Feats of Derring-Do….

Fat Milo was one of the greatest rap lyricists you would have ever heard. But he was a five-foot nothing, 100 pound, light-skinned/haired egghead from Rio Frio, New Mexico and all of that made for about the exact opposite of what is required for successful hip hop endeavors. Manny Furious always felt silly insisting to people that Fat Milo was one of the greatest living rappers, but it was the truth, and he meant it. Furious was the type of person who enjoyed the idea of supporting your local artists–whether painting, music, movies, whatever– until it was actually time to do so and then he realized most local artists suck. He always wanted to support local artists, he really did, but he would’ve also like them to be good. Milo was good.

Anyhow, Fat Milo tried that for several years to construct something of a career rapping, even managing to hook up with various crews and outfits from throughout the Rio Frio region, but with no success. Then he went into a downward tailspin for about two years where all he did was smoke weed and work at a gas station and have sex with the type of women who liked to drink Bud Light Lime-a-ritas and who found feminine looking men attractive. That’s also around the time when he started gaining weight.

“People call me fat,” he said, “but I only weigh 180 pounds.”

“Yeah,” Furious said. “But you’re five-feet tall and you’re almost twice the person you were. You’re kind of fat, dude.”

“What can I say, they brought a Taco Bell to town.”

Then, one day he woke up after a long night of smoking weed and watching MMA fights, and had a realization. He had seen on TV a man with a tattoo that said, “Playing it safe kills your soul.” The man was good looking, well-built, adventurous. Milo figured the man probably had little trouble getting laid so he immediately came to idolize the man. He took the message of the tattoo to heart. He immediately posted the quote on his facebook page and his twitter account.

He broke up with his girlfriend of two years, whom he had met some time when he began his spiral, and whom had been about three levels beyond his league. She was a robust vixen. Curvy in all the right places. The physical embodiment of sensual pleasure who performed feats of such sexual derring-do and sophistication that most men would’ve killed to switch places with Milo. And several did try.

“Staying with her was simply playing it safe, bro,” Milo said.

Then he dropped out of school. Always a kid of greater intelligence than most, he was prevented from fulfilling his academic potential only by his natural laziness. An attribute that was only exacerbated by the chronic, several-times-daily dalliances with Mary Jane. A habit which he claimed to have kicked in the past year.

“Staying in school was simply playing it safe, bro,” Milo said.

After he dropped out of school, he decided if he couldn’t be a rapper, he’d be a professional MMA fighter. So he joined Mario Suazo’s Taekwondo class and made El Crow and Lone Wolf tag along with him, because he was too insecure to go alone. They hadn’t hung out in several years, since before Milo got sucked into the vortex of marijuana and very unrighteous hip hop. But he had no one else to turn to.

“Not trying to be an MMA fighter is playing it safe, bro,” Milo said.

“Don’t you need to, like, be in good shape to be a professional fighter?” Furious asked.

“I’m working on it,” Fat Milo said.

Promises were made….

This year Manny Furious will turn 35 years old. I wish I could say he’s learned something meaningful over the past 3.5 decades, but he hasn’t really. Or maybe he’s learned things, but he doesn’t really integrate what he’s learned into his behaviors or thinking in any real, substantial way.

I bring this up because he’s 34 years old, suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself a single father, and he still fucking hates going to Walmart. He hates shopping in general. When he does it alone, he’s a man on a mission. He knows what he wants, he knows the general vicinity where what he want is, and he knows every official and unofficial exit available to him. Of course, this particular aversion is neither unique, nor interesting, nor warranted. One of the things I can say he’s learned over the years is that Walmart is a great place for spiritual practice. Not because it requires patience or compassion or understanding to get through a trip in one psycho-emotional piece. But because he doesn’t trust any “guru” or “spiritual” teacher who doesn’t at least, on an intellectual level, understand the miracle of the $5 DVD bin. All Walmarts are overlit with toxic artificial light. All of them are overrun with some of the most miserable, misanthropic dipshits walking the earth. All of them stink and are dirty and don’t really sell anything of value (the Stores, not the dipshits). But…BUT… at the end of the day, it took an almost infinite amount of miracles and mistakes, on a Universal scale, to make the $5 DVD bin possible. There are almost certainly–over the entire unconscionably vast geography (is that even the right word) of the known Universe–more majestic mountaintops in existence than Walmarts, and that will almost certainly stand true for all of Time.

So, yeah, go ahead, climb another mountain, but in the big picture, Manny Furious knows your shitty, neighborhood Walmart is actually the bigger miracle. Sure, nature created a rather sublime, breathtaking, unspeakable view from the top of, say, Mt. Blanca. But nature also created the guy who dropped his guts in the Walmart bathroom without flushing, and that Walmart bathroom is indeed the rarer.

And, yet, even knowing all of this–nay, even having learned all of this–he still fucking hates going to Walmart…. Triply-so when it’s cold and icy outside.

Black Ice patches on the road

Deep chill in the air

Neighborhood dogs won’t shut up.

Staring out the sliding glass door

Pepper the chihuahua

sees snow on the lawn.

–So, it only makes sense to

take a poop in Issa’s room. 

Anyhow, I only bring all that up, because Manny Furious, almost aged 35, had to go to Walmart today for their sale on Soy milk. He’s been drinking soy milk on an almost daily basis for almost three years, now. He puts it in his smoothies, his homemade iced-chai lattes, his granola–he’s a regular New Age geek, and, yet, he still hasn’t turned into a woman. He’s disappointed. Through the miracle of the Tao, and of soy-induced estrogen, Manny Furious was supposed to transform into a completely different sex. PROMISES WERE MADE. He doesn’t even have boobs. He’s not even a “soy boy.” He can still do crazy “manly” things like pushups and pull ups.

Lame.

It’s almost as if insecure idiots who concern themselves with thoughts of “Alpha” and “Beta” males don’t really have any idea what they’re talking about. Who’d’a’thunk?

January evening–

For some unexplained reason

the fog is brick red

Brick red fog tonight–

Somewhere through the thick of it

the dogs keep barking

Lazy day off work–

I read too much Ovid and

watch way too much porn. 

Perpetual Perturbation….

From a very early age, Manny Furious was grumpy. If you picture young Manny Furious at all, you must picture him at, say, five years old, with a persistent and inconsolable case of bed head, and a perpetual look of perturbation on his face. And squinting, lots of squinting, because it would be several more years before anybody realized he couldn’t see without glasses.

The haze of perpetual perturbation, though–that followed him everywhere. It was a signal of how he just didn’t get on with reality. He couldn’t fathom why existence would exist if everything was so uncomfortable all the time. He couldn’t conjure a point or a reason for it.

Fear. There was also lots of fear within that boy. Though grown-up Furious, himself, doesn’t actually remember this aspect of his early youth, credible sources who were there at the time maintain that Young Manny Furious was afraid of his own shadow. Literally. But Furious always figured this must’ve been before he was five years old, as he does have a lot of memories of being five, but none of them include him entering the fight or flight response at the sight of his own penumbra.

Anyway, fear, too is uncomfortable. So while he may not have walked around in a state of persistent psychological trauma, he was just, again, uncomfortable all the goddamned time. And, as such, he became a sucker for relief. If you wanted to convince or coerce him into doing something, all you had to do was put him in a situation where you were in a position to increase his discomfort, make him fear that even more discomfort was on its way, and then offer him some kind of relief… or at least some kind of promise thereof.

For example, let’s take a look at how Young Manny Furious, age 5, was convinced to attend his first day of kindergarten. First, he was awoken before he desired or was even ready to be awoken. But, also, his lovely mother, Mama Furious, would not allow him to fall back to sleep. This combination of being forced awake, without being allowed to fall back asleep, of course, was placing him in an uncomfortable situation. Therefore, when Young Manny Furious insisted on resisting his wake up call and to get ready for school, Mama Furious had successfully placed herself in a position to agitate his discomfort.

“If you don’t get up and get ready to go to school on time…” she said, skillfully allowing the mystery and tension of the rest of the threat to accumulate. “Santa WILL NOT be bringing you presents for Christmas, this year.”

Holy Shit! Young Manny Furious thought to himself. There was no worse fate you could possibly imagine. A Christmas with no presents? No Ghostbusters action figures?! No Ninja Turtle van?! No Jean Claude Van Damme movies?

Was there anything more uncomfortable than not getting Christmas presents?

Was there even a point to living if such discomfort was all there was too look forward to?

The point here, though, is you see Young Manny Furious’s mother implementing stage 2 of getting Manny Furious to do something–tightening the screws and suggesting that if he did not do the uncomfortable task of getting up, getting ready and getting to school on time, there would be even more, even larger, even crueler discomfort in the form of a lack of Christmas presents.

Frankly, at this point, the job was done. Mama Furious could’ve just let the idea of no Christmas presents waft about the empty, stupid recesses of the weak, fearful mind of Young Manny Furious for a few moments. It would’ve been enough to rouse him out of bed and into school. But, being his mother, she was already well-aware of his fragile psychology. She already knew that even if she had left it there–with the idea of no Christmas for Young Manny Furious–it may have gotten the desired result, superficially. But there would’ve been a certain motivation, or a certain impetus, missing from his actions. He would simply be going through the motions of getting out of bed and into school with the least amount of effort or investment he could muster.

In order to cultivate the most engagement and investment possible, Mama Furious implemented Stage 3 of getting Manny Furious to do shit–she gave him some sort of promise of relief.

“Listen,” she told him, as he began to rouse himself out of bed. “If you get up and got to school, when you come home, you can stay up a little late and have some New York Seltzer.” 

Finally–RELIEF.

Or the promise of it, anyway. By that age, Furious had yet to have any actual soda, with sugar. His parents didn’t allow any in the house. So, New York Seltzer was what his dumb, little imbecilic mind thought of as a “treat.”

So he uttered a few “motherfuckers” under his breath,  got up, got dressed and went to school. (NB that this would pretty much be his morning routine for the next 60 years or so.)

And when he got home, he was allowed to stay up until 10:00pm and there was a bottle of Root Beer flavored New York Seltzer waiting for him in the kitchen.

A few months later, Santa did indeed bring him a toy version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van, AND, a poster of a half-naked Jean Claude Van Damme flexing in a karate pose of some sort, his joy at which, looking back, probably convinced every member of his family that he was gay. A conviction that still seems to linger in the minds of some….

Needless to say, he learned his first lessons about discomfort and motivation from that experience. But there would be many more.  

Holiday Prep…

Barber: This time of year is the calm before the storm. Gets crazy busy right before the holidays. Just busy every minute of every day.

Manny Furious: (trying to be sociable and funny for once in my cursed life) People want to look sharp while they’re shoving a shit-ton of turkey in their mouths, amirite?

Barber: (observably repulsed and peeved by this idiot customer with no sense of sincerity) Well, no. They want to look sharp for their family who they haven’t seen in a year. Sometimes longer.

Manny Furious: Oh.

Poetic criticisms….

Pedolo had seen and forgotten more movies in an average six month span than most of us will watch in our lifetimes—of the “adult” variety and otherwise. In fact, he wrote highbrow, slightly pretentious essays for Cinemateste (cinemateste.com) a website that was a direct, bizarro rival of Evan Mariachi’s, Movies, Fuck Yeah (moviesfuckyeah.com). Well, Pedolo didn’t purposely write highbrow, slightly pretentious essays for Cinemasteste. Really, he (or perhaps the Sentient Head Wound at the top of his skull) was just writing 15,000 word rants in a language he only half understood, but the overly-educated editors and readers of the website looked upon those discursive, blathering, chaotic, only semi-coherent screeds as if Pedolo were the heir apparent to such theorists as Foucault or Derrida.

Pedolo had cultivated such a following, though, that the New York Circle of Unified Intellegentisia Legions (NYCUIL) awarded him Film Critic of the Year sometime during the early 2010s.

Pedolo could not afford to travel to New York for the ceremony, as he had spent the majority of his monthly government-supplied stipend of $1012 on cases of Dr. Pepper and bags of Russet potatoes, both of which he stacked haphazardly and sloppily in his kitchen pantry. The sheer amount of Dr. Pepper and potatoes staggered the visiting nurse that checked on him twice per week to ensure he was cleaning himself and eating in such a way that didn’t aggravate his Condition.

“Jesus Christ, Pedolo,” the nurse would complain during every visit. She was sincere in her incredulity every time. She was a youngish thing, blonde, pretty in an unobtrusive, non-aggressive way. She had taken the gig thinking that going to people’s homes and telling them what to eat and how to clean was preferable to wiping shit and piss and bile from the elderly patients at the nursing home she had worked prior. She was mostly right, except the two times per week she was to waste her time trying to talk Pedolo into trying to stay alive by, at the very least, eating less potatoes. “You can’t be eating this shit. No potatoes. No soda. You don’t want to eat a salad, fine, but you keep eating this shit and you’ll open another hole in your body that’s going to sing or something next time.”

“Hey,” the Head Wound protested. “Why do you make that sound like such a bad thing?”

The fact that Pedolo couldn’t make it out to New York was probably a good thing. He didn’t own even a single piece of wardrobe that didn’t feature prominently/intrusively some combination of anime characters in the midst of a fisticuffs. Hell, he probably didn’t own a single piece of wardrobe that was less than a decade old and which had been washed within the eight months prior to the award ceremony. But who knows, perhaps he would’ve somehow fit in in his own spooky way with the bohemian hordes that malinger in New York’s cinematic social circles, and if not, perhaps they would’ve attributed such peccadilloes as the attributes and mostly harmless eccentricities of a genius. There is a “thin line” after all….

Anyhow, since he couldn’t be at the ceremony in the flesh, he scribbled down an acceptance speech and delivered it to the NYCUIL. And on the evening of the ceremony, the President of NYCUIL, one, Garcie Mainer, a graduate of NYU Film School and, at the time, social media manager for Megawatt Lassi, read the text aloud (without Pedolo’s Belarussian mew, of course).

Like all of his writings, it was overlong, over-wordy, vague, obscure and possibly accidentally brilliant. The tone, tenor, timbre and essence of the speech (and of Pedolo’s writing style) can perhaps best be summed up in its opening paragraphs, which were, as follows:

Good Evening Movie Friends and Fiends,

It is a pleasure to accept this NYCUIL award for best cinematic criticism poet. That word might not be in the title of the award, but it should be, as all critics are poets.

Critics are poets because it is the critic’s job to elevate-elucidate what is only tangentially discoursed upon or hinted at by the cinema. Such a dynamic may seem to be contra-oppositional to the poet, as poets are generally regarded as being great hinters. Poets are the hinters not the extrapolators. This is verified. However, poets are really attempting to annotate, say, the flower they are writing about. Just the same, the cinematic critic explicates a film, or group of films. Films are the flower, the critic is the poet.

So poets insinuate about flowers, and critics intimate about movies.

Intimate it is the proper word-choice there. In that witnessing a movie is an intimate act that must be intimated to be understood. It is sexual, really. The cinematic literature must thrust-penetrate the mindframe of the viewer. The art must enter the inside of the witness, and inject its ideas into the mindspace. Inside the mindspace of the viewer is an egg of philosophy. This egg holds all of the ideas and associate-images of those ideas already present in the ego-essence of the viewer. This egg is waiting for outside stimulation and ideas. It is fucking. Watching movies is a form of fucking. And when the cinema sperm of ideas enters the viewers egg of philosophy, a new child is conceived. This child is a new perspective created in the world. The ego is an illusion. There is no “I”, there is only “perspective.”

This is what art does. This is what literature does. It creates new perspectives. In cinema, it is a synthetization between the perspective of the movie with the perspective of the witness to create something new in the world. Like a baby, this baby was once absent from the world, and when the cinematic fucking happens, this perspective suddenly appears. Out of seemingly nothing. It’s crazy dude.

And on and on. I will spare you the remaining 6,000 words of the essay, but you get the gist. This kind of pontification is preposterous and nigh unintelligible nonsense, but it was reported (and confirmed) that when Ms. Mainer finished reading the speech, a large contingent of the NYCUIL audience was reduced to tears, and a room-wide toast was given in honor of this great critic-poet.