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Date: Wed, 26 Jun 2002 10:06:50
Subject: From the Unemployment Notebook
From: simonsaysthis@omphalos.com
To: skipvskip@hotmail.com

[for Skip]

[certain recent passages torn from my palmtop notebook]


From Hell (2000)

An adaptation of the Jack the Ripper Story by the Hughes Brothers

starring Johnny Depp


An orgy of blood and research. The Hughes brothers are pros at this sort of thing, and you can expect a kind of stylized authenticity from the bros. that you can't get from another directing duo at work today. What I liked best was that they didn't try to tell the TRUE story of the Jack the Ripper murders, but tried to make instead to make the most INTERESTING STORY seem true. And Johnny Depp has to be one of the most talented actors at work today. The bonus material on this DVD can't be beat, including tons of documentary material from two other documentaries and over 20 deleted scenes. Having said that, at the end of the day will this film teach you how to live your life? I think not. In fact it may make you wonder how Western culture got so fucked up that more than a century later we're still fascinated (even have a museum for) these brutal sadistic murders. Is class conflict at the heart of our fascination with this tale of rich powerful men deleting the unfortunate lives of prostitutes in particularly brutal fashion or is it a simple fascination with violence and brutality writ large, the same kind of rubbernecking we see at the site of fatal interstate collisions?

(dream journal)

In this dream Winona Ryder and I steal foodstuffs from an upscale gourmet shop in Los Angeles, absconding with more than a dozen jars of marmite, jellies, jams, relishes, and mango salsas. Then we run for what seems like hours, until we arrive at a football field, where we tear off each other's clothes (and Winona is wearing about 15 layers), rub the assorted stickiness all over each other in a kind of mock tribal ritual, and then rut, as the Simple Minds sing "Don't You Forget About Me" in the background. At night I wake up with the sheets soaking wet and a freight train running through the middle of my head.


Dead Man (1995)


A Western by Jim Jarmusch

Starring Johnny Depp

This is kind of I think a retelling of the Odyssey wrapped in the kind of anti-Western mode of Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian wrapped in a layer of Blazing Saddles as illustrated by R. Crumb in black and white with a dash of Native American philosophy. Jarmusch's "Stupid White Man" is more archetypal than Michael Moore's. A film that bespeaks the banality of evil that surrounds us. And what can we say about Johnny Depp? He's one of the few actors that women swoon for who I can tolerate (Brad Pitt is usually passable at best and Richard Gere couldn't act his way out of a box). A wonder that this one isn't on more top ten lists. A must-see.


Saturday June 22nd

A bizarre day, Skipo. The game was scheduled to start at 2:05. And they're usually amazingly punctual with these things. There was speculation in the stands that the late start has something to do with the fact that FOX SPORTS NET is running the telecast and that bundles of dollars are being hurled towards the Tribune corporation in order that the cubscardinalsgame not start while FOX is the midst of broadcasting the 10th inning heroics of some other probably more important game. I call friends on cellfone to brag about spending my Saturday thus. By 2:30, a logical switchover point, it becomes clear that something is amiss, awry, that all is not right in Wrigleyville. Then a weeping man, I find out later it is the Cubs catcher and player's union rep, addresses the crowd, apologizing, tells us that the game has been cancelled due to a tragedy in the Cardinals family. The crowd's thoughts turn to terrorism and there's a kind of somber pit-in-stomach-dropping, everyone looking around at each other, wondering if the other shoe has chosen this Saturday to drop. Turns out that Darryl Kile, a 33-year-old pitcher, was found dead around noon in his hotel room. My parents and I drink Old Style all afternoon in the Billy Goat, discussing mortality with each other and a bunch of Cardinals fans. My mother, who works in a church, mentions that 6 of the last 8 bodies they've moved from the altar to the burial plot have been people under 40, which is unusual. Which makes me want to suck the marrow from the bone of life as it were. Quick figuring though -- there were 40,000 people in the ballpark who each wasted 30 minutes, which makes for a 20,000 hour tribute to Kile. You add on top of that the hundreds and hundreds of hours of media coverage of his death, absorbed by millions of people, and by my quick count, more total time/attention has been paid to this pitcher in the few short days since his death than during the entirety of his life. Which is a strange kind of afterlife.

(dream journal)

Skip, I hesitate to recount this one. In it you and I are cellmates in jail, I think Cook County, there's just the two of us. You are enormous and I am small. You are calling me "Nancy" and are in the process of preparing to viloate me. You are applying Vaseline to your engorged member, nodding your head as you slowly stroke and I tell you story after story, prolonging the time between that time and the inevitable, manufacturing stories of my youth in a lumbering camp? as a form of delay. You are nodding, nodding, waiting to get your thing in edgewise. I am Scheherazade spinning tales, Penelope weaving threads. The dream thankfully ends before the stories do. And what the hell does this mean? Am I homophobic? Such as you were preparing for in this dream is about violence and power, not about sex. And why of all the possible figures who could have figured in were you the aggressor?


Monday June 24th

How does one situate oneself at the beach? In the past I have largely avoided them for reasons I myself cannot explain, at least in part owing to my milkywhite complexion that sears under the force of postgreenhouseeffect Chicago's Juneswoon. Yet this summer I've already made it to the beach twice, a bratwurst in floral trunks roasting in the sun. I suppose I situate myself on the basis of the view, both of the blue lake and the sailboats and also of the seeming pleasantness or unpleasantness of neighbors. I guess there I don't know quite what I mean. It's not that I try to plop myself in front of bathing beauties, Joyce's Gertie, or that I try strenuously to avoid such, as much as I try to avoid the sand-hurling children and highschoolers playfully prankpulling. Montrose Beach has gotten enormous with the lake lowering. There is a full sand soccer field behind me, filled with South Korean and Mexican boys. By the way, last week I was at North Avenue beach, which is overwhelmingly white and healthy, sex and sexuality everywhere you turn. Montrose Beach on the other hand is the most integrated spot I've seen in Chicago. I hear seven different languages over the course of the afternoon. There is a Russian couple to my right, English duo at two o'clock, African Americans at 1, Serbs at 11, Puerto Ricans at 10 and a Japanese woman to my right who sits by herself smoking cigarettes and laughing at the Mexican boys burying each other in the sand. It's very difficult to describe the sensation of jumping into the lake, which stays around 40 Fahrenheit, when it's 92 Fahrenheit and so humid that you stick to yourself. But it's refreshing, Skip, refreshing, mercury levels be damned. Having noted that it's illegal to drink alcoholic beverages at the beach (LOUD SIGNS THREATENING ARREST) I have lugged my enormous coleman filled with ice and a sixpack of Coke and a redwinevinagrette subway club sandwich out here and secreted a pint of Jack Daniels in the bag with my shorts and underwear. I've just finished my third Jack and Coke when a cop (in full flack jacket that pig must be toasty) walks up, points to the cooler and says "You wouldn't happen to have liquor in there wouldya?" and I shake my head and pop the cover, revealing cocacola and subwayleavings. He walks on without even thinking of the bag with the shorts and underwear (and why would he, there's no probable cause to search my underwear at the beach--EVER) and I feel that unique pleasure of escaping the long arm of the law. The father of the Mexican boys is not so lucky, he is cuffed and taken away for the crime of cerveza. What kind of a sick society do we live in where a man can't drink a beer at the beach without premeditated subterfuge? I read Fast Eddie, King of the Bees all afternoon long.


Fast Eddie, King of the Bees

Robert Arellano

with Illustrations by Mark Bennet


Fast fun finicky fulsome foundling fiction. Egregious gregarious deeply Oedipal dystopic Dickensian romp. Postcyberpunk Victorian bildungsroman (Dungs?roman) big dig gig. Comic tragic tale told graffiti fingersweat pop top hip hop. Thinly veiled parody of Providence politick. Note that the mayor is getting sent away but that the populous re-elected him. Beantown bash Jersey joke Applejack cider for the soul. A must read. Beachbook blast bitchin boobobsessed brotherhood of Orpheus orphans. Also, flip the book backwards to see the bee dance.

(dream journal)

Is it normal to see your friends naked in your dreams? What about fucking? Is it normal to see your friends fucking in your dreams? Is it normal to see your married friends fucking each other in your dreams? Is it normal to see your married friends fucking each other and not their partners in your dreams like some kind of late 70s updike swapping narrative? Is it normal to see your friends fucking famous painters in your dreams? Did Van Gogh and Gaugin ever see each other fuck in their dreams? Is it normal to see your friends fucking Picasso in a dreamscape painted by Chagall? Is that normal?


Waking Life

A Film by Richard Linklater


The computeraided Rotoscoping technique is worth the price of the rental in itself. Mindblowing visuals. T. Leary would love it. Beyond that I probably liked Slackers better the first time I saw it don't get me wrong there's some moments of pristine parody here, the film basically takes you on this kaleidoscopic journey through the majority of late 20th Century thought I guess playfully pointing out that Signifier or Nothing, Derrida is going to do little to help you live your life and that we thinkers are basically useless when it comes to what's what but so what man, anyway amazing that the script got through and occasionally bold like the Nietzschean nihilist setting himself on fire unabashedly antilinearlinearity so rent it but in spite of the stunning visuals don't expect the same shock of recognition as offered by Slackers.

[end torn pages]

[shut down palmtop notebook]

[by closing cover]

So anyway, to answer your question, that's what I've been up to.

And also, good to hear of Sid.

Five for fifty seems fair, especially give your promise of a bonus sixth.

See you tonight then,