Thursday, December 27, 2007

four heads

I was pretty excited to learn that spiny anteaters have four-headed penises that can bend like bows. Check it out.

Also, a "cloaca" is a single opening out of which some animals piss, shit, and fuck. The four-headed penis of the spiny anteater emerges from this power hole when it is ready for love.

I'm learning all sorts of new things during my winter vacation! I also learned to play Queen's "Seaside Rendezvous," my new favorite song, on the piano o' pain, and am working on my own vaudevillian tune in C major, although every time I think I've written a new measure it just ends up being Freddie Mercury's catchy C-B-Bb-Am riff.

That's a song I think everyone should give a listen to.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

noun verbs

There are machines that can predict which pop songs will be commercially successful, based on measurements of tempo and timbre, thus obsolescing tastemakers and record producers, trimming the fat out of the music industry, and delivering tips on how to create winning pop to a generation of musical aspirants. There's no reason recent college grads living by the quadruplex in Silverlake apartments, working at FedEx by day and rehearsing improv comedy and watching Adult Swim by night, holding the dream of the next "Good Will Hunting" dear, should have to struggle through drafts of roller derby zombie scripts and high school grad night screenplays and be deprived of the same scientific analysis that benefits their 22 year-old peers in the music business. With these poor people - not so far from my recent memory - in mind, I decided to analyze some recent Best Picture Academy Award winning nominees to see what that magic formula was - what tragicomedomelodramusical alchemy brings to the people what the people want to be brought. The results are below:
  • A dysfunctional family takes a long road trip in a beat-up Volkswagon bus to a girls’ beauty contest. The raunchy but kind grandfather dies peacefully, the gay uncle fails at suicide, the optimistic but failed father discovers his grand business ambition is for naught (just as his son discovers that his congenital colorblindness prevents him from pursuing his life’s ambition and has led him to squander six months of his voice to silence), the mother has been forgotten, and the little girl for whom everyone else endures the travel tears her pants off in the climactic sequence. Doors of cars falling off, and other such antics, ensue.
  • An old, fuddy, extremely rich, purebred English woman doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.
  • Men get shot for a war.
  • A woman on a bus in a strange dusty country is shot by two boys who accidentally discharge their father’s rifle. Her husband panics. At home, the babysitters have killed the kids. In another part of the world, another language is spoken.
  • One man says he is a cop but he is a thug. One man says he is a thug but he is actually a cop. Another man says he is a thug but he is an informant. One man says he is a good cop but, in the end, he assassinates the last thug standing. Blood is spilt. Lives are ruined. Psyches are destroyed. Everyone dies.
  • Israelis getting shot, from the point of view of Olympic spectators.
  • Two nineteen year old boys adrift in a pre-Vietnam rural America meet during a shared summer stint as shepherds in the high mountains of Wyoming. They fuck all summer. It is not until they part, after leaving the mountains, that they realize each is the only that can fulfil the other, but one of the boys is more scared than the other of the consequences of sexual non-normativity, and they can never return to that moment of grace where they were alone in the mountains and holding love without holding back. In the end, the less cowardly man is killed for his bravery and the cowardly man can only remember him by the scent of their shirts.
  • A bunch of people get in a car crash.
  • A comedy about fat, bald, insecure, middle-aged oenophile, and his better-looking, charming friend on the eve of his marriage, taking one final bachelor weekend in the wine country north of Los Angeles. Both find girls. The slanty-eyed zany one beats the bachelor for not disclosing his engagement. The pretty, aging blonde one trains her sights on the unlikely fat candidate, who blunders his chance, but gets a second chance by epistle. Wacky antics, like cars being driven into trees, naked hicks, and ninjitsu, ensue.
  • A famous blind musician.
  • A crazy jazillionaire wants a really, really big plane.
  • A girl power/incest movie about an old lonely man who adopts/trains/kills a tough-in-the-ring, sweet-little-thing lady boxer.
  • A famous horse named after a pastry made of only bread and water wins some races. A little man balances atop.
  • One man is a cop. One man is a deli owner. One man is mysteriously covered in blood one night. One girl is dead. The second man kills the third man for killing the girl, but the third man did not kill the girl. Everything is uncovered by the first man. The woman who stands by her man is virtuous, and the one who does not causes the cruelly mistaken revenge murder of her husband. The light is long, winter is coming, and everyone speaks in a Boston accent.
  • A man with a blond ponytail rides a ship for a while.
  • A washed-up actor goes to Japan to make some extra cash and finds in the hotel a pretty young woman whose husband could give two shits about her. The actor and the young woman discover their union can make them both young, but both cannot bring themselves to take the risk. The neon lights emphasize their isolation.
  • The four members of Winger set off the third leg of a very long journey to destroy a ring. A former member of the band still hangs around, coveting the ring. One of the members of Nelson shoots arrows. Kurt Cobain is a wayfarer who is actually of royal lineage. Sir Ian McKellen, in nose prosthesis, is a goodly wizard whose powers are unknowable. All the good people win in the end, and all the bad people die.
  • An author walks into a river with rocks in her pockets. Meryl Streep puts flowers in a vase.
  • Italians, Irish, and nonethic Americans kill each other with workaday tools in the filthy slop that is lower Manhattan. An Irish boy with a grudge kills the preening maniac who killed his father.
  • A red windmill filled with dancers.
  • A schizophrenic mathematician sees patterns in everything, such as pigeons and newspaper articles. This is partly helpful, because it inspires him to develop game theory, but it is also destructive because he sees things that don’t exist.
  • A spaceship doesn't blow up.

These movies are: Little Miss Sunshine; The Queen; Letters from Iwo Jima; Babel; The Departed; Munich; Brokeback Mountain; Crash; Sideways; Ray; The Aviator; Million Dollar Baby; Seabiscuit; Mystic River; Master and Commander; Lost in Translation; Return of the King; The Hours; Gangs of New York; Moulin Rouge; A Beautiful Mind; Apollo 13.

The verdict: when nouns perform verbs, critics are smitten. Go forth, young writer, and give me a hit.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

freddie mercury

I didn't think it possible, but my devotion to Michael Jackson has just been surpassed by a Freddie Mercury fever. Watch the first 51 seconds of this video and tell me why a man who can make 75,000 people scat in unison should not be worshipped. This man made millions of people eat faggotry out of the palm of his hand. (I say this with only admiration, as a fan of camp.) He wrote an album of operatic duets for Montserrat Caballe, for god's sake!

I stayed up until 4 a.m. watching videos of him performing and then had a dream he was alive. I also dreamt that Facebook started charging for its services.

I spend a lot of time, generally, thinking about whether historical superlatives have existed in my lifetime. What I mean by this is that of all the people who have ever lived in the world, one person is or was, for example, the hairest person of all time, the person who has endured the most pain before death, the person who has fathered more children than any other. Some neutral, omniscient observer of human history would be able to determine which person qualifies for what superlative. This belief, paired with my eschatological conviction that heaven is just a big almanac in which there are answers to every question you've had - who shot JFK, was 9/11 an inside job, what grew in the hanging gardens of Babylon? - and hell is a mahogany-walled auction hall in which people wearing jewel-toned velour peruse antiques, is my theology. Apposite to this, Freddie Mercury makes me think that some superlatives have been achieved and documented in my lifetime. Which those are is a question for the almanac.
One should not freak out about entertainers, especially not decades-dead ones, especially when one is 27, but hysteria is the only appropriate reaction to outrageous creativity.
As is commerce. Please buy me this.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Step on me, shoe!

My lover texts this to me:

"Urine pail, oh Walter! Inimical if horning in. Spiritu!"

Imin's hawk! Ursa talon, Ted!

Friday, December 21, 2007

test test

Richard the Fecalith asked me to try his new laptop so I tested my typing speed by writing the following:

“Gibbous peach, Tom!” he exhorted. “Stand up, gibbous peach!”

Dominick Mondeverte did not understand the frantic ululations of the red-faced man who clapped him heartily on the shoulder. He was a recent immigrant from one of the extraneous Greek islands, not far from the isle of Meepos, which rose to momentary prominence in the mid-1980s when its most famous expatriate, Balky Bartokamus, moved to a windy city in North America and learned the ways of Americans, committing gaffe after entertaining gaffe for the continent to be endeared by. Balky’s career careened to its end after a sex scandal involving an Malay pleasure woman named Divyne, half an ounce of cocaine, and counterfeit specie. While Balky slunk off to ignominious, anonymous obsolescence in Monaco, his home country resolutely maintained its pride in its famous son and the statuaries and stamps were not demolished or torn but merely moved behind curtains and into locked cupboards, so that the humble citizens of Meepos would not have to be reminded of the sins of the sons of the past.
Dominick thought of this as he was pulled to his feet by his employer, a friendly, coarse man who wanted his best employee to address the holiday revelers and explain his part in the company’s meteoric fourth quarter rise.

“Guman, Tom! Gibbous peach!”


I've been home for about 36 hours, and I have spent at least a fourth of that time watching my brother's Ultimate Fighting DVDs and episodes of a new show on the History Channel in which two Americans travel around the world attaching themselves to martial arts masters and learning new ways to kill other people. My favorite of these is the balletic French technique called savate, which involves kicking people in the ribs with felt shoes. This compulsive television watching follows a seven hour flight on a horrid little Delta jet made barely tolerable by nonstop viewing of "Superbad" and American Gladiator re-runs on ESPN Classic . . . and I pine for a Wii . . . all of which has made me realize that I am essentially just another fat dude one Transformers obsession short of a Maxim subscription. (I did use to work at FHM. Ask me about this later.)

It also made me think of my first wrestling match. I say "first" as if there were many, but because there were a bunch of guys on my high school team in my weight class, I was never good enough to get a match during meets and would have to wait for the county-wide tournaments to compete, so I only wrestled maybe five people in two years.

I was fifteen years old and 134 pounds, which was kind of a lie. I think I am and have always been 137 pounds, but because there were no female coaches, Coach Ed Hart (coach to the stars! Dave (R.I.P.) and Mark Schultz are from Palo Alto and wrestled for my high school) would send me into the PE office in the girls' locker room alone to strip naked, weigh myself, and report my weight. It was the honor system, and I always lied, but it didn't really matter, because whether I was wrestling 140 pound guys or 135 pound guys I was still going to get my ass beat.

(Dave Schultz, Olympic champ from Palo Alto, not long before he was murdered by the psychopathic DuPont heir who shot him in front of his DuPont-owned house.)

Actually, I didn't do this alone - the other girl on the team, who also wrestled at 135, who eventually became the epic love of my young insensate life, would also lie. Maybe she wasn't lying, she did seem to have hollower bones than me - but how is it possible that the two girls sent off to weigh themselves always weighed exactly 134.99 pounds? Once I successfully lost four pounds to make weight, but I think only a pound or two of this can be attributable to the running around in circles with plastic bags on/spitting saliva into the water fountain and the rest was probably just the difference between weighing myself with clothes and then without.

Anyway, we are now in October 1995. I am fifteen and am joining wrestling team because of a very attractive "Come Tryout for Wrestling!" poster that someone in the main office has posted to a kiosk on campus and because my friend Olivia, a spry girl thirty times more athletic than me, wants to give it a shot. I last longer than Olivia but we both eventually get boyfriends off the wrestling team so it is not a complete bust for her. I am a terrible wrestler, not just because my muscles are inflexible and sheathed in fat - I imagine that my muscles don't look like bands of fiber, but muscle fibers alternating with fat globules, like a digital sequence of 1's and 0's - but also because I think of any excuses I can not to go to practice (I have woman troubles twice a month, I sprain things) and when I go to practice I just lay on top of Kyla and we pretend to apply and struggle out of whizzers but put in only about 18-36% effort to do so.

I am basically a lazy pud. Wrestling helps me develop a lifelong dismorphic vision of my body as a shredded green monster even though I am still only 137 pounds - a 210 pound, 6' tighthead prop on the rugby team (whose name began with a "Z") taps my head with her own four years later and I collapse into a dream of stars and atmospheric pinging, and I still manage to hold onto the belief that I am the strongest, toughest woman to have lived since Teddy Roosevelt. During practice we do push-ups, then run around the wrestling mat, then fall down in unison, then do more push-ups. We do push-up plustorials - ten, then nine, then eight, etc.

Fifteen minutes are devoted to our neck muscles alone. Lift your head off the ground. Set it back down. Lift. Down. Lift - hold - down. The boys on the team have no necks, just parabolic domes verticed at the uppermost point on their headgears. In fact, when state-qualifying 190 pound wrestler Pavel Gonzalez, whose upper body looks like the Hagia Sophia, is tragically ejected from an SUV tumbling down 101 South the day after prom (these things do happen) the doctors attribute his miraculous survival - his neck is literally broken but his spinal cord was not severed - to the musclature around his head and he returns walking to school mere days later with a neck brace - his unlucky girlfriend Katie Conway spends several weeks in a coma and fourteen months recovering, entering Chico State a year later than planned.

Anyway, it is with two weeks of this training that I enter my first match. Someone drives me in the back of a baby blue sedan to Kennedy High School, across the Dumbarton Bridge in Fremont. The Kennedy team practices in a big quonset hut next to the parking lot, which signals to the affluent boys and girl of Palo Alto High School that we are messing with kids tougher than us. I am matched against a boy wearing a red singlet and Asics shoes. I am wearing green sweatpants and a SCVAL Championships t-shirt from the spring season, which I spend spinning in a circle on the track throwing discii a paltry hundred feet or so, and Asics shoes. The referee entreats us to shake hands. We do. (I remember very clearly that his hands were cold and wet, whereas mine were just cold.) He blows a whistle.

Then I am on my back and the match is over. It takes the boy in the red singlet three seconds to do a double-leg shoot and a takedown and pin me. It is not enough time for me to do anything except wonder how much better I would have fared if I had applied myself to the neck exercises more diligently.

Twenty minutes later we get back in the baby blue sedan and drive back home over the bridge.

(These are the other matches I can remember: (1) against a floppy fish who was even fatter than I was, whom I beat; (2) against a wide-shouldered boy who pulled my right arm over my chest hard enough to tear my rhomboid muscle a little bit, who won by decision; (3) against a boy during a Valentine's day tournament, he pinned me in the third round but not before I accidentally peed a little bit into my singlet (what can you do?); (4) against a girl who I beat but was too misogynist to consider a victory, but we were pretty evenly matched.)

I'm bored and am bored of writing about this now. What I would really like to do is kick my brother Richard, who is a fecalith, in the nuts. Ta for now!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Talking Head Be-Holder

I promised a picture of this thing a few posts back.

i am working on my vertical leap

Absence without tidings for two years qualifies as a common law death. Eighteen more months of this and you can collect life insurance on me! Today I woke up at 12:45pm because with the shades drawn the night is indistinguishable from day in my little apartment in Williamsburg, and there were no poorly matched house beats from the propped Technics coffin of the downstairs bohemios to wake me with dissynchopation - note to the boys in 2B, you cannot match 140 bpm house music with 110 bpm hip-hop, no matter how many vain times you spin those four measures under a needle . . . please stop it! The days are shorter, I wake up in the dark three hours before dark, and then fill the hours not giving a shit about Evidence. Why study, when the eventual war with China will bring future regrets about a young adulthood misspent on the laws of a country I can't live in? In the spirit of nihilism, I spent six hours a few days ago constructing a Walter Ruffler papier maschinen

and then, in my chinky voice, re-enacting scenes from Rashomon and Cold Mountain while making my paper samurai (Keiko) pump his sword like a wildcat well. I also spent a good portion of the day reading about Farrokh Bulsara's orthodontics - homosexuals and hard rock fans will remember this man as the author of the best rock song ever written ("Bohemian Rhapsody"), which I also tried to re-enact today, in unrhapsodic solo form, via a girl's voice and guitar.

Which is all to say, BLOW ME TO BERMUDA. One New Year's resolution: stop writing like a fucking lunatic. Apologies, readers.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

overheard on the L train

Several days before Thanksgiving. Sitting across from me on a half-empty, late-night, Canarsie-bound L train are two white men who are probably in their early 30s but have clearly done so many drugs that their faces (pocked, scarred, missing teeth) could be fifty. They look like anarchist-punk hitchhiker types, but not cute and malodorous like the ones you see begging in front of the Virgin Megastore, but ruined and repellent. Both men are wearing black hoodies, one with the broken zipper held closed by a safety pin; one wears originally-green double-kneed Carhartts that have turned black.

The man on the right, with wider shoulders and a beard, has his feet propped up on an olive green external frame backpack that looks like it has been tied behind a truck and dragged about four miles. This man has a bat tattooed on his forehead - not necessarily a bat, but a symmetrical shiruken-thing with gothic fluting that travels down from his forehead in tapered lines that end under his eyes, kind of like a jester mask or the Batman logo. It covers an area about as large as your hand would if you put it on your face.

He is squinting at a cell phone held at arm's length, and the bat on his face flaps with the effort.

The other man is scrawnier and appears unable to focus his eyes or is merely wall-eyed. He has the word "FIST" tattooed on his right hand, and "FUCK" tattooed on his left.

They are talking very loudly to one another. They sit next to each other but don't look at each other. There are empty seats on either side of them. The other passengers who have been riding the train a few stops won't sit next to them, but at the First Avenue stop a pretty young woman gets on and takes the seat next to FIST FUCK, and then looks very uncomfortable as the train travels under the East River, and this conversation unfolds:

BAT FACE (BF): (not looking up from his cell phone) What's that?
FF: Human pampler virus or something like that. It gives girls warts on their pussies but doesn't do anything to men.
BF: How do you know you have it then?
FF: Because of that girl I was fucking in Vermont.
BF: (yelling at phone) Goddammit!
FF: She was so nasty. When I was fucking her, it looked like she had all these tumors on her vagina. It was like all over her pussy.
BF: Heh-heh.
FF: Talk about "ribbed for his pleasure"!
BF: Heh-heh.
FF: Heh-heh. Heh-heh-heh!
BF: Heh-heh-heh.
FF: But she was the one who woke me up by kicking me in the face. Fucking bitch. That was the end of her.
BF: (still looking at cell phone) FUCK!
FF: Then we got a bunch of people to beat her ass down.
BF: (at phone) They make it fucking impossible to beat these games.

The woman who sat down with them at First Avenue got off at the next stop.

Monday, December 03, 2007

someday this will be used against me in a court of law

I'm the least ethical I can be without unethical. I'm decently ethical in California but only barely ethical in New York. I am in the lowest decile of morality in the New York bar. But bitches, I passed! I'm ethical! Scruples aren't just money in Russia! Morals aren't just paintings on the wall! Ethics aren't just Italians!

Word to Big Bird.