Infinite Circle

 The problems we face today are the successful realization of the solutions offered to solve them.

Democrats Suck

I'm being bombarded by ads on Youtube imploring me to donate money to the Democrats. 

Even if I wanted to, I can't. I'm still unemployed, and with the expiration of the Federal addition to unemployment benefits, I have no discretionary income. Given that both parties filled their bills meant to to extend Federal aid with additional, obviously-partisan bullshit meant to goad the each party into voting against the proposal of the other party, I can't help but feel that, ultimately, this expiration of Federal benefits was the desired result. As far as I know, neither party is willing to craft a bill that solely pertains to the extension of the previous benefits. I feel more than a little piqued when the people who are deliberately failing to provide assistance to me are now asking for me to provide assistance to them. 

Thankfully, I'm nowhere near the point where I will have to start selling off my possessions in order to eat, and if I get to that point, that money will surely go towards a plane ticket to any other country that will have me. If, on the other hand, Senator Schumer, say, has to start selling off his suit collection to finance a case or two of Chef Boyardee beef ravioli to keep himself alive, I do happen to have $0.62 in nickels, dimes and pennies sitting on top of my dresser that he is welcome to have should he really need the money.

But all of this is beside the point. Each of the fundraising ads that I have seen, some with Senator Schumer, others with Stacey Abrams, features a countdown clock and a little graphic in the righthand corner, a blinking box that encloses the words "LIVE NOW". I'm guessing that "live now" isn't some invocation to celebrate life and to not take it for granted, nor is that phrase meant to be a reminder to pursue dreams and to cherish the company of loved ones and to seek the new arrangements that will allow me, or anyone else, to realize our full capacities as human beings. I'm not meant to be increasingly assiduous when I pet cats. Ironically, the "live" of "live now" does not rhyme with "give" (neither in the sense of the word that would be an invocation towards the noblest and best attitude one human could have towards all other beings, nor as an apt summary of the theme of the advertisements in question). 

As far as I can tell, the countdown clock has no correlation to anything outside of the world of the advertisements themselves, is tied to no external referent. The clock is rather a callous attempt to instantiate a sense of urgency within the viewer, a sense of urgency that can't possibly survive repeated viewings of these advertisements, which have sometimes appeared twice, even three times, over the course of my watching one video. The clock always starts from the same place, and, I presume, ends at the same place as well. As for "LIVE NOW", am I really meant to think that there are a bevy of Senators sitting around in TV studios waiting for the right moment to break into whatever I am watching to talk directly to me? Or perhaps "LIVE NOW" is some new version of "operators are standing by", some attempt to assuage the anxiety of the clock by letting me know that yes, if I want to give money, there will be someone present to receive said money, as if there is actually some time of day or week or year when the Democratic Party would NOT accept a donation?

If the "live" of "live now" doesn't rhyme with "give', it does rhyme with another word, "jive". Amongst many meanings, "jive" is a synonym for deceitful, worthless.


Hello Again

I've been writing a lot, publishing virtually nothing.

Even now, I've just deleted five paragraphs from what you are now reading.

I tried to write something about masks. About restaurant work. About the "failures" of the negotiations around the extension of the additional unemployment benefits. Honestly, maybe one or two things I had to say were unique. The rest, not so much.

What's getting to me today is just weariness. Some of the worst days in terms of my mental well-being have been days where I actually forget the pandemic is happening.

Today is a day like that.

I don't know that I care for any season more than I care for the days aberrant to any season. The premonition and anticipation. Today is a day like that. It's not that I'm sick of summer. I really didn't even have one. It's just, well, it's seventy-five degrees I can smell autumn and it's the kind of night that seems to place me on the ecstatic cusp of something, somewhere and I find myself yearning and my heart reaching out of its chest and into a beyond that's always just out of grasp and I find myself sitting in a chair near a window and smelling and wondering and feeling and planning and imagining. I ask myself why I am just sitting when (everything) and then. Oh yeah. Keep waiting.

I can rationalize it all. The need for a mask, the having of roommates, the risk to my finances, to my health. It's just that it's too easy, too familiar. There was a time before the pandemic, am I'm not sure I really lived any differently then. So am I lying to myself now? Or just being responsible. Vaccine, please please please please please please please.

I want to live, but will I remember how?




A Funny Little Video

I keep trying to write some sort of something about this. As if everything needs comment.

The Youtube algorithm worked to my benefit and now I am sharing. That's about it. Hope it makes you laugh. Stay strong.


This Whole Pandemic Is Just An Excuse To Finally Toss Out Consumer Capitalism, Isn't It?

Edit: Obviously, the title of this post is meant to be a bit provocative, but I still stand by my sense that something is up...

I've been struggling to find the ulterior motive behind what's going on. I remember, years ago, when the Iraq war was starting to ebb, or at least American involvement, I started to see a lot of articles describing America's actions over there as failure, and it didn't make sense to me; because I never bought into the idea that the publicly-stated and privately-believed rationales for the war were consonant, the idea of assessing the war as a failure on those public terms seemed naive. At minimum, a lot of American businesses did quite well assisting the war effort and I'm sure there were some major renegotiations of oil contracts. The people who were meant to gain did not lose. So now I'm wondering about now.

It seems too pat to assume that this is all just Trump's incompetence, or the results of the ravings of various Governors trying to curry favor with the Libertarian segment of their bases. There have been plenty of mistakes made by all sides. It's just amazing to watch the statues come down (not that I always mind), the cases go up, the financial hardships increase, and there seems to be nothing happening. While I have been operating under the assumption that globalized capitalism, long accustomed to operating without American labor, may now operate just as smoothly without American consumers, the political elite still need, last time I checked, some of us to vote for some of them to stay in power. Whatever critiques I could levy at politicians, I assume most of them are reasonably savvy at politics, so I figure there must be something I/we don't know.

To skip over a long thought process, I'm wondering if the elite are so wealthy, and capitalism so dependent on the financial and rentier sectors, that it actually becomes necessary for the value of assets, even those of the wealthy, to be purposefully-depressed towards forcing other, less-wealthy people to sell their assets so that the wealthy can purchase them prior to re-inflating their value.

I wonder if it's also necessary, and if so, why, to lock more personal spending into recurring/rentier-based arrangements (everything from rent/mortgage down to Patreon subscriptions) and curtail discretionary spending.

It's worth noting that, while much commentary sympathetic to the plight of workers has noted that we are basically being left to fend for ourselves, it's not just us. Here in NYC, Hudson Yards and Fifth Avenue may become the latest casualties of the pandemic/depression. It may really be getting to the point that even, like, LVMH is considered a small fish ready to be devoured and restructured, though I don't think that's quite the case.

(I get the same feeling reading those articles as I did watching the looting three weeks ago - the expected schadenfreude never materialized and I'm still trying to figure out why given how much mental energy I have expended thinking about wealth inequality and the huge loss of vitality on the streets of pre-COVID NYC due to the overabundance of luxury retail and chain stores)

(I won't even mention the fact that maybe, just maybe, there is now such an excess of labor power that it is becoming impossible for the state to manage. We aren't being forced back to work to keep the retail/service sector alive.)

For the record, just in case it matters, and I won't be bothering to find links, NYC was already experiencing a retail and restaurant commercial rent crisis before the middle of March. Anecdotally, I've been back in NYC for less than four years, and I've already worked for four restaurants because two of them closed due to hight rent (and one of them treated me like shit - the owner recently made national news for being a total prick and I did feel a bit vindicated by that, at least). There were also two restaurants I had the opportunity to work for, but I declined, and both of those closed, one pre-pandemic, one due to the pandemic. All of the above restaurants were owned by well-known chefs, were part of successful restaurant groups, and were (except for one) the recipients of at least two or three stars from the New York Times.

Edit: Another restaurant I worked for has closed as of today; only one remains.



I won't be able to say certain things without getting, um, too specific. 

Let's just say that this was one of the handful of places in the world where I felt like I belonged. It's the last one to close, the one spot I could depend on until today, even though it's been fifteen years since I last walked through the unmarked door and up the nearly-forty stairs to the Main Bar. I'm sure there are more places like it out there somewhere, and some will survive the pandemic, and maybe even some will open after the pandemic, and I may have one more year or one more month or just even one more night of joy. Until then. This hurts, a lot.

If there are any DC locals reading, who knew the reputation, maybe it's a surprise that I care about this place so much. I'm a disillusioned, melancholy and alienated lapsed Marxist pining for a place that was notorious for attracting, especially on the weekends, a crowd of international cosmopolitans (and some really dumb college kids) in the midst of the long slide from taste and erudition to branding and Instagram. Also, I didn't and don't do cocaine.

I shouldn't have fit in, at all. At best, I now have the social skills to not call attention to the fact that I don't have any social skills, but, back then, I didn't. Nor did I have the money for nice clothing, for expensive drinks, for all the accouterments of what nightlife has sadly become. And yet, I was up in (co-owner/operating partner/DJ) Farid's face all the time, "what's this record?", "what's that record?" and, somehow, that's what made me belong there without my having tried to fit in. For all of the other shit that surrounded that place, some invited, some tolerated, at the end of the day, it was about the music. It still is, and always will be.



The implications of the development of this kind of technology are not even fathomable, but, for now, just enjoy.