Friday, May 31, 2002

Media Blackout: "If you want to use our abominably slow, unwieldy and useless automated trouble reporting system, press or say one now. Otherwise, stay on the line and we will transfer you to ... our abominably slow, unwieldy and useless automated trouble reporting system." Hot. Too hot.
Reader’s Digest, a global publishing leader headquartered in Westchester County, New York, has a challenging opportunity for an editor on the copy desk of our flagship magazine.

Or how about this?
Stuff Magazine is seeking a Picture Researcher with at least 3 years of experience. Responsibilities include securing the best, the most interesting, fantastic and weird pictures in the world! If you are constantly on the lookout for stunning images of anything anywhere, and you are willing to do anything to get the right picture, then this job could be for you!

Anything? Anything? My nerves are shot. Agnes, break out the bathtub gin! We're on for Monday at the downtown hotel, me schmoozing the managing editor. Read lots of Tennessee Williams over the weekend, no, wait ... Reread To Kill a Mockingbird, yes, that's it, Scout. Or whatever.

Lost Verizon: Weird telecommunications FUBARs are ruining my life for good. Thinking how clever I would be to blog remotely and then hook my laptop into my home phone line to upload my pearls of wisdom, I find a terrifying buzzing noise. The phone rings in a strangled, gargled way all afternoon. I miss a call from my contact for my new job, and then, of course, I get dropped by Earthlink and miss e-mail from the same Southern peach. Grrr. Must schlep to the corner, I suppose, and dial 611. Much work. Want to know something embarrassing? I make up insane songs and sing them to my cat. I e-mailed one to the Monkey Woman the other day, to the tune of "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain":
There are monkeys from Nebraska in my mind
There are monkeys from Nebraska in my mind
There are monkeys from Nebraska
Who got kicked out of Alaska
There are monkeys from Nebraska in my miiiiiiiind

I received this reply by e-mail through channels of the Evil Empire:

If you move to Alabama I will then be forced to move to Nebraska. I will wear cozy sweaters and gradually become a conservative. I'll get a hairdo, I'll follow sitcoms and marry an insurance salesman. I'll have a dinning room set and a living room set. i'm not really looking forward to any of this, actually maybe I am, my search and wondering would be over. That's besides the point I'm doing all this because you're going to move to Alabama. You'll start to wear shortsleeved white shirts under plaid jackets, you'll know everyone in town's name or you'll cover by calling them sugar or pal. Remember the heat, you don't do well in heat. You get the picture . Maybe you'll have a great time if you go and maybe it'll be a great opportunity maybe you should go but I will miss you. A. Simian

Writing some executive bios for some dot-commers this weekend for a buck or two extra. Sizzling, scintillating copy! Some pig!

Thursday, May 30, 2002

Merm fine.
I'm feeling just a little better today even though my head feels like it's going to explode. I was really quite ill, yesterday all I wanted was for someone to take me to a hospital after I finished my Netscape file. Of course, I didn't manage to finish the file nor went to hospital since I woke up feeling 10% better. The little mermie is way healthier than me by the way! She's got color on her cheeks again and she now has a Ken doll which she won't let anybody touch by the name Papai. It's the first time I ever saw her take a doll to bed!

All I want to do is sit in front of the tv and watch HBO.

Maybe I got the dengue? ("you're not going to die from it, but you're going to wish you could")

Are you done yet? Gorilla madness, Health concerns, and the Maronites to consume my day. Gorilla will be written up in Time Out New York! Waiting for logos from Tzvi (pronounced "Steve") at the printer. Worried about the Merm: the Merchild very sick last we heard. ET, phone home! Back to work: "What they called al-aunat ["acts of assistance"], among individuals of a given clan as well as between clans as a whole, meant that on Sundays and feast days the people of the village would work together with no distinction between clan and clan, with no distinction between man and man ..." Should I get this job?
Fun, fast paced trendy "Downtown" magazine publisher seeks Assistant Managing Editor with dynamic communication and leadership skills to promote teamwork amongst the writers, editors and production staff. Must have the ability to work well under pressure, meet production schedules and deadlines, development and manage budgets related to editorial production. International publisher of hip, trendy magazines for an audience with discriminating taste that enjoys the latest in fashion and entertainment news. Must have business savvy, have perfectionist tendencies and exudes confidence.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Mind = GMT +1, Body = GMT –5: I have napped and begun reading the book on Birmingham, which is a real brawling, sprawling hootenany of a tale, about which more in other forums, time permitting. I am initiated in the secret society of Mooh, but the instruction manual is in some foreign lingo. Why do my Moveable Type archive templates not work, and why can't the Riddler post comments, he says? He probably uses some weird open-source browser. I figure now to work from 9 to 2 to stay on schedule here. Insomniac last night, so my circadians are a bit shifted and twisted. Blog less, labor more, be happy, be free, prosper, lose all in a financial panic, retire to Florida, live on government cheese.
Gel, not Shred: We have our feces mostly coagulated and it will not be impacting the ventilation device just yet. Landed the medical translation gig, the Russian negotiates an adjusted deadline. Thanks to Suzanne, ex-fellow IW slave and Risk-Waters ace reporter, for sending along some good freelance tips from Craig's List. The copy editor may not be an extinct species quite yet, or if she is, we can clone her. Them? Gender-neutrality can be a real ... bitch? Bill Walsh: "This sentence makes no sense, but 99 44/100 percent of copy editors would let it go through." That's the spirit! Invited by the Fleur Obscure to attend a Handel opera on Thursday. In the meantime must work work work. Please feel free to crash the following, I have no time. I registered as Billy Bob "Red" Actor. Get it?
Thank you for registering for Internet World's Web Seminar, "The Business Advantages of Data Mining and Predictive Analytics, Part 2", sponsored by SPSS. The presentation will begin at 2:00pm EST, Wednesday May 29.

The web seminar will be conducted via the Internet and over the telephone. Please start to log on twenty minutes early, since it can take extra time to access the online portion. Basic instructions for each are below.

To access the ONLINE PORTION:

1. Exit out of all other applications except for your Internet browser.

2. Twenty minutes prior to the start time, go to

3. Enter the following information, and click "Enter":
Your Name: _______________ (please use full name)

Meeting ID: iw0529

Meeting Key: 385345

4. click "Enter."

5. On the following page, click on "Open Audience Console." At this point, the system will launch a virtual conference room where you will view and participate in the presentation. This step can take up to ten minutes depending on your connection speed, so please be patient.

6. Once you are in the conference, please wait and the presentation will begin at 2:00pm EST. Please make sure your display setting is at 1024 x 768 pixels to prevent scrolling to see the entire presentation slides.

PLEASE NOTE: The web seminar software requires either Netscape 4.0 or Internet Explorer 4.0 or higher. If you have any problems connecting to the web seminar, call the Placeware Help Desk at 1-888-526-6170 (press 2 to skip the greeting and go directly to customer support).

To access the AUDIO PORTION:

A one-way conference call is available for the audio portion of the conference. To listen to the live panel discussion while viewing the online presentation:

1. Dial 888-293-6047 (accessible from the US & Canada)

2. All International Listen Participants will dial 972-512-0694 and enter Passcode 01230

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

Mood Swing-Dancing: We began the day with gloom from Yehuda, and now we feel like Capt. Beefheart, as follows:
My smile is stuck
I cannot go back t' yer Frownland
My spirit's made up of the ocean
And the sky 'n the sun 'n the moon
'n all my eye can see
I cannot go back to yer land of gloom
Where black jagged shadows
Remind me of the comin' of yer doom
I want my own land
Take my hand 'n come with me
It's not too late for you
It's not too late for me
To find my homeland
Where uh man can stand by another man
Without an ego flyin'
With no man lyin'
'n no one dyin' by an earthly hand
Let the devil burn 'n the beggar learn
'n the little girls that live in those old worlds
Take my kind hand
My smile is stuck
I cannot go back t' yer Frownland
I cannot go back t' yer Frownland

Try us again in about four hours.

Digital Cardiovascular Collapse: Oh, my God, there was a FUBAR in my DSLAM and I actually had to work offline for several—very productive, yes—hours. I actually had to dial up for my e-mail. It was like having your heart stop. Terrifying. I zipped off the test to Italy, made progress on an eloquent letter from an al-Bsh'elani exiled to Brazil, visited my friend Victor Odesanya at OBE to print the Health material, and did other stuff, too, Gorilla stuff. And now so much more to do. I am going to retire to Tillie's for a few hours to enjoy what's left of a fine day. Remind me, please, to pick up kitty litter on the way home. Two large bags. Extra-antitoxic waste. Phew!
Wide Work Load: My Russian client clamors for the first installment on the book. I have 40 pages to send, with pending queries included. For the amount of money I bid, the amount of research on the obscure names of obscure historical personages in a small town in Lebanon in the late 19th century expected is a little much. Encouraging word from the odd God of the Moohists, at right, is courtesy the Fleur Obscure, who gives me the hairy eyeball for my lost weekend of "work" in preference to play, much of which was, to be honest, obsessive puttering. I am skeptical even in the face of this patent kindness. I am not you. Are they us? Yehuda Amichai again:
And don't ever show weakness.
Sometimes I come crashing down inside myself
without anyone noticing. I'm like an ambulance
on two legs, hauling the patient
inside me to Last Aid
with the wailing of cry of a siren,
and people think it's ordinary speech.

But not to worry. These misanthropic moods they come and go again, they evanesce [more at vanish]. Coffee time and then monitoring the inbox for news of my schedule for the next week and weeks, and a fax from Italy expected.

Monday, May 27, 2002

Fooooood: It's part of a recommended daily diet. Going bonkers, working like a dog, smelling the BBQ fired up next door—smells like Dad used a little too much of the old lighter fuel as is the custom of Dads everywhere. I am just hoping Zaytoons is delivering today. Gimme a hunka hunka burning shawarma, I think I'm turning Lebanese, I really think so: A ways to go to finish my 10 pages of the Arabic book for the day, but food and a nap and a few pages of a cheapo Grisham novel are called for to decompress. Random Plagiarist poem of the day is from Yehuda Amichai:
God-Full-of-Mercy, the prayer for the dead.
If God was not full of mercy,
Mercy would have been in the world,
Not just in Him.
I, who plucked flowers in the hills
And looked down into all the valleys,
I, who brought corpses down from the hills,
Can tell you that the world is empty of mercy.
I, who was King of Salt at the seashore,
Who stood without a decision at my window,
Who counted the steps of angels,
Whose heart lifted weights of anguish
In the horrible contests.

I, who use only a small part
Of the words in the dictionary.

I, who must decipher riddles
I don't want to decipher,
Know that if not for the God-full-of-mercy
There would be mercy in the world,
Not just in Him.

Pilgrim's Progress: Look what Kinky Minky did to my magnetic-alphabet refrigerator. A $3,000 translation job coming closer and closer to the closing of the deal with an exchange of e-mails and faxes today. Between that and the PwC gig and possibly some insurance editing after that through Aquent, I may survive the summer. Opening the windows and blowing out some of the atmosphere of melancholy in preparation for the next thing to do. The Hairy Eyeball is fully functional now, though it needs a flashier splash page. It's XML-RPC ready to be syndicated all over the network! Perhaps when I find the time I will gink around in Flash a bit, I have some old funky projects I could adapt. But I digress. Saturday's posts still all in the draft folder. Stop me before I blog again! Not to mention Ryze. Just ask the Fleur Obscure how addictive that can be.
Early Morning In Memoriam Hash: Sleepless night and a long day ahead of ceaseless labor ahead, most of it beside the point. The joint where Iggy and I sleep and eat is really a disaster zone, for one thing. Bureaucratic nonsense to comply with, always makes me frown. My vow to put in 30 hours of translation? Down the toilet. My column? Unwritten. I have before me the editing test for Health, however, which I view through a clould of ambivalence. Upload it to XDrive and print it out down at the local graphics shop. There's a stack of things to write about and do when that's all out of the way, prepping for the week ahead and making some money, I hope, before I come down with the chronic wasting disease that's affecting deer in the West, according to the first item that catches my eye in the morning Wall Street Journal:
Much about the illness remains a mystery. A little-understood protein known as a "prion," a form of which is behind mad-cow disease, causes chronic wasting disease. In ways scientists don't yet fully grasp, prions enter the brain and set off a chain reaction, causing some of the brain's own proteins to assume an aberrant form. In humans, such rogue prion proteins are blamed for a rare, naturally occurring human illness called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, and a related disease linked to eating contaminated beef from "mad cows."

I believe that my proteins may have always been aberrant in form. Gamine pops up in my buddy list and I don't know how she got there, but we have a nice chat, Brooklyn to Seattle. Moveable Type is a nightmare to install, I must say. The enigmatic one provides an excellent plan for better living through cannibalism, which I, for one, will hasten to adopt. A reminder of former days with AGSE-UAW District 65, from the Times this morning:

Two powerful labor unions — the United Auto Workers and the American Federation of Teachers — are battling to represent the adjunct professors at New York University, a corps of nearly 3,000 part-time teachers at the low end of the academic totem pole.

The contest over a group of instructors who have largely been ignored at N.Y.U., and elsewhere, reflects both the increased role adjuncts are playing in universities and the growing efforts to unionize higher education.

If the organizing drive is successful — ballots were mailed to N.Y.U.'s adjuncts in mid-May — other prestigious universities are likely to face similar organizing drives, labor experts said, and their labor costs are likely to climb

Sorry to see the stewards roster so undersubscribed at the old alma mater. No longer my matter. And now to work. I write, as ever, in haste.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

Tweet Tweet Tweet: Coltrane's "Don't Take Your Love From Me" on the streaming audio contraption. Pizza en route. Hoidays derive from "holy days" but are not intrinscially holy, so why should I BBQ with the rest of the tribes and nuclear families? Reuters, Reuters, Reuters: The usual rhetorical sloth:
The restroom may be the most private place in the cubicle-land of today's open-plan offices, but, unlike the characters of Ally McBeal, few workers use it for emotional breakdowns or to escape a busy day.

In fact, 92 percent of U.S. office workers say they use the bathroom only for the plumbing -- and then they hightail it back to their desks.

Still, a lot of office grunts wouldn't mind a back rub in the lav, or maybe some tunes. A warm seat wouldn't be so bad either, according to a survey conducted for U.S. paper giant Kimberly-Clark Corp.

The survey found that just 2 percent of office workers go to the restroom to "hide or get away."

Many employees are simply too preoccupied with work. Of the 257 adults surveyed, one-third said they think about work assignments while in the restroom.

Yes, it is vital that we should compare television to reality constantly, in a scientific manner. Okay, so what if I raided the Scotch? It's a holy day, best time to indulge in the unholy. Can somebody shut up those fucking birds? Iggy? Iggy is afraid of birds, slovenly bourgeois cat that he is.

What Is So Chinese About a Chinese Fire Drill? Some business about Frank's curator friend putting the moves on some Brit on the QEII and finally wangling an invite to his suite at the Waldorf Astoria—What am I, in a lost F. Scott Fitzgerald novel?—means no Hamptons for Frank but an invite to tea on the rooftop terrace of the Met and sympathy from the Nocturnal Nasturtium, and a recalculation of flexible occupancy configurations. It was too complicated for my poor brain to scan, as was the installation of Moveable Type, over which I got into one of those states of blind doggedness, losing a lot of sleep and a lot of quarters to the old swear jar. Gonna sleep until noon. "I ought to work more and you ought to live more," says the Moose.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Day is Dunne-Dun-Donne-Done: Just goofing off until I have to meet the Black Lotus, Miss Convivianality, at the moldy-smelling Strand later on, where rumor has it they hire and fire new crews every 89 days to avoid having their employees qualify to vote in a union recognition election. Could be a scabrous lie: It was told to me by a poet and sheet metal worker with two girlfriends at the same time who claims to have spent a lot of time in a bar in Mexico where bets are laid on how long a guy can hold onto a lit-up cattle prod. I am awed to meet one of the developers of Moveable Type on Ryze, how cool. I am going to figure out how to use it on my new domain. Any excuse to putter instead of labor. Here's a guy who wrote music reviews for the Alternative Press for umpteen years, and what he has to say about a band called the Brian Jonestown Massacre, are they somebody?

The Brian Jonestown Massacre are an acid-addled neo-psychedelic dream team of sonic soulmates to leader Anton Newcombe. The band is his vision of great gleaming wheels of cosmic grease dripping into long, loping, unwinding musical carpets. One can, in fact, play a track from the incredibly appropriately named Methodrone and just watch it slowly quiver.

See, I am obviously just wasting your time and mine at this point. Supposed to have brunch Memorial Day with Rick and wife, along with the Fleur Obscure and our Hungarian senior systems engineer friend, if the Brooklyn Bridge does not explode because of scuba divers, or whatever the hell kind of nonsense we are reportedly on alert about. I wish the press and media would distinguish between threats that people actually make and, you know, worries and concerns that people might do something because, you know, they certainly have shown signs of wanting to, when they report the fact that there is a "terrorist threat" to this or that. Plan for the holiday weekend: 30 hours of translation in 3 days.

Inspired by Actual Events! Sim City Sam promises to send me H&H Bagels via FedEx if I do catch a freight train south to take this new job. Every time I think of it, I keep thinking of Mojo Nixon's teary-eyed, affectionate tribute to gracious Southern living:
Me and your mama and some other whore
Floatin' down the river on a shithouse door
Gonna tie my pecker to my leg, to my leg
Gonna tie my pecker to my leg

I need to get that tune out of my head. It's the New South now, and I want to be a part of it. I do, don't I? Eating a breakfast of a feta cheese omelet, kosher corned beef, and grits at the Gourmet Diner this morning after walking down from Pacific Street, the crossroads of the five boroughs, I find myself entertaining the fantasy that Fort Greene-Clinton Hill is the Birmingham of New York City. Churches, diners, funky community soup-pot coffee joints, jam sessions in the back rooms of BBQ shacks ... I have no evidence for this yet from my online researches, just a lot of yuppie real estate listings and pictures of so-called "skyscrapers" and glassed-in cubicle farms on landscaped faux-rural corporate fiefdoms. It's just as well that I live in a world of words and discourse processes—Dijkstra et al (2002): My recaller is on vacation: Discourse analysis of nursing home residents with dementia. DP, 33(1), 47-69. I do require a Tillie's to hang out at, at a minimum, however, and it's always nice to have someone around who can play the Hammond organ in a funky manner. I think I could really do some interesting cultural-community Web projects there, too, in my copious spare time.. Community webs, hmmm. Facilitating online communities, hmmm. The Internet will save me from the racoons and possums: I'll just hide out in the Well.

Got to get some work done, I guess—critique the June issue of Health—and even bathe. Nice evening with the Fleur Obscure, starting with a cheap piece of meat in a fancy sauce at the good old French Roast, but the Queen Elizabeth II sailed in early this morning from Blighty, bearing the pseudogod Mooh into the New World, which means my ass was tossed unceremoniously out to make room for Frank's friend Iris. The comedy tonight. We close with a readling from the Epistle of Mojo—Celebrant: The word of Mojo. Congregation: Thanks be to Mojo!

America was founded by people who were run out of Europe for being religious zealots or criminals or they were drug over here against their will from Africa. We're the land of the nutjobs. We take religion about ten times more seriously than anybody, except the cats in Afghanistan who won't let you use toilet paper because it might be made out of a reprocessed Koran.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Home Sweet HomeThe Midday Melée y Melao: Bed by 5, up at 11:15. Invited to bid on a 200-page Portuguese medical text. Emma Bovary the jazz chanteuse, who shares the same name as our fictional secretary, the one with the weakness for sailors, pops up with reports of an inamorato:
m[xxx]i000: after kissing me he would say...

m[xxx]i000: "Oh Agnes, it's so good to be alive"
m[xxx]i000: I'm reeling
*** You have been disconnected. Thu May 23 13:15:37 2002.

Has Emma resolved her dilemma? Or is it mere spring fever? Stay tuned. I snag tix through Media Bistro [one thing they're good for] to Room at the Classic Stage Company for tomorrow night, $15, not bad. The copy test arrives from the land of the Crimson Tide, and phrases like "relocation expenses" start getting bandied about. Phew. Doubts. Have a look at the cityscape. I am just assuming that the author of this site does not potray any of the places where the real human beings live, except for a few historic Baptist sanctuaries. And so it goes. The managing editor is coming up to Yankeeland in a couple of weeks and we will meet. Fodder for the transparent eyeball from the Washington Post:

Terrorism, threats against the Brooklyn Bridge, Middle East violence, the president's trip to Europe —all were blown off the television screen at noon yesterday by the story that became the media's leading soap opera last summer.

The Chandra Levy tragedy burst back into the news with the discovery of skeletal remains in Rock Creek Park. No matter that it wasn't clear for hours whether this was the Washington intern who has been missing for more than a year, or that the man romantically linked to her, Rep. Gary Condit, has long since been defeated. The media were in full-blown, this-just-in, team-coverage mode.

Threats against the Brooklyn Bridge? Huh?

Finito, Mijito: 3500 ugly French words in 7.5 hours, just like my resume says, starting at 8 p.m. that of course on top of 6 hours of Arabic translation during the day. Actually rather moving, this spot job, a grant proposal to study pedagogical theory as it relates to Jewish religious education. Proposes to develop an open knowledge base for teaching Torah and its exegesis. I like this French dude, he's into good mitzvahs. I should educate him on this stuff. Oh but oy freaking vey am I tired of looking at the freaking Grande Dictionnaire Terminologique all night. A night thought from Plagiarist—not to be confused with Plagiarism, which is another whole story in itself:
Muttered Henry:—Lord of matter, thus:

upon some more unquiet spirit knock,
my madnesses have cease.
All the quarter astonishes a lonely out & back.
They set their clocks by Henry House,
the steadiest man on the block.

And Lucifer:—I smell you for my own,
by smug—What have I tossed you but the least
(tho' hard); fit for your ears.
Your servant, bored with horror, sat alone
with busy teeth while his dislike increased
unto himself, in tears.

And he—O promising despair,
in solitude—End there.
Your avenues are dying: leave me: I dove
under the oaken arms of Brother Martin,
St Simeon the Lesser Theologian,
Bodhidharma, and Baal Shem Tov.

John Berryman

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

scribalTea at Tillie's, Mon Schlepped the laptop up to Tillie's Café for the afternoon and installed myself in a nook by the window on Willoughby Avenue where I could surveil the comings and goings at that weird Exousia Ministries establishment. Missing the instant notification of the death of Chandra Levy from Real Networks was just one of the things that made the stroll patrol worthwhile, productivity-wise. Poor Chandra. I remember her disappearance as a recurring topic of conversation with Slim in our strolls through NoLITA just before the war on terror broke out. Riding in that Stutz Bearcat, Jim, those were different times. 69 e-mails to sort through, including the news that several thousand words of French are to be translated by "tomorrow morning GMT max." Let's see: the sun rise in the east, lover, and it set deeply in the west ..." which makes morning GMT ... holy time zone, Batman! ... like six in the morning here. I can do this job in 7 hours, starting ... now. 3,500 words, my advertised output for an 8-hour day, for ?250. Fire up the coffeepot, Iggy.
They Call Alabama the Crimson Tide: From the Birmingham News:
SOUTHWEST 1437 Pearson Ave SW, 1BR, 1BA,
stove, refrig, dishwasher, blinds, CA&H, carpet.
$375 mo. 251-1267 WATTS

They forgot to tack that numeral on the front of the rent, with the comma, right? The Southern Progress group where I would work sits on "a 28-acre wooded campus" outside the Magic City of Bham. Weekends in Mobile eating shrimp or hanging with them Nashville cats. Why not? Carol, with a gig lined up at Martha Stewart Omnimedia [ew!] but angling for a plum spot at NPR, gets cc'd on all the correspondence and advises me that all signs indicate that I being recruited hot and heavy, and points out that the Pulitzer for nonfiction this year went to Diane McWhorter's Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. Birmingham: Birmingham. Hmmmmm. But much work to do today.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

bridgeworksTravail-Travaille-Trabajo-Trabalho-Carajo-Caralho: Must decline an invite from the Fleur Obscure to attend a concert at the Goethe Institute tonight, where last week we saw a very messed up late 60s German film called Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos [Artists in the Ring: Perplexed], directed by Alexander Kluge. Arbeit macht dumm, and I am that. Ganz benommen vor lauter Müdigkeit bin ich. I land a French translation job from ProZ. How do you say deadline in French? Just ate a pastrami on a hero the size of a young capybara and am good to go for the evening's übersetzenarbeit, planning to reward myself later with a nice Australian shiraz and blessed unconsciousness. JACFJR, a veteran homilectician, says he might contribute to the Hairy Eyeball! Now if we can just get Pynchon on board, and Roy Edroso. Werewolf writes in babbling something about Tom's foxy niece, but my brain is drained and I wind up reading a review of Ron Hansen's Hitler's Niece. Back on the track, Jack.
Breaking News, or, Restructuring Today: This just in: PricewaterhouseCoopers gig is a go, and not a moment too soon. Ich bin drin, as the Germans say. Some edits to do for the client, the Gorilla layout is a go, with the PDFs to do, and 12+ pages of Maronite Arabic to do before I sleep, inter alia. The Hairy Eyeball domain is live and ready soon to receive your contributions. In the meantime, have a look at its Blogspot version for submission guidelines and the address of the editorial board. Would love to have a contribution from the likes of JAFCJR and the Werewolf.
Going Possum: I am going to have to go the way of didelphis marsupialis for an indefinite period, I must report. "Opossums create such a convincing portrayal of death, including a putrid odor, that dogs and other predators will abandon them for livelier prey, as most predators will not eat carrion" .The diurnal world, as is well known, blinds the third eye, which I need to see a few things with in order to see my way clear going forward. Time for a bit of innerwertliche askese:
While the methodical self-control and rationalisation practiced by the Protestant increases his success in worldly life, as measured principally by success in business, rational asceticism demands that the profits therefrom are not to be enjoyed, but rather are to be reinvested for the sake of (as we now say) "building up the business" and achieving further success. Gradually, by rational means, "market share" is increased, with the aim that eventually a level of control over the outer world will be reached which mirrors the control over the inner world. This obsession with control is one of the characteristics of modern capitalist society, the leaders of which attempt to control both people and natural resources, and to exploit both "efficiently".

See also the theory of the objective correlative. In other notes, a propos of evolution, RIP, Steven Jay Gould, the walrus-like evolutionary theorist and expert on snails, a commencement speaker at the old alma mater once upon a time and occupier of a prominent niche in my personal bestiary and memory theater:

Mr. Gould was a best-selling author who called human evolution "a fortuitous cosmic afterthought." He was known for his engaging, often witty style evident in his two collections of essays, "Ever Since Darwin" and "The Panda's Thumb," and "The Mismeasure of Man," a study of intelligence testing, which won the National Book Critics Award in 1982.

One of America's best-known scientists, Mr. Gould wrote books that attempted to make the debates of geology, paleontology and evolutionary biology accessible to the public. He analyzed evolutionary theory—criticizing elements of it at points—with comparisons to a range of disciplines, including popular culture and sports.

Much of Mr. Gould's work focused on the land snails of the West Indies, which he occasionally used to support a point in his articles for general readers.

Monday, May 20, 2002

The Full-Court Working Press, or, the Figures of Summary: That's a journalist pal of mine at right—call him Vic Potel—auditioning for a bit part in a Preston Sturges movie reset in the fast-paced, hatless, nanotechnological world of now. He's saying, "Hang a right here into the alley behind the Laotian disco and leave the briefcase with the cash behind the dumpster." Porches of my shell-like ear filled for an hour with the dulcet-toned Southern voice of the managing editor at the aforementioned magazine. This begins to seem serious. I am beginning to get serious about it. Now, however, I have to get serious about getting back to work. Number One Taste of China, bicycle to my door, if you please. The poem of the day is "Less Time" by André Breton:
Less time than it takes to say it, less tears than it takes to die; I've taken account of everything, there you have it. I've made a census of the stones, they are as numerous as my fingers and then some; I've distributed some pamphlets to the plants, but not all were willing to accept them. I've kept company with music for a second only and now I no longer know what to think of suicide, for if I ever want to part from myself, the exit is on this side and, I add mischievously, the entrance, the re-entrance is on the other. You see what you still have to do. Hours, grief, I don't keep a reasonable account of them; I'm alone, I look out of the window; there is no passerby, or rather no one passes (underline passes). You don't know this man? It's Mr. Same.

May I introduce Madame Madame? And their children. Then I turn back on my steps, my steps turn back too, but I don't know exactly what they turn back on. I consult a schedule; the names of the towns have been replaced by the names of people who have been quite close to me. Shall I go to A, return to B, change at X? Yes, of course I'll change at X. Provided I don't miss the connection with Boredom! There we are: Boredom, beautiful parallels, ah! how beautiful are the parallels under God's perpendicular.

World DispatchComedown: Coming down geographically, spiritually, and socioeconomically from the Upper East, I have forgotten that the G no longer runs from Queens Plaza during the week, so I wind up schlepping all the way back down the island of Manahatta on the R and having a nice stroll on a spring day through Fort Greene Park, where the Brooklyn Tech boys are lined up in their gym shorts, grabassing around and waiting to circumambulate the Ka'aba of the tennis courts at a dead run upon the sharp blast of the coach's whistle. Greeted at the door by Iggy, I find that a virus hoax has been making the rounds, in this case passed along by Sim City Sam, who can't be faulted, however: It sounds legit. Someone wanted you to murder your Java Debugger Manager. Dinner last night with simian and ungulate friends, after the previous evening's festivities in Bburg found PUIFWAP in a merry mood and a delightful Sally Cruikshank festival from Jon the Revelator-Prestidigitator and Gorilla spouse. A hard day's night lies ahead, with edits to do for my APA client, my column to write, 12 pages of source material to translate and submit to my Russian Orthodox client in Moscow, Gorilla pre-press to accomplish, and my Aquent profile to update momentarily for submission to a client. Here is my "some pig" blurb á la Charlotte's Web:
Colin is a versatile wordsmith with an eclectic background and a broad set of professional experiences to draw upon. A skilled copy editor and line editor with expert-level knowledge of print and Web production, Colin is also a whizbang researcher and indefatigable reporter with excellent interview skills and a knack for making contacts. He produces lively, timely, audience-appropriate content in forms ranging from headlines, captions, and catalog copy to speeches, white papers, reports, hard news stories, and feature articles. Add to that a sharp eye for the most subtle nuances of proofreading and copy editing and you have, as one employer called him, "the consummate old pro."

Gag me with a spoon, right? I must also run off to the newstand to pick up a copy of the Alabama mag to prep for the phone interview at 4. CR, the true old pro who is up for gigs at Martha Stewart Omnimedia and NPR right now, says if the job is offered, I should grab it and never look back. I see myself tumbling into bed at about 2 this morning and getting up at 8 for more of the same tomorrow. Saving my critical comments on the world at large now for the Hairy Eyeball, an ongoing project. Okay, enough.

Saturday, May 18, 2002

Despair and Pork Chops: A lukewarm to hot-water-bottle-temperature reco for w.bloggar , a blogging front end that can be configured for use with different blogging servers. Waiting for the un-Teutonically unpunctual Darkbloom and wishing I had some smothered pork chops with Idhao fries. Ah, she arrives, looking dapper and statuesque. I depart
Temporary Saturday Uptick in Index of Affective Positivity (Dead Cat Bounce?): After a successful application of the neat Scotch whiskey and trashy-paperback-read-at-one-sitting cure—an old home remedy to be applied in the absence of fricking health insurance— am feeling a bit more chipper, thank you very much, with the rent paid through June and a couple of gigs in the promises, promises stage, along with a 40-page-per-week translation schedule for my book on the Maronites. Time to perfect that monastic lifestyle. Negotiating with the Tenebrific Trout Lily about the evening's social calendar via Trillian. We plan to go ape with the folks from Gorilla, for whom I still have design and pre-press work to do. Freaking Blogger is going haywire when I try to create a new blog, my Hairy Eyeball enterprise (a nom de blog already hit upon by Volatile Blue, but what the hell what the heck). Nor can I delete unused blogs. A definite topic for the Eyeball, though trivial in comparison with the hot topic of Standard Energy Market Design, of course, a topic that is engrossing me. Can I come back from losing the Steves and still sell that editor on a story along these lines? Ah, here the Eyeball is, at last, with the following message:
Sorry, your template was not found on the server. If you just created this blog, click the "choose a new template" link above and select your template again. If you continue to recieve this message (or this is not a new blog), please try back later and/or contact

This is really pissing me off. I may have to kipe a template from the source code of somebody else and do the freaking labor of customizing it. Like I don't have a hundred other things to do. Latests from Dreamcatcher:

This dream is going to be out of order. One of the Olsen twins were in my dream and she was dancing around with a boy wearing fake breasts to impress him. There was a giant beastly figure in the house. I was no one in the dream; I was merely watching these people try to get away from this beast. There was a mother, and a father, the Olsen girl and the boy who was off of Jumanji (Robin Williams as a child). The beast wasn't very intelligent and it's eyesite was terrible, because there was wooden stairs and the mother and father started walking up the stairs and then they faked the beast out by jumping under the stairs, leaving their scent on the stairs. The beast followed it and I never got a good look at this creature. The mother knew the Olsen girl wasn't in trouble, but then she panicked and said, "Jack!" I guess she was meaning her son. She got up and started running. She ran behind the stairs and it lead outside. She saw her son laying on the ground, picked him up, and someone called her a "hero". I really don't get this stupid dream at all.

And so back to work. The Eclipsed Everlasting Pea arrives at eight.

Friday, May 17, 2002

Tie my pecker to my leg: On a nostalgia trip recently with MP3s of Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper doing "Elvis is Everywhere" and "Tie My Pecker to My Leg," not to mention "Disney is the Enemy." News update: The Blind Tangerine is indeed interviewing for a position of responsibility within the Time Inc. fold that would require him to move to Birmingham, Alabama, home of the church-bombing trial and the Blazers.
The eccentricities of the South and Southerners have been widely noted in literature and on film ... Unlike some larger Southern cities that have chosen to trade soul for growth and development, Birmingham has retained its true Southern character; it has been said that Birmingham is the last major Southern city in America. That is because it is impossible for us to become like every place else ... Birmingham is a distinctive and comfortable place to visit and to live. While we continue to grow more sophisticated, we also treasure many of the ways of the small-town South. One can enjoy asparagus salad with roasted pecan dressing at an elegant salon for lunch, and look forward to supper at a cafe serving country-fried steak and butter beans. The audience at the symphony concert will discuss college football games coming up the next day. And the highbrow patrons of the Charity Ball will be elbow-to-elbow the next morning with workers on a Habitat for Humanity home.

Mmmm, butter beans. Time to order up some Chinese from Number One Taste of China (driving directions if you happen to be coming from the old Brayton homestead in South Pasadena, California. Travel time: 54 hours). For rush-hour driving time from the Upper East Side, subtract about three hours and purchase additional insurance against acts of God.

The Merm is now the No. 1 search result on Google for the word "enigmatic." Kudos! I am still getting buried by those gosh darn blind people and that bad German proto-Techno synthesizer band. Up late the other night watching the Senate commerce committee grill Enron lawyers in chipotle butter with onions and a red-wine reduction. Senator Barbara Boxer: "Do the right thing," she says to a stone-faced suit from FERC. She kicked some ass, I have to say.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Alabama, Here I Come? Should the Blindtangerine move to Birmingham, Alabama to take a job as copy chief with an award-winning multimillion-circulation consumer magazine in the AOL-Time Warner fold, with 23% ad-page growth year-on-year in the middle of the current downturn? Bonded bourbon Flannery O'Connor Southern Gothic wilting summer heat and goodbye to all this colorful poverty for a more comfortable brand of despair? I am quite serious. A prominent enemy of postmodernism is appointed education minster in France, reports the Chronicle of Higher Education:
The new minister of youth, education, and research is Luc Ferry, 51, a professor of philosophy at the Sorbonne. Mr. Ferry is best known for his criticism of several French thinkers who have exercised considerable influence on scholarship in the United States.

A prolific author, Mr. Ferry might be called a "public intellectual"—if that expression were not redundant in a country where paperbacks on philosophy can be found in drugstores. He has debated the legacy of Martin Heidegger, argued against the philosophical underpinnings of the radical ecology movement, and written for mass-circulation journals such as Le Point and L'Express ... He also has some experience of politics in practice, having served under both Mr. Chirac and Lionel Jospin as president of the national council overseeing revision of the standard curriculum in higher education.

In 1986, in a collaboration with Alain Renaut, Mr. Ferry published an influential critique of Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Pierre Bourdieu, and Jacques Lacan, treating them as manifestations of what the book's title called "68 thought." (The reference to the mass protests by students and workers in May 1968 is unfortunately lost in the volume's English translation as French Philosophy of the Sixties: An Essay on Antihumanism, published by the University of Massachusetts in 1990.)

At least part of the book's provocative effect came from treating four iconoclastic—and presumably subversive—thinkers as embodying a new intellectual orthodoxy. For each, according to Mr. Ferry and Mr. Renaut, the entire Western philosophical tradition from Plato to Hegel was "exhausted of possibilities ... and must be done away with." Earlier concepts had been more or less subtle disguises for domination—even (or perhaps especially) when philosophers spoke of freedom, universal reason, or human rights. Against this, radicals conforming to "68" principles treated language or power as forces that created human beings (rather than vice versa).

While offering a thoroughgoing critique of society, "antihumanist" theoreticians left it unclear on what grounds one could protest any given instance of domination. Foucault himself was an activist in the prisoners'-rights movement and a militant supporter of dissidents in the Eastern bloc. But given his understanding of all societies as essentially totalitarian, it was difficult to know how he recognized an injustice when he saw one, or why he should care.

Against such radical criticism, Mr. Ferry and other thinkers argued that the Western philosophical tradition, far from being exhausted, remains essential to the task of developing a notion of human rights adequate for modern society. (Nor, implicitly, had there been some great leap forward, hurtling mankind into "postmodernism.").

Yes, modernity kind of trumped the whole game of era-naming, since it comes, of course, from the Latin word for "now." What comes after now? The next thing, of course. Or that Mexican "mañana" that means "hold your horses, gringo, you're not in gringoland anymore." Or reverting to Latin, cras, as in procrastination, the tale of my day, sunk down into the Iggy layer of my brain, snoozing. Still, that paragraph on Foucacault pretty much raises the question. Off now to bathe and avail myself of public transportation, with Quarkspiese at the end of the journey.

Dictionaraoke: Kudos to Pimp Daddy Supreme for this riff on Merriam-Webster's speaking dictionary, as heard on NPR. I laughed until I nearly plotzed. Recommend AC-DC's "Highway to Hell." Kudos to me from my psychologist client on my editorial work. Still have an APA work sample to produce for an agency, on the back burner for several weeks now, like everything else.

In the News: The Supreme Court expresses skepticism about whether COPPA can survive a constitutional test. A note on the death of irony:

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP/The Wall Street Journal)—The Defense Ministry on Tuesday stood behind threatening comments made to local newspapers, but said journalists had failed to understand the humor in the statement.

George Cristian Maior, a state secretary in the Defense Ministry, told journalists the statement was sent to newspapers because the military believed its activity was being unfairly reflected in the local media.

Last week, some local newspapers reprinted a Wall Street Journal article that said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was suspicious of the country's secret police. The article said the NATO alliance, which Romania hopes to join this fall, was reluctant to entrust its secrets to members of the country's former communist secret police who remain in sensitive intelligence positions.

The Defense Ministry sent a statement to newspapers last Thursday warning journalists that "life is short, and your health has too high a price to be endangered by debating highly emotional subjects." Mr. Maior said the comments were meant to be "satirical." He said the statement had been approved by top-level officials in the ministry.

The statement provoked outrage from journalists, human rights groups, and politicians, but key members of the ruling party refused to condemn the comments. President Ion Iliescu said Tuesday the statement contained no threats. Prime Minister Adrian Nastase said the "ironic connotations" had been exaggerated in the media.

Life is short, and my financial well-being is too precious to waste much time straining my wounded wing writing words that no one is going to pay me for. A note on the police action against worry, however, from the Aftermath of Terror section of the WSJ—is terror officially over, then, by the way? Happy days are here again? Then what is the 10th Mountain Division doing, exactly, as shown today on al-Jazeera, which I glimpse when I visit my pals at the Heaven bodega?

A defense raised by lawyers for John Walker Lindh, the American captured alongside the Taliban, could force a ruling with ramifications for the Bush administration's stance that detainees from the Afghan conflict aren't entitled to prisoner-of-war status.

Defense lawyers said in court papers that Mr. Lindh should enjoy "combat immunity" for his service with a Taliban unit fighting the Northern Alliance. That doctrine holds that soldiers can't be prosecuted simply for making war, which necessarily involves destroying property and killing enemy troops, but only for defined war crimes such as targeting civilians.

While the indictment "alleges a nebulous and far flung conspiracy to 'kill American citizens around the world,' " the defense wrote, it describes actions that "support only an intent to be a foot soldier in the ongoing conflict with the Northern Alliance." The defense noted that, according to the indictment, in 2000 Mr. Lindh chose to go to the front lines against the Northern Alliance rather than travel outside Afghanistan to participate in terrorist operations against Americans and Israelis.

Aquent says the PwC gig is imminent, at long last. On the agenda: three hours of writing, four of translation, and a visit to the Shadowy Sumac on the uptown side of life. Item: the going rate for buying a cigarette is now up to 50 cents, I discover on the street. When I let the lady have two for $0.50 (essentially giving them to her at cost), her eyes light up. I thought I was going to get beat up the other night standing outside 1251 when some drunk punkers asked me if I had a spare cigarette as they spotted me pulling one from the pack. I had to explain to them that, yes, I had cigarettes, but no, I could not spare them. They were outraged and truculent. I looked to the octogenarian security guard and gulped. When did the universal bum-a-cigarette principle shift, anyway? I bum to folks in my neighborhood but not to able-bodied Manhattanites or tourists in any way shape or form, those are my current policy guidelines. And now to the work at hand.

Bestiary: At left, a Merm-linked demonstration of some sort of affinity between lobsters and mermaids, for as you know, the Monkey Woman calls me the Lobster Boy. Add to that the fact that Mooh, the hermaphroditic bovine supreme being of a certain cult of Teutonic friends, is now on his-her way across the Atlantic aboard the Queen Elizabeth II and it appears that totemic paganism is on the rise in response to the collapse of messiance monotheism. Yes, I know it is two in the morning. Pain from the civil war in my right arm wakes me up for a glass of red wine and a bowl of Cap'n Crunch. The Fleur Obscure, a Moohist herself, believe that the Cap'n is a frightening symbol of American militarism. She may be right, but oh, the joy of a bowl of that asbestos-like, ossified extruded corn goo to settle one's roiling guts at this hour. Miracle of miracles, a complete stranger writes me out of the blue, having found my e-learning jot book Web log and some remarks about SCORM compliance in LCMS implementations. I have been sought out as an expert. Small consolation. Got to be awake and functioning in 4 hours. In hoc signo vincebo:

Monday, May 13, 2002

The Hairy Eyeball: Translation for our growing international readership: To look askance at something, or regard it with skepticism, ironic amusement, or out-and-out disbelief, is to "give it the hairy eyeball." I am going to abandon Vulchur altogether and start a new avatar blog by this name, with the same mission statement: Short essays on the War on Terror and the Death of Irony. I have recently been reading Richard Wolin of CUNY's Heidegger's Children on that general theme, and finding my mental furniture being rearranged thereby. Wittgenstein being dismissed out of hand as a "quietist"? And you mean to say that evil is not banal, as Hannah Arendt famously said? Hmmm. Telling point: 2 million Jews liquidated by the Einsatzgruppen in the occupied territories "in a manner that could hardly be called banal"—i.e., lined up, shot in the back of the head, and tumbled into a pit of lime. Am I a quietist? Note, re: the foregoing, that the Wikipedia needs an encyclopedia entry on the term. It seems appropriate, somehow: an entry on quietism left unwritten. Wolin was a noted participant in L'Affaire Derrida, you may recall. I did not, not with any specificity, but then, I have been too busy doing for being all these years. My robot arm, aka carpal tunnel and tennis-elbow brace, arrives, and it is disappointingly not as robotic-metallic as it was pictured on the Web site. Must I now go to the trouble of reviewing order confirmations and comparing model numbers? I have no time for this! Aquent writes in with more no news on PwC. I note from my montly blog review that the project has been in limbo since late March. Theme for the day: the significance of the unuttered. Go to our dicussion forums to put in your two cents' worth. And now I really have to bugger off and get some things done. Items a propos of the banality thesis from the newspaper of record:

Bye-Bye Love: Israel's Likud Party voted Sunday in favor of a resolution never to allow the creation of a Palestinian state, defying its leader, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Arbeit Macht Frei: President Bush, on a trip to raise $2.2 million for Illinois gubernatorial candidate Jim Ryan, touted welfare-to-work proposals Monday that he said will move more recipients off the public rolls while letting states tailor their programs to meet their needs.

Congress is renewing the 1996 welfare law this year, and Bush said a central feature of any new measure must be shifting a greater proportion of recipients to jobs.

Sigh of Relief from the Steves: One of the deepest mysteries in the collapse of Enron has been the role that the power crisis in California played in the company's rise and fall.

This spring, as authorities focused their attention on the off-balance-sheet partnerships that Enron used to inflate its profits, it seemed that the question might be forever buried under more pressing inquiries.

Now, though, newly released documents about Enron's practices during the crisis in 2000 and 2001 are causing regulators and prosecutors to re-examine the connection. Some outside experts say they may find that California played a crucial role in the company's demise.

Dish and ditch, like PUIFWAP says. Total blogging time: 30 minutes. I type fast.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

The Ways and Means Justify the Weekend: Or do they? Have I read the newspaper yet, any newspaper? No. Have I translated even a lick? Yes, but only a lick, on my enforced "lunch" hour. Do I feel rested, relaxed, and fulfilled? Surprisingly, I do not feel like a complete wreck. JolieLaide came along at 11:30 and rousted me and we wound up having an excellent double brunch: main plate of grub at Chez Oskar and more caffeine + some kind of insanely good apple torte with homemade cherry ice cream at its sister venue, the more intimate Café Lafayette, pix to come, where we realize that we are talking about fluids bawdily and other piquant topics in close proximity to a Mom's Day brunch party. PUIFWAP lives and thrives and got through the recent writer's block looking relatively sunny, for a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic, and elegantly shorn, pix to come. Since arriving here in high hell, I have in the few odd moments available been browsing the pages of the Petroleum Finance Company rather than the New York Times [click there for the smarter version, soi disant: I plan to mine the section on deregulation later]. Teaser for the op-ed page today proclaims:
It's not too late to turn the Office of Homeland Security into a powerhouse, but Tom Ridge and his patron, President Bush, will have to break some china.

Poor Tom. No one will talk to him because he's not as bright as the other children. And watch that China-china talk, please. By the way, the threat level for terror is currently Elevated. Could I get instant updates on my cellular phone when that fluctuates, please? It's the national freaking mood ring. Perhaps not accidentally—since all that is, is possible, and not all that is not is not possible, since many instances of that which was not but is can be adduced—today on Entertainment Tonight:

GEORGE LINDSEY talks about playing the part of Goober Pyle on the classic "Andy Griffith Show" series from 1965–68. He explains how he originally won the role of Gomer (which then went to JIM NABORS), but got a second chance when Nabors left for his own series and they brought Lindsey back as his cousin.

Tim, from whom the hyperlink marginalia to the preceding, has researched 518 television programs. Tim is an idiot savant and infoarchaeologist. Term of the day: "Counterfactual definiteness," "the ability to speak meaningfully about the results of measurements that were not performed." I sense another Enron-Andersen joke coming on. The flap of Radical E is produced at right to get me in the mood for some serious Monday writing.

And so on. Let me, before closing, recommend to you an excellent little newsletter called "Restructuring Today." If only one could have (which is definitely a counterfactual, modulated by a wistfulness marker). Left the tenor of the evening be defined by a verse of fellow Brooklynite and Nobelist Joseph Brodsky—did I not tell you about my Nobel in pataphysics?—an instance of something that was but is not, which is also possible:

A loyal subject of these second-rate years,
I proudly admit that my finest ideas
are second-rate, and may the future take them
as trophies of my struggle against suffocation.
I sit in the dark. And it would be hard to figure out
which is worse; the dark inside, or the darkness out.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Badenough to the Bone: Did I really agree to hang around for a 13-hour shift here at the HQ of the worldwide conspiracy to corner the market in boredom? I did. Do I have better things to do on a Saturday night? I do. Do I really need the money that badly? I do. Will there be hell to pay tomorrow? There will. Does Iggy miss me? His bowl is topped off with Meow Mix and water, his shitbox is clean and dry, and the bed is all his: He does not. The Murky Marigold is kind enough to IM me through the evening. Poor Caliginous Chrysanthemum: The cat has got her tongue, work-wise. I know the feeling, and ameliorate it by overbooking. Necessity is the mother of sublimation-autogratification. I actually get a nice Nerve response: I guess my profile got updated when I was walking the Queen of the Apes through her self-advertisement and changed my portrait to the floating eyeball managing director. Says someone anonymous electronically:
you/your words both attract & repel equally. it is a leap towards passionate people, coupled by a weary-eyed damage control watching from the bird's eye view of my heart...cluck, cluck

ah, but i am a silly/crazy/mushy chick who is hacking the weeds with great force towards something—if i could only figure out exactly what it is.

i can't help but send a credit/wave your way and tell you that you are lovely.

Which is nice, não é? Random votes of confidence [if attraction-repulsion is a vote of confidence—I am not sure whether she means that is how she interprets, hermeneutically, my phenomenological stance, what the Germans call one's Dasein-stance-policy-judgement-faculty-projection-presentation-self-simulacrum, or rather her own visceral reaction to it] from random network nodes. One of the dudes I am working with is amazed that I know where Azerbaijan is off the top of my head and perplexed to learn that the map of Indonesia is anachronistic: Newly independent, Portugoosaphone East Timor is still colored in Donesian. You say Suharno, I say Suharto ... I get JL (PUIFWAP) to agree to G train it over at 11 for our civilized brunch. Luxie the Superior Being IMs up and recoms a band a friend of her plays in called The Bootleg Remedy. Much buzz, insinuate the rumors that are being bruited about, including a New Yorker On the Town item:

The Bootleg Remedy. The ethnomusicologist, composer, and banjo player David Gould [he's the community director at Media Bistro, but we won't hold that against him, yet—Ed.] leads this Brooklyn-based band through a rousing set of bluegrass, Dixieland, and Western-swing songs in honor of its sophomore album, "Cutting Time." Tubas, trombones, violins, and kazoos are promised. Good times are assured. Lending support are a few fellow-travellers in the old-time-music world, including Waldo's Novelty Syncopators, led by the ragtime specialist Terry Waldo.

And that's that. All I can possibly take. Over and out.

Infernal Machinery: I subscribed to some publishing house mailing lists with an eye to wangling some book reviewing work, which leads through the usual absurd train of associations to a man with a secret. Enjoy this episode of vintage television: Audrey Meadows never looked lovelier or livelier. I mention all this a propos of infernal machines, our allegory of the day. At right, for example, infernal machinery obscures our view of the Fleur Obscure at the Port Authority Bus Terminal. To those green-eyed monsters who deride the Midnight Sunflower as lacking in verve, I say: pfui. Did you know the Ultraviolet Violet used to organize avant garde improvised musical events in the weirder precincts of East Berlin? She knows Phil Minton for crying out loud: Check out 11 Minutes of the Sound of Mucus.

Digression: Life in postmodern Amerika offers a variety of experiences at every turn: one man's maximized sensory input is another's data smog, but the subway system suffers from an inadequate signage program and train conductors are not well trained in the art of elocution. I want to write about the new automated voices that are replacing them on the Lexington line, weird statistical parody-amalgams of the comprehensible all-American accent. The best subway car announcers, I think, are young guy wannabe rappers. To these cats, it's just another open mic, and the tedium of the job is eased by the opportunity to imbue the tired words with life, drama, musicality, variety, human presence. Those guys you can always understand, because their mission in life is the message. And you hear them, too, because the monotone just blends into the background noise of a million engines that New Yorkers miss so much when they find themselves in the countryside. These guys change it up, improvise, find new nuances in "Stand clear of the closing doors, please."

Also, workfare for unemployed actors. Me for mayor.

BFD: I think CAIR might object to the Times teaser to a gripping story in the magazine by Scott Anderson about an Israeli combat patrol "behind enemy lines." "Brush-back" sniping at civilians to drive them out of tactically important areas reminds you of the gunslinger—Jack Palance, perhaps—who shoots at his hapless victim's feet in old Westerns, saying, "Dance! Dance! Dance!" But it isn't exactly the heroic commando missions of World War II movies. Not even The Dirty Dozen. Lots to do, more to say, no time to write. Marianne Moore in what could be a commentary on the art of the blog:

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all 

this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician--
nor is it valid
to discriminate against 'business documents and

school-books'; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
'literalists of
the imagination'--above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, 'imaginary gardens with real toads in them', shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

Friday, May 10, 2002

Sleepwalk: I apparently still do this, something I thought was a phenomenon of my early development, like asthma and those enormous boils I used to get. Iggy never informed me, but the FO is utterly perturbed by it, naturally: "Characterized by the patient sitting up in bed and making repetitive and purposeless movements," which also characterizes recent days. Adult sleepwalking can disqualify you for military service:
If a patient begins sleepwalking later in life, he is more likely to have the disorder for the rest of his life (3). Stress and alcohol abuse, among other things, have been shown to contribute to sleepwalking among adults (3). Fatigue also increases the chances of a person sleepwalking because it forces the body to go into deeper sleep, allowing the dysfunctional transition into deep sleep to occur more readily, leading to somnambulism. Far fewer adults sleepwalk than do children, only about only about 1 in 200 (3). Adult sleepwalking is more serious in that it is often more aggressive, and so has more potential for self-injury. Sleepwalkers are not allowed in the armed services of the United States, at least partly because of the threat they pose to themselves and others when they have access to dangerous equipment (such as weapons) and are unaware of what they are doing when they sleep (2). Treatments for adult sleepwalkers often includes psychological treatment as well as relaxation techniques and sometimes requires anti-depressants to regulate the behavior (7). The difference in effective treatment from children to adult implies a different source for the disturbance. A more psychological or substance abuse-related set of causes seem to exist for adults.

At least partly? I did have a couple of belts of Frank's Laphroaig, I admit, which at the time I thought of as a relaxation technique. But let me speak of something pertinent and useful now. Nothing comes to mind. Government censorship, as reported by Publisher's Weekly, is an old standby when a hot topic is needed:

The publicity staff of San Francisco's Encounter Books was all set at to distribute BEA galleys of its spring title from Wen Ho Lee whistleblower Notra Trulock when the call came from publisher Peter Collier. Don’t give out the book, Collier said; it would risk putting the author in jeopardy. About 150 galleys were pulled, and the publisher and author continue to wait out a government review that they increasingly feel is unnecessary, unfair and possibly even illegal.

The title, Code Name Kindred Spirit, has gotten caught in a tangle of bureaucracy and intelligence politics, in a scene Collier describes as "virulent."

In February, Trulock, former intelligence and counterintelligence head of the Department of Energy's nuclear facilities, sent a galley to the agency, under the impression that the government had thirty days to review a published manuscript from an intelligence officer, all of whom sign non-disclosure agreements.

But what they assumed would be a quick review has gotten far more complicated. Trulock and Collier heard nothing from the DoE for nearly six weeks, then found out the period had been extended by 15 days. Inquiries were met with silence for several more weeks, and last week the two learned that the book had been given a classified designation and had been sent on to the National Security Agency. Collier and Trulock have not yet been able to extract an answer from them. A call to Department of Energy director of intelligence Larry Sanchez had not been returned by press time, but things could soon get messier; Encounter and Trulock have hired D.C. lawyer Mark Zaid, who specializes in intelligence cases.

Long periods of silence and inaction from the government that spoil your plans. Big deal. These guys have obviously never collected Social Security disability insurance. What else? Dimly-Lit Daisy has been monitoring the Webbies for me in lieu of what she knows is her duty, but information from alien intelligences is always welcome when it saves you the trouble of having to think things up yourself, such as Heartless Bitches International. Well, I am not so immediately fond of it, but there are those among our millions of readers who may find it cathartic or figure out what to do with or about it. The Do-It-Yourself Network I had forgotten about: it's collaborative knowledge-management environment serving multiple communities of practice, hey! And it contains a tutorial on building a straw-bale house, a topic I wrote about recently in passing. Which reminds me of a memorable segment on NPR yesterday about "flop homes" designed to house refugees, back to back with an interview of Bill Bennett, author of a new book on the War on Terror called Why We Fight: Moral Clarity and the You Know What. Amazon is offering a two-for-one package if you also buy Pat Buchanan's The Death of the West, an especially vile screed. Moral clarity is, of course, a contradiction in terms: Uncertainty is the natural condition of persons seriously concerned with the moral implications of their actions. Anyhow, it reminds me I have been wanting to catch up the doings of Bennett's educational technology venture, K-12. Schools are incubators for intellectual and human capital, you see.

Short Stacks: New Ryze pal Kerima is involved in all kinds of strange European cultural initiatives, including an artier German avatar of Flash Kit called Visual Orgasm. Sundry-day brunch calendared with the legendary PUIFWAP and likewise some friendly joint chowing down with the Monkee Womyn. Ooky unsubscribes, but who can blame her? I decided today this would be the blog of my unemployment daze only, which oxalá Lord soon be over. I like reading Eclogues.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

The Day in Review: Sleepiness followed by intake of carbohydrates and hot liquid vegetable alkaloids followed by furious activity to little, but some, avail. A couple of good job leads, though—I have always thought I would enjoy working at a scientific journal—and sporadic moments of Zen fun. Got some good pics with the digicam, the floodlights atop Rockeller Drug Law Center making the fog all capital-R Romantic and eerie-sublime, blurred takes on the founding Rothschild oil on canvas, just goofing. Getting some good idea from Nonsense Verse, another copy-editor-authored blog. The Enig, I swear, is becoming an industry unto her fishy self. Crosstown traffic is an opportunity to get started on Ingo's Simple Stories, which immediately engrosses me. The why will have to wait: I write in haste. A warning, however:
Microsoft Corp. MSFT.O has warned users of its MSN Messenger instant messaging program that the software includes a "critical" security flaw that makes their computers vulnerable to hackers.

The flaw is actually related to MSN Chat, a service found on Web sites run by Microsoft's MSN Internet division that allows groups of online users to type instant messages to each other in virtual rooms, Microsoft said.

Microsoft on slime and crime. Obviously a day of general pissed-offedness, hence John Berryman's Dream Song 74 in this interstitial scraps of moments reserved for contemplating the lyf so shorte the crafte so longe to lerne:

Henry hates the world. What the world to Henry
did will not bear thought.
Feeling no pain,
Henry stabbed his arm and wrote a letter
explaining how bad it had been
in this world.

Old yellow, in a gown
might have made a difference, "these lower beauties,"
and chartreuse could have mattered

"Kyoto, Toledo,
Benares—the holy cities—
and Cambridge shimmering do not make up
for, well, the horror of unlove,
nor south from Paris driving in the Spring
to Siena and on . . ."

Pulling together Henry, somber Henry
woofed at things.
Spry disappointments of men
and vicing adorable children
miserable women, Henry mastered, Henry
tasting all the secret bits of life.
Fear, Greed, Chaos ... and Belly Dancing: My new Ryze buddy Carlos has written a self-published book called Fear, Greed, Chaos and Broken Dreams in the New Economy. You meet a lot of crazy people there. Darkbloom and I showed up fashionably late at the mixer at Zanzibar last night and schmoozed the wonderful Rizzo of Oz, among other, and photographed the belly dancing that suddenly broke out. It was worth doing. I cannot repeat the rumor disseminated by the wonderful wizard about the origins of the business networking site, but believe me, it was scurrilous. The martinis may have contributed. Carrie, a reporter from the New York Sun was circulating with her little notebook. Maybe I can pitch to those guys. In the meantime, I have all this other shite to clear from the stables, such as writing this week's column. Re-reading Kurtzman and Rifkin's Radical E [Note the first item in the Amazon search result] gets me started:
Enron, like other great radicals, has transformed not only itself but also an entire industry. By remaking its business model in cyberspace, Enron has forced its competitors to follow suit and has served notice that the status quo would no longer hold. Jeffrey Skilling, Enron's chief executive officer, says, "We are no longer an energy company. We are a company that makes markets. We create the market, and once it is created, we make the market."

Having quickly discovered how powerful the Internet is in moving and trading its core products, Enron has moved into a raft of new commodity markets, including pulp and paper, coal, metals, plastics, chemicals, and even bandwidth ... Kenneth Lay believes that Enron's business model, layered onto the Internet, will remake countless commodity marketplaces and turn them into fertile businesses. The company has created a new organization called Enron Net Works to incubate and spawn these new business opportunities. If it works, Skilling says, Enron Net Works, of which Enron Online is now a part, will become "the Coca-Cola syrup of our company."

Coca-Cola syrup. A pregnant analogy indeed: highly caffeinated but with little or no nutritional value. Add water and bubbles and retail it at 10,000% of your production and distribution costs, which leaves you with an advertising budget larger than the GDP of the former GDR. Yes, indeed: Dynegy, ACS, and UBS Warburg, among others, followed in the footsteps of the compulsive self-appointed prime mover ... and are all now under investigation by the SEC, as the Wall Street Journal reports today, for putting an unethical spin on the notion of what it means to "make" the market. As in the greedy bastards were really "on the make" and looking to "make out like bandits." The Rolling Stones: "And I'm trying to make some girl, def. 24: "to persuade to consent to sexual intercourse : SEDUCE ."

Darkbloom queries me about Chemdex and other online marketplaces doing the same sort of thing. Chemdex died in December of 2000, my dear Fleur Obscure. Credit Internet Wold's Ruhan Memishi with being one of the first to sound a note of skepticism about the whole thingummy in January, 2001—not long before being downsized, of course. Who needs cogent analysis, solid writing, and scrupulous reporting? "It turns out the savior of the New Economy needs saving itself," Memishi wrote. It would be interesting to get the reactions of cheerleaders like Net Market Makers to recent developments.

Ah, Internet World, Internet World. Maybe I should just take that off my résumé and say I was in a Benedictine monastery under a vow of silence all that year. Here's a recent lead:

Imagine extracting from your Web site all the vital information your company needs from its customers to survive in the enterprise. Coremetrics Marketforce, the newest product release from Coremetrics, a Web services provider of marketing analytics solutions, claims it can do just that.

Wow, really? Stop the presses! Imagine capturing data from your Web site! Why didn't anyone think of that before? This is a serious claim, and merits serious investigation. Let's start with the press release. Leaving the syntactical infelicities aside for a moment, note the following: There are, in fact, 200 other companies listed in the Google index under "marketing analytics" and "sales and marketing productivity." E.Piphany? Sales Force? Dave Carr—now at Baseline?—on Siebel—with that unfortunate headline, "Analyzing the Back End," which sounds like an article on Freudian proctology from Giles, Goat-Boy to go with Pynchon's Dr. Dudley Eigenvalue, the psychoanalytic dentist? A case study in the squandering of intellectual and human capital and institutional memory: Internet World. You know, the Web site does still maintain a couple years worth of archives, you could actually look this shit up. Hey, there are probably even some boxes of old Web Weeks around somewhere!

Oops. I did a tirade, and beat a dead horse, besides. Good thing nobody reads this. Zippy is of course exempted. And me with shit to do. I want to grow up to be Roy Edroso.