Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Casablanca 2005

"Here's lookin' at You Kid." Except I can't figure out if I'm Rick or Victor Laslow. We could look at it two ways:

1. Nameless fellow (whom I won't insult due to his wonderful taste in women) has a relationship going soley due to the fact that I was in the jailhouse. Therefore nameless fellow is Rick. When she takes off, he's left thinking she's one hell of a bitch. The question is how he reacts when he finds out what's up.

Of course, in the movie, Rick finally realizes that Bergman doesn't love him as much as she loves Laslow and he accepts this fact by telling her to get on that plane--you know the quote. He shows us that he cares for her more than he cares for himself. Rick is the classic hero in this way. Nameless fellow may not take it with so much class.

Stay tuned.

2. Could I be Rick? All the gin joints in all the world and I had to run into her? Well, when she plunged the now infamous "I live with someone" dagger into my chest, I asked her if she loved him. She said she did not. In Casablanca, Bergman loved Laslow. That much is clear. So would Rick have made her get on the plane in that case? Hell No. Rick would have helped Laslow regardless because he was in the resistance--but his girl would've stayed with he and Sam. If she would have told me she was happy with him, you wouldn't be reading any of this. I write that with total honesty.

I saw her for the second time since I've been out today and things are looking a lot better for our chances. It's now the bottom of the 2nd inning and I've got runners on. But this game is far from over, folks. A kiss is just a kiss--but not until it's a kiss, which can't happen until she makes good on her intentions.

I'm eating again at least.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Queen of Ambiguity

Will you hold his son up for him to kiss?
Will you squeeze his hand as the first scoop of dirt is shoveled
       Six feet onto his mother’s box?
Will you smell the ocean’s salt as his ashes melt against the waves
       In the red sun at dusk?
Will you speak to your desire?

Have you accepted his price?
Have you become just another tide that rises with the Moon’s metronome?
Have you outsourced the arbiter of your own ambition?
Have I become trusted enough to know?

Can you still write a sonnet?
Can you still feel the blades scraping your neck in solidarity
       With the ultraviolet basking of dusk?
Can you still fall backward without turning your head?
Can you still trust me to catch?

In morning light a centipede travels swiftly across my carpet with secret duty;
       I shall revel in its waltz.
At noon a bird is trapped in my rafters, perched in melodious desperation;
       I shall direct it softly back to its life with the bristles from my broom.
Upon midnight the cat awakens to rub her cheeks hard against my knuckles;
In her glorious purrs I forever abide.

I’ve gone and watched the new moon turn full wondering who loves you.
I am polarized with fear of revolution.
The heart concedes to the mind an acceptance of its unconditional movement.
You, your majesty, have been forbidden this luxury, for
       The people have aligned themselves against the castle door.

April 24, 2005
---Channing Webster

"Baby Can I Hold You Tonight" -- 1st Draft

[This started out this week as "Lunch at the Bar"]

I wanted to get drunk. I also wanted to know how to get fiberglass out of hair.

"You know how they make fiberglass right? Well, I'll tell you. It comes from a combination of glass filaments that are cemented together with a thick, globby resin. It's not coming out of anyone’s hair that's for sure."

My friend Larry took a drink of Vodka and continued. "What the fuck do you care anyway. It's not your fucking hair. Why not let Puddy worry about that."

"Ironic that he's a body man and Puddy was an auto mechanic," Susan remarked.

"Yes, and that's why I said it, Jerry."

Larry flipped his hand through the air in jagged sputters. I guess he was trying to be Kramer. His girlfriend frowned and rolled her eyes toward him. She never drinks like we do. I've never seen Susan drunk in the fifteen years I've known them.

"That's the thing I could never get about that show," she said. "How could Jerry and Elaine hang out all that time and never talk about getting back together?"

"Puddy took it really well too. He never seemed Jealous or anything," I added.

"All my ex-boyfriends hate each other. Isn't that right Larry? Don't you hate Nick?" She snapped her fingers in his face. "You do remember Nick don't you, honey?"

"How could I forget? Nick the fucking prick," he said.

Susan dated Nick in high school but she'd secretly loved Larry. One day when Nick saw Larry sitting on his bike outside her house he beat him senseless and urinated up and down the length of his body in fine rows. It was a sight. It took a couple of years, but Larry wound up with her in spite of the whipping he took. She teases him about it sometimes. I never do.

"And how does any of this relate to you, jailbird? Think Puddy there is going to take you and her for Jerry and Elaine? I bet he don't. I just bet he don't."

"You don't know anything more about the guy than I do," I said. "Plus, I don't care what he thinks. He can suck my dick."

“I think they did have sex a few times on that show, honey. I think they even got back together once. Things might be looking up for you Jerry,” Susan said looking over at me. She then winked from the cheek up.

“That was before Puddy even came into the picture, Susan. Elaine would have been scared shitless to cheat on Puddy and you know it.”

“Well you don’t have to get all nasty about it. I don’t sit around watching sitcoms all day like some people,” she shouted back.

“And I’ll tell you something else, Jerry. This girl’s nothing like Elaine. She’ll never leave that gear-head. Your only chance is if he leaves her. I swear that girl has the worst luck with men.”

“You’ll make one hell of a doctor,” I said.

“I mean look at you for Christ sake. Could you be any more pitiful sitting here asking me how to get fiberglass out of your ex girlfriend’s hair? My fucking god. I’m giving it to you straight here, buddy. You were lucky to get through the first wacko boyfriend. I thought he was going to pull some murder suicide shit on you guys. Seriously. Now you’re starting right back up again. What the fuck?"

Larry raised his hand and ordered another round while Sue sipped her beer. It had rings around the rim from the froth. The bar was dark and news about the Pope's death infiltrated even the sports stations. There was no getting away from it. I put two dollars in the juke box. I had five bullets and used one on a Tom Petty song.

"Feel like talking about it, honey?" Sue asked edging up in her seat looking at me flip through the CDs.

"You want to tell her or should I, lover boy?" Larry asked.

The waitress brought our drinks and I started from the beginning. On our first date I took her out to a movie. We saw Trainspotting. I wasn't sure that she'd ask me out again after that. Perhaps this was still a friendship and not a date. I didn't dare kiss her. Later that week, we played pool and drank Heineken. After that it was restaurants and movies. I remained polarized by thoughts of imminent rejection until the very end of our second week together. It wouldn’t have even happened then except her little hatchback required three minutes to warm up when the temperature dipped below thirty. I sat in the front seat to keep her company. It was dark and I didn’t want to leave her there alone. I remember asking in a very polite and low voice, like a dog timidly approaching an unknown dinner guest. She said she had always had a crush on me. The interior was still cold to the touch, her mouth was warm, and the smell of cold vinyl permeated circulated around us. She had a small, one-bedroom apartment on the Southeast side and that's where we started going soon after.

Word got around pretty fast about after that. My ex-girlfriend called me out of the blue one day to ask how I was doing. After three weeks or so, her ex-boyfriend started showing up at her door at three or four in the morning. Sometimes he'd rap loudly on the door, holler some obscenity laced tirade and go away. The whole thing never last a full minute, but in the mornings I'd often walk out to my car and find little Post-It Notes stuck to my windows:


Indeed I'd met her through him. He was never my friend, just a guy that hung around to smoke pot. I watched him treat her like shit and I hated him for it. She was seventeen when I first met her. But it was four years later that we first kissed. She told me that she sometimes slept in the car to get away from him. She told me one night she had to hit him with a baseball bat to get away from him. I could have whipped him easily, but I had not the courage then.

"You're taking all day. She don't give a fuck about any of that," Larry said. "Fact is Brian walked around all summer in a fucking rage. I know because I was with him and heard the shit he said about you. He was pissed, especially after you put that Post-It Note on his forehead. That sent him off the air for real! If you weren’t packing that Glock, he'd have tried to kill him, Susan. He talked about it all the time."

"I didn't own a gun then, fool, and now you tell me," I said, somewhat disgusted.

And you just can't creep up behind her
Why can't you understand that
she's my girl
She's my girl
She's my girl

She's gonna listen to
her heart
It's gonna tell her what to do
She might need a lot of lovin'
But she don't need you

The rest of the story I left to myself. I never liked Tom Petty until I started riding in her car. It was true that I had confronted Brian about his Post-It Notes. He apologized and maintained it was more about her breaking her promise to him not to date anyone he knew. I told him to stop sticking Post-It notes on my car at night. From now on pretend you don’t know me, I said.

Three days later, he was back pounding at the door in the middle of the night. This time it went for more than a minute. She put on her robe and went to the door. I put on my jeans and strapped up my shoes. He was out on the walk and I came from behind her at the door. She blocked me and said something about the neighbors. I would have been happy to kill him that night. She prevented it.

The next day she sat on the couch and I sat in a chair. The furniture was an ugly baby blue. The room was small enough that we were almost touching. I’m certain it still radiates her smell. She told me that it was too much trouble. She told me that we should just stop seeing each other because it was just wasn't worth it.

Wasn't worth it.

The next song I’d picked was by Tracy Chapman. Larry was drunk, Susan was watching the nameless Catholic millions, and I was reliving the cords and lyrics of feelings long since beyond my control.

Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like sorry like sorry

Forgive me
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like forgive me forgive me

She was worth all the wrath God could conjure and when I told her so she sat silent on the blue couch and knew I meant it. I was still a coward then, but not on that day.

Years later, in the FCI Ashland prison library, I came to clarity about our relationship and the utter magnitude of His omnipotence. She'd make a life without me. Before that moment my mind had written letters that my heart refused to open. It was over. I sat down at one of the tables and wrote her one last time. I wrote that I had maybe five years to go and that I knew that was far too many for both of us. I wrote that my only hope was that she might avoid loving someone as much as she loved me. I wrote that some day I'd get out and prove myself again. I’ll win you back. I wrote.

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight?
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you'd be mine
I wrote that when that day came, I'd fight like David for her. But just now I'm having lunch at the bar with Larry and Susan.

Tomorrow she will tell me again about the fiberglass that took a chunk of her hair. She’ll say that the next time she sands down a quarter panel she’ll be sure to wear one of his full body suits and that she will pin her hair back.

I love you
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like I love you I love you

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Baby can i hold you

Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like sorry like sorry

Forgive me
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like forgive me forgive me

But you can say baby
Baby can I hold you tonight ?
Maybe if I told you the right words
At the right time you'd be mine

I love you
Is all that you can't say
Years gone by and still
Words don't come easily
Like I love you I love you

But you can say baby...

--Tracy Chapman

Friday, April 22, 2005

Email destroys the mind faster than marijuana

By Andrew Orlowski in San Francisco
Published Friday 22nd April 2005 09:10 GMT

Modern technology depletes human cognitive abilities more rapidly than drugs, according to a psychiatric study conducted at King's College, London. And the curse of 'messaging' is to blame.

Email users suffered a 10 per cent drop in IQ scores, more than twice the fall recorded by marijuana users, in a clinical trial of over a thousand participants. Doziness, lethargy and an inability to focus are classic characteristics of a spliffhead, but email users exhibited these particular symptoms to a "startling" degree, according to Dr Glenn Wilson. Read the rest

I no longer smoke marijuana. I do, however, continue to write emails. Perhaps they will send me back to prison based on my e-writing ability. It would certainly make a lot of sense to send people to prison for writing emails, wouldn't it? Oh yea; they are.

Ironically, my friend was recently arrested for smoking a joint in a parking lot. It cost her more than $3,000. I am so tired of this bullshit.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

A Good Day for a Sucker

Things got better today. She called me twice. I am such a sucker. A person ought not be allowed to feel like this. We had dinner on Friday night and she told me about her man. It didn't matter. I'd been craving her voice for three days now. I'm a fucking junkie.

"I have a boyfriend--I live with someone."

I had been trying to get her to see me again on Sunday night but they obviously had a date night planned or some bullshit like that. Somebody's since told me he's a cokehead. Maybe that made me feel even worse than I already did.

"Oh really?" I managed. "Are you happy with him?"

She equivocated and guessed it was more a matter of convenience. I later went and dug up my Raymond Carver collection to try to make sense of it all. She said that she hadn't had the nerve to tell me and that her tooth hurt. She couldn't bring herself to do it, she said. The dinner made things more complicated than she had expected, yet we talked on the phone three times last week.

"You should feel pretty good about yourself right now."

I'll never forget that one. Rather the reverse. I hadn't touched her since 2001 when she came to visit me in Ashland, Kentucky. She arrived late and had, after an hour, fallen asleep next to me in the visiting room. The officer threatened to terminate the visit because the camera caught my hand cradling her breast. It felt soft and warm and larger than I remembered. I enjoyed listening to the sound she made while sleeping. We kissed hard at the end of the visit. Longer than anyone in the room.

I saw her once after that. It was through sepia stained glass when I was awaiting sentencing in Cincinnati. We talked for 5 minutes on a greasy phone that I had to shine with my shirt top.
This was in 2002. It wasn't the same. Till then she'd given me her implicit support in the hope that they might soon let me out. But I had to do two and a half more years and that was more than she could take. She told me Friday that she didn't make love to anyone for a year after that day. I guess that is what she meant when she said I should feel good about myself.

I haven't slept with anyone for four and a half years. She mentioned tonight that she got Fiberglass in her hair from working on a goddamn car is his fucking bodyshop. If she doesn't call me tomorrow I don't know what I'll do.

For Desiree

Remember when I first got out and was working at the midnight shift at that gas station? They've torn it down now. You stopped by unannounced. I was inside the bullet-proof cage and you stood in the window and we had a lovely conversation. I slid the door to the side so we could talk. After ten it was against the rules but I did it anyway.

Do you remember?

The glass was thick. You wore that hippy blouse that I never saw you wear when we were together. You were beautiful. We may have spoken about Jessica and Jerry and all the ways people tend to shit on one another. I told you I was done with her and I meant it. She did what she wanted with whom she wanted and my only crime was getting in the way. I don't remember exactly what we talked about. I was twenty six.

Nine years is a long time. You stepped aside when people rambled in for gas and cigarettes. I remember the silences between our words. I learned to know through your silences. Tonignt I dreamed about the force that tills the back of my throat and waters my cheeks. You were with Ryan then.

This was the night you told me you were going to leave your lover. I was too much of a coward to ask what that had to do with me. I was emersed in bullet proof glass. It was the moment I knew I loved you.

I'm going back to sleep and wait this out.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Republican Extremists: Their Own Worst Enemy

Anyone who has the stomach to interact with extremists knows that they have been shoving this Iraq election and Lebonan deal down our fucking throats.
Well, Get backs are a motha!

So I've penned a little missive--that may or may not be accurate--in which I explain to them that there are dark days ahead for the GOP. The radical Republican base consist of largely angry white men. Well bigots, if angry is what you want to be, then I'm happy to accomodate you!
Dear Republican Extremist:

Gongrats on a well thought out Machiavellian election strategy! The "Wolves ad" was brilliant way pull the wool over the eyes of the America people. But now that the wolves have gone back to their governmental stations, what to do now? Do you govern to your evangelical base or to the other 85% of voters who took the bait? This is going to be a wee bit of a toughie for you. Your Karlie got you four more years, but at what price? I see third party candidates coming, Republicans. I see the religious right splitting your base very, very soon.

It's either that or the extremist congressional leadership can keep taking positions far apart from where most American people stand on domestic issues. Oh no! It looks like a catch 22 for U. You lose either way it goes. You weren't careful what you wished for and now you got it. Things are suddenly beginning to spiral out of even the boy genius's control:

1. Social Security reform is looking like the political embarrassment of a generation. Privatization is dead as a doornail and that's the only thing that mattered to the extremist Republicans and the country knows it. Therefore, any bill that might actually get through the senate will be seen to the liberal media as a victory for Democrats. Doesn't that suck?

2. Your evangelical base is going all fire and brimstone on you, and it will only get worse. You thought Terry was just the ticket to get the public behind you on judges. It looks like that's not working out the way you planned. If the Senate leadership changes the filibuster rule now, your polling will dive five points lower. We all know you can't afford another five points. What are you planning to do about the fact that Democrats are now seen as the Party of the People? Like the vast majority of Americans, Democrats have no way of controlling an extremist congressional leadership. The only thing they can do is draw a line in the sand to protect the beliefs of the vast majority of the American people (including 85% of Bush voters). More and more Americans are coming to understand this. You have turned the minority party into the kind of underdog heroes that Newt Gingrich parlayed so well into the same GOP majority you now see slowly slipping away before your eyes like the sand in an hourglass. Doesn't that kind of suck even worse?

And all this is just batting practice for when Justice Rehnquist retires. Be afraid, true believers, be very afraid. Let Terry die and then nominate a moderate to the SC. The evangelicals will go bonkers! Save Terry and nominate John Ashcroft to the SC and the rest of American will be the ones out protesting in the streets. Won't it suck when that happens?

3. Then there's a myriad of other potholes the size of Johnnie Apple that your party has to deal with. What happens when Delay gets indicted? Or when they actually start breaking ground in the ANWR? Or when the Iraq War is settled and all the American people are left with is the Bill and $60 a barrel oil prices? Or when the Prescription Drug Bill takes effect and all of America starts to recognize that we gave away the store to big Pharma and now they've come to collect. I won't reiterate my periodic repetition because I don't want you to go out and commit suicide. I respect life.

But don't put up your tin-foil hat just yet because you still have Rove-sputin on your side. Figuring out how to spin total charlatanism is "hard work," and he's just the man for the job. With the help of a big bottle of Rush's painkillers and Power Line Blog, you can take heart in the fact that if anyone knows how to weave a web of lies into a simple message of fear mongering, it's boy genius. I don't know how you strategize another terrorist attack, but it may be the only thing that can save your Republican Party. Perhaps Karen Hughes could be persuaded to take a break from her job of trying to explain why the world shouldn't hate America, and begin explaining to the American people why they shouldn't hate the Republican Party.

Enjoy your majority while it lasts, because not even Karl Rove and Karan Hughes can save you now.

Have a Great Day!

Revising My Essay Taught Me a Couple of Things

I've been revising my final college essay. It's kind of a weird situation because I've been taking the class through the mail for the last two years. One college class has taken me two years to complete! But recently I found out that I need to finish the class and transfer the credits to my current school to have enough credits to graduate.

So you know me, I started working on this political manifesto for my final essay about why the people in the book the teacher assigned (two years ago) are all voting Republican or not voting at all. I took my time and did research and all that good stuff fake pundit bloggers think they can do. I revised it a couple times, got out the red pen, proof read it, and sent it off for the full anticipated rubber stamped "A."

A couple weeks ago, I opened my mail and there was the returned lesson in its yellow envelope. I opened it up and looked inside. I was shocked to read that my instructor had given it a B-. That ungrateful bastard, I thought. Here I am working my butt off to write the answer to everyone's unasked question and he thanks me by firing back a sub "good."

It was my first bad review in years. It took a couple weeks to get over the shock of it all.

Tonight, as I am taking a break from revising the rewrite, which includes exactly one paragraph (a sourced quote) from the old essay, I realized that the instructor should have flunked that piece of garbage. Because that's my original essay was: unauthentic garbage. It offered nothing to the reader but my unqualified opinion substantiated by sources that knew far more than I ever will about politics and why people do the things they do.

It wasn't even funny.

This time I stuck to writing about things I know directly. I didn't float high above the scene describing a world I really know nothing about, I just told the truth from my experience, the way a see it. I feel a lot better about this latest essay as a result. Maybe he flunks it, but at least it's real.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Scoop: It's Been One Frustrating Ride

Who knew that web page designers and coders actually earn their money?

It's been an adventure folks. I've read every tutorial and downloaded every HTML and CSS editor known to human kind. And I've fumbled my around making every mistake possible before getting one or two things to work.

It's been one gigantic pain. Pure glorious pain. Last weekend I spent two days trying to figure out why my navigation buttons refused to turn the color I wanted in Microsoft Explorer while behaving like a good little site in Mozilla's* Firefox. I literally spent all of 24 man hours searching for the answer:

UL. a: visited {color: #A61234;}

It took me all that time to figure out that Explorer demands that extra bit of CSS to get the link to maintain it's active color. Otherwise it goes back to the default link value. Firefox doesn't require the extra line. Believe me when I say that it was a painful moment when I realized the answer was that easy after trying every stupid patch and hack fix that even came close to my situation. As I typed into my style sheet, I almost hoped it wouldn't work!

After that I had to pretty much shut down that frustration and read about philosphy, start a business plan, and write a 22oo word essay. These are basically the only tasks standing in the way of a college degree from the University of Polariod Pychology and Air Conditioning. Now that I've got the rough draft of the essay done, I can get back to work on the site. Of course I also have some geology crap I've got to finish.

I'm still working folks, still hanging in there.

*What is it with Internet names? Mozilla, a civil union between Godzilla and Moe from Three Stooges Fame. What an idea for a billion dollar company! Whoop whoop whoop.
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