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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Invaluable Advice from Officer Trudy Wiegel 

Image hosted by Photobucket.com Addressing a school assembly on safety... Now, girls, I don't care if you wear mini-skirts. I don't care if you wear Dungarees. I don't care if you're good at basketball, I don't care if you're fun to be around. But you can rest assured that every one of you, at some point, is going to be raped. And your doctor will give you some good news. Gold pot at the end of the rainbow, you're pregnant. And you're having triplets.

Trudy's Myspace.
From her blog:
Monday, December 18, 2006
A very dark day
Well, I finally got that potato chip from ebay that I've been bidding on and it's amazing! It REALLY DOES look like you can see Oprah's face in it! There are two little dark spots that look just like her eyes and a rippled part on top that looks like her hair before she got a weave and lost all that weight. The bad news is that I sucked it up in the vaccuum this morning when I was cleaning up some cat vomit. Eleven goddam dollars down the drain. Not to mention the sentimental value. A little piece of my heart got sucked up into that vaccuum this morning:(


More Trudy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Statcounter Fun 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comHello and welcome to my recent visitor from Stillwater, Oklahoma using Chickasaw Telecommunications Services, Inc! I can see from Statcounter that you stumbled across my site using the key words "HUSTLER BEAVER HUNT" but instead of amateur hardcore found my humble, porn free (mostly) blog instead. I do consider it the highest compliment that you stayed for a spell, and even visited some of my archives. In fact, I'll take that as the most glowing endorsement of my site yet.

I feel like Jack Horner, the adult film director from Boogie Nights, whose heart's desire was to produce a porno with such a compelling story that the viewer would sit through the entire movie.

Here's a search tip, though. When surfing for hardcore sites of unairbrushed, home groomed hoo-has be sure to switch off the Google Safe Search option, which I can see you have on. Otherwise all of those pictures of overtweaked, methy punani will continue to elude you.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Banality of Evil 

Image hosted by Photobucket.com “Library information, may I help you?”

“Girl, NO WAY! What a ho!”

“Information, how may I help you?”

“Wait a minute. I’m on a bus. Can you hear me?”

“Just barely.”

“Just wait a minute and the people next to me should quiet down”

More screaming and laughing.

“Perhaps this isn’t a good time. Why don’t you call me back when you’re somewhere I can hear you.”

“NOOO! I need to know if you have the following books and it’s really important!”

“What are they?”

“Introduction to Economics: Principles, Problems and Philosophies, Understanding Psychology, Que Tal, a Basic Introduction to Spanish…

“These are textbooks, aren’t they?”

“Yes.

“I’m going to be honest with you. We usually don’t carry them, especially the most current edition that your teacher will require, but I’ll be happy to go ahead and check the catalog.”

Not surprisingly, we didn’t have any on his long list.

“Couldn’t I get them through interlibrary loan?” he asked in a pouty, put out tone.

“You could try, but know that interlibrary loan books can take 4-6 weeks. Books also have to be over a year old to be eligible for interlibrary loan."

“But all these text books are really expensive and I don’t have any money. What am I supposed to do? Why don’t you check all of the surrounding library systems?”

“I’ve already been on the phone with you for five minutes and I need to take other calls. Those catalogs are on-line and you can check that way or call them yourself. Usually they don’t carry current edition of textbooks either.”

“But they’re too much money!”

“Believe me, I sympathize. Textbooks are a racket. Try getting them used off of Amazon or –"A deafening howl of pain interrupted me.

“OOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!! Why did you close the back door on me?”

Muffled sound, I assume from the bus driver, loud laughter from the other passengers.

“What do you mean, I should have gotten out of bed earlier? That really hurt! Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.”

As much as I was enjoying hearing the exchange betwhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifeen the bus driver and my phone patron, I had to end the phone call because I was laughing so hard. I'm helpless against slapstick and pain inflicting pratfalls. The idiot thought he was going to be so clever and get a jump on his classmates by reserving all of his textbooks before his classmates that he was not paying attention to what he was doing and got the back doors on the bus slammed on him. The doors are fairly light so I suspect only his dignity was wounded.

I felt remorse for laughing but hearing a college aged man whine and pule about the cost of his textbooks really stirred the civil service sadist in me. I enjoyed, God help me, bearing the bad news that we simply don’t have what he needs. I’m always careful to watch myself for this sort of behavior, that petty, banal type of evil that seems to flower and flourish under civil service, the kind perfected by fonctionnaires. Many libraries are plagued with battle weary, burnt out monsters, the type who take such delight in crushing the joie de vivre out of little children, the ones whose little mean smile reveal the utter delight they feel when they tell a patron, “No, I cannot extend the time on your book.” Or, “The computer timed out and there is simply no way to retrieve your work. It’s lost FOREVER.”

I don’t know what it is about civil service that seems to produce so many on the job tipplers, hoarders and burnt outs, but please don’t let me become one of them. It must be not having the imminent threat of having your ass shown to the door like in non unionized jobs in the private sector. Maybe the fear of being fired is a good thing. Keeps you nice.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Shinning 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOne of the regular patrons here has a fixation on military history. He also has some sort of mental condition which I have diagnosed as “barking mad.” An older gentleman with duct taped coke bottle glasses and greasy gray hair, he’ll materialize at the desk and hold forth, orating at a volume level like he is addressing the crowds at one of the imperial forums. His favorite topic is the military exploits of Admiral William Halsey and other famous military figures.

(Fun quote from Halsey, spoken to reassure the American people as he surveyed the ruins of Pearl Harbor: “Before we are through with 'em, the Japanese language will only be spoken in hell!”)

Except for startling the Bejesus out of everyone this patron is relatively harmless, and all it takes is one glare from one of the security guards for him to quiet down and slink off. One time I was at the desk musing about one of the many, many funerals I have been to this past death ridden year. This particular funeral was at a beautiful historic cemetery reserved for the descendents of one of the founding families of a small town in East Texas. After the service I explored the headstones with some cousins. One of my cousins, who grew up in the town, commented, “We used to party in here when I was in high school.”

Right after the memory passed through my head, the patron, who was standing about twenty feet away from in the atrium trying to engage some member of the public in a story about Halsey, turned to me and shouted, "I want to party. Party in a graveyard!" He then came up to the desk and asked me for a Yiddish dictionary.

I wonder if that was some sort of coincidence or if I had shared some eerie psychic connection with the patron. Perhaps the insane can pick up on the mental static of those around him. In any case, psychi ability does run in my family. Family lore has it that my great-great Aunt Elizabeth had the gift. She told my grandmother that when she was a little girl she thought everyone had it, but when people reacted strangely to her she actively ignored it until it almost went away. She would still get occasional flashes, but I guess it’s one of those things that if you don’t use it, you lose it. She must have retained some sort of numinous presence because my grandmother remembered people stopping her on the street and asking her if she had the gift. When this happened one time on a train she said to the woman, “Why do you ask?” The woman said, “I can tell from your aura.”

My grandmother said that the only time she felt a spark of precognition was when she visited a relative’s house. She saw some furniture and said to herself, “That furniture is going to be recovered in light green leather.” Sure enough, the next time she paid a call there was the furniture, exactly how she had envisioned it in her mind’s eye. My grandmother, a highly pragmatic woman, was highly disappointed that she never had a premonition of anything useful, like the direction of the market, so she never tried to develop the ability.

The Shinning.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Namaste, Motherfucka! 

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAfter a crapulent last few months I'm on a regimen of Krav Maga and Bikram yoga. The different philosophies of these two forms are making me feel like I have a split personality, though, because when I'm at Krav Maga punching or kicking the bag or extricating myself from a stranglehold it's all, "Die, motherfucker, die!!!" and when I'm at yoga it's all about serenity, peace, acceptance and attaining one with the Divine.

If anything, I hope that my yoga practice will mitigate some of the effects of Krav Maga and that I'll reach the beautiful equilibrium of the peaceful warrior. I've noticed that my daydreams have become a lot more violent since I started back on Krav Maga and I'm not sure if it's such a good thing to have physical violence in my repertoire of responses. Not that I would ever go around spoiling for a fight - Krav Maga, or at least what I'm learning at my level, is all about defense - smashing a groin or gouging an eye and then beating a hasty (cowardly) retreat.

And at least I'll have a fighting chance when the zombies come. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War is the most exhilarating thing I've read in years. Combining two special interests of mine, zombies and Studs Turkel style oral histories, it contains riveting accounts of how ordinary people from all over the world- a soccer mom, a Japanese computer hacker, a Lesotho township shanty town dweller, an Air Force pilot forced to parachute in the Atchafalaya swamp teeming with the hungry, living dead - all survived a zombie war in the near future. Highly recommended.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment* 

Image hosted by Photobucket.com*Just a moment, executioner, just a small moment...

Recently I watched Marie Antoinette, Sophia Coppola’s entertaining confectionery of a movie, and have since been reading up on the fates of all of the principles. I knew it ended badly for most of them, but because Ms Coppola stops the movie before the trials, guillotines and raving mobs I wanted to brush up on the details. Wikipedia has excellent entries on all of the characters, full of the fascinating, gossipy tittle tattle that makes reading about their lives so interesting. (In the entry for Marie Antoinette's mother, Maria Theresa of Austria, it reports how she got to marry for love, an unusual occurence for someone of her time and station. It was a fruitful and joyful union, so passionate that the newlyweds reportedly broke a bed on their honeymoon and eventually produced 16 children.)

Although I believe she got a bad rap, Marie Antoinette certainly was spoiled, frivolous and dangerously oblivious.

Fulfilling Marie Antoinette's determination to avoid boredom, conversation in her circle shied away from the mundane or intellectual. According to Madame Campan, one of the queen's ladies-in-waiting, "The newest songs from the Comédie, the most timely joke or pun or quip, the bon mot of the day, the latest and choicest tidbit of scandal or gossip – these comprised the sole topics of conversation in the intimate group about the queen; discussion on a serious plane was banished from her court.

She was a loving mother, however, and her maternal devotion softened my feelings toward her. While one son succumbed to spinal tuberculosis, an agonizing death that took months, she never left his side. When another daughter died in infancy she keened and mourned over the body for hours until the body finally had to be taken from her.

But getting to the good part, here is how she faced her own death:

As she was being led to the scaffold, the priest who had accompanied her whispered, "This is the moment, Madame, to arm yourself with courage." Marie Antoinette turned to look at him and smiled, "Courage? The moment when my troubles are going to end is not the moment when my courage is going to fail me." Legend states that her last words were, "Monsieur, I ask your pardon. I did not do it on purpose," spoken after she had accidentally stepped on the executioner's foot.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com
Madame Du Barry, the low born courtesan and favorite of Marie’ Antoinette’s father in law, King Louis XV, was not so stoic. She initially had escaped to London, but foolishly and against all advice kept returning to Paris to recover jewels she had cached away. Eventually, she was betrayed, seized and charged with conspiracy.
From the Memoirs of Madame Vigée Lebrun, the famous and exquisitely talented royal portraitist.

Madame Du Barry ... is the only woman, among all the women who perished in the dreadful days, who could not stand the sight of the scaffold. She screamed, she begged mercy of the horrible crowd that stood around the scaffold, she aroused them to such a point that the executioner grew anxious and hastened to complete his task.

Reportedly her final words, spoken to the executioner, were "Encore un moment, monsieur le bourreau, un petit moment" (Just a moment, executioner, a small moment.) I find this unbearably poignant, because isn’t that what we all want?

Vigee Lebrun continues:
“This convinced me that if the victims of these terrible times had not been so proud, had not met death with such courage, the Terror would have ended much earlier. Men of limited intelligence lack the imagination to be touched by inner suffering, and the populace is more easily stirred by pity than by admiration."

I wonder if this is true, if the not the French nobility had not faced death with such dignity and stoicism, had they not been so determined not to give the rabble the satisfaction, if this would have ended the Terror sooner.

The most chilling and stoic example of a royal facing execution was Catherine Howard, 5th wife of Henry the VII, the second ‘beheaded’ in the mnemonic of Henry's wives: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced Beheaded, Survived.

From Execution: The Guillotine, the Pendulum, the Thousand Cuts, the Spanish Donkey, and 66 Other Ways to Put Someone to Death

The night preceding her execution the queen, determined not to exhibit any feminine weakness on the scaffold, 'asked that the block might be brought to her room and, this having been done and the executioner fetched, to the amazement of her attendants she knelt and laid her head in the horrible hollow, declaring as she rose to her feet that she could now go through the ordeal with grace and propriety'.

Which she did.

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