BlogFest.Org w/Paul Krassner:
At the dawn of history, people gathered together near campfires to warm themselves against the night, hoping their storytellers could, once again, ward off the dreaded spirits of darkness.
Today, we gather separately, near these mysterious computer boxes, even though they give off no heat to speak of, and a light that shines from only one side.
It's high time for a return to the timeless oral tradition: come and watch spoken word artists perform breathtaking feats of literary derring-do, right in front of your very eyes, without a safety net.
Yes, this fall's premiere literary event takes place at Borders Books in Rancho Mirage on Saturday, November 4 at 8pm!
The blogosphere's finest storytellers will gather to perform fresh material, led by Paul Krassner, one of the Coachella Valley's best-known bloggers.
Krassner, a regular contributor to Arianna Huffington's multi-blog site, will also sign his latest book, One Hand Jerking: Reports from an Investigative Satirist.
First blog posting from space: [...] L.A. took his glove off and it started floating in the cabin. I could not stop giggling the whole time... I was finally able to take a look outside and saw the Earth for the first time... Tears started rolling down my face. I could not catch my breath... Even thinking about it now still brings tears to my eyes. Here it was this beautiful planet turning graciously about itself, under the warm rays of the Sun... so peaceful... so full of life... no signs of war, no signs of borders, no signs of trouble, just pure beauty...
How I wished everyone could experience this feeling in their heart, specially those who are at the head of the governments in the world. may be this experience would give them a new perspective and help bring peace to the world. [...]
The baby doves have left the nest. Yesterday, they were there. Today, they're gone. They grow up so fast.
Death Of A President honored: Directed by Britain's Gabriel Range, the 93-minute feature was awarded the 15th annual Prize of the International Critics (FIPRESCI) by a five-member panel who lauded the film for "the audacity with which it distorts reality to reveal a larger truth." In this instance, Range combines staged and archival footage to explore, in pseudo-documentary fashion, the fall-out from the imagined assassination of U.S. President George W. Bush in 2007.
Watch the video of George Bush being assassinated. "D.O.A.P. (Death Of A President)," a TV movie scheduled for October broadcast on Britain's Channel 4, features a fictional scene in which President George W. Bush is shot and killed. According to TMZ.com, director Gabriel Range and partner Simon Finch had to be guarded by a private security team at this week's Toronto International Film Festival after several threats were made on their lives.
Immunology 102: At one point during this five-month-itching-scratching-inflamed-swelling ordeal, I began to identify with the Julianne Moore character in "Safe" (1995)... here is Terrence Rafferty's review of the film, as published by The New Yorker:
Carol (Julianne Moore), the heroine of Todd Haynes's peculiar, daring new movie, is a wealthy Southern California housewife stricken with a mysterious disease. The best diagnosis anyone can come up with is "environmental illness"--which means, essentially, that she's allergic to the world she lives in. No matter how sterile her surroundings may seem (and they look as scrubbed and shiny as an operating room) they are, for her, teeming with toxins. The movie is an eerily detached study of biological paranoia. At first, Haynes's manner seems fanatically austere: the heroine's deterioration is rendered in clinical, elegantly alienated long shots. But the movie's rhythm is hypnotic, and when, midway, the action shifts to a New Age desert compound that represents Carol's last hope of restoring her health, the filmmaker's distancing techniques begin to pay off in volatile, eccentric satire. Moore, in a nearly unplayable role, is amazingly vivid and touching; this is a heartbreaking portrait of a woman in full, panicked retreat from life. Also with Xander Berkeley and Peter Friedman.
Finally, check out this haiku-like dialogue sample from about halfway through the transcript... it's funny how an "airtight, porcelain-lined enclosure" can sound so tempting, when you have no idea what's attacking your body:
The first thing you need to do
in order to clear...
is create an oasis
in which to live.
is your safe place.
Your toxic-free zone...
where your load
has been significantly reduced.
For some that can mean an airtight,
something like a refrigerator.
For others, their safe room...
is just a stripped-down room
within their house...
to good ventilation...
or air control.
Anaphylactic shock. A serious attack of urticaria finally forced me into the emergency room, early this week. The doctors all seemed unable to explain why this is happening, but they hid their ignorance behind a couple of fancy medical terms: angioedema (swelling of the face, throat and chest) and anaphylaxis, a severe and rapid multi-system allergic reaction. Anaphylaxis occurs when a person's hypersensitized immune system is exposed to a trigger which acts to release histamines (immunologic neurotransmitters) and other potentially irritating substances from mast cells inside the body.
No, I don't really understand it, either. But they told me the extreme form of anaphylaxis--anaphylactic shock--will usually lead to death in minutes, if left untreated. And this is exactly what they expect to happen with me, when the hives appear next. The doctors are very casual about the whole thing: "Yeah, these attacks just keep getting worse, as time goes on." Fucking Pollyannas.
So now I have to carry a lifesaving epinephrine (adrenaline) syringe, which you may remember from the scene in "Pulp Fiction" following the overdose of Mia (Uma Thurman):
Lance (Eric Stoltz): You're going to give her an injection of adrenaline directly to her heart. But she's got, uh, breastplates... [taps Mia's chest] You've got to pierce through that. So what you have to do is, you have to bring the needle down in a stabbing motion. [demonstrates repeatedly]
Vincent (John Travolta): I-I gotta stab her three times?
Lance: No, you don't gotta fucking stab her three times! You gotta stab her once, but it's gotta be hard enough to break through her breastplate into her heart, and then once you do that, you press down on the plunger.
Vincent: What happens after that?
Lance: I'm kinda curious about that myself.
In my case, any stabbing should be directed at the outer thigh muscles... just in case you see me lying on the ground with angioedema. [Ain't I cute?!]
But we still didn't know the cause or cure, so Anikó and I took a 200-mile roadtrip yesterday, to see a hotshot immunology and allergy specialist at UCLA's Medical Center. According to SuperDoc, it seems that my problem is not triggered externally (for example, by allergies to milk, shellfish or cat-hair furballs), but my immune system just got nudged out of whack. Very mysterious. SuperDoc says the trick is to interrupt the tightening downward spiral of trigger=> histamines=> hives=> HISTAMINES=> ANGIOEDEMA=> ANAPHYLAXIS=> DEATH by suppressing my immune system with a steroid, while simultaneously stopping my body's crazed overmanufacturing of histamines, with H1 and H2 blockers. Then we gradually withdraw the steroid, see what happens, and finally begin to reduce the dosages of the H1/H2 pills.
I can't fucking wait to see what happens. Meanwhile, Anikó wants to practice stabbing my thigh. She's *such* a dutiful wife...
il Professori, redux: Alan was just invited to teach a blogging course by the University of California extension program at their new Palm Desert campus - a step up from UCR/OLLI, where he taught last fall...
This could be the guy. My David Roth interview appeared on TDQ yesterday. He's the Democrat running against incumbent Mary Bono for Congress, and I think he's got a shot. Better yet, he seems to be a good person. We'll see.
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