Nov 23, 2010

While the A-list pundits debate security on airplanes vs. privacy at airports, the pump house gang, 'serfers' if you will, including the likes of Mark Levin and his pinkie puppet, Michael Berry, are still trying to pin the tale on the donkey. As though at the President's finger snap Janet Napolitano devised a scheme to show how Vic Tanny the government is these days and so alienate as many more 2012 voters as possible.

Meanwhile, the call to be like Israel, where profiling is not merely clever college students looking through one way glass for behavior cues, but relentless algorithms crawling about your bank and credit card accounts, your licenses and business connections, and no doubt through your online personas. So that by the time you get to the airport big brother has already seen your most private parts...

Your "junk" in a very real sense.

What a strange word for genitalia. Where did it come from?

A corresponding term expressly for women is va-jay-jay, but that has a lyrical quality and runs with words like Fugazi — the name of a bad film, a punk band, and the term used by Johnny Depp in the film Donnie Brasco for something that's fake.

But junk is junk. Whether drugs or refuse, junk has no good connotation. There's nothing lyrical or creative about the word. Nothing ironic or funny. It's as if to suggest the end does not justify the means. The whole process of reproduction comes from junk and the 'issue' itself is junk.

In a way, this whole privacy business is a reflection of our puerile modesty, which no amount of porn, or even genuine eroticism, can hide. Perhaps, "junk" is merely a current bout of self-loathing, and just plain frustration with the material unit.....

Nov 15, 2010

Having watched Social Network I came away struck not only by the squalid culture in which Facebook was born, but more by the feeling of having been drawn into somebody's personal drama, 'my own private Eliot House', and from there into a childish ambition to create a gated community where the standard of living is not related to quality of life.

Whatever the new functionalities — however Facebook is becoming the universal dashboard and throttle to drive your online identity, it's not about building 'social capital', which is a good and necessary thing. This is something else. It's about building the biggest country club. It's about persuading people that they are a measure of their 'social graph' — that there is little more important than being able to look over the backyard of yourself and say, 'my, don't I have a long list of friends!'.

And you wonder, who are all these friended people? How many do I really know?

In fact, this social graph is a measure of the size of your phone book. That's cockspeak for advertisers, and you'll remember, advertising was not part of the original offering with mashbook.

But what about this obsession with being social? And what has the word come to mean? 'Being social' was once a rite of passage, perhaps more common in the suburbs, but always a test of maturity, an unwelcome obligation to some, where you reached out to people, for good reason or bad, but you faced them. At a dance, a wedding, over a martini at a restaurant, or a tea party at home. The risk was that you would be rejected, that having exposed yourself you would not be included in the local society.

But now in these new realms you can escape rejection because you don't face anyone. You are merely a persona, invulnerable to your girlfriend's truth, that you can be smart AND an 'asshole'.

In the new East Indies it's about your persona not your person. It's about tarring over every last bit of free time and quiet with noise and distraction, functionality and illusion, and the strange conviction that you are a user, not one of the used.

(The question of FB's social significance is also part of the broader issue of how these different messaging tools affect political action. Here's an interesting article in that regard: )

Nov 8, 2010

We've been without power for over 10 hrs and now we have no water. We're told to prime the well pump but we don't know how. We've never had this problem before, or we can't remember when we did because it's been so long ago. Can anyone help?

Here's what to do. Get on your best and fastest horse and ride a hundred miles to the nearest Pete's coffee. Or Starbuck's, if you have to, and remember there you can wear a gun in the open. Both stores have wifi. Don't forget your i-pad. The pastry/drink specialist will give you a code at Pete's. At Starbuck's you can just open your browser.

When you get online, Google "priming a well pump." You'll get something like this, "Here's how to prime an electric pump." These are the directions:

— Half-fill a watering can (do not use a hosepipe as the pressure is too high!).
— Pour water down the pump outlet pipe, lifting the pipe so that the water goes all the way down to the pump. It will take about 2 litres (half a gallon) to prime the pump.
— Switch on the pump.
— Most pumps are "self-priming", i.e. you only have to do this once, afterwards it keeps the water itself and does not drop the water back into the well. The bottom of the collector pipe at the bottom of the well should have a non-return valve.

Now you have the knowledge. Get back on your best and fastest horse and return home, and on the way you might think about 'priming the pump' as a metaphor for an economic problem. Right away, if you have any education at all, you'll remember that this was exactly the strategy FDR used in 1933 to get the economy back on track — using increased government spending, lower interest rates and tax reductions.

That's very similar to the strategy economists have been recommending for the last two and a half years and it has nothing to do with socialism.

Then when your home is in sight, and your wife is standing on the veranda in her nighty and slippers, perhaps you'll think of the great power of metaphors in general and how telling it is that we don't remember this particular metaphor, much less how to prime a pump.

How could we be expected to? We've moved off the land to cities. We don't know anything about fixing pumps ourselves. That's part of the new esoteric knowledge.

Keep going with this thought and you realize that without well thought out metaphors, it's hard to explain to people complicated things that they might otherwise understand, and how easy it is for people to come under the spell of lies and misinformation.

Nov 1, 2010

The question is, why have largely single, white women forsaken Obama?

(Which brings to mind the old quandary over Jesus' lament, "Oh God, why has thou forsaken me?" Which you may know is a misinterpretation, according to the late Aramaic Bible researcher George Lamsa who insisted that the correct translation from Aramaic should be "Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani" or "My God, my God, for this [purpose] I was spared!")

In fact, not all single white women have forsaken The Annointed One, as the radio rats always call him, particularly penny-annity, but based on a verifiable poll of two or three friends I found out this widespread truth. Some women were pissed that he compromised before he had to, on the health care bill especially. He gave in and there was a hint of that in his books, a little suggestion that he might do that, that he was not just pragmatic but something else. Something a little distasteful, frankly. Turned out some women felt jilted. It was as though the man you fantasized about every day in the office really didn't have any interest in you. The smile you hoped was for you, wasn't.

And so these women that were running away with him every night in their dreams, like Beckys after their Toms, in moonlight off the Mississippi, were undone that in real life he had no interest in them. It was as if to say, as if women could say to him, privately of course, "I knew Bill Clinton and you're no Bill Clinton" — that dirty, sexy, terminally boyish rascal who could be forgiven on a smile, because after all his only crime was that he loved women too much. But that's good. Women prefer a man with simple faults, with common despicables.

With Obama it's different, because the smile is not about turning you on. It's about something else, who knows what. He's in the mind, not in his body, so you can't get an easy read. Can't figure out who he really is. Can't control him, that's what it is. The 'helpful crone' understand this but not others.

"They fell out of love with 'the dark one'," as a friend put it so derisively, referriing to her suddenly spurned sisters in Berkeley. I should add that she herself has always had only black lovers, and as far as she's concerned this is all just more of that old black-magic racism.

Bottom line: you can't trust a good man. Just not used to it. They make you feel uneasy, unsettled. What kind of man could be so calm, reserved. Doesn't waste a single syllable of body language. Doesn't have time, doesn't need to.

At least let's have Sidney Poitier, nostrils flaring, mouth-a-grimace. That man who said, "A good deed here, a good deed there, a good thought here, a good comment there, all added up to my career in one way or another." But he was emotional, he showed his anger. His characters all had one thing in common, they knew that America loves a fighter.

You can still hear his voice. You literally had to hold his characters back when the injustice went too far. And for damn sure none of his characters would have compromised with the likes of one of these potato-colored farts like John Boehner.