Snippets 102 

Houdini-Gresham 

  Characteristically, Harry threw himself into bond rallies and camp shows. For the later, he let himself go, doing the straight magic which he loved. His “Money for Nothing” got tremendous response from the doughboys. Their cheers and the thought that these lads would soon be crawling across No-Man’s Land, raked by machine gun fire, and suffocated by poison gas, left Houdini choked with emotion. He began to produce five-dollar gold pieces from the air and toss them out to the boys as souvenirs of home. By the end of the war he had distributed 7,000 in this fashion, without cashing in on it for publicity; it was mitzvah, out of his own pocket and gladly given. (202) 

All Hail the Redman 

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All hail the Redman…No really, right now, stand the fuck up 

And say thank you, Redman. 

I know you didn’t. Too much pride, ego. 

I’ll say it for you. 

Thank you Redman.

Thank you Whiteman. 

Thank you Blackman. 

We don’t decide the spirit. It’s imbued in the matter, in the dirt, in the shit. We, colonizer of the world, think we own the world through definition, observation, naming, reducing; it’s not true. The place, the thing imbues us, and defines us, effortlessly and true. All stress, and pain are is a resistance to this definition, and it only hurts and degrades us. Don’t moan for the earth, it cries already for you. 

I am one with the force, and the force is with me, I am one with the force, and the force is with me. That’s what the blind Chirrut Imwe repeats as he walks through a war zone at the end of Rogue One. Beautiful fiction, but hijacked from reality; Remember all Art is. All hail the Redman. Remember Sitting Bull after the Sun Dance, imbued with the Great Spirit, charging into waves of rifle fire, walking between the worlds. 

You don’t hear, don’t understand . Remember the Celtic warrior. Standing stark naked, clutching their spears and swords, under the roar and glint of an approaching Roman army. Imagine you there, the screams pouring out in waves. As time slows to nothing and worlds lose their meaning. All hail the Redman. 

 Maybe you think it’s not true; it’s not you; you’re wrong. It’s there under an electric, wifi, societal body bag. But it stirs in the night and at red lights, and in heart that wavers in recognition of the Spirit. All hail the Redman. 

Imagine three months in the hull of some ship. Rotted wood corrupted by piss and shit. An antithetical, hell trap of a second womb. Spewed out on some hot dock, served to another world of whip, control and slavery. But the Spirit rolls and fills the void. The mouth says Hallelujah again. All hail the Redman. 

Imagine you’re leaving a concert, sticky from communal sweat and gyrating humanity, legs wobbling, spirit light. It’s one of the greatest nights of your life. Your friends and freedom, music that transcended the monotony of regularity, all assured, you were a spirit and you would live forever, tonight. And then as a cool breeze hits you in the lobby, blessedly cool and fresh, there’s a fucking psychopath, with his hand in his pockets, clutching a bulky middle, chanting words to the heavens…all hail the Redman. 

Snippets 101 

Houdini-Gresham 

Houdini closed Bucharest, Roumania, in the spring of 1914 and hurried back home to open his second season at Hammerstein’s Victoria. This time he featured “The Double-fold Death Defying Mystery, in which Houdini is Locked in an Air-Tight Galvanized Can Filled with Water, which in turn is Securely Locked Up Inside of a Hermitically Sealed Iron-Bound Wooden Chest. Failure to Escape Means Death by Drowning.” (182)

Snippets 100!

Houdini-William Gresham 

If Bess had cast dubious eyes on the outflow of money during the art period, it was nothing compared to what came next. When Houdini first saw the flying machine that day at the Hamburg race course, he knew he had to have it. Inquiries made of the pilot revealed that it was a model designed three years earlier by M. A. Santos Dumont, and was the product of Messrs. Voisin. 

Harry paid 25,000 francs for the plane, rented a building to serve as a hangar and hired a mechanic, M. Brassac, to teach him how to fly it. The plAne had an English E.N.V. 60.80 horsepower petrol engine, powerful for that day, but temperamental. (168)

Snippets 99


The Bohemians-Ben Tarnoff 

It wasn’t all misery, however. Schoolchildren filled the library, and she loved to recommend reading for them. One of her young patrons was Jack London. He first came into library as a ten-year-old, and pulled a book on Pizarro’s conquest of Peru off the shelf. Coolbrith praised his choice, and London never forgot it. “You were the first one who ever complimented me on my choice of reading matter,” he told her twenty years later. “Nobody at home bothered their heads over what I read.” He held her in awe: “You were a goddess to me…No woman has so affected me to the extent you did.” (253) 

Riffing, Ranting, and Houdini


Reading this Houdini book is enlightening. Like in everything, but more so with a magician, it’s important to read between the lines. They’re not playing it straight. A rant is sort of like that. It’s one of the cheapest tools in the writer/speakers toolbox. Be so passionate about the thing you are discussing that you are assumed an expert, and therefore one of them. In Houdini’s case it was handcuff and safe manufacturers, that he would charm and make accomplice in his illusions. Also the police. First thing Houdini would do in a new city is contact the police and jails. He would go there to make examinations of the place, and the people. Make imprints of unique locks with magicians puddy. Hand over the hooch and say “hey fellas, can you help me with my bit.” And they often were competent and eager cohorts.

Imagine the move, the hustle. Different times, and different places Houdni’s type is persona non-grata. Card tricks, sleight of hand, illusion, these are criminal behaviors. So magicians don the mask of Vaudeville, and get away with it. Hell they get paid for it. They are entertainers. And in that they become free to hop-Scotch the line of truth and falsity. But its not just an act, like professional wrestling, there’s no way to fake being thrown out of the ring; you’re going over the top rope. But still they are outright scoundrels liers, with plants, picks, keys, and bribed accomplices. But the threat is real. There’s no way to fake jump into an icey Michigan river, no way to fake standing in front of a hostile audience, no way to fake starving. 

What is this pass the Jester receives? We love our rules and rule breakers equally. Paradox abounds. Lesson from the magicians, the bigger, bolder the lie, the easier it is to believe. Simple lies that fool children will work best. 

The trip with significant magicians and artists is that they’re all true believers, and seekers. They know it’s bullshit, but want to find the part thats not. They know it must be there though, because they are it, themselves. Houdini did that as a bit, exposed the sloppy technique of a fellow magician, and then performed the trick better, stealing the audience, the hype. But I like to consider the form. The attack on the consciousness, the reality of having truth pulled and twisted like that. We love to be fooled and to fool. It shows we have greater hold of the truth then we let on. Fiction is a great vessel of this property and function. We turn over wholly to the Untruth, eagerly suspend disbelief. And we feel better for it! 

The birds have made a nest on my porch. They swirl in front of me now, just back from hunting worms. One goes flying passed my head securing the nest, as I write. Cool summer morning, saying 70ish on the day, but a morning rain might challenge that. Back to the Houdini…

Snippet 98 

The Plague-Albert Camus
“It comes to this,” Tarrou said almost casually; “what interests me is learning how to become a saint.” 
“But you don’t believe in God.” 
“Exactly! Can one be a saint without God?–that’s the problem, in fact the only problem, I’m up against today.” (255)

Snippets 97 

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The Plague-Albert Camus 

Such were the consequences of the epidemic at its culminating point. Happily it grew no worse, for otherwise, it may well be believed, the resourcefulness of our administration, the competence of our officials, not to mention the burning-capacity of our crematorium, would have proved unequal to their tasks. Rieux knew that desperate solutions had been mooted, such as throwing the corpses into the sea, and a picture had risen before him of hideous jetsam lolling in the shadows under the cliffs. He knew, too, that if there was another rise in the death-rate, no organization, however efficient, could stand up to it; that men would die in heaps, and corpses rot in the street, whatever the authorities might do, and the town would see in public squares the dying embrace the living in the frenzies of an all too comprehensible hatred or some crazy hope. (179) 

The Abyss 

Worked well into the dark last night. Almost 9:30. Watered everything. Made 7-8 tomato cages. I get 150ft rolls of 5ft tall wire mesh, used for pouring concrete. I cut that, every eleven squares and then bend the wires around itself to make the circle. Then I use wire cutters and cut off the bottom of the cage. 

They work great for everything that grows vertically, tomatoes, peas, beans. Work til you ache and work some more, I think. There’s a joy in that. You can do so much if you just refuse to stop. I went and Planted more beans, then marigolds, then some cukes and watermelon. I collected the seed on the last two from years passed, so I overseeded my mounds, and if a lot germinate I will move and thin out. 

It was getting hard to see. And everything was quiet and loud at the same. No cars, no people, no Babylon, but nature waking up for the hunting time, the people free time. A coyote howled and screeched at me over the road, in the tree ridge. 

Finished planting, I held my dirty hand against the ground, said an Our Father and a Hail Mary. I could feel the dirt move against me, breathing in rhythm. When I opened my eyes, there was a cloud of fireflies swarming around me, blinking their applause. 

I came inside numb and happy. Like many fools before me, I reflexively decided to check in on Babylon. Went to drudgereport.com, 19 Dead in Manchester. It was hard at work too. A deadly, yellow, sick synapse broke at the base of my skull. Stare now, it taunted. 

And I did. I forced myself to read the details. Stare at the pictures. There is no hope for Babylon, I know. But I will remember and I wont look away. And I will steal the light. Hide it in a basket and stash it at the dead end of a gravel rode, in Nowhere. There are still Nowheres: don’t let them tell you otherwise. Still fresh air, and big skies. And the coyotes call with needy tones, there is a place for you here.