June 24, 2020

Potus V Hawk



I still like W.C. Fields' idea. Broadcast it on every platform available so a virtual audience comprising thousands of arenas can attend, but leave the vast arena where it's held, football stadium size, completely empty except for crew of record, who would all be masked and at an appropriate distance from the combatants (what are zoom lenses for). The combatants if they wished could wear a mask, but POTUS has considered it beneath his dignity in the past, and this is the largest audience he can ever expect to attend an event he participates in; it's likely the Hawk with the new book would feel obliged to dispense with a mask also, though the battle will be close work.  About a dozen dumpsters are provided at each combatant's end of the field to supply ammunition, viz: socks full of horse manure. (Neither wants to be unprovided for at a crucial junction.) Go at it, gentlemen! Grab those socks and come out swinging.

June 13, 2020

WHAT WAS THAT MASKED GARDEN?







                             

I don’t know why I was thinking of Last Year at Marienbad when we were getting ready to visit the Laking Garden in Burlington. There was no more than the slightest similarity of geometrical design between the vast lawn where most of its exteriors were shot (whose statues were slightly more real than the grass, less sculpted than the trees) and the Garden grounds with profusion of irises and peonies in labelled rows, and even a small patch of clematis, a few stray hibiscus round rust red tree-constructs. I’d have to see the film again to be sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were not a single flower to be seen on that immaculately manicured lawn the whole length of the film. Then it occurred to me: the masks! I was going with a medical mask, better than half the people we met there in passing had them too, and Marienbad (never seen in the film, because it was last year, which is notoriously difficult to photograph) was a town famous for its health spa.
I saw a deep purple iris I didn’t remember from last year called Anvil of Darkness, which cracked me up: by day an unassuming flower, by night a sturdy tool for pounding a horse shoe into shape.
I wouldn’t have called that middle-tone violet iris Zebra Night; it seems to me you need some kind of striping for a name like that.
A robin perched in a red iron tree form barren of leaves, except for the vine climbing up it on which bloomed a light purple hibiscus (a shade deeper than Zebra Night)—couldn’t get Marysia over with a camera quickly enough to capture the tableau.
Reading in a corner of the garden, on chairs conveniently provided—a fine occupation with a garden for backdrop over the top of your page: Rodge Glass’s biography of Alasdair Gray. I’m told (or more likely reminded, though I can’t remember from when) that Alasdair Gray did a comic lecture at a 1959 Scottish Fringe venue on the useful topic: How to Assemble Your Own Rhinoceros. I should try to find that lecture—did anyone ever bother to get it down on tape? I have most of the required parts, but I could use some tips on how to assemble them.
FOLLOW SOCIAL DISTANCING PROCEDURES
WASHROOM OCCUPANCY IS LIMITED TO ONE (1) PERSON AT A TIME
*Note: Co-Habitants Excluded*
            Please Knock Before Entering
(I should say so if there’s any wee chance someone’s taking advantage of the co-habiting loophole.)




September 30, 2019

Tales of Impotence



Not sure why outlets that carry
Fair Trade Coffee
Carry so little of it
1 brand in ten on average
Assuming the spirit is willing
The supply chain is weak?
Not sure why fair dealing
Should be anything but a given in trade and employment
But I do know inequities of this kind
(Look over the shifting quicksand
Of union contracts sometime)
Are the first link in the chain
That armours climate change against all sane resistance.

September 27, 2019

GAME ROOMS



                                                                              GAME ROOMS


            If you were blindfolded and transported in a wandering, deliberately deceptive way to a site deep in the bowels of one of the following: a casino, an AMC, an HMV, a state-of-the-art supermall, athree-storey "theme" restaurant and bar, an AMC or triple-decker bar inside a state-of-the-art supermall, it's unlikely, unless you wereexceptionally attuned to the subtlest audio impressions, that you could guess which it was by sound ambient alone. You would be able to
guess that it was an establishment top-heavy with flourescent and neon,its surface--walls ceilings fixtures--the kind of glossy metal that returns and multiplies the sheen of tube lighting. You'd know not only because of the low-level sputter--which without the blindfold you'd very quickly cease to notice--but because of the impress of the light on your eyeballs through the cloth.

            If you were spun round three times before the blindfold was removed, it might still take quite a while for you to identifiy your surroundings. When you did, it would be function, not design and decor,that gave the game away. And even that might jumble in your head, in
certain circumstances. A disorientation complete enough to make you think, playing a slot machine, you were actually watching, or performing in, a movie?--unlikely, but certainly far from impossible.
            You certainly wouldn't know, without outside information, if it were day or night.
            How long would it take--and what techniques would have to be applied--before your disorientation was so complete you could be persuaded you'd been shrunk, flattened and inserted into a "hyperreal"videogame? A man in Florida confessed to a murder he was acquitted of
because all the physical evidence pointed away from him. So: six days tops I think, of sleep dep, sense dep or the two in tandem before almost any of us could be persuaded we were manipulable figures in a mechanical game with a strictly limited set of entirely predictable moves.

            "Hyperreal" in quotes because this refers to the technology that makes the simulacra in those games more apparently lifelike, not to any slightest tendency in videogames to project conditions in the real world. (Hyper-commercial units tend to resemble them only because
both borrow their looks from currently dominant styles in film and video.) You don't get three chances to die in real life before you're out of the game--and when was the last time you had to kill even one person in self-defense on your way to the local mall for groceries? Bet you marked your calendar.

            This does however suggest a purpose for the brainwashing technique desribed earlier: it would be perfect for prepping assassins.No; not unless it were irrelevant to you who or how many because they'd be as anarchic and univeral in their killing sprees as a videogame hero. And how would you ever direct that purposefully in a political sense?

            There is another application. This would be an ideal technique for breeding hyper-consumers. The only key difference is that they're self-assassins as well, since the giddy whirl of exploitation and exhaustion of resources, planet-wide, is killing off eco-support systems at an accelerating rate. This is most unwise unless you have, at least, a planet or so in reserve to move to.

September 25, 2019

Apocalypse, Ah-Ha! Ah-ha, I like it (Ah-ha, ah-ha!)

My neice Ula posted this on Facebook, a reminder that young activists like Greta Thunberg have been around quite a while as the ecological crisis deepens. If there's anything encouraging about the current protests, it's that they're more widespread and harder to ignore, a fact underlined by the dismissive and patronizing 'reviews' of Greta Thunberg's activism (which is since Climate Strike Day the activism of a multitude). I had a look at one which suggested Greta Thunberg was the victim of child abuse in that she'd been inflected with apocalyptic terrors whose origin was politcal and ideological rather than scientific--which is more nearly the reverse of the truth. Most of the reasons for ignoring climate change have to do with political and media fawning over the wealthy, who stand to gain in the short term and have, as Mailer once noted, a 'psychopathic disregard for the future'. The most apocalyptic projections are written in dry, matter-of-fact language by concerned scientists. But what do you finally make of somebody who writes that concern for the rainforests goes back to the seventies and yet the rainforests--where uncontrollable fires range, hectares disappear to clearcutting every day, and erosion and desertification marches on apace--are 'doing ok'. Before very long somebody's bound to point out--on the bright side--that hurricanes, typhoons and tsunamis are a growth industry.





April 9, 2019

Hallucinogen


"How can we keep giving more money to the Pentagon than it needs when 40 million live in poverty, 34 million have no health insurance, and 140 million can't afford basic needs without going into debt?"

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/04/09/progressive-democrats-threaten-tank-733-billion-crazy-pentagon-spending-if-social?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=socialnetwork&fbclid=IwAR21VVrmMJKT4G5X3Zx4GsteK5ex0MLtNUkL5qt0ET68cIfI27bhQd6E9RA



Because we--and by 'we' I do mean the 1%, the major political parties and the media--prefer war and preparations for war to any kind of policy framed around the needs of people. Economies all over the world have become addicted to the stimulus of trade in weapons and armies. War is only a small part of the damage done by an economy under the stimulus of, if you think about it, the world's most widespread hallucinogen.

March 14, 2019

Restraints



"Utah considers ban on shackling woman prisoners who are pregnant." I'm of many more than two minds about this. An excellent thing to consider, though I think they should expedite that phase as much as humanly possible. "We're shackling woman prisoners? I think we should seriously consider cutting that out." "I think so too." "Me too." Chorus of assent. "Well we're all in agreement. We're considering it, what next?" "Actually do it?" "Stop shackling pregnant women you mean?" "I do." Chorus of voices: "IT'S SO CRAZY IT MIGHT WORK!" "Carried unanimously then. Send guards around to strike off all those shackles."

Which is fine as far as it goes, but doesn't address the underlying difficulty: the Utah justice system allows for the shackling of pregnant woman prisoners. (A number of states do it seems on further investigation, and to be fair to Utah, it has previously prohibited the practice, but the prohibition hasn't been observed. Perhaps a ban will carry more force. Certainly it's a step in the right direction, but not having ever done it in the first place is loads preferable.) And that still leaves a large unanswered question: if we grant that male prisoners are rightly to be shackled (which some may doubt), what is it about women who aren't pregnant that makes them worthy of foot and hand bracelets of steel? I say nothing of the advantage horny guards might take: "You want out of those shackles, baby? I have just the ticket, right here in my pants." No, I think it wisest not to shackle female prisoners at all. I'm sure I'll be accused of liberalism, but there it is.