February 10, 2010

Gone Brita

Going off the grid for a while, as the youngsters and presumers now say. They used to say gone walkabout. They are both stupid expressions.

I don't envision any internet for a while, other than work, and I've never blogged on another man's dime.

Not a halfway house, or rehab, if that's what you're thinking. I'm clean.

I'm just not purified.

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February 5, 2010

To Soothe the Savage Breast

One of the great burdens of middle age is the spontaneous revisitation of the past when one is accosted by a trigger of an earlier fad, or genre, in music. We boomers, of course, deserve all the filthy brainworms we get, because it is always eventually leavened by a choice cut from the great '63-'82 era of rock and roll, all the surrounding white noise notwithstanding. I can tolerate Billy Don't be a Hero if my next brainworm is Dear Prudence.

What I find harder to tolerate is the genre music. We all know ad nauseum the perverse attraction of disco to so many of our former broheims. That was one hell of a way to lose a buddy. One day you're skipping college class with a friend, dipping your feet in the salt water off a floating dock, building a bong out of bamboo to try out that kilster hashish you just scored, and the next day he's found a polyester suit and a goddam dance partner. It was the stoner version of seeing the guy from Schenectady next to you in the foxhole taking a slug right between the eyes. Either way, that bastard was deader than hell.

It can get worse, however. If you were from the East Coast, or more precisely from the Southeast Coast, or more precisely from the Lowcountry, you had to put up with not one, but two waves of that crudescent filth known as Beach Music. The songs are all originally from the Sixties, of course, however there was a great resurgence, a revival retro if you will, in the mid-eighties, accompanied by that most vulgar form of touch dancing, the shag.

One first heard the songs as a child, while one was broiling upon the beach because Mom hadn't thought to put any Coppertone on one's delicate honkywhite or chocolatini skin. In my case, my poor mother had grown up in the Depression in south Georgia, so to her pale skin was not a mark of the doyennes of Versailles, it was the mark of the fishbelly white redneck. My mother was convinced lethal doses of ultraviolet rays prevented acne, pellagra, and the rickets. And if you did not believe her she would literally dose you with several grams of pure yellow sulphur, just to cure you of the smart-ass. Having seen the effects of the sulphur treatment upon my older siblings I, personally, was a believer.

So: there was the beach, and the amplification amplitude modulation radio, and rock and roll, R&B, and occasionally one of those fucking beach music songs. Ye know the songs; do not hide ye knowledge from me, lest I smite thee: Under the Boardwalk, Sixty Minute Man, 39-21-46, Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy.... Christ, I almost had to put my eyes out just typing them.

Well, you could ignore those songs as a kid, because something cool like Satisfaction would come on next. No, the problem was the revival. When you were in your twenties or thirties. Jumping Jesus, Savannah and Charleston and Myrtle Beach and even, Lord help us, Key West! were inundated with that vomitous shite. And the shagging! Roger me royally. It was the old early sixties touch dancing come back born again, like a zombie Arthur Murray, only with a couple of disco twists thrown in. I was too old by then to do drugs, so I turned to the bottle to soften the blow.

Blow... on second thought, I believe that was also the high water mark of cocainum, so there was that, too. You couldn't go to sleep so all you could do was sit at the bar and drink and drink and listen to beach music and wish you were a 28-day, 12-step Shaolin monk.

Thank God for parenthood. Parenthood is the R. Lee Ermey drill sergeant that slaps your ass out of bed and makes you man up, not least because you know old R. Lee has a grisly, hard penis he'll get you out of bed with if you don't straighten up. So parenthood gets you out of the bars, so you don't have to watch people shag to terrible songs. And dry-hump each other. (You know, the only downside to the seersucker suit on a Southern gentleman is the stain he may acquire in the crotch after gratuitous frottage. Very blacklighty, too. I don't seem to have that problem much, anymore).

Blacks make some of the most awesome music ever. Beach music ain't it. I'll leave you with two songs. One beach, one Eubie Blake. If you can't tell the difference, or prefer song A, please send me your address. I understand R. Lee is available now, and one damned horny Marine.




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February 4, 2010

All Politicians are Bought

The good ones stay bought.

Although I agree with the majority opinion in the Citizens United Spupreme Court case, I find the reasoning risible. The construct that people may have free speech, that people may also associate freely, and therefore corporations represent free associations that must necessarily also enjoy free speech, is bullshit of the first order.

Corporations are not free associations of people. Now or ever. They are merely for-profit entities, with various peoples associating at will for very limited and specific goals, with vast hierarchical differences. Certainly they are free associations insofar as one may choose to work for a corporation or not, however there is no level playing field inside the shell. The average cubicle dweller or dildo machine punch operator has virtually no say so as to how a publicly-traded corporation disperses its political donations, and to pretend otherwise is a case of reductio ad absurdum.

Here's an example: I worked for almost two decades for a huge old school Southern corporation, formerly headquartered in Richmond, still headquartered in the South. To this day they love to gather customers and senators at their swank West Virginia resort and spa so that they may be served mint juleps by nigras attired in white livery, and have darkies fetch their errant golf shots. That doesn't mean the old PAC monies didn't flow to both sides of the fence. A good 40% of those PAC donations went to leftist ideologues who detested the corporation.

It was fucking insurance, pure and simple. Actually, it was attempted vote-buying, pure and simple. But they just couldn't not give to the cocksuckers on the Commerce, Energy, Transportation, and Appropriations committees who controlled their destiny. My conscientous-objector status to enrollment and participation in the PAC hurt me, too, but I could not give a dime out of my pocket to some of the screwheads they were bribing. What they did with other employees' money and their own profits was beyond my control.

Free association? Sure, if one considers the pimp and whore equal business partners.

I still believe Citizens United was decided correctly, however. I figure if Obama could turn off the verification codes on his donations and reap such sizeable piles of untraceable foreign cash he could afford to forego public money, then everyone else should be able to bankroll a politician, too.

I thought I might essay this concept on a smaller, more personal scale. Say, strike up a conversation with a county commissioner in a bar. Give him some cash, "for the cause." Then send a stripper around a few days later. I'm fairly certain I'd have the gibbering idiot in my pocket in no time. Get five of nine commissioners in your pocket? You're sitting pretty good.

It's not that there's "too much money" in politics, as these asses are wont to say. It's that it's not being focused properly. Or, more importantly, it's not being focused by me. Most politicians can be bought a hell of a lot more cheaply than people think. But not by anonymous internet donors. A bundler, however, can pull together some cash from several sources, none of it his own, by the by, and have that politician all over the snotty end of his fuck stick, if you know what I mean, and unfortunately I think that you do.

Politics is money. Always has been, always will be. And every time the do-gooders try to exorcise it from the body politic, it just gets even seedier. These do-gooders simply fail to remember two critical points:

1. Money makes the world go round

2. There's nothing new under the sun

Posted by Velociman at 7:14 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 2, 2010

The Boring Class

In William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying the matriarch of a sod dirt Mississippi family succumbs to illness, and the father presumes to take the body, and family, to her hometown of Jefferson for burial. The journey is a tragedy of poor decisions and hubris, and the story takes on sysiphean dimensions, a parable of inexorability and inertia.

The style is multiple narratives, a tale told in turn mostly by the offspring: the rock-ribbed Cash, the impestuous Jewel, the extrasensory Darl, the impregnated Dewey Dell, and the uncomprehending little Vardaman. Of all the viewpoints, including the bemused acquaintances' and bystanders', I find Vardaman's the most compelling.

Unable to fully grasp the concept of death, he at first equates her passing to the death of a fish he has caught. At a later point he becomes concerned that his mother, encased in coffin, cannot breathe, and he finds an auger and bores into the coffin lid (and face) of his mother. Bore, bore, bore. The buzzards then hold council upon the coffin, attracted by the steadily decaying corpse.

I often think of As I Lay Dying in any number of circumstances. It is my wont. Lately I have been thinking of the inertial tendency of the president's votaries to refuse to see the obvious distaste for the administration's direction, and likewise the folly of inexorably plowing through with a doomed mission.

Like the pathetic Bundren clan, there is no turning back, and certainly no possibility of considering error. And so the court sycophants and jesters continue drilling the same futile holes. Bore, bore, bore. Insanely hoping to provide life-affirming oxygen to that which is dead. The journey is never in question, only the obstacles: swollen river, washed-out bridge, distrusting and cynical rubes and yokels, bystanders offering sane but unwanted advice.

The tribe will not heed. It is not the tribe's duty to heed: it is the tribe's duty to hump that coffin of increasingly rotted horror across the streams of context, the washed-out bridges of perspective, and the arid valleys of humility. Onward to the hallowed burial ground of hagiography, and legend. For many, in fact, it will be the toil of a lifetime, this furrowed insistence on glorifying the eminently failed, and the historically macabre.

To many it will simply be bore, bore, bore.

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