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Where things will go your way...or they won't
Robots have fared best, Dr. Teller said, in highly structured environments made just for them, and in the company of other robots. “If you took a welding bot from an assembly line and put it in your local body shop, it would end up killing somebody in about 30 seconds,” he said. “It would weld a person to a wall.”
Anyway, as any Cowboy fan can attest, being a Dallas fan in the 80s may have been the worst possible decade to pledge. The Cowboys were two things in 80s--really awful, or a game away from the Super Bowl. I think we went to three straight NFC championships--and lost. Shit was rough. Imagine being a six-year old kid when "The Catch" happened. But I've been there for it all--for Hogeboom, for Landry brining Ed Jones back out because of fans, for Jerry firing the whole lot of everyone. That 92 game against the 49ers was such great payback--the 49ers ruined my childhood, and to beat them in that way had me floating for a week. The thing is this--I'm old school like Dexter Clinkscales, Rafael Septien, and Tony Hill. How can I switch now?
"I was born in 1941," he said, a wavering sentimentality in his scratchy voice. "That was the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. I've been living in darkness ever since. It looks like things are going to change now."
So the other day, when a stroller-pushing mother semi-vigorously bumped into me at Sixth Avenue and Eighth Street — this corner is apparently the Bermuda Triangle of manners — I expressed remorse, and added, “No one says I’m sorry anymore, so I do it for them.”
“My idea is that if I say I’m sorry, then at least the words have been released into the universe.”
She stared at me with equal parts irritation and faint horror, as if I had just asked her to attend a three-hour lecture on the history of the leotard.
I continued: “The apology gets said, even if it’s not by the right person. It makes me feel better. And maybe you’ll know what to say next time.”
“Wow,” she said. (The tickets for the leotard lecture were $200, or $500 at the door.)
And then, finally, came the words I have longed these many months to hear: “I’ll think about it.”
I think I will give it a try.
*I promise no more NYT links today I just couldn't help it.
None of these one-dimensional slackers are remotely interesting as individuals, but together they give the reader a sense of the seedy, artsy world Kerouac and Burroughs inhabited in New York during the war years. And so these, really, are the only reasons to read this undistinguished book: for the period picture it provides of the city — think of Billy Wilder’s “Lost Weekend” crossed with Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks” — and for the semi-autobiographical glimpses it offers of the two writers before they found their voices and became bohemian brand names.
"Dulce et Decorum Est "
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! GAS! Quick, boys! -- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime . . .
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under I green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, --
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
Update: Here is a good article on Wilfred Owen.
The region’s absence from Mr. Obama’s winning formula means it “is becoming distinctly less important,” said Wayne Parent, a political scientist at Louisiana State University. “The South has moved from being the center of the political universe to being an outside player in presidential politics.”
Because yesterday, the United States of America, east, west, north, and south, motherfuckers, shook its collective ass at and farted in the face of the Bush administration, of John McCain, and of the entire right wing that, since Ronald Reagan, has yanked this nation further and further rightward like it's a leashed dog. We bit the hand that fed us, man, and the blood tastes so very good....A great big "fuck you" to the warmongers, the fearmongers, the hatemongers, and the neocons. Last night, we said to them, "You can't scare us anymore." And we shoved their Iraq and their 9/11 whoring and their Iran threat and their WMDs and their pre-emptive doctrines and their Gitmo and their torture right up Dick Cheney's ass and laughed while he tried to get it out 'cause it burns his sphincter so fucking badly....
Let us dance, motherfuckers, mad, grotesque, ancient dances that lead us into ripping our clothes off, eating the hearts of our enemies, and fucking like the carnal goddamned human beings we are, all around the burning flames of an ideology that told us we were traitors and un-American. No, we can say now, loudly, this is what America is.