carose59: politics (one of the f's)
Also, Yoko Ono Is Not Fictional.*

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There's a story by Harlan Ellison called Hitler Painted Roses. The story is about the idea that we go to heaven or hell based on what is remembered and believed about us by others, rather than what we've actually done. Hitler is not in hell because he's remembered as a painter. (That's my vague recollection of the story, anyway.)

I don't know about an afterlife, but that's certainly what this life is like. My favorite examples are The Story of the Two Flag Shirts, and Rock Star Reputations.

In the sixties (which includes some of the early seventies), Abbie Hoffman was a guest on either Mike Douglas or Merv Griffin's shows, I don't remember which. He wore a flag shirt, which was censored: a big blue dot was placed over it.

This wasn't because of the shirt, though, because Roy Rogers wore an identical shirt and was not censored. (Not on the same show, though that would have been incredible.) It wasn't about the shirt, it was about who you were while you were wearing the shirt. Roy Rogers in a flag shirt was a patriot because Roy Rogers was a cowboy hero. Abbie Hoffman in a flag shirt was desecrating the flag because Abbie Hoffman was a protestor. You are who people say you are.

The second story is about Jim Morrison and Simon & Garfunkel. Jim Morrison, as you may or may not know, was charged with—among other things—indecent exposure. According to John Densmore, Jim Morrison didn't expose himself, and was convicted of the things he didn't do and acquitted of the things he did do.

After his conviction, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel received an invitation to perform for some Christian youth group. They were both offended by this—their songs were not squeaky clean, they were existential protest songs! After getting stoned, they discussed what they could do about this, how they could change their image, and the idea of exposing themselves on stage was brought up. They both liked the idea, but they realized that it wouldn't matter if they did: the truth would never be strong enough to overcome their reputation, any more than it was strong enough to beat out Jim Morrison's and clear him.

People keep posting, "When will Trump voters realize they've been sold down the river." The answer is: never. They believe what they believe and they're going to keep believing it. Trump is who they admire because Trump is who they want to be like. They want to be allowed to be horrible, offensive people who can act they way he does without repercussions. (They want to be allowed to be, but they don't necessarily want to actually do it. They want to be able to say nigger with no repercussions, even if they never actually have the inclination to say it. They feel like their inferiors are telling them what to do and they hate it!!!)

They will never believe that he would treat them like this because they will never believe this one important fact: Trump and his people look at them exactly the way they look at illegal aliens and Muslims and gays and whoever else they see as unworthy and taking from them. Trump looks at them with the same hostility and couldn't care less if they die because they have no health insurance—obviously they should have made better life choices if they wanted to be rich and powerful like him.

Instead they will blame Obama and Hillary and the liberal media and anyone who doesn't agree with them. Even though we have as little power as they do, it will be our fault when their jobs disappear and they can't pay to see a doctor because . . . our bad thoughts are very powerful. I don't know. They've cast us in the role of the cause of all their problems and that's who we are now. Reality will not change that.

Their perceptions will not change because they don't want to know they're loathed the way they loathe people not like them.

carose59: writing about writing (always something more to say)
The English Language Was Carefully, Carefully Cobbled Together By Three Blind Dudes And A German Dictionary.*

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I've been listening to Penn Jillette's Every Day Is an Atheist Holiday!, and I think I've found my soulmate.

Practically the first thing he talks about is how the lyrics to Shaft drive him crazy and here's why. The tune is great, and up until the very end they lyrics are perfect in their simplicity. But then we get to this: He's a complicated man/But no one understands him but his woman/(John Shaft).

The first problem is that first But. It makes no sense. Saying he's a complicated man but no-one understands him but his woman makes it sound like as a complicated man, everyone should understand him, which is not what being complicated means. It would make morse sense to say and no-one understands him but his woman. He's complicated; only his woman understands him. But Jillette's stand is that there's no need for anything there. Just, He's a complicated man/No one understands him but his woman would be fine, it scans.

That's aggravating enough, but the there's the (John Shaft). Following directly after But no one understands him but his woman, it sounds like his woman's name is John Shaft, which—well, maybe it is. He's a complicated man, he could have a woman named John. (By this time, I'm giggling uncontrollably.) But that's kind of unclear, maybe it should be Mrs. Shaft.

All of this is really funny, but the reason he's my soulmate is the Jackson 5's I'll Be There, a song I really like but which has a line that drives me nuts. It comes late in the song and it goes If you should ever find someone new/I know he better be good to you/'Cause if he doesn't/I'll be there (I'll be there).

The problem is the verb doesn't. It should be isn't, because it goes with he better be good to you, the verb is be. Does doesn't enter into it. What he's saying is "if he doesn't be good to you," when what he should be saying is, "if he isn't good to you."

Penn Jillett is clearly a grammar nerd and would understand this. I find this very comforting.

He also understands something I've been saying for years: how it is possible to lie and tell the truth at the same time, or how it is possible to say something that isn't true that is not a lie.

This is important. Lying requires intent.

If I tell you something I believe to be true, but which, in fact, is not, I am not lying; I'm just wrong. If I tell you something that I believe to be untrue—even if it really is true—I'm lying (at least in my heart).

*Dave Kellett

First Saturday in May

Saturday, 7 May 2016 04:21 pm
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
"He's One Of The Few Scientists In The World Who Can't Subtract."*

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I just finished watching a documentary on the Beatles post-breakup. It's called "The Beatles: Parting Ways." It was mostly OK—very balanced, pretty dull if you already know all this stuff.

That's not a complaint. You're waiting for the complaint, aren't you? Good, because there is one, or rather, a cry of bafflement.

I understand they couldn't get rights to any of the Beatles' music--I'm being generous and assuming this. And I understand they undoubtedly wanted some music in their movie. But what in the name of God could have made them choose The Animals' We Gotta Get Out of This Place? I admit, I'm not the crazy about the song, but that's really not the point.

The point is, couldn't they just get some cheap ambient music? Because playing a song by a contemporary of the Beatles makes me wonder if they were all that clear about who the Beatles were. Also, since the tone of the whole thing seemed to be directed at an audience whose knowledge of the Beatles consists of hearing some songs on the radio, knowing John Lennon is dead (though possibly not knowing there's any connection between John and the Beatles), and having seen some of A Hard Day's Night one Saturday afternoon (but not knowing what it was). This is an audience who is very likely not to know that what they're hearing is not, in fact, a Beatles' song.

I think a documentary should, at the very least, not confuse and mislead its audience.

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I thought that was going to be the most interesting thing to happen to me today, but that was before the phone call.

It was a withheld number, but I was bored, so I answered it. It was a man who asked me if I had a computer. I asked him what his name was and why he had a withheld number. This startled him. He told me his name (which I promptly forgot), then asked me again if I had a computer. I said yes in a decidedly mocking tone that he ignored. Then he asked me the last time I surfed the web. I told him last night, and he told me that he was a computer expert, and that my computer had downloaded something that was very dangerous.

I said it was very peculiar, the information he had and the information he didn't have. He had my phone number, but he didn't know whether I had a computer or whether I'd been online, but he did know that I'd downloaded something dangerous, and how did he explain that?

And that was when he said the best thing I've heard in I-don't-know-how-long. He told me had permission from the internet to call me—

I interrupted him. "Did you say you have permission from the internet?" I really thought I must have heard wrong.

"Yes, permission from the internet," he continued, as though this was actually something that made sense, "to contact you—"

"Permission from the internet." It was too hilarious not to say again.

Unfortunately, that was when my mother called, so I had to go. I wouldn't have had him much longer anyway, since I was going to ask him just how the internet contacted him to give him permission and who exactly he worked for.

Maybe he works for the internet.

*Sabrina Stuart
carose59: cleaning & housework (it's next to impossible)
It Looks Like You’re Digging A Grave! Is This A Business Grave, Or A Personal Grave?*

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I took the day off work today to get things ready for my mother to come home tomorrow. There was laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, clothes to be put away, a refrigerator to be cleaned out. Also, she wanted to make stew when she got home, so I needed to go to the grocery.

I got to the grocery. And I put in a load of wash, came back upstairs, and began folding clothes. I had my MacBook with me to have music to listen to, and I sorted it in order of length, which gives you a decidedly weird playlist. Mostly I listened to TV theme songs, introductions to songs (mostly Romanovsky & Phillips and Arlo Guthrie), and weird Beatles songs. (Nobody needs to hear Wild Honey Pie twice in a one morning.) My favorite moment was when, just after Arlo Guthrie told me about how he'd met this incredible songwriter who sang him this incredible song, and here was the song—and Love, American Style came on.

It takes so little to entertain me.

Anyway, for about eight hours I worked on putting away my mother's clothes, or getting them clean. I never got to the kitchen except to walk through it to go to and from the basement. I got two loads of wash done. Her drawers and closet are overflowing because she's been buying clothes through the mail but hasn't gotten rid of most of the stuff that doesn't fit anymore. We'll need to go through it, but in the meantime it all needs to be put someplace so she has her bed back.

I wanted to get this done so home would be nice when she came back to it.

She called me in the afternoon, but my phone battery was dead so I had it turned off. I called her back about four thirty. She wanted to know if I'd gotten her message yesterday (that she could leave at one tomorrow afternoon). I said, "Yesterday?" Because she hadn't left me a message yesterday, though we had talked.

Yes, she had called me yesterday to tell me she could go home at one o'clock today.

"Tomorrow," I said. "You left me the message earlier today. It's still Thursday."

Then she said some things I didn't understand, then she asked me what time it was.

"Four thirty," I said.

"Well, why don't you come over now?" she asked. "Why not?"

I have no idea what I was supposed to go over there for—to wait until tomorrow when she could leave? Just to visit? I don't know. I said, "Because I spent eight hours working at your house and I'm exhausted," I said.

"Well, fine," she said, and hung up on me.

I didn't call her back. What was I going to say? Your daughter is exhausted and depressed and sometimes barely functioning? Because that's what's going on. I'm supposed to be whoever she wants me to be at whatever moment and I don't want to play. And even if I did, I can't because I'm too fucking tired. I don't take care of myself as well as I take care of her. I'm doing my best, and if I'm not doing it with my best cheerleader enthusiasm, that's unfortunate. But wasting my energy faking enthusiasm is ridiculous when there is real stuff it needs to be used on.

Tomorrow the refrigerator. The rest of the clothes can go in a laundry basket in a corner. I'll get the dishes washed. At least I don't have to go back to the grocery.

*Hypothetical Clippy on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me!
carose59: music (give me excess of it)
Having Music And Art Speak To You And Move You To Your Core Is A Beautiful, Beautiful Thing, But Whenever It Happens I Can't Help Worrying That The Voices And Too Much Meaning Are Lurking Around This Bend Or The Next Or The Next.**

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My CPAP is making a high-pitched whine that wakes me up. I've been wearing earplugs, but then there's the noise of my own breathing with the mask on, which sounds like Darth Vader. It's a stupid problem, a princess-and-the-pea problem—I'm overly sensitive in so many ways.

So I considered playing music, but music is problematic.

Music is supposed to be soothing, but it isn't. It can be relaxing, it can be cathartic, it can be exhilarating, joyous, distracting, mournful, celebratory—it can be all those things, but for me it is never soothing. Music speaks to me, it shakes me up, it agitates me in good ways and bad. I have to be careful with music. When I'm driving, if things are bad, the music goes off. The worse I feel, the less I want music pulling threads and stirring up dust.

I've tried this before. I make a disc of songs, tell it to shuffle and repeat, lie down, and listen. And things happen in my head. Good things, bad things, lots of things. Nothing settles down, I wonder when the soothing will start, but it doesn't start. I think about the songs; I tear apart the grammar, I ponder the trivia, I relive the times and places I heard them before. My mind becomes chaotic and I'm overwhelmed.

Sometimes I manage to sleep. Sometimes I have to get up and shut it off.

Shutting it off doesn't return me to status quo. It leaves an echo of the music that isn't playing anymore and my head feels empty and lonely and strange; the dark seems darker. I sleep weird.

So music is out. I've also done thunderstorms and rain and surf. I have a little machine that creates these sounds, but they sound synthetic. (And why not, they are synthetic. And, yes, I can tell the difference. Do you know why the music has to shuffle? Because if the playlist plays in the same order, I wait for the next song that I know is coming. I do this in my sleep. It's not restful.)

But I got a CD with a real thunderstorm on it, and I finally remembered to bring in my CD player (which was in the car for reasons irrelevant here). I plugged it in, got it going, then stuck it under a box. This is necessary because the display is a big blue light, and—I'm sure this will surprise you—I can't sleep with lights in the room. It was nice, listening to the thunder and pretending there was lightning. It was soothing.

*Raining in My Heart, Buddy Holly
**Mark Vonnegut

Short update

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 07:32 am
carose59: the rose behind the fence (rose is a rose is a rose)
[Written November 14, 2012]

The One Function TV News Performs Very Well Is That When There Is No News We Give It To You With The Same Emphasis As If There Were.*

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I tried to post the other night, but was unsuccessful. Some of it was technical difficulties, and some of it was trying to deal with technical difficulties with a cat lying on my arm while I was juggling a keyboard and a trackball on my lap. It took me hours to get something posted, and I never did get the formatting worked out, so I scrapped the whole thing. If I'd been posting something serious, I'd have worked it out later, sans cat, but it was just a bit of ephemera—not only not worth the time I'd already spent, but it would have been stale by morning.

I have not yet cried today. The last few days, I've cried every day. I developed an irresistible desire to listen to The Sweetheart Tree by Johnny Mathis, a song that has always made me cry. I'm still sinking.

I'm also still cleaning. I'm still thinking about cleaning, and still enjoying myself, in a more subdued way. I'm thinking about writing, but not doing any, except for this. Sometimes I feel like the need to write is slipping off me, the way skin follicles die and float away. Would it matter, as long as I'm reasonably happy anyway?

For the record, I was nowhere near the explosion that happened on the far south side of Indianapolis the other night, nor have I, myself, independently exploded for any reason.

*David Brinkley
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
Maybe We Invented God So We'd Have Someone To Understand Us.*

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Tuesday didn't start off so well. I have a leak in my bathtub faucet, so I keep a bucket under it and when it fills up, I use it to flush the toilet. Tuesday morning when I got up, I found a dead mouse floating in the bucket.

It was very early in the morning—four-fifteen or so—and I wasn't exactly what you'd call awake, so I just stood there for a while, looking at it and trying to figure out what to do. Eventually it dawned on me that I could just pour the bucket into the toilet, mouse and all.

Later, at work, I was reading Nuvo (the local alternative newspaper) and found out that Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead was being produced at a little theater. I didn't get the address or anything because the last day for it was the previous Saturday. The reviewer was disappointed in it, but that doesn't mean much since he doesn't seem to have been familiar with the play; he thought the third act dragged, and blamed this on Tom Stoppard. Anyway, it was moot, and I was disappointed.

Wednesday I listened to a play, Mizlansky/Zilinsky, done by the L. A. Theatre Works (who also did Orson's Shadow, which I saw when I was in New York in '05). I wasn't that crazy about the play itself, but there was something utterly surreal about listening to Rob Morrow as a gay Valley boy. I kept picturing him in short-shorts and a cut-off T-shirt (which I'm sure is not what he was wearing, but it's my imagination and I can do what I want with it). By the way, I can't recommend highly enough the L. A. Theatre Works plays.

Tomorrow I'm going to a wedding shower for my cousin Darby's daughter, Erin. I'm giving her ten dollars and myself a large chocolate shake from Steak 'n' Shake (because there's one right near where the shower is).

I also listened to a book called The God Delusion. I really enjoy books on religion written by atheists. I'm not an atheist myself, but atheists are more objective. They might be trying to convince you there is no God, but they're trying to convince you that across the board, rather than pushing one religion over another.

There was one point the author made that I'd never thought of. If the story of Adam and Eve is not literally true—that is, if eating the forbidden fruit didn't cause original sin to be passed down to humankind, then there was no reason for Jesus to die for our sins.

I'm slowly writing an entry about what I know about Catholicism, but there's what I've learned and what I've experienced and it's kind of messy and disorganized. And it's unlikely to get any less messy and disorganized, though it will get more comprehensive.

Next weekend I'm going to a Moody Blues concert with my cousins Alan and Tony, and my friend Tammy from work. Alan was planning on getting tickets for himself and Tony, then he asked if I wanted to go and I said yes. Then, when he went to buy the tickets, he discovered that it cost a dollar more to buy a four-pack of tickets than to buy three single tickets, so he did, and then he told me if I knew anybody who'd like to go, I should invite them.

I asked my friend Joe, who is sick right now. I keep having conversations with Mona (his sister) where she tells me things as though I know more than I do--she's probably losing track of who she's telling what, as happens when you're relaying the details of a loved one's sickness. Anyway, from what she's said, he has esophageal cancer. This is really, really scary, and I didn't know just how sick he was when I invited him to the concert, but Mona said he was very happy I called to invite him.

Then I was in something of a quandary as to who else to ask, and I decided to do something really different and invite Tammy.

Tammy works at Central library, and she's the one who's responsible for my poetry being displayed last year. Since then we've been emailing on a regular basis. So I decided to ask her to the concert. I'm working at reaching out more, and I think it's working. (I also decided to ask her because I thought she could handle being around Tony. It's an issue.)

Did you know I'm intimidating? My mother told me that the other day. We were talking about Tony and Alan, and how I refuse to back down when I'm talking to them, and that I know how to argue. "They're intimidated by you. We have that in us, I just never use it. But your grandmother did." She also used to burst into tears when she got her feelings hurt. I am very much like her. And from my father, I get just a little bit more detachment, so I can use this talent more effectively.

But I don't think of myself as being intimidating. I mostly think of myself as frivolous and strange. I know I know how to present a reasonable, logical argument, but I'm not used to being taken seriously.

It's nice to know my mother thinks I'm intimidating (though she's not intimidated by me).

*Rod McKuen
carose59: music (give me excess of it)
Where The Mountains Help The Moon Come Into Sight.*

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I've been listening to virtually nothing but Dean Martin at work (a little Bobby Darin and Perry Como thrown in, but mostly Dino) and I suddenly realized why. Dean Martin is comfort music.

Dean Martin has the same effect as eating my mother's potato soup, or warm bread, or fudge. Dean Martin is sensual, but very, very safe; when I listen to Dean Martin, nothing bad could possibly happen to me, and something wonderful definitely does happen to me. The world gets very peaceful, very serene, very soft and sleepy and easy to live in. If I combined listening to Dean Martin with potato soup and fudge, I'd probably go into a trance.

Well, I didn't have any plans for the weekend anyway. Nothing that can't be postponed, anyway. I believe an experiment is in order.

*Buona Sera, Michael Buble
carose59: amusements (a medley of extemporanea)
Titles. I Hate Titles.

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Wow. Major high day, probably a combination of Kaluha brownies for breakfast, a serious drop in the humidity (air you can breathe instead of drink! What a concept!), hormones (period? What period? I'm not having my period. That was just a . . . a trial run. Put those tampons away, we'll get back to you when the real period comes! Oh, the joy of menopause!) and music, for a change. I love books on tape, but it's nice not to have somebody else's thoughts in my head for a while. And it's nice to have Arlo singing to me again. (Arlo, and the Partridge Family.)

And, I think maybe having a new venue for my thoughts is getting me kind of jazzed, though it also feels self-indulgent.

Weighty Question of the day: if we aren't to read the Bible for its poetry, is it also wrong to sing gospel music just for the way the music makes one (me) feel? We didn't sing music like this at St. Andrew, although the singing was my favorite part of Mass. For that matter, singing is usually my favorite part of just about anything. If there was a way to sing while eating (you know, without spitting on people), I'd be there. Singing during sex? I probably don't have the breath control for it, and anyway, it would be distracting. But singing in the car is great, driving or riding. I don't sing as much as I want, because I require loud music (to drown myself out) and privacy (so as not to inflict my voice on innocent bystanders).

July 2017

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