I woke up in a strange place

By Marc Heiden, since 1997.
See also: a novel about a monkey.

« May 11 | Main | May 18 »

May 13, 2005

Another job for which I am better qualified than the man who currently holds it is the job of CTA President. Residents of the city of Chicago know that our public transportation system is teetering on the verge of collapse, and the minions of Kruesi claim that jacking fares to $3 while cutting service is the only way to save it. I, on the other hand, am possessed of wide, staring eyes and a strong urge to fly, and I have insights that the minions do not. For example, one way for the CTA to save a lot of money would be to cut down on the number of guys in green vests wandering aimlessly back and forth at the Division subway stop. Prior to this week, there was already a surplus of those guys, and now their number has doubled. The only thing they do that can be construed as work-related is getting out of the train's way when it finally creeps into the station.

Now, lest someone sneer and call me a consultant, let me clarify that I am not proposing layoffs. Workers are valuable assets, but they must be deployed correctly. These men should not be fired; clearly, they are well-versed in the art of bamboozlement, because they get paid to wander around in green vests, and their bosses think it's a good thing. They are experts in techniques that the CTA can use to get out of paying its debts. Put them in a room with, say, this month's electricity bill and a telephone. They know the weaknesses of middle management; they they know how to deal with that shit.

Kruesi is a weak little man who instead chooses to whinge about the state legislature.

(news) COVINGTON, La. -- Officials captured 47 monkeys that had escaped from the Tulane Primate Center, but six remained on the loose Tuesday and seemed to be hiding out in a heavily wooded area near the site. The monkeys escaped Monday evening. Officials said the monkeys got loose because a cage was not locked properly. The monkeys had observed how the cage was opened and closed and apparently used that knowledge to their advantage.

Mike Aertker, spokesman for the Primate Center, said the monkeys were being used solely for breeding purposes, and had not been subjected to experiments of any kind. Aertker said the monkeys are not aggressive and pose no threat to people.

The interesting thing is, when given a choice, 38 of the monkeys who were recaptured by the breeding facility chose to listen to Pinkerton.

Following up on my last entry, Arden, our remote correspondent, reported that Letterman had a bit on Tuesday night where he and Paul Schaffer tried to guess whether paintings were by an ape or an artist. According to Arden, the one by the ape was "quite a good painting". Frankly, when an ape paints well, I think he or she deserves some credit. The critics who derided Congo's exhibition in 1957 probably did so from a position of defending art; to admit that an ape could paint well would, they feared, open some kind of fissure beneath the integrity of modern abstract art, revealing it as a con along the lines of all those lame jokes and commercials where aesthetes mistake a common object for a masterpiece and shower it with pseudo art-speak. But it wouldn't. Some people paint better than others, and some monkeys paint better than others, too. Congo happened to be a fucking good painter. As the article said:

He painted within the boundaries of the sheet of paper and never allowed the paint to spill over the edge. He also appeared to know when he had finished a painting: He refused to pick up his brush or pencil over the work.

Could any monkey with a paint-brush produce great art? Of course not. I strongly doubt that this monkey's work would be anything other than an empty exercise in form, and this monkey probably lacks the discipline to go beyond surface assumptions about his relationship with his art. But, for fuck's sake, if you gave this monkey a canvas, he would come back to you with some fucking intense reflections about where he's been and what he's seen. And you can't tell me this monkey doesn't know some shit about life.

It seems to be raining very hard right now. But, seriously, if anyone thought that would prevent me from hitting all the locations on my carefully-drawn map for the first day of Free Frosty Weekend, they are fools. I guess I should take this opportunity to thank the crazy chili finger woman for her diligent efforts towards embarassing a corporate monolith into giving me a free lunch. If someone could get Pizza Hut to do the same, that would be great, because I don't feel like cooking tonight.

I woke up in a strange place is the work of Marc Heiden, born in 1978, author of two books (Chicago, Hiroshima) and some plays, and an occasional photographer.

Often discussed:

Antarctica, Beelzetron, Books, Chicago, College, Communism, Food, Internet, Japan, Manute Bol, Monkeys and Apes, North Korea, Oregon Trail, Outer Space, Panda Porn, Politics, RabbiTech, Shakespeare, Sports, Texas.


January 2012, December 2011, January 2011, September 2010, August 2010, June 2010, March 2010, October 2009, February 2009, January 2009, September 2008, August 2008, March 2008, February 2008, October 2007, July 2007, June 2007, January 2007, September 2006, July 2006, June 2006, January 2006, December 2005, September 2005, August 2005, July 2005, June 2005, May 2005, March 2005, February 2005, January 2005, December 2004, October 2004, July 2004, June 2004, May 2004, April 2004, February 2004, January 2004, December 2003, November 2003, October 2003, September 2003, August 2003, July 2003, June 2003, May 2003, April 2003, March 2003, February 2003, January 2003, December 2002, November 2002, October 2002, September 2002, August 2002, July 2002, June 2002, May 2002, April 2002, March 2002, February 2002, January 2002, December 2001, November 2001, October 2001, September 2001, August 2001, July 2001, December 1999, November 1999, October 1999, May 1999, February 1999, January 1999, December 1998, November 1998, October 1998, June 1998, May 1998, April 1998, March 1998, February 1998, December 1997, November 1997, October 1997, September 1997, and the uncategorised wilderness of the Beelzetron era: 010622 - 010619, 010615 - 010611, 010608 - 010604, 010601 - 010529, 010525 - 010521, 010518 - 010514, 010511 - 010507, 010504 - 010430, 010427 - 010423, 010420 - 010416, 010413 - 010409, 010406 - 010402, 010330 - 010326, 010323 - 010319, 010316 - 010312, 010309 - 010307, 019223 - 010219, 010216 - 010212, 010209 - 010205, 010202 - 010109, 010126 - 010122, 010119 - 010115, 010112 - 010108, 010105 - 010102, 001229 - 001224, 001222 - 001218, 001215 - 001211, 001208 - 001204, 001201 - 001124, 001124 - 001120, 001117 - 001113, 001110 - 001106, 001103 - 001030, 001027 - 001023, 001020 - 001016, 001013 - 001010, 001006 - 000927.

Written by Marc Heiden, 1997-2011.