Archive for October, 2009



Just like every year, Sarah’s mother was dressed as Jeremy Bentham’s dead body. She had a wood and glass case made up just like Jeremy Bentham’s cabinet at the University College London. Sarah wore a British university custodian costume, which was actually a ‘sexy maid’ costume because Masks & More didn’t sell a British university custodian costume. She wheeled around her mother’s viewing booth on a dolly.

Just like every year, Sarah got drunk and said Dead Jeremy Bentham’s Custodian a lot when people asked what she was supposed to be. Except this year, about halfway through the night, Sarah’s mother suffocated and died. Then Sarah said My Mother’s Pallbearer and cried into her Jim Beam.



Heidegger, Wozu Dichter? What are Poets For ?

“poets are the mortals who, singing earnestly of the wine-god, sense the trace of the fugitive gods, sty on the gods’ tracks, and so trace for their kindred mortals the way toward turning.”



The Holocene Extinction Event: Setting the Bar Low

Our ancient ancestors marched across the globe scorching the earth with giant walls of fire to chase their prey out into the open. They destabilized populations of easy-to-kill animals with such speed and ferocity that their part in a rolling wave of mass extinctions concurrent with human expansion is still debated, despite clear scientific evidence in support of their central role in the slaughter. They did in about 10,000 years what millions of years of predator/prey interaction (including dozens of climatic shifts and natural cataclysms) failed to do, i.e. wipe anything tasty asides from itself off the face of the earth as totally as possible. Once it got a little crowded, they immediately commenced eradicating each other with an endless enthusiasm, as the vast majority of all species on Earth seem to do.


Fast forward a tiny little frenetic blip in geologic time and you have us here today. Sometimes when I’m reading the news I feel like I’m riding in a bus with everyone else and the driver has depressed the accelerator as far as it can go and we have just left the roadway, with branches and rocks beating against the outside of the vehicle. We all see what’s happening but no one has any idea what to do or any ability to do anything even if they had a plan. Someone might try to get up and advance towards to front to seize control of the bus but is immediately cast back into their seat by gravity, momentum, and all the other natural laws that make the outcome of their attempts so obvious. The utter failure of the major emission-producing nations to set meaningful standards on pollution, the proliferation of nuclear arms as their host nations splinter into factions, the compression factor of the astonishingly fast rate at which the global population is growing: it’s pretty intense, and it doesn’t seem to bode well for what would be our children or grandchildren or even us in our old age.


But is it really that bad? Yes, of course it is. But only because we understand what it could be in theory. In practice though, given the sort of shambolic, brutal history of not just the human race but the natural order in general, things are actually pretty relaxed. I mean, here we find ourselves, searching for resources, consuming them, destroying our surroundings, just like we have been all along. But it isn’t a fall from grace, and we aren’t regressing, per se. You could watch a television commercial and say “Look at how stupid Americans are now, buying/watching/being tricked by all this crap”, but what is the alternative? What would you rather have? When has it ever been better? The 50s? The 30s? When people were hanging each other in public squares? Was that a golden age? There is something scary about how devastating the individual deviations from our modern placidity can be, for sure, and how apathetic people can remain, and how increasingly distant the rich and poor are becoming, but shocking catastrophes and futile, clumsy recalibrations are the order of the day, not just in this country or species or planet but everywhere. Pitchers can’t hit and humans can’t not kill everything.


I guess my point is that, as much as everything can be overwhelming, I feel more and more that it is important to keep calm and be precise. This is the real world, with warlords, child slaves, oil tankers, missles, volcanoes, grandfathers getting crushed by hippos, Predator drones, etc. and not some Ancient Greek moralistic sphere where people will all just stop acting like they always have because they realize, after 2 million years, that they are ruining stuff. I’m often frustrated by how much contemporary radicalism seems to bloody its fists pounding at the rock wall of the obvious, the human, and the unavoidable, only to be eventually co-opted and subsumed by those same things, just like always. Maybe a thorough reading of the rules of the game will help further understand how to “beat” it. Or at least elucidate why we keep losing.


Also, I know essentially nothing about philosophy so if I am rehashing some horrible person’s worldview that they used to rationalize some horrible thing, please let me know.


the beer that grew with the great northwest (midwest)


ML Press 2010

I have a tiny new chapbook coming out from ML Press in 2010! This is exciting, because I like ML Press & their chapbooks & the other writers they release.

My story is called ‘Weather Days’ and will be available as a small and attractive book. You can order it from ML Press for $3.00, but really you should just get a subscription to the 2010 Chapbook Series to get:

jan. / THE SEA / rauan klassnik

feb. / WHEN SHE COMES HOME / riley michael parker

mar. / POLIDORI / cooper renner

apr. / UNTITLED / amy guth

may / BEHIND THE LINES / david gianatasio

june / WEATHER DAYS / ben segal

july / Three Scenarios Leading To the Rape of a Teenage Girl in the Tropicool Icy-land Urban Indian Slum / kuzhali manickavel

aug. / THE TRANSIT ILLUMINATE / michael berstein

sept. / SIGNALS / BLACKOUT / eric beeny

oct. / FAWN, FIONA, FJOLA / matt bell

nov. / THIS IS THE FALL LINE / ryan downey

dec. / THE LOST BODY PROJECTED / evelyn hampton

The whole series is $20, or for a little more you can get the series and also some full length books. I think you should do this because it is not expensive and very good.

Go to the ML Press website for more information/to order


The Legacy of Liberal Tolerance

The 19th century German anthropologist (the combination of ‘German’ and ‘Anthropology’ is a clear red flag) Johann Friedrich Blumenbach specialized in the study of human races and racial taxonomy. He postulated that physical characteristics constitute an idea of race, which also determine certain forms of character. Blumenbach, to the surprise of his European readers, asserted that “our black brethren” have “a natural tenderness of heart…which has never been benumbered or extirpated on board the transport vessels or on the West India sugar plantations by the brutality of their white executioners.” In fact “they can scarcely be considered inferior to any other race.” He cites the physical anthropologist Niebuhr to support this astonishing claim: “The principal characteristic of the Negro, especially when he is reasonably treated, honesty towards his masters and benefactors.” Wow! A race of people who harmoniously contract into servitude with the utmost humility and gratefulness, if we can just learn to treat them tolerantly. Is Starbucks the 21st century progeny of Blumenbach? Do we not hear an echo of Blumenbach in Starbucks’ Global Responsibility Report? If Blumenbach were alive today, would he not be a distinguished professor of business ethics/theorist of imperialist conquest or a socially responsible CEO?


Suit Woven of Tongues

Suit Woven of Tongues

Though fashionable, this suit may be difficult to maintain. When stored, the suit must be kept in a climate-controlled environment with high humidity. When wearing your suit of woven tongues, keep a spray bottle in your briefcase and spritz yourself so the tongues don’t dry out. Don’t over-water though, or they’ll slobber the whole of your skin!

Of course, there are also advantages- the kissing practice, the beautiful dark-tongued piping, the rough taste buds that act as emory boards. You get smooth nails and limber lips with this suit! Girls love these attributes in a person and so do boys!

Wear this suit of woven tongues when you need a strong and well-muscled draping with a sleek European cut. This is a stylish and fitting suit with real Italian tongues from real Italian children! They were probably virgins, the children who bore these tongues, but who would know? These are such tender tongues!

This suit licks your date for you when you dance in the rain!

October 2009