Friday, December 31, 2004

Unless someone asks the Deviants to play, I no longer go out on New Year’s Eve, considering it amateur night for drunks, with overpriced drinks, surly bartenders, and gouging cabs. Plus, here in LA we have the added attraction of the vatos locos firing their Uzis at the moon at midnight. Although that doesn’t worry me any. I don’t believe there’s a stray bullet with my name on it, plus I’ve heard a lot of opposing theories about what happens when rounds fired in the air come back down.

Thus 12/31 finds me at my computer attempting to process...

Since I freely admit truly I can’t get my mind around a vast natural disaster except in the abstract, or by tightening down to the tiny details. (Like Eisenstein’s glasses on the steps.)
Just now some TV news show bleeped two words from a Tsunami home video, presumably "Fucking Jesus!", a very Australian reaction to the apocalyptic wall of water. Seemed to say too much about our cowardly new world. Accordingly I did a quick cull of the agitweb (with the help of the excellent Peoples’ Daily Briefing) for other reactions and came up with the following...

ANIMALS (esp elephants)



Gloucester said (although I can’t recall in which damned play.) "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods. They kill us for their sport."

The secret word is Lang

CRYPTIQUE...if on time you depend.

Cleveland -- Authorities are investigating a mysterious laser beam that was directed into the cockpit of a commercial jet traveling at more than 8,500 feet. The beam appeared Monday when the plane was about 15 miles from Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, the FBI said. The pilot was able to land the plane, and air traffic controllers used radar to determine the laser came from a residential area in suburban Warrensville Heights. In Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday night, two pilots reported green pulsating laser lights shined into their cockpits. Both the passenger plane and a cargo plane landed without problems.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

There is more money being spent on breast implants and Viagra today than on Alzheimer's research. This means that by 2040, there should be a large elderly population with perky boobs and huge erections and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them.

The secret word is Huh?


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

I guess it’s serious when I find myself quoting bloody Ayn Rand, if only for effect. The planet twitches, a nervous twitch, and 100,000 and maybe more are dead. How can that be reconciled with the storm outside my window, that Newton the cat doesn’t like the thunder, or that I spent half yesterday fighting a inundation of pop-ups? (Or that Bush thinks that $35 million in disaster aid – far less than he’s spending on his fucking inauguration – is going to really help? Isn’t that like $350 per fatality?) I guess it has to be reconciled, the micro and the macro, otherwise we go insane.

But what happens when the Earth actually screams?

Meanwhile here’s a scarey Simon Winchester piece from the New York Times along the same theme...

The secret word is Helpless

The software Ad-Aware seems to have worked very nicely, thank you. But now I ponder what dumb bastard thinks advertising that interrupts my work, wastes my time, ruins my day, and gives the impression it’s destroying my computer is going to make me buy their fucking product. Are you capitalists terminally half-witted?

CRYPTIQUEGet off of my cloud.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

"So far so good," he muttered with the unease of a guy defusing a bomb and wondering if he should cut the red wire.

The secret word is Trepidation.

The secret word is Fuck this shit.

CRYPTIQUE -- Die you bastards!!

Friday, December 24, 2004

Even though I earlier found myself subjected to a featurette about Paris Hilton’s Christmas on one of the tv gossip shows, which almost made me give up on the whole thing...

The secret word is Wassail

With the voyeurism that is such a part of the internet, I’m just a stone fool for the Next Blog button. Today I came across a very nice man who was against the war and posted pictures of his cats in the snow, and had been looking at some Red chat rooms where he discovered the following post from a character called Joe M. Richardson, who may be the real voice of middle America, in the subject of the soldier who had complained to Rumsfeld that his Humvee was a bunch of defenseless junk : "The duped soldier should be put at the very front of the action, no armor. The cooperating sergeant's career should be over and maybe become MIA. Pitts and all his cronies should be executed as traitors. We are fighting a war, the debate is over, you’re either for us or against us, there is no middle ground. I say start executing the leftists in our country, soon."
Is it just that’s it’s Christmas, or do I detect a decidedly biblical echo in Joe’s desire to put the unfortunate grunt in the front line. Wasn’t this what King David did to the husband of one of his royal fuck-bunnies? I also wonder why Joe wants us killed soon rather than right now. Nothing more lame than a procrastinating Nazi. Or maybe there’s something he wants to watch on the History Channel.

CRYPTIQUEHardly bright and certainly not calm.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

(Incidently, Billy Oblivion is doing a great jingle bell rock over on the monster comments board.)
Q – Why is America overweight?
A – It gave up smoking.
(And before you Brit homies laugh too hard, remember you’re on the same slippery, non-smoking slope.)

God is always being "used" by those that desire to control the citizens of their nations and to "move" them in the desired direction -- it has never worked and is doomed to failure here in America -- but what will be the cost? – Longrider

If you want entertainment, you can get a couple of hookers and an eightball. – Sean Penn

The secret word is Cough

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Another wartime Christmas? Tet offensive? The Battle of the Bulge? Looking up from Iraq on TV, I can’t help thinking about those poor dumb bastards in France in WW1, the idiot grunts, Brit and German, who climbed out of their trenches, kicked a soccer ball around, toasted each other in gin and schnapps, and whatever else they had to hand, sang Silent Night, and then some bloody officer in polished boots blew a whistle, and they all went back to slaughter-as-usual. We used to get regaled of that story in school as though it was something good. The mind boggles.

CRYPTIQUEDrive on, it don’t fucking matter.

The secret word is Conifer

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

CHRISTMAS CRYPTIQUE -- You gonna see me coming in a big black Cadillac

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Real weird, real paranoid, and real big fun (and, by some very odd syncronicity) there’s what seem to purport to be a picture of the phenomenon mentioned below)...


I discovered this tale, both cautionary and spooky, while I was reading about something else. I failed to make a note of it’s origin, but it might have been the London Guardian.

Eskimos and scientists report a strange "lightness at noon" that is turning the usual all-day darkness of the high Canadian Arctic into twilight, apparently in defiance of natural laws. Canadian government officials say it may be the result of an unusual atmospheric phenomenon caused by global warming. Inuit hunters are telling the government's weather station at Resolute Bay - Canada's second most northerly village, 1,000 miles from the North Pole - of a new light in the sky. And Wayne Davidson, the Canadian government official who runs the station, says he believes it is caused by climate change. For the past five years, Mr Davidson says, there has been a growing light along the horizon in the middle of the day in winter. "The entire horizon is raised like magic, like the hand of God is bringing it up," he says. But Mr Davidson's investigations, backed by other scientists, suggest a more prosaic explanation. Warmer air, from global warming, is overlaying the cold air of the Arctic and the interface between the two creates a kind of "mirror in the sky" which reflects the sun's rays from further south.

The secret word is Population.

CRYPTIQUE -- Elvis gotta be worth more than $100,000,000

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I can only think that if you take all of the intolerable religious nuts from Europe, toss them out into a huge continent to kill Indians and mate with their cousins, and give them maybe a hundred and fifty years to turn a prairie into a shopping mall, you will come up with a culture that can marry cybertech and ancient ergot visions into something as totally insane as the Rapture Index.

Fortunately some can mock.

The secret word is Smite

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

I walk alone onto the stage, seriously wondering if, this time, I have gone completely too far. I am about to read unaccompanied poetry to a audience whose first language is Japanese. Also the show is running late and the drag queens who have the club for the midnight matinee are already reshaping their eyeliner and showing signs of the totally international (and maybe even interplanetary) Miss Thing-style "Oh p-LEASE!" The room is very crowded with what has to be neo-Furry Freak Tokyo, but the silence is complete. Small but elegant, purple covered booklets of Yukiko’s translation have been distributed through the crowd, but that hardly guarantees that everyone will follow the metaphoric bouncing ball. The first move in this piece of theatre is that my left hand, the one holding the blue binder of words to be spoken, has started to shake, and I must will it still. I have to fill the room with my voice and bend it to my pleasure. Or I disembowel myself with my sword, right?. Accordingly I put my voice on the tightest leash and lower it a deliberate half octave, letting gears grind to the max. This will be the last time and, if I can’t speak in the morning, it don’t mean fucking nothing.
"All his life he walked with the demon, from the Radium Room to the Palace of Mirrors, From the Place of Skulls to the Canadian Border..."
I growl and stagger the tempo. After four stanzas, I stop, because the first piece is short, and I drop a very non-Japanese, Three-Musketeers, bow-with-a-flourish, announcing that the first "song" is over. It’s an interesting silence by a room full of people who didn’t know what to do. They probably would have be-bop finger-popped if they had been so-instructed up front. Then someone (maybe one of my own crew) applauds. The room follows suit. I thank them and go into the second piece with all the method I can muster. At the end, I again lower my book and bow. This time the applause is instant and quite enthusiastic. Ha! I can get through this. I can. I can. The room has collectively twigged. Later, when we rocker poets have departed, there may well be a drag queen lipsyncing to Marlene Dietrich singing in German. Who knows? Who cares? This is performance art and my only responsibility is to perform and damn the consequences. I know exactly where I am. Off to the races. Didn’t Eddie Izzard assure me it was all about presentation. After the show a young man tells me my voice is "like electric guitar." He means it as a compliment. "Well thank you kindly and bless you, me old china*-san." (*For those who translate – Cockney rhyming slang; china=china plate = mate=pal.)

It could be that this is only working because it’s Blue Velvet Night in the Blue Chamber, which is unusual in any language. BVN is a weird performance homage to a culture thread that stretches from the Warhol Factory to Twin Peaks. It is run by Gaku Torii, the most forceful individual I have met in all of Japan and something the local – but far better organized and mortally adept – Lester Bangs. The Blue Room itself is owned by Madam Togawa, a famous and venerable Tokyo chanteuse and mystery writer. She is a grande dame in the grand manner, and her club has an old-school, gay-bar, cocktail-decor ambiance, and the dressing room is a sitting room with brocades, silk flowers, and huge pictures of Edith Piaf – instead of the usual cupboard under the stairs with some broken furniture and endless band graffiti. Madame holds court in surgical mask and Raybans. Her young assistant informs me Madame has a cold. She is thus drinking vodka today. I order a Jack and we toast, exchanging books and pleasantries. Then she leaves us musicians to our nerves and preparations, but returns at showtime in some flowing Lauren Bacall number. Exiting we embrace. This could be happening anywhere from Tokyo to Buenos Aires and is just so damned cool.

By a miracle of left brane-string Zen synchronization, I walk into the super-psychedelic UFO Club at precisely the moment I am required for sound check. It’s a little chilly out. The wind is off Godzilla’s famous Tokyo Bay, and I am wearing my ankle-length, Matrix-Welldressed, high showing-off coat with all the buttons. (See pic 09 in the Funtopia report.) Some wag on the soundboard inexplicably calls, "Good morning, captain." I step nimbly to the stage and Beefheart the vocal mike. (Straight stand, please.) "Good morning to you son. Do you need another mule skinner, on your mumble mumble." (So what is the fourth fucking line of Mule Skinner Blues on the spur of the moment?) Laughs in the room. Thus is international rock humor conducted.

I have whined about how I miss hotdogs, and the Japanese equivalent of a Tom Parker foot-long has showed up with the latest round of Kirin draft. Holy heck. Japan is turning me into some stoner Charlie Chaplin, and, in silent-movie mode, I slice the singularly phallic object into bite sized slices and offer it round as is the custom. The comrades find this cracking-up droll, including the fact that I seem to be addressing the sausage as Colonel Parker even if I’m not fully communicating the obscure historical connection. We seem to spend a lot of time in cafes across the street from clubs, drinking beer and sharing snacks in the abyss of hours between sound check and show. We also spend a hell of a lot of the time laughing. I eat everything that’s put in front of me, but shamelessly demand a fork. The Japanese spend much time eating, but small amounts and slowly, and I see no fat people. What I do see is a lot of musicians. Tokyo and Osaka cats, refugees from punk and glam and glitter and every past fad you care to name, but now tough or crazy and seeming checking out my apparently minor-legend condition. They show up at shows, but they also show up at the interim café. Some are earnest and respectful and others are slapstick drunk like Crazy Motherfucker in Nagoya, a lunatic with Afro and goatee who was seemingly once in some famous bands, but now seems to be huffing cleaning fluid and drinking beer like a more survival-orientated Steve Took, but, of course, his girlfriend may be a t-shirt mogul. Who knows?

Another piece of rock humor. Ken and Nabeji have taken to breaking into Heartbreak Hotel at sound checks. At first it’s a goof and then we find that we really like playing it. It becomes an encore. Even though I’m singing it more like a monotone Howling Wolf than Elvis Presley, the tune has a real bulldozer of an impact. You can hear the first two lines as they the strike the audience’s conditioned and universal, rock & roll instincts. A new place to dwell. Musical mortar fire and damn but it’s fun. Plus it don’t need no stinking language.

I have to here thank Kanzawa, who was assigned to lift my bags and tote my bales and without whom I might have been wholly screwed in some of the more physically stressful, Dexter Gordon, getting-on-and-off-trains moments. Good looking out, bro. Thank you.

(A somewhat less subject account and loads of pics of my recent Japanese adventure are posted on Funtopia. Hit the link up on the right, and then go to the news page.)

The secret word is Breakfast

Check out this measure of madness.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The following comes from HCB...
Hi Mick
Nice report from Japan--looking forward to more. Thought you might like this business I sent to my producer in Ireland last week...

Hi Hugh,
Indecency Complaints Come from One Group, Says Report 6 Dec 2004
The startling rise in indecency complaints -- from fewer than 350 in 2000 and 2001 to 14,000 in 2002 to 240,000 in 2003 -- was attributed Sunday to a single activist group, the Parents Television Council, part of L. Brent Bozell's conservative Media Research Center. Mediaweek reported that an FCC analysis of the complaints dated Oct. 1, 2004 found that 99.9 percent of all indecency complaints had been brought by the PTC. The trade publication's report came only two days after FCC Chairman Michael Powell wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed article: "Advocacy groups do generate many complaints, as our critics note, but that's not unusual in today's Internet world...that fact does not minimize the merits of the groups' concerns." But Jonathan Rintels, head of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, an artists' advocacy group, told Mediaweek that its report demonstrates how "a tiny minority with a very focused political agenda is trying to censor American television and radio."

So I went to their site and found this stuff:

"Cable television is rife with the most licentious, decadent and perverse content imaginable. Our report shows that obscene language and graphic sexual content are readily available on advertiser-supported basic cable," said L. Brent Bozell, president of the PTC. For this report, the PTC looked at original series that aired during all times of the day, from early afternoon to late at night, on seven channels that are included in virtually every basic and expanded basic cable package: MTV, Spike TV, Comedy Central, TBS, E!, FX and ESPN. In recent years, these networks have featured explicit dialogue, scenes with strippers and nudity, threesomes, masturbation, anal sex, oral sex, statutory rape, sadism/masochism, bestiality, incest and forced sodomy/rape."

In other words, everything that makes life interesting. Here's some more:

FCC OKs Sexually Graphic Content for Families, But Newspapers Reject Same Content as "Too Explicit" for Ads.
Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Parents Television Council, the nation’s most influential advocacy organization protecting children against sex, violence and profanity in entertainment, reports that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved television content that is so offensive that virtually every major newspaper in America has rejected the same content for their adult readership. PTC members filed complaints with the FCC about the indecent content of FOX’s Keen Eddie and the WB’s Off Centre in 2003, and the FCC rejected both complaints last week. Thus, FCC Chairman Michael Powell, Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Kathleen Abernathy believe the following is suitable, decent programming acceptable for children:

Content from Keen Eddie (Aired June 10, 2003; 9:00 pm ET/PT, and 8:00 pm CT/MT) The plot featured a band of thugs trafficking horse semen and hiring a prostitute to perform a sex act with a horse, so as to extract the semen from it.
Prostitute: "No, that’s not natural!"
Thug: "Extraction for insemination. If you look at the picture on page 45 you’ll see how natural it is."
Second Thug: "You’re a 40-year-old filthy slut, you’ll do anything."
Prostitute: "With a human."
But the prostitute agrees to go through with it, except the horse suddenly drops dead, at which point she says, "I never laid a finger on it. I lifted up my blouse, that’s all… He needs to get aroused."

Content from Off Center (Aired October 10, 2002; 9:30 pm ET/PT, and 8:30 pm CT/MT)
Dr. Wasserman: "How are those penises? Mike, has the, uh, redness gone away? And what about the flaking and peeling? Are you still using the lotion twice a day?"Mike: "Yeah, yeah. Sometimes more. I broke up with my girlfriend."
Dr. Wasserman: "How’s uh, old ‘Snuffleupagus,’ huh? I hope you remember that the uncircumcised penis poses challenges to hygiene. I mean, smegma may be a funny word, but it's no laughing matter, believe you me."

PTC president Brent Bozell responded, "This is revolting. When did the concept of hiring a prostitute to have sex with a horse become an acceptable community standard? Chairman Powell, when did filth like this become decent? American families deserve more from the FCC in protecting our children from overtly indecent content." To prove how obscene this dialogue is, the PTC submitted advertisements that contain the newly FCC-approved content from both shows to USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. All of the newspapers rejected the ads. The Los Angeles Times called the ad "too explicit." USA Today said that, "Our newspaper is distributed in schools and we too believe children shouldn’t be reading such material." The Washington Post said that the ad is "not acceptable for family viewing." The New York Times said that, "there are a number of words and descriptions in this advertisement that we do not accept in this newspaper."
Nice of them to run the dialogue verbatim. Now if only they'd show us some fithy, unforgivable pictures as well.


A highly flattering report from Yukiko Akagawa and loads of pics of my recent Japanese adventure are posted on Funtopia. Hit the link up on the right, and then go to the news page. And thanks to Yukiko and Rick for all the hard work. And having seen all this, I feel totally beholden, and am already writing a highly personal self-revelation in response. It’ll post tomorrow. Please don’t miss it.

Maybe I’m perverse, but, if you have to have Homeland Security at all, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with a NYC, thug-lookin’, cop-discount SOB, with a Gordon Liddy haircut and two mistresses, one of whom is sexy power-publisher Judith Regan. (Although James Bond would never leave a note to the wrong broad in his assignation crib.) Better than some Midwest Jesus Nazi, f’sure.

The secret word is Ribbentrop

Monday, December 13, 2004

It’s taken a while to process what was going on during my recent trip to Japan. For a while, all I had was a wealth of powerful but disjointed images – Tokyo in the rush-hour, sitting smoking on a rooftop watching the crows circle and the cats sleeping on sunlit roofs below, the awesome spectacle of Mt. Fuji from the bullet train, the soaring neon of pachinko palaces like a cardio-vascular monitor for Godzilla, getting my first acupuncture from a guy who knew Wilko Johnson, but not really understanding it. Then I started to realize that what I ‘d accomplished was to at least rise to meet a challenge the extent which I still wasn’t really grasping. On my previous excursion I had been with the 1999 incarnation of the Deviants – Andy Colquhoun, Rick Parnell and Doug Lunn. It had been an experience and a whole lotta fun. This time round I was going totally on my own, and the ramifications of that were greater than I’d realized, even as I boarded the outward bound JAL flight from LAX.

A band provides it own capsulized sense of self, of nationality and identity. The experiences, the highs and the problems are shared. You are all inside looking out, cocooned in a common language, individual familiarity, Monty Python jokes and where’s-the-beer? You provide your own filter on the alien environment. To paraphrase Bono, Outside Is Tokyo – but inside is the Deviants making the best of it. To go out and perform solo, somewhere were you may not be able to communicate verbally is something completely different.

In an Osaka Hotel room, I watch a Russian production of Chekhov’s The Seagull, in Russian with Japanese subtitles.

There’s been an awful lot of nonsense talked over the years about the common language of rock & roll, and, indeed, I’ve talked a who lot of it myself. Suddenly I was in a situation in which it had to be true or I was done for. Of course, the musicians in Ken Matsutani’s band Marble Sheep plus guitarist Nabeji had done their homework in spades. Ken had wanted to play some of the old tunes, and, while not adverse to the idea and happy to go along, there was no way that could perform material that I had written thirty five years ago that same as it was on 1968. The metaphor for rehearsal was that where once the song had been that of a young man’s desperation to get laid, it was now an old man’s song about maybe getting laid one last time. Tempo was made more determined. I would have liked to have said like Lee Marvin’s relentless and dealy footfalls in Point Blank. Perhaps that was too much of a stretch, but the message got through, and all was eminently clear, including how rock & roll music really was means of communication that needed little verbal augmentation. Suddenly my Japanese friends and I were even evolving our own cross-language catch phrases. One of the new lines that I invented for the 2004 version of the 1967 tune "I’m Coming Home" was "I have the key to the masterlock". Nabeji would grin at me across his red Fender. "We have the key to the masterlock" and we fucking knew we did.

But was the idea of reading poetry on my own in Tokyo to anyone who paid and cared to listen pushing the envelope a little far? Hubris? Insanity? For that you’ll have to wait for the next instalment.

The secret word is Arigato.

Seems that the National Audubon Society are suing 927 Fifth Avenue to get Pale Male and his family their nest back. How the homeless hawks are faring has not been reported.

A great piece by Frank Rich on the movie Kinsey and more Christian fascist fuss.

Friday, December 10, 2004

(Of course, it’s only Friday, but what the hell?) From the Seattle Weekly, Is George Bush the AntiChrist?...

And while you have nothing better to do, run a Google search on "George Bush and Antichrist". The results are pure dementia.

The secret word is Paraclete

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Shoot the guitar player? Don’t you just love the hungry metal freak with his empty wallet on a chain. I mean, what the fuck next? A lone gunman assassinates Lemmy? Are we ready with the conspiracy theory?

Forwarded by Master Bass Player Doug Lunn...
From Michael Moore...December 8, 2004
Dear Friends,
May I take a break from our post-election despairto share with you a little piece of happy/silly/cool news?"Fahrenheit 9/11" has been nominated by the People's Choice Awards as the American public's "Favorite Film of the Year." The five nominees were chosen from a poll of thousands of Americans in mid-to-late November. The other nominees for best film are "Spiderman 2," "The Incredibles," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (with Jim Carrey), and"Shrek 2." It is the first time ever a documentary has been nominated for best film by the People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards are considered, among all the awards shows, to be the one which most accurately reflects the "mainstream" public opinion in the UnitedStates. OK, now, here's the best part: YOU get to vote!Online. Now. Just go to...
click on the little circle next to "Fahrenheit 9/11" in the "Favorite Movie" category and press the "vote"button. Voting is going on now and continues only through this coming Monday, December 13, at 3:00pm ET, so send an e-mail to your friends and let them know they can vote, too. Winners will accept their awards live on CBS on January 9. Now, normally I wouldn't make a very big deal out of something like this. It's nice and I'm honored, but it's not exactly the number one priority on any of our minds these days. In fact, when we found out we werenominated over a week ago, I didn't even think to tell you about it or put it up on our website. But then a group of top Republicans took out a full page ad in USA Today (and placed a similar one in the Hollywood trade magazine, Variety) proclaiming that "An election is over, but a war ofideas continues." The point of the ad was to say that while they, as right wing conservatives, were proud of getting rid of Kerry, there was still one more nuisance running around loose they had to deal with – me! They also issued a not-so-subtle threat to the Academy Awards voters that, in essence, said don't even THINK about nominating "Fahrenheit 9/11" for Best Picture. And Bill O'Reilly recently bellowed that if the Oscars recognize my work this year, Middle America willboycott Hollywood.
Yeah, well, vote away. I live in Hollywood and I so don’t want to be boycotted by all those Red States. (yeah right!) So let’s all vote it up for F-911. Since the news that 99.8% of all the indecency complaints to the FCC come from one Jesus-fascist web operation, it’s about time us blue freaks got in some practice in the cyber-shaping of bullshit "mainstream" opinion. Scoring Michael Moore a People’s Choice Award maybe not as much fun as when Howard Stern listeners got Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf (God rest him) elected People magazine’s sexiest man of the year, but it’d be something to laff at.

Common dreams has on motherfucker of a scarey and succinct historical analysis...

Hipspinster has been writing some damned fine stuff.

CRYPTIQUESocial viciousness is oft cloaked by a sickening sentimentality. (He remarked as he hung himself with a yellow ribbon.)


I sometimes wonder why the wealthy try so hard to be loathsome. For eleven years, Pale Male and his family of urbanized red-tailed hawks have nested on a ledge on the baroque facade of a Manhattan apartment building. (And for those who don’t know the geography of the Upper East Side, you have to be double-plus stinking rich to live at 927 Fifth.) They have been the delight of New Yorkers and even the subject of a fabulous and way cool PBS documentary, but now they are being evicted to an unknown fate by condo owners. The disgusting event was marked by an editorial in today’s NY Times.

"There is no historic preservation district or landmarks commission for hawks' nests. But if there were, the red-tailed hawk's nest at 927 Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park at 74th Street, would surely have qualified. Until Tuesday, the nest stood on a 12th-floor cornice with a sublime aerial view of the urban forest in our midst. Since 1993, 23 young hawks have been raised there, sired by a bird called Pale Male. Thousands and thousands of bird-watchers over the years have followed the lives of the hawks in that nest. But this is not an homage to bird-watching - it's an homage to birds. On Tuesday, workers took down the nest and, apparently, the metal anti-pigeon spikes that had helped hold it in place. So far, no one from 927 Fifth Avenue has spoken up to defend the co-op board's decision to remove the nest. Perhaps residents were annoyed that the hawks didn't do a better job of cleaning up after themselves by using a pooper-scooper or putting their pigeon bones in the trash, the way a human would. Perhaps they simply wearied of the stirring sight of a red-tailed hawk coming down out of the sky to settle on its nest."

The secret word is Oink.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


The secret world is Rebop
If nothing else it provides great science fiction excuses for the fantastic, the impossible, and the absurdly psychedelic...

CRYPTIQUEI am very dubious about George Bush’s new Star Wars-style Commander-in-Chief jacket.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I have to confess that I spent the last week dozing deliriously in front of the TV with some kind of respiratory ailment, which is why I’ve haven’t been telling any tales of pachinko neon, Mt Fuji from the Bullet Train, the strategic brilliance of Osaka Castle, and the people in Japan who took such good care of me. I sometimes forget that I’m far from being as young as I used to be, and, at definite moments, the barnstorming poet felt more like Dexter Gordon in Round Midnight as I paused in some Tokyo doorway to catch my breath. But fear not, the rock & roll went off well – mainly thanks to Ken and the Marble Sheep and the specially recruited Nabeji, and even the seemingly suicidal exercise of reading poetry in English to a Japanese-speaking audience, even if they did have a printed translation by the splendid Yukiko Akagawa. One audience member even came up to me and said that I had a speaking voice like an electric guitar. It was a compliment, I believe.

CRYPTIQUEBob Dylan on 60 Minutes.

And here’s a depressing but crucial read from The Jackson Progressive...

And some military weirness...

Friday, December 03, 2004


I have returned from Tokyo more or less intact and am attempting to sleep for a week and place all circumstances beyond my control. Much to relate but it will require a essay. In brief, Japan was super fabulous, as were the folks I with whom I worked (Yukiko, Ken, Nabeji, Rie, Nabe, Kaoru – I love you all) and it was also very Japanese, so much so that back-in-the-USA now seems grimly American. More of this later, however. Right now...

The secret word is Knackered.

I leave you with this gem that arrived while I was away, sent by both Jack Lancaster and Doug Lunn.
Interviewer: Yogi, can you explain jazz?

Yogi: I can't, but I will.... 90% of all jazz is halfimprovisation. The other half is the part people playwhile others are playing something they never played with anyone who played that part. So if you play thewrong part, its right. If you play the right part, it might be right if you play it wrong enough.But if you play it too right, it's wrong.

Interviewer: I don't understand.

Yogi: Anyone who understands jazz knows thatyou can't understand it. It's too complicated. That's what's so simple about it.

Interviewer: Do you understand it?

Yogi: No. That's why I can explain it. If I understood it, I wouldn't know anything about it.

Interviewer: Are there any great jazz players alive today?

Yogi: No. All the great jazz players alive today are dead. Except for the ones that are still alive. But so many of them are dead, that the ones that are still alive are dying to be like the ones that are dead.

Interviewer: What is syncopation?

Yogi: That's when the note that you should hear now happens either before or after you hear it. In jazz, you don't hear notes when they happen because that would be some other type of music. Other types of music can be jazz, but only if they're the same as something different from those other kinds.

Interviewer: Now I really don't understand.

Yogi: I haven't taught you enough for you to not understand jazz that well.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


Meanwhile here's a free speech alarm from Wired...,1283,65734-2,00.html?tw=wn_story_page_next1

The secret word is Barbarian

Monday, November 15, 2004

I've been running round like crazy preparing for my trip to Japan. So no deep insights to post but here's message from Allen Ginsberg to encourage us all. (courtesy of munz)

The secret word is Solid

Thursday, November 11, 2004

This Yahoo News clip comes from some girl...
NEW YORK Sen. Zell Miller, who famously challenged MSNBC host Chris Matthews to a duel during the Republican convention this year, now may have to face New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. Appearing on Don Imus', Miller ripped the woman he called "Maureen Loud," calling her a "highbrow hussy from New York." He added that the "red-headed woman at the New York Times" should not mock anyone's religion: "You can see horns just sprouting up through that Technicolor hair." Asked by the New York Post for a response, Dowd said: "I'm not a highbrow hussy from New York. I'm a highbrow hussy from Washington."

Okay so it’s cute comeback from our Maureen, but it goes deeper. This is the fourth or fifth time in the last 48 hours I have heard a Red talking head repeating some variation on the theme that us Blues are losers because we "mock" or "make fun" of good folks "religious beliefs." And I haven’t been watching a whole bunch of TV either. The election’s gone but the kneejerk-phrase generator is still set on You-Can’t-Hide and pulling power from the shields.

And I write more on that in this weeks LA CityBeat...

Plus the good folks with the laughable religious beliefs are now beavering away trying to ban the movie "Kinsey." – Alfred Kinsey is responsible in part for my generation being forced to deal face-to-face with the devastating consequences of sexually transmitted diseases, pornography and abortion," said Brandi Swindell, head of a college-oriented group called Generation Life that plans to picket theaters showing the film. -- The Culture War opens more like water torture than Waterloo.

(But let’s not forget how the Red demographic ran out and bought generators and shotguns to ward off Y2K)

CRYPTIQUEShit’s outta control already, momma!


Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Doc40 takes personal time and turns over the helm to a highly pissed off Mr.MR.

The secret word is Orphan

CRYPTIQUEHe worships owls.

The following arrived from Mr MR this morning...
Fuck the South. Fuck 'em. We should have let them go when they wanted to leave. But no, we had to kill half a million people so they'd stay part of our special Union. Fighting for the right to keep slaves - yeah, those are states we want to keep.

And now what do we get? We're the fucking Arrogant Northeast Liberal Elite? How about this for arrogant: the South is the Real America? The Authentic America. Really? Cause we fucking founded this country, assholes. Those Founding Fathers you keep going on and on about? All that bullshit about what you think they meant by the Second Amendment giving you the right to keep your assault weapons in the glove compartment because you didn't bother to read the first half of the fucking sentence? Who do you think those wig-wearing lacy-shirt sporting revolutionaries were? They were fucking blue-staters, dickhead. Boston? Philadelphia? New York? Hello? Think there might be a reason all the fucking monuments are up here in our backyard?No, No. Get the fuck out.

We're not letting you visit the Liberty Bell and fucking Plymouth Rock anymore until you get over your real American selves and start respecting those other nine amendments. Who do you think those fucking stripes on the flag are for? Nine are for fucking blue states. And it would be 10 if those Vermonters had gotten their fucking Subarus together and broken off from New York a little earlier. Get it? We started this shit, so don't get all uppity about how real you are you Johnny-come-lately "Oooooh I've been a state for almost a hundred years" dickheads. Fuck off.Arrogant? You wanna talk about us Northeasterners being fucking arrogant? What's more American than arrogance? Hmmm? Maybe horsies? I don't think so.

Arrogance is the fucking cornerstone of what it means to be American. And I wouldn't be so fucking arrogant if I wasn't paying for your fucking bridges, bitch.All those Federal taxes you love to hate? It all comes from us and goes to you, so shut up and enjoy your fucking Tennessee Valley Authority electricity and your fancy highways that we paid for. And the next time Florida gets hit by a hurricane you can come crying to us if you want to, but you're the ones who built on a fucking swamp. "Let the Spanish keep it, it's a shithole," we said, but you had to have your fucking orange juice.

The next dickwad who says, "It's your money, not the government's money" is gonna get their ass kicked. Nine of the ten states that get the most federal fucking dollars and pay the least... can you guess? Go on, guess. That's right, motherfucker, they're red states. And eight of the ten states that receive the least and pay the most? It's too easy, asshole, they're blue states. It's not your money, assholes, it's fucking our money. What was that Real American Value you were spouting a minute ago? Self reliance?

Try this for self reliance: buy your own fucking stop signs, assholes.Let's talk about those values for a fucking minute. You and your Southern values can bite my ass because the blue states got the values over you fucking Real Americans every day of the goddamn week. Which state do you think has the lowest divorce rate you marriage-hyping dickwads? Well? Can you guess? It's fucking Massachusetts, the fucking center of the gay marriage universe. Yes, that's right, the state you love to tie around the neck of anyone to the left of Strom Thurmond has the lowest divorce rate in the fucking nation. Think that's just some aberration? How about this: 9 of the 10 lowest divorce rates are fucking blue states, asshole, and most are in the Northeast, where our values suck so bad. And where are the highest divorce rates? Care to fucking guess? 10 of the top 10 are fucking red-ass we're-so-fucking-moral states.

And while Nevada is the worst, the Bible Belt is doing its fucking part.But two guys making out is going to fucking ruin marriage for you? Yeah? Seems like you're ruining it pretty well on your own, you little bastards. Oh, but that's ok because you go to church, right? I mean you do, right? Cause we fucking get to hear about it every goddamn year at election time. Yes, we're fascinated by how you get up every Sunday morning and sing, and then you're fucking towers of moral superiority. Yeah, that's a workable formula.

Maybe us fucking Northerners don't talk about religion as much as you because we're not so busy sinning, hmmm? Ever think of that, you self-righteous assholes? No, you're too busy erecting giant stone tablets of the Ten Commandments in buildings paid for by the fucking Northeast Liberal Elite. And who has the highest murder rates in the nation? It ain't us up here in the North, assholes.Well this gravy train is fucking over. Take your liberal-bashing, federal-tax-leaching, confederate-flag-waving, holier-than-thou, hypocritical bullshit and shove it up your ass.And no, you can't have your fucking convention in New York next time. Fuck off.

Doc would also deny the bastards access to the Pacific – and end with...
FUNNY WEB LINK (from the Abominable Dr. Jake)

Monday, November 08, 2004

The worker’s flag was deepest red
It shrouded oft our martyred dead
But now it’s blue
And the blood will show through

No sooner is the election over than the Battle of Fallujah is underway. And from the way we’ve been softening up the city, the civilian casualties we’ll never hear about will be horrendous. And on the symbolic level we’ll be handing the Jihad a fucking legend. Pound a fortress/city with rockets, air strikes and artillery and then go in with infantry, it’s going to create the resonances of history; Masada, Hue, Stalingrad, The Alamo. Shee-it, George, there you go makin’ martyrs again. Even a dumb asshole like you must remember The Alamo.

The secret word is Conscript.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I guess the reason this election has left me so disabled (aside from the fact that I firmly believe that it’s the start of a theocratic-Nazi take over of America) is that we really did all we could. You, me, Springsteen, all of us, we pulled out the fucking stops, but still could not counter Karl Rove and the Coalition of Faith, or whatever that unholy evangelical alliance calls itself, because our side, somewhat ironically, still tote the kind of moral values that make it impossible to sink deep enough into the Harry Lime sewer where the fear is really manipulated.

Hilary Clinton reeks of blue. – Meaning we in the blue states smell bad.

Manhattan, San Francisco, and Hollywood are not America. – Well fuck you, Charlie. Manhattan took the hit and LA and the Bay Area are prime targets for the nuclear jihad that has you scared out of your chicken-shitless, middle American wits. Al Qa’eda is not going to bomb the mall in Skankburg, Oklahoma, okay? You breed your own fucking terrorists, stupid, like Tim McVeigh and the Columbine crew.

Filth – Heard the word a bunch of times today in different contexts.

Plus there’s acres of the usual crap about the Dems have to move to the right, embrace Jesus, and dump the homo rock & roll vote, plus all the Tucker Carlson giggles and sneers that are great for the Q-rating, but trickle down to the street to germinate the petri dish miasma of queer bashing and Brownshirt get-the-freak. Remember, the Michael Jackson trial is next up after they fry Scott Peterson, that could really be spun into a homophobic feeding frenzy.

CRYPTIQUETime for the fish to get back in the water.

I’ve been avoiding voter fraud. It ain’t my beat. But this graphic’s gotta make you wonder and ponder...

The secret word is Theory

Friday, November 05, 2004

Our President held a predictably gloating press conference today. (Anyone remember when he last held one?) He told reporters – "I earned capital in the campaign - political capital - and now I intend to spend it. That’s my style."
And lo, it was a style I immediately recognized. The style of an habitual drunk. As I in "I got the price of a round, fuck the rent and the phone bill." Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. Or as in the words of Little Richard, a faith based artiste if ever there was one –
It’s Saturday night and I just got paid
Fool about my money don’t try to save
(gonna rip it up)

The secret word is Ammunition

In England it's Guy Fawkes Night (unless it was banned by some quality of life ordinance I didn't hear about.) It's a native celebration of venerable domestic terrorism. I miss it.

CRYPTIQUE -- Pacific access denied.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The spectacle of the working poor voting tax cuts for millionaires makes me weep for this twilight zone of a country.


I see a nation rendered infantile, and vicious by the manipulation of second hand fear and demented bigotry. I really want no part of this mass of fools and their walleyed values. My disgust is that of one who has always believed in the people, but you bastards make it hard, going on impossible. Damn you all and the red states that raised you, I have no intention of compromising with your bovine book-burning stupidity. When the hell is your bloody Rapture going to take you and leave this life to the rational? I am hardly able to write. Fortunately Maureen Dowd can...

W. doesn't see division as a danger. He sees it as a wingman. The president got re-elected by dividing the country along fault lines of fear, intolerance, ignorance and religious rule. He doesn't want to heal rifts; he wants to bring any riffraff who disagree to heel. W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage. (NY Times)

CRYPTIQUEWhen democracy fails and negativity won’t pull you through (try violent surrealism.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I sense there's a lot of us seeking comfort right now, with little to offer except the fact that are still a lot of us, and what will get us all through is the mutual strength remaining good and fucking mutual.

Joe Hill is hard and grim, but correct -- "Don't mourn, organize."

Or there's Willie Dixon -- "Don't get mad. Get smart."

And there's always....

"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine." – Thomas Jefferson

All I can think of right now, as I wander from room to room, with rage vying with depression and rejecting the impulse to flee or at least go back to bed, is to post something I wrote a while ago...





As I was attempting to rationalize some perverse and unhealthy method by which to find the last twelve hours amusing, and also contemplating the romance of an old fashioned revolution with flags, marching songs, and hideous carnage, the following came from England’s green and pleasant.

Jeezus wept, just woke up to the news that the election is all but lost to Bush, and although thereis still a slim chance of Kerry salvaging it things don't bode well. If anything, I feel more gutted nowthan when Bush was elected for his first term. It's almost impossible to countenance the prospect of another four years of this madman and his puppeteers - not to mention the repercussions that this second term will cause down the years to come. But while there's still a slim hope....

And from Roger in Scotland...

Oh fuck.

The secret word is Suicide

CRYPTIQUEMartians went home

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

(Don’t blow on the other guy’s dice.)

And remember the choices...

(Last night Jon Stewart got on the Civil War thing, but remember you heard it here first.)

CRYPTIQUEMartians walk the Earth

Monday, November 01, 2004

(but they also call the wind Mariah, which always struck me as kinda dumb)


One of my favorite things. Infinitely preferable to raindrops on roses.

Seems like everything’s been done that can be done and we wait until tomorrow for the new phase of the horror.

In the meantime HCBeck sends this fascinating clip from New Scientist. Towards the end, I am strongly reminded of the process of walking while drunk, in which one achieves forward moment by leaning until off-balance and then falling while hoping one’s legs will respond fast enough to keep one from nosing into the sidewalk.

A control system based on chaos has made a simulated, multi-legged robot walk successfully. The researchers behind the feat say it may have brought us closer to understanding how people and animals learn to move. Standard robots control their leg motion either through complex computer programs or by using so-called genetic algorithms to "evolve" a successful walking strategy. Both these options are time-consuming and require a lot of computer power. Roboticists Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Shinsuke Suzuki wondered whether chaotic systems might also generate efficient walking behaviour. Chaotic systems behave in a way that means that small effects are amplified so rapidly that the systems’ behaviour becomes impossible to predict more than a short time ahead. Such chaotic systems are behind a number of phenomena, including the weather and the performance of financial markets. The Tokyo University pair reasoned that just as the chaotic maths that determines the weather can produce clear patterns such as hurricanes and weather fronts, similar systems might underlie the movement patterns involved in locomotion. "We, and animals, seem to be able to work out how to move in different situations without going through thousands of trial-and-error situations like today’s robot-control software does," says Kuniyoshi.

To test their idea, Kuniyoshi and Suzuki devised a computer simulation of a 12-legged machine in which each leg was controlled by a chaotic mathematical function. The functions were initially fed 12 parameters chosen at random. From then on, sensory information from each limb was fed back into the chaotic function that controlled it. The team found that certain combinations of starting parameters made the robot’s limbs rapidly adopt "walking-on-the-spot" behaviour, but the machine did not get anywhere. However, when they placed a weight at one end of the simulated robot (see graphic) they found that four of the legs seized up, allowing the front and back legs to dominate movement and let the robot scamper along.

The robot could also negotiate obstacles in its path. After scuttling about for a few seconds, its mode of locomotion would change to allow it to scramble over whatever was in the way. Although it was just a simulation, the software mimicked the robot’s performance in fine detail. Kuniyoshi is confident that the trick will work in a real robot. Remarkably, the robot performed these tricks without any conventional programming. And its behaviour emerged far more quickly than it would if it had used genetic algorithms. Kuniyoshi suggests that his chaotic approach may have similarities to the way that biological systems learn to move. "Many findings point to the presence of chaotic patterns in general in the human brain," says Max Lungarella, who researches artificial intelligence at the University of Tokyo. But Kuniyoshi and Suzuki’s approach is still unconventional, he says. "It diverges radically from the traditional way of thinking about intelligence." Roberto Fernández Galán, a biophysicist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also finds the approach intriguing, but he is sceptical about the Japanese team’s idea that chaos plays a role in animal locomotion. "It is surprising to achieve what they call goal-directedness with a chaotic robot," he says.

One last look –

Today some 250,000 Americans with mental illness live in prisons, the nation's primary supplier of mental-health services.

The secret word is Goddamnit

Sunday, October 31, 2004

"I know the forces of spontaneous, emergent Life are stronger than the forces of evil, repression and death, and the forces of death will destroy themselves." – William S. Burroughs (from a letter to Jack Kerouac, May 24, 1954) courtesy of munz.

And also thinking a lot about the internet and the mutating effect of a medium, as America lurches to what is looking increasingly like an inevitable cultural showdown. I wrote this back in march when Doc40 was but a fledgling, but I have been given no reason to change my mind.

For me, the internet has always seemed far more like a some middle eastern bizarre, a souk or casbah, part futurist, part medieval, a space-floating Interzone, unplanned, asymmetrical and labyrinthine, although easily negotiable by those who know, with narrow accessways between gimcrack structures, who’s flaws are hidden by hypnoswirls of niteglo color, and all the whores, hustlers, cutpurses, deadrabbits, footpads, swackdogs and gutter jumpers at which an adventurer could ever hope to shake his swordstick. Quack croakers with dirty instruments want to enlarge your penis, brothel-shills do it with domestic beasts, and that’s only the promise of better things inside, swarthy bunco artists whisper of fortunes in Nigeria, and politicians with corrosive blood want your money even more than they want your vote. Sexualized cartoon hentai-children retail their tears in darker alleyways, dancing in come-to-me display for dangerously scarred and mind-numbed teenage gunpersons on r&r from the carnage of their X-cubes, while dealers in long coats of a million pockets whisper transactionally of every dubious pill know to man and crustacean, to calm your mind, roll up your eyes, or keep you fucking to Sunday. Pop-ups like dirty grey beggars need beating, while mules look for their 40 acres, and the gambling games tell you there’s ninety minutes in every hour and a hundred seconds in a minute and the odds are in your favor. And you should believe that when pigs eat your brother.

And in the middle of it all, there’s Doc 40's Own Cozy, Leather-Jacket Gin-Joint, 24 Hour Global House Party, and Medicine Show, offering sharp conversation, bad ideas, honest politics, cheap stimulation, dirty concepts, and links to revolution, right out on the stairs. The girls are smart, the women wicked, the men at least reasonable, poets cut up, the aliens behave themselves, the cats help themselves, the fire escapes work, and there’s never a cop around – even if you need one. And that, my friends is why I attempt to keep it all going. Even if it is only a bunch of freaks on a stream of electrons. Come on back now, y’hear.

The secret word is Dorothy.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

(Leapin' lizards, Sandy, I’ve started writing in capitals, and soon my eyes will turn into blank discs. I think I have combat fatigue. )

The secret word is AWOL

CRYPTIQE -- It's bat country!

Friday, October 29, 2004


Gary (Pig) Gold’s tribute to Greg Shaw.

CRYPTIQUEAdunay vassu baragas.

The secret word is Friday

Thursday, October 28, 2004

In this week’s LA CityBeat, I pay tribute to Godzilla on his 50th birthday. (Although the "his" may be in some doubt.) In researching the piece I was amazed to learn that Godzilla and Gamera had never appeared in the same movie. Indeed, Gamera is not even a Toho Pictures character. Which is damned weird because it means that I have false movie memories of scenes in which Godz takes on the rocket-assisted turtle that never happened. Seems I can’t take my own word for anything, any more. I also didn’t have enough space to recall John Belushi’s brilliant portrayal of Godzilla as a terminal-Elvis superstar on SNL, back in the days before singers lipsynced. (Or maybe that never happened either.)

And this is a load of fun, and may also be made an instrument of cyber-voodoo with suitable invocation. (Think about it.)

Peter W. Galbraith in yesterday’s Boston Globe...
"In 2003 I went to tell Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz what I had seen in Baghdad in the days following Saddam Hussein's overthrow. For nearly an hour, I described the catastrophic aftermath of the invasion -- the unchecked looting of every public institution in Baghdad, the devastation of Iraq's cultural heritage, the anger of ordinary Iraqis who couldn't understand why the world's only superpower was letting this happen.
I also described two particularly disturbing incidents -- one I had witnessed and the other I had heard about. On April 16, 2003, a mob attacked and looted the Iraqi equivalent of the Centers for Disease Control, taking live HIV and black fever virus among other potentially lethal materials. US troops were stationed across the street but did not intervene because they didn't know the building was important.
When he found out, the young American lieutenant was devastated. He shook his head and said, "I hope I am not responsible for Armageddon." About the same time, looters entered the warehouses at Iraq's sprawling nuclear facilities at Tuwaitha on Baghdad's outskirts. They took barrels of yellowcake (raw uranium), apparently dumping the uranium and using the barrels to hold water. US troops were at Tuwaitha but did not interfere
Read whole thing fast because they start charging after 48 hours...

The secret word is Reptilian


HCBeck, after being off the air for a while writes – "It's all we need--rat brain cells learning to fly airplanes." and refers us to...
"A University of Florida scientist has grown a living "brain" that can fly a simulated plane, giving scientists a novel way to observe how brain cells function as a network. The "brain" -- a collection of 25,000 living neurons, or nerve cells, taken from a rat's brain and cultured inside a glass dish -- gives scientists a unique real-time window into the brain at the cellular level."

Meanwhile, John Dean of Watergate fame figures it’s all gonna end in civil war and I ain’t exactly arguing...
"It may be days or weeks, if not months, before we know the final results of this presidential election. And given the Republican control of the government, if Karl Rove is on the losing side, it could be years: He will take every issue (if he is losing) to its ultimate appeal in every state he can. The cost of such litigation will be great - with the capital of citizens' trust in their government, and its election processes, sinking along with the nation's (if not the world's) financial markets, which loathe uncertainty. After Bush v. Gore, is there any doubt how the high Court would resolve another round? This time, though, the Court, too, will pay more dearly. With persuasive power as its only source of authority, the Court's power will diminish as the American people's cynicism skyrockets. It does not seem to trouble either Rove or Bush that they are moving us toward a Twenty-first Century civil war -- and that, once again, Southern conservatism is at its core. Only a miracle, it strikes me, can prevent this election from descending into post-election chaos. But given the alternatives, a miracle is what I am hoping for."

The secret word is Willard

CRYPTIQUEStay off the junk and you’ll go far.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


Watching the clips of Ashley Simpson fucking up on SNL and, I hope, destroying her worthless career in the process, causes me to recall an Saturday Night of yesteryear, when Marianne Faithfull had blown out her trademark ashtray voice during rehearsals and then, as showtime approached, fell into the kind of thousand-yard performance panic that required her to get lacquered on cognac before going on camera. And still she pulled off an heartfelt and most moving reading of "Broken English", and finished with a nice curtsey in her leather jeans. But that was when songs and singers meant something.

I am becoming extremely interested in meme and, of course, the viral mutation of the mind and mass culture. All input is welcome. (

CRYPTIQUEWalking against the electronic wind.

The secret word is Manacle


Monday, October 25, 2004

I find it truly offensive to hear the unspeakable Bush (who never bore a burden or paid a price in his wretched simian life) daring to quote – and thereby liken himself to – John F. Kennedy.

Back on March 18th of this year, I wrote a long piece about wolves and how much I like them that can be found in the archives. Now the goddamned Bush campaign is running a TV commercial in which wolves in their habitat are made metaphors for terrorism. All I can scream is at least stick to your own species, scum. For the wolves’ view (courtesy of fidicen)...

"Britain's Armed Forces have enlisted their first Satanist after a naval technician serving on a frigate was granted permission to practice his beliefs while at sea" – MSNBC

The secret word is Bastinado
The archives, the links, the famous message board all seem to have sunk to the bottom. If you need them, you now have to scroll to the bottom. It may, of course, be one of those things that mysteriously right themselves after a while, so I refuse to panic. But dadnabit, fucking computer voting!!! Even if the machines weren't built by Bush's cronies we'd still probably get Little Richard as President.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

From the South Dakota Argus Leader
"A window sticker scarcely larger than a standard photo print has the nation's top elected Democrat and the state's Republican Party pressing separately for a criminal investigation. The white-on-blue sticker reads, "Vote for Daschle & Vote for SODOMY." A disclaimer alerts readers that fees were "Paid for by someone who loves Jesus. This ad is not authorized by any candidate of (sic) candidate committee." The mass mailing went out earlier this month to churches statewide. A select few homeowners with yard signs supporting Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle also received copies in their mailboxes."

Which is yet another example of timorous liberals finding themselves forced to fight the religious nutters according to the nutters’ designated rules. Me? I have nothing against sodomy, believing that it is entirely the business of the sodomite and the sodomized. Indeed, I might go so far as saying that I’m quite in favor of sodomy, given a suitable appliance. You can love Jesus all you want, okay? But it doesn’t give you the right to get on my ass, so to speak.

QUOTE OF THE DAY – "If you don’t see a sucker at the table, you’re it". – Amarillo Slim (professional poker player)

I’ve been kinda delegating the worry about election fraud to others, but this story really does need reading...


Read the latest from Dr. Thompson in Rolling Stone? Good, but not vintage, and he and I have also inadvertantly used the same joke in our election summations. Here’s a taste...
"It was the most brutal seizure of power since Hitler burned the erman Reichstag in 1933 and declared himself the new Boss of Germany. Karl Rove is no stranger to Nazi strategy, if only because it worked, for a while, and it was sure as hell fun for Hitler. But not for long. He ran out of oil, the whole world hated him, and he liked to gobble pure crystal biphetamine and stay awake for eight or nine days in a row with his maps & his bombers & his dope-addled general staff. They all loved the whiff. It is the perfect drug for War -- as long as you are winning -- and Hitler thought he was King of the hill forever. He had created a new master race, and every one of them worshiped him. The new Hitler youth loved to march and sing songs in unison and dance naked at night for the generals. They were fanatics. That was sixty-six years ago, far back in ancient history, and things are not much different today. We still love War. George Bush certainly does. In four short years he has turned our country from a prosperous nation at peace into a desperately indebted nation at war. But so what? He is the President of theUnited States, and you're not. Love it or leave it."

The secret word is Prosthesis

Friday, October 22, 2004

I had resolved to doze in front of the TV and avoid watching cable news all day at all cost, but TV and homie don’t play that, because all this stuff kept happening, as in...

All these nice people have been coming by from the new link at smirking chimp (see below) and finding me temporarily as smart as an egotistical post and as scattered as an intellectual diaspora. When I should offering them metaphoric cake (or death?) to insure that they all come back real soon, I’m sitting around in my cybernetic longjohns scratching myself.

Then Letterman showed a clip of a small boy who, while being used as backdrop for a Bushbite, began to shake his teddy bear to death with his teeth. I can only suggest Ritalin for the problem – but have no idea what to do for the small boy. (Rimshot!)

Earlier I watched Fidel Castro fall over in the shadow of a highly heroic statue of Che Guevara and break his arm and knee. A Bush spokesthing seemed to feel that it was a omen for the return of freedom to Cuba (like in Iraq?). When asked if he wished Dr. Castro a swift recovery, the creature snapped "No!" Ungracious I thought. DOC 40 SAYS GET WELL SOON, FIDEL.

(Also get well Jett!)

And then I caught the rumor that Bill Clinton wants to be Secretary General of the United Nations, when Kofi’s deal runs out in 2006, which seems like exactly the right gig for him. Should (horror upon horror) Bush be returned to power, we may need those unmarked black helicopters to save us from the Waffen FBI when Ashcroft starts the cultural cleansing.

Ron Suskind’s lengthy piece on Bush in last Sunday’s NY Times has been scaring the shit out of many. A clip...

"And for those who don't get it? That was explained to me in late 2002 by Mark McKinnon, a longtime senior media adviser to Bush, who now runs his own consulting firm and helps the president. He started by challenging me. ''You think he's an idiot, don't you?'' I said, no, I didn't. ''No, you do, all of you do, up and down the West Coast, the East Coast, a few blocks in southern Manhattan called Wall Street. Let me clue you in. We don't care. You see, you're outnumbered 2 to 1 by folks in the big, wide middle of America, busy working people who don't read The New York Times or Washington Post or The L.A. Times. And you know what they like? They like the way he walks and the way he points, the way he exudes confidence. They have faith in him. And when you attack him for his malaprops, his jumbled syntax, it's good for us. Because you know what those folks don't like? They don't like you!'' In this instance, the final ''you,'' of course, meant the entire reality-based community."

The full story (but hurry, I don’t think it’ll be free much longer)...

And for our Vulcan readers...

Check the thoughts of Chairperson hipspinster –

The secret word is Kenny

BUY A BOOK, SAVE AN AUTHOR. usually has my stuff in stock

The email is

CRYPTIQUE -- I'm beyond aroma therapy

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Yesterday’s cover story I wrote for the local rag got itself reprinted (is that the word?) on Smirking Chimp. Damn am I proud. Especially so because it’s right next to a piece by Jimmy Breslin, my boyhood hero among columnists, who I once met in the bar of the Mayfair Hotel on Central Park West.

I also got a note from BBC Radio 2 that something I wrote about the Rolling Stones in 1971 (gulp) will be read by an actor on the new Rock’s Back Pages radio show.

Now I am not so depressed.

The secret word is Implement

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Here’s a link to the thing I’ve been primarily working on and making myself nuts with for the last ten or so days. Not a subject that one wants to address while attempting to quit smoking and get in somewhat less sorry shape. If the War on Bush is to be conducted in a series of hopeless but romantic Jacobite charges, this is mine. For what it’s worth...

(And if one more chic liberal tells me – with that in-the-know tone – that a Bush victory has always been a forgone conclusion, I will personally, viciously, and without warning put a big major, Tony-Soprano hurt on the individual. For the reason that (A) it makes me depressed, and (B) it doesn’t get out the vote.)

The secret word is Snarl

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Well, I finished my election opus (all being well, it will be out on Thursday and links will be provided) and it almost seems like it’s all over for me, but here are two clips from The New York Times, by way of a little decompression, and because the bloody fight is still going outside the window...

"If Roe is lost, the Center for Reproductive Rights warns, there's a good chance that 30 states, home to more than 70 million women, will outlaw abortions within a year; some states may take only weeks. Criminalization will sweep well beyond the Bible Belt: Ohio could be among the first to drive young women to back-alley abortions and prosecute doctors. If Justices Scalia and Thomas become the Constitution's final arbiters, the rights of racial minorities, gay people and the poor will be rolled back considerably. Both men dissented from the Supreme Court's narrow ruling upholding the University of Michigan's affirmative-action program, and appear eager to dismantle a wide array of diversity programs. When the court struck down Texas' "Homosexual Conduct" law last year, holding that the police violated John Lawrence's right to liberty when they raided his home and arrested him for having sex there, Justices Scalia and Thomas sided with the police." – Adam Cohen
Full story...

"The reality is that the Iraq war, which was intended to demonstrate the feasibility of the Bush doctrine, has pushed the U.S. military beyond its limits. Yet there is no sign that Mr. Bush has been chastened. By all accounts, in a second term the architects of that doctrine, like Paul Wolfowitz, would be promoted, not replaced. The only way this makes sense is if Mr. Bush is prepared to seek a much larger Army - and that means reviving the draft." – Paul Krugman

And an old friend is blogging at...

And here’s a nice story about bears from Mr MR...

The secret word is Honey

CRYPTIQUEDon’t go up to the castle.

Saturday, October 16, 2004


Isn't it grand to watch bullyboy media blowhards go down. First Rush Limbaugh turns out to be a wretched squirming drug addict, and now (it's alleged) Bill O'Reilly is a creepo phone perv. Hardy-har.

(Forgot to mention that the link to the Iraq mutiny story was provided by some girl. Watch this story. It's the kind of thing the "legit" media quietly disappears.)

Friday, October 15, 2004

Still self-importantly writing myself into the ground, but these possibly crucial snippets floated past...

The Osama bin Laden, Chinese, October surprise...

And maybe the first mutiny in Iraq...

The secret word is Eggroll
I’m still working on the election opus,
but let me leave you with a riff on Farscape from LA CityBeat...

And some spooky inspiration sent over by fidicen
And when the last Red Man shall have perished, and the memory of my tribe shall have become a myth among the White Men, these shores will swarm with the invisible dead of my tribe, and when your children's children think themselves alone in the field, the store, the shop, upon the highway, or in the silence of the pathless woods, they will not be alone. In all the earth there is no place dedicated to solitude. At night when the streets of your cities and villages are silent and you think them deserted, they will throng with the returning hosts that once filled them and still love this beautiful land. The White Man will never be alone. – Chief Seattle, 1854

CRYPTIQUEHow forked is your tongue, amigo?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Oh yeah, the secret word is Headache
Right now I'm working on what will probably be my last big utterance before the election on the black arts of politics, so blogs maybe curt for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

It occurred to me while watching Jeopardy that Ken Jennings must be hell on wheels at crossword puzzles.

(For those of you who don’t live in the USA, or catch watch 36 hours of TV a day -- it requires multiple sets -- Ken Jennings has been winning on the quiz show Jeopardy for almost two straight months, and – on a show where winners normally walk away with twenty or thirty grand – has racked up close to two million in prize money.)

CRYPTIQUEQuick, before the drugs kick in.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I was watching the DVD of Fahrenheit 911, and, at the end, it occurred to me how The Who’s "Won’t Get Fooled Again" would have fitted so perfectly over the final credits. Okay so Neil Young’s "Rocking In The Free World" was mighty fine, but "Won’t Get Fooled Again" would have come so perfectly off the final words of the voice over. The story was that Pete Townshend refused Michael Moore permission to use it. With Pete selling The Who’s classics as wallpaper for Hummer commercials, my first reaction was to credit the refusal to simple greed. But, observing current electoral antics, I stared to wonder if Pete had been warned off giving aid and comfort to the left and the anti-war if he ever wanted to bury that cyber-sex criminal record from 2003.

Kaymo tells us of what maybe a new, previously unknown species of primate that’s been discovered in the Congo. Somewhere between a gorilla and a chimp, it’s big and smart and maybe a little hostile. (Let's not forget that it was kaymo who told us about the Spanish vultures who, after thousands of years, had decided to save time and do their own killing.

The secret word is Banana.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Sometimes I think my intellect is failing, but then I turn on the television.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

No one in the media has so far commented, or even seems to have noticed, but, at one point in the last Presidential debate, Bush attempted to blame the underestimates of troop numbers going into Iraq on his generals. Always dangerous for a CinC to blame failures on the generals. They tend to get pissed off and stage a coupe. I also recall that Hitler did much the same before he shot himself in the bunker. (Along with Eva and the dog Blondi.)

Attempts to characterize the recent Florida hurricane rampage as a meterological flook is kinda negated by the fact that the very same thing is happening in Japan with typhoon after typhoon slamming into Tokyo.

The debates in Photoshop (from fidicen)

The secret word is Woof

CRYPTIQUE -- Sell the car to Little Richard.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Americans seem somewhat upset that the English have screwed up their flu vacine. Did I understand correctly that the problem was at a factory in Liverpool? Payback, at long last, for John Lennon, perhaps?
In the review below, I especially love the phrase "zany yet brutal".

Thursday, October 07, 2004

When the workers aren’t paid enough also to be consumers, capitalism screws the pooch and the game is over.

While googling myself to prove I was really real, I came across the following very cool review of The Renquist Quartet by bookslut. I shamelessly pass it on because I am extremely fond of my vampires and would love for them to find a wider audience. They were a little – as they call it – underpublished.

The final vampire series worth checking out is Mick Farren's Renquist Quartet (which includes The Time of Feasting, Darklost, More Than Mortal, and Underland). Farren, a former rock journalist known for psychedelic sci-fi novels, started the series off with a mostly mainstream horror story of a colony of New York vampires thrown into disarray by internal politics and external hunters. However, with the second book, the series took a turn for the bizarre that had only been hinted at previously, as Farren established vampires (and most other supernatural creatures) as being the result of long-ago alien experimentation on earth. Had he taken the theory too seriously, the books would have come across typical cheesy sci-fi (or a late-series X-Files episode). But since Farren pervades the series with a sense of fun (while never letting the characters themselves be utterly serious about the world in which they live), we end up with a zany yet brutal world in which alien vampires mingle with ancient wizards, in which a vampiric Kurt Cobain and Lovecraft's Cthulhu can be found, and in which Nazi Mole Men and UFOs square off against secret US government immortality projects. At the core, though, the novels are still about Renquist and his crew of vampires as they travel the globe and try to make sense of the insanity. Farren's quartet manages to be a hoot, without ever tripping too far into the "humorous" side of the humorous horror realm.

And on the subject of reviews of vampire novels, Anne Rice has posted a unbelievably demented defense of herself and her vampires on Amazon, explaining at undignified length how she hasn’t jumped the shark, and apparently blaming a lot of it on her readers. (Unless it’s revealed as a cruel and unusual hoax.) Excerpts...

First off, let me say that this is addressed only to some of you, who have posted outrageously negative comments here, and not to all. You are interrogating this text from the wrong perspective. Indeed, you aren't even reading it.

You are projecting your own limitations on it. And this book is most certainly written -- every word of it -- by me. If and when I can't write a book on my own, you'll know about it. And no, I have no intention of allowing any editor ever to distort, cut, or otherwise mutilate sentences that I have edited and re-edited, and organized and polished myself. I fought a great battle to achieve a status where I did not have to put up with editors making demands on me, and I will never relinquish that status. For me, novel writing is a virtuoso performance. It is not a collaborative art.

If this reaches one reader who is curious about my work and shocked by the ugly reviews here, I've served my goals. And Yo, you dude, the slang police! Lestat talks like I do. He always has and he always will. You really wouldn't much like being around either one of us. And you don't have to be. If any of you want to say anything about all this by all means Email me at And if you want your money back for the book, send it to 1239 First Street, New Orleans, La, 70130. I'm not a coward about my real name or where I live. And yes, the Chronicles are no more! Thank God!

For the whole tirade go to , dial up her new(ish) book The Blood Canticle, and scroll down the reader reviews.

I still love Maureen Dowd – even though one of Doc’s lady admirers has laughingly threatened to "scratch that redheaded bitch's eyes out!"
"Senator Kerry evoked the voice of Bush 41 to get under 43's thin skin. The more Mr. Kerry played the square, proper, moderate, internationalist war hero, the more the president was reduced to childish scowling and fidgeting, acting like a naughty little boy who refuses to sit in his seat and eat his spinach and do all the hard things a parent wants you to do."

Our dazzling pal hipspinster has been out on the razzle...

And try this. It’s really worth the effort.

CRYPTIQUEHe’s drunk!

The secret word is Ovoid

Last night during the VP Smackdown, Darth Cheney defended Haliburton by telling viewers to go to to read all about his former company’s philanthropic innocence. I recommend you try it, but actually type the URL into your browser or the hilarity will not ensue.

I wrote the following book review for LA CityBeat, but since it was to small to make the website, I thought it’d share, now the issue is off the stands....
Ever had the urge to annihilate the individual next door who is loudly and ineptly learning an electric instrument or insists on playing bass-heavy post-Soviet disco at pain-threshold volume? Has anger reached the level were simple homicide will not suffice and you feel the need to level the entire building in which the culprit lives? Or did you just find those catapults in Return of The King just too cool? Either way, author William Gurstelle has the book for you. In The Art of The Catapult, he not only chronicles the plus two millennia history of catapult technology – along with notes on siege tactics, and the use of poisonous snakes and severed human heads as projectiles – but provides detailed DIY instructions to build your very own, environment-friendly, boulder hurling engine of death. Fancy a Macedonian ballista? A Roman onager? Or a reconstruction of the big English trebuchet nicknamed Ludgar the War Wolf? All are yours to command provided you can muster a minimal skill with sharp and heavy tools, protective eyewear, and all the other stuff beloved by Homer Simpson. Just observe the important swinging arm and flying object alerts in the diagrams and be the first on your block with artillery! Gurstelle’s plans are for scale models, but one can, of course, multiply.
Art of The Catapult by William Gurstelle (Chicago Review Press, $14.95)

Seemingly London bookies are now giving odds on which Simpsons character will come out in the new year. Favorite at 5-2 is Waylon Smithers.

CRYPTIQUEWhich format do you prefer?

The secret word is Clamp

Wednesday, October 06, 2004


Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Yesterday another hospital emergency room closed in Los Angeles. Since the late eighties, Southern California had lost sixteen emergency or trauma facilities. Only eleven remain. The cited reason is that hospitals are mandated by state law to provide emergency treatment to all who seek it, regardless of whether they can pay or not. Thus the problem is deemed to be the fault of the poor, the indigent, the homeless, and the illegal. Whether LA, a clear target for potential terrorist action now has the needed medical facilities to cope with such an event, or a major earthquake, or another urban uprising is highly debatable. In the War on Terror, funds are available to create a police state, or contract for a Haliburton-imperial, top dollar war of conquests, but we must not mention healthcare. Such talk hints at socialism and endangers the profit margins of inequality.

To ensure he doesn’t wipe out all trace of his highly creditable history, Ralph Nader really has to stand down right now with all dignity, or risk being chronicled as the looney spoiler of 2004, and maybe much worse.

"War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." – President John F. Kennedy

War Is A Racket
["if you've never read this masterwork, do yourself a favor" – People’s Daily Briefing]

And now take the Patriot Pledge

CRYPTIQUENo blindfold!

The secret word is Casualty