Try to be pure at heart, they arrest you for robbery,
Mistake your shyness for aloofness, your shyness for snobbery,
Got the message this morning, the one that was sent to me
About the madness of becomin' what one was never meant to be.
West of the Jordan, east of the Rock of Gibraltar,
I see the burning of the stage,
Curtain risin' on a new age,
See the groom still waitin' at the altar.

–Bob Dylan

Chapter 11. Sunlight, nature’s best disinfectant was clearing out the last few doppler shadows…

Sun­light, nature’s best dis­in­fec­tant, was clear­ing out the last few doppler shad­ows bridg­ing the bel­li­cose scen­esters and hair­spray gob­lins already on the lurk for the lapsed chances offered to the quick and the dead first and then to the able and the eager still catch­ing up on some great escape plan as they race through black and white to emerge avail­able on the mar­ket of blank souls but for­tu­nate­ly it was already too late for this crew because every last one of us was still cling­ing by half-​painted vitamin-​deficient fin­ger­nails from some brit­tle angel­ic reef deflect­ing this loaded yet inde­ci­pher­able noise as if bro­ker­ing their col­lec­tive mind of ancient por­tents upon new data. That is to say, every­one on this wing of the Jesus & Mary Chain fan club of Lin­coln Park, by class­less design, had already picked sides. It was one of those per­fect­ly chilled crisp Fri­day the 13ths. A star­tling, aro­mat­ic beau­ti­ful autumn day. Pic­ture per­fect for all the errand hop­ping on the agen­da that morn­ing as we rolled off the awful mat­tress and box springs still on the floor near­ly two years after mak­ing the apart­ment home. But wit­ness the sky on this most faux spooky of days! The cos­mos had for­tu­itous­ly strung togeth­er a clus­ter of these per­fect­ly tem­pered days where blue out­weighed white in an unde­clared spat for best sky of the ’85 sea­son well-​punctuated by things only doppler shad­ows can know. Bet­sy and I worked, she in an office on K Street, I out in Fair­fax Coun­ty out in the field, as they say in the engi­neer­ing busi­ness, but we’d both tak­en the day off to arrange our own wed­ding. Such it is with sec­ond and third betrothals. Soon enough that opu­lent autumn sky would be gone, junked briefly for a dif­fer­ent sort of punk and dis­or­der­ly phase of spa­tial love­mak­ing. Light­ing is every­thing. The absence of light encour­ages the spooky, and with all that was rid­ing on this cer­e­mo­ny, we were stand­ing not with tra­di­tion, but with the deca­dent charms of a cor­rupt and con­ven­ing age. Black the eager pig­ment of night sky gap­ing, life­less and with­out form now cloaked the city. Black the earnest parch­ment of search­ing souls clutch­ing at unstat­ed cru­ci­fix­es roamed the rud­dy red streets, flut­ter­ing like unlike­ly moths, beguil­ing as gnats and patched voic­es of unprepped kids stand­ing for the skid as if it were the braver thing to do, oh boy, bang girls greas­ing the bid with cher­ry red lip­stick and cheap chem­i­cal romance, unbound buff studs on the porch with­out a hay­seed among them, blue fox and pitch sim­ple, cop­per rain and plat­inum coif devices boast­ing angry and resent­ful secrets kept in ripped pock­ets, wrapped purs­es, week­end spikes, spit into the wind of spoil­er anthems, imag­i­nary com­bat, yes, granny boots and sud­den­ly hip corsets pulled out of the clos­et on high, and once more for a short sea­son until sea­soned rage turns molten heads again, dig­ging up fam­i­ly roots as ruth­less as the open fly — all — kept flow­ing, the base­ment door propped open in a dubi­ous sig­na­ture to greet our ges­ture savvy con­gre­ga­tion with increas­ing hints of how swollen the num­ber grow­ing to fill the walls and halls, cir­cles and cliques our par­tic­u­lar DC Row­house had com­ing. Qui­et neigh­bor­hood expec­ta­tions meets noisy to the bone. All fresh cer­tain­ties. Ear­li­er in this bright day, jug­gling her tasks and anx­i­eties, her senior par­en­t’s arrival on Delta, shag­ging bor­rowed dress from Eva, her moth­er’s wed­ding dress, and shop­ping for items not to be found in this once con­ser­v­a­tive town for at least anoth­er decade and a half. We final­ly bought a red rose and had them spray paint­ed black. Rather apro­pos, I guess, now that I think about it all these thin and fat years later.

This two-​party town, hard­ly a honk­ing any­thing goes wreck­ing ball city of splen­dor back in those dan­de­lion and daf­fodil days, is where George Wash­ing­ton him­self had picked the plot for the new plan­ta­tion, the nation’s cap­i­tal to be built back in his day, when any­thing any­body did or even thought about now not only is his­toric but more impor­tant­ly, seems his­toric, but for the pur­pos­es of this sen­tence he prob­a­bly nev­er slept in this camp now bear­ing his name, out­side a tent, hav­ing long already inher­it­ed and improved his Mt. Ver­non estate just up the road.

That after­noon I can­vassed the Mall like any good punk rock­er, hand­ing out DIY wed­ding invi­ta­tions to almost any­one, pro­mot­ing sub­ur­ban band Asbestos Rock­pyle in as good a light as it ever got. Mine was not a sophis­ti­cat­ed method­ol­o­gy as wed­ding plan­ning goes, but it was one that would work best with a crowd always look­ing for an imme­di­ate place and an excuse to be, an imme­di­ate place and plat­form to show it off, an imme­di­ate place and sound to bang a band, or an imme­di­ate place and open tap to get wast­ed, sloshed, or com­plete­ly wast­ed. Not hav­ing a enough notable friends who I thought might show up, hav­ing only been in town the same length of time as my box springs, I was just ger­ry­man­der­ing the dis­trict for best results. Not to men­tion that all this mar­riage busi­ness had only start­ed about three weeks ear­li­er, on a dare.

Straight up black tee, torn jeans, leather, and chains, red ban­dana knot­ted above the boots. Mohawk. Kids with no names and unfa­mil­iar faces but uni­form intact kept flow­ing into the periph­ery, bel­low­ing out, “Where am I? What’s this address?” Guess they had made it over to the base­ment on some­one else’s guid­ing light. But here they were. Want­i­ng the address to give to oth­ers. The tele­phone num­ber. Despite my sat­u­ra­tion of the Mall with fly­ers, this had become a spon­ta­neous word of mouth event. These inter­rup­tions were a joy­ous blip on my radar, but I final­ly made a poster and taped it to the front door. I had at least for the past thir­ty min­utes been scrib­bling down the vows. Actu­al­ly, I was writ­ing a long min­is­te­r­i­al address, in ink, and while not exact­ly a mas­ter­piece among the ruins, the doc­u­ment still holds up to a cer­tain scruti­ny. The min­is­ter lady would arrive short­ly. I need­ed to com­plete the task at hand. Where were my lieu­tenants? Just a few more lines to wrap this thing up…

George Wash­ing­ton slept here. You’ve heard it dozens of times. You’ve seen it print­ed on signs and brochures that pro­mote his­toric attrac­tions, inns, pubs and tav­erns through­out the 13 orig­i­nal colonies. In fact, one might won­der if Wash­ing­ton had nar­colep­tic ten­den­cies. How else could one man sleep in so many places?

Records show that Wash­ing­ton, like so many of his fel­low found­ing fathers, was a trav­el­ing man. He spent days, weeks, even months on the road dur­ing his mil­i­tary and polit­i­cal careers. And since Mary­land was one of the orig­i­nal colonies — and briefly func­tioned as the cap­i­tal of the Unit­ed States in Wash­ing­ton’s time — the state can cer­tain­ly claim its fair share of places where the first pres­i­dent ate, drank, enter­tained, addressed his con­tem­po­raries, planned rev­o­lu­tion­ary tac­tics, nego­ti­at­ed peace, and even dozed off every now and then.

The shad­ow Doppler velocime­try sys­tems car­ry dou­ble fiber-​array sen­sors devel­oped for the mea­sure­ments of par­ti­cle tra­jec­to­ry angles and for the stereo­scop­ic inves­ti­ga­tion of par­ti­cles. Their per­for­mance is inves­ti­gat­ed in two appli­ca­tion exam­ples; the mea­sure­ments of par­ti­cles in oscil­lat­ing motions and of those in pipe flows. The par­al­lel 2‑line fiber-​array con­fig­u­ra­tion enables us to mea­sure the tra­jec­to­ry angle in a plane per­pen­dic­u­lar to the opti­cal axis, with the mea­sure­ment errors less than 1.5 degrees. The high accu­ra­cy of the present method real­izes high­ly accu­rate par­ti­cle shape recon­struc­tion process of shad­ow sig­nals, com­pared with that used in the nor­mal SDV with a sin­gle fiber-​array sen­sor. The present con­fig­u­ra­tion also pro­vides the infor­ma­tion on the oth­er tra­jec­to­ry angle in a plane par­al­lel to that includ­ing two laser beams, even though only its absolute val­ue can be obtained. The sta­tis­ti­cal aver­age of the absolute val­ues of the angles larg­er than approx­i­mate­ly 5 degrees can be mea­sured with the mea­sure­ment errors less than 3 degrees. In case of stereo­scop­ic mea­sure­ments where two SDV opti­cal sys­tems are uti­lized, the shad­ows of irregularly-​shaped par­ti­cles tak­en by both opti­cal sys­tems show dif­fer­ent par­ti­cle prop­er­ties from each oth­er, such as area-​equivalent diam­e­ters and aspect ratios. This dif­fer­ence is con­sid­ered to be espe­cial­ly impor­tant when the flow char­ac­ter­is­tics have sig­nif­i­cant influ­ence on par­ti­cle ori­en­ta­tions. It can be also found by means of the stereo­scop­ic SDV that, in the present pipe flow exper­i­ments, the tra­jec­to­ries of par­ti­cles whose axi­al veloc­i­ty is far less than the main flow are influ­enced by three dimen­sion­al effects, pos­si­bly derived from the win­dows installed on the pipe wall.

Friends and fel­low wankers, we
are col­lect­ed here at this obnoxious
but cor­rec­tive hour to wit­ness and cel­e­brate a high and holy social con­tract, the merg­er of two spe­cial and not so unde­serv­ing char­ac­ters of repose who dare to laugh at the ghost of con­fu­sion and hypocrisy by pro­claim­ing their com­mitt­ment to their own autonomous gaze into the crip­pled sta­tus of mat­ri­mo­ny. Let us rec­og­nize this in smiles and oth­er fine wash­ables; rejoice and remember—be faith­ful and multiply!

Sue and Gabriel, you are inspir­ing each oth­er to weld a sol­id rela­tion­ship tonight based not on the old unre­li­able con­cept of love, but based on a mutu­al need and alien­ation which has con­found­ed the experts, belit­tled the gos­sips, and wrecked the ties that bind. There exists some doubt in the cyn­i­cal minds of the dis­grun­tled that you are enti­tled to such a paper chase turf as you have laid claim, but you march in vision towards homoge­ny, con­ti­nu­ity, cre­ative indul­gence, and artis­tic sup­pli­ca­tion. This mar­riage is made in the earth­i­est of ter­rain, in heav­en as on earth. Til death shall you par­take of the felled plea­sures and cho­sen respon­si­bil­i­ties of your vows.

Make no vows but invoke spaz integri­ty. A spir­i­tu­al con­spir­a­cy. Words that evap­o­rate the pain of liv­ing should be your con­stant effort. Shep­herd your facts with a nose towards each oth­ers lusts and inspi­ra­tions, for it is with this stroke and ardor that gives good odor to the breath of your next ide­al. No dan­ger would then come to you or your moral codes. Live for no slo­gans. For slo­gans are mere­ly word­suck. Your knowl­edge shall become pro­found through the car­nal test of time so as to stump your detrac­tors, bury the dead, raise the liv­ing to new heights of sur­re­al­is­tic accep­tance focussing on pas­sion’s denom­i­na­tion. Your creed is your ter­mi­nal belief in the naked sym­bols of rite and behav­ior. You strug­gle to res­ur­rect them in each oth­er. You bank on each oth­er. You sur­vive each oth­er. Your bootheels are leg­ends to your maps of sub­tle decen­cy. How many times have peo­ple you have known and even your­selves vowed for­ev­er and for­ev­er – only to scratch off in that great sta­tis­ti­cal grave­yard – divorce? So who’s in charge here? What God has joined togeth­er, let no man put asun­der. The scam is up, the audi­ence nev­er sleeps.

This is Amer­i­ca the Unsolv­able. This is SAMPLEX. This is holy mat­ri­mo­ny, and final­ly, this is Gabriel and Sue.

Will you about face to face it?

Gabriel, do you take Sue to be your work of depen­den­cy, to love her, to pro­tect her and to be her num­ber one skank, as long as you both shall remem­ber? And Sue, do you take Gabriel to be your work of depen­den­cy, to love him, to pro­tect him from his dis­tant daze, and to be his crown of thorns so long as you both shall cur­ry to invest?

The rings…”

Your rings are a sign of the times, to be worn as a per­pet­u­al warn­ing to your­selves and to oth­ers that love is lost when con­fu­sion knocks on inspi­a­tion’s door. Souls grow on bones but die beneath bankers’ hours. Go forth and search new words and new sea­sons for con­tra­band. Take these rings in remem­brance of these things.

Remem­ber too, the beguil­ing phras­es. (They took us as fools and pried us free of our ques­tions.) This is just anoth­er evening, an unquot­ed evening, in the weird annals of mankind. Don’t waste words, at their con­di­tion. They may nev­er come again. And don’t waste Sid Vicious. He may nev­er come again! I pro­nounce you skank and skank, known here and for­ev­er as:

Gabriel Thy & Sue Hedrick.

Chapter 10. Elected to the Republican slate of delegates for Richard Nixon from the Great State of Tennessee…

Elect­ed to the Repub­li­can slate of del­e­gates for Richard Nixon from the Great State of Ten­nessee, I was in no way a king­mak­er. After all, Richard Nixon raked in 5,378,704 votes in the pri­ma­ry or 86.92% of the votes cast, and 47,168,710 votes or 60.7% of those votes cast in the Novem­ber gen­er­al, a pul­sat­ing land­slide vic­to­ry, measurably […]

Chapter 9. Mediocrity, or powerhouse upstarts never appealed to this writer…

Medi­oc­rity, or pow­er­house upstarts nev­er appealed to this writer, my grow­ing pen­chant for actu­al­i­ty tables in every­thing that mat­tered, every­thing in its right­ful place, sport­ed vis­cer­al mus­cle all its own, but I was com­pelled to the awe­some place where rock sol­id dynas­ties swooned to the Icar­i­an mys­ter­ies a sud­den­ly mol­e­c­u­lar under­dog brought into the scheme, a seem­ing­ly spontaneously […]

Chapter 8. When my firstborn left home, trimming the mouths to feed

When my first­born left home, trim­ming the mouths I had to feed from eight to sev­en, I cut back from four cups of rice to two. We ate rice near­ly every night for years. Some­times with beans, some­times with a scram­bled meat dish. Lots of casseroles, too. Times were hard. Hel­lo. My name is Peg­gy. I have known many, […]

Chapter 7. With this letter to Philip Dare I knew February was turning…

The laws in this city are clear­ly racist. All laws are racist. The law of grav­i­ty is racist. I am mak­ing this trip to Africa because Wash­ing­ton is an inter­na­tion­al city, just like Tokyo, Nige­ria or Israel. As may­or, I am an inter­na­tion­al sym­bol. Can you deny that to Africa? Peo­ple have crit­i­cized me because my secu­ri­ty detail is larg­er than the pres­i­den­t’s. But you must ask your­self: are there more peo­ple who want to kill me than who want to kill the pres­i­dent? I can assure you there are. First, it was not a strip bar, it was an erot­ic club. And sec­ond, what can I say? I’m a night owl.

Chapter 6. Three nights before John Lennon was shot dead in front…

Three nights before John Lennon was shot dead in front of the Dako­ta, and all the fret world mourned el bar­rio del cor­pus christi was rel­a­tive­ly qui­et to the most casu­al observ­er, of whom I was one, bel­ly up to a sat­is­fied mind after a quick hand­ful of tacos lengua and a wet bur­ri­to at Crack­ling Rosie’s had ended […]

Chapter 5. It was a story told by my mother to Paul that grabbed…

It was a sto­ry told by my moth­er to Paul over tea and cook­ies and I believe some inel­e­gant cheese that grabbed me by the Saskatchewans, pitch­ing me into a fever dossier and a full count I am prob­a­bly still suf­fer­ing con­sec­u­tive­ly this very day, near­ly sev­er­al thou­sand dawns of Cool­ing Earth lat­er. Why had she nev­er men­tioned this before. […]

Chapter 4. Our dear Mrs. Middleton the Strict sent us home with a regenerative task…

Our dear Mrs. Mid­dle­ton the Strict sent us home with a regen­er­a­tive task one fine spring after­noon, crisp with the trav­el­ing song of way­ward dan­de­lions and invin­ci­ble coun­try singers drunk on the booze left unde­liv­ered by the winds of tomor­row’s next sur­prise. Her thir­ty stu­dents were to ask each of our par­ents, and in those days, […]

Chapter 3. The Former Congressman Swore An Air Force Hospital…

The for­mer con­gress­man swore an Air Force hos­pi­tal had nev­er been locat­ed in Palm Beach Coun­ty. He was a home­town boy, an habit­u­al ser­vant of the coun­ty until com­ing to Wash­ing­ton, knew every syn­chro­nized inch of that excru­ci­at­ing­ly oppor­tunis­tic, glitz infest­ed, cap­ti­vat­ing, terse, par­alin­gusit­i­cal­ly vain but roy­al­ty free com­pound par­adise. But ever since the fer­al drug […]

Chapter 2. We’ll get to the official purposes of my morning…

We’ll get to the offi­cial pur­pos­es of my morn­ing rou­tine lat­er, but let me walk you through the basics. Are you record­ing this? Come on peo­ple. Let’s get our sto­ry straight. Will some­body please shuf­fle me a freak­ing elec­tron­ic device that will please on some non-​​sadistic lev­el work some mag­ic fuck job on our Green­wich Village […]