Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



I’m sitting here trying to write, but nothing is coming.

This is disheartening.

Between you and me, I was looking at a new Tom Clancy book at the grocery store yeaterday (I’m not convinced that he actually writes them anymore, BTW) and I was all like, “Well I could write this crap.”

I say this while admitting that I used to read a lot of Tom Clancy when I was a young lad (The Hunt For Red October is actually a very good book).

But college has ruined me. Yes, that’s right! Now I sit here and try to think of a story and all I can think about is how bad I am at plot. Oh Plot! Such a contrivance!
But almost every book that anybody ever really cared about has a plot (This is an argueable point, but just fucking go with it, okay?)

So I am sitting here thinking things like:

It should be about a bank! Yes, yes, that’s good. They work for a bank. But there’s some time travel! Yes! That’s good! And also, there’s a scene where the protagonist attempts to bribe a baker! Hilarious! And maybe there is a strip club! Good! And . . . um . . . then something happens in Berlin! In the past! Right! This is great!

And then I look back at my notes and I think to myself, I would love to read that story, but I personally – at this moment – have no idea what it is about.

The creative process, she is so fickle.


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Sarah Palin Says the Wrong Thing. No, Really.

Other blog titles that were considered for this post:


Former Vice Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin Inadvertently Accuses Jews of Killing Babies.

Palin Attempts Use of 1,600 SAT Term.

Murderous, Baby-Stealing Jews Respond to Palin, “Stop Raising Our Profile.”

Sarah Palin: “I Do All My Own Verbal Stunts.”

Tucson Shooting Gives Sarah Palin Rare Chance to Get Publicity.

Palin Tries to Sound Smart. Fails. Offends Ancient Religion.


Oh, BTW, here’s the article:
Palin's words reach back to sordid history.


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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Fuhrerbunker.




So a number of years ago the History Channel or something got a hold of a bunch of Hitler’s home movies. They were just regular boring home movies, Hitler and others hanging out at The Eagles Nest or whatever. Having a BBQ, that sort of thing. The movies didn’t have any sound, obviously. Well, The History Channel hired lip readers to figure out what people were saying. I remember watching the show about this and being fascinated. My girlfriend at the time did not like this program at all and we got into something of an argument about whether or not it was inadvertently humanizing Hitler. I was all for the humanization of Hitler because I feel that pretending he was some kind of demon hell-spawn allowed people to forget that the horrors of World War II were entirely man-made. I do still feel that way. I think that by acting as though this guy was made of some special kind of evil lets every run-of-the-mill prick and/or hateful bastard off the hook.

I was just thinking about that because the Military Channel – which I watch sometimes (when it is about history and not about machine guns or samurai swords) – seems to be having an all-Hitler-all-the-time day today (because they just can’t help themselves).

This whole Hitler-centric evening that I’m having prompted me to write a very-not-very-good one act play about Hitler. The intent here is to humanize Hitler enough so that we can mock the living hell out of him. Think of it as Will & Grace meets some-boring-thing-you-had-to-watch-in-a-high-school-history-class.

See Below.

Enjoy!





(BTW, I’m not using the proper and technical stage direction, because I’m too lazy to remember how to do it right right now. But at least I know I’m doing it wrong. It is like I’m EECUMMINGS or something.)


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Monday, January 10, 2011

Fuhrerbunker.

Fuhrerbunker
(a one act play)
by james bezerra

Cast of Characters
KLIEG – A Nazi Guard
JOSEPH GOEBBELS – Nazi Minister of Propaganda
KLINK – A not very good Nazi guard
EVA BRAUN – Hitler’s girlfriend
ADOLF HITLER – Adolf Hitler
HEINRICH the COOK - Does not appear in this play


An underground Nazi bunker. Berlin. April 30, 1945.

The Bunker is vacant. The Bunker is lit by a dim yellow bulb hanging from a cord CENTER, casting a sallow light over the whole stage. Below the bulb there is a heavy wooden table covered with maps, papers, communiqu├ęs, dirty dishes, etc. Against the UpStage wall there is a desk with radio and telegraph equipment, it glows very pretty but will not be used in this play. StageRight there is a sitting area, a davenport, a coffee table on a very nice rug, an arm chair, etc. StageLeft there is a doorway leading to the private quarters of Adolf Hitler. UpStage there is another doorway and a hallway passing by. The hallway is dimly lit by the same sallow light.

The low and muffled, but still heavy, droning sound of airplanes overhead. Distant.

BEAT.

The sound of explosions. CLOSE. The Bunker shakes and quakes. Dust falls from the walls and ceiling. The light bulb at CENTER swings back and forth.

From OffStage, screaming. SCREAMING! Terrified, hysterical - but somehow funny - shrieking. As if a cat or small child is looking for attention.

The shrieking continues . . .

The Bunker has stopped shaking by now, but the shrieking/screaming/crying continues. It is now punctuated by sobbing. And sniffling. It has been going on long enough now that it has almost become funny on its own. It has now been localized to the UpStage Hall.


KLIEG (Offstage, in the U.S. Hallway): Oh for the love of all things holy! Get up! Get up off the floor Doctor Goebbels! Get up!

KLIEG a young guard in an immaculate Nazi uniform, with a rifle over his shoulder, drags the diminutive JOSEPH GOEBBELS through the U.S. doorway and pushes him toward the table at CENTER.

KLIEG: Please Doctor Goebbels! We’re under the ground! Under eight meters of concrete. We are perfectly safe. Relatively. I don’t want to mop up your mess again. It is undignified. For both of us.

GOEBBELS: Yes. Right. Sorry.

KLIEG: I mean, seriously . . .

GOEBBELS: Yes. Yes. I know.

ENTER through U.S. doorway KLINK, he is also s Nazi guard, but his uniform is untucked and in disarray, he has a broom on a rifle strap over his shoulder and he meanders into the room mostly because he is curious and has nothing better to do.

KLIEG: (Bucking up Goebbels.) You are the Reich Minister of Propaganda!

GOEBBELS: Yes . . .

KLIEG: You are one of the architects of the Final Solution!

GOEBBELS: Yes . . .

KLIEG: You engineered the Kristallnacht attack on the Jewish Menace!

GOEBBELS: Yes . . .

KLINK: You have a Ph.D in 18th century romantic drama!

Goebbels and Klieg look at him.

KLINK (Shrugs): True story.

Klieg grabs Goebbels by the arms and looks at him, pure genuineness.

KLIEG: We need you to be strong right now … HE needs to to be strong.

GOEBBELS: Yes, of course.

KLINK: I think you pissed yourself.

KLIEG (Shouting): NOT. HELPFULL.

KLINK: Sorry.

ENTER StageLeft from the private quarters of Hitler, EVA BRAUN. She is plain but pretty, with curly blonde hair, wearing a dress. She is Hitler’s girlfriend. She is completely off limits and as such, all three men watch her intently as she crosses DownStage to the Davenport, humming quietly and post-coital to herself.

KLINK: Isn’t it weird that the more time we spend down here getting bombed all to hell, the more and more I want to have sex with The Fuhrer’s girlfriend?

KLIEG: Sssh!

GOEBBELS: No, I kinda feel that way too.

KLINK: Seriously, I mean, even Hitler has a girlfriend.

KLIEG: Ssssh!

KLINK: Don’t be such a eunuch.

KLIEG: I’m not a eunuch. You’re a eunuch.

KLINK: Your mom’s a eunuch.

KLEIG: That doesn’t even make any sense.

KLINK: Think about it for a minute . . .

Klieg thinks it over while Klink and Goebbels watch Eva slip on a pair of nylons.

KLINK: Where did she get nylons?

GOEBBELS: We have a room full of them. We were collecting them for years. From the Jews.

KLINK: You took their nylons?

GOEBBELS: Sure.

KLINK: That’s just mean.

GOEBBELS: It was in the service of the Fatherland.

KLINK: I’m Austrian.

GOEBBELS (Aghast): What?! What are you doing here then?

KLINK: It’s a long story, and anyway, you guys were hiring.

KLIEG: Okay, I thought about it. It still doesn’t make any sense.

KLINK: Well then just think about it some more.

KLIEG: Okay.

GOEBBELS (To Klink): Will it ever make sense?

KLIEG: No.

ENTER StageLeft from his private quarters, Adolf Hitler, in full regalia.

KLIEG and GOEBBELS: Heil Hitler!

HITLER: Thanks, I really appreciate that.

KLIEG elbows KLINK.

KLINK (Nods to Hitler): Hey.

HILTER (To Goebbels): Who is he?

KLIEG: He’s Austrian.

HITLER: Oh. (To Klink) Why do you have a broom?

KLIEG: We had to take away his rifle.

HILTER: Why?

KLIEG: He’s bad with it.

KLINK: That’s crap.

KLIEG: He shot a couple of people.

KLINK: It just went off!

GOEBBELS: Were they Jews?

KLINK: You’re craven, do you know that? You need help.

KLIEG: He shot Heinrich.

GOEBBELS: The cook?

KLIEG: Yes.

GOEBBELS: He was our best cook!

KLINK: It was a a bad rifle! It went off by itself.

GOEBBELS: That’s because it was made by Jews. Starving Jews.

KLINK: Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with you?

HITLER: Heinrich made the best flautas.

KLINK: What’s a flauta?

HITLER: Oh they’re so good! It’s a corn tortilla filled with chicken – or beef – and then fried. It’s to die for.

KLINK: Isn’t that a taquito?

HITLER: Do I look like a Mexican to you?

GOEBBELS: No Fuhrer! You have showered!

KLINK: What the hell is wrong with you, you racist prick?

ALL shout at Klink: WE’RE NAZIS!

KLINK: Right! Fair enough.

GOEBBELS (To Hitler): Fuhrer, the plan to sneak you out of Germany through Finland and then onto a U-boat to Argentina has fallen through.

HITLER: Why? What happened?

GOEBBELS: Juan Peron refused to provide you with safe haven. He is worried that it would look bad, aiding and abetting Hitler. You know.

HITLER: Juan Peron? The coffee guy?

KLINK: That’s Juan Valdez.

HITLER: Who’s Juan Peron?

GOEBBELS: He’s the president of Argentina. He has already let Eichmann and Borman in.

KLINK: A fact that will certainly be completely glossed over if anyone ever chooses to write a musical about his wife.

KLIEG: What does that even mean?

KLINK: Think about it.

HITLER: Well, I guess we’re going to have to go with Plan B then.

GOEBBELS: What’s Plan B Fuhrer?

HITLER: Pissing ourselves in the hallway! (Laughs.) No, I kid because I care. Let’s go to the radio room and make some calls.

GOEBBELS: That’s very funny Fuhrer.

EXIT Hitler U.S. followed by Goebbels and Klieg. Klink pantomimes following and then swings back on his heel and crosses StageRight and sits next to Eva on the davenport.

KLINK: So Eva . . .

EVA: Why do you have a broom?

KLINK: The better to sweep you off your feet with.

EVA: That’s really lame.

KLINK: Whatever . . . you’re dating Hitler.

EVA: He’s so dreamy.

KLINK: Really? What do you see in him?

EVA: Well, he has a moustache. Sort of.

KLINK: Wow, that’s really dumb.

EVA: I’m dating Hitler, did you think I was going to be in Mensa?

KLINK: Meee-ow! Kitten has claws.

EVA: Look, Hitler’s Girlfriend was a pretty good job three years ago . . .

KLINK: Yeah, well now your severance package is gonna be a fist full of cyanide.

EVA: What do you want from me? Do you have a plan to get out of here, broom boy?

KLINK: I do, but I have to know that I can trust you . . .

EVA: How do I prove it?

KLINK: I will whisper the plan to you . . . while we’re making sweet, sweet love.

EVA: Ick. Did you see how I actually said that? I actually said ‘ick’?

KLINK: Yeah, that nuance was not lost on me.

EVA: Do you really have a plan?

KLINK: Yeah, Juan Valdez is going to give us asylum. But only if we have carnal knowledge of one another first.

EVA: That’s a very strange requirement for asylum.

KLINK: Well, it’s Germany in 1945, it's a seller's market.

EVA: Okay, fine.

Eva starts to pull down her nylons and unbutton her dress while Klink tosses away his broom and starts to strip out of his uniform.

KLINK: I should tell you now – it’s a secret - I’m a bit Jewish.

EVA: How Jewish?

KLINK: Here, I’ll show you . . .

There are voices from the U.S. hallway, the group coming back. Eva and Klink try to pull their clothes back on. The voices get louder. Klink dives under the table at CENTER.


ENTER Hitler, followed by Goebbels and Klieg. Hitler sees Eva, half undressed.


HITLER: My love! My darling! What happened?!

EVA: That terrible – possibly Jewish, sadly I’ll never know – guard tried to take advantage of me!

HITLER: What! The temerity!

KLIEG: I’ll gut him! Where did he go!

EVA: He’s under that table right there.

KLINK: FUCK!

KLIEG (With rifle): Come out of there, you!

KLINK: Fine. (Klink crawls out from under the table on the SL side.) But don’t forget, I have a broom!

EVA: You left the broom over here jackass.

KLINK: FUCK!

HITLER: Yeah, I don’t really like swearing so much . . .

KLINK: You’re god damn HITLER for fuck’s sake!

GOEBBELS: Watch your fucking language around the Fuhrer!

KLINK: Fuck you! You rodent! You helped engineer the deaths of six million people in five years!

GOEBBELS: Yeah! I’m efficient!

KLIEG: (Laughing.) Hey, I just got that thing about eunuchs. That’s funny.

KLINK: What? That wasn’t even a joke.

HITLER: What? What are we talking about? Don’t leave A.H. out of the loop.

GOEBBELS: Fuhrer, that’s really beside the point right now.

HITLER: Right! (To Klieg.) Go ahead and kill him.

KLIEG: Right!

Klieg aims the rifle at Klink and pulls the trigger. There is a hollow snap and nothing happens.

KLIEG: Well shit.

HITLER: Language!

KLIEG: Sorry Fuhrer.

KLINK: See! That’s what happened to me and Heinrich! Shitty rifles! You have to clear the barrel.

KLIEG: Oh, right. Thanks.

Klieg turns the rifle around and looks down the barrel. The rifle goes off; the bullet blows through Klieg’s face and an inordinate amount of flesh and blood and brain spray all over the others and the U.S. wall. Klieg’s body collapses to the floor - onto knees, pausing, waivering, the flopping forward - geysers of blood spurting out of it like a sprinkler. Blood will continue to spray from it – at varying intensity – throughout the remainder of the play.

HITLER (Covered in blood): Well that’s just a ridiculous amount of blood. It’s . . . it’s almost as if this amount of blood was calibrated just to be funny. I mean, it’s totally unrealistic.

GOEBBELS: And we should know.

Suddenly the sound of explosions. CLOSE. The Bunker shakes, but more this time. More dust and dirt from the ceiling. Klieg spurts so much more blood. Then some more blood.

EVA: What was that?

GOEBBELS: I’m no expert, but that sounded like a Soviet 82 millimeter mortar shell, also known as an M1937. Probably fired from about 500 meters away.

KLINK: Well look at you knowing stuff!

HITLER: Does that mean that the Russians are here?

GOEBBELS: Yes, Fuhrer. I’m sorry.

HITLER: Then you should be with your family.

GOEBBELS: Don’t worry about it Fuhrer, I’ve already killed my six kids and my wife. True story.

HITLER: Oh . . . well cool then.

EVA: What?!

HITLER: Eva, darling, what’s wrong?

EVA: Is that the PLAN? We’re just going to kill ourselves and each other?

GOEBBELS: Well, if you don’t want to I’m sure that the Soviet army wouldn’t mind raping you to death. That’s kinda their thing.

HITLER: Oh, that’s just impolite.

KLINK: Fuck! War is fucking awful. (To Hitler.) Why the hell did you do this to all of us?

HITLER (Shrugs, crosses toward CENTER.): Well, this really wasn’t my plan. You know, dying in a bunker and all.

KLINK: Right, sure, but what was the point?

HITLER: Oh . . . you’re asking . . . well, um, Germany was weak . . . um, not your fault, not mine. It was that whole World War I thing. Um, I needed to restore nationalism and a sense of pride. Best way to do that is to create a nebulous enemy that can never be defeated, and then make a public showing of beating the living hell out of them. This is Machiavelli 101, you know? Everybody knows this. That’s why nobody cared until we started attacking Britain, which is filled with the only people more pale than Germans. And that was my fault, that was hubris.

KLINK: That sounds really stupid.

HITLER: Yeah, well, you know . . . I’m a man of my times. It worked pretty well for awhile. I was TIME magazine’s man of the year, 1938.

They stare across the table at each other as Klieg’s body loudly spurts out more and more and more blood.

EVA: So anyway . . . about the eminent raping . . .

KLINK: Hold on. (To Hitler.) One other thing . . .

HITLER: Sure.

KLINK: You were under the impression that Jews controlled banking, media and industry?

GOEBBELS: Jews . . .

KLINK: Shut the fuck up.

HITLER: Yes.

KLINK: And yet, you decided to pick a fight with them anyway?

HITLER: Yeah. That was short sighted on my part. Instead, I should have blamed the Armenians.

GOEBBELS: Nobody likes them!

Klink crosses D.S. around the table, picks up Klieg’s rifle, chambers a round and shoots Goebbels in the head. Goebbels collapses U.S. with no ceremony. Klink puts the rifle back on the floor and walks back around to the S.L. side of the table. Klieg continues to spurt fountain-amounts of blood . . .

KLINK: Sorry, that just needed to be done.

EVA: So anyway . . . the raping . . ?

KLINK: Hold on, I have a plan.

Klink dashes out U.S. to the hallway. Klieg gushes blood in spurts. Hitler crosses S.R. and sits on the davenport next to Eva.

EVA: You know, I always liked the bad boys . . . I knew it was a problem, subconsciously, but I never dealt with it. It had something to do with my father . . .

More explosions. CLOSE. The Bunker shakes. Klieg spittles blood into the air.

EVA (To Hitler.): Why are you such an asshole? 'Cause you didn't get into art school?

HITLER: That’s not the real question.

EVA: What’s the real question?

HITLER: Why would people listen to such an asshole? Follow him? Love him? Murder for him? Or - in your case - fuck him so good? Do you think Germany has daddy issues? Or do you think everybody does? Do you think I'm an asshole? Or do you think I'm an asshole because I lost? What would you think of me if I'd won? I bet you'd fuck me really good then. You and all of Europe. I could have settleed with them and kept the whole continent, no body would have had a problem.
BEAT
We just happened to lose.

EVA: I’m a German girl of a very specific time, and not a correlative to anything else at all, but, I hate you so much as an abstraction and somehow I still love you as a man.

HITLER: Yeah, I’m complicated.

More explosions. CLOSER. The bunker shakes and quakes. Klieg spouts extra-dramatic founts of blood.

ENTER Klink from the hallway, dangerously balancing three white Nazi plates.

KLINK: Here ya go.

EVA: What is this?

KLINK: Last supper.

HITLER: Flautas! I love flautas!

KLINK: Before his sudden, untimely death, Heinrich taunt me his secret recipe.

HITLER (Eating ravenously.) You know, mostly I’m a vegetarian . . .

HITLER pauses, seizes, jerks, looks up at Klink.

HITLER: You poisoned the flautas, didn’t you? That’s so predictable.

KLINK: Little bit.

Hitler seizes up into convulsions, shakes and flops over onto the floor and on top of Klieg, who is still bleeding profusely.

KLINK (To Eva.) Yeah, so this one time, I killed Hitler! No big. Come on, let’s go . . .

Eva pauses, holds up a half-eaten flauta at Klink.

KLINK: NO! What the hell! Did you not see that coming the way that the entire audience did!

Eva shakes and shivers and contracts onto the floor and Klink gathers her in his arms as Klieg sprays off more blood into the air.

EVA: Um . . . guard guy . . .

KLINK: Yes Eva, sweet? I’m here . . .

EVA: Please just tell them . . . tell history that I was dumb, an idiot . . . not just some power slut . . . tell them that I was stupid, not ambitious.

KLINK: I will. I will tell them that you were just a moron and that your father was a great guy.

EVA (Sputtering with death.): Thank . . . thank . . . thank . . .

KLINK: (Frustrated.) Just die already.

EVA: Thank you!

Eva dies in Klnk’s arms.

More explosions. EVEN CLOSER.

Offstage in the Hallway, there is an explosion as the Bunker door is blown in. The explosion and fire and smoke sweep across the stage. Soviet soldiers swarm down the hallway and onto the stage. They surround Klink as the smoke begins to clear. They poke Klink with their bayonets.

KLINK: Comrades! What the hell took you so long! I'm an Austrian!


BLACKOUT.

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Maintenance, Orchids.




So I was just told by my roommate Arundina graminifolia that my blog makes her computer run super slow. Logging into this blog very nearly crashes my little laptop too, so I am – with great sadness and regret – going to remove that huge tag cloud thing down there on the bottom right and see if that make it work better.

You will be missed tag cloud.

Or maybe not.

Let’s see.


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Live Page Views Rock!

Dude! South Korea Guy is on RIGHT NOW!

I love you South Korea Guy!


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New Hobby: Finding a Hobby.

Okay, so I have been trying to find a hobby.

This search is not going well.

The thing is, I have been writing my whole life and I’m still trying to write as much as I can, but unfortunately, being a writer means spending a lot of time alone. And that’s fine, but I need something to fill the non-work and non-writing parts of the day, of which there are many (I have discovered) when you’re single.

In an effort to figure out what the hell sort of hobby I should take up, I have composed a list of all the many myriad things that I already like:

I like writing.
I like drinking.
I like sex.


That’s it.

That’s my whole list.

This, I think, is part of the problem.

I looked at this list and I was like, “Fucking really? Those are the only god damn things that I like?”

So I started to think about it some more.

Do I like skiing?
I mean, sure, if you want to go skiing, I will go, but I don’t really care. And I don’t have any skis. And I would probably hit a tree and die anyway.

And it has all been like that!

Do I like gardening?
Doesn’t matter, I have nowhere to garden.

Do I like knitting?
Simply, no.

Do I like stamp collecting?
No.

Do I like watching sports?
Not even a little.

Do I want to learn to play the guitar?
Not really.

Do I want to start painting?
Nope, am terrible at it.

Do I want to start playing Farmville?
Oh god, please just shoot me now.

This is generally the point of my hobby search when I stop and get a glass of wine, because that’s something that I know I like.

Now – I feel the need to point out – I’m not complaining right now. I’m happy to have a little extra time in my life. I was very go-go-go-go-go for several years there, so much so that I have had to train myself to relax. It has been working, a little. This is largely due to – this is totally embarrassing and I can’t believe that I’m admitting it – Wii boxing.

Like a year ago my friend Mike the Director left a Wii at my old apartment and I recently discovered that if I come home after work and beat the living shit out of some cartoons for about thirty minutes, it super de-stressed me. Mostly it just gets me out of my head for a little while.

However! I refuse to become a gamer.

I simply will not do it. I feel guilty enough when I just watch a movie (guilty because that’s two hours of my life when I wasn’t DOING something. And I need to be DOING something! Because one day I’m gonna die and then I won’t be able to DO anything.)

So anyway, I think that I have strayed from the point.

The point, I think, was that I need to find a hobby. Suggestions? Anybody? Hey you, guy from South Korea who reads this blog, what do you guys do with your free time over there?

Otherwise, if anybody wants to come over and write, drink, and/or have sex, you know where to find me. That is, until I take up decoupage out of desperation.





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(The legal department here at StandardKink has advised me that I should say that I was “just kidding” about the “drinking” and “sex” bits of that last paragraph, because otherwise it might appear that I was offering booze and services to the wilds of the internet . . . but – you know – whatever.)

More on Lamps.

Psssst . . . BTW, if you like lamps, check out this website.




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Songs for My Band's Next Album.



If you have read this blog before, then you are probably aware that I am in an entirely fake band.

As fake bands go, we’re pretty awesome.

We’re not an air guitar band or anything. THAT would be lame. We’re an entirely hypothetical band.

We have about forty-five hundred members because I invite virtually everyone I meet to be in the band. This has started to pay dividends because we used to have only one member who could play a “traditional” instrument (re: not a blender).

Myself, I play the blender.

However, we acquired another bass player and not one, but two
ukulele players! Also, I was recently given a non-functioning keyboard made entirely out of cardboard, so obviously we will need someone to play that.

Anywhoo, the point is that I am in a fake band and one of my band duties (aside from rocking the variable-speed blender and inviting strangers to join) is coming up with song titles.

Below are songs that will be on my band’s next album. Enjoy!

Someone Stole the Post Office

A Very Cosby-Sweater Christmas Party

The Zodiac Killer Wants a Pizza

I Saw You in a Nasty Thought

She Just Kept Staying Here

Exquisitely Inappropriate Gravitas

Strip Club Piggy Bank

My Pervasive Malaise

Your Mom Has a Blog

The Vengeful Tsunami of History

Modern Life Well-Lived

Cruel Mouth

What Kind of Fire I’ve Got in Me

Nearly Sexy …

I Tend to Approach Everything with Contempt

Panama Wilt

Get a Lamp, Eloise!


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(Not to brag or anything, but people in the know are saying that this might be our breakthrough album.)
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Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Poems!




The devil grins as seas of ink I spatter.
God forgive my literary sins, the other kinds don’t matter.

--Robert Service

Yes! That’s right. The day that you have feared is upon you.

Why have those birds been dying in the South? Why the massive fish die offs? Why so many dead English crabs? Why has 2011 seemed so ominous so far?
Because you just knew they were coming: new poems.

Please forgive my literary sins.

Enjoy.


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How Many?.

How Many?
by james bezerra

How many of something,
would it take to weird you out?

Sure one puppy is cute,
and two puppies even cuter!
But what about 300 puppies?
Or 3,000 puppies?
All of them looking at you?

Is that not enough to weird you out?
How about three hundred thousand puppies
(that’s six hundred thousand small, moist eyes)
all looking at you?
Looking at you!

How many clowns
would it take to weird you out?
Sometimes one is enough (especially if he’s
covered in blood).

How many praying mantises
would it take to weird you out?
One?
Six?
45?
100?
A plethora, perhaps?
A plethora of praying mantises
are locked in a closet with you,
crawling on you, praying on you,
in your hair,
in your mouth,
Is that enough to weird you out?

How many bloody clowns
driving how many windowless-van loads
of how many praying mantises
riding on how many puppies
with how many eyes,
would it take to weird you out?

And what it they all talked?

All of them, the puppies, the praying mantises, the clowns, the vans.
They all talked and screamed and chanted words. They all chanted one world:
Cumquat!
Or one word twice:
Cumquat! Cumquat!
Or two words once, but over and over:
Sticky cumquat!
How many times must how many bloody clowns in how many window-less vans filled with how many however-many-eyed puppies ridden by how many screaming praying mantises that have been in your mouth, chant how many words at you before you’re weirded out?



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Huge Dam.

Huge Dam
by james bezerra

If I built a dam
I would make it huge.

If I built a huge dam,
it might hold back the deluge
that’s sent to drown the world.

If I built a huge dam
to stop the huge deluge,
I might foil God’s plan to destroy the world.

And if I did build this dam
so huge it stopped God’s deluge,
then is it still his world?

Or is it then our world?
Our own world, wide and huge
and safe behind our dam?


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Notes in the Margins.

Notes in the Margins
by james bezerra

I saw those internet print-outs in your car,
How to Tell If You’re Dating a Narcissist.
The ones you had colored-coded
with highlighters that had once lived with me.
I read your notes in the margins:
‘Yes’
‘No’
‘Sometimes’

I wonder if you totaled them up at the end, like some hurtful COSMO quiz,
So many points for each yes.
So many points for each no.

I wonder what my score turned out to be.



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Thirty Thousand New Words.

Thirty Thousand New Words
(This is not a list)
by james bezerra

So
you know
how the Eskimos have
ten thousand words for snow,
or something?

Well I think that
we too
should have
many words for
other things.

Ten thousand
words for
friend
or face
or lover.

That would be
thirty thousand
different words for the
friendly face of
your lover!

The fine and pale thin nuance
of words could
help one define one’s life,
one’s relationships
and the way that one
ought to feel.

I speak not of mere
adjectives my friends!
Not: my crazy friend.
But of a new noun:
Crazyfriend!

Or …
Perhaps …
There are probably better words to use
for these new nouns.
Crazyfriend was just a test balloon.

That friend you
want to fuck
could be called: Crave.
That old lover who you long for
could be called: Longing.

“Oh, have I introduced you to my
Crave?”
you’d say.
Or:
Someone would say,
“I saw your Longing at the supermarket buying avocados.”

This is a good linguistic plan!
Those Eskimos have so many words for snow
so that you can know
which type is fresh, which type is soft
and which type is dangerous.



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Bats & Fanny Packs.

Bats & Fanny Packs
by james bezerra

What a strange world it would be
if bats and fanny packs
switched places.

Not baseball bats
or cricket bats
but rather,
actual bats.
Bats with wings and teeth and creepy fur and ultra-sonic shrieks of
bug-eating glee.
And they would be worn by
tourists from the Mid-West.
Or really,
overweight travelers of any stripe
who have important things to carry, like digital cameras or
Snickers bars.
And there the bats would hang, tight
around so many rotund waists. Their wings clipped at the smalls of our backs,
their faces facing outward, evil and angry and
snapping at children
while we wait in line for
corndogs at Knott’s Berry Farm.

But what of all
those fanny packs
set free from fannies and fronts?
They would dump their contents;
disgorge all those
lipsticks,
those old cough drops,
those ticket stubs,
all of that loose change and
those Snickers wrappers
and up and into the air they would soar.
Their unclipped waist belts
flapping and beating against
the cold night sky.
Their unzippered mouths agape and
grinning
as they shriek the shriek
that all wild things sometimes shriek:
the shriek of freedom, of danger, the shriek of the night,
the shriek of hunger and
of excitation.

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Future Has Slipped.

Please read this article. It will blow your mind. Or possibly already has.


Could It Be? Spooky Experiments That 'See' The Future
by Robert Krulwich


Later today you are going to do something, something you don't know about yet.

Yet somehow, it's already happened. Somehow, it's already affected you.

Huh?

Did Alice know?
One of the most respected, senior and widely published professors of psychology, Daryl Bem of Cornell, has just published an article that suggests that people — ordinary people — can be altered by experiences they haven't had yet. Time, he suggests, is leaking. The Future has slipped, unannounced, into the Present. And he thinks he can prove it.

Already critics are jumping up and down, saying this can't be, time is not porous, the experiments are flawed. But because this is the Professor Daryl Bem (he's in your high school textbook for his work on self perception) and because the journal publishing his article is top-of-the-line rigorous, all over the world psychologists are trying to duplicate what Dr. Bem has done. If serious scientists can repeat his results, this story is going to be big.

Two Very Queer Experiments
But while we're waiting, let me tell you what he did. (Or at least what I think he did. I'm not a psychology buff, so I hope I get this right) The details are fascinating.

Dr. Bem has been quietly testing extrasensory perception claims for 8 years. His paper reports a series of 9 different experiments, but two especially caught my eye.

Experiment Number 1: Who's Got the Porn?
The first is a computer quiz. 100 Cornell students, 50 males, 50 females, were invited to sit in front of some computers. Here are Bem's instructions:

This is an experiment that tests for ESP. It takes about 20 minutes and is run completely by computer. First you will answer a couple of brief questions. Then, on each trial of the experiment, pictures of two curtains will appear on the screen side by side. One of them has a picture behind it; the other has a blank wall behind it. Your task is to click on the curtain that you feel has the picture behind it. The curtain will then open, permitting you to see if you selected the correct curtain. There will be 36 trials in all. Several of the pictures contain explicit erotic images (e.g., couples engaged in nonviolent but explicit consensual sexual acts). If you object to seeing such images, you should not participate in this experiment.

OK, that's two curtains. One is hiding nothing. The other hides a picture, often a hot picture with much nakedness.

Since a computer randomly chooses what's behind each curtain, one would expect the students to choose correctly half the time. Fifty-fifty.

But that is not how it turned out. In the 100 sessions, the hit rate for those shown erotic stimuli was 53.1 percent. Why? It could have been a fluke, but with the results session after session consistently better than random, one explanation might be that the subjects somehow 'knew' that a particular choice would be especially arousing. How did they know? One possibility is that the tasty reward of "hot action" somehow got passed backwards through time more effectively. (Don’t laugh: The hit rate of those shown non-erotic picures, at 49.8 percent, did not deviate from chance. Curious.)

Sexual Arousal Going Backwards in Time?

Weirder still, Bem reports that the news appeared to arrive at the brain before the computer made its choice. "The remarkable finding [we made] is that their physiological responses are observed to occur about 2-3 seconds prior to the appearance of the picture, even before the computer has decided whether to present a non-arousing or an arousing picture," Bem told the Cornell Daily Sun.

Here's the second study.

Everybody knows practice improves performance. If you study a list of words, if you try to memorize them, you should be able to remember them better later. But suppose you reverse the process? Suppose you study the words after the test? Your friends will smirk. "After the test is too late, loser. People who study after tests don't graduate."

Well, let's see.

In one of Bem's studies, 100 college students were shown a list of 48 common nouns flashed on a computer, one at a time, for three seconds each. The instructions said: Look at the word, try to visualize it (see "tree;" imagine "tree") and then go on to the next word.

Afterward, they were told, Surprise! We're going to give you a quick memory quiz. How many of the words we just showed you can you recall?

Students typed in the words they remembered.

Then a computer went through the same list of words and chose 24 — totally randomly; no human was involved.

Before you leave, the students were told, we still want you to scan and then type the words the computer selected. As they typed, the students were, of course, committing those randomly selected words to memory. But who cares? The test was over.

Did The Future Whisper The Answers?
Now comes the surprise. When Dr. Bem checked the original surprise recall test, a weird pattern emerged. He noticed the students for some reason turned out to be better at recalling the words they had scanned and retyped after the test.

A second group of 24 words served as a control. The computer never asked students to retype them. Those words weren't recalled as often.

Then Bem drops his bomb: "The results show that practicing a set of words after the recall test does, in fact, reach back in time to facilitate the recall of those words."

What? Apparently, scanning and retyping those words later somehow improved recall earlier. Cue the Twilight Zone music.

You can well understand why this paper is raising hackles all over psychology-ville. This is not the first time a prominent psychology professor has found statistical evidence of extrasensory perception, but in these experiments, the methods are classical, simple, well known and repeatable. Already one attempt to repeat Bem's work has failed.

For me (untrained in these matters) the niggling question is Bem's numbers: 53.1 percent is slightly better than chance. It's not 50-50, but is this really significant? The effect shows up across nine different experiments, involving more than a thousand subjects. So the effect in cumulative. But is that enough?

Here's what Melissa Burkley writes in her blog at Psychology Today:

...small effect sizes are not that uncommon in psychology (and other sciences). For example, on average, the Bem studies showed an effect size of .20 (out of a possible range of 0-1). Although that is fairly small, it is as large as or larger than some well-established effects, including the link between aspirin and heart attack prevention, calcium intake and bone mass, second hand smoke and lung cancer, and condom use and HIV prevention (Bushman & Anderson, 2001). And as Cohen has pointed out, such small effect sizes are most likely to occur in the early stages of exploring a topic, when scientists are just starting to discover why the effect occurs and when it is most likely to occur.
So who knows? Maybe psychologists, like quantum physicists, will have to deal with the deep strangeness of our universe. Maybe time doesn't behave properly. Maybe it makes little leaps, suddenly appears uninvited when porn is in the air. Or maybe not.

It's not like we've never thought about this before. In his paper Bem recalls that in "Through the Looking Glass," the White Queen casually mentions to Alice that in her realm, "memory works both ways."

Not only does the Queen remember past events, she can also remember "things that happened the week after next."

Alice, always puzzled, says "I'm sure mine only works one way...I can't remember things before they happen." The Queen seems a little sorry for Alice. "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards," she says.

In a year or so, Bem coolly suggests, we may have to agree with the Queen.


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You can also read this at NPR.com

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Horror!


Sri Lanka considers banning mini-skirts



I am 100% cool with this being my first blog post of 2011, because I both hate oppression and love mini-skirts.