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.