Monday, February 27, 2006

The Six Perfections

Thus have I heard, these are the six practices for crossing over:

1. GENEROSITY: Rub yourself on tactile things. Subject-object distinctions collapse. In the wake of your groundlessness, don't do anything except stare at table legs, feet, and the space where the floor meets the bottom of the wall.

2. MORALITY: Good conduct, hissing at pigeons, swatting.

3. PATIENCE: Watch the ceiling fan swirl until you distinguish each individual blade. If you stare at the radiator long enough, a hummingbird comes out.

4. HEROIC EFFORT: Dig in the sand in your litterbox until you find the copy of the Constitution that the White House buried. The vet cannot look inside your mouth unless he sedates you. The movement of the ceiling-fan blades is terrifying -- keep looking.

5. MEDITATION: With each in-breath, you inhale all the squirrels in the neighborhood until every tree is bare. From the divine afflatus of each out-breath comes an endless chain of milk-bottle-cap-rings and leftover yogurt in small, abandoned dishes on the floor. You can chase and eat them after you lick your whole body.

6. WISDOM: Mary is audited by the IRS. The agent makes a house call with his adding machine. Rhoda stops by to borrow a can of wet food, a string of dental floss, and a catnip mouse. No one utters a word, but Rhoda knows the IRS agent is falling in love with Mary but afraid to lick her forehead or rub against her pant leg. When Mary is nervous, she swats.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

"That's Not Torture!"

I've been taking naps atop the latest issue of the New Yorker. I really like sleeping on Jane Mayer's new essay on the White House thirst for torture, which reveals John Yoo to be a whiney sorcerer's apprentice rather than the respected law professor he wants us to believe.

The Secretary of Defense's dachshund, Reggie, came to me in a dream last week and tried to steal Hairball Control food pellets from my dish. My venomous flailing and hisses rattled his nervous system and he trundled, ashamed, from the apartment.

Repugnant Neo-Conservatives must stay away from my food dish. I'll shed pumpkin fur on Condoleezza Rice's piano if I have to. I just want them to leave me alone, especially when I'm sleeping.

According to Jane Mayer, a December 2, 2002, Defense Department memo argued that making prisoners stand for 4 hours a day might be considered "cruel and unusual punishment." Responding to the memo, Donald Rumsfeld noted that he often stands "for 8-10 hours a day" in the course of his regular warlock office duties, adding: "I stand for 8-10 hours a day. What's wrong with that?"

Last summer, I played with a housefly for about 12 hours in front of the living room sofa. Until it couldn't fly anymore.

Rumsfeld actually repeated it more than once, according to Defense Department staff quoted in the article:

A former Administration official told me [Mayer] that
Rumsfeld was unconcerned; he once more joked that
he himself stood eight hours a day, and exclaimed,
"Torture? That's not torture!" ("His attitude was
'What’s the big deal?'" the former official said.) A sub-
ordinate delicately pointed out to Rumsfeld that while
he often stood for hours it was because he chose to do
so, and he could sit down when he wanted.

The Secretary of Defense's sharp-honed sadistic mind! I roll on the New Yorker and curl my paws.

In 2001, I killed my first mouse family. One of the mice ran up the bookshelf. I was on my hind legs, bleeping and purring. My tail shivered.

The mouse squeaked. It must have been having fun, too.

Sometimes I can't help it -- the bloodlust -- and I feel just like Rumsfeld: I climb for hours every day. So what's wrong when a mouse climbs the bookshelf? That's not torture.

I've heard some of Rumsfeld's friends in New Mexico say he's nothing but a sophist. He doesn't believe in anything but the smell of blood. Maybe so. But can you imagine hearing Rumsfeld's radical empathy for prisoners from, say, someone like Ann Coulter? This is why she should not be guarding U.S. ports in Baltimore, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Miami.

It was the mouse I eventually scared to death. Tony found it on the floor next to me.

The mousey was belly-up. I was supine and amazing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Why Was Ann Coulter Given Control of U.S. Port Security?

I don't understand why the White House made a deal to give Ann Coulter control of security in six major U.S. ports. Putting the ports in the hands of someone who hates democracy just makes no sense to me. Even Tom Ridge said the White House needs to explain why the deal will not weaken national security.

A port security expert told CNN that fears the agreement will reduce U.S. security are based on Coulter's bigotry and political opportunism.

In a June 20, 2001, appearance on Hannity & Colmes, Coulter said: "God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'" If you have dominion over plants, animals, and trees, Ann Coulter, then how come I've destroyed more mice (7 of them) than you have in the past 5 years? She told Geraldo Rivera on August 2, 1999 that Bill Clinton "masturbates in the sinks."

And the White House wants this person to be in charge of port security in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York and Philadelphia?

Most of all, I'm concerned that port security would be controlled by someone who seems to hate our troops even more than the White House hates them. I remember that MSNBC fired Coulter after she told paralyzed veteran Bobby Muller, president of the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, "People like you caused us to lose that war." In a January 11, 2001, column, she called the Democrats "terrorists" (same word former Education Secretary Rod Paige used to describe the National Education Association -- but Paige so far has not commented on whether my vet with his nurses and needles and chromium examination table is also a terrorist organization).

So she hates democracy, hates the troops, and can't hold a job -- but we want her controlling port security in Baltimore, Miami, New Jersey, New Orleans, New York, and Philadelphia? What planet am I living on?

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Revolution of Everyday Life

The bathtub spigot is immediate experience, consciousness of a lived immediacy threatened on all sides yet not alienated -- not yet inauthentic. The center of lived experience is that place where we come closest to ourselves. Within the space-time of the tub we have the clear conviction that reality exempts us from necessity. Consciousness of necessity is always what alienates us. We have been taught to apprehend ourselves by default -- in absentia, so to speak. But it takes a single moment of awareness of real life to eliminate all alibis.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

He Buries the Law

The President of the War on Terror stopped by our apartment Saturday night. He was worried about me. He wanted to keep me company. Tony and Shelly had been absent for two days already. (They came home Sunday. Yes, I left them Abu Ghraib pyramids in the corner of the south forest in the middle of the night! Such gifts.)

The President of the War on Terror sat on the lip of my litter box, dangling his butterfly feet.

The President of the War on Terror brought a copy of the Constitution with him. We buried it under a mound of luscious litter sand pellets. He never looked happier. I told him I could see a piece of the document still sticking out of the sand. I mean, it wasn't really buried. My god, even when he's burying the Law, he's not competent. "Don't worry, Shimmy," he said. "We can smother the rest of the Constitution with that wet clump over there."

The President of the War on Terror was informed the levees broke on August 29. He told the country he learned the levees broke on August 30. He said he thought we'd "dodged a bullet" on August 29. He said they never knew the levees were breaking till it was too late. In a draft report that will be issued tomorrow, February 15, a group of House Republicans write: "If this is what happens when we have advance warning, we shudder to imagine the consequences when we do not. Four and a half years after 9/11, America is still not ready for prime time."

The President of the War on Terror helped me bury the Constitution, then he came came home and took off his shoes and socks. In his bare feet, he told Cheney (who just shot a man), "Today I wrestled one of those giant rock pythons you see on the Maryland interstate all the time. It was trying to squeeze to death a little boy. I saved the boy's life," he lied. "Then I jumped off a roof holding only an umbrella, and the wind currents lofted me a couple hundred yards, where I landed on Scarlett Johansson's shoulders. Then she asked me to marry her. Then I said no. Then with my bare hands, I dug a hole from Silver Spring, Maryland, back to the White House. With my bare hands."

Monday, February 13, 2006

The Prince of Darkness

Number of U.S. soldiers killed since war began: 2,265

Number of U.S. solidiers wounded since war began: 16,549

Number of U.S. citizens shot in the face and chest by Dick Cheney since war began: 1

Thursday, February 09, 2006

My Index

Percentage of U.S. conservatives who report having fallen asleep in the bathtub: 82

Percentage of liberals who do: 100

Percentage of Americans who say that fighting lugubrious dog smell viper from the back porch should be one of the nation's top two priorities: 96

Percentage of those too distracted to answer, sniffing the back door welcome mat or eating dead leaves: 3

Number of mice I have destroyed at some point since March 2001: 7

Percentage of those mice scared to death instead of eaten, and whom I placed next to my raving, supine body to display to Tony and Shelly: 14.3

Average number of squirrels named "Ashcroft" per every square mile of Rogers Park: 7

Average number named "Alito": 33

Chances that the cat in the window across the street will lick himself if I blink at him: 4 in 5

Estimated amount the White House would save each year on paperwork if it declared martial law: $161,000,000,000

Number of times Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization": 1

Number of times he described the vet and his nurses and needles and chromium exam table as a "terrorist organization": 0

Number of times this week the red construction-paper tail of my Alito catnip-mouse reminded me of the red robe Squeaky Fromme wore: 12

Estimated number of times this week my mouse made Mrs. Alito go weep! weep! weep!: 342,000

Chance that a TV character engaging in sexual intercourse during the 2004-2005 season was a cat: 0

Chances that a TV character engaging in sexual intercourse during the 2004-2005 season was Ken Starr: 3 in 5

Monday, February 06, 2006

Episode Six: "A Window in the Building Across the Street"

Do you see the way he's looking at me? Am I imagining things?

I see what you see, Mary.

He's staring right into our apartment. It makes me very uncomfortable.

Mary, it's obvious. Go talk to him. Why else would he sit in the window sill and stare at you?

I sat by the radiator for three hours last night expecting a mouse. Three hours, Rhoda. All this hurly-burly clank and the repellent radiator crinkling in the corner of the room.

Look at his tail. And those almond devil eyes.

Puffs of hot air. Warm goose-bump water hiss, no mouse comes out.

My god, Mary, will the woman who lives in the apartment across the street please hang something on her walls?

The atmosphere of false communication makes everyone the policeman of his own encounters.

Or at least paint them? How long do you have to live in one apartment with no art on the walls?

In the window sits the cat that Josef K. had noticed in the background earlier, holding on tightly to the lintel and rocking back and forth slightly on the tips of his back paws, like an impatient spectator.

At what point do you say, "The dull white walls are killing me?" It's like she's living in a scene from a Kubrick film.

I wish it were spring. Screens in the windows. Eating bumblebees. Then we nuzzle against the panes and talk.

Even when he licks himself, he can't take his eyes off you.

That which produces the common good is always terrible.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Last Night's State of the Union Address

The President of the War on Terror said, "Someone must have slandered Josef K., for one morning, without having done anything truly wrong, he was arrested."