abbreviated update

My computer, the one that I usually do my blogging on, is on the fritz. Right now, Im on Linettes computer. I cant stay on long though. She needs to finish up a design project for a client. Anyway, you and I are fortunate in that she had plans to go out with another friend this evening for dinner, thus freeing up her Mac. So, weve got an hour to work Lets make the most of it.

Before I get started, could someone answer a question for me? I was out having beers with some friends on Saturday and something just popped into my head If Christ was a carpenter, what did he build? No one at the table knew the answer. (And, if Im not mistaken, even our friend Jim, the professor of religion, was there at the time.) Everyone, of course, had heard that he was a carpenter, but no one knew what it was that hed made a living building. Julie, I recall, guessed that it was benches. I thought that perhaps he constructed some kind of primitive entertainment centers. Someone at the far end of the long table said it was probably houses. So, we had this long discussion about it.


What did Jesus build?

And I further complicated the issue by asking why, if Jesus was a carpenter, there arent people out there in the world claiming to have bits of things that he had built? Why is it that we always hear about people claiming to have splinters of the cross on which he died, but no one ever claims to have the door of a medicine cabinet made by Christ? Why do we all know about the Shroud of Turin, but not about the Footstool of Bethlehem?

Oh, I also learned something on Saturday night.

Linette does not like to be called Mrs. Maynard. She told the assembled group of us that she finds the idea to be absolutely loathsome. I think that she just finds the patriarchal implication to be distasteful, but I’m afraid that casual observers might have taken that to mean that she’s disgusted and embarrassed to be my wife. (Oh, she doesn’t like for me to identify her as “my wife” either.)

Lets move on to less troubling areas before I break into tears

I know that you probably wont believe me, but I was going to write a lot about our trip to New Orleans tonight. Id allocated five hours to the task. Unfortunately, now that the computer isnt working, that isnt going to happen. Instead, Ill be working on Monkey Power Trio stuff (picking songs for the next record and drafting cover ideas) and doing a comic for the next issue of The Ann Arbor Paper. I need to check, but I think were getting near the end of my four-month contract with The Paper. Its more work than Id anticipated, but Id like to keep going with it if they want for me to. One of these days Ill get motivated and put them on-line so that you can see them. (Actually, maybe I wont. A few people have suggested that I wait a while and publish the collection as a book. I might consider doing that.)

I think the comic I plan to write tonight will be about the Art Spiegelman lecture that I saw a few days ago, and the fact that it made me feel a great deal of shame for the work that I create. While I might on occasion be funny, Im certainly not approaching the task of producing a comic as art, and I rarely have much to contribute in the way of furthering the intellectual discourse through my panels. I, for the most part, just write about going to bars with my friends and talking about popular culture, sex and food.

Speaking of lectures, I was also going to post pictures of Paul Krugman this weekend. Ive got a great shot of him sitting at a table, with a copy of Crimewave in front of him! (More on this when I can post the photo.)

On the subject of Crimewave, my friend Dan, who teaches English in one of New Yorks worst performing high schools, is going to give a copy to his class and ask if someone would like to write a report on it. If hes successful, I plan to print it in the next issue. Id be curious to know what someone in high school, especially a high school with a reputation for being dangerous, makes of Crimewave USA. My guess is that they wont like it.

Some people, however, have apparently been enjoying the new issue. I just this moment received a note from famous musician Jad Fair. He proclaimed it, good.

And, on yet a different note, I dont think things are looking good for Thanksgiving this year. I just got a delusional pro-Bush letter in my in-box from a family member that Ill be seeing on the holiday. Here it is:

At about the time our original 13 states adopted their new constitution in 1787, a Scottish history professor by the name of Professor Alexander Tyler had this to say about “The Fall of the Athenian Republic” over 2,000 years earlier.

The Fall of the Athenian Republic.

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse (generous gifts) from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship.” “The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence. From bondage to spiritual faith; from spiritual faith to great courage; from courage to liberty; from liberty to abundance, from abundance to complacency; from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependence, from dependence back into bondage.”

Professor Joseph Olson of Hamline University School of Law, St.Paul, Minnesota, wrote this about the 2000 election:

Population of counties won by Gore 127 million, won by Bush 143 million.

Square miles of country won by Gore 580,000, won by Bush 2,427,000.

States won by Gore 19, by Bush 29.

Murder per 100,000 residents in counties won by Gore 13.2 by Bush 2.1.

Professor Olson adds, “The map of the territory Bush won was (mostly) the land owned by the people of this great country. Not the citizens living in cities in tenements owned by the government and living off the government….”

Professor Olson thinks the US is now between the apathy and complacency phase of democracy although he believes that 40 percent of the nation’s population has already reached the dependency phase.

If anyone is dictating policy it is clearly not the underclass Are we rolling back clean air standards because the poor are demanding it? Are we increasing logging on government-protected land because people in tenements are clamoring for cheap timber? It seems to me that if this case had any merit, wed have a higher minimum wage, not lucrative no-bid contracts being given to Bush-donors in Iraq. I happen to agree with the author that era of Democracy in America may very well be coming to an end, but I think its corporate cronyism (and delusional economic, domestic and foreign policy) to blame, not the people who are barely scraping by in our cities.

So, meaty turkey legs may very well be thrown back and forth across my grandmothers table. (And, no, it wasn’t my grandmohter who forwarded that stupid note.)

OK, Linette is home. I hear her key in the lock

Oh, one last thing. I was preparing to send my annual You still owe me money letter to Ted at NYs zine store See Hear, when I found out that he had, on November 2nd, gone out of business. Heres his note about going under, and heres
a page showing that is up for sale. Hes selling it for $400. My guess is that hes not going to use that money to repay us either. (Unlike a lot of people in the underground press, I didnt hate Ted. I liked his store. Sure, it pissed me off that he wouldnt pay, but New York needed a story like See Hear. I just sent him a note telling him essentially the same thing. I hate that you screwed us, but your store will be missed.)

Lastly, I wanted to let you all know that I survived my speech on Friday. There wasnt even a hint of pant-shitting I actually did really well Thanks to all of you who wrote in with words of encouragement. I have no doubt that your positive thoughts played a role in my awesome performance.


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