Archive for July, 2010

A Mowgli Esquire Exclusive: Jarred Mechanick’s “In Memoriam David Markson”

July 31, 2010

In June, the literary world lost one of its true luminaries with the passing of postmodern novelist David Markson.  Jarred Mechanick, one of Markson’s disciples, had a fitting tribute to offer exclusively to Mowgli Esquire:

At 6’4”, over the age of 26, and lean and sinewy, I come to you, dear readers, full of electricity and a focused, intensfanaticism found usually in junior high school girls’ ceramic experiments.

What has led me to this point is irrelevant; what matters is only my unyielding adherence to the barest of bones, any stillborn kernels caught in the thick miasma of Everyday and its Nonsense (but …you must pay attention to your nonsense…). To monkey my way through the leech blood oozing from everywhere you look.

I may not post much (hell, I may never post again), but rest assured, and Adeste Fideles, that I am never more than a stone’s throw from the frying fat, with at least one eye cast towards and against the Absolute.

In Memoriam David Markson

I was born on April 26, 1979.

Over the course of about two years, I mailed two letters to David Markson. The first one I dictated to my girlfriend, as I had recently fractured my finger playing basketball. I mentioned this in the letter. Markson began his response by stating that he hoped my finger injury wasn’t a result of fouling somebody.

Coincidences imply meaning.

At my best and at my worst, I’m motivated only by sex, death, and Wittgenstein (‘s Mistress).

Hart Crane.

What can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence.

Richard Burton, I am not.

Play a little. With luck a phrase or three worth some lonely pretty girl’s midnight underlining

Evelyn Roak.

When I left the Unitarian Universalist, I got caught in a warm, soaking rain. When I left the Dream House, I got caught in a warm, soaking rain. When I left the school, it was warm and bright, late morning. When I left yet another school, it was warm and bright, early morning September.

The science of the impossibly small.

What should we gain be a definition, as it can only lead us to other undefined terms?

Every goal has its dark corners.

April 25-26, 1979.

There are always questions.


To furnish a crystal clarity daily, living amongst the lichens of the mind, the barnacle and rust, the city bread and the farm haul, while all the same, a deep-seated internal thrust pushes one ever further into extreme alms and barest isolation. Meager means to a not-so-abrupt end. Antagonism and introspection as dull blades stretching late into life. The palace hinders the guards’ dreams; furrow and infinite regression.

In my second letter, I inquired how he was doing and remarked upon his poem ‘Relevance’:

Coincidences undeniably imply meaning.

I am rereading Hart Crane.
I notice the date
On which he stepped off that boat
Was April 26.

Tomorrow is April 26.

The year of his suicide was 1932.
I was four.
I am now fifty-one.
One undeniable implication in this case then
Is that the year, today,
Is 1979.

Afterward, Crane’s mother scrubbed floors.
Eventually, I may or may not
Jump overboard.

Are there questions?

but it’s being held together by something else. And not everybody cares about this. So to recognize their needs would be in opposition to where I’m going. I appreciate what they want and sometimes I want the same things…But there’s no way I can compete.


Straight Heat of the Day: July 30th, 2010

July 30, 2010

The White Stripes…The Denial Twist Live…just a little Friday afternoon heat…almost there…just hang on for one more hour.

The Hater Report #27

July 30, 2010

1)  A Moldovan baby drowned during a baptism ceremony on July 22nd.  I guess God said no?:  (LINK)

 2)  A British supermarket has defended its decision to sell squirrel meat.  They claim it’s an effective, sustainable source of protein.  You can find it in the vermin section, right between the pigeon burgers and the homeless people bacon:  (LINK)

 3)  Last month was the deadliest for US troops ever in Afghanistan, our GDP growth is a pathetic 2.4%, and unemployment is creeping back into the double-digits.  Meanwhile, the Jersey Shore’s, Snooki, is busy attacking Obama for his tanning tax.  It’s refreshing to finally see someone focusing on issues that matters:  (LINK)

4)  Pro-Life advocacy group, Personhood Colorado, has launched a new, extreme ad campaign that equates abortion to slavery.  Not to nitpick, but don’t babies generally try to escape to the south?:   (LINK)

Baltimoronic Part 4

July 30, 2010

“Where’d you go to school?”  The intellectual horizons of the Charm City are delimited by its most common barroom question.  While it might sound innocent enough, it is in fact quite insidious, for, if you are from “out-of-town” it is impossible to answer correctly.  Let’s say you went to college, which seems to be the thing to do these days.  You’ll no doubt supply the name of your alma mater, and, if you happen to be one of the elect chosen for graduate school, then you might mention something about that, as well.  To their credit, Baltimoreans are usually unflappably polite, and so your interlocutor won’t belabor your faux pas, but that isn’t to say he didn’t notice it.  “What faux pas?” you might ask.  You see, reader, you don’t understand “Baltimoron” (i.e. “Baltimorese”), the local patois.  He wasn’t interested in where you got your B.A.  What he really wanted to know was which Baltimore-area high school you went to.  You didn’t go to high school in Baltimore, you say?  You’ve just proven yourself to be beyond the pale.  It’s called “Smalltimore” for a reason.

Sitting on a turbid arm of the Chesapeake Bay known as the Patapsco River, Baltimore is quite far from the ocean proper, but it nevertheless claims to be a maritime city.  This is actually rather fitting, as Baltimore has the insularity of an island city-state, standing somehow apart from the North, the South, and the Midwest, as well.  In point of fact, Baltimore is an amalgam of the accents, attitudes and architectures of these three regions, and yet it is the sad fate of the Baltimoron that he is welcomed nowhere other than Baltimore.  Any propinquity that he may have to the character of one region is rendered illegible by the influence of the others.

Terse Verse O’erheard

July 30, 2010

“Yo, on the way into the store Greg cut

Through the hedge. I think he thinks

He’s back in the bush

In ‘Nam

Or some shit. No fuckin’


-liquor store patron on cell phone, 11th and Wharton Sts, Phila

Straight Heat of the Day: July 29th, 2010

July 29, 2010

The Grateful Dead…Don’t Ease Me In…Live in Toronto…6/27/70…and as Jerry so perfectly described this tour, “Instead of, like, getting everybody from all over the continent and everywhere to come to one place, it would be like the mountain would go to Mohammed.”

The Hater Report #26

July 29, 2010

1)  A French woman confessed to murdering eight of her newborn children over the past 20 years.  When asked how she could commit such heinous acts, she calmly explained that she didn’t want any more children and she wasn’t willing to go on birth control.  I guess that sort of makes sense. Taking one pill per day is definitely much more of a hassle than carrying a baby for nine months while keeping the pregnancy a total secret, strangling the child upon birth, and then burying it in the backyard.  Quite a nice little world we’ve got going on these days:  (LINK)

 2)  A black teenager attacked a white man because of his taste in music, shouting at the climax of the assault, “White people shouldn’t listen to rap music.”  He’s almost correct, but I’d revise his statement slightly…”NOBODY should listen to rap music.”:  (LINK)

 3)  In light of the recent gay scandal sweeping the Vatican, here are the 15 gayest pictures ever taken of the Pope.  No comment necessary:  (LINK)

 4)  Bill O’Reilly is a deep, sophisticated man.  Like an onion, he has many layers.  Just when you think you know him, he flips it on you.  Successful television personality, best selling author, phone sex guru, and now, gay rights supporter.  To everyone’s surprise, he ripped Obama on Jay Leno for his impotent, half-hearted efforts to repeal DADT.   “President Obama has the power to stop this ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ business. Just sign an executive order. I don’t know why it’s taking so long—it’s not fair. We should stop this nonsense.”  Alright Bill…alright!:  (LINK)

 5)  The Amish are expanding westward from Pennsylvania…very, very slowly…zing?:  (LINK)

Baltimoronic Part 3

July 29, 2010

As a young man, I yearned for a quintessential Baltimore experience in which I could partake; the media seemed to suggest that this experience was violence, but, alas, I was a pacifist.  Waters’ films offered some non-violent alternatives, but they made me understandably squeamish.  Barry Levinson’s Diner was supposed to be my salvation.  Baltimore was known for its diners, was it not?  Were we not, my friends and I, participating in an authentic Baltimore experience when we got drunk and went to a diner?  I thought so, that is, until I found myself doing the exact same thing while at college in Philadelphia.  By that time, my classmates and I had come under the influence of Swingers, and thus our bibulous diner-dining was much more an homage to Vince Vaughn and Vegas than to Kevin Bacon and Baltimore.

Terse Verse O’erheard

July 29, 2010

“You know when you have to sneeze

And then you don’t?

Where does it go?

The sneeze, you know,

Where does it


-coworker query, Jul. ’10

Straight Heat of the Day: July 28th, 2010

July 28, 2010

Al Green…Here I Am (Come and Take Me)…Live on Soul Train…Don’t let the arm sling distract you from the funk domination…He broke his arm that day and still brought the thunder…relentless mastery in the face of adversity…feel free to dance and sing in the presence of greatness..

The Hater Report #25

July 28, 2010

1)  Travel & Leisure Magazine has named Bangkok the world’s top city.  An undeniably intriguing choice, although, it sort of makes you wonder what criteria were employed.  I never realized how valuable a concentrated ladyboy population could be for a city’s reputation:  (LINK)

2)  Apparently, a new study has found that it’s normal for people to be sexually attracted to their parents.  I recently discussed these findings with my middle-aged cousin who worships science-fiction and still lives in my aunt’s basement.  His response was simple and disturbing…“Finally,” he whispered with a glint in his eye as a thin rivulet of drool slipped from the corner of his mouth:  (LINK)

 3)  An Ex-New Hampshire teacher is in some hot water for sending naked photos to one of her students.  I think it absurd to arrest the teacher.  Her devil-may-care behavior was fun, awesome, and seductive.  She should be put on a pedestal as a shining example for women everywhere.  The criminal here is not the teacher.  It’s the nerd kid who couldn’t keep his mouth shut long enough to bed this floozy.  He should be locked up for an eternity:  (LINK)

 4)  Jeb Bush will not be running for President in 2012.  We can now revel in the certainty that America will be, from this point forward, forever…Bush-free.  Cue Kool & The Gang:  (LINK)

Baltimoronic Part 2

July 28, 2010

Baltimore has an image problem.  Yes, there’s its reputation for drug violence and political corruption, but I’m referring to a problem more dire: the problem of having hardly an image to speak of.  Consider the other major cities of the megapolis, the northern I-95 corridor.  There’s D.C. and NYC, the capital de jure and the capital de facto.  Mention these cities to virtually anyone on earth and they’ll be able to tell you something about them.  In terms of notoriety, Philadelphia and Boston are on the second tier, but for even the most benighted American their names conjure up some cinematic and patriotic associations.  And then there’s Baltimore.  Or perhaps there isn’t.  Perhaps, with fewer than one million people, Baltimore doesn’t even deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as this exclusive company.  Perhaps we’ve been annexed, or rather, subsumed, by the greater metropolitan area of D.C. (a city which, prior to the New Deal, was a relative backwater to Baltimore in terms of both size and culture).  I would argue otherwise, that there is a third tier of the megapolis, and that Baltimore alone is on it, if for no other reason than the sophomoric one that it has major league franchises in two of the “big four” sports.

Maybe it’s not so much that Baltimore lacks an image as that it has an esoteric one.  It’s probably best known as a hotbed for lacrosse and the blue crab, a sport that few know how to play, and an animal that, in its whole form, few know how to eat.  (The crab cake was no doubt invented for the tourist tyros who couldn’t pick clean their crabs.)  Its resident media icon is John Waters, whose films (aside from Hairspray) few know how to appreciate.  No, Baltimore is not a media darling like its larger neighbors, but it has been the setting for, most notably, Homocide and The Wire, both of which were creations of true crime writer and journalist David Simon.  Getting In, a 1994 film starring Andrew McCarthy and Kristy Swanson (Dave Chappelle had a bit part.), focuses on a Baltimore landmark, the ultra-competitive Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, but, of course, since this is Baltimore, “the price of admission is murder.”

Terse Verse O’erheard

July 28, 2010

“I’m telling ya’ll now,

Ya’ll better keep me

‘Way from the gen’ral


– flash mob participant, 6th and Souths Sts., Phila., Jul 10, 2010

Modern Day Easy Rider

July 27, 2010

Cruising down the road at a languid 18 miles per hour…the soothing purr of the breeze rippling through his back fat putting his mind at ease…the man knew one thing and one thing only…life was good.

The Hater Report #24

July 27, 2010

1)  Scotland finally has something to be proud of.  After years of being mocked for their pallid skin, rugged teeth, love of heroin, and penchant for wearing women’s skirts, the Scottish now, for the first time ever, have something to write home about… The End of History…aka the Greatest Beer Ever Invented.  It contains 55% alcohol and comes packaged inside a dead rodent.  Simply awesome (see picture above):  (LINK)

 2)  The hate-mongering, National Organization for Marriage has launched a new sign campaign.  Lynch the Gays!  That sure is interesting.  I mean, I always knew that these ignorant rubes hated the gays, but I had no idea they had a such a rabid disregard for subtlety:   (LINK)

 3)  Tom Tancredo will run for Colorado Governor as a Constitution Party candidate.  When asked whether his platform will include the Tea Party chants of Impeach Obama and Bomb Mecca, Tancredo responded, “Of course!  That’s what Americans want and that’s what Americans believe!  In addition, we’ll also include the other core Tea Party sentiments, such as shop exclusively at Wal-Mart, smoke copious amounts of meth, and spend all of your unemployment money on lottery tickets”:  (LINK)

 4)  Big thanks to my good friend Christopher R. for the news find of the year. An English transvestite was caught having sex with a dog in the empty moat of King Henry VII’s Pendennis Castle.  Apparently, the man was enjoying a lovely day of sightseeing in his favorite little black dress, when he came across a woman walking her pooch.  The dog, clearly terrified and confused by the abject horror before him, chased the man around the castle.  When the dog’s owner finally caught up with her wayward pup, she found, to her disgust, that the transvestite had mounted the dog and was pumping away with wanton abandon.  Incredible!  Amazing!  So many details, each more sordid than the last.  Current events don’t get much better than this…until they do…When the castle’s manager was asked to comment, he succinctly replied, “This was a very rare occurrence.”  Ha.  I should hope so!:  (LINK)

Baltimoronic Part 1

July 27, 2010

Some years back, the city of Baltimore rolled out a public relations campaign: “Baltimore: The City That Reads” was emblazoned across the backs of municipal benches.  The wags soon descended with sharpies in hand, and Baltimore was rechristened “The City That Bleeds,” an epithet no doubt inspired by its preeminent homicide rates.  Apparently reeling from this riposte and having all but given up, the city council tried “Baltimore: The Greatest City in America,” an appellation so insipid, so uninspired, so patently unfelt that at best it could be taken as irony.  A longer-lived but no less vague slogan was, simply, “Believe.”  Thinking that they were on to something, the city council commissioned banners and billboards bearing this imperative, but Baltimore’s savvier citizens couldn’t help but notice the unnerving Big Brotherishness of it all, an impression that was only furthered by the ominous white lettering on a black field.  What was it exactly that we were to believe, anyway?  That Mayor Shelia Dixon wasn’t embezzling gift cards intended for needy families?

Straight Heat of the Day: July 27th, 2010

July 27, 2010

Gregg Allman…Come and Go Blues Live…heart and soul mixed with a healthy portion of grime…so cool…reminds me of the old Mencken quote, “I never smoked a cigarette until I was nine.”


July 27, 2010

Animal Control removed 85 live dogs, two live cats, and two dead dogs from a row house in my neighborhood two weeks ago. (The dogs were Chihuahuas and, for variety’s sake, I suppose, some Chihuahua mixes.) The first time any neighbor caught a glimpse of an animal was when officers wearing Hazmat suits removed them from the dwelling. The stench, by all accounts, poisoned the air for a city block and had been doing so for the past year. The property has been condemned. The Director of Law Enforcement for the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals was quoted in the South Philly Review as saying, “Hoarding is a problem that affects not only animals, but people in every community in this country.”

My college girlfriend’s father was an avid reader of newspapers. Or planned to be. He collected them, formed them into piles and towers, into boulders and barricades as dense and gray as granite. No one in the family was allowed to touch them. Any day now he was going to bring himself up to speed. Until then, the papers carpeted the floor and swallowed the furniture, forming in turn a heretofore unknown strain of wobbly backless stools and quaking inky tables. I urged my girlfriend and her brothers to shape for him a throne made entirely of colorful comic sections. From there he could comfortably survey the fortress he’d built to keep at bay his nameless fear.

I suppose I should count myself lucky to have been spared the impulse to try to thwart despair using a sheer quantity of objects or creatures. Still, it must be nice to believe the next Chihuahua litter’s barking will succeed at last in keeping darkness off your doorstep. To be able to beat back one night’s depression with your 85th collectible vinyl toy, for example, must be a tempting prospect indeed for those susceptible to these avenues of relief. Even I can see the lure in placing my hopes upon the little guy as he stands mute, steadfast, and already doomed at the head of the ranks of his many failed forebears.

Terse Verse O’erheard

July 26, 2010

“I’m not going to see that Twilight

Movie. I don’t approve

Of the undead


With the living. It’s


-girlfriend’s father in Toyko Hibachi and Sushi Buffet, Deptford, NJ

Terse Verse O’erheard

July 23, 2010


So proud

Of you

For doing




-woman to coworker who announced she’s pregnant with second baby in 14 months

Straight Heat of the Day: July 22nd, 2010

July 22, 2010

Freddie King…Have You Ever Loved a Woman…Live in Sweden 1973…Welcome to the American Blues…I know you socialists don’t know anything about hardship, but even a spoiled child can appreciate the beauty of a weeping guitar…

The Hater Report #23

July 22, 2010

1)  A Taliban commander was killed accidentally when a bomb he was building exploded prematurely.  Talk about dying without dignity.  What a loser.  I can’t figure out why he even thought he had the technical know-how to construct a bomb in the first place.  Every time I see a Taliban training video, they’re only ever doing one thing…climbing across monkey bars in black pajamas.  I’m not sure what skills this is supposed to develop, but bomb-making obviously isn’t one of them:  (LINK)

2)  Tea Party darling, Sharon Angle bolted from reporters’ questions at her own press conference that she organized…literally, kicked her heels off and ran away.  I love this campaign strategy.  So different, so unique…so moronic.  You really have to admire a person that is willing to fly the flag of ignorance so publicly.  You go girl!:  (LINK)

 3)  An industrious man broke into a defunct bar and sold drinks to oblivious patrons for four days.  He was eventually arrested and charged for selling liquor without a license.  I admire this guy’s moxie.  It takes heart to undertake such a risky entrepreneurial endeavor.  I tried a similar scam in my younger days with an abandoned strip club, but it was an utter failure…the old bags that I kidnapped to dance from the local nursing home kept breaking their hips on the pole:  (LINK)

 4)  Ryan Murdough, a Republican candidate for the State House in New Hampshire has a simple, straightforward platform…keep America white.  Textbook racism right?  Not according to Murdough.  When asked to elaborate upon his blatantly prejudiced stance, he replied, “I would like to preserve what we have before it gets totally out of control.  The more it becomes non-white, the more it’s going to become a much different place to live, for white people especially…I can’t really be a racist, because I don’t hate them. I just don’t want to live around areas that are heavily, predominantly non-white.”  Ha!  Amazing!:  (LINK)

Caul of the Wild

July 22, 2010

Everyone knows a baby’s primary use is to infuse pale and purposeless existences with meaning. But, Did You Know? Babies have lots of other uses. Suggested use #4:


Straight Heat of the Day: July 21st, 2010

July 21, 2010

Roy Orbison…In Dreams…Black and White Night Live…if he were still alive, I’d write him a thank you letter…and not a cheesy Hallmark thank you letter…a real, honest to God handwritten masterpiece of a homemade letter…that would be the least I could do…

A little bonus track for all my Blue Velvet fans out there…It’s strange to think that a dismembered ear would have led all of us derelicts to one of the greatest songs ever written…and, arguably, one of the greatest scenes in contemporary American cinema…