Thursday, April 29, 2010

Word of the Day: abulia

abulia (n)

A symptom of a mental disorder involving inability to make decisions or a loss of volition.

"What is lacking to Marcelle in her abulia is the 'mental synthesis' required to represent to herself the act of picking up a pencil."
--Paul Bishop, Jung in Contexts: A Reader

I can't decide what I want to say about abulia.... Actually, I can: I think it's a pretty common affliction. I know I dither over, for example, whether to buy raspberry or blackberry jam at the supermarket. (First-world problems!)

Last night, I was watching Hamlet on PBS (the Royal Shakespeare production -- which was fantastic), a play that is all about abulia ("To be or not to be..."), and couldn't decide whether to switch channels to the new Twin Peaks rip-off called Happy Town. I can't decide if I should tell you what I decided -- which probably tells you something.

Abulia, by the way, is one of the words that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Photo of the Week

thing 3

Whatsit? This is something I found in the basement. There's a lot of junk in the basement. Do I like that? "Negative". But I like the way this turned out. (Click for a closer look. You know you want to.)

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Algorithm and Blues

Codeorgan is a site that takes any URL (which means virtually any site on the Internet), analyzes the content via an algorithm, and then composes a melody for it. This here blog apparently sounds like a meandering piano tune in the key of A accompanied by a drum loop. Disappointing! I was hoping for something more along the lines of "The Blue Danube" or even "I Am the Walrus". But I guess I do a lot of meandering here. That's sort of the point....

The Weather Channel's site produces a much nicer piece. Maybe I should write about air pressure and storm cells more.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Random Sequence

Scenario 7 (excerpt 4)

Harley sat in a plastic seat at the laundromat, savoring the white noise and watching his clothes spin endlessly through the porthole in the big, blue dryer. As his multicolored t-shirts, jeans and boxer shorts whirled around, he felt himself drifting into yet another reverie. He was back at the arboretum, and Natalie was there, alive, and pruning a ficus. "Figs are fibrous," she was saying, in a sing-song voice. "Every Bozo knows that." "Mmmm," Harley replied. "Mmmmmm. Mmm." He wasn't able to speak. The idea of having a fig inside his mouth, and the soft, yielding resistance it would make against his teeth, made him feel slightly louche. Natalie pouted and sat on his lap. Then she blew in his ear. He pictured tiny tumbleweeds rolling across an open newspaper. One of them stopped on the phrase "narcoleptic whirlybird". Suddenly a buzzer sounded. Harley was back in the laundromat, a widower staring at a pile of laundry in a big, blue dryer. He stood up, shoved some more coins into the machine, pressed the start button, and sat down to dream.

Here's something I never expected to see...

yoko ono twitter

She must spend all day every day on Twitter if she follows over 278,000 people.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Facebook Follies

My friend Joe D. has written another fantastic piece about a mutual "friend" of ours, whom he calls "Tiny". It's an hilariously accurate portrait of a "majestically high maintenance" woman, who for a while listed my wyfe as her emergency contact.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Somebody introduced himself to me today. Felt strange; people usually don't. People I've "known" for years have yet to introduce themselves.... It's Earth Day, it's great, but I can't get excited about it. It isn't apathy. I'm just stockpiling enthusiasm.... Walking around with my umbrella makes me feel like Mary Poppins. Except not as tough.... Yes, I enjoy agitating the language for my own pleasurement, otherhandly I reckon business buzzwords as mean, mean mind-mangles....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Word of the Day: hypocorism

hypocorism (n)

A pet name, or babytalk by an adult.

"Cabbage, however, has enjoyed unlikely success as a hypocorism, a usage that dates back to the mid nineteenth century; this usage arose as a direct translation of chou, which French lovers had been calling each other for a long time: 'Oh, mon petit chou" -- "Oh, my little cabbage.'"
--Mark Steven Morton, The Lover's Tongue: A Merry Romp Through the Language of Love and Sex

These days, even if you're French, I do not recommend that you refer to your lover as "my little cabbage". Not unless you want to do a lot of explaining.

My mother had a hypocorism for me when I was a tot: "Pumpkin". Why she called me that I don't know. I could ask her, but it would be awkward -- I don't think she knows either. I certainly didn't resemble a pumpkin or gourd of any sort. At least she didn't call me a little cabbage.

This word, by the way, is one of the ones that the late David Foster Wallace circled in his dictionary.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Photo of the Week

This is not my house

This is not my house.

I snapped this photo (click it) a few weekends ago in West Winfield, NY, the community that shaped me, for better or worse. I have no idea what this structure is used for. It could be a tool shed, except it's in the middle of an empty lot, nowhere near a house or building that might need it for such. I tried to look inside, but the window was covered. I don't think anyone lives there -- or if they do, they live without electricity. Maybe it's where someone keeps their crazy uncle locked up? I should have knocked on that door, perhaps, but I was afraid someone might answer.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to move into a little hut and hide out from the world, at least for a while. It would have to have at least 54.0 Mbps broadband though. And indoor plumbing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The T&T List

Majestic 12
Missoula, Montana
salt tide
Kiefer Sutherland
Karl Wilhelm Gottlieb Leopold Fuckel
RSuite CMS
Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange
Newark Catacombs

Sexy Sadie, What Have You Done?

Here's something. David Lynch interviews Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr about sitting quietly with eyes closed and repeating a word to yourself. They still do it! (So do I, though not the brand-name variety, and not as much as I should.)

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Eyjafjallajokull (ay-yah-FYAH'-plah-yer-kuh-duhl)

Say it ten times fast, all you voice talents out there.

One time fast?

(That's the AP pronunciation above. According to The New York Times, it's actually "EY-ya-fyat-lah-YOH-kuht....Say it soft and it’s almost like, 'Hey, ya fergot La Yogurt.'")

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random Acts of Poetry


Band sticks
in a twist,
close as a kiss.
Peels off
then tip switch,
mini rips.
Invisible fizz
or steamy window--
I'm not real here
under plastic.
Glue fly bitch!
One more
tiny torturing itch.


It bites!
A Nazi hiss
and troops
linking arms--
each golden tooth
attacking a gap
with metallic,
zombie passion.
Haves stronger
than sums
become total.
Till the lips
slide back,
unknitting creation.

Apple Essence

Crisp: chlorophyll green,
not dead or red.
A knife and a conspiracy
of slices--
some cyanide,
a suicide, an arrow.
The tight, thin wrapping
of snake evil,
mashed into Mommy-pie
All knowledge is falling.


The slow suck
of soft gray focus.
Soothing ooze,
without air
or water--
but moist,
such a wet envelope.
Such a tender grip.
Slide, slide,
suffocation time,
this oily pause,
all blur and funny.
A jar of love.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I'd like to visit the mysterious Garden of Cosmic Speculation. Unfortunately, it's private and only open to the public for one day a year -- and it's in Scotland. (Why couldn't it be in the "Garden State"?) There's an illustrated coffee-table book about it, but it costs over $140. At least I can look at pictures and dream.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Word of the Day: kipple

kipple (n)

Utterly useless trash, junk, or rubbish.

"No one can win against kipple, except temporarily and maybe in one spot."
--Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Someone I live with is, alas, a kipple collector. We have a very full basement full of "art materials", broken lawnmowers, lamps that don't light, unpacked boxes from our move four years ago, etc. -- none of which I'm allowed to dispose of without bringing down the wrath of God on my person. And now the kipple is metastasizing from the basement into other areas of the house.

Andy Warhol famously said that junk should be packed in a box with a date on it, and if you haven't opened the box within a year, you should just throw it away -- without looking inside. More and more, I think he was right.

(It's a good thing my wyfe doesn't read this blog.)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Photo of the Week

This is not my car

This is not my car.

Our photo of the week was snapped two weekends ago in my point of origin, West Winfield, New York -- often affectionately referred to as Wet Windshield by long-time residents. It's an intensely car- and truck-oriented place, being rural. I was passing by on foot (I'm a contrarian!) and observed this wreck sitting in an empty parking lot, as if on display. It was tattooed with a few hard-to-read corporate logos, which made me suspect that it was once some kind of stock car or, more likely, given its condition, a participant in a demolition derby. There was something fantastically melancholy and granular about this vehicular corpse -- thus the photo. (Click here for a closer view.)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Brain Dump

Visit Exciting Brunch Quests on Your Next Dysfunction Mutation

With its apocalyptic rodeos for content-management professionals, smoky-burned air quality, superb bathtub screws, and nearby love engines, it is no wonder that Brunch Quests is among the most popular catastrophe sites for slasher reunions. A former fishing village in the northern regions of Deodorant Soaps on the Lunatic Coast, Brunch Quests has the area's most well developed inmate fanbase for world-class cantaloupes, with plenty of chairlift jacuzzis to suit every pocket. With much to enjoy and even more to do, this flat-ass community is the ideal place to study yo-yos and have some crazy testicular rage!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Moon Tunes

Interesting band, with an interesting name, that I saw on Friday night at the Art House.

Moonchild is a novel by Aleister Crowley about a magical war between a white lodge and a black lodge (!) over an unborn child -- the "moonchild" of the title.

For information about rocket scientist and occultist Jack Parsons, go here and here.

There's something incantational about this group's songs....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fish Food for Thought

philosofish 17 small

More clip-art philosophy by me (and Albert Szent-Györgyi). I don't agree that all projects are nonsense; some are. When it comes to great discoveries, though -- yeah, intuition. Click here for the BIG fish.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Word of the Day: deliquesce

deliquesce (v)

To melt, dissolve or become fluid.

"After that it didn't take long for her to touch his lips and deliquesce into his arms."
--Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

I'm clearly not living in a Salman Rushdie novel. The MG life is more like this: My wyfe heaves an iceberg into the kitchen sink (she's defrosting the fridge), and I stand there making it slowly deliquesce with hot water from the tap. Why? I don't know, but there is something meditative or even hypnotic about the process.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Way I Feel

Taking the recycling out to the street last night, my very presence startled some female next-door neighbor who was sitting on her front steps enjoying the dark and the unseasonal heat (and probably some mind-altering substance). She screamed and giggled, which startled ME. Yeah, I'm a scary one.... I have 127 friends on Facebook now. Still lonely.... Dentist tomorrow and doctor on Friday. They're routine check-ups, but I hate that waiting room stuff with the stale magazines and living-room-in-Hell ambiance.... Always feel slightly nervous after watching L O S T, as if these things were happening to real people -- people I might meet IRL if I got too close to a big electro-magnet....

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Random Sequence

Scenario 4 (excerpt 2)

The sleepwalker trips over the derringer on his way to the kitchen. He wakes up on the floor and mutters, "tomfoolery".

He sits up and waves his hands around for a few seconds like an orchestra conductor, remembering the Stravinksy and especially the arpeggio. He laughs and picks up the derringer, holds it to his temple and laughs some more. Then he stands up and puts the gun on the table.

He picks up his phone and presses seven.

"Hello?" a woman says.

He makes a kissing noise.

"Who is this?" says the woman.

He makes a clicking noise with his tongue.

"Who is this?"


"Oh." She makes a clicking noise with her tongue.

"Night." He sets the phone down on the table.

He picks up the gun and shoots a hole in the wall. A picture of a fat, red tomato falls to the floor.

"Hello?" the woman says. "Hello?" "Hello?"

Monday, April 05, 2010

Photo of the Week

Nathaniel Hinckley Gates & Family

I am related to this happy bunch, especially, apparently, to the fellow holding the branch on the left -- Elias Gates, my great, great, great. I wish it was a clearer photo, but I feel lucky to have come across this photo at all, courtesy of the genealogical investigations of my brother-in-law. (Click to see it bigger and marvel at the...resemblance?)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

The T&T List

Michael of Ephesus
Dražen Funtak
Bohemian Forest
Bergen Point
Kaoru Mori
Innespace Seabreacher
Buddha's Hand
Wolf Robe
Rasputin and the Empress

Friday, April 02, 2010

Idle Chatter


A: Easter is crap. How could somebody come back from the dead? That's crazy. That's superstition.

B: Oh, I don't know. I've come back from the dead a few times, I think.

A: Huh?

B: I've been there. Been down so far I thought I could never get up. I've seen the bottom.

A: Now you're getting all symbolic on me.

B: Metaphorical.

A: Whatever! You're talking about despair. I'm talking about dead. As in kickin it. Buying the farm. Deceased.

B: You're talking about the body. I'm talking about the mind.

A: Oh, well, I guess you've gone and come back a few times then.

B: Yeah, I lost it, you know. Lost my mind. Was lost and then found.

A: But that's not like being dead.

B: It's worse than being dead.

A: How would you know?

B: There's no such thing as "being" dead. If you're dead, you're not "being" at all.

A: Now you're playing games. Word games.

B: There are some things that words cannot express. Some experiences. You have to use metaphors.

A: So you don't think anybody can come back from the dead?

B: If they did, would you believe they were ever really dead?

A: No.

B: Well, there you are. No one comes back. They never really went.

A: It just seems like it.

B: On a certain level. In a certain way of looking at it.

A: No miracles then. No Easter.

B: Oh, I didn't say that. What's a miracle? You pull up a weed and another weed grows in its place.

A: But it's not the same weed.

B: That's it, isn't it? This idea that it has to be the same one. What does it mean to be the same? Am I the "same" person I was 10 years ago?

A: Similar.

B: But not the same.

A: No.

B: And what kind of person never changes?

A: A dead one.

B: Mmm hmm.