Even kids with chickenpox

25 07 2012

You ever bite into a brat and look at it?

(A bratwurst, you perv! Bratwurst!)

Well, it’s a bad idea—no, not the bratwurst, not if you’re a meat-eater (which I no longer am, but once was)—but the looking.

You got that?

Okay, what I mean to say is that while a bratwurst, especially a beer-soaked brat slathered with whatever mess you want to slather on it and nestled in the only-to-be-found-in-southeastern-Wisconsin hard roll, is a damned fine meal, it is also a meal which one might want to close her eyes to enjoy.

Even the best wurst, after all, is sausage, and even the best sausage looks like. . . sausage.

All of this is to say that the spam this blog attracts is best not inspected too closely.

WordPress does a pretty good job of catching most of this canned internet sausage  in a filter, and it’s easy for me simply to shake out the spam en masse, but since every once in a great while a real comment is snared, I feel the need to inspect the filter before slamming it against the side of the computer to clear it.

And what do I find upon inspection? Ads for shoes/handbags/misc junk, generic compliments, generic suggestions, generic criticisms, comments in Cyrillic, comments in Greek, and these incredibly long and irritating comments on the global financial situation and, Zeus forbid, the gold standard.

Dull dull dull dull dull. I should be grateful I don’t attract trolls; while they can be amusing in their obvious trollishness, they are more often dull in their obnoxiousness. And these spam bits aren’t generally offensive—unlike some of the stuff I get in one of my email accounts, with subject lines containing come-ons for violent sex with teenagers.

(No, I don’t click through and yes, if I thought it were really child porn I would contact authorities. You would too, right?)

Still, if you’re going to splatter your junk all over the internet, why not show some pizzazz, a bit of flair? Why not slather that spam in some enticing mess to get me to bite?

Huh, I never thought I would miss the Nigerian dictators eager to share their millions with me.


You could be anyone, celebrate boy

30 05 2012

Late late, so quick quick:

A., a photographer and secretary in my CUNY department, has been hosting an Italian artist the past couple of months, and while she’s had fun with him and has learned from him, she’s also a bit bumfuzzled by him.

He’s a dreamer—a dreamer! She says this with her hand in the air.

A few weeks ago he was looking to fall in love and stay in New York, but now he’s looking at all of the reasons to leave.

Fall in love! He’s here for two months and he wants to fall in love and have a relationship! He did not fall in love; he leaves for Italy in a few days.

He’s gonna stay here and he doesn’t have a job? How’s he going to pay the rent? She gave me a look.

It’s good he’s an artist; he should stay an artist. But what was he thinking? This is New York!

That’s one of the things I like about New York: You can say you’re an artist or a writer or a dancer and people will take you seriously, because here these are practical occupations. You are not dismissed as a flake for pursuing this work, even with the recognition of  the unlikelihood of making of living doing only this work.

New York: the place for practical dreamers.

Devil was my angel

18 10 2008

Depression is a thief.

Back up a step or two: Jon Katz blogs at Bedlam Farm, the last thing I read before turning off my computer at night, and I generally find his posts calming, and, perhaps, chastening in that just-so manner. I recommend him.

That said, I’ve been catching up on his archives, and just finished the December 2007 (and am into the Jan 2008) posts. Having read an advanced reader’s copy of his book Izzy & Lenore, I knew that he fell into a hole in this period—he refers to the ‘Black Dog’ of depression—so the posts were not unfamiliar. Still, he treats this Black Dog far more generously in these posts than he does in the book: whereas in the book he rasps to his (long-estranged/newly-reconciled) sister ‘I’m in real trouble here!’, in the posts he speaks of the redemptive power of pain, of what can be gained, of the connection between madness and creativity.

I cannot believe this. I used to, and it almost killed me.

Shit. It was probably too late to start this post, given how much there is to say. But I do at least want to note that, for some us, pain cannot be harnessed to redemption, nor can depression enable art. Believing so made it easy for me to feed my disorders, and made it even harder to leave them behind.

Depression was the thief that stayed in my home, stole my things, dismantled the framing, smashed the foundations, and cooed that it was all for the best, that, really, I couldn’t live without it. I clung to this, trusting this hollowing out of my life far more than I trusted life itself. I didn’t just believe, I knew that depression would lead me to the only redemption possible for such a deracinated life. It was only a chance un-knowing which allowed me steal back my life.

I’m glad Jon Katz made his way through his troubles, and if believing that there were some point to them helped him get through, I’m not about to criticize him. I simply cannot believe it.