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ebogjonson's December 2005 archive

December 30, 2005

last chappelle theory post ever

For those of you still arguing about the chappelle theory - "is it true?" or "when is the movie coming out?" - I have semi-official word for you. According to my anonymous sources at various Philly-based orgs and combines there is no movie. The whole thing is just what it claimed to be - a funny web something.

My initial position was that this was a viral marketing campaign, but it turns out the only thing being marketed is the funny-ha-ha skills of the various folks associated with anti-social.com. The "reveal" about a forthcoming short film by Charlie Murphy and Neal Brennan was part of the joke and I fell for it. Not in the sense that I thought Charlie and Neal were making some kind of documentary, but in the sense that they were making a mockumentary at their ex-pal Dave's expense. I speculated that that would be something of a chump move and am now the one looking chumpy.

If there's an aspect about how I was, like, tooken that most impresses/embarrasses me, it's the way I confidently tossed out one conspiracy theory (the dark crusaders) based on its patent absurdity, only to turn around and immediately replace it with another conspiracy theory - it's "just" a viral marketing scheme. anti-social.com's schtick is an attraction/repulsion to a certain kind of credulity - "making the information super highway unsafe for idiots since 1997" - but this particular hoax found as much purchase in my cynicism as my stupids. Taken as a whole the three steps in the dance - black conspiracy website > 1st reveal that transforms conspiracy into marketing scheme > 2nd reveal that there is nothing to market (except, of course, anti-social) - seem perfectly crafted to take advantage of my peculiar brands of piety and overthinking. I'll stand by the parts of my previous posts that dealt with the funny racial murk at the edges of the whole thing, but beyond that I'll just shut up and sit still and take my e-punking like a grown man.

Posted by ebogjonson in screened at 11:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

so right, i'm wrong (chappelle, again)

So it seems that the chappelle theory might just be shilling t-shirts, in that there's no movie coming never. As Mr. Drudge sez: developing...

Posted by ebogjonson in screened at 9:40 AM | Permalink

December 29, 2005

me and the chappelle theory (updated)

[uh, I was wrong. read below then go read this.]

So did I mention that I was right about The Chappelle Theory being some kind of ad? Just before the holidays Neal Brennan and Charlie Murphy come out of the conspiracy closet.

But seriously. Did I mention that I was right?

Not that I want to go on and on about being right, or to make a big to-do about how wrong asswipes like this need to eat pixellated crow, if not a proverbial dick, but, like, I was right.

(I won't take credit for the reveal, but did I say I was right before the "disclaimer" or the clips appeared on the site? Okay, you're right, I did.)

In hindsight there's something curious about how bulk of the largely wrong pre-reveal responses to the Chappelle Theory clustered. Setting aside the near univeral praise for the thing's humor, the vast majority of the deeper takes settled around two poles: earnest "could it be true?" speculation and dismissive "it's just a joke" eye-rolling. Both of those reactions seem defensive to me, and in my minds eye each has a coloring - "is it true?" being a black question, while "lighten up" is well, mighty light. (Both responses definitely share a gender, in that this felt from beginning to end like a lot of boys playing with meme toys.)

I say the reactions feel "defensive" because both camps seemed to have put their backs up against solid walls that they believe loom behind the fake conspiracy's false front - the defense of jokes for jokes sake for the eye-rollers (what the head shrinking types might call "pleasure"), or black-on-black generational conflict for the questioners. My (right!) bit about all this existing in the service of marketing was a third wall.

The commerce thing becomes increasingly of interest to me. I haven't seen the short yet, so standard disclaimers apply, but why does a short film by two of Chappelle's jilted collaborators need a viral marketing campaign? If I made a fake conspiracy movie about my last gig ("The AOL Black Voices Theory"?) I would just make it, you know. To make it and then create "buzz" for it via viral marketing and an ad agency suggests a rather cynical attempt to cash in on Dave's decision to jet while they still can.

All of this just goes to show, though, that a year into the dark times and people care about what happened to Dave. I heard somewhere he spent most of 2005 playing World of Warcraft. I'd think about him everytime I considered signing a month or two away by getting the game. I pictured meeting him in a cave somewhere and chopping things to bits and asking: why did you go, Dave? Where? What the fuck happened?

Posted by ebogjonson in screened at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

December 24, 2005

xmas radio



Miami radio bites

Posted by ebogjonson in places at 1:25 PM | Permalink

mallish mobile photo



all mallish on the eve of XMA$. Trad Haitian Christmas eve dinner is boiling away at the house, tasty redemption.

Posted by ebogjonson in places at 1:09 PM | Permalink

December 23, 2005

closed for black pete day



Gone to commercial Croaton until after XMA$. Blogging will be infrequent, as will comment approvals. But you be good or else Black Pete will get you.

Posted by ebogjonson in ebog housekeeping at 5:27 PM | Permalink

December 20, 2005

UPDATED: the chappelle conspiracy

Forget the NSA. The sweet, sweet scent of conspiracy is everywhere. (Hat tip, Kem Poston.)

This account of Dave Chappelle's fall from grace has been pieced together by me, a retired public relations executive who wishes to remain anonymous. my contacts, many of whom were closely related to the individuals involved, enabled me to fairly accurately recount the events that took place. You can take this for what you wish, but it is the truth -- the abhorrent byproduct of the industry I used to hold to such a high esteem.

[...]Dave was haunted by a secret. One that only he was aware of, and one he couldn't share with anyone, lest his comedy empire crumble.

He knew that at the same time he was signing his record-setting deal, there was a secret cabal of powerful African-American leaders from the business, political, and entertainment industries working together to ensure that the third season of Chappelle's Show would never happen.

And who is this cabal, you ask? Household names, all:

Al Sharpton
Jesse Jackson
Louis Farrakhan
Bill Cosby
Whoopie Goldberg
Oprah Winfrey
Robert L. Johnson

the dark crusaders

Read and be very, very afraid for the future of black creativity.

...

UPDATE 8:30 PM PST - Actually, read but don't get too scared. Or get scared at the thought of money-changers in the temple of the crazyblackgenius crack-up. As it happens, chappelleconspiracy.com was registered just a few months ago by WebLinc LLC, a Philly-based interactive agency whose client list ranges from Urban Outfitters to Crayola.

Registrant:WebLinc, LLC
XXX North XXth Street
Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19107
US

Domain Name: CHAPPELLETHEORY.COM

Administrative Contact , Technical Contact : WebLinc, LLC
dns@weblinc.com
WebLinc, LLC
XXX North XXth Street
Suite 200
Philadelphia, PA 19107
US

Phone: 215-XXX-XXXX
Fax: 215-XXX-XXXX

Record expires on 06-Oct-2006
Record created on 06-Oct-2005
Database last updated on 06-Oct-2005

Of course, a registration whois proves bupkis, but it does suggest that rather than having found a brother/sister in the site's imagined creator, I have instead been interpolated as a customer/end-user (BZZT! ZAPP!) for WebLinc's client. (I know, I know; they're not mutually exclusive. My hope for complete fellowship springs eternal nonetheless.) Given that Comedy Central will be airing the episodes Chappelle completed before calling it quits, I'd put even money that chappelletheory.com is a viral ad for the new episodes - that or the kids at WebLinc have some serious spare time on their hands. (Third possibility: Chappelle has another project in the works and needs to creating a meme-hole about leaving Comedy Central in order to accommodate it.)

I don't have much truck with purists who think creativity for hire or in the service of advertising is lesser or tainted creativity. Some of my favorite thin, ephemeral things exist only to market solid things, and some (music videos, for example) completely transcend their origins as shills as far as I'm concerned. (Most times at least. There are a lot of bad videos out there.) Still, there's something "funny peculiar" about how chappelletheory.com (assuming it is an ad. Any sleuths out there with info?) harnesses black paranoia. It brings to mind ad initiatives where a non-black-owned product looked to authorize itself through a marketing tie-in or affiliation with a particular civil rights org or institution. chappelletheory.com is a pothead inversion of the organizational-tie-in gambit, where instead of insinuating itself into a demo via the trojan horse of a guaranteeing black institution, the site's wry, smoked-out expansiveness associates with a specific kind of black alienation. It aims itself directly at the mid-brains of the kind of head that sympathized with Chappelle's defection from celebrity while simultaneously resenting his decision to stop bringing the jokes.

If there's a telling (damning?) contradiction at the heart of chappelletheory, it's the site's foundational notion that Dave might have been undone by the inherent conservatism of the black "old guard." Don't get me wrong; I find Robert L. Johnson as odious as the next black commentator, but the thing is that Dave Chappelle had already long cracked the code of how to say funny, true, fucked up shit to/about black people. That's what his comedy is about in the first place, and its success was so monumental precisely because Whoopie and Bob and Bill held no terrors for him from jump. It was the later, uncannily cohered, national dragon that he was having trouble slaying. After all, in his Time interview Chappelle complains not of black rejection, but of white love, of making white folks laugh a little too hard.

So with all that in mind, why does an ad agency make a joke site about Dave Chappelle where the villains are black folks? More on the money: For which client? There are lots of ways to harness the engines of race consciousness, and for all kinds of reasons - fun, profit, aesthetic effect and so on. None of the possible permutations denies or undoes all the ways that chappelletheory is funny. It's very funny, very well crafted. I just want to know who I'm laughing with and at. Dave was always very up front with us about that; put him and Neil's names in the credits, their salt-pepper mugs in the jokes. It's not much to ask that anyone evoking him and his particular comedic FX do the same.

Posted by ebogjonson in screenedvideogames and other cracks at 5:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

hot spook on spook action

Some Jack Bauer-ish ex-spies are speaking out about the wiretapping scandal. (Hat tip atrios)

All of the sigint specialists emphasized repeatedly that keeping tabs on Americans is way beyond the bounds of what they ordinarily do -- no matter what the conspiracy crowd may think.

"It's drilled into you from minute one that you should not ever, ever, ever, under any fucking circumstances turn this massive apparatus on an American citizen," one source says. "You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don't fuck with your own people." [full story]

Although it's heartwarming to hear that previous generations of spies were better lovers of the Constitution than the current lot, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that all intelligence agencies engaged in active pursuit of "hostiles" (declared and undeclared) break the law at some point. The difference these days is that the lawbreaking has become endemic; instead of the standard conservative sin of hypocrisy, these folks are boastful and aggressive about their misdeeds and seek an Orwellian re-definition of any term that might impeach them, their motives and means. ("Torture," for example.) The arrogance of this administration, its messianic self-righteousness as it defines constitutional deviancy downward is mindboggling. Every single one of them - Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Condi, Colin - belongs in jail.

Dreams of the big house for George et al aside, the above spooky quote came from DefenseTech.org, a nifty site that's a fucking goldmine for the very conspiracy crowd it disavows. On pretty much any given day editor Noah Shachtman is serving up some super-weird, borderline science-fictional newsbit, as in this tasty news item:

Pain Ray Headed to Iraq?

It's been talked about for years. But the Pentagon's microwave-like pain ray may finally be headed to Iraq, Inside the Army reports.

DefenseTech's comments on the Tapgate go for the long ball, suggesting that there's a new technology at play in the wiretaps, and also catching the Total Information Awareness (TIA) reference in Senator Jay Rockerfeller's handwritten note (!) to Cheney. To those of you not in the conspiracy or defense tech crowds, TIA was DARPA's proposed plan to index, like, everything electronic, in hopes of finding the needle of terrorist communication in the haystack of the billion or so bits that have been produced and exchanged about Jessica Simpson's divorce.

Posted by ebogjonson in next levelish at 1:42 PM | Permalink

December 19, 2005

ill music 10 hindu

the illhindu, Siddhartha Mitter, shares his year-end Top 10. Hot hot South Asian divas, of course, lead the way...

Posted by ebogjonson in blogish at 5:58 PM | Permalink

December 17, 2005

the yacubian doctrine

From the Boston Globe:

Scientists Find A DNA Change That Accounts For White Skin

Scientists said yesterday that they have discovered a tiny genetic mutation that largely explains the first appearance of white skin in humans tens of thousands of years ago, a finding that helps solve one of biology's most enduring mysteries and illuminates one of humanity's greatest sources of strife.

The work suggests that the skin-whitening mutation occurred by chance in a single individual after the first human exodus from Africa, when all people were brown-skinned. That person's offspring apparently thrived as humans moved northward into what is now Europe, helping to give rise to the lightest of the world's races.

Hat-tip Kwaku Gardiner. In an email on a related topic he writes: that Bakos ain't nuthin' but a mutant. True indeed. True indeed!

(Brother Kwaku has also been doing some excellent blogging on the fracaso between Eagles QB Donovan McNabb and the head of the Philly NAACP.)

The discovery by credible scientists (read: white scientists) that ofayism is the result a genetic misstep should have members of the NOI and Five Percent Nation buzzing. As I understand it, the Nation of Islam's genesis myth posits a black-ruled, high-tech pre-diluvial eden that got ruined by the machinations of Dr. Yacub, an albino biologist who created white people in order to pave his own deformity over with the bio-industrial steamroller of mass paleface replication.

As Mother Tynetta Muhammad recalls the Elijah Muhammad putting it:

The more we know about the White man's studies in these fields of knowledge, the more advanced we will be in the Hereafter. His words along with the subsequent discoveries he is making in every field of science, caused me to reflect upon Yakub's history and the scientific studies that he engaged in while studying in the laboratories and schools of his day. Though Yakub had a strong premonition of the work he would do as a child, while playing with two pieces of steel - one with magnetic in it attracting the piece that didn't have magnetic in it - he ultimately discovered while looking through a microscope, the secret of two people lying dormant in the life-germ itself. It was through the study of the life germ that he altered the genetic material lying dormant in the Original Man and people. Thus through a special method of birth control, practiced in a specially chosen environment, he gave birth to every race and people that has come to populate our planet today. This experiment began with the Original Black Man and People, and it is our responsibility and challenge to perfect the evolution of our species for the whole of humanity. There is a saying that Truth is Stranger than Fiction!

I remember rather vividly the front page of the Final Call going all gaga over the release of Independence Day, given the mother wheel depicted therein. As Louis Farrakhan memorably put it:

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us of a giant Motherplane that is made like the universe, spheres within spheres. White people call them unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Ezekial, in the Old Testament, saw a wheel that looked like a cloud by day but a pillar of fire by night. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad said that that wheel was built on the island of Nippon, which is now called Japan, by some of the original scientists. It took 15 billion dollars in gold at that time to build it. It is made of the toughest steel. America does not yet know the composition of the steel used to make an instrument like it. It is a circular plane, and the Bible says that it never makes turns. Because of its circular nature it can stop and travel in all directions at speeds of thousands of miles per hour. He said there are 1,500 small wheels in this mother wheel which is a half mile by a half mile. This Mother Wheel is like a small human built planet. Each one of these small planes carry three bombs.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said these planes were used to set up mountains on the earth. The Qur'an says it like this: We have raised mountains on the earth lest it convulse with you. How do you raise a mountain, and what is the purpose of a mountain? Have you ever tried to balance a tire? You use weights to keep the tire balanced. That's how the earth is balanced, with mountain ranges. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that we have a type of bomb that, when it strikes the earth a drill on it is timed to go into the earth and explode at the height that you wish the mountain to be. If you wish to take the mountain up a mile, you time the drill to go a mile in and then explode. The bombs these planes have are timed to go one mile down and bring up a mountain one mile high, but it will destroy everything within a 50 square mile radius. The white man writes in his above top secret memos o the UFOs. He sees them around his military installation like they are spying.

That Mother Wheel is a dreadful looking thing. White folks are making movies now to make these planes look like fiction, but it is based on something real. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said that Mother Plane is so powerful that with sound reverberating in he atmosphere, just with a sound, she can crumble buildings. And the final act of destruction will be that Allah will make a wall out of the atmosphere over and around North America. You will see it, but you won't be able to penetrate it. He said Allah (God) will cut a shortage in gravity and a fire will start from 13-layers up and burn down, burning the atmosphere. When it gets to the earth, it will burn everything. It will burn for 310 years and take 690 years to cool off.


Posted by ebogjonson in next levelishwhat is B.O.G.? at 6:12 PM | Permalink

wiretappie, you're doing a heck of a job!

from the Huffington Post, written by me.

Of his recently revealed, illegal, and impeachment-worthy authorization of extracurricular wiretaps within US territory, King George II says:

"The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States." Full story

I don't know about you, but this American people wants to publicly pat himself on the back for the heck of job I/he's done in continuing to be astounded by successive revelations detailing the breadth and depth of this administration's corruption. You'd think that by now I'd have become inured to GWB's blatant disregard for the first principles of civil liberty, that I'd become desensitized to the stream of petulant and messianic self-justification that bubbles up from Georgie et al.'s empty souls like false confessions flowing straight outta Gitmo. But no. It really is always just like reading about the stolen Florida and Ohio vote counts for the first time all over again. I really am doing a heck of a job!

On the specific issue of the wiretaps, this morning our homegrown caesar basically told each and every American to go boink themselves. He will do whatever he damn well pleases as long as he is Imposter President and (unless you are a terrorist or talking to one) you will enjoy it. Like his similarly ridiculous and self-serving praise for Brownie, Gaius George's articulation of his wartime prerogatives, of the swell job he's done erecting the thoroughly un-American edifice of his Imperial Presidency, flies in the face of reason and the bulk of our jurisprudence. Still, I read stuff like that wiretap bit almost every day now, I see the ripples of outrage confined to the same associated pools of opinion, and I (if I say so myself) do a heck of another type of job by not running out into the streets of Downtown LA and shouting at people. I mean, I seriously DO NOT want to end up just another crazy colored dude shouting in Downtown LA - ignored by all (except perhaps Russ Feingold), talking to myself, trapped in lingering, debilitating thrall of outrages and crimes that are visible only to me. The world proceeding around me, business as usual, my "friends" in Democratic officialdom rousing themselves so late in the game I paradoxically begin to hold their new animation against them. I certainly don't want to end up like that, and not on Christmas, which is under some sort of siege from what I am led to believe.

Hey, speaking of living in a bleak, absurd world of heck:

Triangulation, you're doing a heck of a job, too! There are about ten different things in this country can be said to be going in the crapper. We stand in stunned witness to epic struggles over torture and civil liberty that bear directly on the fate of the nation's soul. Polar bears are drowning. And you know what? All Hillary and her poop-eating DLCish pals (I'm talking to you, Joe) can think to do with themselves is make craven bids for points with an anachronistic, fantasy center.

Heck of a job, Hil! Heck. Of. A. Job.

Posted by ebogjonson in me me mepolitricknal sciences at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

susan crain bakos is an idiot (updated)

Ebog update note: I wrote this piece some time ago, but in light of recent dustups about sexist language on liberal blogs, it seemed to me that some of my attacks on Bakos here were attacks on her gender as opposed to attacks on her stupidity. (There was also some unnecessary side business that fell under the category of the gratuitous fat joke.) As my main goal here has always been to make sure you understand why Susan Crain Bakos is an idiot, those rough edges have increasingly struck me as egregious and careless, so I figured I'd clean them up. Part of this is self-serving, as I don't want to be accused of living in a glass house, but part of this reflects my belief that the more thought-out, more careful and less alienating version of an idea is almost always the better one.

A real whopper in The New York Press. Hat tip, the instigatinist illhindu.

A WHITE WOMAN EXPLAINS WHY SHE PREFERS BLACK MEN

By Susan Crain Bakos

Black skin is thick and lush, sensuous to the touch, like satin and velvet made flesh. There's only one patch of skin on a white man's body that remotely compares to nearly every inch of a black man's skin. The first time I caressed black skin, it felt like a luxury I shouldn't be able to afford. I craved it more strongly than Carrie Bradshaw craved Manolo Blahnik shoes. That phrase, "Once you go black, you never go back" is all about the feeling of the skin.

And I had the socially acceptable explanation for my craving. I used that paucity-of-available-white-partners rationale to explain my relationships with black men for several years. A white woman past forty is often passed over by her white-male contemporaries. She goes younger or ethnic or foreign-born or down the socioeconomic scale or darker or she spends lonely nights at home with her cats. Black men are happy to get the babe they couldn't have when she was twentysomething and fertile. The laws of the marketplace do prevail. It's not me, it's them--them being the white guys who weren't after me anymore, or so I claimed.

[...] I want black men. They want me. We look at one another and exchange a visible frisson of sexual energy in the lingering glances. And our attraction is based first on race. We are not those couples who "happen to fall in love" with someone of a different race or more purposefully come together but out of some greater sense of interracial understanding and respect. Not as politically-correct men and women do we seek one another out.

[...] Black men have something white guys don't have anymore: confidence in their masculinity, their sexuality. They clearly know they're men. White men appear to be waiting for the latest sociological research study to let them know if they are men or not. Yet black men are gentlemen, something else white men no longer are. They make me feel like a woman, both respected and desired. I can let go of my inhibitions, my need to control, when I am with them. How many white men can treat a woman like a lady and ravish her too?

[...] White men over 40 have lost their waistlines and their zest for life--if they ever had it. They carry resentments, grudges and extra pounds in their basketball bellies. Perhaps a good part of that bloat is unhappiness. Even the thin ones look flabby somehow and deeply aggrieved. They nurse the smallest perceived slight longer than their double shots of Scotch. Surely our culture as much as biology turns them into softer, spongier, less-interesting versions of their youthful selves just at the point where women and black men and other minorities are emerging strong. Society overvalues the white man, leaving him angry and bitter when he realizes, around age 40, that he's not all that.


And so on.

I have to say, if one were inclined to let Bakos' corny, frothy prose air out in the sun a bit, after a while one might return to find there were indeed a few grainy bits of something rattling around the confines of her ridiculously general and largely put-on argument. These are not so much grains of truth as coins and crumbs of conventional wisdom, the kind of thing that sticks to a naked buttock after a zipless romp on a heavily trafficked bar couch. Bakos' basic aim with this crap essay isn't to wax about interracial sex, it's to rather predictably vent about what she sees as the sorry state of white sexuality. That "sorry state" bit about white folks - especially the genus Americanus Whiteboyus - is by this point such a mass media commonplace that on any given Sunday no less a repository of received cultural wisdom than the NYTimes will have some or another arch dumbshit going on about it. Man-dates. Violent "good" guys on TV. That hardy new perennial, the metrosexual. Viagra suppositories. There's so much anxiety about whether or not the (marginal) assimilation of feminism into the cultural DNA produces men who don't act like "men" that racist fantasy like Bakos' can now be deployed in polite company, this as part of a tendentious side-argument about like, white female sexual emancipation.

Even shorn of its canned, whole-body dick fetishism, and even when reduced to corollary evidence about the "what's wrong with white men?" thing, Bakos' rather banal reveal of her proclivities illuminates little beyond her - wink wink, you rascal! - proclivities, that and her deep racism. The barrier to understanding that is Bakos' white privilege has been left intact despite the gaping ruin that is her interracial-sex hymen. This half-deflowering leaves her unable to appreciate how her vision of the other and his proper, horizontal place in her life is just a flat, reality TV caricature, as transgressive as Springer or Girls Gone Wild "catching" two drunk coeds rubbing girlish nips together while on winter break in Mexico. I mean, of course Bakos has noticed that black and white men don't have the same dating heebee-jeebee's. Despite great gains and growing oases of inclusion we're still largely born and raised in parallel universes, get interpolated as subjects in different ways. Forget about the games, hustles, issues, gambits and conflicts that will come to fore when the average brother is confronted with a snooty 50+ "sex journalist." So tell us something we didn't know, Susan. You are the purported sexpert.

Despite her piece's blatant, built-in absurdities, I can't get particularly mad at someone for pursuing their bliss, no matter how stupid said bliss is. What I can do, though, is take the dudes who've been fucking her silly to task - not for turning her out, but for failing to complete her sexual education. Although there is a part of me that wants to pat these gents on the back for having so completely bamboozled old girl with the mandingo-schtick, I have to fault them for their lack of social responsibility. With great power comes great responsibility, so any privilege that accrues from the continued belief in totemic, black cock requires brothers wield their dicks judiciously, ensuring that any white women they fuck know better than to believe and traffic in this kind of idiocy. (To believe this kind of thing and to say the dumb shit AND to get paid for it outside of the porn biz is just unforgivable. Her ex-lays should put together some kind of petition disavowing her.) I mean, I've known (biblically) my fair share of white women, and while modesty forbids I sing my own sexual praises, I can say with great pride that I have always left them better as white people than when I found them - more, like, wry and ironized if nothing else. Apparently this call to honorable service wasn't heard by the brothers who've been kissing Susan Crain Bakos' knees (yeech!), leaving all of us that much more the poorer and skeeved out.

Bakos pats herself on the back for being a sex journalist who not only talks the talk but takes takes it up the "A" pipe, but she's really just the rankest sort of payola eater, her printed thumbs-up for black male sexual "confidence" just a form of product placement for which she shamelessly boasts of receiving payment in inches, milliliters, stuttering orgasms, what have you. It's not bad work if you can get it, but that doesn't mean Bakos isn't a racial hack stealth-marketing a certain, arriviste strain of post-civil rights self-hatred, one that infects some classes of black men like a cycline-resistant social disease. New York City is full of this kind of brother: single, middling-to-successful I-bankers and corporate lawyers, all of them the same soul age (45+) regardless of what their biological clocks actually say. These are often men whose lives have been marked significant class or geographic dislocations, who view access to Manhattan's white society as an escape from humble beginnings, who hope to transition from sticky, complicated, narrow blackness into a better, broader, whiter world. Unlike the scions of the actual black bourgeoisie (who have been schtupping wan Gwyneth Paltrow clones since prep school, and who increase the black upper classes by bringing their white women back with them to Martha's Vineyard, this in order to make make café-au-lait babies) Bakos' black men are lost to the race forever, eagerly disappearing into whiteness and leaving no trace or marker behind them except for white misunderstanding and white racism along the lines of Bakos'.

Bakos' yen this particular class of men is no accident nor does it speak to any intrinsic love of actual blackness on her part. Bakos would have you believe that actually she's doing fine when it comes to getting laid, that she went black just for the kicks and dicks:

The truth is, I attract about the same percentage of available white men my age (and far younger!) now as I did when I was thirty--and that's not including the unavailable white men who want to play around anyway.

Enough white men want me that I was hardly facing enforced celibacy, but I don't want them.

That may be true enough, but at the end of the day, Bakos' jungle fever is a mercenary, self-serving rear-guard manouver forced upon her by advancing age. As she herself puts it rather explicitly, under prevailing sexual "market conditions" this is the only class of sexually-functioning dude who will have her. She finds her self-hating level in this particular Other, these men smoky, soft-focus mirrors where her racial ignorance, advancing age and class pretension blur into an unexpected trio of assets - reciprocal desire, seasoning and sensibility. If Bakos has a sympathetic quality, it's the matter-of-fact stoicism with which she stares down being a mere, late-coming substitute for poor, schmucky brothers who, as she puts it, couldn't get the "babe" when those girls were "twentysomething and fertile." The fact that dudes still don't have the babe is, of course, obvious, but Bakos spares herself the indignity of spelling it out. Indeed, hanging over all of her essay and claims about white and black sexuality is the omnipresent but unacknowledged edifice of heterosexual market relations under what the kids like to call sexism, ageism, lookism and patriarchy, a regime of value and meaning and power that profoundly, viciously devalues Bakos, but that she actively props up in exchange for being allowed one last favorable (to her) position.

Bakos's claim that she only wants what she has left - "I don't want them" - flies in the face of the very sexual and racial system that's endowed her with the interracial fucking annuity on which she plans to coast into old age. We're expected to believe that Bakos doesn't the things that system denies her? The wealthy, Viagra-enabled white, well, dicks in Manhattan who ritually leave wives of Bakos' age, intelligence, accomplishment for much younger women? The adoration of legions of men invisibly masturbating to electronically mediated images of women just out of girlhood? What about that class of black men of which her personal faves are just wan, fading echoes, the rappers and ball players and thug heartthrobs who are the actual black crowned princes of contemporary American sexuality? Perennially "twentysomething and virile" themselves, those cats have made their own accommodations with the rigged sexual system that simultaneously hates and privileges them, and as a result they wouldn't come near Bakos the proverbial 14-inch pole. Does Bakos not want them as well?

As this piece appeared in the generally odious New York Press, Bakos can't resist taking a smug swipe at black women who frown on brothers with jungle fever.

Even in a time when nearly 40 percent of single Americans have dated outside their race, that deliberate seeking of the specific other makes some people, especially black women, damned mad.

We are what they denigrate and castigate: white women and black men who choose one another because of our racial differences. They resent our taking their men. Black men are two and a half times more likely to marry a white woman than a black woman is to marry a white man. Black women can point to that statistic in justifying their wrath. But in truth, black sisters, we're after the sex, not the ring--and these guys aren't the marrying kind anyway.

Yes, the sex!

Bakos is typically wrong on this score. Black women don't dislike her kind because she's "taking their men." They dislike her because she's an insufferable asshole who exudes a blithe, rather uniquely white female sense of entitlement. Bakos believes that her whiteness has such intrinsic value that it trumps the downward pressure exerted on her sexual stock by her age, and has cannily decided to traffic her one remaining asset where it's literally most scarce, i.e. across the color line. The benefits of crossing the sexual border, though, obviously accrue to black women and white women differently, as those marriage numbers attest to, the rich (or at least those privileged by the current sexual regime) just getting richer. (This is a stretch aside, but Bakos unintentionally retraces an arc Judith Butler identified in the career of transsexual tennis player Renee Richards, where an ageing, mediocre white male player becomes a minor star after sex reassignment surgery. When power crosses a border it only gets more powerful, whether it's white women, transgender tennis players or the "straight acting" or "bi-curious" men so prized by certain classes of gay men.)

Bakos's story may be age specific, but her sense of entitlement is global. If you go to the online communities where black men and white women meet and greet, you can initially mistake what's going on for an upending of the existing sexual order, as women who might otherwise be deemed "unattractive" by the reigning sexual regime are suddenly sought-after commodities. Women who might have been seen as overly aggressive or loud can recast themselves as "straight-up gangsta vanilla" seeking "educated thugs." Women who might have viewed themselves as fat in comparison to mainstream images of white womanhood discover that it really is (sort of, in a way) true what they say about black men and ample asses. And of course, older, professional women with gym memberships and Upper East Side real estate find that their whiteness makes them exotic to certain black men, whereas to most white men they're just, well, themselves.

To black women, though, these transformed relations are racial business as usual where whiteness is privileged and blackness is scorned. From their POV, there isn't a busted white girl in America - two rangy kids, a dirty apartment, ten credits shy of her GED - who doesn't believe that under the right lighting and circumstances any black man from Tyson Beckford to Colin Powell will gladly get down on all fours to eat her out till her nose bleeds. From the myth of the black rapist to the Bakos myth of the irresistible 50 year old white knees, white fantasy, black male desire and black female invisibility remain constant.

There actually are great, tectonic shifts going on in how and why people who are different from each other fuck, but you won't hear about that from Susan Crain Bakos. She's a liar and hack, but most importantly, Susan Crain Bakos is an idiot.

Posted by ebogjonson in sex typewhat is B.O.G.? at 4:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)

craptastic

I post one nice thingie about a neighbor's sex habits, I get a coupla nice links from other blogs, and the next thing that happens is that my entire blog gets comment bombed.

Apologies for the crap in the comments. I'm heading behind the curtain to see what can be done.

Posted by ebogjonson in ebog housekeeping at 2:40 PM | Permalink

December 15, 2005

mr howard's globe

Terrence Howard's been nominated for a Golden Globe. Back in '99 I had occasion to interview him for Interview (which really needs a better web presence) about the release of The Best Man. It was a phoner, but he managed to create a rather vivid persona for me by letting loose with a string of off the wall pronouncements about what a bad/troubled man he was. Looking back I get the impression he made some assumptions about me based on the venue - i.e., that I was white and gay - and accordingly decided to tart himself up with a bunch of weird mess.

Back in 99 his biography included a masters, but in a recent interview it's a BS in chemical engineering. At the time of our convo, me and my editor had a feeling he was slightly off his rocker, but in a considered way that now recalls the seduction DJay puts together for Skinny Black.

Anyway, best of luck Terrence. Stay out trouble!

[Originally published January 12, 2000 in Interview magazine.]

Terrence Howard may act, play about six instruments and know enough about physics to have earned a master's degree, but just now what he's most enjoying is being bad. Unlike the standard array of pretty boys, thugs, and would-be pimps that patrol Tinseltown's margins, Howard has been making a career out of taking the usual suspects offered black actors and imploding them from within, his personal brand of big-screen pathology explained not with nods to the cliched hard-knock streets, but to particularly biblical spectacles - the preacher who glories in going wrong, the angel who eagerly falls. Howard has done the up-and-corner's sitcom shuffle and his big break technically came as a misunderstood kid in Mr. Holland's Opus (1995), but the roles that have made him a newly hot commodity are drawn from what seems like a shadow filmography: a crazed Vietnam vet turned pulpit hustler in the downbeat Dead Presidents (1995), a cagily confused child-murderer on last season's NYPD Blue, and now Quentin, the slickly demonic instigator from the black-love flick The Best Man.

Depending on his mood, the well-spoken and fast-laughing Howard explains his facility with not-very-nice men in different ways, talking craft here and referencing a multifaceted artistic childhood there, all before nonchalantly mentioning that he watched his father kill a man one Christmas Eve over exactly whose kid was next in line to sit on a store Santa's lap. The detail and delivery are pure Howard, the line between impulsive concession and coldly considered media savvy typically blurred. The only thing that's clear is that Terrence Howard isn't just good at messing with audiences and interviewers' heads; he likes doing it, too.

GARY DAUPHIN: Everyone who's seen Best Man keys in on your character, Quentin. Could you tell me a little bit about him?

TERRENCE HOWARD: Quentin is that young rich kid who's not satisfied. He's gone through a period of trying to tear down his life and now he's just going to watch, see what happens. But he's truthful. He's half-demon, half-angel, because he knows the truth. He could fix things, but he chooses to let life handle its own self instead.

GD: He's definitely a trickster, but on the other hand he seems wounded.

TH: Somebody has hurt him in a bad way. I can relate. I've done some pretty bad things in my life, and I hope not to do them anymore. I'm sitting here in a hotel trying my hardest not to do them now.

GD: [long pause] OK. Watching Quentin on screen, and talking to you, there's a definite sense that both of you enjoy playing with people's minds. How much of you is in Quentin or vice versa?

TH: I'm not sure. I know I can't separate myself from him anymore. He's always going to be a piece of me. Just the same as [crazy Vietnam vet] Cowboy from Dead Presidents will always be there. And the psychotic from NYPD Blue.

GD: There's this kind of weird buzz around you fight now. You're like the black prince of darkness.

TH: [laughs] Is that what they call me, the black prince of darkness? OK, as long as they want me to come out and be the angel, too, because every prince of darkness started off as an angel. Very few people say, "Wow, you were so wonderful in Mr. Holland Opus." They say, "I remember you in that." Then they say, "Boy, I knew that guy in Dead Presidents." And they liked watching him get beat up.

GD: Does that bother you?

TH: It's all right. People like what they like. I like it from the back. I'm speaking a little more candidly here because I don't want to be misinterpreted as to who I am or what I'm about. I'm not the nicest guy in the world, but I'm definitely honest. If there is any part of Quentin that's a part of me, it's that brutal honesty. But I'll play those kind of characters, mostly because I don't see anybody else who's able to do it. I look forward to somebody who can come and relieve me.

GD: You talk about acting in terms of challenge and power a lot.

TH: It's emotional warfare. I'm pulling no punches.

GD: So what's up next?

TH: I'm about to do this movie called Sextet with Djimon Hounsou and Omar Epps. It's about a hip-hop band. The character that I'm playing is gay - in-the-closet gay. And he likes to abuse young men. He's not just having sex with them; he's doing it in a very abusive, debased manner. But he's a man and when I say that, I say it in the sense that most people think when you're gay, you're not a man. He's a man who happens to like boys. Sextet's a challenge because of the things I'll have to deal with and come to grips with emotionally. Am I homophobic? Can I really portray someone who's gay and say I've never had those feelings? How do I approach that and how do I surrender to it? And then there's being an epileptic.

GD: He's an epileptic, too?

TH: Yeah. I'm going to have seizures. I've never done that. I may not get it on the first take, but before it's over, before the day is done, I'll have it.

GD: How about further down the line?

TH: I want the Oscar. Not the supporting actor Oscar, but for best actor. I also want the Nobel Prize.

GD: In what?

TH: Science.

GD: That's right - you studied physics.

TH: I got my masters in physics. I figured out the shape of the universe. And I want the Grammy, too. I want it all! And not for the glory of it, but just for something to do. If I've got to be in this game, why not win? I'm in it for the battle.

GD: Well, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

TH: Thank you. Have fun with the article.

GD: I will.

TH: Don't let them put one of those bad pictures of my fat side on there.

GD: I'll pass that along.

TH: Thanks.

Posted by ebogjonson in garchivalscreened at 4:17 PM | Permalink

December 10, 2005

31 things about the neighbor who fucks too much

1 - You and your live-in girlfriend are pretty high on your sexual high-horses until you realize that in the loft next door is one of those neighbors who fucks too much.

2 - You figure you and your lady have a sex life that is the cat's pajamas until you start keeping tabs on the neighbor who fucks too much.

3 - It's a little embarrassing riding the elevator with a neighbor who fucks too much just after she's been, like, fucking.

4 - It's a little annoying when one of the many guys the neighbor who fucks too much is fucking knocks on your door at 2 am. Coming or going, you wonder. He is drunk enough to be either.

5 - You are grudgingly impressed that anyone that drunk is able to fuck a neighbor who fucks too much.

6 - The neighbor who fucks too much is white. You are not. You want to make something out of that fact, but keep coming up dry.

7 - A neighbor who fucks too much is disquieting. She keeps her windows too open for December in LA.

8 - The neighbor who fucks too much is, like you, unbounded by normal clock time and so soon starts invading your late night writing oasis. Usually DSL and pROn are your biggest nemeses at that hour, sneaking into your apartment on a wire and then launching an offensive via the closest unguarded eye, but now the neighbor who fucks too much is bringing the ruckus through your earhole. At that hour your ears are always open, alternately eager for silence and streams, and her attack strikes you as a Wrath of Khan-type maneuver. Montalbanian. Could she be trying to control your mind? Is her orgasm an invisible, burrowing wig?

9 - The neighbor who fucks too much makes you 10 again in the middle of the night, except you do not have to hide in the bathroom to call the 976 number. There is no undoing on its way to your parents in the mail with the monthly bills. You are a grown man after all.

10 - You and your girlfriend thought it was funny that time your IPod started whispering "hey bitch, wait'll you see my dick" while the neighbor who fucks too much was fucking. It's the only time your girlfriend ever laughs at the Ying Yang Twins.

11 - You make a playlist for the neighbor who fucks to much. It includes Cody Chestnutt, the Detroit Grand Pubahs, Dj Assault, Peaches, the Fat Truckers, The Ying Yang Twins, Fannypack, Missy Elliot, Luke, David Banner, Lil Louis, Akinyele, screwed and chopped Khia, and Kool Keith, shuffled and in no particular order.

12 - The neighbor who fucks too much has stupidly gynormous, theatrical orgasms. You think: liar who fucks too much. You think: or not?

13 - It really has to be on purpose. She is just too damned loud.

14 - On days your girlfriend seems porn friendly, you tell her the neighbor who fucks too much sounds like a bad porn actress. On days your girlfriend seems porn unfriendly, you tell her the neighbor who fucks too much sounds like a sick cat.

15 - It turns out that neighbor who fucks too much has an awful singing voice. She sings Carly Simon tunes while she fries eggs, feeding her partners at all hours. You pat yourself on the back for your endless ability to be surprised by human vagary.

16 - As far as you can tell, the drag queen neighbor in the other loft doesn't fuck at all, until the day he does and roars like a Broadway lion. It makes you smile and blush the next time you see him. You pat yourself on the back for your endless ability to be surprised by human vagary.

17 - It's a good idea to wait until (at least) two hours after the neighbor who fucks too much has finished fucking before trying to initiate any sex of your own.

18 - If the neighbor who fucks too much starts fucking while you're fucking, try not to lose focus and possible wood by debating (internally) whether or not you should stop.

19 - There is no competition with a neighbor who fucks too much. (Is there?)

20 - If you and the neighbor who fucks too much are fucking at the same time, avoid any and all appearance that you are indulging yourself in any kind of aural transposition or fantasy. Vary your stroke to put the neighbor who fucks too much outside your circle of intimacy. If her bed is creaking, switch to cunnilingus.

21 - If the addicts in the alley are shouting loud enough to give the neighbor who fucks too much pause, they are shouting loud enough for you to get involved, at the very least by calling the police.

22 - The neighbor who fucks too much has a strange ability to make your fucking quieter. It's not so much that you are listening, but ashamed. You wonder why.

23 - You swear for a week or two that the neighbor who fucks too much just has to be some kind of call girl. Thinking that the economies of scale at play next door are market-driven seems like a good way to maintain an upper hand, but after that every time you see her the slander shames you.

24 - You have a sneaking suspicion that the neighbors at the far end of the hall are trying to figure out if you and your girlfriend are the ones who are fucking too much.

25 - The neighbor who fucks too much went from dead silence to 3, 4 times a day just like that. You wonder if she was listening to you and your girlfriend all those months. And if so, how would she rate the two of you?

26 - Is it cheating if you started masturbating BEFORE the neighbor who fucks too much started fucking?

27 - None of the neighbor-who-fucks-too-much's partners make a sound while fucking her. They just smoke on the common patio before and after, use their cellphones. Their calls reference proclivities and interests that strike you as gay, either that or they all work as low-level assistants in Hollywood. You don't share any thoughts about their banalities with your lady love, as these thoughts reek of comparison and transference.

28 - You have a long, difficult conversation with yourself about whether or not you want to fuck the neighbor who fucks too much. You realize with some relief that this is a question that can be abstracted and generalized out of existence, in so much as it can be legitimately asked about just any porn star or stripper you have ever seen. Your girlfriend, who you love because her timing is so perfect, decides about then that they are making porn next door. It helps your girlfriend forgive the neighbor who fucks too much. Everyone has got to make a buck, she figures.

29 - The neighbor who fucks too much keeps a dirtier apartment than you do just like your girlfriend expected her to. Go figure.

30 - The neighbor who fucks too much often wakes the cat, who thinks it's morning and wants to be fed. He curls up like a kitten in the crook of your arm once he's full, leaving you awake in the dark, alone with the world. You wonder if this is what fatherhood feels like.

31 - If you lay bed awake, saying nothing to your girlfriend while the neighbor who fucks too much fucks, you and girlfriend will drift slightly apart the next day. If you grin at your girlfriend in the dark and say "she sure does fuck a lot" you will drift slightly closer together. This ebb and flow is wholly you and your lady's, and its rhythm in no way reminds you of the neighbor who fucks too much. You are grateful.

Posted by ebogjonson in city of angelssex type at 5:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

haitian fight song

Haiti is now the kidnapping capital of the Western hemisphere, surpassing Columbia. From the Miami Herald:

Among Haiti's litany of woes, kidnapping has surged into an epidemic in recent months, with an estimated eight to 10 people abducted for ransom every day -- including 25 U.S. citizens just since April -- according to the FBI. The 25 were later released, the FBI added, but three other Americans were killed trying to resist apparent kidnapping attempts.

Security experts say the rate of kidnappings in this country of 8.1 million people now dwarfs the notoriously high levels in Colombia, a nation of 43 million people where about 2,200 abductions were reported in 2003.

Posted by ebogjonson in haiti at 5:08 PM | Permalink

rest in peace


65. The older I get, numbers like that seem smaller and smaller. (The above still is from the Wattstax website.)

Stir Crazy was the first movie my mother and I could agree upon. She took me twice without acting like I had dragged her there. It was almost like we were two friends out for the night. (Did it have an R-rating? I was 10 and I remember my mother being vaguely ratings conscious. Could it have gotten that strong an endorsement?)

My father, who always fell pointedly asleep in his recliner on any movie I imposed on the communal televison, once stayed up late to watch the entirety of Live on the Sunset Strip with me. He didn't exactly bust a gut laughing but he didn't turn away either. Besides his fascination with cars and lawns, it's the most American thing I can remember him doing in his entire life.

I've got ambivalence about heroes and such, but Richard Pryor goes on the short list, easy.

Posted by ebogjonson in memoryscreened at 3:41 PM | Permalink

December 9, 2005

origin of future species

From Sci-fi.com. Hat tip Mike:

Edward James Olmos - Commander William Adama

Q: I cannot easily remember the last Latino cast member of a show set in space, and here you are as the commander of the entire ship. Do you feel that TV needs more of this kind of representation?

Olmos: Yes I do. ... I'm a total human being myself so all I can tell you is yeah, it feels really great and I think they should continue to move in that direction. Because the future really is in the hands of the culturally diverse. There's no way the European-based cultures are going to be able to replenish themselves as quickly as the non-European cultures do. So there's going to be a lot more Africans and a lot more Asians and a lot more Latinos than there will be Europeans a hundred years from today.

But that's what happens when colored bodies start slappin' across a relatively short evolutionary time frame.

Posted by ebogjonson in screenedwhat is B.O.G.? at 10:01 AM | Permalink

December 8, 2005

racial switcheroo

From the Moonenite UPI. (Sorry.) Hat tip NABJ listerv.

The FX cable network will air a documentary series that switches the races of two families, which drastically changes their everyday lives.

Filmmaker R.J. Cutler and hip-hop actor Ice Cube produced the six-episode series, "Black. White.," in which makeup was used to turn a black family white and a white family black, Zap2it.com reported Wednesday.

"I'm really excited to be a part of a show that explores race in America," Ice Cube said. "'Black. White.' will force people to challenge themselves and really examine where we stand in terms of race in this country."

The Sparks family of Atlanta and the Wurgel family of Santa Monica, Calif., shared a home in Los Angeles for six weeks of filming during the summer.

"This series is an example of how television can be an extremely powerful and useful medium," Cutler said. "I believe the Sparks and Wurgels took a big chance but are better people for having done so."

The show is scheduled to bow in March.

Needless to say, I really can't wait.

The set-up and casting for this show suggests a fairly low level engagement with the great BOGish, alchemical work (which is to say, with the physical transmutation of black men into white and vice versa). What will likely happen is that the two families will be asked to "live like" the other while Cube cracks wise, which may tell us more about class in LA than race.

One can, however, imagine a 2.0 version of the show that involved the deployment of "passable" families firmly associated with specific polarities - a light skinned black family, or some curly haired Sicilians perhaps. Full on racial prosthesis may be another solution, although, the BOGish work of transmutation is as easily frustrated by glitches in the software as it logistical problems associated with the wet stuff.

One question though: what is the official Moonenite position on BOGish transmutation? All those group marriages, did they mix the races up as well?

Posted by ebogjonson in screenedwhat is B.O.G.? at 2:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

not on the socialnetworking guest list

Artboy Cory Archangel is going to commit Friendster suicide tonight. Hat tip Kottke. Cory explains:

So yeah, if you want to see this live, please come, and if you want to watch the performance at home (yes, ... this is an Internet performance, remember that concept???? LOL!), Friendster me sometime before then, and around 8:40 EST on Thursday(ish), I assume if you keep reloading your browser window on Friendster, I think I will simply disappear from your friend list. Got it? Awesome. C U there, ... kinda.

Conceptual works and performances aren't owned the way a Picasso is, but there is a certain value to be derived from having been, like LCD Soundsystem says, there, even if it's e-there. I'm not sure what the market value is on a "Cory Archangel," and can't predict where an internet suicide might eventually go for, but we can speculate about what kind of cool points are awarded for varying degrees of thereness. (What's the quickest way to convert cool points to cash? Are they EBay-able in any way?) In descending order of speculative value:

    -Having Cory as a friendster and attending live at PS1, all the while "watching" via wireless
    -Having Cory as a friendster and attending the suicide live at PS1
    -Attending the suicide live at PS1 [<--- not really sure about where that one goes]
    -Having had Cory as a friendster and watching online when he kills his profile
    -Friendster member (logged-in) watching online when he kills his profile
    -Non-Friendster member watching online when kills his profile
    -Reading about the suicide on some blog (this particular last may also be first)

Any more suggestions?

Posted by ebogjonson in videogames and other cracks at 1:14 PM | Permalink

December 7, 2005

updated: america's next top robbery



The above girl did not win America's Next Top Model. This cornfed little wench did.

Tyra, Tyra, Tyra Banks. How could you? Did those white heifers at Elle Girl or Covergirl tell you three colored winners in a row might get your stupid show categorized as "ethnic?" The folks at UPN whisper that a black show's no longer the right kind of lead in for Veronica Mars?

Choosing a "top model" (whatever the fuck that is) is one of those exercises that pretty much defines "subjective," but by elevating a whining, choking brat (if that; Nicole's little more than a button nose and some hair) you and your judges threw all pretense of fairness out the window. The win for Nicole endorses that moron Twiggy's borderline-racist refrain - "when I look at blank I see a model" - blank without fail being some bland white girl. I know you're in "model retirement" Tyra, and are putting on weight faster than Oprah on a mid-90s upwards yo-yo dieting tear, but are you so beholden to your advertisers (craven) that you'd elevate the weaker girl simply for the sake of your series' strategic positioning? Nik was the prettier girl and she was a consistent, genuine and professional performer throughout. But three black winners in a row was apparently too much for the black ex-supermodel.

Sorry Nik. Best of luck, though. One door closes, another opens and all that. By which I mean that the cleverest reality game show is back on - Project Runway. It's like Jeopardy for aesthetics junkies.

Updated: From ET, care of TWOP:

"The one thing about Nicole is she has the model 'thing' more than any of our other winners -- the body type, the face type and the attitude," Tyra explains. "She really is a fashion model. She reminds me of the girls I modeled with when I was in Europe when I was 17 years old. Some of the girls were a little shorter, had big bubbly personalities, or certain things were off or different, but Nicole has the model 'thing.'"

Whatever. I suppose that as long as there are plenty of Nicoles in the world, your random, huge-foreheaded LAgurl self stays as exotic as possible.

Posted by ebogjonson in screened at 9:58 PM | Permalink

December 6, 2005

mulattonator

Fairly hilarious travel video from the 80s featuring California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (then just a hunk of celebrity man meat) grabbing ass and staring at Brazilian ladies during Carnival. Super money quotes:

To brazilians, especially men, the mulatto is the symbol of everything sexy and erotic. During carnival gorgeous mulatto bodies begin move in ways that even a fitness expert like me can't believe. One thing I do believe: they must be very healthy.

You know something? after watching the mulattos shake it, I can absolutely understand why Brazil is totally devoted to my favorite body part, the ass."

See the here. Logrolling hat tip to the HuffPuff.

You know, not to defend der Arnold, but those of you who know me know I'm not exactly mad at the Brazilian mulatto ass. My verbiage about such things is structured slightly differently than the Governator's, and I'm not wired in a manner that mighty allow me to gape so stupidly and open-mouthed (on camera), or to hump the nearest dancer with such clumsy heavy-hippedness. Still, there's a whiff of false liberal piety and prudery to some reactions to the vid. It's an embarassment, not a sex scandal.

One question though - is that a sequined tranny der Arnold is cavorting with at one point? Just wondering...

Posted by ebogjonson in what is B.O.G.? at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

promotionary

I got around to posting on the Huffington Post again, this time on the awe inspiring horror of the white female suicide bomber. The drill, if you don't know it, is as follows:

If you are going from here to huffy there, please leave me an affectionate comment.

If you are coming from there to eboggy here, welcome, stay a while, and all that generic hostessing jazz.

Posted by ebogjonson in me me me at 4:43 AM | Permalink

December 5, 2005

paris - a dream

Mostly fragments today, but on the upside it seems I finally got around to processing the waking trip I just took to France.

Dreamt of travel, travel, travel by train, plane and helicopter, all of it on or about an unnamed volcanic island populated by French-speaking black folks. (Haiti? Martinique? Genosha?) On the books the island (a city-state really) is a high-tech, black-run paradise, ziggurat skyscrapers reaching for a postcard blue heaven, but the streets are heavy with moist banana smell, the tiny republic rotting away in stages, pretending to a high-mindedness (liberté, egalité, fraternité?) that never quite trickles down into anyone's day-to-day.

I fly into the city on videogame wings. I see my plane (propeller?) from the outside, its fuselage an unlikely burnished super-silver. Code generated lens-flare blossoms like firework across my mental image as the plane glides, swooping down through shaving cream clouds before buzzing the city-state's man-made canyons on the way to the airport. I watch and watch and get that funny sense of awe I get whenever I play a next-generation game console for the first time. Who knew an extra million polygons would look this good? Those Japanese cats sure know their stuff.

I'm on the island for business, here to buy a building or maybe a business. I'm carrying a lot of someone else's money, digital money or maybe encoded the old fashioned way in my signature or handshake. An old boss of mine flies in with me, but once we're on the island we never go look at any sites or meet any people. I walk around the city looking up at the buildings - think Blade Runner with sunshine - the celly pressed to my ear. I'm on hold the entire dream, that or I'm having testy, broken-French conversations with receptionists, hotel operators, assistants. I can't get through to anyone. I lose track of my boss and then have to call and call looking for him. He's left his hotel room and has gone sightseeing. No one can find him.

I ride the island's subway aimlessly. This particular system comes with just two lines, each with exactly four stops. A vast, imperial central station connects the two lines. The central station is bloated, a marble monstrosity. Its surface has been carved out of pinkish-brown stone and the place has the under-lit, unfocused ambiance of museum statuary that's been shot by a tourist using digital camera presets and weak flash.

A hotel operator berates me for my poor French. I speak better French when I'm awake but can barely put together a sentence here. When she puts me on hold I notice that all phone numbers on the island come in the same format:

XXX-29-XXX

I take in the recurring 29, decide that for the rest of the dream I'll pretend to a vague numerological unease. In my waking life, I always take note of numbers that could be subsets of a plausible lifespan, like my age plus one for example. (This year, the lucky number is 38.) I suck on the 29 like it's a particularly resistant candy, some kind of mental gobstopper. Do I have 29 more years of life? Did I die when I was 29? Soft-center or chewable?

When I'm not on the train I ride in a helicopter that takes me from building to building. More pixellated aeronautic excess. My pilot talks too much too, tells me how he dreams of emigrating to America. I nod absently, wonder if I could fly the thing if I had to.

There are men with machine guns guarding the streets.

The wandering motif that consumed the whole first half of the dream suddenly evaporates. I forget it as if it never happened. Instead of traveling and wandering I now dream that I have been in my hotel room since the day I arrived. I lay in bed eating crepes, watching French television. I watch "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in German for hours, as well as "The Weakest Link." I discover a genre of talk show where 10 or 15 Italians sit on a stage chatting and laughing. It's the same set-up every night. I'm baffled by the booking - politicians? Footballers? B-list celebrities? An African-seeming gent walks on stage in a tweed jacket and the crowd goes wild. He waves back coolly, his hands clasped over his head.

The hotel room morphs around me, extravagant and minimal at the same time. I am Dave Bowman slowly chewing a Kubrickian steak.

The European women on the television all have enormous breasts. I wonder if this is a natural phenomenon, or something innate to the televised European. I'm confused by their plenitude. I have flown in from California, where every other woman is an actress with implants.

Except for the Italian African I never see any black people on the hotel television. I wonder why if the island has its own channel, why the hotel doesn't carry it.

I decide that there's something gravitationally off with the island. On the pressboard desk in my hotel room sits a doodad, one of those magnets that's been floated on a superconducting surface, science in miraculous action. This particular doodad is eccentric in design and execution - a wine cork stuffed like a pimento olive with magnet, then floated in a U-shaped, superconducting trough. Every now and then the magnet, like a cat suddenly starting at nothing, rotates impossibly on its axis. I call down to ask the concierge if the island is prone to earthquakes, but he only berates me for my poor conjugation.

Just before I wake, my dream settled down to a single arc with the appearance in my room of Chantal, an old friend from high school. In real life Chantal had been one of the few kids at my high school who lived in my neighborhood, and she was also one of a handful of Haitian kids attending besides me. In the dream she lives on the island and has come on goodwill mission to get me out of the room.

"You should see the sights," she says.

Before we can leave, though, she loses her favorite brooch somewhere in my hotel room. I can't leave the room until it's found. She describes it to me in great detail, a silver duck with pearl feathers, blue gems for eyes, a golden beak. Days pass, flashing by in bursts of looking and waiting. Chantal seems increasingly annoyed at me, as if the loss is my fault. I make increasingly desultory searches of the hotel room in reaction to her anger, moving the couch and peering under the bed. I find brooches - gilded Hello Kitty characters, mostly - but none of them hers. I go to sleep, wake up and find her moving the cushions on the couch around. I worry that she will read my journal while I'm sleeping.

The next time she leaves, she takes the dream's POV with her. She goes home, where she has dinner with an older woman who may or may not be her mother. It seems that I have disappeared. No one answers the phone in my room when she calls. The hotel staff has ventured in, found my things but no me. She asks about her brooch. Negative.

The older woman worries for my safety. It is getting dark. Chantal demurs. She explains that when we were in high school we would stay out after curfew all the time, dodging patrols and skirting checkpoints.

"He'll be fine," she says. I dream of agreeing with her. I wonder what it is I am doing.

[eNd.]

Posted by ebogjonson in dream logplaces at 5:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

December 4, 2005

the village - a dream

I dream that I am some kind of vaguely dirty hippie walking the earth like Caine in Kung Fu, only with a laptop, a Caddy and locks. The town I have just entered could be anywhere - a village in the northern prairie, or maybe it's an isolated California desert hamlet. I'm clearly a creature of my own present, but around me the dream is marked by temporal instability and confusion. Sometimes I feel like I'm visiting the early 1960s, other times I'm in a far-flung, post-apocalyptic future, my travels the only thing connecting isolated places struggling to hold on after some unspecified cataclysm.

I have a car, some kind of kitted-out (in a Mad Max way) two-door low-rider Cadillac sedan. Although I'm capable of off-roading it, I have driven into town on what remains of the pre-apocalypse highway system. (The drive in confuses the setting further, as it looks almost exactly like the drive up Francis Lewis Boulevard to my high school in NYC, only without the buildings.)

The locals are almost exclusively white. The town doctor is an aging Latino dude and the nurse is his comely catholic daughter. The town sheriff is white, but his deputy is literally Officer Williams from Reno 911, only minus maybe 15 years and 20 pounds. Her nails are lavish and did, glistening curls are pressed against her temples. After some gentle vetting by the sheriff and deputy (she seems happy to see another black face) I am allowed to mix and mingle. The townspeople are wary of me, but I don't feel unsafe or particularly unwanted. It's just clear to both sides that I'm not from there and that I don't belong there. Everyone is politely waiting for me to leave.

(I never learn the town's name. No one mentions it.)

The dream takes a turn when I discover a series of ovoid underground caverns where a group of "survivors" are living. The underground part of town is vast, way vaster than the aboveground town baking in the sun, and except for the doctor, nurse, sheriff and deputy there is no overlap between the two sets of residents. The folks underground are also polite, but they seem to live under the thumb of an unspecified tyranny, something that even the town elders - the sheriff and doctor - fear. The proceedings have a religious, potentially demonic air to them, all the residents wearing brown sack cloth robes over their clothing and monastic hoods.

I meet a woman in her late thirties underground, an odd, coquettish white woman who smokes and carries herself like an older, stretched out version of Audrey Tautou from Amelie. We have a passing encounter in the cavern's gift store (?) that blossoms into a recurring interaction after she notices my outlandish, foreign dress - Levi's, some busted, vintage Nikes, a tee I bought at the MOCA Basquiat show, an American Apparel jacket made out of Tyvec paper. When she takes off her hood it's like a scene from a bad movie - surprise! It's a girl! It turns out she's the town librarian. She studies me and the contents of my knapsack with intense academic curiosity. I learn she's not from the town either, that she was once a traveler just like me, but she's decided to settle here - that or she's been trapped so long (by what? The unspecified horror?) that she's accepted the terms and condition of her imprisonment.

When I look at the stretched out Audrey Tautou librarian (it's the same when I'm around Officer Williams and the nurse) I become acutely aware that I'm dreaming. I look at her (at her and her and her, three women, three times) and ask myself (another 3) whether she's going stay a generic dream character or whether things will take a more one-on-one turn. The answer always pivots on the same plot point - will she decide to run away with me? Can I steal her away from the town? All three times I realize the answer is no without having to go beyond subtext and flirting. The nurse is too tied to her father, the deputy has duties she takes seriously, and the librarian has been out and above before and was scarred by what she found there.

The town gift shop (again with the funny, random bits) is art directed like something you might find in an airport terminal - magazines, candy, bottled water, neck pillows, cell phone doodads. The librarian leaves me alone there, and for a few seconds of dreamtime I find myself zapped out of the shop. Now I am sitting on an airplane in mid-flight, reading an in-flight catalogue. The listed wares I'm reading about are miraculously doubled, present both on the page in front of me and yet also materialized back in the town shop, which both still exists and doesn't, occupying as it does some weird, dimensionally adjacent dreamspace. The woman sitting next to me on the plane is a rather beautiful Chinese lawyer (as in Chinese national) and I get absolutely nowhere talking to her - for one my Mandarin sucks, for two I'm still dressed like a dirty, traveling hippie, hipster museum tee or no. I cut eyes at her internally, uncharitably assuming there is also a racial component to her disinterest.

Huh. An SD ram card is being advertised in the in-flight catalogue that has a program on it that teaches English-speakers Mandarin. No sooner do I notice it than I'm zapped back to the gift-shop, peering at the rack that contains the cell phone doodads. I find the Mandarin card on the rack, but on closer inspection discover it's not compatible with my Treo. It occurs to me that the thing to do instead is to learn Spanish, which is available for my particular phone. (Is the town in California after all?) But - details, details - I realize I don't have a headset with me and can't imagine how I'd learn Spanish on my phone without one.

I decide to leave the town. As I walk out of the underground city I run into the librarian. We exchange books and I promise to return for a visit. As I walk out of the caves and then out of town, I find that everyone aboveground is agitated, rushing mysteriously to and fro. The road back to my car has also gone flooded in my absence and (shades of Katrina?) I have to hitch a ride on a piece of floating driftwood that's being pushed by two locals equipped with gondolier's poles. As they push away from the town what feels like hundreds of young white college kids start streaming in the opposite direction, carrying kegs and beach blankets, heat radiating off their sun-purpled skin like they were freshly boiled lobsters. It's fucking spring break.

The locals pushing the driftwood get lost. Instead of taking me to my car they've circled back somehow and landed us on the exact opposite side of town from where I'm parked. I get off the driftwood and decide to hoof it to my car on my own, pointing myself towards the center of town. College kids are swarming everywhere. The crowd parts and I see that buried in the midst of all that spring break is another dred walking towards me and away from the town's center. He could be my twin, except that he immediately shames me with his dirty hippie authenticity. His gear is either all brandless or is some next level esoteric brand with which I'm unfamiliar. He's unburdened by electronics and has the rangy, lean look of someone who's been out of doors. I feel fat and soft in comparison.

We exchange ritual dred acknowledgements and then compare wandering hippie notes. He's been walking the earth as well, for years it seems, and has been to some of the same places I have, even knows the same people I do back home, wherever that is. We both lament how the town's been spoiled by the arrival of all those college kids, confess to each other that if there's anything that could make us feel sorry for a town like this, it's the arrival of ten thousand fratboys. We wonder how the word got out, how everyone knew to come, whether or not the kids will discover the underground caverns.

We're getting along quite nicely and it occurs to me that the natural thing to do next is suggest we travel together, but instead of inviting him along I find myself gripped by three forms of panic simultaneously - class panic, liberal panic and then homosexual panic. What if he judges me for traveling around in a cushy Cadillac instead of walking? What if he wants to rob me? What if he wants to fuck me? Wait - what if I want to fuck him? I mean, I had just spent most of the dream trying to maneuver the nurse, the deputy and the librarian into my car.

Before I can get any specific resolution on any of these questions, though, he announces that he absolutely has to leave town as quickly as possible. There are too many college kids around us, and their "energy" is disturbing to him. I have to keep from rolling my eyes at this talk of energy; all of a sudden I don't like him. I notice that his locks are bleached blond, which strikes me as a damning incongruity. We take our leave of each other, make vague plans to keep an eye out, one for the other, down the literal road.

The dream starts to unravel, events and locations galloping past me. I am in the middle of town where thousands of kids are milling about. The sheriff and the deputy are desperately checking bags and confiscating alcohol from underage kids. A parade float roars by. It's the webcast of MTV's Spring Break Beach House. A white guy from Jersey in a sombrero and fake mustache is tossing business cards from the top of the float. "Senor Sanchez," the cards say, "Senor Vice President." His email is printed and his cell phone number is handwritten. The deputy is searching my bag and is puzzled by my multivitamins. Now it seems that the town is located in 1962 in Southern California. "Whole food" multivitamins will not be invented for 30 years. She shows my pills to the sheriff who shows them to the doctor. Doc is a real pill himself. He winks at me, says he's sure I'm just a nice traveling hippie and not a junkie. He pops one of my vitamins and does a cartoony full body stretch, announces that he hasn't felt this good since he was a boy.

His daughter, the nurse, is peering a little awed at the other contents in my bag. What is this flat little typewriter with no paper in it? What about this round, thin wafer of plastic that plays music and shows movies? How about this little handsized thing with the buttons?

She just about trembles. "Are you some kind of humaniod space alien?"

Even though wakefulness is ripping the dream into little pieces all around me, I allow myself a theatrical pause in response, my eyes narrowing into cooly appraising, science-fictional slits. "It's not so much a question of where I'm from," I tell the girl, "but when."

Her eyes widen conspiratorially, she inhales "oh!" in a perfect little wordless hop. As I wake, I think that it would have been nice to have more time, and then I instantly revise myself. The dream is what it is.

I'm always of those two minds about these dreams, especially with the early morning, pre-waking wisps I remember well enough to record. Am I author of the dream, am I spectator? Neither/both? In the mornings I often dream of straining towards outcomes that are invariably sexual, and I invariably dream of failing. Every now and then I get lucky, but instead of experiencing it as a gift from me to me, I go all bare knuckle on myself, crowing about how I made new moments through brute force and phantasmagoric will. It's funny and I never know what to make of it when I'm awake. I lie on my back reviewing what's happened, sniffing at pieces of dream like a tentative cat exploring a recently emptied shopping bag. I tilt my head away at the neck everytime I catch an unexpected whiff, the rest of my body frozen.

[EnD]

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December 3, 2005

fight club - a dream

I dream that a friend invites me to some kind of weird, word-based "fight club." The event takes place in the middle of the night in Downtown LA, and the two of us take my car to get there, me driving and him giving directions that lead me down one way street after another towards a secret location in an underground parking lot. When we get there (somewhere on S. Spring?) we find an anonymous entrance blocked by a metal gate and a uniformed lot attendant. The attendant peers into the car (he knows my friend by sight) before opening the gate and waving us in. I cut my engine on my friend's instructions, rolling into the cavernous, empty space.

Inside I find two or three card tables have been set up in a semi-circle of parked cars. My friend hops up and down excitedly next to me as we approach. He is an expert player, has been here before, and there is a sense in which this outing is really for him. I'm an amateur, a virgin and it's established from the get-go that I have no shot of winning tonight's fight club. He tells me that word fight club is like getting high or laid - you don't get to enjoy your first time.

The contest isn't like a MC battle or cipher, being more like boggle with elbow checks. Game play is simple: six or seven players sit at a table, waiting for the dealer to toss a milk crate worth of large, baseball-sized letter cubes on the table. Each cube has a single letter on all six sides and during each one-minute round players reach and grab and push for the same letters, building words that they hold out in front of them like a pressed together stack of blackboard erasers. You are not allowed to hit another player, but if you have a word in your hands (minimum three letters) you can legally hit their stack with yours in order to dislodge letters you need, or to reduce the opponent's score by making them drop letters. Everyone has a different strategy. Some people are defensive, using their bodies to block out a section of the table, some people are predatory, smashing at opponents with "the" or "and" over and over again, accumulating small scores while others lament the loss of big money words like "satirist."

It turns out very quickly that I'm better at this game than my friend. Although he's bantering and giving me advice, he quickly falls to the bottom of the table's ranking. He's burdened by all kinds of preset/received strategy and ritual, while I just lash out at words and letters with a desperation that surprises everyone at the table, me most of all. I quickly realize that each of the players is engaged in some kind of jokey mental drama to help psyche themselves up, an overlay that they're putting over the game to help structure it. For some strange reason I can see each gambit when I look at the players: some imagine themselves playing poker in the Old West, others are commanding battleships in a war room. Still others see themselves as playing kinky head games, their words stages in an invisible seduction. For a while I try to use an overlay too, picturing myself as James T. Kirk/William Shatner, the rhythm of my reaching and grabbing for words mimicking Kirk's cadences. It's so damned unlikely, though, unstable. The overlay takes me out of the game, so I abandon it. I keep track of what the other players are doing, anyway, hopeful I can use their tricks against them.

The game enters an elimination phase and surprise, surprise - my friend is one of the first to go. I take an uncomfortable amount pleasure in his defeat, wonder when I had started being so jealous of him. He takes up a supporting spot behing my right shoulder and watches my game improve with every round, and the next time I peek up out of the game I find there are only three players left at the table with me. To my right is a pretty, curly haired brunette, Jewish or maybe Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, to my left an anonymous white dude. (I look at the girl and wonder if the dream will include sleeping with her.) Sitting across from me is a brown skinned man in his fifties sporting a mustache and receding, medium-to-low 'fro. He is my main competition, but I don't know whether that's because he's the best player or the only other black person left in the game. I start punching and slamming at his words exclusively, some of them breaking, some of them repelling me. I ask myself what I am willing to do to win, how hard I can hit before the dealer decides I am attacking him and not his words.

It's the last round. Each off us has an accumulated pile of letters and words on the table that we warily watch and protect while waiting for the last toss by the dealer. I make a decision and start shoving letters and words into my pocket, down my pants, down my shirt. The white guy to my left suddenly turns into Larry David and he wants to know what it is I think I'm doing. He complains to the dealer, who ignores him and tosses the last crate of letters. Instead of reaching for words like the other players, I kick at the table as hard as I can. It's too well anchored for me to knock over, but the other players' piles are upset. Larry David is shouting, crying foul in that Larry David way of his. I ignore him and dive under the table, where a handful of cubes have fallen. I can hear Larry above me demanding the dealer stop the game, but the dealer rules that I haven't done anything illegal. The older black man appears under the table. He stares at me impassively, measuring me and conveying a vast animosity without uttering a word. It occurs to me that I have made a blood enemy tonight. I wonder what I should feel about it,

Fight club is over and the dream turns from competition to comedy. All of a sudden I am running for my car like a silent movie burglar, my pockets suddenly sack-like and weighed down by letter cubes. I juggle cubes in my hands and in the crook of my arm, desperately try to keep it together. Larry David is chasing me, high-steeping cop to my crook, and Benny Hill theme music is blaring somewhere - in my head, over the parking lot PA system, out of someone's car. Larry cuts me off somehow before I get to my car and there is a mock set of eye-level camera matches, the two of us squaring off like gunslingers in a Mexican spaghetti western. We circle each other. Each one of us is struggling with our haul of cubes, but we still take one-armed jabs at each other, take full-bodied swipes with elbows or chins. We rear back like Loony Tune bulls about to charge. We bob and weave, little rascals staging a boxing match.

Suddenly we're wrestling, but the clinch is only a set-up for further sight gaggery. Larry's got an arm around my neck and seems to be thinking noogie when his eyes goggle wide at something in the off-screen distance. Exclamation points about pop over our heads and the camera (?) jump cuts to reveal a pickup truck barreling towards us. We leap away from each other onto our respective asses, sending our cubes flying.

Cut to the receding pick-up truck. The brother from the table is driving. He waves back at us without turning his head, his arm stuck out the window, a perfect right angle bent at the elbow. His 3 o'clock wave moves only at the wrist, as regal and disdainful and automatic as Queen Elizabeth's. Next to him sits the white girl. She winks at us lasciviously through the back window, opens her shirt and presses ample tits against the glass. Soon after a hail of me and Larry's combined, previously airborne cubes hits the other side of the glass from where her nipples are pressed, letters banking and clanging into the pickup's cab. Proverbial insult to phantasmagoric injury.

Cut back to a two shot of me and Larry David on our asses, mouths agape, double and the triple taking at the receding pick-up and each other. Jump cut to black and credit, "Curb your Enthusiasm" theme music - Dump dump dump, duhhh, duhhh, duh-nuh duh-nuhhhh - blaring. I have an acute sense of dreaming just then, but instead of feeling tickled at my inventiveness I wonder why I didn't engineer myself into a closing two-shot with dude in the pick-up truck, why the white guy ends up my main ally/foil. (And then, of course, there is always the problem of the girl.)

The dream ends and I wake up all at once, completely lucid. Unlike most mornings, which are marked by dawdling and stumbling, by sleep-drunken grabs at evaporating wisps of dream, I reach for my journal knowing I'll be able to regurgitate this particular dream in a single burst. I tell myself I will go to the gym once I'm done. I wonder about the free boxing class they offer at my Y, decide to take it.

[EnD]

Posted by ebogjonson in dream log at 2:51 PM | Permalink