Friday, February 8, 2008


Satisfucked. Two ways to kill your man.
a) Never give it up.
b) Dedicate a day to the bed, breaking from the four times a week statusfactory routine, and make him say, "Basta,"

-- Laura Marchetti

Seeling boat. It is true from time to time that River Plates may sink into the depths of immaturity, but it’s only because we believe these depths to be healthy balancing exercises and as equally academically risky as the obscure cemented entanglements our scholarly pursuits often lead us down. It’s not to say though we believe that between both extremes there is a truth of sorts; in fact, it’s rather the opposite. When presented with two margins, yes of course a middle is birthed, but further depths and further heights beyond the walls we pushed apart now also materialize only as a result of the presentation of these walls. There are lows beyond our lows and heights beyond our heights that may not have emerged otherwise had we not accepted words like “hinis” and “traubocare” earlier to form arbitrary margins with which to then break from. In this case, it's the fantastic seeling boat that was sailing beyond the margins when we caught it.

Laura and I took the overly precocious seven-year-old Anna Paula, daughter of another Italo-American couple friends of ours, up to Lago di Garda on a recent Sunday to give her young parents a much needed break. “Look at the lake! See the sea! Look at the lake! See the sea!” may seem like obvious child’s wordplay from Anna Paula, but when she followed it with “Mira…il mare!” I started to think maybe she was on to something. First, on a side note, everyone should learn Spanish through Italian ears. Both phonetically and etymologically the playful richness of the Spanish language comes across like bricks when approaching it from this end. For example, “mira” is “to look” in Spanish, but did it come from “ammirare”, Italian for “admire”, or “mirare”, Italian for “take aim”? Was every sight to the Roman legionnaires stationed in Iberia something to long for or shoot for? Either way it’s beautiful. I challenged Anna Paula with, “Yo! Let’s go for a short walk along the lungolago” and she was hot on my heels with “Or why not a long walk along the cortocosta, nananana? Or we could just go sealing?” This is when Laura stepped in. Laura speaks six languages better than I speak one because she accepts the current structures, learns them as they’re taught, and breaks from form only after everything is rote. I instead have taken nothing for granted, question every construct at every turn, and have been left therefore with only a vague web that binds all Western languages together but an inability to be understood clearly in even my own mother tongue. This is all to say that Laura corrected Anna Paula where I never would have.
“Anna, it’s a 'sail boat', not a 'seal', 'see', or 'sea boat'. They’re all different things.”
“No they’re not. How could they all be different when they’re talking about the same thing?”
“Are you sure they’re talking about the same thing, Anna?”
“Of course they are. The sea is wide open so you can see everything.”
“Haha, Anna you might be right, but the word is actually 'sailing', not 'sealing'.”
“That’s just a mistake Laura. It’s like an accent.”
This is when I jumped in on Anna’s side. I should really never do this. Anna doesn’t need my help and Laura hates my skepticism.
“I’m with Anna, Laura. ‘Sail’ comes from the Proto-Indo-European sek which means ‘to cut’ because it’s from a cut piece of cloth that cuts your open vision. It’s the same as your Italian word for sail ‘vela’ for ‘something woven’. This is where we get 'veil' from. Both veil and vela cut your veda (Italian conjunctive for ‘see’), no?”
“You two are speaking about history and I’m speaking about right now. It’s a sail boat Chris and she needs to know that.”

I’m still not sure Laura was right. “Sky” comes from the Proto-Indo-European skeu which meant “to conceal, to cover.” The Italian word for sky is “cielo” which is very close to “cieco” which means “blind”. Of the 48 constellations Ptolemy proposed only one has been officially unrecognised, Argo Navis. Why? Because it was a sail boat of course and there is no seeing in the blind night's sky.

-- Chris Leo

Shredability is a persevering faccident. Whether faccident comes from "fact" + "accident", "facile" (It. "easy") + "accident", or "facile + "dente" (due to its easy birth from between the teeth) is unclear. It is clear, however, that its birth most likely happened many times in varying vans and offices by sheer fate. The addition of the humiliating "sh" before credibility created a slick back door for white collor crooks and a quick entrance for licks with hooks, i.e. "Though I haven't actually heard Lloyd rip, when one's shredability is backed by the bartender from the Cedar Inn on Rt. 46, Zorn's custom string winder in Colombus, and both Cousin Sam and Karen, I already know he's my axe! Not to mention holmes only records on 2-inch tape, which only serves to bolster his claims at divination."

shred + credability = shredability, sight unheard

-- Kiernan Moriarty, Chris Leo

Shyena is a yoga instructor. Now and then he plays the humble bass. His clothes are functional and frumpy. His manner is frail and chumpy. They call him for coffee not drinks. At Ikea he recommends sinks. His cautionary papa's "y'know..." creates the link to slip his greasy sleezy male-traitorous arm right between the chinks and he is in and you are out.

shy + hyena = shyena, the sneaky weasel

-- Chris Leo

Snoupin’, it is true, falls in the same family as all things “souper”, but luckily never the twain shall meet. There are those who enjoy one type of souper sandwich deal, and there are those that enjoy the other. “The other” in this case is the perpetual dilemma of the dandied thief. Our hungry but flirty thief, dressed in the finest threads plucked from where last he laid his head, walks into the supermarket to lift a lunch and checks out the check-out girl on his lurch. Seeing as she is after all a check-out girl, he knows their wallets are of an equally famous famine and therefore his initial glance will account for more than just a fighting chance. This poses a problem: absconding relies on obscurity. The compromise reached to avoid complete defeat weakens one wad while widening the other. She’s spotted him, he cannot steal. She’s spotted him, nor can he peel out. This leaves only one option – buy the soup, steal the sandwich. Where does the sandwich go? No worries, she’ll be too shy to look, but too impressed not to see it.

Snoopin’ for soup = money saved for the happy hour needed to calm the nerves fried in the scoupin'

-- Chris Leo

Strawberry. Like a volcano on top of a fault line, there're simultaneous expulsions and implosions happening in Milan that're paving the way of the next linguistic subduction tectonic. Italians are strict with keeping the Italian language proper and uniform. They have to be. Prior to WWII most Italians spoke mainly their own local dialects of which there are an infinitesimal amount and of which many can be considered languages in their own right. To unify the country, tv, radio, and schools set out on a massive initiative in the 1950’s to teach proper Italian to the entire country and it worked. Now, if you wanna break the language rules, do it in a vivid dialect. If you want to make sure your point is clear, make it in Italian. This means that the Italian language is a lingua franca even to Italians; their own dialects are still their mother tongues. It needed to happen this way just like English needed to be free, but maybe this is all about to change? As English spreads across the globe (I'm putting my money down on even the Chinese speaking English before we speak Chinese), there may be a valid call to form a proper monitoring body like the Forty Immortals to keep at least one brand of English uniform, while on the flip side the country of Italy becomes more and more connected to its once distant villages the need for a proper Italian may wane and the rules could become simply suggestions as they already are in dialects.

Enter Milan (more than Rome, which is still in large part a city of Romans) as the epicenter where all Italians from all dialects clash. Every now and then a word from a dialect reaches Milan and becomes a star, scattered out across the rest of Italy via the Milan portal. For example, the mysterious Sicilian word for "cock", "minchia", was disseminated across the boot only after passing through Milan first. More commonly though, too many differing dialects force the newcomers to speak the national lingua franca of Italian proper (which by nature of being restrained and constricted is something they consider duller than the dialects) rather than their individual dialects. Naturally, this gives way to the implosion wherein the lingua franca slackens loose letting the life in.

While explaining peligrassa to a Milanese friend, he in turn described to me through some intensely exquisite writhing about the “so-good-it-hurt-man” strawberry he received from a peligrassa last week. Now we know Italians love food, especially le peligrasse, but enjoying a strawberry to such an extent seemed like a put on. I asked him to elaborate. Milan, being so close to borders with France and Switzerland, knows its linguistic shit so I knew he could. He began with the equus.
“Hey man, you know what happened to the equus?”
“You mean the horse?”
“To you guys a horse yeah -- which is wrong because horse is our word for bear, orso; somehow you guys fucked that one up along the way – but equus yeah, after Cesar spent seven long years fighting the French our proud equui returned destroyed cavalli! See, the Gauls had a word for nag, an old horse, that sounded like caballus to the Roman ear. The Romans then took up the word in replacement of 'equus' due to the sorry state of their once strapping horses. By the time they returned to Rome they were calling all horses 'cavalli', which was then exported back to France as 'cheval'. Good shit, neh?”
“Yes. Great shit, but your painfully marvelous strawberry my friend?
“Right, so along those lines, no one can really say why you guys call strawberries ‘strawberries’, right? There are theories, yeah, but none of them seem tight. Same for us. They think our word 'fragola' may have come from ‘fragrante’, the fragrant fruit, but no one really knows. All we know for sure is that we took our word from the French ‘fraise’ and turned it into ‘fragola’, which if you were to translate literally into Italian is ‘between the throat’('fra' + 'gola'). No one really knows anything about it why it tastes so good. So when we say ‘strawberry’ what we mean to say is that that peligrassa from last week put it ‘between her throat’ and I have no idea why it felt so so so fucking grand and I certainly didn't see it coming so yeah let's keep the mystery intact by keeping the mysterious thread in motion, fragola becomes strawberry and sex is saved yet another day!”

-- Chris Leo

Woe the sudent who returns home to find he’s also a stupent. The effete northerners with their biting wit, prudent lovers, intellects that conquer joy, and vacation houses in coves only further north wish these sudents would just stay in the south where it’s permissible to visit the same questions more than once, like “why do sunsets on beaches with half naked people rule?”, “why is moving back and forth in six inch strokes all it takes to stop time?” and “Why does food taste so much better when I plucked it from my own garden?” The nerdern shhhtudents have things to do, places to go, progresses to make that keep them having things to do, books to read, lists to render new lists. These sudents only slow things down. Eventually the sudent gets it. The nerderner is right. Home -- where the friends, family, sun, and olives grow -- is better. But it’s too late! In the eyes of the paesani the sudent abandoned them for uppity pursuits, ungrateful stupent twit. He will never fit in in the north, yet the south is no longer his home either. Thank god both northern and southern chicks dig his maverick ways and he can at least reap all the benefits of denting like a stud.

-- Chris Leo

Suislide. Little by little, drip by dram, bringing it on, when it comes it comes. So why were they passed over? I mean yes, they weren't the best band in the world but they were still better than every other band that soared into the magazines. It must have something to do with timing. These guys weren't making music for this time, which is weird because as people they fell nothing short of gurus of the present tense, whereas the bands making now music never seem to be here, they always seem a bit ahead plotting bigger and better things. Thing is, if you could catch a fix on the eyes of the the better band you could see just how squished they felt between their unusually frighteningly weighty pasts and futures leaving them nowhere else to go other than ultra here now. Weird though, because that didn't translate to the music. I tried telling their singer, "Dave, your timing is off. The bands people listen to are either playing music that's for right now, or music that exists outside of time and hence timeless. Either engage time or turn your back on it. Your music is in front of time, maybe guiding a path for others to perfect when the timing syncs up, but not delivering what they need now. You gotta put your foot down in one camp or another, man. Listen, I know you wouldn't even know how to dumb it down so that leaves you with only one choice: heroin. You've gotta shoot it. Not smoke it, the full deal, needles. Heroin takes you out of time and out of time is where you'll find your monuments, Dave. History has proven this." "Yeah, but that's suicide. Making music for no time makes your own time here limited", he said before suisliding away to the bar to order a gin and tonic with a tequila chaser in search of that smile ever on the brink.

-- Chris Leo

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