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Tue, Aug. 26th, 2008, 12:50 pm

Last week kind of sucked.  I had an "incident" and my mother (who knew I was having a rough week) was kind enough to call me Saturday morning and say, "Michael!  What's a 5-letter word for 'softly' in music-speak?"

Oh my...


From the I Live In A F**king Trash Can department...

-Me, too, Ron Rosenbaum.  Me, too.

-J.Paul Getty on the 4 different types of people in the world. (From Playboy, vol.10, issue no.1, January 1963)

Construction Workers
Hamtramck/Highland Park/Detroit, MI
Aug.6, 2008

Fri, Aug. 22nd, 2008, 12:38 am

Hey everybody, Big News.

Hamtramck, MI
August 19, 2008

Wed, Aug. 20th, 2008, 10:06 pm

no one says i dont think its over (like you do)
320kbps mp3

Palace of Versailles
Versaille, France
(by D.Spinelli)
Unknown Date

Thu, Aug. 14th, 2008, 12:43 pm

Moog should make something that can do this stuff.

Niteclub+Hair Salon
Hamtramck, MI
Aug.10, 2008

Wed, Aug. 13th, 2008, 11:52 pm

"A Traveler's Diagram"

One of my favorite things to do at work is archive slides.  There's one guy who's about to retire that brings in a lot of them.  After I told him how to steal Fats Domino records off the internet, he told me I could use the images for whatever I want (like I said, he's about to retire and he seems to be of that class of person that's less sad about it and more like, "F**k this work s**t").   I can't find the disc...  I think it's out in my car...  But I started this with the intention of posting one of a bunch of buses sitting outside (the palace at) Versailles circa 1970-something.  They look like something out of Munich or one of those other period pieces. 

Oh well.


-Funniest things I read this week: (here and here)

-Regarding the latter, I'm referring to the sub-headline (something about grown women acting like teenagers).  I saw Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants.  One of my ex-girlfriends (whom I mentioned a few entries back) "made" (looked as promising as most other movies) me watch it and I liked it okay. 

-Regarding the former, I'm referring to the sentence where Lessenberry says: "...as I write this he is still denying fathering her baby. That's certainly plausible to me; I visit single women and their babies in the Beverly Hills Hotel all the time."  Most insightful and reasonable things I've seen on the Edwards scandal are here and here.

-If I don't mention it now, I never will, but while I can't actually say "Bro's before Ho's" out loud (much less subscribe to the doctrine), amongst other things, it appears to be an institution that protects men from disagreement vs. opposition.

-Speaking of disagreement vs. opposition,
I was involved in a romantic relationship with another man's wife.  The circumstances were probably about as normal as they get (they married really young and I get the feeling that - for my generation - the only things keeping the divorce rate from reaching 95-100% will be religious fundamentalism, 2nd marriages, and premature death), but I noticed that when they found out, even my most open-minded and "sensitive" guy friends tended to say, "Alright!" or "Good job!" with the tone of voice that one might associate with high-fives.  The woman I was involved with kind of acted like whichever Candace Bushnell character she liked best that week (that's a really nice way of putting it).  After awhile, I didn't behave very well, either.  I tried to for a very long time and then gave up. 

The premise is pretty loaded, so the longer it went on, the more behaving honestly and/or with dignity stopped being an option. 
Which brings up the real issue: It's not really about who behaves the best or who behaves the worst or who's to blame.  It was really, really sad.  I've been involved in or on-the-cusp-of a lot of really, really sad situations and it was definitely up there with the worst of them.  And at its best and worst moments, it played-out, ended, and lived on like most other crappy situations going on around me.  I recognize that there's a degree of relevance and necessity, but if the media abstains (completely, regardless of any developments) from writing about the personal lives of the Edwards family (Man Fucks Woman, Breaks Best Friend's Heart, Dying Wife Says Moon Told Her About It After Being Abducted By Aliens In Grassy Knoll  - OMG, WHO'S HE TALKING TO!?!?!?!?), I'll personally pay for Commander Oefelein to attend one of Jeremy Snitkins men's retreats.

-Judith Beerman responding to Snitkin's Aug.2009 bong loaded op-ed on the how the Promise Keepers is actually a secret society of "Funbag Punchers" can be found here


Lite-Hammer of +3 Poor Taste

Detroit, MI
Aug.9, 2008

Sun, Aug. 10th, 2008, 03:33 am

itsnevergoodbyeuntilyoureallymeanit (i like to watch)
(256kbps mp3)
(320kbps mp3)

w/spoken word by:
-Dr. Raymond Stantz
-Dr. Playthell Benjamin
-Christopher Hitchens
-Prison Mike

Stevens T. Mason (w/[What Appears To Be] Bird Shit Splattered Across His Head)
Detroit, MI
Aug.1, 2008

Thu, Aug. 7th, 2008, 01:41 am

-This is awesome.

-So is this.

-And this.  (Would make Nicola Six blush.)

(The letters for the 1st and 3rd - I didn't look at those pertaining to the Walsh column - have been really good.)

-Sometime last week, I was hanging out with a regional buyer-and-seller of used and vintage guitar equipment (he's put together some of my favorite Michigan indie+art rock guitar rigs).  The nature of his work means he comes across other things, too.  (For instance, this Corvette is his.)  For awhile, he was driving a big white van he bought from one of the regional zoos.  It had zebras painted on the side (that he had done his best to scrape off).  When I asked him why he isn't driving it anymore, he said (without a hint of irony or self-deprecation): "I got rid of it because I drive like an asshole and people kept calling the zoo to complain."

(Which was the funniest thing I've heard in awhile.)

Detroit, MI
Aug.5, 2008

Thu, Aug. 7th, 2008, 01:25 am

Vanity Fair should send Dave Hickey or Christopher Hitchens to interview Steve Reich. ("How cool would that be?")

-Pitchfork on Daniel Variations
-Steve Reich on Daniel Variations
-Daniel Pearl Foundation

Detroit, MI
Aug.1, 2008

Fri, Aug. 1st, 2008, 01:20 am

"The Christians Gave Me Comic Books As If I Would Be Scared Of Burning In Hell (I Was Already There)"

I bought subscriptions to a couple of my favorite magazines.  I've been doing this On-My-Own In A Major City-thing for about a year now and it's something I think I can treat myself to.  I still don't have much money (with gas, utilities, rent, and every day stuff like oil changes, my living expenses are still well over $1500/month).  Still, they're cheap and I think I'm going to pick up a couple new ones every month. 

One of the reasons I wanted to do this was to "cultivate distance" (credit where credit is due, my friend). I use quotations because the internet is still a stupid place where a redneck, a monarch, and a gangsta can all come by here driven by impulse, self-loathing, and a plethora of other factors, read this, and blow-up without stopping to think about the unique premise that is someone else's life.  So, of course, it becomes one big political mess and perpetuates intellectual dishonesty that's already reached epidemic proportions.  Uni-Lateral Disorder is a plague that could kill us all.  Still, I love to be here on the Shadownet.  If I can't stop it, I'm going to stand here and enjoy the show.  It's an interesting time to be alive.  There are a lot of guys standing outside Ophuls' "Palace of Power" and a few of us are less interested in throwing rotten tomatoes and more interested in hearing what they have to say. 

I don't care to launch anyone into hysterics by using a phrase that could be interpreted as distancing myself for the sake of safety (burden), fame (luxury), reputation (something one has to earn), and other things that are seen as essential to a truly delusional society.  (Whatever happened to food, water, and shelter?).  Still, in that Mark Twain sort of way, it's the right phrase.  I'm not exactly sure why and I've searched far and wide on the Information Dirt Road trying to find someone who does.  If you find him, let me know.  If you want to try it yourself, more power to you, I wish you luck.

I've had torture rhetoric used to (literally) slander me.  Since I know what's going on and know the score and took some time to apologize to the people I wronged (and in the process, apologize to myself as well), I don't care about anyone else's perspective on that situation.  Never have, never will.  But knowing that sort of thing has lead me to believe the internet has a tendency to lean towards perpetuating intellectual dishonesty.  In that regard, even if I have something good to say, I think one needs to tread lightly when it comes to being an active citizen here, because every time one uses it to open someone up to genuine and substantive feedback, one is also opening them up to the disingenuous and dishonest sort.  

I started a letter to the editors of Salon in reference to this, but never finished it.  It (the letter, not the article) was about why people insist on bickering about whether the war was justified or not in the first place.  My take on that is that an ideal war is one where no one really appreciates or understands why it was there in the first place (which, like a lot of things in life, is exactly the same as an unideal war that blows up in one's face).  And for reasons too numerous to get into, it's one of those things that was Just Going To Happen.  There are plenty of members of the silent majority that remember Pearl Harbor and what it was like to have Someone Is Trying To Conquer The World hanging over their heads.  A lot of them have died in the past 8 years.  My grandfather was one of them. 

I love blogging about Grandpa.  Grandpa was a bad-ass, and anyone who knows me (or reads this) has had to hear about him.  And for all the ridicule I've been subjected to, talking about him feels relevant.  And I finally realize why in a way that may make sense to others.  One day, my grandmother mailed me a bunch of pictures of my grandfather, and she attached a note to the picture of his community college football team explaining how I could identify Gerritt as well as informing me that the coach was Gerald R. Ford.

So, I linked this article about Hitchens being waterboarded.  And it's in one of the issues I received the other day (thank you, Mandy - they were in my mailbox that same day.  I'm assuming you put them there yourself - it's nice to know that someone still appreciates magic in this era of fake-ass reason).  And for some reason (probably the same reason I don't read many of their 10 page articles online), having a paper version made it easier to realize he makes a statement in an otherwise excellent article that's just kind of floating around in a sea of (what seems like) reason.  Albeit the Reason of a man who just quit smoking  It's hard to tell if it's the sign of an oil spill or an honest mistake, like detritus from a cruise ship or sailing yacht that went unnoticed. 
The passage is here (starting with "When contrasted...").The reason it doesn't add up is this:

...to indict the United States for torture is therefore a lame and diseased attempt to arrive at a moral equivalence between those who defend civilization and those who exploit its freedoms to hollow it out, and ultimately to bring it down.  I myself do not trust anybody who does not clearly understand this viewpoint.

Sounds familiar.  Didn't phrase it in the form of a question, either.  The thing about people like Hitchens (or Kamiya, or this Greenwald guy, or any other pundit or polemic) is that everything they say is like Jenga.  If they build a good argument, you can pull pieces off the bottom without the whole tower falling.  I have to read the article a few more times to figure out if his tower is bullshit or not.

To triangulate that part of it with what I said above with the bit in my letter to Emily Magazine about the Kent, Ottawa, and Muskegon tri-county area (in Michigan), he's denying his own bottom line.  We kill those people every fucking day.  We rape their women, we kill their children, and then they chop off the head of a Wall Street journalist.  And it all fucking sucks.  But Hitchens came to America for the same reason Judy P. Couchpot leaves Assfuck, MN for Los Angeles.  And, he quit smoking.  I know what that's like (I think once a smoker, it's reasonable to always be a smoker in some capacity).  I really like what he does and think he's pretty rad when he's on his A-Game.  

But in West Michigan (where I grew up), people like Gerald R. Ford are our community college football coaches, people like Erik Prince are the captain of our swim teams, and we get in fender-benders with members of the Devos family.  Our uncles are climbing the corporate ladder at Alticor and the guy who we trust to put together our custom speaker cabinets (for our super-sweet guitar rigs) and does front-of-house ("sound") at DEMF (Detroit Electronic Music Festival) is a 3rd generation Amway salesperson.  The people I mention in the letter I sent to EmMag are the main purveyors of the atrocities that go on there.  These are some of the wealthiest people in the world and they make Warren Buffet look like the fucking tooth fairy.  They build private armies (that have been conspicuously absent from the news recently).  They don't try to monopolize the economy on the open market, they do it by trying to build an exclusive micro-economy.  It's really, really scary.  They're blonde-haired, blue-eyed white people and they do it all in the name of Christ.  Not God, not Allah, not Yahweh, but literally For Christ's Sake.

No man wants to end up like his father and not many understand that every man inevitably does.  It's almost irresponsible to state the concept without extensive exploration, but it's a notion that holds up in terms of the Bottom Line.  The fact that my handwriting looks just like my dad's is out of my control, but what I do with a pen is all "on me."  Whether literally or figuratively, a family is a business.  A part of me thinks taking some time to be an active citizen did little other than leave a bad taste in my mouth.  It's like a romantic relationship - I feel like a significant part of my life revolves around people I respect and/or admire resenting me for being right about things that aren't worth being right about in the first place.  It doesn't feel good to have someone you put your trust in slit your throat and try to sail away in your boat and it doesn't feel good to have journalists, academics, and intellectuals beat you with a Hammer of +3 Intellectual Dishonesty.  

Sometimes it does...  But that's beside the point.  I think Hitchens quit smoking and Juan Cole doesn't have a lot of people saying, "Hey man - careful what you're saying to those kids..."  Which is fine, whatever.  I'm just a blogger.  I don't know shit.  But "sufficiently adult" my ass.  When I was really young, my dad mentored a guy who was the age I am now.  Fathers never get along with their sons and this guy needed a father figure.  He had just come back from the first Iraq war.  We were at an Air Show (sort of a car show for War Machines) and I remember my surrogate brother kneeling and talking to me about war: Look, you can't talk to your friends at school about stuff like what I'm going to tell you, but, War is Hell, Michael.  People say that, but they don't think about what it means.  And I want you to know what it means.  And what's going on over there isn't what they tell you it is.  They tell you that Saddam's army hates him so much they all surrender without a fight.  They don't tell you that there's too many of them that think America is a free ride and the soldiers hate them.  There are so many of them, that sometimes when we're driving down the road, we'll see them lined-up along the road or they'll come running towards us to surrender and instead of arresting them, soldiers just shoot and kill them and laugh about it.  Like it's a game.

One way or the other, our next president is going to be a fucking liar because all the lead paint regulations in the world don't do a goddamn thing for the people in our country that have no choice but to defecate where they eat (some of them live in my neighborhood).  Somebody with some tact and couth needs to invoke the Star Trek Principle on the people talking about the war.  I don't care what your sexual preference is, after that sort of crap goes on long enough, you have to choose between fighting or making out.

(Hollywood and The Green Zone 4-evah!  Right, guys? Right?  Guys?)


-I ran into Jack Lessenberry the other day.  I've been a fan of his for a really long time.  The second people started looking at this, I thought, Fuck, man - what would that Lessenberry do...  (I always thought that one of the best and underused blog models is a "responsible" - or "well-informed" - opinion column.)  I realized it was him once it was too late to say "Hi," but I know he stole my magic.  If I don't stop him, he's going to end up funnier than the Havrilesky woman.  And that's No Good.

-The rest of the aforementioned letter to the editors of Salon is here.  There was also something correlating muck-raking with the idea that I'm not quite sure what a "Writer At Large" is.  I think if Kamiya or Joan Walsh say they do, they're lying.

-I erased the dates from the e-mail exchange with Simon Raymonde I posted recently because it said he sent his three hours before receiving my question.  I assume that's because it was an intercontinental conversation and one end was being held up over a Blackberry.  In reality, he got back to me in about half-an-hour.  I didn't edit it other than to delete a blank space before the "J" in Japan.  My point is, who the fuck types that well on their Blackberry?

Will G.+Granddaughter
Hamtramck, MI
June 22, 2008

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