Narcissus' Echo

Thoughts, tears, rants, ruminations, hopes, fears, love(s), and prayers of just another being passing through this wracked sphere...

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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Saturday, May 14, 2005

A quiet day in the gardens

Bathroom reading:
What is your bathroom reading when you are sitting on the throne? Magazines? (FHM, Stuff, or Housekeeping and Gardening? Cosmopolitan?) Or some trashy novel? Some action novel? Newspapers? Of late, my reading has been the works and lives of Che Guevara and Frantz Fanon. Most fascinating individuals.

Spent the latter part of the afternoon reading in the historic gardens on campus. There was a wedding going on in the church. It was interesting to be in my scruffy outfit (old MSR T-shirt with ragged collar, jeans, hair ungelled), and shuffling past people in elegant dresses and 3-piece-suits. I think Eve would have a fit. Then again, it's not my wedding, or anyone I know. I know I will be in a 3-piece suit for my funeral, that's for sure.

In the evening, I got to watch people walking their dogs. People unleashing their dogs and letting the happy hounds run, trounce and ramble about, with their tongues hanging out; performing canine equivalents of donuts in the tender grass, and rollicking, head over paws, with each other or with an imaginary playmate. There is nothing quite like loving a dog... and being loved so unconditionally in return. I miss my dogs.

Yo, yo, yo! Eye've got yo Asian Pride bling bling here:

Any clown who dresses like that to attend an event of mine (Lexus, Acura or not) is going to be forced to strip at gunpoint and forcefully removed from the premises.

A bear and a rabbit are taking a dump in the woods.
The bear asks the rabbit, "Do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?"
The rabbit says, "No."
So the bear picks up the rabbit and wipes his ass with him.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Sweetest window decal ever

By the way, NEWS FLASH!
Bush and Cheney won in 2004.

It is 2005 now.

GET OVER IT, whiners.

Of doubles, spider bites and barely-clothed Abercrombie models

Anyone ever met his doppelganger? It is supposed to be really bad luck. (Nice of me to bring up this topic on Friday 13th, isn't it?) The closest I ever got to such an experience was during my NS stint. I passed this individual in the corridor and something flashed in my mind. And so I turned and tailed him (no, I wasn't waiting for him to drop the soap, if that's what you are thinking). Finding an excuse to talk to him, I glanced at the name tag on his chest again. He has the same last name (surname), dialect first name, and Christian first name as me. And in the same order too. We even have the same birthday, right down to the year. Thankfully, he looked nothing like me, or else I would have had to schedule a long talk with my father *smirk* Anyone else out there have similar experiences to share? I won't go into experiences of deja vu as they are too common.

Spider bites: I hate spider bites. I have 4 of them on my left leg; 2 on the thigh, and 2 just below the knee. ALL of them on my left leg? Maybe it is living in my jeans or something. It is annoying. In the first 2 days, they look like mosquito bites. After that, they balloon to the diameter of mandarin oranges. And they alternate between being unbearably itchy and tender to touch. When they swell up, you can see the two small puncture marks from the fangs. I knew it wasn't a bee, wasp or hornet as I get stung by them all the time, with little effect other than a small itchy bump. In Singapore, the Greater Yellow Banded Hornet love me; in California, Yellow Jackets love me; I guess I must be sweeter than honey. But I digress... When I catch this damn eight-legged freak, it's so gonna be smash city it will make Frank Miller's Sin City look like Tinky Winky & Friends on Public Broadcasting Channel. (Yeah, yeah, I'm wounded in the thigh. hah. hah. STFU, English & Classics majors.)

Dorky, but too funny! (And I don't even play video games.)

It's friday! Here's a page from the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog for you Abercrombie fans out there:

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Sheep May Safely Graze (no prizes for the name of the artist of this song...)

Woah! A visitor to, and a generous comment on, my young blog! Two in one! *Performs "I am not worthy" routine* ;-)

Well, if it makes anyone feel better, verbal diarrhea ranks on the same level as mental Onanism in my books--which I like to think is one of the express purposes of a blog.

I am afraid I must disagree that the reaction (or overreaction) of a certain unnamed official is an isolated case. The persecution of the blogger shares much in common with the persecution of Professor Catherine Lim for her comments years ago (for those who can remember). The Acidflask case is simply a continuation of a dangerous trend, albeit in a different medium, IMHO.

I understand your feeling of helplessness in this situation. However, I feel that it is a dangerous fallacy (tempting though, I must admit, for the weary soul) to justify inequity by appealing to precedent. God is purported to have said, "Kill all the witches," "let no witches live," "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," in Exodus 22:18. I don't think that that defense will fly in court for the murder of Wiccans. I like to believe that time would never sanction injustice, but that's just me, the ever optimistic fool.

Did some cursory parsing of William Gibson and Thomas Frank's articles, and I must admit one line that struck me was how Singaporeans traded political freedom for economic success. There is a lot of truth in that, and I am not sure if the alternative is more attractive. Not by a long shot. I would rather have a prosperous dystopia of automatons than a starving Third World nation selling the skin off its back to the IMF and renting its children to First World pedophiles.

That said, and with the explicit disclaimer that I am not instigating any kind of civil unrest, such a sorry preference does not--and should not--disqualify me from bitching on the internet, on my blog. The fact that such a thing as an "OB marker" exists speaks for the sheep mentality bred into the population. I am idealistic. I am a fervent believer in intellectual freedom and intellectual courage. I may not like everything I read or hear, but I will defend the right of writers and speakers to do so.

Take the case of Professor Ward Churchill , a tenured professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado: while I do feel that it was in poor taste for him to speak to an audience containing relatives of the 9/11 WTC disaster victims and label some of the dead as "little Eichmanns," he has the right to do so. And there is a grain of truth (however small, bitter and undigestible) in it: the policies implemented by certain organizations within those two buildings have, over decades, devastated many Third World nations with unimaginable hardship and ever spiraling debt. That is not to say that I am a terrorist sympathizer. Far from that. FWIW, I lost a classmate on 9/11. She was on the 4th plane over Pennsylvania. So, no, I am not justifying the acts of the terrorists, but if one allows the perpetuation of ethically unjustifiable policies and/or turns a blind eye to it, then it does make one wonder if one is truly a victim (in the purest sense of the word) when the oppressed retaliate. Watch "Life and Debt " sometime by Stephanie Black. It will expose a side of the WTO and IMF many people never seen before.

Where is this all leading? And why this tangent? Three points: one, freedom to speak/write should not be stifled to the extent that we have seen recently; two, the concept of "OB" markers is bullshit: what is freedom of expression when we have to be constantly reminded of the axe over our heads when we write? Three, the giving in, or appeasement of one's oppressor only encourages the act. Take the case of the "Half-tank rule": there were some pitiful letters published in the local paper for a week or so, and then it died down. A month later, it was signed into law. A little later, it became the 3/4 tank rule. Bahhhhhhhhhh! go the sheep.

I'm idealistic too. I believe that the freedom of expression should be self-regulating. If you truly crossed the line, then the courts will take care of that. Singapore needs a non-governmental body like the ACLU; an organization with the funds and resources to pit itself against institutional harassment, AND to assist individuals suffering the same fate. What is most troubling about the Acidflask case is that the individual was located geographically out of the jurisdiction of the Singapore government. Will the game be played differently if he published his sentiments in print in USA? I observe a chilling parallel between the actions against Acidflask and the fate of exiled novelists around the world; the former never returning to their homelands for fear of trumped up charges, incarceration and state-sanctioned murder--simply for writing stories against the ruling regime. How far apart are the two? Shall we wait until one and two are the same before we do anything?

Such heavy-handed persecution on the internet is not limited to blogs. A couple of months ago, the online scubadiving community in Singapore experience a local version of such action. A certain regulatory body was mocked, even flamed, on a messageboard forum. The result was the threat of lawsuits, and letters demanding the IP addresses of the flamers. Enterprising readers would have no problem tracking down the website, names and issue I am talking about.

Forcing the opinion of an individual (or a group of people) into the quiet turns him/her (them) into a subaltern (subalterns). The subaltern has no voice. It's voice is not heard. It's voice is dismissed. It's voice does not enter into dialogue with society. The subaltern's wishes, sentiments and feelings, wants and desires, are not heard by the government--for the subaltern is silent. The Dalit (the Untouchable caste) in India are an example of the subaltern. The subalterns in Singapore simply live in high-rise buildings, carry cellphones and have access to free bottles of anti-dandruff shampoo, that's all. Possessing opinions is nothing. Even the Dalit has opinions. But who listens to them? Dalits, that society does not listen to; Singaporeans, that are coerced into stifling their voices; are the two really that different?

Like I said, and like you said, my blog--our blogs--were not created for the purpose of political activism. My blog owes its genesis to the death of a long-distance romantic relationship. These rants are but a distraction. I have no reservations coming out and stating for the record that I'm a selfish bastard in this aspect, and that the world can go to Hell before I'll put my goals on hold for it, but I am idealistic: perhaps some of my rants might inspire another to become martyrs to the cause. If not, then it might at least open their eyes to what is going on around them. As for helping them? Change your own tire, buddy. Call AAA. Call your boyfriend/brother/father/uncle. Don't call me. I'll call you.

Thank you for the kind comments. It's always a pleasure to know that one has not been raging out into the dark for naught.

To the clown who keeps flaming me via email:
Dude, if you would just stick to one language, please?
Choose one: Chinese or English.
In English, your grammar is atrocious; in Chinese, your PinYin is all wrong; what's the matter? Dad dropped you on your head for sport as a child?

to be young and stupid again..., goodbyes & intellectual freedom

Perusing another blogger's post over a large cup of joe's (24 fl. oz. !!!) suddenly made me nostalgic. Today is a gorgeous day. A perfect day to take the targa off and drive southbound along the coast. I remember blasting down along Highway 1, at 120 mph, Moby over the speakers, someone special, cute and blonde, with her golden strands floating, flying, in the roaring wind, in my passenger seat, yelling, giggling, "split ends! split ends! Slow down!" as we head towards Carmel for lunch and a siesta, and later, dinner at a restaurant on the top of a sea cliff, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, watching the sun go down. Ah, memories...

(NB: If anyone sends me racist hatemail regarding the paragraph above, I am going to bitchslap your CCC ass back to China.)

Life is a series of good byes. From the moment we leave our mother's womb, we are saying goodbye. We say goodbye to physiological dependence on our mothers. Then we say good bye to our parents as we are dropped off at the nursery. Then we say good bye to the nursery as we move on to kindergarten. Before we know it, we are saying good bye to our parents as we leave for foreign shores to be further educated, to be interpellated, never to be the same individual ever again. We say good bye to dead, dying, or dysfunctional romantic relationships. Some of us say good bye to companies when we get headhunted (good) or fired (bad). So, do we look at these inevitable events as a process of loss? Or is it growth? You wouldn't be achieving much if you remained in the nursery, with your every need catered to, till the day you die, would you? What is "moving on"? And what does it mean when people speak of the security that comes from a state of permanence in this world? As much as many people envision an exciting life of constant change, I suspect that a few years of a nomadic lifestyle would send them running back into a stable environment, where they come home everyday to the same bed, the same pillow, the same stained coffee pot and mug in the morning, the same toaster with blackened crumbs at the bottom, the same sullen commuters on the train, the same loser colleagues, the same braindead boss, the same lecher in the office, etc.

Why do we write? For some of us, it is to leave behind something. Something that says, "I was here. I existed once. Here are my thoughts. Me. Mine. Something that will (hopefully) exist beyond my mortality." That is why I write. Gravestones ultimately weather away, scion die childless or before their time, but words once published, will persist into (near) eternity.

Or so we like to think, until we get "invited to tea" by certain draconian and fascist authorities. For what it is worth, the phrase, "invited to tea," being used as a euphemism for interrogation, harassment, and sometimes, even beatings and state-sanctioned murder, is common in the postcolonial nations in Africa. The corrupt postcolonial government in Kenya used "tea drinking sessions" to coerce and extract oaths of obedience to the government. Without mentioning any specific names, I think some of my readers know what I am getting at.

The best censorship is self-censorship, for it is invisible. The mechanism of fear is invisible. "Oh, gee, so-and-so got sued, invited to tea, for speaking his mind. I guess I will just stick to safe topics like describing my bikini wax routine instead of querying the heavy-handed paternalistic manner of administration by the government. It is so much safer. After all, everyone fucks. Not everyone dissents, or has the courage to." In a country where, from cradle to grave, the populace is told what they can think, say, watch, write, debate about, where and when to debate it, when to fuck bareback and have children, when not to and use protection, it must be easy to implement such a mechanism of control. When university professors are prohibited from articulating their political views by the government, you know you have an intellectual crisis in your hands. If freedom to think, posit, critique and examine do not exist within academia, what does it portend for the rest of society? If you think that having a few novelty shops that sells condoms and dildos equates a mature and open society, then you must be either the happiest frog in the well, or the dumbest one on the planet. Then again, if you never leave the relative safety of your well, you would never be cognizant of the second possibility. Ignorance is bliss, I'd suppose.

When you are a nation of sheep, anyone with a rod becomes your shepherd. (So how do you like your new shepherd?)

Keep your head down now, you really shouldn't stick your neck out. In fact, you shouldn't even be reading this blog. Go indulge in "safer" activities, like queuing up for free anti-dandruff shampoo...

Too funny and too true!

So I found myself browsing the Rants and Rave section of Craig's List just before bed and chanced upon this :

Go to hell, Microsoft spell check dictionary!

Reply to:
Date: 2005-05-12, 12:58AM PDT

You are hereby estopped from underlining my words with squiggly red lines. The foreseeability of your warrantless flagging is absolutely tortious, you tryptophan-induced twit!

Your vocabulary is worse than that of a FOB exchange student from Zimbabwe.

Your job is to check my spelling. That would suggest that you know how to spell more words that I do. But you don't. And 10 times out of 10, the red underlined word is proudly listed at

But you have no clue what estoppel is. Or pendency. Or declarant. Or decisis. The Supreme Court wants to keep the cops from hanging out in my curtilage, but you'd rather underline it.

And you insist on flagging acronyms, even though I told you to ignore all CAPS since you never know them anyway. CODIS knows my fingerprints, and you think you've caught me red handed.

Well, you haven't.

But dammit, Office (when paid for) is something like $400. Take a small part of this and license a fucking dictionary that has more words than a 4th grade spelling book!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

much ado about nothing...

The morning went well, but I was just too tired to hang around for the afternoon, so I returned home to catch up on sleep. Ah, blessed sleep! The drool, snores, grunts and body odors (speak for yourself, eh?).

What was all hoo-haa about this morning? "Special News Report: Unidentified plane enters Washington, D.C. restricted air space. Massive evacuation underway. *scenes of people running*" Then later, "All clear has been given. False alarm. It was just a small private craft. *scenes of people trudging back to work." And much later, "Don't miss our exclusive interviews with people on the ground in this morning's scare!"


REPORTER: So, Sir, tell us, what was it like this morning, caught up in this chaos and confusion? [Looks about nervously in a dramatic manner ala Geraldo]

SURVIVOR: It was frightening. I didn't know what was going to happen. We were just told it was an emergency. My heart was beating so fast. I mean, I'm fit. I go to 24-Hour Fitness once a week and get on the treadmill. But this is different. This is the real thing. You can't push a button and slow down the pace. You have to keep pushing yourself to increase the distance between you and the target. I didn't even have my heartrate monitor with me. I was flying blind. I could have overworked my heart, keel over and die. I wouldn't wish it on anyone.

REPORTER: It certainly sounds like a trying experience. Are you traumatized by it?

SURVIVOR: My sense of personal security has forever been shaken. I mean, there is no reason a proper, God-fearing, hardworking man, should be forced to leave the break room before he is done with his donuts and ordered to cover 5 blocks on foot in the shortest possible time. I am contacting my attorney to sue for emotional trauma. I foresee years of therapy to recover from this. I mean, I can still feel the donut stuck in my gullet now. I didn't even have time to chew... Would you like to take a look? [Opens mouth wide towards reporter]

REPORTER: Erm... No, thank you. That is not necessary. So... erm... I see, so you are suing the Federal government for this then?

SURVIVOR: I cannot comment on it right now. What I can tell you is that life has changed so much for me. Now when I look at a donut, I can't stop shaking. I had this great relationship with the folks at the Krispy Kreme round the corner. Now that's gone. The quality of my life has definitely diminished.

REPORTER: I'm sorry to hear that, Sir. I wish you best and am sorry for your loss. Thank you for your time. [Faces camera] And there you have it, folks. Exclusive one-on-one true coverage with a brave and lucky survivor of the false alarm at Washington, D. C. this morning. Over to you now, John...

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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Oh, my...

So there is a cool party this weekend at San Francisco. How quaint. To mingle with some of the cybermasters of satire and burlesque? Tempting... Parking in the city is a pain though. And the tow trucks will find the most minor of reasons to tow your vehicle. Hmm... It could turn out to be one expensive party indeed.

Cake was playing here 4 days ago, and I didn't find out until yesterday morning. #$#%$^!!!!!

Several friends hate Cake and Violent Femmes like I detest gangster rap. I believe their sentiments were, "Even karaoke is better because they at least try to sing. Cake just tries to be a post-modern beatnik minus the drugs, minus the creativity, minus the coolness."

I'm like, whatever, man...

Hmm, if Eve thinks I'm an old fogey, she is closer to the truth than she thinks. In addition to classical music and soundtracks, my CD collection also includes medieval and renaissance music, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th century canticles, and--get this--funeral marches and requiems. Bahaha! I do have a few mindless CDs though. E.g. Aqua.

Going on a trip down memory lane, Mr. E. might remember "Rent" by Pet Shop Boys. Man, I still want to play UItima IV again, with "Rent" playing in the background. Who could ever forget "King's Cross" while fighting Reapers in the dungeons? Maybe when I retire. I bet it will never be ported to the mac platform.

Eve asks "what does classic stuff do?" Well, it augments or might even serve as an impetus to emotion: during your graduation, I am sure they didn't play gangster rap; I hope you are not going to play gangster rap instead of the wedding march (then again, you will probably surprise me. Heh!). I am sure that gangster rap can be made to serve the same purpose as well, but in my very humble opinion, it is like a surgeon using a chain saw instead of a scapel at the operating table. That said, I could be wrong though. I am always ready to learn. And learning is always good. You never know what undiscovered talents lie hidden in you. For example, I am a master with the bong, babe. I can suck oil out of coal. (kidding...)

I hope no one is taking this personally. Like I previously mentioned, you are my friends, so the opinions expressed here in no way changes my feelings/love for you. I rant against gangster rap like I rant against liberals--as a general group. If it makes you feel any better, I have Run DMC in my collection, and might purchase 8 Mile in future. For what it is worth, I prefer to rant against gangster rap lovers than liberals, for the primarily reason that liberals tend to whine so much. I might hurt their tender feelings and then they will be camping out outside the local ACLU office to file a lawsuit for emotional distress against me.

So, lately I spent some time inside a Ford Focus. I was dismayed to find a function called "Compression" in the factory-in-dash-CD-changer/radio. As the name suggests, it compresses the music. I.e. make the bass slightly louder, the treble slightly louder, so that the music material is more "even" in its sound pressure (level). That is beyond blasphemous, IMHO. Has the phrase "dynamic range" totally disappeared? The beauty of an "unplugged" concert, or a sextet recital, a solo piano recital, or even a full orchestra is the dynamic range. One moment, the artist/music instruments are performing at barely a whisper that you have to strain to hear; so quiet that you can hear every piece of clothing rustle in the audience; the telltale wheeze of an asthmatic; the rhythmic pounding of your heart. The next, a thunderous crescendo (or a soul-piercing wail) as the percussion, bass and larger wind instruments launch in an all-out sonic assault on not only your ears, but your body as well. That is dynamic range. Remember, it doesn't even need to be classical music. Try "The Doors."

With regards to the continual topic of "Asian Pride," well, I believe I have said my piece about it being empty symbolism and misdirected jingoism. I look at those around here and observe the inconsistency: on one hand, they are chanting "Asian Pride," and then, a few moments later, they are putting each other down on the basis of race and nationality, and coming up with some kind of ad hoc social hierarchy. E.g. the ones from Taiwan and Hong Kong are "superior" to the ones from mainland China; the ones from Singapore are "superior" to the the ones from the Philippines and Vietnam; the Japanese at the top; the Koreans hate the Japanese; the Koreans get pissed off when the Chinese tell them that they were originally Chinese; the Hong Kongers label the Indonesians as examples of how wealth cannot purchase fashion/dress sense; the list goes on. For what it is worth, I have NEVER heard the derogatory term, "Flips," come from the mouth of a Caucasian. It almost exclusively come from the mouths of "fellow" Asians (usually Chinese) towards the Filipinos. Now, tell me, what Asian Pride? What solidarity? I think the entire Asian Pride thing arisen out of a bunch of 1st generation American-Born Asians (and some FOBs) who felt insecure in a new land and a new culture. I rank it on the same level as Calvin pretending he has Hobbes to talk to and play with, and have his own "gang."

Another thing to ponder, the Chinese in China do not even like Singaporeans anyways. In their eyes, Singaporeans are arrogant, snobbish, uncultured (in Chinese culture), etc. I think one thing the Chinese community has yet to recognize, let alone grapple with, is the diasporic state of their culture. Rather than covering over the tensions and differences under an empty banner of solidarity and unity, it will be more productive to acknowledge that we are not alike, will not become alike, and open channels of dialogue and understanding.

I mean, look at Singapore. Every July, the media is swamped with nationalistic and patriotic slogans. In August, they gather in the National Stadium, voluntarily (yeah, right) and coerced (NSmen, students, teachers), and sing about how they are "One Nation, One People, One Singapore," and how "We are Ji-Za-Pour!" And meanwhile, old Chinese Ah Mas will still hurriedly press the "Close Elevator Door" button when they spy an Indian lady walking towards the lift landing. Again, what solidarity?

As always, take these rants with a large grain of salt. I'm a whitewashed banana after all, always on the periphery of the Chinese community whilst growing up in Singapore. Anyone growing up in Singapore will be aware that there are 2 main camps in the Chinese community: the Chinese-educated, and the English-educated. In fact, the former group has even managed to pervert the actual meaning of the phrase, "mother tongue." "Mother tongue" is the language you grew up speaking. It is "the language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next." In my case (and for a substantial percentage number of the Chinese in Singapore--over 40% by now, I believe), it is English. But of course, the Chinese-educated camp insists that "mother tongue" be defined by race. If your skin is yellow, your mother tongue is Chinese. That is outright racism.

Also, consider for a moment how racist the Chinese are towards the issue of interracial marriage. What is this about "keeping our blood pure"? What are all these dialect invectives for children of interracial marriage? I see some of the Chinese coming over here, crying and bitching about racism from the whites, while at the same time, they practice the very same racism they accuse the dominant majority of. As you can see, the problem is not limited only to Singapore, but to the various Chinese diasporas around the globe.

And in case anyone is going to send me hate mail accusing me of being a turncoat, I have received my share of racist experiences at the hands of the Whites as well. But that does not mean I will seek easy comfort in what I perceive to be a fake (and equally racist) community of race. For what it's worth, I have received more shit at the hands of the Chinese-Culture-Chauvinists (CCC) in Singapore than from the Caucasians here. By the way, "turncoat" means "one who traitorously switches allegience." My allegience was never to the Chinese-educated community to begin with. Therefore, I'm not a turncoat. (Payback is a bitch, isn't it? You could have had an ally, fluent in the language of your (perceived) oppressor/competitor, on your side, instead, you end up with an individual (or a bunch of pissed-off individuals) with knowledge of your culture and tradition, but harboring a lifelong hatred against it. Good job, people! If the armies of the world were staffed by the likes of you, there would be no need for wars: they will simply self-destruct.) FWIW, I'd sooner turn Amish than stand with the CCC.

It has been a long day. Had insomnia last night, so I basically had no sleep. Still, it has been a good day. All right, that's it for tonight. I really need my sleep, sweet dreams or not. Ciao!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Finally... a good sleep

Woke up this afternoon at 1 pm with the sweetest dream I had ever imagined: cuddling and kissing your sweetheart--what can beat that? Well, if it is not a dream, I guess. Patience. Patience. (For some inexplicable reason, I could see (and hear) Steve Jobs in the background presenting Tiger. Weird. Weird. Weird. Rest assured though, I have absolutely neither the desire to kiss nor to cuddle Steve Jobs.)

In my humble opinion, it is necessary to be able to continually idealize your Significant Other in order to maintain that magic. That is not to say that you put on blinkers to ignore the faults or flaws in your chosen one, but that you see the potential, the peak of his/her possibilities when the he/she is simply meandering way down below it, like most of us are. For when one gives up the hope, the optimism, "a light goes out in the heart" (Richard Ford), and you are on your way to disillusionment, indifference, and heartbreak, baby...

I need to send a self-addressed, return envelope to Eve so that she can put some lint in there. When I get it back, I will have it sewn in a sachet, like those Japanese good luck charms, and hang it from the walls. That way, whenever I do anything that has to do with the object of my affection, I will tenderly pat it and so guarantee the success of my amorous ventures. You hear that, Eve? Don't throw away the lint from your dryer now!

Anyways, if you must know, I drove up to Fremont twice yesterday. Once at 9:30 AM, to save her from being ripped off by an auto dealership ($180 for diagnostics EVEN though the customer knows where the problem is? PLEASE!), and once at 10 PM (surprise delivery of soup, flu medication and a DVD). Hey, why do chicks look so cute in PJs? It's a conspiracy by Baby Gap and De Beers Diamonds, I'd tell you. How is any full-blooded, heterosexual male with a pulse able to resist it? Anyways, there was one heck of an accident in the southbound lane of 880 during my 2nd trip. I never seen 6 fire trucks at a scene before. It's surreal at night.

Anyways, while Eve's post made me chuckle, my blading buddy's email made me laugh out loud (warning: potentially offensive content ahead):

It is most easy to become a Protestant minister. Most Protestant clergy have been convicts. In fact it was in prison that they became ministers. Now you know why Protestants do not accept that both faith and deeds get you to heaven, but faith alone. If they believed as Catholics did, then Protestant minister recruitment would certainly take a plunge. They say a majority of convicts are repeat offenders.

Bahaha! What a hoot! Wait until my brother reads this. *smirk*

Came across this quote from William Chernecky during breakfast reading this morning:

a contemporary American cultural climate where people no longer yearn for personal salvation, let alone any return to some earlier epoch, but for the sense, the ephemeral illusion, of personal well-being, good health, and psychic security.

Good skin, nice clothes, perfectly-aligned whitened teeth, with your Oakleys, in a Hummer chugging down freeway, that's the closest to heaven, and insulation from death, Osama bin Laden, Kim Jung Il, Iran, mad cow disease, little old ladies in giant ancient Buicks, Asian drivers, IRS audits, and Chapter 11, I'd suppose. In the words of Don Delillo in White Noise, the shopping malls and the supermarket are the new temples of solace and salvation (for when spiritual hunger no longer exists, what is there left to sate but physiological, animal hunger?); the sliding doors slide open, and the famished, lost and aimless find purpose (buy more!), meaning (hmm... what's on sale today?), and direction (get the items on sale; present VIP customer card; present coupons before payment to get $1 off; debit or credit? Paper or plastic?) in their empty lives.

I should really start a new cult; with these ruminations of mine. I shall be like Sai Baba, who, in words of _Time Magazine_, is "revered by millions, denounced by thousands."

Make your checks ("cheques" for you folks across the pond) out to "Ben's Temple of Salvation" or "BTS," with a self-addressed pre-paid envelope; and, for every equivalent of a C-note greenback you donate, I shall dispense a little wisdom in the form of a fortune cookie paper strip that shall serve as the beacon of light in the pathetic darkness of your mired lives.


Here's a (recycled) joke for those of you stuck at home on Sunday with nothing to do:

A man was sitting on a beach. Tragically, through a recent car accident, he had lost both both his arms and legs. During the long afternoon, as he remained on the beach, three women separately walked past him. Each felt very sorry for the poor man.

The first woman said "Have you ever had a hug?"

The man said "No" so she gave him a hug and walked on.

The second woman said "Have you ever had a kiss?"

The man said "No," so she gave him a kiss and walked on.

The third woman came to him and said "Have you ever been fucked?"

The fellow said "No".

She said "You will be when the tide comes in."

Hug yo Mama

Happy Mothers' Day out there.
Remember to hug your mom.
Those of you who can whip up a meal without causing an episode of samonella, make your mom breakfast. Come on, it's only once a year! Surely that's not too much to ask?

In the course of research this (early) morning, I discover the sentiments expressed in Why do you write? had been already set in print by Elinor Ann Walker in 2000:

language offers consolation through its aesthetic reversal of the very subjects it addresses. The subjects may be tragic, but the language that names the tragic also mitigates its sorrow by virtue of giving the sorrow a name. (Elinor Ann Walker, Richard Ford, New York: Twayne, 2000. pp. 206)

Bah! Trumped again!

Just realized it's Sunday. How apt is it that I have this song in my head now?

Bless His Ever Loving Heart, by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Bless his ever loving heart
Only he knows who you are
He may seem so very far
Bless his ever loving heart

And when your feeling sad
And everywhere you look you can't believe the things you see
When it all comes down so bad
And beauty lies exhausted in the streets

Hold his ever loving hand
Even when you do not understand
Sorrow has it's natural end
Hold his ever loving hand

And when your feeling low
And everyone you meet you can't believe the things they say
When there's no place left to go
Where someone isn't moving you a little further down the way

Bless his ever loving heart
What you do is what you are
When it all comes down so hard
Bless his ever loving heart
Hold his ever loving hand
When it seems you ain't got a friend

Only he knows who you are and what you are
Bless his ever loving heart
Bless his ever loving heart

An email (how do they get my email? It isn't listed on this blog. wtf?) asked why I keep posting gospel song lyrics. Ok, first off, these are NOT gospel song lyrics. Two, Nick Cave will tear your testicles off and shove them up your flaring, sweaty, hairy nostrils if he found out you labeled his music as "gospel song[s]." Thirdly, I posted them for their beauty, and not to proselytize. Fourthly, Nick Cave does sing a lot of very UNgospel songs; I have refrained posting lyrics of such variants so far only because it will probably scare off most of my already miniscule readership (although, to be honest, I don't care. I write for myself, first and foremost). Last of all, have you ever heard of the finger (no, I'm not talking about Wendy's)?