at the internet jukebox

Let’s face it. A lot of people don’t know how to play the jukeboxes, especially if the jukeboxes are the Internet ones with over a hundred thousand tunes to download. You see these twenty something folks walk into the bar and play, ad infinitum, pretty much the same twelve contemporary popular songs that are supposed show they are cool and with it. Yet all their selections show is that they have no imaginations at all.

Sometimes, I sit at the bar and write out a play list of quirky tunes that do not respect genre or time, yet display a theme. I have an imagination; I know about pastiche. I’m lucky.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 3:32 pm  Comments (6)  

on blogging

Many times, we blog for several years before we find our blogging groove, whether for good or ill. Our grooves show themselves as our personae, voices, and the warts on our bodies as we stand naked for the world to inspect. (Of course, we also strive, at times, to display an angelic self.)

Our blogs lie somewhere between the holy books and the devil’s siren song. Yet these blogs are ours. We cherish them.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 2:45 pm  Comments (2)  

woman in the skimpy black dress

She strides ahead of you down the street in her short trim black dress. Her long dark hair sways in the sultry summer air. Her legs are exquisitely tanned and muscled. You wonder what it would be like to be between her thighs, for after all, you are a guy even if an old one. More than that, you wonder what her kiss and caress would be like if she loved you.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

summer sometimes

“You are the best person I know,” she said to me more than once. A bit of hyperbole born from love. Eros and all that. Still, that would be something which to aspire.

Summer weaves its sultry soul into mine. Summer and I care only about love these days–or so it seems–me and summer the consummate sometimes guys.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 1:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

sweet whiskey

Whiskey for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I wish. Even I can’t do that. But ain’t it pretty to think so?

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

things even out

You think you lost your love,
Well I saw her yesterday.
It’s you she’s thinking of
And she told me what to say.

She says she loves you
And you know that can’t be bad.
Yes, she loves you
And you know you should be glad.


Playing the Beatles Anthology. And why not?

Life drones on without her, almost completely halts. Yet I am unfettered, independent, and free to be as unconventional as I want and choose. Free to get into deep trouble one more time. That’s a paltry compensation, yet what would life be without some small compensation for a broken heart?

Meanwhile, I play the computer chess program 5 minute Blitz set at moron level. I crush it as if it had a heart and soul that needed to be cut out and stomped on–like mine.

Everything tends to even out for me.

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sunday afternoon

Reading Sartre’s No Exit. Sitting alone. Quite frankly, V is the only person I want to be with. Even though the depression I’ve entered because of her absence has been a time short, it already seems an eternity.

Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 2:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

at the bill maher show

I saw Bill Maher at the Chicago Theater last night. He did a standup routine without an opening act or introduction. I enjoyed it from start to finish. He opened with a little criticism of the Democratic Party, but launched into praise for Obama and Clinton. Then gave a long ribald critique of McCain and Republicans in general. He skewered religion and the religious. He ended with a routine on sex.

In short, he hit most of the points I like in comedy content. I liked the sex routine best.

I went to the show with Matt, my kind and generous politically conservative friend who gave me my ticket. Naturally, there was a long stretch of the show he did not enjoy, but overall he was pleased he’d bought the tickets and saw it. I suppose it is unfair that I laughed my ass off all the way through the show and he did not, but still I am glad he enjoyed part of it.

Published in: on July 26, 2008 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  

last meeting

An Akhmatova poem.

The Song of the Last Meeting

Then helplessly my breast grew cold,
But my steps were light.
I pulled the glove for my left hand
Onto my right.

There seemed to be many steps,
But I knew–there were only three!
The whisper of autumn in the maples
Was pleading: “Die with me!

I am betrayed by my doleful,
Fickle, evil fate.”
I answered: “Darling, darling!
I too. I will die with you…”

This is the song of the last meeting.
I glanced at the dark house.
Candles were burning only in the bedroom,
With an indifferent-yellow flame.

September 29, 1911
Tsarskoye Selo

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 1:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

bill maher

I’m going to see Bill Maher with a friend tonight at the Chicago Theater. I’m not a big Maher fan, but I have not paid much attention to him either. I am going with a friend who is very conservative if not deeply conservative. That ought to be the most fun part of it.

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 12:36 pm  Leave a Comment  


These days when my ideas and arguments, regardless how paltry and bogus, create a wildfire in my mind are the most precious of my life, eclipsed only by days and nights spent with a lover.

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 11:34 am  Leave a Comment  

art and totalitarianism

Let us say one is an artist in a totalitarian state where the content of all art production must serve the interests of the state. The state punishes deviation from the central interests of the state and artistic freedom judged irrelevant. The artist either works within the boundaries enforced by the state or makes herself a master of irony. Masters of irony do not come our way often. That leaves the greater majority of artists creating their art out of love for art, yet subordinated to the interests of the state. Can this second kind of artist, the conventional, fettered, and dependent artist, be considered an artist?

I say she can. The artist works within boundaries and constraints, whether state imposed or not. Complete freedom eludes even the greatest artists. Take the poetess for instance. How can she avoid writing about love?

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 11:27 am  Comments (3)  

subjective truth, objective truth, and anxiety

This morning, I reread fragments from Kierkegaard’s works. His notions of objective and subjective truth interest me most. I don’t care about what he has to say about god. I am an atheist. Faith and worship will never be enough to bring me to god, a being whose existence is absurd.

Yet there is this immense universe that awes, overwhelms, and mystifies me. My subjective being does the same. Let the universe stand in for god. Let me be just as I am. Then what Kierkegaard has to say about god carries over to the universe. What the universe is and how it came to be inspires reverence for it is immensely larger than me. Negotiating the universe successfully (supply your idea of that), requires reverence and trust: reverence at the immensity of it although we can still comprehend a part of it, and trust (not faith, for trust and faith are two different things) that things will turn out well and that life has meaning no matter how much suffering there is in the world.

Love with all its passions and vicissitudes forces the notion of subjective truth upon us even though our fondest desire may be to flee those passions and vicissitudes for an objective truth seen from nowhere. We immerse ourselves in the erotic relation to the beloved, yet we also study and decide who they are and what acts we can expect from them. We live with the personae of the beloved and the acts they commit, some acts we cherish above all else, others acts disgust us. This creates anxiety within us, for which of the beloveds will we share our time with today: the one we want or the one who humiliates us. We are constantly forced to decide between the values of our relationships to the personae of the beloved. We live in a state of anxiety because of this.

I am convinced that life partly consists of negotiating the fine tension between subjective and objective truth each day. It is a prison from which there is no escape.

Published in: on July 25, 2008 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

summer day

Bright summer day. I read poetry. I feel the world spin round. I grow dizzy, as if drunk on sunshine.

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 4:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Revolt, love, reverence, and trust

I now see I have been experimenting with publishing some highly personal details of my life in this blog since the beginning of the year. Yet it has not been a diary or journal, for I wrote with an audience in mind. Many details that would appear in a diary not meant for public consumption do not appear on the blog. I don’t know if I could write my raw emotions and do them justice. I have tried at times but failed.

I do not reread my blog entries. However, I will go back to when I met V and make sure all the entries that were about her get placed in the V category. Those entries interest me most.

A white heat burns inside me ignited by my emotional attachment to V. I would like to describe that heat in a larger context. Although I am a skeptic, I firmly believe life has a larger meaning than desire: something along the existential dimensions of love, reverence, and trust.

System building in philosophy is dead. System building survives in the sciences and hangs on in the large religions. Somewhere, outside those system builders, philosophy survives, but can it survive if the individual herself or her reflection upon the “feeling of what happens” have no place in philosophy?

We are all philosophical in our unique ways. Life forces philosophical reflection upon us, whether we like it or not. That is always a recurring theme in my life. I must try to make sense of events and my feelings about them. Whether events are small or short lived, or volcanic eruptions within the soul does not seem to matter when it comes to reflection and the strange desire to know.

The entries in this blog this year come more from passion than deliberation about what I ought to write. I almost see it as fate stirring my desires, then resigning me to accept much less than I hoped. I am glad I wrote it down. I am glad some have read the entries. It means a lot that someone somewhere actually read me this year.

I have revolted this year in my own paltry way. I wanted to make room for the genuine: especially love. The revolution is small and unnoticed. It is not complete. I cannot let things stand as the do now. I must have completion even if it means a failed project.

Yet it might be true: there is no finish line.

Published in: on July 24, 2008 at 10:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Tell me

We used to walk in the sun with our heads held up high
We used to stand on our own and we never asked why
We used to do everything we were told not to do
But now we all stand in line like the rest of them do

And now it’s gone gone gone
Tell me when did things go so wrong

Tell Me When Did Things Go So Wrong?, Smithereens

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 11:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Two seats at the baseball game

I’m off to the White Sox game this afternoon. Dan has the good seats, which mean the two seats where two aisles come together to form a two seat row with no seats directly in front. And they are close to field not to far off the side from home plate.

It’s going to be a honey of a day for a ballgame.

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  

World Series

The White Sox have a 1.5 game lead in their division. The Cubs have a 1 game lead in theirs. For some of us, an all Chicago World Series would be the ultimate sporting event. Some people think there will be rioting in the streets if it ever happens. I think the city will be excited and the Cubs/Sox hate relationship some fans harbor will reach a peak, but I don’t see hell, war, death, and destruction arising from it.

Of course, we did have the hooliganism and destruction when the Bulls won their first NBA title.

What the hell: I’m dreaming. A Cubs vs. White Sox World Series, whom is kidding whom?

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 9:42 am  Leave a Comment  


The lobster ravioli was pretty rich too. Just as rich as the shrimp enchiladas. But dammit, we need rich in our lives every now and then. A lot more than we think.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 11:03 pm  Comments (2)  

End of the line?

Once again, the novel is the thing in my life. I’m trying to write another one, but I have become bored with it somewhere past half the first draft. There is nothing like reading 200 pages of my own mush to make me feel like vomiting.

Ah, but reading good novels, that is another story. I’ve picked up Europe Central again Vollmann’s story of misery and suffering on a massive scale during the Hitler and Stalin regimes. The book mesmerizes and depresses at the same time. It feeds my current state of melancholy, which by the way, I am enjoying. Romantics are like that.

Novels are also about sex, something I have become obsessed with again even though I am a frumpy geezer. But I digress.

Why try to write a novel when there are so many good ones I have not read? I think from now on, if I write anything at all, I’ll write some short nonfiction, something distorting the facts as all good nonfiction must.

“She wept as she came to him. I cannot live without you, she said. He cupped his hands about her face and gently kissed her like the slight southern wind stirring the leaves on the trees in the park where they stood.”

Fantasy exists. Write it down as if it were the Truth, because, well …, it exists.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Exquisite feel

I think I’ll call it the V-chess set from here on out, the beautiful ebony chess set she gave me for my birthday. I hope she never forgets it is the most perfect gift I have ever received, coming at the time it did. I analyze my Internet chess games with it. The exquisite feel of the pieces have a charm that remind me of the times I cupped her face with my hand and kissed her as best I could, and she returned the best kisses I ever felt.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 12:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Brussels and Prague

She wants me to go to Brussels and Prague with her this fall. She’ll even pay my airfare with the airline mileage points she’s earned. After all these years …

We travel well together. She’s still my good friend. She’s an attractive woman. It seems she has not aged a day in the 13 years I’ve known her.

If I go, I will want to piece together the history of her time apart from me. Who was the man she left me for? Why did he really leave her? (Certainly, it cannot be because he wanted to find a Christian woman.) How did she feel when he died a year later? Was that the dawn of her renewed interest in me and new found appreciation of me, the one who understood her quirks and gave her space for them? And why Brussels and Prague? I haven’t asked her about those cities. I’d have to approach these questions obliquely and the truth would be told slant.

The enterprise intrigues me. How much am I willing to pay for a part of the Truth?

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Compulsions now

I have developed this tic of writing in the present tense. Or is it compulsion? And from where do compulsions arise in their myriad forms?

Maybe, I see my life as a movie screenplay these days. Would that explain it all though? Does one ever fully understand inner voices born of desire?

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 11:35 am  Leave a Comment  


Late at night, he follows her to a bridge in Paris. She stops halfway across. He halts too, hidden from her view. He watches her jump into the icy waters of the Seine. His first urge is to jump in after her; save her. Yet he doesn’t, for she has betrayed not only him, but country, family, and friends.

That becomes the story of his life. The one he could never tell until his memory of her began to fade.

Published in: on July 22, 2008 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  


Is there ever a chatharsisi except in theater? Probably not. Things drone on forever even if they are merely a buzzing in the ear .

Published in: on July 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm  Leave a Comment