Category Archives: WORDS

Gone

gone adj. no longer in existencePetrochemical Grid

If, in the immediate aftermath of Homo sapiens petrolerus, the tanks and towers of the Texas petrochemical patch all detonated together in one spectacular roar, after the oily smoke cleared, there would remain melted roads, twisted pipe, crumpled sheathing, and crumbled concrete.  White hot incandescence would have jump-started the corrosion of scrap metals in the salt air, and the polymer chains in hydrocarbon residues would likewise have cracked into smaller, more digestible lengths, hastening biodegradation.  Despite the expelled toxins, the soils would also be enriched with burnt carbon, and after a year of rains switchgrass would be growing.  A few hardy wildflowers would appear.  Gradually, life would resume.

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Gone

gone adj. no longer in existence

If, in the immediate aftermath of Homo sapiens petrolerus, the tanks and towers of the Texas petrochemical patch all detonated together in one spectacular roar, after the oily smoke cleared, there would remain melted roads, twisted pipe, crumpled sheathing, and crumbled concrete.  White hot incandescence would have jump-started the corrosion of scrap metals in the salt air, and the polymer chains in hydrocarbon residues would likewise have cracked into smaller, more digestible lengths, hastening biodegradation.  Despite the expelled toxins, the soils would also be enriched with burnt carbon, and after a year of rains switchgrass would be growing.  A few hardy wildflowers would appear.  Gradually, life would resume.

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Sleep

17th Century poet, John Milton once asked, “What hath night to do with sleep?” This is a question I can completely relate to mostly because sometimes weeks go by and I get barely a few hours each night.  However unlike Milton I’m not blind, and I don’t have to sleep in vermin infested bedding so maybe it’s not a fair comparison.  It’s not that I can’t sleep due to anxiety or something like that.  It’s just that sleep wants no part of me.  Most nights I feel like a jilted girlfriend.  Thankfully there’s cable.  I spend a lot of time watching movies.  I tell myself it’s a good thing.  It’s quiet and I can focus.  Sometimes I watch without sound.  They say this is a good way to learn to direct, though I don’t want to direct but it’s good to be prepared. Out of Sight is a big late night favorite these days. Everything about that movie makes me want to move to Detroit and become a corrections officer.  I love the soundtrack, the lighting, the weather, and of course the love scene where George and JLo peel off their clothes. Soderbergh admits it is an homage to the sex scene in Don’t Look Now but frankly I think it’s better.

I saw Don’t Look Now at LACMA one Friday night and it scared the hell out of me. Based on a Daphne du Maurier story, it’s about a couple who go to Italy in order to reconnect after a tragedy and end up being stalked by a dwarf in a red coat.  Funnily enough, the name Daphne Du Maurier always reminds me of French author Guy de Maupassant who was, in my mind, a man obsessed with two things: moustaches and the ugliness of the Eiffel Tower. Granted, it’s not the prettiest structure around (it’s no Chrysler) but studying how it swayed in the wind expanded the entire field of aerodynamics, set standards for tests used by NASA and affected everything from airplanes to curveballs.  Sure it was ugly, but it possessed a larger significance that the mustachioed Maupassant failed to see.

But what is the larger significance of my lack of sleep and when did sleep become such an issue anyway? Continue reading

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Unrequited

Unrequited adj. unanswered, unreciprocated.  Not returned in kind.

(As told to me in a dream by Pioneer 10 – Kristen)

I have loved her for eight billion years.  Think about that… Eight billion years.

At first it was so easy.  I was fused with a sense of purpose, and much of my time was occupied by the work at hand. I had no sense of the infiniteness in which I now exist.

There are vast stretches of time when I consider that this is all a dream, that this darkness I inhabit is merely a fiction, but I do exist.   They created me out of aluminum and boron epoxy tubes.  Fashioned me into a being of sorts and gave me a name. Time was of the essence; they were racing against an impending solar storm that I would not have survived. Perhaps it was this speed, that factored into the way in which my parts were fused together, which in turn created the spark, in such a way, that at one moment in time, one inexplicable moment, I became aware.

I was to travel to Jupiter and take photographs.  If I managed to survive that, I was to continue on to probe the solar wind termination point.  This was only a best-case scenario, they would have been happy with a few snapshots of Jupiter and been well enough to go home and retire.   There were so many of them, surrounding me at all hours. Their language bounced off my sides, I could feel the vibrations like waves, but I had no way of understanding their words, though I could sense their touch.

There was something about one of the technicians.  I knew it, once I started to know things, which was again, hard to explain but one night, there it was.

It occurred to me that I had preferences.  One of the technicians had adjusted my Ultraviolet Photometer and in that moment, I sensed pleasure.  This initial move, of a few millimeters, suddenly shifted things into place, and I became aware of my internal organs so to speak.  Meteoroid Detector, Trapped Radiation Detector, Helium Vector Magnetometer, Plasma Analyzer, Charged Particle Instrument, Cosmic Ray Telescope.  The list went on a bit further of course, but you get the idea.   From that moment on I knew that I could exert control over these organs, and if I did so, they would return to correct the adjustment. But more often than not, the touch of the technician was not the one I had desired.  I began to break down, in a desperate attempt to find the source of my pleasure, until finally, she returned. Her touch was markedly different from the others, so gentle and caring.   Fused with certainty and safety.  I wanted her and only her. So, I set about undoing their work.  If they sent one of them in to fix me, I would not allow it.  I fought at every turn, until they realized what was going on.  She was the only one who could make adjustments.  There was no time for arguments.  She was given the primary task and the others did not like this.  When she was not around, I would hear them speaking.  I could not understand their words, but their tone was filled with derision and jealousy.  I knew I was making things difficult for her, but I was young, and full of selfish guile.  I wanted her. And so I continued to manipulate the situation in my favor, though a sense of allegiance began to form within me. I found a way to work with her, to guide her to the answers that she was looking for.  I would show subtle signs of weakness in areas that I knew she had missed. I made sure that everything she did was flawless.  I protected her, as she protected me. Continue reading

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Pray

pray v. to address a god with adoration, confession, supplication or thanksgiving

Judiasm:

Defining theme:                   Chosen People

Favorite Son:                           David

Culinary Contribution:         Matzo Ball

Big Moment:                            Moses parts the Red Sea

Essential Reading:                 I and Thou by Martin Buber

Catholicism:

Defining Theme:                        Meek shall inherit the earth

Favorite son:                                Jesus

Culinary Tradition:                    Fish Sticks

Big Moment:                                Jesus resurrects

Essential Reading:                     The Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine

Protestant:

Defining Theme:                        Screw tradition

Culinary Tradition:                    Tuna Noodle Casserole

Favorite son:                                Guttenberg

Big Moment:                                King Henry wants a divorce

Essential Reading:                     The Mischief of Sin by Thomas Watson

Zoroastrianism (Persian):

Defining Theme:                   Good thoughts, good words, good deeds

Favorite Son:                           Zarathushtra

Culinary Tradition:                 The Kebob

Big Moment:                             Seven-year-old Zarathustra survives poisoning attempt.

Essential Reading:                  The Avesta

Hindu:

Defining Theme:                        Karma

Favorite Son:                               Krishna

Culinary Tradition:                    Chicken Tikka Masala

Big Moment:                                Lord Vishnu opened his eyes

Essential Reading:                      The Upanishads

Lutheranism:

Defining Theme:                        Scripture Alone

Favorite Son:                               Martin Luther

Culinary Tradition:                    Cheese Whiz and Olives on Rye

Big Moment:                                Charles V issues Edict of Worms

Essential Reading:                      Book of Concord

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Lush: A visual perspective

Another way of looking at the word Lush.  Click on the photo to enlarge.

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Lush

Lush a. (by assoc. w luscious) 1. Luxurious; 2 Of a color: deep and rich; 3 n. Liquor, alcoholic drink.

The word lush brings to mind sound and sound inevitably brings me to color…

When I think of color I automatically think of Josef Albers, Ellsworth Kelly, and this amazing Color Swatch Book of New York City Observations by Julie Cloutier

Color also brings me to chords and frequencies.

I once knew a guy who had absolute pitch. He could hear sound in everything.
I envied the richness all around him.
He felt that it was annoying.

When I look at Mark Rothko paintings I hear sound and when I listen to music I hear color. It’s all very tangled. Museums are noisy places for me and Carnegie Hall has always been colorful rather than sonorous.

I once knew a Lush named Cal who hung out at the White Horse Tavern. He was skinny because he only ate beets.  He was also perpetually angry (I blame the beets as well).  He knew pianist Bill Evans back in the day, and he told me that Bill was a “creepy coc*su#ker” but I just thought Bill was sad because everyone he loved died. Bill loved lush chord sequences.  Also, Bill never screamed at his audience like some piano players do.

Bill also played with Miles Davis who of course played with John Coltrane.
John Coltrane (who would solo for 30 minutes at a time) once said to
Miles, “I just can’t seem to end my solos’…” to which Miles Davis
replied, “Try taking the fuc*ing horn out of your mouth!”

I love Coltrane’s version of the song Lush Life with Johnny Hartman.
Here are some of the lyrics. They sort of make you want to kill yourself, but in a good way.

Life is lonely again,
And only last year everything seemed so sure.
Now life is awful again,
A troughful of hearts could only be a bore.
A week in Paris will ease the bite of it,
All I care is to smile in spite of it.

Lush life was written by Billy Strayhorn between 1933 and 1938. This was a dreary time in America.
But good sometimes comes out of bad, like the rise of Labor .

It’s odd being a member of a labor union when you don’t really feel like a laborer.
During the WGA Strike, I spent a lot of time looking at Gerhard Richter’s work.  I love the way he blurs and scrapes the layers of his paintings, revealing the work and the evolution of the work all at the same time.

Sometimes I worry about hyper-corporatization. I see artists getting squeezed and I see myself living in a van down by a river in some sort of socialist experiment.

Whenever I long for a more socialistic existence I am reminded me of my old boss and mentor Raymond.

Raymond really loved Russian propaganda posters.

I miss Raymond a lot. In our morning meetings, he used to rest his hand on his cheek.
When he went to Paris he sent me this postcard:

Sometimes I prefer to think that Raymond hasn’t died.
He’s just in Montparnasse and everything there is a deep shade of red.
Which is the epitome of lush if you ask me.

What’s LUSH to you?

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