March 28, 2011


The professor stood before the class in the lecture hall and put forth an important question about the symbols and metaphors used by Kafka in "The Metamorphosis." What was the significance of blurb and what was the importance of whack and how do these blurbs and whacks relate to the hurr durr urp etc. etc. And one of the more insignificant students who will never amount to much, sitting in the back by the window through which the dirty city was visible over his shoulder raised his hand and was called on. "I don't think there were any symbols used in that story. I think it's a story about a guy who turns into a bug. And it doesn't mean he works too hard and it doesn't mean his Dad is a meanie. He just wakes up and he's a bug and that's it."

"Well if you say that you take out all the magic involved in the writer's craft," the stodgy professor with the broomstick up his ass said. "We may as well say nothing means anything beyond what you see and the deeper meaning that teaches us things has lost all relevance."

But not so. Actually we have no way of knowing what Kafka was symbolizing. He was just writing and the writer decides on what means what in the context of his own viewpoint and personal universe and until we were to get a clearer understanding of his own personal frame of mind it's impossible to say what meant what. Father's slapping you as a bug equating to the Godhead slapping Adam upside the head for the infidelity of the apple and blah blah blah.

The point is that since we've been able to more or less define up to as many as eleven dimensions I'd put all philosophy on hold. Kierkegaard has to have a sock in it for a while and Kant's cant can take a hike for a bit. We've got to see that there's a difference between the claim that "I think, therefore I am" which is the old world and the new claim that "I am, therefore I think," which if you ponder it has other ramifications.

When I was a little boy they told me the universe had no start and will have no end. It just always was and always will be and that's it. Along with this "God" was an old man in the clouds with a white beard who tossed thunderbolts at people who pissed him off and thought nothing of wiping out half his creation or more in one angry fit of artistic temper gone mad.

As I grew up I learned that the universe started from one singularity and from this point there was a huge explosion and everything happened after that. Coincidentally "God" became a thing in need of no gender (what use WOULD a God have for a... gender... cough cough) who was a lot more magnanimous to some people but still an unstable painter more inclined to cut off your ear than his own. But there was change. Now heaven was open to everybody and God damns nothing anymore. He/She/It can be talked to. Like a peer. Like an old buddy who can give you a break. And yet there's this idea that somehow by praying you can change God's mind. Yeah I'd say that's not bloody likely. But anyway. It was a nicer God up there. Or down there. Or around the corner.

But ever since somebody noticed that the universe's expansion is speeding up instead of doing the slowing down that all the models in physics would have always predicted it should do, people are scratching their heads. There's no real reason why contradictory principles now bouncing off each other in the realm of physics should be able to both be true, and yet the postulates explained by relativity seem to exist over in this section while the postulates explained in the quantum view are true over here. And yet they both can't be true because of their contradictions unless there is another explanation about the universe. And so the Big Bang has been losing ground to the concept of that event not being a singular explosion, but instead a collision of two separate universes, or membranes, that created a third space (where we are now) into which truths from the two sponsoring universes deposited their shit. And I'll get back to you about the "God" part.

Somebody said reality is merely what's been agreed upon by the observers. But that can't be right because the next thing that guy did was create Scientology and he was an idiot. So we can do away with that. he also said we got here from another planet in DC-10s and were dumped down volcanoes that geologists will tell you didn't exist at the time he said all that happened. So screw that noise.

No I think probably this colliding membrane scenario will simply be the next step to whatever the big minds work on after that, hopefully while I'm still alive. Because if we have at some point someone saying "this membrane concept leads me to believe that the universe always was and always will be and God is an old man in the clouds and here are my calculations to prove it" I will be right back where i started and so will everybody else.

And then there's Milnor, the guy whose work proved the existence of at least 7 dimensions (not including their differential structures) and has since been working on hyperspheres. So he's probably the guy to blame for all this.

Then Dave gave me this video past summer, after which I found this one...

In short, to make it a bit simpler, I have WAY too much time on my hands...

March 18, 2011

I Live In Too Many Worlds

Too many worlds, too far apart, and end up being no where at all.

This is a lament I have. I do too many things that have nothing to do with one another. See if you can reconcile this...

1. I'm editing a fiction magazine and bringing all my old troops from the alternative zine days to flesh out the ranks. I'm happy to see they are wielding their usual magic, and wait until you see who we've got coming. But I mentioned to Dave that what's funny is that my blog friends have no idea I have all this stuff going on with all these writers and all these writers have no idea I do all this blog stuff. So not only is the magazine one of my worlds, it crosses two other worlds of mine.
2. I'm doing novels and have nothing to give the magazine and because I'm doing long prose and working on it religiously every week I've stepped away from blogging and the internet a lot, which also means commenting on my favorite blogs. So I'm not in any of those places because I'm in the other one.
3. I have a new job where I punch a clock and work on equipment folding and stitching and trimming booklets that Catholic churches use. Do you go to Catholic church? I'll bet you we did your bulletin. Maybe even I did your bulletin. How weird would that be? The guys in the print shop don't know anything about my blog or the magazine or the non-blog writers I count as good friends and long time associates and colleagues, and they don't know I edit a magazine and they don't know I've written two novels and am working on a third. They see my old-school tattoo on my right forearm and how am i supposed to say "it's a lyric from Bob Dylan's first album. I got it in Corpus Christi Texas in 1973"? Most of these guys have death head ornate tats and weren't even alive in 1973. I have a wart older than some of these guys. So anyway I'm in the print shop world, which is connected to the Catholic church world and that life doesn't know anything about this other life.
4. I'm doing, by the way, the best fiction of my life and absolutely nobody knows that part.
5. But wait, it gets stranger.
6. I am the chairperson of the Nominating Committee at my Quaker Meeting. That's the committee that puts together all the rosters for all the other committees (Peace and Social Concerns, Outreach, New Meetinghouse, Worship and Ministry, Treasurer, etc. etc. etc.) and we can't find a Treasurer and people are making sounds like they want it to be me. And though these people know I have a new job and a vague idea that i write shit I've never sat down and versed them fully on it. And yet I go to Meeting for Worship at the Quaker Meetinghouse every Sunday and call committee sessions to decide who gets to do what. They would also be shocked to learn I was into punk rock before I was married.
7. Wait a minute... I think I forgot to mention the magazine to MrsRW. She has no interest in that but she'd probably like to know, ya think?? What a doofus I am...
8. The seeds for my red beets, golden beets and arugula arrived from Burpee and some weekend after the frosts are done I'm going to plant them so I can eventually make my beet-arugula-goat cheese salad because, you know, I'm still trying to cook. Though I only cook now when MrsRW is out of town because she'd rather do the old fashioned comfort food stuff.

So I'm in all these worlds but I'm really not in any world at all.

This is what happens when you live in your head. If any of you have kids ever, make sure they don't do that. Have them live in the world... so they can actually be someplace.

ON EDIT: Oh yeah I didn't even finish...

I'm still involved with Anonymous and in the past few months we've added helping the young reformers in the Arab world set up web sites and get around government internet stoppages in Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrein and you just wait for what pops next. We haven't stopped doing our best to expose the fraud and abuse of Scientology and some of us have set up all these mirror sites to get around the service denials the CIA set up to block Wikileaks and I sent money to Julian Assange and absolutely NOBODY in Anonymous knows who anybody else is so that's also part of the theme.

Also don't forget the White Sox are going to win the pennant this year and I already have tickets to a Monday night game between the Sox and the minor league team from the North Side called the Cubs or something. And the people I'm going with that night don't know anything about this other stuff except for the new job thing but that's all.

I'm sure there's more, but it's 7:38 Central, I just got home from work and my 4 day weekend starts right now. But I'm not here either so, well there you go...

March 12, 2011

The Personal Side Of Music

It's 4:30 AM Saturday morning. I'm on these hours because it's my new job. I think some people are trying to tell me I don't like this, but I'm up to over 8000 words on the piece "Edwin Musick Falls Apart" I showed everybody the other day and though I don't know where it's going (I never have an outline or a plan or something IMPORTANT to say) I like it a lot. I've already forgotten the two years work on "Think Fast" and can hardly recall what it's about even. So I think anybody who assumes I don't like this schedule, this magnificent isolation on the weekends, I think they don't know me very well.

I've been cruising around the net, going in and out of the writing, hooked up to my iPod all night, even had a couple glasses of absinthe. And I'm into music now.

I've told you regulars a million times that I saw Miles Davis' last performance in Chicago before he died but I simply can't shake it. Every time it comes up on my iPod I can see the whole thing all over again. So if you've heard this one before, sorry - move along.

Though he'd recorded this particular ditty and it was available all along, the way he started it - alone on stage right in a spotlight with all the other musicians silent / fiddling around in an intro that at first had nothing to do with the tune to follow - reaching, experimenting, free form, going after it from another place - I will still never forget the audible gasp that passed over the heads of the audience when we all recognized what he was playing.

I've heard live recordings of it from a couple different sources and none of them are worth spit. In fact most are perfectly awful. What Miles did that night in my Chicago, however, was not recorded and surpassed everything. We were all following whatever he was into, and the intro lasted possibly a whole minute and a half before he brought us in to what he was doing.

The best recording is the studio one. Imagine a long, virtuoso, meandering walk into it followed by what's recognizable to you. I tell you true - it was strangely awesome, if only because nobody in the audience saw it coming.

I know there's no way I can explain it, or get anybody to relive what happened that night. But I'm doing my best.

But you see how it is. You want to have everybody enjoy something that happened to you and there's just no way. And I know there's some kind of strange code or standard or whatevertheFarco about what constitutes fine music or not and some people are downright snob pigs about it if it isn't cool enough. But when I hummed a nursery rhyme tune to my grand daughter when she was just six months old and I took care of her for an evening like Mr Mom that was the best music there ever was. So screw that noise.

March 07, 2011

Around Town

Received the Spring 2011 issue of Fred Woodworth's The Match! today and, as usual, two hours later I've finally put it down. In this issue Fred discusses his protest of the BODIES EXHIBITION that lasted every day of 142 days through the searing Tucson heat. As usual Fred draws our attention to yet another item we simply choose to walk past without regard and focuses our attention to it in dramatic fashion. That these cadavers, skinned, posed and plasticized, are obtained by dubious means (some are Chinese police torture victims, some are homeless people, none ever gave permission for the use of their bodies) and translated as objects of "art" or "education" (a plasticized cadaver with a basketball in hand? Really?) for a gullible and desensitized American audience visiting the macabre displays by the hundreds of thousands. Until Fred brought to light the source of the bodies I myself thought nothing of it. But these are the victims of a police state. And his recording of justifications given by customers passing his protest (including "who cares, they aren't Christians.") are enlightening. This along with Fred and cohort's usual articles - including in the regular feature "Crap-Detection Department" which excoriates the hilariously hypocritical reactions of this country to the shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in his own town and the mind-numbing "words of wisdom" from President Obama and the chief of Homeland Security that followed; Fred once again demonstrates that there is a legitimate third and sometimes fourth way of looking at things. Whether you go along with his "Journal of Ethical Anarchism" or not, it remains the best magazine in the country. It's free for the asking, but send some stamps anyway to The Match! PO Box 3012 Tucson, AZ 85702.

I'm going through my own entanglement right now regarding the individual facing the "corporate structure." My old job - which I left February 18 - still owes me a little over $5300 (before taxes) for salary left unpaid to me over the last few weeks. I have today sent them a certified mail letter explaining that though it is my right to do so right this second, I am giving them until April 15 to make final payment to me or I will be going to the state and seeking the aid of the Wage Collection Act. Looking at the form the state requires me to fill out makes me think the second I do it he's doomed. As soon as any investigator tries to reconcile my stating there are 5 employees there with the fact that only two ever got paychecks that took taxes out of, he's screwed. It's only because of past kindnesses that I'm allowing a window before applying for my rights. More than that, though, I'd rather not drag the government into it on principle. They clearly state it may take up to a year to collect the money from the offending company, and the whole process skirts by the right way to do it - which is to handle it between individuals without the intrusive involvement of a corrupt state like Illinois. Part of me wants to handle it face to face and part of me feels a bit impotent in the face of promises already broken. I hate to be an active critic of government and then rely on it to function in my behalf. There's something very Tea Party about that and it bothers me to no end. I hope he just comes up with the money he owes me.

I'm very much enjoying the fact that it is Monday afternoon and I am still on my weekend, that I have been on since very early Friday morning and won't end until tomorrow at 3:30 in the afternoon. 24 more hours of liberty as I write this... it's fantastic, I must admit. The bad thing that happened is that I gained almost 2 pounds because I slacked my eating habits last week toward convenience. My goal this year was to get under 200 pounds and stay there. I started at 213 and last week was at 197, but am back to just a tick over 199 now. So the "oh what the hell" stops for Whoppers and Egg McMuffins is hereby over. I'm such a damn hypocrite sometimes. And then I laugh about it. Not good.

There's going to be some exciting news around here in the field of the written word (no not the book that is currently making the rounds with an actual agent but just as fun) and it's going to include a familiar name or two, so stay tuned.

I think I need a small libation right about now because, y'know, it's still the weekend like I said. Catch you all later.

March 05, 2011

More Things On The List

Absent-mindedly listing some things to do before I finally croak. It's good to have plans but it's one thing to seek the impossible and another to try and see what is doable, even at some stretch of the imagination.

I tend to look at "bucket lists" as being kind of silly because they always usually include really ridiculous and impossible things that are a flight of fancy but are completely unattainable, if not downright unrealistic. The practice is dumb enough without putting things on it that end up being totally stupid.

Yet here I am doing it, tempered by the notion that a realistic list means more than a completely stupid one you're never going to do.

So here are 4 (more) things to add to the list - the rest of which I don't think I ever wrote down anyway, actually - of things to do before I circle the drain and get sucked into the vortex of who-knows-whatever the hell comes next if anything. These are at least somewhat realistic and therefore worth working on...

1. Gibralter

I'm fascinated by the south of Spain because the bullfights are still authentic there (don't hate on me for almost putting bullfight on this list, it's a Hemingway thing okay?) and this is where, I'm told, the idea of tapas came from. And of course that area would be the ultimate venue of choice but, barring that higher echelon of fantasy what really intrigues me is Gibraltar. This is because you have the weather and general nature of southern Spain but you have a preponderance of English being understood anywhere you go. And since I am lazy and American and therefore it is impossible for me to learn any language but the bastardized English we speak here in the states it seems like a good idea. Plus it is not often thought of as a destination, and yet looking at the photos of some of the narrow, winding streets and the overall geography of the odd little place, I'd at least like to try it out and see if my assumptions about this amalgam of Spanish/English thing is what I think it is. Anyway it's probably the hardest on this list but it is, at least, reasonable.

2. Great Grandchildren

There are, of course, a lot of factors involved in this one, but I'm part way there already, sort of. It just has to take some time to get up to that capability. But the thing is I was born in the early 1950's. This means that I knew people who were born in the 19th century and already know people who were born in this, the 21st century. So it's neat to remember the faces of people who were alive when there was a Kaiser and a Czar of Russia, match them up with the faces of people who were around when we landed on the Moon, and look upon the faces of people who never knew, and will never know, a time when there wasn't such a thing as a cell phone or a computer, both of which will be second nature to them as is milk or air. And I just think that's kind of neat, because I know of people born in the 20th century who never met anyone from the 19th and nyah nyah.

3. Open Air Cockpit

A long-standing fantasy of mine - and one that manifested itself in the notion that in a past life I was a member of the Lafayette Escadrille (since debunked, to my way of thinking) has always centered (since I was a small boy) around the exotic aircraft of WWI. Meaning, more than anything else, flying in an open-air cockpit of a plane powered by propeller. Flying lessons being out of the question (that's not what I want) I have looked around for passenger flights and almost got hold of one. There was a service out of a small regional prop-job airport locally that gave such rides to Chicago and back but it went out of business the very summer I had the money set aside to do it. This is still possible and even likely but until I find the to get it done it's still on the list. Dammit.

4. Sibelius' 5th

To see a live performance of Sibelius' 5th Symphony, my all time most favorite symphonic (it was written in the 20th century and therefore technically not "classical music") work of all time. This is the only music I have ever heard in my life where my eyes will fill up with wet stuff and I'm not even drunk! I have the whole thing on my iPod but to see it live would sweep me away I know for a fact. And I even put my name on the mailing list of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to keep my eye peeled for a performance if ever they get around to it.

So you see the difference, I think, between possible bucket list shit and ridiculous bucket list shit. It's better to not stray too far from what is possible, I think.