Archive for January, 2009


Angel of History, I

From M.N. Roy’s, “Hunger and Revolution in India, II” from September 25, 1919.  

32 million is one year’s total at the end of the passage.  

To misquote Yvonne Rainer and the New Museum:  “Facts are Feelings”   “Yes, Hell”.

“India, the land of proverbial riches and opulence, fell under a curse when the voracious European exploiters came to her coasts in search of gain. Since the days of the East India Company down to the present moment, the Indian people have suffered from chronic famines, malnutrition and endemic diseases which are the inevitable results of such a condition. By nature, education and centuries of culture, the Indians as a race are peaceable and averse to shedding blood. English capitalists, taking advantage of this well-known characteristic, initiated a kind of exploitation, merciless, cruel and efficient, which is calculated to annihilate the entire Indian people. A system which succeeds in killing 32,000,000 human beings in a single year, speaks for itself without the need of additional damning facts. The people which rebels against further subjection to such a government should receive at least the moral support of the whole world.”


How might we escape?

Right now, our theories about how the universe evolves are complete enough to make general long term (that is to say, unfathomably distant) projections. We do this in spite of the fact that these theories have gaping holes. General relativity can’t deal well with gravity in anything but the simplest situations, or (famously) black holes. And Quantum Mechanics still struggles to make sense of the possible existence of unforeseen exotic particles (dark matter) and explain why the expansion of the universe is going at an accelerating rate (dark energy).

Logically, these poorly understood phenomenon leave a lot of room for speculation and I might argue that these are some legitimately crucial times for physics. Astronomers (obviously) love to look into the distant future, and it also turns out that the fate of the universe can be theoretically tied to the same sorts of things that relativity posits (space time geometry). And after theories of the Big Bang were experimentally verified it appeared that the universe had three very likely types of possible future: One with a “Big Crunch”, one that was *just right*, and one that was cold and lonely but not quite completely dismal.

Unfortunately for the good-hearted nature of optimistic scientists, they stumbled upon data from one of the first real tests of our power to observe the universe – there’s a completely unpredicted (or less true, that it was “discounted by Einstein”) anomaly that forces the consideration of what would now appear to be a far more likely scenario. Modern Astrophysics says that the nature of the universe is that a force will drive apart all matter and isolate individual particles, effectively in their own timeless and silent universe. This is obviously a terrifying prospect but its so far in the future and we’re really just starting to apply ourselves in understanding the nature of the universe. I don’t think any scientist expects to overthrow the primary pillars of the field (like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle), but I think at least some are hopeful that there might be some way around the challenges. And that’s what I’m interested in right now.

What are we likely to find in the nature of dark matter and dark energy and black holes and long distances and advanced technology? Will we find protons to be absolutely stable? Can we conserve enough information? Do we have a way across the universe, or beyond it? What goes on behind the event horizon of a black hole? Any Ghost Islanders have any thoughts?


Professor Hilbert


Shorter version possibly forthcoming in book form, likely to be accompanied by illustration.

Yesterday, Benjamin L______ of Easthaven returned to the front room of his house to find Buttons, his sheltie, sitting at a typewriter, assiduously working on one of Benjamin’s articles for him. Having previously assumed that since he always worked while intoxicated–in strict obeisance to the writer’s code–he tended to forget what he wrote, his illusions of genius were thereupon shattered. He immediately stopped spending the Pulitzer money on champagne, women, and/or general debauchery to budget for the purchase of only premium dog food for Buttons.





The meeting was called to order at 7:15PM by President Thompson. After the prayer and Pledge of Allegiance, Mr. Thompson moved to amend the agenda to include the minutes of the November 24th Budget work session. Mr. Newton seconded and the motion passed. Mr. Newton then moved to accept the amended agenda and Mayor O’Donnell seconded. The motion carried. Motions to accept the minutes of the December 1st pre-meeting study session and the council meeting were also passed.

Ordinance 29-04 adopting the budget for the council’s annual refreshments budget was presented for a second reading and put to a vote after some discussion.

Mr. Newton noted that a disproportionate portion of the budget had been allocated for cookies, specifically Pecan Sandies, which he claimed, Satan probably ate. Mr. Wellemeyer responded by stating that he believed the amount allowed for the purchase of Pecan Sandies to be fair, and that Mr. Newton would only spend the funds on figs of his namesake. Mr. Newton then claimed that Mr. Wellemeyer did not need anymore Pecan Sandies, making a gesture toward his stomach. Mr. Wellemeyer moved to have Mr. Newton’s claim be stricken from the record. Motion was brought to a vote and was defeated 1-6. Mr. Newton moved to amend the budget to subtract the $200 allotted for Pecan Sandies and add that amount to the amount allocated for muffins. Motion passed 6-1. Mr. Wellemeyer cast the dissenting vote.

Three resolutions were voted on and passed.

Resolution 34-02 allows the City Council President to park in parking spot 1-A. The resolution passed 6-1. Mr. Haynes cast the dissenting vote, noting that parking spot 1-A was the spot in which he normally parked his vehicle.

Resolution 34-03 allows Mr. Haynes to park his vehicle in parking spot 1-A. Resolution passed 6-1. Mr. Thompson cast the dissenting vote, stating that he was more in need of parking spot 1-A, given his status as a handicapped individual. Mr. Thompson lifted his cane into the air.

Resolution 34-04 allows the City Council President to park in parking spot 1-A. The resolution passed 6-1. Mr. Haynes cast the dissenting vote, suggesting that President Thompson had purposely crippled himself, and should therefore not be rewarded with parking spot 1-A.

Mr. Thompson moved to have Mr. Haynes removed from the council, pointing his cane at Mr. Haynes. Motion was brought to a vote and was defeated by a vote of 3-4.

Mr. Haynes moved to have Mr. Thompson be required to shut the hell up, noting that Mr. Thompson was worse than his wife. Motion was brought to a vote and was defeated by a vote of 2-5.

Mr. Thompson moved to amend to City Budget to include funds for an exploratory committee tasked with determining the reason Mr. Haynes would ever have been made a member of the City Council, noting that Mr. Haynes had never once contributed anything except ludicrous idiocy to any of its meetings. Motion was brought to a vote and was defeated by a vote of 2-5.

Mayor O’Donnell moved to require both Mr. Thompson and Mr. Haynes to shut their mouths for the remainder of the meeting. Motion was brought to a vote and passed 5-2. Mr. Thompson and Mr. Haynes cast the dissenting votes.

A motion to allocate city funds for the patching of the pothole at the intersection of Gray St. and Fitch St. was brought to a vote and passed 5-0.

After council members welcomed Samantha Rice to her new position and wished all a Happy Groundhog Day, the meeting adjourned and the audience and council entered the lobby for refreshments.


This is Lies, I’m Sitting Down

Dear Islanders,

Write some things. I want to read them. I’m bored here on sentry duty, watching the ships (somewhere, beyond the sea). I’m feeling old and lonely and worrying about bedsores because my only exercise is masturbation. No, I do pull-ups too.

Anyways… there’s a newish Julie Doiron song called ‘Consolation Prize’ and I just heard it and learned it wasn’t an Orange Juice cover. Oh well. It’s on this pretty rad mix.

Also, this happens:

Because I notice such things, I notice a bird. It’s a mina bird, which means it’s probably an escaped pet. It looks hungry and distraught. I walk up to the bird and hold out a scrap of the bread we’d brought to make sandwiches. The bird is unafraid and eagerly perches on my forefinger while he eats. Mina birds can talk, and this one keeps repeating, “Simon Says” over and over.

I want to clench my fist and crush his spindly little legs. I’m convinced he’s related to the Wandering Jew, to Simon Laecadameon, to the Simon of the letter with the knives and thumbs. The bird eats contentedly and choruses that name, or that child’s game. I let him finish the bread and fly off. He only goes a few feet, stops, tilts his head 30 degrees and stares at my chest. “Simon Says. Simon Says.”

Laura hardly watches and isn’t listening. She’s busy studying her map. We’d driven to the exact center-point out of a kind of poetic impulse, but really we should be canvassing the closest town. I take Laura’s shoulder in my hand and squeeze harder than I mean to. She’s angry until I say “Listen” and she hears the intensity in my voice and then the name coming out of the bird. She folds up her map.

The mina bird returns his head to its standard position and hops to a slightly further branch. Laura, not wanting the bird to leave us, immediately fetches another piece of bread from the car and places it in my still-open hand. The mina resumes his perch on my finger, begins pecking at the bread. His talons dig into my skin and his beak punctures me when he strikes after the last crumbs. He flies off again, leaving my hand welling up with blood from a dozen tiny pricks.

This time, the mina bird does not stop his flight to watch me. He calls out his “Simon Says” a few times while still in earshot and then we lose track of him in the forest. Laura and I climb back into the car and drive to the town. I bleed slowly onto the steering wheel. We don’t say anything except to clarify directions.


Ghost Island Post-Gazette News Brief

1) Ghost Island is a hologram? Jim, please comment on this: HOLOGRAM STORY

2) The Ghost Island Flowers and Touching Society has been officially disbanded after it was discovered that they were actually a front for an organization that stole ancient artifacts and sold them on the black market.

3) The following native species have been added to the collection of the Ghost Island Zoological Park:

native species


A piece of brain in my hair, bleeding all around, yeah.

Proposal: Indie-rock musicians, the new rockstars, are being paid for putting their music into commercials not only monetarily, but also in units of irony. Following “The New Slang” being used in a McD’s commercial (graciously pointed out to me by Ben Segal), we now have m83 in a car commercial.


m83 – Don’t Save Us from the Flames (Pontiac Commercial?)

This leads me to believe that the ad agency handling Pontiac’s ads have a better sense of humor than one could have expected. Or, Pontiac themselves have a better sense of humor. Either way, someone has a sense of humor, and m83 is most certainly in on the joke: “Yes, I’m selling my music for a commercial, but I’m also subtly undermining the commercial. Or making cars seem cooler by allowing a song about melting wheels and brains in your hair into a car commercial. Either way, I am being quite clever.”

There is some sort of subtle and only partially apparent machine at work here.

Lastly: the video for the m83 song is incredibly charming. In a noteworthy turn, it features a bicycle. And ghosts. “A ghost is screaming your name.” New GI theme song? This would be my humble submission.


in two months ghost island will be farther underwater than atlantis


This is By Way of Explanation

A few things to clear up this mess:

1) That was not my knife.
2) Those were not my garments.
3) The shape of that mark is purely coincidental.

Because the fact is, which you know (you must, I know), that I don’t even begin to look at you that way. I called that musk ‘erotic’ not ‘exotic’. I even said my favorite bones were in your spine.

Let’s not begin the recriminations. It’s true I like touching your hair, but honest darling, these fingers are clean.

And again, I didn’t know about that fissuring of skin. I never spread anything wet and blooded with my thumbs. All I gave anyone was a look that augured kissing.


Blizzard ’09 Update

I walked over by the sports fields to check things out. Was about 3-4 cm of snow on the ground and I saw one of the larger gaggles of black swans on the island. The reason some pics are smaller than others is because my cell phone digital zoom is a fraud.

January 2009