Friday, March 30, 2007


Blossom, originally uploaded by usujason.

Blossoms in the sun
So little time to notice
Water must be drawn

(Excellent photo by usujason on flickr. Complements go to him, not me for this photo.)

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A new poetical confabulation for you which I am thinking of making into a PowerPoint poem! or 28 Steps to Sheer Happiness

The Plan

1) get a girlfriend
2) don't fall in love
3) dump her
4) be the asshole, for once in your pathetic life
5) don't tell her that you never really loved her even though you sort of did (maybe)
6) apologize because it is you, not her
7) leave her sobbing on the couch, but don't slam the door
8) feel
a. free
b. manly
c. tough
d. open to new ideas (Chuck Palahniuk's), people (porno chicks), and experiences (video games)
e. empty
f. lost
g. shamed
h. inadequate (although your dick is not)
i. like a fucking loser that you know you really are
9) eat meat lover's pizza everyday and drink 6 PBR tall boys
10) lay around the house
11) don't shave
12) bathe infrequently and haphazardly
13) drink gin
14) call her at 1:23 a.m. and tell her how much you miss her
15) ask her to come over
16) cry and then punch the wall because you are crying
17) take 5 aspirin and drink 2 1/2 quarts of water in the morning
18) shake your head at yourself before you shave
19) shave
20) wonder if in the old days anyone actually slit his own throat with those old-timey straight razors
21) rinse out the sink, save a few dots of stubble sticking to the porcelain where you should see them, but don't
22) gather your soiled clothes
23) leave your apartment for the first time since Thursday
24) squint at the sun
25) wash your clothes all together with one cup of laundry detergent and warm water
26) flirt with the cute girl with pretty eyes and three loads going at once
27) smile that crooked stupid smile of yours that girls find cute (according to at least 3)
28) repeat from step 1

A few ways of looking at a black bird

Two ravens just flew overheard, cawing all the way.

They swarmed a tree a street over, and then flew west into the storm.

I wonder if they noticed me noticing them?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

For Sarah

For Sarah, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Yes he does. He does, indeed.

It is a tale told by an idiot, after all, Signifying nothing
Full of sound and fury

Ah, all of our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more....

It doesn't get more emo than that, does it?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ugolino & his sons

Ugolino & his sons, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Ah the memories:

"This might be the strongest, most compelling sculpture at the Met. The subjects don't necessarily look like they are starving to death, but the emotion caught in marble is tight. Look at Ugolino's feet, and the despair, fear, and need on his eldest son (to the left). Complicated and amazingly carved, this depicts the story from Dante's Inferno, where Ugolino was locked in a tower with his sons and given no food."

"Carpeuax's sculpture is often used as a political metaphor."



Some colleagues from afar agreed to split a cab to La Guardia, so I am at the airport a couple of hours early. I don't mind that, really, as all I would have ended up doing in Manhattan is worrying about when I have to get to the airport. Sunday travel sucks, and I've had enough crammed-in, close calls, to know that one needs more than the 2 hours they suggest on a Sunday--especially in a behemoth airport like this.

Yesterday I took a break in the morning from the conference I am at and went over to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was there way back in the day, and it remains the same: too much to digest in 2 months let alone in the 2 hours I alloted myself. I particularly wanted to see their Roman/Greek collection, but they have been remodeling and most of their collection was behind a screen. Apparently it will re-open on April 20th. Oh well--a month too early. Basically I wandered through the museum, and finally decided to seek out their 20th century collection. It was well worth the journey (clear across the museum back in the corner) as they have a lot of Hopper, O'Keefe, Picasso (the portrait of Gertrude Stein), Rothko, and Pollock's Autumn Rhythm. I have posted pictures of people looking at the art on flickr.

I would say that the other highlight of the visit was being a hair away from several very good (and classic Rembrandts.)

It has been a fine trip over all; I think I'll come back on vacation some time. Being here for work is good and all, but the City is far too tempting to concentrate on it properly.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

I'm going to miss this shit

I'm going to miss this shit, originally uploaded by Theorris.

The last time I was in New York, it wasn't such a nice experience. It bothers me, of course, that only multi-millionaires could ever live here, but still. I'll take a Romantic notion over horrible, brutal, facts of life. NYC is fun and super safe these days. It is clean and the people are very, very, very friendly.

(Avoid the Disneyland that is Times Square, however.)

Ultimately, however, it is a fantasyland. Outside my hotel I noted some Japanese tourists getting into a van. A young woman was carrying a bag that was imprinted with "NYC Disney."


Luckily the city isn't 100% New York, New York (ala Vegas), but that seems to be how things are working.

Friday, March 23, 2007


Pond, originally uploaded by Theorris.

Central Park is not far from my hotel. I went over there before conference sessions this morning. Good thing I did: it is raining this afternoon.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

People looking at art 1

People looking at art 1, originally uploaded by Theorris.

This is a lowrez series that will be posted on flickr. It will have to wait, however, as my phone won't connect to my Mac--just a PC. Nokia is bad. Bad. Bad.

Down with Proprietarianism!

"More great art inside."

"More great art inside.", originally uploaded by Theorris.

With great art like this, who needs cheap crap?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The City that Never Sleeps, Asleep

This is what I'm looking down on right now. Pretty sleepy if you ask me. Come on, city, its 4:30. Time for milking! Ok, it is 5:46, actually, but I never miss a chance to make a Witness allusion.

Odd Convergences

Since I am in New York, it is 5:30 am (3:30 am in Utasia), and I cannot sleep, I give you The New Yorker: Shouts & Murmurs: The Wisdom of Children a dialog between children "imagined" at the kid's table pretending to be grown-ups at the adult's table by Simon Rich:

MOM: Pass the wine, please. I want to become crazy.


GRANDMOTHER: Did you see the politics? It made me angry.

DAD: Me, too. When it was over, I had sex.

UNCLE: I’m having sex right now.

DAD: We all are.

MOM: Let’s talk about which kid I like the best.

DAD: (laughing) You know, but you won’t tell.

MOM: If they ask me again, I might tell.

FRIEND FROM WORK: Hey, guess what! My voice is pretty loud!

DAD: (laughing) There are actual monsters in the world, but when my kids ask I pretend like there aren’t.

MOM: I’m angry! I’m angry all of a sudden!

DAD: I’m angry, too! We’re angry at each other!

MOM: Now everything is fine.

DAD: We just saw the PG-13 movie. It was so good.

MOM: There was a big sex.

FRIEND FROM WORK: I am the loudest! I am the loudest!

(Everybody laughs.)

MOM: I had a lot of wine, and now I’m crazy!

GRANDFATHER: Hey, do you guys know what God looks like?

ALL: Yes.

GRANDFATHER: Don’t tell the kids.

Somehow everything makes sense now. I still don't think I'll be falling asleep any time soon, however.

Monday, March 19, 2007

"Nowhere you! Everywhere the electric!"

Woo hoo! Tomorrow I head for New York.

It has been some years since I was in the City.

I'll be tied up with professional commitments and I haven't planned a damn thing, but still: it is New York.

City of the small shoulder! Book reader of the world!

I'm not sure if Carl Sandburg ever wrote a poem about New York. I doubt it.

Maybe I'll skip everything and visit Paterson, New Jersey for the fuck of it.

The Silk City.


WCW. Aww yeah.

Oh, I'll post pictures in the usual place, given that my mega-watt hotel supposedly has highspeed Internet access as a part of its "comforts."

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The post in which I get people to yell at me in zealous fury

I am reading Richard Dawkins's new book The God Delusion. Here are a couple of lines for you (not quoted exactly, mind you, but paraphrased:

1) I don't know that theology should be considered a subject (for proper academic study.)
2) And on Bertrand Russell being confronted by an angry God after death inquiring why Russell didn't believe: "Not enough evidence, God. Not enough evidence." To wit one would assume that God disappears in a blue puff of blue logic-smoke.

Where I am at in The God Delusion, Dawkins is rather ably taking on various arguments for the existence of God (such as Thomas Aquinas's medieval hair-splitting or Pascal's Wager.) I think I like Dawkins's answer to Pascal's Wager (which runs surprisingly along the lines of a 100% theist's position): if your omniscient god sees that you are just bluffing you're going to hell anyway. Having disposed of the Wager rather quickly that way, Dawkins moves on to the the tougher question: why is god so desperate for us his supposed creation, to believe in him? Dawkins's point touches on something that has long bugged me about the normal cheese-headed view of theology--that God somehow needs us to believe in him. Of course Augustine, Calvin, and Luther all did away with that silly notion, but then opened up the whole problem of predestination and our (lack of) free will. Given the modern American-based penchant for personal freedom, the old-time religion answer (that you are not at all in control of any aspect of your existence) became a nasty burr under our collective saddle and was quickly kicked to the curb. One can hear the confused-religionist slobbering now: "WE'RE AMERICANS, DAMNIT AND WE ARE FREE. WE'LL HAVE NONE OF YOUR PREDESTINATION JUNK, OLD EUROPE! WE'RE FREE! WE'RE FREE! BUT GOD IS ALL POWERFUL BUT WE'RE STILL FREE TO MAKE OUR OWN MISTAKES! IF WE ARE GOOD AND BELIEVE IN GOD HE WILL FAVOR US!"

I think part of the problem with the fundamentalist, Americanized version of God is that that God needs worshipers like a co-dependent husband. No doubt this is based out of their zealous reading of the Old Testament where Yahweh sometimes is portrayed as such. The Old Testament God, however, wasn't always a very savory character, and sometimes just acted out on his worshipers even more than on their enemies (Job.)

The New Testament kind of resolves that tension by showing a loving Jesus who forgives all sins and, in fact, is willing to die for humans. Moderns, nevertheless, have polished Jesus all up. A personal Jesus, in other words, really becomes YOUR OWN PERSONAL JESUS, your BUDDY JESUS and works directly for you, so long as you do your part and believe that he 1) existed, 2) was crucified, 3) arose on the third day, 4) is really one aspect of a 3-faced God (of equal co-substation, co-harmonnious, co-spiritenatious, blah bloo blee), 5) will do you favors like saving you a parking spot when necessary. OK #5 is a snarky example of the case, but I've witnessed plenty of contemporary Christians or quasi-Christians relate such outlandish and childish fantasies to me. The fact is that their Jesus, like his Old Testament Daddy seems to need desperately for people to recognize him and BELIEVE.

Ultimately, however, I see the hand of man at work in this: it is not Jesus or God that needs us to believe in him but the preacher-man or the CLERGY (to use an old-fashioned term ) or, more likely, the people who belong to specific religious group who need US to believe in THEM or their particular brand of religion. They are the one's who are desperately in need of recognition. They are the ones who, say, like some religions and religious people need their belief-mates to CONSTANTLY confirm that the CHURCH is TRUE (with all the requisite sobbing.)

Frankly neither God nor man needs them.

The Theologian responds:

I can't disagree with any of your comments (this is obviously a
preface to a potentially long conversation)--I too have seen the evangelical
"Jesus as my best girlfriend," the "God's got me taking a shit" Jesus, or
the "puppet show Jesus/God/Spirit" of Calvin(ists). The Catholics have
their own problems (don't we all), but the text-focused protestants are a
great experiment in hermeneutics for five centuries...

The point about the clergy--at least some of them--is quite accurate as
well. It has been disturbing to me to see that even many of the 'good'
clergy (or seminarians) tend to be quite ignorant about their own
narcissistic fantasies (some of this must be true for most anyone who seeks
such a central, public and powerful position over others). I actually wrote
a fairly scathing article in the [A. S.] publication about this my
first year (which contributed to my decreasing popularity among many of the
'true' Christians). We narcissists need not be necessarily destructive in
endeavors such as these, but Nietzche's warning in this regard (though I do
not agree with his venomous atheistic conclusions) is well taken. People
with (religious) power who do not consider their own motivations can be
scary as hell (as if this were news!).

Daniel Dennett has a great new anti-God book too...can't remember the title,
but, like Freud, they are a) interesting anyway in a variety of ways, and b)
helpful to believers who want to be rid of their bullshit theology (I
recently did that lecture on Frued and Bonhoeffer addressing this...). What
remains of our 'house of cards' theology is either nothing...or, the
numinous, mysterious, ungraspable, uncomprehensible, (etc.) "G*d."

Dawkins said it well at the end of a Time magazine interview when he stated
that IF there was some sort of God, it would be a hell of a lot more amazing
than any of the theologians have been able to come up with. I don't
disagree. Though I doubt he has done much study in the apophatic
theologies, or the via negativa...

I like the comment on Pascal too (though Pascal has much more to say in his
prayer than the putative 'wager'). ANY theology that reduces faith to a
whimsical 'assent' to a set of propositions is at best immature, and at
worst a tool of hate. Again, Bonhoeffer is a nice contrast. Well, much
more for later--I do love this shit though...

To wit, I respond:

Is Nietzsche or Dennet's positon anti-God or is it anti-religion? Is it impossible to separate God from religion? Is the fetish of the Church so exemplified in Paul? The Church! The Church! I hear them cry. Sounds like a bunch of freaks trying to tell everyone else that they are fucked up to me. That they have the rules of how to get in and how to be and how they and only they have the answer. It still makes me laugh about how much they need to continually reassert their fare by making others agree with them.

Of course, one cannot seperate easily the God from the religion. Dawkins is clearly focussed on doing away with the Western concept of God altogether as a ludicrous, over-complicated construct. In the book he focuses specifically on the problem of such a complicated God (who his critic theologians proclaim must be simple and yet complex at the same time.) I admire his steadfastness to the principal of simplicity and the principal that natural selection itself is, in fact, a counter-action to the rule of simplicity. Natural selection, or Darwinism, as he admits, is a response to the Universe's trenchant ability to try to make everything simple.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Sew right

I could tell by the looks on their
Wizened faces that they didn't get
Many men entering their shop

"I need buttons for a coat I really like."
"We have a few," and the older one
(I could tell she was older by her
Dyed hair) motioned to the wall rack
With a smattering of buttons
Not many
Not a lot

After I examined the rack
And went back and forth between
The spinner and the wall
I found some that matched

"Are they for you," the elder one said
She was leaving the store and I was
Interrupting their leave-taking
"You'll need four then."
Such knowledge is rare.
She knew men's coats had
Four instead of three, I guess

"That's OK, I'll buy extras. I'll need them."
And she continued her way out of the shop
The younger old woman rang me up
I paid cash
Two dollars, fifteen cents.

She gave me incorrect change,
But I didn't bother
Because they reminded me of my
And her gentle manner
And her lost button box

Saturday, March 10, 2007

This is not bowling!

Number 1 shot of the day, originally uploaded by Theorris.

What is wrong with me?

Friday, March 09, 2007

Plans for spring break

  1. Bowl
  2. Take pictures
  3. Takes pictures of bowling
  4. Bowl
  5. Wear my new shirt bowling
  6. Bowl
  7. Make a movie about bowling alone based on that sociological study that came out last year Bowling Alone.
  8. Drink some beer

Do you think I have enough bowling squeezed in there?

Monday, March 05, 2007

SLC Haiku Bar Reviews: Twilite Lounge

Some guy snapped his leg
In three places right under
Where you are sitting

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Signifying nothing: journal

I used to be much better at this shit: Signifying nothing: journal.

(Yeah I know I've said that before, but it all so gone down hill since I started using Blogger--3 years ago now?)

Friday, March 02, 2007


I can't decide if it is something out of the British version of The Office* or Office Space, but poor Sarah is suffering the consequences of some rather serious corporate shenanigans.

Hell in good Bowling Syndicate fashion, you stick up for you bowling compadres, now don't you?

*Sorry no matter how much I think Steve Carrell is the shit, he doesn't hold a candle up to the thousand watt bulb that is Ricky Gervais.

SLC Haiku Bar Reviews: Tavernacle

What was that song they
Just made me sing? Please, not “Pour
Some Sugar on Me!”

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Random observation

It is snowing and it is beautiful.

Did I tell you I got perfect attendance award for my high school?

I usually never miss work for illness, but I was hammered this week with the flu, so I was forced (by fever no less) to take a day off and just slept and slept and slept. I haven't felt on top of things all week, but have, as Frost can attend, miles to go before I sleep this week, so I went to work anyway. I was debating about this move, given that I do not need to make the people I work with ill, since we all rely on them to make my workplace function. I have, therefore, been hiding away, avoiding close contact with anyone so as not to infect them. No doubt, however, I have and next week I will be paying the price by covering for the ill.

Let me describe this particular brand of influenza: you start out with a violent, random, cough that progresses by the next day into a fever that you can remedy by aspirin or your other favorite anti-febrile. By day three, you feel somewhat ok again, aside from the same random cough. The fever has broken, however. Day 4 has a special treat since you go through swings of feeling great and then suddenly take a chill. Next stop: nasal issues and sneezing--oh the sneezing, and wham-bam thank you ma'am the fever returns (again easily controlled by your favorite anti-febrile).

Who knows what day 5 has in store for me? No rest for the weary, however, since I must plug on with my professional commitments (I am attending a conference tomorrow and Saturday.) Thank god I'm not flying. Will I develop sores? Will it move to my lungs and debilitate me like the only other time I've missed work in the last 3 years (that was a whole week and it was pneumonia!) That illness was part of the reason I decided to stay home one day this week--I think it shook some sense into me that if I try to work while ill, I'll just make myself more ill. I don't think I wrote about that time. Maybe I did. I think another symptom of this vile disease is forgetfulness. See I was supposed to mention something up there in paragraph 2 and I've already forgotten what it was.

So my advice to all the ill out there: stay home and do yourself and your workmates a favor. Of course that means you would actually have to get sick leave (many companies no longer provide it) or don't have an ass-load of commitments to see to.

So that means none of us get to stay home, right?