1946 short film on despotism


Sources: Public Domain Review and Internet Archive

(‘It is happening again…‘)

yes to sloth reincarnation

I see everything. It’s staggering. Many things are ugly and sad. A few things are beautiful in a superficial way. Some things are ugly in a beautiful way. Or sad in a beautiful way. Or neutral seen through a colored lens of your own choosing. Re: The sky is a lovely shade of cornflower blue / The sky is boring, why is it always blue, but sometimes white / The sky makes me sad / The sky overpowers me with its vastness / The sky enrages me.

Flaws are necessary. Imperfections abound. Everything is so strange. I don’t understand what people are doing. How they are living, existing. Where comes the drive for them to do something. I think I need more sunlight. The darkness slow-kills me with eight-hour stab wounds. My daytime cave smothers me. Who are these people. Don’t tell me. Maybe I need them. I’m not really in a rush.

I can no longer walk ten feet without writing something down. I keep waiting for a lamp post to approach me with violent intent. The suddenness of everything happening around me is electrifying. I’m a festering open sore and the world is my penicillin. But wait, I am allergic. Look out, I’m rejecting the transplant. Maybe I like being alone in a crowd. Maybe the reincarnation is almost complete. Routine comforts and horrifies me. I want it to be different but I’m afraid.

Today was the ice cream social at work. A group of awkward people convened to eat ice cream in a cramped meeting room. Our leader thanked us for doing a good job. It was uncomfortable. We ate our ice cream in silence. Some small talk scratched a flint but the kindling never caught. But there was vegan whipped cream! And organic vegan sprinkles! And vegan chocolate sauce! I ran outside when it was done! It was too late for cigar-smoking man. But expose-her-shoulders-to-the-sun girl was out there. And some bike messengers. I secured a good seat, read another piece in Zone 3. I took the sun and held it close.

As I rode through the supermarket parking lot on the way home, I saw a hearse. Its back window was painted in a colorful stylized manner with the words Girls & Corpses. Soon after, I saw some young runners. I felt a thrill. I felt the sun leave me. This is a true story.

~ FIN ~


Nicest day we’ve had in weeks and I’m stuck inside waiting for a tardy contractor. As I wait, someone intermittently uses a loud drill next door. Sometimes homeownership sucks. Muggings and robberies are up, in both the neighborhood and the city at large. This depresses me on an epic scale. Drilling next door probably indicates installation of new deadbolts. Bars on windows, steel doors, quadruple locks, where does it end? How safe can you be? Muggers lie in wait looking for opportunities. We really have no control over it. The problem is systemic: the haves and the have nots forever divided. No reconciliation possible. Only solution is to take to the woods. The cities are doomed.

In 1960, John Steinbeck traveled the United States with his dog and wrote a book about his trip. At one point he notes, “I wonder why progress looks so much like destruction.”  Since then, we have happily continued to destroy all the natural places, with the exception of a select few that are so overrun they project a carnivalesque atmosphere.  We have built a society so spread apart that most people see the automobile as the only way to traverse the uncomfortable distances between point A and point B. To not own a car is anathema. You are branded a freak and possibly un-American; at the very least, you are suspect. Similarly, to eschew the consumerist lifestyle that is so red-bloodedly American is also viewed with suspicion. Why wouldn’t you want to buy all the latest greatest stuff? You saw it on TV, after all, and it looked totally awesome. And everyone who had that stuff looked really happy. So why wouldn’t you want to be happy? Get out there and shop, sucker.

Often I think I was born in the wrong century, perhaps in the wrong country, possibly of the wrong race, and maybe even on the wrong planet altogether.

I just got back from a work retreat that I had been dreading for quite some time. During said retreat, I spent some late night hours carousing with a few coworkers who I hadn’t really gotten to know beforehand. I found them to be decent and fun to hang out with, at least in my inebriated state. I’m sure they were surprised by my sudden bout of gregariousness. I’m not a mean drunk, but I can be a saucy one. During the work sessions, I was surprised to sense a tiny flame of enthusiasm ignite somewhere deep below the layers of cynicism within me. But I know better. We can talk grand and eloquent away from the office, but reality is grim. Knowing how long it’s taken to get this far (still a sad state of affairs) makes it impossible to expect that even a quarter of our lofty ideas will ever come to fruition within the next three and a half years. And that is not cynicism talking; that’s just pragmatism.

The place where we stayed was a Bavarian-styled inn that was the type of place where the Griswold family would’ve roomed during one of their epically disastrous vacations. My bathroom had a disused-looking bidet in it and a space heater mounted in the wall that smelled like burning dust when turned on. Still, the king-sized four-poster bed was comfortable and the vaguely shabby past-its-heyday look to the entire place was preferable to the sterility of modern hotels. Not a good place to be a vegan, but I got by (barely). I wish I had photos to share, but the camera was left behind.


I really don’t have much to say. I’ve been dealing with an extremely frustrating situation that has drained my energy and sapped all creativity out of me. I am like a piece of bleached driftwood, weathered and dull grey from the crashing waves. I’m weary of living in the too-close vicinity of hostile thoughtless human beings. I want my own castle, and I want to build a moat around it to keep out everyone except those who I choose to allow entrance. I am trapped and I don’t like being trapped. I feel exhausted and powerless. I just want peace and quiet. I too easily absorb the energy in my surroundings and this is a heavy burden.

In better news, the first new bird of the New Year was spotted at Patuxent River State Park on January 3rd. It was a Golden-crowned Kinglet. First spotted by my good friend AR, then ID’d by me. That takes care of the kinglets for me (there are only two). I spotted the Ruby-crowned Kinglet at Lake Roland one day back in the early fall. It landed about a foot away from me. I’m getting better at IDing birds based on their behavior. When we first spotted the bird, I immediately thought it might be a kinglet because of its size (they’re tiny) and how it was moving. They hover along branches to feed, rarely pausing at all.

creation story

the song “creation story” on the lungfish album “rainbows from atoms” defies description. it is one of those songs that gives me goosebumps every time i hear it. while i enjoy watching daniel higgs simultaneously play the mouth harp and the dulcimer, i can’t help but feeling he was totally and completely in his element when he wrote this song. it is a pinnacle of musical achievement.

a lyrical excerpt: “the people bound their feet with the skins of the animals to trample their own cities and each other. they developed external organs like guns and television sets. they believed that they owned things.”

descriptive words and phrases for today: trepidation, apprehension, fluctuation, strained and stretched, mixed up, thick with heavy dreams, disenchanted, disequilibrated, thought-provoked, facing forward on unsteady legs.

and the culling song plays…

>They’ve made the first cull…the names whispered in the hallways…everyone wondering when their heads will be the next to roll. And I’m out there on the fringes of a flat plain, aloof as always, examining with a critical eye where the tracks dead-end in a patch of overgrown crabgrass. Déjà vu anticipation of a second slow-motion derailment. Panicky and unconcerned all at once. Head stuffed with bird feathers, bike grease, and unwritten words.

beginning of the end

>Yesterday was my birthday. Thank you to the one or two people who read this thing who helped me to celebrate. We ate mock meat and chocolate cake. It was a pleasant ending to a day that had been very much like many other recent days: drab and predictable, with a sprinkling of trepidation. Going to work these days is like watching a slow-motion trainwreck. Every couple of days a couple of more people quit and head for more stable ground. The rest of us just cluster around with deer-in-the-headlights looks in our eyes. We are marked for the upcoming cull and we all know it. Those who care enough to stay on this sinking ship participate in the appropriate shady back-room soul-selling dealings necessary to retain some semblance of employment. I, however, can’t make myself care. Either we get the contract or we don’t. Even getting the contract doesn’t guarantee me employment past September, though, so maybe it doesn’t matter if we get it or not. I feel like this is supposed to happen. I feel like life should kick the chair out from under me; after all, I have been leaning a bit too far back in it. I deserve to be left hanging. What sways me these days, as usual, are words on the page and melodies in my ears. These things don’t pay the bills, but they move me in a way that work never has. As always, I look to the birds for some wordless answers to my vague unfocused questions. Their behavior, unlike mine, is strictly dictated by the harsh rules of nature. Survival of the fittest doesn’t apply to me. I can be rather unfit and still survive. Maybe it would be better if I had to physically struggle just to feed myself. Maybe then I wouldn’t have all these questions in my head…all this existential effluvia constantly choking my more rational thinking. Maybe when I lose my job I will become a hunter-gatherer.

>the weakness in passive voice

>A familiar staleness tasted on the lips, spreads outward to mix with the hopelessness of the city. Every week another young person, bright and filled with fighting promise, erased in a snuff of abstruse violence. There is always so much to learn about the things in life, not easily understood until it is too late, when I am weary from throwing myself into constant merciless flight. I don’t belong here. I don’t belong there. Everywhere I go, within moments short or long, I feel far removed and out of place. Others around me seem to know what they are doing and why. But I am always lost and confused, bathed in unease. Two steps behind, perhaps I walk too slow. I seem to always have, in the past.

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