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Archive for March, 2012

A Poem

“Hello Buffalo”

A Poem, by Eric Rasmussen

 

Hello Buffalo,

“I am Jane Goodall,”

Josephine responds:

Sonia is writing down instructions

Grace is a word with five heavy letters

And have you been looking at smut?

Your heart like a nut graph

Coming too early in the newspaper story

A punchline anywhere else is not a punchline

Just a punch

No, I said your heart was like a nut. Hard, cold

And likely hexagonal

She opens the browser. She browses.

There are three wishes I had when I started this line

Now I’ll be lucky to remember one.

That’s what a poem is—a thought trying to catch itself.

Hello Buffalo,

I am Jane Goodall

We have one coffee cup and one press

Let there be Buffalos between us

I’d like just a word. A conjunction

And.

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How To Make Love To a Computer

A postmodern short story, or a series of discordant ramblings on love in the modern age, as spoken in a stochastic way to a machine.

By Eric R. Rasmussen

 

“My father’s not at home.”

“I had a nice time tonight, April.”

“I wish I knew all your big words.”

“It was nothing.”

“You kiss nice.”

“Should we go upstairs?”

“Red is really your color.”

“I’m five shades of red for you, handsome.”

“Want to watch a movie?”

“What do you want, Mary? Do you want me to lasso the moon?”

“It’s egg-shaped.”

“No, that hurts a little.”

“It’s okay, I can see myself home.”

 

My wife thinks the best thing about me is my chin. But I think the best thing about me is my jokes.

“I’m going to tell you a joke,” I said.

“No. Please don’t.”

We went to a therapist. He asked me to recall a nice story about my wife. I remembered being on the beach during the summer and how nice and sunny it was. We wore baggy shorts and ate clam chowder, and somebody was blowing huge bubbles with a giant ring. Then he asked my wife to tell the same story, and she said she didn’t like being at the beach at all. Too sandy.

“But I was happy,” I said.

“There are no happy experiences,” she said. “Only happy memories.”

I thought about this for a long time and finally said:

“You stole that line from somebody.”

 

CHERYL36DD: You sound like a snarky boy.

9INMales: Oh, you wouldn’t know half of how snarky I am.

CHERLY36DD: I could teach you a few things about snark.

9INCHMales: Is your profile as kickin’ as your name?

CHERYL36DD: You like my double DD’s?

9INCHMales: Oh boy, oh boy. Sheeeeeeoooodeodeodo!!

 

“I love you, David.”

“I can offer you digital business solutions.”

“I think about you so much that I get wet when we talk on the phone.”

“My innovative and outside-the-box problem-solving will help you move the needle on your business.”

“That night we spent together might not have meant anything to you, but it meant a whole lot to me.”

“When it comes to adding value to your business, I offer more than blue sky scenarios. I also help you quantify your risk with meaningful downside beta.”

“I want to have a baby. Your baby.”

“I will help you expand global market share, enhance return on capital, and help you realize synergies by working to help you integrate acquired business lines.”

“When you yelled at me in the restaurant … it hurt. But it felt like a kiss.”

“Clarity, cohesion, efficiency, and transparency–these are increasing necessities in a time of regulatory and market contingency.”

“When you sleep, I watch you. That’s when I love you the most.”

“At the end of the day, I build upon the momentum to help you leverage your capabilities and plumb your alpha.”

“When I wake up in the morning, the pain is the only way I know for sure that I’m alive.”

“And you will wake up to a better, brighter, more productive growth environment.”

 

“Are you happy?”

“I don’t know.”

“Why don’t you know?”

“I just don’t.”

“Well, when will you know?”

“I don’t know. I’ll tell you when I am.”

“Well, okay. But I’ve already been waiting a long time.”

“A person can’t be happy all the time. He couldn’t take it. Sometimes you’ve got to just sit there and not be happy.”

“How can a person not want to be happy all the time?”

“There’s happy time, ya know. And then there’s maintenance time. Like digestion.”

“How about right now?”

“Nah.”

“Well, I think you should be happy now.”

“Why?”

“Because you just came in my mouth, that’s why.”

“How about I buy you a dress?”

“Not good enough. Tell me you’re happy, goddamnit.”

“I can’t say it! I can’t, all right? It’ll be weird now. It won’t withstand a categorical examination. I might become unhappy just thinking about it.”

“I knew it.”

“Knew what?”

“You’re Kurt Godel.”

“So what if I am?”

 

Joey: Why don’t you talk to us some, CHERYL?

DaveP: Yeah, what up?

9INCHMales: Don’t listen to them. I love you.

CHERYL36DD: Silly boys. Showing your horns.

9INCHMales: SPROING!!!!!!!

CHERYL36DD: Well, you’re all burned! Because I’m going to tell MY BOYFRIEND.

Joey: Huh?

9INCHMales: Huh?

DaveP: Hey CHERYL, I don’t care ‘bout no boyfriend. I love you so much I’d cross five miles of barbed wire to hear you fart over a field phone.

Joey: Well, I’d wash my hair with your spit.

9INCHMales: Well, I’d get a gonorrhea test with a large metal stent.

CHERYL36DD: I think I like you too much.

Joey: Who?

DaveP: Yeah, who? Which one of us?

9INCHMales: Who, Cheryl? Who who who?

 

“Dan, I think I’m going to leave you.”

“I am an ancient reluctant conscript.”

“We’re always talking, and yet we never say anything.”

“April is the cruelest month.”

“A person can’t be a lover and a friend. A husband has to be my counterpart. My soul mate. My other.”

“The best lack all conviction and the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

“It’s like we’re speaking different languages.”

“I wake to sleep and take my waking slow.”

“That is not what I mean.”

“That is not what I meant at all.”

 

Jens16: Wot up, cuz. Luvs y’alls. I totally ❤ you. So guess you knows now the Jennines is pregs. LOL! So I’m 16 yo, so what. If ya thinks I’m stupid, FU! Cause I’m keepin’ it, and I’m gonna love my baby and it’s going to be the dopest baby around. Aiiight? Aiight! And my bf is black, too, so FU again, cuz. LOL. And the moms is gonna help out and the dads too, and if you don’t like it, then take it up with the welfare depts., aiiight!

 

Sometimes I love my daughter so much it hurts. You try to give children everything you didn’t have. You try to make sacrifices for them. That’s why I became a parent. To get over my selfishness. Because how long can a person go on morbidly attending to herself? Listening to her own problems, talking about esoteric subjects like bad corporate management or union problems or compliance. One forgets that she is not alone, that her quotidian problems are not the real stuff of life—only the pain we inflict on each other is. The way we push up against each other and find each other’s weak spots and find the hurt, or else try to inspire something greater than any mere one of us has on her own. I wanted it to be less about me. I didn’t want to think about makeup. Or how I looked. I didn’t want to care if I lost a pound or two or gained a pound. I didn’t want to bitch about my commute, or scream at the woman at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or care who was looking at me in a store and wondering if there was something on my face. When you have a child, all that goes away. You can get child snot in your hair or baby shit on your face or scuzz on your shirt and it doesn’t matter. Because you’re free from caring. Free from the prison that is one’s own brain. It’s all about the baby. For as long as you can keep it. The baby. Don’t leave me, my beautiful baby.

 

Jens16: Well if Dodo17 wantz to call me a stupid slut, then he can kiss my ass. LOL. Cause my baby’s gonna be the cutest goddamn baby ever, and I don’t have to work. I can get help from the church or from my mutha or from the gummint if I want, and if you all don’t like it (LOL) you can kiss my ass and if you don’t like that I keep smokin’ cigs you can kiss my ass too or if I keeps drinkin or chillin’ wit some 420. You can all jusss kiss my ass. Cause I ❤ this baby, aiiiight? And can I get an aiiiight? Aiiiiight?

 

“What’s that in your eye?”

“I’m not a big fan of theater.”

“You’ve got to admit Bush is an idiot.”

“It’s a flaw.”

“Something black.”

“In a field of blue.”

“And you’ve got to admit the world’s a violent place.”

“There is no time.”

“Do you think you’re the kind of guy who wants kids?”

“There is no time.”

“I always thought of living in Paris.”

“There is no time.”

 

“But what are you going to do when you’re independent and you’ve got to rise up and make your own way in the world and ride the corporate ladder? And then they say we’ve got to have a baby by 35, as if that were possible, otherwise we’ll be childless and bitter. It’s different for a woman and you can’t stop everything on a dime.”

“There is no time.”

 

Joey: Why don’t you talk to us some, CHERYL?

CHERYL36DD: I think I’m getting hot.

9INCHMales: Yyyyyyyyeshhhh!

CHERYL36DD: I think I’m going to touch myself *down there.*

Joey: Are you talking to me?

DaveP: Or me?

9INCHMales: Definitely talking to me.

CHERYL36DD: And I’m touching my coochie real slow like. It’s so warm.

Joey: Are you sure you’re a woman?

CHERYL36DD: I’m alone tonight and crave it so bad. Can’t even say when my man is getting’ home. My mind’s on fire and I just gotta squirt.

DaveP: Yo diggity Cheryl, you’s one crazy beaaatch!

CHERYL36DD: And all you all’s gonna respect me, right? And kiss my feet and tend to my needs. And touch me slow and treat me fine? I want it so bad.

Joey: I’ll rip your clothes off where you stand, girl!

9INCHMales: You ain’t never rode a cock like mine.

Joey: Who are you, Cheryl?

DaveP: Yeah, who?

9INCHMales: Who, Cheryl? Who are you?

 

“We’re all following our own scripts. And they bring us together and sometimes we follow them away from each other.”

“Sometimes I get paranoid that my wife is going to leave me … and that my child will follow her right out the door. And then what will happen to me?”

“We all don masks. We all play our parts. And then the masks have to come down and when we reveal who we really are …

“…can we say then that we should be married? How can two people ever stay married when they don’t ever really know what they mean to each other? Maybe I’m only paranoid because it’s really me … in my heart, I’m the one leaving her and I know it.

 

“Life is only to don masks, my love To hide our true selves. That’s what it’s come to, my love. That we have to be open to be honest to each other and we might not like what we see. It is time to part, my love. For our own souls, my love.”

“What is that, your third martini?”

 

“Different scripts. And we are all just on a sad stage playing our parts. Glad to be of use … perhaps a little obtuse.

“I had an abortion.”

“If you want me to, Mary, I’ll lasso the moon.”

“It was my choice.”

“I’m sure did what was best for you.”

“Are you sure it’ll be safe?”

“I don’t regret anything.”

“Why don’t you kiss the girl?”

“I could just take you in my arms right now.”

“I’ve got something to tell you.”

“Yes?”

“I want you to forgive me, but why should I want you to forgive me?”

“I see you’re upset about something.”

“And you can swallow it up, and the moonlight will shoot out your eyeballs and your fingertips.”

 

He was an artist. But that’s not how we communicated. He made these great tableaus. These large gestural strokes. But that’s not how we communicated. He made these chiaroscuro plays with light that won him the admiration of everybody in New York. But that’s not how we communicated. He was in Art Forum. But I had nothing to do with that. He was interviewed by Life magazine. But that was irrelevant to the things we said and did together. He’s going to be considered one of the giants of his age. But that has nothing to do with me.

“Honey, can you get me a glass of water?”

“Honey, I’d kill for you.”

That’s how we communicated.

 

“Pay attention.”

“That’s how we communicated.”

“I love you Cheryl33DD.”

“And if you don’t likes it LOL …”

“There is no time.”

“I can’t just turn my whole life around for a baby.”

“After you have a baby, it’s all about the baby.”

“And fuck my mutha and my fatha and fuck the baby daddy too if you don’t like it, LOL.”

“If you want me to Mary …”

“There is no time.”

“How can you not say you’re happy?”

“There is no time.”

“I’ll lasso the moon.”

“And a woman can’t just stop everything on a dime.”

“And the moonlight will shoot out your fingertips.”

“And there is no time.”

“What did you say?”

“There is no time.”

“There is no time.”

“There is no ….”

“Sheeiiiiiiiit………Cheryl, I knew you wasn’t a woman.”

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Here’s a titter: Bill Kristol, the one-man juggernaut pushing a lot of neo-conservative policy over the last 20 years, says conservatives ought to be pushing to break up the banks “some.” “If they are too big to fail, make them less big.” That’s not big government, he says “That’s classic anti-trust.”

It must be a difficult time for neoconservatives (also, in Kristol’s case, known as minicons, as second-generation neocon progeny). Their disastrous war in Iraq has left a lot of them on the sidelines after it swamped the Republican Party. Kristol, who helped invent a lot of the nastier forms of politicking to push an aggressive foreign policy agenda, has now found himself in a weird position of trying to offer counsel to a backlash of anti-government hysterics when neoconservatives, at their core, believe in government and think it can be the tool of idealism conservative style.

To watch him try to play elder statesman after a life of being a partisan hack (albeit a brilliant one) is kind of sad. He knows he has to speak politely to Tea Party crazies but also offer reasoned analysis of Barack Obama’s successes to sound like a venerable analyst. So it hurts to watch him manicure his sentences to fit in the ears of so many tiny heads. He extols small government in this video but also says that legislation to limit huge Wall Street excess is OK and reasonable. Guess what? You can’t have it both ways. Government gets big only because life is complicated, and we need decent government watchdogs on Wall Street, not the current array of lap dogs. That means resources. Which means taxes. To say that financial legislation is just words on paper curbing excess and nothing more is disingenuous to say the least.

I give him this. He is much more subtle at trying to say two contradictory things in one sentence, unlike Ron Paul, who tries to do the same thing and often leaves you reaching for aspirin.

Kristol should just stand up, be a man, and admit what some former conservative colleagues are: that Reaganite deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy have failed to make life better for the majority of people, which is what Kristol, the liberator of the Iraqis, has always said he stands for.

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You expect amazing stupidity from conspiracy theorists, who use bullying tactics to get you to believe that they are smarter than you and tell you that you’re programmed if you don’t let them program you. But rarely do they push news organizations into such amazing blunders.

At least a couple of different online news sites, the Mirror and the Daily Mail Online, are reporting today that Osama Bin Laden was not, after all, dumped in the Indian Ocean after his ignominious end at the hands of Navy SEALs last May. Instead, according to internal e-mails stolen from Austin, Texas security firm Stratfor by hackers, bin Laden’s body was taken to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda, Maryland for examination and cremation. Stratfor, which does security work for the United States government, is called by detractors the shadow CIA. The firm supposedly has extensive knowledge about U.S. internal security and handles accounts for some of the largest U.S. corporations doing business overseas and thus stands at the nexus of commerce and power, say its foes.

According to the e-mails, which appeared on Wikileaks.org, a Stratfor executive named Fred Burton posted in an e-mail subject line, “Body bound for Dover, DE on CIA Plane” when referring to bin Laden’s corpse, which would then be sent onward to Bethesda. That e-mail came at 5:51:12 on May 5, 2011. This elicits the response from George Friedman, the company’s president, that the sea burial was an unlikely account. It sounded to him like the disposition of Adolf Eichmann’s body:

“Eichmann was seen alive for many months on trial before being sentenced to death and executed. No one wanted a monument to him so they cremated him. But i dont know anyone who claimed he wasnt eicjhman [sic]. No comparison with suddenly burying him at sea without any chance to view him, which i doubt happened.” The FBI wouldn’t let that happen, he opines.

The Mail goes on to show pictures of the supposed aircraft carrier next to the supposed pathology institute, and top if off with a nice post-prandial sorbet: a sidebar explaining who Adolf Eichmann was.

Problem is, a later Stratfor cable the news organizations didn’t bother to read says, “Never mind.”

I first read this story after seeing a thread on The New York Times Web site about a bunch of hackers being arrested who were vaguely linked to the same large Anonymous movement that has targeted firms like Stratfor. One commenter said that the Bin Laden cremation story had appeared all around the world “except in America, due to the heavily censored government/corporate media.” There’s no telling why the Times would gain from burying this story, since the paper has regularly published Wikileaks material. Supposedly the Times, Dow Chemical, Stratfor and Barack Obama are now all in cahoots.

Smart readers probably already knew the story was a hoax when they read Friedman only “doubted” that the bin Laden burial at sea was true. That means the alternative Bethesda cremation story was simply conjecture by the Stratfor guys, a bunch of armchair analysts obviously outside the loop or still gathering information. But if that wasn’t enough to convince conspiracy theorists or gullible newspaper reporters hot for copy, then certainly this memo should have been:

“Down & dirty done, He already sleeps with the fish….” ** Fred’s Note: Although I don’t really give a rats ass, it seems to me
that by dropping the corpse in the ocean, the body will come back to haunt us….gotta be violating some sort of obscure heathen religious rule that will inflame islam? I was sleeping thru that class at Langley.”

The time code on this: 15:11:03, May 5, 2011. Well after the first two e-mails.

So, Stratfor concedes in the later memo, Osama bin Laden, was indeed thrown into the sea. How did they know? They probably heard it on the god damn news.

You can debate all day whether it was important for hackers to target Stratfor, which seems to have as many conspiracy theories about Julian Assange as he does about them. Reading the links is sometimes less like reading John Le Carre and more like listening to “Dueling Banjos.” When you read through Stratfor e-mails, you hear a mix of braggadocio and paranoia that is likely the proper cocktail of people who work in the spook business, but what you don’t hear are the voices of powerful people who control our daily lives. Sometimes they seem just as out of the loop as anybody (“Look here! Everything we need to know about our hacker enemies I found in this issue of Wired!”) The hackers who broke into the company regard it schizophrenically as an evil perpetrator of black ops standing at the nexus of power but then disdainfully as a company too drag ass to even protect its own computers from attack.

I wrote extensively about Assange last year, noting that even though information is always a good thing, his motivations are nutty. Of course, why should I care about that if the leaks are substantial? Well, in this case, much of the information was stolen by people who also stole credit card information from companies, assuming all companies are part of the complex. It so happens I write about finance, and perhaps part of my paycheck comes from advertising money doled out by a hated industry. Does that make me part of the complex? Does that make my credit card worth stealing?

I only worry about that because conspiracy theorists lump everybody into plots, damning innocent and guilty alike, and what’s more, especially in this case, THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO READ OR TELL TIME. And yet their conviction is such that they will not be moved, they bully dumb reporters into stories like these, and finally, their extremism promotes criminality. If what they find in their hacking promotes the greater good, like the Pentagon Papers, I’m ready to defend them. And Stratfor seems to be full of nutty right wing conspiracy theorists itself. But there’s the rub. Conspiracy theorists are usually notable only by their infantile feelings of helplessness and their need to be in the know. And often, on both sides of the debate, they can impress us only in being smug, self-satisfied and wrong. In this case, the firm’s detractors seem as unlikable as the firm they invaded.

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Stephanie and I get asked all the time when we’re going to buy a house. Of course, one should never say never. But I never want to buy a house. It’s probably subjective on my part, since I’ve had close family members struggle with the issue.

But then again, maybe it’s not so subjective. Here is a story I wrote on the problem in my Clark Kent day job as a financial writer.

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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s last name, as well all know, has also become sexual slang denoting a mix of lube and fecal matter (after columnist and activist Dan Savage started a contest several years back to give Santorum’s name a new meaning). The slang word has taken on a life of its own on the Internet, and even topped the actual Santorum in Google searches for a long time.

Santorum as sex substance has led to a field day of accidental double entendres. One of the most interesting is “Santorum Comes From Behind In Alabama Three-Way” and “Santorum Surges” and “Santorum Trails Romney.” What kind of headlines could we expect for the next four years if Santorum were actually to become president?

–*Santorum Flies Across the Country

–*Congress Fights Santorum

–*Santorum Bill Races Through Senate

–*Santorum Rushes to Hurricane Site

–*Santorum Rushes Into Iran

–*Santorum Bombs Iran

–*Santorum At Center of Oil Spill Controversy

–*Santorum Gushes Over Children

–*Santorum Pushes Natural Gas Fracking

–*Santorum On Madoff

–*Santorum on Obama

–*Santorum on George Bush

–*Santorum on Santorum

–*Santorum Demands More Oversight

–*Santorum Vowed To Faithfully Discharge Duties

–*Santorum Regulation Called Too Tight

–*Santorum Loosens Restrictions

–*Congress Looks Closely at Santorum Paper Trail

–*Santorum Demands Putin Out

–*Santorum Care Will Employ A Thousand New Nurses

–*Santorum Requires Stopgap Measure

–*Santorum Fails Cloture Motion

–*Vote Pushes Backstop For Santorum

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Controversial media mogul Andrew Breitbart, the creator of such conservative Web sites as Big Government, Breitbart.TV and Big Hollywood, has died at age 43. Despite his confrontation with government, left-leaning legislators and the mainstream media, his passing has evoked measured response. What were some of the headlines about his death?

–*Andrew Breitbart, A Ghandi for Liars, Dies at 43

–*Death Cuts Short a Life Of Dishonest Video Editing

–*Breitbart–Biased, Blogging Beacon to Boobs–Buys Farm

–*The Passing of Web Media Hero Ends A Life of Stopping Progress

–*Race Baiters Lose Their John Lennon

–*Andrew Breitbart, Who Was Glad When Ted Kennedy Died, Probably Wishes He Could Take It Back This Morning

–*Exposer of Weiner’s Weiner Exposure Expires

–*Breitbart Dead; Who Will Frame Black Public Servants Now? Ask Racists

–*Man Who Destroyed Affordable Housing Program With Cooked Video Footage Ascends to Heaven To Sit at the Right Hand of Ultra Conservative and Spiteful Jehovah

–*Pioneer News Aggregator Crosses A Less Happy Frontier

–*Breitbart’s Passing Reminds People that All Death Diminishes Us, Even a Slime Bag’s

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