Wednesday, August 19, 2015

naked nurse 10


Dear naked nurse,
What do you think about the argument that humans are inherently selfish (or "evil", as the taterheads say), based upon the behavior of babies?
-gnonplussed in Gnome

Dear gnonplussed,
Are human beings self-oriented by nature? It's hard to imagine that we're not. Yet we're also profoundly social, more so than much of the wild kingdom. Our personalities are determined by the culture in which we happen to be born. Daily social interaction defines humans, and without it an individual will gradually (or not so gradually) go insane.
The thing that sticks in my craw about the argument that babies are evidence of inherent human selfishness, is this - any observation you make of a human under eighteen months, is essentially observation of a fetus. Unlike other mammals (with the exception of kangaroos and a couple others) human newborns aren't fully "baked". Other mammal newborns are pretty much up and around right away, but not us. Evidence suggests that human gestation used to be closer to two and a half years...but our growing brains forced our mommies to push us out earlier and earlier.
So...are you really comfortable judging a species by the behavior of their fetuses?? Cultural anthropologists are amassing evidence that the natural human state is one of radical sharing. If you use "the terrible twos" as evidence that my counterpoint is self-defeating, i'll reply that by the time a child is two, they've already received HUGE amounts of socialization...and living in a greed/competition-based, fearful, violent, touch-deprived society, most of that socialization is (like our society itself, obviously) pretty dysfunctional. For that matter, are you sure the "terrible twos" aren't just a reaction to no longer being held almost constantly, by nearly every adult they meet? I'd get cranky too, if everyone i met hugged the hell out of me for two years, then one day just stopped.
perspicacious ponderings,
the naked nurse

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Friday, August 14, 2015

naked nurse 9


Dear naked nurse,
Whenever i get into a debate with someone about war, i usually reason them into a corner until...out comes the hitler card! What about hitler, they say! What about hitler??? Can you help a pacifist out?
-exasperated in Evanston

Dear exasperated,
The hitler card can be beaten.
The Holocaust was so awful? You bet. Yet there's no small amount of self-righteous tunnel vision in even allowing that capital H. Every day of our lives, some ethnic group somewhere has been culled by genocide's bloody scythe. But 6 MILLION, your friend says? They want a numbers game - fine (and this will be particularly pertinent if your debate partner is european-american, though other examples abound).
In 1492, there were over a hundred million natives in the "Americas".
Seen many lately?
The eradication of various cultures on this continent dwarfs any similar undertaking in human history. Genocide is just business as usual for the human race, and the nazis? Just U.S. wannabes with a blonde fetish. But more to the point, we didn't go to war with hitler because of genocide. We did so because we didn't cotton to the thought of a country the size of New Mexico conquering the world.
If your friend calls the american genocides ancient history, here are some others the U.S. has dabbled in lately - Bangladesh, Guatemala, Iraq, Rwanda...and those are just the biggies.
At this point, your friend may be chastened. But most non-pacifists are of the "never say die" persuasion (as long as someone else is doing the dying). They might finally have nothing to throw out but the "kill or be killed" dilemma. And there's an easy answer - you kill. But that's a dilemma so specious as to be worthless. In any non-military reality (with humble apologies to domestic abuse victims), the odds of being in a bona fide "kill or be killed" situation are statistically almost nil. Fight or die? Sure. Incapacitate or die? Yeah. Maim or die? It could happen. But don't give me "kill or die" - it's a child's argument. And more to the point, it's got nothing to do with war. War is impersonal. Tribal.
And hitler? He's in the house next door...or in your pants.
War is self-perpetuating.
Greed and exploitation will keep donning religion's cloak, and the killing will go on...
Until we decide to do the obvious.
Make everyone well-fed and well-sexed.
Well-fed, well-sexed folk don't hurt, steal, or kill.
I mean...why would they?

sublime slumbers,
the naked nurse

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Thursday, August 13, 2015

"Star Trek: Into Darkness"

-directed by j.j. abrams
How often is a filmmaker polite enough to provide the perfect metaphor for his work with a franchise, right in the title of a film?
At the risk of trashing the effect of a seamless one-sentence summation, i suppose STAR TREK: INTO THE CRAPPER would have been too on the nose?
Since i've already abanoned the brilliance of perfect brevity, i'll just add that this film is not STAR TREK. As in non-canonical, like its predecessor. Is the film horrible? Nope, just pathetic. You can call a hippo a primo ballerina, but the power of suggestion will never result in "Swan Lake".

Sunday, August 9, 2015

dear amanda 4 & 5

From far, from eve and morning
And yon twelve-winded sky,
The stuff of life to knit me
Blew hither; here am i.
Now - for a breath i tarry
Nor yet disperse apart -
Take my hand quick and tell me,
What have you in your heart.
Speak now, and i will answer;
How shall i help you, say;
Ere to the wind's twelve quarters
I take my endless way.

-a.e. houseman

Hello amanda,
I thought of you when i came across these words. Such poetry stunned me, to know that a long-dead writer could capture so perfectly that which i feel.
Oh the humiliation, said the would-be great writer and visionary!
So much we all take for granted...that we'll be a better person, or whatever, on some future day. But the future is a shadow without substance.
A million lives we never live, taking their possibility for granted, until suddenly we awaken to find possibility gone.
Fear has been such a companion for you. Fear of life, fear of yourself...
I'm going to say something which may feel big. It's not. NOT. At the end of this note, nothing essential will have changed. If you need me, my answer will be the same as it's always been.
But my ancient willingness to endure hardship for your sake, is a habit we never got around to balancing...and damage usually catches up to imbalance. This was just one of the things that was going to equalize between us when you ran away.
Did you know that i was traumatized by what happened? Clinically, i mean? I can see it in how i haven't been able to stop reliving it over and over. Perhaps not the events per se, but in imaginary conversations.
Classic post-traumatic behavior.
And please remember, part of this damage has nothing to do with YOU! When i arrived here, i had never been more wounded or emotionally open. Horrible timing.
So i want to do something now i perhaps should have done a year or two ago. I was holding onto the notion that if i allowed myself to be erased completely, the only winner would be your demons. I don't know whether there's anything to that...but another compelling argument says that our current "relationship" damages us both. In this limbo you've created, you've encouraged the idea that we might one day be friends again. But that expectation doesn't sound entirely healthy, as it pulls a part of you away from living in the moment. From manifesting EXACTLY who you are, right this second. Anything that makes us less centered, is one more spiritual obstacle.
This limbo also might make it easier for you to dwell in truth-avoidance, should anyone ask you what happened to me. As things stand, you might give some "ebb and flow" explanation, instead of taking responsibility for yourself. You don't have to use the word "erased"...but i'd be proud of you if you did.
I also thought it was important to let you do whatever you needed to do, as i believe so strongly in people making their own mistakes. In your case, i also thought it was vital to give you every opportunity to fix those mistakes.
Is this limbo healthy for you, in some way i don't understand? If so, tell me! I don't want to make the mistake of determining a course for us, without asking what you think.
On the other side, this limbo seems patently unhealthy for me. Maybe you thought that with enough time, my wounds would heal on their own, and you could have a blank slate when and if we re-engaged.
I don't think it works like that.
So my thought is, let's not limbo anymore. Let's cha-cha! I suspect the quickest course to healing for me would be if you showed up and tried to help me. But let's not kid ourselves - you're not ready for that. And for either of us to hope that you might one day be, is a cruelty we should try to spare ourselves. So let's stop pretending we have a relationship.
OMIGOSH. I went to bed at this point last night, and for the first time i can ever recall, i dreamt about eric and i being your co-husbands! You and he had two young children you were looking after when i arrived in FL, and eric didn't like me kissing him on the lips, even playfully. There was cake, too.
You do know that if we ever did become friends again, it could never be like before? Your old games, the hiding and couldn't be that person any more?
And please please please, understand that we can't have real communication in letters like this, so we ABSOLUTELY should not try. If you answer this note with anything more than monosyllables, you're disrespecting both of our humanities. Your last note, when you tried to explain your behavior, made me cry a bit. Not that your words were spiritually untrue...but such words can only prompt a million questions, and you control this situation by denying me any real chance to ask them. The enormous subtleties in unweaving what happened between us cannot be addressed in a letter.
Forgive the hypocrisy in my saying all a letter. But your aforementioned situational-control backs me into this corner.
As for your explanation, it was good mid-range spirituality. Some of the deeper stuff you're at least partly aware of (like what fears are at the core of your hiding). And i think your point about your behavior being impersonal is mostly true. It's the question of psychopathic behavior, as compared to sociopathic. The former dysfunction is intensely personal, the latter not personal at all. Which makes you a bit of a sociopath (And in case i need to say this, don't be put off by these words - what most people never understand, is that we're ALL psychopaths or sociopaths, in one degree or another. Some are more fucked up than others, but in the big picture, it's only about who's better at hiding it.).
So yes, your treatment of me was sociopathic...but probably not exclusively. I strongly suspect that there is a minor element of your lashing out at others (and yourself), which is VERY personal. Keep trying to figure it all out, but do not PUNISH yourself. In a fucked-up society, anti-social behavior is a form of sanity.
And to go deeper...
I just now realized that there was another reason for why i didn't react to your callousness, with confrontation. So often, when people make big, relationship-altering gestures, it's about vanity or pride. What these actions do is freeze a relationship at some horrible point. It's a form of punishing each other, so that the thing they always remember (about someone they once loved) is that frozen moment of pain.
I understand this all too well, as your actions unintentionally froze me at a point when i was treated horribly. By NOT reacting to your cruelty with some ultimatum, i subconsciously avoided "freezing" me forever in your mind as someone upset or disappointed.
Of course, maybe some part of you WANTED me to give you a "get your shit together" kick in the ass. As i've said, there is no graceful way to respond to dysfunction.
So why am i risking a "big" gesture by de-limboing us now? Because i need to heal - it's too hard, being this emotionally open while carrying around a bleeding wound.
But this is NOT a big gesture. I can't end something that doesn't exist - and if you need me, my response is just what it's always been.
Now scroll back up, and read that poem one more time. If a relationship must be frozen, how could it be done more gracefully than that?
And with the (non-empty) words "i love you".
-your wrob

February 2016
Dear amanda,
Do you remember when i knew how to make you smile? Would it be greedy of me to hope?
"Denseness" is the word you use to describe your inability to understand my confusion and hurt. Are you stupid? No. Do i have poor linguistic skills? No. So something is going on in your head to keep information from getting through. Perhaps this is the question we should be asking - is there something that keeps you from responding to, or even perceiving, human suffering? Is it across the board, or selective?
Are these the kind of questions you're asking yourself? Do you have someone in your life who can?
In trying to gracefully, gently pull myself away from you, there are about seven obstacles. When i first took on the sacred duty of being your friend, there were two rules that stood out. I never consciously put them into words, but if i had they would have been:
Do NOT take it personally.
DO NOT abandon her.
I'm trying to break one if not both of those commandments. I'm fighting eighteen years of muscle memory. So hard.
I won't try any more to explain the pain that's brought me to this point. I'll just say that receiving a note from you makes me sick for about three days. Intellectually, my love is as strong as ever. But physiologically, i now have a stunningly profound fear response to you. After sending you a note, it takes many days to not have my chest tighten any time i open my computer.
I can be your friend, or not be your friend. But i can't do both - there are too many other horrible things i'm fighting now, to deny my own humanity in dealing with you. Once i could do that with ease, but no more.
Could you fix all this relatively easily? Probably. If you were to try to save me, how far could you go in saving yourself? I get why i'm toxic - face me and you'll face yourself. Most people spend a lifetime avoiding that.
Aren't you impressed with how i resisted saying "amandments"? Wheeee.
(that was the one smile i was going for)
So please, if you can't respond to this in the real world, then just write one word so that i know you got the note. "Pancakes" or "sparkle-toes" perhaps. Or bushbaby. I like bushbaby.

P.S. She wrote bushbaby! Yay.

Friday, August 7, 2015


Bold, brilliant, inventive...these are just some of the words which do NOT describe this show. Hailed as william shatner's masterpiece (by people who obviously never saw INVASION IOWA), and based on his best-selling novels, the show makes the most of its small budget, creating a dystopic vision of 2045, a time when the cyberdrug tek ravages the land. They were shooting for TRON meets RUSH, but soft writing left them far short. One tunes in hoping for grit and edge, but the dynamic is closer to a standard 70s cop show...and this is in the freakin' 90s! As with much sci fi of the late 20th century, you're left wondering how the gap between these folk and the STAR TREK talent pool can be so glaring - shouldn't the second or third best actors/writers in the biz still be pretty amazing? TEKWAR follows the exploits of ex-cop and ex-addict jake cardigan (greg evigan - BJ AND THE BEAR, MY TWO DADS), released from cryofreeze prison and trying to rebuild his life. His wife and son have moved on, and he lands a security job working for crusading anti-tek mogul walter bascom (shatner). They take on tek lords and assorted baddies. Cardigan has the requisite roguish charm, but his faint boorishness and violent temper eventually wear thin. Evigan's mildly wooden shortcomings get harder and harder to ignore, too. Shatner's bascom? Surprisingly vanilla. Maybe he felt he was overdue for something understated, but with the show stuck in meh, you keep waiting for something to come alive...and given his track record, you hope and expect that it will be him. But no...for the middle shank of the run, he doesn't even log an appearance (elvis has left the building, indeed). The show starts as a buddy drama, with eugene clark (KNIGHT RIDER 2000, ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES) as jake's steadfast partner, but a mid-season shakeup cruelly sends him to the rubbish tip. Natalie radford (SPENSER: THE JUDAS GOAT, SUPERSTAR), as bascom's top computer jock, survives the purge...but contributes no more talent or chemistry than those who don't. Maurice dean wint (HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES), is an underused bright spot as an unyielding android police lieutenant. Torri higginson (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, STARGATE: ATLANTIS) shines as jake's initial love interest, but her scientist character is abandoned by the writers long before they have the decency to officially purge her. She's replaced by maria del mar (ROBOCOP: PRIME DIRECTIVES, 24), as jake's new partner sam houston, who seamlessly mixes femininity and toughness. And perhaps the brightest light of all (depending on your pulchritudinous preferences) is sci fi uberbabe lexa doig (ANDROMEDA, STARGATE: SGI) as cowgirl, a fearless cyberpunk. Her costuming (or lack thereof) is a tad obvious - if you're going to play that card so blatantly, producers, you should just have the integrity to make her a full-time nudist. The breast example (best - i mean best!) is in "Cyberhunt", and a glance at how her costume evolved from first appearance to last is probably worth a chuckle. But after a quickly-discarded disaster of an accent, she plays her character with intelligence and skill, and has to be in the running for sexiest nerd ever. Does TEKWAR have any juicy TREK guest appearances? A lil' nimoy or nichelle, perhaps? Nay, though there's one nicole ("Chill Factor"), as in de boer, four years before her DS9 debut. Overall, do i recommend you watch any of this halting effort? Nah. That said...
One of the four telemovies that came to be known as as the first season, and memorable for no other reason than a ripping guest turn by michael york (LOGAN'S RUN, AUSTIN POWERS: INTERNATIONAL MAN OF MYSTERY), as the heir to the british throne. He schemes, fences, wears medieval armor...and raises the level of everything around him.
Lieutenant winger is attacked, and his cortical relay unit stolen. Without it, he'll die. The only episode that "humanizes" him, and shines a fine sci fi light on prejudice.
-Skin Deep
Jake's first love is murdered. Framed for the crime, he falls in with her security double, who has undergone both cosmetic surgery and memory implants to be a perfect match. They fall for each other, which sounds obvious...but this is the only episode to score as legitimate sci fi, that feels like nothing you've ever quite seen before. As if that isn't enough, the writing and chemistry are a notch above the show's norm.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

naked nurse 8


Dear naked nurse,
Tiger woods - scumbag who is reaping his karmic comeuppance on the course?
-disillusioned in Dekatur

Dear disillusioned,
Tiger is at worst a bit of an idiot, and at best a simple victim of humanity's sexual self-loathing. Perhaps a bit of a liar too, but there's no evidence of maliciousness (if lying were a crime, all of humanity would be incarcerated...and tiger might be one of the first parolees).
Besides, your karmic calculation doesn't hold water. Since his domestic brouhaha, he's returned to the golf course, where he reestablished himself (for a while) as the number one golfer in the world - a measure of success denied to, well, every other golfer in the world. If that's bad karma, i'll take two. But if you measure success by anything so myopic as winning or losing a child's game, you've demonstrated the depth of a puddle. To measure success by box score, bank ledger, ballot count, title, or trophy wife, is to out yourself as a spiritual child. Nay, infant.
Tiger had sex with lots of women? Anyone bothered by that is an envious puritan with all the scientific understanding of a stump. Humans, male and female alike, are designed to have multiple, concurrent partners. It's our normal, healthy state - that's not opinion, it's science. Anyone who walks away from the opportunity to live thusly, is in about seventeen kinds of denial.
The only way i can fault tiger is for getting married in the first place, especially if the ultra-private affair contained the words "forsaking all others". Then he's a fool who's more interested in appearance than integrity. Maybe he just wanted a "normal" family structure in which to raise children (as though the nuclear family is even a healthy child-rearing paradigm). But don't shed one tear for elin. She signed a prenuptial contract. If she truly believed in "true love" or the sanctity of marriage, she would have thrown that document back in his face.
perky putterings,
the naked nurse

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