Thursday, January 31, 2008

[My Chain Gang, 2]

SHIMMY: Why do you want to work on my chain gang, Karl Rove?

KARL ROVE: My skills are an ideal match for this position. I directed sales and marketing operations within the highly successful Terror industry. I spearheaded successful product launches, resulting in added military expenditures of nearly $500 trillion in just five years.

SHIMMY: My chain gang must monitor dawn-to-dusk for bats, moths, bumblebees, camel crickets, cicadas, ladybugs, locusts, squirrels, ground beetles, houseflies, ants, and water bugs. And mice. Have you ever done this kind of work before?

KARL ROVE: I'd like to emphasize something, Shimmy. I directed and coordinated the successful launch of several key product lines -- yellowcake uranium, mobile germ factories, and aluminum tubes for centrifuge enrichment, to name three of the most successful -- in the competitive high-tech Terror industry, where quick movement from conceptual stages to market is essential.

SHIMMY: What if you escape from my chain gang and move to New York, where you become a prominent citizen and superintendent of a construction business? And then because of a letter from your brother, your girlfriend discovers you're a fugitive and blackmails you into marrying her?

KARL ROVE: I draw flowers from blood, and can simultaneously manage multiple projects under tight deadlines. I breeze through harrowing suburbs until my cheeks cave in.

SHIMMY: What's that noise inside the radiator?

KARL ROVE: It's pretty straightforward. We are surrounded in this country by the inscrutable, opaque clacking in the radiator. Abbadon and Asmodai squat on my bovine shoulders.

SHIMMY: I own two Tora Bora litter boxes. What happens if they're both not scooped every day and cleaned wholesale once per week?

KARL ROVE: As people do better, they start voting like they're afraid -- unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing.

SHIMMY: Is there anything I haven't told you about my chain gang that you would like to know?

KARL ROVE: I sing like a locust and chew my matted hair. I am more precious than anything.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Chinga la Migra!

"Debord," I said, "immigration agents told Thomas Warziniack that they never make mistakes."

A gray line of smoke rose between Guy Debord's fingers. The thick, bony smell of his Gauloises! My nose wet, twitching like a lilac.

"Shimmy, the endless series of trivial confrontations is set up again, from competitive sports to elections, mobilizing a sublunary interest," he said, waving his dainty Gauloise.

"Unlike suspects charged in criminal courts," I said, "detainees accused of immigration violations don't have a right to an attorney, and three-quarters of them represent themselves."

I watched Guy Debord's ripe giant shoes and their delicious laces. Just in case.

He walked into the kitchen, probably to see if my food was still in its dish. The loose laces on his giant shoes are precocious, like leaves on the back deck I would crunch between my teeth if he opened the back door and let me out.

I added, "Less affluent or resourceful U.S. citizens who are detained must try to maneuver on their own through a complicated system."

"Shimmy, there will be people living on the surface of the earth, and even in your apartment -- perhaps in the empty wicker newspaper box under the bed -- when the United States has disappeared."

Debord's hand reached for the back doorknob. Something scratched the hardwood floor beneath the stove.

A venal dog injected into sheep or other livestock, a venal dog is falling in Rogers Park -- sprayed from helicopters over homes.

"The mixture of ethnicities that will dominate is hard to predict, as is their cultures, even their languages," Debord said.

Turn the knob. Pull backward!

He continued: "The central, and profoundly qualitative question, will be this: have these future peoples, through an emancipated practice, dominated the present technology, which is generally that of artifice and dispossession? Or are they dominated by it in some way that is even more hierarchical and enslaving?"

It becomes your word against the government's," I said, "even when you know and insist that you're a U.S. citizen. Your word doesn't always count, and the government doesn't always investigate fully."

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Episode Twenty-Two: "The Owls Are Not What They Seem"

RHODA: Is Hillary Clinton a she-devil, Mary?

MARY: Rhoda, you should be ashamed of yourself. What's next? Are you going to tell me she claps too much?

RHODA: MSNBC's Chris Matthews says Hillary Clinton "claps like she's Chinese"! How come he still has a job?

TED BAXTER: First, we plant the Hostess Twinkies seeds in the ground. Then we relax by showing comic books to pigs.

MARY: During his November 6 Hardball broadcast, Matthews said: "I know the Chinese clap at each other, but what is she clapping at? I mean, it's like one of these wind-up things. She rolls around the room and dances with the clapping while she's there."

RHODA: Americans don't clap at each other, Mary. I'm afraid I'll break the bones of my hands.

MARY: On the October 26 Hardball, Matthews said, "What's with Clinton's clapping? Why is she always clapping? Is this a Chinese thing? What is this clapping? She doesn't clap like you do at a movie you like or something. She claps when she meets people."

RHODA: When I meet people, I hide under the ottoman and hiss. Sometimes I come out and swat at their shoes.

TED BAXTER: White House Press Secretary Dana Perino is taking traditional responsibility decisions and planning out a goals list that includes training full rectangular helicopter personnel for years and years.

MARY: On November 7, 2006, Matthews said, "That clapping. I just don't get it. It's not appealing. It's Chinese or something. I mean, what is this applauding-yourself-thing all about?"

RHODA: Stop it, Mary.

MARY: And on the June 1, 2006, broadcast of Hardball, Matthews was surprised that Clinton clapped when she announced her run for renomination for the Senate. "What's all the dancing and clapping about?" he asked. "Why'd she come to the platform clapping and dancing? What's the celebration about?"

RHODA: What's her problem, Mary? Why can't Hillary Clinton be depressive, like Abe Lincoln?

MARY: Way back in 2000, Matthews said, "I think Hillary Clinton spent too much time watching Richard Nixon in the Great Hall of the People because she's running around clapping hands like I don't know what."

Friday, January 18, 2008


"Shimmy, I'm sure you've heard Mitt talk about the importance of what happens within the four walls of the American home," Ann Romney said. "And for our family, like so many others, the kitchen lies at the heart of our home. When the boys were younger, they licked the butter off the muffin and howled some more. The practice of gathering as a family to share in both conversation and food remains the same: Mitt licks himself clean and then circles about the top of the paperwork and falls asleep. Like most families, we have a few favorite recipes that I get asked to make again and again. My mom made buttermilk pancakes frequently as a family tradition. I dumped a box of baking soda on the floor and she licked up half of it. When my boys were at home, I made these on weekends -- everything was OK until one day when I licked the butter they left on the table. After you try out this recipe, you'll understand why these are a Romney favorite. In fact, when Mitt licks your arm, you'll develop an itchy hive at the site. Serve with Potato Bugs, freshly squeezed orange juice, bacon, House Centipedes, and syrup."

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

"To Be Chipped Like Dogs"

Thanks to Media Monarchy for the link.
"Prisoners to be Chipped Like Dogs"

The UK is planning to implant "machine-readable" microchips under the skin of thousands of offenders as part of an expansion of the electronic tagging scheme that would create more space in British jails.

. . . The tags, injected into the back of the arm with a hypodermic needle, consist of a toughened glass capsule holding a computer chip, a copper antenna and a "capacitor" that transmits data stored on the chip when prompted by an electromagnetic reader.

But details of the dramatic option for tightening controls over Britain's criminals provoked an angry response from probation officers and civil-rights groups. Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said: "If the Home Office doesn't understand why implanting a chip in someone is worse than an ankle bracelet, they don't need a human-rights lawyer; they need a common-sense bypass."

. . . One company plans deeper implants that could vibrate, electroshock the implantee, broadcast a message, or serve as a microphone to transmit conversations. "Some folks might foolishly discount all of these downsides and futuristic nightmares since the tagging is proposed for criminals like rapists and murderers," consumer privacy expert Liz McIntyre said. "The rest of us could be next."
[Click here for the full story from The Independent]

[Click here for separate Washington Post article, "Chip Implants Linked to Animal Tumors"]

Thursday, January 10, 2008

What John Yoo Seemed to Forget as You Drove Your Delicate Rental Car Back from Indiana

I'll put a bell
around your neck
if you try this

"When I release
a sixteen-pounder
down th' center
of th' lane,

it's as if
toxic toothpaste
was never imported
from Jiangsu, China"

You went to Indiana,
I don't care

The war is over,
voters are worried
about the war

You left me food
for the day,
then John Yoo
came through
the front door

The U.S. health care system
is the best in the world
except when your death
can be "prevented by access
to timely and effective
health care"

Did your precious,
bourgeois psychics
in Indiana say anything
about John Yoo
scattering catnip beneath
the South Forest canopy

when he couldn't
make me come out from
under the bed?

Chris Matthews: "Eat your
barbecue and shut
your mouth --
unless you're Tom Delay!"

John McCain fighting
the Hundred Years' War

John Yoo tried to coax me
from beneath the bed
(while you were
in Indiana!),
"adding form and substance
to the otherwise
amorphous concept
of mental pain or suffering"

Prowling the peaches
and penumbras!
Whole families
shopping at night,
then I eat them!

"What John Yoo
seemed to forget

as you drove
your delicate rental car
back from Indiana
is that lawyers
are not above
the law"

Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa, Let Your Dreams Unfold in Asthmatic, Synchronic Time!

An obscene squirrel you've been hoping to reach very soon might seem right around the corner, Shimmy, but it's not. You seem to have a thousand things to do before it is actually realized. This Saturday, make a list of bugs to kill at home. You can't ask for help. We teach children how to look both ways before crossing a street, but we do not protect them from cars. Children can be taught how to live with cars and be afraid of them! We live with centipedes, bats, spiders, black-shot woods, and what else is bitten or been. Romance is in the air on Friday -- keep watching the small cat in the window across the street licking his left haunch and pretending he's not watching you watch him. "Tonight we proved that American politics is still in the hands of ordinary folks like you," said Swann's Way, which ran on a breathless, stream-of-consciousness, asthmatic, and almost musical platform that ignored Iowa's populism of chronological order and proceeded instead according to an impressionism that emphasized our need to flee diachronic time in favor of fictional units of time that adore memory and imagination.