Sunday, November 25, 2018

You Can "Take" Classes Online With Me If You Want To

I write a lot about the pure drivel that stood for "education" in the 1970s. That's because the rest of my life has been preoccupied with un-learning all of that baloney. Last month, over a reunion weekend that we try to do every-so-often, I consulted with my three girlfriends (great loves of my life!). These are the lifelong friends, and Michelle, Colleen and Simone were there with me from Grades 1 through 8 when we were at the mercy of some old nuns for showing us how the world works. But here's the thing...the old nuns didn't actually know how any of it works. And they didn't like questions. So they didn't like me. They gave us this Bible as big as our History book, and both books contained names and stories and dates, and it was all presented in the same way, more or less. So George Washington and Jesus and Santa all figured into the narrative about the same, more or less. They sent us off to high school with a right proper disaster of a world view. High school and college had a big job to do, which is UN-learn us and try to point us in the right direction. Every time I think about it, I'm staggered anew by the gall. It is so galling.

Of late, I've been availing myself of the great universities who've kindly posted full semesters on YouTube, with particular interest in history and literature. Right now I'm "taking" two classes, should any of you find yourselves seeking something better to do than poke around Facebook. At Harvard, Dr. Marjorie Garber knows a lot about every Shakespeare play, and at Columbia, Richard Bulliet knows a lot about how come my early education was such a load of crap. 

Course: Harvard, ENGL E-129
Shakespeare After All: The Later Plays 

Course: Columbia, W3902 
World History to 1500 CE

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Currently Listening: Must

Record: Androgynous Jesus

This is The House That Carpenter Built

[Thing or Stranger Thing?]
Inspired by #JacobsMovieParty, I watched John Carpenter's The Thing last night, for the first time in decades. Then I got on a whole "fan fiction" thing, about The Thing and Stranger Things. I'm like one passionate discussion away from Reddit-land. Let's just say that in my version of fan fiction, I'd have a character say "The Thing IS the Demogorgon, dude!"

I hadn't seen The Thing in years. Although I'm kind of surprised to find it's been so long, there's an unexpected side effect—the perspective granted anew, courtesy of "time." Not only is the movie better than I remembered, but all these years later and so many of my favorite creators call John Carpenter a big huge major influence, including the Ross and Matt Duffer, the Stranger Things guys. Well yeah, in fact...does anybody else think the two stories dovetail so neatly that the thing in The Thing becomes the stranger things in Stranger Things?

Feb 2018
"We wanted something in the vein of the classic films we loved growing up," Ross shared with IGN. "Obviously the influences are all over the show, whether it’s Spielberg’s stuff or John Carpenter or the novels of Stephen King. And I think for us looking at it, it’s like, 'What is it about these stories that resonated so much with us when we were growing up?' And I think really what it is, what connects all of them even though tonally sometimes they’re different -- but what really connects them is that these very ordinary people encountering these very extraordinary things. So I think those were the initial conversations, of can we get back to that style of storytelling?"

What I forgot I love about John Carpenter (thank you #JacobsMovieParty) is his storytelling prowess, like how The Thing ends on an open note where the protagonists' fate is left non-specific. Spielberg does great with this device too, as does Stephen King. These guys were the kings of 1980s storytelling and yeah, the Duffer Brothers are operating on a spectrum made whole through their absorption. I get that, and I love that. Y'all, I could totes hang with the Duffers. Do you have any idea how many hours of my life have pertained in some way to these storytellers?

Put super-simply: these stories persist because there's so much to speculate about, including whether or not The Thing ends with MacReady and Childs transmogriformulated into Thing 1 and Thing 2, and "it" is about to go back to sleep again until the rescue team arrives, at which point "it" can get a lift to a great food source: civilization. So I like to think of MacReady and Childs as a manifestation of the Thing finally getting it right, having perfected a viable human replication, after failing (but learning!) with all those dogs and men...and obviously some spiders. It likes spiders.

Something about 1983

In The Thing, it is 1983 in Antarctica. In Stranger Things, it is 1983 in Hawkins, Indiana. In common, there's a creature from another world that's been dormant deep below in a frozen realm. Now the creature has been awoken by the unfortunate antics carried out by a squad of researchers, and the deadly genie is out of its proverbial bottle. Also in common, this strange thing seeks to survive and to spread all across the planet, maybe all across the universe! The creature requires living hosts. It is impervious to everything except fire.

Creature Double-Feature?

Let's talk about the nature of the beast in both stories. This is the fun part. The creature requires a host in order to replicate, right? It is suggested that it would remain dormant for millennia until it finds a suitable environment. For most of the story, whatever screeching, writhing monstrosity manages to survive the replication looks like a wet pile of Starship crew after a transporter malfunction. As the movie progresses, the Thing gets better at attack, absorption and imitation, but first it tears mightily through all the Norwegians, their dogs, then all the American dogs and humans until the only surviving life-forms are MacReady and Childs. In Stranger Things, Eleven tells the other kids that it's her fault that the creature was awoken, insisting that she is reason that it has the ability to materialize from its icy realm in the dark depths she calls the Upside Down. Well how come that is? How does El know it is her fault? Well, how indeed, dear reader! And here is the apotheosis of my would-be cross-over fan fictionalizing...I love doing this stuff. And I love these Duffer Brothers.

The ancient alien is a Darwinian nightmare, defying everything we know about zoology, paleontology, genetics and developmental biology. The thing is a miracle of evolution, or one could argue, an abomination of natural selection. Like an undersea life-form, the thing thrives in dark, cold and hostile environments. Its core structure is kind of like a fleshy kelp tree, and it is strong. It throws thick, sinewy tendrils that can penetrate and grind up its hapless victims. It can also reproduce through spore production, propagating like a fungus by absorbing all carbon-based life-forms and appropriating whatever materials it needs to better adapt, survive and spread. What it does not use, it discards in favor of traits better-suited for adaptation. Not only can it absorb materials, but it can also imitate. So it can mimic blood, gristle, bones, teeth, even hair. The thing is capable of replicating the useful attributes of whatever life-form it consumes, be it insect, reptile, beast or man. As it replicates, it adapts. It learns. It mutates. If is is capable of replicating, adapting and mutating, then imagine what would transpire should such a creature take on telekinesis, clairvoyance, and the ability to travel back and forth between the physical world and a cold, dark psychic realm? The alien has adapted beyond the physical. It was never a thing of nature, not as mankind understands nature. But now it's a thing of super-nature. It is a much stranger thing. What a great place to restart the story.That's my theory, and I'm stickin' to it! You go, Duffer Brothers. Well done. 🔥
It loves spiders.

Related: Don't go to sleep on this Kurt Russell, he's still trying to spread all across the universe.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

In a column dated November 17, 1928

“I had been fed, in my youth, a lot of old wives' tales about the way men would instantly forsake a beautiful woman to flock around a brilliant one. It is but fair to say that, after getting out in the world, I had never seen this happen."
 —Dorothy Parker

Currently Listening: XTC

Song: The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Global Warning

"I'm one of those people who doesn't believe in global warming, but I'm pretty sure Noah's Ark was a true story. You know, where the guy was warning everyone about the insane change in the weather and everyone was like, shut the fuck up, Noah." - Rory Scovel

Allston Christmas (*actual)

The tree is up at Jackson Mann! I think it gets all gussied 'n lighted up this weekend. That means the Harvard Ave lights are about to flick on for the season. I'll go picture-taking next week. I love Christmas in Rock City!

*This post is about actual Allston Christmas, like when the tree goes up outside Jackson Mann school. The kids at the school make ornaments and there's a lighting ceremony. Allston Christmas is what Allston Rock City's genial citizenry calls late August/early September. It is a neighborhood-specific season, short but chaotic, as the Sun gets less intense about his work, and single flip-flops begin to materialize in the streets, discarded during some end-of-school-year walk-of-shame just before the students all clear out of Rock City for another year. Year-round residents navigate chock-a-block Uhauls and Riders and out-of-state SUVs piloted by bewildered parents. At all hours the members of this honking horde finally find the Mass Pike entrance and get the hell outta here, and they leave behind their security deposits along with towering piles of books, kitchen appliances, musical instruments, furniture, toys, clothes and whatnot, through which the locals go "picking" or "junking" for what treasure they may seek. I'm pretty good at it. Mark your calendar.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Currently Listening: Jobriath

Record: Jobriath

Don't You Just Love Your Lifetime Friends?


Currently Listening: Voodoo Screw Machine

Song: Lotion (cover of Greenskeeper's song)

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Currently Listening: Fish

Record: Sunsets on Empire

Friday, November 16, 2018

I Don't Think Prince Poppycock Gets Enough Love

John Quale is a gift from another realm, 
a real live magical being right here on our gritty little planet.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

#ThrowbackThursday (Blogcast: April 10, 2018)

Here is one of my "Blogcast" posts from earlier in the year. Regular followers will know that I made an attempt to convert my blog to an audio-only edits! But it didn't work. Because that was a truly terrible idea. And I am sure I'll try it again anyway, because I never learn, do I? This Blogcast, titled "We Got The President We Deserve," is about how digital marketers have been utilizing the data we all put online, that it was never a secret, how all of you opted into participating, and I give some examples in the retail world, and then I show how the same principles apply to CAMPAIGN MARKETING, which in the case of Election 2016 included Russian manipulation of public sentiment against Clinton. Because of the "no edit" rule I foolishly made, I ramble. I'm way better in printed material, guys.

I recorded this Blogcast while Mark Zuckerberg was testifying before Congress on April 10th, right after I heard some old fart politician ask Zuck a question and pronounce "content" as "conTENT," proving once again that these old farts have zero idea what they're even talking about because they're analog thinkers in a digital world, y'all. 
They don't get it. They gotta go, man.

Listen as SuperLowBudge explains how some of this shit works. 
If you don't know what you're doing, just get offline and go do something else. 
Otherwise, you in danger, y'all.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

President Trump accuses people

President Trump accuses people of changing their clothes and returning to cast additional ballots in disguise.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thank you for your service, and your sacrifice

I carry my mother's maiden name, DiPoala. The family is not close-knit, to say the least. My whole life, my family had never told me about grandfather James DiPoala; not about his years in service nor anything about his personality. All I knew growing up was that Grandpa DiPoala was "shell shocked" in the parlance of his time, and that he became violent when he returned from service, then deteriorated to the point where he no longer recognized my grandmother or his children. My mom was born in 1952 and says she has no memory of her father at all, because she was just a baby when he went to live in a Vet facility. He died in 2001.

I wrote to a guy who has done a ton of research and he wrote me back! He said "The 14th AIB was part of the 1st AD." 

Friday, November 9, 2018

Spell check always wants to change my last name to "dipole."

"...a molecule in which a concentration of positive electric charge is separated from a concentration of negative charge."

Thursday, November 8, 2018

#ThrowbackThursday Election Day 2012

Today's #Throwback is a photo snapped by Joe at our polling place, as he does. I think I have a photo of myself at most polls for the past 16 years since I got myself a Joe. 

Speaking of 2012, is anyone else wondering just how strange it will be to see Mitt Romney as a Senator now? I actually think he'll do okay as soon as he uploads the Senator program into his central processing unit. Fucking Mitt Romney, am I right? 𛱠

Currently Reading

Forged: Writing in the Name of God
it was amazing
tagged: currently-reading