Friday, February 13, 2004

INSPIRATIONAL PARABLES

I’ve always hated that story about the guy with no shoes who meets a guy with no legs and doesn’t feel so bad. You know why? Because the guy with no shoes was a wino with prostate cancer, and the guy with no legs was a billionaire Columbian drug lord with one of these ultra-tech wheelchairs like Stephen Hawking. (And while we’re on the subject, how did Stephen Hawking cheat on his wife?)

THE RED OCTOBER TRACTOR FACTORY

Whenever I hit one of the sloughs of depression and despondency that make artists such a pain in the ass to be around, I remind myself of the two Russian soldiers who, during the World War II siege of Stalingrad, manned a machine gun nest in the Red October Tractor Factory for 52 straight days, frequently starving and always freezing. I mean, how can that determination and suffering be compared to, say, the fear of creative failure or the pangs of unrequited love? And yet maybe one or both of them, in another time and another place, ached for a lost love to the point of suicidal contemplation. Which, of course, begs the question can pain, or joy for that matter, ever be quantified?

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BUSHWHACKERS (LEB)

(WHAT DID YOU DO IN THE WAR MR. PRESIDENT? #1)

Richard Cohen describes far more vividly than GWB what it was like avoiding Vietnam combat in the US National Guard. Clip courtesy of Billy via natalien...

During the Vietnam War, I was what filmmaker Michael Moore would call a "deserter." Along with President Bush and countless other young men, I joined the National Guard, did my six months of active duty (basic training, etc.) and then returned to my home unit, where I eventually dropped from sight. In the end, just like President Bush, I got an honorable discharge. But unlike President Bush, I have just told the truth about my service. He hasn't. At least I don't think so. Nothing about Bush during that period -- not his drinking, not his partying -- suggests that he was a consistently conscientious member of the Texas or Alabama Air National Guard. As it happens, there are no records to show that Bush reported for duty during the summer and fall of 1972. Nonetheless, Bush insists he was where he was supposed to be -- "Otherwise I wouldn't have been honorably discharged," Bush told Tim Russert. Please, sir, don't make me laugh. It is sort of amazing that every four or eight years, Vietnam -- that long-ago war -- rears up from seemingly nowhere and comes to figure in the national political debate. In 1988 Dan Quayle had to answer for his National Guard service. In 1992 Bill Clinton had to grapple with the question of how he avoided the Vietnam-era draft. Now George Bush, who faced this question the last time out, has to face it again. The reason is that this time he is likely to compete against a genuine war hero. John Kerry did not duck the war. But George Bush did. He did so by joining the National Guard. Bush now wants to drape the Vietnam-era Guard with the bloodied flag of today's Iraq-serving Guard -- "I wouldn't denigrate service to the Guard," Bush warned during his interview with Russert -- but the fact remained that back then the Guard was where you went if you did not want to fight. That was the case with me. I opposed the war in Vietnam and had no desire to fight it. Bush, on the other hand, says he supported the war -- as long, it seems, as someone else fought it.
It hardly matters what Bush did or did not do back in 1972. He is not the man now he was then -- that by his own admission. In the same way, it did not matter that Clinton ducked the draft, because, really, just about everyone I knew at the time was doing something similar. All that really matters is how one accounts for what one did. Do you tell the truth (which Clinton did not)? Or do you do what I think Bush has been doing, which is making his National Guard service into something it was not? In his case, it was a rich kid's way around the draft. In my case, it was something similar -- although (darn!) I was not rich. I was, though, lucky enough to get into a National Guard unit in the nick of time, about a day before I was drafted. I did my basic and advanced training (combat engineer) and returned to my unit. I was supposed to attend weekly drills and summer camp, but I found them inconvenient. I "moved" to California and then "moved" back to New York, establishing a confusing paper trail that led, really, nowhere. For two years or so, I played a perfectly legal form of hooky.
To show you what a mess the Guard was at the time, I even got paid for all the meetings I missed. In the end, I wound up in the Army Reserve. I was assigned to units for which I had no training -- tank repairman, for instance. In some units we sat around with nothing to do, and in one we took turns delivering antiwar
lectures. The National Guard and the Reserves were something of a joke. Everyone knew it. Books have been written about it. Maybe things changed dramatically by 1972, two years after I got my discharge, but I kind of doubt it. I have no shame about my service, but I know it for what it was -- hardly the Charge of the Light Brigade.
When Bush attempts to drape the flag of today's Guard over the one he was in so long ago, when he warns his critics to remember that "there are a lot of really fine people who have served in the National Guard and who are serving in the National Guard today in Iraq," then he is doing now what he was doing then: hiding behind the ones who were really doing the fighting. It's about time he grew up.


(See tomorrow for #2)

A MUSICIAN JOKE I NEVER HEARD BEFORE

A young child says to his mother, "Mom, when I grow up I think I'd like to be a musician." She replies, "Well honey, you know you can't do both."

CRYPTIQUEFriday 12A

************************************************
ANNOUNCEMENT

For those of you in and around Los Angeles, Mick Farren will be signing the paperback of his novel UNDERLAND tomorrow, Saturday, Feb 14th, 2.00PM – 4.00PM at ...
Dark Delicacies
4213 W. Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, 818-556-6660 / 888-darkdel

************************************************

Thursday, February 12, 2004

TIME IS NOT ON MY SIDE THIS WEEK

Still putting the “dead” in deadline, and in the grip of other, more proximate horrors, I again cop out, although, today, I offer up (below) a fabulous golden oldie for you nostalgic consideration. This was written back in the days when the aliens were still around, Bill Clinton ruled over a pleasant and golden land, and all the religious right had to worry about were blowjobs and Satanic conspiracy...

BIG TROUBLE ON THE MONKEY PLANET

The last time that I was abducted by aliens, I returned with the distinct impression that they were close to the end of their extra-terrestrial rope with the Third Stone from the Sun and, in particular, its overdeveloped, tool using, simian inhabitants. Namely us -- the human race. When one of those lipless little grey suckers with the bald heads and huge guppy eyes came up to me, right there in the main abductee reception area, a charmless place not unlike Ontario airport with an added dimension, and wanted to know "when the hell are you Earth monkeys going to stop breeding yourselves into extinction", I had to accept the fact that we may not be the most admired lifeform in this neck of the quadrant.
I rarely admit my abduction experiences. Not so much because I'm embarrassed by them. It's more that I've never really felt that my encounters had been significantly productive. I tended to talk about them rather more when I lived in New York. I discovered that, on 14th Street, if you told the guy on the next bar stool that you were an UFO abductee, he would more than likely dismiss you as crazy, but mercifully harmless. Try the same thing at a party in Venice and they'll not only totally believe you but proceed to recount their own adventures in space, usually centering on intrusive alien surgical procedures, often of a gynecological nature. Some will even give you the number of a therapeutic support group.
It was during the initial medical examination that the ETs started to discover that I was hardly the experimental subject of their collective dreams. I was first abducted at a time when I was drinking even more heavily than usual. It solved the missing time problem, but my blood alcohol level spiked out and created chaos butterflies in their nano-stats. Even worse, my chromosomes had been so customized by the quantities of LSD 25 that I'd consumed during an earlier bout of destructive self exploration, that I was pretty much useless as a source of genetic material, unless, of course, someone or something wanted to breed a race of nappy haired tadpoles with nasty imaginations. Rumors also circulated that, when particularly fucked up, I would show a less than appropriate affection for the rectal probe.
In terms of the normal conventions of Earth/alien interaction, I pretty much proved myself a social incompetent, and I would never have been abducted again had the implant not already been in the small of my back, just to the left of my spine. This means I'm solidly on the tracking computer, and can be hauled up for a bogus 20 thousand light year service at any time, and there isn't a damn thing that I or any other bio-entity can do about it. I don't want to see them, they don't want to see me, but, like junk mail and unwanted relatives, they just keep coming around.
This was surely the reason that, after the third routine beam up, I was shuffled aside to hold gentlemanly if sometimes oblique conversations with Qua/D/Thrrof, the discursive focus of a being, essentially a form of highly intelligent yeast, about nine thousand miles long and one molecule thick, that makes its home in a loose orbit around Jupiter. Qua/D/Thrrof was the first alien to make crystal clear what I'd already suspected. As far as the rest of the inhabitants of the viable cluster are concerned, here on the Monkey Planet, (as Earth is commonly known) we are in big trouble. That's why, even after twenty thousand years, we still haven't emerged from the quarantine phase as laid down in the Prime Directive. (He also confirmed how Tom Tomorrow's theory about the Republican Party and Rush Limbaugh being a secret alien test of human stupidity is uncannily on the money.)
Like most foreigners, Qua/D/Thrrof blames a considerable proportion of Monkey Planet woes to the affluent of the United States. (Or, as they call them, The Resource Gobblers.) In our most recent conversation, he expressed trepidation over how 2000 AD is a Presidential election year, and the escalating horror of the phenomenon might, this time round, actually push us over into a collective, species-wide, greed-barking psychosis.
"I don't know why you don't just get rid of democracy." Qua/D/Thrrof has a certain problem gasping concepts like the rights of the individual, coming as he does from a collective consciousness of over two billion component facets. He's good, however, at accepting nuances like how election finance reform is fundamentally impossible because the television stations end up with the lion's share of the bucks, and around election time, politics yields more ad revenue than headache remedies, phone sex and psychic hotlines combined.
"Just get rid of television." Even other passing aliens realized that Qua/D/Thrrof was elaborately out of touch with this remark. A small green person with tentacles and huge ears sadly shook what approximated for a head. "It's only television that keeps them from killing each other more than they already do. If television hadn't been introduced in the fifties, they'd be into mechanized erotic cannibalism by now. You know what the monkeys are like when you leave them to their own devices."
Another received snippet of intergalactic gossip is that our Earth, despite its quarantine, is getting the reputation as a clandestine hangout of vermin and lowlife. High on the list are the crew of retard hot rodders and nova scum from Zeta Reticuli who've been putting on the lightshows out at Area 51, just north of Las Vegas, and sending the conspiracy paranoids into uproar. It would seem that these alien Hells Angels have managed to have convinced the US military that they are the Supreme Authority in the Universe, rather than the malicious honky tonk sweepings of a hundred parasecs, and now have total run of the Pentagon.
What really worries Qua/D/Thrrof, however, is our galloping overpopulation. "Surest way to foul up a perfectly good planet. You either got to stop breeding or start dying." Qua/D/Thrrof is especially pissed at the Catholic Church and their attitudes to population control. As he puts it "Jesus was one of ours in the first place. It's kinda embarrassing."
Another serious consideration would seem to be that many aliens feel that our Earthling stupidity is playing directly into the hands of some galactic political hard liners. Apparently the stampede to the bellicose right is not confined to only this solar system. An entire multi-species mindset would be just as happy to fire up the Great Planet Fryer and turn this whole messy sphere that we call home into one vast, fused, green glass Christmas Tree ornament. Seemingly they view Earth as something akin to a planetary welfare case.
Like they say on the X-Files. "The truth is out there." Or at least some approximation of it.

Written in 1996. First published in 1996 in The Los Angeles Reader as a column in the "Panic In The Year Zero" series.

BUT...

Maybe the aliens have not gone away, and/or the Satanic conspiracy is still lurking. This comes from MSNBC...

A small town in Sicily may be due for an exorcism. The villagers of Canneto di Caronia are struggling to explain why dozens of household items are suddenly bursting into flame. When electrical goods began combusting, they assumed a strange power surge, so the local utility cut power temporarily. But even unplugged appliances combusted, and pieces of furniture began lighting up without notice. Some fires have spread so rapidly that residents have been evacuated from their homes. "Demons occupy a house and appear in electrical goods... Let's not forget that Satan and his followers have immense powers."

CRYPTIQUEKeep your hair-dryer close, but your toaster closer.

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BUSHWHACKERS (LEB)

And what fun for us pinko saddle-tramps to watch the fascist pundits turn on their former golden boy. As in this snippet from AOL news on the formerly rabid Robert Novak...

Mr. Novak pointed out the most Republicans are not likely to vote for the Democratic nominee. But, he said: "The problem is not whether they vote for Kerry. The problem is whether they stay at home."

Then, hey, let’s have some real nice TV on election day, tailored for Republicans. Like a Touched By An Angel marathon hosted by Rush Limbaugh. Or an nice new happy-happy miniseries on the Reagans.

************************************************
ANNOUNCEMENT

For those of you in and around Los Angeles, Mick Farren will be signing the new paperback edition of his novel UNDERLAND next Saturday, Feb 14th, 2.00PM – 4.00PM at ...
Dark Delicacies
4213 W. Burbank Blvd.
Burbank, 818-556-6660 / 888-darkdel

************************************************

STOP PRESS

According to the site tracker, Doc40 just got a hit from Iran! Fuck! Now what lists am I on? Another surprise was one from Croatia.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

THE CURSE OF THE DRINKING CLASSES

Work. That’s right friends and neighbors, today I have to work – as in write to earn a living -- so things are going to be kinda short. But mother said there’d be days like this, and I’ll see you all tomorrow.

Also, in my incarnation as TV critic of LA CityBeat, HBO sent me the first four episodes of the next Sopranos series, and I have to watch them. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I tell you there’s a cool New Jersey black bear in the season premiere, and Anthony Jr gets a drum kit. (NB. David Chase was once a rock drummer.)

In the meantime, nobody gets totally left without anything to do at Doc40's fun house. Our homegirl hipspinster has updated her blog with observations on Jimi Hendrix, the Grammies and the Super Bowl, plus, if you scroll her back a couple of posts you will find yourself filled in on Eric the bartender at Canters who mixes glow-in-the-dark, demon-raising cocktails. (See comments board). She’s at...

http://hipspinster.blogspot.com/

And if that wasn’t enough...

TRUE LAWYER JOKES 3 & 4

More courtroom absurdities from the book Disorder in the American Courts, courtesy of Jessica. (See Fri Feb 6 & Sat Feb 7)

Q: Now doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, he doesn't know about it until the next morning?
A: Did you actually pass the bar exam?

Q: What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up that morning?
A: He said, "Where am I, Cathy?"
Q: And why did that upset you?
A: My name is Dorothy.


And, of course, LEB marches on...

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BUSHWHACKERS (LEB)

Having seen George screw up on TV, with the details of his so-called military service now spilling all over the media, and rightwing pundits like Bill O’Reilly start to shy away from him, our pal Patrick stays one jump ahead by directing our attention to the growing scandal over Republican dirty tricks, in this instance, the hacking of Democrat computer files, and then turning then over to Robert Novak, who, having aided in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, seems willing to make public anything the GOP or the White House feeds to him no matter whether it’s in the national interest or not. The following snippet is from the Boston Globe...

Democrats now claim their private memos formed the basis for a February 2003 column by conservative pundit Robert Novak that revealed plans pushed by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, to filibuster certain judicial nominees. Novak is also at the center of an investigation into who leaked the identity of a CIA agent whose husband contradicted a Bush administration claim about Iraqi nuclear programs. Citing "internal Senate sources," Novak's column described closed-door Democratic meetings about how to handle nominees. Its details and direct quotes from Democrats -- characterizing former nominee Miguel Estrada as a "stealth right-wing zealot" and describing the GOP agenda as an "assembly line" for right-wing nominees -- are contained in talking points and meeting accounts from the Democratic files now known to have been compromised.

And Marjorie forwards a call to direct action...

Dear friend,
In an attempt to escape responsibility for the misleading statements that led the nation to war, President Bush has announced plans to form an independent inquiry to look into what went wrong. An inquiry would serve the Bush administration well: it would envelop the issue in a fog of uncertainty, deflect blame onto the intelligence services, and push any political damage into 2005, after the upcoming election. But the facts need no clarification. Despite repeated warnings from the CIA and Defense Intelligence Agency, President Bush and his administration hyped and distorted the threat that Iraq posed. And now that reality is setting in, the President seeks to pin the blame on someone else. We can't let him. Congress has the power to censure the President -- to formally reprimand him for his betrayal of the nation's trust. If ever there was a time to use this function, it is now. Join the call for Congress to censure President Bush now at:


http://www.moveon.org/censure/?id=-539027-24Vd7Yn86Y9kb1kp3dto2A

CRYPTIQUEThe butterfly can’t be blamed.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY BUSHWHACKERS (LEB)

Whether it’s the constant onslaught of Doc40 at the tainted edifice of G.W. Bush, or that Toad-Boy deigned to show up on TV yesterday, but my laptop memory is groaning under a ton of 100% anti-George email. In a way it’s kind irksome that we have gird up and take the fight to the simian fool, when we could be laughing, joking, and debating the important topics of the day like how Diana Ross is going to survive 48 hours in the joint, why Marla Maples is selling some weird package of religious devotional software called The 72(?) Names of God on late-night television, or listening to me whine about all the help I’ll need to win the H. P. Lovecraft Necronomicon Competition. (I mean, how do you pastiche a 17th century Satanist translating 9th century Arabic?) But, as Chairman Mao once remarked, “the revolution is not a dinner party”, so it’s back into the breach, dear friends, once more.

MORAL DILEMMA – Open with a joke
A beau jest from Billy via natalien...
This test only has one question, but it's a very important one. Please don't answer it without giving it some serious thought. By giving an honest answer you will be able to ascertain where you stand morally and politically. The test features an unlikely, completely fictional situation, where you will have to make one decision. Remember that your answer should to be honest, yet spontaneous. You're in Florida. In Miami, to be exact. There is great chaos going on around you, caused by a hurricane and severe floods. There are huge masses of water all around you. You are an Associated Press photographer and you are in the middle of this great disaster. The situation is nearly hopeless. You're trying to shoot very impressive photos. There are houses afloat around, people floating, disappearing into the water. Nature is showing all its awesome power. Suddenly you see a man in the water - he is fighting for his life, trying not to be taken away by the masses of water and mud. You move closer. Somehow the man looks familiar. Suddenly you know who it is - it's George W. Bush! At the same time you notice that the raging waters are about to take him away, forever. you have two options. You can try to save him or you can take the best photo of your life. You can't do both. You can either heroically save the life of George W. Bush, or you can shoot a Pulitzer Prize winning photo, a unique photo chronicling one of the world's most powerful men in a battle against the power of nature itself.
Here's the question (please give an honest answer): Would you select color film, or instead go for the simplicity of Classic black and white?


322?
From fidicen
Ahoy Doc – Point of Information
"#322" was uttered by Russert, not the smirking chimp. I 've looked into that girl's book on Skull and B but cannot recall the significance of that number, though surely that is Bush's membership number. Bush only said "it's so secret I can't even talk about it." Curious how Russert quoted Kerry's knowing of Bush then and Bush utterly denied knowing Kerry, which would be impossible if they were there together, as they were. Another nice factoid is that that they give you a new name when you join. They couldn't think of one for Chimpy so they named him "Temporary." Lo and behold, he never got another name so his name in the group is "Temporary!" One of the very first events at the WH following the coup was an S&B bash. Fine opportunity this summer to discredit anti-conspiracists as two boners have a cock fight. Should be a rash of good outings, esp. for that good woman's tome. Two links – Brother Corn with a fine deconstruction: http://thenation.com/capitalgames/index.mhtml?bid=3&pid=1245
and here: http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0209-02.htm

HISTORY AND LIES

A handy lies-in-timeline from Marjorie,
Oct. 7, 2002: "The Iraqi regime... possesses and produces chemical and biological weapons. It is seeking nuclear weapons."
March 17, 2003: "Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
January 20, 2004: "Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day."
January 27, 2004: "First of all I think it's very important for us to let the Iraq Survey Group do its work so we can find out the facts, compare the facts to what was thought."
February 8, 2004: "Saddam Hussein was a danger to America... because he had the capacity to have a weapon, make a weapon. We thought he had weapons. The international community thought he had weapons."
February 8, 2004: "There is no such thing necessarily in a dictatorial regime of ironclad absolutely solid evidence. The evidence I had was the best possible evidence that he had a weapon."
Sources: Reuters, The Associated Press


A BRIEF HISTORY OF SADDAM

Just the facts (ma’am) from kaymo
1958 Iraqi military men inspired by Nasser's nationalist revolt in 52 against the British backed Egyptian monarchy, seized power in Baghdad. Their leader General Abdel-Karim Kassem turned to the USSR for aid. He legalized the Communist party. He decreed wide ranging land reform and granted autonomy to the Kurds in the north. Iraq also announced its claim to Kuwait, which had once been joined to what is now southern Iraq in a province of the Ottoman turkish empire. This alarmed both the US and the UK. The British reinforced their presence in the Persian Gulf to head off any moves by Kassem. CIA Director Allen Dulles deemed Iraq "the most dangerous place in the world." The CIA began fishing in Iraqi waters. (At the time the Shah was firmly in control of neighboring Iran after the CIA backed coup there.)
1963 the anti-Communist Ba'ath Party-- Sunni controlled-- seized power in a coup. Kassem and a long list of leftists provided by the CIA were shot. Among the young Ba'athists was one Saddam Hussein al-Tikriti. The Ba'athists were as yet unable to completely dominate the country and had to govern as part of a coalition. This did not sit well with the CIA which wanted a tighter, right wing government in place.
1968 The CIA helped the Ba'athists pull off a coup d'etat in which they eliminated their lefist and centrist coalition partners and set up full Ba'athist regime (think Francoist, Phalange Spain for a comparison.)"It was a regime that was unquestionably midwived by the United States and the CIA's involvement there was really primary." Roger Morris, staffer of the NSC during the late sixties under both Johnson and Nixon.
1979 Saddam Hussein came to the fore in another coup and replaced his mentor Ahmad Hasan al-Bakr. A massive purge of the Ba'athist elite took place at once. Saddam Hussein was a known CIA intelligence asset. The same year saw the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Khomeini and the Islamist state in Teheran. This event had enormous repercussions for American policy in the region.
1980 Saddam invaded Iran with the idea of striking while his bigger neighbor was in chaos and seizing the Iranian oil fields along the Persian Gulf. This would have crippled the Shiite government in Teheran and also help to cow the Shiite majority in Iraq. Saddam and his generals bungled the war and by 1982 they were thrust back on the defensive. It began to look as if Iran might actually defeat Iraq. This was unacceptable to the US and the Reagan Administration launched a covert operation to arm and assist Ba'athist Iraq. (Note: the NSDD No.114 of Nov 26 1983 is still classified top secret. The US promised to do whatever was necessary to stop Iraq losing the war.) The Reagan Admin began to secretly funnel arms and supplies to Baghdad. As much as $5.5 billion in loans were arranged to help Iraq buy arms, under the cover of promoting American farm exports. Weapons were sent via CIA fronts in Saudi Arabia and Chile. Between 1986 and 89 seventy three transactions took place including weapons grade Anthrax cultures, computers and aircraft repair equipment.
In December 2002 when Iraq was forced to deliver to the UN Security Council an 11,800 page dossier on the history of its weapons programs, officials of the Bush Admin seized it and took out 8,000 pages before any other member of the Security Council was allowed to see it.
In Dec 1983 Donald Rumsfeld acting as Reagan's personal envoy, met Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. He returned in March 84. At the time Iraq was employing chemical weapons against Iranian troops. Rumsfeld declared that "the defeat of Iraq in the three year old war with Iran would be contrary to US interests."
November 1984 Reagan restored full diplomatic relations with Baghdad – which had been severed since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Thereafter Reagan stepped up sales to Saddam of items such as the helicopters that would be used in the gas attacks on the Kurds in 1988.Indeed, the US maintained friendly relations with Baghdad until the moment when Saddam revived Iraq's claims to Kuwait and then invaded Kuwait in August 1990.
Question: What's in those 8,000 pages?(Prepared from "The Sorrows of Empire" by Chalmers Johnson Henry Holt Pub.2004)


(The Doc40 email is byron4d@aol.com)

CRYPTIQUEThe railroad runs through the middle of the house.

Monday, February 09, 2004

DOG EATS PRESIDENT’S HOMEWORK

Maybe, one day, these weblog templates will come with so many toys and add-ons that I will be able to reproduce a set of bombastic 172 point, New York Post style headlines, but, in the meantime, I can only imagine them. And why do I need to imagine then? Because, Saturday night/Sunday morning, I sat up until 9.00AM to watch Tim Russert interview GWB on Meet The Press. Why? Because I’ve been slagging the man off for god knows how long, and even instituted The League of Extraordinary Bushwhackers (LEB), and it seemed only fair to take a direct look at the bastard, just in case I had judged him wrong, or (I live in hope), he fucked up so badly, his presidency would be terminated right then and there, and I’d be watching TV history on a par with the Nixon/Kennedy debate.

Since the latter didn’t happen, I probably would have been better off sleeping. Prior to the Bush interview, there was little to do but watch TV, and having sat through Sunset Boulevard and identified too strongly with William Holden’s character, who can’t sell his movie script, hooks up in desperation with Gloria Swanson, and winds up floating face down in the pool, I was getting pretty depressed. Then I watched Daredevil, which was, beyond doubt, the worse superhero movie ever, plus weird Catholic undertones. (Although I did start to see why some of my friends are enamored of Jennifer Garner, only she died in the third act). All in all, I was feeling pretty grim by the time that Georgie boy came on in his neat single-breasted suit, stars and stripes pin, and blue tie.

Forget for a moment the quagmire in Iraq, the catalogue of mendacity that put us there, or the economy being to far in the septic tank that it will take Rotor-Rooter to save it. Forget the dropping approval rating that brought Bush to my screen to save himself, or the primary exit polls that show that 70% of both Dems and independents are angry and disappointed with him. I wanted to just look at the man. And within the first five minutes, I knew I wasn’t seeing a man – just a spoiled little rich boy who learned very early in life that if he goes on repeating the same lame excuse over and over, the parents, teachers, or the Highway Patrol who pulled him over drunk and coked, will eventually give up and cut him a break because his daddy’s connected. Here’s a toad-baby who has been totally raised on the shit sandwich vision of the world, where the more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat, and that, sooner or later, he will be let go if just keeps repeating, over and over, “But the dog ate my homework.”

Through the interview, Bush’s relationship with truth appears not just less than tenuous, he looks like a man who has memorized a set of flash-cards, and is desperately casting around for the one that fits the question. The rehearsed and ingratiating smile is belied by narrowed eyes that the suddenly dart right as he struggles, and the loud declamation, “I’m a Methodist”, that comes out of nowhere as he tries to explain how he’s creating religious pluralism in Iraq is little short of weird. He seems happy when, after a half hour on WMDs, and all the other lies that paved the path to war, the topic is switched to the economy, where he knows he’s on safer ground if he doesn’t quote any numbers and just keeps telling Russert that “tax cuts stimulate the economy.”

Bush stumbles over elementary words and can’t form simple sentences. And it matters, goddamn it. I don’t want to live in the same world as an obvious and over-privileged fool who has the infinite power to unleash a nuclear holocaust that could consume that world, but who can’t even pronounce nuclear correctly. I don’t want to see that cunning little grin as he tells Russert, on the matter of the his champagne draft-dodging, that, although there’s no evidence of his reporting for duty during a period that he was technically AWOL, there’s no evidence that he didn’t report. Huh? “There may be no evidence but I did report; otherwise, I wouldn't have been honorably discharged.” Huh? Then he moves on to talking about his going to Harvard Business School as though it was part of the Vietnam war effort. Huh?

I did, however, relish a tiny moment of conspiracist delight as, when Russert joked about both Bush and Kerry being Skull & Bones, and Bush laughed, “Number 322", as though someone, somewhere, understood what that meant.

After Bush I slept, but woke to more Bush on 60 Minutes, in the context of Jesus and that poisonous evangelical science fiction of The Left Behind Novels (www.theatlantic.com/issues/2000/01/001gross.htm), and the Christian toad people who believe the Rapture will come Wednesday, and rejoice that I – and the likes of me – will be left to suffer the torture of the damned.

But – oh my friends and oh my foes – this is perhaps not my most lucid writing, because today the candle feels as though it’s not only burning at both ends, but also in the middle, so I may not be totally making sense, (and some girl and logicgrl, there may be typos) but it’s from the heart and at least I figure I have one. The heartless toad people close in, and I need a drink as they look knowingly from the TV, and tell me “The Rapture will be cool.” Although another does inform me that, when they ascend into the realm celestial, they will lose the fillings from their teeth. Ha!

But, fuck, I will not be afraid. Angry maybe, maybe grim, but I will not bow to their Industry of Fear. And if they are the saved, let we, the damned, go on and party.

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Kinda short on fun today, after a long, dark and introspective night and fitful day behind closed draps. But Doc40 will post daily while the energy, audacity, and feedback holds up. So make the link a regular stop and tell all your friends. I think we have a fine forum going on here, and old Doc would like to see it spread as wide as possible. (And, oh yeah, today Doc40 got its first hit from Russia. Could it be the Russians are coming? I have a second of my books being published there.)

@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

CRYPTIQUE#322?

Sunday, February 08, 2004

LAZY SUNDAY AFTERNOON (close my eyes and drift away)

For two previous Sunday's, Doc40 has taken a day off and broken with the usual weirdness, observation, email, and rousing the rabble (hi, rabble) and run a bit of poetry. Today, it seemed like a time to break with that tradition and, instead, run a short excerpt from the unsold ROCKNOVEL that has been the bane of my creative life for over a year now, with publishers making gloomy remarks about how the Bush economy was in such terminal doldrums that mid-list authors who wanted to break with their accustomed genre, and write something in the contemporary-real should fuck off and die, because there was no capital to publish anything except cookbooks and Ann Coulter. Then the same publishers would go on to ask asinine questions like "is it autobiographical, or what?"

About the only good thing that came out of the effort was being sent off by my editor at Tor Books to write the big fat, and supposedly commercial, fantasy novel KINDLING which is supposed to be the start of a big fat series that will rival the success of Terry Pratchett who's work I find impenetrable, and can't personally stand. (For more on KINDLING, and its publication later this year, check the Funtopia page -- http://www.thanatosoft.freeserve.co.uk/deviancefiles/kindling.htm) Meanwhile ROCKNOVEL lays in my computer muttering to itself. "Edit me! Edit me!"

This section of ROCKNOVEL, which has some sex in it, I guess to cheaply pique your curiosity (see Doc40 Friday Feb 6) comes near the end of the book, which is the tale of a middle-aged and almost washed-up, ex-punk rock & roller called Max, with a rapidly distintegrating mind (the detatched parts), who is attempting to take his band one more time round the planet for a shaggy last hurrah, and encountering all manner of perverse obstacles. Here he attempts a New York reunion with a women he met in Paris earlier in book. And no, it's not autobiographical, although it clearly draws on my own experience, but with a big helping of what-might-have-been, what-would-have-been-nice, and thank-god-I-didn't-do-that-for-real.

(I kinda attempted to do the same thing a quarter of a century ago with The Tale Of Willie's Rats that can be downloaded in its entirety from Funtopia.)


But now, a Sunday sliver of ROCKNOVEL...

"Do you have a joint?"
This was hardly the outpouring of pent-up lust that Max had been led to expect, but he fished in the pocket of his coat, took out a cigarette pack, and shook loose a couple of joints. Remembering that Yvette was the unexpected stoner, he had come accordingly equipped. He handed her an unlit joint and his Zippo; the same Zippo with which he had punched Lee Magus back in LA. Yvette lit the joint and inhaled deeply. "I wasn't going to bring any through customs. Not the way things are in New York these days."
Max was suddenly struck by an uneasy pang. Was this just another proof of the old rock & roll road adage that you should never go back. "Is there something wrong?"
"No."
"No?"
"I don't know. Maybe I anticipated this moment too much. Now you're here it seems too real and not the way I'd imagined it."
Max didn't know what to say. "Are you telling me I'm a disappointment? Or if there's a problem, and you'd rather I wasn't here, just tell me."
Yvette quickly stood up and moved to embrace him. "Oh no, you're not a disappointment and there's no problem. It's just me."
Yvette stepped back and her robe fell open. Under it she was naked except for a pair of pale lace panties. He could not remember seeing Yvette look vulnerable before. "Max, just take off your clothes and hold me. I had all these elaborate plans, but then, when I got back here, I suddenly didn't have the mind or energy."
She sat back down on the bed and watched him as he did exactly as instructed. He was deliberate, not rushing, dropping his clothes on the floor like litter. He moved so he was standing before her, and then, slowly, and with a sigh, dropped to his knees between her spread legs. His arms went around her waist, and he rested his cheek on the softness of her thigh. She fondled his hair and sighed herself, but slowly her fingers gripped his hair more firmly, and she drew him close, steering his face gradually but determinedly to her cunt with one hand, and moving aside lace of her panties with the other. The more detached parts of him admired the aesthetic. God she was smooth, the girl fucked with real Parisienne class. As his tongue explored she moaned, alternately in French and English, her head rolling from side to side. Her red lacquered fingernails were beside his cheek. She was touching herself at the same time. "Oh Max. Oh Max."
Her back arched, her left leg was over his shoulder, and her heel scraped down his back. She let out a series of sobs and a long sigh, and then her muscles relaxed. She flopped back on the bed and pulled him up beside him. She kissed him, licking his face as though tasting herself. Advanced narcissism? "You made me come already."
The detached parts nodded like judges at an event. Pretty damn smooth.
"Lay on your back, Max."
Again Max did as he was told, and Yvette slipped out of her panties, allowing them to hang loosely around one thigh. Max reached for her breast, but she gently slapped his hand away. "No, don't touch me. This is my turn. Grip the pillow with both hands, and if you let go, I will have to tie your wrists."
She knelt beside him and took his cock and balls in both her hands, fondling him slowly, and all the time watching what she was doing, and the effect that it was having, with a rapt attention. By the time she leaned forward and kissed the tip of his cock, he was so hard he ached. He groaned and she whispered softly. "Don't move. Don't you dare move. And don't you dare come."
She straddled him and eased him inside her. For almost a minute, she remained absolutely still, just flexing and expertly gripping him with her interior muscles, then she began raising and lowering her hips with a concentrated and tantalizing slowness. He wanted to grab her, to force himself on top of her, to flip her over so he was on top, and pound hard to his own orgasm, but she seemed to read his mind. "No hands Max. I told you it was my turn."
Even Yvette, with all of her control could not completely ignore the mounting pressure, her hips speeded up, and his own rose to meet them. They ground hard against each other, gasping and moaning until they both screamed together, his wordless cry being approximately one octave lower than hers. She fell forward on his chest, with Max still inside her, treated him to a series of aftershock spasms. They only disengaged and disentangled from each other very slowly, with deep sighs and a long lingering wordless appreciation of what had just transpired. Yvette was the first to light the inevitable cliche cigarette, and Max followed suit, rising from the rumpled bed, and walking naked to where he had left his scotch. The ice had melted, and it had the caramel taste of whiskey and water.
"I have a lover in Paris."
The words were toneless and her voice without inflection, so they sounded more like a statement of fact than the true confession that it most certainly was. Max supposed he was pleased that this admission of complication had only been delivered after they had fucked to such mutual satisfaction. "I kinda suspected something of the sort. How long have the two of you been together?"
"Four years."
"You live together?"
"No."
Max was surprised. "You don't?"
"It's a little more complicated than that. He has a wife and two children."
"Ah." Max could think of no other response.
Yvette sat up on the bed and wrapped a sheet around herself. "For the past four years I have been the mistress of Jean-Pierre Lafarge."
The detached were intrigued. This was a ride. First smooth and now big-time mysterious. "Who the fuck is Jean-Pierre Lafarge?"
"He's tipped to be the next leader of the Socialists."
"You are fucking kidding me? You're a politician's mistress?"
"At least he's a leftist."

IN OTHER NEWS

The two headed baby has died, sad, I suppose, but now I don't have to think about the consciousness of the second head any more.

EMAIL

The ever precise Sir Henry CB observes, re Rosie the Virginity Vendor (see yesterday)...

She's not selling her virginity, she's selling her hymen, which I suppose is worth something to someone, assuming she didn't lose that due to lesbianism or a pubescent biking accident or in gym. And speaking of bung, perhaps others can start selling hitherto unpummelled anuses, gender unspecified. Go to: ebay.com/glory holes/minty fresh

CRYPTIQUE -- Mein Fuhrer, I can walk!