Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chinese Girls with English Names

There were those girls I met years ago when I first came to Shanghai, the ones with names like Xinglei, Liming, Zhang Jing… there were many. I could never remember their names the first time. The second time was hard too. And the third. Point is that I eventually got it, and when I did it was glorious!

What happened? Years later Xinglei became Cindy, Liming Linda, Zhang Jing Jane.

I feel a bit sad, almost like there’s a part of them missing now. I wonder if they feel the same.

posted by ferret at 10:02 pm  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why Male Politicians Make Such Good Womanziers

It’s about compromising one’s values and convincing others to do things that they would think twice about.

Isn’t that what being a politician is about? Isn’t that what seducing a woman is about?

posted by ferret at 11:22 pm  

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Bagels on the Tracks

There are a dozen bagels strewn across the tracks leading through a subway station.

What if some man lost his mind over a distressing phone call and, in a fit of rage, hurled them off the platform?

What if that distressing phone call was from an irate wife, her voice becoming more nasal the more incensed she became, complaining that bagels were not what she wanted, but rather croissants?

What if the wife was so preoccupied with bread products because she was attempting, unconsciously to drive her relationship to a breaking point, a result of her guilty personality ( highly correlated with her sky blue eyes), to atone for the on-going affair she has been having with the neighbor next door?

What if the next door neighbor, bored to death, the former co-owner of a bagel store taken from him forcibly by his ex-wife (the other co-owner) only engaged in this affair to get back at his ex-wife, posting videos of himself fucking his neighbor after she sent him pictures of herself naked in the Caribbean with a new Don Juan?

What if, spurred on by his overwhelming hatred of his ex-wife, the neighbor went back to his bagel shop surreptitiously and filled a batch of bagels with a heavy, explosive diarrhea-inducing laxative?


Would it be such a bad thing that these bagels ended up strewn across the tracks of a metro station?

posted by ferret at 9:49 pm  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Amateur Band on the Verge of a Breakup

I want to make a concept album called “Amateur Band on the Verge of a Breakup”.

The track list will be as follows:

“No, that’s my solo”

“How could you say we sound like Radiohead?”

“Your girlfriend is getting in the way of the band”

“What do you mean you can’t make band practice?”

“A B-sharp is the same as a C, goddammit”

“I still think that we should all dye our hair blond”

“No, seriously, that’s my solo”

“You need to be more professional”

“Fuck you, I’m out (Fine, we don’t need you anyway)”

posted by ferret at 11:47 am  

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Makers and Doers

Most people in life are either makers or doers. (Some are both, but they’re rare.)

Scholars are doers. Poets and novelists are makers. Bloggers, essayists and journalists could be either; It really depends their agendas and the day.

The loudest doers are the actors; the quietest are the accountants. (Man, do they do them taxes.)

The loudest makers are the musicians; the quietest are engineers. (People don’t even realize how much they’ve made.)

Politicians want to be makers, but most of them are really just doers. (A lot of them aren’t even doers, either.)

Inventors want to be doers, but most of them are just makers.

Admen are makers, but everyone thinks they are just doers. Conceptual artists, too.

Nowadays, lovers often want to be makers, but most of them are just doing it.

Most people say that God is a maker, but there’s a growing minority that thinks God is just a doer.

posted by ferret at 10:14 pm  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Translation: Happy 90th Birthday, 共产党!

On July 1st, myself and millions of China Mobile subscribers received a service text message from China Mobile with the following message:


When I was little, Grandpa told me: “Without the Communist Party There’d be no New China”; when I grew up, Dad told me the Communist Party is taking us “Into the Modern Age”; in the new century, the Communist Party is helping to make “A Great Day” for us, my heart is full of excitement; at the Party’s 90th anniversary, our Communist Party and our motherland will “Make Tomorrow Better”.

[Forget the Orwellian commandeering of psychic and telecommunicative space, the predictable Chinese appeal to family for validation,  the best part of this message was the classic patriotic song titles interspersed throughout. Check the links for the lyrics!]

posted by ferret at 9:26 pm  

Monday, June 20, 2011

On writing poetry

I do not feel bad about writing terrible poetry anymore because I have been consumed by the idea that given infinite (or near infinite) time for the progression of humanity all variations, all possibilities of language have their moment, their genius.


Then I think of history. I think of the change of the world, the atrophy of language, the evaporation of time meaning fewer and fewer people will be able to know that genius.


Aren’t there timeless ideas?

Yes, but they are only accessible to the timeless.


Aren’t you just stroking your oh-so delicate ego? One that could be crushed by a snide remark at some cocktail hour? Or even just the terrible – oh, dare I say it? – mispronunciation of a word while trying to pontificate fluidly on the weather?


Don’t you have your own writing to save you? Don’t you have the internet? It is open (in some locales) and (barring the destruction of the servers that host your content) eternal. Yes, you ARE eternal. Oh scream it out in silences in cyberspace! Here nobody will know about the cluttered events of your pathetic existence! Here everything is neat and straight and pure!


You get ahead of yourself. Relax, poet. Dare to be terrible and perhaps you will make a small contribution, a subtle change in the way that people discuss having a cold or meeting a potential lover or mourning for the dead. This is still the immortality you live for, a glimmer of permanence in this vast sea of change.


But nothing…

posted by ferret at 2:56 pm  

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Charmer

I had a long day with politics, trying to sigh off a weight off a weight that sat on my chest. I had confided my fears in those closest to me, finding my views more scattered and fragmented than I realized. There was something I seemed incapable of grasping. There was an idea that lingered there at the intersection of all of these issues, but I couldn’t give it shape.

Eventually I fell asleep staring at the ceiling, contemplating the way the paint formed craters. I imagined that I was coasting over them in a microscopic dunebuggy. Before I knew it, I was dreaming.

I walked through a great baazar with men from all over the world, selling, selling: tangerines, pistachios, live stock, rose petals, tobacco, AK-47s, hairbrushes, Christmas lights. Everywhere there was haggling. A two-for-one floated here; a split-the-difference sang there; a let’s-build-a-relationship rose above; a no-no-too-expensive filtered below.

The sight of so much activity overwhelmed me and soon I sat down under a canopy to watch a snake charmer. A large group had formed. The charmer held the pipe and swayed with the deadly creature, letting the great hum emanating from his instrument soothe the entire scene. The hum continued without letting up. Fifteen minutes went by, and still he continued: the snake, the charmer, the crowd, the hum. I figured he had mastered a form of circular breathing. Eventually the snake allowed the snake charmer to pet its nose with the charmer’s nose, nuzzling it just so, as if writing his name on the scaley surface. The crowd watched breathless, but the charmer never ran out of breath himself blowing the whole time. It was as if he had stolen it from us.

When the spectacle was over and donations had been made, the crowd emptied out into the labyrintine market place, but I remained thinking about the spectacle. The snake charmer approached without me noticing and sat down next to me. He said, “What are you thinking about?”

“Oh, sorry. Nothing.”

“Really, you seemed distracted.”

“I’ve been thinking a lot about politics lately.”

“Ah, yes. That.”

“It doesn’t matter. What’s your secret?”

“The secret?” he laughed. He looked in to my eyes for a moment, and then looked around the way one does when one wants impart something to someone, but isn’t sure whether others should hear.

“I’m afraid it’s the same as your politics, my friend.”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“This taming of snakes. It requires a kind of absolute dedication. You see, I must play my pipe without stopping. If I don’t, the snake will bite me. It’s a steadfastness, a vigilance.”

“But you’ve got to have the antidote. Or at least someone in this great baazar could supply it.”

“For what? This snake and I have an understanding. It is my livelihood. It trusts me because I play to it, but break that playing, break that trust, and it’s over. An antidote is far too expensive for me. And besides, why would I want it? What else would I do anyway? I’m a step away from a beggar as it is. Everyone thinks I’m a madman. Who would feel comfortable in the presence of a snake charmer? Most men are comfortable living a life as far as possible from death.”

“So the two of you will be together forever? Or until one of you dies?”

“I suppose so. Snakes come and go, but I have no doubt one will kill me one day.”


“Of course. My hum will falter one day and the snake will become frightened and bite me. Then I will die, and the crowd will undoubtedly become frightened and scare the snake more. It will probably kill more people then. If things go well, there might be another snake charmer around looking for a snake. But there are fewer and fewer of us these days.”

The charmer’s face began to fade and I felt myself falling, then I woke up.

posted by ferret at 11:59 pm  

Monday, January 10, 2011

De pornographia

Pornography has to be the biggest in the US.

What other society in our age could shine a light so deeply into these darkest, most personal, most individual moments?

Further, what society could have felt such optimism when it realized that these moments were not personal at all, but manufactured and all too predictable?

Further still, what society would then have the audacity to think that this archetype lying naked before them was something that could carved up and MADE individual after all?

posted by ferret at 12:54 pm  

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Birthday Wishes

There was an intimate gathering for my friend Tom’s birthday last week where his friends took it upon themselves to dedicate a speech to him one word at a time. In clockwise fashion, every person added a word to a sentence of praise (or at least I think it’s praise). It was a delight, as issues of grammar were discussed in all of their gory detail when words were added that others thought far too incorrect. Here are the results:

Speech #1:

Companion and special person for enchanting everyone, Tom, charismatic as a chimp, loveable and passionate, except he sometimes raises problematic, cold issues of deep penetrating significance.

Speech #2:

Surprisingly not a food or other human type of failing, Tom writes neatly which poses unimaginable problems for all their issues – those bastards.

posted by ferret at 9:56 pm  
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