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Saturday, April 09, 2005
RADIO BLACKOUT

When the space age began, a strange phenomena was noted: when the capsule re-entered the Earth's atmosphere, the ionization caused by the increasing atmospheric friction (a polite way of saying that the capsule was rapidly becoming a fireball) was such that radio transmissions became impossible.

This was known as the ionization blackout ("ionisation" to our British friends), and caused many a breathless moment until Mission Control could re-establish contact with said capsule's crew. Otherwise -- which, until Discovery, fortunately never happened -- the astronauts were probably toast.

And the point of this tortured metaphor?

It's April 9. April 15 is coming. One might say that, like, the rapidly heating capsule, I've entered "blog blackout."

One might say that, but it would be a simile.

So, I'll just say that the rapidly "heating" tax season has increased the "ionization" to the point that blog contact will be intermittentent at best over the splashdown period. The parachutes ought to deploy sometime around the 16th.

THAT's a metaphor.

Houston, we have a heckuvalot of returns. Over.
.
Thursday, April 07, 2005
STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH

In the spirit of fairness, we present the Pulitzer Prize winner's response to yesterday's post.

Date: Thu, 07 Apr 2005 20:45:27 -0700
Subject: Re: Pulitzer
To: "Hart Williams"
Cc: ****@wweek.com (Editor of WW)
From: "Nigel Jaquiss"

Thank you very much for your thoughtful email.
(sic)

[quoted e-mail snipped - see yesterday's entry]

Nigel Jaquiss
Willamette Week
822 SW 10th Ave.
Portland, OR 97205

There you go. You be the judge.
.
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
THE GOD DAMNED PRESS

The Kali Yuga, the Upanishads tell us, is the dark age, when, of the four great ages of the cycles of Creation, things go to hell. We are in the days of the Kali Yuga, most assuredly. I've always been curious, I suppose, because as the wheel cycles, we are supposed to go from the Dark Age to the Golden Age in one fell swoop.

But first, the darkness will intensify to a scintillating anti-brilliance.

Presuming this paradigm to have any meaning became a lot less difficult Monday evening, as the purportedly venerable Pulitzer Prize Committee judges -- an institution whose board [allegedly and apocryphally] denied, in 1973, Thomas Pynchon's masterwork, Gravity's Rainbow, a Pulitzer Prize in fiction on "moral" grounds -- rewarded a piece of sheerest gutter journalism with the Pulitzer Prize for "investigative journalism."

I would not be more surprised had they awarded the Pulitzer to the National Enquirer for exposing Paris Hilton's sex tapes.

No: in fact, we observe the vicious, low (and meaningless) outing of a former governor of Oregon -- and the parade of clueless prudery that followed -- in an article that shamelessly exaggerated the 'crime' through the manipulation of language (e.g. "statutory rape" = "rape" and "underage teenager" = "child.") now elevated into journalistic Valhalla.

When the young woman involved was ACTUALLY brutally raped (for real!) at knifepoint outside a job that the ex-Gov had procured for her at her request (she would continue to extort money and favors, as the "victim" for decades), the actual rape was downplayed by the Willamette Week "journalist" Nigel something, and by implication, her psychological trauma was laid at the doorstep of her "statutory rapist."

That took some auctorial contortions worthy of a literary Houdini, but, in a profession purportedly notable for its rumored fealty to alleged truth, perhaps the Pulitzer Committee missed the best fiction performance of the year.

Why?

Because two Portland Tribune journalists and one Oregon state senator had been on a vendetta to bring down the ex-governor. They managed to get the case all the way to finding the papers of conservancy that had resulted from a settlement involving hundreds of thousands of dollars, in yet another demand by the "victim" for fees for three years' sexual services rendered.

What was the impact of a now 30-year-old affair? None. What was the business of the press in this matter? None. What was the result?

Well, first of all, it completely upstaged the entire Oregon primary, a week before it was held, doing incalculable disservice to the citizens of the state purportedly being "protected" from quarter-century-old skeletons in its collective closet. The fact that the Senator wasn't up for election gave her plenty of ink in the papers as she traveled around the state boasting that she'd once had sex with her father (and was thus, worthy of pity/admiration, etc.)

And, of course, the Democrats and Progressives engaged in political cannibalism, while Oregon Republicans must have secretly thought: "With enemies like these, who needs friends?"

[Oh, did I mention that virtually all the "progressive" players in this were "appalled" at the Clinton Impeachment, lo, those few short years ago? Hypocrisy? Seemingly it's a question of which matter sexual moves forward one's agenda -- personal or political -- one (a different one) would suppose. Certainly the gleeful piling-on in the Goldschmidt imbroglio was rapturously engaged in by the selfsame parties formerly decrying the piling-on in the Clinton Affair. Still, while Clinton was exononerated, Goldschmidt received the political/social equivalent of the Death Penalty.]

And the ex-Governor was ridden out of the metaphorical town on an allegorical rail, removed from all public life -- even though he was, and always had been, an accomplished public servant performing public service, while the "Pulitzer Gang" of Oregon only seems to have been performing self-service:

The Oregon state senator is now the chair of the Education Committee, and a potential candidate for governor herself. The two Trib journalists have an inside straight on that one, and the kudos of their colleagues for doing all the initial legwork, and the Willamette Week "journalist" and his sad-sack paper (which, by the by, advertises "outcall" hookers on its website, along with full-size explicit photos) now can claim to be a "great" newspaper, for a story that was handed them gift-wrapped on the hoary silver platter.

He protests that HE did the actual legwork, etc. but, in fact, the Senator gave him the conservancy papers, as revealed by the Pulitzer Prize press release, and the Tribune reporters gave the Senator the entire story, minus the court papers that she managed to wheedle. I wonder if a citizen might have been able to obtain them, not knowing courthouse insiders -- she being a court reporter?

The real story of insider baseball and conspiracy to bring down a public servant over an ancient peccadillo, and over the objections of the highly-compensated "victim" would be Pulitzer-worthy.

But instead, this vicious bit of peeping and political revenge wins the Pulitzer Prize.

Next year, Hustler magazine wins the Pulitzer, for exposing Hugh Hefner's favorite uses of whipped cream.

[Use a gun; go to jail. Use a penis: go to hell. Amerika, thou blighted home of gutter morality, God shine His ass on Thee.]

And you wondered why I was in such a black mood that I had stopped writing altogether for a couple days? (I had wondered whether I might as well just quit blogging altogether, since the vile are enshrined and the virtuous shunned nowadays.)

Kali Yuga, indeed.
.
Monday, April 04, 2005
SHAMELESS RECYCLING
Or, YOU try working on taxes without sleep and see how much blogging time you manage, buhbi)

A friend of mine just published his first book. I finally, guiltily, responded to the autographed copy he sent me. Since I have nothing better to do, and no time, I am publishing it here, with all the relevant names blacked out.

Manana, bro, as we used to say.

Dear ****:

I want to take a moment to apologize. I'd intended to surprise you with a mini-review of your book, but tax season has just fucked all intellectual pursuit -- so bad that I dreamed Saturday I was doing the dead Pope's final tax return, and someone had entered his state payer numbers on Schedule D instead of his dividends, which was screwing up his return, like, totally ... aargh! Doing imaginary tax returns in my sleep, fer chrissakes!

On the other hand, ***** and ****** are doing returns for us this year, too, so it may not be that long before the entire old Aztec [Cafe, Santa Fe, New Mexico] crew is working for us here, slaving away on 1040s into the wee hours of the night.

Thank you for the kind words that came WITH your book. They meant a lot to
me.

(Responding to one of the pieces I DID have time to read): You say that making a writing buck is tough these days. You said it. When I started out, Ted Sturgeon told me, circa 1979, that he felt sorry for me starting out at that time in history, because it was SO much harder to make a writing buck. Well, compared to his experience starting out in the 1930s, he was totally on beam.

What's fucking sad is that I pass on exactly the same sentiment to you. The cash sphincter of the writing cow has been steadily clenching tighter and tighter for as long as I can remember.

But look at the bright side: for awhile there in the 90s, I was sure that American letters was going to die out entirely, and that future biographers in the publish-or-perish fraternity were going to be reduced to issuing (posthumously, one would hope) "The Great Phone Messages of Stephen King -- Edited and with an Introduction by Castratin Grrrl; University of Eastern Utah Press; 2022; 15 CD or cassette tape series; $85.95 (as read by Alan Alda, Jr.)"

So letters came back (even though, with spell checkers, they're a lot less literate than the barely-schooled soldiers of the Civil War wrote back home during the LAST great internal "debate" on civility in these blighted states.)

Mazel tov, ****. With a book, you're actually a person, and can be booked onto radio stations, cable TV, and into Junior Colleges (er ... COMMUNITY colleges) as an actual ENTITY. Hump that monkey for all it's worth. You've got about a year before it's "yesterday" so go for it.

I'm proud of you, keed. You done good. And publishing yourself is the way to go these days. The publishers wouldn't give you any fucking promo or assistance, anyway, so you're just doing what you'd be doing, but pocketing a significantly larger portion of the proceeds.

In 1997, in LA, Nadine Strossen, the president of the ACLU was speaking, and
her publisher was supposed to send a box of her books, so she could autograph and sell them at a national conference I was attending/covering. I'd brought my review copy, and was, thus, the only autographee in attendance, since said publisher -- doesn't matter which, they're all run by whores -- never sent the books. She was very embarrassed, and possibly out quite a little cash in terms of recouping her costs.

Keep some with you at all times. Push them on people like a Scientologist bullying rubes into taking personality tests; force them on casual acquaintences like a Jehovah's Witness pushing THE WATCHTOWER.

Have you heard the Four Spiritual Truths? You haven't? Well, you don't need 'em. Buy my FUCKING BOOK!

Heh heh.

Again: many thanks for the kind words in the book and on the envelope, ****.

Just be happy you're not the Pope.

Bests,

"The modern-day composer refuses to die" -- Edgar Varese
hart williams
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