monkeys1_1208243c        My domain expired months ago, which is really no big deal because according to WordPress statistics, the only people who read this blog are deviants Google-ing the search terms “Bulgaria + Transvestite” and one hardcore fan from Equatorial Guinea.

Tentatively finished with my main 2013 goal made 11-months ago (crudely pumping out a first draft of a novel), I now regain the time to write these quick, juvenile jaunts.  What I’m trying to say, lady or gentleman in Equatorial Guinea, is buckle up, because 2014 is going to be an adrenaline joyride chocked full with second-rate penis jokes.

Anyway, the abstract of my 2013 reads like this:

This year I completed 75% of my 2013 New Years Resolutions, the only exception being the promise to “dump most of my Polish guy friends and replace them with sexier Polish female friends.” – This will be revisited in 2014 --

…and now…

A Personal Retrospective in Bullet Points: Cold, Hard (and Very True) Facts from my 2013

  • An ex-girlfriend with no previous martial arts training and during a state of extreme agitation at my ‘adolescent behavior’, karate chopped me in the groin.
  • I threw my back out sneezing.
  • Despite constant public proclamations that 2013 would be “the year”, I did not in fact fake myBogart_14own death and resurface with a mustache in Borneo.
  • 2013 marked a high-mark for  “Insubordination” complaints at work. Infractions included: “Leaving Work Premises to Get Boneless Chicken Wings During a Company Mandated Fire Drill” and “Attending Meetings with Management and Only Speaking in a ‘Humphrey Bogart Detective’ Voice”, and  “Watching a 10-part Documentary Series on Napoleon in my Office,” and “Convincing Fellow Employees it was Company Jeans Day when it was NOT Company Jeans Day,” and one complaint that just says, “Refused to Stop Talking About Tents.”
  • I finally took “avid fan of jazz music” off the Additional Details section of my resume, as I have literally zero knowledge of jazz.
  • 2013 was the only year (so far) where I was attacked by a monkey.
  • This year I listened to Building a Mystery by Sarah McLaughlin more times than all previous years combined — and that’s big because I fucking love that song.
  • In 2013, I was finally unofficially diagnosed with Toxoplasmosis — a brain eating parasite derived from continual close contact with cats.
  • This year marked the third consecutive year where I was either fired or laid off by a major company. At this rate, by the time I am eligible for retirement, I will have been deemed redundant or viciously shit-canned at over 43 established businesses. Impressive!
  • This is the first year in five years where no one has punched me in the face.
  • My false sense of superiority went steroidal this year as I read Infinite Jest and now over cafe lattes I say stuff like, “Well everyone says they are going to read it, but hardly anyone ever finishes it.” Then I waggle my shoulders and smirk like a triumphant douchebag.
  • I spent around 2 hours per month watching videos solely consisting of cats standing on a Roomba swatting people or animals in the face. (sample video attached below)josh-groban-celebs-at-itv_3539954
  • I uttered the sentence, “Oh God, Paul Walker. This is just like Princess Diana, but in America.”
  • After finding a discarded Josh Groban VIP ticket for his 2011 Illuminations Tour in the street, I convinced every elderly lady in my office that I ran his personal webzine and merchandising store.
  • Went back to Spain and revisited the last spot I cried overseas (Plaza del Toros, June 2007).
  • Hit 25 followers on Twitter and never tweeted again. (Pornbots count)
  • I logged my first outdoors chess victory against a homeless man in the park!

“Don’t spoil this.”

“I want you to understand this. The little rabbit hole behind every word. The years spent searching in the cracks between your sentences. Parsing. Studying. Filling with meaning. Distilling things to symbols. To a language in building block form.”

“You’re spoiling this. You’re ruining it with pleasantries.”

“This is what you do.”

“You are debasing us.”

“This is all in your mind.”

“I want this to end with the hard dignity our relationship deserves.”

Eyes to the floor. This was a constant, a learned impulse to digging fact. Real fact. Not the fact that is built from the layering of past lives. Fact of experience. Wrestled around events in the softened wake of past. Bits and pieces haggled over. No hard lines, no edges that can tear at things. Adopted stories.

“I’m happy,” eyes still to the floor. He’s going to coat his tongue in something bitter and biting and complex. This is all too complex.

Even the word truth has the flimsy feel behind it.

“This is years in the making. How can you be unhappy after this time.”

“This is long after the meat and potatoes.”

“Sure,” he says.

“The meat and potatoes. We’ve spent more times as refugees in our own lives than-”

“Than what?”

“Than building things.”

“You need to keep building,” he states. There are drinks that anesthetize the little nodes on your tongue, that blankets and mask whatever comes next.

“Otherwise what are you doing.”

“I don’t know.”

“I know.”

“Then what?”

“Than you are just bailing out water. Your running paper over the cracks. New wall paper with little bubbles seeping behind it. All pursed and pressing through.”

“Is that what this was?”

“You are doing it again.”

“I’m happy for you,” he says.

“You were happy with things? What’s the word I’m looking for?”

“Slinking.”

“Yes. You are better with words. Being with you was a hard science. Breaking down words. Finding what was real in them all.”

“Of course, I wasn’t happy.”

“The hotel rooms. No one should feel the explosion. Not this young. Don’t say ‘we aren’t young.’ You always say, ‘we aren’t young.’ We were too much for this. Too much of everything. The elevator bell countdown. Floor seven, floor eleven, floor twenty-three. Do you remember that time. Fifty-second street and seventh, a bird’s nest in the city. Twenty-three floors up.”

“I remember that.”

“Do you remember what I was wearing?”

“Your dress.”

“Which one,” she tells him. The eyes are back into space, an untethered softness that works away at the rest of her imperfections if you look at them long enough.

“The black one. Cut back, I think that’s what you call it. Black panties.”

“Call them underwear.” She smiles.

“Underwear. Shower with no door. Fancy place, we got it last minute. One of those places with a celebrity mouthpiece. Book your hotel last minute.”

“You don’t know the emotions. It was every emotion. It’s something not healthy.”

“A electronic click in the door. It’s not as satisfying as a key. You want to hear a key rattle. It’s just a click.”

“It reminds me a of prison. That noise. Some evil eye playing this situation out for us. Making the decisions. Get close to the door and someone unlocks it for you.”

“You’re not a fatalist.”

“It’s not healthy. We fuck and then we shower.”

“We make small talk.”

“You believe in energy.”

“The absurdity of it all.”

“The hotel?”

“The small talk. Three months on a cycle. You do your hair. The electronic click and then you are standing by the sill. No words until showering. How was your day? How is your mother? Your weekend plans.”

“It’s just trying to pick up.”

“The absurdity.”

“It was honest. This was honesty.”

She looks at him and he registers it all behind thin lips. The eyes could plunder easier men. Tolerance, something built up. Like kings and poison, an ancient repetition. The eyes will come eventually, they will be levied on you. You practice handling them without your insides falling out. For moments like these.

“Our lives for a year. Single sample soaps and shampoos and mattresses and late night news networks,” she is rubbing the back of her hand, drawing her fingers into a slow fist and releasing. “My roommates know what you smell like. I’d come home with it rising off me.”

“Like work at a slaughterhouse.”

“Don’t be a jerk,” she coos.

“Are you happy?”

“I am.”

“Good.”

“Should I ask the same.”

“No.”

“No because the answer is no.”

“No because it is useless pleasantries. This is what writing an epilogue feels like.”

“I’m happy, but I don’t forget about what we had.”

“This is a note from the author.”

“I won’t forget-”

“The author would like to thank-”

“Stop it.”

“Fine,” he says to the ceiling. “Fine, I’ll stop.”

Robert Johnson -- Sold his soul to the devil at a dusty Southern crossroads

Robert Johnson — Sold his soul to the devil at a dusty Southern crossroads.

Morgan Freeman once stated his reasoning for opposing Black History Month was because, “black history is American history.”

Every year, the same four people are celebrated during February. If you spend enough time rooted in traditional Italian-Irish neighborhoods, you learn quickly that the state mandated lesson plans are woefully inept. In my experience, our instructors were hapless; secluded adults with an Associates Degree in education from The College of Staten Island, and an African-American knowledge base built sturdily from Fat Albert cartoons, Kids Say the Darndest Things and seeing Spike Lee scream at Knicks games.

Our teachings were boiled down to the following stereotypes:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:  Invented civil rights. Malcolm X: The first angry black man, sort of like Dr. MLK, but more irate because he may or may not have been a Muslim. Rosa Parks: Always been 83 years old, kept it real (emphasis added) on a bus. Huey P. Newton: Not related to Huey Lewis or The News.  Frederick Douglas: George Washington of black folks with better facial hair. Harriet Tubman: Railroad tycoon, not married to Frederick Douglas. Bill Cosby: Finally, a black man that doesn’t intimidate the shit out of white people, solving race inequality through universal adoration of pudding and colorful sweaters. George Washington Carver: Peanut Butter.

The impression that is given during Black History Month, coincides with Morgan Freeman’s objection.

"Oh, it's that Mr. Spike Lee from the pictures with Danny Aiello." - Everyone's grandmother in Brooklyn.

“Ohh, it’s that Mr. Spike Lee from the movie pictures with Danny Aiello.” – Everyone’s grandmother in Brooklyn.

We celebrate these particular individuals because they made a noticeable and lasting impact on white American culture. They forced white Congressman to pass equality bills, they forced white schools to accept black students, they were the first black man to play a white man’s sport. They visibly clashed with the status quo. They were intruders into lilly-white America, and they managed to change the system already established — a novel idea to digest when considering that most of the American economy for generations hinged on the existence African slave labor.

We never talk about how African-Americans helped form our collective national identity.

BB King.

B.B. King

We don’t discuss how black history is inexorably intertwined with the birth of our nation. Much like America wouldn’t exist without European influence, the same is true about African influence. It isn’t a matter of assimilation, it is an acknowledgment of creation.

“Black history is American history.” There is no greater example of this notion than understanding the history of American music. Music serves as one beautiful human creation that indiscriminately binds us, and one aspect of Black History Month that is never talked about.

Let’s play a game in alternate history! You wake up tomorrow, flip on your radio and spin that dial past all the cracks and fuzz until reception is crystal clear. This is Top 40 radio. For the eleventh straight week, Hans Muhlenheimer and the Hofbrau Half Dozen hold onto the top spot. The song is irrelevant – it’s just another familiar accordian-heavy ditty. Top five spots? All polkas or waltzes. Guess who just got inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Weird Al Yankovich, America’s most visionary musician, a career built entirely on solo material.

You are frantic, you spin the dial on your comically antiquated radio and find nothing. No classic rock. No soft-rock. No jazz. No metal. No folk. No indie. No blues. No R&B. No easy listening. No fucking Kenny G.

Just “Weird” Al Yankovich, German polka and a few shrill salsa stations. No one is happy except unlicensed Jersey City jitney drivers and 1992 Antonio Bandares.

In the nightmare future where the Blues was never invented, this album sells 50 million copies.

In the nightmare future where the Blues was never invented, this album sells 50 million copies.

The point should be clear. Without African-Americans, we’d be without one of the few things in this nation that tethers us together. 

Pick any popular musician in the past 80 years. Work your way back in a “6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon” manner. It all leads to the same fertile beginnings.

A fun example: You like The Beatles? Well, The Beatles were only formed because John Lennon was enamored with three musicians: Buddy Holly, Elvis, Chuck Berry. All three were influenced by blues musicians coming out of the Delta in MIssissippi and later, Chicago. Those blues musicians were influenced by predominantly African-American ragtime and early blues musicians like Lead Belly and Robert Johnson, a man so profoundly good at guitar that ignorant white folks honestly reasoned that he must have sold his soul to the devil in exchange for musical talent. That generation was influenced by mostly Southern church hymns, evolved “work songs” which were passed down from cotton fields.

"Oh my dear God, that white-boy is dancing ... in rhythm." - African-Americans everywhere in 1956

“Oh my dear God, that white-boy is dancing … in rhythm.” – African-Americans everywhere in 1956

Bob Dylan? He wanted to be Woody Guthrie. Woody Guthrie wanted to utilize folk music for Oklahoma Dustbowl sufferers the same way Delta musicians used the blues to cope with life in the South.

Nirvana, Radiohead, Weezer? All heavily influenced by the Pixies (Kurt Cobain actually lifted the baseline from a Pixies song to create Smells like Teen Spirit). Pixies, in turn were influenced by The Minutemen, who were influenced by Gang of Four, who were influenced by The Sex Pistols and Ramones, who were influenced by later British invasion and Fuzz/Garagerock Rock bands like The Kinks, who were influenced by American blues musicians, and so forth and so forth.

A Jewish guy from Minnesota named Robert Zimmerman invented rap. That means there is a direct line between this guy and DMX. Let that soak in.

A Jewish guy from Minnesota named Robert Zimmerman invented rap. That means there is a direct line between this guy and DMX. Let that soak in.

One caveat. Rap seems like the most linear progression of African-American influence on our cultural musical evolution. But there is a little twist in the middle. The first rap song is widely held to be “Rappers Delight”, which was performed by the old lady in that Adam Sandler movie/Sugarhill Gang. However, that style of spoken verbal delivery, “the talking blues” was created by Bob Dylan, who in 1965 released Subterranean Homesick Blues (and Talking World War III Blues on Freewheelin‘). Rolling Stone even released an article wondering if Bob Dylan is Hip Hop’s Grandfather.

Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters

There is nothing more beautiful than being able to trace back something to the source and run your fingers over the many branches that have grown divergent over time, all nourished by the same roots. America’s musical identity erupted from the shameful barbarism and harshness of African-American existence in the dawning of our nation. It was birthed there, but it is not solely defined by those inglorious circumstances.

It is only a microcosm of African-American culture, but as an uncoordinated, nerdy white boy who still remembers the tingling sensation, that moment of frisson, the first time his father played him a live B.B. King record, it’s one aspect I try to celebrate.

“Black history is American history.” God-dammit, Morgan Freeman, you are awesome.

Here is some blues that you should be listening to:

The diligent updating has waned in the past few weeks mostly because I’ve been working on a few short fiction pieces and drinking and entertaining Super Bowl people and Book Club people and Post-Breakup, “why did this happen?” people.

For the meantime, here is America’s gutter Shakespeare in his uncompromising brilliance. A quote from Bukowski:

Ol' Charles Bukowski. Stripping down truth to it's most filthy and uncovered roots.

Ol’ Charles Bukowski. Stripping down truth to it’s most filthy and uncovered roots.

Pale Blue Dot

Pale Blue Dot

You wish that every political pundit, government leader and corporate executive would listen to these words before relegating climate change action subservient to economic interests.

There is hope beyond the systemic powerlessness that comes with being globally aware. There is a role for ‘the individual’ within this vast landscape.

From Carl Sagan:

 

.

“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

carl sagan

Image

“Guys, I think I know what’s wrong with America.”

.      I got overzealous again in the internet dream arena. I’m unsure why I have Facebook still, considering my quota for photos of adorable cats and babies are filled on Reddit and I have a general dislike for most everyone else. I guess I’m on it because it’s been around long enough to have inherent standing. I toss back to photo number one and marvel at the thickness of my hair, the devil-may-care attitude, the ingrained optimism of my college days. Flip back to the present and it’s like staring at Robert Downey, Jr., in the mid-1990′s.

.     Either way, I’m on it still and I hit some sort of boiling point with the 2nd Amendment gun enthusiasts who loom like birds of prey over the News Feed. These Patriots want us to know about unalienable rights, about God given sacrasanctity, about the settling of peace that washes over oneself when the sleek curl of metal discharges from a pulled finger.

Image

…And what does Papa Hemingway have to say about this gun nonsense?

.      Granted none of these people are lawyers, although some are history buffs. Regardless, they are adults. I ended up goading one, allowed him to quote Karl Marx in an attempt to stoke Communist fear in me, despite my complete inability to comprehend such a panic. I was born two years before the Berlin Wall fell. It’s like attempting to terrify me with the implicit threat of Teutonic Knights. Either way, I posted this note and tagged poor Paul in it, allowed it to soak in the brine of the interwebs in all its snarky vitriol.

.    I wish there was an adult debate team. True, I’d probably never get laid again, but dear God, think of that false sense of superiority! A man can get by with that.

Whoa, the honor of being surprise tagged in a post. I was meaning to respond yesterday, but work got hectic and I forgot, but I’ll be happy to respond now. Please excuse the typos, Paul, I’m writing this super quick.

First thing, not all amendments are created equal. You’re a history buff, so I’m sure you know the actual wording and history of the second amendment — it was created to ensure the proper arming of state militias, as a federal army was not yet in existence in the 18th century. It was not until after the Mexican-American War that state militias became completely unused, mostly due to their poor training and battle ability. The second amendment was not intended for the stockpiling of assault rifles and various other modern weaponry. Now, a strict reading of the Constitution would assume that the second amendment is illegal, based on the fact that you, nor anyone else are part of a state militia anymore. However, the US Supreme Court upheld the legitimacy of private gun ownership in DC v Heller in 2008. Regardless, the point to be taken away is how antiquated this is.

That being said, there is NO comparison between the 1st or 4th or 6th amendment to the 2nd amendment. Even those amendments aren’t “unalienable”. There are numerous legal loopholes to the search and seizure wording of the fourth amendment. Further, even the 1st amendment has limits. Not all free speech is legal (prime examples are Incitement of Violence, Threats, Lying Under Oath and a bunch of obscenity laws). There are no such things as unalienable rights, Paul, and in the spectrum of importance, the right to own an assault rifle is pretty low on the list in ensuring our continued ‘freedom.’

So now that we understand that owning a gun is not a God given privilege, an immutable right or even relevant to it’s original, historical purpose, let’s address the red herring here. If guns, why not ice picks, knives, mallets, bricks? You can kill a man with almost anything, Paul. I can probably beat a man to death with a Sunday New York Times. Your argument that other objects are capable of killing aren’t banned, so the same has to apply to guns is invalid. The crux of the fight against assault weapons are its inherent capabilities. I can kill a man with a knife or two men with a knife, but I can’t indiscriminately murder over twenty people with a knife. The extent of destruction as seen in the recent massacres is the result of firearms. The extent of public outrage stems from the severity of human damage they can cause. Whether assault weapons make up a small percentage of homicides in this country is irrelevant. There is righteous public outrage that a particular type of weapon is capable of indiscriminate public murder — as massacres in theaters, political rallies, schools have increased and affected particularly sensitive and vulnerable segments of society.

Now, yesterday you said the President is after bayonet bolts and stock grips. I haven’t heard that, and I haven’t come across one article targeting these ‘cosmetic features.’ I have however, seen and agree with the opposition against ‘add-ons’ like fragmentary rounds and extended clips that hold more bullets necessary than it takes to kill a family of deer. These are instruments that lend to unneeded destruction when a mentally ill person decides to stage a public shooting. They are unneeded for hunting, they are unneeded for personal protection, and the visceral anger that is returned by people like you is a self-asserted insolence against a government you deem generally untrustworthy, who you believe is trying to take something you like away from you. It’s a lot of patriotic parading to defend a hobby, and it’s childish.

Here’s something to ponder, Paul. If you are one of these people who believe that firearms are necessary to keep “the government” honest and in line, do you honestly fucking think that IF the government ever started attacking its’ citizens, it would do so in a ground war. You could stand out on your porch with a Ford truck full of assault rifles and it wouldn’t do a damn thing — because the government has war planes, and missiles, and manless drones so accurate it could blow up an apple on your kitchen counter. Assault weapons and firearms are outmoded for their original purpose, and these ‘cosmetic add-ons’ are unnecessary for hunting and general sportsmanship. Rather, they are often used to add to the death count during a public shooting. Is that rationale enough to ban them?

I know we are both up-to-date on the FBI crime statistics and I occasionally listen to guys like Alex Jones to get my weekly fill of ‘crazy’. For every statistic showing the generally small impact of gun violence, there are a dozen highlighting the risk and dangers of gun ownership. There is also a global consensus and accord in the rest of the civilized world about the place of guns in society. It is only in America where the vestigial impulse to arm oneself to the teeth exists and is actively lobbied for. I don’t understand it, and I hope that a piecemeal approach to prevent these shootings occur. Better mental healthcare, the closing of the peer-to-peer loophole, more stringent background checks, and yes, a banning of certain types of assault rifles and modifications which make them more lethal than necessary. Thanks for giving me the chance to respond, Paul.

I’m not sure why I responded.

Apparently, where shitty humor and Andrew "Dice" Clay are from.

Apparently, where shitty humor and Andrew “Dice” Clay are from.

I’m waiting to go out, and everyone is fighting over mirror space and hair dryers. I’m hoping this cologne cloud doesn’t burn through the ozone. I’m sorry, Al Gore, for my friends’ non-stop freshness.

These are all in terrible taste and are being made up in my sick brain. So, fair warning.  It ain’t Bukowski, it’s low-grade shit.

As advertised, here’s a limerick for every jerkoff in this room.

.

For George, my fat friend:

There once was a George from Greece,
Who never took off his microfleece,
Every time he had sex, he kept on the vest,
So his utters would not be released.

For Julie, who believes being Jewish is a nationality:

There once was a Julie from Nowhere,
Who was allergic to sunlight and fresh air,
“Is that J. Crew, please tell me you’re a Jew,
And I’ll let you sniff my pussy hair.”

For Kamil, my Polish friend with an insanely large cranium:

There once was a Kamil from Poland,
Who spent most of his life cornholin’,
He guzzled whiskey and screamed, “I’m a Prolinski”,
“Hey guys, does my head look swollen?”

For Randy, a Freudian wet-dream and a childhood friend:

There once was a Randy, the dentist,
He gave a hanjob to his assisting hygienist,
After exploding like a bomb, he threatened to tell Randy’s mom,
How Randy did miss his old apprentice.

For Teddy, my roommate:

There once was a Teddy from Haiti,
Who fucked a guy dressed as a lady,
“How amazingly rude, to not tell me you’re a dude,
At least we won’t have to abort this baby.”

I want to punch myself in the face.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25 other followers