Just some random thoughts I've had over the past days.
I've left out anything truly X-rated or which would get me
There's been a commercial on TV running for quite some time
now for Existenz male enhancement pills. Existenz is sort of
like Viagra or Cialis but is evidently made out of some natural
substance, and like the other more pharmaceutical types is
supposed to help a man get a good erection. In some way too
it is supposed to arouse women. In the commercial, a man and
a woman sit on a couch. The man proceeds to talk about how
he was sceptical at first but then took Existenz and really
found it worked for him. REALLY found it worked for him, if
you know what I mean. His significant other ends up talking
about how it has really improved their love life. But during
the first half of the commercial she sits there with this
sort of stupid smile on her face, looking back and forth
between her husband and the camera.
I can just imagine being the director of that commercial.
"Okay. Now in the first part of this I want you to just
sit there and smile real big. You know, like you've just
had so many orgasms that you're brain dead."
There is an ironic element to this commercial too that
always gets to me as I watch it, inasmuch as existenz
was also a philosophical term used by Karl Jaspers (among
"Okay, Karl. In this part just sit there in the
chair and pretend you've just philosophized
your dick off."
My mom seems to have this idea that French people don't
bathe and that France is dirty. I guess she must have
picked that up from a few people she knew along the road.
It's always dangerous to make generalizations from a small
sampling. And yet that is almost always what happens in any
type of racial or ethnic prejudice. That is why anthropology
as a discipline always makes a point for the researcher to go
into the field and conduct their investigations. There may
be some value in armchair research in some cases — Emile
Durkheim seems to have done some significant work without
hardly ever leaving his library. But there is no doubt that
research in the field is the best way to learn about "the
other." It is important too when looking at another culture,
the Culture of Visitation, to put away as much as possible
the preconceptions and prejudices of our own culture, the
Culture of Orientation. It is truly difficult doing that.
But my view is that the best way is to release ourselves
to an open and natural curiosity. Curiosity is the root
If a place like Paris is dirty, well then so is New York.
And while the whole bathing thing certainly has a cultural
aspect, that aspect is really more historical. In Elizabethan
times, for example, it was considered to be unhealthy to
bathe too often; and of course in the past not all apartments
or houses had the immediate convenience of piped-in water.
But for the most part I would guess that these days bathing
in most cultures is more a matter of personal choice.
NOTE TO SELF: Take a shower tomorrow.
I wonder how many honorary degrees the Dalai Lama has by
now. And I wonder where he keeps them all.
"It is precisely because our present life is so
inseparably linked with desire that we must make
use of desire’s tremendous energy if we wish to
transform our life into something transcendental."
— Lama Thubten Yeshe, Introduction to Tantra
Next week my little check comes in. And I will go downtown
and have a few drinks and then go to Thai on 1st and get
carry-out. It has become a ritual for me over the past
months. I always feel such a sense of peace sitting there
in the restaurant, having a beer, watching Chin dart to
and fro between the scant customers, looking at the little
statues of elephants and such and the photo of monk Loung
Po Wan on the wall.
Come to think of it I might skip going to the Satellite for
those drinks. The place is always so depressing — the Desolate
Ones. And I have been among them.
I watched The Assassination of Jesse James the other night.
It was the second time I had seen it. The movie has such
a sense of karma about it, like James' whole life had been
written ahead of time by some Eastern city-slicker tabloid
And just who has written my life? I'll leave that —