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Inappropriate sharing, incomprehensible ramblings, uncalled-for hostility: yup, it's a blog.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Dead II

Waf is fast asleep.

His head slips ever-so-slightly from his house-within-an-apartment, a tiny cloth and foam home sitting on the floor just before me as I sit on our kitchen floor. He's dreaming.

Not in house
What, I sometimes ask myself, does Waf dream? In his tiny little home, inside of a larger home, surrounded as he is by cushions and squeak toys. Surrounded, as he is, by a larger world of which he has no knowledge, except on occasions where he ventures out into it, strapped to a human, harnessed in a vest, taking one step after one quick step, indulged in sniffs and squats, until returned again to the bigger house that encloses the smaller house and the cushions and the toys.

What does Waf dream?

His legs shake the cushioned house. He emits a tight, vague 'Marf." Then a stuccato follow-up as the tiny cushioned house shakes.

Perhaps he is remembering his previous owner. A young woman, sad. A young woman with kindness in her eyes and a story of icy silence when asked, Why are you giving us this dog? Perhaps he is remembering his youth as Tobey, his first name before his final name. Tobey. I say it, and he still stirs in his sleep.

You're talking about me. Goddammt.
Waf is asleep. Greg, my husband, is asleep. We are all in a spacious room on a giant planet in an expansive, if not depleting, universe, but Waf is in his house inside the limitless space of everything.

Outside that house, there are complications and squirrels and chemical reactions. And there's Tobey, Waffles' first name, inspired by I do not understand because who the hell names a dog Tobey?

And there's Greg and myself, who have a dog named Waffles. In a world more large and terrifying than Waf can dream. And the dreams fall faintly on Waf, and fall, like descent of their last end, upon all the Tobeys and the Wafs.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

So You Made the Top of Gawkerati. What Next?

On Gawker.com's final day, I was surprised to be name-checked twice in one of the last posts: my handle, GregSamsa, was listed amongst the top commenters of the site, and one of my comments was noted as being one of the top ten comments of its 13 year history.

My last hurrah. See me there, just under the wonderful GREGORYABUTLER10031? GregSamsa. I beat!
None of these accomplishments are, in fact, accomplishments. They are hollow victories. They are 'ThatChampionship Season' which was a play written by the young priest from The Exorcist. They are pats on the head. They are the result of distraction winning out over ambition.

And that's as one Gawker writer would say, 'Okay.'

There's a lot of virtual ink-spillage over the end of Gawker.com (which is to say there is not much being written about Gawker Media, the site's parent company, being absorbed by Univision; Gawker.com is dead; its sister sites--Gizmodo.com, Deadspin.com, Jezebel.com and others—live on. But the hub site, the main site, the namesake site of Gawker Media, is now over for a variety of reasons I—twist--won't comment upon. Gawker.com is dead.

What I will comment upon is, first: it's okay to end a sentence with a preposition. Language is what we do, not what others rule we should do. In this piece I will actively try to split infinitives and dangle participles, and will most definitely attempt to end sentences in either prepositions or in the actual word 'preposition'. Which, oddly, is not a preposition.

Secondly: I will explain how I became a name-checked commenter of Gawker. This explanation will seem boring because it is, and it will seem awkward because it is. Life is boring and awkward. Life isn't what happens when you're making other plans, as John Lennon once said; life is what happens when you have no plans and still expect to wake up the next morning. Life is habit, and I habitually commented on Gawker.

I was born in the salt-mines one dreary day in Nixon's America.

No, that's not true. Preposition.

Supposition: it is true I was born in Nixon's America. It is also true I grew up with a reverence for journalism preposition preposition. I liked honest people, and never trusted anyone mostly because I knew I could lie quite well, and didn't like being a liar. Lying is a talent only an honest person has. If you, too, are a liar, you know full well how much honesty you need to pull off a lie, and you know when to use your lying superpower, when to lie after speaking the truth. Preposition.

Being a skilled liar does not, oddly, make one an actual liar. It makes one a dealer in truths, and one can store up truth like a camel stores up water. It's true! Lying is not something one should do often, but in a selective and artful way... the way one learns how to use language, and knows when it is okay to end a sentence in a preposition. Lying is the absence of skill, you see. A straight-up liar will be so obvious everyone assumes a tall tale is coming. Nothing is to be trusted.

As a child of Nixon, I know better. You take Emily Dickson to heart and tell the truth, but when you want to lie, tell it slant.

I understood Gawker (Dot Com!).

I was a kid who grew up with certain lies, and knew those lies had truths within them. I loved comedians who hit on political themes—Robin Williams, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Paul Mooney Elaine Boosler, Paula Poundstone—and understood they were lying while telling a truth.

Which is what Gawker.com did. Once upon a time.

So my comments—and they were a small contribution—where an attempt to bring liar's poker to a lion's den. And to remind everyone that language is not a shameful thing: If you need to communicate, do it. And do it in a grand way. If someone corrects your grammar, remind them that the President of the United States once inspired this column.

Gawker. [clutch to breast] I will miss you. When I moved to NYC, you were one of the only places to get my wit, my honesty, and my obsession. So many stories made sense, and so many stories kept me up at night. Preposition.

It is easy to lie and say you deserved your end. But there's a truth we all know: You did good work.


I'm honored to be included in the top commenter bullshit, even though there were many more worthy. And I'm glad to know one of my comments was in the final 10 of all comments here. But I know it was a lie. That kid never had a visionquest. She was just being true to herself.

Friday, August 12, 2016

How to Vote Your Conscience

NATHAN J. ROBINSON:  Well see, this is the thing, is I think this has a very strange and sort of romantic conception of what voting is, where voting is the way that we express our innermost identities and we declare who we are and what we stand for. I don’t think of voting that way. I think of voting as something that you do five minutes one day of the year and that most political action and most expression of your moral convictions should occur elsewhere, in other realms. Voting is just about the consequences.  --On the Media


Vote your conscience” is a phrase used off and on for those ambivalent about voting for Donald Trump, and it's a versatile phrase, used with both bravery and desperation. At the Republican National Convention, defeated contender Senator Ted Cruz delivered a prime-time speech in which he failed to endorse Trump, instead inviting the delegates in attendance—and, of course, the viewers at home—to vote their conscience.

#NeverTrump started the push for conscience-voting just a week or so before Cruz took the stage, and not long after Cruz's speech, #NeverTrump dropped into the distant zeitgeist, a present but hardly dominant force to make sure Trump would never sit in the Oval Office.

There are those on the Right still hopeful that someone will wake them from the Nostradamus fever dream that is November 8th.

“Vote your conscience.”

Fun fact about the word 'conscience': the way I learned how to spell the word was to spell 'con' and then 'science.'

Voting one's conscience is a standard call every election cycle. And it is a con of science, really, if you think voting is about conscience. If one votes their conscience, they're giving up fundamental ideas about collective wholes. They are ignoring certain obvious truths in deference to Randian absolutes. To vote one's conscience is to vote one's desires, and the voting booth is no place for wish fulfillment. It is a place where one looks practicality in the face, and makes the best choice.

And there's a fun thing about this election: if Republicans reluctant to vote for Trump are encouraging a vote of confidence this year , #NeverTrump2016!, then Democrats are certainly arguing about the #PracticalVote.

Hillary Clinton is not a popular choice on the Left. She's a practical choice, certainly, but not a conscience-affirming vote. She comes with baggage both real and imagined. And she came out of a primary where a socialist came close to beating her. Eugene V. Debs would be proud of Bernie Sanders.

No mind about that. What matters is that on the right you have Voting Conscience, and on the left you have Practicality.

You have Trump or #NeverTrump, and you have Clinton or... Trump.

If you like Trump, you support overturning Obergefell v. Hodges. Which is definitely a vote of conning science.

If you like Trump, you're ignorant of actual science.

If you like, support, or in any way think Trump is right, you are ignoring economists, sociologists, geologists, and other -ists. So by all means, con science.

There are so many practical reasons—hashtag Practical—not to vote for Trump, I am amazed people still consider him a viable candidate.

True story: Six or so years ago, my husband Greg lamented his vote. “President Obama is not doing anything,” he said. “I voted for him and he hasn't done anything.”

“Did you read the article about how Mitch McConnell held a meeting the night of the inauguration?”

“Yes, but so what? Obama should fight.”

“This isn't politics anymore. This is a long game.”

Clinton has learned from the best, is what I'm saying. Over eight years, despite rabid obstruction, President Obama has gotten a good bit of his agenda done. And he even beat the Clintons in 2008. And he did it without conning science. He did it by being practical.



Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This Election, Lemme Tell You...

This election. Am I right?

Hey. I recall a time when people were okay being awful to one another. Now? You mention Trump's name and everyone screams 'racist'. I was playing poker the other day and got called a racist 12 times. I finally had to cut my losses. Leave my chips.

I don't even play poker. I just know to yell 'Trump' at cards is a useful skill.

My boss the other day. I asked her, so how's your husband? And she said, I can't talk to him anymore. He's DVRing MSNBC when he's at work, he's watching CNN when he's at home, and he's yelling all the time. I don't even have a joke for this. He's actually doing this. I asked about FOX and she said "Stop reminding me of ALL CAPS."

No, seriously, it's a thing causing stress in a marriage.

But seriously, they're in love.

BUT STOP WITH THE CAPS. CNN. FOX. CSNBC. MSNBC. DVR.

They just don't talk no longer because Rachael Maddow and Anderson Cooper can't agree on sexual positions.

No respect.

Also: I'm done with Trump supporters. Hey! I am. I'm thinking people who justify Trump are misguided humans who also think 'The Big Bang Theory' is a sitcom. Hey. Whoa. 'The Big Bang Theory' is not a sitcom. It's an excuse for commercial advertisers to pretend they understand science and cosmology.  "Is it just me, or is it getting Swiffer in here." Hey!

Trump just suggested a Second Amendment solution to Hillary Clinton. Only Trump would try to be Aaron Burr. Next he'll pull a Goldwater and do whatever Goldwater did to not be elected.

Seriously.

But you know what's serious? There are people who are trying to justify Trump. And they're serious to the point that they are willing to excuse a lot of things: they're excusing hate, logic, family, federal law, and good jokes.

Here's a good joke: I hope my opponent falls in cat-poop.

Here's a bad joke: Please just shoot all of the people who oppose me. I get no respect. I'm an old man. Give me some mercy. Just shoot me.

No. Really. Just shoot me.

Shoot me. Or send me to one of those anti-gay places. No respect.

Earn this: click on it


https://youtu.be/DODvxqkUlac


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Review of 'Julius Caesar' written by Donald Trump, age 13

I really liked that part where Calpurnia swallowed coals. They were burning coals, hot coals, the best coals she could swallow. She made me proud. We need more coal to swallow.

Outside of that, it was understandable and totally right, completely right they did what they did to Cinna. I wanted to call him Cinnamon, because he was such a loser bit of spice. No one uses cinnamon anymore. No one. No one. No one asks for cinnamon on their food. You know what they ask for? They ask for salt. They ask for pepper. They ask for salt and pepper and no one gives a damn about Cinna, man. They just don't care.

But the purpose of 'Julius Caesar' is not Cinna or Calpurnia. It's about Julius, and how he'd built all of Rome, and how men in the government conspired together to undo all that he had built. You have Antony, and you have Brutus. Brutus ends up killing himself, right, he kills himself while Antony gets his own new Shakespeare play. There is no 'Brutus and Cleopatra'. There is 'Antony and Cleopatra,' and it's about building a wall so high Liz Taylor's hair couldn't get over it.

There are some that say, and I get why they say this. Really, I understand. I understand. I get why they must say that Cleopatra was African. She was black. They say this. Truly. And they say the same about Jesus, and a lot of other people we admire. Political correctness! It is politically correct to say such things as "A woman on the African continent in 69 BC was not a white European woman from 1963."

But I'm not supposed to talk about that. I'm supposed to talk here about 'Julius Caesar'.  Which Shakespeare wrote against his will. It's true. He wrote this play against his will, and most of his plays against his will. If he'd known I would be forced to read this play, and many other plays by him, he would never have agreed to finish them. This one. Them. These plays. 'People will be forced, in government-funded schools, to read my work?' he'd say.

One should not be forced to read, or think, or use Cinnamon.

Coal, however, is a very good thing. It keeps us burning all the right people.

In conclusion, I am too rich to read this play. You will give me an A for this essay. The best A. My A is so big no other student in this class will be allowed to bring knives to school and keep me from this A.

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