Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Guts, Heads, Tails, and Paws Are Not Usable Meat

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
You've got to shoot kangaroos right through the head if you want to make any money at it. Nothing ruins perfectly good meat like dragging a bit of lead right through it.

Once you've killed a doe (or female), you must reach straight into her pouch, pull out any joeys you find and kill them immediately. Most people grab 'em by the tail and back legs and smash their skulls against a rock with a dull whapping sound. The really tiny ones can be crushed under a bootheel or quickly beheaded with a sharp knife, the tiny pink head popping away like a meat-covered dandelion in a child's backyard game. However, if joeys are beyond a certain age, they can hop into the bush and partner up with another doe. These surrogate mothers won't allow the adopted joeys back in the pouch, "but I reckon if their heads'll fit in there, the mum'll let 'em have a crack at the tit again," Kevin said once in a shared didactic moment as we both urinated in the dust, staring up at the Milky Way.

The kangaroo you see me feeding on the right belonged to a 'roo shooter's assistant that I met while camping. He couldn't bring himself to kill it, so he was raising it as a pet...she slept in a pillowcase hanging from the back of his car's passenger seat.

You get paid per ton of usable meat. Guts, heads, tails, and paws do not count toward that weight total. It's a lot easier to gut, decapitate, de-tail and de-paw in the bush than in the meat processor's parking lot a week later. That might be the only thing nastier than doing it in the first place.

I knew these facts before I ever met Kevin. Like any good writer, I'd learned all about 'roo shooting from the internet, supplemented with telephone interviews. One shooter had me over to his house, and we talked shop over coffee. He pulled out an album he'd compiled over the years packed with photos of himself gutting camels, cleaning his guns in the bush and driving a truck surrounded with a strange brown curtain. That curtain, I would later learn, was actually about 50 dead kangaroos hanging upside down.

And like any young male writer, once I was out in the bush and faced with the reality of the uber-masculine task I set out to portray, I wanted to run screaming home to my mother. Everybody thinks Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson are such badasses, and maybe they are. But they didn't start that way. All good writers are compulsive readers. This means spending every available moment of your entire life indoors with your nose stuck in a book, which completely precludes any sort of badassery.

Guys with a particular blend of academic inclination and self-loathing seem to think the key to being real cool is to do something really, unimaginably fucked up and then write about it, and that's gonna like, prove them to the world and make them really cool. At least that's what I thought. All the bullies that ever picked on me were suddenly going to become literate and read that masterwork I hadn't actually written yet, and ATMs would just spit hundred dollar bills into my pocket.

It didn't turn out that way. Instead of just like, interviewing a bunch of dangerous weirdos and witnessing some "xXx-treme" behavior from a safe distance, I actually had to step up and do what I'd been flapping my gums about. Those of you that know me know I can flap my chops so beautifully, too...but putting your actions where your mouth has been for a month usually hurts.

I had to suppress so many parts of my personality to do this, and on several occasions I vomited into my mouth and discreetly spit it into the bush when Kevin wasn't looking. I slipped on a severed, bleeding kangaroo head and fell into a pile of intestines so many times that I was actually looking forward to coming home and stepping in some good old-fashioned dog shit.

Working with Kevin was no temp job I could quit on a whim. We were on one million acres of desolate bush, eight hours' drive past cell phone coverage. Kevin had all the food and all the water, and the only way out of there was in that ute. I preferred leaving in the cab to riding out in a heap of 'roos in the trailer, so I got really good at keeping my mouth shut.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Less Than 36 Hours

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.

The incomparable Natasha is currently in New Jersey--she's in the photo--the one on the right.

She'll be in DC on Tuesday night, and I am so excited and nervous I don't know what to do with myself. We last saw each other in the Perth airport on May 15th, kissing goodbye through tears and the taste of vomit.

I was so determined to have my last Australian meal that I totally ignored my nervous sad and upset stomach, forcing down a meat pie and iced coffee on the way to the airport. By the time we got there, both Tash and I were bawling uncontrollably, hugging tight.

I had to pull away suddenly and I'll never forget the steam rising from the brown flag flying out of my mouth, a liquid spear soaring through the chilly Aussie autumn air.

We've talked on the phone nearly daily since May, and now she's here. 24 hours after arriving at my place, we're gonna be in some guy's car heading to my parents for Thanksgiving.

The apartment in mostly set up, clean as I am capable of getting it. There's nothing to do but sit here and gnaw my fingernails up to the elbow...

Blue Oyster Cult

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
I made this guy in college, took the photo several years ago. I am not that much into looking at my old artwork, but I still like this one a lot.

It would thrill me no end to see it surfing around the web, getting worked into random Photoshops. Feel free to borrow and remix...

Thursday, November 18, 2004

What's A Guy To Do?

I gotta vent a bit...this is my first real blog post in a while, and I'm real real frustrated. As glad and grateful as I am to have this job, it's giving me fits right now. A great Aussie phrase is the more descriptive "this job shits me, it shits me to absolute fuckin' tears!"

I've suspended all but the most cursory of blog activities for the week so I can crunk down and get some freaking work done here at the old office, and you know what? It doesn't matter. I left the office at seven thirty last night, got in early this morning, pounded hard on some reports, and got the same amount of flak for them as if I had sat here and watched movie trailers on company time. I suppose that's just how it is in the grownup world, but nobody told me till now.

Call me idealistic, but I always believed that if you worked hard, you'd get ahead, improve, make something of yourself. Right now, my eyeballs have a weird tan and I have had a headache for several days, but that's about it. Oh, and I notice it when people talk in the passive voice now.

This all feels a little too much like the first year and a half of high school, when I was killing myself to be accepted by the "in" crowd. They weren't any more attractive or intelligent, they weren't even cool. They were just blessed with "in"-ness, so I craved a spot by their fire.

I certainly don't want to die and have "Best Low-Man on the Research Totem Pole" etched on my tombstone...but this is giving me the shits all the same.

When Kevin and I were out shooting 'roos, we could shout at each other and wave machetes, call each other miserable useless cunts and kick a severed 'roo head off into the bush as a gory expression of pure frustration. Then it was over.

I think grownups smoke so they can have a reason to go outside and seethe...it's not disgruntled heavy breathing if smoke flies out of your mouth.

On the up side: the ever-mysterious and hilarious Natasha is going to be in my apartment here next Tuesday night and sitting at my momma's table for Thanksgiving. That tickles me no end.

Meredith Bragg and The Terminals Free At Kennedy Center

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
It's been all the buzz about DC this last month: Meredith Bragg and the Terminals will play a FREE show at the Kennedy Center this Monday...

Meredith Bragg plays soft, gentle and plaintive music, the best goddamned coffeehouse rock you've ever heard in your life. A caveat: if you've had a crappy Monday and go see the show, make sure you actually speak to MB or some of the T's. These are nice, happy people, and they'll be more than glad to talk you out of chucking your sad body into the river...

DC Punk Rock Video Night

I just got this email. I see that both of you have already checked in on the blog this morning, but in case you come back, here's something to send to all your friends...forwarded to me by the incomparable AnnieLou Bayly, a spectacular roommate, filmmaker, and friend.

Come to a Video Night at La Casa - 3166 Mount Pleasant Street -
Enjoy some DC punk rock history and support Radio CPR.
With video treasures featuring such DC legends as the Bad Brains, Rites
of Spring, Minor Threat, the Untouchables, Half Japanese, the Slickee
Boys and more........
w/ narration and explanation by Alec Mackaye.

When: Friday, November 19th @ 8:30pm
Where: La Casa, 3166 Mt Pleasant Street
How Much: $5

Also: most of my readers are in the Brooklyn, LA, and DC areas. If you have something fairly cool you need promoted, and you are not a known bullshitter, send it to me and there's a fair chance I'll put it up. You send my link out, it drives up my traffic, and gets a slightly larger nerd-herd to show up at your event. Here in corporate America, we call that a win-win.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

In Uncertain Times, This Is Fact

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
The Carlsonics rock like a stoner van chewing up its own transmission. I've used this space before to rave about their sloppy psychedelic rumble, Aaron Carlson's sublimely hilarious onstage assholery, and the overall sense of giddy glee the band projects from a stage.

If you took a bunch of kids at recess and downloaded all the very best thundering psychedelic sixties rock into their brains, Matrix-style, so that their soft little poorly formed heads bulged with Who classics, then taught them how to tap a keg in the music room and filmed the whole thing, you might get kind of close to the kind of feel-good onstage mayhem that the Carlsonics are gonna bring to Art-O-matic Thursday, November 18th, at ten p.m.

Click here for more...

Friday, November 12, 2004

Tears Are Flying Onto My Screen

Tears of laughter, anyway.

I'm at work just now, relaxing with a free sandwich I snagged from a meeting downstairs...was checking out the Best Of Craigslist through Bears Will Attack and I am laughing so freaking hard at these two posts that my shirt collar is wet from all the tears.

Actually, Fuck Almost Everyone

3-D Map of Election Results, By County
Originally uploaded by Jeff Simmermon.

As mentioned previously, the story "Fuck the South" has been flying around the internet. Three people forwarded it to me in the past two days. It wouldn't be so funny to so many people if it didn't tap a certain artery of truth...and everything that resonates with people resonates because it hits home.

It's meant to be a funny, rabid, foaming rant, sort of a Bill Hicks-ish piece. And it works...but only once. Reread the thing and you'll notice a lot of glaring holes in it, and maybe come to think that it's not so cool after all. Then again, nobody's ever mistaken Howard Stern for Dan Rather...Jon Stewart' enjoyed a real boost in fame after pointing this out on Crossfire.

But read Fuck The South again, after you've quit laughing (if you even did in the first place) and it's really not cool at all. My friend Lora summed it up really well in her comment on the post below. Here's an excerpt:

That person obviously didn't pay attention to the presidential election results by state, either, or s/he'd have written "Fuck the south, the Midwest, and a lot of the far west as well."

Are pieces like that supposed to convince conservatives of the error of their ways? Because it seems to me that as long as reactionaries on both sides are allowed to spew venom like that, we're never going to get anywhere. What ever happened to courtesy? What ever happened to respecting other people's opinions and trying to convince them through discussion that there are other ways to do things?

Neal Pollack's thoroughly refuted the essay on his site as well...and after the laughs wear off, I'm with Lora and him. But it's an uneasy alliance.

The original essay in question (god am I tired of typing "fuck the south") resorts to the same sweeping generalizations that extreme right uses--to great success.

And that sucks. Not that the essay sucks--it's brilliant. It's proliferated like mad on the internet, spawning debate and meta-debate in the space of like, two days. But it also plays into the right's hand, stereotyping all us liberals as condescending classist snobs.

The inherent problem with intelligent respectful discussion is that when you concede validity to people that will not concede validity back, they walk through the door you hold open for them, then invite all their redneck friends in to drink your liquor and barf on the carpet.

So it's lose-lose for intelligence, rape, plunder and party for the right regardless of what we do. If we let them have their say, they trample us. If we shit down their necks, we're no better than they are. We're forced to become a nation of "us against them." Look at my essay. I'm doing it right now because I can't help it. That's why I resent the right--for being such pricks that it forces me to be a prick, too.

We can try and rise above it, but let's be real here: Jesus, Gandhi and Buddha could rise above everything--three dudes in thousands of years that were strong enough to handle this fuckery. Me, I'm just a guy and I'm pissed off.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Link Cluster

Just this afternoon, I've gotten a fairly interesting cluster of links...

My friend Laurel sent me this, a collection of exceptionally insane ads on Japanese television, starring California's second-favorite governor.

Johnny Dungaree represents the 757 (southern VA area code) out in Los Angeles, and let this one trickle towards me. It's flying around the 'net like a bee in a sports car, so even if you don't read it now someone's bound to forward it to you...painfully relevant if you're from the South like me, Laurel, and Johnny.

Juat the fact that these comics got printed is testament to America's obsession with...something.

Your New Favorite T-Shirt

does this shirt come in an XL?
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
There's nothing like getting really far away from your own reality and seeing your culture through another one's filter...

Dork Report

I am such a whore when it comes to comic-book sci-fi movies. A long as it's in color, I'm happy. I was blown away by Spider-Man 2, but not expecting cinematic greatness from the Fantastic Four film now shooting in Vancouver...here's some sneaky pics taken on-set. There’s lots of pictures of Michael Chiklis as the Thing.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Is This What I Want?

Any of you that read And I Am Not Lying For Real regularly know that I harbor giant, vague dreams of being a somebody, a big-shot writer. Like a Hunter S. Thompson or a David Sedaris, or a an Alan Moore...somebody that tells stories that move.

One of you reads from the offices of WW Norton in New York, and has read the site pretty extensively. I imagine you out there in the cluttered halls of publishing Valhalla, chain-smoking and stroking a cat (two nasty habits) while you think to yourself "shit, this guy is hot stuff. Let's give him a contract." Once I sign that contract, a bestselling book will automatically fall out of my shirt and land on top of a movie deal that appears on your desk. That's how dreams work.

Seriously, that dream keeps me up all night on the air mattress in my apartment that doubles as a desk, writing, revising, etc. I get so behind here at work uploading stuff, writing, tracking pageloads and eyeball time, because one day I'm gonna propel myself into something better.

Then I read stuff like this and think "fuck everything. I'm just going to ride my bike up on the highway and see what happens."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

'Roo Shooter

Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
The West Australian sun is a silent nuclear scream that can burn unprotected skin right through a car's windshield. It can tan a man through a thin layer of concrete and quietly flay the flesh off of unprotected tourists.

Kevin and I had been hammering over the highway with the A/C cranking since dawn. I imagined the sun blasting its way through the windshield and my massive pair of Blue-Blockers, tanning the surface of my actual retinas. Kevin wasn't sweating it. A sixty year-old man raised in the bush, he had trained as a kangaroo shooter and roof carpenter since the age of eight. Apparently he had never worn a shirt to work, either-- the man looked like a crocodile hide stretched over a human frame, a frustrated expression by a taxidermist who went to art school.

We were driving ten hours each way to a million acre plot of red sand and sun-blasted rock to slaughter four and a half tons of kangaroos. I was there as a hired hand, working on a story for Vice magazine. I'd come to Australia for all kinds of adventure, and this trip was it. Today was just another day for Kevin.

Kevin had already played both his Elvis tapes by eleven and was saving the Jerry Lee Lewis ones for the all-night drive back. On the way back from a shooting trip you've gotta drive all night so the meat doesn't spoil. It takes all the novelty you can muster to stay awake on a drive like that. We ended up eating fifteen sausages apiece and drinking enough water to make our straining bladders keep us awake, but that's later.

"Mate, let's pull off for a piddle here, then have a stretch up in Geraldton when we check the tires at the petrol station, ay," Kevin barked.

"Why don't we just use the bathroom at the gas station? It's only like 3k away."

"Shit, I know, I just hate going to the toilets at a petrol station if I'm not buying anything. It just feels fuckin' wrong, mate."

I had nothing to say to that one. I'd been doing it all my life, but I saw his point. For a lifelong kangaroo slaughterer and a heavy user of the word "cunt," Kevin had a unique sense of honor.

"Ah, shit, what do I know, though, you're the guest," Kevin said. Let's sort these tires out and celebrate with an indoor piddle, hey? Fancy an ice cream while I'm in there?"

"Nah, I'm cool," I said.

"Bullshit you're cool, we've been driving all morning and we've got five hours to go yet. This is the last fuckin' store you're gonna see for a week, mate. That's it, you're having an ice cream and put your purse down." Kevin's face split into a massive, crooked grin. "I told you, while you work for me, I buy the food, and last I checked, ice cream was fuckin' food."

You couldn't help but smile at that, and I must have beamed. It was the last time I smiled for several days.

Five hours passed with nothing much to report. The red dust and spinefex all ran together into one long ribbon of alien terrain under a Technicolor blue sky. The only event of note was when we turned off the paved road into the dirt tracks that led us deep into the bush. Kevin navigated on pure instinct, muttering to himself "must've had rain up there, that bit's all washed out from floods, there's some green, have to remember that." The cab filled with the roaring tires on bumpy corrugated roads, Kevin's muttering and the two metal barrels full of petrol sloshing around in the back of the Ute.

Camp was in a stretch of bush more godforsaken than all the rest. Cans rattled aimlessly across the landscape and tatters of newspaper flapped from sticks in a silent, manic greeting propelled by the desert wind. We pulled up to a long shack, like a corrugated tin tube sliced in half and graced with a concrete slab porch. Two giant refrigerators sat out front like fat metal marshmallows dotted with mysterious reddish stains.

"Go on, pick your room, mate, just not the one with me cooler in it," Kevin ordered. "I brung that up special."

My bedroom was a segment of tube with a low metal cot and an extremely suspicious looking foam mattress. Everything was covered with a thin layer of red dust: my bed, the table, the toothbrush and wadded-up tissue the last guy left behind. A table scarred with the cuts from a million knives, stained with oil and old, clotted blood sat next to a forlorn, dusty generator out on the front porch. Our camp was like an abandoned prospector's cabin on Mars, or an axe murderer's holiday home.

"Whoa, Kevin, this is so cool," I shouted cheerfully. "It's the most godforsaken place I've ever seen in my life!"

I meant it with the sort of joyful, artificial exuberance that my friends back home use to describe roller-skating, duckpin bowling or their supposed love for Journey. You know the tone, it's ironic detachment in a cheap mask of sincerity, meant to say, "Hey, friends, dig me digging this lame experience!"

Kevin grunted. "Call it what you want, mate, but it's me fuckin' life, and I like it."

Embarrassment shot through my veins and I stuttered out an unnecessary apology. I later learned that it's impossible to hurt a 'roo shooter's feelings with a bunch of tiny words. And as I would discover when I chopped the paws off of my first kangaroo, its blood spraying into my eyes and open mouth, our lives were more different than anyone could hope to imagine.

Friday, November 05, 2004

There May Be Hope Yet

An Ohio voting machine mistakenly gave Bush a bunch of extra votes. Read here.

Can He Protect Us From A Giant Asteroid?

Here's some post-election analysis from my man Clarence, history teacher in a juvenile detention center in Richmond, Virginia:

As I was lecturing on the electoral college Nov. 2, I realized that due to the truly spectacular amount of felonies these "students" amassed before getting their driver's licenses, not a one of them would be voting, ever. They were a pro-Kerry crowd nonetheless, although with approximately the same amount of knowledge on the issues as do most teenagers, or for that matter the majority of the American public.

I did receive one good question though:

"So answer me this. Which one of these candidates has the economical efficiencies to deal with a giant asteroid hitting the earth?"

I told him maybe if we didn't spend 87 billion on Iraq we'd have the cash on hand to deal with asteroids, and felt more than a little guilty.

I felt guilty because I never try to lead students one way or another politically. A real treat about teaching and learning history is that you realize that on all the important stuff the liberal side was right. Take a look at the right to vote, child labor laws, public schools, slavery, the United Nations, desegregation, etc., you name it really, they were all liberal causes.

That’s why it is truly awe inspiring that the Republicans have so successfully demonized the term liberal, because we are by no small measure a liberal nation. It's also infinitely frustrating that Democrats forget this and then refuse to stand up for treacherous things like the Patriot Act cause they don't want to be labeled ”out of the mainstream liberals.” There’s a big bunch of pussies up there on Capitol Hill.

Anyway, I don't try to consciously steer the kids one way or the other, because unless you were born with a trust fund or own a corporation, chances are you'll bat for our team once you crack the books and wake the fuck up.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Jeff Nelson's Ohio Yard Signs

As you may well know, Jeff Nelson is the former drummer for Minor Threat and co-founder of Dischord Records.

The election signs he designed for front yards in Ohio are nothing short of fantastic.

Stuffed Animal Real Brains

Stuffed Animal Real Brains
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
I forgot who this photographer is, but I'm a fan...

The Dead Hensons

These guys are fantastic...they play live covers of Sesame Street and Muppet songs.
Click here and here for guilt-free downloads. Man, I hope they make it to D.C.

The Civil War On Intelligence

Screw the war on terrorism--there is a war on intelligence happening in America, and intelligence is losing. An army of idiots has just planted a flag made out of report cards peppered with C's and D-minuses in the middle of America. Ground troops from the legion of boo-boos turned out in record numbers to perform the greatest act of domestic terrorism since Timothy McVeigh's performance in Oklahoma City.

There is a war on intelligent, rational thought in this country and stupid people are winning. When did thinking things through become anti-patriotic? If you look back at high school, reading was never something for the popular kids, but this is real life, and we're all supposed to be grownups. Americans justify their own willful ignorance by saying that the media distorts things and you never get the real story.

But since when did no story become a better alternative to a slanted one? Everyone distorts stories. There is no objective truth. We filter our experiences through our past and our prejudices, and until Bill Gates invents a legion of news-reporting androids, we're going to have to put up with human distortion.

Think about this: if you ask fundamentalist Christians (brownshirts in the legion of boo-boos), everything on TV and mainstream media is lies...but words written several thousand years ago by Jews and middle-easterners (serious bad guys to the religious right) are absolute fact.

Here's what Americans can do to win the war against intelligence, and this is by no means a complete list:

1) Read something challenging every day...read one article that you disagree with daily, and think about it.

2) Don't just read the headlines. Read the whole news story. Is there something in there that disturbs you? Does something seem left out? Check the same story in another source. It takes ten minutes, thirty if you have to move your lips. Don't give up. Soon you'll be able to read and eat something without crumbs falling out of your mouth.

3) Admit it when you are wrong. This is hard, but crucial for any leader, whether you lead a family, nation, or just the line to recess. When you realize you have done something wrong, just apologize and fix it. Malcolm X's behavior after his visit to Mecca is the greatest example of this in the 20th century.

4) Stop grade inflation. Some of you readers are teachers, and you've got to stop this trend now. Don't give failing work passing grades. At present, legions of stupid people walk among us, invisible apart from the size of their cars. They think they're educated, and they sure do have diplomas...but they got that diploma without exercising their brains. It's worthless, and it makes yours more worthless too.

5)Think in tandem with your feelings...use the checks and balances in your own soul to make decisions. Don't just lash out because you're angry. Your feelings will never go away--you're a human being and thinking can't chase emotion away. Use your brain and your heart together.

Read Get Your War On This Morning...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Why do terrorists attack cities? I know the American way of life is absolutely repugnant to them and all, but the American way of life is repugnant to a lot of Americans as well.

Couldn't they just bomb an HumVee dealership? Or blow up the mall of America after closing time? I mean, I live in DC in a tiny apartment and I ride my bike everywhere. Why should I get anthrax when Osama Bin Laden and I both hate suburban mall culture?

At the moment, I think that if Al-Qaeda attacked rural Ohio, it'd be a win-win.

Forgive me. I'm just angry. I'm not actually advocating the actual killing of innocent people. I'm just upset. I'm gonna go and piss blood for the next day or two and it'll be back to bathroom behavior reports and the occasional travel story.

This Pretty Much Says It

Get Your War On
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.

The End And The Beginning

Jenny Holzer projected a piece on the walls of the library at GWU the other night. She projects truisms and found text on a massive scale on buildings, waves, and other public inanimate objects. She's one of my personal heroes and a tremedous inspiration to me to turn from visual art to writing. Most of my favorite artists are real assholes. You couldn't pay me to spend time in a car with Crumb or Joe Coleman, but Jenny Holzer was even more gracious and subdued than I hoped she would be.

Her piece the other night was comprised of found documents from the National Security Archive , internal communications amongst the CIA, Pentagon and other warmongers leading up to our involvement in Iraq. Interspersed amongst the document were poems by Wislawa Szymborska, beautiful, sad and brilliant poems that relate directly to the sad situation America has created for itself. These documents and poems were projected in letters about a story tall, crawling up the side of a library for six hours.

The following poems moved me deeply...

The End and the Beginning

After every war
someone has to tidy up.
Things won't pick
themselves up, after all.

Someone has to shove
the rubble to the roadsides
so the carts loaded with corpses
can get by.

Someone has to trudge
through sludge and ashes,
through the sofa springs,
the shards of glass,
the bloody rags.

Someone has to lug the post
to prop the wall,
someone has to glaze the window,
set the door in its frame.

No sound bites, no photo opportunities,
and it takes years.
All the cameras have gone
to other wars.

The bridges need to be rebuilt,
the railroad stations, too.
Shirtsleeves will be rolled
to shreds.

Someone, broom in hand,
still remembers how it was.
Someone else listens, nodding
his unshattered head.

But others are bound to be bustling nearby
who'll find all that
a little boring.

From time to time someone still must
dig up a rusted argument
from underneath a bush
and haul it off to the dump.

Those who knew
what this was all about
must make way for those
who know little.
And less than that.
And at last nothing less than nothing.

Someone has to lie there
in the grass that covers up
the causes and effects
with a cornstalk in his teeth,
gawking at clouds.

In Praise of Feeling Bad About Yourself

The buzzard never says it is to blame.
The panther wouldn't know what scruples mean.
When the piranha strikes, it feels no shame.
If snakes had hands, they'd claim their hands were clean.

A jackal doesn't understand remorse.
Lions and lice don't waver in their course.
Why should they, when they know they're right?

Though hearts of killer whales may weigh a ton,
in every other way they're light.

On this third planet of the sun
among the signs of bestiality
a clear conscience is Number One.

The End and the Beginning

I didn't drink a drop last night, but I feel hung over all the same. All the optimism I felt after work yesterday has given way to a gnawing sense of dread about the next four years. I'm ashamed and embarassed at America right now. I mean, Bush stealing the last election was bad enough, but the fact that America turned out in record number to fucking PICK him again is too much to bear.

Like I said before, there's gonna be more lies, more murder and more mayhem. There will definitely be more terrorist attacks on American soil, more allies lost and more blood spilled to prove a stupid point. Selfishly speaking, those terrorist attacks are definitely going to be aimed at the White House, 2 blocks from my new office. So I definitely expect to be greatly inconvenienced or killed in the coming months--thanks, Bush fans. Good lookin' out.

The next four years will be the greatest explosion of music, art, anger and expression since the sixties. Punk rock will be a footnote compared to what the next four years are going to bring. That's all very exciting but it's a thin silver lining around a black cloud of misdirected lies and the decline of the American experiment.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

It's Official: Nobody In DC Can Get A Damn Thing Done At Work

Voting day is finally upon us, and it's official: nobody in DC can do a damn thing at work except talk about the election. We had a team meeting this afternoon, but it was like having a free election in Iraq...

People are huddled around each others' computers offering armchair analysis of the exit polls. I checked with the magic 8-ball on my coworkers' cube and it says "Be cool. Bush is outta here."

Here's a roundup:

Michael Moore's letter is awesome.

Fox News can't say shit for itself. An arch-conservative bastion reporting on heavy voter turnout this late in the day is like General Custer saying "Can you believe that cloud formation up thereeeaaaghhhhh..."

Are undecided voters dipshits or what? These two girls were openly debating the election right next to my cube today. One of them is vehemently pro-life, and based on that issue, can't decide who to vote for. This was at like, ten o'clock this morning. I asked them to please hold it down so I could focus on my work. WhatI meant was "please don't stand right next to me and say you're still undecided. I might have to suffocate you with a Safeway bag and I need something to hold my lunch in until noon at least."

The Situation Update From Oz, as posted on McSweeney's, cracked me up.

Jenny Miller runs a mean blog, and she's got a tight roundup of the day's events.

The zeitgeist is running hot and thick here in D.C. Republican are uncharacteristically quiet, and the air is electric. I can't wait to get on my bike tonight and just roll around Northwest and feel the vibes, brother. People are excited but too restrained to admit it. It feels like finally for once in the past four years the American people are going to get to take a deep breath and say "Oh, thank GOD."

What It Was Like To VOTE FOR JOHN KERRY This Morning In Washington, DC

If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you have already or are going to perform your duty as an American and VOTE FOR JOHN KERRYsometime today.

I just got done VOTING FOR JOHN KERRY, and I feel great. Not like, Christmas as a kid great, but sort like a new kind of adult great, like I just finished working out, taking a shower, doing laundry and buying groceries all at once. Maybe balancing my checkbook as well. I hear that can be very gratifying.

I was a little scared this morning because the line at my polling place was out the door, around the corner and halfway down the street. Whenever Americans see lines that long and cannot hear a roller coaster, we get worried. I was terrified that I'd wait in line for like two hours and then find out that everyone was lined up for Springsteen tickets.

Seriously, I got to the line at 7:15 and actually dropped off a VOTE FOR JOHN KERRY in the ballot box at 8:45. I asked some guy who was rolling out of the polls at 7:30 what time he got there, and he said nonchalantly, "Oh, I got here at 5," all like it was normal. I didn't notice any last-minute dirty tricks being played on voters--if you want to read about the heavy-handed fuckery that's going on across America to trick people into voting for the wrong person or not voting at all, click here.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Can I Ask A Favor From Non-American Readers?

I got a comment from the ever-mysterious "Nics," a London reader, and it made me think--

If you are outside the United States and reading this blog, would you mind sending the post below (titled I Wanna Be Sedated) to a few friends? It's fashionable to trash Americans now, and I'm not saying I don't see your point. But I had a real gutful of it when I lived in Australia, and jeans-wearing Coca-Cola drinkers busted on America while extolling the virtues of Michael Moore (an American) in the same conversation.

Maybe this is a ploy to drive up traffic, but I just want people to know how tense everything is here right now. This week is going to be an absolute bitch for the whole country, and the next four years is gonna have half of us pissed off no matter how you look at it.

So please, if you don't mind, send your friends this snapshot just so you know what we're feeling like right now.

Thanks so much.

I Wanna Be Sedated

For Real
Originally uploaded by chinese_fashion.
It's 24 hours till time to vote, and frankly I'm a little nervous. I can't shake the feeling that we're due for another terrorist attack, either in the next 24 hours to try and tip the election or later this week just to shake us up some more. I work four blocks from the White House. I'm hoping this is close enough so that I get vaporized immediately in the event of a nuclear attack. A suitcase bomb carrying some sort of bioweapon could really cripple us--I can't stop imagining a team of suicide anthrax bombers walking through DC's daily traffic snarl and just hosing down people trapped in their cars with megadoses of white powdery death.

If America does the only right, sensible thing and reelects John Kerry, I feel like America has a fighting chance to restore its dignity in the eyes of the world. Maybe it'll buy us a breather from more domestic terrorism while the new guy reassesses foreign policy. Chances are good that if you're reading this you feel me here.

Unless you're like certain friends of mine who plan to indirectly vote for Bush by pissing their chance away on the Libertarians. You know who you are, and I love you, man. But get in the game. Nader voters, eyes are on you too. Ralph Nader has proven himself to be totally insane. If Kerry loses by Nader's votes I am personally going to rent an SUV to round up Nader and his supporters cowboy-style from a gas-guzzling behemoth iron steed, strangling them and their chosen leader to death with a lasso made from seatbelts.

This is where we stand right now, according to recent polls. If you need to know where to vote, go here.

During Kerry's presidency, we can expect a pop-cultural explosion roughly on par with the eruption that brought Nirvana, Sonic Youth and Jane's Addiction into the mass consciousness. Digital music distribution has been growing and growing, and people are mad enough at the current presidency, joblessness and generally disaffected that there's going to be another boom.

The silver lining to four more years of Bush is that we can expect another freaking 60's. I always felt a bit jealous of Boomers that were there at Woodstock, mad that I didn't get a chance to be a part of the real mother of all counterculture movements. It's gonna happen if Bush gets the White House again. We'll be in another stupid war with no point, the nation will be more sharply divided than ever before and people are going to go nuts. Real nuts.

We can expect riots, protests, major mutations in fashion, art and music-total creative anarchy. I just hope I'm not too old or bound to my desk to blow the country apart and help make something beautiful from the debris.

On all other fronts, we're so screwed if Bush comes back. We can expect more terrorism , more lies, more fear. The American era is on its way out, and this will be the least dignified death we can die. We'll lose allies, lose more credibility, dying a lonely the lonely death in a forgotten nursing home usually reserved for miserly, abusive relatives.

The second-greatest embarrassment to the American way will be if this election ends up in the courts. No matter who you vote for, you've got to agree that if we can't decisively pick a leader our system is failing.

If Kerry wins, my half of the country will be stoked, but the Bush half will spend the next four years angry and alienated. No matter what, we're looking down the barrel of four more years of angry, divisive politics, of two Americas squabbling over every decision. We're losing our empire, and maybe it's time. I just want to be apart of a dignified decline, a gentle settling into a lower (and more realistic) standard of living rather than watch our leader gnaw us off at the knees.

No matter which side you're voting for, you've got to agree to this: in the first half of the first week of November, 2004, 100 percent of America is terrified that the wrong guy is going to make it into office and help the terrorists destroy us some more. America is tense and jittery--friends and family are telling each other that "if you're not with us, you're against us," and that's no way to live.