Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Warming Calculations

While researching a novel I hope to write, which involves climate change among many other things, I decided to use the Farmer’s Almanac web site and do some investigating of my own. 

Let me state right off that my degree’s in English. What math I know I learned 30 years ago and the science is self-taught. Undeterred by these shortcomings, I wanted to see if my zip code had warmed at all in my lifetime and what I might be able to make of it, based on a very simple set of data over an admittedly microscopic span of time, geologically speaking.

The approach I took was necessarily simple: I looked up the pertinent weather history on the Almanac web site by entering my zip code and date and, in a couple seconds, the high, low and average temperature, dew point, wind speed, and precipitation—its type and amount—pop up. Also, in my zip during the winter months, it will tell you how many inches of snow were on the ground. 

Keeping things simple I decided to record the average temperature each year on my birthday. I gathered 52, and then broke them down into decades. 

Including the year I was born, 1962, the decade ending:

·         1971, the average temperature was 29.05 degrees Fahrenheit.

·         In 1981 that temperature was 29.58 degrees, +.55 over 10 years and accelerating at a rate .0275 over 20 years.[i]

·         In 1991, the average was 30.25, +.67 over the previous decade and accelerating at .0406 over 30 years.

·         The decade from 1992 to 2001 seems an anomaly, as the average temperature was 30.13, down .12 from the previous decade, and acceleration slowed to .0275 over 40 years.

·         The fifth decade, however, makes up for that with an average temperature of 32.54, +2.41 from the previous decade and accelerating at .0702 over 50 years.

It appears factual that the average temperature in my zip code on my birthday has, according to my English major math, risen at an accelerating rate over the course of my lifetime. 

I believed the science going in, but wanted to see how my own meager calculations might stand up against what I’ve been hearing for 25 years. I encourage you to do the same. Look for yourself.  Do your own math. Mine seems to echo what I've heard from experts over and over again. I was hoping to come up with something different, something to give my contrarion spirit hope...

[i][i][i] I’m sorry about my math and lack of proper terminology. For rate change I took the average temp of 1981, subtracted the average from 1971, then divided by 20. I followed that procedure to calculate the rate for each decade: 1991-1971/30=rate; 2001-1971/40=rate, etc. If my method’s incorrect—I know it’s crude—let me know in the comments.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Chapter 1 of Does the Moon Ever Shine in Heaven?


Some say when you die you move toward the light. This seems dark for light. Perhaps I’m not dead. Maybe some didn’t know what they were talking about. What if it were me who misunderstood them? What if they meant that when you die you move toward lightness rather than heaviness…? But people talk of a bright light, right? Yet they’re also rising, as if they no longer bear the weight of their bodies. Then again, maybe, there’s a third kind of light that some meant, as in a light bulb lighting seeming a symbol for someone having an idea, the symbol being that in death one becomes omniscient…we’ll know when we’re dead, some say. Or some others might say light refers to goodness. All these people with near-death experiences seem like nice people. Like good people. Conrad doesn’t have Marlowe quoting Kurtz: “The light, the light.” Hell no. We don’t hear of cases of serial killers or mass murderers [there seems a difference] or pedophiles being brought back from drowning or a heart attack and how they saw a brilliant light and began rising up into it…as if being abducted by a UFO…and how when they came back felt themselves totally blissed out in their God-given lifestyles…I wonder what Charlie Manson will see? Did Jeffrey Dahmer’s light look more like a glowing gullet, as if he were falling into the warm, sacred effervescence of someone’s gastric bubble bath, of someone else’s acid reflux? Do we all end up feeling justified in the end, or just some of us?

I don’t know.

I think I’m dead but can’t prove it. To disprove it would require my being alive, which would mean people would acknowledge me, and I’d have some facility with tools and technology. Yet I haven’t been touched in days. I can’t Tweet. I have no face to book. Those same some sometimes say “poets don’t drive.” But I’m no poet. I’m terrified at being cut loose in the universe.

What if I’m not actually here? What if I’m only an idea? What if all this manifests the final dregs of my residual unconscious? If you’re reading this, could I be dead at this the time of writing? Well?  I can’t be photographed.

Does my enlightenment seem to haunt this page like a ghost? Maybe so, but my heart feels knotted. What I seem to see are memories of things I’ve done that have somehow tattooed themselves onto my mind, their ink permeating the membrane into my psychic genes, now forming these patterns of genetic memory dancing before my eyes—a whorl of genetic thoughts awaiting action.

How will I ever untie myself from this nonsense?  Does the moon ever shine in heaven?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Does the Moon Ever Shine In Heaven?

Available soon from BlazeVox[books]:

Experiencing the heart and mind of a suicided murderer, Does the Moon Ever Shine in Heaven?  gives voice to a killer’s disturbing passage through the Bardo Plane. According to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the Bardo is the existential phase between death and re-birth where the soul confronts itself, trying to stave off its karmic pressure by confronting the active contents of its mind. Here, the narrator must go beyond the rage that would destroy him and everything else it can. The narrative voice must annihilate itself to make irrelevant that American way of life it once perceived as a legitimate provocation to violence. The narrator’s rage, at one point taking the form of Ayn Rand, chomps away at itself with the same ferocity as the bullets he fired. The perceived universe—a syzygy with the voices of Al Pacino as animus and Diane Sawyer as anima—sounds hugely compassionate, allowing for a kind of redemption beyond morality, where language itself carries the soul into the beauty and love it’s always wanted…Really
Does the Moon Ever Shine In Heaven? invaded my dreams…I loved trying to figure out how Richardson did that…it's the first thing I've read in a long time that kept me tripping over myself at every moment in the best of ways. At a technical level, I'm amazed at the way Richardson was able to narratively stay in an "interior" space like that without letting everything slide into stultifying abstraction. You know what I mean: when a person tells you about a dream in great detail—it's usually captivating for about three seconds. What I love is the way [Richardson] generates fluctuating levels of diction and cultural reference that produce a constant pressure of confluence. I find myself thinking of Dante in Hoboken—or of a prayer wheel being set out in a hurricane. Italo Calvino gets some of this effect in his books of stories Cosmic Comics and T-Zero, and I'm also reminded of Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel

Daryl Scroggins, author of This Is Not the Way We Came In and Winter Investments

In Does the Moon Ever Shine in Heaven? Chuck Richardson sends Dostoekvsky's Notes From Underground into the information age: angst goes surreal, beyond identity, meets pop culture in the form of Captain Beefheart, Diane Sawyer, Ayn Ran, Michael Corleone and the beat goes on. A rampaging rip of a book that throws all expectation out the window—including normality itself. If you can handle the raucousness Richardson throws your way, you will laugh out loud. I did.
Jefferson Hansen is the author of a book of poetry, Jazz Forms (Blue Lion), plus a novel ...and beefheart saved craig (BlazeVox). He edits


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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Poems

These are the first five in a new collection of poems tentatively called "-Response."

Richard Serra

              king on mult
                                  iple scales
                                                        ient tri
                                                                            flu id
                                                                             ring                                                                                  obdu                                                                                                              rate buoy                                                                                                                                          ancy a
                                                                         cross scale
                                                            multi-dimensional psycho


Sally Mann

mom peculiar
mendacious ambiguous fun
dog bones
chewed John Wayne
Bobbits naked pictures
of kids/goats/making human
being family objects
subjecting family subjects
objectively naked evolving
wild landscape families being
wild objects subjecting wildness

why not
it’s not so scary
you’ll get used to it [and
be glad
when you do]
she’s kind of sexy
but married what
’s more i
portend the aesthetic and amoral

Margaret Kilgallen/Barry McGee

flat street folk
“beauty is where the line wavers” says maggie
while i’m watching her
paint on her ladder
she’s kind of sexy up there
but hangs with

a found
cluster of imagined scenarios
on the street and in
hear train graffiti
foklore managing et trois
realizing it’s all friction
struggling to occupy space:
open/free vs. closed/monetary

space things will open in time
when we’re found

on the line

Pepon Osorio

someone was
murdered hear
a sacred seen a
space of coexistent contradictions
displacing inside with out
beyond the yellow tape
behind it
moving the human
body composing
decomposing hub
caps and portraits

a corner prophet
speaking easily

at the barber
shop celebrating
becoming macho
his own diasporas
the ones inside
his self feeling
how art works
black Jesus

His intervention
screwing the Beautiful with Alien morality
and getting crucified for It

an invasive displacement
a transgression at the crime scene
violating sacred space to plant His flag

while getting crucified for It

move along, nothing to see
where this artist whispers
gunning for It


Human Beings

Evil=a sub- or meta-conscious motivation sabotaging processes of self-maintaining disequilibria…or any cognitive entropy that would disrupt an artist’s work…The tighter I squeeze, the more It behaves like water.
There ain’t no fun humping a flat line.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Hate & the Disintegration of Arrogance

For the last few months I’ve been reading and thinking about the language/literature/art of hatred and extremes. Celine, Bukowski, Reck, Thoreau, Sade, Bataille, Claire Denis, Gaspar Noe, Lars von Trier and Genet [among others] have been/are on the evolving list of subjects. Last night I watched Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color on Netflix. It was beautiful.
Preliminary thoughts: It’s an extremely moving film that absents all forms of bullshit, leaving only what’s actually happening without any explanation. The viewer feels like an alien observing an alien world where some sort of crime seems to be unfolding. There’s an impulse to stop and play things back [as in the original Manchurian Candidate], looking for small signs and it pays off. One gets the sense of, if not the futility of transgression, the larger framework in which it’s only a function of its context. 
I also think Carruth, who wrote and starred in the film as well, which is meticulously independent of any Hollywood influence, has found a way to dramatize spiritual materialism in a truly groundbreaking way that leaves the viewer stunned and speechless by all the terrible beauty passing by on the screen…occurring beyond one’s influence [the pain of being an observer unable to participate, or, better, at best being only able to observe their participation much like the characters observe, on some level, the things they find themselves doing]. To say the upstream flow “ends” at the source…the organic blue stain…isn’t quite right, but not far off either. It displays the kind of against-the-grain biocentrism that separates the adults like Thoreau from the children like Emerson...the people who can accept the acid trip vs. those who take exception to it…The world isn’t what it first seems…It’s better than that…and it will either make you feel good or bad…it all depends who/what you think you are and what/how one observes what one’s doing…and it all seems further entangled, somehow, on a quantum level the curious keep looking for…make human sense of…committing murder along the way.
The philosophy here is Thoreauvian and therefore more Arne Naess and Helen Caldicott than the Sierra Club [which is thankfully moving away from its Emersonian attitude to a vibe that resonates more with its true source, John Muir, as planetary conditions—the song itself—deteriorate with entropy and time]. A little hint about the “plot:” The worms/larvae might be viewed as an army formed by a certain meme, as Dennett describes it. They seem a metaphor's morphic resonance recurring in the biological realm, in the physiology of their host organisms.  One might view Upstream as a display of commensalism, mutualism, amensalism, parasitism and/or symbiosis among and within species on various scales…and one can’t help but think of E.O. Wilson’s consilience…Carruther reveals imagination becoming process becoming film becoming a viewing that resonates for days...
The film embodies the impossibility of distinguishing observation from participation. For a human being to participate, she must observe. To observe, he must participate. Observational participation requires a mixing of identities, a further evolution of what’s actually happening…and none of it can ever be avoided…
This morning, beginning to think again about the film and how it relates to my above stated project, I began scratching notes on a sticky pad. These notes appeared in two distinct columns. The subtle difference between the two columns, I think, is that the left hand column, for which Reck and Thoreau exemplify the list, are more observer than participant in their subject matter. Thoreau’s participation with Nature is something that evolved out of his way of perceiving it. Reck, of course, was as aloof as he could be to the Nazis. The right hand column of participants is headed by Celine and Bukowski. One might think Sade would fall into this category, and they’d be right if the characteristics I listed for the grouping had been different.
For those writers whose language is hateful, and, according to their texts participate in that which they hate, the genesis of this behavior and perception seems rooted in their family relations…their childhood. Celine and Bukowski seem to have hated their fathers. Each seem to have battered self-esteem because of these relationships and appear to minimize humanity [Father, superego, authority] in relation to their privately felt selves. Celine and Bukowski read like beautiful losers to me. Neither will be feted in good company and each would and did celebrate that fact.
In the other column, to the left, whose hateful language is based on astute observations of their communities, from which they held themselves aloof, I believe the genesis of their antipathy derives from a love of nature and Truth. They are idealists whose love of goodness drives their hatred as they perceive their societies, their civilizations, destroying everything they hold dear and beautiful out of some sort of satanic malice. Also, Reck and Thoreau, unlike Celine and Bukowski, were winners, or of higher socio-economic status. The observers’ standing was more elevated than the participants’ view. Reck and Thoreau found ways to transcend, by which I mean go beyond [not necessarily “above”], while Celine-Bukowski dove right the fuck in…
Sade, of course, fits into neither category—or maybe both. He had too much self-esteem and had a decent childhood to match well with Celine or Bukowski. He did, however, dive right into his shit. He was a beautiful loser, too, but didn’t minimize humanity relative to himself but, like the observers Reck and Thoreau, minimized humanity relative to the cosmos, putting us in our proper place. Sade may have been arrogant relative to his fellow humans, but he was also downright humble about human beings relative to their [our] possible place in a “moral universe.”
What they all have in common is a hatred of human arrogance, which is something Carruth’s Upstream Colors disintegrates by actively absenting all ideology from his film’s plot [though the same can’t be said for its structure and themes]. It simply shows how we humans function in the germ-sphere…and what our best hopes might consist of…
I’ll stop there, but when I pick it up again I’ll be including Bataille, who says some interesting things about evil and literature that, in my way of thinking and feeling, are just plain wrong…