the last thought I had before leaving my house

Will your cell phone kill you? Yes. The powerful radio waves that it emits will spark tumors in your brain, causing it to harden and calcify in some places, and turn to jelly in others. You will become irrational over time, behaving erratically, picking and scratching at your face, turning imagined blemishes into deep, aggravated sores. You will pick at your ear canals with ever sharper objects, scratching harder, closer to your eardrum with bobby pins, toothpicks, a corkscrew. It’s difficult now to understand why you would do this.

Your cell phone will kill you.

To be clear, the combined rate of cell phone usage of everyone in your vicinity will kill you—it’s not just yours held up to your head, gripped in your hand, in earshot day and night that’s going to do it to you. It’s surprising that there’s not more emphasis on that angle in the media; this is what we like to call “burying the lede.” A certain degree of the radioactive effects of cumulative cell phone usage necessarily remain trapped within the atmosphere of the planet, of course, effectively cooking the population in a sort of radioactive cloud. This is certainly happening right now—there are surprisingly few isolated spaces of the earth in which this effect cannot already be observed.

There’s been an increasing number of fatalities around this particular corner, lately.

You should never believe a single word contrary to these findings. The truth is not in the public interest. You know in your heart what the truth is—it’s all perfectly logical, and you can reason it all out yourself.

They want you to believe you might be safe. You know better.

Your cell phone is going to kill you. You have precious little time left before the most deleterious effects of it at last begin to take your sanity. So what are you going to do? Are you simply going to accept this? Or will you make a statement with your final hours? Make a stand. Take that hill. Do not let them have their victory without blood lost on their side.

Your cell phone is going to kill you. You need to exact vengeance—for the children. Die for a reason, at least. For those who cannot stand up for themselves. Your cell phone is going to kill you, and they are happily letting it happen. It might be time for you to start doing some killing of your own. Today’s the day. You’re finally free. Heed the call. Die with purpose. They’ve made you complicit in your own murder—take them with you, how about. Now is the moment—your cell phone is going to kill you. There’s nothing left for you to lose. The sun is shining, now. This may be the last beautiful day.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

A Journey Through the Sandwiches—Grilled Cheese

So you take your Kraft single. Peel away the plastic shell and slap that square between two sides of soft white bread, and balance the whole construction atop Uncle Tony’s Ford 300 inline six, hot to the touch, currently running.

“Hey Tony,” you ask. “Is this gonna make the sandwich taste like motor oil?”

Uncle Tony’s unconcerned. “That truck ain’t had oil in it for the last four, five months. Flip it after ten minutes. Shut the hood, meantime. Watch for flies.”

Crazy Aunt Sarah, meanwhile, is over by the cooler, fretting, talking about did you butter both sides of the bread? I keep my butter on the kitchen counter—it’s the French way.

Ignore all that. Sink your attentions in your cell phone. The Met is looking up, it seems—you love Hellenistic kingdoms of the ancient world.

Ten minutes pass—pop that hood. Oh yeah, you’re making progress. Flip the sandwich over—it’s half-done. Starting to look a little gooey. Starting to see a little sear.

“Hey, Sarah—your sandwich is about half done.”

She sits up, about choking on a quaff of cold Corona Light. Way too enthusiastic. “Cool!!!”

Cheese is a little crispy on the edges. Sort of sticking. Maybe you should’ve Pam’d the engine. Whatever, shut the hood. Too late. Pass the time with conversation. “Hey, Aunt Sarah.”

“Yes, beloved?”

“Are you really going all around the nation, getting people to cook sandwiches for you? Is it for like a book or something?”

“It’s much more freeform and loose than that, but yeah. Generally, that’s true.”

“And then you eat the sandwiches.”

“Sometimes! I mean, I would like to.”

Uncle Tony’s on the porch now, howling. No reason in particular—years of enthusiastic drug abuse will do this to you. It’s just something that he does. He appears to be in the process of adopting another stray dog.

You lift the hood and poke the sandwich a little as it’s toasting up. Smoke wells up into your nostrils, not unpleasant. “So it’s sort of like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives?”

“No, just sandwiches.”

“You’re the Anthony Bourdain of sandwiches.”

“Who?”

When you take the sandwich off the engine, your largest worry is consistency. Some grilling methods don’t disperse heat evenly. “Watch out,” you say. “There might be hot spots.”

You slide it on a paper plate, and to be honest with you, it smells pretty good. It’s sort of hard to fuck this up. You leave the engine running, because it’s powering the radio, and the song is good. It’s not your favorite song, but it’s good for a day like this—lazy, humid, grilling.

“You’re good,” you say. “Dig in.”

“Thanks!” She takes a bite. The cheese trails off her mouth in a melted tendril.  “Hey, you ever made a grilled cheese with, say, caved-age Gruyère? I’m a journalist, you know. Very curious.”

The slam of the hood closing mutes out your first “nope”, so you say it again, with emphasis. With more passion than intended. You roll your eyes, perhaps. “Nope.” Not at all. And then you keep repeating it. “Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.” Walking away from her, back up toward the trailer, shaking your head side to side—now you can’t stop mumbling it. “Nope, nope, nope nope nope, hell no, hell nope, no sir, no ma’am, no.”

And you keep on walking, past the trailer, out to pasture, leaving Uncle Tony with the sandwich woman, Sandwich Bourdain, whom when you met gave you a business card, unprompted, which read “Crazy Aunt Sarah”—beneath it, “OG Oddball of the West.” You walk in circuit for an hour. When you return, the sandwich girl is gone. Uncle Tony is asleep, and the truck is nowhere to be found.

A Journey Through the Sandwiches—Primanti

Look at that plating, man. Fries on the sandwich. This is always controversial, to me—I like to separate my carbohydrates. Imagine a sandwich simply made of sliced potato. Something doesn’t work, there. Or like, a pile of rotini, drenched with oil, served on rye. Eesh. Heavy.

Of course, sometimes this is necessary. Sometimes the goal is just to get it in you. I can accept that shoving the French fries into the sandwich is a way of signaling a sea change—an all-hands-on-deck, damn-the-torpedoes measure. Grab us a fresh white napkin, fellas, because this one’s about to face a ketchup deluge.

One of the few ways that a human being can truly attain immortality in this life is to get something named after them—multiple things, as many things as possible, no matter what the cost. A doctor’s discoveries in the field of disease can lead to his name living on as a scourge against earthly existence—”Acquired Sarah Syndrome”. A disease which slowly makes the skin translucent; the eyes harden into diamonds; the torso narrows to the width of a straw.

The Primanti brothers of Pennsylvania, Joe, Stanley, and Dick, secured infamy enough to share. Their eponymous restaurant was founded by Joe in the city of Pittsburgh in 1933; this sandwich was invented during the Depression. Oh shit yes, motherfucker—that’s how you know this’ll be good. No one was sitting around inventing bullshit during the Great Depression. You feel me? This was a time when the joy of invention was being thoroughly subsumed by the overarching need to survive on the day-to-day, and time spent tinkering on your “projects” was time wasted. So if you had an idea, and committed to an idea, and brought that idea to fruition during the Great Depression, then it was almost certainly a wonderful idea—otherwise you wouldn’t have stuck with it. It must’ve felt so good. I imagine this line of thinking is where the fry-in-the-sandwich convention comes from. Carbs-on-carbs, in this context, make sense.

In addition to the French fries, the Primanti is a hearty deli sandwich, composed of grilled meat, tomato slices, and a slaw of some sort, preferably with Italian dressing. Wedge it all between Italian bread. Say “bada-bing”—boooaash! ‘Ey, I’m walkin’ heah! Ya dum sonuvabitch! 

Get a load of this sandwich! Eyyy!

Gooash!!

Ba-doosh-ka!

BA BA BOOEY!!

Photo Credit: New-Burghers Food Blog

A Journey Through the Sandwiches—Tongue

When it comes to the canon of Weird Meats, beef tongue is pretty low on the proverbial scale of exoticism. It could be fairly argued that it’s not that weird a part of an animal to eat at all; we’re not exactly talking about chowing down on a cereal bowl full of eyeballs, here. But the limitations of the imagination that an underdeveloped diet incubates cannot be overstated—I know people who prefer their steaks well done. There are people who have only ever known the stale-air taste of Pizza Hut. For plenty of people, for all sorts of reasons, tongue is very weird indeed. If it’s a niche meat for any reason, it’s because the aesthetics simply aren’t for everybody. DSC04360_1523x1012

I think it’s fair to not be able to get around this. Personally, I enjoy it. Eating a tongue makes the delightful savagery of consuming meat particularly real—it’s one of the only organs in the body you can see. And when you eat it, you will gain the powers of the animal whose soul you’ve taken. MOO.

A common myth goes to the effect that relative to its size, the tongue is the strongest muscle in a body, or at least the human body. It’s not true, but still, the tongue impresses. Under normal circumstances, it doesn’t fatigue. You can flap and flip it hither and thither all day (and ~all night~) without ever experiencing anything that you would fairly term as soreness.

Anyway, your strongest muscles tend to be your quadriceps, and also your glutes. Yer ass! Personally, I think that’s a heck of a lot cooler.

Beef tongue, a fatty meat, is often paired with onions during seasoning. When well-prepared, it can rather fairly be said to have a texture that melts in your mouth. Dressed up as a delicious sandwich, served with diced vegetables, vinegar, and oil, between two hearty slices of seared bread, it’s an absolute barnburner. Just thinking about it makes me look longingly out the window, as though I were a schoolgirl, head full of dreams, eyes alight reflecting all the beauty in the world.

There’s also a breakfast variant: an open-faced sandwich that they call tongue toast.

800px-Beef_tongue_and_eggs

Oh, we’re getting f-a-n-c-y now.  Look at that soft bagel. Damn. My, that dish is playful and appealing to me. Maybe I’m unsophisticated. Maybe I’m wrong. Shit. Who cares. That looks like the kind of meal that could compel a girl to wolf it down in thirty seconds, and then lick the plate. I’m whipping myself into a frenzy, over here. God, it’s made me high as fucking balls.

Photo Credits: Star Chefs; The Curious Coconut

entr’acte, exeunt, intracting

I am beginning to cocoon myself. Alone beneath the open sky I pull and pluck at disparate strings, thin to the point of nonexistence, barely matter, from the air, twining them between my fingers into thread. Unlike spider’s silk, my threads are coarse, peppered in color, irregularly shaped. The patterns of my weaving are rough to the eye and jagged to the touch. There is no elegance to my construction. It is miraculous, but that is all.

I begin with my torso, twining the threads about me upward and downward in turn, thickening the center of what will become my cocoon. I am protecting my most vital points; tight, but not uncomfortable, my chest and stomach press firm against the weaving when I breathe. I am beginning to imagine how the next few years will be.

I twine new threads down my left leg, straining against the bulk of what I’ve already created. Over hours I cover the limb, beginning with the fat part of my thigh. It feels less imperfect, more secure, inside the casing I’m creating. I resist the urge to tighten it; there must be room for bloodflow. I hope that time will make me smaller.

I wrap my second leg in thread and marvel at the reality of my creation. It is beginning to be difficult to imagine an alternate, prior existence. I am encased, I am myself. I must internalize the new reality, a mental readjustment proving easier, more automatic, than one might initially expect.

I begin my arms with apprehension; the more that I continue, the more difficult the work becomes to undo. There is a point that I will lose my ability to escape what I’m creating. This I consider, as I twine the tendrils down my forearm, asphalt gray and hardening.

In order to ensure that my cocoon will be impermeable, I now begin to wrap my head. I will finish the construction blind. It is the only way to ensure that my head will be protected; to secure the webs around my nostrils, ears, the fine contours of my face, I will need dexterity. It is difficult to decide what last to cover—my nose, my eyes. I seal my mouth without concern. There is nothing left for me to say.

Now I have become as like a being otherworldly, my shape wide and irregular, save for the flesh of my hands and feet, protruding from my stiffening sleeves as I commence the final step. This is the point of no return. I lay myself upon the ground and begin to bind my legs together, lashing them into a rigid plank, inarticulate. I wrap my feet to one another til they form a rounded tip. I wiggle my toes, and tighten.

The work grows harder as my body fatigues, but soon, it will all be over. I lash my left arm to my chest, and bind my fingers flat against my body. I place my right hand on my heart, using what little space remains between my other arm and chest to squeeze in my uncovered digits, these last five fingers of bare skin. The web will seal my hand, in time, inside the space beneath my other arm. The key to making it secure at all is to stay as still as I can be. The inexactness of the seal creates the weakest point of my cocoon, but is not so due to oversight. I stretch my fingers, and try to feel my heartbeat as it slows. In years’ time, I will need the space around my fingers slack, when I use my unbound hand, finally, to break free.

Photo credit: Zdzisław Beksiński

jam bomb me


I’m drinking beer in the street today, pretty much all day. The beer is infinite. My crystal guts were, perhaps, not ready for this. 

Pardon the brevity. There’s two million gallons of beer here, and I’m pretty sure I have to drink all of it. I am a journalist. I have binoculars and my sword. I won a keychain in a contest, so this might be the best little day of my life.

Fuck You (Part 1 of 2,030,485,382,390,948)

My least favorite old-ass outdated term that I still hear sometimes and always squint at, quizzically, is “politically correct.” This shit is faded. It is old. It is 90s. Nobody who *is* politically correct thinks of their stances in these terms, anymore. Neither do their enemies, really. At this point the stance has become correctness—ethics—what is right. An analysis of the other. An acceptance of the same. There is a confidence to it that renders irrelevant its qualifying adjective. Such is the current iteration of that term. That shit is corny.

Stop saying that. Fuck you

whither night shift

So I work the night shift now, at my day job, which I suppose you could argue can no longer accurately be called that.  This wasn’t really my idea, but neither was the attendant raise, which math suggests amounts to $0.03/hr, or an extra $1.20 per year, provided the increase doesn’t bump me up into another tax bracket. This arrangement is new, cool, good, and I’m fine with it.

Do you like how you can’t really tell if I’m into this arrangement or not? Because I might be. You don’t know if I love this. I seriously might. One day I’ll tell you what I really think about how it feels to work the night shift, in order to make money to continue to survive. The answer may surprise you.

Crazy shit happens after dark, naturally. Especially where I survey. People eating Fritos at the witching hour. A street gang called The Skunks comes out to fight with chains and batteries. If you enter a certain church at the right hour, Aeris from Final Fantasy VII flickers in your vision, as though she’d never left us. The racquetball courts are unattended and empty, which makes them fun to play games in. So are the outdoor basketball courts; I like the way my dribble echoes off of nearby buildings in the relative quiet.  The Weather Channel starts playing some disgusting botfly human flesh extraction shit. The usual grammar breaks down as we tire; communication takes place often via knowing looks. The planes seem almost at times to fly themselves. That sliver of the moon on the horizon may be closer than it appears, and when the sun rises, it rises fast. Stranglers lurk and prowlers loom. I catch catnaps on a city bus. A street sweeper once challenged me to fight, and I destroyed her.

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Praise Break for a Good Song:

And then I make myself a smooooothie. Then me and wifey make a movie. Chicago to St. Louis and St. Louis to Chicago / Andale, andale mami / E.I., E.I., uh-ohhhhhhhh

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This is an extremely selfish blog post. I only came here to kill time.

I’m reading this book today and it’s good, though at least one of the contributors seems like a real asshole. He’s won many awards for his writing, but for the most part, I don’t like it. You can’t afford to be as smug as he is in his writing, considering. You’re sort of working up from a deficit of charm, when you tried to kill your entire family. I’m a pretty freaking nice person, but I don’t think I’d shake that hand.

Photo Credit: EMS Today*

*I am not an EMT. For that matter, since we’re here, I am also not a cop, a toll booth operator, a restaurant manager, a gas station clerk, or a grocery store stockperson. 

Fun Things to Get Away With While at Work

Did you know I read a Harper’s index piece that said that half of American workers have had sex at work? 1 in 2. I wonder if that’s self-reported. And I cannot help but wonder (not really) if self-sex counts in that number.

I’m not citing my sources on this; you’ll just have to believe me. I think the issue was from 1994. I read it yesterday, but it was late.

Here are some fun things you can do at work that you’re not supposed to do.

  1. Kick your shoes off. Hahaa, betcha wish you could do that one, doctors.
  2. Update your stupid website, and tweet about it.
  3. Have sex on the boss’ desk. Rub all the boss’ things between the flaps and folds of your sex organs. Spray jizz all over framed photos of the boss’ family. Spread your buttcheeks and kiss the cold wood of the boss’ armrests with your anus. This kind of depraved, insane behavior is fun to get away with at work, and half the people in America would high-five you for doing it, myself included.
  4. Drink banana cognac, eat LSD, smoke a doobie.
  5. Put one of your earbuds in, and listen to tunes and podcasts. Just a little background noise. It’s simple pleasures, folks. Simple pleasures are the secret to robust longevity and elan.

Youtube Rabbit Hole: She A Go – DJ Rashad – Stock Footage