Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Flower Appeared in Cement

I was in Border's Bookstore on the Promenade looking for a book. I needed a cup of coffee. I went to the food counter and waited in line. Two girls were ahead of me, and a young Asian man. Next to the Asian man--I think he was Japanese--were two elderly people. I assumed they were his Mother and Father. They were looking at the cookies and scones in the food case. The young women at the counter were almost done, the young man, paused, hesitated to move ahead next in line. When the two girls had paid, I started right for the counter and the waitperson, ahead of the hesitating young man. Suddenly embarrassed, but in all honesty more pro forma than anything else, I said to the young man (and his presumed) parents: "I'm sorry. Did I jump in front of you?" I knew the answer; as I said it, I knew I was acting was pro forma; rhetorical. The young man looked nicely at me and said emphatically but sweetly, "no", as did his parents. But unlike my question to them, their answer to my impatience was heartfelt and honest. I smiled; and not pro forma this time. They had instantly charmed me. They smiled. I proceeded to order my coffee. I paid. As I was leaving, I turned to them and said,"Thank you." They nodded graciously.

I returned to my table. My friend was waiting. He looked at my face. "What?" he said. I related what had just occurred. I said I was a man who had just found a small but beautiful flower in the cement city; delicate, almost insignificant, but oh so rare. I sat, nodded at the Japanese threesome as they passed by, and felt clean for a moment, pleased to be a fellow human being.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ruminating in the Back Room of my Favorite Bar at Midnight

Nietzsche said the death of God was the greatest event of the 19th Century, right? OK, assuming God's dead now for a century or so; meaning God and his whole story is a long over-done myth, right? The question now becomes: What do we replace God with? I mean, he must have had some value if the myth of him existed so long? Can his murderers, reason and science, who wielded the ax, offer a viably fulfilling replacement? Can truth (science) substitute for the huge value of innocence (myth)? Or was/is the innocence (scientific ignorance, if you will), the childlike imagination that produced God, essential? Perhaps the universe requires self-deception (some form of myth, or innocence)?

If the universe, including we humans in it, knew for a certainty it was going to eventually explode, or implode, why would the universe continue its energetic effort to expand and we humans continue to procreate? I mean, why expend effort in a useless cause? The conservation of energy and matter still applies, no? (After all, even sex just feels good to seduce us to sweat out energy in the sack, right?).

Maybe the universe (not to mention sex) is its own myth; the universe is fooling itself about about its own infinite orgasm: the universe as nothing more than a huge alimentary tract, swallowing itself only to shit itself out periodically in a Big Bang Theory (very punny).

Life is only a paradox: the beginning is the end; the end is its beginning..."always was, always is and always shall be"; like they used to say about God, remember? The truth is all, but. Truth is paradox. Paradox is truth. The universe is relative. Truth is illusion, so sayeth the scientific and rational post-modernists. I'm back where I started. I...want...God!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Diamond Field

One day, many years ago, when I was a young man, I stood hunched over, immobilized, facing the earth, knowing that beneath my feet lay a vast field of my diamonds. But I was unable to mine them, They were my gems, the residue of my tears, my human carbon fallen to the earth and pressured under the ages of my life; enough riches to end my pain, fulfill my deepest wants and desires.

They glowed under a thin covering of ephemeral dust. I knew that all I had to do to was reach down, blow away the dust covering them, and scoop the earned riches of my own pain into my arms. 'Bend! Bend!' I shouted. But no matter how strongly my hands, my long pointed fingers, aimed toward the earth, I could not bend. 'Believe, believe' I shouted fuller, the shriek echoing in the cavern of my mind and heart. 'They are your riches. Bend!'

Many years later I was finally able to bend down and scooped up my treasure. The market price of diamonds had gone down in the interim; at least the diamonds from my field. But they are still valuable. I wear them; proudly, around my neck, across my chest, on all ten fingers and ten toes, their allure enhanced, strangely enough, by my lack of early mining. I glow to myself, even in the darkest night.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Overheard: Obama versus Clinton

"Who are you voting for?"
"Barack Obama."
"Why not Hillary Clinton?"
"She is corrupt.
"All politicians are corrupt."
"True. A man kills. But if he returns to the scene of the crime five minutes later, gouges out the dead man's eyes and self-congratulates himself on his toughness, aren't we correct in condemning the second act as more evil than the first?"

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Leveling The Playng Fields

Did you read recently the latest decision from the US Appeals Court RE leveling the financial playing field for blind people (the following was from Earthlink)?

"Since all paper money feels pretty much the same, the government is denying blind people meaningful access to the currency, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled Tuesday. The decision could force the Treasury Department to make bills of different sizes or print them with raised markings or other distinguishing features.

"The American Council of the Blind sued for such changes, but the government has been fighting the case for about six years.

"The U.S. acknowledges the current design hinders blind people, but it argues that they have adapted. Some rely on store clerks to help, some use credit cards and others fold certain corners to help distinguish between bills.

"I don't think we should have to rely on people to tell us what our money is said Mitch Pomerantz, the Council of the Blind president.

"....The court ruled 2-1 that such adaptations were insufficient under the Rehabilitation Act. The government might as well argue that there's no need to make buildings accessible to wheelchairs because handicapped people can crawl on all fours or ask passers-by for help, the court said."

OK: I understand completely; and sympathize. I buy into all of the above. The blind deserve no less. But... (this is the misanthrope/curmudgeon in me) I am an aging man whose thighs are going at a rapid rate. I want escalators in all buildings. No more stairs. I'm tired of having to endure the pain of walking to the second floor in order to have the fun everyone else is having up there.. I also want loudspeakers in every restaurant. I can't hear as well as I used to and I'm tired of saying "huh?" to every salesperson and have them look at me as if I'm stupid. I am also 6'5". I'm tired of banging my head on hanging TV monitors in the aisles of airplanes and leaning over in their tiny bathrooms to pee at an angle. I want taller ceilings in airplanes and bigger bathrooms. I'm also having trouble seeing. I want larger printing on everything. Everywhere. I also want extra time to cross on a green light before it turns to red. I want all inexpensive cars to be big enough for me to fit in. I want Xtra tall clothes to cost the same as regular size. I want...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I Want To Matter

All human existence echoes the refrain: "I want to matter!"

"I want to be assured through my thoughts and actions that my life is meaningful". So we humans fall in love ('...perhaps if one person thinks I'm special; others will follow'...), we have children (seed supersedes death), we write books and publish on our Website (now that will insure that we will endure forever!) we build testaments and monuments (big college buildings with our names on them), and we bury ourselves--not in the decomposing earth, but in cement vaults (and in New Orleans, above ground). We believe in God, Heaven, and Eternity.

Samuel Beckett wrote: "We give birth astride of a grave; the light gleams an instant. Then it's night once more." "No," our actions, beliefs, philosophies and shout in rebuttal. "My light will gleam forever!"

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Session of Punishment

My adversaries make me doubt. I watch them attack those weak strands of my philosophical and emotional fabric; they tear and gnaw, like all consuming rats let loose in the basement of my soul. They chip away at the cement which holds my pillars of assurance together, threatening to tip over and make rubble my happy self-delusional self.

Who are 'they'? They are my former and present friends, once amiable, sudden adversarial now. What happened? Yesterday, today, tomorrow, they were/are let loose from their comfortable psychic cages; the careful doors were/are thrown ajar by my forceful carelessness.

I have stumbled--remnants of my existential rage--and have hurt them. I have stirred their frenzy with an insignificant slight, a said nothing, an expressed this-or-that inanity; but, once uttered and set free, my foes are monumentally stirred. They are hit too personally, my words pointedly hurling them back across familial landscapes; it drives them back to their mother's cruelty or their father's indifference.

They rise on hind legs, eyes whirling, teeth sharpened by their years of experience and knowledge of me; they bite and tear...while I sit, tortured, immobile, no longer angry, my rage reduced to the size of a pin-point, turned inward, aimed at the center of my body. While they speak coldly, cruelly and analytically toward me, I feel the tightness in my flesh, right there,above the belt, and I worry about ulcers, stress, cancer, and soon, as a protective cover, I feel my own rat-like reactive rage re-mounting. I tactically stuff it.

I stare to and fro, only occasionally look at the frenzied rat before me, avoiding the sparks of stimuli. I choose to be beaten, choose to accept, silently, accede to the pain, viscera churning. My mind chants: 'I am not wrong in any larger sense but I know I am wrong in the smaller sense. I did initiate the the whirlwind; I deserve their contempt. I opened the cage. I tore at their bruise. I fell against their unhealed past. My sin against them is ultimately a sin against myself.'

Their droning punishment continues, I am consumed with a new overwhelming thought, beyond self-recrimination: Will their attack break my skin? Will their verbal chomping of my heart pass on to me, on pointed teeth, some unknown disease, a cancerous kind of terminal self-hate?

Time passes; the pain continues. I sigh from my toes. Will they ever return to their cage? Tears want to flow to my eyes, perhaps as antidote to the venom truth (about myself) being spat at me. I tilt my head a little upward. 'I will heal', I silently chant. 'In days, weeks, I will forget. Soothing, numbing self-deception, come to the balm of my existential worth, return, my dear, ever-loyal, renewable and formidable defense against cruel rodents.'

It comes.

They leave,. I cry.

But...later, long after the rats have moved on to other concerns, food, love, pleasure, and the hole in my soul is boarded up, I follow them; to exterminate them.

Friday, May 16, 2008

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls...".

A quote by Eugene Debs, the great Socialist labor leader who lived in the early part of the Twenttieth Century (uttered as he was sentenced to Atlanta prison for ten years):

"While there is a lower class, I am in it; while there is a criminal element, I am of it; while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."

A Definition of Marriage: I love you. You're perfect. Now change.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am not retreating. I am moving forward; backwards.

Political Report

It seems increasingly likely the Clintons will not be returning to their Camelrot.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Fear of Certainty

The thing that frightens me most RE the human social context is certainty. When I meet someone who is certain--when they are absolutely sure they know the truth--I shrink back, knowing that it is only a few short steps to justifying any act toward (or against) me or mine; witness Communism, Fascism, Catholic Inquistion, Protestant Reformation or Israeli single-Stateism; all states or ideologies built on the certainty and rightness of their underlying positions...which frightens me.

God Bless America.

The greatness of the US Constitution is that it provides checks and balances against all institutional certainty: whether legislative, executive or judicial, and whether concurred with, or backed by, the majority or the minority. Cynicism, not certainty, is the bedrock of American democracy.

The very concept of democracy itself is protected by the Constitution against the unchecked certainty of its own philosophy: American democracy was established not as a pure unabridged democracy, but as a Representative democracy: while we may all be equal in the eyes of Constitution, it is important (the most fundamental check and balance to the short term rule of the immediate and popular) that we understand that we have established a system, as in "the Animal Farm, where some (our Representatives), are more equal than others.

Democracy accepts the reality of inequality.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Emotion Precedes Logic

(As simultaneuoly posted on my acting blog, Cliff Osmond on Acting):

From author Megan McArdle in her article 'Body Counting', in "The Atlantic" magazine, the April, 2008 issue:

"Indeed, some research indicates that the emotion precedes, and governs the higher cognition-that logic is, literally, an afterthought [italics mine]."

Megan, a good actor could have told you that as well: feeling initiates dialogue (logic). Dialogue arises from how the character feels; which arises from how a character sensory registers events as s/he proceeds toward a goal, which arises from his/her imbalanced reservoir of past-created emotional needs.

Which is simply to say that human life proceeds initially from emotional needs (seeking goals), and operationally by the mechanism of the simple nerve cell configuration: stimulus, synapse, response. The process is as follows: We want some goal (to rectify the past as recorded in our emotional imbalances); we (1) touch, taste, smell, hear and see the world around us, the tangible reality which contains possible goal-fulfillment, (2) these received stimuli activate the synaptic gap of feeling (creating registered meaning), and (3) we act, we motor respond (inwardly by thinking, outwardly by speaking and moving and handling artifacts) according to those feelings. As one can see: in this process of formulating all positive human activity (and evolutionarily speaking as well), the seat of logic, the brain, is secondary (or actually tertiary) to the more primary activity(s) of sensing and feeling.

Salary Breakdown

20% of salary is for the work you do; 80% is for putting up with the other people in the office.

Dysfunction drives function.


A quote from British literary scholar Ian Robinson passed through my mind as I read some of my recently received test-messages and emails, filled with abbreviated and truncated words, while simultaneously being forced to listen the lyrics of today's music blaring at me from neighborhyod teenager's CD player:

"Decline of language is the decline of the life of the people who use it."

Friday, May 09, 2008

New Idea

(New York apartment. Nicely furnished living room. KNOCKING at the door. Insistent. After a pause, KRISTEN, twenty-six years of age, wrapped in a Terry cloth robe, exhibiting a personality somewhere between cuddly and gorgeous, spaced and brilliant, enters the living room, heads for the front door, as......KIRK, twenty-seven years of age, prematurely grey, comes bursting in.)

KIRK: Where have you been?
KRISTEN: In the bathroom...
(He starts to enter the bathroom.)
KRISTEN: ...washing my dirty bra and six old panties.
(He pauses.)
KIRK: Robert said you threatened suicide...
KRISTEN: I threatened to kill him. As usual he got the message wrong.
KIRK: You punched him.
KRISTEN: I threw a wad of paper at him. All right. My hand forgot to open. (Beat) I fell asleep. I was giving him a blow job. I woke up. Vomited. He exhibited no compassion. So I hit him.
(He relaxes, notices the top of her head.)
KIRK: You need a dye job.
KRISTEN: Color job.
(He sits on the couch. She sits beside him.)
KIRK: You’ve broken up with five different men in eight months.
KRISTEN: Seven men in four months.
KIRK: You physically fight with all of them.
KRISTEN: (agreeing) Is that sick or what?
KIRK: Very.
KRISTEN: Hungry?
KIRK: Very.
(His cell phone RINGS. He answers it. She heads to the kitchen.)
KIRK: (into the phone) Another half hour. Order me a bowl of gazpacho. Don't worry about it; it starts cold. I am insensitve. I don’t care about your tears…unless you cry them into my Gazpacho and throw off the salt content.
(She returns with some crackers and cheese.)
KIRK: Debbie told me she wants out.
KRISTEN: Then why is she crying.
KIRK: I took the ring back.
(They start nibbling on the crackers.)
KRISTEN: How’s teaching?
KIRK: Finito in June.
KRISTER: But...they offered you tenure...
KIRK: I refused.
KIRK: Because I hate teaching.
KRISTEN: How can you hate teaching? You’re loved by your students. Respected. Admired. You meander tree-lined streets, walk past ivy covered walls, spend your days with growing young minds. ..
KIRK: I teach sixth grade in the Bronx.
(She moves closer to him.)
KRISTEN: Dad called. Will you cry for me when I depart?
KIRK: If you grow up like your Mom...yes.
KRISTEN: He wants to come live with me.
KIRK: He’s a sweet man.
KRISTEN: My sex life will be over.
KIRK: (Shrugs) Less vomiting.
KRISTEN: I like Debbie.
KIRK: Hour glass figure. Independently wealthy. Cleans windows. Cooks vegan. Likes sex. What’s not to like?
KRISTEN: Boorrring!
KIRK: Why did you fall asleep under Robert last night?
KRISTEN: On him.
KIRK: That’s not the point...
KRISTEN: Very small penis. Almost inverted.I forgot he was there. (Beat) I have a very large mouth. You know that. (Beat) The vodka numbed me. I’d never fell asleep on you.
KIRK: Twice.
KRISTEN: Both times deserved. You fell asleep first. (Beat) Remember pulling the top of my bathing suit down in the grammar school pool?
KRISTEN: You don’t remember one of the most pivotal events of my life?
KIRK: There was very little to remember, if I remember.
(She starts to open her Terry cloth robe.)
KRISTEN: There’s lots more now.
(He tries to stop her.)
(He stands up; she reaches for him.)
KIRK: NO...We’ve been doing this for ten years...ever since we both came to New York. I have great sympathy for you. Your mother walked out on your father. I’m sorry. Your father is sad and inconsolable. I’m sorry. The size of Robert’s penis makes you nauseous. I’m sorry. But no more. We live together. We break up. We find new people. We break up with them. We get back together again. (Beat) In a city of ten million people, there’s got to be somebody else to fall in love with. Besides, my gespacho is getting cold. Warm.
(He exits, SLAMMING the front door. She shouts after him.)
KRISTEN: You’ll miss me! You’ll see!
(He doesn’t return. Kristen goes into the bathroom. After a long pause, Kirk comes crashing through the door again. He runs across the room, enters the bathroom; and exits with Kristen in tow; a bottle of open pills in his hand.)
KIRK: Spit them out Kristen! God damn it! Spit them out!!!
(He starts walking her back and forth across the floor.)
KIRK: How many have you already taken? How many? I knew it! You never let your roots go that grey! (He flips open his cell phone.) Operator...I need to report a suicide attempt...One forty-six East Nineteenth. Apartment 106 ...what?! What do you mean 'in Pakistani'?! Get me your supervisor! (Beat) Hello. Suicide attempt. One forty six East Nineteenth. Apartment one-oh-six! She’s my...She’s my...JUST SEND THE FUCKING AMBULANCE!!! (He hangs up.)

(He continues walking her. He lapses into unconsciousness. He SLAPS her. She awakens long enough to SLAP him in retaliation; then falls back unconscious.)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

The Fragile Social Fabric

Civilization is a luxury; whereas survival is a necessity. Therefore, under economic/social/political pressure, civility will disintegrate and the base tactics of survival will triumph. The fabric of civilization is complexly woven, true, but it is not a hardy garment; it is fragile, and will become quickly frayed and torn by the march of humanity's incessant survival demands.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


There is no central me.

My brain, that newest extension of my primitive body, the part that tries to define me, is constantly changing. Old cells are dying, new cells are being created, and new pathways between cells are constantly evolving, if not fully mutating, both in form and in nature. The world, the universe, is constantly changing, and I am forced to change continuously as I move through it in my changing manner. Evolution may have brought me to this DNA, but DNA only "makes us without determining us".

WHO am I? WHO is ultimately determined by WHEN. There is no fixed point in time to be able to make definitional determination of who I am. I am yesterday. Because today, this point in time, has already past; by the time it registers in me it will be tomorrow.

Fixity--me--is an illusion.

"The sense of smell is 90% of taste."

Is that why we cook food? Cooked food gives off a stronger aroma? Health benefits are coincidental?

Mind/body duality is an illusion.

Walt Whitman: "We do not have a body; we are a body."

Monday, May 05, 2008

An Old Man I Met

The Old Man, a fellow blogger, said to me:

"In my everyday life I have become very private; shy, almost.

"To great measure, I ascribe it to aging. While in my early years, as a boy. true, I was shy--at least in public--I ascribe that to my general insecurity. I overcame that early, however, and learned to enjoy the company of, and conversation with others. (So much so that my daughter says I'm now the only person she knows who passed from insecurity to arrogance without even pausing at confidence.)

"Thus I have determined that my present shyness is not a recidivism to insecurity, but, caused by several factors: (1) it is related to physical deterioration: it is harder to hear; it harder to see. So one tends to 'tune out'...literally.

"(2) Part of my increasing shyness can be ascribed to my daily contact with youth. --who make up half my world, I am aware that in general they don't really want to listen to older people. They are generally too busy re-inventing the wheel to notice that we older folks are sometimes rolling right by them, with an already invented and often more knowledgeable wheel.

"However, I must admit that youth ignoring us older folks is more than often our own fault. Especially when we old folk ramble on about the past; talking endlessly, or at least longer than is necessary, on any and all particular topics.

"Why do we do that? Why are we go garrulous? (1) Because we know so much more than youthful listeners--from reading and living if nothing else; (2) we are so excited to have youthful company, non-aged company that will talk about things other than diet, medicine, death and disease and (3) pure physics: a body in motion tends to stay in motion...once we start talking our mouths and minds don't know how to stop even if we sense that nobody is listening.

"Another reason why old folks increasingly go silent with advancing years is from
(4) pride: knowing (1), (2) and (3) above, and not wanting to make a fool of oneself. So instead of falling into the inevitable garrulous trap, we sit silently around in a crowd, off to a corner, staring about, reading, watching life go by; and saying nothing...for fear of, once starting, saying too much unwanted drivel.

"However, there is a final reason, number (5), although I hesitate to admit this: I really don't care to talk to most people. I know I'm right; and I no longer need conversation to prove it to myself.

"I have long passed that argumentative phase of life, where I need everyone to know my insights are correct, and, if adopted, beneficial to the world.

"With age has come wisdom, and certitude. Life has been my lab; and the evidence to support my truth is in. And even if my certainty were to be shared with others,I don't think major change is very likely. And even if major change were to result from my insights, that positive change would probably have little resonance/benefit in my ever shortening future life. So for all the above reasons, I don't feel like talking very much these days.

"So I sit quietly in public, day-dream, ruminate, then, return home, I write my blog thoughts to no one in particular, content with the knowledge that (1) I am absolutely right, (2) I have wonderful ideas, (3) those ideas are getting better and more refined with advancing age, and (4) I have no need to share/hone those certainties in open discussion by others.

"God was probably in a similarly bored and lonely state of mind when he created Man."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Anger breeds anger.

I'm very, very tired of anger.

For the sake of chronological neatness, let's say the great social revolution in America that freed blacks, women and gays from 'social bondage' occurred in 1968...forty years ago. So here we are now, forty years later, in 2008, and from what I see (granted this is a generalization, but generalizations contain truth; somewhat distilled, but often necessary and convenient for discussion) blacks are angry, women are angry, gays are angry...and I am all too often the both silent and expressed object of their anger.

I am a typical aged white heterosexual male and therefore an oppressor (I'm not really 'white'...I am olive brown, a mixture of Turk and North European. But the angry class, I am white. Oh, well...) So as a white, heterosexual male I get constant attitude...a form of anger, no?...from blacks, women and gays. Rarely do I get the benefit of the doubt. I am racially/gender-ly/sexual-orientedly profiled. Granted, part of the anger toward older males is built into the race...simple Oedipal ageism, youths' typical reaction to older people: "Get out of the way old man; it's our turn now!" But that's only part of the attitude/anger problem.

I don't want to start getting angry back, but...I don't think I personally oppressed anybody.

Granted, I was lucky by birth., I admit. I was born white, male and heterosexual (and American...let's not forget my American stroke of luck) in, granted, a predominately white heterosexual society that was primarily run by white heterosexual men (who didn't just clip coupons, by the way...a lot worked, some worked hard, some in factories and digging ditches, some in WW II).

But since when is luck to be considered a sin? If a woman, black or gay (or for that matter an Asian or African) found a hundred dollar bill, would they give it back? Would they spend hours upon hours trying to find out who lost it, and then spend more hours sorting through rival claimants, to be able to distribute the hundred dollars fairly, buck by buck, or penny by penny to those who have less? I doubt it...a slight shopping spree would probably be more in order. I agree, whoever found a hundred dollars should give the hundred bucks to charity; but do women, blacks and gays give any more to charity than lucky white, heterosexual men?

Luck in life is just too complicated to define and share its glories....much less eradicate from human existence. Besides, I wasn't totally lucky. I was born susceptible to overweight, poor, with acne, who mother and father had a rancorous divorce when I was twelve...but...I don't claim sympathy and understanding, not even from naturally slim black man, silky-skinned beautiful woman or a gay person who was lucky enough to inherit the slim, attractive genes and parents (and maybe even money) that they did.

Besides, I wasn't the white, male, heterosexual male who, in 1968 and prior, perpetrated all the oppression. In fact, the opposite was true. I voted straight liberal (the party of te oppressed, no?) all my life. My son's godfather is African, my son-in-law is Hispanic (another angry-at-white-people group...another generalization, I know....), and when I attended college I never had prejudice toward guys. I was in theater. To tell you the truth, I was so UN-prejudiced I couldn't even tell a gay from a straight...they all had this special way of talking, very cultured and refined; while I spoke pure inner city Jersey. In fact, the opposite is truth: they used to laugh at me.

Look...The past is past. Oppression is not cured by oppression. Anger is not eradicated by anger. Old generalizations about race, sexuality and gender is not solved by new generalizations about race, sexuality and gender...unless we want to accept an immutable truth (which I don't): all human beings oppress. They only salient question in that case becomes: who gives shit and who takes shit? In the world of inescapable oppression, power rules. And if that's the case, let's put on the gloves, and let the best man...or woman, or gay, or straight, or black or

That's not the world I want. But that is the world I seem more and more to be called upon to operate in.

I'm getting angry.