He walks by sliding his chin back and forth through the air, swimming forwards, the rest of his body trailing behind. He wears the blue uniform of an off-duty athlete proudly. His hair is slicked back impeccably, like a real Italian, or perhaps an _American Psycho_.

On Anthropomorphism and More

Q: Why do we anthropomorphize?

For the same reason dogs dogropomorphize“Are you a dog?” from Milton is a Shitbag, a short film by Courtney Davis; it is all we know. THough seeing a dog owner crawling around her NYC penthouse — rope toy in mouth growling wholeheartedly, neck-snapping tug-of-war juices flowing. One begins to wonder.

Goats have had their share of rough treatment over the years. It started as far as we can know, about 10,000 years ago in the Zagros Mountains of Persia.

In the Bible, it was decided that Sheep and Goats were Different; those of the Nineties know the refrain: “Sheep go to heaven, Goats go to hell.” So true, indeed.

Goats were given the humble and thankless duty of carrying the sins (read: bubonic plague-ridden clothes) of a village into the woods (i.e. Carrying the “sins” to the next village…).

Words: Fire Truck, Purple, Ger, Goat

The goat saunters by like a pimp in a cadillac — one touch look from a cop and they freeze in terror, but then they’re back to bizness as uzual.

The life of the goat is driven by a raw spontaneity that has little human equivalent outside of: childhood, senility or mental illness — and perhaps those hippie free-spirits who dance around in fields all day or drop lots of acid.

The kinetic momentum of a stampede, in the middle of the night, out on the empty step. Not a real stampede, like the kind that killed Simba’s mother. More like a shuffle-pede. One goat gets startled by a thought or a shadow or a gust of wind, and runs, headlong into another goat, who then runs in another direction. Rustling builds, then fades out as the energy dissipates. A self-reorganizing system — to the tune of their own internal “il-logic”.

Why does ice cream taste better in the morning? Are we really so biblically cliché? Perhaps it reminds us of the sweet sucklings at our mother’s (or father’s) teat.

I have an idiosyncratic taste for food. I call it simple, others call it picky, or naïve, or even just boring. I say it’s simple; nay, elegant. But I have done my share of experimentalizing: boiled sheep heart, lungs, liver, blood sausage, spinal chord, fish, sushi, raw beef filet, mussels, fine goat cheese and wine on fig almond cake; whatever. Just give me a slice of sharp cheddar, or pizza; a nice chocolate chip cookie, and I am content. It’s not that I don’t enjoy food – I just need less exoticism to satisfy my culinary appetite, as it were.

Goat cheese–it all tastes the same (except for _aaruul_, more on that later) like it smells. Pasty, thick, herbal and congealed; like cream cheese gone horribly, horribly wrong. Sour, sickly sweet tart turned sideways, always a bit past not quite there. (It’s not really _that_ bad…)

Now chevre is another matter. Cut up some fresh slabs, throw in a bowl layered with hot rocks; ladle in some water, then cover and let simmer until ready. To seal the seam between the top and bottom bowl, lay wet rags along the crack to keep in the steam.

Pass the time by drinking airag, vodka and singing joyfully. If you are not Mongolian, try to ignore the food-poisoning paranoia-gremlin that turns every gurgle into a prophecy of impending gastrointestinal doom. And drink lots of vodka.

Goats are not people; but are we really wrong to ascribe to them our own abstracted behavioral metaphors? If the model works, then what’s the harm? Now we can’t be kidding or deluding ourselves, creating expression where it isn’t; but neither should we needlessly ignore evidence of emotional complexity beyond that of a brick. Goats are not people, true; nor are they bricks or pieces of lead pipe (or robots).

But this is dangerous territory. We have already gone this way with our dogs — and those who see their dogs as pals recoil in utter disgust at the thought of eating one of their beloveds. But do we lift the goat and sheep and cow and pig to such a place? Never. To protect our selves from self-condemnation. _You_ try watching ___Babe___ then sitting down for a nice meal of porkchops.

Bondage Goat Zombie

Several events over the course of human/goat-history have shaped our Goat consciousness, at least in the Judeo-Christian world (empire?). First, deomestication: 10,000 years ago. Then, the pagan traditions which are eventually immortalized in the Bible (Sheep go to heaven, Goats go bring the plague to thy neighbor so you can return to village bizniss). Third, medieval expounding on Biblical ideas, and the Knights Templar trials.
>The diuell..dooth most properlie and commonlie transforme himselfe into a gote.
_–R. Scott. ‘Discov. Witchr.’ v.i.89. (1584)_

5. Black metal — the most tongue-in-cheek and heavy form of goat bedevilment. (See: bondage goat zombie)

Song of Solomon 4:1
[ Lover ] How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes behind your veil are doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats descending from Mount Gilead.

Job 39

1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

2 Do you count the months till they bear?
Do you know the time they give birth?

3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
their labor pains are ended.

Jeremiah 50:8
“Flee out of Babylon;
leave the land of the Babylonians,
and be like the goats that lead the flock.

Daniel 8:5-8
As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground. 6 He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. He came toward the two-horned ram I had seen standing beside the canal and charged at him in great rage. I saw him attack the ram furiously, striking the ram and shattering his two horns. The ram was powerless to stand against him; the goat knocked him to the ground and trampled on him, and none could rescue the ram from his power. The goat became very great, but at the height of his power his large horn was broken off, and in its place four prominent horns grew up toward the four winds of heaven.

Out of one of them came another horn, which started small but grew in power to the south and to the east and toward the Beautiful Land. It grew until it reached the host of the heavens, and it threw some of the starry host down to the earth and trampled on them. It set itself up to be as great as the Prince of the host; it took away the daily sacrifice from him, and the place of his sanctuary was brought low. Because of rebellion, the host of the saintsOr rebellion, the armies and the daily sacrifice were given over to it. It prospered in everything it did, and truth was thrown to the ground.

How to Hire a Translator in Mongolia — 3 Times (incomplete)

[disclaimer: since this post has already become the top google hit for “how to find a translator in Mongolia” I wanted to add a quick note to those actually looking for advice in this matter. Do some networking; hook up with the expat community, or local institutions (hit some of the cafés, make some friends). Find out who other people have already worked with. Meet and chat with the prospects. Then, if/when you decide (this is the most important point): GET EVERYTHING IN WRITING. and make sure you work out all the details in advance. Especially if your work involves travel to the countryside–should your translator decide they don’t quite like the terms, and want to renegotiate, you won’t have much ground to stand on if you’re halfway to nowheresville, broken down on the side of some (non)-road; if you know what I mean. Not that that’s likely to happen. Mongolians are pretty friendly people. But better safe than sorry. Now, the following is a piece of creative nonfiction regarding a particularly colorful experience I had with translators during my research there.]

First, ask your host institution–they will have a list compiled by the language teachers (who are university grads in their twenties with decent English). A few names will be starred, one of whom is from the town where you plan to do your research. You lay claim to her services.

You meet the prospective translator outside the Wrestling Palace, not far from your student hostel.

Find somewhere to chat. Preferably a grimy _buuz_ emporium Realize she has flawless English, with a British accent! Talk for ages about your research ideas, and get lots of helpful suggestions. Hire her on the spot, and setup a preliminary itinerary and departure date.

Spend a couple days travelling around the factory district where you’ll get a random _in_ at a small skin processing factory named after Chicago, Illinois.

Change your trip destination to somewhere more accessible. Set an itinerary and date of departure.

Meet with your academic director, who will ask you casually about your translator arrangements. Mention her name, and feel uneasy when the AD does a double take, then laughs fiendishly as she hints at some past drama (she worked for the program last semester as a language teacher, and “wasn’t asked to come back”). The pit in your gut gains mass and shape. She assures you that maybe things will be different–since things went smoothly when she was hired by a student for his research…

Decide to take the risk given what you’ve seen of her character so far. Or rather, that you’re leaving in two days and have no other options. You push from your mind the ever-surfacing thought that her english is just a little too good to be working for some college student for $20 a day, let alone working as a Mongolian language teacher at SIT. She could land a real translation job, without having to travel around the countryside.

Breach the subject casually, and receive a surprised and innocent response. _She doesn’t know how she could think so highly of your AD, yet still be the target of such animosity… *sigh*_

Leave the subject to rest.

The next day, meet as usual, by the Wrestling Palace–and hail a car (in Mongolia, every car is a taxi). You are headed to the skin markets outside the city to find a ride to the countryside, and gather more info. You are leaving in two days and are nervous. As a car pulls over, your translator asks you to _Guess what?_ You guess, _What?_ She anticlimactically informs you that _she’s leaving for Beijing in the morning._

Laugh, and interrogate her face for signs of a joke. Feel numb, and laugh, cause _what else can you do?_

She mentions her venture into the _party business_. She organizes New Years parties in the city. Her husband is in China getting supplies.

_Remember the supplies her husband was bringing back?_ Well, turns out they’re stuck at the border, mired in red tape, and she has family strings to pull that might help.

Stare at her dumbly, and continue to hope this is all a sick joke. _You really had me there, for a second!_ You will say.

She reassures you that _Everything will be fine_ since she talked to a friend and past co-worker who is willing to take over. She reassures you that the friend’s English is good, _Better than her own!_

Nod gravely, your eyes are now glazed with cynical skepticism. You have no choice _Can she meet soon? As in, tonight? As in, after you get back from the market?_

Meet at a _Khaan Buuz_ (_Mongolian National Fast Food_), and talk about your research and plans for travel. Feel the pit grow larger as you realize the new translator’s English is far from better, or even comparable. And any rapport you had with the first translator is now replaced with awkward distance.

Decide to leave a day later. You have two days to find a ride. Head to the market, and spend the day mostly chatting with the new translator about life and politics. Realize that maybe your good-natured teasing is lost on her; reminisce about your two days with the version 1.

Head to the market again the next day, with the new translator. At some point she mentions that her schedule has changed. _She totally forgot when she agreed at first_ but she has a wedding to go to. A wedding that falls directly in the middle of your research trip, as you transition from countryside town to countryside city. Laugh some more.

Decide to just roll with things, since… well, you have no choice. Figure you can find a translator in the city.

On your way back to the city on the second day, she will try to re-negotiate her terms, asking for more money. Fight the anger that wells up, and try to explain calmly why you feel this is ridiculous, for her to re-negotiate one days before leaving on a two week research trip. And she’s going to a wedding.

After your week in the countryside–during which you simultaneously try to conduct interviews through confused translation, and try to win over your stand-offish translator, say that _you hope she had some fun, that you enjoyed working with her_. She misses no beat and replies that _No, she didn’t._ Apparently you complained too much. Have a flashback to your first day at the markets in the capital when she manages to completely miss any and all undertones to your teasing. Think again of your first translator, and your language teachers, all of whom manage to catch the signals so lost on her. In shock, and offended, tell her that _you have nothing to apologize for._ And that you did everything you could to make her time pleasant.

Random Incoherences

4 score and twenty years ago, land was created by our great lord and savior, or rather, his cousin, but I digress…

And I forgave him despite his lossinlgy end of days — it was too much for us to move on in synchrony, pulsing in the wake of each other’s acquiescence. And so it ended in a most disagreeable manner.

I rand own the stairs of the post office, the vodka I’d taken that afternoon having worked its way through.

Did someone say “Damage control?”
How is _Damage Control_ related to _Pain Control_?

2/23 Exercises

Words: Wiser, Slot, Induced
Slot induced syndrome is a debilitating psychological condition that has puzzled the gnomological community for decades. A gnome would be sent on a covert mission – usually into a game of chance, or perhaps an AFM (Automated Food Machine) to gather supplies for the colony. Upon return, close family began to notice subtle disturbing differences in their daily behavior. Sudden bursts of euphoric singing or raging fury. Slot induced hypomanic imbalance reached pubnlic eyes and ears from a leaked Gnomegon memo, detailing the disturbingly high incidence of gambling and vending behaviors among veterans of the FEG (Forces Especial du Gnome). Wiser politicians opted for a cold coverup. There were no such missions. But then how do you explain the Doritos? The Gnomish Congressional hearings always returned to the telltale MSG-laden orange residue left behind by the crunchy corn snacks.

Words: Lightning, Completeness, Scruff
He gazed down at the singed scruff of his brother’s face, tears flowing unobstructed across his pale cheeks. Smoke and the wretched scent of burnt flesh collected in his sinuses, and filled his stomach and throat with bile. He saw the lightning strike again and again. his brother’s face was peaceful in its fall to earth from the brotherly plateau it had long occupied. He was alone in the world. Zeus had taken everything and everyone: his dog, his parents, his house, and now his brother. What cruel fate had left him, utterly lacking, his lack of desire to live in the world quickly approaching completeness.

Words: Mimic, Underground, Temple
Self-mimicry, with rehearsal. All I had to do was retrace my steps. I’d gone this way a dozen times. Half by jeep, half on foot. Most in daylight. Granted, it had taken our drivers an hour to find it in the dark, with the family on the phone giving directions. I squinted into the cool ebony air. Nara had left the day before, and I was alone. I wanted to just burrow underground and sleep. What kind of sick joke was this? I could write a 40 page research paper on the livestock trade in Mongolia, but not find my way home? To what temple had I failed to pray? By what God(esse)s had I been forsaken? I continued to wander through the night.

Mongolia is a land long forgotten by the West. Is it part of China? Russia? People ask with blank looks of awe and indifference. Genghis Khan, perhaps, is evoked. The leader of the hordes that stormed Europe, and whose (grand?)son Güyuk would tell Pope Innocent IV on just whose side God appeared to be.
A great and proud people descended into obscurity and irrelevance — save for their happenstantial location. That they were not swallowed by either of the hungry regimes on their ….

100 Words towards a definition of Metal

Components: Guitar, Strings, Pickup, Amplifier, Electricity (lots), Bass Drum x2, Snare Drum, Hi-Hat, Crash, Drum Sticks, Metronome, Bass Guitar, Strings, Pickup, Amplifier, Ear, Brain. Optional, but recommended: Larynx, Air, Mouth, Tongue, Microphone, Amplifier, Electricity. Leather, long hair, iconography.

Attributes: Molten, Brutal, Intense, Epic, Uncompromising, Fucking awesome, Distorted, Pummeling, Eternal, Loud, Grating, Polyrhythmic, Not lame, Absurd, Hilarious, Fun, Resonant, Primal, Destructive, Cathartic, Therapeutic, Wrathful, Emotional, Fast, Slow, Extreme, Soul-Crushing, HEAVY.

Descriptors: Heavy Metal, Thrash-, Speed-, Death-, Folk-, Black-, VIking-, Melodic Death-, 80’s-, Nü-, Hair-, True-, Technical-, Progressive-, Gothic-, [Funeral] Doom-, Shred-.

Ideology: Ultra-realist. Ironic. Cynical/Idealist. Fundamentalist.

100 Words: Hair

Hair enjoys a tenuous duality in life. This duality consists of two states: that of the attached hair, and that of the detached hair. These states also elicit divergent reactions from the very hosts that spend hundreds of thousands of hours diligently growing filaments. Upon encountering a hair in one’s food, it is considered acceptable to raise hell Since hair has bacteria… ::SCREAM::

So do washed hands.

In its attached (and gloriously metal) state:
1. Headbanging on a higher plane
2. Intrinsic symbol of temporal and social commitment (to a cause and…) to opposition of accepted (and enforced) draconian societal norms.

100 Words: Cranberries

Do they emerge as ruby lotuses from the humbly mucked peat-bogs, vines winding skyward. Do they fall into the bog, enveloped in preserving mothersoil? They wait for a child with bucket and squelching galoshes to deliver them, take them to their _maker_. Not quite at home with other fruits, they sit uneasily by as rasp*berries* and blue*berries*, black*berries* and straw*berries*, perhaps even the occasional boysen*berry* are plucked and popped, into watered savoring mouths. They must wait for the penetrating drying assault of the sun, or the thanksgiving grinder to unlock their unappreciated potential; the **kranebeere**, acid-red and waiting.

100 Words: Gyroscope

_Chu!_ I reach my heel back, swift kick to the rockhard gut _Chu!_ Then airborne, squinting through approaching twilight, searching for marmot holes in the impossibly mottled grass. I will never ride as the Mongols do. There is something about being raised on horseback, coming from the greatest horse-people in the world, [gyroscopic]( blood. Raised Wooden saddles, floating inches above the horseback; short stirrups, tied together beneath the belly, that would make our knees lock and scream. They fly in frozen standing stance, slouched to one side, pole-lasso in hand, poised in galloped rhythm — familiar as their own pulse.

100 Words: Shoes

To buy shoes is always an ordeal. For some, overwhelming wanting has turned shoes into cultural legend. But not for me; to find shoes that fit is task enough. Each year or two, after my old pair could bear no more the abuses of the schoolyard. I stared down at my feet, they look pretty normal. The salesman returned, arms full of shoe-boxes. Here we go again.

I had but one pair of shoes, sneakers. I cringe as I watch cute black dresses limp along on legs that if not for their jilted stride and a veiled grimace would be sexy-long.