漫画 Meet Deburah

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詩 A New Nutrition

Life is a shit sandwich
Eat it or starve
Can we learn to love
This pap, this pablum
This endless trough
Of lukewarm oatmeal
That sustains us
Should we let it?

I devour the slop
Hoping to find treasures
Prizes in the cereal box
Sino quod non
I tire of waiting
It isn't worth it

Find good in all things
Live in the moment
Notice the cinnamon
Enjoy the walnuts
The chunks of apricot
If it all were honey
I would grow sick of it

If I believe
That what I take in
Is needed to fix me
Then I am lost
If I am all right
Then all things are good
And I can find G-d


詩 The Big Bang

My concentration
Keeps it from expanding out
Into messy dissolution

No past, no present
Only possibilities
How long can I ignore them?
Resentments, regrets
Fears and obligations

Infinite density
Purity of thought
All history in an instant
The paradox of being here now

All else is illusion

April 27, National Poetry Writing Month (3 more days to go!)

詩 Culture

Je ne suis pas membre
de cette culture-ci

Suis-je membre
De la culture

Qui n'est pas membre
D'aucune culture?


模倣子 How ridiculous does it have to get?

Double standards.

I can't help thinking there's a better term.

I wish that this kind of overwhelmingly obvious and in-your-face examples of the hypocrisy embodied by most of the stereotypes and received wisdom that attempt to marginalize women in politics (and indeed in many other pursuits) would eventually make a difference.

But I worry that it won't.

It seems like "the people we like" can do no wrong, and the "people we don't like" just can't seem to do anything right, and they're always walking on eggs and trying really hard to be "good ones" and not ruffle any feathers.

That works both ways, though.  But that's not what I'm talking about now.

One interesting thing is that open any "out there" women's magazine like Bust or what-have-you and it seems you're eventually going to see something about how women can in fact pee standing up, and that all women should try it to somehow prove that they're just as good as men, equal to men.

As Simone de Beauvoir points out in Le Deuxième Sexe  there is nothing intrinsically  humiliating or "less than" or inferior in having to pee in a squatting position.

That's attached to the act because women are "wanted to be" seen as inferior, so anything they do is seen as evidence of their inferiority, their "unattractive otherness".

This actually works against men in this case in an interesting way.  Men are basically forced to pee standing up, even from a young age, and this is cast in terms of some kind of "badge of masculitity" conjoined with all of the horrible homophobia and other social taboos and other things men have to put up with in addition to lots of shaming from mothers since it is, after all, harder to pee standing up, more risk of accidents (I could get into the details of that), harder to figure out when you're trying to learn to pee by yourself to begin with, and so forth, and so little boys are labeled as "maturing more slowly" and having "toilet issues" and so forth.  In short, it cuts both ways.  Men are forced to do a lot of things in order to keep this particular stigma attached to women.

It's a similar deal with the "display of emotions".  It's horrible not to be able to display emotion.  It's like not being allowed to go to the bathroom...ever.  If held too long, like elimination of other bodily waste products, the result is severe health problems and ultimately big, embarrassing messes that humiliate everyone.

Just like being forced to always pee standing up for fear of being labeled some kind of weirdo, or "faggot" or something and subsequently ostracized or beaten to death, men in American society are not allowed to show emotion other than the football emotions (lust, rage, or exultation), or face the same consequences.

Women are not so constrained, which is great for them, but having free access to this natural bodily function has been stigmatized at the expense of both genders: women get stigmatized and men don't get to experience being fully physically alive and their health suffers as a result.  A good cry is always better in public, in the presence of caring others, or even if not, just to have it clears out all of those cobwebs and helps one think straight again on whatever question it is.  Stuffing everything all the time eventually leaves one completely reactive and unable to think and in pain or on the verge of being in pain about nearly everything.

But that's not the issue here.

It seems like it is, but it isn't.  Yes, crying and showing emotions (all emotions) is good.  That's why we have emotions.  I see that men are not allowed to have emotions as kind of another issue.  It's not so much that men need to be more like women or something.

The problem is that women are thought of as inferior and so that anything they do is seen as evidence of this inferiority. Talking about peeing standing up or crying in public or which way you roll the toilet paper or whether you squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom is all a smokescreen for the real issue: that women are not seen as truly equal.

Women are equal.

Women are different.

Women are different from men, and yet they are equal to men.  We are mixing apples and oranges when we talk about how women need to pee standing up or men need to start crying or women stop or whatever.

Jon Stewart's video is a demonstration of how if men do it (cry, get emotional in politics) it's good, but if women do it, it's bad, a sign of  "weakness" (womanliness).  The floodgates are starting to open up for men, and everybody's saying it's great (for men), but it's still the same for women.

Women just aren't as good and we're willing to go to even more and more ridiculous lengths to justify this.  It will never end.  The doublespeak, the double standards, the status quo apologies will never end so long as we avoid the problem.  We hate women, we hate womanliness, and this is almost certainly the basis for male homophobia and what a horrible whip this is for American men.

And it's not just men hating women, but women hate themselves. Women's internalized oppression is almost certainly worse than anything men are dishing out.  And even if most or all men were to stop  dishing out oppression towards women, the internalized oppression would still be there, and might not go away by itself.

I don't know what the answer is.

I do know that women are different to men.  I know that I don't want that to change.  I like women.  They're like regular people except they have these exciting little glowing force fields around them that make them somehow extraordinarily interesting.  They have gotten the shit beaten out of them by their parents, their families, and by society in slightly different ways to how I have, and so they can offer me this little suggestion of hope that maybe things don't have to be exactly the way that I've always been told they have to be.

And maybe I can offer women the same little sliver of hope in return.  Maybe it's not really as bad as you've been told it is.  The demon in my head is trying to kill me, but not trying to kill you, so maybe I can help you and you can help me and we can both get a little bit better.

The part that I can't get my head around is that women sometimes seem like they might like men in rather the same way.  Men have penises, tend to be hairy, don't have boobs (per se), tend to be on average a little bigger and maybe a little firmer, and it seems that women might sometimes think that's kind of cool, and I like to hear them talk about that on the rare occasions that they do.

It gives me hope.

That's one of the reasons that contemporary pseudo-crypto-feminism worries me, too.

It seems that maybe the only way to stop hating women is to start celebrating women, which means celebrating the things that make women different, and maybe boiling those things down to the things that really make women different, not the stupid arbitrary crap that gets dumped on them.  It also means we're going to have to celebrate the things that made men different, too.

Cooking and sewing and cleaning is not intrinsically a "woman thing".  Men like to say it is (less than they used to), women like to say it is (as much as they ever did, it seems), but it isn't.

Giving birth to babies probably is.  This may be a much, much bigger thing than it's generally given credit for.  It may be related to society wanting to control women, men having to be the ones to go to war, and so on and so forth.  We can't pretend this one away.

Breastfeeding kind of is, but it turns out that men can do it too, and maybe there's something to that. If we're going to celebrate how men and women are equal, I think we also need to celebrate the ways in which they are different, but this might not be as big a one as we think.

If pseudo-crypto-feminists make penises out to be "scary" and hairiness or speaking in "booming voices" out to be brutish or threatening, then in the same stroke they are also making vaginas out to be "gross", boobs to be "stupid", and uteruses and menstruation out to be "messy and complicated" or what-have-you.

You can't ignore them, you can't pretend they're the same, because they aren't.  You probably can't relate exactly to the other gender's experience of their own body, either. You have to talk about that stuff.  There's too much assuming.  How do I know?  Because every time I've heard women talk about men's bodies and their experience of their sexuality and what it's like to have an erection or what-have-you, what they have said has invariably been dead wrong.

And it doesn't occur to women (or to men) to ask  the other side for the facts, for the straight dope.  That's a big part of the problem, I think, and maybe it's insurmountable.  That's what I'm researching now -- whether these kinds of systems of thought and behavior can be changed, and if so, how to do it.

We can't ignore our own bodies, because they are who we are.  A man will never be a woman and vice versa, and even somebody who is somewhere in-between or who changes from one to the other will not be able to know exactly all of the possibilities, at least not all at once.  There are two (or more) possibilities, you get to be one of them. I get to know, if I can remember, what it's like to be a child in the 70s and 80s, but not at any other time.  I can compare my experience to another, but I still have to ask them, if I want to know what it was like to be a child in the 40s or 50s, or nowadays.

It's a constructive process.  If I think I know it all from the start then I shan't succeed.

The Feminine Mystique.  de Beauvoir talks about similar things.  If women remain mysterious to men, and men to women (even if slightly less so), then equal rights are probably not going to happen.  Separate-but-equal is a pipe dream.

We need goals.  We need dialogue about goals.  What do we want our society of equality to look like?  How are we going to acknowledge and celebrate our gender differences?

Do women need to be able to bring their suckling babies to the office with them right after they give birth?  That might be a really good idea for a lot of reasons.  Men and women need to discuss that kind of thing -- together.

How can workplaces support this?  What about women who work in manufacturing or other such where there might be safety hazards?

Why do we spend millions on wheelchair ramps, special elevators and doors, for the disabled, but nothing on half the population, i.e., women?  How much more need we spend on women?  And how?  Do men need more accommodation than they're currently getting?

Why separate bathrooms?  I do  talk with superiors and coworkers in the bathroom at work, information is exchanged, decisions are made, and women are excluded.  Even just greetings and chit-chat is valuable.  Are the ways men and women go to the bathroom, our processes and body parts are so frightening and horrible to one another, or the mutual mystique would be shattered so as to ruin something?  What is the nature of this strange fear, and what could we do to overcome it?

The legal system still operates around a basic paradigm of the ownership of women (and children) and men, corporations, clans, families, are somehow (sort of) selected as the arbitrary owners.  We probably have to admit this, and confront it, and probably decide what we would rather things look like instead.

Does society, the government really have to control women's bodies?  Women make babies from nothing.  This is a powerful fact.  Really the government's only job is to register the creation of new people and to some degree "track" the noteworthy things that happen to them, including their eventual deaths.  A child comes into existence, lives through its minority as the responsibility of some full citizen, should said citizen die or become indisposed in that interval, the child becomes a "ward of the state" and so on.  Once upon a time, the church kept track of all of these things.

Women are the engines that drive all of this.  In a sense, the government has to keep track of them.

Men love women.  Who knows why?  Men will admit that it makes no sense, but also that there is no way around it.  The urge to seek the society of women is overwhelmingly powerful.  I don't know if it's the same for women, anywhere near -- probably not, maybe not even close.

It's a stupid, magical fact, but it gives women a lot of power, and it probably also gives governments a lot of power (over men).

Nature decided that there should be about 50/50 men and women.  If a church or government went directly to the women to control them and their fertility, which would make sense, i.e., make the women the full citizens and just ignore the men, leaving them to sort of buzz in and about like electrons orbiting the central female nuclear core, then said government would effectively have no control over the men, that other 50% who since they don't have uteruses may be made to work long hours or be sent off to war without impacting the birthrate.

Maybe it makes more sense to place the men in a position of "ownership" over the women, so each woman is still controlled, registered with the government, but so are each of the men, since they are attached to the women.  Obviously, any children belong to the woman, but make them, too, owned by the attached man, which further nails him down and makes him easy to keep track of, pay taxes, serve in the army, etc.

Maybe that's why we have marriage.  It seems to be a tool of control of citizens by the government -- that seems almost obvious -- but exactly how it works and how it came into being is debatable.  Governments sure do like marriage -- that's a documented fact.

Maybe governments can't invade women's lives any less.  The Prussian government of Frederick II obliged women to go around to the police and report their menstruations, for one thing.  Maybe we should do that, too.  Do we need to?  Do we need to do anything else?  What's the minimum?

On that note, in Japan, a woman can call into work with a "sei-ri-bi" (menstruation / PMS day) once per month (in practice, two or three days per month are not uncommon).  In talking with my female friends and hearing about what they go through (and the fact that I suffer from rapid-cycling bipolar mood swings myself I can sympathize a bit -- although I'm usually spared cramping and bleeding) that sounds like a fine thing.  Does that undermine women, make them seem weak, expose them to resentment from men, or does it represent a normal, kind, reasonable acknowledgement of a basic physiological difference between the genders?

It could be either one.

There's more to being "fair" than just not being cruel.

But not being cruel is always a good start.

The Mythical Wage Gap & other stories

Christina Hoff Sommers on the male-female wage gap. Apparently, it doesn't exist, which makes sense.

And another piece on how trying to "make everything safe for women" harms men. Standards of evidence have been lowered to ridiculous levels, more and more things are being considered automatically to be "crimes" and college boards are given arbitrary authority to determine felony guilt which must be left to the police and the courts.

Christina Hoff Sommers is wonderful!  A much-needed voice of reason!

I love Laci Green!  She is awesome and as usual delivers an excellent video on the dynamics of sexual consent.

漫画 Nudity Gratuity

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On the flipside

I met an armless girl. She had flippers, anyway. She dropped her notebook at one point.

Flippers, huh?  Would you rather be svelte and have a birth defect such as a flipper for an arm, or would you rather be a chubbo mcChubbo but have all your limbs normal sized?

It seems like it could pertain to disenfranchised grief. Some disabilities like deformities are recognized, but then people don't know how to deal with them. Like this chick seemed awkward, then she dropped her notebook and looked like she didn't know what to do. I feel really badly that I didn't offer to pick it up for her -- that's the sort of thing I normally do. It's been haunting me a little bit, which is why I mention it, I think.

Deformity is concrete, but so is overweight, but the latter is more disenfranchised, people aren't sympathetic. 

Bipolar is really bad, but people don't get it, and since it's an emotional disability, it undermines others' ability TO get it. So they can be sympathetic in principle but not in practice. 

Alcoholism is like overweight, AND it's a mental illness. So it gets no sympathy and it's invisible. 

So flipper chick makes me wonder about her inner life and feel badly that I didn't help her. She may have less inner pain than people think, unlike fatties, maniacs, alkies, and codependents, all of whom have more and fewer people to share it with. 

Making an emotional connection with flipper chick makes you feel good, like you're doing good, like you're becoming a better Person. No so much with the others. Associating with those affected with disenfranchised grief tends to make One feel like an enabler. They should just get over it, be glad they have all their arms and legs, get up and do something constructive. Society doesn't acknowledge their problem, so why should anybody else?  Everybody feels like that once in a while, so what makes you so special?

To say anything other than that feels like coddling. 

Hard question though. The disenfranchised ones feel less "permanent" than flippers, but that's probably just a feeling. "Just" a feeling. 

Of course, there's circumcision, which is probably horrible in its own separate way. It's also disenfranchised grief, but society also did it too you, it's not an act of G-d, not your decision to do it to yourself, and definitely not something that you're faking just to get attention (like bipolar or ADHD).

No, society did it to you, and your parents did it to you, and the medical establishment did it to you, and they maintain their right to do it to you. Even if you disagree, feel wronged, nobody is going to agree with you, sympathize with you, and you have to go through the whole process of placing the blame where it belongs, not on the innocent baby who was victimized, like with the person born with birth defects (not their fault, either), and that's hard.

How do you go on trusting, loving, these people afterwards? It feels empty, and also terrifying.
In this sense, women, mothers, are uniquely positioned, as are all allies (if women as a group ever actually decide to be allies to men...!), to step effortlessly around all of these love and trust issues since they do not apply directly to themselves, and rescue the victims.

Perhaps victimization by racism and sexism is a similar example to disenfranchised grief. If one is disenfranchised, not allowed to participate equally, then one by definition feels grief and regret at that disenfranchisement, and in a beholden position, a position of envy, towards those who are included.

The recognition of one's own fundamental equality contrasted with the fact of one's inability to enjoy that equality.  With physical disabilities the reason for that frustration is readily visible, for what it's worth, and that can invite sympathy and help if society is so predisposed.

川柳 All's Fair in Love & War? Haiku

Where is the fairness?
Genital mutilation
For a boy only


詩 Awakening

She was a hot cup of cappuccino
In the bumbling, stumbling, bleary-eyed
Early morning of my sexual awakening

漫画 Comes with the Job

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The Writing Process Blog Tour

Here's a link to Tiffany Midge's response

To be completed...

1. What are you working on?

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

3. Why do you write what you do?

4. How does your writing process work?


Another Example of Male Privilege


Back From Sakura-Con

I went to Sakura-Con as a panel and interview interpreter.  They put me up in a hotel and comped me my expenses.

Food and Accomodations

Room service!

I could see the Space Needle from my window.  Note the flag at half-mast.

An out-of-focus steak-and-lobster dinner with a dear friend and a very genki-na, funayaka-na waitress.

A couple of random shots around downtown Seattle

"PhD Noodles"?

The grey-tone, post-shopacalyptic, dystopian, unhealthily-thin hipster sewing machine fashion shop.

Random Cosplaying

These two girls, Aileen and Audrey (?) were the daughters of one of the senior Con managers, and were watching the Green Room the whole time.  They lived in Japan for a number of years, went to Jr. High there and such.

These two Green Room Girls cosplayed something different every day.

I just had to get a shot of this group.

These folks had a really interesting indy comic that I think they kickstarted, with a big team, and for quite a big sum (did they say $80K?).  The young lady is one of the owners and is cosplaying one of the characters, Greta Gravity, who can control gravity (like Magneto, and like in my comics, no?).

"Lum-chan" from Urusei Yatsurei.  Old School.  One of my favs.  With abs like this, ya gotta share 'em with the world.

From Howl's Moving Castle

Murata-sensei's Drawing

Range Murata-sensei drew me this picture at the first guest dinner. He just jotted it down right in front of me with my Sharpie® while I watched. It took him just a minute or so to do it.

Koichi Ohata-sensei's Whiteboard Lecture

This was completely unbelievable! He explained his and his team's whole creative process on three of his more major, well-known projects: MD-Geist, Genocyber, and Gun-Buster.

He was whipping designs up there so fast and with such accuracy and proportion that I felt like he was actually erasing away some whiteness that covered the perfect drawings underneath.
Ohata-sensei was grinning ear-to-ear by the time it was done (we ran over a bit, and could have kept going), and the crowd were spellbound. Everybody had cameras up (including me) snapping away the whole time.

It was a small crowd, everybody close to the board, the hall not anywhere near capacity. It was a TBD, and Ohata-sensei didn't decide the whiteboard thing until the last minute, and the Sakura staff had to hustle to set it up. Basically, nobody knew what to expect, but the people who showed up where blown away, and the other previous sessions where I interpreted the enthusiasm level was already running really high.

There was no QandA. There just wasn't time, and I don't know if Ohata-sensei had wanted to do that anyway. He might have taken questions afterwards if there had been time for it.

My coworker, Lauren, was holding the board (it was kind of wobbly) and translating.  She did an amazing job, no exception to her work the whole weekend.

俳句 Precious Body

A girl fresh as spring
Should be treated as precious
So should her brother


模倣子 Emptor Gratia Artis

Memetic Index

I just got back from Sakura Con ( nerd Japanese anime and manga = animated film / tv and comic books from Japan ) where I volunteered as an interpreter.

Thanks for the link.  I had a quick read and it seems to be very much in line with the brain physiology associated with story and empathy that I have been looking into lately.  It's a very good point, and it's helpful to me to hit it from multiple subtly-different angles, i.e., that the brain responds to story in a deep way and that it's related to empathy and the formation of group membership identity.

There is such a passion for written / oral narrative but also the graphical representation of stories and reality as well as the thespian aspect.  It goes beyond mere "hobby" interest -- it is not a passing fad.  This is common shared wisdom in the film industry, i.e., that film is somehow fundamental, transcendent, immune from economic vicissitudes, the gathering with others to witness the telling of a story, is not something transitory, like some gadget or other passing fashion.

I imagine that the two of us share that understanding.

I have been working on some theories in the realm of anthropology, sociology, psychology, neurology and memetics to somehow explain the human attachment to narrative in all its forms.

What occurred to me over this week-end was that graphical printed medium only became "mainstream" or Guttenburgized (circa 1450) maybe at the earliest the beginning of the 20th Century.  Much before that, the printing technology to take "quickly" drawn story-oriented illustrations, where the illustration was the bulk of the story-telling medium as opposed to mere decorative lithographs, did not really exist prior to that, so we can expect that it's safe to say that it didn't start to become "mainstream" prior to 1950, or even thereafter.

And yet graphical narrative may fill some deep human need, much as written / oral narrative, c.f., the paintings of the caverns of Lascaux, going back 20,000 years.  We only now have the technology, however, to produce those cave paintings for widespread consumption, by the way.  Why the appeal?

I suspect that it's a lot to do with "Dunbar's Number" (the maximum "tribe size" allowed by the neural size of our frontal lobes) and our "monkey-see / monkey-do" way of interacting with one another and learning from and teaching one another, the seat of our ability to feel empathy.


I envisage a new kind of consulting firm, much like the kind of PR and marketing firms that took millions of the U of Idaho's money to tell them that they should get rid of the sunburst logo and change their slogan to "no fences" and then realize that was a completely stupid slogan for an ag school and take more millions more to change it to something else, or millions from my university (Carnegie Mellon) to tell them that they should lose their beloved "Carnegie-Mellon University" hyphen and change theirlogo to a red square at a 14-degree tilt.

Companies spend zillions for similar services, so the precedent is there for a well-remunerated consulting effort, or to take a less pecunious perspective, it's an activity that has a solid track record (even harking back to Medieval heraldry and such) of being highly valued by organizations, i.e., that of creating a sense of group identify and focus through the use of iconic graphic and literary / poetic imagery.

The age of the economic marginalization of the English major / poet may be at its end.

Point being that since organizations are willing to have consultants come in and analyze them, interview their members, and produce some kind of "this is who you are" statement and set of pictures, images, and logos, then this could translate to the kind of activity that I am envisaging, i.e., creation of a "Tale of..." or a mythology and even a concommitant memetic system with the focus of creating a tight team focus, maximizing efficiency or whatever other property (quality, design, innovation, profit, cost saving, health, communication, visibility, high throughput, fast turnaround, international cohesion, staff retention, rapid and efficient induction of new staff, safety, etc.) the client wants.

It perhaps bears special mention that a "mythology" much like the Christian Bible, could have tremendous value in pulling together international divisions of the same company, which is a HUGE problem.

An individual or a team of artists and literary writers would interview members of a company or department, get their stories, fictionalize them, edited them, create a "mythology", including in the more high-end cases, graphic novels, even children's books that promulgate the corporate identity to be read by employees to their own children, even animated (or live action) productions.  Return of the jingle writer?  Poetic outlet?  Poetry is easier to remember due to regularity, rhyme, etc., and so could be ideal for inculcating corporate slogans.  If written by professionals, it could have much greater impact.

A cycle process of the employees reviewing and reading their stories, then feeding back as to whether they represented them well, until they did at the end of the process.  After that, the organization would probably want to build a focus towards improving their processes, since they would be able to see the problems they had, then the team could come back for more billable hours and create an updated mythology with a transition from the old one to the new, better one.  This would take time to run in, then the consultants would be back.  This would almost certainly be a permanent gig, a permanent relationship with every client, since their business processes would never be static and would never be perfect.

This process could probably be called something like "INTERNAL BRANDING" since it's like creating a brand or trademark for a company or organization (on which they already spend billions) but for internal use, i.e., it would not be exposed to the outside world, only within the company.

This is what the Japanese do, by the way.  This is what they have, anyway, and it has widespread repercussions in terms of efficiency, company loyalty, and staff retention.  Historically, and this is still true to a big extent in Japan, although it's been in the rear-view mirror for a few decades in the US, it was unthinkable to leave one's company to go somewhere else.
I need to work out what to do next to engage the folks who are going to provide the stories, e.g., interviews.  How to conduct them, what needs to be in them, etc.  How to write them up?  How to plan how many interviews and how many staff need to be involved.  Is there a way to present to the managers who will greenlight it what the finished product might look like, why they need it, what needs to happen.

Who could / should be on the team?  I can do the writing, but perhaps help would be welcome, in terms of writing stories, poems, etc., and perhaps illustrating graphical stories.

What's next?  It seems that a lot of the value of this process would be the "second iteration" where the organization takes stock based on the initial "narrative analysis" which would:
1.  depict what the organization is like NOW
2.  This will help enormously in inducting and getting new staff up to speed, which in itself might be worth the candle.
3.  illuminates stepping stones to possibly improving their processes

The second iteration would be a "design" phase, where the "story writers" / "mythologists" would design a new "story line" that depicts what the client wants to see the organization transition into (more efficient, etc., see above).

Once again, the product would be a collection of the output of the fine arts tailored to a client organization to depict a kind of "mythology" or Weltanshauung both of how they are (for new hires) and how they want to befor organizational kai-zen.

Rather than ars gratia artis, perhaps something like emptor gratia artis  (art for the sake of the buyer, to take a page from Michelangelo).

俳句 Frozen Raspberries

"Frozen Raspberries"
It's the best thing for smoothies
Good name for a band?

俳句 Pâques

Pourquoi quelque chose
N'ayant pour but le plaisir?
Par force d'habitude?

漫画 The Gradual Student

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詩 Blinking

Blinking indicates
Help is on the way
My mind is awash
In self-indulgence
I push the button
To get to my floor

Blinking indicates
Help is on the way
Why should anyone care
Whether I make it?
If others don't care
What does it matter?

Blinking indicates
Help is on the way
Am I in motion?
Choke down the panic
Conjure my terpa
God says to have faith

Blinking indicates
Help is on the way
I'm waiting for help
It takes forever
How to even know
If it is coming?

Blinking indicates
Help is on the way
Dull red plastic stare
Means no help for me
Or maybe it means
God watches always

19th poetry installment for National Poetry Writing Month. Twelve more to go!


Flying at "Full Mast" - a rare sign of peace?

I can see the Seattle Space Needle right out of my hotel window (pictures to come soon) and I notice that the big American flag atop it is flying at half-mast.  I haven't checked the news, so maybe there's some big disaster that just happened, but I imagine it's the usual reason that some young man (or woman -- once in a Blue Moon, I guess) has died again today and that it's a perfunctory sign of mourning.

Will this sign of mourning become commonplace such that we don't notice it any more?  Maybe we'll see the flag occasionally at "full mast" and think, "Are we not at war anymore? Did nobody die today?  Is it finally over?"  What does it mean when when mourning becomes the normal state?  Like our lust for more and more violence and sexual explicitness, will be develop and appetite for more and more tragedy?  Will that make us stronger than other nations in yet another way, in our ability to tolerate grief and sadness, our ever increasing tolerance and lack of need to stop and cry?

By the way, as they teach us in the Boy Scouts, flying the flag upside down is a call for help, an SOS, a declaration of emergency.  Maybe they'll start using that soon, like in the logo of the show House of Cards  with Kevin Spacey.


A side-reason for gay liberation activism

I guess breeders don't realize the unseen fall-out of oppressing gays is that a lot of straight people end up in married (yikes, we love that prison, especially in this case) relationship with closeted people, and as we saw in that movie "Far From Heaven" and many other places.
In the 80s, as you perhaps remember, there were a lot of TV movies and such about breeders who got AIDS off of their closeted partners who were playing around on the side in supposedly "safe" gay relationships.

Try explaining that to...anybody.

川柳 第一のちんちんの俳句


漫画 A Model Citizen 桜コン第二日(金)

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I'm at Sakura-Con!!


Christmas Card

Made this for a special friend last Christmas and just ran across it again now.

川柳 Beauté Abîmée

Couper le prépuce
Ablate-t-on les seins d'une fillette?
Contre cancer futur?


川柳 差別 第三


漫画 Waking up is hard to do

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I'm going to Sakura-Con to be an interpreter for the next 5 days (back on Tuesday).   I will try to keep up with my same release schedule nevertheless, so stay tuned!!


USA an Oligarchy?

"Scientific study concludes: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy"

This is an interesting idea.  I did not look at the discussion page.

Do they consider "republican democracy" to be oligarchy?

Switzerland is thought of as one of the few examples of "true democracy", but what does this mean?

The article itself was kind of short.  They mentioned the idea of a "median voter" -- by what measure?

Presumably for democracy to be functioning, a quorum of people must vote, for one, which is not really checked (unlike France, c.f., "voter en blanc"), and then the government must somehow represent the "median voter".

If a poor / disadvantaged person has less "power" than a rich person, but not zero power or influence, then do we call it "an oligarchy" or "a plutocracy"?  What is the standard?

Are they saying that certain people's votes (ballots) are simply not being counted at all?  If so, that might be another thing, rather than "oligarchy" per se.

Anyway, stuff to ponder.

PS: I'm going to Seattle for Sakura-Con this week-end, so I won't be there on Sunday.  Try to muddle through as best you can, nonetheless.

PPS: Is the marketplace of ideas a democracy?  If not, what is it?  A "meritocracy"?  That's what the US touts itself as, but is that true?  Why or why not?


詩 The Guy the Girl I Love is After...

He's clever
Rather witty
At ease in every setting
And silent when he knows not what to say

Oh, that's the guy the girl I love is after
I know it though I've never seen her face
She craves a fellow full of charm and grace

漫画 Old Friends

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詩 I Love You, Louise

I love you, Louise
You possess that one quality
That no other has had before
You stick around

I love you, Weezie
You pass your judgement
But you do not
Withdraw your love

I love you, Lulu
You structure the world
So that my every gesture
Shows my love for you

I love you, Loopy
You prevent me
From treating you like crap
By making it impossible

I love you, Terry
Only you stand beside me
Over here on the far side
Of this curtain of shame

I love you, Lupita
You allow me to dare
To step beyond myself
Since you will never leave me


Memetic Engineering and Childbirth I

Involving men in birth might involve replacing some taboos with others.

Indeed, rules or taboos for everybody attending a birth would probably need to be invented so that the mother as well as attendants.

These would be mechano-memes to do with what one should and should not do, touch, say and so forth, during a birth. You could start kicking these around, as well as the signal memes, the names and things one says to do with these new replacement taboos.

Another thing to think about might be to build a memetic sub-system like a "bucket list" i.e., that attending a birth would be something that everybody should try to do, i.e., to not be a "birth attendance virgin" or whatever.  There would need to be a set of rituals associated with asking people to attend one's birth / maternity, asking to attend, getting invited, who shouldbe invited, and so forth.

Establishing a system of cultural expectations (even if the "culture" is "new") aids acceptance, and failure to do so hinders this, and allows the imuno-memes of the existing system to attack, e.g., characterize the (mechano-)memes of the new system as "irrelevant" "weird" or what-have-you.

If there is a new memetic subsystem, e.g., "my friend is giving birth this month, I should attend", complete with rituals associated with how this transaction / relationship may be conducted, e.g., communicating with the mother and her handlers (maybe having a handler is part of the new memetic system for example), communicating with interested and disinterested others about it, does one bring a gift, what does one wear, what does one say, what names are given to the various actions taking place, and so on, then the system can being to "co-opt" (see my manga) the signal and mechano-memes of the existing system in order to establish itself with as little conflict as possible.

Examples are of how religions take the symbols of established religions for their own purposes, e.g., Jesus Christ, the Christmas Tree, etc., or corporations re-use product names or images or whatever.  People already know how they feel about these icons and accept them automatically, and then tend to accept memes which we attach, through reasonable application of accepted rules and processes, to those existing memes, MIAOs and icons.

Another thought, [insert self-deprecating comment here], is that nerds might be early adopters of this new kind of birth-friendly culture.  Even "snerds" (pseudo-nerds, imposter-nerds, poser-nerds, etc.) might be good candidates.  Nerds are fascinated by complex systems that can be more-or-less well understood, given enough study, especially when those systems give "feedback" that you "got it right". 

For example, there was a birth, the expected stuff happened, everybody lived and felt well afterwards, there was messy stuff that happened but I brought appropriate cleaning supplies, change of clothes, and other equipment and dealt with it, and it went well, plus learned stuff for next time.  Nerds love those kinds of experiences.  "Classic" American men tend to hate them, however, so they might not be the earliest of early adopters.

Jargon and esoteric concepts are draws for these sorts of folk, nerds and snerds, because they engender the potential to:

1. alienate others who do not know the "code" (half-joke here)

2. connect strongly with others who DO know the code

2.1.   This forms a nucleation point for social activities (a MIAO phenomenon)

2.2.   Forms a set of MIAOs for discussion, joke-making, building of narrative, lore, myth, history, etc.

In fact, that's probably why there ARE snerds.  They like the social stickiness but can't handle the actual "being good at something that's hard" part (math, computers, foreign languages, music, etc.).

The idea of a "social nucleation point" is central to the principles of memetic engineering / analysis / deconstruction / hacking / etc.

One cool meme for doodz might be to "bring a buddy" to a birth.  Just a thought (perhaps not a good one).

I thought of a marketing anecdote which might be relevant.

There's a legendary story about Wendy's Hamburgers and how they wanted to increase sales of their Double Cheeseburgers, since they felt them to not be selling well.

A marketing consulting company came back with the answer:  put a TRIPLE Cheeseburger on the menu.

"Why should we do that?" wondered the Wendy's execs, "We already have poor sales of the DOUBLE Cheeseburger -- what good could a TRIPLE cheeseburger on top of that possibly do?"

The answer was that when they put the triple at the top of the menu, the double no longer looked like the "I'm the biggest fat-ass" thing to order, and double cheeseburger sales skyrocketed as a result, and, as expected, practically nobody ordered the triple.

Another example was when Carl Rove had to deal with yet another killer rumor during the "Baby Bush" (George W Bush) campaign.  This time, the press had gotten wind of an alleged photograph of W snorting coke off of a bar someplace, or snorting coke off of the stomach of a half-naked young girl lying on a bar or other such PR nightmare.  It was all anybody was talking about, the photo probably DID exist (it was never found, however, to my knowledge), it would not go away.

What did Carl Rove do?   (WWCRD?)

Did he deny the photo's existence?  No.   He probably didn't even talk about it at all -- that would give it even MORE undesired visibility.

He leaked his own fake rumor that there was a EVEN WORSE photo of W dancing naked on a bar, drunk and stoned out of his mind.

The press immediately latched onto the idea of this new, non-existent photo, which was probably so outrageous in concept that they debated as to whether it even existed at all (of course it did not), they COMPLETELY forgot about the less-scandalous, probably real other photo, and eventually everything went away.

Why would I think of this?

I thought of what you were telling me about the placenta.   It's kind of weird and gross, but it also is thought to have all kinds of magical properties, and a kind of strange beauty all its own if you look at it or smear it with paint or whatever in the right way.

Cows eat theirs, for one.

So, applying "Wendy's Triple Cheeseburger Principle" you can make up all kinds of "placenta-related" post-birth activities such as "placenta soup parties" after the birth, or "after-birth afterbirth" parties (or just "afterbirth parties") where the placenta is eaten by everybody who wants some or whatever, or tea is made of it somehow or whatever.  This could be the EXTREME version, and even if nobody actually ever actually does it, certainly anything wimpy like just looking at the placenta, touching it, holding the bowl it's in, or whatever, is tame by comparison and therefore totally acceptable.

So if there are a few "placenta steak" or "triple placenta burgers" or "fried placenta" or "breaded placenta frittters" or "placenta gumbo" or "placenta chili" recipes out there, or "planting a plant / tree with your placenta" instructions, anything else placenta-related would be super tame and low-key by comparison.

The same goes for any of the other more "challenging" aspects of attending a birth (or anything).  Set expectations such that they are way worse than anything that could ever possibly really happen, and nobody will be freaked out and everything becomes mainstream.

As soon as people start asking, "Aren't we going to EAT it?" at "after-birth" parties, you'll know your memetic engineering / marketing / PR project has succeeded.  (^-^)

俳句 Restoration

Restoring foreskin
Helps me to process anger
Partner benefits

漫画 Gender Oppression...?

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漫画 Virtue is a Patience

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川柳 In and out of shadows


(kind of a "pun" with the last character on first stanza and first of second stanza)
Poem for April 8, 2014, National Poetry Writing Month


Japanese Class

NOTE: Class will meet next week (Sunday) but will be off the following Sunday (Sakura-Con)

Still working on "Kiki's Delivery Service" (Majo no Takkyubin)

"Ma nuke Neko vs. Man - eki Neko"  (^_^)

"No Entry" = tachi-iri-kin-shi
"Rate at which stories repeat" = itsu-wa-kai-ten-ritsu
"Smoking Prohibited" = kin-en
"Please Smoke" = kitsu-en
"Backstabber - Traitor" = ura-giri-mono
"Love, love, love," and it's many characters
Mom thinks I'm bad at broom-flying skills
"Well-used" = tsukai-komareta
"Broom-fly-skill-level" = Sho-Hi-Noh-Ryoku
"opinion" = i-ken
"good at" and "bad at" = "jyo-zu" and "heta"

"It seems like" -- a couple of ways to express this (come to next class and see!!)
"...ka no yoh"
"...tta yoh"