November 2008


Last year, my friend and current roommate Abby and I wandered downtown and suggested that folks “buy more stuff.” Then, I co-authored a song about my experience with another friend, Shannon. Last week it became the official song of the Buy More Stuff movement! And last Friday it got press in one of the primo Seattle blogs! Check it:


Busiest shopping day of the year, nexus of downtown Seattle commerce, the hard core of the retail core: Westlake Mall. And what do we have? Well, people doing their holiday shopping, of course. And getting ready for the ceremonial lighting of the Christmas Tree. But who are those spoilsports with the signs, already? Ah, that would be the protesters, the anarchists, the enemies of the public good. So nicely dressed, too. So polite, so well-groomed. Those signs, what do they say? Down with the capitalist state? No, the signs are actually encouraging commerce. “Buy More Stuff,” they implore. “Hurry,” they urge.

Irony, how clever! Performance art, for the third year running! A theme song! Who’d have thought up such an ironic and clever protest against consumerism? (Connect the dots, if you will; you’d be right.)


If you want the worst of customer service, ineptitude, and absolute dismal performance,
check out Santa Barbara’s Grant House Sewing Machines!!

There is nothing worse than people who don’t care about their customers.
And this establishment of thougtlessness takes the cake.

I have personally seen service people ignore customers, be completely ignorant in their duties,
not know anything about sewing machines (which you might expect a sewing machine store to), and be unapologetic about their dismal performance and ass-clowning.

These barnyard troglodytes make elephant seals look totally elegant in the way they go about their business. This is the picture of what happens when a store has no competitor in town (though I heard that a team of banana slugs were opening shop in Santa Maria so watch out, Grant House).

If you like life, sewing, kindness, customer service, smiling, basic human kindness, or brain activity, stay away from Grant House Sewing Machines in Santa Barbara.

Cynthia McGivern

So I was just reading James Loewen’s “Lies My Teacher Told Me”
and I came across these fun facts!!

-in 1492, the year Columbus sailed the ocean blue, Europe had about 70 million people in it. The Americas had about 100 million.

-between 1520 and 1918, there were 93 epidemics among the indigenous people in the Americas. (41 of smallpox, 4 of bubonic plague, etc.)

-in 1617, just before the religiously persecuted Pilgrims washed up, there were already many English and French fisheries and tradespeople some of whom would nab Native People to sell as slaves in Europe. While ashore doing their nabbing, they traded some bubonic plague too and within three years, about 93% of all the East Coast Native People were dead.

-The Pilgrims came to a wasteland of dying brown skinned people. And thanked God for it. The Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony called the plague “miraculous” and wrote that God had ‘pursued’ the the plague victims. The plagues were seen as divine providence to pave the way for the Christian settlers.
“Hey guys! Wanna come over for dinner? We got a shit loadda turkey over here.”
“Uh, we’re kinda busy. And….everytime we hang out, we get a new disease.”
“Pish posh. (Coughs in their direction)”
“So uh.”
“Yes. Well. How’s that dying thing going over there?”
“Not good.”
“Praise God!”
“…..I thought you said…”
“This turkey is delicious.”

Wanna see my new tattoo?
Oh, you could already see it since I’m wearing a tank top?
Yes, it did hurt like hell…or that’s what my friend who watched it go down told me after I sobered up.
Its not much to look at right now, I know.
This one just sets up the characters you know. Kinda introduces the archetypes that will be appearing. What I like about this first one is that it works as a stand alone project.
Its got its own merit.
But this isn’t the end. No. There’s gonna be a sequel.

Dude. Check out my new tattoo! Oh, you could see it since I’m not wearing a shirt?
I forgot that I wasn’t.
This one is a little darker isn’t it? You see, I knew that my audience had aged and would be a little more jaded than last time. There’s definitely some surprises in there huh?
Well, as if you couldn’t guess, there’s gonna be another one. Kinda to wrap up the loose ends.
I know, I know, it’ll be hard to wait but it’ll definitely be worth it when it all comes together.

Hi. What’s up?
Not much. I just uh, been hanging out.
What? A tattoo? The last installment of my tattoo trilogy?
Yeah. Uh…Its done. I uh gotta run and pick up my niece….okay, okay.
Here. Look.
There were production problems. I don’t know where it went wrong.
The story was there, but I guess its just past its time now huh?
Shoulda struck while the iron was hot. All the themes that seemed so
pertinent under the Bush administration just aren’t as applicable in today’s new culture of “hope”.
I blame it on the lighting. It just looks fake. The first Hulk movie had better graphics.
Oh well. Hey! I got this great idea for the next tattoo though: A remake of my first tattoo but this time set in the future!

Some people never learn.
They think that the world is ruled by ‘math’ and ‘statistics’.
For example: you can’t predict the outcome of a baseball game because there’s WAY too many factors involved-i.e. screamed chants from the fans, the prayers of a sick boy in left field nose bleed seats, etc.
Haven’t you people heard of “chaos theory” and “random acts of kindness”?

Besides, isn’t it a little misogynist to completely rely on the masculine assumptions of rational reductionism? The modern project of control and oppression through the privileging of narrowly defined “acceptable knowledges” is bullshit man, so when Nate Silver tells me that there is nearly a one hundred percent chance that my next fart will result in a teaspoon of anal leakage, I tell him that I’m gonna trust my gut.

Sure, I’m in the middle of making out with that girl I met at Friday’s last week during my cousin’s work party and she’s just gone down to the kitchen to grab another beer and will be back in a second, but I think that this is a perfect time to just let out this fart that I’ve been holding all night.

It will probably be a nice little silent and mostly odorless fart. She’s been drinking a bit and won’t even notice if there was a smell anyway. Probably. That’s my guess.

Nate Silver’s breakdown of my bowel situation might have a cool statistical accounting for every factor including columns labelled “Nachos”, “Seven Beers”, and “Two Gin and Tonics”, but you know what? I failed
college algrebra and I’m still doing pretty well for myself.
Oh! And guess what? When I said that the new James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace” would suck before seeing it, I didn’t need no stupid pie chart. I trusted my intuition. And who got the last laugh on that one?

So, as I begin to push and bear down on my sphincter, I do so knowing that humanity will never be programmable, predictable, compartmentizeable, for the human soul is a mysterious thing beyond knowing.

I’ve been camp counselor and waterfront staff at Circle Pines Bible Camp since I was eleven years old,
and this will sadly be my last year.
I just can’t take it anymore. The life, the zest, the gusto, the fun, the purpose of Circle Pines has just been
completely sucked dry, leaving each summer just more and more meaningless, tedious, and unaffirming.
Don’t get me wrong: its not me. My faith is as strong as the Euphrates. Stronger than the very loins of Samson himself. No, its something entirely worse-
The absence of any demonic possessions.

The summer of 1975 saw not one or two possessions, but twelve. It was the summer of what we called The Purple People Eaters Curse.
In ’84 I personally cast the Demon of masturbation out of a pre-teen girl and cast it into a herd of swine.
There was a time in the early 90’s that I personally confirmed the existence of three Succubi among the
craft shack staff.

Those golden days are over, however. Now when a kid throws up, we blame it on “too many smores at the campfire”, and instead of telling kids that they have the evil spirit of Zu Khali, Lord of the Air, we’re more apt to check with the camp nurse to see if their parents notified the camp of an allergy to gluten.

Fuck that! Bible Camp has been and always should be about spiritual warfare consisting of midnight rallies at the chapel, entertaining questions of how to pray away the overweight girls’ lesbianism, etc!

I’m lucky if in my cabin there are as many kids who bring their King James Bible and Holy Water as there are kids who are on Ritalin.
How am I supposed to rid 8 year olds of Satanic oppression when they have ‘sports asthma’ and can’t sustain their balance on a blessed wooden cross in the middle of a peat bog while screaming Latin? I can’t work within these parameters, people!

So I’m quitting. Yep. I’ve decided to move on to bigger and better things. So I’m starting my new job 
tomorrow at Crystal Massage in the Galleria Mall near Encino.
I’m not a licenced masseuse, but I certainly can lay hands on you for the gifting of the Holy Spirit with
the evidence of tongues.
I take appointments or drop ins, and if you refer me to another customer, your next exorcism massage is five dollars off.

I walk up Telegraph Avenue in
the fresh piss morning the stiff
homeless chiseling away at last
night’s condensation in their
lungs their dogs stretching

on the corner I hear the beard
wearing stone like cardboard
colored grampa change his mantra
‘good morning’ to ‘morning ladies’
in front of his money cup

the clock in the tower erases at
the air unconquered clouds
unimpressed with its organization
wind up like a cold scrotum against the hills
and the ladies were eighteen


Ryan McGivern

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