Thursday, June 29, 2006

Spies and Men on the Make Everywhere 

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On Tuesday so I noticed a motherly type casing the place. Dresses like she has money. She looked like she was in her 50s, and very petite, no bigger than a size 2. No facial markings at all even though I looked quite closely at her for anything distinguishing. Her face is remarkably flat from the side, though. Plain bobby type hair cut – very stylish. A very distinct crown on the back of her head. It starts from the center and slants to the right. A forceps birth?

Then the next day I noticed a group of young people probably under 30 trying to take a picture of the map on the west side entrance. Why would someone take a picture of the map? To have a blueprint of the place of course!!!

They probably have this revenge idea to set the world right or finally get it their way. Some messed up way of never forgetting their still not home. No more Pearl Harbors.


For the past month or so there have been countless males who sit down beside me and act like I show up here to meet them. It is annoying. Help to alleviate this delimma for me.

I had to stop reading this one because I felt myself starting to get sucked in and agreeing with it, just like I did when I read Kaczynski's manifesto.

Churches taking six hundred years to build in Europe dot the countryside. The clergy of these churches recommended to sovereigns to kill people in order to meet the commands of the church. They relied upon power and not love to control the peoples of their churches. The churches here have united into the NCC to exercise their power and not love within mankind. Churches are of man and the churches have convinced man they are bad by spending their money. Ministers are not needed in God's churches, only advisors. Let the money be in the hands of the church attendants for their families and good uses. A tall church is only a monument.
You have doctors raping women after surgery, operating and removing wrong limbs and body parts. They falsify reports to government programs to get more of their god, money. They pool their money and pay ambulance drivers to bring a profiled patient to them. When the patient arrives they use and Intern to do the surgery and he connects the man's veins as a plumber. The leg atrophies until it turns black. They feed the man pills until he cannot hold his head up and he slobbers. The man asks to be removed from the pills, his head regains control, his slobbering ended! Now he finds, his kidneys were destroyed by the pills! He is now on dialysis for the rest of his life!
Governments have allowed chemical companies to add chloramine (nitrogen and two hydrogen atoms) to replace the cancer causing chlorine. Now a statistical number of humans will lose the function of their kidneys and be put on dialysis machines, the company producing the chloramine also produces the chemicals for the dialysis machines. Airplane contrails in the sky show chemicals that drop down upon the populace!
The RJ Reynolds Company added leaves to their cigarettes to entrap more on these cancer causing weeds. The lungs of man have sacks that purify the blood as it passes. Smoking a cigarette is carrying your own polluted air along with you. This impure air generator will be later be replaced with a cylinder of oxygen to help survive the emphysema Drag that cylinder around like Jacob Mawley's chains in Dickens Christmas Story.
The optical people want to sell you glasses every two years! No one tells you that your eyes have muscles that need to be exercised just like any muscle. More of their god, money is earned if you buy every two years!
The farmers of the Midwest created a corn oil to feed to their cattle and pigs. A problem occurred where the animals started having heart attacks! So as not to lose money on the deal, they went to industry and announced with great fanfare, Mazola Oil! Now humans had the heart attacks! This oil creates plaque within the arteries. Then Linus Pauling. a Nobel Prize Laureate, told people to take a lot of vitamin "C" to fight colds. Two things happened, the vitamin "C" cleans the arteries out and leeches calcium from the body. So men were getting heart attacks from the plague blocking the heart valves and creating bone spurs in addition!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Most Dangerous Game 

The other days I was rooting around in a thrift store and found one of those old anthologies of literature used in high school English. It was only $.50, so I bought it. I’m glad I did, because the anthology contains one of my all time favorite short stories, The Most Dangerous Game. Even though the story has been dismissed as pulp adventure fiction, it is a thrilling ‘gateway’ story that started me and many others on the road to a lifelong reading addiction.

The story is about an American big game hunter named Rainsford who falls overboard a ship headed toward South America. He washes ashore on an island which is inhabited by a mysterious nobleman named General Zoraff. The General treats him as an honored guest, but during their lavish meal, served on the finest linen and china, the General confesses how bored with hunting animals. Since animals rely solely on instinct, they are no match for him, a man who can reason. Because he has tired of hunting animals, he now uses shipwrecked sailors as his quarry, who are much more challenging, dangerous and rewarding to hunt. When Rainsford refuses to join him in the hunt, Zaroff decides to hunt him instead.

As I read the story it dawned on me that Thomas Harris based his character Hannibal Lecter on Zoraff.

They’re both displaced Old World nobility.
Hannibal was a Lithuanian aristocrat who grew up on a large estate.
General Zaroff is a Russian aristocrat who grew up on a large estate. He emigrated after the Russian Revolution.

They’re both refined and cultured. They’re extremely eloquent and connoisseurs of art, food and wine. They are educated, sophisticated men who possess a formal manner, which is primarily what makes them so chillingly monstrous. After Zoraff believes he killed the protagonist, “he sat down, took a drink of brandy from a silver flask, lit a perfumed cigarette, and hummed a bit from Madame Butterfly.”

They both read Marcus Aurelius.

They believe that their victims are not worthy to live. Hannibal kills his patient Raspail, a flautist in the Baltimore Symphony, because of his inferior musicianship. Hannibal felt Raspail’s flute playing was ruining his enjoyment of the symphony, and besides, “his therapy was going nowhere.” In Hannibal, Barney explains to Clarice, "He told me once that, whenever it was `feasible,' he preferred to eat the rude. `Free-range rude,' he called them.”
Zoraff justifies his hunting because his quarry is “the scum of the earth: sailors from tramp ships, lacars, blacks, Chinese, whites, mongrels - a thoroughbred horse or hound is worth more than a score of them.”

They are charming, considerate hosts with impeccable manners - except for the killing part. When Miggs flicks his semen on Clarice, Hannibal Lecter is horrified and exclaims, “I would not have this happen to you. Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me.” (Although cannibalism, by his standards, is not.)

It’s interesting to see these connections and discovering them make it less intimidating for me, a tyro writer, that authors often don’t invent characters whole cloth. Margaret Mitchell based Scarlett O’Hara on Becky Sharpe of Vanity Fair and her grandmother, and most of Gone with the Wind was just reworked family stories. And don't get me started on Jay McInhenry. Anyway, I've added my theory to the Wikipedia entry for Hannibal Lecter, and we'll see if it's reverted or not.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

But I Live in a Nice Neighborhood, Damnit! 

While I was on the reference desk I saw a German tourist couple approach one of our regular patrons to ask for directions to a museum. In classic German tourist style, they had identical cropped haircuts and matching fanny packs. The only sexual dimorphism in regards to dress was the male’s sandals and black socks pulled up to his mid-calf. The particular patron looks like an intense, New York intellectual but actually has the mind of a child, although he occassionaly makes some remarkably astute comments to me. My guess would be that he’s bipolar schizophrenic. When he is off his medication he becomes an excitable nuisance, and unfortunately for these Teutonic tourists, this was just such a time.

He began giving them directions, and pointing his arms wildly around to indicate the museum, but then he lost his train of thought and launched into a convoluted story about a soccer match he had been in years before.

“And then I was fullback but the coach sent us way, way up the line. It was much to high up the field! And then the wing on my team, he was this crazy Lebanese guy, he told me that I had to get back. But my coach had told me to go forward! And then the ball was coming toward me, but there was this group of defenders headed right toward me, and it was unbelievable. I then got the ball and ran with it, and then passed it to the Lebanese forward.”

He became increasingly agitated and frequently overcome by giggling. The tourists went from listening intently, trying to make out his words, to confusion, to dawning realization, to a pained, trapped look. They continued listening politely until I waved them over to the desk.

After I had given them the directions and sent them on their way, the patron came to the desk and started repeating the same soccer story to me verbatim. Usually I'm entranced by the speech of schizophrenics. The hair on the back of my neck rises up and I get goose bumps. I am riveted by their schizophrenic flourishes and bizarre flights of fancy. But sports stories are so tediously boring to me me, I can't even abide them from a raving schizophrenic. Aside from the crumbling infrastructure, this is why it would be my nightmare to live in Cuba. Supposedly Castro takes over the radio waves for hours reminiscing about his days as a baseball player, torturing his people with rambling, longwinded stories of his glory days. As I have said before, I suspect this is many an old garrulous man's fantasy, to hold an entire nation captive for this purpose.

On the homefront... Outside of our window this morning on the sidewalk we could see a bum brazenly passed out, face up, lying comfortably in the sun. He awoke, stuck his hand down the front of his pants, and gave himself a nice, leisurely scratch. He then reached into his pocket, pulled out a tin of Altoids and popped one in his mouth - to get ready for a hot date, I suppose? Some idiot do-gooder had placed a Venti Starbucks next to him. He appeared like he was going to spend the rest of the day there basking himself, but Pam and Fisher were home watching the World Cup and called the cops.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

From the Library 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comA woman who sounded loaded called and wanted to know if we had Deepak Chopra's Overcoming Addictions. It was 10:00 in the morning.

A disheveled, wide-eyed woman ran up to the desk and shrieked, “Someone poured acid on my lips! There's a woman trying to kill me in the library. My lips! They’re buuuuurning!” She clutched the edge of the desk and rocked her body back and forth. My colleague, not even glancing up from some papers he was reading, nonchalantly raised his hand and pointed toward the security office. “Ma’am, you'll need to tell security.” She staggered off in that direction. Oddly enough, the woman did have chapped, ruined lips, but my bet would be more the result from an overheated glass crack pipe than from an acid wielding assailant.

“I've got to read some Scientology. But I can't read. They won't let me use the tape recorders because I don't have a library card. Isn't that a violation of my civil rights?”

A bag lady dragging her belongings in trash bags set them down by the desk. After rooting around in them for a minute, she pulled a grimy bundle of papers. “I have here a list of 150 names of celebrities, religious and, political figures. You find me their addresses.”
“You’ll need to go to the business desk. They have directories and they’ll show you how to look the names and addresses up.”
“I don’t want to have to go to another desk! You find them for me.”
“I’m sorry, but this is just a basic information desk.” He pointed to the line that was forming behind her. “I don’t have time to help you with such an involved project, but the librarians upstairs will. You’ll need to go to that department.”
She whipped around, balled her fists and began screaming, "He's refusing me service! He's refusing me service!”

An aging belle floated toward the desk. She was wearing a low cut diaphanous, pastel dress and looked like she had just stepped out of some Southern Gothic flashback. Tragically, her mind seemed as ravaged as her décolletage. She shared some décor suggestions. “This would be a perfect spot for a fountain or waterfall, right in the center of the foyer area. I think that it would give the entire place - which is rather cold and institutional, don’t you agree? - an everglade jungle appeal. A wishing well would be another idea for a tourist attraction and would give this place a nice, overall tropical jungle look. Yes, that would make it quite a field trip attraction. I also think formal high teas in the cafeteria would be a real draw, that they would bring in a more elevated crowd. Then if you would throw in a tropical rain setting with lots of greenery, plants and shrubbery, large, exotic flowers like a botanical garden, some piped in music tapes of birds singing, water and other relaxing sorts of noises, or just music piped in over the loudspeakers to add to the overall ambiance… Well, I think it would make this place so lovely, don’t you agree?”

A woman called, “What is all of the blood spilled in Iraq doing to the earth there?”
I’m not sure if this was a rhetorical question, if she was just calling to make some sort of political point, and was trying to drag us into a discussion, but I almost told her that I imagine that all that blood would be fertilizing the earth. especially if it's mixed with all of the nitrogen IED's, which probably by now is now enough to return that desert to the conditions when it was known as the Fertile Crescent. I had always heard that the blood soaked fields of Verdun and Shiloh produced bumper crops for years after battles were fought there. Confusing the matter, however, was that the patron had a thick Romanian accent, which made me think - vampire? My colleague transferred her to the science desk.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Brother, can you Spare 60 wpm 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe other day while I was at the reference desk a man asked if I could type a short letter for him. He looked like a hard luck case and it was slow at the desk so I agreed, although I told him that this was an extraordinary, one-time exception and that if he told anyone I would deny having performed this service for him. If word got out that the librarians were transcribing or taking dictation then every patron with a manifesto, 20 page rambling letter to estranged family, social security disability plea, resume or neighborhood bulletin warning about CIA brain monitoring* would storm the desk, papers in hand, demanding equal treatment. Those kind of favors always bite you in the ass. If my colleagues discovered that I had started this precedent, one of them would probably slip up behind me in my cubicle and slit my throat, Colombian narco-execution style. I can’t say that I would blame them.

The patron was gratifyingly appreciative, and promised to maintain his silence. The next day while I was clear across town for a dentist’s appointment the same patron approached me and asked me for spare change in a suspiciously aggressive manner. Not to sound like a melodramatic paranoid, but I think he may have been considering mugging me. I was out of context so he didn’t recognize me until I said hello, and then we both had a good laugh. I was glad that he remembered my kindness, especially if it stopped him from taking my wallet.

Even though I live in one of the largest cities in the United States I find that I run into people I know with eerie, improbable regularity. One day when I was working at my old branch I helped a girl fresh from a Midwestern backwater figure out which buses she needed to take to get to her interview. Two days later, in a neighborhood miles away, the same girl, not recognizing me at first, came up to me and asked me what bus she should take to get to another part of the city. I wonder if she thought that I had materialized like some bus schedule guardian angel, or something more sinister, like she was in some sort of Truman Show situation.

*All items I have been asked to type while I was on the reference desk

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Mexican Standoff 

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E captured the dogs in a deadlock over a toy. The two photographs, although they look identical, were actually taken 30 minutes apart. On this particular occasion the dogs remained at an eerily silent standstill for over an hour, as delicately and precisely balanced together as pieces of a Calder mobile. At various times one would doze off, but even so his or her jaws remained locked down on the plastic Nylabone with the tenacity and pounds per square inch force of a gila monster.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comThis is a deadly serious situation, because the dog that wins this toy tug of war wins dominancy, which is why you’re never, ever supposed to play tug-of-war with your dog, (and if you do, you better make sure you win.) As Billy (the smaller Jack Russell) got older the battle for alpha supremacy between Sid and Billy progressed from cute sibling rivalry to a bloody internecine war, and eventually Sid had to be re-homed in New York City with E’s brother and his wife.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comWe got Billy with the best of intentions, really we did. We figured that although the brothers would be from different litters they would, sharing the same bloodline, soon become best friends. Little did we know that in the case of Billy’s litter there was tragic kennel mix-up, resulting in Lemon (Sid and Billy’s dam) accidentally being bred to a demon.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

More White Fang, Please 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI'm a sucker for things like this. Check out one of Spoonie's Border Terrier kin, Mitzi, as she attentively listens to this young reader. For more information, check out the website of the Intermountain Therapy Animals Foundation, the organization that started the progam.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

All I Need is One More Sign, Lord 

A slightly bedraggled woman approached the desk and mumbled something about needing a phone number. “I called information, and they gave me a fax number.”
“I can help you with a number. What number do you need?”
“I need a number to the Crisis Center.”
“There are a couple of crisis centers. Which one would you like?” I showed her a list which included support centers for runaways, victims of domestic violence and rape, and various addictions.
“I need the Suicide Crisis Center.”

How nice that telephone information gave her a fax machine number so that she got a shrieking fax machine on the line instead of a sympathetic counselor. Or perhaps, in her despondency, she copied the number down incorrectly. In any case, I’m glad that that wasn’t the final straw and that she was willing to try to find the right number.

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