Archive for June, 2014
Is it female?
Or is it male?
The questions themselves are false.
German scientists have recently proved plants actually have orgasms. The result?
These plants were photographed at Longwood Gardens, the premier botanical garden of the continent of North America.
Photos by J. Napolitano
Last week I went to my cousin’s Wedding in Wisconsin. Incidentally, during the mass there was a carnival outside, and as the bread and wine was being consecrated the screaming of girls spinning on the Tilt-a-Whirl and the lyrics of Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca bleed through the stained glass windows and into the old church.
I forgot my camera, but was able to document the weekend thru sound, instead. Here is a collage of a father speaking at his daughter’s wedding reception, three men turning a sailboat on the choppy waters of Lake Michigan, the ambient sounds of a New Age gift shop on Brady St., Milwaukee and the singing of a church choir, and a young couple hashing out their differences. And a man with a message, pounding away at an upright piano.
Live Lit is a uniquely Chicago artform. Somewhere between storytelling, standup, essay and improv. There’s a Live Lit show every night somewhere in the city either at a bar, cafe or theater. Because we’re not New York or LA, many of the performers are non-professional, and the audiences are super-empathetic, in search of deeper human connection.
Here, Chicago is one such event that takes place on the first Sunday of every month at Stage 773. It’s led by Janna Sobel and is modeled after a pot-luck, wherein you show up with food and a story and munch on other people’s food and stories.
Anyone and everyone can have a chance to perform. Here’s a recording of my attempt in April. You can hear how generous the crowd is.
[Last one! Three of my favorite people…]
I am breathless and sweating; I decide to take a smoke break and lament my booze diluted blood
[What are you?]
I am still debating whether I am the light or the light bulb.
The Light: Let the roots of the future grow in the cracks of the past, I am an ever unfolding re-presentation of an unknowable universe to itself.
The Lightbulb: I am the tunnel through which an endless ribbon of deoxynucleotides replicates.
To solve this riddle, I study biochemistry.
I was jumping for gopher padfoot’s hand, reaching down from the space between a concrete pillar and the abandoned bridge it supported, somewhere in the fringe near 18th street. Ten – fifteen attempts later, I am breathless and sweating. I decide to take a smoke break and lament my booze diluted blood, and tell padfoot to go ahead without me – to tell me what he sees. [And this is what I saw: a massive train yard, the metal tracks of a hundred different lines crawling over each other like blind rattle snakes in a pit; an Amtrak guard, walking alone, the gravel crunching beneath his feet]
That one paragraph that goes “the earth turned its back on the sun like it was never going to look back…ants’ shadows lengthened in the sun…” That shit is pure gold.
[from the first post! glad it’s been downhill ever since]
(one hour later)
can you remove the to solve this riddle part? I no longer like it. self definitions suck.
[but i might like it]
haha do as you wish
[Kevin, I am also the universe trying to learn itself. That makes us one. Not to appropriate your experience; maybe we are irrevocably two, a vast gulf of nothingness between us. To friendship!]
Asshole. Mean-spiritedness, absent-mindedness, cold-heartedness.
[What is something you hate?]
Biking north on Clark the last time I was going to see you, somebody almost doored me. “Almost” meaning I dodged it with enough time and space, but this clueless person was paying NO attention to what was going on around him. When I passed him and said WATCH OUT, he just laughed. [For my readers: getting “doored” is what happens when someone opens their door to get out of their car and a cyclist runs into the open door. Sometimes it is fatal]
Why are people shits, Ben? [idk] Thank you for not being a shit. [np] I hate shitty people…when people are shitty…if someone is shitty more of the time than they aren’t, can I just call them A Shitty Person? [yes] I’d like to give people the benefit of the doubt that doing shitty things doesn’t make them overall shitty, but: that person who opened his fucking door on me. That’s 100% of the time I will have ever interacted with him. And he was 110% shitty to me in that interaction.Therefore in my world he is a shitty person. Asshole. Mean-spiritedness, absent-mindedness, cold-heartedness. I hate realizing that there really are people everywhere who could open their car door and come so close to seriously harming another human’s life, and just laugh about it.
Thank you for reading that and inviting us to talk about things we hate. I feel better…venting can be quite healing.
[Way to get it out. The good kind of hate]
Dooring is just one example of prime shittiness in humans. Any time someone makes a point of having no regard for you – your body, emotions, thoughts – that’s shitty, and I hate it. Which leads me to your next question…
[what do you love?]
…I love having people in my life, like you Ben, who do the opposite, who want to honor all of these parts of ourselves and process things and seek Feeling Good. [ ( : ]
[A topic you’d like to see covered on UD?]
Mu! Audio stuff. Been saying it in person a lot…the formats I’m excited to see you continue working with are your recording pieces such as Cookies and Carnitas. Writing pieces can do this too, tell multiple stories/contain multiple levels of interpretation; with audio I do love how there are so many things going on when you overlay sounds with dialogue and see how they come together as music, stories. Keep getting Joe Franky on us, it’s good. [OK, it’s in the works]
As far as topics, I have a few ideas…maybe some of them are things I want to write about myself…the main ones that are coming to mind seem relate back to a central theme of our bodies and how they interact with our environments…I was going to suggest Napping, the experiences of body modification specifically what it was like when you got your tattoo (is there a post about this I’ve missed?), sex, food, and how any of these things produce both physiological and social responses in you and others. Hmm. I’d like to hash out topic ideas more later. I think we can say we do that all the time when we’re together, hash out ideas.
[We do hash things out. It is a never-ending process, and that’s OK. The psycho-physiological effects of activities like napping, pastries and sex? Is experience reducible to chemicals, or is it much, much more? The spot on the horizon where the individual and social body converge? Big ideas. I might need a guest blogger…]
[A queery for me?]
I just read your bike post from last year. Do you still think about your bike as a reflection of your spiritual health?
[Yes. And the level of uncleaned dishes accumulating in my sink. Last weekend a friend tuned-up my bike for free. Now it rides great. So I guess friendship is a big part of spiritual growth. And lube]
Thanks for introducing me to inter-human sex, asshole
[Do you have a ritual for reading the blog?]
Kind of. I watch Ben sitting in his apartment alone uploading what he just posted and reading it over and over again, imagining hundreds of people doing the same thing. The ego.
[How about a story involving you and the author?]
Once he got done blowing his nose into his own hand because he’s disgusting and too lazy to grab a kleenax, and after he sat around too afraid to do anything with the pretense that he was being contemplative, he got around to feeding me a treat.
[Do you have a favorite blogpost?]
Habit of Creature. For two reasons. It’s an accurate portrayal of the slavishness of dogs. And it’s the shortest of all 100.
I don’t appreciate the phrasing of that question.
[Err, anything that bothers you idiosyncratically?]
No I assume you perturb many people.
[What’s something you’d like to see covered in Underspecialized?]
[It’s in the works…]
[Anything you’d like to thank me for?]
Yeah, for introducing me to inter-human sex at the ripe-old age of 12. That was definitely NOT on my bucket list, asshole.
[Something you love?]
[Something you hate?]
Is this self-indulgent “blog birthday” finally over?
[Yes. Thank you everyone!]
Literature, music, drama, and ritual are hypnotic transrational experiences for me.
[How did you come to be, and what is your place within the cosmos?]
I am a professor emeritus from Loyola University Chicago. I was born at a University of Chicago hospital just a few days before Enrico Fermi split the atom a few blocks away. Truly, I am a child of the atomic age! [haha] My interests have always been transrational, e.g., those experiences which transcend rational explanation. [huh?] Literature, music, drama, ritual are hypnotic transrational experiences for me. [oh]
[Favorite blog post?]
I particularly remember “Speculative Autobiography,” perhaps for egocentric reasons. I am the author of, “The Wisdom of Memoir: Reading and Writing Life’s Sacred Texts.” This book looks at life as a manifestation of the divine and the telling of a life story or part of a life story as a form of wisdom literature. I am also fascinated with the concept of mapping, both physical and spiritual geographies, and appreciated the maps in the piece. Nice work.
[Didn’t realize we barked up the same tree! Once, you walked into Metropolis and I was howling a single syllable for no reason. Then, without missing a beat, you started singing too. Quit hypnotic! Thanks Peter]
[Who are you?]
[Favorite post or line?]
“My great-great grandfather aimed his rifle at the emaciated, wolfish-looking man running up to their front door. His wife pushed the barrel away, recognizing her son.”
[Wow, from post #2! Thanks Erica, mortal enemy of haters of the weird, and creator of Blogjob]
Bob Wegner, Pops, or Kathy’s Latest Fling.
We eventually worked our way up to making go-karts to shooting up rockets into space carrying guppies or mice.
[A story from your own life?]
As we prepare to pack up for an upcoming move leaving Delaware, we’re coming across a multitude of Gopher Padfoot’s personal items…a living time capsule in vivid 3-D. From closets to file cabinets to boxes…a wealth of good memories. What a rich history of boyhead [sic.] passions: a drum set that seems to consist of 100 pieces [each of them expensive- thanks dad], paintings, ultimate Frisbee shoes, a chess set from grandpa, a host of writing materials, passport, a survival kit from a sister [matches, walking stick, carbon monoxide detector, poem by Rudolf Steiner], grandpa’s 1950 encyclopedias, even dirty used clothes – no moths please – on and on.
Ben’s life – brought out from his personal items – reminds me of my earlier years. [hmm…] Memories from my childhood consist of being raised in a very large family…usually had enough arms and legs (not necessarily talent) to assemble a team for playing sports – only the three main ones mattered (baseball, basketball, football). Hobbies, personal interests, and not getting caught doing something bad necessitated us to be creative as kids.
We enjoyed literally thousands of hours of years of our youth in exploring (and conquering) “the woods”…a local bounty of wilderness. Woods in Summer: ‘sploring’, climbing the timbers, fort building; Winter: skating and sledding, surviving the harsh Wisconsin elements. The woods: our personal refuge that we ruled for years.
[Some differences between me and you: I had the chance to play richy-rich sports like hockey and lacrosse while you played the ‘three main ones’. Some similarities: We both spent a lot of time in the woods, our refuge, and grew up inventing games. I also loved the times you coached my little league baseball teams, even though you kept wanting to check we had our cups on…]
[How are you creative in your own life (anything from writing, making things with tools, drawing, etc.)?]
Gees, did we build things! Early projects involved hand-made necessities such as a butterfly net out of a hanger and net fabric or that necessary bow and arrow or slingshots for sustenance. Hey, I’m talking early on. We never did shoot any deer or rabbits with those. Mom always had had a PB+J sandwich or two to keep us going. [Thanks Grandma]
We eventually worked our way up to making go-karts [what!?] to shooting up rockets into space carrying guppies or mice. [because they can’t feel, right?] And housing…yes, we built fort after fort in the woods. Little did we know at the time, that my future wife and brothers would unknowingly invade them, knock them down a bit for us to build more concealed ones. [my parents grew up next to the same woods, at St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee]
All-in-all…some awesome childhood memories…all spurred from Ben’s wonderful artifacts that we’re seeing now ahead of the next journey. [Awesome dad. Thanks so much]
…Many cherished moments …each one to be augmented with new ones into the future.
Amy Jamy Schyler 彩漫 Cunningham 姜. Which itself is hard to figure out.
[Favorite blog post?]
Honestly, I find the ones I am in or thought of to be supremely interesting simply for the fact I get a chance to imagine the vast differences in perception. Simply put, it is rather awesome to see what other people take away from times with you.
Is there a question about my life path or current activities？ I’m gonna go with 有.
那…I am on a bus going through Western 中国 headed towards a village for 端午节 (known as Dragon Boat festival in English). Oh, the wonders of internet phones.
From there, I am joining my 朋友 to teach his kids baseball and work with his special needs kids for a week. Woo.
I am also trying to grow out my nails. Which means a lot of nail polish.
[Jesus. I’m renting a car and driving to Wisconsin]
Three cats, two strays, one spider, several students and select friends (they just don’t know it.)
[We do, and thanks for getting me ‘fixed’]
A 问题 for Ben…
How is your cat doing？
[Mimi is doing absolutely wonderful. She is answering the questions too and will appear next week!]
[My friend, our correspondence during your time in China has been invaluable. Your journey abroad and my journey at home have mirrored each other in fascinating ways, and your experience has informed me immensely; specifically, you’ve taught me that if I look too hard for something, I might miss everything. Everyone: if you want to read about what it’s like to teach English and rural China and then discover that maybe it’s not the best thing, right now, to do, oh my god what do I do now?- then click here]