Monday, December 8, 2014

Use your mentality. Wake up to reality.


Destron Fearing is not a George Lucas villain. It's a company that makes radio-frequency devices like the ID chips some people put in their dogs. This is important because dogs are notorious for forgetting their wallets when they leave the house and what if they want to stop for a beer on the way home? Actually, the point is moot since so few dogs make 21, unless we're talking dog years. Anyway, at last count 6 states have specific laws against forcing a human to undergo a microchip implant. That makes it tougher for lobbyists to track their pet legislators.

Monday, December 1, 2014

We all like pie.


Disassociative Identity Disorder is the modern name for multiple personalities, a psychiatric condition disproportionately represented in bestsellers and made-for-TV movies as compared to other psychological diagnoses. DID was extremely fashionable in the '80s and early '90s; today it is much less trendy. There was professional rivalry to see who could diagnose the most “alters,” as the extra personalties were called. This resulted in incredible personality inflation, from the three faces of Eve to a chart-topping 4,500. I may very well have a few myself, but it's hard to tell since they seem to be absolutely identical in every way.

Monday, November 24, 2014

They're here.


It was the dogs I noticed first. Fewer catahoula mutts, fewer pits, and more golden retrievers pulling scrubbed pink people pushing expensive perambulators containing The Heir. The humans avoid eye contact; if they do smile or nod it is with a tight opaque face. I'm seeing more Volvos, fewer clapped-out minivans with ladder racks. Fewer folks sitting on porches or stoops, in fact fewer porches and stoops and more blank tall gates. Every new house is like its own American compound. I feel so... colonized. I get it, though. They love the location, they're just not crazy about the neighborhood.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Avant Gradschool


How can you have a fringe festival that's not on the fringes of anything? It's all fringe, I guess, like a whorehouse curtain. Let's go sit in a black box. There will be cuss words and exposed flesh, ironic use of clown white, and young performers wishing desperately to be misunderstood. We have gotten to the point where competence may be the only transgression left, rare as tits on a snake. Still, it's our culture, and this is its expression. You can't complain about art you don't like an more than about the proliferation of flies on a dung heap.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I miss onionskin


This thing used to could happen: A person would be typing and stop for a sip of coffee and set their cup down and type to the end of the line and the carriage went ding. You would slap the return lever to start the next line and damned if I hadn't set the cup down in exactly the wrong place because POW! Coffee everywhere. Also, the handset of older dial telephones was quite heavy and you could give yourself a concussion if you answered too enthusiastically. Otherwise, I can think of no way that technology has improved human life.

Monday, November 3, 2014

As I look out at this puddle of faces...


Back in May, Jimmy Page accepted an honorary doctorate from Berklee College of Music. (No word on whether he's willing to share academic credit with Willie Dixon, Howlin' Wolf, and Randy California.) A lot of celebrities get honorary doctorates at graduation time; it's a way for schools to get name speakers to show up, and for Doctor Ralph Stanley to start his lucrative sideline in shade tree lobotomies. Usually, these degrees recognize a lifetime of valuable contributions to the culture. But what about people of more humble accomplishment? I'm lobbying here for an honorary associate degree from Cuyahoga Community College.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Lives of the Philosophers, Pt. 3


Reading Marshall McLuhan's ideas this late in the game, they can seem banal because they so accurately describe the way we live today. Like watching a D. W. Griffith movie and trying to get your head around a time when a close-up was a big deal. Two things to remember about him: First off, Canadian. Like Howie Mandel and Bachman-Turner Overdrive. The second thing is he predicted the Internet and coined the term Global Village, which you should think about when you worry about online privacy because one thing about living in a village is everybody knows everybody else's business.