Archive for June, 2011

You’re On My Mind

I see you.

I see you all the time.

I see all the things you do.

I see you taking a watery shit between two dumpster, all the while grinning like a happy dog.

I see you shuffling about and talking to yourself; sitting around talking to  yourself; pushing carts and dragging bags and talking to yourself. I see you talking to yourself while you read a book you’ve found called “Payback is a Mutha” by someone called Wahida Clark.

I can still see you dead under a viaduct, surrounded by red and blue lights. I can never forget seeing you masturbating next to the river, lazily abusing yourself like you’re having a picnic. Sometimes I smell you before I see you. 

You’re talking to me while I’m trying to read, and so I can’t help but see you, to actually stare at you while you tell me about the album you’re writing. To stare at your mouth while you tell me about the song you’ve written called “You’re a Sweet Taste of Candy in My Heart.” To stare fixedly and sick at the one tooth still left clinging to your gums, looking like a piece of rotted corn, wet and black, while you sing to me in a weird castrato voice.

Through the window of a passing bus, I see you standing by the side of the road eating an entire roasted chicken. You’re throwing the bones under passing cars, and I see you wiping the grease off your hands on a bunch of pansies and marigolds in a stone planter on the sidewalk. I see you wiping your hands on flowers.

I see you looking at me with need, hunger, anger, weariness, suspicion, terror. I see you looking at me with dead eyes. With black eyes. With one eye, or none. Always, with asking eyes. I see you looking back at me, and looking away. And I never look away: Because I see you, but I don’t care.

And later, when I’m home (and because I have one) I think about you, and the things I’ve seen you do, and I laugh. And then I pull the shades down tight, and do the secret, nameless, shameful things I do when I’m alone, and nobody can see me, ever.

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The Hymn for Beer

According to some vague notion I had and then confirmed by Wikipedia, beer is the oldest alcoholic drink in human history, dating back to 9500 BC.  Wikipedia then told me that according to archaeologists, beer was instrumental in creating civilizations (another vague notion I have is that beer is now instrumental in destroying civilization.  “Thank you beer can for your cold activation scale!  Now I know when you’re cold or super cold! (Actually, that is kind of cool (PEMDAS)))!

This is kind of an intriguing point though.

Beer.  The drink of civilizations.

“Beer!  The Drink of Civilizations!”  pitches the ad man in a well-tailored Tom Ford suit (yeah, I know who he is) to a fat, fifty something, southern CEO in a white Mark Twain suit and a cowboy hat.

“I just don’t get it,” he replies.  “We’ve found that most of our clients like titties.  You got something with titties, son?”

The ad man thinks quickly.  “Um, how about…”Beer!  You’ll get titties in your face!”

“You’ve done it again, Stan!”

“Great,” replies the ad man as his soul flies out the window.

Cut back to Wikipedia, laying more knowledge eggs in my brain nest;  “Some of the earliest Sumerian writings found in the region contain references to a type of beer; one such example, a prayer to the goddess Ninkasi [the Mesopotamian goddess of beer], known as ‘The Hymn to Ninkasi’, served as both a prayer as well as a method of remembering the recipe for beer.”

A goddess for beer? A prayer for beer?  Are we talking about the same stuff that is sucked through straws connected to two cans mounted on a guy’s helmet as he watches cars go around in circles?

It’s too long to paste in this blog post, but if you have some time, walk down history lane and read “The Hymn of Ninkasi.” Here’s a selection:

When you pour out the filtered beer
of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
Tigris and Euphrates.
Ninkasi, you are the one who pours out the
filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
Tigris and Euphrates.

Now for a real study, read the hymn again, but this time, while you’re reading, have this playing:

Miller Lite Cat Fight

Admittedly, reading through that selected verse, I was reminded of Coors’ slogan “Brewed with Rocky Mountain waters.”  However, this hymn doesn’t have half naked girls and crazy beach parties manipulating my base desires (and believe me my desires are pretty base).  What it does have is respect and gratefulness for the brewing process and for this nurturing drink.  It’s sacred.  It’s a mystery.  This awesome stuff is from the heavens.  Not only was Ninkasi kind enough to give us this great beverage, but she continues to guide us through the process.  And, geez, this stuff has to be good; it’s made by a fucking goddess. So although, this hymn doesn’t give me a penis boner, what it does give me is a heart and brain boner (I think I just negated my point by my diction choice (Hey guys, did you hear that? Dick-tion (PEMDAS))).

I should qualify something though, I don’t think beer is instrumental in the destruction of our civilization.  For the longest time, all my palate was allowed to taste was Natty Light (Natural Light, which is a pretty powerful descriptor for something so shitty) as I chugged it through a beer bong.  Now that I’ve grown a little older and slightly wiser, I’ve discovered that beer is awesome and I am pleasantly surprised by its complexity and goodness every time I try a new artfully made beer.  There are plenty of awesome breweries out there being guided by Ninkasi.

No, my gripe takes us back to that conference room with the Tom Ford-wearing ad man and the money-hungry CEO.  Of course that’s an over-generalized scenario littered with stereotypes, but suffice it to say, that’s where civilization is being ruined.  And I know this is a well-worn argument; the hippy argument that ad execs are soulless minions of the corporate empire, serving the one true god, Money.  Yeah, I won’t deny it.  That’s exactly what I’m griping about.  I’m not saying anything new.

However, when researching for this blog and coming upon “The Hymn of Ninkasi,” it’s right there in your face; we could be better.  Yes, maybe beer helped start civilization, but what kind of a civilization are we running here?  I’m not saying that advertising should be done away with; I’m asking can’t we hold ourselves to a higher standard?  Sure it’s easy to sell a product with cleavage surrounding it, but what does that do to a guy?  He’s then operating on a superficial level.  He’s operating on instinct.  He’s operating on something he can’t control and that’s right where the ad guys want him.

Let’s be better than that.  There are plenty of places to get what the body wants without having to see it in an ad.  Advertisers are the movers and the shakers.  They influence behavior.  They have some power here.  What if they used it for good.  What if advertisers wrote a hymn for modern day?  Of course hindsight is 20/20 and we know Ninkasi isn’t real, but that doesn’t mean we can’t respect and be awed by the miracle of beer:

When you pour out the filtered beer
of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
The Rocky Mountain waters
, you are the one who pours out the
filtered beer of the collector vat,
It is [like] the onrush of
The Rocky Mountain waters

“Collector vat” isn’t the most epic term, but overall that’s pretty powerful stuff.  It’s like a mud wrestling pit in my soul.  But it’s that kind of language and respect for quality work that can raise the bar.  I think if we talk the talk, we can walk the walk.

But hell, sometimes you just wanna get drizzunk, son!  Shotgun that shit, Ninkasi!

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