Human Things

NY Times Has Something To Say About… Germans?

One of the greatest radio personalities of all time, Jonathan Schwartz of New York City’s NPR affiliate, made an interesting reference on the air this weekend. He mentioned a recent book review in the New York Times by Michiko Kakutani. In fact, he mentioned it several times, in between long pauses during which I assumed he had fallen asleep. To my satisfaction, Msr. Schwartz was not losing consciousness, but rather reveling in the rich subtext of the article, which ostensibly reviewed a book on Adolf Hitler’s rise to power titled Hitler: Ascent.

The author’s neat bullet points bring out salient elements of the dictator’s personality, including his narcissism, opportunism, effective public speaking skills, ability to appeal directly to his audience’s emotions, grim worldview, and perhaps most strikingly, his apparent failure to “recognize the difference between lies and truth.” These points stand out so starkly, given this country’s current political climate, that I had to lean back in my alpaca hide-lined antique rocking chair and adjust my monocle pensively to consider the ramifications of the piece. What to make of it? Is there any current political figure to whom the author might be attempting to compare the Nazi dictator?

Anyone at all?

It’s on the tip of my tongue. I will be sure to notify you when it materializes. If you think of it before me, do tweet it to me @City_Sasquatch.

Stay Tuned…

gw bush paints

…for a special post this week, about my favorite U.S. President-turned-Impressionist-painter, the one and only George W. Bush. His artistic career has only begun, but what a roller coaster it’s been already! The emotional highs and lows are, frankly, almost too much for this humble sasquatch to take.

That’s why I’ve commissioned a special post on Msr. Bush’s ongoing artistic journey (and if it helps to drum up support for my own campaign for president, then I shall not complain). All I can say at this point is to keep your eyes and ears attuned to this interweb blog site. More to come later this week.

Listen to An Old Record… Or Just Read This

edison victrola…A record review of Marvin Gaye’s Live at the London Palladium by my ghostwriter, published today on that indispensable resource for writers, The Rumpus.

Ah, how this article brings me back to my (slightly) younger days, when Edison’s phonograph was just released. I used to sit outside the windows of my human neighbors, silent and still, not daring to breathe, in the hopes that I could capture strains of the melodies wafting gently into the pine-scented air.

Memories!

Reader In Chief

obama books

Electric Literature reports that one of the most-ignored human celebrities, Barack Obama, recently visited a local bookstore and indulged in a bit of a holiday shopping spree. Among the tomes he purchased is a trio of books by the prescient, surprisingly-Irish writer, Brian Jacques, whose Redwall series of animal fantasy books made a large impact on the young adult genre in the early 90’s and thereafter. Obama apparently chose Redwall, Mossflower, and Mattimeo. Excellent choices, in my humble opinion.

Way to set an example for younger readers, Mr. Precedent!

Haha! Hm…

redwall

Some other titles the Obamas (may or may not have) acquired on their trip include:

  • Farsi For Dummies
  • All Tied Up: An Illustrated Compendium of Ties That Go With Anything
  • “OHM” My God – Zen Buddhist Strategies For Dealing With Idiots
  • Everything by Tom Clancy
  • Reaching Across the Aisle: My Three Marriages, by Rush Limbaugh

My Ear To The Ground, As Usual

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In these pages I’ve recently wondered about human “laws” and the logic (ahem) behind them. While the answers to my questions – both the moral, immoral, and muskrat-related – remain elusive, our friends at The Rumpus are always willing to provide some much-needed context for recent events and the subsequent protests around the country.

Personally, I don’t understand you homo sapiens one iota. My cousin Earl has a salt-and-pepper hide with a dull finish, while mine is chestnut brown (some admirers have likened it to burnt sienna) with a more lustrous sheen. But the quality of our pelts does not in the least reflect upon the quality of our character. Earl and I agree quite readily on this point. Even if our taste in practical jokes tends to differ (my rear is still smarting from that flare you set off under my favorite log, Earl, you scoundrel), we are still family. Strangely enough, you human beings, too, all belong to the same tribe. The similarities among you far overshadow the differences. Honestly, you all look the same to me. I recommend you put aside your petty jealousies and treat every pelt fairly, as it were.

There, now that little disagreement is all settled. No, do not thank me. I am but a simple forest-dwelling biped, here to offer a dewdrop of wisdom from time to time.

On the topic of helpful resources, I vehemently and vociferously encourage you to read The Review Review if you find yourself in the vicinity of an internet-enabled machine. I like to learn new things there. For one, author Chris Riddell says “To Hell With Literary Journals!” Meanwhile, Flavorwire offers a fresh list of “10 Online Lit Mags You Should Be Reading,” including some venerable names and some more intriguing.

 

 

 

Sometimes It’s Good Not To Be Human

For my own benefit, dear reader, would you mind clarifying something for me? Events of late have caused me to scratch my enormous, aesthetically-pleasing cranium. Would you please be so kind as to confirm the following points?

  • You humans have rules called “laws,” which everyone must follow.
  • Some of you dress a great deal more sharply than the rest. These select few are called “police officers,” and they enforce the “laws.”
  • One of the most important “laws” is not to kill. I believe a famous human named Moses conceived of that one.

(So far so good.)

Here is where I lose my bearings. In a village called Ferguson, a young man named Michael Brown was approached by a “police officer” in the street. The young man did not have a weapon, but “police officers” always have weapons. The two struggled near the officer’s vehicle. Brown then ran a short distance away, where he was shot several times by the “police officer” and killed.

A group of villagers talked it over and decided that the “police officer” did not break the “law.”

Did I get that right?

But what about the “Do Not Kill” rule? Do “police officers” get an exception in this case? How do you decide who gets an exception? Forgive me, dear reader, for my naivete. I would dearly appreciate an explanation. Feel free to send your explications to chetsasquatch@humanoid.net

McSweeney’s Aspires To Droid Status

droids by Gordon Tarpley

Quasi-online news portal SFGate reports today that the publishing matrix known as McSweeney’s is slated to become a non-profit organization this year, or what the most boring humans refer to as a 501(c)3. Gadzooks, when I poked my head into the Alexandrian library in ancient Egypt more than 1,900 years ago the heiroglyphics there were less difficult to decipher! 501(c)3 sounds like a character from one of George Lucas‘s lesser known screenplays (are you impressed at my cultural cachet, dear reader? I know I am). The throbbing brain of acclaimed author Dave Eggers is, no doubt, behind this latest foray into obscure numerology, according to SFGate:

“We’ve always been a hand-to-mouth operation, and every year it gets just a little harder to be an independent publisher,” Eggers said in a telephone interview. “An independent literary title that might have sold 10,000 copies 10 years ago might sell 6,000 now, for example.”

Apparently one of McSweeney’s most recent ventures is called “How Music Works” and it is curated by the one and only David Byrne, formerly of the Talking Heads (yet more pop culture signifiers! I sparkle with wit and aplomb!). I’ve long wondered the  very same question. How, indeed, does it work? Human music has always sounded, to me, like a conglomeration of tweets and whistles, aside from Bach. Charles Bukowski used to imbibe various ales and lagers to the soothing symphonies of that pasty-faced genius. Bach is fine by me, but the rest, well… If you are David Byrne, please be so kind as to twit some of your refined knowledge to me @City_Sasquatch

And a personal appeal to Msr. Eggers: No one is better at not making money than I, sir. If you ever desire a business luncheon, do get in touch.

 

 

Bellevue Literary Review – Writers, MD

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The Spring 2014 issue of the Bellevue Literary Review – a journal published by the NYU School of Medicine – is a tightly packed relic of raw emotion. This writing is varied and multi-faceted. Within Bellevue’s pages we find stories and poems written from the point of view of doctors and patients’ spouses, treating all manner of psychological nuance. The fraught terrain of the hospital romance, the heart-tearing sadness of the sick child, the ways in which humans negotiate overlapping identities, even the politics of being a physician in a politically-charged war zone. All are explored thoroughly and with a puzzling faculty I’ve discovered in many humans – a thing called “empathy.” I must research this “empathy.” Mental note – incorporate into memoir.

A doff of the cap to Lilliam Rivera for “Death Defiant Bomba or What To Wear When Your Boo Gets Cancer;” Rachel Hadas for her poem “The Second Floor;” Elisha Waldman for her essay on the multiple roles of the physician in an Israeli hospital, “Double Exposure;” and Abby Horowitz, for her story “Pediatricology,” which won the 2014 Goldenberg Prize for Fiction, judged by Nathan Englander; not to mention all the other frightfully talented authors in Bellevue. A deep bow goes to the editors, Danielle Ofri, Stacey Bodziak, Ronna Wineburg, Jerome Lowenstein, Suzanne McConnell, and Jason Schneiderman.

Though I have never seen the inside of a hospital, they sound like difficult places for humans. Personally, the smell of disinfectant makes my tummy a bit upset. Once I accidentally sniffed a bottle of Lysol in my ghostwriter’s cabinet and promptly vomited my last meal out his bedroom window. My sincerest apologies go out to the mail carrier. Sorry, Frank! A traumatic experience for both of us.

Bellevue editors – Ofri, et al – do call me. Excerpts of my memoir, Beautiful On The Outside, are available for publication. You may reach me at my chateau (my ghostwriter’s couch), or at @City_Sasquatch. Merci.

What In Blazes?

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As I’ve said before, every day is a journey. This one is no exception. Imagine my confusion – nay, my chagrin! – as I stumbled upon this contraption. What is this infernal device?

An A-T-M?

Angry Termite Mother?

A Tall Moron?

Any Thing More?

Allow The Monsieur?

Ask The Monster??

 

But… I am the monster! Is this what monsters look like in the 21st century? Any consolation is much appreciated.

Eureka!

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There are times when one simply does not, as they say, put two and two together. It appears I have been a singular failure in this regard, ever since I first arrived in this metropolis. To wit: the toilet. Derived from the French toilette, meaning a small cloth, doily, or dressing table. I had always pictured the toilet as such. Alas, literature does not seek to reinvent, only to explore this thing we call modernity. The gory details of daily human experience are mercifully omitted (except of course in Henry Miller and some Bukowski).

Perhaps I owe my breakthrough today to Henri Bergson and his “Introduction to Metaphysics.” The metaphysician attempts to “know” a thing by liberating himself from the manacles of subjectivity, by striving to bypass entirely the fallibility of the senses. Bergson is right to argue that we cannot possibly reproduce reality by the creation of referents. A toilet is a toilette is a john is a loo. Which is it? Can we really say it is all of these things at once? What Bergson might call a “multiplicity” of identities? Yes.

Hence, a breakthrough! Nothing quite describes this sensation besides that oft-maligned word, epiphany. An epiphanic thrill. Epiphanous. How else to convey the joy of discovery? Today, I ventured into the white-tiled room adjacent to my ghostwriter’s kitchen and proceeded to “jiggle the handle,” as it were, partially out of frustration and partially out of the desire to know this strange object before me in the metaphysical sense. Imagine my surprise when, through an apparent miracle of gravitational dynamics, the water within this porcelain throne suddenly swirled about and disappeared, “flushed,” you might say, into some nether region of human invention.

And to think, all this time I had been depositing my excrement in bundles of newspaper and burying them under trees in the park. Bergson posits that:

“Now our mind has an irresistible tendency to consider that idea clearest which is most often useful to it. That is why immobility seems to it clearer than mobility, and rest anterior to movement.”

Finally, it all becomes clear. Until now I’d considered excrement-filled packets of newspaper most “useful” to my purposes. But if we were to follow such a course of action to its logical conclusion, I would eventually run out of trees! Of late I resorted to leaving the bundles in the mysterious metal boxes affixed to my neighbors’ front doors, receptacles which seem to lack any discernible function whatsoever.

No more. I have won a battle today, a small one, but a battle nonetheless.