Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hooray! Sugar Substitute!

That kind of sounds like a cheer you might hear from a diabetic. I don't mean that. I mean that today's episode of Sugar Substitute, which is the pop show I used to do every-other-week after Self Help Radio, but which I now do every-four-weeks on Saturdays, is now available for your listening pleasure if you are one of those people who uses a computer to listen to music. I am one of those people too. I should go listen!

Oh, I forgot to tell you where it is. It is where it ought to be, at It's where the elite meet the effete. Not the elite effete nor the effete elite - only the non-elite effete meet the non-effete elite. It just seemed safer that way.

Thanks for listening!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Funny How Time Fails

It's not nearly enough to copy old poetry & pretend it's how you currently feel. Even old photos won't quite capture the way you finally want to feel today. Because at the time you didn't know how you felt & now that you do you no longer feel that way. Did you think you were the only person feeling unfeeling then, & now do you think no one else fails to feel the same?

Some people would be more impressed with how much money you spent on video games you can barely remember playing. You might as well have been drunk, or doing drugs, or signed up for an informal class in which you learned some sort of craft you would never use. You might even now feel that, somewhat, in your hands, like something you once did but cannot or will not do anymore.

Luckily no one believes now that you reach a certain age with a cachet of answers, sometimes called "wisdom," since the bare stupidity of the world is on continual display. But you did believe that, didn't you. You thought at some point you could walk out of the therapy room in your head & begin living life like a character in a movie right before the credits.

Even if your insides now are simply a reverse mirror image of your outsides then, you can still continue. Just tread lightly. & for fuck's sake, be honest with yourself. What's wanting is not what is, & may never be, but what you're wanting is what you are.

& stop going through the old boxes where you put your days after you've squandered them.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm Not Cruel

But Self Help Radio is today. It's all about the cruelty. You can hear it all at

I hope you'll be so kind as to have a listen. I thank you.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Whither Cruelty?

Cruelty is the opposite of kindness. To someone with a healthy morality, cruelty is so incorrect, so wrong, so needless, so vile. Yet humans can be so cruel, so unconsciously cruel, so uselessly cruel. To strangers, to family members, to friends, to lovers. Some people even enjoy it.

We are, it seems to me, most cruel to animals. Most of us eat them, which may not seem so cruel until you realize that it's not necessary for us to eat animals to stay alive. & in the United States, the majority of the animals eaten live such constrained & torturous lives that the phrase "free range" is attached to the animals which are not raised & processed in factory farms. We experiment on them, our scientists & researchers for corporations, such horrible tests that a product which is not tested on animals is called "cruelty-free." We pollute their habitats & we've hunted many of them to the brink of extinction, if not extinction outright, often just for sport.

People can justify all of these things as not cruel, & that's also a cruelty, the self-justification that is the process of the human mind, a cruelty to ourselves. Our brains, alas, are wired in such a way as to make it possible for us to explain in glowing terms the miserable things we do, to ourselves, to others, to other creatures. If we don't pay attention to what our mind does, we can find ourselves as cruel as those we loathe & abhor, & we can still vindicate ourselves in the process. Many is a cruel human being who thinks him or herself truly kind.

I myself remember my cruelties as vividly as my kindnesses. I have stepped back & traced the steps which led me to a satisfaction that the cruelty wasn't so cruel, or was even a kindness in disguise. In many cases, the very fact that I was not caught, or was not specifically blamed for a cruel action, was enough to release me from crippling guilt - unless someone else was blamed. My cruelties, fortunately, have never resulted in any real harm (I tell myself at least) because most were petty, mere outbursts of cruelty at perceived wrongs, never anything planned & executed with intent to cause great pain. Maybe most of our cruelties are like that.

Most, but obviously not all.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Preface To Cruelty: The Past Is Cruel, You Know

I just spent an afternoon going through many a box of stuff. I should have gone through these boxes of stuff many many years ago. They contain notebooks, letters, newspaper clipping, scraps of stuff saved from the past twenty-five years. I am trying to lessen the amount of things that I am dragging with me through time. I know it only has value to me. If I were to die tomorrow, no one would spend any time going through it; it would just be tossed away. But my friend Joe said today that he keeps the stuff as a kind of evidence of existence, no matter how ridiculous.

Names of people I'll never see again, some of whom I can barely remember. A note here, a letter there. I read through some of them, just to see if it stirs any memories. Do they still exist? Should I look for them online, on Facebook, do a Google search? If they're not looking for me - & I think it's pretty easy to find me online - should I even bother looking for them? Probably not. Everything, it seems, happened a long time ago.

How cruel, my past, you have been to me today. How appropriate, too, on this week when Self Help Radio examines cruelty.