party game

fucked up now. party games pin the tail on the lama, skirt on the lager, hat on pope, and horse on Catherine the great. That was a fun game but back to the party. by the way It's not true i found out.


Purple Butterfly

A protagonist couple walking down the street, seen from a vantage
as if in a window above and in front and fifty yards away. She's in a school
uniform, or it looks like a uniform anyway,
benthic skirt and white shirt and a satchell bag.
He's got a suit on, open collared and off-white on off-white.

It's an asian metropolis they're walking through, yes
indeed, maybe somewhere we could
even put on a map.
They smoke an unfiltered cigarette without speaking and
don't look at each other.

It's gray that afternoon but the whores are dressed like butterflies
in robes or like kimono'd geishas without grace and covered
with glittering silken scales
their lizardy eyes and flickering tongues and crocodile tears--
adornments we never see coming.

When she turns her back to his alley
later, there is a hitch in the smooth brow and eyecorners
mouth parting slightly she inhales silently.
We all want her to turn back to her lover. But
this is years after and now he must be used.

Grief and partings are silent, howling faces thrust at us without
the shrieks we hear inside. She kills
another's beloved, who kills her, her beloved
bleeding out in a nightclub, in turn.
A pretty picture, and then to tie it up

the leader of the pack makes love to her abandonment
in a tenement before the assassination
where the telephone operater waited for her own
to return (his coat was hastily mistaken for another).
No one is allowed to get away with it, again.


luv dis song

jazzmetal @ tha sickest, all, chx 'straws pulled at random':
What solace lies in the arms of fate
-The ill embrace of uncertainty
When did I leave this in other hands
-To be pulled down at chance

Ripped away by destiny-claws
Am I another of fate's possessions
Dwelling the lie of freedom
Just another straw pulled at random

Reclaimed by deceiving time
A silent judgment I can not overrule

Drawn back into the origin-vortex
Uprooted and ground to dust
Retracted into anti-existence
A magnet repelled by life's polarity

Denied the self control of fate we flow suspended in semi-life
Until the ever imminent day when oblivion claims our breath

Nowhere indefinitely. Not dead, not alive
Existence-patterns ripped of symmetry. As will and fate divide

Have I appeased the gods of fate
Am I allowed another day
Must I die to escape the scanning eyes of death

[thx m. hagstrom, t. haake]

song 1st 2/3 iz 'bout tha rawest skanndanavian metal riffz, lst 1/3 'bout tha mos' beuuutiful sorrowful ('sright, bitches, i no that w3rd!) 5/4 rhythm w/solo. strained me neck bangin' b4 lef' tha house 2day, now gonna strain it 2x mo' when me gets home. YOU WILL BUY MESHUGGAH


Oh, shit, I have to get a bunch of work finished today. I hate getting up this early. Fortuna be praised I put on a pot of coffee last night.



Just when I thought of a solution it turned out to be a crock. Well, at least this trauma won't get me too fucked up. I mean, it's sad and all but I am not messed up for life.

It's just my bright, shining future that's been spit on and tossed into a fresh mass grave/latrine pit.

If you've ever been in gravity about three times as strong as normal, you'd know how I feel. Even my eyes don't want to come up off my shoes. If I lie down my chest might not lift enough to let me breathe. Then I'll just lie there, slowly suffocating, lungs crushed under the weight of my heart, unable to call for help, as everything fades out.

If I could cry, I would, but I can't, so I'll just drink. Ah, drinking. That will ease my pain. *Bourbon shot* Yes, alcohol will blind me to the reality of the situation. *Tequila shot* *More Bourbon* Now, my muscles are relaxing. My diaphragm isn't cruching my stomach into a painful ball. My ribs don't ache and my back is unwinding, and the sharp, stabbing muscle cramps are starting to go away. *Muscle relaxer pill, Bourbon shot* Aaah! Yeah, that's the stuff. Now if only I can manage to shuffle off this heavy coil while I'm dreaming... I hope I don't have to wait.
When I'm waking
And I'm aching
It's time for sleeping yeah
When I'm saying
Time to go and
I've been hurtin' yeah
When I'm laying
I'm still trying
Concentratin' on dying yeah
We've chased misprinted lies
We've faced the path of time
And yet I fight, and yet I fight
This battle all alone
No one to cry to
No place to call home
My gift of selfish rape
My privacy is raked
And yet I find, yet I find
Repeating in my head
"If I can't be my own,
I'd feel better dead."

[thanks l. staley, j. cantrell]

The world is empty, and I'm trying to fill it, but there's always more space to fill, and I can only stretch so far before I break. This is intolerable, but I can't end it. The only option is to fade away, slowly, rotting alive, a shade.


What the hell, what the bloody hell, what the god-forsaken bloody hell. This is outrageous. How'm I supposed to do my job when the people with the resources I need are fleeing the coop and taking my dissertaion with them. I'd like to wring their scrawny necks. I could kick ass and take names and kick ass again, damn am I pissed. I held out hope and trusted them and staked my future on them and what does it count for? Nothing. Damn this dependency I'm forced into, and damn the consequence if I to spout off a little or a lot. Make a man want to kill a motherfucker.

Fuck you fuck me fuck us
Fuck Tom, fuck Mary, fuck Gus
Fuck Darius, fuck the West Coast
And fuck everybody on the East
Eat shit and die, or fuck off at least
Fuck yer Mom, fuck yer Mom's Momma
Fuck the Beastie Boys and the Dali Lama
Fuck a shoe pump,
Fuck the real deal
And fuck all the fakes
Fuck all 52 states, ooh!
And fuck you!
Fuck the President
Fuck your welfare
Fuck your government
And fuck Fred Bear
If I only could I'd set the world on fire
Fuck the world (fuck the world!
If I only could I'd set the world on fire
Fuck 'em all (fuck 'em all!)
Fuck everybody in the hemisphere
Fuck them across the world
And fuck them right here

[thanks violent j]

Sounds like Whiskey Time, dammit. >:)



A big scholar is leaving my department. He was the only thing keeping me here. Since I applied, all three of the profs I wanted to work with have left (or will soon leave). Now I have no one. Nothing. No support for my project. No one with competence in my field to be my advisor. Little hope of getting into a place with better faculty who can support me. It's so wierd, it's like I'm floating.


oh shit!

supa villinz done fucked up now!

oh an did i tell u to go lissen 2 sum bad muzik?


Weather Report

The coming month will be marked by sexual frustration, intellectual frustration, and El Nino-style typhoons or creativity meeting over a low-pressure system in Tornado Alley--although our reports cannot be more certain, all residents are advised to take extreme cauting while outside in cloudy or sunny weather, inside while using water or dancing, sitting, reading, or breathing; as summer begins, expect extreme sudden changes in temperature and mood; according to this year's Framer's Almanac heavy substance abuse is likely to start at the beginning of May, a full month earlier than last year, and there is a 25% likelyhood of flash flooding in the lungs during the season change; although sunlight is expected to be slightly higher and temperatures likewise elevated compared to previous years, skin damage will be kept to a minimum due to an outbreak of killer bees carrying virulent debilitating agoraphobia Northward from Texas; heavy storms of self-loathing and self-destructive rage are likly high in the mountains of the Occipital lobe as well, but the Corpus Colosum is expected to receive little water due to the siphoning of the water table by the Hypothalamus and the diversion of the stream of consciousness by the Blog complex irrigation system in the lefthand Temporal lobe; expect shouts of triumph to ring from the mountaintops and fjords near mid-month, possibly accompanied by misty frustration due to administrative red-tape infestation; our seers and soothsayers also predict Naturism revivalists to be sequestered on Federal lands in the center of the contiguous forty-eight states (and swamped by West-Nile-carrying mosquitoes), where sunshine will bring in the finale to both the school year and, if all goes well, sanity--if only for six to eight hours.


Older Gentleman

A man had a party for a friend's birthday tonight. There were middle-aged people there. They disturbed me with their high-pitched voices and over-enthusiasm. It was nearly frosting. Cold meat was piled on the stove. There were two gallons of mayonaise potato salad; only one bite had been taken from it. The birthday cake was too much chocolate. The invitation promised gin but there wasn't any, the conversation was polite, there was boredom in the air. A pretty girl spoke at length with a number of men. She was sober. They were all too old or too young or too involved. The host was moving out soon, he said, he had to find a new housemate, and owned his own business. A man boasted he was confused with the brother of his son, by a clerk; his wife boasted more loudly than he about it. There was little or no debauchery. I felt aged, as I left, overdressed.


Hey Kids

Friends don't let friends cook.

Even though Freud said:
A few minutes after taking cocaine, one experiences a certain exhiliration and feeling of lightness. One feels a certain furriness on the lips and palate, followed by a feeling of warmth in the same areas; if one now drinks cold water, it feels warm on the lips and cold in the throat. One other occasions the predominant feeling is a rather pleasant coolness in the mouth and throat.

During this first trial I experienced a short period of toxic effects, which did not recur in subsequent experiments. Breathing became slower and deeper and I felt tired and sleepy; I yawned frequently and felt somewhat dull. After a few minutes the actual cocaine euphoria began, introduced by repeated cooling eructation. Immediately after taking the cocaine I noticed a slight slackening of the pulse and later a moderate increase.

I have observed the same physical signs of the effect of cocaine in others, mostly people my own age. The most constant symptom proved to be the repeated cooling eructation. This is often accompanied by a rumbling which must originate from high up in the intestine; two of the people I observed, who said they were able to recognize movements in their stomachs, declared emphatically that they had repeatedly detected such movements. Often, at the outset of the cocaine effect, the subjects alleged that they experienced an intense feeling of heat in the head. I noticed this in myself as well in the course of some later experiments, but on other occasions it was absent. In only two cases did coca give rise to dizziness. On the whole the toxic effects of coca are of short duration, and much less intense than those produced by effective doses of quinine or salicylate of soda; they seem to become even weaker after repeated use of cocaine.

It's still just bad. *umkay?* Anyway, if you find yourself with a dog nose in your orifices, you can blame it on Tony.



Suppose you've got to explain a quote from an article. Call it an "assignment", kind of like a journalist, or a treasure hunter. Now, you have the quote, and you're supposed to "explain what [this quote] means", and you have the article available to peruse. Does this suggest to you reading the article? Because to undergrads at this particular university, reading the article isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

Now suppose there're four terms/phrases in the quote, all explicated/defined in the article. Would you suppose that "explaining" means to disambiguate those terms/phrases? Because to undergrads at this particular university EXPLANATION APPARENTLY JUST MEANS FUCKING REPHRASING OR REPEATING THE GODDAMN PASSAGE OVER AND OVER LIKE A BROKEN RECORD OF A RETARDED MONKEY WITH SHORT-TERM MEMORY LOSS!

Take, to pick an example out of the air, the word 'adequate'. That word is used (let's pretend) in the article with a special meaning and emphasis and application. Now, what would you say about it? Surely not:
This does not mean that every person gets whatever health care they want but only health care that is of an adequate level.
That from [a relatively] good [student] in [the referenced course. --f.] I'm surrounded by boneheads. Maybe they're too busy fucking each other to do homework. I might forgive them for that.

Thank jebus I don't have to teach these little [people who enjoy the "tubgirl" website. --f.] I'd go (pardon my Francais) apeshit on their asses. Maybe soon we can tell these one-hemisphere-wonders to bugger off, and bring in the real talent.


Centrism exposed, with bonus foreign policy update

Semi-interesting goons in discussion over here. The topic seems to be what centrism is, and whether it's a value in politics.

So I guess there's centrism as compromise position. This seems to be a fairly good method where consensus-building is impossible or too time-consuming. It's expedient, and so can be a way to enact minor reforms that become entrenched and lay the groundwork for further reforms. As each reform is put in place and becomes the norm, the "center" moves in that direction. Thus, the right has been moving further right and the DLC folks, via "triangulation" that doesn't work without a charismatic leader have allowed the center to follow it. As rightist policy reforms are enacted, the push progress in that direction. Then even small leftward reforms begin to look more and more progressive and even revolutionary/radical and/or dangerous from the standpoint of being large rather than small perturbations to the system.

That leads to the other side of the topic, which is whether there is a preference for extremism in the sense of sweeping change as opposed to conservative which is opposed to change. (Witness the difference between this sense of 'conservative' and the sense in which conservatives a la Libaugh are actually radical pre-enlightenment-gazing rather than keeping up with historically traditional values... when you have to look more than 70 years back to find the values you want, they're not "traditional" anymore--they're antiquated.) In this sense centrism can be seen as a preference for incremental change, the increments allowing for judgments of efficacy and discovery of inevitable side-effects (under various of Murphy's laws).

The interaction of "left"/"right" views on what the world should be like with "conservative"/"radical" views on how we should go about getting there creates, in part, the confusion on what centrism really means. (Let us leave for another time the stupidity of dividing the political arena up into two wide umbrella camps that supposedly can be everything to half of everyone--this is just ridiculous, and I plan to ridicule it.) The "America: love it or leave it" crowd should, to be consistent, insist that nothing in america needs to change, since by definition it is the best of all possible countries. These folks are conservative in the sense that no perturbations to the system could do anything but bring about a sub-optimal situation. (Or, they're rabid nationalists who need to be watched lest they start wearing same-colored paramilitary shirts and arm bands). Other folks think there are places for improvement. This group includes almost everyone in all active political parties--no one runs on the platform "Let's keep everything the same" except perhaps Dubya. The extent to which one thinks reform is required determines how radical or to use the alarmist term, revolutionary one's thinking is.

And further, the above does not take into account what was mentioned first, the "centrism" of pragmatic compromise, where for instance even P. Wellstone would occasionally make a small sacrifice to get an important piece of legislation through, and where on the other hand a FL congressman can sell his soul by allowing oil drilling in ANWR in order to maintain a moratorium on drilling of the western FL coast. Here, centrism has to tdo with one's commitment to making everyone satisfied as balanced against getting things one wants to get done accomplished, i.e. answering the question what one is willing to sacrifice in order to forward a particular agenda item.

My own preference would be for radical reform toward entrepreneurial socialism and environmental restorationism (oh, how we love these "-isms"). But that has to wait.

Also, in national news, how about those clowns at State? What a bunch of clowns. Meanwhile, inside the quagmire we're really earning our exit^H^H^H^H victory via strategery.


Weather Report

A low pressure front accompanied by utter panic will sweep into the area this week; expect total paralysis and possible failure of all public functions until further notice; tornado season will be arriving shortly, as well.



sum ppl ax m3 f 1 tok lyx thif 4 @ r3zUn. oopz, sorry ^_^ yeah i do it cuz i think itz funny+amuz1n'. f u don' lyk 't, fx off. thx. (btw, 'qxn'=quaesto) an' no 1 d0n7 6o++a AOL scrnname, fx AOL/IM/IRC! n00b0rz n l4m3rz fxn w/me stylez, geddafugoudaheah.

nu music frm NIN i hear fr. 'ripsa is shiiitee. c'nt w8 2 hear 't, 'e sez 'e makez m3 a coppy. wuz lissenin' 2 prtty h8 mchne, 'tz a prtty kool albm (w3rd).

yeah so but a lot of people are like thinkin' that he duznt have tha juice no more, which is prolly tru. but 'f u think about it, 'e squeezed so much juice out tha 1st few yrs, he cn't've much left in doze nutz. after all 'e's like in mid-late 30s and thatz a time for settlin an babymakin' 'n' shit. so az an ode man he gotta leave a little 4 tha kidz (u hear 'bout him gettin a wife or sumfin? i aint hear that). but f not then f him anyways.

i mean i stuck tru when like evrybody sed t fragile wuz shitty overproduced, but itz not--'n besidez t. rez is a producer frum way back. i mean he have a live band fo sho' butt that don't mean he don' make alla sounz firs' in he studio. he do, an i like ta see u try 't. the man a str8 playa w/that protoolz+synths+he plays mean guitarr. 's only overproduced 'f therez no reason 4 't 2 b that way, but 'sposda be like a whole piece've muzik as in a symfony or conchairtoe conducted by tha composeur. tha hole album be like that, ovva piece, as they sez, an so fit 2gethR jigsaw-ly. a com-po-zi-shun.

but f tha news disc aint so good then fine i gonna not be so much a fan no mo', tho' i gotta b hones' 'n' tell u 'tz gonna be kinda like lissenin' 2 the final cut 4 tha 1st time: realizin' that best band done broked upp or fxdup or somefin'. mebby t. rez needz 2 go bax on smax? cleanin' up frm drugz aint rarely done noboddy no good just look @ missy e. gots me fingerz cross'd, out.


Stupid self-referential posting. I feel lame titling a post the way this one is. Unfortunately that doesn't exculpate my lameness.

Anyway, this link--which has been around the internet already, anyway, so you don't need to click it--pretty much sums up a lot of what I've been hearing about lately. The end of the threat of physical retaliation to person or property basically makes us internets denizens far worse than our real-life counterparts. Whereas if one fucks up around a high-ranking female where I come from you get basically shit on, on the internets the worst that happens is you might get your IP blocked.

It's also one of the reasons I f-ing refuse to do online chat anymore.


Wells up tragedy

The sun is setting. I've recently seen two people fall apart and crumple into a heap; there are two heaps, next to one another; these two are doomed.

One's name is Human, the other's Being
The latter shakes and wails, rages and cries, surges ahead
Storm in a china shop, teacup full of bull
Being knows itself, sees itself, names itself
Fractures mirror–defecates on the gravestone of past faces
Speaks in tongues on knows itself not
Bitter wind in ears is self-flagellation
Wounded under ideal conditions
The former is without connexion, lives next to
. Not in the world
Fully attenuated spirit like a ghost or transparent
Jellyfish floating in the deep sea
Neither at the shining surface
Nor Benthic depth but shadowed and empty
Waiting for a victim (too sorry for itself)
Or predator to come along, ending, inactive, insensate, life

Human but merely that, a body connected to a mind
Connected to a thought
Judgment from heaven caroms through
Soft canyons of feeling
Scoured under gales of fear
Speaks the cloudmouth, thus: Lo! News comes
News comes, News comes!
Thou Shalt Live Thusly:

And then the voice cuts, out
Whether Michael or the betrayer we
Know not–in our wisdom
. the Apollonian uncertainty filtering down
Ages of unenlightenment and confusion passed down
Poured into the vessel
Void of feeling waiting for fulfillment
In dogma, techne–-a mold into which
Passively poured
White-blue heat molten and fused
Weathered cold unmoved statue; it, now
Waits for reality to enter
. It is formed, fused, without substance
Sheltered as in famous folktunes
Intellect and turtle-backed against failure

Where what is has no vessel nor vase to enter in
Being is, and is different
Uncontained and un-articulate; disjointed
And lost to Archimedes
. Pointless, underleveraged, battered
Battened against entry through the dreamcatcher
Sharp edges and corners to snag
On mindward journeys to imagination
In which self is realized as whole
Only under cubist perspective, flattened, seen
The mirror unbroken reflects but irregular facets
Broken reveals everything to be indentical
. -ly unknown, in another way
Boundaryless, the difference
When it self-penetrates to burst forth
Of itself a creation or a substance
Letting go of either and piercing the boundary
(though there is none; this is discovery)
This feeling is sure knowledge
Solid unchanging through the rapid
Reformations and promised reformations
And promises to self for reformation and
Failure to fill in and outline without pouring back through
Entrance to the vessel
Frightens and constricts substance
. so long without form

Join, join, joy, join
A ploy
A language develops without onlookers
Privacy is made into a kingdom
Fantasy, its creation of impossible
Shapes and forces
A deed becomes, a thing is infused
With action, for its magic
Is substance and form suf-fused
Powerful together and thrumming
Neither of our subjects has this
Can have this, wonder whether they, they do
Without it is collapse
The one puddles up, stepped on
The other cracks and (s)tumbles down
Loss, for they have separate existences
And separation still holding to a fool's dream
. the paradise of denial
Of need, wistful; Hark! ...Hark!
Hearing nothing, seeing nothing, speaking


Weather Report

A disturbing bout of sleep paralysis will abate as the sun rises this morning; our instruments and trusty field personell report that today will be "f***in' awesome" in the words of one young meteorologist.



FUF: strayt up.

Spring we're sprung

Everyone's looking for something or someone to love. As Mr. Durden'd say, I look around, I look around and what I see is striving. These people aren't content to sit on their laurels. Eating nuts and berries and trouts and squirrels ain't good enough for them. They want love. And not even necessarily perfect be-all end-all love, but just some love. A friend of mine told me that postmodern angst, at least the kind that gave rise to grunge music and veganism, is really a distillation of the angst induced by the alienation and oppression inherent in industrial cultures.

I wouldn't know. I like nuts and berries and squirrels, although frankly fish sort of disgust me--I like crawdads tho'.

But love isn't always the same. It's a search for purpose, like people desperately need this thing to fixate on. Then they want to join it, and finally be it. Procreation, sure, yeah, what-the-hell-ever. I mean, a shag ain't a shag anymore. It could be art, though. So ask yourself when you really put out a lot of effort into making your lovemaking a lovely experience. I mean, I'm down with--as the man says--a quick pickle-tickle; but it can be more than that. For everyone involved, both in front of and behind the camera (oops, sorry Belinda!).

Other people want to love their work. They don't want someone to love back, but they want acceptance, that is self-acceptance. This U has a lot of graduate students, so it's pretty familiar. Meaning and significance through accomplishment is the order of the day, neorosis-wise. Law and Med school too. But grad students are extra-special. Things are rarely good enough for them, they just whine about how they can't get anywhere, can't get anything done, don't know what they're doing with their lives. And then you threaten to take away their funding and BLAM! they're whining twice as hard about that.

There are a few, finally, who look for love in art. Some use their art to get love (just look at the guitar player or singer of every famous rock band); some make are about love and go looking for love to get material (hello, fiction writers); some love their experience of life, but the only possible articulation of it is thru poetry. And so forth. This ain't your run-of-the mill love. There's an intensity of experience here, a sort of embodyment of self, that makes the affection one-sided. That's why some art is self-loathing. But the love of a work is often like the love of a child--there's some of the artist in there. And at this time of the year you get an outpouring of nervous energy from these people. Bands go on tour, etc.

Whatever it is, what I see around here is energy and need, much of it orgiastic, some of it desperation, all of it basically insanity induced by the warm weather. Fuck it. Or, if that's not your thing, paint it. It's like they--and now that I come to think of it probly you too--have this sense of something wrong in the world, and if they just put anough goodness back into it everything will come out fine. Or they just wallow in the pain and say fuck it. It's not like you can move to a new planet, right?, or stop wearing polyester clothes... It's not like you could do anything to get assholes out of positions of power, or slap some sense into parents these days (holy shit I remember too many times seeing like 1-2 year olds being given bottles of Mountain Dew or Pepsi), or get people to drive some fucking SENSIBLE CARS YOU STINKING POLLUTING BAD DRIVING ALMOST RUNNING ME OVER TWO-DOLLAR WAX JOB ASSHOLES! What the hell is wrong? You. You, reading this, for sitting on your (probably) fat ass and wasting time not doing as I command Make Anarchy For Me Now!

Okay, so maybe a little carried away there. But you still love me, don't you?


Worrying at the Problem

Several (long) attempts to approach the issue:

1. After two and a half millennia, we are still without an answer to Thrasymachus, or at least so it seems. The ability to ask the question "Why should I be moral?" still exercises us to formulate an answeer. For it seems that any moral theory, to be adequate to ground the normativity of its judgments, must be such that it can give a motivating reason to everyone for acting in ways prescribed by the theory, on the grounds given by the theory. We could call this the motivation test (MT). The test merely sets a minimum level of justification for action that a moral theory must provide. The theory gives grounds of some sort justifying moral behavior. If someone understands these grounds, and if that person takes them to be reasons for action that do justify moral behavior, but do not take them as (at least some of) their own reasons for action, the theory fails the MT.

That, at least, is the sort of story one might tell; a Kantian moral theorist will surely like this idea, since the categorical imperative's own justification seems to contain a claim similar to the MT. A rational creature, as such, if it does understand the justification of the categorical imperative, cannot help but take some sort of universalizing principle as a reason to act in one way rather than another. The creature, understanding, thinks to itself I am a rational creature and This principle applies to the actions of rational creatures as such and then This principle applies to my (thinking about my) actions and I am doing something wrong if I fail to act in accordance with the principle. The rational creature may not thereby actually act in accordance with the moral imperative, but the creature, in understanding the theory, on a view like this, must thereby take it as justifying at least some reasons for action.

Some modern theorists working in a deontological vein have suggested that a Humean moral theory cannot meet such a test. One way to crudely characterize such criticism is to say that it takes the idea that moral utterances are expressive of attitudes toward (proposed) moral behaviors and shows that if such is the case no justification for any particular reasons will come about from a general moral theory since attitudes are merely subjective and without any necessary persuasive force. In his argument in the Treatise for why we necessarily need moral rules, Hume imagines a world full of human beings but in which there are no moral rules. He concludes that one could not have a coherent self-identity, since there could be no "relations" motivating prudential behavior, because the future self–like other people in such a world–must be connected to by the very relations that Hume says are necessary and necessarily for moral behavior in order to be cared about (in order for the future self to be me in a more than purely intellectual understanding), and the world without moral rules cannot have such relations in it. So, the claim goes, Hume's moral theory justifies acting in some ways rather than others, even after the theory has been explained, for those who understand the theory, because they must relate in ways that entail moral rules being taken to exist for themselves on pain of not being able to have a coherent self-identity. So they will say These are rules that apply to me and are reasons for me to act morally even if they do not actually end up acting on those reasons.

What these accounts suppose is that the MT can only be met on grounds that convince a "rational" being that the justification given by the moral theory actually gives that being reason to act in so far as it actually is a "rational" being. But what then of the immoralist, the egoist who holds no allegiance to moral rules as such? The egoist will claim that their actions and reasons are "rational," in some sense, and so if they do not take moral reasons to be any of their own reasons, they are going to provide thereby a counterexample to any such theory's meeting the MT. I want to agree that the presupposition that a theory's passing the test on pain of the being's "irrational" reasons leads to a failure to actually pass the MT, but I do not want to do so in such a way that allows the egoist off the hook for immoral behavior.

2. Propose that the test, as conceived, requires to narrow a view of what counts as having a reason to act, such that those to whom the question of whether or not to act morally applies can deny of themselves that they necessarily actually have reason to act morally even while understanding the theory justifying said reason. This means, basically, that the MT fails as a test of minimal adequacy for a proposed moral theory, because it gets wrong how moral reasons apply to agents. A first indication how moral reasons do apply is this: observe first the difference between saying "Barbara acted morally" and saying "That lion acted morally." It is not clear what we could mean by the second statement. Now suppose we have an intelligent Martian of whom, having flown to earth and taken up residence, we say "That Martian acted morally." I propose that this third statement is as difficult to understand as the second, because moral rules do no attach to us qua rational being, but rather qua human being.

Assume that there is no non-natural quality of "goodness" attaching to things or events. Goodness is then predicated of things or events (or states of affairs) relative to some concept supplying content in which we can cash out the term "good." Nowadays this is a commonplace; I do however want at the outset to reject any notions of subjectivity about goodness. Thus it is not my claim that utterances about the moral worthiness of some thing or event are solely (or even primarily) mere reports of some internal attitude towards them, which is not to say that some utterances of the same grammatical structure as those about moral worthiness are not used in exactly this manner.

I wish to go a step further in narrowing how moral evaluations function, however, in order to specify the sorts of utterances under discussion here. In distinguishing 'good' as an attributive adjective, I want to say that moral evaluations–where 'good' may be substituted as 'well' or 'fine' or even 'moral' (as I have done above), and is opposed to wrong or evil or any number of negative terms–can be cashed out to some other description without which the content of the 'goodness' is merely attitudinal. So, following P.T. Geach, to say that some x is good, there is some respect in which it is evaluated, whether it be as beachball or as dog or as money-gathering device or as moral [Good And Evil ?Ch. VII?]. The second description, in practice, is often implicit in conversational context. It shows up in statements like That's a good job! (for someone like you) and What a good day! (for flying a kit in high winds) and She sure is a good person! (to tell secrets to) and so forth.

So we would expect moral goodness to be cashed out in terms of morality; but since in morality we are concerned with goodness or badness it looks like we are merely required to assume some moral system, and then move forward. This is hardly conducive to maintaining any sort of objectivity in ethics. Now consider the statement, nowadays often heard with a tone of moral approval, "She's a good person." The terminology of virtue has long since passed out of fashion, but one can, I think, make out the echo of something like "She's a virtuous person" if such a statement as the previous one carries moral approbation. The short version of the claim, then, is that as 'virtue' and 'person' are still to be specified, we will find that they are finally cashed out in terms of the concept of a human being as such, not in terms of rational actors or pure practical reasoners or the like; in truth it seems to me that all moral "goodness" must be understood as goodness of a human being per se.

3. In order to get such a claim off the ground, we may need to return to the kind of theory (here focussing mainly on Kantian or neo-Kantian theories) that understands morality in terms of a priori principles for rational behavior as such. At first it looks as though the idea I have proposed and such theories are speaking past one another. After all, the theory put forward earlier discusses morality as necessarily containing some empirical element in order to be understood, while the Kantian theorist wants to say that we must abstract from all that is empirical in order to understand morality as such. What I want to say is that the Kantian theorist, in abstracting to pure practical reason, loses her grip on what 'moral' means, and the word becomes merely a label for the sort of behavior that (canonically) conforms to the categorical imperative. Or, more generally, what is going on is finding some standard of behavior based on a priori reasoning about that by which certain sorts of agents qua their type of practical reasoner are bound as such to be motivated by (or at least generates strong prima facie reasons for action).

Against such views, I think it is necessary to point out that, when abstracting from empirical elements usually present in understanding certain concepts, one runs the risk of talking about a concept not properly subsumed under the label one wants to apply to it. To discover the form of practical reasoning that constrains action to what is moral, the Kantian abstracts from all content having to do with actual reasoning about action that human beings do. Then–the claim seems to go–the next move is to understand any being capable of rational deliberation about action (capable, that is, of practical reason) can only be described as acting morally well when following the dictates of pure practical reason understood by the being as such. Such a view will then take it that the only reasons properly so called for action for a practical reasoner are reasons at least conforming to the a priori rules of reasoning about action. Such a view will contrast reasons for action with things like mere desires and whims.

We need not rehash all of the various problems found in these accounts, as a large industry of other philosophers is currently churning out new ways to find problems in them. What I would really like to point out is that the view demands that only that action which, conforming to the strictures of an a priori conception of practical reason, is found to be based on a universalizable reason for action can be called morally good. But it is simply not clear that what this view demands is anything like what morality is actually like. I am not trying to refute an a priori claim with an empirical one; I am trying to point out that what is supposed to be a priori true about a concept labeled with 'moral' is true (if it is) about something unintelligible as moral. On the view described, a morally good reason for action, with our understanding of how 'good' works attributively, is merely good as pure practical reason, which in turn is good as universalizable (but instrumental) reason for action. If this account is right (hardly likely to be granted, but let us move forward), what we see is that morally good reasons for action are reasons that are good qua universalizable (and of course on the Kantian view conforming to the other formulations of the categorical imperative as well) and which, as such, have not necessarily (though often accidentally) to do with reasons for doing good.

The last move, however, looks like a magic trick on my part: at one moment we are allowed a way to justify the normative force of ethical judgments about what to do, and at the next anything recognizable as morality has vanished in a puff of philosophical smoke. Where has it got to? It seems as though rationality dropped out, instead of the actual principle, and so we should not be surprised, if we look at how the trick is done, that the moral content also dropped out. Perhaps the description that allows moral content to remain under this conception of "moral" when giving evaluations of reasons for action as good or bad on a view like the one under discussion is that of something's being "rational." Certainly this looks promising; for if we can cash out moral goodness in terms of rationality, then we have a sort of non-subjective justification grounding a theory that makes a necessary claim on the reasons actually had for action by the beings to which it applies. Then we can meet the MT while keeping the content of the concept of morality in plain view.

4. Someone might object that it is not clear that this kind of account can really escape what has been called Prichard's Fork: the thought that a moral theory that tries to ground morality on what is not moral merely endorses actions that happen to be moral, or else assumes some moral framework that ends up being otiose to explanation of the normative force of morality. This looks like another, stronger way to set up the MT: demand that explanation not assume a prior normative framework, and then allow only theories that can persuade someone not having the intended framework to adopt it. Thus we return to the accounts given at the outset, of showing the attempts of two sorts of theories to explain why the normative force of morality really applies even to someone who is able to actively reject it (however spurious the grounds may be).

Try another tack. We ask someone for the general reasons that they have for acting. They will tell us that they do what they do in order to bring about some state of affairs, either in the performance of the action or in some separate thing it results in. The will tell us that they "want to be happy" or that they are trying "to do the right thing" or "get ahead" or "live a good life" or something similar. What all of these statements have behind them is a conception of some normative standard applying to the behaviors they undertake, and thereby to their practical reasoning. The egoist might say something about that their desires should be fulfilled, or that things in the world ought to be as they want them to be. And whether or not the conception for the egoist of how the world ought to be changes, the general reason for action–achieving some state of affairs, say–remains, as does the content of the normative standard–for instance bringing about whatever it is that one presently wants to be the case.

Imagine another, very odd sort of egoist, who is interested only in achieving their personal aims which have only accidental connection to any particular moral system of beliefs. This peculiar egoist desires to act only morally well (their payoff for this need not be specified–whether anyone is actually like this is questionable but the question I think need not be answered in order to make the point) according to, for the example, a set of religious rules. Their wanting is such that in order to achieve what they think ought to be the case they have only to act according to the rules. But the force behind their reason for action is assumed, and it is the same force as for all egoists, that is, satisfaction of their own wants (we are avoiding talk of desires strictly speaking) whether or not people like it. Only such things as they want to bring about provide the egoist with reasons for action–for them, no other facts or claims count as possible reasons to them. And the egoist will think it is surely quite odd to claim that something could be a (prima facie) reason for action for someone without its also being a reason to someone.

This (and the usual) egoist will claim that their practical deliberation is, in at least one sense, rational. He can tell a story about the things that can be taken as reasons, and about how one decides between them, and about what standards one is held to in deliberation of what to aim at and how to go about getting to the target. And the story is initially plausible at least as a psychological account, whether or not there are any actual people like this, since it is a time-honored philosophical problem. Our example egoist happens to have the aim of acting in accordance with some very old religious rules, and, keeping the aim fixed, everything else in their deliberative process seems to be working. But we want to object to what this person does, and the egoist generally, because they misconceive what the right sorts of reason for action are. The egoist will make this objection (especially to the deontologist): Why in the world would I want to be rational (when that means giving up these other reasons for acting I now have)? It is not immediately clear what can be said to such an objection.

The Humean scholar seems to have an answer here. As in the account given earlier, the one who is without the sorts of relations that entail moral rules (in some sense) to be in the world of that one is unable to properly relate to their future self, and so unable to have a conception of themselves as identical through time. The threat, of not being able to have a coherent understanding of oneself, is the lynchpin that convinces the egoist–or the knave–that they have at least a reason to act morally. Understanding the theory, they see that such relations are necessary for self identity, but are also the source of other-regarding relations which generate the attitudes necessary to motivate action (but not hydraulically). So the egoist recognizes that there ought to be some attitudes of the same sort as moral rules entail “in” their various reasons for action.

Let us suppose that the egoist, however, sees no such reasons. He is a free-rider. We are certainly going to regard this person as a sociopath, whatever else we may say, since they are entirely unmoved by any concern for others whatsoever. We will condemn them for this, and condemn them morally for it if we find them acting badly. But certainly this person does not suddenly lose a coherent sense of their personal identity. They know who they are and are able to project this into the future, and even recognizing that their desires and wants and reasons may change this does not prevent them from (successfully) identifying with their future self, or even from doing well by that future self (even the hedonist need not be so dissolute as to be unable to plan for the future).

Still, this egoist is certainly able to navigate moral rules well enough, and can even explain why other people have them (for they understand the theory justifying their normative power). How can we who feel the force of morality understand this? Obviously we want to condemn the individual for being irrational, for actually failing to understand the theory–either a deontological or Humean one. But such condemnation will not get us far; it is not fear that gives us reason to act well, and so we should not expect fear to do any better for the egoist; it is not clear that threats are in any case a thing that can motivate moral action as such.

5. I want to pose the problem this way: since (1) we cannot convince the egoist that they have reason to be moral without their demanding a reason to be rational–on the accounts discussed so far–and (2) it is not clear that any individual must actually take supposedly rational grounds for reasons to be moral (reasons to have certain reasons) to be convincing, perhaps we ought to consider framing reasons to be moral as reasons to do what the egoist was going to do anyway. I would suggest that we can make the argument along the lines of the idea that Aristotle takes to be a commonplace, namely the idea that it is everyone’s aim to be “happy” in some sense. However the notion so formulated is clearly inadequate for the work it seems to need to do. A more robust (but also a more vague) notion is that of “doing well.”

The very vagueness of the notion is suggestive. The person who aims at fulfilling the dictates of religious strictures is, in a sense, trying to do well. The person who aims at getting ahead is, in the same sense, trying to do well. The person who is aiming to satisfy their present desires is also trying to do well; they will characterize doing well as getting what you want, of course, but this does not, I think, take away from the fact that they can recognize themselves as having an aim like that of others. The psychological hedonist will attempt to pin his motives on others as well, but barring such projections we can still recognize doing well as a nonempty way of understanding the common thread in these disparate aims. What is gone after, as it were, is gone after as in some sense good (cf. Aquinas).

Suppose we buy that account of reasons for action. In order to get the claim off the ground, we have to assume that everyone who acts on reasons derives their reasons from some preexisting notion that carries not only motivational force but normative force (the normative force could be attached to any feature of the notion that allows choice between competing or contradictory reasons). That is to say, we have to claim that everyone thinks they ought to do well; but of course this notion is constituitive of the thought that what is gone after is gone after as in some sense good.

As mentioned earlier, however, it is not the case that we can leave “good” unspecified here. Otherwise we are going to be getting on only with a begged question dogging our heels. What I want to say is first, negatively, that no purely “rational” feature of human thought can fulfill the role demanded to specify what good is here. Second, more positively, I want to say that the notion of a life as lived by a human is enough to fulfill the role; but the specification of a human life will, unfortunately, have to remain vague because because it is based on an accidentally generated concept rather than some a priori understanding of practical reason.

About the first claim. As mentioned earlier, it is not clear that rationality in a deontological theory derived from Kant can really fit the bill in terms of providing a satisfactory specification of the sense of “good” we have in mind. Nor is it clear that the Humean theory can provide that specification either because rational understanding of why there are moral rules does not actually necessarily result in reasons for the knave to act (setting aside whether these reasons actually result in action, another murky area in Humean moral theory).

About the second claim. The notion of self-identity is assumed. Such self-identification includes the notion of what sort of thing one is–and answer to the thing’s question to itself (if it cares to ask) What am I? The answer will include referenced to participation in some kind(s); we would expect any adult human to self-identify this way, for it would be decidedly odd if someone thought of themselves as say, only N.N. and not as any particular kind of thing. Even if this were the case we would probably expect if we can ask What is N.N. like? that the answer will be a descriptive list: N.N. is like this and that but not the other, etc. and so on, and there is only one of N.N.

6. Return to the discussion of where moral evaluations attach. It would be wrong, I think, to attach moral evaluations to the lion. It would be wrong, in addition, to attach moral evaluations to small children; what they do is “wrong” in a sense, but they cannot be expected to actually conform to moral rules as such for they are still in the process of developing into moral beings. The lion is not a proper object of moral evaluations for two reasons: (1) it is not conscious of reasons for action and so cannot choose between them–it just does not have the cognitive ability to be a moral or immoral agent; (2) it is not human, so its behavior is not properly described in the same terms as human behavior–its inhumanity is also the efficient cause of its non-consciousnes vis-à-vis moral reasons–but in terms of lion behavior, so it should seem at least initially gripping that right or wrong behavior in lions is for them right or long qua lion behavior. Thus the Martian, even if its cognitive process is very similar to ours, must be “morally” evaluated in terms of Martian moral behavior, whether or not that accidentally happens to be similar to human behavioral standards.

Now it may seem that I am smuggling in the sorts of notions that some virtue ethicists take as stock-in-trade, that is, notions of the natural kind as the keeper of some standard of conformity or disconformity permitting of evaluation, which have to do with the achievement of the thing as what it is. In some theories this could be explicitly connected with a proposed telos for the (each, every) kind. But let us look at what this importation amounts to. On the deontological view, if the Martian is “rational” in the same manner as humans are, then its behavior will be indentically constrained by the unity of pure practical reason to conform to the categorical imperative under the same conditions as humans are constrained. On the Humean view, if relations between Martians and others function in the same manner as in humans then their need for morality and its source and justification in sympathy will be the same as for humans and otherwise not. It is only if the Martians are, in fact, like us in certain ways that they can be expected to be held to the same standards of behavior, whether these be “moral” or otherwise. (We do not expect the Martians to enjoy bread, milk, or sushi except accidentally as they are biologically made up.) So it seems perfectly plausible to say that if the Martians are like us in the relevant respect they can be held to standards of behavior that are just like those that humans call moral behavior, but in the one case this will be Martian moral behavior and in the other human moral behavior, and these are just coincidentally similar.

Given the picture sketched above regarding self-identity, is it so implausible to expect that an adult human will self-identify as a human being, or as a person, or as an agent with desires or interests? Not at all. Moreover it seems to me that any specification of these kinds will finally cash out in terms of what it is to be a human being. For if one indentifies a person and then allows that there is more than one sort of person, there will be a specification (in the absence of actual Martians being known about) of what sort of person that accords with the general description of what a human person is like. Even if there were actual Martians each of whom was accidentally (due to its Martianhood) a person in the same description as humans are, we would not be led astray. The specification will merely say that the kin of person acts as a category within which human persons fall.

Now here it looks like there is an opening for the Kantian to re-enter the fray.

One can think in such a way as to question whether to be rational, and reject thinking rationally. This decision if carried through results in actually not being rational. But a similar denial of humanhood fails because one cannot choose whether or not to be human; this is merely empirical and fixed. Whatever else your are (e.g. in denial) you will still actually be human. And not wanting to be (merely) human is, in fact, intelligible as a want that some people have (e.g. cult leaders) even though they cannot escape their essential nature. But if rationality fails to occur in rejecting rationality if one starts out rational, then thereby denying it accomplishes the point of the denial.

Questions: What is "rationality", especially of the rational sort, and is that really subject to the pure intellect; what is it to be a "human being" as opposed to a "person"--and does it matter; can we ever justify a claim of the existence of a necessary connection between a rational judgment of what ought to be done and actually acting (let alone discover it)?

Not light stuff, no Betsy, not so light at all.



i have a frend whos alla time talkin bout she have no hart, no inside, just a empteeness. but recent its bin worsenin', and maybe she feel like this. check out tha 'splodindogg, word.

Weather Report

Psychic pain, wondering, hoping, and possible procrastination are 70% likely; a cool front consisting of harsh criticism is moving quickly into the area; instruments indicate a near-certainty of severe brainstorms before the week is out.


Parting, Severance

A figure walks in profile, North, along a raised train track, while in the background the sky does its nightly miracle and rolls its way to sunset. That dance is nearly over. Indigo and Navy compete for the space above, and a breeze just turned cool curls up the hair in light puffs. A cooling ember greater than any mountain slips behind the mother's belly, and the day rushes on with it. No sound now, not even a faint crunch from the rhythmic steps of the figure who travels to an undecided destination. Neither home nor home away from home, nor yet again to the new for the sake of freshness, but just for the sake of travel. The hike began while the sun had not yet reached its apex, in a moment of desperation for connexion with that which lies beyond an insulated and humdrum life. Eventually the feet, their impact soundless on the rocks of the railbed, lead away down the East side of the hill, into the starry spaces and shadows of deeper quiet between slumbering derelict warehouses, through the soft galaxy of leaves and streetlamp globes, where a million insects lazily ply their sails up and down through the waterless, dusty air. Then to a house, steps' paint faded, porch boards battened without a crack or creak, a singing hinge hums in the still empty abandonment of autumn night, and with a click on oiled hinges the lumbering wooden door closes.

At the beginning of High Summer, when cicadas and grasshoppers and crickets and every bee and hornet buzzes and chirps its life, proclaiming vitality into the cacophony of likewise thunderstuck and overawed living beings shouting their exuberance for sheer existence, another more massive group of beings celebrates its passage through a seemingly unending life process with a time honored tradition. No end to the future fortold could seem real at this moment of beginnings. A heavy robe over the body, a hat centuries out of fashion, a plodding speech in afternoon sun, a walk, a grasping of hands and forearms and bits of paper and smiles and eyes locking only for a moment and a toss and finally hugs and flashes of bulbs and goodbyes, goodbyes, goodbyes. A promise, this is, a shaky, naive, foolish, idealistic, sun-blind grasping at straws in a universe that favors none. Each signals to the others that they will stay in touch; they don't know what that means. Here is the last celebration; here is a gift for work well done; here is a synchronous affirmation of shared experience and togetherness; here is the end of togetherness. Here is a passing into loneliness and indirection. Here is the doorway to indecision and improvisation. Here is the passage into the realization of inadequacy and failure. This is the exit, this is burden, this is escape, this is enslavement, this is freedom, this is a fall from height, this is drowning at sea, this is sweat without reward. It's unfinished business, it's abandonment, it's neverending.

Here's a familiar scene; you know it from the picture-shows. A date between Bobby and Susie, his car, her home, parked outside in the dark--the light is on by her front door. They're talking and it's been good. They're developing a friendship, and a more carnal attraction. Finally it's time for her to go. Susie makes no invitation for "coffee." Bobby knows she doesn't want or need his help to walk fifty feet to the door. There are steps in front of the door, and Susie turns as she reaches the top. Her hand is in her purse, fishing for keys. Bobby has started the engine. He's been watching her walk, though. As she turns she catches sight of him. There's a tiny quirk of smile in the corner of her mouth, though Bobby can't see it because of the shadow cast by the doorlight. He's in deeper shade still, inside the car, thought the windows are down because it's spring and it's finally warm enough. She's wearing a dress that's just a shade too fancy for real life, while a shade to light and clinging for the season. He's got his eyes fixed on her body as she mounts the stairs, travelling up, and they reach her face just as the turns. Bobby has a smile, not small, content but anticipatory; he will call. She's got shining eyes whose color is too deep to be believed, whose sparkle is too true to be put on; she wants him to call. Susie's eyes look right at where she knows Bobby's face will be, and find it there, and find his eyes staring back. Their gazes crackle on contact. Suddenly she turns again with a tiny bounce, fits the key quickly into the lock and spins the knob, and flashes inside. They sigh and relax, and float to bed.


bangin heds

lissenin 2 Mastodon 2daY. 2 albums both good, 2 bomb digidy songz on eech. hadda run in wid a individual 2day an it lef me shaken but anger like so's i crank up the phones big cups no lil' plugz an let rip. a song about j. merrick whoz bonez i bet childy-feely m.j. bought an 1 about a train goin off tha trackz wid that peoples on it an another album wif a buncha songs abou' drownin lik wuz in a belly ovva ship an shes sinkin all hearts alive an trapped crushed unda tha presha some real metal black shit like an ol metallica tune like but about a fortmin.

bang bang bang inna hed
bang bang bang outta my way sis dis aint amiss cant resis try an twiss away tha priss bang bang bang kick drumz double kick brakin my neck.
bang bang bang widda hed. fuckin mastodon.

Weather Report

Expect occasional nosebleeds over the next 36-48 hours; winds from the west southwest at ten to twelve knots; possible rainfall and new growth by early tomorrow morning.


Adventures in Sleazytown (part one, book one, section four, chapter one)

Another short piece of the top of my head; it's about places that sell sex products.

So someone walks into their housemate's room; the walking-in person is female, and she needs a device; the walked-in-on person is male, and is busy thinking about very masculine things like beer and camping and bonfires. The female asks, "So, have you been to any of the porn stores?" What she means is, she wants to go to one but doesn't know at which one she can find what she's looking for. The male is looking at a website about a national park. He pauses a moment and, without looking up, says, "Why." What he means is, he wants to know how this tidbit of potentially embarassing information is going to be used. Little does he expect what's next. The female says, "I want to buy a dildo." It's a mere statement of fact, and nothing more, past half-casual, but with a hint of another sentence wanting to follow but carefully bit back. Another pause.
"I've been to the one on __________ but not any other ones."
"Did they have a good selection?"
"It's more of a movies and magazines type of place. They had a small selection. Pretty basic."
There's a discussion in the next two or three minutes which goes over the multiplicity of "whack shacks" in the town, their specialties, the creepyness of the places and patrons, and the possible wares at the ones each party is aware of. Consensus emerges that the best bet is a small, incongruously named place, which abuts a country and western karaoke bar, itself on the far side of town from the location of the conversation. One thing to note about this interaction is, there's a history here. On at least one previous occasion, these housemates have been carnally intimate. Down and dirty. Humpin'--as it were. They're still friends, a little flirtatious at times, but mostly trying to stay off each others' respective romance radar. There are other people involved, and these other people are attatched, and the other people make mutual avoidance of a special sort the order of a day. It's an emotionally charged group waiting for a lighting rod.
So but and so but anyway so and, like, [pls. don't sue, D.F.W. --f.] so the question sort of pops out and hangs in the air. One'd think that doesn't really happen, but the metaphor is literally true, for the sounds move across the room from the doorway where the female is standing to the chair where the male is sitting; then, not finding a home, they tool about the corners and the closet, under the bed, investigate the slowly twirling ceiling fan, go back to the ear for a second look and finally, having reached a sort of pregnant-silence tea-time, they hover somewhere in the space between the still slightly parted lips of the female and the staring-in-a-mix-of-disbelief-and-depression-and-loathing-and-friendship-dutifulness eyes of the male, who is trying to match the sound with the unseen movement of the lips.
"Will you go with me?"
Creak, goes the chair.
A line from a television show pops into the male's mind and without the barest gesture of consultation with the forebrain runs from the memory area to the motor neurons. The line of dialogue recalls a request from a former girlfriend to a former boyfriend for help in picking out a wedding dress. The dialogue zips up, quickly and violently dispatches the request, and flies as though a maddened hornet on PCP to the ear of the female. Its effect isn't anything that might have been intended: a laugh. But this diffuses the tesion of the situation. There is a shifting of bodies and shuffling of shoulders. "No, seriously," says the male, "why do you need me to do it?"
The female is uncomfortable going to the store alone. She thought it'd be polite to ask, since, you know, he might want to obtain an additional supply of personal lubricant. (That she know he would have already done this isn't relevant, nor is the fact that it can be obtained at the supermarket a mere hundred feet from the organic milk.) Perhaps, she suggests, he would like to--or, more to the point, be willing to--pose as her gay friend. The male knows this is an abortion of an idea. He inquires whether, perhaps, the dude she's boning'd go with her. Another discussion follows, in which it is decided that whining and being pathetic is an effective way of imposing on your friends. Also an exchange of valuable ingestible goods is mentioned. About three minutes later, Coke in hand to wash down the bitter postnasal drip, the male gets into the passenger seat of the female's car.
Late afternoon on a warm spring day has an odd effect on drivers. They like to get casual about lane-lines. They like to roll their windows down. They like to blast rock music at the highest setting their speakers can attain. Some like to creep up behind middle aged men driving their midlife crisis convertibles which, unfortunately, they get in a white color that can only be described as "bland". Then, at stoplights, these drivers try to make the middle aged men feel bad about themselves by blasting their music so lound that the men realize that their music is dated, their fast cars unable to keep up with the thrusting hips of youth in heat, their mortgages a ball and chain nearly as oppressive as their wives, their dreams of accomplishing everything television promised they could old and dried and barely recognizable as worth their fragile existence, like dusty prunes early on a Sunday morning before taking the kids to church...
Anyone entering a whack shack, if not devolved to the level of regular jerk-movie patronage, tries to act casual. And our two protagonists certainly acted as casually as possible. Chuckling and muttering clever, ironic jokes about the wares, hands hanging semi-stuck into pockets, they browsed their way from the front door to the back wall where the jellied, soon-to-be-humming wares waited. The counter in these places is raised, so they can see into the aisles. The racks are short. There are mirrors in the sorners of the ceiling. Objects of note at this location: large selection of ultra-max sized condoms; five different butterfly-style clitoral stimulators; test samples of fragrant lubes; a latext mold for phallus-reproduction with optional motor; a surprisingly large selection of high-end transgendered pornography publications; the guy working there does not look like a guy who works in a porn store.
The conversation that ensues in whispers and mutters and occasional outbursts has to do with the female asking advice about various products from the male. He knows the person with whom the female will utilize the products, if purchased, and is not entirely enthusiastic about giving such advice. Constipate would probably have been a good description of his face if one had been there to see it. The female is trying to act oblivious to the porn store guy behind the counter. He spends a lot of time looking at his only two customers. He does not, as is customary, have a magazine with pictures of women or guitars in front of him. Another customer enters and goes directly to a film viewing booth. Though they look around neither the male nor the female is able to observe this customer, who indeed, they agree, after some conversation, which is hushed and hurried, had spoken to the guy at the counter about the film to be shown. The customer even coughed twice loudly.
Stores like this smell like personal lubricant, always, and fresh rubber, and that oily smell of factory-fresh plastic. Sometimes they smell of semen, sometimes not. The carpet smells too, long unvacuumed and installed in the late seventies, by the color, it is a bit mildewed. The air is always, inexplicably, more humid than you'd expect. Most of the lighting is flourescent in tubes and purely functional. This is a store, they say, nothing more, and, they say, certainly we run a tight and hygenic ship around here. The walls are efficient panelling and hooks for the products which are all sealed like small appliances--which is what they are--in hard plastic. The covers often snap open, like doll packages; sometimes they are tighter sealed, like the packages of scissors which, mysteriously enough, are difficult to open without the very product they protect. The funny bachelorette products are near the front, along with the condoms and the "party" games for those who've been married too long. In the back you'll find things you'd only have expected to hear about, if you're a respectable citizen, while attending a particularly prurient art film or in a drunken murmur at the end of an office New Years gathering.
The female pays, finally, after about fifteen minutes which, to the male, seemed more like twenty or even twenty-two minutes. He wasn't shopping, though perhaps, he thought as he scoped out the wares in the corner of his eye, he would be back. She paid, and he pointed out the flavored ointments for use in oral copulation, which she'd failed to find previously. She said, "Maybe I should get a ball gag," as he inwardly winced. He asked, "Shouldn't you get hadcuffs, too? Like a package deal?"
"Oh, I don't trust ______ with handcuffs."
"I thought you were going to put them on him!"
"I'd be too tempted to just leave him there; you know me."
"You wouldn't do that. At least not for more than a few hours," the male added.
They laughed as the guy working there, who looked more like he should be sitting at or maybe even tending a bar, added batteries to the purchases to demonstrate their efficacy. Not even drug dealers have a stricter return policy. The male asked what, in light of the unusual name on the sign, would appear on one's credit card statement if one happened to make a purchase at this establishment. The reply was nearly by rote, and the first sentence had all the answer the male needed. The female's face flushed red and her neck pink, and the tittered nervously on her way through the parking lot. She'd been unable to ask, herself. The sun was in their eyes on the drive back.
The male sat back down in front of the computer again, looking at campsite options, ignoring a telephone conversation of the female's with the man she was going to meet to try out her new goodies. The female commented on how their activities annoyed the man's own housemate. Then the house was empty, the sun had set, the air was cool, and the campfire, far from civilization, seemed to rekindle in his mind. His imagination brought up a vision of some natives in a far-off land without electricity, dancing, entranced, around a huge flame. Drums pounded as the women of the tribe, bodies decorated, joined the chorus, shuffling their feet, heads lowered, eyes to the flames and rhythmically pushing their hips. A reminder of Bacchanals floated through this, and the goat-footed god danced superimposed with his Maenads around another fire. Another image, and another, popped up and joined the others, and he saw, with his mind's eye, the sweaty, glassy-eyed, grinning faces of all the men and women he knew would share a sleeping place that night, and cursed them.



What really burns me about the last post is it's demeaning and frankly an annoying bit of effluvia I'd rather not have to deal with. Try to imagine, for a moment, what it would be like to be a woman. I mean, really imagine. Not all it's cracked up to be, is it?

You're expected to make yourself look like you're sexually available; but heavan forbid you should actually go through with it--that'd ruin your reputation. You have to bind yourself up in certain ways just to achieve that look; if you feel good about your body in some clothes then you'd better check with the fashion police before you go out in them. You're looked down on at least as much by the members of your own sex as by the members of the opposite sex when you do act as though you're in charge of your own sexuality.

You're expected to defer to everyone of the opposite sex. You're not allowed to do many things, even though lip service is paid to your ability to do so. There is no way you could ever achieve that which the least of men has achieved, say the eyes of those around you. The penalty for disobeying these societal obligations is far greater than you might imagine. Ostracization is not uncommon for those not willing to conform to the stereotype of subservience, or at least of being less than equal, foisted upon you.

You're objectified, and not in the way you, a man, think is funny or fun. No, here you're treated as less than human, less than a child, just a bit of matter to be leered at and touched and used in any way you chose. Some of this may be hyperbole, but not by much. How would you feel if women were initially interested in you because of the shape of your butt, or the hair on your chest, and they only wanted you to lift heavy objects for them (never mind what you want, that's not important). Like a show horse, your flesh sold at a price commensurate with your looks and your performance, your intrinsic worth ignored or actively suppressed.

Imagine what it would be like to have to pretent you are something other than you are; that you have to pretend to ignore the creepy, greasy, nasty looks of people who wouldn't like you if they met you--wouldn't give you a moment of their time if they didn't like the way you made their crotch twitter. Imagine you went to San Francisco and everybody (male) treated you like dirt until you got calf implants and started working out and exfoliating and people called you "baby" and did everything with an eye to getting in a dick in you. Imagine that besides your holes you're nothing, not any better than the pizza man for all the services you provide.

I call bullshit on all of that. Put yourself in the shoes, hose, skirt, bra, blouse, jewelery, and makeup of a woman for a while and tell me there isn't a hideous hypocrisy afoot.



So I see this chick with a round ass that's definitely worth a second, third, and forth look. But she's wearing this...thing. Like a short skirt but there's something between the legs, and big letters printed on the back. You know like those things you women wear to call attention to their asses. That clothing item, though, is--as they say--F-U-G-L-Y. It's not nearly as enticing as this. What the hell ever happened to hot pants?

Bring back hot pants!

And while we're at it, this too.


Catastrophic Debt?

New bankruptcy "reform" bill in congress, aimed at basically making you into an indentured wage-earner for multinational credit institutions if you happen to get economically screwed before you pay off your whatever. What you don't know can put you into impossible payments for the rest or your life (for example because you had an unexpected medical emergency). Don't just let them fuck you over: do a little something.


A stupid thing I wrote (warning: it SUCKS)

Character-sketch time!

Under the influence of a terrible idea, I began to post my writing online. Soon, I had visitors in the dozens, every day. Every day I posted additional parts of my writing. Every day my audience grew. The autowriter failed.

I bought a new autowriter. It took three days of continuous work to fine tune it to sound like my own writing. The programming and such was difficult. A lot of heroin was needed afterward to enter my brain into the kind of coma necessary to fully recover from working so feverishly on the autowriter. I checked it. It worked. Good.

At least that's what I thought as I began to post online again. I named the website something truly ridiculous, foolish, grandiose, and most of all entirely mystifying. I am no Dave Eggers but I think I did a good job. I was going for a sort of pseudo-Proustian neo-Joycean feel to the whole thing. I am an excellent fine-tuner of autowriters and this was no exception. Soon the situation turned around and I was able to increase my output. I turned it on over and over, until at one point I nearly overheated it (the reader will note that an autowriter, being kept properly as mine is in a liquid-refrigeration unit, is almost impossible to literally overheat. Sometimes the prose is steamy though.

I turned it on one day but I wanted it to perform a school assignment. I thought the transmission had fallen out. The autowriter did not like my to make it do what I wanted to do that it was not accustomed to doing. It has, almost, a mind of its own. That's not good, I thought. It is evil. I thought about killing it.

As I thought about killing the autowriter I had several drinks. I passed out. The next day the autowriter had difficulty functioning. I am glad I did not smoke marijuana. That would probably make it freeze up. I had several drinks again the next day as I tried to decide whether or not to kill the autowriter. The web site suffered. My readership waned. I laughed bitterly to myself as I masturbated in the shower. The water was ice cold. I had several more drinks.

I was never drunk because I have seven artificial liver implanted in my back. They make me look somewhat like the baby of Leonard Nemoy and a whale like in Star Trek IV. I can drink anything. I can drink paint thinner. I can drink Sterno. I can drink rubbing alcohol. I can drink dog blood. I can drink menstrual blood and/or tissue with raw eggs and a punk-rock-kid's elbow scab. I can drink milk. I can drink old milk. I can drink ranch dressing mixed with peyote and not die. I can drink Starbucks. I can drink Mountain Dew. I can drink Olestra anal leakage drippings. I can drink anything. I know this for a fact.

I turned on the autowriter but it would not write. Masturbating in my freezing shower again was the only option. My next task was to fix the water heater. It frightened me thinking that I would get used to masturbating in ice-cold water and then become a freaky type of person you would probably find on Google Image Search. There was mold in the water heater and there was a rusted part that I fixed. The next month my water bill was a lot lower. I went back to the autowriter.

The autowriter stared at me. It has a screen that looks out. The screen looks out at you and figures out what to write. Looking out at you the screen figures out what you would write if you were in some imaginary situation and then it creates a written piece for you. But in fact it does not really look out at you, but instead it just feeds off the information you feed it. Through adjusting its parameters and programming it that is.

The smell of ozone wafted to my nose from somewhere in the room. The previous day I had carefully removed all other appliances from the room because the autowriter seemed to prefer being alone. The screen stared out at me but did not print a word. My fingers drummed on the surface of the screen. They drummed on the keyboard. They drummed on my chin. They drummed on five or ten beers that I drank in quick succession. I went and watched television at my mother's house because I could not go on the Internet. If I went on the internet I would have to see that four days had passed without a post to my website where I posted my writing that I had pretty much tricked myself into making a commitment to contributing to on a daily basis. The readership stream from my previous writing, which was well-reviewed and had won an award for grammar, was a stream that was drying up.

When you feel alone it is a very good idea to drink a lot. Drinking a lot makes you feel happy and not sad and I felt like it could be the case that I would soon be sad. Because the autowriter still would not go. I masturbated again, twice, first in tepid water and then, not feeling satisfied at all, in ice-cold water that had my lips turning blue. I bought a showerhead hose attachment so I could give myself an ice-water enema. When I got home the autowriter was gone.

I drank several drinks and passed out on the couch. My bed was empty of me because I felt like the autowriter was my friend. I threw away the hose attachment and drank many drinks and also took several barbiturate pills a good friend had sold me for only $35 each. They were aspirin, and I resolved no to buy any more aspirin from that friend or he would soon move down my friend list.

The autowriter returned the next day. It did not seem right. It could not concentrate on one topic for very long. It wrote a post about masturbation. It wrote a post about drinking. It wrote a post about having intimate relations with Chunks. This is apparently the punch line of a joke that in my opinion is not funny at all. The autowriter was on a hot streak. It improved with each piece of new writing that I wrote with it. I wrote each piece of the writing the autowriter wrote so lovingly that the readers could tell that I cared about them and they all came back and used PayPal to send me over seventy dollars in donations, which I used by buy one hundred and forty pounds of ice.

I closed the website. I drank about fifteen beers and also about a pint of tequila and a half pint of Talisker and a bottle of Thunderbird wine that a person had left at a party the previous year, when as I was digging through the garbage behind where I had heard the party going on the previous night I found the bottle. I put the autowriter in the shower and put ice around it to keep it from overheating while I gave it a problem to work on. I drank some more. The next day I was in the shower covered in the ice and shivering and there were stitches in my stomach and I felt pain in my back and I guess all of my livers had been removed. The autowriter ceased to function, permanently.

NB: The title told you this sucked, but no, you had to go and try to read it. I only wrote this down so as to purge it from my psyche; the purge works by inflicting it on you. Kind of like the the tape in "The Ring," but less likely to kill you.


ILL-a-Noise loses

Fuckity fuck fuck shit. Fat cunt May=goes to pros and fails miserably. This primate=wanted to riot, now drinking myself under the stump I use as a table. Only Duke would've been worse than UNfullofshitC. [blasphemous expletives deleted.--f.] Mr. Felton you can lick my hairy tail. Analysis: drive to the basket you stupid orange-wearing mothers. Campus tomorrow=a whaling ship hitting the doldrums. Where's my whisky?


"Kantian Ethics vs. Virtue Ethics"

I just had the pleasure of hearing a talk by Rosalind Hursthouse, at a philosophy conference hosted by the University of Cincinnati, this morning. Her paper was excellent, though perhaps a bit surprising in that she was in a "concessionary" mode. She was concessionary, that is, toward certain deontological positions; she was also (she humorously but perhaps reluctantly admitted) edging toward a slightly more McDowellian stance. Also fine talks given by Paul Guyer (re: Kantian perfectionism) and Tom Hill (suggesting similarity for some Kantians and some virtue ethicists re: conception/committment to morality in those who do act morally), and thoughtful works by Anselm Muller (distinguishing two kinds of teleology Aristotle seems to confuse--which, by the way, is an idea I hit on in an undergraduate paper, sort of tangentially, in discussing a neo-Aristotelian [P. Foot of UCLA] who seems to have been similarly confused) and Richard Kraut (attempting to put the locus of morality into goodness as such) and a few others. Overall an excellent conference, though unfortunately I had to miss the concluding panel discussion.

I shall have more to say as these others' thoughts ferment. I am not constitutionally averse to mixing my theories, as long as rigor and consistency are maintained.

Weather Report

The sowing season begins in earnest as the yellow young flowers spring and sisters visited lift one's spirits with continual surprises and delights; carefree feelings mixed with occasional muscle cramping on long car rides increasing through the evening; expect fatigue mixed with exhilaration through midweek.


Midwest going on Mason-Dixon

crowded plants in the sun room
two cats and an aging dog
houseguests and buxom daughters
high-minded conversation
in Cincinnati or Indianapolis
backyard under construction
intoxicated after conferring
a crowd pleased with itself and its others
I stayed, unstaid, for
this hospitality of transplanted Carolineans
one gives thanks, thanks


na po le on dy no mite

so like wached tha mov about tha idaho dude in hi skool an hes a big loser an he meets a loser mexican frend an a loser girl and there a happy end and a llama. funny as heeeeel, goes next 2 tha 'merikan splendor mov which also had lovable losers. but in this one its like hes got his mouf open alla time an like is squinty or has like a sleepee i or somefin cuz he just like stares at all everything. well ats all i gotta say peace broz n siss n maz n paz n cuzz n antys n nuncles n homes, ninjuz, n other o.g. typez.

you fat lard come get some ham!

funnyaz heeeeeeeeeeeeel. you no they got like a big indust n like a big bunch riters n shizzle all up in there wit tha like dorkwad movies an all peoplesz like idenitfyin wif m an like thinking they wisht theyda hadda better go uv it in h.s. b/c they no they aint got tha timez left. tellin you they think they gonna relive tha gloree dayz but no mo they got tha nuts fo it. didn have if b4 an don' have it now, no, an so they aint got their happy ending. but sum movs like pluck them strings, make a chest all flutter cuz they be pushin that butt'n. an all m losers frum hi skool be like thinking that dude worse of 'n me an all feelin superior. 's a good formula f i do say so myself an i do. so but them losers is funny got me laffin at their asses.

they're like 2 dif kinna mov you know one is like all sweet an a lady maby a baby maby a lay-me u take m 2 it; tha othaz a comendee like yer boys n u an a snuck in beer an a chuckle all sneakin in thru tha mergency xit an cetra. an tha like j. mcguire movies hearbreat anna tear be comin out but tha movie aint no good nohow. but a like 'merikan splend r or e'n a more fun mov like n. dynomite don' try 2 take too serious so they got no prob gettin a laf e'n when no good onna facts of life as it were. so but you get a chuckle cuz its redickaliss too look at. 'slike at that point they got a idear an its all about just lettin it all out an larfin it up cuz therez no other way 2 deal. absurdizm that is. like a monty p. thon or a like other silly thing like you giglin not noin whatta make 'v it. total weird-out no sham back-brakin' strange and a chuckle be all there is.

anyway tha mov not so nutty can't get it in butt it got a charm not frum that lame sentimental shizzle butt mosly fr. tha funnies cuz it do not go where u 'spec. well ats all i gotta say peace broz n siss n maz n paz n cuzz n antys n nuncles n homes, ninjuz, n other o.g. typez. eatin steak only y'all.