Category Archives: Uncategorized

Everyone Needs A Hobby

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S [/dropcap] eems appropriate at this point in time, in light of a few recent victories that could be readily classified as very un-Mariners insofar as said victories were not only emphatic but, in a way, expected, to address the elephant in the room: this Mariners’ season has coincided with the invention and subsequent growth of the blog you are reading today. Luckswing may be responsible for the Mariners’ successes.

What are the things required as a winning baseball team? Good players are certainly nice. Baseball is a good place for identifying good players because the numbers over large sample sizes tend to allow for some pretty well-thought predictions as to a players’ future successes  and failures. That being said, Chris Young sort of flies in the face of that. Chris Young sort of flies in the face of everything though. The term “Flies in the face of” is an unexamined idiom. Idioms are pretty much always unexamined which is why idiomatic language pretty much never translates well between languages. They just do not make sense divorced from the cultural context that birthed them. To shatter the generalization I just made, apparently this particular idiom’s origins involve some rural-ass scenario where a hen flies in the face of whatever predator, probably some canine like the dogs we keep as pets or the foxes we wish we could keep as pets, attacks her. So basically Chris Young is waging an assault against conventional metrics and expectations fueled by sheer farm-animal-desperation and he, like the rest of this improbable team, is succeeding.

Now that we have introduced improbability and desperation into the scenario, let us subsequently introduce the creation of this blog and by doing so really obviously connote (the words obvious and connote are also indirectly competing words but fuck you) that there was a certain degree of desperation in this blog’s creation—the quiet sort of desperation that manifests itself in really boring symptoms from probably more boring causes.

Luckswing was created, in a way, out of desperation. It shouldn’t take any reader a very long time to realize that this blog is more of a hobby than a job. Jobs pay you money and are almost by definition boring. If you think your job is exciting, there is a fairly decent chance that you are a habitual abuser of anti-depressants and are rapidly accelerating towards a hell of a wake-up call or you simply haven’t worked at your job for a very long time.

Hunter S. Thompson has a quote for this scenario that I have liked for some time: “Old whores don’t giggle.” Seems simple enough given a brief, cursory look. Great job on that first glance because it is every bit as simple as it seems initially or “out of the gate,” (to further estrange this from whatever subaltern other we feel like alienating today by using more idiomatic language).

Fuck it though. Let’s dig into the aforementioned simple-ass quotation just for funsies. Sex is fun and that is probably the jump-off point Hunter is trying to construct to then jump to the second axiom “jobs are boring” and see where he gets from there. Sex is fun because the chemical response to orgasm is literally a volcanic eruption of fun-chemicals attributed to the release of the neurohormones oxytocin and prolactin as well as endogenous morphine. But that is not all that there is. Obviously this is not the case. There is a different part of people who enjoy sex because it intrinsically validates a perception that is browbeaten into young people in American society and likely several other societies as well: the idea that the subject, male or female, can attain objects of their sexual desire and in doing so simultaneously validate their own need to be desired as well. It is the exultation in possessing and being possessed. Feelings of attachment post-sex make sense because the act correlates so strongly with notions of objectification that it will usually take real, mental work to adopt the kind of loosey-goosey collegiate attitude towards sex that most people can only get or at least pretend to get once they have done it enough. But even then, this work can often only be internally justified if the sexual subject is themselves confident of their own ability to possess multiple objects and thereby require less of an attachment to just the one, in which case they are more a collector than anything and they still covet the sexual object of possession but in their case what they covet is less of a single entity and more of a state of mind whose passivity is only supported by the ability to switch into successful attainment of a unique object at any given point in time. Basically this is like the Spotify of people fucking each other and similar to Spotify once your wifi connection ends up sucking i.e. you get fat or old and can no longer possess the multifarious objects of attainment at will any longer and are forced to either A) settle down, a term that explicitly includes the uncomfortably connoted “settle” or B) die cold and alone with your better years behind you and the distinct feeling that you may have wasted whatever energy you had on something that ended up being about as frivolous as a heroin addiction except perhaps even more expensive if you managed to knock/get knocked up along the way.

Neither of these seem like good options, which is why people will struggle with notions of “want” wherein they claim to want somebody to see past their own ability to be objectified and bitch and moan and wail about how nobody perceives the real them when in reality the only “real” thing under the surface essentially is anxiety regarding the desirability of the surface. Sucks to suck, as they say.

Ignoring all of that, let’s just accept the supposition that yeah, sex is fun. If that is the case then sex as a job is inviting tedium into what should be qualified as an escape from tedium. That is essentially Hunter’s point then when he says that “Old whores don’t giggle.” Any activity when pursued for and subsequently equated to financial benefit for too long shifts from having its end as something pleasant to having its end as something we deem necessary. It becomes an act of survival and the performance of that act repetitively until elevated to the rank of “profession” becomes just a faculty or aptitude, an adaptation for capitalist survival.

Fun things become un-fun very quickly when you are forced to participate in these activities against your will for extended periods of time for fiscal compensation that is in no way related to the object, subject or product of your labor but is instead a function of whether or not you are doing whatever it is you told somebody you were going to be doing for money. Somebody thinks that what you are doing for work is worthwhile. They have to. “Worth” is even in the fucking word and worth in this context is referring to money. To then retranslate the sentence above: Someone is giving you money to do something that they think is worth money. If they are paying you to do something that they did not think was worth money, then they are either extremely generous people or clinically insane and these two possibilities are not mutually exclusive in the least.

Operating within the worth-as-fiscal-compensation paradigm it is pretty easy to see that this site, what I am doing presently, is “worthless.” Writing doesn’t intrinsically benefit anyone if your notion of benefit is restricted to those things that allow you to, as they say, “put food on the table” or “pay the bills” or whatever else. Earning money for doing something has become the human equivalent of being say, a hunter or a gatherer, except that in this case there are actually just a few entities providing the necessary elements to living such as food and shelter while the rest of us basically just wallow in our own compensatory filth. Homeless or unemployed people in this setting become sort of the equivalent of a lion with a broken leg or a really lazy vulture and basically have no place in the edifice we have constructed over time beginning with whatever fuck thought capitalism as a system was a good idea when really it was just a way to create a society that flits from distraction to distraction and constructs flimsy, lazy narratives to ascribe meaning to what is essentially a living breathing game of flappy-bird untowards death with the worst part about that ride being the fact that we evolved to realize how pointless it is and in so evolving now strive to counter that helpless feeling by assembling a meaning as to “why” we have this awareness when really all we want is a compelling reason to stick our fingers in our ears going ”LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA.”

So yeah, blogging is worthless. It compounds its worthlessness by virtue of it being but one of many blogs amidst an absolute sea of un-edited unrestricted buttfuckery that plagues every deep corner of the internet—millions of people advocating their right to be heard without realizing that the cacophony of the group and the singular lack of specialness inherent to each individual entity makes their voice but one dissonant tone amidst a garbled scream that sounds like a stadium filled with teenage girls all enacting some sort of reverse-peristaltic apocalypse. Word vomit. It’s like Mean Girls, basically.

So yeah. This site was created as one of those voices amidst the cacophony-orchestra (the cacophestra?) as a means to exert some sense of voice or will or something that is pointless. If the rantings and ravings of this post haven’t made it abundantly clear how I feel on the matter there is this tidbit: participating in activities for one’s own survival are necessary but necessity is not enjoyable and necessity does not satisfy the “want” to feel as though the ever-elusive and ever-self-deluding “I” has a voice separate from its efficacy within a system of buying and selling.

The worst way to conceive of this voice is the whole “My voice matters, I am going to change the world, blah blah blah.” These are the words of deluded millionaires and their children-turned-sofa-activists who probably aren’t even 100% sure what their definition would be of “the world” and certainly do not seem conscious of the fact that the pedestal for ignored reform and change is itself a luxury inherited by being born to the royalty of the system they pretend to hate. Seems kind of shitty that “change the world” has become a cliché, but it has. The whole notion of changing the world has become one wherein it is less important that this nebulous “world” has changed but rather that the person wants it to be themselves who have changed it and thereby validate their status as a precious little snowflake for which there is none other so special and unique and just lovely.

So instead: Sports! Why not? Has there ever been anything as meaningless as opining as to the outcomes of events structured within arbitrary rule-sets for which people are paid millions of dollars to skip their formative educations and hit round things with sticks? There probably has! But that doesn’t mean that this isn’t some pretty meaningless shit we are hitting on here. This is the point. If you ever find yourself taking things too seriously or losing grasp on the meaningless expressions within life’s little hell-ride towards extinction than you do so at your own loss. You lose the joy of, “wow that orgasm sure was nice” and creep ever closer to Hunter Thompson’s hypothetical whore being dully pounded into oblivion without so much as batting an eyelid and all of those little giggles become yawns and you have turned pointless hobby into vocation into job into total bore.

So now we can make claims like, “The Mariners’ successes coincide with Luckswing being created. We are responsible for their success.” Why not? I invite all readers to come bury their heads in the sand with us. Everyone needs a hobby, right?

Guest Post: Consider NOT Watching

It is a hard enough time trying to live my own life, televised sports aside. It’s difficult: just try filling up the day with activities that are of your own design.

TV entertainment, at large, is no help with this pursuit. It is, in fact (IN FACT: I have to put the blame somewhere), the principle obstacle to it. Among the many arresting, come-hither faces television programming makes, the most tantalizing for many—my own shameful, feckless self, included—is sports.

The NBA Finals transported me out of the utter boredom that otherwise was my languid, lonely weeknight evening and delivered me the kind of solitary stimulation whose only rival is that unutterable height of masculine indignity: the video game.

But where did it take me really, these NBA Finals? And what exactly did it ask of me once it plopped me down?

It took me three time zones away—as many tax-brackets to be sure—and impel me to exist vicariously through other fellow humans who have not a scant idea or care that I exist.

Why should he?

Unlike me, Mr. James apparently has a life of his own to keep him busy—hence this arrangement in the first place.

At this point, it may sound like I am dogmatically opposed to entertainment in general (to anticipate a criticism), but that would be only partially true.

A movie, like, say, a book (they exist!), begins somewhere, says its piece and is over. Voila and ta ta, you let two hours blissfully slip away with little industry to show for it. Nonetheless, the movie is over. The movie is kaput. You can go ahead and get on with your own business now if you like, but sports never goes belly-up, does it? They never even end—there is always the next game, the next series, the next season (maybe you have noticed…).

It is not the time lost watching the game that is the tragedy (although this is pointlessness-squared, and, frankly, there is not all that much time to spend). It is the time spent in listless anticipation of the next game wherein the calamity lies. There is no shortage of better things to worry about in the world, believe me.

The person who might be described as a “fan”—although I admit to feeling a pang of guilt for hectoring them with this term, but, having apparently forgotten the word’s etymology, they seem take no offense to it—has been infected by sports entertainment. The mind-rot extends well beyond the temporary insanity that axiomatically accompanies the viewing of these frenzied pageants. “The game,” the thing that once upon a time was the escape from the banal and tedious hours of the lonely evening, now becomes the principle supplier of the tedium and nail biting in the meantime.

Ergo Sports Center.

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I can’t help but feel embarrassed for Faith Hill (or Hank Williams Jr. or the Dixie Chicks or whoever) when I hear it sung—you know the jingle: “I’ve been waiting all day for Sunday Night!”

Does she mean to tell me my whole day has been building toward a blood-sport television program? It’s not even consolation anymore; the day is to be organized around it! It’s a bit like gleefully looking forward to watching other people in the sheets.

And don’t, I beg you, tell me this nonsense brings out the best in people or brings them together. Tell that instead to the tens of thousands who now choose to sit in “Family Zone” seating at NFL games to avoid a fist-fight with a drunk over a loyalty to the wrong team, or a lack of zeal even for the right one. Maybe there is something compelling about the number 42 or Michael Sam, but for every Jackie Robinson story there is a John Rocker and Riley Cooper and Kobe Bryant and Garrison Hearst and so many more to be sure, holding down the hatred for now like so much sour milk. And, mind you, these are only athletes who have said hateful things.

How is it, then, that this caravel of primeval loathing keeps its anchor under a monsoon of unchecked praise—praise issued on account of even-handedness and for providing our children with good “role-models” no less? There are more than a few athletes I would call outright criminals if that tag did not so sinuously fit on the team owners as to make the players’ crimes almost too piffling to be worth mentioning. Which, in your estimation, is more appalling: that Ray Rice punched his wife unconscious and dragged her around the Revel Hotel lobby by her hair? Or that the official Ravens Twitter account, seeking to smooth “Little Ray’s” brand back to that of game-time idol, tweeted: “@Ravens Janay Rice says she deeply regrets the role that she played the night of the incident.”?

Did you hear that young, impressionable men of America?

It was—once again—her fault.

From the theft of money by Little League presidents in Hawaii to Wisconsin, to the shady business dealings of pro-team owners (yes Mr. Cuban, quite a slippery slope there indeed) to the flat out, knife-in-teeth piracy that is the dealings of the NCAA in all its shadowy forms, these bodies have no shame and brand themselves as if they have no guilt.

Lastly, and with the above in mind, I have heard all I can bear about “locker room culture” as some kind of relativistic, Margret Mead-esque excuse for anything. It’s a debasement to the language in the first place. And in the second, is that really what a man does? Dawn plastic armor and fight make-believe bad guys from the next town over? I don’t think so.

I mention this just as a point of comparison:  My four-year-old nephew dresses up like Iron-man on Sundays sometimes and shoots lasers out of his fists. Say what you like of me if I join in. It is not much of a game for an adult, but at least I’m the one playing.

 

On writing, readership, and trying to convince myself that I can happily do the former without craving the latter

Dear readers. Some of you may know me and others may not. Most of you are probably familiar with me in some capacity as I doubt that our site’s reach extends much further than a few close friends and relatives and even among that demographic I think we are likely limited to the 3 or 4 of you who bother clicking on any of this when you are scrolling through your web browsers finding out which Lord of the Rings character you are based on your favorite color, food, etc. (#buzzfeed)

It occurs to me that this blog could be readily classified as a waste of effort but only insofar as that effort is deemed a means towards an end with that end being somebody reading what it is we write.

But then again, it ought to be pretty fucking easy to represent writing as an end in itself. Doing so lessens the burden of acquiring readers so I will try to do that here.

This case has been made before (the whole “end in itself” thing is actually a fairly prehistoric notion) and it makes plenty of sense. Those who suffer most in their literary careers often do so from a lack of fulfillment. If this seems like a pretty sweeping generalization then that is because it is one. That being said, how many starving artists and authors exist out in the great wide world who are just so so sure that they have something special to offer if only someone would give them the opportunity and time to pay attention to them. Fulfillment. Me me me me me. What is fulfillment?

Fulfillment is a simple ass word because it basically just means “fill.” For someone to be fulfilled or to feel unfulfilled they are implying that there is some emptiness in them that only say, an avid readership could cure. And yet, I can’t help but think that this is a dangerous way to perceive things.

Think about those thing we have under our control as human beings. We control what we eat, drink, put into our bodies. We control what we do on a day-to-day basis and how we interact with others. We control our manner of expression upon meeting a new person and control how we comport ourselves in interaction with those people.

Think about all of those hypothetical situations and then imagine how often it has come to pass that any of those activities which you would typically label as being something under your control were in fact, not under your control.

How often have you yielded to an animalistic temptation to do one thing when logic or even your own physical wellbeing dictates the contrary? Have you grabbed the last slice of pizza completely unnecessarily after facing 4 slices already? You have definitely grabbed the last slice of pizza. You motherfucker. Did you need it? Did you even want it, insofar as “wants” are those things that we desire (hopefully) translated from something we deem good for ourselves or at the last, pleasant? In this case the activity becomes not a taking for means of fulfillment as much as it is a yielding to that which is easy and available. You feel shitty afterwards as you knew that was a slice too far (as the saying goes) yet you did it anyway. You acted in direct contradiction to your own best interests as a human being and you did so unthinkingly.

The world is filled with these oddities. The things directly under our control can often seem like some of the more difficult things to control, as their sheer immediacy renders the act of choosing opaque to the extent that we don’t realize in these moments that we have a choice at all. We simply act in accordance with what instinct or impulse or addiction drives. These are not moments of fulfillment, nor do they imply a lack in the same way as demanding readership implies one. We do not necessarily feel a personal absence prior to our choosing to eat the last slice of pizza or smoke a cigarette. These are not things over which we agonize and are not things to which we lend a healthy portion of our conscious thought. They just are.

The difference then is in the way in which demanding readership or some other validation is tied to our intellectual and deeply personal notions of ourselves. I am of the opinion that our notions of ourselves are complicated, constructed and chosen. How could they not be? People do not see themselves as just people. People see themselves as people that do things or have certain traits that lend credence to their propensity to do well at some particular thing (even if they never even really act on this belief and just sort of assume that if they did then they would be good at it or something). If you ask someone what they do- they don’t say: “I eat, shit, sleep, eat, etc.” If somebody says something like that then it seems as though they don’t do anything, even though all of those things are not only, you know, “things,” but are also fundamentally basic to our existence as organisms. We don’t care about those things. Those things are common and those things in being common do not paint the image of us as the special, lovely snowflakes that we all think ourselves to be. People need to do things and further, they need to do things that they perceive to be differentiators that separate them from the crowd, things that make them interesting and the curious thing about being interesting is that it can’t exist in a vacuum– there has to be someone else there to be interested. A shiny rock sitting out in space may as well not be shiny. What a waste of effort!

People feel a certain way about themselves, lend adjectives to those thoughts and then rely on others to act as validation towards that end i.e. someone might say “I am an intellectual.” They say intellectual things in casual conversation. Upon saying such things they expect to then either be engaged deeply in such a way as to spark discourse of a higher nature than typical table-talk (tacit validation) or rather they expect to be directly validated through those sorts of flippant “that’s deep” type of statements and things to that effect. It isn’t enough to carry the opinion of oneself as intellectual—rather, the perceived substance to that personal claim lies in external validation—yet this is a dangerous and fickle path to tread. If the lack that we feel regarding our own validating conceits can be thought of as a bucket or some other vessel to be filled with water (external validation) than that metaphorical bucket is riddled with metaphorical fucking holes and needs refilling constantly. There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza. There’s a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Demanding readership or craving readership is more of the same instinctual bullshit that drives one towards some of the vices listed above. It is not a choice that we are even capable of making as its satisfaction is driven by external factors that we can try to manipulate but cannot possibly control. This makes validation of this nature less a choice and more of an ardent desire coupled with an expectation that, if not met, renders us feeling hollow or worse, like liars who are lying about our own purpose, abilities, life and trajectory. We desire gratitude and fulfillment and we think that the only way to go about grabbing these things is to be validated by others. We are stricken with fear as we tell a joke that nobody laughs at and we sit around looking at people and praying to not be left in the state of hollow vulnerability that precedes the first, polite chuckle from a friend who knows you are craving a validation fix like a crack addict craves…cigarettes.

If this sounds like a fancy way to convince myself that I do not crave readership then that makes a lot of sense because that probably is what this is. That being said, I have really enjoyed writing for this blog, readership or no. If you are a human being reading this right now, I thank you! If you are not, then I obviously have nothing to say to you, since you wouldn’t be able to hear (see?) me anyway.

Writing for its own sake. It can be a thing. Hobbies and such. Go Mariners.