Tag Archives: Television

False Idylls


trumpmocksericgarnerI wrote this a good many years ago, but I think it still applies, especially right now, with all the unrest in the US, so I’m posting it up.

with apologies to the late Gil Scott-Heron

False Idylls


the revolution will be televised
the revelations will be disseminated by covert action
read between the lines
disinformation will be commonplace
this information will be available for public display
in keeping with the signs of the times
the revolution will be available at your local video store
its evolution will be in conversation and hidden passions
you will be told where to go for more information
disinclination will be no excuse
this inclination will be made available to the local networks for instant replay
Tonight!

Marching, charging, surging, curving
bearing truths, and so unswerving
largely barging, herding burdens
speaking in tongues, and so, unnerving
the revolution will not march on little cat feet
though its aims may seem a trifle foggy to the uninitiated

The revolution will not be colorized
The disputation won’t be quashed by network sanctions
dissatisfaction won’t be bastardized
this satisfaction won’t be gained at the expense of our children’s days
but by the sweat of our brows
a restitution will be undergone
exasperation will be rededicated by inverse flexion
come just as you are
disapprobation will be frowned upon
this approbation will be intentionally overplayed
all night long

Grunting, jumping, lunging, sponging
crime rate’s up, retention’s plunging
skimpy pimping stinking thinking
booted up, the network’s linking
the revolution will not turn on a dime
though donations will be gratefully accepted

the revolution will overthrow the status quo
the corporations will be deregulated by negative cashflow
we’ll be good to go
inarticulation will be commonplace
this articulation will be ubiquitous and prominently displayed
why not make a stand
the disenfranchised will be mobilized
the misbegotten will be unforgotten and unafraid
great yet still unwashed outside
and in canyons of steel and glass, the herd will march on the head of a pin
and air their dirty laundry again and again
until that discoloration will seem commonplace
and the hues will be red white blue and gray
and indeed all the sixteen million tints of the rainbow
for the world is not black and white, nor gray, but a technicolor show
the revolution will be brought to you in wide-screen surround
damn near lifelike, a theater in the round

Never complain, never explain
Do what you must, excuse our dust
Never apologize
Notwithstanding understanding
Beg to differ with the gipper
Win one for us
The revolution won’t be fought with swords
Slurping, chirping, lurking, jerking
Winging, slinging, pinging, singing
ambiguous and unrelenting
spreading pending gender bending
roles reversing and revolving
the evolution of the revolution beginning

The revolution is electric
eclectic
respect it, reflect it
respective directives:
inflected invective
querulous, perilous
garrulous, careless and hairy
the revolution is intention
emotion
commotion, explosion
intoning baloney can only be phony and fixed
watch the parking meters for signs of the apocalypse
by the light of the setting sun

The Vaguebook Project


312px-rca_indian_head_test_pattern“…long after the lights have gone out, when you’re barely awake, the test pattern appears on the tv, in silence.
As you look, it begins to move hypnotically, and the movements suggest stories of a most peculiar nature…”

Technical difficultiestest_pattern_video_card_by_aaronthewolf-d28olzp-png

Regular service has been restored.

skullpattern

We have assumed control.

hqdefault

Don’t even try to change the channel.

Edison Nuthouse


Sunday dawned bright and early. I know, because I was awake. I fell awake at about 4:30…watched tv for a bit–preseason football. Miami and Jacksonville. The Dolphins won going away, though Jacksonville’s run game looked impressive at times. They could move between the twenties but they couldn’t get the rock into the end zone.

The Bears rebroadcast was scheduled at 7. I set the dvr to record the thing, made a pot of coffee for my wife, took my morning meds and waited for the percocet to knock me out for a bit. Figured I could get a little rest that way.

It would have worked, except that the child woke up and decided to have a chat with the rabbits.

I’m a notoriously light sleeper, and that did the trick. I got up and started the pot running, got myself something to eat (wholegrain toast and a cup of yogurt), and made ready to deal with the teeny drama queen, our eight-year-old grandchild.

She would want to watch cartoons, I knew, and that wasn’t going to happen, because the Bears game supercedes cartoons. Televised sports are the reason why we have a tv. So if the Cubs, Bears, or BlackHawks are on, they are a priority item. The child knows this. But that won’t stop her from wanting cartoons, or netflix.

Because the electronic babysitter is what she knows.

And Triscuits is what she wanted for breakfast. I told her that she should have some yogurt with those, to make it a better meal. She had just the yogurt, not enough food…later she complained that she had a little stomach ache, and was sent up to bed to rest, since she was getting cranky about it.

The smell of frying bacon brought her back down an hour or so later. I made some pancakes to wrap around the bacon strips, and one of those fixed the tummyache. She was just hungry.

Still cranky though. The child has this weird habit of clamming up when asked almost any question. She makes the pouty face, goes all glassy-eyed and just stands there with her face hanging out.

You’d think it autism or something, but it’s deliberate. She controls when she does this. And we’re trying to fix it.

Not easy. I’ve ordered her a special surprise, something to make her trips to and from school easier. She knows she has a surprise coming, but not what it is.

That’s our lever. She’s been told that she has to behave properly, not be a smartass or have a sassy mouth, answer direct questions, do her schoolwork and chores. Nothing extraordinary. She’s eight. You can only expect so much.

Her impulse control is so weak that she’s really in danger of me sending the thing back. Instead we’re going to have a black mark/gold star thing. Every time she is disobedient or otherwise misbehaves, a black mark appears on the whiteboard, and she is sent to the corner for a while. Every time she does her chores or homework without being asked, a gold star appears and she gets positive attention.

Because it’s the attention she wants. She thinks that she should be the center of attention at all times. I mean she really thinks that. For no reason other than simple selfishness and narcissism. She’s said so.

My wife told her that two-year-olds think like that, and that it wasn’t a reasonable expectation.

That’s when the baby-show ban started. No more cartoons for the preschooler. She loves Dora and Max and Ruby.

On the other hand, she also loves those ridiculous Disney tween situation comedies. The problem with that is that the characters are all sophisticated and sassy, and she mimics the smartass comments and sarcastic attitudes.

So we’ve instituted a ban on those too.

Hell, I’d ban tv altogether if I thought it would help. This kid has spent so much time nodding mindlessly at the boob tube that she’s incapable of thinking things out.

She needs to be reading and reading and reading, and she hates reading. It’s too hard, we’re told. Same circus as usual.

It feels like we’re getting closer to cooperation, but there’s still a long way to go.

Unnecessary stress. I have this giant pain in my shoulder that no meds can dent, and my neck muscles are like rocks.

So I’m not stressing over it. The kid gets the message, or doesn’t. She doesn’t, she spends the rest of her life in the corner. There are rules everywhere. Nobody is going to give her 24/7 attention.

That’s it.

I left the writing forum. Left a kinda nasty flounce post, which was taken down within ten minutes of its posting, talking about some of the things detailed in the previous blogpost. I don’t need that kind of stress anymore either. One of my friends there remarked “…most of these people have spent maybe one or two years writing, and they haven’t even finished one story.” And they expect parades for the first paragraph. And they won’t listen to advice. They know everything.

Screw those people. I don’t have anything to say to them. I don’t need them to critique my writing, I don’t want to read theirs, I don’t care what song they’re listening to now or how they prepare to write their one ungrammatical paragraph a day.  I’m too busy writing my own things.

Even this thousand words or so a day of stream-of-conscious semirant is preferable.

I did work for a while on the Letters from Outside stuff. It’s almost done. I’ll unveil the archive in due time. And the new short story is in polishing now. Tomorrow I’ll finish the hospital portion of “abed”, and put it up somewhere on the website so folks can read it. Then I’ll edit the whole thing into readable shape…hopefully by the end of the week, so I can move into a new project as I begin moving my things from this office into the bedroom, clearing the way for the kid to have her own room. Maybe that’ll help. Couldn’t do it before because of the hernia surgery.

Yay.  I get to squeeze all of my stuff into a corner of the bedroom. I think my friend Scott is right–I’ll need to get vertical with it. At least as much as I can. Isn’t really possible to stack guitars.

The Bears lost, though the first string looked okay. Cubs lost but took the series against the Cardinals 3-1. The Disney Three Musketeers wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and I think I even chuckled once or twice. I was going to let the child watch Free Willy 2 after that, but she got mouthy and presumptuous and canceled that bit of goodwill. If her plan was to avoid reading by being an asshole, she succeeded admirably. Louis CK is right, you know.

More tomorrow. Gotta catch up on my correspondence. Related article

Degree of Difficulty


Second day of eight-year-old walking herself home from school. I step out onto the front porch to see her coming, wave, and then duck back in to make sure the cats, who have been bunching up around my ankles, are all still inside.
This leads to trying to silence the dishwasher, which has suddenly begun clanking. I find the lost spoon and place it in a reservoir, thinking “that child oughta be here by now”. Had an oxygen tank from earlier errands, still half-gassed, so I strapped that on and popped out to see if something shiny had happened.

Child was nowhere to be seen.

“Maybe she came in the back way,” I say, and unlock the patio door. I step out through the back and follow the sidewalk to the mailbox nook, where the open back gate is.

No child. I retrace my steps, go back through the place and up the walk toward the main drag.

I find her two doors away, facing a closed door with a blank look on her face.

“I was knocking,” she says, clutching a half-sheet of paper with our address written on it.

I indicate the paper, and then the address on the door she’s facing. “Not sure if those folks are home. Our house is over here.”

We repair to our rooms. Okay, so she flubbed. No big. Her all red-faced, clasping a giant soda to her skinny little chest. We sit down at the kitchen table-homework comes first.

“I was on “green” all day today,” she announces (she had been in small trouble the previous three days, for talking while the teacher was talking, and refusing to do the classwork).

“Very good,” I say.

She’s pulling her “agenda” notebook out of her backpack. No homework folder. I ask after that item.

“I forgot it,” she says. I’m a little suspicious. I open the agenda notebook, to see what the homework was supposed to be. Word cards, she was supposed to make word cards, like math flash cards. I smell a rat.

The girl does not like reading. She is not very good at it. But she did well yesterday.

“Well,” I say, “we’ll read some. Your assignment says 20 minutes a day. We should be able to finish your book (Good Enough to Eat, by Brock Cole) today. I started yesterday–you start today.”
She begins, haltingly, sounding the words out to herself, sort of. It takes a lot of prompting to get through the first page. Then my turn, and the next. We never finished her next turn.

She had a “make-me” fit. Gave me the face, told me “reading is hard. Things are hard. It’s too hard for me to walk home from school. I was tired before I left.”

She’s rubbing her eyes and staring at something invisible in the near distance, alternately, making the pouty face.

“Soooo, reading is hard. And things are hard. Everything is hard until you do it for a while. Then it gets easier.”

I understand what she’s trying to do. She’s trying to create an excuse, to be let off the hook, like she has some kind of medical condition. She indicates several small scratches, two on her chest and one on her thumb, that she says Buster gave her, unprovoked. “I showed these to my teacher today,” she announces.

“And why did you do that?” I ask.

Stone face. Prompting eventually elicits the “I-dont-know” response. “They hurt,” she says.

“Scratches sometimes do,” I reply, not unkindly. “So why did Buster scratch you?” Maybe I could get at the truth.

“He just did.” Buster isn’t that kind of cat. He doesn’t scratch unless he has a good reason.

“I see. So what do you suggest we do about the walking-home thing? I’m not able to come and get you. Do you want me to meet you at Main st.?” (this isn’t the name of the street, but you get the idea)

“Yes.”

Thursday is when my oxygen tanks are delivered. There isn’t any particular timetable-they’re not that organized. I wait whole days, sometimes. This is why she’s been set to the task of walking herself to and from school in the first place-I can’t leave the apartment.

“I guess I’ll just have to watch for you from the door. I can’t leave because of the tank delivery.” She knows this. “You know that.”

She makes the pouty face.

I make the pouty face back. “Are we gonna have a staredown now?”

She looks away. “Okay. So we’ve established that you don’t want to watch tv or go to the pool today,” I begin. “And we’re starting to work on the special thing (the scooter I’ve ordered for her).

“So tell me, what is it that you want to do? You wanted to learn to tap-dance, right?”

She nods.

“And learn Karate. And Spanish. Are you under the impression that these are all easy things?”

Realization waps her between the eyes.

She looks at me, with a tear beginning to form where she’s been rubbing the eye.

“Yes. To me they’re easy.”

“I see. So you don’t need to learn them then. Fine.” I sit back in my chair.

“And songs,” she continues. “I want to write songs. That’s easy for me.”

I stifle a laugh, mostly.

“Sing your song for me,” I say.

“I wrote half of one,” she says.

“Sing it to me.”

“I don’t remember it.”

“Don’t you think you should learn to read and write so that this doesn’t happen again?” She can print some, but doesn’t have any real facility.

“Yes. But it’s hard. I can play guitar, that’s easy.”

Picture me incredulous. “Cool. I’ll go get my guitar, and you can show me.”

“I can play a couple of notes,” she says.

Reality has intruded yet again.

“I can see that we’re done reading for the day. You have chores.”

She has an erasable whiteboard with two chores on it. Her job is to sweep the bunny area and under the birdcage, and to feed and water the bunnies.

“Sweeping is too hard.”

I can see where this is going. “So what task would you rather perform?”
“Mopping,” I’m told.

“You have to sweep first,” I point out.

Pouty face.

“Get the broom.” I go turn off the tv, for there won’t be any Disney or Nick Jr today. Probably no swimming. I’d opt for go to bed without dinner but that’s not an option these days.

Kids.