To be caught happy in a world of misery...

To be caught happy in a world of misery...

You might consider ordering my forthcoming book of short stories and poems A Creature Wanting Form. None of this shit below is in it.

1. The stripped-bare branches against the wintry backdrop of the hills like the airways of the human lung I thought kneeling there in the snow. Shut the fuck up he said knocking the absolute dog shit out of me for one more go around. This despite me having very little dog shit left to be knocked out. I wasn’t under the impression I had said that or anything out loud so this seemed more unfair than how unfair the entire predicament already was. I fell over and spit a splash-pattern of blood out onto the white canvas that looked like nothing in particular as far as I could make out from this new vantage.

Like editing a photo on your phone and you hit the button to rotate it ninety degrees the wrong way and now something that seconds ago was familiar briefly startles you.

The view of an upside down world for a child on a swing.

Maybe it’s not that. Maybe it’s when you pick up your phone and you’re confronted with the punishment of the front-facing camera but in reverse.

Oh god is that what the world actually looks like?

Is that what everything looks like?

2. Waking in the winter when it’s still dark outside is an affront to God. Also me. An affront to me. It’s like snapping into consciousness in the middle of surgery. No. No. This isn’t right. Something is wrong here.

Summon the attendants something is not right.

Boo to the sky. Boooo to the sky!!

Fighting to regain oblivion like that.

3. We went to go look at Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House the other day due to it's not very far from where we live and what else is a person supposed to do all the time. It's where she wrote Little Women and where the book is set. They should have called it the May Alcott house though because much of the tour was pointing out paintings that her younger sister had done that were hung there on the walls. Mostly the whole time I was standing there I was thinking about how I could reach up and punch my fists through the low ceilings if I wanted to which is admittedly a weird thing to think. I didn't want to do that.

The ceilings were so very low though I have to say. How little were these women?

My friend took a photo of the house which I thought was nice.

photo by Leo Crowley

4.  “You have to work really hard to go to Rikers, for the most part, being placed in Rikers means that you are a bad person that you did something probably extremely violent,” Eric Adams told THE CITY.

God this dude stinks. Get him outta there! He stinks!

“No one is going to Rikers because they stole an iPhone, in a store somewhere, you’re going because you are a violent offender. And that is why you’re there.”
But many advocates for people behind bars contend most of the population is either mentally ill, suffering from addiction or battling severe poverty. They note 50% of the population has a mental health diagnosis, with 16% labeled “serious,” according to the latest Mayor’s Management Report.
This year, 19 incarcerated people have died in the city’s jail system, the highest number in 25 years.

Ok dude.

It’s not enough for a person being held on Rikers Island to simply testify to what goes on inside
Honestly nobody cares and nobody is going to believe them

5. M. woke up from a nap to see me sitting cross-legged in front of the Christmas tree staring directly into the center of it and not moving and perceptibly breathing so slowly and said what are you doing are you resetting your nervous system and I thought about asking what that meant but instead I just said yes. How you sometimes just say yes to things because it’s quicker that way.

I had actually been thinking apropos of nothing about what would happen if there were a fire in the house at night and how we would have to climb out onto the little ledge outside of the bedroom window and then hang down from it and lower ourselves somewhat safely perchance to the ground below. In my revelry of repetitions I couldn’t determine which of us should attempt the stunt first. Not out of worry of saving my own life mind you although there must be some of that at work but thinking to perhaps model how the lowering should be done for her or if not that to try to break her fall by being in position for what every time as I saw it was a botched reception.

Imagine dropping a pass in the Super Bowl and how you would never forget that then imagine dropping your wife as she leaps frantically from an inferno.

After that mostly I was thinking about how I should probably just get a ladder I could keep around back.

6. Of all the problems with Twitter one is it’s made us all aware of far too many people. We weren’t supposed to ever know about this many people.

7. I’m really glad the pope isn’t my problem anymore. Unless he actually has been this entire time in which case I was always fucked anyway.

Until I ask for forgiveness.

Try this one easy trick to avoid damnation.


“If you are not a liberal at 25, you have no heart. If you are not a conservative at 35 you have no brain.” So said Winston Churchill. Or US president John Adams. Or perhaps King Oscar II of Sweden. Variations of this aphorism have circulated since the 18th century, underscoring the well-established rule that as people grow older, they tend to become more conservative. - Financial Times

That "rule" has always been stupid. If you want to say people become more conservative the wealthier they get then fine that makes sense. Millennials by and large have not had the opportunity to acquire wealth in the same fashion as previous generations. Is it any wonder then that they'd be more likely to eschew the myopia and selfishness of their elders?

9. Someone on Twitter said “The Andrew Tate thing is exactly why I cannot leave this website. This place is a beautiful, horrible thing that moves of its own volition” and I thought of an undulating mountain of a worm that obscures the horizon devouring everything in its path and the outline of each of its individual guttural swallows becoming visible in its massive neck. A thousand souls pressing outward futilely in their horrible descent into digestion.

10. Jeremiah Green the drummer of Modest Mouse has passed away from cancer at age forty five.

11. From "In Praise of Idleness" by Bertrand Russell, 1932:

Suppose that at a given moment a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins as before. But the world does not need twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world everybody concerned in the manufacture of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. There is, in the end, just as much leisure as on the other plan, but half the men are totally idle while half are still overworked. In this way it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a universal source of happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?
The idea that the poor should have leisure has always been shocking to the rich. In England in the early nineteenth century fifteen hours was the ordinary day’s work for a man; children sometimes did as much, and very commonly did twelve hours a day. When meddlesome busy-bodies suggested that perhaps these hours were rather long, they were told that work kept adults from drink and children from mischief. When I was a child, shortly after urban working men had acquired the vote, certain public holidays were established by law, to the great indignation of the upper classes. I remember hearing an old Duchess say, “What do the poor want with holidays? they ought to work.” People nowadays are less frank, but the sentiment persists, and is the source of much economic confusion.

12. I know it's a little winking thing they do and I don't want to overstate it but the concept of "NPCs" that the tech-authoritarians and their toadies use regularly now is exterminationary rhetoric.

It's also just centuries old fundamental right wing thinking from people who know how to use the computer.

It's been like a decade of this shit. Some asshole with standard old man reactionary politics...but he knows computer jargon. Is this something new? Is this something new?

13. This shit is so funny.

"I just want people to think I'm fucked up really bad. I want them to think I'm a fucked up person."

There are a couple of other older rare Tim Robinson sketches in that thread that I had never seen before either.

14. The other day I asked my Dunkies girl how many orders she has memorized because she always remembers mine which is a large ice/milk/one sugar and I thought she was going to say like a hundred but instead she said oh I don’t know ten maybe and I was kind of let down. I had built her faculties up as this whole thing on her behalf and now she was disappointing me. She never asked for any of this one way or the other.

15. Here's another bozo. German Lopez writing more copaganda in the NYT.

How did the fallout from the horror of Floyd’s death tie into murder trends? Because those police-community tensions may have reduced law enforcement’s effectiveness by, for example, making people more skeptical of working with the police and leading officers to be too cautious in fighting crime.

...leading officers to be too cautious in fighting crime!!! (?)

16. Our toilet has started swallowing weird. Like when you’re about to take a big vitamin or pill and you have to plot out how to swallow it which is something that had always previously been an involuntary reflex or like when a snake devours an entire chicken whole or when a guy in a cartoon gets tricked into eating a lit firecracker and it sticks out of the sides of his neck and he gets a look on his face like uh oh. Anyway that’s how my toilet has been swallowing lately.

17. A year-defining tweet perhaps.

18. You could drive yourself mad trying to thread the needle of "what they actually believe" when it comes to the way the right talks about sexual assault and trafficking and groomers and so on. That's part of the little thrill of it for them. Getting away with the hypocrisy and watching us sputter futilely. How they can come to the defense of someone like Andrew Tate while maligning anyone who so much as acknowledges their same sex partner as a danger to children. Or why they seem to be so comfortable talking about what should happen to Epstein's clients – by which they mean Bill Clinton and other people they don't like – and can completely omit Trump from the cohort in their thirst for comeuppance.

I wrote about this the other week here more or less.

They want to be able to enact a separate type of suffering
I posted my best songs of the year list the other day in case you missed it. The 50 best emo/punk/hc/&c songs of 2022As I was finalizing my post here just now I caught myself committing the cardinal sin of any best of the year list which
There is no such thing as compassion in the right wing worldview there is only punishment and the delighting in having seen others punished. None of this is about protecting anyone this is about destroying them. Their ongoing conflation of anything to do with trans people – and increasingly LGB people as well – with groomers and pedophiles gives the game away. They wouldn't be satisfied if we came out and said ok fine no surgery for kids of any kind anymore they would simply move further down the line on the project of constricting the rights of trans adults. The number of anti-trans bills in states around the country is already exploding.

But you should definitely read this entire thread below which does a great job of explaining the cognitive dissonance on the right around these issues.

"...the way they are preoccupied with sexual assault or victimization of children is not about care for the person victimized, nor even that they see it as bad in all cases (they very much do not). They see it has defending their own property relation to that person."

19. A number of great works from the year 1927 – including the final Sherlock Holmes story – have entered the public domain today. Among them is Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse a book that was extremely important and influential to me as a young writer. Apparently not in her use of an absolute blizzard of punctuation however.

I used a line from it in the epigraph to the Welcome to Hell World book.

God that Family Band song and video is still one of the saddest things I've ever heard and seen.

I could reprint the entire Woolf nook here right now if I wanted to! I'm not going to obviously but I could.

And so she went down and said to her husband, Why must they grow up and lose it all? Never will they be so happy again. And he was angry. Why take such a gloomy view of life? he said. It is not sensible. For it was odd; and she believed it to be true; that with all his gloom and desperation he was happier, more hopeful on the whole, than she was. Less exposed to human worries--perhaps that was it. He had always his work to fall back on. Not that she herself was "pessimistic," as he accused her of being. Only she thought life--and a little strip of time presented itself to her eyes--her fifty years. There it was before her--life. Life, she thought--but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parlayed (when she sat alone); there were, she remembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she felt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance. There were eternal problems: suffering; death; the poor. There was always a woman dying of cancer even here. And yet she had said to all these children, You shall go through it all. To eight people she had said relentlessly that (and the bill for the greenhouse would be fifty pounds). For that reason, knowing what was before them--love and ambition and being wretched alone in dreary places--she had often the feeling, Why must they grow up and lose it all?

20. I snuck this little scene into the best music of the year post from the other day but I like it so here it is again.

After the wind had abated they drove east on a length of flat empty plains highway hoping to outstrip its inevitable redoubling and remarked upon little for some miles before the first of the overturned tractor-trailers on the shoulder appeared and then the next and the next and the next passing almost evenly spaced out now like the mile markers. The symmetry of the trucks’ resting was uncanny never mind the simple fact of their toppling like so in the first place. It all unfolded like that for a while less like the aftermath of a cyclone’s tantrum than a formal laying down of arms by a retreating army or a herd of animals showing its collective belly.

More peaceful than that.

Maybe horses slumbering in an orderly and well kept stable.

They kind of look like horses sleeping she said and he said don’t horses sleep standing up and she said not when they are actually sleeping. In deep sleep I mean. In REM sleep. They have to lie down for that.

When did you ever see a horse sleeping he said and she said we had a horse when I was young and he said what was it called and she hesitated and said I don’t remember but it sounded maybe like a liar buying time.

Her phone wasn’t working correctly so the screen was stuck on the last article she saw from before from a tabloid she hate-read. Archaeologists uncover Egyptian mummies with golden tongues it read. That phrasing wormed into her pulse compounding its musicality with each swipe down on the screen when it would not disappear upon a refresh. Schwip. Schwip.

Egyptian mummies with golden tongues.

Ancient tombs containing corpses with precious metals in mouths the subhed read.

Precious metals in mouths.

The full article never ended up loading so she didn’t read through to see that the whole thing was about how they apparently used to remove the deceased’s tongue and replace it with a hunk of gold so they would have an offering on hand when it came time to speak to Osiris the judge of the dead. How reasoning is always less effective than a bribe when it comes time for an audience with the powerful.

21. Hope you have a good 2023 buddy. Everything is going to be different this time.

22. Here's Johnny Marr playing Cemetry Gates on an acoustic.