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Eight Fables About Action, Inaction, and Distraction

If I’m part of a problem, but not part of the problem, then it’s not really your problem.

-Keir DuBois

For many years now, I’ve forgotten my dreams-if I ever remember at all. Reality wants my attention more often, so I always come when she calls, and I’m getting used to the pull of routine and the comfort of my fatal flaws. Cause I never really found Boredom attractive, but she won’t stop flirting with me. She don’t understand that I can’t reprimand her for such innocent flattery, and I used to think I could hold out forever-but she’s circling patiently. For many years now, I’ve forgotten the fear-but now I remember it all. The nerves and the pressure of one good impression are making my confidence crawl, cause I’ve got a date with Ambition tonight but she’s not returning my calls.

When “Rock and Roll” Only Meant One Thing

“One song which would really tear the house down was ‘Tutti Frutti.’ The lyrics were kind of vulgar. White people, it always cracked ’em up, but black people didn’t like it that much. They liked the blues.”

–Little Richard

“If rock and roll has to be only one thing, then you might as well say it can only be Little Richard.”


Like many struggling rock stars, I’ve endured all kinds of cheap taunts and envious smears in the foul underbelly of the music industry. It comes with the territory–when making the quantum leap from bleating opinionated man-child to Serious Ball-Busting Artist, the attendant fallout irrevocably mutates many observers into one-note projection machines. These poor souls are called “critics,” and I know how they think, because I used to be one myself.

The Horrible Burden of Being Right All the Time, Part II

There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone; in fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to elude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself; no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing.

A great American once said that, and I had the quote bronzed and hung above my desk at City Hall so that I’d never forget why I’m here. Human Resources is a thankless and dirty business, but I’ve become pretty damn good at it.  

Walk On Your Lips Through Busted Glass

Envy is the religion of the mediocre. It comforts them, it soothes their worries, and finally it rots their souls, allowing them to justify their meanness and their greed until they believe these to be virtues. Such people are convinced that the doors of heaven will be opened only to poor wretches like themselves who go through life without leaving any trace but their threadbare attempts to belittle others and to exclude-and destroy if possible-those who, by the simple face of their existence, show up their own poorness of spirit, mind, and guts. Blessed be the one at whom the fools bark, because his soul will never belong to them.

My brother’s voice slices through the fermented air with muted authority. He always did love deploying the righteous wisdom.

We Move Like We’re Suspended in Amber

He wondered again at the bewildering gullibility of people. How baffling it was that even the most cunning and clever people would frequently see only what they wanted to see, and would rarely look beyond the thinnest of facades. Or they would ignore reality, dismissing it as the facade. And then, when their whole world fell to pieces and they were on their knees slitting their bellies or cutting their throats, or cast out into the freezing world, they would tear their topknots or rend their clothes and bewail their karma, blaming gods or luck or their lords or husbands or vassals-anything or anyone-but never themselves.

“Say what?” My brother looks up from his computer, a Warcraft raid frozen on its monitor. “I didn’t catch that, dude.”

I shift my ass on the living room couch in my brother’s San Clemente apartment. His fiancĂ©e clanks some dishes in the kitchen, preparing for her own birthday party.  

Quickie Fiction Updates for People Who’d Care, Part II

Back when this site was primarily bitching about a Republican president, Budhy was nice enough to let me blog the first draft of a novel here. Other people (including someone who evidently now hates me) were also nice enough to comment with tips & constructive criticism, and things were super-groovy from about Jan. 2008 to June 2009. Then the rot set in.

We’re Not So Different, You and I

I am not a good person. I’ve known this for a long time now, but for some reason people insist on disbelieving me. It’s true, though-I’m a bad man, and I work in an evil business, full of bitchy little plastic people with humorless agendas and fearful, envious hearts. It absolutely sucks, and yet conversely I feel right at home being a judgmental jerk among my peers and colleagues. Admitting that took a little while, but I’ve always felt inherently bad-or at least “not good”-and I think that is one of the reasons why I’ve lasted so long in this wretched industry. I’ve dispensed with the illusion that I’m a well-intentioned, vaguely friendly person full of good will toward all humanity.

Quickie Fiction Updates for People Who’d Care

So my fiction rewrites have now begun in earnest (sorry, but I wanted a summer break), and there’s proving to be much less and much more of it than I thought. For those who don’t know, from Jan ’08 to Jun ’09, budhy was nice enough to let me blog a “novel” here, and a few people were nice enough to comment and make suggestions/edits/whatever. Probably only those people will be interested in this, so my non-update updates are below the fold.  

It’s Not a Blue World After All, Max

“No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and no one should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day.”

Well…shucks, that’ll show ’em. Awesome viral activism, gang. Maybe somewhere, in another parallel Pepperland, Max Baucus and Kent Conrad immediately updated their Facebook status in sweet, serene solidarity. I can see it now, splattered in big, 16-point Verdana Bold atop the “MAX 2008” senatorial profile, right next to the photo of Baucus with azaleas sprouting from his nose and ears. In this universe, of course, our own Blue Meanies sold us all out long, long ago (if Matt Taibbi said so, then it must be true!), and have been stumbling their way to a new round of Snatching Fail From The Jaws Of Win.  

Bottle Up and Explode, Over and Over

Because everyone is a fucking pro, and they all have answers for questions, you know?

-Elliott Smith

I used to hate the sound of screaming children. I mean really abhor it-the whining, the melodrama, the horrendous sense of entitled malediction-so much so that the slightest hint of temper bursting forth from an exploding id would make my soul pucker with vitriol. These days however, I’m finding more and more that I can tune it out-and let me tell you all, that’s a glorious feeling. I can only assume that I’ve ascended to some wondrous alternate plane of nirvana, where nothing but the blissfully innocuous sounds of vapid contentment drift past at a pleasant volume. You know, kind of how VH-1 used to be when Sting was king. Yeah, some people get the big chills-but not me, dude. I bathe daily in a warm mist of numb muck so nutritious, so womb-like, that I’ve begun to hear everything as if it’s pumped through a primo reverb tank.

The Greatest Trick the Old Man Ever Pulled

I know you like your pop stars to be exciting, but I’m afraid I simply can’t be bothered right now. I’ve been on sabbatical, you see-I’m not doing anything remotely interesting at the moment, so I don’t want anyone getting the wrong ideas-but it seemed as if everyone was getting on well enough without me. False prophets choked the life from already-poisonous atmospheres, vile succubi debased humanity’s collective sanity, mendacious tyrants clashed over dust-strewn deserts, and the New York Yankees have been restored to their proper royal status. Ah me, what’s a happy cad to do under such joyous circumstances?

The Old Men Don’t Know, but the Little Girls Understand

I don’t know if Howlin’ Wolf has ever been translated into Farsi, but if Islamic Republic government snipers are now killing beautiful women on live TV, something’s sure gone up the Supreme Leader’s ass sideways. Call me a sucker, call me a romantic, call me a suburban armchair activist-but I have been extremely moved by the fact that the women of Iran seem to be in the vanguard of the election-related protests. Indeed, if the basiji are shooting innocent bystanders-as they seem to be doing in a heartbreaking and grisly snuff film out of (I believe) Tehran, then the current regime’s days truly are numbered. You don’t win friends and influence people by murdering the hot chicks, Khameni.

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