Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Sunday, July 18, 2004
The Empress Jones
Out and about
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Some observations on the Fils, Canadians, and Mormons
Had a good Saturday. Got up early and rode my bike far out into the corn and soy fields where you can hear the birds singing, pretty yellow birds with black; also there was a variety of corn out there with some very eyecatching corn flowers. The smell of pig shit recedes as you head south from the campus, passing by the gigantic pill that serves as an athletic coliseum. I've been thinking about Canada lately. I have a crush on Canada. I think Canadians are swell. They're the bees knees -- that is the Canadians I know, not the fascist Canadians like Steven Harper. He's their version of George Bush. The Canadians were quite upset about the Ben Johnson thing although it was no surprise that Ben as a Jamaican-Canadian track and fielder was the fall guy for the steroid Olympic scandal. As his coach Charlie Francis observed: "It is a level playing field. It's just not the playing field that you thought it was." He was still the world's fastest man. Part of my shine to Canadians these days has to do with 1) meeting some cool Canadians here in grad school, S of course and D and C from physics 2) Michael Moore's propaganda 3) the realization that Americans are deliberately not taught much of anything of our close neighbor because then they might create an impetus for more enlightened social policies like nationalized health care and education that is not based on zip code cachet. Another interesting development is that some of my relatives from the Philippines will soon be emigrating to Saskatchewan. Apparently, as my mother put it, "things are getting tough for even the good families," I swear she sometimes sounds like the Filipino Scarlet O'Hara (one of her favorite films by the way). So it'll be a lot cheaper to visit my new filipino-canadian relatives. About those Filipinos, I love it that they have decided to withdraw their troops (a whopping 50 in total) in order to save the truck driver. Our graduate student president expressed concern about the impact of that decision but I ventured the opinion that such a move on the part of the Philippine government reflects the extent to which they are aware that their international workforce supports the Philippine economy. Also, the Catholic sentiment of the country will be reinforced to help maintain a shaky rule that pretty much sits in the pocket of American interests and lets the US military conduct anti-"terrorist" campaigns in the south ... But I go on and on. I really have a lot more to say about the mormons, i'm reading a fascinating history by wallace stegner on their contribution to opening up the American west and their participation in the opening of the Pacific empire. They have always been "suspect Americans" because of their communitarian values and their differing interpretations about marriage (not unlike the current gay rights movement). stegner makes a very good observation about their ability to work together and compares their activities to those of ants and bees engaged in a massive endeavor or public project. the mormons really built the trail for more than simply traversing over once in a lifetime; they created two way traffic due to missionary movements and completed much of the public works such as clearing the rocks from the difficult mountainous passes in Wyoming and builiding bridges. I visited the Mormon website that gives you your mormonised name and my patriarchal version came out: Alexavier Golden Noble. The other thing about the stegner book is his documentation of the remarkableness of mormon women and what badass pioneers they were. I knew there'd be a lot to admire about any group that has been characterized by normative American identity as deviant.
Friday, July 16, 2004
Yesterday I watched Marion Jones qualify for the long jump by jumping over 23 feet -- I took out a tape measure and it was even more impressive when you think about her doing that in relation to one's living space. All of the white sportswriters have been trying to keep this champion down -- she is being hounded by rumors of drug use without ever having failed a drug test. Her reputation has been ruined and her marketability severely compromised, but you know what? She is one tough lady and I admire her for that even more than her ability to fire her fast-twitch muscle fibers. The BALCO drug scandal as it has been unfolding the past year is the height of hypocrisy. In a drugged out culture where there's a pill for every ailment (just pay attention to the ads during a primetime news broadcast) and winning is the essence of the capitalist spirit, what's behind the witchhunt of primarily African-American Olympians? You don't hear much about the MLB or NFL because these are sports that are protected by powerful white dudes. Viagra is a performance-enhancing drug. Ritalin is a performance-enhancing drug. I'm being enhanced right now by a soy latte. It sure helps me type like a motherfucker.
Meanwhile, my lazy summer continues to take me to other areas of our megalibrary in the cornfield. I went to the fiction area and checked out novels about Mormons, vampires, and Romans. I also went into the rare book collection and took notes from a rare tarot book that included info on Hebrew and runes. I'll be ready to open up the tarot stand any day now ...
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
butch enough for the butch-femme pagans?
I am going back into the occult but this time on the cheap -- no more hired professionals. I am waiting to hear back from the butch-femme pagans to see if they will allow me into their on-line user group. They have queried me on my butchness -- there was no lesbian option, you gotta identify transgender but you don't necessarily need to be medically enhanced. I have offered my skills as an amateur tarot card reader astrological dabbler but they may only be interested in someone with wiccan skills. So I've got my fingers crossed. I am also waiting to see if doing tarot card readings qualifies as a "homegrown Illinois product" so that I might open up a table at the farmers' market. Since all of my tarot skills came from California I'm concerned that I might not pass muster. I'd be willing to do readings for free just to get my feet wet. It's still hard to conceive of having a talent that is fun to perform and get money for it. Have I forgotten what a fine entrepreneur that I once was as a grade schooler? There was the time that my second grade buddy David Nelson and I stayed out late going door-to-door selling rocks. Not polished stones mind you, but just your basic rocks that you could find in our neighborhood park. My dad had to go out looking for us since it was already dark, and he was pissed off when he found us ... until we showed him the profit: $20 clear and free with no initial investment. Money does not only come from the accounts of large corporate entities with deductions. Whatever happened to David Nelson? He was my last boy best friend. It all got gender fucked up in sixth grade and we had to go to our respective camps -- he was on his way to being a successful heterosexual and I was just starting to get unrequited crushes on girls and learning that dance parties had two edges. Fun during the fast dances and excruciating during the slow dances.
Sunday, July 11, 2004
My friend Shannon is experimenting with her dominatrix persona by holding my hands to the keyboard.
"I have endorsed you to all of my blogfriends and you've only written two things! Write something right now!" Click click click and here's my blank page. I admit I have been a terrible slacker and do not deserve any loyal fans -- this venture is as shaky as a 1972 hippie commune. But I have been busy on other internet spaces, busy wooing women on-line and researching the BALCO drug scandal. I wish I could get on a train (my new favorite mode of travel) and head for Mass right now but I am stuck here teaching weightlifting, volleyball and bowling. The bowling gig is more of an acting job -- the key is to never actually bowl but to comment on the biomechanics of accelerating steps and pendulum back swings and also to bitch about the inadequacy of house balls for performing hooks and the poor maintenance of the lanes. It seems to pass muster as actually having bowling knowledge. I also throw in some interesting factoids about the history of bowling -- Martin Luther was way into it and did it in church, he thought of the pins as sins. The Egyptians had a version of the game and the Puritans were convinced it was a gateway to hell. Let's see what else have I been up to ... I have also been studying up on tarot cards with the possibility of embarking on the commercial venture of setting up a table at the Farmers' Market. I didn't get a paycheck last month so I'm strapped for cash and reluctant to pawn my musical instruments or haul books down to the used bookstore. Besides, I think I'm owed a few hundred from the great pot of occult cash in the sky due to some rather overenthusiastic contributions to an oracle down in New Orleans. Let's just say I have a very expensive candle in my possession. OK Shannon? Enough for now ...
Sunday, May 23, 2004
But Achilles was gay ...
Well I went to see the big new epic Troy at ye olde multiplex in Savoy. They really messed with Homer's version, not that I expected them to stay true to it. They took a simple Trojan captive female role and turned her into Brad Pitt's love interest, thus erasing the overtly homoerotic relationship that he had with Patroclus, who is reformulated as a kid cousin. This same Trojan woman is also the one to deliver Agamemnon to the river Styx instead of his wife Clytemnestra. This effectively erases the interestingly doomed sight-seer Cassandra who can see the future -- but no one believes/listens to her. Gee, how many women have this feeling at work? In Troy she is completely erased. The New York Times Sunday edition implied that people in the classics might actually have a job in creating Hollywood Cliff note epics. I guess the way to get your project to the big screen is to eliminate all traces of gay men and strong female characters (where is Priam's wife? a role that Katherine Hepburn rocked in) and to bimbofy the remaining female roles. Well at least Diane Kruger and Saffron Barrows were hot.
I think Brad Pitt might have been on steroids for his role. Another attempt at overcompensation for the queerness of Achilles?
I thank fellow blogger Shannon for helping me look for the disappeared queers -- you should hear her rant about Shakespeare in Love.