Observations

woods-in-the-cabin

Fire may be the only cure for a deformed protein zombifying deer all over the country. Liquid crystal film charged by ultraviolet light can wave without wind. Apparently, Uranus opens and closes every day to bathe in hot particle beams. Alpha male mountain gorillas care deeply for young gorillas in their group, regardless of kinship. Somewhere in Washington, DC, thirteen white men tried to cut healthcare to millions of working class and poor Americans that voted them into office. It is becoming more and more plausible that someone could fabricate an event. “It could be there is a there there after all,” said a woman to her son in their hallway — as pale mid-morning light crept into the picture frames, a haze cast over their eyes like gauze and neither knew what to do with her hands.

Harassment from males reduced fecundity in one of three morphs of female polymorphic damselfly. It turns out there are three kinds of snow leopard and some may be less endangered than others. Unfrozen bioregions of Antarctica are expected to increase by 25% over the next 80 years. A retired woman watching MSNBC on her smartphone at an Amazon processing facility in Arizona spent three unauthorized hours producing a thousand greeting cards to accompany her day’s shipments. The cards said, “It’s always spring somewhere…” and they were covered in crude drawings of flowers she thought she remembered. It was 118 degrees outside and the facility gleamed like the sun.

As many as 17 million Americans think chocolate milk comes from brown cows. Urban ecologists want to spend a lot of money studying rats, which cost the world’s economy billions of dollars, and are apparently not well understood. A philosopher in Tennessee concluded that since it is difficult to establish how much of a person people in vegetative states are “we should go ahead and treat these patients as if they are persons.” The New York Times devoted some of its Arts Section to explain the origin of the Milkshake Duck. A child in Nebraska noticed water drops in a row of corn sprouts — when she realized they did that on purpose, everything seemed to get a little wider, like there were eyes all over and she could see out the corners of them. And when she asked her daddy where the rain comes from he said, “I don’t know.”

What Your Glasses Say About You as a Writer

williams

Diane

Your co-op has a foyer and you buy the flowers every other week, and when you do you ask the most expensive flower shop in the Village to do something with orchids and they always do something new and exciting with orchids. You have an impeccable library. You didn’t do the KonMari Method because that’s how you’ve lived since you were three in Montessori. You told your teacher you were going to be a moderately famous writer of very short stories and publish an elegant literary journal. She was your first subscriber. There are times when washing wine glasses you keep your hands under the hot water just because. You sit there watching the steam rise, just holding your hands there because. You write on a typewriter with huge type that allows you to write one word at a time. Your last short story took more than a year. It’s three paragraphs about a man watching a duck get lost in a petting zoo and it is stunning.

 

dellilo

Don

You see the worst in people. You’ve never worn these glasses in the wild, but that’s not why you got them. You got them to get in touch with your true self. Sometimes you put them on and look in the mirror, then you take them off and pretend to be normal. People assume you hate your family, or all families, but that’s not true – your hate is egalitarian, system-wide. You are fascinated by disaster, and seek to understand its compelling nature, its jouissance. You are terse, but proper, and avoid sentimentality as if it were an airborne disease. Discipline is your guiding star; control your moon sign. What this says about you is anyone’s guess, but you seem to be convinced that everyone speaks the same way, as if on the edge of realizing something. You have not owned a television since 1982, the year you last left New York. Your therapist says you are depressed, but you insist it’s a state of always knowing what’s really going on. Your dog’s name is Dread. She follows you everywhere.

 

carson

Anne

A relaxing evening for you includes translating Sumerian poetry on tablets at Oxford via Oculus Rift, followed by dinner at a restaurant serving meals in bags that spray gas in your face, an experience they call “conceptual dining,” then dessert at an old-time ice cream parlor. You get a banana split and eat the whole thing by yourself. At night Gertrude Stein comes to you and says, “Love the outfit. Keep it up kid.” And then she becomes a balloon. She always was a balloon, you think. And you go on walking. No one can tell you what to do because you’re on your own map. You are so modern that you are ancient. Most people don’t even know they painted those statues.

 

Continue reading “What Your Glasses Say About You as a Writer”

Observations

Female paleontologists contributed to the community of inclusion by donning beards for field selfies. Donald Trump’s odds of winning slouched to zero as diehards threatened revolt and the Times reported his assessment of Arsenio Hall in the 00s: “Dead as dog meat.” A middle-aged man realized marijuana does not contain inspiration. Two hours later he forgot. The American hacker Jester told CNN he posted a message on the homepage of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs telling the country to go to its room. Former FBI agents call him Batman.

Scientists flooded a population of E. coli with a compound derived from cypress trees to see if it would shed its antibacterial-resistant transposons. It did. A woman in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho drove through a carwash five times in a row because she is in love with the feeling of detached time and the simple beauty of blue soap. “It’s cheaper than therapy,” she said, “and my car is so clean.” A sociologist in North Carolina argued that censorship today is not defined by withholding information, but by giving it directly to the public. In 20,000 pages of email WikiLeaks told us that John Podesta thinks former New Mexico governor Bill Richardson “can be a dick.” Richardson tweeted that he didn’t care.

A brown maple leaf slowly fell, draping the body of a dead squirrel like a blanket. A PhD candidate at Cambridge attributed the creation of Frankenstein, as well as the bicycle, to the distinct lack of summer in 1816. Astrophysicists lost a round of hide and seek with dark matter. No one knows why capuchins crack stones together just to lick the dust. This may be the last election dominated by baby boomers. People began to worry about a weaponized internet of things. All over the world people walked around dressed as creepy clowns. An elderly man in Fresno, California said, “That’s enough.” Then he sat exactly where he was, watching Jeopardy as steam rose from a humidifier in front a house plant. The light of the TV reflected the windows around him. Night fell and he was alone.

HyperNormalisation

PROGRAM MrsGorman (Input, Output);
CONST
   Indifferent = 60
VAR
   Thursday, Indisposed, Called: BOOLEAN;
   Bed, Chair, Hearth, Fire, Window, open: BOOLEAN;
   Rand, Temperature: INTEGER;
BEGIN {Main Program}
IF Thursday THEN
   IF NOT (Indisposed)
      THEN Called:= True
   ELSE {If Indisposed}
      Called:=False;
   IF NOT Called THEN Random;
         IF Rand = 0 THEN (Bed)
      ELSE {if Rand = 1then}
      BEGIN {Else}
         IF Temperature < Indifferent
            THEN (Chair and Hearth AND Fire)
         ELSE IF Temperature > Indifferent
            THEN (Chair AND Window AND Open)
         ELSE IF Temperature = Indifferent THEN
            BEGIN {Else if}
               Random
               IF Rand = 0
                  THEN (Chair and Window AND NOT Open)
               ELSE {if Rand = 1then}
                  (Chair AND Hearth AND NOT Fire)
      END {Else if}
   END {Else}
END {Main Program} Continue reading “HyperNormalisation”

I once saw a lion pee on a bunch of damn kids

Turn the captions on (the button that says CC), unless you happen to speak lyre.

Towards the end of summer, when the dull sun’s heat had lost its harshness, autumn began before it was autumn, with a mild and endlessly indefinite sadness, as if the sky didn’t feel like smiling. Its blue was sometimes lighter, sometimes greener, from the lofty colour’s own lack of substance. There was a kind of forgetfulness in the subdued purple tones of the clouds. It was no longer a torpor but a tedium that filled the lonely expanses where the clouds go by.

The real beginning of autumn was announced by a coldness in the air’s non-coldness, by a subduing of the still unsubdued colours, by something of shadow and distance in the tint of the landscapes and the fuzzy countenance of things. Nothing was going to die yet, but everything — as in a still unformed smile — looked longingly back at life. Continue reading “I once saw a lion pee on a bunch of damn kids”

Venus & Jupiter: The Conjunction of Brown & Powell

Frederick Douglass argued against John Brown's plan to attack the arsenal at Harpers Ferry," Jacob Lawrence
Frederick Douglass argued against John Brown’s plan to attack the arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Jacob Lawrence

One hundred and fifty years ago, a man named John Brown was put to death by the state. He was not gunned down in the street, nor was he unarmed. He was arrested by Robert E. Lee for leading a raid on the national armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. He had planned to arm America’s slaves with a hundred thousand guns. He was a white man, a preacher. Newspapers called him “a madman.” In most pictures he had “crazy eyes.” Abe Lincoln declared him “insane.” One thing’s for sure, he was mad. His rage boiled over.

American poets compared Brown’s life to a meteor that tore across the sky as he sat in jail, very nearly bisecting the interim of his conviction and execution. Emerson called him a saint, “whose martyrdom, if it shall be perfected, will make the gallows as glorious as the cross.” Thoreau said, “When a man stands up serenely against the condemnation and vengeance of mankind, rising above them by a whole body . . . the spectacle is a sublime one.” Both had attended his speeches and probably knew about the raid before it happened. Years later, Melville wrote, “the streaming beard is shown / (Weird John Brown), / The meteor of the war.” Whitman, who was there, put him in Leaves of Grass: “YEAR of meteors! brooding year! / I would sing how an old man, tall, with white hair, mounted the scaffold in Virginia; / (I was at hand—silent I stood, with teeth shut close—I watch’d; / I stood very near you, old man, when cool and indifferent, but trembling with age and your unheal’d wounds, you mounted the scaffold;)” The actor John Wilkes Booth was there, too. He wrote his piece in Lincoln’s blood.

Even Victor Hugo, in exile, called for Brown’s pardon. “There is something more frightening than Cain killing Abel,” he said, “and that is Washington killing Spartacus.” Continue reading “Venus & Jupiter: The Conjunction of Brown & Powell”

Concurrent Events: There is no money

I hate when people announce a series. Usually when I announce a series, it just doesn’t happen. Like talking about something you’re writing, it makes it hard to finish, because talking about it makes it exist a little and that means you can move on. I prefer to move on. But I see no way around it: this is the first in a series of Concurrent Events. Hold on to yr butts.

mallarme by gaugin

At the crash of a Bank, vague, mediocre, gray.

Currency, that terrible precision instrument, clean to the conscience, loses any meaning.

Continue reading “Concurrent Events: There is no money”

the necessity of reading and being read is a dream from which we cannot awaken

The challenge is to analyze a history of effects other than by seeking to identify personifiable causes, to recognize that nevertheless the struggle is taking place as much among personifications as among persons, and to intervene to transform the social allegory without either buying into, or dismissing, the temptations of readability. For the necessity of reading and being read is a dream from which we cannot awaken.

— Barbara Johnson, The Wake of Deconstruction

an excerption of an excerption in the breakdown of the bicameral mind

jaynesbrain

    
     2. Excerption. In consciousness, we are never ‘seeing’ anything in its entirety. This is because such ‘seeing’ is an analog of actual behavior; and in actual behavior we can only see or pay attention to a part of a thing at any one moment. And so in consciousness. We excerpt from the collection of possible attentions to a thing which comprises our knowledge of it. And this is all that it is possible to do since consciousness is a metaphor of our actual behavior.
     Thus, if I ask you to think of a circus, for example, you will first have a fleeting moment of slight fuzziness, followed perhaps by a picturing of trapeze artists or possibly a clown in the center ring. Or, if you think of the city which you are now in, you will excerpt some feature, such as a particular building or tower or crossroads. Or if I ask you to think of yourself, you will make some kind of excerpts from your recent past, believing you are then thinking of yourself. In all these instances, we find no difficulty or particular paradox in the fact that these excerpts are not the things themselves, although we talk as if they were. Actually we are never conscious of things in their true nature, only of the excerpts we make of them.
      Continue reading “an excerption of an excerption in the breakdown of the bicameral mind”