thinking about Bukowski

Seeing Born Into This got me thinking about Bukowski and reminded me of an anecdote.

When I was a graduate student in a large university using its immense library for research, I used to enjoy getting distracted with things like Charles Bukowski. I checked out and read all the Bukowski they had. I remember one story — or was it a novel? — in which our first person narrator wakes up in the middle of the dark night after a fierce drinking binge, and discovers a warm body in bed with him. He marvels at the fearlessness and generosity of anyone who would bed down with a beast like him, and writes: what better way to reward her than by fucking her in the ass?

You know how students sometimes underline certain passages in books to draw attention to them. I came to regard this practice as a form of communication through which one reader of a copy of a library book would signal not just to himself, but also to future readers, that the underlined parts were particularly meaningful and important.

As a little gift/joke for the next reader, I took out my pencil and my ruler and meticulously underlined a passage which I felt exemplified the Bukowskian combination of irony and absolute non-ironic seriousness (and in so doing, imitated it): what better way to reward her than by fucking her in the ass?

It’s remarkable how well known Bukowski is not. A lot of reasonably well-rounded, educated people have never heard of him. I imagine that’s because Bukowski has to do with an altogether different kind of education from the traditional one you get in schools. Let’s see whether this documentary helps bring Buk some of the recognition he deserves. If it doesn’t, that’s ok with me. I am happy to continue to share the secret with a couple hundred thousand of my closest fellow Bukowski fans.

Pull A String, A Puppet Moves
each man must realize
that it can all disappear very
the cat, the woman, the job,
the front tire,
the bed, the walls, the
room; all our necessities
including love,
rest on foundations of sand –
and any given cause,
no matter how unrelated:
the death of a boy in Hong Kong
or a blizzard in Omaha …
can serve as your undoing.
all your chinaware crashing to the
kitchen floor, your girl will enter
and you’ll be standing, drunk,
in the center of it and she’ll ask:
my god, what’s the matter?
and you’ll answer: I don’t know,
I don’t know …
Charles Bukowski

The trouble with IPod

Maybe it’s generational and I’m too much of an old fart to understand why so many people, especially the young, are so enthralled with their IPod gizmos. Sure it’s cute that you can carry around thousands of “songs” in your pocket. But when you are forever consuming music and rarely or never (re-)producing it yourself, you are missing out on an important aspect of the enjoyment and the brain-nourishing exercise that music provides: replaying it in your mind.
That’s right folks. Listen to your music at home, or in whatever setting; then put down the ipod and get out on the street and start walking, and replay the music in your mind. Feel free to hum, whistle or sing softly along with the music. How does it sound? You may find yourself noticing some nuance of melody, or lyric, or structure, that you had not noticed before — and might never have, were it not for this exercise.

gansta version of Christmas is coming

I know I am a little ahead of the curve here. Hell, even Buy Nothing Day is still a couple weeks out. Nonetheless, the Muses dropped this little gem on me the other day and I feel duty-bound to share it:

Christmas is coming
Yo goose be gettin phat.
Won’t you please put a pennny
In a nigga mothafuckin hat?
If y’all ain’t got no penny
A haypenny will do.
Y’all ain’t got no god damn haypenny
I’m a fuck yo ass up.

Six Feet Under, The Finale

If you are planning to see it and haven’t yet, DO NOT READ THIS.

Some of my friends say it was depressing, a tear-jerker. There were certainly moments that got me choked up, but I thought they gave just enough comic relief to keep it from being too heart-breaking. Consider the makeup in that final sequence. It seemed they were serious about aging David, but some of them literally looked like a joke. It’s like they put a silly wig on Brenda and said fuck it, that’ll do. And she expires as Billy is doing what? Running his mouth, as is his wont when he’s in that mode. Even the way Keith gets wacked seemed more cartoonish than tragic, as if to say, hey, somebody has to die of unnatural causes.

One of the many things I loved about the show was the dialogues with the dead. Normally I hate anything remotely supernatural, but from the start I understood these conversations with ghosts as metaphors for interior dialogues, a means whereby the living character works out his problems. That’s why Nate was far nastier as a dead guy than he ever was in life:  it wasn’t him but Brenda’s problems with him that were speaking. One of the things I learned years ago from my stepmother is that when a loved one dies, he’s dead, but the relationship you had with the person continues, since it always was an abstract, intangible thing.

When it was all over I felt completely satisfied. It was a superb ending for one of the greatest shows in TV history. I think it was psychologically healthy for a lot of us viewers , and immensely entertaining.

That night I stepped into the bathroom and saw myself in the mirror looking older than I have ever looked before. Then it occurred to me:  I am, in fact, older than I have ever been before. Tick tock tick tock my friends, we’re all gonna die. Is that so terrible? I think not.

Bravo Michael Jackson

I’m glad he got acquitted. As I’ve repeatedly told everyone who would listen: you don’t deserve to get convicted just because a fifteen-year-old liar says you gave him a handjob. And when you try a case, you don’t put in fingerprint evidence about a porn magazine from which the prints weren’t lifted until after the kid handled it during grand jury proceedings — unless you are woefully incompetent.

Good bye String

Stringer BellShit. I know I ain’t the only middle class white mothafucka gonna miss that nigga. String was special, man, that mofucka had character, the nigga was original, he had like fuckin, integrity an shit, nome sayin?

I’m a miss you String. An I wish you all the best of luck on all your future projex B.

Pinkwater proves Terry Gross is an idiot

The other day I heard Daniel Pinkwater, the writer of children’s books and self-proclaimed fat guy, interviewed by Terry Gross on her show Fresh Air. There’s always been something vaguely annoying about Terry but I’ve never been clever enough, or perhaps never tried hard enough, to identify and articulate exactly what.
Now Pinkwater comes along and without any apparent effort to humiliate or ridicule her, makes it plain that Terry is something of an idiot. When she asked him “were you close to your parents [when you were a child]?”, he said something like “Close? They were my parents,” i.e., how far away could they be, for fuck’s sake? This was but one of numerous examples. It loses a lot in the retelling but take my word for it.

Farenheit 9/11:: Go See It. Now!

Sure, parts of it are extremely painful and distressing. Sure, it’s slanted, one-sided, and manipulative of the audience’s emotions.
On the other hand, to my knowledge no one has disputed, much less refuted any of the facts asserted in the film. And words like “good,” “powerful,” “effective,” etc., don’t come close to doing it justice. Devastating is more like it. There were no basic facts revealed to me that I hadn’t already gotten from my progressive alternative lefty media sources. But Michael Moore develops those facts and drives them home with.. well, devastating… impact.
If you’re an advanced Bush hater you might think it impossible to walk out of the theatre despising George and his vicious, greedy warmongering cronies even more than when you walked in. But you will. And somehow George will seem more pathetic and ridiculous — as well as dangerous — than ever before. And that, in turn, combined with the tremendous success of this film, has the effect of instilling in me a measure of confidence than he is gonna be fired come November.
Will it change any minds or just preach to the converted? Apparently it can open and change some minds, from what I hear. If you get a Bushie into the theatre you’ve already accomplished something remarkable — who would want to see that liberal faggot-ass America-bashing commie bullshit? And if the Bushie watches the film, the Bushie’s wheels will simply have to start turning, if he has any.
It isn’t enough just to beat this guy in November. We have to thrash him and kick his evil ass out into the street (and into prison would be nice, but first thing’s first). Nothing less than a landslide will do. That’s why I just heeded’s latest plea to give money to the wealthy, senatorial, phony Mr. Kerry, but by hitting a URL that signals his campaign that the money came from a progressive, not from a corporate fat cat. Yes I’ve come around:  I’ve shit on Kerry before, but now I’m pretty much with the program.

Nunberg: The Swearing on Deadwood is anachronistic

According to Goeff Nunberg on Fresh Air yesterday, the swearing on Deadwood is anachronistic. Nobody said fucking and cocksucker all that much in the 1870s. These didn’t get popular until the early 20th century. For serious shock value, they would have used true profanity as opposed to obscenity, that is, blasphemous expressions like god damn it and hell and jesus christ. You can see why the writers decided to crank it up for modern audiences, whether you agree with the approach or not.
And here I thought the show’s every detail was historically impeccable. Oh the disappointment.