I’m generally not one to be all political, but…

This really concerns me.

If Richard Lugar and I had a beer we could probably find a few things we agree on and a few we don’t. But he’s a rational, intelligent man. A very good man as far as I can tell. The fact that the Republican party – as it stands today – would toss a man like that really worries me. There’s no center to the party. It’s just angry folks unskilled in governing and especially the give and take of politics. They get the take, but have no idea of the give. Listen to this:

“’Richard Mourdock’s victory truly sends a message to the liberals in the Republican Party: voters are rejecting the policies that led to record debt and diminished economic freedom, and they will continue to be rejected in elections throughout America,’ said Chris Chocola, a former Indiana congressman who is now president of the Club for Growth.”

“The liberals in the Republican Party”? This guy’s got creeping paranoia all over his intellectual lawn. Rational Republicans are at a crossroads. Do they allow the tea party to drag them into that world or do they wrest it from them (can they wrest it from them?) and bring back the GOP that once – while had the disagreement of some liberals, at least garnered some respect for their abilities and willingness to compromise to make this country a better place. As soon as the party becomes more important than the country – which is the direction the Republicans have been charging in for a few years – the country is screwed. Welcome to screwed.

Mr. Lugar, your party, apparently, is over.

Dinner at the DeLillo’s

“Please pass the ketchup.”
“Please pass the ketchup.”
“The ketchup.”
“Catsup. Cat soup.”
“Feline sopa de plasticine.”
“Midwestern salsa picante.”
“Mediocre mastication ameliorator.”
“The soft blop of the hardy tomato.”
“The spurt. The splooge.”
“A condimental climax.”
“Yes. Yes. Yes!”
“Yes.”
“Pass the fucking ketchup.”
“Okay.”

I Know A Guy

I know a guy knows everything.
You know that guy? I know you do.
He lives right down the street from you.
No matter what you think you do,
he’ll tell you what you ought to do.

His wife, she knows he knows, it’s true:
“He says,” she says, “that red is blue.”
And certainly she’s certain, too,
That blue is blue and red is, too.

I know a guy’s done everything.
You know that guy? I know you do.
He’s done it all once more than you.
You say to him,
“I once fell from a jet airliner.
Thank god I had a carabiner,
For as I hit the atmosphere,
I passed a purple elephant ear,
Saw angels playing synthesizers,
And fans who cheered from balsa risers,
And landed on a 10-foot crow,
who brought me safely down below.”

“That’s nice,” he’ll bleat,
“but my crow was 22 feet.”

Online Shenanigan-sanity

I like to go online and weigh in with a nice dose of balanced, well-reasoned sanity in the comments section after news or opinion articles on, say, Sarah Palin, where the great mass of goombas hiding behind names like Bubba01 ejaculate angry misspelled sentences packed with vitriol. It’s like tossing a carrot into the mouth of the fat kid that’s already overflowing with French fries and Whopper juice. Confusion abounds. And no one ever comments on my comments. There’s the occasional thumbs-up by some poor soul looking for some sanity, but rarely ever thumbs-down I’m guessing because they probably never get past an opening  like “Actually, and while I disagree with the overall premise for reasons I will make clear below, the article is very well written and the support the author provides is relatively sound; however, in light of…” Snooze. I can just imagine them getting about 8 words into it, punching a mental “delete” button, and scanning down for words like “dumbfuck” and “dipshit”, then smiling gleefully when they come across them. The carrot, while nibbled, is left uneaten to rot.

I love people, but

I think I’ve had an epiphany of sorts – or maybe I was just able to put into a simple, tidy little phrase something I’ve known all of my life, but haven’t quite understood so simply. That is, I love individuals, but I don’t care for groups of people. In fact, I really don’t like groups of people much at all. I may even hate them – mostly. This is why I’ve always said, and with some weird pride, “I’m not a joiner.” I would often then go on to enumerate that which I will not join: I don’t want to be a part of your religion, book club, biker gang, ultimate frisbee team and so on and so on. It is not that I don’t like those in and of themselves, but I do not want to be a part of them. But at the same time, I love the individuals who make them up. Well, not all of them of course, but would give them all the benefit of the doubt, not as the group, but as individuals, in the beginning.

I am definitely suspicious of groups. They are unnerving for a host of very good reasons: They are dangerous; they are often possessed by mob mentality (even in small groups); they are often self-righteous; they allow individuals to be lazy and force others to pick up their slack, they are physically large and can lose control of that physicality, and on and on. Think groupthink. That is not to say that I am some sort of whacked-out every man for himself libertarian, or rugged individualist (whatever that means) as I’m really not all that rugged and I do love those I love dearly – my family, my close friends and co-workers – and I love to be around them. I even understand the need for and desire to help one another as individuals and even as a society (big group, that one).

But still I chafe at the little trappings of groups; god save me if I have to dress like a group of people beyond whatever I would normally choose for myself; scheduled and regular meetings I am certain each knock a good 20 minutes (beyond the wasted time of the meeting itself) off the end of my life; I can feel my ultimate demise inching toward me each time I am forced into a group experience not of my choosing. Little bits of me die within.

And I wonder even at the logistics of it all! How on god’s green earth do people round up large groups for biking, or ultimate frisbee, or to re-enact some bygone battle with muskets and period outfits(!) for that matter? That is a great mystery to me, but then again I am imagining 45 me’s at the end of the phone line receiving the invite: “Hey, wanna come out and meet a bunch of us at…” Nope.

But let me say again, I’m not anti-people – just anti-bunches-of-people. I’m also averse to concerts, sporting events, bullfights – wherever great hoards of humanity pile into a confined space. One could be crushed! I love the idea of Woodstock, but would have blown my head off to have had to be there for more than 15 or so minutes – even clean and sober; add some acid or mushrooms or even whatever weed they were smoking back then to that experience and I might have simply physically honestly exploded into individual atoms rather suddenly, simply ceasing to exist entirely.

People who know me gave up long ago inviting me to join anything. And I don’t think they love me less for it. I think they, as individuals, accept that. As a group, they could turn up at my door in the middle of the night with pitchforks and torches and stakes and demands of my skills for ultimate frisbee every other Thursday down at Como Park – rain or shine! What a nightmare!

Nina in the Bright Light of Day

See! This is what we're talking about! Jammies, that semi-retarded star, good stuff!

Oh, no, Nina, say it ain’t so! After climbing into bed last night with the relaxing nocturnal Nina from Sprout’s Goodnight Show, the soft purring nighttime assurances, the quiet smiles, the come-hither seduction exuding from her every evening pore, I woke this morning to a veritable horse’s head in my sodden bed. Nina! On the Sprout Morning Show!

Not unlike waking drunk next to a barely remembered one-night stand yanked from a bar stool at 2 AM and drug home in a fit of whatever happens happens, stinking of booze and soda pop, make-up smeared over the pillow and in some sort of creepy jackson pollockian face, there was Nina, filled with grating morning glee! Her voice an octave higher and 25 decibels louder. No! Get out of my house! Get out of our shared imaginary bed, you shape-shifter! You siren whose rocky shores come to light only as the sun rises, but, oh, oh, oh, much too late my trusting soul!

Ugh! There she is feigning to duck from the fake raindrops and hamming and hugging her shoulders for the cold ear-muffed phony sun; soon she’ll be high-fiving Chica and spewing inanities like “You go, girl!”

In the evening, she’d have smiled at the drops of rain and simply and elegantly wrapped herself in a warm subdued shawl and assured us all that it would be all right as we drifted off to sleep together to the rhythm of the raindrops on the sturdy rooftop.

But alas, the veil has been lifted, the make-up scraped off, and this lady of the evening walks unsteadily in the bright light of day. The decent people turn their heads; others gawk. Who is she? Why is she here? For shame she is here! For shame!

Hey! I wonder what’s going on over at Nick, Jr.!

This is Your Brain on Information

A few years ago I remember hearing that the average New York Times paper had more information in it than the average person in the Middle Ages came across in their lifetime. I had no idea exactly how true that was, but was rather taken aback. I was consuming that amount every day, if not more, what did that mean for who I was as compared to them – my ancestors from not-that-long-ago, relatively well recorded history? Now, I found this in The Week magazine:

“In any two days, human beings create as much information online as it took our species to create in the 30,000 years between the dawn of cave painting and the year 2003. In another 10 years, that same amount of information will be generated in less than one hour.”

That is hard to even respond to. We talk about an information revolution, but I’m not sure that even gets to it. What’s bigger and more impactful than a revolution? An information tsunami? An information blizzard? An information supernova? You’d think with all the information at my disposal, I could come up with something better. Flood?

Now, I will be quick to say (so you don’t have to) that a very, very large percentage of the information we are creating online is useless in any real sense (see this blog). Pretty near 100% of what is posted on Facebook is certainly useless at least beyond the person who posted it. I do not care one tiny iota what an old friend had at The Modern Cafe last night let alone what a perfect stranger had at a restaurant hear them. And there’s plenty of that information being created.

But still it is information and it is being created and if some super highly evolved race is monitoring all of this to learn about our world, we are doing a kickass job of providing for them! They may have dropped in during the Middle Ages and picked up a little gossip, some recipes, how-to information, some religion and left. But now they have some stuff to chew on. The most obscure information is online, the most mundane information is online, some extremely helpful and useful information is online, and much of that useless information. But you’ve got to figure that those astral-planing cats or whatever they are from another world (they may be both) are rather pleased with us. At least, we’re finally giving them something worth planing back for.

So we are here now, surrounded by information, mired in information, overwhelmed by information, informed by information, taught by information, annoyed by information, enraged by information, enraptured by information and so on and so on. It really is a drug. I guess the question now we have to figure out is how we will each consume it, and whether or not we will be consumed by it. Some will be overwhelmed and inspired to the negative (really, think about the school shootings and whether or not all of those kids would every have come to that idea on their own) some will use it enhanced creativity and expanded thought and idea generation. Others will just sit there drunk and vacillate between that rage and rapture.

That’s probably enough information to be added to it all for today by me. Although I would like to add that Facebook is alcohol and Twitter’s a pinch hitter. That one’s for the astral-planing cats to mull over.