Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas will be cancelled this year

Mr. Claus has fallen off the sleigh, so to speak...

On the brighter side of things, there are still 7 more days of Hanukkah and Eid is right around the corner.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ah well...

I've nothing at all to say. It's a quiet night. Again, my lament... It's never truly quiet in Brooklyn, and it is never actually dark. It's our version of quiet and dark.

It's not really snowing at the moment. It's not really not snowing either. The moisture in the air has formed into ephemeral crystals and they're just kind of... hovering. It's a caress. It's a tingle on the bottom of a bare wrist. It's thousands of tiny, cold needles on the palm.

It's a few days before a Christmas that may or may not be white. It's less than two weeks before New Years Eve, marking the end of a year that we will all look back on with mixed feelings of triumph and maybe a bit of horror.

It has been my custom... my tradition... in the final weeks of every year to try to sum up, or come to terms with the past (nearly) 12 months and find words that might define what I've seen and experienced, both personally and otherwise. The words simply aren't there this year so it seems pointless to try. Let other people define 2008. Let other people tell the story. They may get parts of it right, or not. Odds are they won't get yours or mine. Not even close.

We'll handle that ourselves, or not. It's all good. It is what it is.

Funny, those last two expressions, both just utterances of acceptance to forces and wills far beyond my own, got me into trouble earlier this year. Fingers pointed. Accusations. Indictment.

I don't care.

The year is behind me. I will go back out and stand in the freezing air, and extend my arms outwards and upwards and the minute fireflies will alight on my palms and I will repeat...

I don't care. It's all good. It is what it is.

Happy holidays all. Best wishes for the New Year.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dear Mattie

You know the drill...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

First snowfall and the myopic world

One day I will learn to use the settings on my camera.

I tried to capture the first dusting of snow last night and got this. People always ask what I see when I don't have my glasses on. It sort of looks like this.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Cry Me A River


Hey, check it out! A list that doesn't totally suck!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Fraction of the Whole, by Steve Toltz

I finished A Fraction of the Whole a few days ago and I've been trying to find the proper words of recommendation, and have fallen short. I do, since I loved it, want everybody to read it but I'm hard-pressed to tell everybody why they should. It's easy enough to say that it's desperately hilarious. And that it's by far the funniest book I've read in years. That's really not enough.

I could describe it as an absurdist saga. I could repeat a lot of critical cliche and leave it at that. Everything that rattles from my brain to my fingertips to the keyboard though doesn't quite get it right. The reviews I've read don't quite get it right either. The repeated comparison is to Confederacy of Dunces, and I will say that if you enjoyed that you will love this. Steve Toltz tops John Kennedy Toole though. It might be closer to Lord of the Barnyard by Tristan Egolf (whom I found to my dismay only recently topped himself back in 2005) but even more ridiculous and definitely far more clever.

In any event, this book has devoured a good part of my attention for the last two weeks. I will most likely read it again at some point.

Others I've enjoyed recently:
Breaking Open The Head, by Daniel Pinchbeck--a chronicle of psychedelic exploration that I believe makes some interesting points about the failures and successes of western culture's quest for instant enlightenment. It's a good primer for those interested in an often maligned (sometimes rightfully) aspect of pop culture in the last 50 years, especially when measured against the history of shamanism.

Killing Yourself to Live, by Chuck Klosterman--say what you will about the guy, and there seem to be a lot of opinions about him, both positive and negative; I got a kick out of him.

There turned out to be a fairly solid philosophical thread tying all three of these books together. It really wasn't my intention to move in any one direction. Each book was recommended by a different person, all rather different from each other, and none of them connected in any way except that I spoke to them. All three books contain fairly sobering observations of the state of things... the state of humanity awash in media and information, and of course misinformation. All three in their own way make highly critical statements of western culture, as it were. None, however, left me in a heaving heap of misanthropy. Mostly I just chuckled an awful lot

So there it is... chuckling my way towards wakefulness and awareness, hopefully.

I've spent a great deal of time in the last couple years wondering what novels of the last 30 years, or of my lifetime, that will be added to the canon of definitive literature. What novels and authors will be added to the academic "musts" for students in coming generations. What will be considered important? And why and by whom? Who makes these decisions, when push comes to shove? I suppose that depends on where we end up a few years down the road.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Matthew 18:9

And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

I've been pondering this bit of scripture outside a religious context. It's probably a mistake to pull a thing outside its context and expect it to work. It might be best to go back and read the entire passage. Biblical quotes always seem to be excised from the whole though, and offered up as advice of one sort or another.

How could it apply to my own life?

How might it apply as a bit of wisdom to humanity as a whole?

I'm not quite sure yet that it does, but every time I hear it, or read it, there is a reverberation. There is a feel to it that as of yet, I've found no specific meaning for.