Category Archives: Blather

something lacking focus.

fly on the wall

-yesterday i sat down to write a song. not just any song, but a song to effectively end my dry spell of around four months. i was gazing feverishly at a blank page (per usual) when suddenly the phrase ‘fly on the wall’ entered my head and i foolishly decided i was off to a great start.
well, luckily, just then i remembered my friend evan. evan has this habit when he’s writing song lyrics that has rubbed off on me. whenever he thinks of a phrase the first thing he does is punch it into google and check the results.. he’s even formulated a chart that directly relates the number of hits that a phrase returns on the search engine to that particular phrase’s individuality. for example, if a phrase brings back less than 100 returns, you’ve either hit the  jackpot or you have a very dim understanding of the english language and your phrase is complete rubbish (or it could mean both). if it’s more than 100,000 returns, you’ve probably been aware of the phrase your entire life and have somehow ended up attributing its origins to yourself. congratulations! and if it’s more than a million hits? well.. what did you think would happen when you punched in ‘i am the walrus’ or ‘pants on the ground’ ?(which, by the way, has 80 million hits)
    i’ve so completely bought into the practicality of evans method, that i’m not sure anymore how i ever wrote so much as a sentence before google existed! so i typed ‘fly on the wall’ into google and to my dismay, i found around 2,950,000 results. ‘Well hey’, i figured, ‘sure it’s been around a while. but i bet, i BET i can put a fresh spin on it.. make it into something clever’
   then i discovered the awful truth about this promising phrase that i’d been ruminating over for more than 5 minutes. turns out it’s spoken for. and since i can’t in my own words describe the magical lyrics that it has inspired,  i will quote. i quote Yulia Volkova and Lena Katina of T.A.T.U., i quote Brian Johnson of AC/DC, and i quote Miley Cyrus of, well, Miley Cyrus.

ahem

FOTW, by Miley Cirus
If you only knew what I talked about
When I’m with my friends just hangin’ out
Then you’d have the inside scoop
On what to say, what to do
That way when you play the game
Baby, you can never lose

Don’t you wish that you could be a fly on the wall?
A creepy little sneaky little fly on the wall?
All my precious secrets, yeah, you’d know them all
Don’t you wish that you could be a fly on the wall?
====

FOTW, by T.A.T.U

When you think you’re alone
I’ll be down in the hall
I could see it, if I was a fly on the wall
What you do in your room
I could see it all
You undress, I wish I was a fly on the wall, yeah

Wish I was a fly on the wall

and lastly,

FOTW, by ac/dc

Take a chance, take a bite
Rock ‘n’ roll devil take me tonight
Like a bitch, making heat
Beating on my chest, licking at my feet
It’s a game, too tough to tame
Ending up the same, sweating out the rain
So watch out, there’s a fly on the wall

*sigh* once again, all the greats have spoken and there is nothing new under the sun. And google, you fierce mistress, you never fail to burst my bubble.

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Good Old Boy Factory Hands

Harry and James had made a suicide pact a decade beforehand. They agreed that if in ten years neither of them had quit the factory, they would commit the ultimate sin together in the messiest, most dramatic way imaginable. They even planned the method by which they would end it – they’d strap dynamite to their chests, jump off the Trinity tower in downtown and detonate in mid-jump so that for a couple of glorious seconds they would literally rain down on the city.
Well attitudes change, and in the end so did Harry and James’ enthusiasm for the agreement. It appeared neither of them were leaving the factory anytime soon. The agreement was originally intended to be a catalyst for them to make some changes (mainly to leave the factory for something better), but  in spite of the mediocrity, monotony of the work, the idea of finding something new just hung in the back of their minds as another burden to be avoided. Neither of them brought it up because it had become taboo within the shallowing confines of their daily conversations. But James, the first of the two to express his new-found complacence, would make occassional statements he hoped would show his increasing acceptance of working at the factory indefinitely.
“So, I thought that raise would never come, eh? Looks like maybe we’ll get another one soon if we’re lucky. Things are looking up!”
Harry found himself alarmed by these remarks. Though he was losing ambition, he wasn’t ready to admit it yet. So he would respond with tepid sarcasm, “Yes I bet that next one will come some time before we die!”
This, in turn, would bother James to no end, but he himself wouldn’t dare come out and say that he’d abandoned his desire to leave the factory. Instead he said nothing, and through the silence Harry could tell exactly what was happening – that James was slowly opting out of their agreement.
It took about four years, but in the end Harry did acquiesce. One day, after a cold silence between the two which had lasted nearly a year, Harry saw James at the punch clock, went up to him and blurted out that he’d given up.
“I knew you’d come to your senses, Harry. I think we have to grow up, you know? I know this isn’t what we wanted when we were younger, but it turns out this is our life. It would be pointless to change it.”
“I know, I know,” Said harry, “our parent’s did it, we can too, right? I just wanted something different I guess.”
” I did, too, but it turns out this isn’t so bad. Hey, meet me after work. Let’s celebrate! What d’ya say?”
Harry agreed. That night they got soused like the pair of good old boy factory hands they knew they were, just conscious enough afterward to make it home, but barely there when they returned to work the next morning.
From that day on, Harry and James accepted fully their fate as factory workers. It bothered neither of them anymore, the old days of impossible dreaming were behind them.
The Big Give In
One day, many years later, James arrived at work early, slightly hungover but feeling the Friday energy and raring to go. As he approached the punch clock, he found a note on the wall above it. It read:

Notice to Employees:
Layoffs imminent, The factory is due for restructure.
You will be posted with further details.
-Managment

Among the hushed whispers that swept through the factory that day were those of James and Harry. They were certain they would not be spared from the coming hardship. Since that portentious night at the bar many years ago they’d resigned to their fate and had become fully dependent on the factory. Not just the income, but the hours themselves spent working the machines and the narrow set of skills they now possessed because of it. The thought of being let loose was unbearable, as were the next few months.

After awaiting word from management for what seemed like a lifetime, they finally got the dreaded news one rainy Friday morning:

Notice to Employees:
Begining the first of October, the factory
will be closing down indefinitely. See your supervisor
for unemployement details. We regret the decision, and
wish you all the best in these hard times.Sincerely,
The Managment 

The rain never ceased that September. Harry, James and everyone else were devastated, but no one attempted to do anything about it. To the blue collared, the managment were like spirits that floated around, but withwhom no one could (or should, for that matter) communicate. Everyone stayed to the bitter end, waiting for the hammer to fall. And it did fall. On the last day of September, there was an eerie emptiness about the factory, as if the spirits had vanished. When the last box had been sealed and the last worker had gone home, the doors were barricaded and none of them ever entered again.

The Fate of Harry and James

October was the month of their undoing.  The two friends had spent two straight weeks at Marley’s Tavern and had all but wasted their respective incomes for the entire last month at the factory, along with countless brain cells. In those weeks, a sinister issue that used to plague the men had resurfaced: the suicide agreement from years before.  It’s unclear whether alcohol or abandonment was the culprit, but their old agreement had a new twist, and was taking hold of them.

One night the two of them left the bar in particularly wretched frame of mind. They decided to head to the factory instead of going home, as maybe it would bring them some closure,  but the sight of it just made things even worse.

“Piss on them, Piss on the whole thing!” Harry picked up a brick from a near-by scrap heap and threw it at the factory wall. It made no dent.

“Right idea!” James shouted and went to urinate on the side of the building.

“I can’t take this, James, I’m not well.. There’s nothing here for us but some trash. Worthless..” He kicked at the ground, tears on his face. He felt like a teenager again, like the world was closing in, whatever that might mean.

He’d been suicidal at that age, and in fact it was through mutual mental distress that the two of them bonded. Both had a history of life-long illness.

On this night in Mid-October, the depressive flood gates had burst forth. The two friends shared a feedback loop of misery. After a half hour of lamenting the state of their lives and of the world, the decision was made.

In a final twist of  irony, it was Harry who initiated the act. He produced from the scrap heap about 20 feet of thick industrial rope and proceeded to  lead James half a mile away to the train tracks – to the train that had always reminded them what time it was when they were still employed.

“It’s dramatic we wanted, right?” he grabbed James by the arm.

“What are you doing?” James slurred.

Harry wound the rope tight around both of the James’ wrists and fastened it with the best knot he could remember.

“What is this!?” James asked. But with all the alcohol in his blood he couldn’t have determined that he was in any danger. He couldn’t have determined much of anything. He laid down on the ground in a depressive stupor. Harry brought out the slack of the rope with him across the tracks and proceeded to bind his own wrists to the best of his ability. Despite his severe inebriation, he managed to succeed in tying himself.  He then laid down opposite james and waited. His mind had gone entirely blank; blankly he stared at the stars in the clear sky, shivering and listening.

When the train finally appeared n the horizon, both of them had passed out. It was a tiny dot at first, so harmless from a distance. But with grave quickness it came, blissfully unaware of the impending damage it was about to incur.

Harry’s eyes opened just as the train was about to hit. He stared in horror as the train connected with the rope that spanned the middle of the tracks, attaching the two friends at either end.

If luck had been on their side that night the train might have cut the rope and spared their lives. Then again, if luck were on their side they probably wouldn’t have even ended up in such a predicament to begin with. The rope hooked onto a metal bar in the front of the train engine and dragged poor Harry and James hundreds of feet, leaving tandem trails of blood and bone fragment along the track ballast. Eventually, the rope gave and what was left of the two friends came quite literally to a dead stop, side by side, hugging the rocky ground.

In the distance the sun was peaking ever so slightly over the horizon; the train, smoke pluming from its chimney, disappeared into it, making a picturesque scene against the brilliant backdrop of fall colors.  

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Facts about business men

Fact #1: 

Most business men live in giant shoe boxes with the shoes still inside. They spend their time attempting fruitlessly to tie the enormous laces together and varnish the leather exterior (which is so huge that by the time the business man is done, the first half of the shoe has lost its luster and so he must start again). When a business man has to leave to do errands or go to work, it is a major ordeal; he has to use a pulley system to open the lid of his shoebox, which is the only way to get out, and then climb a ladder to the top. Sometimes the lid will slam down on him and crush him as he tries to exit.  Poor guy.

fact #2:

Business men are notoriously good at naked putt putt.

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“We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business.”

Dear Obama and friends,

I signed on to Google recently and came across a link that said you were taking questions and that all I had to do was sign in to youtube and I could submit one to you and that I might get a video response if I were lucky. Well I clicked that link, and do you know what happened? Nothing, that is what. I received a message that said that the link was temporarily out of service.

It’s been a day now and the link still isn’t working for me. Is it just me.. am I the only one who feels it? That uniquely American isolation that seems so pervasive yet so.. undefinable. For all the big talk of unity that was discussed in the “state of the union” I just can’t help but feel unsatisfied. I wonder, Mr. Obama, if your lack of acknowledgement of the dispossessed is intentional, or if it is just inherent in politicians.

It’s not that I don’t think you’re a great speaker, or that you have some marvelous ideas. Sure, innovation is dandy, clean energy arouses me. But what of that isolation? What of the community that doesn’t exist outside of business/academic settings? You speak of creating jobs for the masses, but does that enhance our lives? Can this machine that has failed us time and again ever really be turned into something that brings joy? Not just to consumer/workers, but to human beings.

When you refer to prosperity, it seems you measure it solely on capital. Where is the humanity in that? What did the homeless think of your speech? What did those in SouthAmerican favelas whose fellow countrymen have abandoned them due to the enticements of American investors think of your speech? When you said that the only way clean energy would come into prominence is if it were a commodity, you failed to lament that fact. It is as natural as rain for the business class to gauge everything’s worth by its dollar value. I ask you to challenge that.

But that is not your job, I know. Your job to appease the status-quo while pushing some moderate agenda. I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you that I am not an American. There is no part of me that is American, nor capitalist, nor democrat, etc. I use the tools presented me within the scope of these institutions, but ultimately I do not consider myself part of this “union” of which you speak. It is not that I hate America, it is just that I don’t believe in America. I don’t think it exists as you would want me to believe. It is a hypothesis, yet to be proven.

So with that I bid you good luck. To try and operate within the framework of the culture of violence and competition, glenn beck and american idol.. well hats off to you. I hope you do some good. I’ll be a captive spectator, breathing that foul air, having no means to clean it. I’ll keep driving on the roads because there isn’t decent means of public transportation and because I can’t find a job that isn’t 40 miles away from my home. I’ll keep distracting myself with booze and hoping that someday our unity doesn’t just involve how much money we’re making together.

Love,
Nick

P.S. I hope you know my cynicism is inspired by love.

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Detroit

Amazing:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2011/jan/02/photography-detroit#/?picture=370173060&index=15

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This is not a treatise on Hitler

Hitler is pulled from the history books to refer to the ominous hand of fascist evil that oils its engine with human suffering. He is often presented as a comparison to other evils of similar ilk.
but that gets old quick

I wonder

Where are today’s immortal, all-powerful supervillains? It seems the last one was hung years ago and now the only villians left exist on a plane that touches not the heart of Capital interest. By virtue these villains are given little attention, especially when young boys are out slaughtering politicos.. right on our own concrete.

I digress,

honestly I was writing about a societal realm that eludes me. How could I place my (good or bad) faith in someone I’ve never known? How could an idea that has no tangible essence affect me on any meaningful level?

My heroes and villains are no more than those who wrong me and those who don’t. And in coming to this realization I discovered something interesting about myself – the majority of my villains are the powerful people I’ve never known and the ideas they have which are of no tangible essence but still seem to have a negative impact on my life. In this regard, all politicians fall into my “villains” category.

I’ve grown to resent the idea of respecting/villifying historical figures or party icons or think tanks more than respecting/villifying those around me who have so much more bearing on my corporeal existence.

Can reading a sad story about a country one has never visited be more moving than seeing first-hand the plight of one’s neighbors?

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Don’t tell Beck

I covered the last song on Mutations:

http://www.mediafire.com/?grggaz5jfak6oj6

fun

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