Tuesday, December 21, 2010

More Entries Into Terrible Things For 2010

Station ID time: We're going low power until the new year. No posts after this in 2010. I might clean up or spruce up earlier posts, sprinkle links in where they should go, but I'll catalog what I do. Anyway. See you in 2011! Merry Christmas!

I spent a bunch of time trying to write something about the Julian Assange rape thing and I think it ended up repeating a bunch of the much better, professionally written pieces about the issue, so I scuttled it. I'm trying to pass some kind of judgment on the Assange rape issue without having any kind of access to the evidence of the not-trial either way. What I have to say boils down to a couple things:

First: We ought, necessarily, to sort out what we think about Wikileaks and then quarantine it from what we think of the rape charges. Wikileaks is so big and so pervasive that it will lead us astray. So: Julian Assange is a guy accused of four counts of rape total by two different women in Stockholm.
Second: Until the trial gets under way, all I have access is to is the stuff in the press, which is spotty and unclear how true most things are. Hopefully, a trial where evidence is put in front of a judge, or public will help clear things up. Considering one of the charges is intercourse with a sleeping woman without a condom, some clarity will be useful.
Third: Yes, the CIA could have done this. Easily. And I'm willing to believe it, but damnit, I need some evidence of it. I would like to believe reasonable people take rape charges very seriously. But, before ringing the conspiracy bell, I would like to see something I can sink my teeth into. Or just something. I'm currently reading a book about a government trying to assassinate people, using official cover to do it. I'm sympathetic to the argument that the government is lying, but I've gotta be met halfway at this and I'm not seeing anyone.
Fourth: Because otherwise, I'm taking the idea of a boogeyman over the accusations of women who claim to have been raped that no one has shown a reason to disbelieve. That seems short-sighted at the very least. If this makes me naive, so be it.

The links below are useful. Tigerbeatdown is the hook, Jezebel's link has the larger view and Guardian has the details on just about everything. What you come up with is up to you, but man, I don't think there's answers, just more accurate information that clouds everybody's view.

Here are the links:
Tigerbeatdown-#Mooreandme: On Progressives, Rape Apologism and the Little Guy
Jezebel-Talking About Julian Assange Has Become Utterly Terrible
The Guardian-Assange bail request refused as Wikileaks Chief Fights Extradition, Julian Assange defends decision not to face questioning in Sweden, 10 days in Sweden the full allegations against Julian Assange

Today's song is by Propagandhi, called "With Friends Like These, Who The Fuck Needs COINTELPRO," which includes the lyrics:

The purpose of this new counter-intelligence endeavor is to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit or otherwise neutralize any parades that you can't jump in front of.

You can view the rest of the lyrics here, but the title's indicative of what you're going to find. It's a live version because a studio one isn't available. Oh well.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2666: In Revue

Torrential is the right word for 2666. There's a lot of it, most of it of conspicuously high quality. Which is what drew me to it, that and the sustained praise for the book as a whole. But I don't think I can read it again any time soon. First, I mentioned a lot about the obliterating fourth section, the one about detectives in Mexico trying to solve brutal murder rapes and it casts a cloud. It's a frightening, towering cloud, but...I can't go back. I will go back. Almost certainly.

But not now. Bolano's basically written 5 stories, each with a different style and intertwined them. And I don't normally read any of those stories. I mean, okay, I read Greg Rucka's comics and I'm only now starting the first of the three Tara Chase Queen and Country books, but the epic road trip or going insane or love triangle or war story is not something I'm familiar with. Yet, it's compelling. Painfully. What's crazy is that I don't even know the important things I've missed. I'm willing to bet the dreams the characters had all line in one form or another and those will be the portions I focus on intently on the next reading. This reading was just to get through it.

It's weird. I'll go back to records. I'll go back to videogames, but books, for the most part, I read once and tear through whatever's new. Can't slow down. I want to see something new more than I really want to suck everything out of a book, but 2666 is so colossal as to require a second reading, no matter how far in the future it will be and no matter how much of my brainspace it'll take up. Whenever I was asked by my friends what I was reading, 2666 was the book that leapt to my mind. Yes, I was reading other books, but they were books That Were Not 2666.

2666 is described by critics as borrowing elements from many different genres and that may be true, since I'm not a literary critic, but, what seems like a more truthful appraisal of the material to me is that it's five different books, sewn together through shared characters, plot and setting. It's at least five different flavors of novel, some fleshed out into full length books, others, one just long enough to fit in a coat pocket comfortably.

I want to move on something else. Something else being, as mentioned before, the three Tara Chase Queen and Country books. I'm 100 pages into A Gentleman's Game and it feels so much...lighter to read. Certainly, Greg Rucka isn't the same kind of author Bolano is, but A Gentleman's Game hits a genre I recognize the pattern of and hits it almost without trying. (I'm familiar with it and the comfort that comes with the familiarity is welcome.)

I'll almost certainly push my reading boundaries again, since I have two stories by Yuiko Mishima Spring Snow (I think?) and a short essay called Patriotism. I almost wasn't going to buy the book (it's really a pamphlet), but then I remembered: with a title like that, I'll put my money down. As for Bolano, it's not like I'll be hurting for more of his work. Maybe the Savage Detectives next? That is to say, next, but not soon.

I have at least 4 BT records somewhere on my music devices and computer, but the only one I ever listen to is the single for the Force of Gravity, which has two remixes and two other extended mixes of songs. Oddly enough, said single doesn't have the original track, but instead has a radio edit. So: It's a single for a song it doesn't contain.

As for why this is the case, well, I basically look for Somnambulist, and never find it, since it's apparently on the one my friend didn't burn for me (remember those days?) and I happened on the tracks years ago and have kept the Force of Gravity in my queue.

An additional aside: Click the link to Somnabulist. It takes you to the official video for the song, which visually, feels incredibly dated. It makes me smile, because I know I'm acting/dressing at least as stupid now, but in different ways. Look back and laugh.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Number Fifty. Also: Friday!

Managing the schedule seems to be the theme of my return to the States. I'm trying to coordinate my return to Italy, double timed, while also trying to hang out with friends and shop for Christmas gifts. (Hint: I haven't shopped for Christmas gifts yet.)

I would say it's hard to take some time out and look back, but it's not. Slowing down is the easy part. Speeding up again is what's hard. I started this blog on the idea that I'd hammer out my commitments and figure out the schedule later and so far, it's worked. I mean, more followers would be nice, but my place is not to bemoan how few people have this thing on their Google Reader or whatever. My place is to write interesting things, on time, and according to a schedule. I've done that and there's been fifty so far, three a week, usually on time.

I might have cheated with the night I went to the Bane gig and came back (posted at about 3 a.m. Rome time), but I would like to think everybody cheats at some point. Also: With the exception of Emmy's update (former Overkill writers get together to jam on one of my main riffs in Overkill is a great feeling), this has been a pretty solitary project. Which, again, I'm not complaining. I could use a chorus of other voices, for sure, but that, at least for three months, this has been a success. Whether I can keep it going for a year or not is, oddly enough, up to me and no one else.

Which isn't as scary as I thought it would be. But it's another thing on the schedule to manage. I was re-reading my diary from, God, 30ish months ago now and one of the things I knew I had trouble with and didn't do was sticking to a schedule and doing work/writing in advance of a deadline and not right before. The problem, as any procrastinator knows, is not that procrastination doesn't work, but that it does. There is a spark borne of terror and it is a more reliable spark (or at least one that's easier to start) than the spark of sitting down a week or so out and trying to bite off a little chunk of the project.

I can look at today, though, and say, honestly, that I have kept a schedule for three months. It's not epic or earth-shattering. No presses ought to be held, but the next goal is clear: 100.

(Well, 51 is the more immediate goal. To 51!)

Why Barlights by fun.? Because I like the song and I'm going drinking with my friends for the first time since I've been back in...huh...less than an hour and a half. (I'm not even home!) Better get going then. Ta!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kraken: Examined The Day After I Read It So Maybe I'll Be Embarrassed Later?

I finally tore into Kraken by China Mieville on the flight back from LaGuardia and it's, honestly a very China Mieville-y book. It's basically a Cthulu story, with Mieville bits thrown in. Two of the characters run around with a working phaser and Star Trek quips and while I'm not going to reveal the ending, if you read Kraken with the understanding that Mieville is very much a Marxist author, you can figure out an important trope that he counts on again and again within the book. It'll ruin a couple surprises, but not the last couple ones.

But the Marxism is secondary at least, to the point of this update, which is: I think the book is fantastic, I got a paperback copy in Munich, after I took part in an anti-fascist demonstration and it's worth buying whenever it comes out in the States, but....

The ending. Fucking hell. That ending.

Okay, past here are spoilers.

As in, the book is cool, the deeper it goes into it, the more I wanted to turn the next page to see what happened and the things that end up happening are epic and brilliant. Spoilers actually past here.

I could talk about the characters, but I'm going to be vague, one, because I have a limited amount of time and two, I'm not sure Kraken has come out in the States. ANYWAY.

Now, there's a loose coalition of good guys, fighting bad guys (ancient lurking evils) by the end. Who would have thought? But, to win the day, night and life on Earth forever after, the hero has to fight with a would-be reality author to rewrite reality for the entire goddamn world if not the universe to prevent apocalypse, bringing existence and counter-existence into play, in a battle of who'se pen is fastest and who has more power. It's sweeping, it involves the Big Bad at the end who has Minions and unseen tentacles. It's pretty trippy and sick.

But it's a fakeout. There's another Bad, a smaller, more insidious Bad, that lurked under the noise of the book and the deafening screams of London in the baudy, visceral throes of Apocalypse and it turns out, this Bad wants to use a time-Molotov to erase evolution and the hero has to beam himself back to the first scene in the book to prevent this from happening and honestly, it doesn't really matter what happens after that. Something is erased, but, my issue is not with that, my issue is that...man, that was a final twist that didn't out-twist the huge crescendo.

It wasn't a bigger twist. The stakes weren't higher and it didn't seem more important. And I don't think Mieville is pulling a Tolkien (remember, there's a much, much smaller Bad that's defeated in the Shire), because it wasn't liked Mieville lured me into a false sense of security. There was a huge fight and the the hero realizes, oh shit, something else is up and goes off to that. It was always meant to leave me breathless. Alternatively, the finger never left my throat.

Put simply, you go from one of the foremost creatures in the history of the magic world absorbing the power of the gigantic monster squid to insert itself as the arbiter of magic for eternity...a guy with a grudge against evolution and a homemade time incendiary? I found myself going OH SHIT YES OH SHIT YES OH SHIT OH SHIT OH SHIT WAIT WHY DOES HE HAVE THE WHAT AND OH, WELL, OKAY, I GUESS?

Spoilers finished.

Kraken, I think, went for just one more trick and it simply wasn't more impressive than the one it followed. Then again, when you have doomsday cults of all stripes and perspectives, a range of assassins that are colored in neon and any other hue you can think of and guys running around like Kirk and Spock on Star Trek (not to mention, somehow working in phasers actually working and magical teleportation into the story) trying to stay one step ahead of the doomsday cults and assassins, holding apocalypse back, you've probably already won.

Kraken was a page turner, and like The City and The City before it, I look forward to reading it again. Also, I finally finished 2666 last week, too. That, I promise you, will be a story for another time.

Say, Monday?

Again, time is limited, so I went for the first British artist I could think of and it ended up being the Pipettes. This is the sole Pipettes song played by Kieron Gillen at Thought Bubble 2010, if I recall correctly and dancing to it felt like I had finally done something right. To approximate the experience: Listen to it once on a normal volume and listen to it again cranked up. When you hear it cranked up, that soaring vocal track becomes sublime.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Two Fuses

There's a passage from the chapter I read that says it all: "There are...many efficient arrangements of the basic structure...The problem is to choose between them."

There are different philosophies (or ordering theories) for how to do it, but necessarily better ways of going about those theories. At this point, that's about as far as I can go with A Theory of Justice. I've read the chapter, but I'm struggling to find something external to relate the lessons to. There's always politics, but I'm not quite caught up with the moves yet.

If I'm going to run my mouth about that, I can talk about how Obama is being strung out by two different camps, the news media and the centrists for not being bipartisan enough and then by the left for caving too much to the Republicans that will never give him anything. In the case of the extension of the full Bush tax cuts, I'm conflicted.

The GOP said they wouldn't sign anything without a promise that the full Bush tax cuts would be extended and for a whole week, it looked like the Democrats were going to fight it. Krugman was leading the chest beating, saying if they say no, just let the tax cuts expire, all of them, even the ones for the rest of the goddamn country and make the Republicans explain what their obstructionism cost the American people.

Which, for the record, makes a lot of sense to me, because fuck 'em, that's all they've been doing over the past two years. Then, Bill Clinton shows up with Obama saying that the tax cuts have to go through, the country needs it and we can't be pulling this brinksmanship garbage. Well, shit. He's a smart guy and is in no position to have to step out with Obama on anything. Maybe I've been playing too much political football and not enough seeing the wider picture.

Well, the tax cuts will probably go through and we'll still have a huge deficit, as opposed to one that was hacked into a little if the full tax cuts weren't passed. But. If the Democrats have capitulated on this, then I hope they'll use this opportunity to force votes on repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell and acting on a number of their other bafflingly large agenda for the lame duck Congress.

Now, finally to the point: There are two narratives and only two narratives. It goes between Obama not being bipartisan. He addresses that and the next day, he's being blasted for caving too quickly. When Obama turns to address that, trying to use compromise to achieve his goals, he's blasted for caving too quickly. They're burning Obama at two fuses and frankly, I hope he can keep it together for another term.

He can choose whichever, but there's better and worse ways to go about either, qualitatively and otherwise. I just hope he can figure out what they are, because, hell, I'm a leftist liberal and I'd like things that seem moral no-brainers like 9/11 responders health care coverage and the DADT repeal not to be held up much longer.

It's things like that which make me wonder: Is there really any justice and Rawls reminds me, no, not unless we work for it.

When I'm aggravated politically, I turn to the Suicide File, who wrote one of the, if not the, definitive political song of the Bush years, Ashcroft. ("If what it boils down to/is that you're either for us or against us/well, I guess I've got a tough, tough choice to make," is how Ashcroft OPENS. Yes.) They wrote it, in 2002, before it was clear just how fucked the United States was. That guitar riff will be in your head for the rest of your life. Have fun with it.

That they broke up before they could come up with a second full length of material, in the dark, dark heart of the Bush years, when we needed it most is tragic. Well, not really tragic, but sad at least, because I can only imagine how they would have been inspired by Bush's second term. It turns out that Ashcroft was one of the sane voices in the room on some matters, which, speaks volumes about the administration and runaway cabinet. Anyway. Ashcroft live. It's fun.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Magic And Adventures (No, and Yes Respectively)

Wednesday, man. I nearly got into a fight and stabbed. There's more to the story, but none of it is quite so interesting or entirely mine to tell. Then, after not sleeping after that, I go to Dublin, have a pint of Guiness while my flight is delayed and head to Williamsburg, in Brooklyn, in New York City, where I currently am.

I don't have full control of my schedule. Or: I don't know what I'm doing or where I'll be for sure from day to day this weekend. You've heard of playing it by ear, yes? I'm actually doing that. There's something exciting about that feeling of improvising the schedule that makes a city seem more real and somehow also more magical.

I don't believe in magic.

A Phonogram fanzine asked the question: When did I know music was magic? It's not. Or, it is, or can be. It is what you make it. Which is one of the actually deep things I've ever read and then repeated. It's music. It's just that. Phonogram made me do it, but Phonogram doesn't blind me. We call it magic because we don't have the backbone to admit it and do it ourselves more often. We mistake transportation mixed with inspiration for magic.

I'm reading Kraken now, which is festooned with actual, for real magic. (For the record: I haven't used the word festooned in a long time. Good word.) It is a book which could not exist without magic. Phonogram's is only gilded by it. The people's lives are kissed by magic but not consumed by it. Phonogram adds color.

But. Phonogram's magic is something that colors or enlivens, once you already know an area. There's a song, by Crime In Stereo called Barfight on Bedford Avenue. Having now seen Bedford, I now understand better the tenor of the song, having seen this place. It's about fake friends and superficial bullshit and having now stepped foot in that place, the song gains weight and specificity.

And that's magic. Well, sort of. It makes life interesting and more colorful. But that's not magic. That's doing things and existing and saying yes to things and not no. I don't view that as magical. But there's something new and exciting about saying yes to things. So much so that I'm staying somewhere else tonight and I'm willing to be uncomfortable to do it. Man: What am I doing?

I know what I'm doing: Adventures. I just don't have to believe they're magical.

Of course, I can't find Barfight on Bedford Ave, so here, have, a live version of Not Dead, which has some appropriate lyrics for the magical adventure: "It's in the west. The pacific sun descends. It's in your best friend's basement. It's in your head."

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

To God: Not Day

It's over.

Now to pack to the sound of the Pipettes. Luckily, my memories of dancing to Come Out 2Nite and Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me are easily to put into my things, but in my mind, they weigh a ton. There won't be that again. (And I know: I'm looking for permanence where there really is none.)

But by this time Thursday I'll be on a plane back to the States and it feels wrong. I mean, I know these kids now and I have a different…appearance to keep up. I might be coming back to Rome, but it's ancillary: Not with these people. I will meet others, certainly. But this lacks the weight of my college adventures.

I should have gone out last night, but I fucked around too much, or spent my time in the wrong place and the bunch of people I wanted to go with all left to a place that I didn't know where they were going.

And, I'm exhausted now. Just feeling whatever energy I had from the wine at 7:30 leave me and…I'm letting off the whatever the feeling of repressing my tiredness at three months abroad is. Tomorrow is my last full day in Rome. Hopefully, it'll be a long one. The Van Gogh exhibit, the Church made of bones, MAXXIIII, food and then go out drinking for a last night on the town before getting out in the morning. (Plus, I need to take pictures of the places. It's a living.)

Well, it's a lot better, actually. But shhhhhhh.

I didn't go out in the morning. I ended up packing more and oddly enough enjoying myself. I may be coming back to Rome, but that's not up to me anymore. It's up to any number of other people, some of whom like me, others who don't know I exist. But that's life, isn't it? Hopefully, this will make the life more interesting and even if it doesn't work out? I still know people back home and I need to catch up with them.

That's pretty awesome, too.

I'm choosing the Good Left Undone by Rise Against for the reason inherent in the title. I'm a fan of the lyric: "I believe in angels. No, not the kind with wings. No, not the kind with halos. The kind that bring you home." Angels as something human, something that sticks their necks out for you when you need it. In short, angels as people that believed in the heroic and became heroes, through their deeds. (Yes, I'm using Benjamin Disraeli. Blame Crime In Stereo.)

The angelic made corporeal not through divinity but through their unflinching humanity. Yes. This.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I Just Don't Want To Feel Like I'm Burning

Burning love.

First, it's not about setting fire to love. Which, since it's me, you could reasonably expect. Burning Love is a band. Burning love is a lyric, with "a hunk of" before it. Burning love is something I've never felt. But I've felt on fire and never had the words for it. It took Matt Fraction (writer of the Immortal Iron Fist, the Invincible Iron Man) to admit that he was an alcoholic and went into rehab before the phrase made any sense. Mr. Fraction, in the back of Casanova, has run interviews and intruiging backmatter and in number four, I think, he had an interview with Mike Doughty (Soul Coughing singer, now independent artist) where Mr. Fraction said Mr. Doughty was his sponsor through Alcoholics Anonymous.

There's three times Mr. Fraction uses the words fire or burning, but there's the one that's relevant: I went into recovery because I didn't want to feel like I was on fire all the time. When I first read that, I knew it was important, even without truly understanding the phrase. It was last night, going out kids for drinking, walking in Piazza Navona, that I finally understood what burning was.

Burning love is a love so powerful, so immediate, so visceral that it's all-consuming and globally encompassing in its personal scope. And immediately, I knew why Chris Colohan (Left For Dead/Cursed/the Swarm vocalist) named his new project Burning Love. It's the manifestation of an obsession, consumptive desire. It has little to do with love and lot more to do with burning.

As for 2666, I think I understand just how committed Bolano is to breaking the reader's face in the murder and rape in Juarez. (Read this article, then try not to cry. Then, watch this report and wait for the last thing the reporter says. In the six hours we spent there, there were seven murders.) I thought I was finally closing in on the end of the chapter and I found out I had another 50 pages left to go. I just want to throw the book to the floor and never look at it again, but it's important to see this fucker through.

There's sly little moment in the book, where there's a character with an announcement to make, in front of a bunch of exasperated journalists who are all thinking the same thing: Stop giving us fucking preamble and give us the name of the killer/rapist. Given that it's been 250 pages of brutal rape and it's not over yet, it's not hard to see this as Bolano's way of saying to the reader, I know how you feel.

Which means: He knows it and he wants to make certain we are as horrified and exhausted by the killings and murder that have become routine in the city and its real life equivalent. No, you don't get to get out because you're tired of it, I see the text saying. I'm not sure if that's brave, stupid or hardheaded. But I can tell: Bolano is enraged and consumed by the senseless and unending murder of the women, violated and humiliated before their death.

He burns about it and writes it the same way. It will hurt you, if you let it. One of the fiercer female characters (who is a forward thinking Mexican congresswoman) is hopelessly homophobic, and hopes, painfully, that her only son will never come back to Mexico, as it's no good for him.

For a person that tries to manage the country: That's just cold.

There's little to nothing to do with the post except that the song is morose. It's a song off the new Kanye West disc. I mean, Kanye's a guy that pretty often talks about girls like they're a renewable resource, but even he comments here, with more than a bit of sorrow: american apparel girl in just tights/ she told the director she just wants to get into school/ the director said/ take them glasses off/and get in the pool.

Oh and the Raekwon verse at the end is a wizened, resourceful look back over the hinted-at guitar solo, keys and thunder in the distance drums.

Friday, December 3, 2010

...But We'll Find It Again

Wednesday's and today's title are related. They're a Much the Same lyric, at the end of their fantastic record called Survive. Survive is a deliciously old-school skatepunk record, with modern production and some the best lyrics involving cell phones I've ever heard.

The song itself (Picking Up The Shattered Pieces) is about trying to rekindle love, but since I'm such a romantic I'm seeing other things in it. I leave for the States in a couple days (six) and it's dawning on me, what I'm going to find when I get back. I'm going to find my cell phone, a voice I haven't heard in three months and I wanna see if I can stretch that out to four, a couple friends from college, a kid I used to hate from college, the bitter, grey city I swear I love but have lived in too long, the Starbucks on the corner, the bar, the "low" music, the high culture, the museums, the boredom, the terror and the self-loathing mixed with self-pity.

I'm going back to behaviors, that for better or worse are comfortable or fundamentally obscene. I remember hearing (whether this apocryphal or not, I don't know) the phrase getting comfortable with being uncomfortable when I was going out on college visits. I'm not sure that's true now, but instead that I accept the discomfort as a part of the machinations and gears of life.

And part of the mechanisms is writing. I get a sick sense of pride in how I write. It has a rhythm. I've chosen to write in a style that (hopefully) is hard to mimic. If the paper isn't in the same tone, teachers will know. I write in a way that leaves a mark that is apparently fun to read. Because having a distinct voice and having it be terrible isn't that good. I mean, it at least can be improved through work, but does anyone want to be known for having a style that's more abrasive than it is pleasurable? I don't.

Also, I sipped some tea under the vast expanse of powder blue sky, trying to figure out what I wanted, when it hit me: This is December. Grim, harrowing, austere December and I'm outside with my wet hair, a royal blue Descendents longsleeve and a pair of jeans. This is pretty nice.

This is Picking Up the Shattered Pieces, the song I was referring to. A live version, because it doesn't have random minutes of not-music at the end of it. Plus, it's uploaded by the singer. Also: I wanted to end on a positive note, since I don't think I have in a while, and this is pretty nice sums up everything I want to say.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

We've Lost Our Way

The picture to the right is from an al-Qai'da webzine. (No, I'm not linking it.) The Al-Qai'da affiliate spent over $4,200 on bombs that didn't even work, sent to the wrong addresses of Jewish houses of worship and the response from the U.S. government will be to spend billions of dollars more beefing up security and making the United States travel experience even more humiliating.

Which, by their metric, means they won. The thing didn't even have to blow up. They could have put thrown Pop Rocks and C4 in box filled with defective cigarette lighters, sending it to 123 Fake St. to Gotham City, USA and their aim still would have been achieved because the United States freaked the fuck out.

In short, their expenditure is so minimal and ours is so incredible that whatever they do, almost no matter how ridiculous, is going to have an exponential response. They want us to be scared and terrified and they want to short circuit our routines and it's happening. Like, now, in the costly body scanners that apparently, can show your the size and shape of your genitalia or the more thorough pat-downs going through security.

And for the record, I'm against it. I think it's invasive and I think for the level of personal dignity I'm sacrificing, there is not an adequate level of protection that is given back to me. If we're stopping people at the airport because they have a tumor that looks suspiciously like a homemade incendiary, then that means our intelligence services, the police and god knows who else have failed miserably.

Bur I'm exhausted with that. Lewis Black, when he was on the Daily Show most recently, had the best point on the issue that I've seen so far: Man, we've killed how many Iraqi and Afghani civilians in the name of the War on Terror, we've sent goon squads to how many different portions of the globe, we've commissioned how many terror taxis but the goddamn rubicon is an exasperated Dilbert searching for wires between my testicles?

(Oh! This may be/probably is different for women. I speak for myself and only myself.)

This might be a turn of phrase I regret in a couple years, but hell: The black bags, the waterboarding, the human cost of the collateral damage disrobes me far, far more than some TSA personnel seeing the shape of my penis on a computer screen. Yes, it's invasive. Yes, it's humiliating. This ship sailed years ago.

The topic exhausts me, so I'm left with trying to find good exhausted music and that didn't work too well, until I changed my criteria to search for good relaxing music. The line that was stuck in my head was from the Gaslight Anthem's American Slang: These bandages just don't keep me in/and when it was over/I woke up alone.

The electric version has too much gallop and energy, but acoustic, the song's played with a bit of sorrow. Which! Is negated by the joy in the kids in Jersey singing the song back and adding in the wooh oooohs that are on the studio version. Also: "I made...the internet...about that...and they fixed it!" Lesson learned: I shouldn't be so mopey.

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