Saturday, July 29, 2006

A Cautionary Tale

One night about a week ago as Tidy, Lefty and myself celebrated Monday like a Roman emperor, and as we discussed me and Lefty getting our new (and first) tattoos a realization hit me. However, it took a week or so for it to set it. This realization came from a response from Tidy to my question of "why the hell are we out at 1:30 a.m. on a Monday?" His response was pretty simple "Because we are alcoholics." That simple statement set me to thinking, once I became sober enough to think, my paterfamilias is an alcoholic and I made a promise a long time ago to not turn into my father. Now, that is a tall task for any of us, the apple does not fall too far from the tree as they say but, my father and I parted ways in a philosophical sense many years ago. I certainly do not want to wake up one day with a raging hang over, and come to the horrid conclusion that I have morphed into my old man. Luckily I have come to another conclusion (rationalization?) I am not an alcoholic, I am a drunk. There is, in my opinion a difference, to me an alcoholic NEEDS to drink if he does not things start to fall apart. A drunk, on the other hand, drinks to satisfy a WANT (at least that is what I am telling myself) as Baudelaire says get drunk be it on wine, woman or virtue, but get drunk. I drink as a social experience with my pals, I wonder sometimes if we could have a conversation without some drinks being involved. That is not a bad thing it is just a simple fact. It helps the flow of conversation, and provides us an easy forum in which to communicate. Surprisingly enough, a few ideas even manage to come from these conversations (before they collapse into some drunken foolishness) such as the idea that I am a drunk not an alcoholic.
Or, as Homer Simpson put it "to alcohol the cause of and solution to all of life's problem's."

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tidy You bastard

Being tagged is bad enough, but I haven't been blogging log enough to be able to tag 5 people. May you rot in hell.

Five Things in My Freezer

Ice Cream (french vanilla)
about 7 hot pockets (two minutes and death awaits)
a bottle of vodka (my roommate's I swear)
a couple of decrepit ice trays
frozen hashbrowns (don't ask)

Five Things in My Closet

my suits
my ties (a sad thing I must wear for my job)
a box of books that I seem to refuse to unpack
a load of white shirts that I can not longer wear (they shrunk I tell you)
a few magazines dealing with anatmony

Five Things in My Car
a random tie just in case I forget it on the way to work
a pack of gum
lots of change
a map

Five Things My Purse/Man-Bag/Wallet/Pockets
my cellphone
about 3 dollars in cash
it appears I am two items short

Monday, July 24, 2006

Flaws in the Operator

Just a quick list of my faults. Brought on by a little too much time on my hands, and some odd desire to point them out.

1 self-centered
2 woefully undereducated
3 chunky
4 bad grammar
5 bad posture
6 not a good listener
7 unkind
8 arrogant
9 petty
10 too critical
11 much too cynical
12 much too skeptical
13 bad speller
14 bad writer
15 poorly focused
16 terrible accent
17 cold sad to say that someone who used to know me called me "the coldest person she had ever known" I took it as a compliment.
18 bad eyesight
19 dull
20 I talk too much without saying anything, also I am too soft-spoken
21 I drink too much
22 I am a degenerate gambler
23 I can be cruel
24 I do not like authority at all.
25 I am not generous enough with what I have.
26 I squandered my youth
27 I waste too much time doing unimportant shit.
28 I am not as smart as either I or a lot of people think I am.
29 I do not really like my father. Either as a person, and certainly not as a father
30 I get angry too easily
31 I do not care about other people's problems, but expect them to give a shit about mine.

I think that 31 flaws in under 7 minutes is enough for today.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Writing for the Desk Drawer

Once I started writing this blog it became apparent to me that I had to continue it regardless of readership or how badly I thought it was going. I understand that this is a common reaction to "writers" (as I hope to one day fancy myself). The writer who writes for the desk drawer is paralyzed, even as an actor can not "act" alone in his room because without an audience he is not acting but merely making faces like a child or a madman, so the writer can not write solely for posterity. The writer needs to have an immediate reaction, the sooner the better. Writing to no one is an exertion, a task that requires a great deal of effort. Writing needs to be read, reacted to, criticized, edited, praised, or any number of things. If it just sits there the writer begins to lose hope. Even if the writing is rubbish, and a great deal of what is written is, the writer needs to know that at least someone read his attempt at writing and found it wanting. This has become my attitude on my writing, it may stink, it may be boring, it may not contribute anything to society, but it is something that I feel a NEED to do (Kafka had a similar issue, but more on that some other time, and I am certainly no Kafka). Perhaps, one day in a fit of genius or inspiration I will write something truly great, but I certainly feel that the only way that might ever happen is to keep writing and see where it takes me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Boss or the Man would can't identify me

Well I guess I sort of lied in my mission statement by saying that I would not post about my boring job and/or daily life, but I just feel that this story is too good to pass up. I hope to make this post short enough so that those among us who get ass cramps from sitting in one space too long will be able to muddle through without any emergency surgery being required (and you know who you are).
I work in a typical office environment, office gossip, office politics (my main boss is an elected official so it get worse at certain times), and all the other good things involved in living life in a cube. My boss is a politician now that is not a good or bad thing as far as I am concerned, but simply a fact. He has to know a lot of people and has a lot of people working for him. That is said in his defense. Now, I have worked in my office close to three and a half years. I have not had a lot of person to person contact with my boss, he works on a different floor and he is the boss he does not need to know what is going on in my world on a day-to-day basis. However, one day not so long ago as I was in a co-worker's office my boss came in and starting speaking to me about a work related issue that he thought I was "handling" sadly for the both of us, I realized quicker than he did that he has mistook me for another co-worker who was actually handling the issue he was speaking about. Now this is a tricky moment in a peon's life, how does one gently tell one's boss that he has mistaken you for someone else, someone who has been with the office a year less than you, and you really would like to bash his face in for being such an ill-formed soul. I merely said "no, boss you have me confused with someone's else, he is a little shorter and tubbier than I am and works in a different division". My boss looked flummoxed by this news muttered something, and walked away as laughter burst out behind him mostly at his expense, but some at mine as well. The fun twist on this cat's tale is about two weeks ago my boss and the powers that be offered me a "promotion". They were amazed when I turned it down. Wonder why?

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Advice to the Writer in all of us

Reading the Mad Maygar(or Sandor Marai as he is more commonly known) Memoirs the other day I came up several passages that I believe would help instruct all of the world's aspiring writers. Not sure I am an aspiring writer yet, but I certainly was struck by it so I figured I would share the highlights. When discussing another Hungarian writer Marai's writes "He got so close to what he was describing-a street corner, a contemporary article of fashion, a human face- that he seemed to be sitting in the room and talking personally with his readers." "This is the secret of all great writing." I completely agree, for what good is a writer that can not take you where they want you to go? A lot of us read for knowledge or for fun. Some us read as a means of escaping the everydayness that we have to trudge through to make our way in the world. When I pick up a book set in a different time and a different place I want to be teleported there. I no longer want to me in Memphis reading about early 19th century Budapest. I want the author to take me there make me see what he sees the streets, the crowds, the sights and smells of a place that physically. I may never visit, but for a brief moment feel as if I am there. In some respects reading is an act of submission. I read, and allow the author, if they are any good, freedom to take my imagination and thoughts were they want them to go. It is my act of submission as a reader that allows the writer to take me on the same journey as they are going. However, the cost of that act of submission is that it becomes the author's responsibility to make the journey worth my while. That is heavy duty stuff, and sadly not a lot of author's are up to the task. Arthur Schopenhauer said that there are proably only 25 books worth reading in the entire history of humankind. I figure there have been a few more written since he was around, but he makes a valid point. If I am to give up access to my imagination and thoughts even for a brief time to read your book, it is incumbent upon you as an author to make the trip worth taking. This is the author's duty. Someday, when I learn how to write over a fifth grade level I hope to be able to fulfill that duty, at least for myself.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Finding My Voice

As we discussed life, love, and poker last evening, my pal Luke a.k.a. Tidy actually managed to say something of importance. Now, of itself this is a shocking development. However, in this case the other shocking part was I actually remembered what he said enough to write about it. Considering the amount of alcohol we had consumed that is no small feat. He said that I needed to find my own voice. Now in theory I could respond that if I have not found it by now I might be in a little bit of trouble, or in the alternative I could have asked him whose bleeding voice did he think I was looking for? I chose not to wise off for once, and did some pondering along with more drinking. At some point before I passed out err went to sleep I realized that this blog is my attempt to find my voice. I suspect that it will take a while, and it is quite possible that I might never find it. I might go through two or three voices along the way, discard them, and possibly come back to them afterwards who knows? I certainly do not know, but then again that might just make it all worthwhile. I can only hope that along the way I learn something I might not yet know about myself, teach myself something, improve my writing skills to somewhere past the fifth grade level, and make a fortune doing it.

God's Bank Account

This just in, it appears that while the death of Pope John Paul II cost the Vactian 9 million bucks (and in a side bet won me 10 bucks, but that is another story) the Vactian still "made a profit of 9.7m euros ($12.4m) in 2005 - its best budgetary performance for eight years." That is super fanastic it appears the Catholic God made a crap load of money last year. To whom does it pay taxes? I am scandalized beyond belief. How in the bloody hell can God spend all that money?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

How to become unpopular or VIVE LA FRANCE

After watching the final of the World Cup, and seeing the French go down to defeat. I decided to become unpopular, and proclaim my admiration for France. Sure they are an arrogant, rude, contrary bunch of people who make themselves unpopular the world over (hmm sounds very familiar) but they are a passionate and proud people as well. I for one do not see anything wrong with that. They proudly say this is our culture and it is better than yours. Now that might be a little overly simple and over the top, but do not Americans say the same things. Do we not do ignorant things like rename French fries because the French would not support us in a war they believe to be unjust. Sure, the U.S. saved their asses in WWI and WWII, but didn't we save the British and the Belgians and the Dutch? Were the French not grateful enough? The independent path chosen by De Gaulle rankled with the U.S. who thought the French "owed us." Forget not who came to whose aid during the struggle for American independence. So, as I watched David Treguzet blast one onto the bar, and watched it kick out I felt some sort of sadness for a team that in spite of their captain's moment of madness had clearly been the better team for nearly an hour without a goal to show for it. This team with it diverse background had, for a brief time, united a very fractured nation behind it carrying the hopes of a people that had lost a lot of the Gallic pride in the last 60 or so years. Of course people say that the team was not a good representation of France because only 4 players were white. Thierry Henry was born in Paris, if that is not French the I am not sure what is. Either way they lost, and history will remember the victors. I, on the other hand, being a contrary, rude, and arrogant soul will remember the valiant losers.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Noah Cullen

Noah Cullen: I ain't gettin' mad, Joker. I been mad all my natural life.

The one and only Sidney Poitier in the Defiant Ones. Explains a lot, of course Noah Cullen is mad because he is a black man in the 1950's in the South, and with good reason. However, for different reasons entirely, and I can not say my reasons are even close to being as valid as Mr. Cullen's but they are at least made clearer by that statement. In my case, and as I said, it is not even close to being the same, my anger is not directed at society for treating me both differently and badly because of my race. My anger is more subtle, and probably not as valid. I have the misfortune of sharing Mr. Cullen's geographical location the South. Obviously, the race issues are still around, but my issue is not race but religion. The South is also the Bible Belt, and it is were I was born and bred. Not the greatest of environment for someone with my particular affliction. People in the small town were I grew up go to church on Sunday and Wednesday night, and spend the rest of the week pretending they are holy. It is a lot of fun for someone who does not want to participate. The reaction one receives when he makes the fatal mistake of letting it be known he is "different" is usually not a pleasant one. People decide then and there to pontificate on the ultimate fate of your "immortal" soul. Usually condemning it to the nether regions of hell reserved for heretics. It is a lot of fun having mother's tell their precious daughters not to date you because you are an "atheist." Trust me, I had enough trouble finding a girl near-sighted enough to date me when I was in High School without the atheist tag. It certainly did not helps matters at all. So, just like Mr. Cullen my reaction was anger. Looking back on it I suspect that anger is probably not the best reaction in the world. Cullen is mad because he is black and treated like an animal. His anger makes him look and, at times, act like an animal. He fights back the only way he knows how with his fists, thus completing a vicious circle. I reacted in a similar fashion, brand me an atheist, and I will park myself outside your churches and lob brick after brick at it. Not literally of course, but the effect is pretty close to the same. Perhaps, getting mad was not the best reaction, but I was very young. At the end of the day, what choice did I or the Cullen's of the world have?

Friday, July 07, 2006

Or another version of a world without God :)

A World Without God

Everything is far from being permitted in a world without God. A shift occurs as to where your outlook lies (or it is lays). Murder for example, is still,in most respects immoral and "wrong." There is still a moral compass, you just have to figure it out for yourself, and generally by yourself. Morals and social mores still affect, and in some respects govern you, but you now have to realize that the punishment you receive while alive may be all the punishment you receive. If that is the case, you much take that punishment even more seriously. I am a prosecutor and a non-believer however, I am against the death penalty. I believe that life is all we have after that there is the "void after death". To take that away even from the most heinous of individuals is, in some respects to play God. I am certainly not qualified to play God, I have enough trouble getting my dry cleaning done. Also, my opinion is if you sentence someone to the ultimate penalty of death for there crimes, a shift in public opinion might occur. Suddenly, this person isn't the animal that killed a 92 year old grandmother with a baseball bat for 12 bucks, but now they are someone's son or daughter facing death. All the civil rights groups who, rightly or wrongly oppose the death penalty rally around this person, and attempt to paint them in the most favourable light possible. Mostly forgotten is the reason the person is in jail to begin with. We humanize this person to such an extreme point that they sudden become the victim. Sorry about the length and the tangent I went off on, it seems I am having a reflective day.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Mad Maygar

A Hungarian write that you MUST read. Sandor Marai. Wrote a lot of books in his native tongue. Sadly, only two have been translated into English. Embers and Casanova in Bolzona. Both are excellent books, and I highly recommend them both Some of the most beautiful imagery and language I have come across in my varied readings, and my reading are pretty bloody varied. So much that I feel the need to share some. Marai posited a human attitude that
". . . does not hope for a supernatural reply to the problem of death, nor expect solutions to human problems from supernatural powers." "Man, a two-legged mammal abandoned and shaped by blind accidental will in an indifferent and hostile universe is the only living creature who can find his way in the world independently of his instincts."

Good stuff, and it leaves you wanting more which, lucky for the three people (if I am lucky) that read this dross, I will provide.

He later writes "St. Francis was compelled to fear death because he was a believer. I, for example, don't believe in an afterlife; so I am not afraid of death." "I hope to experience an absolute death, one that spares me the threat of resurrection: To step out into the Silence, into the Darkness without prosthesis and hope, the last dignity to which Man has the right between two Voids: the Void before birth and the Void after death."

Excellent ideas I think. Being a life-long (for the most part) non-believer, I really liked that passage. In some regards, it makes a lot of sense. As a believer I should fear death, in the believers way of thinking they must face the possibility that somewhere along life's path they did something that condemns them to whatever concept of hell they subscribe to. Though, in theory, the reward for a believer is great, the punishment is just as, if not greater. Much like Ivan Karamazov I chose to respectfully return my ticket, and not participate in this sort of belief system. At least in the non-believer's world everything happens while they are fully aware of it (for the most part).

First Time for Everything

This will be my first time posting, my first blog, my first attempt at open self-expression. I will try to be gentle with myself, and with any other fool with more time that he or she knows what to do with that reads this blog. I am going to attempt not to bore anyone who reads this, or befoul this space with the everyday happenings of my life. The mundane no longer interests me that much. This will hopefully make these posts more interesting to read, and not just retelling of any given day of my life. Trust me, my day to day existence would bore a statue to tears. Anyway, this is my first foray into this medium, I will post more of my mission statement once I figure out what it is.