Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Book Review, & More

My review of The Flamethrowers , by Rachel Kushner:

Pretty good book.

Blurbs for The Flamethrowers, by Rachel Kushner:

“It’s a good book because it’s an honest book about lies.”
     -Earnest Hemingway

“If I were reading this blurb aloud, it would sound 100x more pretentious.”
     -Deborah Eisenberg

“I red a bok 1nce.”
     -John Grisham

“Infinitely orthogonal to all planes of conception – a metaphysical anomaly though explicated.”
     -Jorge Luis Borges

“Frivolous in the way our most serious works must be. A great Bunbury.”
     -Oscar Wilde

“Cut out all the articles and prepositions and you have a masterpiece.”
     -Gordon Lish

“The ending could’ve been sadder.”
     -Devin Kelly

“I am speaking behind a lectern and wearing a headdress, so you can import paramount profundity and cultural knowledge unto this blurb.”
     -Zadie Smith

     -Len Allergy

“Fabulously original. Teeming with loins and panache.”
     -Truman Capote

“The remaining 300 pages are classified.”
     -9/11 Commission

“Too much sadness, not enough Devin Kelly wearing only a sweatshirt to bed.”
     -Danielle Steele

“Fucking thieved my denouement.”
     -Garth Hallberg

“3.5 Mics. Needed more feats.”
     -The Source

“Like we should give a whit of shit. Duly disregard this minor refuse.”
     -Thomas Pynchon

“Would you fuck me? I’d fuck me?”
     -The look and repose of Rachel Kushner in her author photo on the back cover

I have somethings I need to say now. To all the nonbelievers, who didn’t think I could pound Jim Beam on a Sunday and make it to work the next morning. Though my commute on the surface is statistically insignificant – from the bed in my bedroom to the desk in my bedroom – in reality this commute is elasticized infinitely by the festering molecules of Jimmy Beam hanging on my neural wirings like rotted branches fallen from a thunderstorm. Point is, I made it, and I’m god damn proud of it. I shouldn’t be, you say? I shouldn’t have, you challenge? The only reason I shouldn’t have had so much to drink during the Super Bowl is because of your stupid admonishing face. Otherwise, pure glory. I’m so good at drinking it hurts. I bleed rectally for it. I’m Peyton Manning in his prime on steroids. My passion is measured in 1.5 oz. glasses of amber syrup that, for laymen sippers, might be an acerbic shot of bourbon, but for guzzle-giants like myself is a fucking thimble that I throw back as if merely inhaling oxygen to continue living and prospering. I have no regrets. My only regret is that Bernie Sanders is no more likely to win for it. My only regret is that I didn’t drink more.

I want to recede my roll-tides of defensive fury and give SHOUTS OUT to George, who found the percolator for my moka pot this morning. Because of this, I’m now tremendously caffeinated and have deviated from my regular programming – i.e. my lunch hour at work – to waterboard you with this deluge of torturous words.

SHOUTS OUT to any relatives reading this, since I’m hoping to the Christ only half my extended family believes in that the irony laced underneath all this is exploding as you traverse my awful overgrowth of verbiage, this Vietnam of verbosity.

SHOUTS OUT to Verne Lundquist, whom George likens to as, ‘a bag of biscuits that exploded in a suit’.

SHOUTS OUT to this guy , who’s more a murderer than any Steve Avery I know…Seriously, it’s like, lure the girlfriend to a prodigious body of water when hammerheads are looming ubiquitously overhead…Then again, anyone whose warbling ululations of fear sounds like a bag of biscuits exploded in Ricky Gervais’s voice box most likely don’t got the wiles to do anyfing that clevah.

I want to redact some of the things I said earlier. I regret having called your face stupid and/or admonishing. It’s truly a lovely face. It’s just that I get so scared sometimes. 

Thursday, February 4, 2016

THE NEXT GREAT COSMIC JOKE; brought to you by the delirium of sleep deprivation

2/4/16; 2:09 PM; front page of ESPN.com reads: ‘Larry Bird believes he will die young. Is he right?’

They are asking the reader, rhetorically. But, being the egocentric knave I am, I take the question personally. Do I think Larry Bird will die young. I think first and foremost that Larry Bird is a psychotic name to bestow a human being with. It is the pet name an urbane yet haggard woman gives her husband of too many years. Larry, Bird, darling, fetch the laundry will you? Larry Bird, the television, it is affecting my tinnitus, won't you turn it down? Larry Bird, you will die, uncomfortably, in the liquid stool of your memories. Yes, you are right, Larry Bird.  You will die young. 

So I’m not the most lurid rug on the linoleum, but lately I’ve been trying to get all this death crap out of my head. So give me some fucking credit. Because it’s crap, is what it is, the death thoughts. For two years I lived in an apartment with linoleum floors. Try doing this while avoiding mortal obsessions. It’s like rubbing your tummy and patting your head, while dying.

The running joke being our mortality. What are your coping strategies? Do you laugh? Do you cherish your laughter? Or are you like me, and your laughter is only a desperate signal to our cruel design, Help, Help, for I laugh only to avoid crying. I also perform cross-legged onanisms. Ohns, I call them. My monkish retreat into the mind of the cockatoo, peacock feathers fanning from my fervid feather-fugues. Larry Bird...

So what do you do? Do you manage? In what manner do you blunt the charge of death’s battering ram? We are but the lives of Troy, daemons of Greeks at our walls. My Achilles Heel is my agnostic god’s parlor-room knee-slapper, and their laughter is real and drunk off seraphim sipped from godlike thimbles. I no longer ingest Scheduled Substances. Why? You first.

During Blizzard ’16 (because fuck ‘Jonas’ or ‘Snowzilla’ or any cutesy sobriquet for a fucking snowstorm), I bunkered up with my boy B. Sammons. I told you this, before, at an earlier mortal hour. Really, if we don’t listen to each other, what do we have? Anyway, despite the snow falling like tetris blocks, we at some point got bored. So we got on OKCupid and essentially harassed people, i.e. sent the following messages:

Notice that all messages were decoded by their receivers, i.e. read. Respondents to date: 0.  Yet this is also equal to the number of restraining orders and harassment charges placed upon yrs trly, so I think we're coming out even on this one. 

Things that are bullshit:

Symbolism. Symbolism is in bad writing. Symbolism is also in good writing that makes fun of bad writing. Symbolism is like post-aesthetic art that fails to speak and instead contains invisible ciphers, like some overwrought DeLillo novel, or a good DeLillo novel that’s parodic. It’s an internal conversation, with itself or its esoteric community, perpetuating precisely that which art stands to eradicate: divisions. Why people who make litter boxes with cat shit in them and call it anything but a litter box with cat shit in it is bullshit. It’s not a symbol of our caged feculence. It’s bullshit. It’s shit in a box. A box is a box, and if it has shit in it, it is then a box with shit in it, a box in which cats do their shitting. Symbolism – e.g. an MFA-style short story with 178 line breaks that's framed in some hipster gallery near the Bowery and has to be explained on a 5x5 copper placard for want of meaning that is detectable to the naked eye – is bullshit.

Acronyms. Namely for TV shows. They circumscribe an area in which you stand, looking to the outside, where I crouch in the stool of my ignorance. You bearing the smug expression that knows something I don’t. Me contorting my countenance into the false shape of indifference against your knowing. The acronym, its powerful knowledge, is written in your gaze, which is gluey and slack from too much Netflix and Chill, too much weed. The only worthy acronym is DFW, because he is almighty and we face east to accept his grace.

Feeling like ding dong dick, like, 65% of the time: bullshit. E.g. no coffee in my system, e.g. too much coffee in my system, e.g. not enough sleep because of either of the former e.g.'s. Or, e.g. you all not reading my blog in the numbers and ways I want you to, which are, respectively, great, and with a sense of profound gratitude toward the regret I accrue as burden for all your sins. Further dickish feelings swell dickily from: e.g. the hero sub I order from the nearby bodega (~10-inch chicken cutlet bacon cheddar onion green pepper tomato bbq sauce); e.g. my ensuing despair, despite the warm mass which has gathered inside me; e.g. white underpants; e.g. that quadrant of the A train mezzanine where that kid threw up and sat in it and was slapped and cowed by his frat brothers for not holding his liquor 'like men should'; e.g. killin' the game while still playin' it, and other paradoxes of such ilk. Oh, and e.g. acid reflux. Great band name, that. Bullshit, this.

The Iowa Caucus. Goes without saying, but why ~45,000 people of nearly homogenous demographic should set the primaries’ inertia is, yes, aside from eerily analogous to Canada’s curling league, you guessed it, bullshit.

That’s all that is bullshit today. Everything else is fine. Just fine.

Oh, and George? I still see you, George. I’m here, George. It is tomorrow, and you are here in my apartment, and we’re stoking the fire that I set on the new rug that covers the linoleum of my memories, and we’re laughing, George, we’re laughing only because we mustn’t cry.  This bonus track is for you, George. George?

Important note: zoetrope-0 insisted  in her profile that her suitors should also hate Hemingway. So I sent her this (you're welcome, George):

Monday, February 1, 2016


Greetings before valedictions, y’all. Your resident flaneur here, quill inked, prepared to melt your precious time into alloyed slag.

For my next trick, I’ll best Hemingway’s saddest ever six-word story.

To do:

Divorce papers

And now, introducing my newest segment:


Sometimes, when alone, I hold my pee, just so I have something to hold.

Some people hate-watch certain shows. Sometimes, I’ll hate-watch, despite warnings not to look into the mirror on acid.

Sometimes, when in public, rocking my Latrell Sprewell jersey, I feel like a lenticular woman in a sundress; i.e. every heteronormative male and their mom be tryna holla at me. #endstreetharassment

Sometimes, I try to go to sleep at a decent family hour, but my roommate laces with coffee beans the bread he bakes, so instead I stay up writing this blog, excavating my gums of Colombian chunks, gnawing at phantom molars, ululating my sleeplessness deep into the Harlem night. To retaliate, I plan on packing peanut butter crackers with his next lunch. Who’s laughing now? That’s right, both of us.

Things That Are Bullshit:

Google Maps’ lack of effort in Harlem. Observe for yourself the fruits of a Foot Locker search:

Notice the picture of an AT&T store. Listed as a McDonald's. Shame on you, Google, for your classist bullshit. 

Derivative market speculation is another thing that's bullshit. I’d generously call it capitalistic high-stakes gambling, except big losses always get bailed out – so more like not risking money with a rewind button. Derivative speculation: bullshit.

For that matter, the American publication market’s bowdlerization of creative writing: bullshit. Over the past twenty years, since the dawn of the internet, there’s been a shrinkage of linguistic and structural range within big-market fiction and creative nonfiction, in fear of alienating readers who would never buy such books anyway, and therefore aren’t part of this, yes, big market, or else why would half my OKCupid perusals list anything between Anne Carson and Middlesex as a favorite? This literary paring down to a commercial core comes at a time when dictionaries are as accessible as ever – as in, click here, enter word, stop stopwatch at 4.23 seconds. It also comes at a time when the same publishing house that printed Infinite Jest – in small fraction a parable of limitless entertainment’s dangers (e.g. the internet) – wouldn’t touch such a tome with a two-penny red pen. Alas, the vast majority of the most existentially striated, sometimes experimental, yet always nuanced and risk-taking books are being marginalized to indie presses because big publishers have turned into literary fascists (see: bowdlerization…dude just click here (insert), enter word, deduce my meaning). This however makes sense, is to be expected of the moneygrubbers, the suits, and isn’t all bad considering those of the literati still have a place to turn for their fiction needs. And in some ways you see improvements: like Chad Harbach’s ten-year project, The Art of Fielding, which began as a postmodern project a la the mode of Infinite Jest, but over time consolidated into a beautiful traditional narrative. But, mainly, it’s a sad culling of quality fiction, the main problems being: a) many non-literati members also read nuanced or risky books (and more would if they were still marketed), and b) when our generation’s top-selling literary novelist has become the bigwig market’s most effective shill, then you go from Franzen’s The Corrections to his Purity – a bit of a fascisty regression, no? For further incredibly depressing evidence of the inhabitable literary climate for nuanced/risky books, read about what it took to publish Sergio De La Pava's masterpiece, A Naked Singularity (that’s right, no link, because it’s not even on Wikipedia, and I need to go to sleep so find it yourself). Post-Corrections Jonathan Franzen: bullshit. Commoditized bowdlerization of the human condition: bullshit.


SHOUTS OUT to Ray Lyman, easily this generation’s greatest revolutionary.

SHOUTS OUT to George...George? I know you’re in here, George. You too, Len Allergy.

SHOUTS OUT to Katie Rainey, victim to this other late-night chuckler, who arrogated what should rightfully have been her Twitter handle, cleaned of middling initials. Fuck him and that fawning mule he pets.  See, George? I'm not defaming you. Just others. 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Party and Bullshit

First I want to talk about some things that are bullshit.

Let’s start with the Oscar’s. Why is everyone hating on them now…when they should’ve always been hated on? The Oscars are bullshit. 

Oh and the Grammys are also bullshit.

If, on the 1 train, you play your music out loud via phone or otherwise exogenous audio device, I can only assume you too poor and/or stupid to use headphones. Thus your entire gestalt: bullshit.

ESPN picking Tom Brady over Joe Montana for best Super Bowl player ever – and Joe’s not even second! Legit fascism here. Legit bullshit.

If you don’t think this is funny, then you have a diagnosable mental condition. Diagnosis: Bullshit Syndrome.

Tune in next time, to see what else is bullshit.

Anyway. This newfangled version of my blog is aptly titled: Pyrotechnic Regret. Which is because I’m human, and to be human requires a biological processing of mortifying, ignominious, and outright despairing experiences whose trauma lead to – and this if you’re lucky – a steady hum of regret spread thin over the threadbare layers of your life. You see, what grownups do is they sublimate their regret into compassion – a mature understanding of our common struggle, which leads to empathy and unselfishness. But they also atone. In the spirit of which, I introduce:


First of all, I wanna give a SHOUT OUT to the protein shake I just had, which was a gastronomic disaster, and is working flatulently to accelerate global warming. Blizzard ’17!

SHOUTS OUT to D. Hollander, whom I’m still campaigning with halfassed effect to come back to Facebook. Dav-id, Dav-id, Dave – ah fuck it. Do you dude. This gig sucks. We’re called Shit Father and this gig sucks.

SHOUTS OUT to B. Sammons, who is also not on Facebook, and who bunkered down with me during the blizzard and showed me some really dope troll videos (that’s right, round 2), but whose bottle of Bulleit and crippling snacking habits which I had no choice but to emulate have left me both churlish and crapulent.

SHOUTS OUT to George, whom I said I’d write about here and so I’m doing so, since we wouldn’t want him thinking I’m not going to exercise the divine power which these intractable interweb dimensions provide me. Now would we, George? No, George. We wouldn’t. George.

SHOUTS OUT to the time my childhood friend Sergio and I mistook the benign white powder in my neighbor’s garage for cocaine, and duly threw rocks at their house under suspicions of them harboring a Schedule I substance, such the toddling vigilantes we were yore, and being chased by said house’s regressed patriarch into the nearby wood only to have been on the ass end of a verbal dick-beating of the likes I’ll most likely never again experience.

Welp, that's all for today folks. Tune in next time, to feel worse than you would at your default state of contentment, which, as Len Allergy would say, is just boredom spread thin anyway. You're welcome.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let's Talk About Him Because He's Not Here

Over the three years since last posting this blog, I’ve undergone transformations exceeding that of this totally rad new font. What hasn’t changed is my technophobia, which has become so crippling as to inhibit my ability to find my very own blog page on Facebook (I have to enter it into the search tab).

Speaking of Facebook, I want to begin my comeback with a campaign. A dear chum and mentor of mine, David Hollander, recently conscripted himself to the ranks of us who masquerade behind the digital happy-mask that is Facebook’s domain. Alas, he’s left Kubrick’s internet party, having witnessed and participated in the philandering no one would be allowed to in like, reality.

David, we get it. Facebook is interpersonal masturbation. We fling gross misrepresentations of our lives against our profile walls like a monkey does shit. These feculent walls are full of unbridled self-promotion, political opinions that only incite further antagonism, incredibly anthropocentric ‘musings’, singularly pleasant pictures, nothing resembling the reality of the human condition, really the list could extend, ad infinitum. Oh, and memes. Memes that can be funny, but 99% of the time evince the unfortunate median of mobocratic intelligence.

Let’s backtrack. Facebook starts with Mark Zuckerberg et al, who are all, clearly, in my worthless opinion, closet sadists. Within the dark haunts of their minds, they’re a cabal of clever kids with a penchant for skinning squirrels, replace the knife with a keyboard, and serial-killing motives with binary-coded schadenfreude.

Hey David? Stop watching the Rangers blow another playoff series for one second and look at me. Sure David, like any for-profit institution, the Facebook financiers are in it for the ROI. But the Napoleons, the Goebbelses, the Jokers – the Zuckerbergs, et al – these demiurges are in it to manipulate the human menagerie. And what Zuckerberg et al have done is create a digital cage for our human zoo, where we’re all forced to sublimate our chimeric hopes and ambitions and ideals in such close quarters as to be driven utterly mad. Cue infinite regress.

So you’re right, David. There’s quite a downside to being on Facebook. But let’s look at it from another angle – say, outside the acute slice of your sectionable paranoia (important to note here that this is actually just a projection of my own paranoia, and I need to back up my self-diagnosis of DSM-V-level conspiracy theories with comments like this; i.e. for the record David Hollander evidences no signs of paranoia or otherwise psychosis).

Facebook allows us to connect, network, keep in touch, spread information, all that banal socioeconomic speak that will send me into a critical tailspin if I keep thinking about it. But on a more personal level, here’s what’s true. Practically, if I want to send David a song I like, yet I can’t send him the YouTube link via text because he still uses a flip-phone that was produced when I was still suffering nocturnal emissions, I could just hop on the ’Book and shoot it through the ether – magic, he has it. Practicality 2.0: if I wanted to post some esoteric inside joke that infers my 97th percentile-intelligence (I mean, SAT scores don’t lie let’s be honest (income brackets are for capitalist pigs)) and tag David on it, I could hit up Facebook, and we could look simultaneously up at the moon and giggle crookedly before our coruscated screens at the sad sense of superiority we share and which is at center of our complexly layered motivation to commiserate on such esoterica (again this could just be me).

And speaking of veneers. Practicality, Episode III: in the end, David Hollander, I know, believes in the human condition – its twin loci of existential fate and desiring love above all. I know he believes that unrequited love is the evil behind most all the malevolence that precipitates in our cruel reality, and which should allow all of us to empathize with even the most wicked acts, even if we deplore them. Yes, Facebook is mired in arrant bullshit. Yes, if I spend more than fifteen minutes within its amorphous yet highly palpable confines, I’ll begin considering methods to my gaining madness. Yet at its center, despite the less savory manifestations of its malefic creators (which malfeasance is almost 100% conjecture), it does connect us, and connection is the necessary first step to love. So David? Get back on Facebook, because I love you man.

Postscript: It is important to note that David Hollander is the intended audience of this blog post, and yet he will never read this, because he’s not on Facebook anymore, and yet I’m posting this on Facebook, the medium my audience is being convinced to get on, but which convincing will fall on no audience, so he won’t get on it, etc. Cue regress.

Postscript 2.0: David Hollander does not approve of this message. Sue me.