04 December 2022

Rusty Mechanics Entry

It snowed today. It was too slippery to go outside. I tried to walk Rudy but he kept making me slip by pulling too hard on the leash.

This is not a real weblog entry. This is dummy content. I am having trouble writing, and not merely because half my right hand is numb. I can’t seem to focus.

Right now what I’m trying to do is post an entry. I seem to have forgotten the mechanics of posting. I’m hoping that I’m just rusty, and that things will loosen up a bit as I get back in the swing of things. I mean, I can still type. (Sort of.) I can still read. I can even limp along in French and Greek, though my Latin and Coptic have deserted me. I feel the darkness closing in. I am no longer immortal.

19 September 2022


Things suck in my world right now. Something has corrupted some of the links on the sidebar of my weblog and I am blocked from making any changes by some sort of glitch. I tried changing the theme of my blog as suggested by other users, but that’s only made things worse. I’ve sent feedback to Google, but I have no idea if that is going to accomplish anything or not. I am not the only person with this problem, apparently, but it is annoying me in ways that words cannot express.

I can’t focus, currently—my mind wanders and the words won’t come, even when the concepts I want to express are clear in my mind. This is not my usual writer’s block sort of thing—this is something different. Whatever I’m trying to say meanders off into random digressions and obscure byways and ends up running aground on the shoals of forays into semi-coherence and parentheses… That wasn’t it. What’s the opposite of focus? Fuzziness? Lack of definition? Wandering off the point?

Something like that, I suppose. I start things, but I can’t finish them. I don’t know how. I can’t tell if I’ve covered the topic or just put random words down.

26 August 2022

Just Checking In

Hi. I’m still alive and pretty much fully recovered from the year’s travails, though my right arm is still weak despite physical therapy and ordinary use. I hope to post stuff again in the future, but at the moment I’m bogged down in the routine debris of staying alive. Today, for instance, I spent time looking for change in all the wrong places in the hopes of buying a few items at the store. Time-consuming, but rather dull to write about.

Speaking of time-consuming and dull, I’ve been staring at the textual variations in the various witnesses to Huckleberry Finn, in part simply because I can. I’m struck repeatedly by the way close examination of the manuscript allows the observation of Mark Twain at work. At the beginning of chapter four, for example, he twice starts to pick up the narrative with the salt spilling incident, each time cancelling it to add a bit more background, before actually getting back to the main storyline. In the floating house episode he doesn’t quite know what to do with the wooden leg Huck and Jim found, writing originally “The straps was broke off it, but barring that, it was as good as new.” The last phrase didn’t satisfy him, so at a later stage “as good as new” became “a good enough leg”; at some point between the manuscript and the printed edition he made further alterations. Apparently feeling that the absurdity of Huck and Jim carrying off a wooden leg neither of them had any use for wasn’t enough he pounded the joke into the ground with an added passage: “though it was too long for me and not long enough for Jim, and we couldn’t find the other one, though we hunted all around.” Reminds me of the old MAD horrifying clichés—Belaboring the Obvious—with the Obvious depicted as a generic monster, with MT bashing it over the head with an oversize pen.

Still, what strikes me is—a lot of this is simply lost in the word-processing world. My instant second thoughts, for example, are mostly not preserved in the final file. (There is more information in the file than you might expect, by the way, a lot of which would not be found in a nineteenth-century manuscript, so it’s a trade-off, I guess.) The changes I’ve made in writing this entry are preserved temporarily, in case I need to undo something, but there would be no evidence of them in a printed copy of the resultant file—or in the version I presumably am going to post online.

Anyway, I’m hoping to return some day. This is not that day. I have nothing to say, and it shows.

17 July 2022


Many years ago, back when I used to listen to The Dr. Demento Show live on KMET in Los Angeles—actually I was in Claremont, but you get the idea—a guy called Damaskas used to perform manic songs under the smogberry trees, sometimes alongside Barnes & Barnes or Sulu even Weird Al. Songs of his that have stuck with me include “Making Love in a Subaru,” “Robert Hillburn,” “Jim Morrison’s Revenge,” “Asteroids” (a takeoff on Devo’s “Mongoloid”), and “Number One” (a takeoff on Blondie’s version of “The Tide is High”).

Okay, so what? you ask. So, I reply, this is now the third time I’ve dug up information about the guy without retaining it, or even being able to locate my notes again. He’s not in Wikipedia (lack of notability, I suppose), and his Discogs presence is minimal, so I thought—what the hell? Maybe I’ll just note what I’ve got about him here in my weblog, and see if that doesn’t help me remember him in the future.

So here’s what I’ve got. Dan Hollombe was born 20 November 1957 and originally submitted his work to The Dr. Demento Show under the name Damaskas Hollodan before settling on just Damaskas. He was a regular on the show for many years in the late seventies and eighties, before apparently drifting into obscurity. And so it goes, I suppose. If I’d been betting on anybody from that milieu to be the next Allen Sherman—or even Tom Lehrer—it would have been Damaskas. Instead, well, sic transit.

15 July 2022


Feeling as if some critical internal light had burnt out, I’m groping in the dark. The world since covid is a bleak inhospitable place and I want no part of it. I assume this is some sort of after-effect of the disease, but I don’t know. It’s like depression, sort of, but—well, not. It’s just the absence of presence, the shadows of things unseen, the lack of substance. I can’t imagine feeling otherwise; everything is hollow.

I’m hoping things will improve in a day or two, and not seem so strange and disconnected.

14 July 2022

The Moment

Things are not going well for me in general; each time I think I’m recovering some, something else comes for me. This time it was covid-19.

For the past week I have been fading in and out of quasi-consciousness while shivering and shaking under what keep being inadequate covers. A home test shows me positive for covid. I have a prescription that’s supposed to help me, and maybe it’s doing something, but I can’t really tell. In the meantime I feel like crap and I can’t cross a room without falling over.

01 July 2022

1 July 12022

  1 July 12022 is Canada Day if I recall correctly, and I suppose it is celebrated in Canada, but I wouldn’t count on it. My memory is full of holes. It’s rent day, too, and the day my roommate officially applied for his passport, so there’s that. I can’t work up any interest or enthusiasm in the larger scene, so that’s going to have to do for now.

I see that somewhere in Shithole America—maybe Texas, as it has that longhorn stench about it—the authorities want to teach that racism and slavery were deviations from True American Orthodoxy™, not part and parcel of it as is historically true. Racism made America what it is today, for good and for ill. Racism enabled America to seize the labor of large numbers of people without recompense, and to seize the resources of others likewise, all without feeling any guilt or shame, because, after all, the victims were inferior. Not even people, of no more account than whales slaughtered for oil, or birds exterminated for their feathers. That labor and those resources, historically speaking, made America what it is today. I’m not saying that it couldn’t have been done without race-based slavery and race-based genocide, but historically that’s how America accomplished its goals, and to claim anything else is to teach a lie. Feelgood “history”, or to use a technical term, bullshit.

Now of course that’s not the whole story, far from it. The US has a court system that prizes individual rights over government oppression, and doesn’t require people to go begging hat in hand to local authorities for basic rights, like the ability to marry the consenting adult person of your choice, or the ability to make your own choices about who you’re going to let into your body. Not so fast—Shithole America regrets that court system and wants to destroy it. And as for slavery, oppression and racism—Shithole America would rather we just don’t talk about them. Let’s teach the kids fairy-tales instead.

Now I’ve got nothing against fairy tales as such—just don’t call it history. It’s better not to teach the kids about the past at all than to fill their heads with this gooey garbage Shithole America prefers. Believe me, most kids will be happy as hell not to have to learn about James Oglethorpe or Gideon Johnson Pillow (just to name two people I was assigned to do reports on in school) or what the result of the Yalta conference was.

You sure as hell don’t have to know anything about American history to make it, as people like Clueless Clarence and Serpentine Sammy have demonstrated. And after all, we can just make things up, as they used to do in the olden days. You know, Columbus discovered the United States in 1492 and bequeathed it to his descendants in perpetuity forever. And Columbus begat John Smith, and John Smith begat Cotton Mather, and Cotton Mather begat George Washington, whose other name was Uncle Sam. And Uncle Sam had fifty children, whose names were Delaware, New Hampshire, Virginia, Georgia (whose other name was James Oglethorpe) etc. … It would probably be more valuable than the crap they’re trying to pass off as valid in Texas, at any rate.

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