Friday, March 27, 2009

Fortune Cookie

This is a poem I wrote yesterday for a special lady. It was performed to kind responses last evening at LooseLeaf Lounge's Open Mic. Thanks to the Get Born Poetry Series for hosting!

Fortune Cookie

In my wallet where I've heard
Other guys keep dollar bills
I've got dozens of tiny slips
Of Wisdom
I collect 'em
Every time I make a pilgrimage
To shrines with names like
Lucky Rooster
Five Happiness
that place where the Marquee tells me
And they mean it! But I digress
Check out the folks I can quote, let's see
Confucius, the Buddha, Sun Tzu, Lao Tzu
Pretty much all the Tzus
I think this one's from Dr. Seuss
Now that I really look at it. But Hey!
Brains don't do it for ya?
Check out my other credentials
I got 'em right here
I'll soon come into great wealth*
I'll travel to many countries*
I'm always loyal and hard-working*
I'm great with children and animals*
It's like a Chinese Laundry list of
Character references
On top of that I'm makin' a phrasebook!
For when we get to Beijing
I already know hello, how are ya, Happy Birthday!
And can I borrow a Phillips-head Screwdriver?
But look I know, I know
And if you can't wait around
Until my fortune cookie fortunes come true
I'll trade 'em all in just to be here with you.*

*Refrain (yell it out if you know it!)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Untitled Philippic

I wrote this in response to the follow-up commentary to a post on this guy's blog.


Because I am a modern thinker...that's why. I don't need ideas.

The United States is ideologically conservative. You'll disagree with me, sure, because that's what Righties do. Each of us is sure s/he's the most progressive little dream-chaser out there, but it just ain't so. Fundamental to our value system is that we deserve to be left alone. Our collective motivation for "change" is to change other people into getting off our backs.

Functionally, though, we're as Blue as the balls of a high school A.V. Club. We know that what is good for Goose is not always good for Gander or Maverick or Iceman, and we deflect any request for firm policy off of the Holy Shield +5 that is individualism. Experience and circumstances are different for each of us, we rationalize, so how can one set of rules apply to everyone?

This duality breeds an entire people of noisy evangelists to the Church of Rights who refuse to formalize anything without a dizzying algorithmic tangle of carefully manicured caveats and corollaries. The only thing the Jekyll and the Hyde in each of us can agree on is that everyone else needs to get onboard with us so that we can live in peace.

The modern American says: "When the realization strikes everyone that there is only one way and that way is different for each of us but if we're all taught to follow our 7 billion paths in the same direction to our infinite and personal destinations, everyone will be happy and they'll have proved me right all along. Meanwhile, whereas circumstances are different for each of us and no one has ever felt the same experiences I've been made to feel, how can I be saddled with all these expectations and limitations by a system that doesn't even know me?"

The rational respondent, if there were one, could only answer thus: "Your narrative voice is passive. You aren't even the protagonist in your own sniveling. How can I trust you to take care of yourself when you insist that you are being taken care of by yourself? Infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters churn out volumes of argument that the distinction is purely semantic, but it's not! It's paradigmatic! You refuse accountability for your own existence. Live and Let Live is a cruelty in a world full of you."

"Be the change you wish to see in the world," mused the wise and venerable refrigerator magnet, but it proved a lousy leader: it stayed a refrigerator magnet and a single-issue demagogue. All it changed was us--into a nation of self-righteous, magnet-quoting hypocrites.

Friday, March 20, 2009


Merriam Webster Sez:

Pollution: 1: the action of polluting especially by environmental contamination with man-made waste ; also : the condition of being polluted.

1 a: to make ceremonially or morally impure : defile b: debase 1 pollutes language — Linda C. Lederman>2 a: to make physically impure or unclean : befoul , dirty b: to contaminate (an environment) especially with man-made waste

I was reading Cecil Adams yesterday. This guy is one of my favorite minds in the reality industry. If you're too lazy to click on the link above, the question he fielded this week was (briefly) whether a scooter or a car contributed more pollution to the environment. He gave a much more elaborate and balanced answer than I've ever seen from one respondent before and I was pleased. Due to the space constraints of his column, though, there are some things he left out:

Scooters create far less traffic pollution, parking pollution, and Hot-Rod-Magazines-on-the-Newsracks Pollution, and there is almost no pollution from camo-hat-wearing rednecks drinking Stroh's while watching scooter racing.

On the flip side, can anyone truly measure the damage caused by the eye-pollutant designs and paint jobs of the most popular scooters? They zip through the neighbourhood like carnival-coloured dildos...uncannily resembling the pricks riding them. The superior sneer of the high-handed scooter owner, the glut of free-trade bazaars in local churches, the spoken-word performances--are these any less contaminant than the most stifling vehicle exhaust?

Imagine a world without motorized vehicles of any sort. Everyone has to ride bikes. That'll wipe the smug expressions off of the faces of the cycling elitists who'll have to come up with something else to condescend about. On the other hand, without an SUV to potentially squash the same asshole who comes whizzing past the stoplight, slams into Adam the pedestrian in the crosswalk, and screams for the pedestrian to pay attention, how is Adam supposed to have any hopeful daydreams of karmic relief?

Without greenhouse gases and the environmental encroachment necessary (or at least fun) to build vehicles, there'd be no sidewalk pollution from Greenpeace activists and their desperate enthusiasm. The occupational vacuum created, though, would no doubt cause an immeasurable increase in art students polluting the world with crappy Holga photography and even more open mic nights. Is that a better world by anybody's estimation?

We humans never really think about what we're asking for: a world without pollution is simply fallacious. The removal of one contaminating source simply opens the doors to the prevalence of another. The same way the city's eradication of huge numbers of rats in Edgewater gave rise to the supremacy of entire battalions of predatory and unnaturally large squirrels, making the earth healthier is just going to pave the way for more, longer-living, healthier people expressing themselves. And if you truly search your heart, I think you'll agree that nobody wants that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Just Kidding

The Theatre Blog is called Pheidio Eimi. Mostly I decided to amp up the pretention a little with some Ancient Greek.

So tune in soon for more entirely directionless, semi-literate swill from everybody's favorite puppy-to-smother.
Alright, 18 hours is up.

With one vote against (from the honourable representative from Lincoln Square), 7 billion abstentions, and two votes for (one from the Chair and another from the Chair's Stupendous Coiffure) the ayes have it. From now on this'll be a theatre blog. I'm gonna archive the previous posts somewhere to be read aloud in the event that my funeral begins to stagnate.

I'll compromise with you, though, Honourable Tony. I'll cross-post everything with a Halcyon flavour to the company site. Gravy?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm thinking about repurposing this page to be a theatre blog. I know, I know, there aren't enough of those, right? I want to be writing about theatre, and I'm afraid folk who want to read about theatre won't have any time for the other scribble. The rub: Trepanation Drill is the coolest title I can think of for anything. So. Taking a vote. Theatre blog or unchannelled meanderings?

You have 18 hours. Vote early, vote often.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Steam Tunnel Incidents

If they ever ask you where I went
Conjure up a steam tunnel incident
A fable of my failure to repent
An admonition to the impudent
That way I’ll always be the instrument

Of your impassioned self-aggrandisement

This is a little fragment that keeps kicking around my head. I think there are 16-20 lines before and 2-6 lines after this part, but I don't know what they are.