(c) 2012 TAB
it’s another Monday
it’s just another Monday
it won’t ever be this Monday again
(c) 2012 TAB
There’s a popular idiom among estadounidense which dates back some time, referring to ‘squares’- people who are relatively conservative in their social attitudes. Here is the entry for ‘square’ from etymonline.com, which uses several print works for its database of etymological derivations:
c.1300, “containing four equal sides and right angles,” from square (n.). Meaning “honest, fair,” is first attested 1560s; that of “straight, direct” is from 1804. Sense of “old-fashioned” is 1944, U.S. jazz slang, said to be from shape of a conductor’s hand gestures in a regular four-beat rhythm. (Square-toes meant nearly the same thing in 1771, from a style of shoes then fallen from fashion.) Squaresville is attested from 1956. Square one “the beginning” is first recorded 1960, probably from board games; square dance first attested 1870.
Many of us are familiar with the usage here listed as “”old-fashioned”", and considering it apparently goes back 78 years that’s not surprising. Of course, the positive and negative connotations of this word shifted among many during the Civil Rights Era and subsequent generations’ progressives have associated it further with a sort of obstinate refusal to come to terms with liberatory movements and their social impacts, and therefore with a (paleo)conservative outlook towards society. I’m not quite clear if neoconservatives are on board with being squares, considering that they espouse radical changes which many (including myself) feel are in fact negative. On the other hand, that is something for those who identify with conservatism to hash out amongst themselves. What is clear is that squares are a common staple of political identification for our times; whether you are a square or find it retrogressive, or simply don’t care, the squares have been among us and still are. Quite possibly, they have been among us since before anyone else was around to be an ‘us’ in opposition to the fact- though paleoanthropology may not support such claims.
What has come up as a topic with scholars of political and social change is that there are unexamined aspects to power structures and their social implications are often hidden. This statement may seem to be made especially general in order to apply well, but it pops up in such a variety of places that it is difficult to phrase so easily in more particular terms. In formal academic discourse, it may often be the case that a person applying politically progressive ideals is doing so from within a critical position that attempts to universalize that which is not truly universal. In this way, assumptions about often-studied social oppressions such as those centered around sex/gender/orientation, class, and race are overlaid upon each other to the detriment of the theory. What seeks to be a positive prescription for humanistic purposes can therefore be rendered incapable of seeing past the originator’s perspective, or that of their close peers, and instead of shining light into the issues which prevent humanity’s progress they instead can therefore obscure them. This tendency has been increasingly pointed out and critically deconstructed in efforts to provide a fuller picture, and over the past two decades academics with critical perspectives have been able to better understand the nature of oppressive power structures without relying on the same methods of perception which those structures engender and enforce. Reading some wikipedia- a good starting point is the article Intersectionality- is probably of more use than an attempt to cover this topic comprehensively here.
The net result, or at least one of the results, of such ongoing debate is that there is a growing recognition of the lack of very many universals when it comes to human existence. While some things may readily apply to everyone (such as needing air, water, and food), nearly all cultural and social norms at some point can be found to apply differently by groups, whether this is an intentional effect of oppression or an unrecognized by-product of some other normativity which causes oppressions that are obscured in some way to those who are not experiencing them. Ultimately, those who are able to clearly take into account differences are able to see that there are too many to adequately refer to any universal pattern of oppression. There are too many social norms to consider more than the basic minimums needed for a civil existence (or perhaps a shared strife in more realistic terms) to be universal. There are therefore too many ways to analyze and model society to apply any of them universally. The tendency to do so anyway, in disregard of such realizations, can be called hyperuniversalizing or hyperuniversalism (depending on which part of the sentence you’d like to use it).
(c) TAB 2012
spin, spin like cotton candy
blooming garish pink ephemeral from glass
among gleaming chrome machine parts
where windows encase the fusion chamber
of the only engine that runs better with sugar
and fuels syrupy-speedy dreams in small fast hearts
like Hesse said
(c) 2012 TAB
pebbles in the stream
can’t turn off mental verbalization
give up corners and roughness
and closed mind as defense
wearing away in acceptance
need practice in deconcentration
to greet life with smooth ease
[this review reflects the status of the show at the end of Season 4]
cast/characters, from wiki:
Bryan Cranston as Walter White
Anna Gunn as Skyler White
Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman
Dean Norris as Hank Schrader
Betsy Brandt as Marie Schrader
RJ Mitte as Walter White, Jr.
Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman
Giancarlo Esposito as Gustavo “Gus” Fring
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut
Breaking Bad (BrBa) re/presents classic wild west themes in a contemporary context. The main characters, Walter White- and to a lesser extent his partner Jesse Pinkman- are ‘driven by desperation to become outlaws’ (a trope, variation of ‘the outlaws are the heroes’ general/meta western trope, especially in combination with the ‘intense calamity befalls a family’ trope). (continue reading…)
(c) 2011 TAB
standing on the shoulders of giants
peering out at the dim foggy mountains
where these historical titans sleep
we humans compelled to scramble
as they turn over disturbed in dream
thousands ground to blood beneath yawns
eons passing without a wakefulness
against the prayers of ethnocentric hermetics
(c) 2011 TAB
why would you speak to a celestial?
dealing with the problems of people without time on their hands
(c) TAB 2011
(v2 – now with capitalization)
(c) TAB 2011
We picked up Albert at age 24 from Switzerland and said “look man, they’re going to turn your dreams into bombs”. We snagged Tesla and then went way out there and got ahold of Archemedes. We brought them back to the base, 1830 in Nevada. We had a huge daoist monastery built out there; machines and tools and water from a secondary and older base in Hawai’i where the king was very happy that we had brought the secrets of steel toolmaking and now the europeans couldn’t boss them around with cheap trade goods. That base was a huge pirate haven by fifty local years later, operating ships all through the North Pacific. Maybe it’s time to back up.
In the summer of 2045 my friends and I decided that engineering was boring without any truly cool projects to work on. Jamal said he could figure out the physics of time travel if he had a couple years to mess with equipment. We wrote an innocuous grant proposal to develop some solutions to a minor problem and got some gear for him. None of us had real jobs except Lu at the library and Mike’s part-time job at the liquor store. It took us three years of eating dumpstered donuts to build a working time machine. By that time, we had some extensive plans.
Obviously a time machine has to let you travel through space too. By adjusting the destination time so that the Earth’s spin would deposit us in another spot on the surface we could go to a lot of places. Not anywhere, but a lot. It had to line up to where we’d be within a few meters of the ground or we’d be flying through some random airstream. We built the machine into a weak helicopter just in case. But this is probably boring without explaining how the time travel part works.
Basically imagine time as being a gelatinous sphere. You can go anywhere and do things and new time branches will just appear. There’s never any erasing timelines from creating logical paradoxes, just making new ones because the original split into identical branches, except the paradox parts. Each outcome gets its own branch, so if you kill your grandfather there’s just a new line without that part of the family in it. In one timeline, you are the proud owner of a dead cat that smells like chlorine. In the other, the cat is just waiting to jump up and scratch your face off as soon as you open that box back up. You can get back to the same old unedited time whenever- if that were worth doing in its case- or just go to new timelines extrapolated from the changes made each time. Or like us you can decide to become time gardeners, go back again and again to one new branch and make it awesome.
(c) 2010 TAB
smoking in the blizzard bundled up
i felt like i was EVA in space
suspended in nothing, between doors
the building between me and cosmic wind
(c) 2010 TAB
Raiden was doing the crossword puzzle section of the Gaian Times and had just about finished the last crossword. He checked the clock on the top of the page and noted that he would probably finish today’s set in record time. He sipped on his absinthe; the sugar was settling out of it since he hadn’t bothered stirring it or drinking it too fast. A few more words and he tossed down the paper. He watched the fluffy Florida clouds and took out a pack of Dank Filterless from his tweed jacket and lit one. This place was always amusing, flocks of teenagers sitting around sipping free water and talking about nothing, some adults with dogs or babies or books. They kept this sector at summer all year for the tourists and it felt like hundreds of years ago, usual estadounidense behavior seemed to have been preserved in time somehow here as if capitalism still meant multiple corporate entities and the world were full of nation-states.