Thursday, December 15

Some worthless sack of shit's spambot hit p1k3 earlier today, the first time it's happened in a while. Another straightforward demonstration of the principle that any medium with a sufficiently low transmission cost will become saturated with advertising to the point of its utter destruction.

It's not that it would be impossible to assign responsibility for spam — certainly there's moral agency involved, and I would derive a certain glee from visiting wrathful destruction on the facilities, personal effects, and livelihoods of those directly responsible — it's more that the principles by which it operates seem to be so fundamental and generalizable that the identity of the perpetrators in a given case is almost irrelevant to the problem. It's more about epidemiology. To partially rip off my friend Levi's thoughts on the two-party system in American politics, spam is an emergent property of open, very-low-cost communications systems in a sufficiently populated environment.

The question becomes an essentially technical one: Once a system reaches a spammable user population, how do you tune the system so that spamming it is no longer cost-effective without either drastically reducing its openness or increasing its cost (which is really just one of many ways to close a system)?

I have yet to see a particularly satisfactory solution. Maybe one doesn't exist.

wednesday, december 14

stupid similes

the year rolls to its conclusion
like a beat up pallet jack bearing,
unhappily, some thousand pound load
down the scuffed linoleum of a yellow
lit hallway.

Sunday, December 11

I have been re-reading Rexroth's Classics Revisited essays. What strikes me this time around is not that he was right about the works he describes. I've only read a handful of them, and those mostly in translation. About Job and the Dao De Jing I suspect he's entirely correct, but I still can't say if what he finds in the Great Books is always — or even usually — present. I don't think it actually matters a lot, because the vision of life & value he presents over and over again is so compelling.

saturday, december 3

my 24 year old transistor radio
is playing barely comprehensible reggae
("woman, go home, to your husband")
there's a fire in the stove; the kettle
on top is hissing and steams a little
in the light from outside which is
made up of silver brown dead grass
thin snow, dirty windows
and is fading as i write this

yesterday's mail brought an
envelope from elizabeth's friend ian
in new york: two chapbooks of poetry
one in particular is clear, simple,
and belongs in some tradition perfectly
expressible in english but somehow
often obscured
with sources i imagine
in rumi or the desert fathers

ian's blurb says he's a political anarchist
incidentally i checked out some books last weekend,
in an effort to get more of a handle
on what that kind of thing means
one of them was god and the state
so far i've mostly figured out
that bakunin wasn't very big on
either one of them.

it also says he's a practicing
maronite catholic, which i'll just
admit i didn't know the first thing about
until i looked it up
the desert fathers might not be
too far off the mark.

friday, december 2

outside a snow is falling
into oblivion and dripping
from the last leaves, becoming
a thin quiet stream at the place where a rainspout
just beside the sleeping bees
should connect the gutter to the ground
and i imagine the sound
of it is something like that of silence
in my headphones, a low rustle or tiny
click - like turntable noises or the
end of a tape.