Monthly Archives: January 2012

The United States of Newt

Every time the great gaseous, blimp-like ship of state known as Newt Gingrich careens into another election port, everyone runs to watch with horror and fascination. Surely this time the rolling gasbag will explode and go up in a fiery ball of overheated bombast. Yet somehow the SS Newt manages to avoid self immolation and lumbers on, a one-man Macy’s parade in search of a new main street to flounder down.

Newt is the Ron Jeremy of politics. An aging political porn star who has screwed an entire nation, he now must fall back on his talent for auto-fellation. For the electorate, It is too grotesque to watch and too freakish to look away.

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Winter Fragrance

Bright sun and high 30s today. Walking through the outdoor patio entrance to my bank today, I was transported by the winter fragrance of Chinese Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Molis.) I looked around for the gangly yellow misanthrope, but it was hiding. There are bacteria living miles below the earths crust making their living in lithic darkness harvesting energy from the radioactive decay of minerals. The diffuse light and cold of the Portland winter at the earths surface is comparative tropical luxury for the Witch Hazel, leaving it energy enough to perfume the air with its sexual vigor. Why do men go to ground in winter, thinking that nature is so feeble as to only grant us it’s favor seasonally?

Playing the White Keys

I watched President Obama’s state of the union speech before congress last night. He is a good orator, probably the best since Kennedy, but he’s no Jack Kennedy. Obama has no Aeschylus, no Cicero in him. He doesn’t reach for the stars, maybe because he thinks he is the star. The rhythms and cadence of the black preachers are in his repertoire , but he mostly keeps them at the back of the bus. He knows he can’t sound too black, and in him, it is an affect anyway. He mostly played the white keys and delivered a reasonably rendered Souza march from the moderate Protestant Republican side of his family tree. The south side Chicago community organizer who can do a reasonable Al Green impression was not in evidence.

I recalled that ordinary US citizens can no longer sit in the gallery and watch our elected officials. We can only visit a facsimile, presumably soon to be staffed with animatronic senators. Given the state of our actual corrupt sock puppet government, the Disneyland version will at least have clean toilets and a story line that won’t give you a stroke.

Unemployment

Getting fired is
a car accident a mile from town
a funeral on a Tuesday
a child born under a bad sign
the river jumped the bank
took out a row of trees and
the houses now crazy tilted
and silted in
and the L and N don’t stop here anymore
it’s a note stuck to a box of cheap donuts
delivered to your doorstep
on a Sunday morning
saying even though we just
took you off at the knees
we know you’ll land
on your feet

Storm Large

Portland’s prodigal daughter and rock and roll diva Storm Large has written an autobiography called “Crazy Enough.” I was lucky to see her perform her one-woman play based on her life, which includes the unforgettable audience sing-along “My Vagina is Eight Miles Wide.” Beneath the sex, heroin addiction and musical shit storm of talent lies a tale of sorrow and love for a mentally ill mother who left her daughter too early. It is an incredibly brave story. Storm tears the shirt and rips the pockets off of life and loves it all the way down. She is the musical love child of Liza Minelli and Janis Joplin. If you ever get a chance to see her perform, take it. She is in her forties now and performing topless is probably no longer in her repertoire. But it would probably distract from her immense talent anyway.

The New Eden

Noam Chomsky comments on the latest climate talks: “the richest and most powerful nation in history is leading mankind and much of Creation off a cliff. The point of no return is now around 2017, when the carbon budget will be spent.”

I know we are attached and desirous, not seeing and accepting things as they are. The coming crash may be unavoidable. All compound things are impermanent by nature. We are the desirous fools God made us to be. We have already eaten of the tree of knowledge. That horse is out of the barn. If God is banishing us from the Garden lest we gain eternal life, well, too late on that one too. Poetry is eternal. We made that. So are Glenn Gould’s Goldberg Variations and perhaps the infield fly rule. The moments I held my children for the first time are eternal, and I plan to take them and hundreds more with me when I go. There is a difference between eternal and everlasting. If God fears us gaining everlasting life, he can have it. As Woody Allen says, who wants to sit through the Ice Capades again.

We will probably take our licking in the evolutionary woodshed, retreat towards the poles as the earth warms and dessicates, drop our population drastically, if that is the price we must pay. We made it through the last evolutionary bottleneck when our numbers dwindled to under ten thousand, and we will make it through another. With Lovelock, the author of the Gaia principle, I believe we will become the new oxygen, the highly caustic byproduct of evolution itself that eventually becomes the catalyst for a whole new fluorescence of life. We will adapt, we will evolve and yes, sadly, many of us and our brethren flora and fauna will perish. We did not ask to be put here, nor did we did not ask to be so successful as a species. But we will do precisely what evolution programmed us to do: adapt and survive, even if adapting requires the exact opposite of what it took to make it this far. I expect that the new Eden will likely be strange and wonderful, in it’s own way too.

Journal entry 1-14-12

It was very cold and windy by the Columbia this morning, with flecks of snow. The bird cannons at the airport were booming the whole time, as large flocks gathered in the grass near the runways, seeking heat from the passing jet engines.