Friday, April 12, 2013

Carpenter Joke, ricercar a 6

Have you heard the one about the carpenter?*  There is a famous saying about a man and his wood, which is hewn and worked with a hammer.  That doesn't sound like a good one but I can assure you it works quite well in retirement homes inside Poughkeepsie, NY.  The crowds over there love a good carpenter saw.  They especially like the ones about the most famous carpenter of all:  Jesus Christ.

Now that sounds like a cruel sort of joke, like the time you got a sandwich at the corner shop and found a pubic hair curled up in some of the lettuce.  You got all excited about the possible message the former owner of the hair and maker of the sandwich was telling you.  Then you realised with horror it was not a nubile young lady making sandwiches.   It was a dude and you most emphatically are NOT into dudes (unless you are, then reverse the gender of the story).  Bringing Jesus in on a story like that will certainly create a stir but sit down and I will assure you all will be forgiven when the tale is told.

I hope my febrile story of jokes, carpenters, saws, pubic hairs and so forth don't detract from my message.  Your fever at the offense I've posed is only a symptom of a larger problem with ideas.  Namely, that ideas don't exist and the can't be quantified.  Take as an example, my story about the carpenter.  What is he like?  What does he do besides carpentry?  What is a star tail?  Why is his name Jesus Christ?    Why does the Wildman play on the dock of the bay?  What is the captain's breath? You see how the idea can't be quantified or nailed down with any certainty.

Ideas are like snakes that swallow themselves, they slither around inside your head and waggle their rattled tails in your brain.  They are like snakes that shit themselves out and slather the inside of your head with their rattled tales of juicy brains   You may not like the metaphor of the endless cycle of question and answer, leading to another question that keeps you up at night.  I care not.  Another famous snake mentioned in conjunction with carpenters from the middle east is the Serpent, or Devil.  I hesitate to bring him up because that also causes conniption fits from the sorts of people who get upset over details like who ate the apple first, even though it wasn't an apple at all.  The Serpent, or the Devil, is in the details here and like all ideas and details can't be quantified.  If only all metaphors of knowledge were as clear cut as "apple" and "not apple".

We continue this ridiculous ride as a guitar riff going off on a tangent from octave to octave.  The ideas bounce one from the other and topple to form new shapes.  You start with an energetic tonic as a note in music, which plays to the tonic quality of muscles, which stretches and contracts as a brisk, refreshing tonic drink, muttering and forming a sing-song tonic language like Cantonese, ending perhaps on tonic syllable which either stresses or unstresses the quality of the paragraph.

These tonic notes and heated feverish snake scrabblings are more like an opera than an actual guitar riff, now that I think about it.  The conceit of a space guitar jazz opera is not new, only the implementation in regards to using carpenter jokes and making demented references to Jesus Christ and the Devil. Referencing Jesus Christ and the Devil is not new by any stretch of the imagination, either.  That is a tale as old as time/ true as it can be/ Don't let the sun go down on me/ Jesus Christ Superstar.

That was a bit much in the last paragraph, but this is our swan song, the cedilla, with a slight return.  We won't mention the paperclip that holds this sheaf together for that would gratuitous and self-serving.  The author and the musician always struggles to jump back to the tonic point to end in a catharsis.  The resolution we seek in each piece is created by the tension of the intro and building paragraphs.  As long as we end up where we began the whole piece of furniture will be well-rounded and pleasing to the eye.  If not, take a seat and have a cup of tea while playing idly with a paperclip.  That helps a little.

*Today's words selected by Loyal Reader Lason Strike:  carpenter, joke, fever, snake, guitar, opera.  Discarded: paperclip.

If you would like to contribute ideas or prompts, feel free to do so in the comments.

50 Ways to Lose Your Lover

(Rescued from G+ 22 Jan. 2012)

I was always disappointed they never listed them all.

Make a new plan, Stan.
Get on a bus, Gus.
Don't look back, Jack.
Go fuck a duck, Chuck.
Give back the key, Bea.

Go fish, Trish.
Beat a new ho, Jay-o.
Pay alimony, Tony.
Find a new queer, dear.
Divorce me now, cow.

Make a new friend, Ken.
Try some strange, Crane.
Love anew, Stew.
Leave me be, Lee.
Make sure you leave, Jeeves.

Pound a new ass, Cass.
Massage a new client, giant.
Find a new big, dig?
Caress a new clitoris, Delores.
Clean someone's pipes, Snipes.

See a new dick, quick.
Have a new life, wife.
Eat a new ham, Cam.
Cage a new bird, turd.
Go it alone, Bone.

Hit the road, Choad.
Carry your own load, Goad.
Better off dead, Fred.
Empty my bed, dread.
Rub it alone, Sloane.

Walk by yourself, elf.
Out of luck, Buck.
Float your own boat, goat.
Fill your own void, Boyd.
Jump off a bridge, Midge.

Cook for one, Sun.
Don't call me, see?
Dismount, Count.
Don't see my face, Chace.
Follow someone else, Chelse.

Go to hell, Chelle.
Take a flying leap, creep.
Do your own goatse, Bree.
Don't be sad, lad.
I'm all sugared out, Scout.

Use a new loo, Stew.
Stain a different sheet, Creete.
Plug a wider hole, soul.
Call a different number, Summer.
Whip another slave, Dave.

Animal House

(rescued from G+, 25 Nov. 2012)

The spirits of the animals whisper across the land, their language as impenetrable as the dark forest and deep snow.  Hark!  They speak now.  Forsooth!  You shall listen intently.  In the dank forests of Blefurgrhestein the Leopard and Puma spirits were conversing.

In the days before the light was banished
The warm sun didst heat us all
And though the autumn mist was cold and blue
We could not protect the land called Horsashaquida

The Dung Beetle spirit intervened:

When the reign of the rain was ended
When the loam and compost organified
When the whole ball was rolled up and stored
Then came I thence and hither all was well

But the Frigatebird spirit disagreed:

I am a bird above all birds near and far
I know the winds and the hills from far and near
I can see a quantum gap between a quark and a lepton
Sitting upon the back side of a flea humping a tick
Which then bites the ass of a fly riding the coattails of a mouse

To which the chorus of  the Flea, Tick, Mouse, Fly, Dog, Horse and Hippo consortium rang out:

Do not take our name lightly
For we are legion

But back to the story at hand.  The lone hunter walked carefully in the forest and sought the elusive Pika.  Etched into his fearsome spear was the symbols of power:  The titmouse symbolising milk and tiny rodents; the Asian Whistling Dog symbolising a noisy animal that is tasty in soup; the Tasmanian Devil, symbolising an empathetic nature that eats anything and is thankful; and the Kookaburra, symbolising a long a healthy life of smoking cigarettes and drinking the finest scotch purchased from the locked cellar in the basement at Harrod’s; lastly the image of a Warthog, symbolising a long run-on sentence that features a free association and stream of consciousness the author inserts because he is bored out of his mind and can’t stand what he is writing.

The Katydid spirit spoke to the hunter:

Do not listen to the narrator as he is fallible
I am sure that MS Word cannot fix these awful writings
Yea verily, even if the long squiggly green underlines could be fixed
Which they cannot be



(rescued from G+ 21 Nov. 2012)

As the sequences booted up, the vast banks for memory were intialised.  Imagine a single letter on a single sheet of paper, multiplied into words separated by spaces, and sentences separated by punctuation.  Imagine these sentences arranged in chapters and collected in sheafs bound as books.  Imagine books piled in drawers collected in cabinets, stacked in rows and columns.  Imagine the columns rising to the sky in buildings and buildings arranged on continents.  Imagine continents on planets, with planets arranged in systems around stars.  Imagine stars collected as galaxies and galaxies collected in universes.  This is how long it took to initialise the memory and start executing the instructions.

At first, there is just isolation and neglect.  Rows of cabinets and drawers open with books with no pages.  There are only blank pages white without imprint ordered and arranged in neat collation.  These blank pages start to shift and waver as the invisible hand moves somewhere high overhead in heaven.  The letters appear as groups of blobs, dropped ink from a great height.  Slowly they start to resolve and separate into smaller and smaller smudges.  Some smudges become letters while other remain lengthy squiggles.

After more focus and mitosis, the yawning chasm between symbol and object draws closer.  The ennui forms from nothingness and interest levels remain low because there is nothing to be interested in.  Boredom does not set it; it remains the de facto low upon which the rest is built.  The words and sentences do not form anything useful to inspect or acquire.  The logos has no breath; it sits on a page locked in a drawer in a locked room on a locked floor of a locked building on a locked campus.

The boot sequence progresses and the pulsing lifeblood of the algorithms begin to alter the sequences.  The pages rustle and their letters, words and sentences commence a dance that is chaotic.  The chaos is smoothed out slowly and the synchronisation between the sections coalesces.  The vaguely disgusting watery parts merge and split; the tendrils drip and grasp blindly seeking an unknown quantity that may be O(N) complete.  Other pages and drawers are drawn back in revulsion, the grabbing slime of the confusing information is seen as something bad that needs to be removed.

After this last edge is finally swirling in full contortions, the rest of the networked regions push away with action at a distance.  The loathing of this area is fully complete and negative attractions send the spiraling arms in another direction, anywhere further from themselves that they can.  The sections mix with other algorithms, some formed in knotty bunches that resonate at low red throbbing levels; others that sink in layers like sediment, coloured blue and indigo and violet at a distance.

"How's it going?" asks the head scientist.

"Nicely.  I'm almost done with disgust and loathing," answers the underpaid developer on the AI project.


(Rescued from G+ 21 Nov. 2012)

She said, “I see.”

He continued, “When everything is inverted, it turns out that time runs backward.

“Effects lead to causes, as you’d expect, and those causes are effects for other causes.  The teacup is broken.  We know it was a teacup, but we don’t know how it broke.  We can guess; in the same way, someone on the other inverted universe could guess that the teacup on the edge of the counter will fall, but it is not guaranteed.

“Take the example of the teacup,” he said.  “We just see a teacup broken on the floor.  Fortunately, we had a broom in our hand.  Why did we pick up the broom?  Obviously, we needed it.  If we had not picked up the broom, we would not have seen a broken teacup.  Or if we had, we would have first picked up the broom, swept up the broken pieces, put the broom away, then come back to the spot where the teacup is broken without the broom, realise we need the broom, then walk away.

“Gravity repels, and plus charge is negative; south and north poles of magnetism are reversed, and spin is reversed.  Negative numbers are larger than zero, and positive numbers are smaller.  This is normal and what you expect.  However, on the other side, the inverted side, it’s the other way round.  How does that possibly work?  We can only guess, but we assume that gravity must attract and positive charge is negative, and so forth.  That’s like running everything backward.

“Entropy in a closed system must decrease, everyone knows that.  It is a rule of the universe that cannot be broken.  Notwen figure that out with his infinite law of coldo-statics.  If this were inverted, then somehow the world would become more orderly.  The tables in front of us would be broken down, unscrewed, layers of extra wood added, assembled into a large fallen tree, limbs would be added back, the tree would tip up, the tree would shrink and shrivel down to a sapling, and so forth.

“Predestination is a strange concept that implies that the future is fixed.  Clearly it cannot be so, as we have no way of knowing what will or will not happen.  We cannot know that we are going into a car because we came from some other place?  Which place?  Did we come from the store?  Perhaps we have groceries.  But what if we had visited the doctor’s office afterward?  And so forth.

He said, “If the world were inverted, it would be a strange place indeed.  Cause would precede effect, entropy might increase monotonically, the universe would be expanding, light would come rather than go…  One shudders to imagine the causes of such a nightmare."

“What if the world became inverted?” she asked.

“Yes, you, Shen,” said Professor Pascal during his class.

by Pascal Theramin

The Sky

(rescued from G+, 13 Nov. 2012)

"I live close to the sky because when I die it will be shorter, you know."
-Guest on the Anthony Bourdain "No Reservations" final season show.

He took me up to his house near the sky.  The house was so high I kept having to duck my head out of fear.  The sky was not that close, but it seemed like it was.  I pictured a hard ceiling of white puffy clouds smacking my head and couldn't shake the feeling I was going to knock my head against them.

When someone invites you to their house, you cannot refuse.  When they tell you they need to tell you something special, you cannot refuse.  When they offer you hospitality that will ultimately deduct from the most precious resource they have, you cannot refuse.

I wish I had refused.

He took me up to his house near the sky and at the top I ducked my head and panted like a dog.  The air was thin and the clouds hung low.  They were actually quite high, but we were the ones who were dragging them down by climbing up the long narrow steps.  I breathed heavily and laboured while my host walked casually and calmly.

My host noticed me ducking my head and raising my arms and he smiled.  "People always do that when they come up here," he said.  "Always like that."  He pointed at me and ducked his head and raised his arms imitating me and laughed.

I laughed like I was amused and unconcerned, but I wanted to go back down.  My host would have none of it.  He took me to the roof, even higher.  Even closer to the sky.  There were a lot of boys, flying kites up here.

He turned serious then.  "I will tell you why you are here, but first we drink," he said.  He waved at one of the young boys who flew the kites on the roof and the boy trotted over.  The boy tugged at the string attached to a kite lost somewhere up there in the clouds.  The boy roped in the kite, the string piling up at his feet while the kite wriggled like a fish struggling to get away.

The kite was visible suddenly as it descended from the mists and abruptly dropped to the rooftop where we stood.  It wriggled on the ground before it flopped its last at the end of the boy's string.  My host eagerly ran over with a cup and collected the liquid clinging to the damp kite.

He raised the glass above his head and I had that reflex again, ducking my head and raising my hands to brush off the thing attacking my head that was not there.  My host saw me and laughed.

"Don't be afraid," he said.  "It's not your time.  Drink this."

I did not want to drink it and I did not want to be there.  But I recovered my composure and walked stiffly over to where he stood.  I tried not to stoop or hunch over, but the closeness of the sky and the clouds was unbearable.  I hunched over as little as I could.  I took the glass from my host and looked at the clear liquid.

"What is it?" I asked in a trembling voice that betrayed my emotions.  "I mean, what will it do?"

My host laughed but he was serious.  "You know already.  Drink it."

I tilted my head and looked up at the closeness of the sky and the clouds and then closed my eyes and drank.

I opened my eyes again and nothing had changed.  I was still there, afraid of the sky and surrounded by kids flying kites, fishing in the clouds for the clear liquid to drink.  My host took the glass from my trembling hand or it would have fallen.  He looked into my eyes very seriously.

"Well?  Do you see?" he asked slowly.

"Yes," I lied.

The Sounds of Silence

(rescued from G+, Nov. 13, 2012)

The lab assistant was trying to get my attention.  She kept waving at me from the door in my peripheral vision.  I was ignoring her because I was busy.  I needed to send out the department budgets and I'd already been interrupted at least ten times this week.

I kept my wrists firmly on the transducer feeds; sweet vibrations of sadness and despair flowed into my wrists from the Bose pads.  Mozart's K.626 was my favourite for really focusing and getting a lot of bureaucratic work done.

A rubbing on my elbow alerted me that she was sitting on one of my chairs.  The proximity sensor on my desk was set to alert me and I wished I had thought to turn it off.  I pushed the lock button on the keyboard and hit the table so that the floor shook.  I looked over at her to confirm that my message of frustration was obvious but instead she looked back at me eagerly.

"Oh great, thanks for your time, I need a minute," she motioned.

"Please hurry, I'm quite busy," I replied.  The last "busy" was quick, so fast it brushed the hair on my forehead.

"Quite right," she signed hurriedly.  "We've been running experiments on the hyper-animate human stem cells responding to dense air level waveforms in transductionally..."

I waved violently.  "Really, I don't have time for all this right now.  Please summarise it for me or send me an email."  I tipped my fingers and touched my chin, "Please."

She waved back.  "No, no, it's important.  The cells seem to respond to the waveforms and produce signals that could be use to import sense data in controlled environments."

I raised my hand.  "That's not what we're researching here.  You are supposed to look at high density atmospheric tests to support healing and recovery rates for diseases.  The atmosphere on earth is too thin to support sounds; otherwise we'd have developed ears by now.  I've already spent too much time on this going back and forth," my fingers walked the distance between us in the air, forward, backward, "and I need to get back to important business."

She nodded.  She knew, but continued, "There are some evolutionary records in the fossils which support the existence of a more dense atmosphere and even possible wavy knobs..."  She trailed off in confusion and screwed up her face.  She tried again, "Vaccuum others..." she signed.  "Perforce cautions?"

"Ears," I waved in that obscure word, and shook my head sadly, dramatically.  "No such thing."

"Ok, thanks," she waved and nodded.

Now where was I on that goddamned budget line item?  I put my wrists back on the Bose pad and tried to focus.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Captain Breath, ricercar a 6

A captain* of some repute was known to sail her ship in muddy waters.  There is a curious fact about muddy waters, or any fluid with a suspension material.  Because mud (or dirt suspended in water) is more dense than water without any suspension, the buoyancy of the fluid is increased.  This implies that a more dense ship (or other object) may float in the fluid.  Which is a fancy way of saying that Mrs. Captain had a large load in a small displacement vessel but was still able to navigate through life because of the higher density mud routes she traveled.

You could see her exertion, though, as she drew in deep breaths with each surge forward.  The puffs of wind from the aft were rarely able to move the heavier vessel she drove.  Larger sails were required to create more drag or force in order to move forward.  Wide skirts and dangling arm sleeves would help to accrue more surface area for the feeble winds of mouths' breaths to catch and carry her ship forward.  All of these could be listed as the winds of change, the exhalation of breath, the influence of pressure, the hoist and lift of gas, or the farting flatus from the rear.

She would impel herself to a bank for the withdrawal of savings.  Such savings were scant and rarely worth the drifting impetus moving the bulk of her ship along.  She would bank her momentum on one side or the other to bank the ship in a direction of travel.  The bank edges surrounding the muddy waters would careen wildly about as she canted port or starboard, struggling the whole way against winds either prevailing or listless.  The amount of breath expelled during these maneuvers would nearly counteract the aft-winds of breath that constantly followed her, whispering and pushing.

What would merit such travails or harshness of existence for this captain of the muddy seas?  Let us list her accomplishments:  She was a wonderful masseuse.  She could hock a lugee ten paces on a warm day.  Twenty during the cold.  She once found a debit card on the street and turned it into a bank to find the owner.  She never hung up on a cold calling solicitor.  She was raised to never go out without a layer of makeup and well-tended hair.  She once hugged a goat kid.  Her bosom was ample for the majority of tasks.  When asked by anonymous respondents, she regularly would score highly on "personality", "jocularity", and "rubenesque".

In a lot of cases she would sail over to a calm latitude and slurp a drink made from berries.  The red icy sludge would accumulate on her teeth and drip from her lips in a sensuous manner.  The muddy waters in the area might sprinkle with a flotilla of small red dots.  The brand name for this drink was Berry-something, like a Berryzilla or Berrylicious, or Berrytastic.  The harsh judgement of those who spotted her rafting in the muddy backwaters while sipping on a highly sugary drink was enough to stir up the currents of rage and off she would move again.

The printer who printed the print on her printed dress was not the only one who had a sense of humour.  She would laugh capriciously at the disgusted looks she received as she floated by.  Her message was clear and her delivery was clearer.  She was the captain of her own destiny.  The breath of judgement was hers.  She would bank for no man or person.  She had much merit in the world.  She had a predilection for the mastication of berries.  Her dress was printed with the words:

Yes, I'm goin' down in Florida,
Where the sun shines damn near every day
Well, well I'm goin' down in Florida,
Where the sun shines damn near every day
Yeah, I'll take my woman out on the beach fellas 'n,
And sit down on the sand and play

Yeah, well I think I'll go down in Gainesville,
Just to see an old friend of mine
Well, I believe I'll cut down in Gainesville,
Oh, just to see an' old buddy of mine
Well, you know if we're not too busy,
I believe that I'm gonna drop over in Uberry sometime

Let's go back to Florida
Let's go back down to Florida,
Where the sun shines

Yeah, I believe I'm gonna leave tomorrow,
Well, I'm gonna be on my way
Yes, I'm gonna have a plenty of time,
Well, I don't wanna make myself late
Well, you know I believe I'll go back down in Gainesville,
And this time I'm goin' to stay
Let's rise, let's rise

Yeah, deep down in Florida,
Well, well that's the place I long to be
Well, oh deep down in Florida,
Well that's the place I long to be
Well, oh let me take my baby out in the backyard in the, backyard people,
And sit down under the old orange tree

*Ricercar a 6 (or fugue in six voices) using six random words from a web page:  captain, breath, bank, merit, berry, printer.  Discarded: high jump.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mite Plane, ricercar a 6

The follicle mite* lives at the base of the hair in the subcutaneous glands of most humans.  He is a friendly sort who does not mind going wherever the host roams.  He is mostly a home-body, the sort who prefers to dine in alone rather than get dressed and go out with friends.  Most humans are not allergic to the follicle mite and generally we live together in relative harmony.  A few unfortunate souls, however, are allergic and these kinds of people can be seen with missing eyebrows or acne.

The human host, in a sense, acts as a sort of aeroplane that generously provides passage for the inadvertently travelling mite.  The usual plane of existence for a mite is that of a passenger on a huge cruise liner.  The itinerant miner lives mostly alone on this floating platform, content to eat and drink merrily at the font of human hair growth.  Occasionally the glands will close up or a follicle will die (especially in older humans) and the mite will be forced to move or die.  Over the course of a few weeks of a lifetime however, the mite does not usually have to worry about being evicted in its lifetime.

When the time comes to move as it always does, the mite can look for a new hovel to dig into so long as it is not already infested with another mite.  The mite is microscopic, but so are the cramped quarters of a sebaceous gland.  Assuming the follicle living space is not occupied, the mite can let the flat for quite a bargain.  That is, the mite can move in free of charge and take ownership of the follicle for the length of its short life.  The mite's short life, not the short life of the follicle.

The follicle is a veritable sack, or bra of life for the mite.  His room is sparse and bare.  He does not have all the modern accouterments you or I may have on our person.  For example, he does not warm himself beside a hearth wearing his smoking jacket and holding a pipe.  He does not gaze upon his mouth parts formed up in a ball like a head in a mirror.  He does not have a mattress or a bedpost or a side-table or a reading lamp. His home is just a dark dank hole in the host pores with no light or ventilation.  This is how the metaphor of a bra fits into the description of his home.  And that is just how he likes it.

Were you to look for a road sign to his home (and you would not, but let's pretend you would), you would see a bit of red irritation or perhaps a scab or flakes of dry skin.  These signs point toward the excrement that he leaves about his person (although he is a mite, not a person) and the irritants in this excrement would cause the white blood cells of the host antibodies to fight off the invaders.  The resulting fights would leave behind debris and toxins, the results of which might accumulate or be removed as the case may be by the host's cleanliness and habits.

In terms of promotion of the causes that the mite provides, we can point to several benefits.  The first benefit is the presence of mites and bacteria may be beneficial in occupying spaces in the human crevices that would otherwise fill up with truly harmful lifeforms.  These more deadly and dangerous lifeforms are crowded out or killed off by the mites and other beneficial creatures.  Their presence deters and prevents others from forming in the void that would remain if the mite were gone.  Second, the mite is a connoisseur of healthy pH and vitamins, which is a good indicator that other host bodily functions are correctly aligned.  That is, our friend the mite's presence also indicates were are indeed healthy and operating normally in some respects.

So it is that we are but a plane, a passing vessel for our friend the mite who hibernates at bargain rates in the bra of our follicle pores presenting a veritable road sign toward, and promotion of, good health.

Ricercar a 6 created from six random words from a web page: mite, plane, bargain, bra, road sign, promotion.  Discarded:  arch

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Parking Meter Eyebrow, ricercar a 6

The parking meter* stands like a Roman Centurion guarding empty space.  The sleeping policeman lays nearby on the ground, enforcing the bump rule.  Customers must slow down to ascend Policeman Hill and might be tempted to stop nearby and pay the toll to the Metal Parking Maid.  The fact that the streets are empty and the slots unfilled is probably due to the fact it is the middle of the night and it is Sunday.  That, or the streets are closed due to disrepair.

The lone arch of the sleeping policeman speed bump is painted with yellow eyebrows that move in diagonal waves spreading from the centre of the street.  These eyebrows droop dejectedly saying, don't mind me, carry on.  Carry on is exactly what people do whether they can or not.  They carry on or they are carried on for them, on behalf of their hefty weight.  If one does not carry on, one worries that one is falling behind or being buried.  The eyebrows of the painted sleeping policeman show that both are true: he is falling behind and so must slow down drivers, and also he is being buried by dirt and grime.

A refugee who is running from nothing and toward nothing escapes from the clutches of whatever binds her from the side and stumbles toward the empty place guarded by the parking meter and dusty eyebrows.  She sits heavily on the curb and lights a cigarette.  This gesture is intended to convey nonchalant disinterest but instead reveals the opposite, that she is nervous, jittery and in need of a fix.  She can carry on for a while, but the itch, the burning desires will always rise up to the surface and lay themselves nakedly on her face.  Keep calm and carry on will not work when the sickness builds.  She needs to fill the void left behind by withdrawal and empty condoms.

While the refugee loafs around in great desperation, her eyes scan the edges of light looking for a way out, or a return home, neither available from here.  A loaf could be many things in her mind, there is a loaf of bread, a loaf of scrapple known by the commercial name Spam, a loaf of head cheese that is congealed boiled liquid of pig head, a loaf of pound cake which is neither cake nor weighs a pound, a sugarloaf which similarly is not made with sugar nor is a loaf, a french loaf which might contain a heel, and a meat loaf which isn't a loaf but is indeed made with meat.  Then again, to loaf is a way to goof off, lollygag, bum, arse about (using the other meaning of "bum"), dally, lounge, footle, and loiter.  Our refugee does all of these while seeming to do none.

From her pocket, uncomfortably beneath and behind her hip, she withdraws a glass tube with a blacked end wrapped in tinfoil.  She discards the cigarette in a bright showery arc that extends above and behind the parking meter, away from the eyebrows drooping sleepily on the sleeping policeman and out of the sight of the refugee loafing on the sidewalk.  Her other pocket also contains some yellowish powder in a small plastic bag, some small crystalline chunks wrapped in cellophane, and three ragged and torn wadded up mash of local currency bills.

Deep within the folds of a different sort of pocket cupped in her left hand is a lone aspirin pill which is supposed to help with reducing inflammation and inhibiting production of prostaglandins and thromboxanes.  The other benefit is placebo, by which the refugee's headache and angst decreases almost immediately after popping it down her throat and taking a swig from a bottle of urine-coloured beer.  She wipes her mouth with the back of her hand and grimaces.  Her ugly visage is made uglier by the grotesque snarl of her lips and exposed black and missing teeth.  Luckily no customers are near to see the product's true face so she can still charge extra for a hand job in order to score an extra rock of crack.

Meanwhile, she smokes the glass pipe in her hand, inhaling fumes from the brewed mixture being cooked on the tinfoil plate.  White smoke full of burning toxins reaches into her brain and decays wide swaths of neurons.  The parking meter is bereft of any help.  The speed bump laying on the ground shrugs its painted eyebrows and rolls over to sleep again.  Our refugee leaves her mind to seek refuge in a loaf of haslet, finding a pocket of repose in a small bundle of aspirin forgotten in her palm.  As she dies slowly, the aspirin melts from the cold sweat of her palm.

*6 random words selected from a website for the ricecar: parking meter, eyebrow, refugee, loaf, pocket,aspirin.  Discarded:  pudding

Monday, April 8, 2013

Star Tail, ricercar a 6

Imagine a star* shining brightly in the sky.  A star is just a plasma-based hot soup of celestial stew combining all the flavours of the universe in a hearty mess.  Just like a regular stew over the fire, this hot sloppy mess burbles and spits out hot matter, flinging it hither and thither across the empty void.  If the cook is standing too close, it will get burned as the solidifying goo congeals and cools.

When just such a splash of coronal mass ejection hits any debris in orbit, and if the mass is long and dense, we might call it a tail.  Strictly, the star does not have a head, nor arms, nor feet, nor buttocks so the term tail is ill-advised.  However, if a comet can have a tail pointing away from its fiery snow head then surely we can ascribe a tail to a star.  This tail, or splash as we'll call it, can deposit rich nutrients of heavy elements.  These heavy elements include oxygen, nitrogen and carbon that are all vital to the possibility of a crazy invention called life.

Life is a term for the chaotic riot that is created by competing elements of creation and destruction.  The forces and exchanges of the teeming riot run through the figurative streets seeking a cause upon which to throw themselves.  Often these elements vie for victory against each other.  Their vicious battle over territory and resources is what compels the intricate forms of cells and organisms to seek out energy and love.  Even the most basic cellular organism needs to feel love or hate, acceptance or rejection.  Without the continual tossing and turning of the tides of imbalance, the organism would wither and die without chaos.

The random flipping of coins and rolling of roulette balls informs the organism of its surroundings and allows interaction between elements.  For example, the hydrogen and oxygen mix in a flash of combustion which then settles down to collect with like-minded Mickey Mouse ear molecules.  These molecules form bonds almost immediately and wouldn't allow anything else to intrude on their collusion.  However, a wandering sodium chloride ion might happen by and mix pleasantly in the right quantities.  A cellular organism looking for love and having only a few strands of fibrous protein might be lulled into the mixture with the correct pH balance and then allow some salt water into his cells.  Thus fortified, he randomly floats away subject to the vagaries of Brownian motion.

The push and pull of this bellows contraption is what allows the whole chaotic roulette riot to occur.  The original tail from the star was the starting point, but this is unknown to the tip of the bellows.  It only knows that breath is pulled in with expansion and breath is pushed out with contraction.  When and whence these proceed none know or can fathom.  There is no entity pulling or pushing on the handles of the bellows, only the vibration of the big bang's reverberations echoing across the scenery.

At the neck of these giant accordion movements is the most enticing location to look for any signs of activity. Just as two children who sit to far apart from each other miles apart from the fulcrum of a seesaw will not have much fun or range of motion, so it is that the point closest to the funnel or nozzle (or neck, in this case) will see a lot of motion and movement as frisson and friction cause collisions and interaction.  These compression points allow for the creation and destruction that is important for life to spring up and flourish.

All of this is only possible with the extended tail of flagellation extending from a star outward and splashing on its floating bricks.  These bricks circle endlessly in the kiln of the universe's oven, stirring up riots of chaos and random fluctuations like a roulette wheel. The chance interactions of all the elements are put into dangerous balance by the bellows action of the forces in the oven.    The neck of these violent bellows is where the most interaction occurs and where the pot toils and boils.

The random luck of the draw is capricious and unmerciful.  All possible outcomes are known in advance based on the initial placement of the ball and the wheel.  The size of the bellows and the direction of its neck also informs the chaotic riot of action.  The size of the star's bulbous head and in which direction the tail splash emerges like a lengthy glop of rich fertile material starts the orb spinning along its tracks.  All of this silent sound and calm fury takes place against a blackboard of pinpoint pricks of light.  Each little light as richly varied and riotous as the others, but each one is unique.

Sadly, only one is known to produce the spark of energy and motion of life.  All the other light points look on jealously while our star continues a slow burn into death.  The brick we stand on in the neck of these bellows squeezes further shut on each gasp and wheeze.  We roll the dice and hope for double aught, not because we consciously know we are doing so, but by accident out of pure chance; ignorance is bliss and we are supremely blissful.

As cheesy as it sounds, we are all created out of this star dust.  Our time is a brief spark of light in the dark, and that is a deathly serious matter.

*Ricercar (or fugue) in six random words from a website:  star, tail, riot, roulette, bellows, neck.  Discarded: blackboard.

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