For What It's Worth – a literary site

The literary site of Jason Bentsman and Contributors. Entertainment, illumination, edification

 

 

 

The ontological ‘problem’ with the genre of the portrait, of course, is that no matter how well and intricately a person is photographed, one can truly tell little about their psyche based on exterior appearance alone, at best very partially or reflective of their momentary mood. One can also use the portrait mode to evoke a certain universal mood or as a metaphor for a certain state, as Picasso does in some of his Pink and Blue Period paintings, but this isn’t a portrait in the strong sense, an ontological reflection of a person’s essence. . . Therefore, to make a good one, one must not only be very skilled, sensitive, use the proper equipment (for unfortunately photography is an art heavily dependent on technology), but also creative and insightfully evocative. There are few truly great portraits in the history of photography, and I certainly haven’t contributed one

 



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Running Horse 237, Lascaux — Og

 

Og’s latest, Running Horse 237, is a far cry from his greatest works, such as Buffalo 12, Man Chasing Reindeer With Bow 16, and even Running Horses 148 and Running Horse 19. Nonetheless, it is still an Og. And Og at his worst is better than many cave artists at their best. While the presentation feels rushed and a little crude, and you may not be able to commune directly with the horse-spirit through it, you still might hear it winnowing and feel some residual sense of awe. Also, it is quite tasty— it’s painted with those berries out there beyond the fields we all love. P.S. Og must not be shown this review. He gets quite belligerent when challenged.



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A collection of most (?) of the snaggletoothed, ironic,
and silly quips I’ve posted on ‘social media’ over the
past year. They reflect the strange times we live in
(or maybe just the strange mind I live with)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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It is a pleasure bringing you writings and other media through FWIW, but the site takes a lot of time to run (curate, write for, illustrate, code, share, etc)— sometimes a hundred plus hours a month— and incurs considerable costs to sustain. Donations from engaged readers like yourself are indispensable for it to continue running and remain Ad Free... If you derive any joy and value here, please consider becoming a Supporting Regular, with a modest recurring Monthly Donation of your choice, between a cup of tea and a dinner. (Note: You don’t actually need a PayPal account; just use any credit or debit card and click through.)

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A collection of most (all?) of the profound, ingenious,
and arresting quotes by insightful individuals
I’ve posted on ‘social media’ over the past year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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In early 2017 FWIW ran a contest on Facebook in a number of groups and threads to see who could come up with the funniest and most ridiculous 4 word phrases that would ruin a first date. I was floored by the number of responses— over 1,500 (!) Here, appearing for the first time on the site itself, are the Winners and Runners Up— and for the first time altogether, the Runners Runners Up

 

Well friends, the Results are in from January’s impromptu literary improv Contest asking you to “Ruin a first date using 4 words.” I must say, I was floored by the number of responses— over 1,500 (!) from a dozen or so Facebook groups and threads. Suffice it to say, it was extremely challenging to select the relatively small number of Winning (25) and Runner Up (15) entries.

 

Since I didn’t wholly trust my own comedic judgment (or stamina) when reading so many, I recruited my good friend, writer and humorist par excellence Matt, as co-judge. Thanks Matt for being so magnanimous on short notice!

 

Even then, the results must be taken with a proverbial grain of salt, for they reflect our idiosyncratic preferences and addled minds. Really, a small committee was required, and others surely would have made some different picks. Hopefully though, we were able to winnow out most of the funniest and most clever.

 

And thanks to everyone who, to my amazement, kept responding… and responding… and responding. Hope you enjoy this list  

 

 

 

 

 

Runners Runners Up

 

Marie Pé

My girlfriend is insane

Consent is a fad

I have fifteen cats

You, me, golden showers?

One minute, dealer calling!

College: waste of time

 

Anna L

Ignore the tracking device

I am still married

I enjoy restraining orders

Are you poisoning me?

 

Ian Steel Matheson

Call me ‘The Hammer’

 

Seth DeFayette

Your drink is poisoned

You laugh like Skeletor

Let me feed you…

Don’t look behind you

Self destruct in 0

God, no, just no

 

Marianne Lorthiois

Aleppo? What is Aleppo?

 

Ashwin Gandbhir

Like my clown suit?

Hold this colostomy bag

Honestly, astroglide or lard?

I traffic rhino horns

 

Matt Murphy

My bestiality’s under control

I am into coprophagia

 

Hamid Farzaneh

Is your dad single?

 

Joshua Budman

This won’t take long

 

Nguyen Dinh

You look better online

 

Chris O’Bray

I have no head

 

Erik Jacobsen

My wife just called

 

Zachary Soucy, Robert Henderson

I really love you

 

Michael Riat

I suppose you’ll do

 

Jason Kearney Thibault

Legally, I must inform…

 

Jen Starr

You have a tongue?!

 

Kathy Anders

My herpes is active

 

Bill Shifflett, Ed Logan

Mind if I fart?

 

Mike Fitzpatrick

I have a woody

 

Charles J. Swedish

Here, put this on

Yuck… smell my finger.

 

Dave Jewett

Watch this snot rocket

 

David Isurushin

Are those things real?

 

Ed Logan

Ever tried autoerotic asphyxiation?

Does Walgreens sell condoms?

Let’s make a baby

Your hair looks real

Just visualizing you naked

I bathed for you

Where’s the nearest hotel?

That’s my spit cup

We are not schizophrenic

The voices chose you

You look right tasty

Could you shut-up?

 

Paula Smith

The voices told me

Hold my crack pipe

 

Hugh Duncan

Those? Scars. Old girlfriend.

 

David Fairn

Your Dad is pretty

 

Richard Wysham

Got a hundred bucks?

 

Hugh Duncan

It’s okay, I’m famous

 

Bill Shifflett

Heroin helps me sleep

 

Nicole Kazonie

Haven’t slept in weeks…

All in the negotiations…!

I have a questionnaire

 

Randy Benjamin

Parole officer likes you

 

Bill Faulkner

Wanna see my crawlspace?

You allergic to zipties?

Our safeword is xzwqpkjmgfdulrdswv…

I party like Caligula!

Come see my van

Dammit! I just came

 

Curran Jeffery

My Mom dressed me

 

Laura Rooney

First date since prison

 

David Olson

You are a Cunt!

 

Nilsa Rivera

Could it be AIDS?

You ever killed someone?

 

Hil O’Brien

What about salad instead?

 

Edwin Marcus

My wife is calling

 

Angelica Lindo

My pimp’s monitoring us

Aliens abducted me twice

You looked better online

I’m on house arrest

I guess you’ll do

 

James Wait, Danny Hughes

Will you marry me?

 

Neal Shannacappo

Are you on medication?

 

Curtis Berry

You have lovely wrinkles

Carpet match the drapes?

You don’t look scared

Fetch me a beer

This smell like chloroform?

I admire older women

Brought you a ham

Get ready for inspection

Have you ever hooked?

Hitler was so misunderstood

 

Josh Gaines

Your skin oughta fit

You sleepwalk? I sleepshit!

 

Lara Lo

I sleep with dolls

I speak Pig Latin

 

David Mendoza

When are you due?

 

Frank Baker

My wife (husband) is coming

 

 

 

And if you’re curious, here is a list of the responses we came up with. I thought of mine sporadically over a few days. Matt came up with his in, like, 20 minutes.

 

Jason
– I have the clap 
– I voted for Trump
– Biggest heroes: Allen. Polanski.
– Grandma?? What the fuck?!?
– I looove children! Literally.
– Follow me on Instagram
– Bedbugs are my friends
– My name is Mephistopheles
– I’m 9 months pregnant
– I brought my therapist
– I’m from the future
– Fancy a foot massage?
– U brought a diaphragm?
– Prefer to pee clothed
– I have two heads
– Hamster. Tube. Enough said.
– The KGB sent me 
– I have anger issues
– Fucky sucky? Sucky fucky?
– What is your rate?
– Global warming doesn’t exist
– I followed you here
– You gotta snort this!
– Let us say Grace
– Wanna buy a condo?
– What’s your ATM pin?
– Your deformity arouses me
– Want to swap children?
– I’ll be filming this
– Reading is for fools
– Ignore the parole officer
– Rapists have feelings too (agh, this one is awful!) 
– First sign this contract
– This too shall pass
– Wanna join my Ashram?
– Let’s Netflix And Chill
– I own twelve concubines
– Pee into this cup
– Remind me to douche
– I love your cranium!
– This is becoming interminable
– Girl, you so freaky
– Let’s steal the silverware
– Just robbed the register 
– How much an hour?
– Fried bedbugs are delectable
– Too legit to quit
– Don’t fear the Reaper
– I’m a mischievous proctologist 
– Satan, get thee back! 
– More cowbell

 

Matt 
– I forgot my mantra
– It rubs the lotion
– Yeah, you’ll regret this
– Blackness. All is Blackness.
– Well this is awkward
– Let’s contemplate the nothingness
– Nothing will save you
– Let’s just not talk
– Endless dread, that’s all
– Limitless humiliation, my life
– Masturbation is my religion
– Masturbation is God, ok?
– I overmasturbated today, sorry
– My life is grim
– Want to discuss Schopenhauer?
– Despair, ye Gods. Despair!
– Systolic. Diastolic. Bucolic. Whooo! (a very inside joke) 
– I’m a dandy, see!
– I rage against God
– Sweeeeet Caroline, dum, dum – 
– Blade sharpens blade, petunia
– Remember Jewel? So great
– Remember Everclear? So great
– Remember Hanson? So talented
– Step on my dick
– My name is Cardamom

 


– Contest Was Held In Jan 2017 



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Well, so long my friend. 🍷✍   Leonard Cohen is a hero of mine. I was fortunate enough to see him in concert four times– his first in Toronto after his fifteen year hiatus (on a sort of pilgrimage for the very purpose), at a beautiful ornate ramshackle theater in a rundown part of Connecticut, and twice in NYC. His impact on my life over the years, and on my art, has been inestimable.

 

Yesterday it occurred to me that it might be nice to share some of his wonderful lesser known songs.

 

Here is a list of some of my personal favorites. I’ve included those I imagine people moderately acquainted with his body of work still might not know. Of course, everyone has their idiosyncratic favorites. It’s amazing how many great songs there are in his oeuvre. And he has very few I’d actually consider ‘bad’; the occasionally musically lackluster ones are often redeemed by great lyrics.

 

Hope you enjoy these selections. I’ve included video links to each song as well.

 

• Teachers (1967)
• One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong [Live] (BBC Broadcast 1968)
• Story of Isaac (1969)
• Avalanche (1971)
• You Know Who I Am [Live] (Live Songs 1973)
• Nancy [Live] (Live Songs 1973)
• Lover Lover Lover (1974)
• There Is A War (1974)
• Do I Have To Dance All Night [Live] (rare Live In Paris single – with Laura Branigan 1976)
• The Guests (1979)
• The Gypsy’s Wife (1979)
• If It Be Your Will (1984)
• Take This Waltz (1988)
• Anthem (1992)
• Boogie Street (2001)
• The Letters (2004)
• Steer Your Way (2016)
• It Seemed The Better Way (2016)


Also considered including Master Song (1967), Stranger Song (1967), Waiting For The Miracle (1992), and Who By Fire (Live In London 2009), but I’m guessing moderate listeners already tend to know these

P.S. At the bottom of the post are a few photos I took during the candlelight vigil at LC’s house in the Plateau, Montreal, a ceremony whose mournings and somber festivities extended for many days


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Note: Clearly these links will not work in every country, and some of them will be removed from the internet over time. 

• Teachers (1967)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzotawVmmVc

• One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong [Live] (BBC Recording 1968)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ON7-tf0-3Ys

• Story of Isaac (1969)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzSSeeJRn2c

• Avalanche (1971)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQe88ybEIe8

• You Know Who I Am [Live] (Live Songs 1973)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAPhSmlfnmo

• Nancy [Live] (Live Songs 1973)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nr7nkyRK9bQ

• Lover Lover Lover (1974)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYkJuAb0mMk

• There Is A War (1974)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ncdY2nGKzBs

• Do I Have To Dance All Night [Live] (rare Live In Paris single – with Laura Branigan 1976)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqzdk6NhAs4

• The Guests (1979)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxY_8Tu1CoI

• The Gypsy’s Wife (1979)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cky05oQAIsc

• If It Be Your Will (1984)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_Qk_4emjEs

• Take This Waltz (1988)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytdjYjM-cLg

• Anthem (1992)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCS_MwkWzes

• Boogie Street (2001)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rswKZ0PNY_0

• The Letters (2004)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WFcrn8Dg2LI

• Steer Your Way (2016)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nyMrjGX2vk

• It Seemed The Better Way (2016)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nyMrjGX2vk

 

– Nov 12, 2016

 

 

 

 



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dove_crossed

The American electorate has become so divided in 2016 that those who don’t plan to vote for DT have been puzzled and distraught by how so many— seemingly 45% or more of voters— can be willing to support him. This succinct analysis highlights some of the reasons as to how this situation has come about.


The reasons why someone like DT can rise to power in the contemporary United States— and shockingly enough, gain so much traction in the polls in a matter of days before the election, after Clinton held a substantial lead after the debates— are complex and somewhat unprecedented.

Some of the main ones include:

• Relativism (or ‘Radical Subjectivism’) sweeping the world as the prevailing philosophy in the last half-century— contributing to a diminishing of reason and anti-intellectualism
• Acculturation by and addiction to Media over the last century (especially with the advent of the Internet and Social Media over the last 25 years)— much of which is sensationalistic and manipulative
• Fear of suffering in myriad forms (shame, injury, poverty, unneededness) and death (ego dissolution)— some of these fears natural, some culturally constructed
• Threats of Futuristic technologies, human redundancy through Automation and Globalization, and seemingly random Terrorism
• The rise of the automobile and related infrastructure, as well new cultural norms, leading to a loss of community and increasing isolation and loneliness
• Consolidation of power, and subterfuge, coercion, and oppression (economic and emotional) by large corporations and wealthy vested interests and their media and governmental outlets and connections

 

Leading to:

• People only paying attention to media outlets that already ratify one’s own opinions—
many of which are intentionally untrue and manipulative
• Ignorance (diminished education)
• Primarily responding through emotion
• Diminished capacity for reason (loss of discrimination)
• Centring on the self and stifled sense of empathy (diminished empathy, intersubjectivity, and ability to take other perspectives)
• Only short-term attention span (loss of long-term memory span)
• Addiction to regular sensationalism (as an escape from one’s fears)
• Total identification of one’s ‘self’ with one’s thoughts and opinions (most of which come from media and society)

At this crucial juncture, let us hope that, nonetheless, the balance tips in favor of Reason and Compassion, and a person whose actions are inveterately fascist, racist, sexist, derogatory, sexually predatory, swindling, paranoid, vindictive, and pathologically lying does not become the leader of the most economically, militarily, and technologically powerful country in the world— which could easily lead to darkly dystopian, World War, and armageddon scenarios, setting back civilization for decades and centuries— and that just as many of these detrimental forces emerged in the last centuries, many equally beneficial ones conflux and civilization evolves for the better and effloresces in the 21st century


– Nov 7, 2016

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