Archive for ‘absurdity’

May 4th, 2015

Your Own, Personal, Failure

Me: You think Daily Dot’ll write back1?
MP: Probably not. And I’ll count it against them. It’s social ineptitude. What are they, twelve?

Me: Yes. Not only are they butthurt and without a clue of what to say, but it’d take too much time and effort to try.
MP: They don’t know what to say? This is why they’re children, adults are those who know what to say. And what is it they don’t know what to say about? That they fucked up. This is the most banal thing there is, it’s the bread and butter of life, you fucked something up!

Me: No. To them it’s the most horrible thing there is, which they thankfully never have to face.
MP: But they do. They fuck up.

Me: Nope.
MP: Why not?

Me: Because their mother loves them.
MP: Well then the mother obviously fucked something up. What is she, Jesus?

Me: Yeah. She died on the cross-stitch.

Fail fast. Fail hard. Call it, examine it, make it as plain as possible. Not only to yourself, but to everyone that failure touched, and to any of your betters who will listen. Get it out of your system and clean yourself up. You are potty-trained, aren’t you?

***

  1. An email MP sent to the “editors” of some “online news” crapsalad, after a woman that wishes to be a writer begrudingly ventured into “journalism” ostensibly to pay for that day’s soymilk. Journalism being an actual field, it’s plainly obvious when the unskilled halfassedly don its cap. Hint: you’ll have to actually talk to people; news isn’t the product of a sole observer’s digestive tract. []
January 13th, 2015

If you look closely, you’ll see the other players were all holograms.

Imagine there’s a prize awarded to one among thousands of participants in a thing each year. It’s merit-based, or at least it’s supposedly merit-based, and not on secondary or tertiary considerations such as how much public attention this participant ropes in for the thing itself. Merit as in how good they are at this thing. He who has excelled before his peers, he who has grown beyond, refined his skill, applied himself fully.

Now imagine that every year since you started awarding this prize, the winner is one of two goddamned people. Two. Out of thousands.

Like the winners, there seem to be two ways of looking at this:

1. These two people are really, really great;
2. The rest of the participants absolutely blow and aren’t getting any better.

Actually, I don’t even see why these’d be mutually exclusive perspectives.

All that being said, let’s drag in the actual subject of this charade: FIFA men’s soccer. Namely, this bet, which stipulated that anyone other than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Luis Suarez would win the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or. Bearing in mind that Suarez was pretty much out of the running when he decided to snack upon another player during a World Cup game last year and subsequently got fewer chances to prove his worthiness on the field, this was essentially a bet on whether Messi or Ronaldo would win.

Surely men’s soccer has other players than these two, thought I. Surely over the space of an entire year, and one showcasing talent on a World Cup stage, there must be someone other than the only two players who have ever won this award who can allow the judges to finally and at long last show that their organization and everyone-2 in it doesn’t suck, thought I. So I made an MPIF bet against the status quo. When neither Messi’s Argentina nor Ronaldo’s Portugal won the WC, this bet seemed all the sweeter.

And yet, earlier tonight the suits and kits dressed up in formalwear and sucked the status quo cock yet again. Ronaldo won, my bet lost about two thirds of a coin, and soccer continued to be boring as fuck.

Well done boys, you’ve got two players across six confederations and two hundred nine national associations. I could’ve sworn I’d seen other mugs on your fields, but I guess I stand corrected.

December 25th, 2014

How to Blame Others and Entertain People

Due to a horrible accident involving, perhaps, various radioactive equipment including a twinkie, I am not all that particularly amused by trolls. It’s shameful, but true. Wilful stupidity, however, and especially the sort that redoubles rather than retreats upon confronting its existence, is nearly always a hoot. Somehow, Bitcoin doesn’t seem to attract much in the way of middle ground here; its home office idiots are well hardened against sense, reason, language, basic powers of perception, and so on. Which yields gloriously awful crap as below1, cobbled together by ninjashogun or whatever personality of his tied the others up in a corner today:

Dear Mr Popescu

I’ve totally stopped offering you any services2 and am done with IRC, but there is one issue we need to clear up below3. Firstly my interaction not only resulted in wasting weeks of my time, including with the scammer Ryan Gentle but has led me to the conclusion that people’s mentality in the bitcoin world is a cult4 that is approximately the opposite of building products and shipping them, building businesses and growing them5. A deflationary currency with sovereignty from any investor protections has resulted in nothing but scams. We will leave any discussion of you out of this.6

I have no desire to be associated with it in any way. Unfortunately, there is a problem. You have indexed my communications with you, despite Freenode’s advice against this:

[You know the drill. A word of caution about how publishing logs may lead to idiots flipping their shit.]

Unfortunately, a search for my name now comes up with logs of these private conversations, in misleading contexts. I would like just my name redacted from these logs, which were never meant to be published by Google7. Here is a search of me:

[Yes, there was seriously a link to a Google search of the guy's name. 'Cause he's used to attempts to swindle mouthbreathers who wouldn't otherwise know what to do. Come to think of it I'm disappointed the subject line didn't describe how to "open" the email.]

Benkay, who trolls on IRC, has done the same8 of you (in private PM):

*<**benkay**> an mmorpg that isn’t*
*<**benkay**> a security device that doesn’t*
*<**benkay**> a betting site that defrauds its users*
I don’t know anything about the mmorpg.
Wait a minute, please, slow down.
*<**benkay**> and an exchange that only trades shares in itself once the options scam blew over*9

It would be similar if I were to take this information and publish it against your name (and mine). Fortunately this is unpublished10. I have no intention to publish it, please don’t misunderstand me, I would just like you to know how it feels to have benkay troll you and to have this indexed11.

Kindly advise me whether you could have just my name redacted from apprxoimately 3 places in the public logs, so that this trolling does not come up first and damage my reputation. The claims that come up are simply not true and slanderous. I realize it’s not something benkay cares about, since he is not actually trying to build anything. He’s not raising investment for anything12.

Mr Popescu kindly advise me on how we can resolve this small issue. if in the future I do have something that is of use to you I will be happy to forward it on for your information.13

I am sorry that I had such a bad experience with your community but I am being extremely negatively affected as a result.

Merry Derpmas.
***

  1. Call it an Xmas forward-present from the boss. []
  2. Services, you hear? Which are totally different from the “services” of incontinent emails that seek to impose duty to appease idiocy, because wrapping paper. []
  3. Because when you’re in a situation that calls for abject begging, it’s a good idea to tell someone else what they “need” to do. As a bonus, if you further posturize to include yourself in the need, it’ll be easier for the person you should’ve been begging to come to terms with how they’re actually obligated to help you. Totally. []
  4. “I’m fine, it’s everyone else that’s stupid,” an old and apparently not nearly exhausted delusion. Also, if you invoke the magic word “cult,” people will come to terms with how reason’s course towards conclusions shared amongst the reasonable is actually evil, and makes people wear funny shoes and say things they don’t mean (cause that stuff they said about how you’re stupid, they didn’t really mean that, obviously. It was the cult!). []
  5. The Warrior Forum model of “businessmanning” being in fact a fairly good opposite for Bitcoin, certainly in spirit. []
  6. Keep in mind that the cult of reason is evil, but magic is still okay. Thus declaring things makes them true, irrelevant nonsense is the stuff of life, and anything good is to be swept under the rug with our magical broom. []
  7. Oh sweet, sweet baklava of misunderstanding, I’ve not the tongue to taste your millefeuille. []
  8. The same, mind you, ’cause making an ass out of yourself and someone else yappin’ about you are THE SAME THINGS. He’s epoxied them together and everything, there’s nothing you can do. []
  9. Private PM? Private private message? Which isn’t actually private, of course. The unprivate private private message. And spam. But seriously now, benkay, you been fraternizing with other cults?! The indigginancy! []
  10. Oops. []
  11. To recap, if you desperately want someone to do something for you, the steps are 1. Tell them they need to do it, 2. Emit them from a summary of their field and thereby condemn the field, 3. Attempt to threaten them, but 4. With things that’d bother YOU, not things that’d bother them. []
  12. “Raising investment,” ie trying to look good for noobs, which is more important than having something to offer. []
  13. ‘Cause this is totally possible. []
November 11th, 2014

Thinking you can infer the meaning of new words: still eviling strong

There’s a certain amount of danger involved in living in a place while you’re a little short on the language’s vocabulary. And by danger, I mean hilarity, and an occasional healthy dose of humiliation. In my early days in Romania, this most famously manifested in my asking a fish vendor if he had any sidewalk for sale, as I wanted trout and figured that “trotuar” word I’d heard a couple of times and not picked up might’ve well been a cognate. I thought his dumbfounded look might’ve gone away if I pantomimed troutness and repeated the word emphatically, but alas, the eyebrows only inched higher.

Last week, and now en espaƱol, the dangerous word was “ciego,” which I hadn’t seen nor heard before reading it in the title of a local theatre. Some guy’s name, the unexamined idea went in my head. The description promised mystery theatre at midnight, with some sort of special effects. What could go wrong?

Finery was donned, tickets were bought, and it wasn’t until my companion and I were sitting in the theatre lobby waiting for the thing to get started in that inexplicably inescapable Argentine limbo of a quarter hour stuffed between the stated start and the actual start (I suspect it has something to do with consumption or manufacture of dulce de leche though, like everything else here) that the question was raised: did I know what “ciego” means?

Because it means blind. Blind theatre. I’d never heard of such a thing. “Who figures a theatre show’s going to be for blind people?! Do you know what the odds are on that?!,” I offered jokingly under the deadpan glare of companion, who had just translated a billplay schpiel about how the whole thing would be dark, with no visual component, and we would instead “smell” and “feel” the show. We would experience things long forgotten, it boasted warned.

I love theatre, but like loving anything, this doesn’t include necessarily enjoying every potential offering in the vein. Walking out is the proper response to a performance that isn’t up to scratch1. But what if you can’t walk out without actually stopping the show? That, much moreso than the thing dubbed “entertainment,” was the real experience on offer.

Entry to the theatre involved being lined up in brief, queued conga-lines that were led past heavy drapes into a pitch black room. Cannot-see-your-hand-an-inch-in-front-of-your-face, honest pitch black. My line progressed through the darkness what felt like fifty meters or so, stopped, and someone’s hands grasped my shoulders and pushed me down onto a chair. I heard a few other lines being brought to sit in a similar fashion while I screwed my head around in search of some sort of bearings (out of which I got nothing other than a sense that the ceiling was high), and then the show which did not show anything started.

The notion goes that they who lack a given sense are more perceptive with the faculties they do possess. This notion has not reached the Buenos Aires Theatre for the Blind. The first span (there were a total of five of these; I didn’t have much of a sense of time other than the whole thing seeming to take more than the half hour anticipated when going in –it turned out to be an hour and a half long) was composed principally of cacophany, brutal and jarring as fuck. Cessna engines grazed overhead with what sounded like a foot or so’s clearance. Marching bands entered from the right, proceeded in front of me, exeunt left.

Spans two through five included being surrounded by coffeehouse patrons excitedly spanking teacups with spoons while jets of steam tortured milk into foam and the room was painted with oil of cinnamon. Thrown in here and there: police sirens and someone by the sound of it recently impaled ass through mouth with a stake being dragged by my feet (grasping my shins desperately), a chinatown parade consisting of symbols and badly-cooked eggrolls, “rain” falling from plant misters to the face in a tumultuous storm of spray me with that shit again and I’ma show your crotch my six inch stilettos you motherfucker, and a stunted copulation between a woman who hadn’t been laid in decades and a man who interrogated mattress springs for a living, all punctuated with visits from the scalper-cessnas. There was a dialogue apparently fumbling at tying these together but the gulf between my Spanish and these folks’ sanity ne’er was cross’t.

A door was opened, light was thrown onto our unhappy little galley, the five-foot hole in the audience that’d served as a stage revealed. It was a blissful relief to see again, and to walk out of there, the warm conviction of needing to do better research washing over me. I’m fairly certain these people imagine what they offered was a night of entertainment2, but the real thing paid for here is persuasion: 1. it must suck being blind; 2. seriously, no really, look up those words you don’t know, smartass. Nature will find a way to piss on your face.
***

  1. Regardless of it supposedly being “impolite.” On the contrary, it’s beyond rude to suggest to the company that a stinkorama smells of roses by sitting through the whole thing and clapping on cue. You wanna perform? Get on stage. The audience ain’t the place. []
  2. Sure, some semblance of art could be pulled out of all this, the struggle to follow a story through unpolished means creating a change in the beholder etcetera, but I’d just as well argue the artistic merit of being hit with a bag of oranges. It could be done. This wasn’t it. []
October 28th, 2014

?, Illustrated

A long, long time ago, but not so very long as that, a favorite author wrote a favorite story. Today it’s illustrated. What story might it be?

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

~*~

May 17th, 2013

In Amsterdam there were Reports that Heretical.com was a Heinous PoS

This, like so many good things in life, begins with a snippet:

(me): so you ever read this bit on a random internet spot and think hey, that’s kinda interesting, i’ll go up one dir and see what this is
(me): and be blown away by how utterly antithetical, retarded, and unexpected it is?
(MP): nope

It isn’t every day that you ask MP if he’s experienced something and he says no. Actually, it isn’t any day. Something’s in order, and since I live gloriously free from the fetters of response determined by social consensus and public feeling, I’ve decided what’s in order are oatmeal cookies and a closer look at said utterly antithetical, retarded, and unexpected happenstance. Instead of whatever it is the masses do, which is, I guess, nothing.

So in the beginning, there was a random bit. It went like this:

“To say that a young woman has a vagina or that she has sexual intercourse is an affront to her modesty that is not tolerated. The correct and expected reference is to her cunt and to fucking.”

I could see this guy running sex ed courses. In the US I guess he’d have to duct tape the “adults” down first, but whatever.

Now this bit belongs to a slightly longer, still interesting, anecdote apparently domiciled on the server of heretical.com, which before this afternoon I’d never heard of, observing only that it housed said anecdote with a picture of a perfectly respectable pair of bazoongas:

“SEX AND DIRT. In the terminology of sex, there are clean words as well as dirty words. The clean ones are chiefly of Latin or Greek derivation and were originally of aristocratic usage, a heritage of the Norman Conquest. The dirty ones, many of them playful euphemisms, are chiefly of Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse derivation and were originally plebian in origin.

The cultural relativism of dirty versus clean sexual terminology is well illustrated by the complete reversal of the categories in English usage in Nigeria. In the history of acculturation, the moral taboos of sex were taught by missionaries and administrators who used only clean words. These were the words that became taboo. The dirty words used as part of the vernacular of sailors, traders, and the like, became part of Nigerian vernacular English, with no taboo attached. In consequence, today it is as forbidden to say sexual intercourse, penis, and vagina on Nigerian television as it is to say fuck, cock, and cunt on the national networks in the United States. In Nigeria. the latter terms are considered normal and respectable. In individual conversation, the same holds true. To say that a young woman has a vagina or that she has sexual intercourse is an affront to her modesty that is not tolerated. The correct and expected reference is to her cunt and to fucking.

The taboo on the word, fuck, has left generations of people whose native language is English without a publicly usable verb or noun that fits in everyday usage as colloquially as does eat, sleep, think, talk, and dream. That is not fortuitous, for it is in the very nature of a taboo to proscribe an activity in which human beings otherwise might ordinarily engage.”

Reminded somewhat of rotten.com’s collection of entertaining and occasionally informative articles (there, not at Playboy, is where I can believe people actually check stuff out for the text and not the pictures), I went to the main index to see what I could see.

I actually didn’t notice the swastika favicon for a few minutes. The unexplained peppering of the text with “jew” and creativisms therein didn’t bode well. But then, they’re just words and scribbles after all, and one can’t reasonably go through life ignoring things that might be interesting or informative based on knee-jerk reactions. Unless one is cultivating that ever-popular and particular breed of wilfull stupidity rampant in just about every corner of the world where people have given up on thinking for themselves because they have too much environment to “save” and even more television to watch.

So I picked a link. The Tyranny of Ambiguity, it read.

“SEXUAL DEFINITION CYCLE. Sexual conditioning takes two forms, inherent and adaptive. Inherent male sexuality is fixed by a sequence of hormonal changes which are thought to take place in the foetal male brain around six weeks after conception. In mammals the default state is to be female. (In birds it is the other way round, that is, the default state is to be male and if a modification process takes place then a female ensues.) The Y chromosome generates a pair of testes, which then produce testosterone to masculinize the brain.”

Alright, not the worst premise to begin a thing [though I'm not sure what that parenthetical assertion is on about; apparently it's not at all clear how avian sexual differentiation functions, nor whether it actually works the same way in all species. That the author didn't cite anything here (which I suppose would have either been some wikipedia argument or else Gramma Mimaw, whereas the uncertainty is well-documented by people actually performing research) is strike one I guess].

A few similarly innocuous but ill-supported assertions follow. And then we’re brought to what The Ambiguity of Tyranny seems to actually be focused upon, which is, of course (?!), gay people.

“HOMOSEXUALITY. According to evolution theory, homosexuality is not a stable strategy and is therefore highly unlikely to have a genetic origin. A homosexual individual is less likely to produce children and this, reinforced over thousands or millions of generations, clearly implies that conditioning for homosexuality must be something which takes place during the lifetime of the individual (including gestation). This is as certain as there is no such thing as hereditary infertility; one cannot have a eunuch for a father. In Amsterdam there were reports of high levels of promiscuity in both male and female homosexual circles.”

Seriously, a gay person is less likely to produce children? You read it here first. Or wait, I guess you could’ve read it at heretical.com first. Seeing as it’s the foremost bastion of what, going back to that peppery index, is evidently piles enough of assbrained attempts to sound scientific about both the incredibly banal and the weirdly homophobic to keep those without a paddle gurgling in muck for life.

I stopped at the Amsterdam Proof, lovingly named for its excellent illustration of how to stick a baseless accusation into an otherwise rational argument. And by rational I mean bizarrely emphasized and occasionally flat-out wrong, but hey.

Heretical.com, the word “truth” belongs nowhere on your site, and your irretrievably broken definition of the same belongs, with the rest of you, in a ditch somewhere. And no, the dandelions won’t be buying your mod-podged fallacy crafts, either.

So how did it happen that an interesting, seemingly researched bit such as the account of flipped slang taboo above was nestled among such exemplary failure? I have no idea, but if we trust in higher powers, as the site instructs us to in its compendium of footnoted religious creepisms, perhaps it was all a divine plot to give me cookies. They’re pretty good.

October 11th, 2012

I’m Sorry, America

I recently got into an argument with a friend who declared that he wouldn’t visit the United States under any circumstances so long as the TSA existed. How preposterous, I thought, in part because he’d visited the US in the early naughts, and certainly the agency had existed then, and moreover, sure the whole pat down thing is stupid, but really it’s not so bad that it should prevent people from visiting an entire country, especially if they have otherwise compelling reasons to go. My friend and I went around in a few circles as I tried to pinpoint what I imagined was some other issue of anti-US sentiment or belief in exaggerated claims about the TSA’s operation. As happens often enough, though, what I ended up discovering was that it was I who didn’t quite have a reasonable argument, because I didn’t have a properly strong basis of fact to use. Sure, my convictions were strong enough, but it hardly makes sense to pitch one’s own convictions against someone with an argument built on data…unless you’re into religious fanaticism or whatever.

So I pledged that I’d inform myself. It sounded like something of a boring task, which I guess is why, in the six or so years I’ve been away from my home country, I haven’t really bothered to make any meaningful investigation of what the TSA and traveling in the US has become. Sure, I read the occasional news reports on the implementation of this or that, or the growing concerns over such and such “threat,” but I tucked them comfortably away in the “eh, no government agency is perfect” file, certain that while there’s plenty I don’t like about the US, it’s still the country I know, and still among the “good” ones.

After a mere hour of looking at the TSA’s history, its operation and plans, however, I’ve blown that file to pieces. It’s not any one thing in particular, though the things themselves, such as the implementation of giving airline passengers the “choice” of either being touched in the specific areas our indoctrination as children has taught us shouldn’t ever be touched by strangers or else viewed through a scanner that shows (and perhaps records) every bit of our naked bodies, and a Homeland Security official’s interest in tazer-bracelets capable of painfully immobilizing the wearer at the will of whoever has the right title, to be worn by all passengers, certainly have their own disgusting shock value. What really concerns me is the apparently deep-rooted belief that by handing over privacy, we’ll keep all the bad things away. The idea is of course prevalent in other areas, and has been around for a while, but I honestly didn’t realize it had become so strong.

A recent piece in the NY Times outlined an important point: to date, the policies of the TSA have basically been crafted in reactionary bids to prevent travel terrorism after the fact. Once someone tries to sneak explosives in their shoes, shoes must be removed by everyone. After some gasoline makes it through in soda cans, we’re unable to carry liquids of a certain size. Completely ignoring the fact that actual terrorist attacks can and are likely to evolve and diversify, by their own momentum and by the simple conclusion that perpetrators are privy to what we scan and will deliberately change tactics to avoid discovery, these policies are nothing better than palliatives. Not only are they ineffective in glaringly important ways, they’ve apparently successfully carried out the task of making the American people feel safe about flying. I suppose the reactionary operation of the TSA follows logically from the fact that the administration itself was created in response to the September 11th, 2001 attacks. But to imagine that this administration and its policies are actually carrying out the –duty– of “making sure nothing like that ever happens again” is beyond preposterous. Are we really that fucking stupid?

Unfortunately, it’d seem we are. Not because everybody blindly accepts what’s become of the TSA. Clearly, it’s an issue, and there are several people speaking out against the nightmare of personal invasion and incompetence the administration has become. But several really isn’t enough. I know that it cannot be expected that every American citizen will be particularly smart, or will particularly care about things that affect them, but the simple idea here is: if you are indeed concerned about what “bad things” other people can do to you, you should not be in any way supporting the TSA. You should be part of the effort to get this clearly abortive morass of insanity out of your country, out of your bra and underwear, out of your luggage, and out of positions of power. Did you know that the ~400 TSA workers actually caught and fired because of stealing passengers’ items have freely described a culture of “convenient” and “commonplace” theft at airports? That one such man alone was able to steal $800,000 worth of passengers’ goods before he was caught? Of course he was able, walking into the terminal of a US airport has essentially come down to handing over your possessions and access to any and all parts of your body by distant representatives of Uncle Sam. It’s reprehensible, but it’s still not quite as bad as a public that has allowed this sort of behavior from a government agency to continue for over a decade.

The current effort to change TSA policies isn’t fast enough, and isn’t strong enough. If the US is really a country able to boast of its strength and its defense of freedom, it has no business whatsoever putting its citizens –and any visiting travelers– through the prison-like motions of ensuring that nobody gets away with doing that small percentage of bad things we’ve all seen before. I don’t care if there isn’t anything better to put in its place right now. I don’t care if it’s impractical to rally against the TSA or to stop flying within the country while it continues to operate. This kind of dominion of the government over the people will rot the country as a whole a hell of a lot faster than anything anyone from any other place could possibly bring from outside.

So, there you have it: I was wrong. And I’m sorry. I had no idea how bad this had become. It’s no longer just about the annoyance of putting your bags on a conveyor belt, or slipping off your shoes. It’s about what kind of people we are.

January 31st, 2012

Batoane de Carne

Jurnal Capitanului, 30 Aprilie 2020, 6 zile in afara de Planet #$*!

Toata echipa doarme. In 6 zile, vor ajunge la #$*! cu incarcatura, care este cel mai mare sarcina trimit pana acum. Am in 5,000 barili aproximativ 750,000 litri de petrol. Nu-mi place sa zbor cu acest mult de greutate, dar extraterestrile au zis ca revendicarea a crescut nebuna in ultimul an. Amintesc cum, cand contact a fost facut cu ei, nimeni pot credeau ca primul lucru ei vreau era petrol. “Orice lucru vrei, poti ai,” ziceau lideri noi, “dar petrolul –am o nevoie prea mare, si este foarte, dar foarte limitat ca o resursa.”

“Faci lucruri prosti cu acest substanta.” Spuneau extraterestrile. “Materiale plastice sunt urate, si au un gust rau. Si pentru combustibile, n-ai nevoie de petrol. Poti faci fapturi noi mici.”

Fapturi erau…ciudati la inceput, a spune cel mai putin. Ca niste cincile, moi si cu ochi mari. Acum ei fac toti masini sa muncesc, si am primit douasprezece perechi de reproducere pe an, care-i mai mult decat suficient pentru toata lumea. Nava cosmica a mea zboara prin cerii din cauza o echipa de sase fapturi puternice. Din cand in cand, fac griji despre intrebari de durere. Ma intreb daca fapturi simt durere, in timp energiei ei este sugit pentru comoditate al oameni. Posibil e mai bine sa nu baga in seama….

Batoane de carne, suntem chemat. Extrateristrile au in loc de piele ceva metal de nu stiu ce compositie, in loc de sange, un fel de noroi negru, care curge ca melasa. Ei radeau cu bucuriei a unor bebelusi cand descopereau muschii si maruntaie nostri. Dar nimic e haios in ochi ei in comparatie cu politicieni. Nu conteaza care partid sau filozofie au oameni noi de stat. Daca politicieni se imbraca-n costumuri si fac argumente, tot e bine cu ei.

De fapt, in afara de petrolul, chestia de cea mai mult branza la Planet #$*! e politicieni la kilogram. In acest moment, cinci persoane –din Japonia, Franta, Guatemala, si doua din Sudan– sunt in nava impreuna cu barili. Probabil, vor aparea pe programe de comedie la video dupa debarcam. Am auzit ca-i o viata usoara pentru ei, chiar daca este un pic umilitoara.

Deci, noi primim o solutie din blana pentru energie, si fiinte din #$*! primesc tirani, mincinosi, si manuitori nostri pentru divertisment. Bineinteles, votam pentru cine vor fi primit la lumea noua-n cosmosul. In general primim cel mai rau indivizi putem, si ei sunt mai mult productivi ca asa, ca obiecte de umor. Gaseam cateva ani in urma ca petrolul e folosit si intr-un mod subit: este o baza pentru parfum. Inca nu stiu cum merge sex intre fiintele, dar aparent mirosul de petrol ajuta. Aici am aproape un milion de litri de afrodisiac.

Cred ca-i o relatie buna in sfirsitul, adica-i eficient pentru toti. Vai, dar drumul la #$*! este lung si obositor, fara multe obiective turistice, si nu pot dorm in nava. Doar sase zile….

***
Pentr-un concurs de fictiune.

July 29th, 2011

Life in Capslock

When I was a little girl, I’d sometimes come across a title or a proclamation in all caps, usually in the books of male relatives who had libraries and oversized chairs in which to nap and finger the fabric and leather binding of volumes that smelled like the men themselves. Such streams of important words, I thought, were likely to be read aloud by a page with trumpet and deliciously pointed shoes, should the book be read aloud at all.

Imagine my horror, then, when the capslock began to transcend the realm of secret reading scenes and enter into my everyday consciousness. You can, of course, because at some point it likely made a rude invasion into yours, as well; parading on the back of a breakfast cereal box or splattered across a contest entry form, marching onto your computer screen from the likes of unknown salesmen or following you around like a caffeinated chihuahua while you were smiting digital foes and fumbling over complicated in-game squelch commands.

Some forms of capslock seem to be more acceptable than others. While it’s easy to dismiss a not-so-casual chatterbox who types as though he were trying to look as big as possible in the presence of a grizzly bear, the ubiquitous over-sizing of the word “free” somehow fails to inspire as much ire. But the prospect of something being given freely should be enough to attract and excite on its own; decorating the word until it looks like something spelled out in the Cheshire Cat’s teeth is enough to make me suspect it’s entrapment, not altruism, the word wishes to convey.

What truly interests me about capslock, though, is whether it’s able to move past the written word. It’s been with us well before the world at large began to piddle its opinions onto keyboards, though it may not always be as easy to recognize. Certainly we’ve all seen, or worn, or both, a pair of BREASTS CAVORTING FORTH FROM BONDS OF SPANDEX, and many a capslocked utterance has escaped the lips of a righteous man and his FAITH AND GLORY IN THE LORD. But are there more subtle instances –perhaps even positive ones– possible? A drowsy morning suddenly made bright and crystalline with COFFEE or a SUNRISE, or the SMILE of a kid completely given over to some joyful initiation with the world. Is an orgasm experienced in capslock? If I could spell one out I’m sure not all the letters would be politely undercase.

Do you ever feel as though you’re living in capslock, or know someone who does? And is it just as annoying or comic as it is when written down, or can life in capslock be enjoyable?

April 17th, 2011

It’s Just What’s Done

Outside of most apartment buildings in Romania, somewhere by a little garden fenced in by bits of scrap metal and sticks that might one day know the glory of being bushes if only the tenders would stop paring them down to the last branch, exists a metal frame. Three lines, like a giant staple coming out of the ground, crude and unadorned save for the occasional peeling strips of paint. For a while, I wasn’t sure what these frames were for; maybe it was a bring-your-own-swing facility or a slightly confused reincarnation of monkey bars. I eventually saw one of these objects in use as a woman beat a rhythmic din into a rug thrown over the top.

An odd amenity, but an understandable one for a country so obsessed with the spirit of household chores it advertises pastel-colored irons for Easter in its newspapers. Aside from feeling somehow transported to a 1950′s style domestic wholesomeness, I’ve come to recognize that like the proper level of over-zealous cleaning, there are many local practices that seem to be carried out not because anybody particularly enjoys it, or because there’s some rational argument to be had, but because that’s just what’s done.

Being barefoot, to be sure, is not what’s done in Romania. I’ve seen multiple charity sites and philanthropic calls to action insisting that the people of Romania need shoes, but I haven’t yet seen a barefoot person, nor any city street that isn’t littered with shoe stores. Being barefoot inside, no matter the environs, is also not what’s done. People have slippers set aside in their houses for visitors. Doctors direct you to a shoe selection should you need to undress. A visitor to my own home, horrified upon seeing me barefoot, inquired as to whether the floor was heated. It doesn’t matter if you’re taking a stroll around the living room or moving five feet from the bath to the towel rack. I’ve heard the general idea is that if you expose your precious footsies to the ground, the ability to bear children is somehow snatched away, but seeing as this same rule is apparently applied to sitting on the floor or exposing one’s back to the air, I’m satisfied that it’s more of a superstition than a genuine belief.

I recently had a one inch nickel pipe clamp installed around my neck as a collar. Heading out to shop one spring afternoon, I wore a tank top and knee-length skirt and made my first stop at a pharmacy. The clerk looked at me in shock, but not because of the clamp. “Is it really,” she wanted to know, “so warm outside you can wear that?!” Thankfully I’d had the heart to blow-dry my hair that morning, otherwise I suspect the woman would have fainted over her concern for my lack of concern about the Romanian concern over allowing one’s body temperature to fall below a moderate fever. Wandering around the town, I’ve been asked on a few occasions by perfect strangers, mid-step, whether I’m not too cold.

Granted, some Romanian habits are rather nice and actually sensible, such as the inclination to begin meals with soup. Granted also that in the US, habits performed simply because they’re what’s done are by now less easily generalized and largely confined to the more abstract worlds of thought and language. Still, when I see the metal staple-frames standing proudly by their buildings as if to proclaim the decency and correctness of the dwellings they so inadequately decorate, I frown a little at the power that “it’s just what’s done” can exert on a landscape, beating it rhythmically into a familiar, but not especially functional, shape.