Sunday, April 20, 2014

Skid Row Diary 24

7   September   2003,   Sunday   Day 57

   I signed in at the front desk and left the building just before 9:30. The 18 bus waited for me to get within horse throwing distance before driving off, so I walked downtown on 5th St. to the Rite Aid Drug Store. There I bought a paper and a U.S. News Special Collector Edition entitled “Mysteries of Outer Space,” with a nice picture of Saturn on the cover. I brought these items back with me to greedily devour up in my little room.
   There were a couple of job prospects in the want ads, but I’m unenthusiastic about job hunting currently. I busied myself by reviewing string theories (yes, the same string that Riker was so afraid of), inflation after the big bang, false vacuums, and multiverses.
   Fortunately, due to my new understanding of space/time, I know that all of the current theories in cosmology are wrong. However, I don’t feel it’s my place to correct anybody.
   I’ll tell you this though, the universe is not flat.
   It’s shaped like a helicon tuba.
   I took a little nap at 2:00, and dreamt I was taking a mud bath with Michelle Williams from “Dawson’s Creek,” and woke up about thirty minutes later and began writing.
   After dinner, I was watching “The Simpsons,” while reading “The Glass Bead Game,” when President Bush had the effrontery to pre-empt national television so he could tell us all that he needed 87 billion more dollars to continue the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “We will do whatever it takes, spend whatever it takes,” to continue the “War on Terrorism.”
   Why not? It’s not his money, now is it?
   Well, I guess we’re obligated to continue operations in those countries now, since we’ve invaded them and pretty much torn their countries apart, and all. I suppose it’s our moral duty to stay there and help them reconstruct. The point being of course, we shouldn’t have gone in there to begin with... in Iraq at least. I’ll give him Afghanistan, for now. 
   He neglected to mention anything about not finding any weapons of mass destruction, the reason we were waging war on a sovereign nation and disposing of it’s lawful government.
   It must have slipped his mind.
   87 billion dollars. That’s a lot of cash. I could go a long way on just 1 measly billion.
   Buy a motorcycle maybe. 
   A red one.
   Where is this money supposed to come from? The country's practically bankrupt as it is. In my mind this is the greatest effrontery to the American tax payers since the advent of income tax itself. We started a war under false pretenses, causing the death of thousands of Iraq nationals and American soldiers in the process. We haven’t gained anything from it, in fact we’re losing cash as  fast as if black hole were parked right next to the Federal Reserve Bank sucking it through it’s event horizon. We don’t have the money. Bush cut taxes during a time of war. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. A prime example of Republican fiscal responsibility. The current administration refuses to tell the American people the truth, that it fucked up big time, and lied to it’s own people, hiding behind buzz words and phrases like, “War on Terrorism (terrorism is a tactic, like the Zwischenzug Maneuver in chess. How can we wage war on a tactic?),” and “Homeland Defense (Homeland? Since when do we call America homeland? Might as well call it “Motherland” like the Ruskies, or “Fatherland,” like our German friends, or some other European crap).” Bush flat out declares that we are the forces for “good,” and the terrorists are “evil.” Well, I don’t see any halo surrounding Bush’s head, and what we call terrorism, and terrorist tactics may evolve out of frustration and desperation, but I doubt evil. I know the U.S. has done more than it’s fair share of meddling and interfering with foreign governments and regional affairs, acting as a causative agent towards it’s own retribution. Perceived American arrogance has caused our country to be unloved in many parts of the world. Instead of utilizing diplomatic finesse, our government tends to bulldoze it’s way through foreign policy. We’ve gotten ourselves into a huge mess, probably the greatest non-domestic policy error in our nation’s history, and we can’t figure out a way to stop it, or get out.
   So Bush’s answer is to throw more money at the problem, and keep it going.
   The sad part is three quarters of the American people will believe what Bush tells them. That we are the purveyors of justice, that this is a war about good vs evil, that the economy is improving, that weapons of mass destruction are still out there, we just haven’t found them yet. That tax cuts that benefit the wealthy are a good thing.
   It’s easy not to have to think for yourself. It’s easy to accept what you want to hear, that everything’s okay, that we’re doing the right thing. So much easier than taking the time to investigate, learn, and formulate our own positions. 
    Read “1984,” people! Orwell could have titled his classic “2003,” and it would have been appropriate. I can see the birth of Big Brother.
   But am I being an alarmist? Paranoid in fact. Am I so afraid of losing rights guaranteed to me by the Constitution, so appalled at the cavalier and massive loss of life, American and other, so shocked at my country’s lies and half truths, that I am prone to make condemning statements, pointing the blame on those currently in power? 
   Yes, and delightedly so! At least it appears that way.
   After “Futurama,” I taped Fox’s broadcast of “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” English had been dubbed in. I hadn’t seen it without subtitles. Ang Lee’s tribute to martial arts films. I enjoyed the movie, but didn’t get the whole suspension of gravity thing. I mean, this film and others would have you believe that once you master the martial arts you can leap around and fly like superman.
   Need to get to the roof of a 3 story building real fast because the bad guys have got you surrounded? No problem. You know karate, so just jump up.
   The swordfight in the trees was especially nauseating.  
   Everybody knows you can only suspend gravity after learning yoga.
   The “X-Files,” at 11:00 was good. An episode I hadn’t seen before, with major babe, Mimi Rogers guest starring, and having her way with her old “Rapture,” buddy, David Duchovny. Oh my.
   It turned out to be a two parter though, which left me mildly infuriated. 
   I went to sleep and had a dream with “Who’s the Boss,” Alyssa Milano, and Lysa Thatcher of “American Pie,” in it. 
   I don’t remember much of it, something to do with bee hives, sand castles, Gold Bond Ointment, and a trampoline.

8 September  Monday  Day 58

   Giselle was wearing a lovely two piece outfit. A black, knee length skirt, and a V necked, black and white stripped blouse.
   This week is starting out wonderfully.
   All I did today was check my mail, and go to One Stop. I got my application for a reduced fair bus pass returned to me with a note attached stating that it had been rejected because I already had a reduced fair bus pass.
   Well, that was true enough. 
   I walked from the post office downstairs to the MTA office and showed them the letter and my pass, which was due to expire at the end of the month. The nice lady looked at it and said I hadn’t done anything wrong, which was a relief, and that she didn’t know why it had been rejected. She called some other office trying to clarify the matter, but had a hard time getting someone to answer the phone. Finally she told me she would resubmit it.
   I checked my Email at One Stop, which was clogged with the virus messages. I just deleted everything, except a message from Amnesty. Nothing from Monzano. 
   I used their phone to call Mr. Porter about my food stamps. A new hearing date had been set for the 17th, but it seemed like he had misplaced my paperwork. He told me he would look into the matter and get back to me.
   And I left a message for Mr. Tran at Voc Rehab to call me back with an appointment date.
   Enough business for the day. Now to the important stuff.
   A Simpsons rerun about the curse of stupidity cast upon the males of that clan.
   I wrote and wrote. I tried to have a session with Labrien, but she was always busy, or not at her office, or she was hiding in there with the door firmly shut.
   I had dinner with Gary Porch, who just wanted to cry about how broke he was, which translates to how he wasn’t able to buy any booze.
   Cry, cry, cry.
   I had already told him what he needed to do to donate plasma, but he had donated whole blood instead because they don’t require a proof of address for that I guess.
   Now he can’t donate again for two and a half months or so.
   Why don’t they require a proof of address to donate whole blood?
   No, I really want to know. Please tell me.
   He’s been a no show so many times for jobs at Labor Ready that they’ve banned him from their office.
   He’s been terminated from GR and food stamps due to his refusal to attend required GROW meetings. 
   He’s genuinely fucked.
   He’s considering making a sign and start begging from passing motorists.
   I felt sorry for the flaky bastard and gave him a jar of coffee, but that’s all I can do for him. 
   I finished reading “Sole Survivor,” enjoying it very much. Very much. I think it’s one of Koontz’s best. It’s poignant, exciting, seemingly plausible. It’s got characters that the reader can care about.  Action, suspense. It gives those who want to believe in a creator of the universe a reason to feel happy about it. It’s not too far out. It has a happy, if insubstantial ending.
   No dog though. Koontz is especially good with dogs.
   Not with cats. No ones good with cats.
   It’s one of the least humorless of Dean’s novels, probably in large part due to the tragic circumstances surrounding the lead character, a husband who had lost his wife and two daughters in a horrible plane crash.
   Not that some plane crashes are not horrible.
   I’m not surprised Fox made a TV mini-series from it, although I think it would have made a better feature film if directed properly.
   I feel obliged to nit pick a few points, and feel no need to apologize to the author for doing so, for I believe he’s taken some poetic license with his audience.
   First, the title. “Sole Survivor.” Although the phrase was mentioned once in the book, in the end it doesn’t hold up as there were two who ultimately survived.
   The story deals with in a large part with enhanced mental abilities, such as psychokinesis and forms of astral projection. No matter how believable Koontz makes these phenomena sound, there’s just no evidence, not a shred, to back it up.
   And most important, in this work he advances the theory of a creator, a father of the universe which science is finding more evidence for the deeper we delve into the mysteries of nature.
   He just leaves it at that! Hinting at the existence of this to further his story, but names nothing specific.
   What a cold blooded cheat!
   What freaking evidence? I for one would like to know about it. I’m sure you would too. As far as my current understanding is, the God Hypotheses is the least likely to explain the true story of the origen of the cosmos.
   I’m sorry religious people, but I’m talking science, not theology.
   Koontz makes a puny effort to garner validity for his position by suggesting the complexity of the cells interior demonstrates that it had to have been designed by somebody, and could not be a product of “blind evolution.”
   Evolution is indeed blind, but it is the mechanism from which life evolved, and continues to do so, given the right ingredients and three or four billion years to mix’em up. I don’t find that theory difficult to believe at all, or even hard to understand.
   Besides, his example sidesteps the issue of the origin of this creator. Who created him... or her... or it. Even the hypothetical intelligence that created God must have itself been created, somewhere, sometime. The most commonly supplied answer to “Where did God come from?” is “He was always there.” That doesn’t answer anything at all. It’s a child’s answer, and another cheat. If we’ve learned anything at all from modern astronomy and cosmology is that every induced phenomena, whether it be the universe, or the birth of a baby, has a beginning. There is nothing that has always been there.
   To paraphrase Carl Sagan’s dragon in the garage example, to have a God that does not make it’s existence unambiguously known, that appears to be indifferent to human tragedy and success, and which is not required in any theory of the origen of the universe, is as good as no God at all.
   Sorry to get all preachy but it had to be said.
   Anyway, it was a really good book, and I will apologize to the author. I realize that this is a work of fiction, and that Mr. Koontz probably did not intend to make believers out of us. He probably just wants to entertain and sell a lot of books.
   Before I finished reading I watched a very informative, touching, and painful, documentary, on the birth and death of the World Trade Center. After all, it’s about that time of year.
   Watching the chronological rendering of the destruction of the several buildings sickened and angered me, possibly more than when I watched it actually happening. It made me want to start a war.
   Ignorance. This was all born out of ignorance.
   Mario Cuomo, a man I have a vast amount of respect for, made an interesting comment on the 9/11 disaster. Be aware of your life. Take nothing for granted. It can go at any time, any place. Life is just too precious to waste.
   And one other thing we are learning from astronomy and cosmology, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Life, intelligent or otherwise, is undoubtedly the rarest commodity in the universe.
   I dreamt this night of walking through the ruins of ground zero with Keli Richards, the lovely and talented star of “Angels of Mercy,” and one of the most New Yorkish lady’s I’ve ever seen.
   She held my hand, and we both knew despair.

9 September  Tuesday    Day 59

   “Los Angeles was the most glamorous, tackiest, most elegant, seediest, most clever, dumbest, most beautiful, ugliest, forward looking, retro-thinking, altruistic, self absorbed, deal-savvy, politically ignorant, artistic-minded, criminal-loving, meaning-obsessed, money-grubbing, laid back, frantic city on the planet. And any two slices of it, as different as Bel Air and Watts, were nevertheless uncannily alike in essence: rich, with the same crazy hungers, hopes, and despairs.”
-Dean Koontz

   The above written by a denizen of the evil empire, Orange County.
   Strange things happen in Orange County. People go there and are never heard from again.
   That’s another reason I like Mr. Koontz's novels. Most of them take place right around here, at places I’m familiar with. 
   It’s a little scary though, knowing there’s so much creepy stuff going on, virtually right around the corner.
   Giselle was wearing another beautiful dress today, much brighter in red and white.
   I had a few errands to run. First I stopped by the Housing Authority office and checked in. I was given two forms to have filled out and returned. One for Labren, and one for mental health.
   I checked my mail and picked up my monthly supply of meds, all of which are mailed to me by the VA.
   I didn’t wish to over exert myself so I returned to the Weingart.
   I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Donald Logan of Philadelphia a happy and prosperous third birthday!
   When I got back I began writing. I also wanted to see Labren, so I waited in the lobby for her to return from her afternoon break. I wrote while I waited. Good thing too, as she didn’t come back for an hour, complaining of a migraine when she did show.
   We had our little session. I gave her the form from the Housing Authority and the money order for $63 to be put into my account. She filled out the form and told me I had gotten a good report from back from Dr. Lo at ASAP, that I had a clean urine test.
   I felt so proud.
   I told her to take care of her head and departed. After dinner I watched “Married with Children,” the episode with the lovely and talented actress Teri Weigel guest starring, former Playmate, and star of “Encore,” and “Predator 2.” A former brunette, she’s recently turned blonde, with, in my opinion, dire results. 
   Go back to dark hair, Teri. Please, please, please.
   Another beautiful Teri guest starred on another sit-com. Teri Polo, the lovely and talented, and blonde star of “Meet the Parents, was on tonight’s 10:30 broadcast of “Frasier,” the pedantic refugee from “Cheers.”
   I almost puked when she kissed Kelsey Grammer.
   I taped tonight’s “Nova,” program on PBS, a repeat of the Emmy Award winning “Why the Towers Fell,” which I had not seen. An engineering study of the physical effects of the damage caused by the jet liners. It’s amazing that both towers continued to stand after being struck rather than toppling over. And I hadn’t realized that more people perished in the north tower, the 2nd struck, because the plane had hit at a lower level, trapping more people above, despite stairway exits still being open.
   A real modern day horror story.
   The lovely and enigmatic Salma Hayek was a guest on the Letterman show, promoting her upcoming film, “Once Upon a Time In Mexico,” that we’ll be seeing Friday. Another collaboration with director Robert Rodriguez (who’s taking a break from the “Spy Kids” saga), her fourth. They must like each other.
   Speaking of Mexico, I dreamt I was drinking tequila in a sleepy Mexican bar with Harvey Keitel, Quentin Tarantino, Teri Weigel, and Teri Polo.
   The Teri’s were snake dancing in front of us. 
   The blonde one came up to me and put her foot in my mouth, pouring Welch’s Grape Juice down her leg and into my thirsty gullet.
   “Stop drinking that tequila,” she said. “You bad boy.”
   “More grape juice,” I demanded.
   She complied.

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