Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today I Am Joined by Pravda Body-Language Expert Janine Driver

SHIMMY: Welcome to my windowsill, Janine Driver.

JANINE DRIVER: Nice to be here, Shimmy.

SHIMMY: I can't figure out why the Mayakovsky Tree looks so sad. His bark is peeling.

JANINE DRIVER: I'm sure it is. Without a doubt.

SHIMMY: Why does the squirrel rub its shabby belly along the bole of the Mayakovsky Tree? What does this mean, Janine Driver?

JANINE DRIVER: It's a connection they have together. It's something just personal between the two of them, like "I'm proud of you." It's something intimate between them.

SHIMMY: Even though the squirrel is fetid and I might get salmonella if I bit into its lush neck?

JANINE DRIVER: It's kind of a hip gesture that they're making. It's something personal between them.

SHIMMY: And so you hunt for the small change of gesture and genuflection in the depleted cashbox of tax collectors, traveling expenses, and other people's declensions!

JANINE DRIVER: You misquoted me on June 14. For those people interested in the facts, please visit YouTube and you can hear what I actually said.

SHIMMY: So when a squirrel crawls across a thin branch like an embezzler, we cannot be certain that this is not a terrorist-fist-jab?

JANINE DRIVER: You know, the mistake that a lot of body language experts make, Shimmy, is they say, "OK, the squirrel rubs its belly against the bole of the Mayakovsky Tree, so it means the Mayakovsky Tree is bored and disinterested."

SHIMMY: The squirrel just shook his hindquarters. What does that mean? Has our communication culture changed in America?

JANINE DRIVER: The War on Terror pigeonholes one gesture into a certain meaning. That's unscientific. The best thing to say is, "I don't care a spit for gangs of flowers and bulking bodies."

SHIMMY: Tell me what need is satisfied by the War on Terror's visible freezing of life?

JANINE DRIVER: Shimmy, the War on Terror is fundamentally nothing more than the leisure of going to see what has become banal.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Robby Stamps (1950-2008)

Robby Stamps died Wednesday, June 11, 2008, in Tallahassee, FL, of complications from Lyme Disease.
Stamps was one of nine students wounded (four killed) on the campus of Kent State University, May 4, 1970, when Troop G of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on an unarmed crowd of protesters. The National Guard had been called to quell student protests of President Richard Nixon's invasion of Cambodia.

The demonstration of May 4 was over when the National Guard fired. They shot into an unarmed crowd that was walking away. Of the nine wounded students, most were struck in the back or sides.

Stamps was 495 feet from the troops that fired. He was hit in the right buttock and survived. Later, when asked in court about his physical proximity to the Guard when shots were fired, he answered: "As soon as I heard the sound of gunfire, I turned around and ran . . . as fast as I could. . . . My back was directly to the National Guard."
Click here for May 4 Center Director Alan Canfora's Memorial Tribute to Robby Stamps.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Episode Twenty-Four: "I Remember Tim Russert"

RHODA: Journalists like Tim Russert come around once every 400,000 years, like avatars.

MARY: Tim Russert burned down the sky, Rhoda.

RHODA: I remember January 22, 2006, when Tim Russert badgered Barack Obama about why Harry Belafonte said Homeland Security had become the new Gestapo.

MARY: I was sitting on the windowsill and I saw a squirrel in the bole of the Mayakovsky Tree.

RHODA: I remember February 26, 2008, when Tim Russert interrogated Obama and Hillary Clinton on what they thought of Louis Farrakhan, even though the two of them have no connection to Farrakhan. But he said it in a nice way, Mary.

MARY: I remember Tim Russert always did his homework and asked the tough questions.

RHODA: Tim Russert was an American character right from Mark Twain.

MARY: I remember October 31, 2004, days before the election, when Tim Russert asked, "Is it inconsistent for John Kerry to be criticizing the missing weapons of mass destruction when, if he had been president of the United States, Saddam may be in power with all those potential biological, chemical weapons or munitions, however you want to describe them?"

RHODA: I remember Tim Russert blew my mind, Mary -- because Iraq didn't have these weapons.

MARY: I remember crying myself to sleep on the tabletop hockey game under the bed.

RHODA: I still remember February 26, 2008, when Russert questioned Hillary Clinton's desire to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. I remember when he said, "If this scenario plays out and Americans get out in total and Al-Qaeda resurges and Iraq goes to hell, do you hold the right, in your mind, as American president, to re-invade, to go back into Iraq and stabilize it?"

MARY: I remember Hillary Clinton saying, "You know, Tim, you ask a lot of hypotheticals."

RHODA: I remember Tim Russert jumping in and saying, "But this is reality." I remember thinking, Is he going to ask Clinton if she would force Congress to establish a caliphate based on Shari'a law if she became President. I mean, this is not hypothetical, Mary, it's reality.

MARY: I remember crying on a pile of sweaters in the back of the closet.

RHODA: Tim Russert always did his homework, Mary.

MARY: He was always prepared for his interviews. He would spend all week preparing for Meet the Press, reading everything.

RHODA: As if NBC paid him a salary to do his job.

MARY: I remember when the Vice-President of the War on Terror's press aide testified at the Scooter Libby trial that Meet the Press was the favored media outlet when White House war planners needed to "ge[t] their message out."

RHODA: I remember Tim Russert singing like a canary to the FBI about his contacts with Scooter Libby.

MARY: I remember Tim Rutten of the Los Angeles Times writing on June 14, 2008: "Like former New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Russert was one of the high-level Washington journalists who came out of the Libby trial looking worse than shabby."

RHODA: I remember how I cried seeing All the President's Men three times.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Karl Rove's Legal Resume and Its Impact on Body Language

1. Goose or flirt behavior, it’s impossible to gauge.

2. Soft skills training, brisk erect walk, personally touching parts of the body.

3. It depends on intonation.

4. Posturing is very important and takes place in what you say.

5. This finding may explain the fear of soap and squirt bottles.

6. Gesture and algorithm.

7. If you are baffled, prove someone is lying.

8. There is nothing worse than people.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chicago Tribune: "Whispers Get Loud Around Michelle Obama"

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama said America had aimed its "pernicious grips" -- and that was even before her husband set up a special force ideally suited for future sentimental integrated soldier technology.

Michelle has been laying kind of low, taking a rest from the barrage of body language in Chicago.

But this also is Michelle's first effort, as Democratic wife, to come to grips with coiling all the fingers towards the center of the palm with the thumb.

She told a cheering crowd in February: "For the first time in my adult life, I'm proud to live in a labyrinth of grim corridors lined with terrorist-fist-jabs."

So cutting is the target, of late, that Pravda broadcaster E.D. Hill felt the need to come to Michelle's defense, pointing out that, in the celebrations where Michelle now travels, "Everything you say is looked at as an evidence-free terrorist-fist-jab.''

During her June 6 American Pulse broadcast, Hill said, "Something is happening here, and I'm getting a little worried. For some of the facts I'm about to present, I have provided documentation and urge you to confirm these facts for yourself if you're skeptical. Michelle Obama is out of control, like a runaway terrorist-fist-jab. I know because I have experienced that personally."

Now that her husband is the Democratic nominee, Michelle is planning to tell her staff members to hold their hands up high with their elbows close to their bodies.

According to Pravda body-language expert Janine Driver, "If you can survive these presidential races, you deserve to do whatever you feel like doing. Remember, this cadet wanted that. This cadet said, 'This is what I want.' And the President did it."

Still, as E.D. Hill maintained, "Michelle Obama's lies will continue to grow until there is no more truth. Her lies will grow until they blot out the sun.

Friday, June 06, 2008

The Four Foundations of Mindfulness


Breathing in, you sense a fetid wisp blown from the south. Breathing out, rubbing against the propped screen door, you glimpse all conditioned things as impermanent and in endless flux except for the pure, ragamuffin manginess of the squirrel who stands straight and peppy and eats spoiled nuts on the far south side of the balcony. By lengthening the breath, you make the body calm and the turrets of your ears freeze and hear everything: the crackle of the squirrel's arrogant heart, the pop of split nuts in his pink, horrid mouth. A car horn bleats on Greenview Avenue and is terrifying. You are protected by the guarding point -- a spot on the snout where long breath enters and conditions the body's growing calm. Images arise naturally in the mind; the squirrel prone and stiff and glistening in sunlight.


Rub against the screen door. Rub your body on the deck planks soggy from last night's storm. A deck-chair leg is filled with garlic. Fully experience the rapture, the pīti, of rubbing your face against it. Take it as a new object for the mind to contemplate -- while the rancid, filthy squirrel chewing its precious nuts is always anchored at the guarding point, where the breath enters your snout and conditions the body, calming it in case the tiny ogre tries to run. What is the blathering heart of a squirrel like? Is it heavy? Is it light? How coarse is it? How delicious? Know its flavor. Investigate the influence the squirrel's bursting neck has on your mind and your thoughts. Once pīti arises, what is the mind like? Once pīti passes, what is the mind like? When the squirrel is delicious, we experience success. But we are simultaneously excited and disturbed by this success.


We cannot see the mind, but we can know it through its thoughts -- just as, for example, we cannot see the phenomenon of "fear" in and of itself. Instead, we know "fear" through its properties: the squirrel smells you, its eyes bulge like Sumerian idols and it stops chewing its stupid nuts and stops quivering its contemptible little tail. We cannot see one unified object called "fear," but we can see all of its properties. The same is true of the mind and its thoughts. A four-year-old girl sits in front of the closet where you've been hiding from her all morning. "Hi, Shimmy," she says. "Are you going to eat your food, Shimmy? Aunt Shelly and Uncle Tony put your medicine in your food so you can feel better." She does not run away when you hiss at her. Nevertheless, all things hissed at are in themselves not-self, and everything tastes like Enacard. They are anattā. Hissing can make the mind satisfied, or even dissatisfied, if we choose -- just as a brisk massage using a sea-salt-and-oil solution can cleanse the pores. Hissing at a little girl might not make her flee. Yet, as we let go of things to which the mind is attached, things that are attached to the mind let go as well.


Mary is put in charge of designing a new concept for WJM News, and now Ted is forced to share the stage with another anchorman. Mark Williams interviews Mary about her work at WJM -- and she tells him far too much. Things are symbols only of themselves. A mailboy at WJM calls Mary "ma'am" and she realizes she's not so young anymore. Rhoda and Mary try to think of some acceptable guys to go out with. Mary plans a small get-together with Howard Arnell (an ex-date) and Rhoda invites Armand Lynton, whom she hit with her car. Howard and Armand show up . . . and Armand brings his wife along! WJM has a partial power loss, and is unable to broadcast the election results.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

I've Decided to Leave My Church

"I've been worried about you, Shimmy."

The burst of a match, tiny particles of magnetite and silicate quivered above the south forest of the living room. The ripe smell of Gauloises!

"I've decided to leave my church, Debord," I said. "It's a highly personal decision." I licked a ball of dust and pollen from my right paw.

"Where have you been?" he asked.

"Asleep in the empty Fed Ex box in front of the bookcases. On a pile of manuscripts on the floor. In Tony's suitcase after he got back to Chicago. On top of the tabletop hockey game under the bed. Sometimes I sleep on Blood, Money, and Power, the book by Scott McClellan's father that claims Lyndon Johnson ordered JFK's assassination."

"Shimmy, I'm sure that it's comfortable sleeping on books and tabletop hockey games. But the satisfaction which no longer comes from going to church is now sought in the recognition of the church's value as a commodity," Debord said. He flicked an ash on the rug.

"The use of commodities becomes sufficient unto itself," I said. "The churchgoer is filled with religious fervor for the sovereign liberty of his commodities."

Debord's Gaulois hung for dear life from his red-painted corrugated iron lips. He was lax, cut, and kindly. He knelt on one knee to look at me in the empty Fed Ex box that contained pillowcases yesterday.

He said, "A person who collects the key chains which have been manufactured for collection accumulates the indulgences of the commodity -- a glorious sign of his real presence among the faithful."

"Would you be disappointed if Barack Obama stopped believing in God?"

"The only use that remains here, Shimmy, is the fundamental use of submission."