Aliens, aminimals, common human decency, detritus, devil, honesty, meditation, ourselves, SCIENCE!, Seriously sad, trouble, truth

The Human Condition of Toxicity

This is not a tale of our environment trashed and gone rogue on our poor souls. This is the story of just one woman – a woman who I both despise and pity, a woman who is obviously evil and hurting. So does the latter negate the former? Maybe, in theory, but not in practice. Our actions are our own, no matter what the extenuating circumstances – maybe not in the eyes of the law, but in the practice of the person and the outcomes they beget. For it is not some statute or former case that decides this sort of guilt, but the suffering of the innocent players. A well-paid lawyer can turn his eye to her actions, but no one in her cross-hairs can.

Okay, that’s a rather overblown beginning just to talk about a regular person in the regular world going about her life in a regular job among regular professionals. So what makes her so evil? That is the question – and that is why I am torn about her. I had the opportunity to work with this person for about a year. It began with warnings about her from those who knew her, but I saw none of the serial negativity they described. In fact, it appeared we were on an entirely different track. She seemed to like us and what we did, she even, and this is where I should have seen it coming, acted as if we were in cahoots as she quickly denigrated her colleagues conspiratorially almost immediately when we were alone. I was taken aback as it was entirely unprofessional, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. Mistake, that.

Needless to say, she turned. Her vitriol was soon pointed my way, and you could see that the cahoots was now among others and we were the denigrated and trashed. It’s mostly over, and I certainly don’t judge myself in her eyes, and I’m angry and even shocked that she gets away with what she does, but ultimately I pity her. She’s old. She’s alone. She’s bitter. I can imagine that this is her purpose – so much easier and more powerful to be small, malevolent and angry than to do the work required to make good, make friends and even love. She fills her emptiness with that contempt. She doesn’t deserve that life. Something outside her led her there. No one chooses to be that toxic because there’s never a happy ending. Only endings. And lots of them.

I can’t despise her. I can only feel bad for her. I’m a karma guy. I believe, despite my reality-soaked, scientific enlightenment bent, that somehow she’ll have to pay for these actions, but then again, maybe she already is. We reap what we sow, not in some distant imagined place of suffering, but right here and right now. Bless her.

Aliens, aminimals, art, As it should be, beauty, Civics, common human decency, cool, detritus, honesty, ourselves, poetry, Reading, SCIENCE!, sculpture, truth

the difference between one and not the other – four random recent things written down

The difference between one and not the other will never make sense.

The straight makes the not-straight great.

The static nature of anything is nothing,

It’s really hard to do anything authentic in a stadium.


not to be all critic guy but the wait for daft punk’s finally fucking here album Random Access Memory was well worth it.

Aliens, aminimals, art, As it should be, Civics, detritus, Information, ourselves, The WEB

Facebook is…

Facebook is to communication what chicken McNuggets are to haute cuisine.
Facebook is where people who don’t really like each other can stay in touch.
Facebook is to friends what 🙂 is to happiness.
Facebook is an opportunity to say “happy birthday!” (to veritable strangers).
Facebook is where real thoughts are nipped in the bud and presented as such.
Facebook is a grandmother’s dream come true.
Facebook is where you can picture yourself over and over and over…
Facebook is where people are sure to find…something.
Facebook is where bitter people blossom.
Facebook is where interesting ideas can be shared until they are no longer.
Facebook is where people who are obsessed about something obsess.
Facebook is to friendship what water is to single malt scotch.
Facebook is the bathroom wall for logorrhea sufferers.
Facebook is where you can care shallowly.
Facebook is to productivity what termites are to two-by-fours.
Facebook is for sad people to seem happy.
Facebook is where you can change your status without changing one iota.
Facebook is a kennel of barking dogs.
Facebook is the La Brea tar pits for the egregiously self-centered.
Facebook is a tower of babble.

Facebook connects human beings to bits.

aminimals, art, detritus, devil, God Bless America, Information, poetry, Politics, Reading, SCIENCE!, television, The Future, Uncategorized

We’re just buggin’ the shit out of each other

It started out with stopping by, droppin’ in and poppin’ over. Cave to cave. Cabin to cabin.

Then we learned to write with letters and along came letters written to drop in the box and on to whomever.

The telegraph turned letters into tweets – instantaneous and terse.

The telephone turned everything else upside down, inside everywhere – voices over lines of metal – spoken in Spokane heard in Japan. Conversations across the universe. There was nothing more to say. And when they got into homes, there was nowhere to hide. They had you in your house. The perfect crime.

Then phones divided into cellphones and proliferated. Popping up everywhere, public spaces, intimate places. Joined at the hip. Cool shit. The crime perfected.

Emails hail down upon your desktop, your laptop, iPad and cellphone. Damage occurs.

But that was not enough – we’ve rebuilt the telegraph from man to man, phone to phone. Tweeting everything. Leaving out nothing.

We’re dropping by all the time.

We’re just buggin’ the shit out of each other.

detritus, television, trouble

reality and self awareness

A couple of experiences that allowed me to be fully aware of myself (but only for a second or two):

One: Guthrie Theater Acting Camp, circa 1978. First day with a bunch of strange, new, much cooler than me kids backstage. The camp “counselor”, also an actor in the Guthrie troupe, puts us all in a big circle and one by one we are to walk directly across the circle “normally”. As you can imagine, that’s impossible. The very fact that this group of young strangers are all watching you makes it absolutely impossible to walk “normally.” I believe I strutted, then sat down red-faced thinking what a lop I was. “Lop” being a strange little term that was popular among my small group of friends back then. It meant 1. uncoordinated; and 2. doofus. More or less.

This is an example as to why “Reality” TV is really the worst name for whatever that is. Anytime a camera (or the eyes of my fellow campers) is trained on you, reality slips right out the back door. Nothing that happens when the subjects know the camera is on can be remotely described as “reality”. It immediately becomes performance, whether we like it or not.

The other time, and this is rather embarrassing, I was standing mostly naked but for a shirt with the full length mirror to my right. I’m not one to stare at myself in the mirror and if you know me by sight, you know why. Pretty much average looking all around. But this one day, I’m standing there and happen to glance over to my own face at the exact same moment I pulled my belt up and it whips me right in my most personal privates, snap! and I saw my own face respond to the searing pain. Interesting, that. Painful, but interesting. I had no idea my face could ever contort in that manner.

Civics, detritus, poetry

The secret of being boring is to say everything.

The prescient Voltaire

The quote is Voltaire’s and so precedes Facebook by a few centuries, but would certainly have been uttered by him again had he had the distinct pleasure to read the daily, sometimes hourly, even minute-by-minute observations shared by his “friends”. Facebook has many uses for people, organizations and multi-national corporations. It’s become a sort of individually tailored town square through which we users all walk (some only occasionally, others never seem to leave) to greet our friends, hear the gossip and see the storefronts and street vendors. It’s ultimately a terribly lazy, and strangely passive (even camouflaged), way to go about experiencing the world. You can more or less hide in a bush by the sidewalk and just watch it all unfold from there (generally my M.O.).

That is my way because I don’t communicate well through anything like an online “chat”. The rhythm of the chat (or texting) is broken for me. If we are going to lay out long stories, arguments, treatises and the like and have another comment in return, then that sort of typing, sending and waiting for reply works just fine. But if we’re going to have a conversation with short sentences (not even) and shorter replies, then we must do that in person or with sound. To wait more than a half of a second for someone to reply to “Meet me at Luce” with “OK” is ludicrous. It’s a colossal waste of time and, keeping in mind the rule that 99 percent of all quoted numbers are made up, I would bet that we’re wasting millions of hours of time each year waiting for simple, often inane, replies.

The other problem with the chat business is it becomes chatty and chatty is girlie which is why I’ve always said that Facebook is for girls and chatty boys. Imagine any real man – real or Hollywood induced – and then imagine them posting their status on Facebook. John Wayne, no way. Bronco Nagurski, not a chance. James Bond, not unless it was really a trigger to a bunker busting bomb on the side of a mountain on an island somewhere in the ocean. That’s because it’s information lite; and these guys were men of few words and certainly wouldn’t waste any on “Having red sauce with fresh tomatoes and basil tonight!”

And that chattiness, especially in the one-way fashion it mostly unfolds on Facebook, becomes in its breadth, boring. No one can talk (or post) constantly and consistently say something of worth. And like the Menards commercials playing in the Menards while you are shopping, it first surprises, then annoys, then irritates and eventually slips a bit into the background as a minor irritation like a leg dotted with mosquito bites.

But like scratching the bites, I have this strange compulsion to read the incessant posts. Mostly it’s the proverbial train wreck from which I cannot turn. The gore, the sickness, the sadness, the sense of there but for the grace of the gods go I, are all somehow alluring, and yet simultaneously, and ultimately, boring.

That being said, here I am posting my own thoughts. There are two differences however: I don’t expect a reply and the related second difference, no one is reading this – my town square here is empty!

I guess we’re all broadcasting our thoughts with various degrees of thoughtfulness, intimacy and engagement.