Archive for June, 2009

Sans souci

I like to hear the rumble of thunder in the air, I think it shows that God is still hungry. He has no more need of inquisitors here on earth below: the weightlifters of the world are hard at work like snails salting their own pseudopods. Not only do they pull and poke and yank at themselves with racks, whips and pulleys in dungeons of their own devising, but most of the unpleasant things that come out of their mouths in the throes of a huge squat, for example, seem to almost take the form of thwarted prayers which have turned away from heaven’s direction like ingrown toenails. Why do I torture myself like this too? Maybe I’m haunting my own body. Sometimes I don’t feel quite aligned with it. I’ve started to think that travel is a continuous display of disloyalty to your home, but perhaps under your own skin there isn’t a home either. Progress doesn’t refine existence, it just magnifies it. Supposedly the king at Versailles would hold court while sitting on his commode. Big deal. Today you can sit in chair kind of like that, encased in a metal box, and let the toxic fumes spewing out the back shoot you down the highway at 70 mph. Since for humankind a vibration in the throat seems to be the appropriate response to virtually everything-love, a flower, attack from the air by bat-it’s a pity we can’t have a flaring of the gills as well.

the lady bar in the sky

Every prophet describing the rewards that await after death runs the risk of making promises they can’t keep, but they could at least stand to be clear about what they’re offering. When Mohammed offered the potential martyrs to his faith 72 virgins, which supposedly may also be translatable/interpretable as 72 raisins or grapes, he chose a fine time to get all cagey with his devotees. Even if they are real virgins, I’ve always thought applying to a liberal arts college with lots of English majors was a simpler and less destructive way to find more than 72 of them than blowing up a bus in Tel Aviv, though I’ve known more than one person who has probably thought about doing the latter after having a college application rejected. And then too I’m not sure you could find that many virgins at my undergraduate institution, but I attribute that at least in part to the decision of the founder, despite being named Philander, to erect the college as a seminary 50 miles from the nearest city in order to discourage the students from drinking or having sex, whereas in reality, with no city and hence no cultural activities to speak of within the next three counties, students now do virtually nothing else. But at least that attempt to impose chastity for religious reasons went less brutally awry. And those that do decide to kill themselves in some excessively dramatic way in order to get their virgins better hope that those virgins aren’t the other 71 guys that had the same idea.

Of course if it is just grapes, well, ordinarily I don’t feel like death is warranted to attain that which can be gotten as $3.99 blue light special at the supermarket. But how is it that any language or culture could get grapes and virgins confused in the first place? When are those two things interchangeable? I grant you they both bleed red when you poke them, but still. At least you can de-virginize the grape juice by making it alcoholic. So maybe the prophet is leaving a subtle clue that God is really just like one of the sleazy owners of what one of my friends calls “lady bars,” and all his promises, like theirs of “Ladies! Ladies! Hot! Hot!”, is really just a ruse to get people to come in and buy overpriced booze, and will eventually trickle away, like so many nights on earth, into excessive drinking and a disappointed wank-off.

a day without salsa

Yesterday my parents and I went to an upscale Mexican restaurant, which blessedly broke the chain of indistinguishable enchilada-and-burrito shacks metastasizing throughout Denver. But this restaurant was the exception that proves the rule: as soon as the white tablecloths and red wine come out, the waiters and busboys drawn from the owner’s 25 teenage cousins, who are almost capable of growing a single mustache among the lot of them and who seem so intrinsic to the experience of the Mexican restaurant, immediately disappear. Actually, I kind of missed those guys. I didn’t even get to hear incomprehensible and barbaric Mexicali slang being hurled listlessly back and forth over the heads of the uncomprehending gringos, who naturally sometimes get intentionally or incidentally tarred by it en route. This is why I don’t agree with people that think that Spanish and English are just going to merge together seamlessly into one big homogeneous mass. Like in medieval England, where the all the farm animals had Germanic names, whereas the meat and other food delicacies were in French, even if they do ultimately create a combined polyglot I suspect English and Spanish will remain more neighbors than sexual partners, rubbing against each other but monopolizing different areas and regions of life, with English confining its influence to things like flowers, financial chicanery and the more esoteric sorts of sexual degeneracy, while Spanish dominates the realms of cleaning supplies, weed whackers and domestic abuse.

Sniffing the bouquet of the soul

In this impudent little suburb, people stare at me all the time like real estate agents or child molesters. I feel picked out of a crowd. Today is my birthday, so I went to have a drink with a couple of friends at a boutique beer bar in Denver last night. We sat on the patio, a charade Coloradans maintain even though it has become an obsolete social custom, since instead of its usual progressivist, rationalist sunniness the climate has entered a Romantic or Modernist phase, with the perpetual gloom and mopey dampness of a uterus. With the little residual headache I have from last night, today I feel like a fetus being aborted.

A girl who was there with us asked if dogs are color-blind. That would represent a certain social ideal, but I have my doubts. What about like those racist dogs that have been trained to only bark at Mexicans? She also praised the nudist maniacs who staged some sort of semi-protest bike ride in Boulder the other day in support of their crusade to be allowed to always be on the go with no clothes on or something. With that as their ideal, the residents of a refugee camp are already living in a better world.

On the way home I couldn’t help nodding off in the front seat. My friend who was driving me said I looked like I was watching opera.

the divinity’s ventriloquist act

Many people assume that the Genesis story must be the work of a misogynist because of the supposedly nasty way it presents Eve, but I suspect the hand of a woman. The original sin comes about because of a woman eating when she’s not supposed to, then she persuades her heterosexual life partner to do likewise and they and their descendants have to spend the rest of eternity exercising it off. What man would have that much of a dietary hang-up? I also don’t understand how any modern day evangelists can read that and conclude that work and labor are as sacred as God’s own pet iguana. Isn’t the whole point that work and labor themselves are the punishment and payback for unredeemed miscreants? Yet they go about praising work like S&M enthusiasts contemplating being whipped and flayed in hell. If the Bible were really written in that spirit God would have been bragging about achieving full global employment after exiling Adam and Eve and having rid the Garden of welfare queens and social parasites.

Whatever, this is far from the only economic concept on which the usual social views are completely contradictory. The media, in particular, love to write stories about how peoples’ lack of confidence in the market and pessimism about the future will cause the collapse of the economy. And they seem incapable of looking both directions on anything. If inflation has stopped, we are in dire danger of deflation. If they were reporting on crossing a street, no one would ever make it to the other side. If no cars were coming from the left, they would announce that all the cars on the street must therefore be coming from the right, casting grave doubts on the possibility of ever making it past the lane divider. My theory, on the other hand, is that anyone will do any job with the right manipulation. For instance, scientists have been trying to cultivate special prokaryotes that can clean up oil spills and radioactive material by ingesting them. Whereas I’m pretty sure if you just added enough sugar and caffeine and carbonated the whole mess teenagers from near and far would come to lap it up.