August 2008

You can view my knowledge dropping in the responses to these articles care of


Dear America,

Let me just pause for a minute first to say that poverty is a moral challenge and secondly to wipe these entrails off my chin.  As all readers of the National Enquirer already know, and only a few of the most insane and socially outcast conspiracy theorizing vagrants have mused, I am a werewolf.  I know this comes as a surprise considering that I’ve denied being one so many times.  You may be familiar with my well publicized statements such as:
“You must be on drugs! Of course I’m not a shape shifting minion of the moon.”
“I’m about as much werewolf as I am directed by Big Oil Lobbyists. So let me put it plainly- I am not in the pocket of Oil, and my skeleton does not undergo drastic morphing under the influence of lunar phases.”

Well, maybe you’re not on drugs after all, but I’m still not influenced by Big Oil.  I know that my actions have hurt many who trusted me.  Believe me, I’ve seen the autopsy reports and I can pretty much guarantee that those who I devoured while a werewolf lost trust and faith in me in their last earthly moments and to them I am sorry.

You know the saying “once bitten twice shy” is only a saying. And a pretty stupid saying at that.  So if I have bitten you in the recent past, I implore you: don’t be shy.  After all, think about my side of the story. I’ve been under a lot of stress and the moon sometimes gets full folks. Sometimes it gets full. Are you going to point fingers at a middle aged guy with a wife that’s packed on some poundage and who has been infected by a werewolf’s bite?

Come on.  Forgive and forget.  Isn’t that what my buddy Barack has been talking about? Let’s let bygones be bygones.  Didn’t we learn our lessons already from Bill Clinton and Remus Lupin?  Didn’t we find a place in our hearts to forgive the lies of a cheating husband who is trying to garner the trust of an already jaded public?  Didn’t we realize that when Remus Lupin tried to attack Harry Potter that he wasn’t in his right mind?
So America, again I reiterate: I feel bad if my biting and clawing at your femoral arteries has caused either your death or your loss of trust in me but for the rest of you who have yet to succumb to my demonic strength and savage thirst for human livers-let’s sweep this whole thing under the rug.

After all, we’ve got to stand united and not be distracted from our common goals of re-taking the White  House, getting laid, and eating human livers.

Thank you. God bless America.  And don’t venture outside after night fall.

John Edwards

I know my end is coming.

I’ve been served notice by the very back that I was once able to call upon proudly as a card carrying member of the vertebrate subphylum. I’m not really sure when it started. Its kind of like that strange sexual tension that mysteriously develops between you and the magician that is sawing you in half. When did it start? How do you delicately handle this situation where to speak of it could endanger your
ever being whole again?

I had always taken “putting my back into it” as a given. Not that I ever did anything really physical,
but it was nice to pretend that I could theoretically if not fight off attackers, at least run away from them. I listened to my mom when she would tell me to think about my spine health. I began to construct an entire life of lethargy to protect my precious discs. I had a great knack for looking busy when I was helping friends move. I’d be that guy on the truck who’d busy himself with “tying this shit down nice and tight” just to avoid this kind of thing. Now when I wake up, I can barely move. Sometimes like a poor birch tree planted in sandy soil, I can’t right myself despite all my will-when I bend over to pick up errant Peanut M& Ms off the floor, I sometimes just find easier to turn it into a nap.

Its the perfect metaphor for how things are. They just turn sour without any good story to tell. You can quickly tell fact from fiction when it comes to the stories that accompany the ignoble corruption of our flesh.
“Yeah, I just can’t open jelly jars like I used to since Spring Break ’95….”
No. It doesn’t work that way. We become filled with scars and pains the same way we get fat-without it ever really ‘happening’.
“Yeah, I just can’t fit into these capris like I used to ever since Spring Break ’95….”

As much as it pains me to say it, I have no one and nothing to blame for my inability to do jumping jacks. Not that since 7th grade gym, I’ve been required to do jumping jacks, but it would be nice to have the option.

So the next time we bump and grind at the club, please forgive me if there’s less bump and no grind.

Grimacingly yours, Ryan McGivern

Here (replete with spoilers) are thoughts stirred by the best thriller movie of its kind in many years.

-The movie floats in over a Chicago/Gotham on a bright sunny day and ends in a similar floating sweep behind Batman who is careening into a bright light. What a perfect frame for the story. It plays out as though we are descending spirits looking into a very real and human morality play. Like Empire Strikes Back, its final bookending shot is filled with questioning. What are Luke and Leia thinking? What light is Batman figuratively riding into?

-Many have commented on the inspiration of Michael Mann’s ‘Heat’, but I also feel a heavy dose of ‘Seven’. A looming sense of dread as the pursuers are being more and more influenced by their prey. The ‘completion’ sought by Kevin Spacey is much like the Joker’s. His is a project that feeds off those who see themselves in the right, in the place of moral authority.

-Nolan’s filming has vastly improved since “Batman Begins” but his fight scenes are still murky and the choreographing and editing a bit choppy. To compare the club scene where Batman fights his way to Marone to that of the club scene in Collateral gives some idea of Nolan’s room to grow.

-Twice people are said to be ‘holding cards close to their chest’. The theme in the film of ‘who gets to know what’ and ‘what do I think others need/deserve to know’ is very interesting. Alfred, Gordon, Dawes, Wayne are all implicated in various ways of manipulating knowledge. They for their own reasons rationalize what they allow others to know. We can identify with this phenomenon from the government’s lies about the Iraq war to our telling our girlfriend ‘I was with my friends last night.’
This theme becomes strongest at the end when Gordon and Batman conceive of creating Dent as a poster boy or purity and Batman as the scapegoat sent into the wilderness. Are Gordon and Batman right about the people of Gotham needing clear cut villains and heros? I would say they are not. Just as the Joker underestimated the people aboard the ferries, so too do they wrongly believe that Gotham cannot handle the complexity of our human existence. The binary of good/evil, sinful/pure, us/them, is quickly fading from many minds as an outdated and unnecessary conceptual field. The multiplicity of our experiences, our shifting identity, and our increasingly interwoven cultures don’t really allow for binary thinking any longer.

-Harvey Dent as a slave to himself: his coin is not a coin. It is sameness. Just as a deck of cards all consisting in Jokers is not a deck, Dent structures his life by “making his own luck” but this really is a way of saying, “The outcome that I want is what I will get.” He is a God without an apple stuffed Adam. No disorder, no chaos, eschewing chance and randomness, he is the vacuum robot from Wall*E.
So the Joker enters into his equation and creates Difference. His coin now reflecting options and randomness, Dent is mistaken in believing that “chance” now must dictate his life. He has made the mistake of those few who meet the horrific pains of life and think: “Wow. This universe is a random-ass pile of cruel fate and chance. I must be free from consciously choosing my actions too!” Folks don’t stay here for long, and they are usually brought back to relationship and considerate/discerning behavior. Dent unfortunately doesn’t have the chance to see himself through this bleak tunnel and is killed too soon. This is maybe one of the script’s failings (look, I’ve got to find some fault somewhere in this stunning movie!). I think that it may have been interesting to see how Dent could synthesize chance, disorder, anarchy to some degree, and a mature negotiating of choosing ‘what outcomes do I want, and how can I get there?’

-There’s a cool repetition of folks talking about ‘trusting’ Dent in the beginning of the film. Who can we trust? Must we be assured that the person doesn’t make decisions that we see as unwise to trust them? Trust is an impossibility and a necessity. We can’t trust our family will always be there for us, or that our dog won’t run away with a Pet Circus. But to live lives without trust is devastating. What to say about his coin reading “In God We Trust”?

-Batman, as is everyone in the movie, is flawed. The scene in his hideout where he says “criminals aren’t that hard to figure out” says a lot. In the back ground there is an image of the Joker’s face with a mapping program trying to identify him by facial characteristics. I feel that the statement is that Batman is falling prey to the simple pop psychology that assumes that people’s actions and motivations can be parsed. No, we are always much more complex than Batman could even figure out. Isn’t it scary when people believe they “know” you?
Batman also is called out on his other failing by the Joker when in the jail cell Joker says, “Nothing to do with all your strength!” Batman, like anyone who prides themselves on their physical strength, will be sooner or later humiliated by the cunning and complexity of a world that does not respond to fists. This is a lesson that America still has yet to learn. Despite the RAND report which came out last week citing that ‘political means’ make up the vast majority of conflict resolutions involving terrorist organizations, and despite what the wisdom of our world’s religions, and despite what our kindergarten teachers tell us (don’t hit!), The Red White and Blue is still determined to stockpile nuclear weapons and have a military force the size of Paris Hilton’s feet.

-Maybe the Joker isn’t all that bad. He does have at least the sense to know ‘everything burns’. What I like about this incarnation is that he is not crazy. He is driven. He is not cackling with madness, he laughs in the face of our societal constructions. Its a great idea he raises: Why do we largely accept the “dead gangbanger” and the “dead soldiers”? How is it possible that just down the road there are kidnappings, murders, and worse? And that ‘worse’ I might add is the persistant marginalization and oppression of those whose color, class, education, and sex ‘just don’t measure up’.
The Joker I think has been wrongly pained at times for this picture as a ‘terrorist’. He is not, just as the snake in the garden was not the devil. The snake was a snake. And the Joker is not a terrorist. He, again to liken him to Kevin Spacey’s “John Doe” in Seven, is a man of strong belief who undertakes a project not of political impetus, but to teach others that their world is not what it seems.

To hear another view, check out Hal Conklin and Denny Wayman of www.cinemainfocus,

Ryan McGivern

This is on Eric’s facebook page, and oh, it is SO GOOD!

With the Bejing Olympics coming up this week, I think its high time to
say what everyone has been thinking:
Tibet must be allowed to be gluten free.

How long has there been wheat added to the soy sauce of a once
picturesque and placid country?
Is that really necessary? I understand that it thickens it a bit and is more
pleasing to the communist taste, but really: Can’t Tibet be free to decide for
itself between Tamari and Kikkoman?

Tibet had been historically a quiet, nonviolent self autonomous kingdom that
prided itself in producing fine foods without the use of wheat, malt, oats, nor barley.
You think its easy to meditate for eight hours at a time when your sprew is kicking
in overtime? Think again.

While the world will be watching China in the upcoming weeks and enjoying the world’d greatest athletic endeavors, some of us will be wondering if the next bowl of noodles Tibet eats will be made from barley flour ‘tsampa’ or rice.

The voice of the intestinally challenged will not be silenced.
Gluten Free Tibet

You were in my dreams last night again. Like usual we were on a date, but this time it was set in outerspace. Candles were floating around us and our waiter Roberto took our order upsidedown.

I think Roberto had a crush on you because he kept throwing rolls at the back of my head and they would float off into infinity.

We talked a lot about soup and you played footsie with me. Your eyes sparkled like the stars around us and a meteor flew by and messed your hair. You were like the sun and I was like the fourteenth moon of Jupiter.

It was not at all like the wet dream I had where we were swimming, or the hot and sultry dream where we were on safari. It was like nothing I had ever dreamed, or ever dreamed of dreaming.

I remember faintly the sound of you expanding into a vast nebula and I made a joke about Orion.
You looked away then and became a space donkey and Roberto mounted you with a familiarity that startled me.

I don’t believe that dreams mean anything. That is, anything more than any other message
given to me by God. So when I saw the image of your face in my morning breakfast burrito, it didn’t surprise me.

I know that I shouldn’t still be dreaming about you after all this time.
And I know that the restraining order says I really shouldn’t even be writing this to you.
But I feel so strongly about the way the dream ended that I needed to tell you.
You landed on a planet and got implanted with an alien egg that later exploded out of your chest.
And I threw Roberto into a black hole.

I don’t know what all this means. I’m no dream interpreter.
And I don’t know if my need for you is some sort of reverse Stockholm Syndrome.
I’m no criminal pathologist.

But this I do know. I’m gonna dream of you again tonight. Because I love you.
And because I’m going to drop three tabs of acid and stare at your picture for five hours before drinking myself to sleep.

JJ and Ryan