poemless. a slap in the face of public taste.

October 21, 2009

Odds & Ends: Dead Cat Souls Edition

Bella Piccolina

Bella Piccolina


Technically I am still on hiatus.

Last week I had been trying to write a serious piece on Mike McFaul’s multiple personality disorder, but Bellacat’s “refusing food and water” disorder began taking up all of my mental time and much of my available time. Then it evolved into a “refusing to live” disorder. Then she died. It was horrible! Tragic! Outrageously unfair! Oh, woe is me…

But before that happened I had put together a few items of note. In the past, I’ve run into the conundrum of collecting little stories to write about, not getting around to writing about them, the stories would become old news, and I would become overwhelmed with the sheer volume them, resulting in a certain paralysis on my part, and the paralysis would in turn result in the piling up of more items. Then Andy suggested I just delete them, and well, it was so anti-climactic. I’m pro-climax. So for your reading enjoyment, and my peace of mind, a news round-up of compromised inspiration. (more…)

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September 21, 2009

I am sick… I am spiteful. And I have links.

Ok, it’s official, kids. I’m sick. The doctor I spoke with when making an appointment would not rule out swine flu and told me I had to wear a face mask in the waiting room. What the hell? I thought those things were largely useless. “It’s a precaution.” In fact, when I told him my symptoms, which are pretty lame, generic seasonal virus symptoms, there was a silence followed by, “Oooh… Ok. That is … that’s not good.” Just 24 hours ago I was still convinced I wasn’t really sick & now I’m convinced I’m dying. Possibly of something called, “Swine Flu.” How humiliating. Like being physically and mentally compromised isn’t humiliating enough.

My agenda for the near future is to see the doctor (I am one of those crazy Americans who has incredibly fantastic healthcare and pays a mere pittance for it, yet thinks we need a single payer system), go to the pharmacy for drugs and snacks (I don’t really keep snacks at home. I hate the word “snack.” Sounds offensive… “Snack.” But I am thinking of some juice and donuts, those little ones that have absolutely no nutritional value) and, if still ambulatory, swing by and rent some movies. Then I will go home and resign myself to illness, boredom and Dancing with the Stars. Which will never be the same without Gilles. Beautiful Gilles… Yes, as if choking on my own snot and having an illness with a name which in any other circumstance would be considered an epithet, as if that were not humiliating enough, I will now be scheduling my life according to the TV Guide. They shoot horses don’t they? Too bad I don’t have horse flu.

I’m not up for writing anything, but here are the thinks to things I’ve been reading. Check ’em out. (more…)

September 4, 2009

Odds & Ends from across the pond.

Or across the Lake!, or across the street! Some of you might even be in this very room. looks around nervously…

Contents: The Putins play doctor, Dr. Phil that is; Donkey bloggin’ in Azerbaijan; After the rapture, we get all your pets; Socialism, the slippery slope to Cannibalism; and the abolition of Switzerland.

It’s hard to post an edition of Odds & Ends as an antidote to the serious news when the serious news is about a creepy guy with baggy t-shirts and unwashed hair and scary yet melancholy look in his big eyes who is a maritime expert for a State-owned news station (and who would pretend to be getting calls from hostages of pirates on his cell phone) who suggested something about nukes or drugs being on the Arctic Sea instead of wood and something about or Russians or Israelis being on the Arctic Sea instead of pirates so who after a month of padding an already spectacularly weird story with his own weird theories left for Turkey on a routine business trip and then phoned his paper to say he was retiring after he got there and who then called the BBC and RIA Novosti and anyone else who would listen and told them that some scary men, maybe the FSB, had called him in the middle of the night and told him to stop talking about nukes and such so he fled the country fearing for his life.

But that won’t stop me from trying!

I. THIS WEEK IN THE MEDIA.

I don’t use the word “creeptastic” often, but… (more…)

August 18, 2009

dreaming, tripping and reading through the Caucasus.

Contents: Gory Gori, Грозный Grozny and the Ecstasy of War.

I haven’t slept well for the past few nights. Thunderstorms, fighter jets breaking the sound barrier, a fickle cat and the fate of the public option have kept me awake. I finally managed to fall into a proper sleep (I think leaving Chopin on repeat all night helped) and had a bizarre dream. I was on an Amtrak with my little brother, Dmitry Medvedev, Anne Nivat and some strangers. The scene had an ominous feel, like when those tv people who were Lost got on that plane to return to that Island. But instead of a mysterious island where nothing makes sense, we were going to S. Ossetia. I didn’t have my papers in order, but Medvedev laughed like Santa Claus and told me it didn’t matter. When we returned, I had no memory about the place, and no stamps in my passport. But I was told I had been there. Nivat showed me photos of our trip. And yet I remembered nothing. It was like my memory of it had been wiped perfectly clean. I felt like I had accidentally stumbled into a Michel Gondry film. With a soundtrack by Chopin.

I should not watch the news before bed. Or at least not France24. Or at least not this:

I. A Video.

A few reactions:

1. I expect a one-sided story from the American mass media. I don’t think I ever did recover from the US reporting of the war last year. I was mortified. Not by war. We’ve been at war every day for over half a decade. It’s just no longer practical to be outraged by the killing of innocent civilians. (I am, but I’m not a very practical person.) I was mortified by the narrative. And it’s a damn shame, because if the coverage had been a little more nuanced, I’d probably be a lot more mad at Russia, which was the point of that coverage, right? It still frustrates and baffles, but no longer shocks. Except when the French do it. I have higher standards for the French. On the other hand, they had the good excuse that the Russian/S. Ossetian forces wont allow them to cross into S. Ossetia to see what’s up over there. I remember that being an issue during the war too. Reporters being unable to verify that Georgia had bombed Tskhinvali because Russian troops weren’t allowing them down the road.

Nevertheless, isn’t it the job of a professional reporter to attempt to confirm hearsay? Or do we live in a world where what people believe is true is deemed more important than what is actually true? The people of Gori say they have heard that Russia is gearing up for another war. Georgian soldiers with their Russian Kalashnikovs are shown training. The cognitive dissonance is makin’ me crazy. And has anyone yet provided us with a semi-believable reason why Russia would want to launch all out war on Georgia proper? That would benefit them how, exactly? Now, how could getting people to believe it benefit Georgia? Precisely. Thank you for participating in today’s logic excessive. A pony for you all.

2. A free two-bedroom house with a flat screen tv for Georgian refugees of last year’s war. They complain it is mediocre. Just what kind of palaces were what inhabiting in South Ossetia? I know Americans facing foreclosure who would snap up one of those homes with a flat screen tv in a second. Maybe in return for our military industrial generosity, Georgia can give Americans some free houses too.

For those of you who protest, “But they are very very little houses, poemless!” there is a short story by Tolstoy I recommend.

3. The old farmer fellow, Vassily, in the hat, is just brilliant. The war last year destroyed his crop. He lost 2/3 of his harvest. He goes on about Ossetians shooting in the fields, making it difficult for him to work. He weeps like a child. But you don’t see him demanding compensation for his losses. His lament? “If only they Soviet Union had never ended!” There was peace then. And bonuses. “Now we have freedom. We are free, with empty pockets.” Now he is praying to God for help. Well, to God and the President, but if it is peace he is after, I think he might have more luck with God. And I say that as an atheist. A God-fearing Georgian whose farm was ripped up by Russian tanks longs for the good old days of the USSR. Put that in your ideological pipe and smoke it. (more…)

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