Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for April 28th, 2003
Copyright 2003 Mark Allen

1. All the emails I received commenting about my "It's Not Gonna Be OK" essay from last week
    Thanks. I have never received more thought-provoking email for anything I have written on this website... ever. I was going to print some of the emails... but I don't wanna start a war. The comments tended to be divided into three camps... about an even number of each:
    1. THE SECOND BEST: I got a lot of thanking praise about the piece. A lot of the compliments tended to be "confused" - in other words it came in the form of questions and thoughts proposed - with my essay serving as a kind of launch pad. Quite a few said they were very inspired... especially those who had experienced some kind of loss in their lives. Some said they felt I had "opened a door for them." These were the most thought-provoking emails. Get the Kool-Aid mix 'cause I'm going to start my own cult now.
    2.  THE WORST: I also obviously got quite a few calm, carefully worded,  "mature" dismissals and parental-style "I feel sorry for you"-ish letters from some people that obviously have never had a real event happen in their entire lives, in the truest sense of the word. These emails were not thought provoking. They ranged from the calm but obviously angry, to the naively cheer-y to the point of nothingness types of emails. Did they read the essay? Did they realize they were proving exactly what I wrote about? By the way... I find non-streaking Windex and paper towels are great for cleaning surfaces.
    3. THE BEST: The best emails were from people that didn't really take a side... but that praised me for thinking for myself. And as a true cult leader... I want you all to think like me thinking for myself.

2. TechTV's "Wired For Sex"
    TechTV's "Wired For Sex" program starts this Wednesday at 9PM Eastern time... and runs for 13 Wednesdays. TechTV is a digital cable channel so if you have digital cable you've got it. I am featured a lot in one of the episodes (which exactly I don't know - I think the third one though, 'Come Chat with Me: Cybercruising' on May 14th) talking mostly about my "The Cyber Crush/The Cyber Crutch" essay and my "objectum-sexuality" bond with my computer hardware when I was "cyber dating" Bryan (from - and I think I am also spread throughout all 13 episodes.
    They interviewed some major players in the whole technology-merging-into-flesh-evolutinary thing... my story actually sounds kind of dinky compared to some of the people and groups they were talking to. At first I felt totally exploited when they were interviewing me "...I am in love with my computer! It's a case objectum-sexualis! I am a walking Cronenburg film!" and felt like a freak show. Then I heard about the other weirdoes they were talking to. One guy they talked to won the Nobel Prize once. He invented computers that can mimic famous painting artist's (like Van Gogh) style "perfectly" and create "new works" by that particular artist when hooked up to a robot arm with paints and a brush and canvas. He also has done the same with dead musicians (which he apparently performed on the Ed Sullivan Show eons ago). He now is some kind of swelling-brain super genius that lives totally cut-off from society and is devoting his life to the quest for human immortality - which he claims beyond a shadow of a doubt he will achieve via nanotechnology. The director was telling me that their experience with this guy was hysterical and mind-blowing. The series is full of stuff like that... I think the whole "Wired For SEX" title is a ratings attempt (although the first episode takes place at some porn convention).
    I felt like the opening credits of "That Girl" because they filmed me in my apartment and a bunch of buildings and streets all over New York City (even inside a crowded, moving subway car - see my #9 'Top Ten' entry for 2/3/03) talking talking talking about my essay and what I learned from my experience with "cyber dating" Bryan for a year.  (DIRECTOR: 'Now walk down St. Mark's Place and talk about sleeping with your computer screen... and then stop and look at that 'We Do Piercings' sign and ponder it as you do.' ME: 'I would never look at a piercing sign.' DIRECTOR: 'Okay then look at sunglasses and gloves... yes... gloves!' ME: 'Okay.' DIRECTOR: 'Action!').  It was a fun experience working with people like that. It's either going to be the funniest thing in the world or the most humiliating thing ever (my life in a nutshell!) For those that like my comb-over... I'll assure you that it is in FULL effect during the interview. I just hope they don't just edit out everything I said except the parts where I was talking about my first sexual experiences as a kid in abandoned sewer pipes on construction sites back in Plano, Texas.
    I am a big fan of World of Wonder (who produced the series) - so I am very excited about this. Oh... and also... the World of Wonder people are coming BACK to my apartment this Wednesday (the 30th) to film me some more. They need MORE footage supposedly. I will have my webcam live during this time (see my front page). YES you heard right... my webcam will be live this Wednesday the 30th as the World of Wonder people are in my apartment filming me. How long has it been since the cam has been live? A zillion years? Anyway... if you're one of those people always writing me complaining that my cam isn't live anymore... well it's gonna be this Wednesday the 30th. So tune into my site this Wednesday as I cram a whole zillion years of ego gratification into a few mere hours... watch my cam filming me while I'm filmed and photographed by TV. It will be a mind-blowing, multi-layered, Warhol-ian example of the self-referential fame/ego electronic media mirror syplexian zzzzzzzz.....
    Isn't it interesting that the entry where I plug myself for my appearance on digital cable TV ends up being so far the longest and most in-depth entry in this week's "Top Ten" (the first one was a mig maserbatory ego stroke as well)? I think being on television will be good for my cult. I will be like Dr. Oblivion from "Videodrome". I can't wait to see it. I need to find someone with a real job that can afford digital cable to mooch off of. I'll bring cherry Kool-Aid.

3. Jim
    Jim Jim Jim Jim Jim JIM jim J-I-M j-i-m jIm jiM miJ.
    I guess Jim and I are getting closer and closer and closer. We have been going out for well over a year now. That's a VERY long time for me. We have entered a stage where the occasional conflict is inevitable... and how we act upon it is crucial. I guess this is all a learning experience for me. I feel like I could really fall in love with Jim (yea I know I take the acclimation of those emotional states pretty slowly). We get along so well... but we have this problem where sometimes if we spend more than three whole days together we start to get on each other's nerves a bit. Although these incidents have been few and far between, even better is that we are both getting more skilled at talking it out and working it out afterwards and both walking away from the situation feeling good.
    I love to brag to people about Jim and show him off. I tell people he looks like Matthew McConaughey... and I love introducing him to people. On the deeper side I feel a real bond with him and it kind of freaks me out a little. Sometimes I look at Jim and feel like the luckiest guy in the world... that can be very good but scary. Kind of like sky diving.  The other day when I had his penis in my hand I looked up at his incredibly handsome, wincing profile and thought "I could raise a child with Jim." Could we live together in the country inside an underground cave house made of tires and old aluminum cans and Plexiglas with a wood-burning stove and a kick ass front porch and an even more kick-ass DSL cable line and a garden of vegetables and pet chickens... spending our days making macramé Klein Bottle re-creations out of discarded extension cord wires and M.C. Escher re-creations in needlepoint out of discarded raccoon hair weaved into thrown-away McDonald's styrofoam Big Mac containers - and then riding out bikes into the nearest village to sell them to the local tourists along with our single tit cupcake and and reflexology service along with banjo bluegrass accompaniment twofer one special? That's one of our dreams. Are we just dreaming? Do young couples ever reach their real dreams? Is there something there? Could it work out? I'm beginning to think so more and more.

4. Total genius re-enactment of Tiffany's crime story on FOX TV's "America's Most Wanted" (4/26/03 episode)
    While watching my second favorite TV show; America's Most Wanted (America's Funniest Home Videos is my first)... I was lucky enough to catch one of the strangest re-enactments of a crime I've ever seen on that (often) excellent show. It was like Mulholland Drive, The Burning Bed and I Love Lucy all rolled into one. It was a story told by the victim of the crime herself ('Tiffany' - an alias name) and was created to spur a nation-wide hunt for one Rufino Castaneda. The re-enactment was one of the very unusual cases where the show lets the victim themselves play themselves in the re-enactment.
    Apparently the night of November 1st, 2000, at a strip mall bar in Mishawaka, Indiana was a simultaneously unlucky and lucky night for the buxom and beautifully blond "Tiffany". 20-something Tiffany was with friends (male and female) at the pool table area of the large, semi-crowded establishment playing pool and having a good time. When she left her clique to go get another round of beers for her friends... she was verbally harassed by a handful of surly Latin guys near the cigarette machine by the end of the bar. "Hey baby you wanna puff of my blunt?" and "Hey blondie you wanna go for a ride with me and my pals?" know the drill. Tiffany was kind of trapped at the end of the bar as she waited for the bartender to get her beers... so she kind of laughed and acted friendly, you know - tried to go along with the party and tease them right back, show she wasn't afraid of them and diffuse any genuine menace. This is usually a smart move, except in this case... the group's ringleader was one hot-tempered and very sexy Rufino Castaneda... charged with several violent crimes even before this incident. Tiffany grabbed her beers and laughed off their comments as she attempted to get past them and back to her friends. Rufino and his friends... amazingly... were able to surround Tiffany and pull her out an exit door right by the cigarette machine and into a car parked outside in a matter of several seconds... with no one in the bar even noticing. It was one of those bizarre situations where you feel warm and safe one second and the next minute you're fighting for you life and terrified out of your mind. Alfred Hitchcock made films about these situations all the time.
    Excuse me as I continue the amazing re-enactment I witnessed this last Saturday night on TV. I was on the edge of my seat during it and I may get a little carried away while relaying it:
    With Rufino sitting on Tiffany's face in the back seat (quite literally) to muffle her screams for help, him and his pals sped away full blast into the barren town, as they argued amongst themselves about what they had just done and the seriousness of it. Rufino demanded that his brother, who was driving... take them to his ex-girlfriend's house where they could do what they wanted with the terrified Tiffany. Tiffany, in the meantime... was squirming and screaming and fighting for her life while screaming underneath Rufino's gorgeous, round, denim-covered Latin ass. By the time they reached a few blocks from the bar... half the crew (including Rufino's brother) had abandoned the car in disagreement over what had occurred. The car was left with Rufino sitting on a still screaming Tiffany (hearing all the arguments muffled through Rufino's ample butt cheeks) and one friend of Rufino's... whom he demanded take over the driver's seat and take him to his ex's house... knowing she was not at home. The friend obliged and drove Rufino and the screaming, vertically challenged Tiffany there.. then abandoned the car in disgust at Rufino in the alley near the house. Rufino was able to get a struggling Tiffany out of the car, through a series of alleys and yards, and into the back of the house.
    Cut to interview with a very beautiful Tiffany being interviewed and doing the voice over for the re-enactment (cutting back and forth between each). Tiffany says that while she "...did everything she could to remember where Rufino was dragging and pushing her through the alleys... looking at everything around me to remember visual markers... dumpster... locked tricycle... yellow wall... wooden fence... abandoned car... fried chicken bucket... hubcap pile..." These kinds of words kept repeating over and over via Tiffany's urgent, sultry voice-over as footage of the very sexy and dangerous-looking actor playing Rufino yanked the real Tiffany around the backs of houses... all blue lit with tilted camera angles and Tiffany's large white eyeballs scanned back and forth... back and forth "...rake... chicken coop... sprinkler... clothesline... sno cone cart... metal chair..."
    By the time Rufino has dragged her to his ex-girlfriend's place... there are shots (tilted) of an impassioned and yelping Tiffany holding onto the door as Rufino literally has to pull her into the dark home. Tiffany screams and screams as the camera picks up shots of her long, bloody nails scraping the drywall and her voice-over says " was literally like the cartoons you see where a cartoon dog is pulling a cartoon cat and it won't let go of the door... and it's claws are leaving scratch marks on the walls." With Tiffany now sideways against the door and screaming for her life... (all camera angles from this point on are tilted... with blue under lighting) Rufino takes one final yank and she goes flying into the kitchen and onto the floor. *SMASH!*
    Rufino locks the door in the dark room and turns around... face covered in sweat and deadly, lustful determination. A screaming and now hysterical Tiffany grabs a frying pan and smacks Rufino across the face *POW!*  with the pan flying out of her hands airborne then to the ground and against the window. Tiffany screams and screams. Rufino hits the ground with a bloody lip in a great camera angle looking up from the floor looking like Ash from Evil Dead II. Tiffany starts to run... but Rufino captures her leg and down she goes. He then grabs the same iron pan and smacks her a few times with it back and forth... *WHAM!* "Is that how you like it?!" he sreams at her... *WHAM!* "Is that how you like to play huh?"  Tiffany screams and screams and screams. Rufino grabs Tiffany's luscious blond locks and drags her through the dark house into the bedroom. He slams her screaming head onto a bare mattress... her curly platinum locks bouncing all over the place. First he tears her blouse and bra right off their seams. Cut back to Tiffany's interview: "I just kept thinking... let this end... let this end..." echoes Tiffany's voice-over as Rufino tears off her panties with his muscular arms... holding the torn lace next to his maniacally, under-lit face as he cackles and guffaws in her direction. Shot of Tiffany's face... tears and fear flash across her eyes. Tiffany's voice over echoes again... "Let this end... let this end..."
    Then Tiffany's voice over takes a change in tone as events in the deadly dual turn... " I was on my back... I decided I wasn't gonna let this scum win... so I lifted my legs over my head, wrapped them around his neck... and pushed that son of a gun across the room as hard as I could!" Cut to Tiffany's interview "I decided right then... this... ends... now..." Cue dramatic music as a totally nude and gorgeous Tiffany runs frantically through the hall... cut to Rufino's ruggedly menacing good looking face being thrown all googly-eyed as his head hits the back bedroom wall after flying across the room. Cut to nude Tiffany in the darkened living room looking around frantically... cut to Tiffany's interviewed talking head... growing more animated with each passage of storytelling "I don't know where I got the strength... but I grabbed an entertainment center in the living room... by the corner... and h-e-a-v-e-d it over in front of the door!" Shot of very naked and shapely and blond Tiffany pushing over huge entertainment center over like the Incredible Hulk. "Then I ran to the door... I couldn't... believe... how... many... locks... were... on... the... door..." Cut to bouncing Tiffany facing a giant, Alice In Woderland-ish door with many bolt locks on it. Camera moves in close on her Cindy Sherman-esque face as she struggles with the chains and bolts... and keeps looking back and forth behind her for the White Rabbit... I mean Rufino.
    "I just couldn't believe how many locks were there!" Cut to Rufino... having collected himself from being kicked out of Tiffany's vagina and across the room... he pounds across the blue-lit living room, tossing fallen furniture aside like Godzilla in tossing tanks in Tokyo. He corners the unable-to-escape Tiffany... who terrifyingly turns around to greet him. Rufino puts one arm straight out and grabs her throat. Holding it there. Tiffany claws helplessly at Rufino's strong, masculine hand as he chokes her throat tighter and tighter... her blond head pushed tight against the row of locks on the shut door behind her. "Suddenly I felt everything around me getting darker... and darker..." Tiffany's voice over says as the camera tilts and a computer-generated, black morphing ring shape form surrounds the screen's edges and blur-ily closes in on her face. "I felt like there was a darkness coming from outside of me... into the inside of me... getting closer..." Shot of Tiffany struggling more in vain. Shot of Rufino's face with fierce determination... a bead of sweat lilting over his amble brow. "Closing in... closer... closer... darkness..." Shot of extreme camera angled Tiffany's Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks-ish face... struggling harder... shot of Rufino... Tiffany... Rufino... Tiffany... "I heard bones in my neck cracking... the ring of darkness was coming inside of me... " Spinning camera as ring of darkness computer graphic effect closes in on Tiffany lovely blond face... "Closer... closer..." Spinning... spinning...
    "Suddenly" says Tiffany's voice over "I don't know how it happened... but I was able to get one last ounce of strength and lift my legs up... as I was pinned against the wall..." Shot of Tiffany's shapely legs and a peek-a-boo of her blond crotch hair lifting up and kicking Rufino's manhood like Wonder Woman kicking Bigfoot. Rufino flies once again across the room and lands on the toppled entertainment center.
    Tiffany somehow opens the door and bolts into the yard. Shot of nude and buxom Tiffany's ivory skin set against the night alley artificial light-lit backdrop "I remembered everything I had seen before... but in reverse..." shot of Tiffany's teary face scanning back and forth... back and forth... "Metal chair... sno cone cart... clothesline...  sprinkler... chicken coop... rake... " Tiffany's crouching, white nude body and fluffy, falling locks of platinum hair poke their way through the night-lit grass and concrete... retracing her steps... shaky terrified face scanning back and forth... close up of mascara-ridden eyes... looking left... right... left... right... "Hubcap pile... fried chicken bucket... abandoned car... wooden fence... yellow wall..." Shot of eyes and crouched nude figure tip-toeing along... back and forth... back and forth... "Locked tricycle... dumpster..."
    Shot of Tiffany's panic stricken face as she reaches a dead end - a rust-colored fence. "I reached a dead end." says Tiffany's voice over "Again... I don't know where I got my strength from... but I reached up my feet and kicked the fence right down!" Shot of now bionic Tiffany karate kicking the boards of the fence off the hinges with her bare feet and giggling nude body... looking like another scene from The Bionic Woman or The Benny Hill Show. Shot of Tiffany squeezing her ample, pouting chest past the opening she created... and into the alleyway. Shades of Russ Meyer.
    "I finally reached the alley..." Pulled-back shot of totally nude and barefoot Tiffany... tip-toeing down the sparsely lit and overgrown with green weeds alley... her arms outstretched and battered like Isabella Rossellini in the scene in Laura Dern's front yard in Blue Velvet... her blond head bobbing in sobs and gasps... hobbling down the center along the small stream of water in the alley's center..  crying and and screaming at the top of her lungs in vain... her nude center body pixilated... "I kept screaming and screaming as loud as I could... I couldn't believe no one... not anyone... came to help me!" Shot of Tiffany looking back in the direction of Rufino. Shot of Tiffany looking over at a dumpster area overflowing with trash. She scurries over behind the narrow opening between the dumpster and the wall... her blond, barette-ed hair catching highlights from the overhead light. "I hear Rufino coming behind me so I hid behind the dumpster... not wanting to make a sound."
    Shot of Rufino... now walking down the alley in the spot where Tiffany was just seconds ago... creeping slowly forward and tauntingly calling her name like you would call a cat "T-i-f-f-a-n-y... T-i-f-f-a-n-n-n-y-y-y-y-y-y... " Shot of Tiffany's now schizophrenic face and nude, trembling body crouched down behind the dumpster... biting her knuckles... her eyeballs (close up) looking under the dumpster to Rufino's crawling feet lurking past her... "T-i-f-f-a-n-y... T-i-f-f-a-n-n-n-y-y-y-y-y-y... T-i-f-f-a-n-e-e-e-e-e... "
    Rufino gets well past Tiffany... still searching. She sits down her bare ass on the nail and broken glass-covered pavement. "I knew I had to get where some people or traffic was" Tiffany's voice over says "So I looked around the trash for something... anything... to cover myself with!" Shot of Tiffany's mascara streaked head darting back and forth amongst the black shiny trash bags and rolls of discarded carpet. "I looked for something to cover myself with... I found a cardboard box!"
 ...a cardboard box
...a big one... like for a TV set.
    No bikinis made out of Big Mac containers and discarded extension cords for her! Shots of Tiffany teetering like a little Barbie doll wearing a barrel out onto the street. Remember that trendy feminist photographer in the 1990's who had those black and white photos of women's shapely legs coming out of objects like candy boxes and telephones? She looked like one of those. She tip toes like a doll into traffic... holding the top of the big Magnavox TV-size box with her nimble hands... her fingertips just reaching over the edge... amazingly no one stops for her... "Help! Somebody help me!" she yells. "I kept yelling for help and no one would stop!" Tiffany's voice over echoes.
    Then... still wearing her box... she spies a phone booth. Amazingly, she is able to fit into the booth and shut the door while wearing the box. She dials 911. The transcript of the call plays on the show. The screaming, desperate shrill rush of her emotions coming through the telephone as she explains to the 911 operator that she is "...on the side of the road nude in a phone booth wearing a cardboard box!" and "...I'm alive oh God I'm alive... it all happened ten minutes ago... I'm wearing a box! Please help me!!!"
    The police arrive and comfort Tiffany (they give her a nice blanket to replace the box) and she demands to be taken back to the scene of the crime to prove to herself that what just happened was real. While slowly moving through the back alley in the back of the police car, her mascara-stained eyes spy the fence she kicked down and she looses it "Oh god! There's the fence! The fence I kicked down oh my God! Oh God BAW-HA-HAW-HAW..." (spastic sobbing commences).
    Apparently Rufino split town immediately. If you want to help look for him... click here. While the search is on... Tiffany agreed to a full interview on America's Most Wanted and acted in her own re-enactment and did the voice over for it. She says she wants to let Rufino know that he didn't hurt her and that they will find him (indeed both appear to be true). Her performance was B*R*I*L*L*I*A*N*T... and she's not bad looking at all.
    This re-enactment on America's Most Wanted was one of the most well directed and acted things I've recently seen on broadcast television. It was simultaneously funny and harrowing. It lay somewhere between David Lynch and a Cindy Sherman photograph,
    It was total genius... and a good example of why COPS and America's Most Wanted are two of the greatest shows on TV..

5. Pete Drake - inventor of the "talking steel guitar"
    You know that famous part of the Peter Frampton song "Can't Take That Away" on the Frampton Comes Alive II album where his guitar starts "talking" during the solo and sounding like a vocoder and the audience goes crazy? Although famed country musician legend and musical instrument inventor Pete Drake's "talking steel guitar" appeared on many other famous musician's recordings... that was the most world famous exposure it ever received.
    Pete Drake not only invented this instrument... but he recorded many albums during the 1960's (and on) showcasing it. Apparently he invented the multi-dimensional-sounding contraption because of a five year search for a way to make his guitar "talk" - drawing inspiration from a desire to communicate musically with some deaf and mute neighbors of his at the time. Before you say "Deaf mute people can't hear or sing" read on: You play notes on the guitar and it goes through the amplifier. A driver system replaces the speakers and the sound goes through the driver into a plastic tube. You put the tube in the side of your mouth then form the words with your mouth as you play them. You don't actually say a word. The guitar is your vocal chords (even if you can't use them), and your moving mouth is the amplifier.
    The result is a very unearthly sound that sounds oddly alien juxtaposed with country western songs. It's like a cross between a vocoder and a theramin (due to the steel slide). It sounds way more vibrant and rich than even the best vocoder, however can't match a theramin's strength of sound. Drake's covers of "Lay Lady Lay" and "Blue Velvet" are some of the weirdest things ever recorded. Jennifer Sharpe of the most superb and very excellent turned me onto Pete Drake via a write-up about him on her site, and recently sent me a CD with 32 of his songs (which I have been listening to obsessively ever since - at one point Domenic zombie-ly walked out of his room and looked towards my speakers with wide eyes and a blank face and said 'What aaaarrrree you listening to Mr. Allen?'). It's one of the dreamiest and weirdest recordings I have this side of Joe Meek's I Hear a New World album. It's totally great stuff.
    Sharpe has an mp3 of Pete Drake's eerie version of  "I'm Just a Guitar" in her mp3 archives. Visit them by clicking here.
    There is also an mp3 of Drake's "Happy Tracks" over at the great which you can hear by clicking here.
    Here's an interesting interview with Drake.
    Some accounts of this instrument complain that the tube "rattles your teeth"... and Jim (who's obsessed with guitars) told me he once saw one in a used instrument store and was really curious about it... until he went to put the tube in his mouth and saw that it had about four decades of dried mouth goo in it. Ewww.

 (Thanks to Jennifer over at for turning me onto this)

6. Neil from the film "42Up"
    I recently caught Michael Apted's documentary "42Up" on late night PBS and was very impressed. Having been going on for some odd 45 years now... the filmmaker has followed the lives of eleven people who live in England from the age of 7, up. He zooms in on them every seven years to see what's going with them (the titles are '7Up', '14Up', etc.) He's now up to the age 42. Some have decided to drop out of the film as it has gone on... but there is still a hearty group left. The film itself harks back to an older style of "reality" documentary... (I was reminded of the 'An American Family' doc from American television in the 70's - which I have seen clips of) and has an energy that is entirely missing in today's "reality" TV shows and movies. Everything is unflinchingly real and often dull... just like real life. It takes guts to show reality even when it's dull. But this is actually what's so interesting in the film... as you follow the lives of all these people... and also look back on them at different 7 year stages... the ordinariness of their lives (albeit with their own unique twists and turns) is just that... REAL. It's so hard to look at it's like you're watching videos of animals getting tortured. With no sensationalism... and these people's lives put on a full, brightly-lit, bald, getting-fatter, dreams never realized or only partially realized stage with everything in a most lurid and dull and real light... you want to look away and can't. It's horrific. It's boringness that's so hard to take it's like torture. And more proof that gossip columnists and entertainment show sensationalists are the true WIMPS. I'm now convinced that the "__Up" films are pretty remarkable... as before I had seen them I thought they sounded kind of gimmicky and dull. The aren't gimmicky - but they are fascinatingly and compeling-ly dull - brilliantly so. It takes a strong stomach to watch them. Especially if you just watched the premier of FOX TV's "Mr. Personality" on the same night.
    But I ust say that the one person in the film that lends itself to sensationalism is Neil. But in a way that is simultaneously harrowing and heart breaking... but then weirdly inspirational. Neil started out as a happy, playful and outgoing child. But as time got older and so did Neil... he did not share his other docu-character's penchant for getting jobs and having kids and dealing with their own rather ordinary crises and twists and turns of interesting but definitely "normal" behavior. The last two entries ('28Up' and '35Up') found Neil not doing too well. Basically roaming the streets and sometimes remote villages in the northernmost part of England... without any "real" life to call his own... Neil was homeless and seemed mentally disturbed. When asked in "35Up" where he thought he would be in the next film installment... seated in front of a gorgeous northern England lake/mountainscape, and while going through various physical twitches he seemed to have acquired over the years... he thought about it and said "Roaming the streets of London begging for food I think."  When asked if he thought he was going insane... he ran his dirty fingers through his lack-of-nutrition thinning scalp and, after a slight shake or two stated with confidence "Yes... oh yes I am. Of that I am absolutely sure. I am sure that I am loosing my mind." It was heartbraking to watch someone whom obviously had a highly intelligent mind go through such hardships. You could tell he was a good person... and very smart... just not of the mindset to make any sort of ordinary life for himself... cast adrift in the world blowing around like a leaf.
    But in "42Up"... amazingly, Neil had turned himself around somehow. Now a politician in London for the People's Independent Democrats (or something like that - can't remember the name), Neil has been elected twice to serve the people, and works in office to help along laws having to do with the mentally ill and homeless and poor. He still is unpaid and lives off the dole (yes it's possible to do this and still run for office) and claims to never have really had a job his whole life. And he still exhibits many of the twitches and eccentricities and odd clothing and non-social behavior ...adoring attributes if you ask me. I found Neil's story to be uniquely touching. Often in my worst moments in life I feel like I'll end up like Neil... and sometimes in my best I feel like I'll end up like Neil... it's a weird mix. An extreme emotion - but I really did identify with his character (as perhaps many have - as he is the most talked about character).
    On top of this I must say I find a bit of attraction to Neil (who is straight - just apacolyptically shy). Even just as a friend... he looks like someone I would love to get to know, more than anyone else in the series. People are always asking me what attracts me to guys... like what kind of guys do I like. I'll tell you: guys like Neil from "42Up".

7. Eric K. Drexler... nanotechnology pioneer and author of "Engines of Creation"
    Here's another one I find very attractive. Damn he's fine. Go over to and look around and you'll know why. It's an institute in Hawaii dedicated to nanotechnology... which will be involved in the next phase of evolution of mankind in some shape or form. Foresight Institutes goal is to ...quote: " emerging technologies to improve the human condition. Foresight focuses its efforts upon nanotechnology, the coming ability to build materials and products with atomic precision, and upon systems that will enhance knowledge exchange and critical discussion, thus improving public and private policy decisions." As you can see by the last sentence - the unbelievable power of what nanotechnology could accomplish will have to involve politics. But before that political nightmare happens... Eric Drexler and people like himself are true forward-thinkers who recognize the fantastic and mind-blowing possibilities of nanotechnology... and propel it's development with unflinching, optimistic enthusiasm. If you are still reading this and are all "Mark... what exactly is nanotechnology?" then I highly recommend Drexler's totally great book "Engines of Creation". Written in 1987... and still a great, simple, laymen's term reference for a highly complex science... it is one of the best places to learn about nanotechnology from the ground up. Many say it's dated (even Eric himself)... but in my opinion it's the best place to start. And the entire book is free, online, in any text form you want...HTML, PDF, ect... just click on the title I linked above. I read the highly informative book over the period of a month... just bookmarking the last page I finished on my browser and picking it up again when I felt like it. The book is hardly a masterpiece... it's basically a textbook that goes off on philosophical tangent from time to time... but trying to write a masterwork was not Drexler's goal. Getting the word out there about this new technology's potential was. Bookmark it and check it out when you feel like it, you'll be glad you did.

8. An unforgettable mid-1990's interview with Nina Simone
    As I'm sure you know... the great Nina Simone died last week at her home in France. She was 70.
    In the American remake of "Le Femme Nikita", called "Point of No Return" (starring Bridget Fonda and Dermot Mulroney)... Bridget's character plays Nina Simone CDs all day in her secret government underground hit-for-hire spy assassin lair and listens to Nina just before donning a wig and disguise and going out and assassinating a world leader at a posh restaurant with a machine gun hidden in a purse. Bridget's tormented character says that she likes Nina Simone's music because " can listen to it whether you're happy or sad... it makes sense both ways, even the same song." This is indeed true... and remarkable. I've always felt the same way about most of Sonic Youth's music.
    Speaking of the "point of no return"... I just have to share one of the funniest and most jaw-dropping interviews I've ever heard in my lifetime. It is indeed with the great Nina Simone... and was done for radio some time in the 1990's. It's about twenty minutes long... and has been immortalized for all time on the infamous "Celebrities At Their Worst!" bootleg CD series (volume 2.9 'Bitch! Bitch! Bitch!'). I immediately ran out and bought a copy of this CD once I heard the abrasive and ballsy and a tad kooky (she's obviously getting on in her years) Simone hold the poor interviewer (obviously expecting a formal, ass-kissing, proper entertainment interview with his lifetime idol) in his own private Hell as she screams and yells at unbelievable volumes about racism and the genocide of black Americans by the Jews and forbids any calls from listeners.
    "The switchboards are off the scales Dr. Simone!" the interviewer quiveringly spouts to which Nina screams back "I TOLD you I'm not gonna do that I'm ILL!!!". When you hear the interview you'll know why so many people were speed-dial calling the station. Ho boy is this one a doosy! Her spoken voice at this point in her life sounds like a cross between Louise "Weezy" Jefferson from The Jeffersons and William Burroughs.
    At one point Dr. Nina Simone starts talking... no, screaming about how she doesn't believe in interracial marriages - using Quincy Jones and Michael Jackson as examples; "Quincy Jones married a white woman... then Michael Jackson married a white woman... and had a WHITE BABY!!!"  When the interviewer inquires about Nina's past marriage to a white man - thinking he may have found a hole in her argument, Nina shoots back without missing a beat "My god that was a MISTAKE! He was a CREEP!!!" Dr. Simone's not-so-kind take on rap is also interesting; "I DON'T like rappers!!! They say the same thing I did 50 years ago and they only play drums and TALK!"  Despite the screeching rant - in the end you're actually on Nina's side as you slowly witness her reduce the phony, sanctimonious interviewer into a squirming puddle of goo.
    You can listen to it via an archived show at (not the original station the interview aired on). The totally great Kenneth G. plays it occasionally on his Wednesday night WFMU show "Nothing Special" whenever he feels the need - as he did recently to mark her passing. It is truly one of her most unforgettable works - I'm serious! To listen to his 4/23/03 show (in which the Simone interview is the second thing in the playlist) click here and then click on the RealAudio or mp3 "listen to this show!" link. Turn up your speakers and be prepared to be blown away by wild winds.

9. More to the obnoxious Starling bird hanging around my fire escape mystery (see #4 in last week's 'Top Ten')
    Okay... here's what Domenic and I have figured out: A) It is definitely more than one Starling (however there seems to be one in particular that sticks around more than others). B) These are baby Starlings - like not baby chicks but maybe pre-teen Starlings (Domenic knows because of the quality of the feathers). C) The nest? It was their nest, their birthplace... and the parents are long gone.
    There were never any other birds. the Starlings are not "stealing" the other bird's nest. It's all good. The Starling birds were born here, literally right under our window... and now are just kind of hanging around in their post-leave the nest state... which has got to be some kind of odd, direction-less limbo once the "big moment" has passed. This makes sense because on closer inspection... we see that the nest is in total abandoned disarray... and it's materials are dwindling daily. The folks? Gone. Sometimes the Starlings take materials from the nest and play with them (like a kid saying good-bye to a security blanket?).
    The original bird I was talking about hangs around the place the most. He's the one that I noticed first and the one that's always around (pictured above in mid-take off after being startled by my flash - isn't my bird poop covered fire escape so lovely and sanitary?). He's not afraid to let me get really kind of close... and, I'm not kidding... I am able to "whistle" back and forth to it - we have whole conversations. I am NOT kidding. He dances for me sometimes too and I kind of dance back. Here are two more pictures I took of them here and here.
    I guess it's not really that the birds can't leave the nest site... I just think it's central to everything they need so they don't really leave. I hope they stick around... I like the one that I can talk to and eat with. He's fun. Somebody please kill me.

10. This is a real graphic on the side of a Budget Rental truck I saw in Brooklyn
    I took a picture of it because I thought it was funny.

Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for April 21st, 2003

1. It's not going to be OK
    If you've had something really, really horrible happen in your life... like if your face got mangled in a fiery car wreck and you now look like The Incredible Melting Man, or you are the one survivor of a big plane crash and had to eat people to survive and are now nuts, or you found out you had terminal cancer and are sitting around in a hospital all sick and bald and shakey... or any other kind of apocalyptically traumatic or like life-altering physical or psychological damage stuff like that - then I've got news for you:

    The saying "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is a lie.

    The truth is this: "What doesn't kill you is going to fuck you up really bad, for a really, really long time... and you'll be lucky if you ever get it back together again."

    After things that heavy, your life is gonna take an irreversible turn in another direction. It's going to be worse, perhaps much worse, than what you have been used to up to that point. This is actually a serious double bummer because, rather than being stronger (which would help you in dealing with your newly lame-er life) you are actually going to be weaker and more vulnerable, especially in the beginning, and especially in the head. A lot of the time you'll feel as if the natural order of things wanted you to die. But you didn't for some weird reason, and now you're being made to live out your non-life as a ghost in carbon-blob limbo with no cherubs with harps to look after you... and no lucky breaks for you sad ass. You will spend most of your days confused, frustrated, scared and lost.  Most nights will be distorted-wincing-like-orgasm-face-gushing-tears depressing. That's if your face still has muscles or tears after the burn accident. Whatever way you deal with this whole awful, rotten situation (or don't) - that ends up being is what your new life will be.

    The sound of a person saying "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" is the sound of a mind closing in on itself and retreating to it's battle stations. It's a primal response to a stimuli... like a crab retreating into it's shell and eating poop sand, or a chicken getting feed by pushing a button with it's beak at a side-show attraction. A mind says this repetitive phrase to itself and others because it knows it will get a reward: hope. Humans have to repeat to themselves that if something bad does happen... they are going to get some kind of "reward" afterwards (like Heaven). Duh. However, what's interesting is that they not repeat this mantra to themselves... they "teach" it to others. That's how they get the endorphin-rush of hope flowing through their brains... by "helping" others with advice. And if confronted with someone who has, oh... say... been gang-raped in a park and is now pregnant and has AIDS and is catatonic in the corner of a well padded booby hatch dreaming of razor blades - well they've hit on the opportunity for a mental crutch bonanza. If that person is you, get ready for the mind games olympics.

    Your post-trauma state is going to place you in a new mental dimension where phrases like "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" are going to loose all meaning. In fact - those kinds of phrases and the people that spout them are going to annoy the fuck out of you. Which is sad because most non-tradgey-happened-to people are going to bombard you with them.

    Want to see someone on a calm, desperate, kamikaze mission to have the last word in an argument? Tell a non-damaged person that your Parkinson's disease (or surviving intense torture interrogation, or loosing your arms in a tractor accident, or whatever ordeal you suffered) has left you weaker and more frightened than ever. Tell them that as time goes by, you really don't feel like you are stronger at all... and you don't see any real upswing to your future because of  your predicament. Tell them you think that the whole "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger" mantra is a myth perpetrated by people who have never experienced truly fucked up shit, for some reason having to do with delusion or fear of the unknown or something... that it's basically a lie... and that since your bad thing, your life really sucks in a big-ass ways that, during moments of true clarity, you are beginning to realize are irreversible.

    Now if your Parkinson's disease allows you to lift your arms up, or you even have arms at all due to the tractor accident, then hold up a shield - because it's gonna be a light-speed diarrhea monsoon of bullshit coming right at you... garnished with parental smiles and knowing nods. You have just razzed one of the most sacred shields against fear in the collective unconscious, and it's blasphemy in it's purest form. You might as well given a pearl necklace to the fucking Pope. The person you have chosen to share this with will disagree with you. To put themselves... opps I mean you in your place... this person is gonna have to do whatever it takes to get those chemicals flowing back through their brains again. They will basically just keep repeating those phrases... they may find some analogies... it will all be words, words... regardless of how you feel or what you think. Actually, the fact that you have lived through what they are blabbing about, and therefore probably are speaking from real experience, will be a less than nonexistent reality to them. They are gonna be all calm and polite and "me so wise" but ruthless - you are a litmus test for them. They are gonna try to break your handicapped, leg-less, eating-through-a-tube, colostomy-bagged-ass down in their desire to see you fail in your attempt to be honest with yourself. That's what cults do.

   If you listen to them too much, their words will start to command the way you think... and instead of making you think realistically... their condescending blabber will make your ordeal a million times worse as you grasp like a trained circus seal (in your weakened state) for something that just isn't there. The last thing you need in your state is dunderheads yapping at you and trying to win you over to their side. My advice: nod and smile at them the way people nod and smile at sock puppets. Deep down, you've made them play peek-a-boo with the specter of death (a specter you are B.F.F. with now because of your predicament)... and they need to block that view. If you stand your ground, and in the end they feel can't prove their advice to themselves, then they will classify you as "nuts" because of your tragedy. It's not that they aren't going to go down without a fight - it's that they aren't gonna go down at all. So if you keep standing your ground, ultimately they may say that you're "sad" or "damaged". And you know what? They're right. You are. There... you've won.

    I mean - in a way you've caused their reality check to bounce. You could have some fun with it. It will be one of the unique joys you will get in your new horrible existence... watching people like them squirm. Hey, it's more fun than wearing a pig nose and dancing in the street for crumbs... which is definitely an option in your state.

    If you're lucky enough to meet other serious tragedies like yourself who have the luck or wherewithal to think clearly and aren't scared to call it like they see it, and you discover a bond with them... then good for you! Aren't you special! Trust me, this is a really positive thing. It's kind of like you used to be white and you wake up one morning and are black... like that guy in the movie "The Watermelon Man"... and you find you like to hang around other blacks now because they "get" you.

    There are other seriously damaged people who will betray this truth and openly lie about it, and actually benefit from it. They are the really smart ones. That wheelchair-bound gimp who's spine was severed by a stray bullet and now has to type out the words "At first I thought my life was over, but I have now realized the true rewards of life... this accident has made me a stronger person. Every day is a gift" with one eyelid on his little speak-and-spell thingy in front of a crying, applauding Oprah audience... he is a total fucking sell out. Plus he's a total fucking genius. His therapy is to repeat the biggest selling lie for the biggest audience and get maybe some fame or money... possibly a book deal... or a really screwed up girlfriend with a nice rack who has such low self esteem that she seeks the approval from sad, troublesome vegetables that can't get in a car without a crane lift because it makes her feel good about herself. People eat that kind of shit up. And damaged people with the balls to pull off that kind of charade and score big may have found a way out.

    So anyway... I mean, if people don't have hope, then what do they have? In a way, non-damaged people NEED you, they need your melted-skin, iron lung-wearing ass to nod obediently when they tell you that everything happens for a reason. Their ability to suppress their daily urge to go to work tomorrow and blow everybody away with a .22 caliber rimfire relies on you. So... again, in a way... you control them. Maybe...

    After you've realized all this, is there a way out? Are things going to get better? Will this end up being "the best thing that ever happened to you" when you look back on your life? Hell no. If you now have to wipe your ass with your mom's hand and process your vowels through a vocoder because you got hit by a car... your odds of getting your life back the way it was are about the same odds as you getting hit by a plane. You're the last link in the chain of a healthy delusion that helps the human race breed - you have no one left down the line to exploit to obtain your own sense of being "centered"... you've reached the end of the line buddy. If you were an animal, your pack would have coldly abandoned your ass to die a long, long, loooong time ago. You're an evolutionary fuck-up. And a fuck-up that the non-damaged like to subconsciously toy with in order for them to feel like they're "keeping it real".

Who can you post-tradgedy self rely on now? Who can you go to for advice and re-assurance?

Drugs? Alcohol? Dead ends.

Religion? Another dead end.

You have only yourself.

NOTE: The information written in the above rant is based on things I learned
from my long experience with testicular cancer eight years ago.
If you don't like some of the things I wrote or
don't think I know what I'm talking about,
then feel free to drop fucking dead.

ALSO: My friend Larry Massett over at (he gave me the Barf detergent) looked at this essay and offered the suggestion to add the word "Unfortunately." at the very end... a great idea! I was unsure whether to add it or not though... I really grappled with it... but I don't like stealing other people's ideas... so I just decided to give him credit here in this strange footnote way.


2. "Mr. Element"
    During last week's brief cold wave here in the city... I decided not to stop wearing shorts. It was an act of defiance because I hate cold weather.
    I had a friend in Texas that was the same way. Texas is funny in that it does get cold, even freezing and below in the Winter... but it's always a brief visitor... and it isn't a very confident condition in Texas' bossy, territorial, naturally warm climate (the vise-versa is true of New York). My friend, Ray formerly worked at UPS (he's the same one that explained the football game to me in college and helped me home after I had a heterosexual-sports-induced migraine afterwards - see 4/703 'Top Ten' - below). His favorite outfit at all times was sneakers, pants and a T-shirt. He wore it always... even in freezing cold. He refused to give in. He hated coats and stuff like that. During February he could be seen striding across the massive, empty parking lot of UPS towards the building... the little sleeves of his T-shirt flapping in the freezing wind and his glasses getting fogged and covered in cold rain. People would stare out of the glass from massive, glowing yellow window of the heated second floor employee lounge area near the front and say "Here comes Mr. Element." That was his nickname at that time... "Mr. Element".

3. Eggs
    Since last week's "Top Ten" was such a cacophonous blender-omlette of nails-and-broken-glass-on-chalkboard sticky dirt chaos... I decided I wanted SIMPLICITY this week. Not MINIMALISM mind you... but SIMPLICITY. Or perhaps I shouldn't have typed "simplicity" like that. How about typing it like this:

s    i    m    p    l    i    c    i    t   y

    Now that's simple! How a bout a picture of an egg? Ohhhhhhhh... so simple! I'm in simple heaven! How about a picture of an egg with Domenic flipping it the bird? Ohhhhh... brilliant! So simple and perfect... I call this photo "Man Trying In Vain To Offend the Simply Un-Offendable Natural Order of The Simple Universal Things (Egg)" or maybe "MAN'S EGO: The Straight Line That Plowed Through Nature and Missed It's Target Anyway (Egg)" ... what a statement! No bells or whistle... just perfect balance... ohhhh... ahhhhh...

4. The bird outside my window defending it's territory or trying to fuck me ...but whatever it is it's doing it to the viscous, bloodthirsty, fighting death
    Right outside my bedroom window, there's this bird who has built a nest inside where one of the decorative bricks has fallen away and made a little "cave". It slowly adds to it day by day... and I think there is another bird, or birds, inside in the nest (it's too deep inside to really get a good look). So this bird... whether it's the male or female I don't know... sits out on my fire escape all day long and makes the most intense and amazing bird calls I've ever heard out of a small black winged animal ever. I mean, if I would record this stuff and release it on some Japanese avant label CD it would probably be reviewed by noise artist critics and be called "brilliant". I mean... who knew little creatures could make such unearthly and ear-shattering and piercing and BIG sounds!? Sometimes it's annoying and other times it's really fascinating. Usually, if I open the window and birds are on the fire escape... they instantly fly away in a panic... but not this bird. Now that it has a nest to guard, it has all the death-defying strength of an Al Queda suicide bomber. It just sits on it's various perches on the fire escape and ruffles it's feathers and does this weird shaky little dance and goes "SQUWEEEEK-EET-EET-EET- Coooo... coooo... cooo EPP!!! EPP!!! EPPP! SCKRAWWWWWAAAACKCKCKCKC!!! beepbeepbeepbeep beep beep beeeeee... eeep! BOO-doo-doo-doo DOO-WAHGH! DOO-WAGH-NE-NE-NE-NE-NOO-NOO-NOO!!! Noop! Noop! Noooooop!" I wonder what the Hell he or she is saying? If I come to the window and look at it... it turns around and fucking faces me and does it's obnoxious thing. I can't really tell if it's warning me to stay away or it wants to fuck me. Once I put part of a corn muffin on the ledge and watched it devour it and then get right back to squawking and dancing at me. I have literally stood at the window and "whistled back" to the bird (it loves when I do this) and it and I have had back and forth "conversations" for as long as up to 20 minutes. Me standing at my window whistling like a retard to a violently dancing bird on my fire escape. Oh yes it's quite spastic and "special" and it's fucking hilarious to my neighbors.
    Here's Domenic's two cents:
    Domenic says: "That bird is very annoying and it wakes me up in the morning and I would like to kill it." Domenic also says: "The bird doing all the noise making is a Starling... but the nest is a Sparrow's nest." He says he has seen Sparrows in the nest but doesn't know whether it's a nest in waiting or if the Sparrow has chicks in there. He thinks the Starling is just harassing the Sparrows and stealing it's nest material.
    Possibly the Starling is stealing bits of the nest for it's own use (I've seen it with bits of the nest it has plucked away in it's beak - toying with it). Is he tormenting the Sparrow's nest (which has recently been created) out of a primal need to harass and steal? Are the Sparrow's squatters? Is it an inter-species relationship?
    This violent horny thief bird is becoming my close friend. I'm gonna see if it wants to go to the movies with me.
    I'll keep you posted on the "Nature of Omaha"-ish situation.

The 1871 Great Chicago Fire - which apparently started around 9 PM Sunday October 8, 1871, when a cow in the O'Leary barn inadvertantly knocked over an oil lamp
(from Harper's Weekly, from sketches by Theodore R. Davis)
5. Spontaneity
    The other day I was riding my bike through the East Village when I decided to "spontaneously" drop by the erotic bakery and visit Jim. Whata delightful day it ended up being! The weather was beautiful and Jim and I spent the afternoon hanging out in the grass in Tompkins Square Park and walking all over the place and having coffee in some loud coffee shop and then realizing the new film "A Mighty Wind" had opened that very day and ran to the Angelika only to find out it was sold out until the next millennium and then strolled through SoHo and came back to my place and made delicious pasta sauce with red wine and then went to a friend of Jim's house. What a fun day ( a day we weren't even planning on seeing each other)!!! The next day we were planning on seeing each other, and did, and ended up not having such a great time together.
    Spontaneity means you open up the door to unknown things and take a chance and the sum of it is that memories inadvertently happen. Inadvertent is a good thing.

6. Some hackers altered Madonna's official site on Saturday
    According to the "unofficial" Madonna website

Madonna's official site - - was hacked into yesterday. An organization known as "phrack don't give a shit about dmca" hacked into the site and removed the normal pages, replacing them with a page titled "This is what the fuck I'm doing". A clear attack on Madonna's anti-piracy stance, the hackers provided links to some high quality MP3s of the new album, radio mixes of the single and some non-authorised remixes. The issue has now been resolved.
    Indeed this info is correct. Leading up to this: for the last few weeks, global extrovert Madonna and her obedient record company, with no help or advice from the RIAA, has been uploading fake songs from her forthcoming album onto popular file-sharing programs. When one downloads the song by it's title... instead of a song there is a sound clip of Madonna saying "What the fuck do you think you're doing?" over and over (a clip destined for sampling immortality). Pretty cheeky and so obvious it's a wonder no one has ever thought of it before... maybe they did, but decided not to because it would be stupid. Yesterday's hack was a mean rebuttal... and a bit pointless since the album is coming out all over the world this Tuesday (April 22nd) and it has (officially and with M & Co.'s approval) been streaming in it's entirety (low-ish quality, with brief spoken interruptions during each song) on's "The Leak" and also the Spanish site for a week now.
    When you fuck with people, even in a symbolic, shallow, attention-needy way... it can have annoying repercussions because you make yourself a target and you get people's attention and they are gonna want to fuck right back with you... even if it's pointless. If you speak your un-censored mind and treat yourself with un-flinching respect... expect a war (boy have I learned that lesson in life). Sometimes it's funny and it all depends whether or not you feel like hopping aboard the non-stop Drama Train. Or should that be Drama Drain? Trauma Train? Stupid Lane? Brain-less Plane?

7. Me being the sole witness of a Kim Gordon performance art piece outside on the sidewalk of her "STAIRCASE (IS IT MY BODY?)" solo art show at Participant, Inc. the day before it opened
    On the total other end of the pop culture spectrum... I learned that Kim Gordon is having a solo art show at a gallery just down the street from me.  So the other day, I was riding my bike down the lane and I decided to stop and see where the gallery was (a brand new space). I stopped in front of the address and looked through the massive gallery glass front and saw what looked like a raw, freshly gutted space full of junk and old dusty crap and no art whatsoever that looked far from "gallery" or even "show" or even "space" and seemed to say "abandoned" and "super closed forever and ever" ...surprising, especially since the opening for the show was the following evening. As I stood there on my bike wondering how in the Hell they were going to get the walls painted and the place even walk-in-able I looked down and saw Kim Gordon herself, having been there the whole time, sitting down on a step next to the gallery front, alone (looking totally great by the way) and fumbling with a cell phone and trying to get it to work and pushing lots of different buttons and opening and closing it as she talked to somebody all "Hello? Huh? Wait I just checked my messages and the phone rang... weird... wait... *beep* ...hello?"
    Was that the show? Was it a wild performance art piece with Kim sitting in front of the closed-shop gallery and talking on a cell phone saying something like "Hello? Is this the gallery people? Where's my show? Hello?"? Brilliant! Could you imagine the opening reception? It turns out she was probably waiting for someone to help her set up her art as... later the very same evening as Jim and I walked by...  we peaked in the windows and the walls had been painted and the show looked almost installed. Instant art!! I went by to see her show once or twice since but Participant, Inc. always seems to be closed (even when it's listed as open). Maybe it's one of those appointment-only things. Maybe that's part of the on-going performance. I gawked in the windows like a stalker though and it looked pretty nutty and interesting, all instillation and graffiti-ish and class-free and dream form.
    Here's a link to some Stefano Giovannini photos of Kim's "Staircase (is it my body?)" exhibit at PARTICIPANT, INC.
    Here's a link to the show's press release.
    Here's a link to some of Kim's art (and a Quicktime movie of some of her paintings and stuff - click 'play portfolio film')

8. Look what I found in the trash!
   No more embarrassment for me anymore at the baggage claim area as my black Glad bags with twisties ties fly down the conveyor belt chute at Linate Airport in Milan! I'm now traveling in unspeakable style with this very large, bright turquoise blue with coal black trim, genuine pleather mock alligator skin SUITCASE!!! Gasp!!! Complete with straps and big metal buckles!!! Swoon!!! Found in New York City on the corner of Delancey and Ridge streets (caddy corner to the live chicken mart) at 2:15 AM. Contents: empty. Possibilities: limitless!!!
    Experts say that "fashion" and "style" are two wholeheartedly different things... and I agree!

9. U. S. Bunkers "Life Assurance - Not Life Insurance"
    I want one of these things SO BAD. It would be nothing but dream-like perfect days and camp-out nights and blue skies and sunshine forever as far as I'm concerned. I'm not joking... I flipped out when I saw this. Go here to learn all about them. My dream is to move somewhere in California or Plano, Texas and buy a really nice small patch of land... and just live in this thing. You can have all the A/C, heat, cable, dsl, whatever you want... it's fully adaptable to electricity and all that crap - it even has a toilet (a porta potty-style one, not great... but re-thinkable). Small plumbing with a small drain for a sink would be so easy to install it's not even funny. Shower? Outside with a hose! It's bolted down to the ground via the legs and has a door thing that you walk up in and out of. It's small and has no windows (only drawback) but it does come with an option of surveillance cameras with little monitors inside that "act like electronic windows" - hey, windows where you can adjust the color, tint, contrast and horizontal on your natural surroundings! The size is weird but, in a way... with something like this your lawn becomes your house. I would love to live on a lawn. My crapola apartment in Manhattan isn't this big and I've been in it for seven years! No kitchen? I can count the number of times I've cooked here in my NYC apartment in the last year on my fucking weiner.
    These things are totally inhabitable and very secure... go check out the site. They are made of concrete (the inner walls of the structure), steel and special poly-fibers and plasticisers. The legs are a series of steel shafts imbedded into the concrete basses in the ground. It's made by the U.S. Army so I don't have to worry about any lefty hipsters cramping my style. Bliss. I'm serious... somebody hook me up with an endorsement deal with one of these things in Cali and I am so there. It's like "Goodbye frozen maze of death city" and "Hello perfect world forever sunny UFO lawn!" I'm not kidding... somebody please get me out of here!

10. Jim

Copyright 2003 Mark Allen

some week-old notes to myself for the4/21/03 "Top Ten":
- photo of defiant legs walking, "Mr. Element" story
- an egg
- screaming bird nest perseverance
- write and take pictures of me in Jesse Helms giant condom house TAG tape
- people's zombified horror tapping into own fears reaction to Farrah tape
- draw picture of Kim Stairway (is it my body?) exhibit, draw pic of bike me seeing her sitting in street w/ shaky cell phone problems
- plastic army dwellings thing my new home forever in Cali
- Pete Drake and Jennifer mailed to CD lathe saw is nice compliment
- change your identity banned FBI alien head spam email order now is interesting marketing ploy
- nice spontaneity w/ Jim day (w/ pic of Great Chicago Fire)
- MIT wearable comp guys thing finally
- Vermonster
- lyrics to The New York Dolls' "Personality Crisis"


Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for April 14th, 2003*
* note: this was one of the most confusing, harebrained and baffling "Top Ten" entries I ever wrote. I started the entry by placing the photos first, then allowing people to write in what they thought the entry would be on based on the photos. The emails poured in... then I changed my mind or got uninspired about some of the entries. Then I completed 5 of them. Then some of the photos were already included in other entries. Then I changed my mind. Now it is an abandoned, windy ghost town and a dusty, nostalgic relic - channeling the halcyon daze of a once-wonderful, week-long eon that people probably scan and ponder why no lucky promised-by-me prizes were handed out (to people who guessed 'correctly'). It was fun. Thanks to everyone who took a "stab" at guessing. There are some interesting things I tried to write about buried amongst the cacophony. What?
All guesses are below each entry in blue, the final entry is in black... #4 and #3 and #8 and #7 and #6 are the only ones completed.

1. What is it?

Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #3):

1. "I wish you people would keep your alternative lifestyles to yourselves. You people make me sick."

2. You witnessed the first male birth?

3. Your weekly visit to your therapist.

4. Twister for crystal meth junkies. - Chad

...and this monolithic guess by insufferable wit Dan-o:
5. Attempting his latest interview with a disabled person, Mark catches the biggest of them all: a schizophrenic homicidal manically depressed transgender double amputated lactose intolerant dyslexic hermaphrodite (with herpes.)  For the sake of this brevity and clarity in this email, we'll give him the pseudonym "Lefty".    Pressed for time as usual, Mark forgets that he has once again triple-booked and attempts to take the interview along with him while he goes to another massage client, goes for a quick jog to Brooklyn, listens to more mind-numbing music on his Discman, meets with Jim enroute to a small private party they had already R.S.V.P.'d, meets with Gregory just to touch base as friends.  Fortunately and not surprisingly, the disabled interviewee (and all his personalities) agree(s) to accommodate Mark's slap-dash arrangements, slips on his straight-jacket, and is "ready to roll."

All went well for the first three steps of the journey until Lefty took a header down the first eight flights of stairs in Mark's building.  Ooopsie!  Assisting his interviewee, Mark helps Lefty regain consciousness and they continue on Mark's way now having lost precious time.   Four hours into the multi-tasking rushed frenzy, Mark gets a cellular call from Jim reminding him to "pick-up a little something" for their hosts.  Damn, another side-tracking!  Something will just have to be cut out of the schedule.  I suppose it'll have to be Gregory.  Oh well, he's used to it.

Fleeting at the last precious seconds, Mark was completely unable to obtain anything for their hosts when he meets Jim at the door of the apartment for the gathering.  Not to be upset by small improprieties, Jim is more startled to see the straight-jacketed loony that seems to have followed Mark to their rondez-vous.  Not that Mark hasn't been stalked by loonies before, it's just that this is the first one to dress the part, making him an unmistakable loony, as if a label had been pasted on him reading "100% Pure Loon".  After Mark explains the situation, Jim sighs that oh-too-familiar sigh and resigns to the hope that maybe they can pass off Lefty as a gift to the hosts, possibly a form of entertainment?

And so it was.  Lefty became a sheer hit at the party, quickly gaining popularity among the guests that were want to have him at their next soiree.  Lefty kept them laughin' with anecdotes of his truly tragic life, card tricks, and of course the team Twister tournament (see caption photo for entry #1.)

By the end of the evening Mark was both proud and just a tiny bit envious.  "Why can't I be lucky like that?" Mark asked himself.  Count your blessings, we are all favored in our own unique and special ways. - Dan-o

6. A review of "Puck from The Real World's Guide About How To Get People To Pay Attention To You At Parties" Now in paperback!!! - Marc

7. In a move perhaps ironic "Mike the Perv" was placed into a straightjack- it yet again, presumably to protect him from being mobbed by victimized bystanders. When given a chance to comment he only had this to say. " I promise to stop force-masturbating everyone I see. I'll keep my hands to myself, really I will." - Brock

8. This is what happens to all your "massage clients". After you collect money from the "client", the "client" winds up in your basement, in a straight jacket while you & your friends sit around, drinking beer they bought with the money you took from the "client". - Coye

9. Mark returns to Wonder Bar to pick up HX and Next! LOL! - Neal

10. You attended a preview on the highly-anticipated avant-garde one man show, "SPERM:  Death In The Vaginal Canal", starring the underappreciated has-been Ryan O'Neal.  You snapped this pic at the dramatic climax (so to speak) of Ryan's excruciating death scene.  If only "Death In Venice" had been so provocative. - Arg

11. Judging from the pompadour, Reverend Billy has taken up escape artistry?? -Bill

2. What is it?
Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #5):

1. Uh, Farrah Fawcett appearing as a contestant on Wheel of Fortune? - Carla

2. She needs some more New You Shop on those eyes.

3. When curling iron's go wrong! - Chad

4. Farrah Fawcett has been chosen as the new chairperson for the National Cross-Eye Foundation. Afflicted members at the announcement dinner she attended were surprised to witness that Farrah has a twin sister. - Brock

5a. Rare misprint of Farrah on her shampoo bottle that Jim found in the garbage for you.
5b. Rare headshot of Farrah that was actually submitted by her soon-to-be ex-agent for the casting call of Logan's Run.
or, better yet...
5c. Jim found this in the garbage for you... a rare misprint of Farrah on her shampoo bottle that her was actually submitted by her soon-to-be ex-agent for the casting call of Logan's Run. - Coye

6. Farrah's embarrassing appearance on Late Night With David Letterman in late nineties? What's that thing in central park David? An Embankement? Is that a real window David? - Christopher

7. You're referring to the following comment FF made on Letterman a few years ago when she seemed especially wigged out over (or on) something:
When Dave asked her about getting older, Farrah's answer was: "You know Central Park? Oh, of course you do. Well, I went and climbed up's not a wall...but it's like a wall...and some of them are big and some of them are little...oh. oh. oh. ah. ah. OH! embank...I...EMBANKMENT! It's called an embankment." - Matt

8. "Farrah Fawcett-ex-Majors, the newly appointed Ambassadoress to the Golan Heights in her Rose Garden appearance with her appointor, George "Don't Make Me Invade Syria Too" Bush.  Meanwhile, Ms. Faucet had mistakenly understood she was invited to the White House to display her Bush." - Arg

9. "I gotta see that plastic surgeon" - Mario

3. Homemade raw ginger water sipped all day = inner tube peace
    Ever feel hung over? Peckish? Nervous? Murderous? Regretful? Discombobulated? At the party Jim and I were at Saturday (see #4 below) the cute redheaded girl who lived with her boyfriend in the great house in Chapel Hill that we (I at least) salivated over told us about something she does at the Japanese restaurant she works at when she's feeling kind of blah. She takes a giant hunk of raw ginger (which you can buy in most grocery stores for like 10 cents for a whole bloby branch of) and slices it up into tiny pieces really fast with a knife or grates it (be sure to wash it first like you would a potato)... then she steeps that pile in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes or at least until it's turned into a strong brew... then she pours that (chunks and all - don't worry you can eat it) into one of those giant water pitcher jugs you see at restaurants and fills the rest with ice water. Then she just sips from that giant pitcher all day long. Within an hour she's feeling fan-friggin'tastic (as Peggy Hill would say). The actual thing that ginger does to your body is that it speeds up the re-generation of the healthy, normal lining inside all the tubes inside your digestive system... making them strong and hearty on the inside as a trampoline... and ready to take on gravel or nails (if you felt like eating that - which you probably could after this). I tried this the next day... the ginger I used for it cost me 35 cents (see my little picture of my big cup full of ginger chunks in the transcendental checkerboard above)... and afterwards I felt ravenously hungry and robust and able to jog 100 miles and horny as hell... what could you possibly want in life?

Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #3):

1. Transcendental Checkers?

2. Whatever it is it will probably be the dullest entry this week.

3. You're going to have a photo exhibit at the East Iowa Community College just outside Cedar Rapids. - Rich

 4. Left over images you found on your digital camera from the "Jar" experiment. - Coye


4. Jim took me to a party in Brooklyn Saturday night and the whole fun evening reminded me of college...
    Jim took me to a big party in the basement of a block-wide loft space building in Brooklyn on Saturday night. We had a good time. The whole night really reminded me of college:
    We watched a bunch of free-form musicians perform (just like college)...
    We watched an escape artist break out of a straightjacket(just like college - except replace the words 'escape artist' with 'ourselves' and replace the word 'break out of' with 'break into' and replace 'straightjacket' with 'cadaver lab in the science building' plus add the words 'stoned out of our minds' or perhaps replace the words 'escape artist' with 'me' and 'straightjacket' with 'deadline')...
    We drank tons and tons of beer out of a keg (just like college)...
    We got lost in the basement area of the building and wandered around like Scooby and Daphne looking for fake spooks, and set up my camera in the darkness to take out picture (above - don't I look sad? Just like college? Sometimes?)
    ...and got lost in air conditioning vents (just like college - except replace the words 'got lost' with 'lived in')...
    We almost drank bottles of pee... (just like college!)
    We were amazed at the amount of gushing pee that poured out of German girls with punk hair, leather pants and knit scarves who yank their pants down and squat next to giant industrial heaters (sorry no picture - oh and that is so college - no word replacement needed)...
    We talked to people about "getting out of town" (just like college)...
    We smoked pot (just like college - except add the words 'other people's' before 'pot')...
    We wanted to get our portrait done by one of those wacky charicature artists who was there - like the ones you see at Great Adventure or Six Flags but "couldn't afford it" (just like college - except replace 'our picture done' with 'dignity back' and keep the rest the same)...
    We watched a girl hold a bottle of beer in her mouth and make string art (just like college - except our conceptual philosophies in performance class would critique it afterwards)...
    I met 1,803,143 of Jim's music friends (just like college - wait, huh?)...
    We watched the band Marmalade play (just like college - except in college the band names would have been The Whirligigs or Monster Island Plus or Mystic Jugs)...
    We walked pregnant friends to cabs in the middle of the night because it was the right thing to do (hmmm... replace the word 'friend' with 'ourselves' and 'cab' with 'dealer's house' and it's got college written all over it!)...
    We listened with enraptured, salivating delight as people talked about living in huge one bedroom homes in Chapel Hill for only $500 a month (just like college - except replace the word 'one bedroom house' with 'East Village shithole' and "Chapel Hill' with 'New York City')...
    We got into debates about certain paintings in the space and different musicians' performances from the night (like college - except replace the word 'debate' with 'fist fights')...
    We watched in strange awe as people performed odd keroke-style, Udo Kier-esque ballads while hiding behind scrims (like college except replace 'people' with 'Udo Kier' and 'Udo Kier-esque' with 'Udo Kier' - in Berlin the summer we backpacked through Europe)...
    We suddenly looked the other way and suddenly saw someone we had to talk to on the other side of the room when the keg donation bag was passed around even though we had four beers each (just like college - except replace the words 'looked the other way and suddenly saw someone we had to talk to on the other side of the room' with 'plunged our fists into excitedly' and replace the words 'keg donation bag' with 'pillow case half full of pills someone just got back from Mexico with' and replace the words 'four beers' with 'four tabs').
    It was a blast and also a blast from the past... in the future!!!
    It was a fun night - and I got to meet lots of Jim's Brooklyn music friends who were all very cool. Afterwards Jim and I deposited our last subway tokens ever (a little sad - it's a tactile method of subway currency we both prefer over the Metrocard - now gone after 52 years as of April 12th, 2003) and got lost on the 3AM subways... a little drunk... making out every ten minutes... all the way home...

Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #5, with #6 a close second):

1. You and Jim are being held as POWs in Bagdhad and are forced to drink each other's pee!

2. I think I see the faint image of a ghost shape standing to Jim's left!

3. The Blair Witch Project 3

4. You and Jim finally got yer beefy thighs crammed into your camoflage jammies and yer trying to not show off yer camel toe! - Chad

Dan-o strikes again:
5. Finding both the time and expenses to be the call for necessity, Jim and Mark finally concede to the idea of living together and have found in idyllic little "fixer-upper" on the upper East Side near Sutton Place.
     Advertised as a "Charming studio, exposed brick walls, built in cabinetry, central heat..." they were only taken back for a minute to find that the "exposed brick walls" were the only thing that the wrecking ball hadn't missed, and the rest of the apartment was exposed to the outdoor elements by gaping holes where it hadn't.  "Central heat" meant that the steam heat radiator was located in the center of the room.  But like all loving couples, the two were much too much in bliss to see the loft's shortcomings and quickly snatched up the lease.  The realtor was only too happy to sign them in after finally finding a viable couple to win her favor over the one and only other applicant with the wild-eyed frenzy look on his face, who seemed always to perspire and salivate constantly, and who she had heard mumble once "...and it's sooo wonderfully close to the United Nations!"  The last comment hadn't alarmed her so much at the moment, but it did connect in her mind later when he had enquired about the buildings terms of agreement on fire arms and explosives.
    Here, (picture #4) Jim and Mark pose for a camera option during their first house warming. - Dan-o

6. That picture of me sittin on the metal thing makes me look like a progeria patient and you're my caregiver. - Jim

7. You & Jim in the bnasement before your "massage client" arrives. Also, an excuse to show off what a cute couple you two are and how sexy you look in a pair of camouflage pants. - Coye


5. What is it?

Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #1,000,000):

1a. You and Jim got lost in an air shaft vent?
1b. You and Jim ate magic mushrooms and grew really big?
1c. You and Jim visited Willy Wonka's factory and walked down that optical illusion hallway thing-y?

2. You have been decapitated or you and Jim have joined the same heads onto one body? I haven't seen Jims body -but I hope it's your body you used-grrr...

3. You and Jim are trying to gain public sympathy by falling down a well.

4. Your heads have been cut off and tossed in a dumpster and now you and Jim are walking headless around the lower east side bumping into things because you can't see anything. If these are your heads in a dumpster then who took the photo?

5. Back to the new couple's apartment: here (picture #5) Jim and Mark find out the awful truth about the square hole in the ceiling that they had mistakenly thought was a skylight is, in actuality, the waste disposal system for the apartment above them.
    Although the exposed plumbing through-out the building was at first thought "quaint", it proved to be more of a problem when they found out it was completely unserviceable.  Their one and only working faucet did manage to render some fluid that could be considered "water" if one includes the definition to accept a brown and rust colored, dead insect contaminated chowder to be called "water".  Over-night guests were warned not to drink it, and to be sure to wear shoes in the shower.  As theirs was not an apartment with a working toilet, they had never suspected the problems of their upstairs neighbor.  Nay, they hadn't even suspected they had a neighbor above them as they were under the impression that theirs was the top floor.  Their nativity was short lived.
    Here (picture #5) upon surprise house warming gift delivery from the upstairs neighbor,  the boys find that "Santa Fe style bathroom décor" refers not to city, but to the railroad line. - Dan-o

6. You and Jim accidentally drove your Jeep into what you thought was a ravine, but turned out to be a rift in the space/time continuum which hurled you into an alternate universe where you became trapped in poster advertisments for the movie "Willard"(1971 version), and were consequently hunted down by an army of giant and vicious rats that live in the air conditioner vents, and who are loyal only to their nerdy master. The fifth entry is going to be about your daring escape. - Justin

7. The time I (Mark) found the fabled thru-land route to China, and lost (the left one) of my favorite Clogs when I stumbled over the partially decomposed (but oddly still recognizable body of Al Capone and fell into a dark crevice, just like college, except replace crevice with acid induced fugue that when finally coming out of I knew with utter certainty that I was God's gift to everybody and that I had a responsibility to make sure that gift comes with a price tag, or that it will never be marked down or exchanged with a different item of equal or lesser value, or that as a gift one must realize that even though it's the thought that counts it's the gift that pays for itself whenever possible, if not in every case, but hey this is college, not the real world and what am I gonna use my degree for anyway, and if I have a choice I want to be thought of as a giver, not a taker, but that's beside the point although I've forgotten what the point is at this point, and only want to make sure Jim and I can make it back to the surface so we can tell everybody about this awesome find that seems oddly useless when you think about it because who wants to walk to China anyway considering they are Godless communist and are probably responsible for creating SARS even though it seems silly that if you can create a deadly strain of something, wouldn't you want it to be something more than just a wimpy little cold variation that only kills very old people and those who were considered ugly by their friends and acquaintances anyway, but that also is beside the point since I was supposed to be telling you about this hole we found that obviously, when I think about it, isn't all that impressive, so together we walk (I limp) to the opening and make it back to my apartment where we will spend the rest of the day playing bored games and making prank phone calls to our friends, because even though those college days may be over, who says we have to grow up? - Brock

8. The view from the changing room (a.k.a. booth-with-trap-door-that-opens-to-chute-which-leads-to basement where your "massage client" is asked to strip down. - Coye

9. "Mark & Jim discover begrudgingly that Gregory's sugar walls do indeed lead to China" -Arg

6. "What do they want for their buck fifty? Eternal life?" *
    This photo has no real entry, and has absolutely nothing to do with Dumpling House, which I decided to make this entry about... I just liked the way this stuff in my apartment looked against my white wall - so I took a photo of it and I was right, it looks great against a white HTML background!
      But I WILL tell you an update to my Dumpling House (in lower Manhattan at 118A Eldridge St., between Broome and Grand) entry from #9 in the 3/31/03 "Top Ten". A lot of my friends have been going there since I blabbed about it, and I have been eating perhaps a bit too much of their fine products. But here's the sometimes problem: It often gets crowded in the cramped space... and the friendly staff gets flustered sometimes. Still friendly... but flustered. It seems that if you don't make your presence known... even after they have taken your order... sometimes more than once even... they might forget your order and give it to someone else (everyone basically orders the same thing).
    The first time Domenic went there, he came back later and said "I was at Dumpling House for twenty minutes and they ignored me! I eventually left!" He's not the first to report this. It's even (almost) happened to me.
    The next day, Domenic figured out a solution to the problem so simple that no one had thought of it. He walked in the front door with a beaming smile and said "I discovered the solution to getting service with a smile at Dumpling House Mr. Allen!"
    "Oh really? What? "I asked.
    "I waved money." he stated bluntly.
*line stolen from the film "The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3"
Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was none... how could you possibly?):

1. Marcel Marceau has a new speaker balancing act?

2. Are you writing a story about your one lonely speaker? - Domenic

3. Er, how Michaelangelo got his groove back. Fuck that's corny. - Carla

4. The new Speaker of the House, David, says he will work to bring a sense of shock and awe to the position. Perceived by some as being stoned all the time, David maintains that even though he may be the head of a separated and possibly dysfunctional body, he will work to facilitate sweeping changes such as America has never seen. Many feel his hard-headed approach is a welcome change from the infighting and self serving ways of the past. Others believe he will be just another "talking head" with no real power to effect a body of consensus on issues such as tax relief and homeland security. Regardless, David brings to his new position 300 watts of power to use as he will. - Brock

5. The cover photo for latest interview in Blueboy magazine. - Coye

    On a recent late night Sunday, April 13th episode of "Nova" here in NY on PBS channel 13 appropriately titled "Runaway Universe"... I learned some rather distressing, layman's terms facts about the fate of the universe around us. The episode was all about the latest that scientists and cosmologists know about the nature of our entire reality... more clues about the "big bang", what makes our universe behave the way it does, and... most importantly... where it is all headed.
    Here's the latest:
    Now, if you were to make a pie chart of the matter that form up our universe... the percentages would go as follows:
    - 5% would be made up of "_________matter" (I forget the real name), which is what the Earth, other planets, stars, rocks, etc. are made up of.
    - Roughly another 25% would be made up of "dark matter" - an invisible and only recently understood (even then, barely understood) matter that seems to "hold everything together" kind of like Jell-O. This discovery of "dark matter" is what has lead to other recent theories like "string theory" or other "unifying theories" that aim to tie everything in our known reality into an understandable formula. Einstein apparently spent a lot of time prophesizing about something such as "dark matter"... but later discounted his own theories of such a kind of "glue" - calling his own ideas a "mistake". Many scientists today wish he were still alive - so he could know that one of the few theories he later changed his mind on turned out to be true (based on discoveries using today's modern technology which Einstein didn't have). Even so... "dark matter" is still very mysterious and controversial... and it's existence is still debatable amongst more conservative cosmologists... but as time goes on more and more scientists are agreeing that it exists in some form. Still, they know almost nothing about it. AND IT MAKES UP ABOUT 25% OF EVERYTHING!!!
    - Okay now for the even worse news: the remaining roughly 70% of the universe is now believed to be made up of an even more un-understandable and almost incomprehensible thing called "dark energy". "Dark energy" is very cutting edge amongst cosmologists... but, much like "dark matter" is being more and more accepted into the scientific community as the main ingredient in everything we know. And they know even less about it.
    Pretty bitter pie huh? Yum...
    One of the things that lead to discovering this very new "dark energy" that no one knows anything about was the now generally accepted fact that our universe is not, I repeat NOT expanding necessarily because of momentum left over from the "big bang". But is generally expanding because of the very nature of "nothing" in our universe... and that is to EXPAND. That's right... NOTHING EXPANDS. Those two words now go together like ketchup and freedom fries. You see... all that vast area in the universe between stars and galaxies and super novas and black holes... you know all the empty space that looks black because of the distance? Well it contains way, way-beyond-microscopic ions... and any patch of empty space, whether it has atmosphere or not (even the space between your eyes and the computer screen in front of you) contains ions that are in a constant state of appearing and disappearing and re-appearing all over the space faster than even the speed of anything we know like light (ions doing this are the reason for that failed 'Super Collider' giant ring machine thing in Texas and are partial evidence for some scientists trying to prove alternate dimensions and time travel - but that's too much to discuss here). All these infinite numbers of ions doing this in every square micrometer of space in the universe do something... that's right... they cause in infintisimal amount of friction. What does this nothingness friction do? That's correct... push everything outwards from itself... expand!
    So... this means that some cosmologists' older theories that the universe as we know it, once it stopped it's momentum from the big bang, would begin to "reverse" and go backwards and eventually billions and billions of years later "implode" into a state that it existed in before the big bang (a tiny dot) and wipe out any evidence of anything that existed in it ever - is NOT the case. Since outward momentum seems to be the nature of "dark matter" and "dark energy" (which, remember no one knows anything about)... that means that, you guessed it... the universe is just going to keep expanding forever and ever forever and ever forever and ever forever and ever... you get the idea. Scientists have already accepted the fact that the empty space surrounding our known universe is infinite... that's old news. But NOW depressed and Prozac-seeking cosmologists everywhere are grappling with the frown-inducing discovery that our universe will just keep going and going outwards and outwards and getting thinner and thinner and thinner and everything growing farther and farther apart forever and ever. In other words, if mankind were to have inhabited the Earth 10,000,000,000,000 years from now instead of now - and invented telescopes and satellites and stuff... they would look out into the universe and see ONLY the Milky Way galaxy that we exist in... and none of the other zillions of things we know are out there because we have invented things like the Hubble telescope to see and photograph them. Because by that time everything would have expanded out so far away from each other that everything would be too far to see... like 100 million times the distance it is now. It would be all... "Is that it? Just this one little galaxy... well that's the boring universe as we know it! Oh well..." How sad is that? AND IT JUST KEEPS GOING!!! That means the ultimate answer to the universe is this: isolation and loneliness. Yep.
    One cosmologist on the "Runaway Universe" Nova show literaly used the words "eerie, cold and very creepy" to describe this new realization about our reality.
    Scientists everywhere are hanging themselves because they now realize it would be better to at least think that one day the universe may reverse on itself and implode and stop existing... but now the fact that it's just going to keep going outwards forever with everything getting farther and farther apart from each other until everything is more isolated and lonelier than any lonely kid who was every alone on the playground at grade school because he liked science instead of football. Pass me a gun...
    You know all those morality plays and "Twilight Zone" episodes where someone is granted eternal life? And at first they are all happy and content and then it shows them 1,000,000 years later still alive but driven to madness and insanity and trying everything they can to die because the thought of lasting forever is worse than any Hell they can possibly imagine? The state of the cosmologist and scientific community right now in a nutshell.
    Go have some fucking pie.
Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest: all of them... think about it):

1. You started painting your apartment again.

2. Mark, are you inhaling paint fumes again?

3. You watched more Dallas Cowboys games with straight people and are having another LSD trip migraine headache.

4a. The book pictured was so bad you vomited and put it in the Jar.
4b. The Jar has returned to claim you.

5. You got a secret sex change and dyed your hair and a huge eyeball with glowing green rays coming out of it is following you around all the time and bugging you. - Eric

6. Cindy Wilson of The B-52's gets severe brainwaves from the reincarnation of her late brother Ricky, which sends her to the real Planet Claire hidden in the reverse-image nebula to her left.  As she's flying through, she sees the nebula as it really is just like Keir Dullea did in "2001: A Space Odyssey". - Matt

7. You held one of those crime scene investigation ultraviolet lights to your bedroom ceiling, just before a huge discorporate eyeball blinked open amongst the mess and melted your soul. - Justin

8. Having taken the Rorschach Test before, Melvin felt sure he would get it right this time. "It's a picture of my Easter bunny mom gave me one year. I poked it's eyes out with a stick and showed them to everybody at the Easter Egg hunt. Mom was so upset with me she passed out, so I went looking for my stick...... - Brock

9.  Garbage found illustration that best "illustrates" your reaction to the "Jar" experiment. - Coye

10. Whatever happened in the book "Dark Continuum" is happening now somewhere in outer space as we speak...and the image next to the book is a negative image of that very phenomenom. It'''s ALIVE!!!! - Carla

Lionel pictured in 1953, surrounded by some of the pulp art covers from a mere sub-fraction of  the infinite number of mind-bending books he wrote
8. The unbelievable science fiction novels of Lionel Fanthorpe
    If any of you keep up with my webpage at all (like you should you will-less SLAVES!), you'll know my affection for mystery "web-work" novelist Harry Stephen Keeler. Well, thanks, once again to Richard Polt, founder of the Harry Stephen Keeler Society, I may have discovered another slightly different but no less loopy author - Lionel Fanthorpe. He wrote a zillion novels for various quickie sci-fi publishing houses - particularly in the 1950's (often under many pseudonyms). To keep up with the grueling deadlines (sometimes having to finish a 158 page novel every 12 days) he would often just speak his novels into a reel-to-reel tape recorder (hiding under a blanket so as to keep his writing 'secret' intact)... then send the tapes off to a transciber who would write everything down (with a wide-eyed, blank look on their faces as they typed no doubt). The trouble with this method is that Lionel often would re-introduce characters that had died chapters earlier, forgetting they had expired... or get plot lines twisted and weaved based in his geniusly overactive imagination and memory. But the most interesting characteristic of this method of working was Fainthorpe's amazingly colorful tendency to just go on and on and on in bafflingly complex detail about whatever his characters were doing...

    Check out this passage about a woman deciding to brush her teeth in his novel "Dark Continuum" (the cover of which I used in the above entry #7):

    She screwed up the securing diagram and was overwhelmed by a sudden desire to clean her teeth. It became the be all and end all of existence for a few seconds. The desire to clean her teeth grew absolutely compulsive, she could have no more resisted it than she could have flown unaided between two planets.
    Moving quickly from the radio to her living quarters, she squeezed a little water into a plastic container and put a few dabs of toothpaste on her brush. She slipped the brush into her mouth and pressed the small button in the end which activated its electric motor. The bristles-soft, gentle bristles, guaranteed not to damage the enamel or the gum-moved swiftly against the teeth. She began with the top left molars, worked round to the bicuspids, and came round again from them to the incisors, the canines, the laterals and the centrals. Once she had reached the front of her mouth, she-changed her grip on the brush so that it moved round to the top right, travelling over the bicuspids and molars as it moved. Coming down the sides of her teeth, she paused and took a deep breath, placed a little more paste upon the brush and moved it round again this time beginning with the actual chewing surface of the upper right molars, coming round and cleaning again between the crevices until she had worked round to the left-hand molars.
    Once more she put paste on the brush in this same elaborate ritual and concentrated her attention now upon the inside of the upper left molars, the inside of the upper left bicuspids, round across the incisors and so back to the right-hand masticators. She rinsed the brush, reapplied the paste and repeated the whole ritualistic process with the lower teeth. She cleaned the brush very carefully and then, in a set way, put it back and moved back towards the radio set.
    She had taken barely a dozen paces when she was assailed by a horrible thought that she had not cleaned the top left inside molars. She stood in an agony of uncertainty for five minutes, then went back to the bathroom area of her living quarters, recharged the brush and carefully cleaned again the top left molars on their inside surfaces. She looked at her reflection in the mirror; it foamed back at her like a rabid dog.
    "This time I have done them all," she said. "What about the bottom inside molars?" asked her reflection. "I have done them all," said Marian firmly. "If you have forgotten them the bacteria responsible for dental caries will get in," said the voice in her mind. "It is no good being clean on the outside if you have forgotten the inside. Are you sure you have done the left inside?" "Yes, I have, I have." Marian picked up her toothbrush and flung it savagely across the dome; it bounced from the thick plastic glass and broke on the floor.
    No Wonder she has a flying eyeball pestering her. And all this inside a science fiction novel! Check out this passage from "Return of Zeus":
    The co-pilot was right. Even with the eyes shut a blueness was still everywhere. The world had suddenly turned into a vast blue phantasmagoria, a panoply of blue that was everywhere. A vista of blue desert, of blue twilight. A blue glitter, a blue sparkle, a coralescing, scintillating blue that seemed to have no end and no beginning. There was no escape from it. It was an inevitable blue, an unescapable blue. They could smell it now, it seemed to be penetrating their nostrils, their lungs, the pores of their skin. It was seeping into their bodies as thought they were immersed in a bath of it. They felt that it was invading them, that somehow it was penetrating to the innermost depths of their souls, their minds and their bodies. There was no stopping that blueness.
    Or this passage from "The Girl From Tomorrow":
    She hurried to the tiny bathroom and splashed rather than washed; flying upstairs again she dressed with breathless haste and flew through into the kitchenette of her minature flat. Cornflakes spilled into a Swedish-modern plastic bowl like coins from a perverted Mint. Milk drenched the gold, dissolving it into a miry bog of gooey, yellow white mud. Sugar descended like badly thrown artificial snow in a provincial pantomime. It sank as snowflakes sink into river banks where there is not quite enough frost to freeze ugly mud and provide a safe anchorage for the miniature white stars. Estelle's spoon dipped into the milk-sugar-grain sog and her even white teeth made some sort of pretence at catching the mouthfuls as they went through. Any relationship between the frenzied gulping and normal mastication was purely co-incidental.
    Are all the characters in his novel's stoned out of their minds 24/7? Fainthorpe was, and still is, a very skilled and unique writer... it's just that his technique lead to a sometimes style that often falls into the "bad writing" category in the same way that Ed Wood's films fell into the "bad filmmaking" category. Same with Harry Keeler. The similarity I see with Harry Keeler here is the phenomenon of the mind working much too fast and "big" for the hands and typewriter (or keypad). Keeler and Fainthorpe both seemed to lay down their words as their brains leapt forward at light speed... and their hands (or the hands of a transcriber) scrambled to keep up. The fact that Fainthorpe spoke many of his novels onto tape and then had perplexed transcribers type them for him makes a lot of sense... one can almost hear him speaking in a William Shatner monotone, under a blanket, into a microphone... going on and on and on... lost in his own thoughts but still keeping up with the story... censoring nothing. Where as most writers would censor themselves and "trim the fat" so to speak... Keeler and Fainthorpe wrote (or spoke) EVERYTHING down. Hey it's all good!
    Unlike Keeler though, Fainthorpe is still alive, still writing... and keenly aware of his cult following. While I am ever so slowly still adding titles to my Keeler collection... I have yet to lay my hands on a Fainthorpe novel. But for now... I'm content trolling around the Lionel Fainthorpe homepage (see what he's doing today) or the very informative other Fainthorpe page (be sure to sample their excellent random Fainthorpe quote generator) and sampling little hord'erves of his writing. Hors d'oeuvres that are spicy... yet quaint... with a quaintness that almost defies... by their definition... their spiciness... as my saliva glands ooze their natural juices... juices that echo a process spanning back years in the evolutionary history of our universe of cruel dog-eat-dog... as I stare at the literary hors d'oeuvres like a salivating dog, but actually a human looking at words (is there a difference I wonder?) and boldy choose one based on the quality of it's all wheat cracker base... pondering the evolutionary connection... unable to look back... a God in my own universe of choices and words and crackers...
Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #2, think about it):

1. You finally met Jim's dad.

2. Dominic 20 years from now!!! Its gotta be!!! Tiiiiiiiiiiime machiiiiiiiiiiiiine!!! - Chad

3. Curtis, the sleazy, eldest Baldwin brother, whom the family doesn't like to talk about. - Justin

4. Congratulating himself on finally fulfilling the dream of seeing Mark Allen naked and full frontal, James "show me the money shot" Iwantatuchit relaxes with a stiff drink to settle his nerves. "It was everything I had hoped for. I just wish I had a picture for the scrapbook, but then it would have to be a panoramic shot"  - Brock

5. Rare photo of your very first "massage client". - coye

9.What is it?

Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was #square root of a infinity times zero):

1. Marc Jacobs and his new Spring range?  - Craig from New Zealand

2. B.A.C.H (Brutal Army of Cyborg Hippies). - Justin

3. How nerds will take over the world wearing those contraptions on their heads, where they were schooled on the ways of nerd world dominance and what they will be wearing to the afterparty. - Carla

4. MIT students field testing their entrees into the competition for the most amazing new invention to "push" televised pictures directly into the brain. While the entrant count was impressive, some contestants failed to show up. Most of the missing were later discovered in their dorm rooms watching a filmed loop of "Mike the Perv" in action. - Brock

5. Pix from the Johnny Mnemonic-Wanna-Be convention. - Coye

6. "Smuggled peak at the new Spring 2003 Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterly.  No longer afraid to admit it's gay sensibilities, it prominently features the Men Of M.I.T special pull-out section." - Arg

7. Perhaps it's a grad student at MIT is trying to test out the odd theoriesof the cosmologists quoted in "Runaway Universe" (Entry #7) with some "stuff he found around the labs". - El Kimo Sabe

Here were what people guessed the entry would be about based soley on the picture (the guess that came the closest was "you're ALL winners!"):

1. I, (Mark Allen) will explain the meaning of life to my readers using only one picture, that being a naked and full frontal picture of me. If I decide not to post this picture in the "Top 10" (gratuitous possible reference to my own staggering endowment intended) then I, at the very least will send this pic to Brock since he is most deserving, while surely being very easy on the eyes, and possibly one of the most entertaining people I will ever meet. That he is probably quite humble, in my mind would be further reason to reward him for his loyal readership. I might even suggest to Brock that he congratulate himself with a stiff drink which might also serve to settle his nerves after viewing this pic. Wait........I forgot, it's going to have to be the panoramic shot. Mark, I hope you don't think I'm treating you like a "piece of meat." I already like you for your mind. - Brock

2. Whatever it is it's going to have to be accompanied by a picture ofsomething appearing on Mark's television screen. Coz he hasn't put up any pictures of that yet and you know he does that all the freaking time. - Carla

Copyright 2003 Mark Allen

Mark Allen's Top Ten Things
for April 7th, 2003

1. Calvin Klein recently losing it and going cocaine-brained-bonkers at a New York Nicks basketball game (or did he?)
    I don't know if you heard about this - it was all over the news. Fashion world mega-success zillionare Calvin Klein was at a NY Nicks game last week when, as the game was in play, he decided that he really needed to go babble incoherently to Nick player Latrell Sprewell. He suddenly got up from his seat and, with a big, open-mouthed smile, walked straight onto the court to have a little chat with Latrell - whom he grabbed by the arm and tried to start a conversation with. At which point Latrell was like "uh..." Latrell later said to reporters; " I wasn't scared, I was just wondering when security was going to get there." Klein, 60, was escorted back to his seat by a baffled and laughing security team . After sitting down he loudly yelled, "Sprewell." Security and friends that were with him reported that afterward he was "babbling incoherently."
    Klein later told the press that he is on the brink of facing what has been a growing addiction problem, for which the incident at the NY Nicks game was a wake up call to, and that he is currently "seeking treatment."
        Boy oh boy... can I relate. No, not the addiction problem (which I am suspicious may be covering an even graver, temporary condition that many are afraid to speak openly about) ...I think there was something else going on. Let me relate a story to you:
    The year: 1988
    The place: Denton, Texas
    Me: in college
    I had a friend in college whom I met through the art department named Ray. We were actually very, very good friends for a number of years - and he was kind of a unique guy. He was involved heavily in the art scene in Denton, but one trait that set him apart from most of the art creeps on campus was his rabid addiction to football. I think the reason that we became friends was because he used to infuriate the hipsters in painting 101 by doing earnest, no-nonsense watercolor portraits of his favorite football players while everyone else was trying to copy Sherrie Levine and David Salle. Everyone in our high-concept classes reacted pretty much the way all those art school kids reacted to Thora Birch's paintings of  the Little Black Sambo's restaurant logo paintings in the film "Ghost World".  Ray would just sit there and smile and say "I think football is really great" while all the art zombies had themselves a sweaty little hen-pecking ceremony over his work and whether he should be "allowed" to do it or not. It was genius... so needless to say I admired Ray and we became instant friends. Where am I going with this? Oh yea... gays and sports:
    Ray, who is straight, had a particular passion: it was The Dallas Cowboys. In contrast to Ray's obsession with football... I really had no interest in sports... like a lot of gay males don't. I could watch sports on TV and and pretend I was paying attention - even participate in them (clumsily - I considered myself comic relief). But the general interest just wasn't there. Now I know there are a lot of gay guys who like sports a lot... yea yea yea. But there are also straight guys out there who hate sports - and gay guys out there who hate fashion. So I guess it's all one big bag of goo and chaos... no? Anyway... where was I?     Oh yea... so just remember that the general rule is that most gay guys have no interest in sports. It's Mother Nature's way. Back to Ray:
    So there I am one Fall afternoon in 1988, over at Ray's apartment (Ray is straight by the way - did I mention that?)... and his roommates are over as well as a bunch of people from the apartment complex and it's a Saturday and there is a BIG football game on TV. The fridge is full of beer and there are Whataburger wrappers everywhere and everyone is rabidly paying attention to and cheering about and yelling at the game on the TV set. I am sitting next to Ray on the couch. Ray knew I wasn't interested in sports... but I was hanging out and thought I would just... continue to hang out. So instead of doing what I usually do when everyone else is watching football on TV... which is just... hang out, I decided to do something different and challenging.
    I told Ray that I wanted him to explain every single faction of the game to me... from the opening babble between the commentators on the pre-show, to the victory shouting in the locker room at game's end. I wanted to know who each player was on each team - what their numbers were and a brief history of their careers. I told him I wanted a personal play by play of every single thing that was happening in the game as it unfolded... in layman's terms. I wanted for him to explain every rule, call, reason for rule, reason for call, fumble, score, reason for score, why everyone was on the field where they were, reason for why everyone was on the field where they were, what "time-out" meant and "penalty score" and "three yards pass" meant. I wanted him to talk me though the entire three-plus hours game in the same way the factory worker showed Bjork's character how to use the machine to press aluminum plates in the film "Dancer In the Dark". Why? For one reason and one reason only: FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE I WANTED TO WATCH AN ENTIRE FOOTBALL GAME AND KNOW EXACTLY WHAT WAS HAPPENING AND BE ABLE TO FOLLOW IT FROM BEGINNING TO END AND KNOW WHY THE TEAM THAT WON AT THE END ACTUALLY WON AT THE END. Oh don't get me wrong... I wasn't trying to "fit in" or pick up straight guys... I was doing this for me and me only... it was my own "personal best." It was also something Ray was more than happy to do - he had actually tried to do this for me before to no avail.
    I'm getting to the part where this all relates to what Calvin Klein did, don't worry.
    So as we entered the game on TV - Ray verbally walked me through every single excruciatingly uninteresting moment of the game and helped me follow every single fumble, pass, score, tackle and instant replay. I stared at the screen with great intensity... with Ray's voice in my right ear. Ray was on a mission and so was I. No I didn't want another beer, or a cigarette or a Whataburger. I was hard at work. Study Mark... pay attention... remember everything... you have a goal... to KNOW that is happening in this game from start to finish. You can do it... one hour... two hours... three... with overtime the game went to nearly four hours. At the end... everyone in the room was growling and jumping up and down and screaming and flinging food like apes, because if I remember correctly the Cowboys won! As everyone leaped and hugged around me... I, with Ray still at my side (having verbally walking me through everything and still talking me through the end), sat completely still on the sofa. I was slouched down, facing the screen... with by brow scrunched and my eyes slightly squinting. I realized I had not moved a muscle in four hours. I had forgotten I was even human... or had a body. I had remained motionless on that couch, facing the screen, in the same way you remain motionless the whole first half of the next day after you do acid because your body hurts so much. I had left my body and had become a concentration machine... concentrating on every detail of the game with every single molecule of my body (with Ray's help). I felt drained... but satisfied. I had seen it though till the bitter end. Did I enjoy the game? No... not really... but I had paid attention and made everything stick. That was what was most important. I actually felt like I could now have a conversation about the game with someone else who had seen it and be able to discuss specific things about it with them. Wow... what a feeling.
    I also noticed... as I stood up for the first time in four hours... that Ray's living room looked a little different than it had before. It was bigger. No... wait... it wasn't bigger, I was seeing everything around me in double. I sat back down on the couch - half catching myself because I half fell onto the couch.
    "Mark do you want another beer? Are you OK?" Ray's friend Jeff asked.
    "No thanks I'm fine" I said.
    "Because you look a little green" Jeff shot back...
    "No I'm really fine." I said, then blearily added "Did yoo thee thad fumble path dat noomber thwenthytheventh fumbleed tho fourthynines?" ...cutting my inquiry a little short because I realized at that moment that my mouth didn't seem to be working all that well.
    Ray's friend John walked into the room and said "Mark are you all right? You look pale."
    "What?" I said.
    He was right... I felt pale. I also noticed that, in addition to seeing slightly double... all the sounds in the room around me seemed to be farther away that they should have been. Plus everything around me looked like white-ish, overexposed video. Ray was like "Are you all right Mark? Was the game too much for you to handle?" "No." I said flatly... and then said ..."thanks for walking me through it, it was a real accomplishment for me... thanks to your help." I then stood up again and wondered why I couldn't see Ray's front door very clearly... and why it seemed to be on the other side of the room. As I stood and walked through the strange tunnel floating in front of me, towards the blurry door... I noticed that I could feel something I never felt before that seemed to be hovering about five feet above my cranium. Oh yea... it was searing, piercing pain. I mean serious pain. I told Ray that I suddenly had a bad headache and needed to drive home. I stood up and attempted to walk through the sound-less, over-exposed white chamber that Ray's living room had become. After an unexpected face-down trip to Ray's carpeted floor. I suddenly became the center of attention.
    "What's wrong with Mark?" everyone asked?
    "He tried to watch a whole football game." a few shot back.
    "Ohhhh..." others said resignedly, with knowing nods (according to Jeff).
    Ray picked me up and half walked/half carried me to my car amongst the staring members of my sports coming-out party. "Maybe all those art creeps in class were right about Ray not painting football portraits... I mean look how dangerous it can be..." I thought to myself as I noticed that the ray of piercing light I could see in front of my eyes was turning into blurry purple dots... that matched the piercing and blurry pain that was still hovering above my head and seemed to be shooting laser beams of pain directly into my spine.
    "I'm fine I justh hass thooth thog to theeth hoameee throgblpdrthgble." I said wittingly as Ray helped me into the parking lot. He directed me to the passenger's seat of my car and asked for my keys. Friends don't let friends drive drunk. Friends also don't let friends drive who are suffering from gay-guy-watched -a-whole-sports-game-on-TV -induced-psychotropic-migrane-headaches either. Ray is such a good, good friend.
    Ray drove me home and helped my roommates help me into bed. Where my roommate Lance helped me swallow some street drugs that took me off into a pleasant la la land where I dreamed about everything but TV and footballs.
    I slept for almost two days.
    I have never had a migraine headache in my life... nor since. Neither has anyone in my family. My temporary state of mental pain fusion was caused by my gay brain trying in vain to fit itself into a context which could comprehend sports. The circuits didn't match up with the hardware and... voila! Meltdown.
    Since that episode... for all these years I have stayed away from TV sports... oh I can be in the same room with them and join the party... but I always keep my eyes averted from the direct cathode rays of the tube when they are broadcasting the sport in question. I've been down that road and it's not pretty. It's not meant for me.
    So... Calvin... I feel your pain, and I wish you well. I mean, my temporary psychosis was caused by a mere television set and a friend walking me through every inch of the game. I can't imagine how overwhelming it must have been to be in a giant, echo-y basketball arena. Did you have a friend there walking you through the game too? Ahhh... probably. And I think it best to blame what you did on a growing drug and alcohol problem... it's probably the best thing to say. After all, the real truth is just too strange and humiliating to talk openly about.

In the psycho ward of Bellevue, Nicky (Robin Johnson) dines on a flower as
she courts the newly-met eye of her obsession Pammy (Trini Alvarado), in one of the opening scenes of "Times Square"
2. DVD of "Times Square" (director: Alan Moyle, 1980)
   Anchor Bay releasing company has reissued a bright and shiny new DVD of the 1980 Alan Moyle lesbian-y/teenage runaway-y/punk rock-y film "Times Square". Often spoken about in conversations that include Lou Adlerís 1982 film "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains", Penelope Spheeris' 1983 picture "Suburbia", Gillian Armstrong's excellent 1982 new wave-y, feel-good-pic "Starstruck" well as the punk rock episode of "Quincy", this film shares a lot in common with all those works - especially their coming-of-age rebellion, dramatic representation of misfits' rejection of alienation - and indeed shares their silly shallowness. These films owe as much to Busby Berkley, "I Love Lucy" and The Three Stooges as they do to Johnny Rotten, Patti Smith and Truffaut's "The 400 Blows".
    "Times Square" in particular might have owed even more to the film "Personal Best"  if director Alan Moyle was allowed to have his final word on the film. Alan Moyle's original script called for more of a strong hint towards same-sex awkwardness and klunky exploration through the girls' developing sexuality as they rebelled against everything around them and discovered who they really were. The film was also supposed to have a generally harder, grittier edge to it... but unfortunately Moyle was fired from the film mid-way through production because the company didn't like the direction the film was taking. The production company (a music company at that time) re-worked the film to include as many rock songs as possible, removed almost anything that hinted at controversy... and replaced half the songs that were already in the film (bleak, hard-edged embryonic-early-NYC-punk-scene works by bands like Patti Smith, Talking Heads and Television) with a million more songs by groups like the Bee Gees. The movie basically became a 90 minute commercial for a soundtrack (which is still a great soundtrack despite it's sometimes erratic nature).
    The film still retains it's strange, barren kookiness - and is a nice time capsule for 1980-era New York City (by the way - there's a great web page here where someone has visited all the New York City locations in the film and documented what they look like today - complete with photos!) But the mixed bag results are a little disappointing... especially seeing it almost 20 years after first becoming obsessed with it. One standout is the acting job by Robin Johnson - a knock-out performance in every way. Johnson was a fifteen year old unknown NYC school kid at the time she was cast in the film - and her stellar performance steals every scene she's in. Johnson looked like she was destined for greatness after many in the film industry saw her in "Times Square" - but the same company that stunted Moyle's original film kept the highly-sought-after Johnson greedily under an iron-clad contract while offers poured in for starring roles in other films. At the same time, the company that kept Johnson... oddly developed no projects for her, and by the time her long contract for them ran out years later - others had lost interest. Weird and unfortunate.
    The director commentary on this DVD is priceless. Johnson (now a married Los Angeles newscaster), does a fascinating, chock-full-of-info commentary on the DVD along with original director Moyle (who hadn't seen the film since 1980, until sitting down with Johnson to do this DVD) - and if you're at all a fan of this picture - you'll find their non-stop comments and revelation about the picture that was, is and has become to be fascinating.
    I wouldn't necessarily recommend this film, unless you already saw it around the time it came out. "Times Square" as a production seemed to be a lightening rod for all the dysfunctional red tape that plagues the film industry even today - and those handicaps are evident in the unique and fun, often very interesting - but sometimes thin and sluggish final product.
    Nevertheless, despite all the grown-up world brouhaha... the picture had a big impact on most people, particularly gay kids, who saw it at the time.
    My friend Curtis and I certainly became obsessed with it. Curtis was an old Texas friend whom I met in junior high school. We were both into films and the same kind of music and stuff. He was one of the first people ever (in our neighborhood) to get cable (which back then consisted primarily of just HBO). I would constantly spend the night at Curtis' house and we would stay up all night watching HBO's weird late-night roster - which included weird art films, foreign films, quirky midnight movie fare and some soft, European porn. The first time "Times Square" flashed across the screen - we were both mesmerized. We talked about the film the whole next day... and how great it would be to run away to New York City and live in an abandoned warehouse (that magically had electricity) and wear garbage bags and spray our hair green and inexplicably become overnight punk rock superstars even though we were living in the streets. We became obsessed with this fantasy. We rode our bikes to the mall and discovered that the film indeed had a double vinyl soundtrack album, which we both snatched up... and Curtis even found an original movie poster. We obsessively scanned the HBO program guide looking for when it would show next. When we saw that it was... I spent the night and we set up Curtis' 1980-era audio cassette recorder in front of the TV set. We filled two whole sides of cassettes with the audio from the film (hey - VCRs were still an exotic and very expensive item back then - and neither of our families owned one). And that became the way we experienced the film... over and over and over... through the sound on those tapes.
    We literally walked around the barren, flat, sun-lit, 100 degree temperature Dallas suburbs... carrying that cassette recorder around with us like a jam box... distortedly blasting the film's audio "Pam-meee! Nick-eeeee! PAM-EEEE!!! NIIIICK-EEEE... " throughout the neighborhoods. God we were weird (oddly - I think we did the same thing with audio tapes of John Water's 'Polyester' and Tobe Hunters' 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre'). On Halloween day in school when a lot of people came dressed up... we both showed up wearing trash bag "dresses" (ugh...) with belts and colored parachute pants and Converse high tops... with our hair sprayed three different colors and "black-out" squares drawn over our eyes with black theater make up pencil (see image on DVD disc above right). In fact, I think that we actually did this once when it wasn't Halloween or dress-up day at school - we just lied to both our parents and told them it was so we could do it. We wanted to test the waters and see how people reacted... to get a feel for what things were gonna be like when we ran away to New York to became instant underground superstars.
    We even tried to start a band between the two of us, with the only instruments we had between us (a tambourine and a little set of bongos). We would spend hours up in my room... listening to the tapes and imitating all Nicky and Pammy's songs... particularly the "Spic! Nigger! Faggot! B-u-u-u-m-m-m... you're daughter I-I-I-S-S-S O-O-O-O-N-N-N-E-E-E!!!" line from the scene where they take over a NYC radio station and improvise songs live on the air (with Tim Curry's help) as The Sleaze Sisters. It was usually at that point that my mom would stand at the bottom of the stairs and yell "What's going on up there!? Mark it's time for Curtis to go home and for you to mow the lawn!" God we were really, really... in the truest sense of the word... FAGS.
    Oddly... we never got picked on in junior high... I think people were just confused by us. If we had shown fear... we would have gotten picked on... but The Sleaze Sisters never showed fear!
    So much time has passed since those hot, hazy audio-tape summer days and late night, HBO and air-conditioned nights in Texas with Curtis. Curtis and I lost touch with each other by the time high school hit (because of a weird zoning snafu we ended up going to different schools). Lots of time passed. The last time I saw Curtis was after my freshman year of college. I was working at an insane, fag-central record store in Dallas... and he unexpectedly dropped in with a friend. Turns out he was in an intense acting and theater school in the area (duh...) and on his was to becoming a lesbian... no I mean thespian... THESPIAN! I was on the way to becoming... uh, I'm still not sure. As we caught up I think we both laughed and mentioned the possibility of maybe living in New York one day. I think he said it was a possibility for him... maybe... but graduation was so far off. I said something to the same effect. The idea of living in another place hadn't really occurred to me this early in the game... and so far past childhood fantasies. That was in like 1985 or 86, and I never saw Curtis again.
    I actually did end up moving to NYC in 1991. It's now 2003 and I am watching this film probably for the first time since those middle-of-the-night-HBO sessions at Curtis' house in 1980. It's all coming flooding back right outta my subconscious and onto this computer keypad. I guess, in an abstract way... some of my bizarre nightlife adventures in the first five years of my New York experience mirrored a more harshly realistic version of the naive fantasy exemplified by the Pammy and Nicky characters in "Times Square"... maybe, sort-of, kind-a. If I block out most of the real parts and dumb consequences.
    I wonder if Curtis ever made it to New York?

3. This photo of some U.S. weapons testing over in Baghdad (above)
    Holy fucking shit. What shocking and awesome power... *shudder*
    Actually I downloaded this off the web somewhere and now can't remember where I got it - so if you created it - I'm giving you ESP credit right... now.

4. This still image from Victor Fleming's 1939 film "The Wizard of Oz" (above)
    Wow! Who knew they could do special effects like that in 1939!? The Techicolor looks great too. I think this is an image of Glenda the Good Witch being zapped up into the sky. See the Munchkin hanging himself in the background?

5. Me and Jim's new addiction to board games
  The other day, when Jim and I had some time to kill before seeing a movie... we stopped by a coffee shop in my neighborhood that we frequent sometimes. We had some coffee and sat and talked. We've been in this place before... and we always noticed that, sitting on a shelf in the back... are a stack of old fashioned board games. Connect Four, Clue, Monopoly, Uno, Battleship, Dream Date and stuff like that. We thought it might be kind of "fun" to play one, so we picked Connect Four and found that after we did that thing that everybody does with Connect Four where they imitate the 70's TV commercial ('Connect Four!', 'Where Sis?', 'Heeeere... diagonally!', 'Pretty sneaky sis', 'You're weird.')... then we got down to actually playing it. I thought the game would be this dumb thing where you didn't have to think, but then Jim beat me on the first try. A little more challenging eh? Ok Connect Four I'm gonna make you my bitch.
    Before long we almost had heart attacks on the edge of our seat during a fight-to-the-death game of Battleship, nearly exploded our craniums in a mind-boggling duel of Clue, and then gasped for breath in the pure adrenaline rush that was Dream Date. Before long... and with game pieces all over the floor, coffee pounding our bloodstreams, and the heady stench of testosterone in the air... we realized we had but scant time to reach the movie. We rushed out and ran to the theater.
    During the film... both Jim and I could hardly contain our concentration as thoughts of "revenge" on each other by way of cardboard fold-out boards with crudely painted tromp l'ole landscapes on them, and pastel-colored cards, and spinning plastic arrows flicked by fingers, and metal pieces shaped like things rushed through our heads. All we talked about after the film was board games... and how we were going to return to the place the following evening and whip ourselves into conniption fits with a deadly game of Monopoly.
    The next evening, after dinner Jim and I rushed back to the coffee shop... it was about 9pm. Much to our horror... the place was closed! You should have seen our faces. Our deep frowns made us look like Leona Helmsley on sentencing day. We stared at the metal gate of the coffee shop and then looked at each other. One of us reached a hand out to rattle the gate... in a vain hope that what we were seeing was a cruel mirage. They HAD to be open. We... we had to be able to play Monopoly. We... were looking forward to it... so... so... much.
    We wondered the streets like lost lambs. We thought really hard about other places in town that might stock board games. We visited about three Lower East Side bars, and all we found were cheap, delicious drinks served by beautiful waitresses, great music, throngs of beautiful and interesting people all wanting to meet us... but no board games. We sulked home... was Toys R' Us open this late? We thought it probably wasn't. We wondered who could sell us Monopoly at this late hour... we were literally jones-ing for it.
    In the world's most fascinating and fantastic city of dreams dreams dreams where the non-stop throb of mind-blowing insanity never sleeps and you can get anything and I mean anything you want, legal or not, at any time... where half the news you see on CNN is happening right next to your apartment and some of the most important politicians in the world are picking their noses at the corner deli and you see supermodels going through trash cans and a movie is being filmed on every other block and you can pay ten Latin hustlers five dollars each to gang bang you at 8AM in the window of Bloomingdale's while a million bored onlookers stare and end up on TV because of it with your own TV show and where you have so much contact with celebrities that you probably have the chance to tackle and beat up Lauren Hutton in the street in broad daylight on a daily basis and drugs like cocaine are basically free... Jim and I are walking into places and are all "Excuse me sir? Do you have board games at this establishment?"

6. The anti-Semitic propaganda book "The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves and Other Little People" that Domenic found for me in the garbage
  Finding stuff in the trash in NYC is great. 90% of the furniture in my apartment was acquired from sidewalk trash piles... and half my wardrobe is from the same source. As well as many books, records, rugs, appliances, decorative items ...even clothes! If you don't know how to pick through people's sidewalk trash at 3AM and strike gold then you are in no way a true New Yorker. Trash finds are so common place that people actually get stuff for each other in the trash. Like little surprise gifts for friends. I can't count how many times I've walked out of the deli on a beautiful summer afternoon and looked down in the trash and thought to myself  "Oh Jim would love that lamp that's right next to that bag lady taking a crap on the sidewalk!" I even have a scar on my arm from a fight I got in with a crackhead over a mock Mies van der Rohe chair that I found on Christopher Street that I just knew Gregory had to have. It's in his apartment right now! And I have the scar to show for it. Hey what are friends for? Basically the streets of Manhattan on trash day see more fist fights over stuff than a Russian dyke bar at closing time.
    So needless to say... I was pleased when Domenic walked in one afternoon with something for me he found ion the sidewalk. It's a book called "The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves and Other Little People" and it is written by a long-dead author by the name of Thomas Keightley.  It is published by Avenel Books New York... and is a 1978 printing of a manuscript that was originally published in 1880(!). Domenic thought that I might think it was kind of ...interesting. It has some nice illustrations... mmmhmmm... oh yes... so extensive. Oh look at all the chapters and descriptions of every variation of gnome and sprite and fairy and "little person" ever throughout folklore and more. Let's see... page 60; Eddas and Sagas and Brownies, page 139; Nisses, page 216; Dwarves, page 258; Nixes ...hmmmm oh how interesting... page 402; The Phynnodderee! Oh my how great this all is... so extensive! Let's see... what other kind of mythical "little person" can we learn about? Oh here's one... page 497; Jews.
    Auuuuggghhh! Wck! *choke* *gasp!* Stop Stop!!! STOP!!! Agggghhhh... oh my Go... okay okay calm down! Jesus fucking Christ! Okay I have a lot of Jewish friends in New York who's grandparents warn that anti-Semitism is all around us... peering behind every corner... but who ever thought the garbage was anti-Semitic? It's like you open up trash cans and hear this faint echo going all "The Holocaust w-a-a-a-a-s exagger-a-a-a-a-ted... oooohhhhh..." Geeze.
    Matthew's uncle was right after all.


7. RuPaul's story about the 9/11-themed male strip show he saw at some hole-in-the-wall in Los Angeles
    I actually read RuPaul's weblog on an almost daily basis. I got turned onto it through some link... and while I never expected a daily dose of Ru's life to exactly be my cup of tea... I soon found myself totally addicted to it. His skewed take on things - all post world famous and being an extroverted freak and all - it's sometimes really brilliant and often very touching. He wrote one post about a show he did on a gay cruise ship in 2001, and talked frankly about how he heard people making fun of him outside his cabin door after his show. His weird honesty sometimes is like... whoa. He also had light years-ahead of everyone else's opinions about the bonkers Shirley Q. Liquor protests from a few years ago. And I often find his posts to be so hilarious I just have to share. Case in point:
    Ru's Thursday, April 3rd, 2003 entry (or look for it in his archives if you're reading this later) "TOO FUCKING GOOD TO BE TRUE" - about a male stripper at some unknown club in LA who did a 9/11-themed male strip show for the crowd. Go here and scroll down to the Thurs. April 3rd 2003 entry with the above title and read it. It's beyond hilarious. All I know is that I would have given anything to have seen it. Or performed it.

8. These photos from China
  These photos are all over the web so you've probably seen them already. The face-mask trend in Asian is really big right now due to SARS. The funny thing is that doctors will tell you that wearing a face mask really does nothing to prevent you from contracting the new disease.
    If the club scene in NYC was still an insane art and drug and vomit-on-the-8am-sunlit-sidewalk-in-front-of-Sound-Factory and glitter-tongued halucinatory wonder world of childish ego empires and grandpa-funded and fueled sick bonanzas of beautiful truth imploding and exploding in a blinding expressive purge like it was in the 1990's and even more so in the 1980's (it's not now), then these freaky things would have been all the rage for 48 hours and been worn by heroin addicted club kids and used as props in drag king shows for like, one weekend... and then the same people would see them the next week and be all "Oh... that."

9. Snapshots from Manny Point web site
    Ever stumble upon a place on the web and feel like you're looking at something that's not really intended for anyone but a handful of people that pass the url around to each other via email - because they all share something in common and the best way for them to look at it is on the web? I guess the people associated with specific group photos from 1950's, 1960's and 1970's trips to Manny Point (campground?) do.
    I found the Snapshots from Manny Point site inadvertently while looking for "Hog Hollerin' Contest" winner photos... I don't really know why it popped up. These are some of the most spooky and heartwarming photographs I've ever seen... they are very surreal and dream-like... from another era of America. I spent a whole evening pouring over these and afterwards I felt oddly centered and weirdly awash with nostalgia - even though I know nothing of Manny Point or any of these people.
    I love the log cabin in some of the 1950's photos that many of the people seem to have meetings in and perform skits for each other in. Many of the camping photos are really... soothing. Some of these snapshots look like 1980's-era Bruce Weber ads crossed with the 1971 John D. Hancock film "Let's Scare Jessica To Death".
   Weirdly beautiful.

10. What's the most evil thing you ever did?
    You can tell me anonymously (if you think I can identify you by your email - just register an always unidentifiable email account - it takes like ten seconds and is free). Email me and tell me what the most evil thing you ever did was. And if it's unspeakable enough... I'll put it up here.
    Consider it a confessional.

Here's what I've got so far:

From: ??????
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 22:06:11 EDT
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

         Well, the most evil thing I've ever done , I did recently.  For the last seven months I've been having noise problems from two bratty kids and their mother, Bertha Bitch, who lived in the apartment above me in a garden apt. complex with very thin walls and very wooden floors in Stranded Island, the island south of Manhattan.  Being nice and pleading for them to stop only made them more vigorous in their assault on my senses.  So, I went to Enchantments, a wicca store on E. 9th St., NYC and bought me several varieties of anti-evil  and protection incense sticks. I took them home and proceeded to light a couple in every room of my three and a half room apartment as soon as mama and the kiddies started their cavorting.  The smoke and fumes from the incense sticks wafted to the ceilings.  Soon I could hear coughing noises from above. then they started to throw things on the wooden uncarpeted floors. I lit up some more incense sticks. Their obnoxious noisiness stopped. I finally found a way to get even and stop the torture from above.  Everytime they started to make noise even at 3 o' clock in the morning, I would light up my smelly incense sticks and they would chokingly stop. For the last month, until I moved this past Saturday, I kept this up. I really felt like scum for having to do this to two kids under ten and felt truly evil for doing it.  Having discovered this tool of protection against nasty neighbors, I fear that I've found my Mr.Hyde side and that I may not be able to control it in the future.
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From: ??????
Date: Tue, 8 Apr 2003 22:55:37 -0500
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

    It was something I thought about doing, but didn't do. I was 13 years old and I was cooking dinner for my parents and two sisters while they were out, I fantasized about getting up on the Formica counter next to the pot and masturbating my semen into the bubbling, boiling chicken soup. It had chicken and lots of vegetables in it and had actually been cooked earlier in the week by my mom and stored in the freezer in giant ZipLoc bags. She asked me to heat up a giant pot of it up for us all for lunch after everyone got back. The urge to do this was go strong, I almost had to fight myself not to get up on the counter and wack off into the cooking soup.
    I never did it, (thank god) but I kept thinking about it as I watched the broth and carrots bubble and ooze and the steam rise off the top. I am 40 now and it is but a dark memory in my past. Just the idea that I did think about it, and almost could have sat at the Sunday lunch table watching my dad and mom and sisters slurping down spoonfuls of chunky soup with my semen turns my stomach even today. I don't know what made me want to do it so strongly, but I'm glad I didn't (probably for fear of getting caught). There is probably a lot Freud would say about my strange family soup urges at the time. I think that the rolling boil would have sanitized it if I had done it. I have never told a soul this, Mark. Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. I love your website!
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From: ??????
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 14:07:57 +0000
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

    I killed someone. And have thought of killing again.
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From: ??????
Date: Wed, 09 Apr 2003 03:31:10 -0400
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

   I looked at a girl's bottom.
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From: ??????
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 15:59:18 -0400
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

    I sent you three e-mails (well four now) and actually expected you to care enough to respond. I even tried to be funny, clever and endearing. I feel so soiled.
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From: ??????
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 23:18:50 EDT
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

   Hmmmm, there are so many. Seduced my little sisters 17 year old boyfriend, I was 26.   No, thats not it.... Hmmmm, when I was growing up there was this neighbor who drank, drank a lot all day 24/7. She was from NYC and her attorney husband relocated her to my obnoxious little town in CT.   Her name was Mrs. Conant, and man was she a trip to watch. Despite her husbands status in the community, she drove a bright orange Vega, that was an ugly 70's car. She was a mess, she followed really bad early 80's NY fashions. One day she wore a silver jumpsuit to the day school I attended with her daughter.

    So the evil part:  Eight most mornings she would be parked in front of the liquor store, the orange car was unavoidable.   So she would booze all day, which now I can appreciate, and then usually make an appearance in town, usually embarrassing her kids. Okay the Evil Part: I use to "prank call" her all the time, not only me but my friends, and my friends friends and then they told a friend. Out of Control! Because when you called she was drunk and fun to goof on. So after months and months of these calls that I initiated she snapped.   The kids were pulled from school and the husband hung a Justice of the Peace sign on their lamp post.   I never saw her again and her kids never came back to school.   I saw Flatliners again last week and thought of these poor odd people that I helped terrorize. Still feel quilty 15 years later.
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From: ??????
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 22:03:49 -0500
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

I think the most evil thing I've ever done is really enjoyed your "Sex with a Kinko's Crackhead" story.

You should finish it.
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From: ??????
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2003 21:06:07 -0700
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

I can't pinpoint one. I have had a life filled with evil. You know,  actually... it was never calculated... just little Damian moments:

In Kindergarten, my teacher was pregnant and for some odd reason, I  decided her bulbous belly looked like something bouncy and fun. Fun  enough to run with all my might and ram into her like a mountain goat.  And then I remember this odd devilish laugh that emerged from my  persons. I felt really bad, well sort of.... cause i didn't want to  kill her baby or anything... I just thought it would be fun. HAHAHAHA

In third grade there was this girl who always said I was stupid or gay  (which oddly enough I ended up being). Anyway, fortunately she was  rather stupid herself and i told her that she couldn't raise her hand  and ask to go to the bathroom because they closed the bathrooms down  for cleaning. And the girl believed it and peed her pants. And once  again that laugh (BAWAHHAHAHAHA) came out of my persons.

In high school, my German teacher asked me if I had the German/English  dictionary from her desk, and I since I did, I threw it at her head  with an awful might. I gave her a bloody nose. And I remember a girl  named Shelley stood up and yelled "You're a fucking Nazi."  BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!

In college, I accidentally pushed some drunk frat boy in front of the  city bus because he said he didn't suck cock. BAWAHAHAHAHAHA!

In NYC, I kept getting my feet stepped on by this hateful drag queen  dressed as a Christmas Tree (it was december) and so I grabbed my  lighter and said, "have you ever seen what happens to pine trees during  forest fires?" and so she rolled her eyes and thought I wasn't serious.  BAWAHAHAHAHAA! "They go up in flash just about as quick as she did."

I flipped through some trashy erotic male photography magazine that I  found below the tray on my plane and picked my scabs from the track  marks on my arm for a week (from being in the hospital after an  accident) on a flight out of New York to the west coast next to a few  straight, white paranoid men who had just returned lobbying their  "Christian Coalition / anti-gay / pro family" campaign in D.C. Oddly  enough the man next to me asked to be reseated.  BAWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

.... oh the list goes on....
so, see, I can't just pick ONE!

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From: ??????
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 05:34:23 -0500 (EST)
To: "Mark Allen"
Subject: The most evil thing I ever did was...

When I was younger , my little brother was the bane of my existence.

He had these lovely ebony curls all over his round little head , add to that his saucer plate eyes, button mouth , and chubby cheeks and he was a bloody Cambells Soup Kid come to life ...Everyone adored him.....

"What a little Angel" , "Oh those curls!" they'd say  "He's sure to be a heartbreaker one day" (As if a Brillo head and chubbycheeks would get you laid!)

My older sister twisted the knife deeper in my "straight-haired,beady-eyed,flat-cheeked, pinched-mouthed, generally ignored"   back by taking his order form for our school fund raiser to work with her , along with his picture "They wont resist this face"she said  , And so while he sold dozens of 20 dollar candles and overpriced Greeting Cards I made do with the 3 obligatory sales from my Mom and Grandparents, At Prize time, for my efforts , I won one of those pencils with the fuzzy head toppers with glued on wiggle eyes......he got a freakin Pogo Ball.

He was a conceited little snot too, Very annoying , more so than the usual little brother annoyngness.  While it was a myriad of things that fueled my anger at him , It was always that damn head of corkscrews that seemed to be the nucleus of it all .

So one night , while he was sleeping in the room we shared , I grabbed my Woody Woodpecker shaped Safe-T scissors and went to work. I grabbed handfuls of the hateful ringlets  and cut with a vengance , I wasnt trying for any particular look , just grabbing random patches and cutting as short as possible ,  Somehow he slept through it and I went to sleep content .

He woke up screaming the next day , his ruined curls laying around his pillow and on the floor , He looked about like a dog does when its shedding its winter coat and the shorter summer one grows in...bald patches mingled with fuzzy clumps. Mom broke out the clippers and shaved the poor kid nearly bald to even it up.

It was obvious what I'd done so as punishment  I was de-haired as well to match his skin head look ...But it was SO worth it.

Copyright 2003 Mark Allen


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