Archive for January, 2010

John Fante: The Road To Los Angeles

January 30, 2010

(pp. 37-39):

After the dessert the women got up and left. My mother closed the door. The whole thing looked premeditated. Uncle Frank got down to business by lighting his pipe, pushing some dishes out of the way, and leaning toward me. He took the pipe out of his mouth and shook the stem under my nose.

He said, “Look here, you little sonofabitch; I didn’t know you were a thief too. I knew you were lazy, but by God I didn’t know you were a thieving little thief.”

I said, “I’m not a sonofabitch, either.”

“I talked to Romero,” he said. “I know what you did.”

“I warn you,” I said. “In no uncertain terms I warn you to desist from calling me a sonofabitch again.”

“You stole ten dollars from Romero.”

“Your presumption is colossal, unvaunted. I fail to see why you permit yourself the liberty of insulting me by calling me a sonofabitch.”

He said, “Stealing from your employer! That’s a fine thing.”

“I tell you again, and with the utmost candor that, despite your seniority and our blood-relationship, I positively forbid you to use such opprobious names as sonofabitch in reference to me.”

“A loafer and a thief for a nephew! It’s disgusting.”

“Please be advised, my dear uncle, that since you choose to vilify me with sonofabitch I have no alternative but to point out the blood-fact of your own scurrilousness. In short, if I am a sonofabitch it so happens that you’re the brother of a bitch. Laugh that off.”

“Romero could’ve had you arrested. I’m sorry he didn’t.”

“Romero is a monster, a gigantic fraud, a looming lug. His charges of piracy amuse me. I fail to be moved by his sterile accusations. But I must remind you once more to curb the glibness of your obscenities. I am not in the habit of being insulted, even by relatives.”

He said, “Shut up you little fool! I’m talking about something else. What’ll you do now?”

“There are myriad possibilities.”

He sneered, “Myriad possibilities! That’s a good one! What the devil are you talking about? Myriad possibilities!”

I took some puffs on my cigarette and said, “I presume I’ll embark on my literary career now that I have had done with the Romero breed of proletarian.”

“Your what?”

“My literary plans. My prose. I shall continue with my literary efforts. I’m a writer, you know.”

“A writer? Since when did you become a writer? This is a new one. Go on, I’ve never heard this one before.”

I told him, “The writing instinct has always lain dormant in me. Now it is in the process of metamorphosis. The era of transition has passed. I am on the threshold of expression.

He said, “Balls.”

I took the new notebook out of my pocket and flipped the pages with my thumb. I flipped them so fast he couldn’t read anything but he could see some writing in it. “These are notes,” I said. “Atmospheric notes. I’m writing a Socratic symposium on Los Angeles Harbor since the days of the Spanish Conquest.”

“Let’s see them,” he said.

“Nothing doing. Not until after publication.”

“After publication! What talk!”

I put the notebook back in my pocket. It smelled of crabs.

“Why don’t you buck up and be a man?” he said. “It would make your father happy up there.”

“Up where?” I said.

“In afterlife.”

I’d been waiting for that.

“There is no afterlife,” I said. “The celestial hypothesis is sheer propaganda formulated by the haves to delude the have-nots. I dispute the immortal soul. It is the persistent delusion of an hoodwinked mankind. I reject in no uncertain terms the hypothesis of God. Religion is the opium of the people. The churches should be converted to hospitals and public works. All we are or ever hope to be we owe to the devil and his bootleg apples. There are 78,000 contradictions in the bible. Is it God’s word? No! I reject God! I denounce him with savage and relentless imprecations! I accept the universe godless… I look forward to the worst persecutions along the way. It’s quite all right.”

Still Thinking This Shit Through

January 10, 2010

Talk about mixed emotions. I started this blog when I discovered atheist blogs in general, while researching the problem of evil for something related to philosophy class. I saw it as a way to have a sort of ^anonymous persona^ where I could say whatever I want without fear of retaliation or drama. It’s has been and still is that, and I like that part. I can randomly write ^fuck^ if I want, and not have to worry that my teacher will flip out and pray for me. If people don’t want to read ^fuck^ then they don’t have to read it, but if you’ve lived part or all of your life bound by religion then you know where the ^fuck^ I’m coming from when I say it feels good to be free.

Another thing here is that the name “Godless Randall” reflected how I felt at that time, happy to be free from the religious culture I grew up inside, but “Godless” only really means that I’m an atheist of some sort. What is an atheist? It’s a question I saw being argued just today. If an atheist is defined as “absence of belief in gods,” yeah, I’m an atheist in the sense that I don’t ^believe in^ any gods meaning I don’t ^follow^ any religion, but that doesn’t mean I believe in only matter or only this universe. There are all sorts of varieties of atheist, from what I hear, and it seems people should be more open-minded than that. Some atheists are religious, some religious folk are pretty much atheists when it comes down to it too. But by “Godless” I don’t mean to say materialism. By “Godless” I mean without religion and God and gods, but diehard materialism atheists seem to me to be much like the people at church back home and I want to also stand apart from them.

Sometimes when I read atheist blogs, I find myself nodding “yes” to everything. Other times, the atheist needs a slap upside the head or a swift kick to the nuts. I feel like I fall somewhere between the extreme believer and the extreme atheist, and I feel under represented. People on both sides get crazy and need to be brought back down to Earth. So don’t be surprised if I end up criticizing things in atheist blogs if they’re as ignorant as the things atheist blogs criticize believers for. I notice lots if not most atheist talk centers around criticizing theism and rightly so, but I’m not looking to share uniforms with another movement . That’s one thing currently non negotiable.

So, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll end up writing about the crazy bar exploits I’ve had in the last short year. After all, I do like Bukowski.

Happy New Year

January 4, 2010

Okay, okay… I admit it. I totally disappeared over the holidays. Not that anyone seemed to mind, as a whopping ^two comments^ have amassed in that time. I get an average of one comment a month! Yippee! The truth is, school and that end of the year fiasco most Americans call Christmas demanded more time than I can give to blogging. Sucks, ‘cuz I was getting pretty close to meeting my one-post-per-week average.

So, today’s post is just to usher in the New Year, and to re-establish some regularity to this incontinent piece of shit I call a blog. That said, I don’t have much of anything ^real^ or ^important^ to talk about. I’m just glad New Year isn’t draped in the same religio-political whore’s outfit as Christmas. I could tell you about how I went back home and had the same exact argument I had with my religious parents last year. Or, I could tell you about how a particular altar girl / pastor’s daughter we’ll call “Sarah” is now the town cokewhore, but we already know religion’s mouth tends to write checks its ass can’t cash.

I would also like to acknowledge the new commenter who managed to stop by while I was slugging it out with finals: baysailor. Hi baysailor! Turns out we’re in the same neck of the woods!

And yes, Jake, I’m still here.