Sunday, August 22, 2010

Batman And The Bagel

(The scene is the Batcave under stately Wayne Manor on the outskirts of Gotham City. BATMAN, the Caped Crusader, takes a break from his superhero work to have a snack. He sees a box on a nearby table. He picks out a baked good from it, bites into it, and chews it.)

BATMAN: Alfred?

ALFRED: Yes, sir?

BATMAN: Is this one of those Jewish doughnuts?

ALFRED: It is, sir. I believe they're called bagels.

BATMAN: Well, this is the first one that I've eaten ... and it's delicious!

ALFRED: They are rather tasty, sir ... if a bit dry at times. May I suggest you put some cream cheese on it? I happened to have put some by the box, along with a knife so you can spread it on the bagel.

(BATMAN applies the cream cheese to the bagel.)

BATMAN: So you have cream cheese on the outside of the Jewish doughnut instead of jelly inside like a gentile doughnut . Hmmm ...

ALFRED: Different cultures have different ways to baking and eating pastries, sir.

BATMAN: So ... different strokes for different folks then, eh?

ALFRED: You could say that, sir ... much like some say your friendship with Master Robin is a different stroke ... and a little more than just friendship.

BATMAN (Spits out bagel): Goddamn it, Alfred! What people saw was just a little friendly rough-housing between me and him! We were in a good mood because we had just captured the Joker AND the Penguin at the same time before they could commit their crimes! There is no way any one would ever have considered that to be homosexual!

ALFRED: If you insist, sir.

BATMAN: That goddamn Dr. Wertham! I'll sue his ass for libel! Insinuating that kind of bullshit goes on between Dick and me!

ALFRED: Sir, if I remember correctly, Batman is your secret identity. If you were to sue Dr. Wertham, and I'm no attorney, but I believe the court would require you to testify as Bruce Wayne. And that would expose your secret identity.

BATMAN: You're right, Alfred. That would definitely put me in a bind.

ALFRED: I believe the common term for that is up the creek without a paddle. And the creek isn't full of water. It's full of human waste, if you know what I mean ...

Thought And Reflexes

What some people call thought resembles reflexes and reactions. It's no more complicated and just as automatic as pulling back your hand after you put it on a hot stove.

To call it thought is to give it a dignity is doesn't deserve.

Thought and reflexes are two different things. I know that I think. Or I try to. You might think. But they don't think the way I think. Or if they do think, it isn't as strongly or deeply as you and me.

Those people usually aren't taught. They're trained. There's a big difference between the two. You train animals. You ought to teach people.

If you train people, it's because they must do actions where thought is second nature, like some habits. An example of that is military training.

Or maybe you train people because they can't think, and that's a scary thought.

I've thought about this for a long time. I find it bothersome. So I post it here and now to get it expressed and possibly less bothersome.

DeLillo And The Physical Act Of Writing

It's time for another entry in the department I call Common Place Post. Today, it will be about the writing of American writer Don DeLillo, the author of White Noise, Libra, and Underworld, among other novels. It isn't about the literary merits of his work, but the act of writing itself.

It ran in the June 11-18 issue of The New Yorker. Again, as I've done before, I forgot to note the author:

As DeLillo matured as a writer, his detritus increased, and not just because his books got longer. Beginning with the manuscript of The Names, written in the early 1980s, he began consistently to type each paragraph over and over, often on its own page, so that within a draft a paragraph may appear a dozen times on a dozen sheets, as he works it out to his satisfaction ... The process gives DeLillo's drafts a highly deliberate pace, like a blind man tapping his way forward. It also confirms his appraise of his own technique; in a 1997 letter to David Foster Wallace (NOTE: The author of the novel Infinite Jest), he wrote that his prose is characterized by "a sensitivity to the actual appearance of words on a page, to letter shapes and letter combinations." (DeLillo saved a copy of the letter.) He goes on, "at some point (in my writing life) I realized that precision can be a kind of poetry, and the more precise you try to be, or I try to be, the more simply and correctly responsive to what the world looks like -- then the better my changes of creating a deeper and more beautiful language."

ADDENUM: Seems as if I've forgotten the year is was published, too. My apologies for that.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Heat ... The Humidity ...

As I write this, the sky is overcast. The ground is damp from rain that fell overnight. A light breeze blows from the west. The temperature is 75 degrees.

This a much, much better situation than much of the weather during the last two months: The most prominent event so far of this summer.

As I review notes that I took during the last two months, the temperature got up to 95 on July 7th, July 15th, and July 24th. The humidity was at 6o percent, which made it feel like it was 105 degrees outside.

105 degrees.

More of the same happened during the rest of July and August.; I heard on the radio on Aug. 5 that the temperature was 81 degrees. However, this was at 6:40 a.m.

6:40 a.m.

One morning, I was out doing errands. About 10 a.m., I left an air-conditioned drugstore. Just as I walked through its doors to the outside, I could feel the humidity. Now if walking through air has a density of 0 and waking through water has a density of 100, the density of that atmosphere was, by my guess, 20 to 25.

Central Indiana got a break from the bad weather on Aug. 7 and 8. But from Aug. 9 to Aug. 15 -- seven straight days -- the temperatures were above 95 and the heat index made it feel like it was 105. During those days, few to no clouds hung in the sky to block the heat of the sun's rays.

I took the precautions advised by the National Weather Service. I stayed out of the sun, especially during the afternoon and early evening. I stayed in an air-conditioned room.
But my air conditioner wasn't strong enough to cool my apartment thoroughly; I might get a new one for next summer. And I drank plenty of fluids, especially water.

It didn't help that, during the days of heat advisories, no clouds were in the sky. Sunlight fell directly on the ground, and that helped make it worse.

I write just about the lowlights -- because there are no highlights -- of this heat wave because I don't want to think about it any damn more.

The forecast for the next few days has highs in the middle 80s and lows in the middle 60s to high 50s. It'll be tolerable. But the chances of strong heat and high humidity often last until late September.

ADDENUM, AUG. 22: Predictions for this week have highs in the middle to low 80s and lows in the low 60s to high 50s. But the heat is forecast to rise next weekend.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Ah, Cheesecake!

I know one thing that can take away your blues about life: a nice slice of cheesecake.

And before you is a second helping of Elizabeth Taylor.

Back in December 0f 2008, I posted a picture of her. If you want to see it, then please click here.

For your pleasure right now, I serve you another:

Please enjoy.

My Fellow Citizens

My fellow citizens ... my fellow citizens ...

Jesus! How stupid they must be!

One of five of them now believe that President Obama is a Moslem, despite the proof put before them. For more details, please click here and read the story.

Believe it or ... do something to show your despair ... like shake your head or throw up your arms.

It does not help Obama since he said he supported the Moslem worship center now being built near the former World Trade Center. If you want more details, please look for stories about it via your favorite search engine.

I won't wrote any more of this matter because I feel strongly disgusted when I think of it. And if I write of it, I'd have to think of it.


The Killing Gridirons

Football season starts tonight. The high schools in central Indiana will have their first games of the season. College football will start in early September. Meanwhile the Colts have played two preseason games and will start the season in the middle of September.

I enjoy football the most of all spectator sports. But during the last few years, I began to have misgivings about it. And they have grown.

Football is the second most violent sport; boxing ranks below it. And with the speed and size and equipment used in the game, it's a miracle that no one has died during a game.

I repeat: During a game. But afterward, though ...

I read a story earlier this week in, a sports website. It shows a connection between concussions that players have suffered during the game with ALS or ALS-like symptoms they suffer later in their lives. If you want to read the story, please click here.

After I read it, I began to have more than second or third or fourth thoughts about my love and support of football.

I also note this: Chris Henry was a wide receiver for Tennessee Titans. He died last year of injuries he suffered when he fell off a moving truck . His autopsy showed that he had suffered brain damage unrelated to the fall. And he was in his middle 20s.

I know that if I watch fewer games this season, that would stop such injuries; they injuries would come anyway. But still ... sometimes I don't want to give any kind of support or approval to a potentially deadly game.

A Trip, After Midnight

In the previous post, I had mentioned things that I either did or had happened around me. One thing, I thought, ought to have its own post.

It was about 2 a.m. one morning in mid-June. I was awake because of insomnia. And when I have it, I'm awake for at least two hours.

I had run out of cigarettes and orange juice because I didn't buy any the night before, so I went to a gas station/convenience store in town. It's open 24 hours a day.

I took the long way because ongoing construction work to one of the main streets had closed it. Instead of going south and turning west to get to the convenience store -- a trip of about a half mile -- I drove four blocks west from my apartment, then two blocks south, then three blocks west, then four blocks south and back east. The trip was about 2.5 miles long.

I bought some cigarettes but not orange juice, because the store didn't sell any brand that I liked. Instead, I bought a gallon of fruit punch drink. I thought it would taste like Hawaiian Punch, but it had a flat taste and was less sweet than orange juice.

I looked at the expiration date on the plastic jug and it said Nov. 10, 2010.

What the fuck? I thought. Is this the liquid equivalent of Twinkies?

However, I came to like its taste and I've bought more of it after that.

Recent Scenes In My Life

I've been taking notes about some things that I either did or were going on around me this summer. They were too short to separate posts. Therefore, I put them here as one place.

Call them small chapters from a memoir of a limited time.

In late June or early July, I was driving south on German Church Road on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

I was between East 38th and East 46th streets when I saw this very unusual site: Two black men riding horses on the side of the road.

That part of Indianapolis isn't as heavily developed as the areas south of it, and it's populated mostly by whites.

Neither of them were in uniform; if they were in a police department's horse patrol unit, they were off duty.

(If you don't know the location, then please use your favorite online map to find it.)

I was taking a nap during a recent Saturday afternoon. I was dreaming that someone was coming up and going to grab me as I lay in bed.

I woke quickly and, in fear, threw a pillow.

No one was there.

I was standing in the courtyard of my apartment complex during two separate Wednesdays evenings when I saw a bus from a local Nazarene church pick up some of the children of my fellow residents of the apartment complex.

No adults boarded the buses, however. And some of those adults need church more than their children do.

I thought a lot about the real estate novelist who's mentioned in the Billy Joel song Piano Man. I can't figure out what the hell a real estate novelist is and how he would differ from, say, a novelist who wrote psychological thrillers.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Haters Gonna Hate

Haters gonna hate.
Gators gonna gate.
Waiters gonna wait.
Taters gonna tate.
Graters gonna grate.
Painters gonna paint.
Baiters gonna bait.
But skaters --
They gotta skate.

Liars On Both Sides

A man once told his grandson this:

"When I was in my 20s, I'd get together with my friends every so often for a nickel-and-dime poker game. We'd sit around, smoke cigars and drank whiskey as we played.

"We also talked a lot. The single men talked about the beautiful women they screwed. The married men talked about the size of the fish they caught.

"Two different subjects, two different sides -- but all of them were full of liars."

Black Thursday And The Long-Armed Bitch Slap

It's a sad fact of life that, after Monday and Tuesday, even the calendar says:


And it's worse when Black Thursday hits.

Black Thursday is always worse than Black Friday.

On Black Friday, you know the troubles are coming. Therefore, you're prepared for them and you can get through the day before the weekend starts.

But Black Thursday has an extra day of troubles. And you aren't prepared for them.

The same thing applies for Black Monday, Black Tuesday or Black Wednesday.

On those days, life seems to be giving you a bitch slap in the face, like you see in the picture at the top of this post.

It could be 8 feet long -- maybe 10 feet long or 12 feet long -- hell even 15 feet long -- because the size of the bitch slap doesn't matter. It comes and it stings.

But on some days, you return that bitch slap and call it a draw.