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July 10th, 2002

in the empire of the senseless

One plague was left in reserve, in the event that locusts, frogs, and killing the first born did not work. This plague is called "The Plague of Listening to Legal Education Seminars in which the Speakers are Jury Consultants". I have sat through or listened to many seminars in which the speaker of the seminar's sole purpose has been to point out to me how complex the task is, so that I will hire the specialist in question. In small measure, this can have a purpose. But if you are going to sit me down, via a cassette I actually pay for, *in my own (damn) car*, and tell me how much insight you have into people, then *please* have some insight into *me*, or any human listener, and try not to sound as though you were handing me down some new set of commandments (of which the first commandment is "Thou Shalt Consult No Consultant but Me"), when in fact you are droning on in a monotonic voice with such pearls of wisdom as "someone being Republican in Fresno does not tell you as much about them as a juror as their being Republican in San Francisco". I remember now why I never use jury consultants. I remember now why I like to try things to the judge rather than the jury. Maybe I should go into business, giving seminars to jury consultants on how not to earn my business. Lesson one: drone in a self-aggrandizing tone, as if the sheer pomposity of your tone of voice will make me an instant sell.

Heaven spare us from people whose lives depend on
convincing lawyers that they are psychics.

as self-possessed as Lauren Bacall

One of the Bogart/Bacall Phillip Marlowe movies, the Big Sleep, was on last night. I'd seen it a half dozen times recently, but we paused once again to marvel at Lauren Bacall. She just oozed self-possession, even when she played the most dysfunctional characters. Even though her performances were so very mannered, she somehow could pull it off. It's a bit silly to wish to be like a person portraying a person who is really cool, so I won't wish to be such a person. I'll just imagine what it would be like to have a sort of self-possession of my own. If I can't quite manage high cheekbones and a way with a cigarette, perhaps I can imagine a quiet firmness of purpose and a way with a diet Coke.

I've a mail art mailing and a chess poem book mailing to do today, but now the time is fleeting, and it may soon move to tomorrow's list. My new nervousness.org exchange offer, in which I offered to exchange one of my own poems in a badly decorated envelope for anyone else's poems in a decorated envelope, has already garnered three takers. I've noticed with nervousness.org that exchangers for my exchanges only arrive if I add something odd. If I'd offered mere poem for poem, then I'd have no takers. Make that poem + badly decorated envelope for poem, and even Lauren Bacall would sign up to exchange.

I wrote a poem for submission to a 'zine during lunch today. I have never been much of a 'zine person, but it was an interesting 'zine topic by an interesting 'zine sponsor. I'm so flush with accomplishment I'm tempted to go to crosses.net and send to any mail art call I can find that does not repulse me. Today I've also been quite productive at work. I don't know what has happened, but let's pretend it's some positive reflected stardust--from the Lauren Bacall character in the movies.

Books to read, books to read. I must finish Portrait of Paloma. I must finish Rebecca. I must finish a Geranium for Miss somebody or other. I must get the last marigold out of the second act of the gamma-infested moon and return that book to the Garland library. I must return the Texas folk art book to the library (favorite quote: "welders seem to always be creative people"). I love it when I can write sentences with lots of "I must" in them, and every "must" is something I actually can and will do. That's a nice substitute for true accomplishment. Now I've got to saunter into the break room, grab a sultry diet Coke, and wonder whether Bogart could handle a weedeater as well as he did a chess game or a Baja marlin, as I contemplate an evening of yard work ahead.

Why the internet has changed everything

I just finished an IM passage with one of the fellows in the ambient recording group Ma Ja Le. What a nice man! He had stopped in to say "hi" by IM, because we both hang out at the hypnos.com forum. His duo's album Seed has gotten rave reviews from folks I've heard. I love that (a) the internet makes it possible for a curious little ambient act from WI to get distributed around the world; (b) the internet breaks down those "celebrity" barriers, so that a fellow can say "hi" to a fellow without anyone worrying that one is a "recording artist" and one is a fan; and (c) eventually, the whole rock star construct will be destroyed, leaving nothing but fascinating music for thinking people. It's a small thing, such nice foreshadowings, but a nice thing nonetheless. I love a lot of classic acts, but I love to support people who make music I like not because they have a BIG contract, but because they love to make the music. It's also some fodder for my position that all truly independent music, in this age when the mammals are only beginning to topple the dinosaurs, must be avocational...no compromises, no dependencies, no fear. But that's another post for another day, or the post from last month, or something. I just want to buy some Ma Ja Le albums. Oh, and be grateful for surprise IMs from unmet friends.