Good Gawd, Almighty!

It's been awhile since I stammered my weak syllables, key by key, onto the nodegel. In fact, I'm not sure why I'm rectifying that lack of exhalation except for it's simple lack. And if you understand the circumlocution of that past bit of scribble, please fill me in.

My libido is raging like a berzerker, frothing at the mouth, intent on destruction and his own honor, like a Greek Hero from the Illiad. What? You don't care to hear about such frank honesty? Too fucking bad.

The streets of San Francisco are filled with sounds and sights that all who live in big cities ignore on a daily basis. They ignore it because they have to. The absolute banquet for the senses can only be sampled bit by bit, lest your attention trap you into a slack-jawed, bug-eyed, drool-induced state. But me, I can't ignore the ladies. You muse-mistress of the moment, meandering in and out of my mind.

And of course I am working with my best-friend's ex-girlfriend.

Hell, I got her the job. She is all silver-smiles, and silken-glances. If I use any more hyphenated phrases I just may go into apoplexy... self-induced, I assure you. But just to head off your roving thoughts, no, I am not trying to get into her pants. She is pretty fucking amazing, but, as she puts it, "bros before 'hos." And who could ask for more eloquence than that?

But let us shift gears to the other one. Yes, the other girl that I hang out with that is also my best-friend's ex-girlfriend. She is extremely recent in her departure. So recent in fact, that she tries to fuck me whenever she is within my vicinity. Seriously. Me, I am aware enough to realize that I am a booby-prize, or even a revenge. There is no way I'm letting this girl turn me into her satisfaction or pathetic aim of hurting her ex. As the former put it so succinctly, "bros before 'hos... bitch."

So then, if I am so noble in my restraint, then why the fuck am I hanging out with these women? For one, they are cool (down, if you'd like to reference the slang of the day) girls. The one I work with is obviously not going anywhere soon, and goddammit, I just happen to like the company of women, regardless of their past connections. If I judged a woman based on who she's slept with, I'd be either the loneliest straight man in the world, or the happiest gay man. Damn you, you happy gay men, with your perfect world of good sex, no drama, and... good sex. (For those gay men offended by that last line: read the humor, breathe, and, once again, breathe).

OK. I've had enough spouting off for the night. Tuck yourselves and your children in tightly tonight. Much love to all, and to all, a goddamn sense of humor. Sleep tight.

Kissing Blue Eyes Goodbye

I left the blue eyed girl and Alaska. I slept on the flight from Juneau to Seattle. I dreamed all truth and all lies. Superposition of wave functions. All things exist in Schroedinger's world. Everything has happened and so has nothing.

It's the Copenhagen interpretation of life. Whether light is a wave or particle depends on point of view. Wave is point of view. Particle is point of view. Language is point of view.

Never put my seat back. Passed out against the black oblong window, assuming the point of view of a rock.

I slept. The plane doesn't exist. I never left Alaska. I never leave the ice.

The artist saw what he saw. Hunted a black bear who stared him in the eye. Soulless red that captured an imagination while I watched, cameraless.

Cursed beast from the depths of hell I stabbeth thee.

Missed the shot in the rain that never stops falling while I stood next to her feeling Antarctica, learning that the ice is not a place under the feet but a longing from birth to see over the next mountain. An adventure the spirit compels.

It's all point of view.
Rain isn't rain when it doesn't fall. Snow isn't snow until it freezes to stars.
Becomes billions of bits of white that make the glacier blue.

There is no room in my camera for the glacier. But drink the glacier ice and it becomes the infinity of you -- the where you are in your body, the where you go when you die. Breathe the ice in lungfulls. Live the ice in heartbeats. Crush it between your teeth and wherever you go the next mountain awaits.

Kiss someone -- taste them and you take them wherever you go, no matter which mountains you cross.

When everyone had left and it was just us two, she took me to the chapel with the glass wall. Behind it the glacier spat blue bergs into the meltwater. We stood at the heavenly gate waiting for God's plane to arrive. It was an altar her grandfather helped build. This church with the picture window full of clouds and ice was linked to her family by sweat and nails. Then it turned on them when one of them was born unwelcome. And they refused to jettison their own beloved for a man's interpretation of the mountains.

So now they pray in the hall when no one's around, alone in nature's resplendence, beneath the beams their ancestors erected.

She told me more about her cousin while we waited for Gabriel. God's flight was late so we picked an empty pew and sat listening to a college student practice scales on the church piano. Eventually he got up. Folded his music and walked off.

"Before then, my family was very involved in the church community. Religious. Afterward -- well, reality has a way of changing your point of view," she said.

"How is he now?" I asked.

"He's good. He's in Seattle. But we don't come to this church anymore, anyway."

Behind the tall window fingers of sunlight broke through the dense mattress of clouds. It ricochetted from the ice on the mountain peaks in brilliant orange-white beads, then reached down to the treetops in the mist.

"Why don't you play the piano?"

"What would I play?"

"A prayer."

So I went to the instrument and felt the keys like sticks between my fingers. Cleared my mind.

I tried to play,

"Thank you, God.

Thank you, God.

Thank you, God."

But it sounded like the surf on a beige New Jersey beach.

Then she said, "I have a story for you if you want to hear it."

"Tell it. It's not a story otherwise."

When it was over, the end didn't come as a final photon or collapsing wave function. It manifest itself as lack of interest. When no one was paying attention it faded away and everything was gone before anyone noticed.

At the end two spouses lay entwined in each other's limbs. The husband touched the other's nose with a tip of a finger and said, "I have to go."

The wife listened for the birds outside to herald the morning. But the birds and the wind had become darkness. The rain and the sun had become ice. The river and the bears had become dreamerless fantasies. And so she said, "When Ulysses came back to Penelope they spent their first hours alone together recounting their adventures. And when they were done they were so tired they fell asleep instead of making love. So Minerva lengthened the night for them, so they wouldn't have to face the morning without having known each other."

It was the kindest thought left in the world.

She had never before seen a tear in her husband's eye, but now he was crying.

I told her -- "I gotta go."

"If I could get Athena to squeeze in a few more hours, I would. I call, but the line is always busy."

"She gets a lot of requests this time of year."

"I could try again. This is a chapel. We could pray. If we had more time..."

It came on suddenly. Surprised me how quickly it had gone straight in -- how firmly those strings had been plucked and the sound they made resonating my bones. Muscles tightened I never knew existed. Something warm pressed against the back of my eyes. My chest tightened and I couldn't stop the gasp from passing my lips. With no air left in my lungs, with the salt rising to my eyes I had to think to breathe so I could tell her how I felt.

While I struggled in silence she said, "It's just a story."

"That's the nicest story anyone's ever made up for me. " It was.

She put her arm around my waist and kissed me. "Goodbye, blue eyes," she said.

So ended the world.

Please read the whole thing before voting. If you only read the beginning, you might think this will be all about me bitching about the response to my write up yesterday. But that's not what I'm doing here, I promise. At least make it to paragraph 10.

I've had an interesting last couple of days on E2. Actually an interesting week (it's been quite interesting all around, most would agree). I had one write up achieve a good amount of success and critical praise, one that was wildly successful (perhaps my most successful ever), and then the next day I wrote a write-up that turned out to be the worst ever for me in terms of reputation.

It is humbling to see something that I at least thought was good sit at such an abysmal rep. It was doing good at first, had a substantial positive, but something happened and I came back to it four hours later and it was bad. And then it got worse later. I would like to talk about this node, and then talk about satire on a broader scale.

First of all, if you visit the node - link provided in the first paragraph - you will probably see why it's been downvoted so much (or you may not). It is part of a continuing series Point/Counterpoints (inspired by The Onion) usually featuring an ebonics-talking pimp named Vichizzle McNizzle and a grade school boy named Tyler Evans. I really liked the idea of juxtaposing points of view on an issue from two individuals who could not be any more different from one another, save their gender. And of course one of the most important reasons why they're funny (for those of you who actually find them funny) is the satire. Holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving have been satirized, as well as gay marriage. All have gotten their fair share of downvotes, but all sit at a positive rep at least...except the latest one. Apparently I hit a nerve, or a few nerves.

The one in question is a "debate" over Hurricane Katrina. Both characters give their thoughts and views over the disaster. As usual, most of the humor - for those who found it funny - comes from Vichizzle's part. And as usual, Tyler's views are largely shaped, in one way or another, from his bigoted, asshole father. Indeed, a running theme in the point/counterpoints is Tyler's ultra-right-winged dad, who has all the views on gays, minorities, and people in a liberal lifestyle that you would come to expect. And we see those views through the eyes of a child.

Even though any humor on Tyler's part is of the "from the mouths of babes" variety, in a lot of them Tyler's situation isn't really that funny at all, if you really think about it. "Poor Tyler!" one noder messaged me after reading one of them. Poor Tyler is right! While Vichizzle is more of a caricature, Tyler is a character, one I'm slowly developing (he ages in real time). The write up in question is no exception. Unless you like to laugh at how ridiculous ultra-right wing religious conservatives can be (which I do) there's nothing funny about what Tyler says. That might be offensive to some, also what might be offensive is how funny I had intended Vichizzle to be about the disaster. The main point, though, that I'd like to make - and I do have one - is that I was not satirizing the terrible tragedy itself.

For the record, I would just like to say that I am just as appalled and saddened and disgusting by the situation down in New Orleans as any of you were. Hearing the heart-wrenching, gut-wrenching stories coming out of there on CNN has me near tears sometimes and it's almost too much for me to take. My heart goes out to them. It's a veritable Hell on Earth down there. No, I don't think there's anything funny about it right now. I do, however, think, even in the midst of tragedy, we as human beings sometimes have to find some humor in such things, as long as it's not extremely offensive, because, face it, sometimes, if we're not laughing, we're crying, and isn't it much better to laugh? I'm the kind of guy who laughs at a funeral goes a line from a Barenaked Ladies song. That's me, provided that we're recalling a funny anecdote from the dead person's life. Grieve the death, celebrate the life, and all that.

But that's besides the point, because, like I said, I was not satirizing the event itself. The satire, at least in my intentions, was no different than usual. It satirized Vichizzle's ridiculous pimping and sex and drug-obsessed life as well as Tyler's ridiculous father. In fact, some of what I think about the tragedy came through in Vichizzle. I think the looters and people shooting at the helicopters who are there to help them are "stupid muthafuckas."

Apparently, many individuals didn't see it that way. A couple of scathing messages I received, one from a god, said they did not find it a bit funny, not at all. And I respect those opinions. I took them to heart. I considered revising it, or requesting it nuked right away. But I asked for advice in the catbox about it, people read it, and it got a lot of upvotes. And I got a lot of praise for it, telling me not to worry, that it was hilarious. So then I stopped worrying. But I came back later and the downvotes were a-plenty again! Don't get me wrong, please. I am not here today in this daylog to rant or complain, boo-hoo, look at me, people hate my write-up! No, no, I largely respect the opinions of my fellow noders and I accept the votes it has gotten. No, I would like to ask the noding public a question, and it can apply to any number of write-ups here and other situations out there in real life:

When does satire go too far?

Chicago shock jock Steve Dahl recently offended many on the air with his recipe for "The Floating Corpse," basically a hurricane, an alcoholic beverage where he plopped little chocolate babies in the mix. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets the axe. This, in my humble opinion, is an example of where satire can go too far. There's nothing funny about dead bodies of babies floating in the floodwaters in N'awlins. It is almost impossible to try to make light of children dying, much less babies, without offending just about everybody. Maybe he intended for the chocolate babies to simulate any floating dead body, but that still doesn't make it funny. What he was doing was directly satirizing the event itself, making fun of dead bodies. Dead people, dead babies. That's where he went wrong.

But these things happen all the time. Somebody always wants to push the envelope, test the waters (pun not really intended) and see what they can get away with in terms of what society will deem too offensive. Some would argue that Howard Stern does this on a daily basis. But I don't think even Stern would have pulled what Dahl did. And neither would I.

Was my daylog "my bad" because of the fact that I didn't give it enough time? Does it have to do with the old adage "tragedy plus time equals comedy?" Should I have waited? Was it too soon? Would some have the downvotes been upvotes later? Is time a factor if when satire can become offensive?

When I say offensive here, I mean offensive to most, if not all, people. Let's face it, whenever you get into satire, you're bound to offend somebody, that's the risk you take. And when you want to bring satire anywhere near sensitive issues, death, race, religion, etc. you have to be especially cautious, brace yourself for at least some backlash. George Carlin is an extremely brilliant comedian and most of what he has to say about religion, even though it's extremely intelligent and makes sense (to me), I can imagine that it pisses off a good swath of the devout out there. In particular, I'm thinking of his monologue on the Ten Commandments. If you've heard it, you know what I'm talking about. If you haven't, go and download it, it's hilarious.

But I am NOT comparing myself to Carlin, don't get me wrong. Sure, I think I'm a pretty funny guy, and so do a lot of others, and I always have the ability to make people laugh on the internet and in real life, but I can't hold a candle to that guy or anybody else of his caliber. I doubt I ever will.

Religion, though, is something that a lot of folks hold sacred. Another is dead babies. There are certain things we as a society think of as sacred and as such can not or should not be mined for comedy. And what those things are we have trouble agreeing upon. Race is another touchy subject. More and more, as the generations go by, racist jokes are going more and more out of style. It's also becoming more difficult to define what a racist joke is. Scores of stand up comedians rely on, in their material, the differences in the races and poke fun at certain aspects of blacks, Asians, hispanics, and even whites. I applaud most of it, even digs at my race. I don't happen to think that racism means simply discussing the differences between cultures and races; I don't think eliminating racism means sweeping those differences under the rug. I guess what I consider a racist joke is something that's intentionally malicious, jokes that come from ignorance, from people that are, in fact, racist. What's long and black? The unemployment line. Those types of jokes. I will shamefully admit that when I was a child, young and stupid, I might have found that funny, but now that I'm older, smarter, and more world-weary, it really bothers me.

But I digress. (I'm gonna have to sum up here and stop rambling, I suppose.) What was offensive about my write up didn't have to do with race (at least I hope it didn't - I'm not making fun of blacks with Vichizzle anyway, only a certain subculture). The downvotes came from those still shocked and saddened by the tragedy down south and balked at my attempt to use it for comedy. I understand that. But what I want to get across to you is that the horrific, nightmarish situation down there does sadden me, I am just as heartbroken as you when I see the footage of the people who've lost their wives, husbands, children, and have no water or food and can't get out. I am sorry if I've offended you with the write up, I truly am, and I've taken all the criticisms to heart; I haven't gotten angry with anybody who has told me it was bad. I have not thought "These idiots, they just don't get it!" I've been understanding and I've been listening. HOWEVER, I am NOT apologizing for the node itself. I stand by it. I will stand by it even it goes down to -100. I will defend it until the cows come home. People have went so far as to suggest to the Powers that Be that it be deleted, but it has not been, and as such I will not ask for it to be, either. I am compassionate and understanding, but I have a spine, too (and balls). I wasn't trolling when I wrote it, serious thought went into it, it brings up deep issues, especially Tyler's part. And some, I included, thought it was funny. It wasn't an intentionally offensive flight of fancy meant to be as obnoxious as possible. If you don't like it, downvote it, complain to somebody if you want to, you have that right, that's how this community works. And I love this community and I have greatly benefited from it ever since I first joined in September of 2003 because of how it works. But I am not going to request it be nuked. And as long as it gets at least one upvote, I will never request for any of my write ups to be deleted, no matter how many XP it bleeds me of. Some would disagree with that philosophy, but oh well. That's me.

Thank you for indulging me and reading this entire rambling write up, if you did. That's all. And godspeed to anybody affected by this tragedy and anybody who is making an effort to help with it.

It is interesting to see how limited our minds are when it comes to grasping basic things such as distance. How far away is the nearest town, what's the distance between London and Paris? How far to that grocery store there on the corner? How far away is my love when he is not with me?

Sure we can all learn the numbers, 100 kilometres here or 2 000 miles there, or just 200 metres down the block, or parsec and AU and light years and nanometres. We can easily figure out the distance to the sun and the stars, after all it's just mathematics. (All right, with some astronomy as well, when it comes to stars.) But do we truly understand those numbers, emotionally, and not just intellectually?

Space and time are one they say, inseparable and each others' equals in the grand scale of things, and there may well be regions out there where time flies differently from what we are used to, here. But what is time, then, exactly? Here the roles seem reversed, where we seem to have a better grasp of the actual role time plays, but fail to truly explain the nature of time.

One book mentioned the inuits measuring distance not in a fixed length but in sinik, sleep, the number of nights needed for the travel. It varies depending on the weather and season, and the condition of the travellers. Maybe that is, after all, closer to how we instinctively measure distance. "It takes three hours by train" rather than "it's 400 kilometres from here". How far to the store? - well, about ten minutes on foot. And the nearest town? - it's about half an hour by car, if you're not stuck in too much traffic. This we can relate to, and after all, if you're trying to figure out when to leave for a meeting, this is what matters, not the actual physical distance covered.

So we live in a strange little corner of this fourdimensional spacetime universe, boxed in on one end by distances that we can intellectually comprehend but not intuitively grasp, and on the other end by time itself, of which we have a more intuitive understanding but utterly fail to explain intellectually. What a wonderful world...

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