so I assume they haven't moved out or succumbed to some tabloid-style atrocity. Maybe they just got tired of sharing their drunken banter and golden oldies with the neighborhood....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Photo of the Week

found art

Sometimes the best photo opportunities present themselves when you least expect it. There I was, two weeks ago, hunting for interesting objets d'art to shutterbug while on the JC Studio Arts Tour, and instead of some dauber's triptych, I came across this bit of found art, right on the side of the street. Somebody lost a fancy shoe. Somebody else put a red umbrella in it. And voila, a makeshift masterpiece.

Never underestimate the power of serendipity.

(You'll want to click on this one for a closer view. Trust me.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Much Ado about NOTHING

More glossy catalogs from L.L. Bean and Lands End arrive almost every day in the mail. (Could the holidays be approaching?) Although I admit to buying items from these retailers in the past (mostly footwear), I find their clothing generic and overpriced. I suppose they have to charge so much in order to afford the production and mailing costs for their lavish but dull publications.

The models, the male models, puzzle me: Young guys with gray hair. Old guys with preternaturally dark hair. None of them have shaved in two or three days, but none of them actually have beards. They're outdoor types who also have vaguely corporate occupations. They will hang out on the front porch in their boxer shorts. And all of them are grinning maniacally in their summer/fall/winter wonderlands! What is the message? The ideal man is simultaneously young and old, preppy and scruffy, athletic and sedentary, beautifully groomed but "natural". He is a joyful Everyman. He both embodies and resolves contradiction. And you too can become Mr. Gene Eric Allofus by buying a $169 wool/acrylic/nylon/polyester blend Maine Lodge Jacket.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The T&T List

durum wheat
Semikolon Multimedia Box
Man Booker Prize
Fritz Fritzke
Cowboy Bebop
The Sensex index
Moon Zoo
Avey Tare

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Brain Dump

Truth Card

You said you wanted truth, so I gave you some. Can you handle it? Can you hold it in your palm like a perfectly clear marble? Shed as many tears as you like, but remember, it is slippery when wet. It can fall and shatter, and each fragment has a point. Don't cut yourself, but scratch away at the accumulated sediment of lies. Underneath: a dusty mirror, and your own face the cryptometer. Opacity fades as entasis is accepted. Tooled verity is the gospel of the sincere.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Word of the Day: myrmidon

myrmidon (n)

Someone who carries out, without question or ethical qualms, a master's orders.

"I dimly recall the bag being removed from my head in the mountaintop cave of a wild-eyed bandit chieftain with a twirling jet-black mustache and the psychotic intensity of Eduardo Ciannelli in Gunga Din. Brandishing a scimitar, he had apparently gone ballistic over some shoddy abduction work by his trio of simpering myrmidons."
--Woody Allen, "Tandoori Ransom"


One of my wyfe's friends who we haven't seen in a while (she moved to the Hudson Valley of New York State) told us that she was abducted by...them. Only she didn't like the words "abducted" or "abduction" or "abductee". She preferred to call herself an "experiencer". Apparently, she didn't think of her experience (whatever it was) as negative, or not entirely. She also refused to give us any of the details. She was a painter, and she gave us a small painting with little images of flying saucers subtly mixed into the color fields. You can see part of this painting behind my head in my current Facebook profile picture. She also included a phrase in tiny letters in one corner of it: "They are us." Whatever that means.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Autumnal (and industrious): I raked some leaves, picked up the cancerous-looking apples that have fallen from the tree in our backyard, and picked a pumpkin from our garden. So petit bourgeois! You'd think I lived in country hamlet (like, say, Wet Windshield, NY) rather than the second largest city in the most populous state in the nation.... Disgusted and angry: I got a letter from the hospital where I had a minor procedure done a while back. They say I may have been exposed to hepatitis C while I was there, and I need to come in for a free blood test. Eye roll! What's going to complicate this whole mess is that I had hepatitis when I was eight years old. So any blood test is going to show that I have, in fact, been exposed to hepatitis, whether or not I was exposed at the hospital. Arghhh!.... Silly: Spent too long websurfing last night, looking up obscure subjects on Wikipedia (something I tend to do when I can't sleep), and woke up really late this morning -- which means I won't get to sleep tonight, which means I'll be sleepy tomorrow. Was it worth it to learn more about M-theory? Now there's a topic with many practical applications for the life of a typo cop....

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Photo of the Week

pot legs

You've heard of pot heads? Well, these are pot legs. This is a photo I took at the Exquisite Corpse art show last weekend. It was part of the 2010 Jersey City Studio Arts Tour. An artist friend named Cat made this.

Plenty more pictures of things I saw on the Tour are here. I didn't just see art that day, by the way. Oh no! There are also photos of the One and Nines (saw them at the 4th Street Art & Music Festival), a nicely preserved car from the 60s, an hilarious vintage advertising poster for Salem cigarettes, a painted kid, and some interesting architectural features. It's all quite surreal, if I do say so myself.


Here are some photos from John Lennon's 40th birthday (he would have been 70 today) and a long article by a fan who spent quite a bit of time in the autumn of 1980 outside the Dakota, occasionally seeing and interacting with JL, and obsessively recording these encounters -- which comes across as rather creepy, considering.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Random Sequence

We left the pee stations and stood washing our hands at the sink stations. It was Friday, July 2nd, 5 PM.

"Crush barbecues," he mumbled as the faucets roared. "Like a soda can."

"What?" I said.

"I hate them," he said. "Barbecues."

"You have a tasteless tongue?" I said.

He snorted. "More like a frozen mouth. I can't make small talk."

"What about now?" I said, wadding my paper towel. I tossed it toward the receptacle. As always, I missed.

"I'm sick of burgers," he said, more to his face in the mirror than to me. "I'd rather be king of the donuts."

"But isn't it somewhere for you to know. Maidens."

"Deformed Lolitas?" he spat. "You don't know my circle."

"Too bad," I said.

"Why? You're not missing much."

"No, too bad for you," I said.

He shrugged. "I think I'll just stay home and eat bacon."

"Listen to the lawnmowers," I suggested. "And the M-80s."

He groaned a little as we left. Or was it the hinges? I couldn't tell.

(Not to be continued.)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Sorry to Disappoint

Below are search terms that recently brought seekers to this font of wisdom. Most of them probably went away disappointed. So sorry about that.

Zen for dummies

There's probably a book with that title that you can buy from [there's a river in Brazil], but zen is really very simple, simple enough to reduce to a sentence:

"There is more than one path up the mountain."

Or, if you prefer:

"There is always something wrong with everything."

The nude woman as pataphysical object

Joan was quizzical, but not nude, as far as I know. Anyway, pataphysics is pseudo and a parody of metaphysics, which is the study of fundamental nature and being. And, come to think of it, not much is more fundamental than a nude woman. I don't believe I've ever expounded on this particular topic, however.

PM ejulation

To "ejulate" is to (no, not that!) wail or lament. I guess PM ejulation is just the nighttime variety. Dark night of the soul? Bright morning of the soul just doesn't have the same ring to it. And there usually isn't enough accumulated conneries yet to inspire ejulation in the morning. Is there?

Antique mugshots

Refers to this. The patina of yesteryear gives even a lowly mugshot the romantic aura of a Vermeer. (That's my ace bullshit generator at work.)

Nicky Nacky Nue

Please tell me I never used this phrase.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Word of the Day: frottage

frottage (n) [fraw-tahzh]

(1) A visual-arts technique of obtaining an image by rubbing chalk, charcoal, graphite, etc. over a piece of paper covering a flat but 3D surface, such as a leaf.

(2) Sexual stimulation and satisfaction by rubbing against something, such as another human.

"EPPIS (to Moribund, his yes-man) What to do? Here I am, two years over schedule on an eight-week shoot, and my lead actor, Roy Reflex, gets busted for frottage at the Gap. Is it a wonder my ulcer's the size of a flapjack?"
--Woody Allen, "Caution: Falling Moguls"

My mother has a tiny ulcer. She used to make pancakes for us for dinner -- we often ate breakfast foods, such as scrambled eggs, for dinner. When I was a kid, I would occasionally "rub" coins, leaves, etc., with paper and a pencil. It's hard to imagine, now, having the free, unstructured time to do something like that -- just because I felt like it, not because I had to or someone told me to.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Quote of the Day

Five years ago today, I posted this quotation here on T&T. It bears repeating I think.

"Writing is one of the most easy, pain-free, and happy ways to pass the time in all the arts. For example, right now I am sitting in my rose garden and typing on my new computer. Each rose represents a story, so I'm never at a loss for what to write. I just look deep into the heart of the rose and read its story and write it down through typing, which I enjoy anyway. I could be typing "kjfiu joewmv jiw" and would enjoy it as much as typing words that actually make sense. I simply relish the movement of my fingers on the keys. Sometimes, it is true, agony visits the head of a writer. At these moments, I stop writing and relax with a coffee at my favorite restaurant, knowing that words can be changed, rethought, fiddled with, and, of course, ultimately denied. Painters don't have that luxury. If they go to a coffee shop, their paint dries into a hard mass."
--Steve Martin, "Writing Is Easy"

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Head Rattle

An amusing phrase I noted in a painting I saw yesterday while doing the Jersey City Studio Arts Tour:

"Think about how you think about how you think about how you think about how you think about how you think about how you think about how you think...."

I often do. That's the problem.


Number of cups of coffee I drink per day: 4 to 5. Is this bad? Coffee contains antioxidants. No reproducable scientific study has shown that coffee is harmful to adults (pregnant women perhaps excepted).


I noticed they're selling a John Lennon greatest (solo) hits collection at Starbucks. It's mostly his Beatle-ish stuff, as you would expect, though "Mother" and "God" are in there. They didn't include "Well, Well, Well", however. I would like to hear that one playing at Starbucks. It would go along with the over-caffeination.

(What, no "Mind Games" in this package? That and "#9 Dream" are practically my theme songs.)


Heard the One and Nines playing at the 4th Street Music Festival yesterday. They call themselves "Jersey City's house band". Hmm. Okay. I guess so. I'm not sure our mayor, who croons Sinatra tunes in public, would agree, though.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry / Photo of the Week


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.


Click my pic, Rick...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Word of the Day: tergiversate

tergiversate (v)

To be evasive or ambiguous; equivocate; shilly shally.

"When I confronted Arbogast with my disenchantment over cost overruns that were challenging the German inflation of the 1920s, he laid it off to my 'psychotic demand for change orders.'
"Relax, cousin," he said. "If you'll stop your tergiversating, Arbogast and Company will be history in four weeks. My hand to God."
--Woody Allen, "On a Bad Day You Can See Forever"

I'm not a "foodie". When confronted by a menu in a restaurant, my tendency is to tergiversate until the waiter starts hovering, and then order the chicken. I'd really prefer that someone order for me. When I was in Morocco on a business trip years ago (long, dull story), someone did order for me. And I ended up eating pigeon and rice. With my hands. And it tasted just like... chicken.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Amused: I became aware today of a kids book called The Disgusting Adventures of Fleabag Monkeyface. I don't really know what it's about, but I'm thinking of adapting the title for my autobiography. The Perplexing Vicissitudes of Blogdude Scribbleface?.... Perplexed: Why did he-who-can't-be-named set fire to the bridge? Pride? Ego? These are not attributes of enlightenment. Bridges can be rebuilt, of course. And one can resort to a helicopter.... Weird: A strange (meaning unknown) woman fell asleep on my shoulder on the train this evening. Why is it that moving conveyances or vehicles put people to sleep? It must be for the same reason that rocking a baby induces slumber.... Curious: The house across the street, the one where the transvestite lives, which is a humble abode indeed (not that I live in a mansion), suddenly sports a white marble (faux marble?) statue out front of an angelic child holding a globe-like object. Not sure what this presages, if anything....


"Isabella Rossellini" by David Lynch (poem)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The T&T List

Themos Kalafatis
The Irrawaddy
Bristlecone pines
agave nectar
Clarence Seedorf
13 Japanese Birds
Matali Crasset
The Cherokee Hotshots
Fun World

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend Movie Report: Without a Hitch?

Was Hitchcock the only classic director who could craft an effective thriller? Well, no, not based on the evidence presented this weekend at Jersey City's Landmark Loew's Jersey Theatre, which presented three films from three other directors who could clearly create pleasurable jitters. I think only one of them worried Hitchcock much, however.

Peeping Tom (1960), directed by Michael Powell (who actually worked for Hitchcock at one time), is often compared to Psycho and Rear Window. That may be true thematically -- it's about a voyeur who gets off on murdering women -- but I wouldn't say it's in the same league with those two films. The actor who plays the main character has an incongruous and unexplained European accent (the film is set in London) and seems miscast to me. And all of the acting has a very British "theatrical" quality that seems artificial, especially for a film made in 1960. Still, the movie never drags, includes some innovative visual techniques that I think were ahead of their time for a mainstream film, and induces real tension. Hitchcock just shrugged his shoulders, though, I imagine.

The Stranger (1946) is minor Orson Welles film noir (Welles himself reportedly said something like that), but it works as entertainment by combining suspense with touches of humor (which was Hitchcock's formula), as long as you don't think too hard about it. Two problems: Welles himself plays the villain, and it's very hard (for me at least) to see him as a secret post-war Nazi hiding out in small-town Connecticut, where he indulges an obsession for fixing clocks. (And didn't all the Blue Meanies end up in Argentina? Why would they head for the U.S. and marry the daughters of Supreme Court justices? You'd think that would draw some unwanted attention.) The film also has a very silly ending that I won't give away, but talk about being stuck for time. The usual Welles mastery of camera angles, composition, editing etc., are on display, but Hitchcock just snickered, I think.

Charade (1963) is the only one of these three films that gave Hitchcock any professional jitters, I imagine. It's exactly the kind of glossy thriller that he made himself in the late 1950s, reminding me especially of North by Northwest -- and not just because it stars Cary Grant. Audrey Hepburn is an American in Paris whose recently murdered husband should have left $250,000 behind (real money in 1963), but where is it? Several shady characters are willing to kill to find out, and Hepburn is in big trouble. But the man she thinks she can trust (Grant) turns out to be a serial liar. A lot of paranoia, running around through glamorous Parisian locations, and comic touches ensue. The dialogue and acting are sharp and witty, and director Stanley Donan handles all of this like "the Master" at his peak. Hitchcock would never have cast a brunette -- in 1963, he would have used Tippi Hedren -- but Hepburn is perfect, both sympathetic and funny. Grant plays it serious but not humorless -- just right. Hitchcock once said that he didn't make slices of life, he made pieces of cake. Charade is a piece of cake.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Word of the Day: ecdysiast

ecdysiast (n) [ek-ˈdi-zē-ast]

(The link may not be safe for work, unless you work in a strip club.)

A stripper.

"H. L. Mencken, who coined the term Bible Belt, also brought us the word ecdysiast.... [He] came up with ecdysiast based on the zoological term ecdysis, which refers to the molting of arthropods' (such as crabs') outer coverings."
--Jo Weldon, The Burlesque Handbook

"There was no shortage of psychic advice either, from sources such as the 'spiritual intuitive' who double-checks her insights with 'a consortium of angels named Consortium Seven,' or a babe ecdysiastically christened Saleena, who offers to 'balance your energy, awaken your DNA and attract abundance.' Naturally, at the end of all these field trips to the center of the soul, a small emolument to cover stamps and any other expenses the guru may have incurred in another life is in order."
--Woody Allen, "To Err Is Human -- to Float, Divine"

I've never seen a live striptease act, but this word does bring to mind an odd experience I had several years ago, while walking down Eighth Avenue in Manhattan on a sunny afternoon. I saw a nude young woman walking on the opposite side of the avenue. She was not unattractive in shape, but her face wore a blank, zombie-like expression, as if she'd been hypnotized into naked perambulation. Astonished, I stopped to watch as she sauntered slowly down the block and then entered a brownstone. This event elicited some snickers from the other pedestrians, but not any commotion other than that. New York.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Photo of the Week


The big tooth -- click it to see it even bigger.

This thing was on display at the Bouckville Antiques Fair, and I couldn't resist taking its picture. I'm not sure if it was actually for sale; I didn't see a price tag. And who would buy such a thing? I'm guessing it was originally an advertisement for a dentist's office and served as an attention-grabber at the fair. My own tooth has been grabbing my attention lately whenever I put something too hot or too cold in my mouth, though the Sensodyne helps. (You're welcome GlaxoSmithKline.)