July 2008

Taking Steps

Taking Steps


Due to overwhelming last-minute demand for our smoking tutorials in the lead up to the Olympics, the Definitive Indefinite Article will be on temporary hiatus for…


The Ever-more Familiar Reader:  What are you talking about?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Our smoking tutorials for Olympians.  Don’t you remember?


The Ever-more Familiar Reader:  Vaguely.  Something about smoking 100 smokes while running a marathon, was it?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Sort of.  Look, I don’t have time to remind you of it all.  You can read about it here, here, here and here.  I have to go.  Can you feed the cat?


The Ever-more Familiar Reader:  No problem.  The cat food is…?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  In the fridge.  Behind the slippers.


The Ever-more Familiar Reader:  Fair enough.  Let me know when you’re coming back.


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Don’t forget to water the geranium.


The Ever-more Familiar Reader:  Drive safely!



The Definitive Indefinite Article: On the advice of our counsel at Donosti, Goikochea, Itxibitxi, Spaider LLC we will no longer be [reads woodenly from prepared statement] casting aspersions on the idea of electric books, their inventors, manufacturers, distributors, purveyors or consumers.  [Sotto voce] Is that enough?


Borja Donosti, Esq.: That will be sufficient.  Now, please mind your mouth.  We cannot continually extricate you from these situations that your outspokenness gets you into.  Now I have to go.  I must get that propeller I left in Bilbao.


The Definitive Indefinite Article: [Short awkward silence] Huh?  Fair enough.  Be seeing you.


The Familiar Reader: What did he want?


The Definitive Indefinite Article: How did you get in?


The Familiar Reader: You left the back door open again.


The Definitive Indefinite Article: Feck!


The Familiar Reader: Come here and listen to me now.  Did you see what that Bush fellah was saying about Wall Street being all drunk and now it has a hangover and joking about how there was no housing crisis in Dallas cos his missus was trying to buy a house there.


The Definitive Indefinite Article: I did see something about that.


The Familiar Reader: I was just thinking how curious it was.


The Definitive Indefinite Article: [Distractedly] You were, were you?


The Familiar Reader: Yeah it’s kind of interesting to have a dry drunk who just replaced drink with Jesus without ever really fixing his alcoholism compare Wall Street criminal incompetence to being drunk and a recession to a hangover.  What will be the new Jesus for Wall Street?


The Definitive Indefinite Article: I have no idea and suspect that my legal counsel would advise me to continue that way.


The Familiar Reader: I mean they sell one another exploding mortgages and junk bonds and worthless derivatives until the game blows up and then go crying to Uncle Fed for bailout money.  They get bailed out no one ever gets them to promise not to run with the scissors next time.  Isn’t that odd?  It’s like “I know you didn’t mean to drink 2 bottles of Southern Comfort and then run over the dog and puke all over the living room.  I know you’re sorry now here’s $5 billion, a new corvette and the address of the nearest drive-thru liquor store.”


The Definitive Indefinite Article: I suppose it is.


The Familiar Reader: It’s like his underlying alcoholism has never been dealt with and the innate exploitative wrongness of selling any old piece of worthless shit for what anyone will pay for it has never been dealt with.  It makes them both kind of unstable.


The Definitive Indefinite Article: And your point is?


The Familiar Reader: I don’t know.  Can I borrow a cup of sugar?


The Definitive Indefinite Article: Up there behind the cat litter.


The Familiar Reader: Eh, it’s OK I’ll get some later.  Ciao bacalao!


The Definitive Indefinite Article: Ciao bacalao????? 


The Frustrated Reader:  Hello?  Anyone home?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Sorry I was just out back fixing the greenhouse.


The Frustrated Reader:  Problem?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  I think I have a wasps’ nest. 


The Frustrated Reader:  Tough.  Anyway, here’s your electric book back.


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  How was it?


The Frustrated Reader:  Well, being the materialist empirical type that I am…


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  All this time and I never knew that about you!  I have always taken you for a post-Hegelian type with historico-positivist tendencies.


The Frustrated Reader:  Yeah, right!  As I was saying, I took a paper copy of Treasure Island and then upstreamed the digified Treasure Island onto your electric book.


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  I see.


The Frustrated Reader:  Then I subjected them to the rigors on the reading process. 


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  And how did it fare?


The Frustrated Reader:  I drew up a table.  I can’t be bothered talking about this anymore.  You’re lucky I didn’t put the electric one straight through your window.  Where’s me bottle of Bailey’s?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Over there beside the kettle.


The Frustrated Reader:  Thanks.  Here’s me table:


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  That’s great!  I’ll put it over here under the window.


The Frustrated Reader:  [Receding into the distance]  You can do what you damn well like with it!





Paper Book

You can drop it with impunity



You won’t be lending this to friends

No way! it cost nearly $400

No Problem

Infinite battery life

Well, like, a day…or 2


Looks like real paper


IS real paper

Simple to Use

No cables, no computer

Just turn the page – it’s a book!

Needs recharging

Every 2 days

It’s a BOOK!




Can be handed down from generation to generation?

Well, until the next model makes it obsolete

No problem, bookmarks, marginal notes and all.

Leave it on your table in a coffee shop while you go for a piss?

Yeah, right!  Just like leaving $400 sitting there!

No problem.

Attains a disheveled dignity with the passage of time?

Will be abandoned in the basement in 2 years for a sexier model.

Only if it is worth re-reading.



I was reading the paper over a man’s shoulder on the train this morning.  There seem to be crises everywhere: energy prices soar; job insecurity is rife; the global economy staggers under the weight of imploding mortgages; Hedgeer Hemlien Index is hovering around 1,400, visionaries start wars that no one can stop for the benefit of profiteers; the planet may be about to shrug our species off like so many lice and still the titans of capital can find every more inventive ways to turn a profit.  What is the man-in-the-street to do?  Don’t despair.  There is a bright side.


The Attentive Reader:  There is now is there?  Well, as a soi-disant man-in-the-street, I could do with a laugh.


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Ah, good morning!  “Soi-disant,” how are ye!  Anyway, as I was saying, all of these things did not happen just ‘cos.  They happened for a reason and that reason is mostly because someone saw a profit opportunity.  There are now more billionaires and millionaires that at any point in history.  And they are worth more than ever too. 


The Attentive Reader:  And do you have a problem with that?


TDIA:  We make no judgments here at The Definitive Indefinite Article.  We limit ourselves to derisive analysis and inductive speculation.  To point: not only are the super wealthy a check on politicians’ tendencies to act on behalf of the uninformed voter and a stabilizing influence on trickle-up global wealth distribution system; they also make excellent fuel. 


The Attentive Reader:  Wait!  You’ve lost me!


TDIA:  Don’t be alarmed.  New ideas always seem distressing and radical at first.  Remember when they deregulated “the banking industry?”  We all got used to it.  Anyway, to continue, the colossally wealthy, their accrued possessions, chattels and properties and their cash wealth in small denominations constitute a staggering reservoir of fossil, potential and chemical energy.  Although some hedge fund managers and private equity warriors saw their incomes slump into the low billions in 2007, they are still an excellent and plentiful fuel source.


The Attentive Reader:  I am appalled and intrigued in equal part.  Please explain.


TDIA:  It is simple physics.  Energy cannot be created or destroyed; it can only be changed from one form to another.  So just imagine how much excess energy is bottled up in your average billionaire.  Think of all the sunshine absorbed in Vale or St. Moritz.  Think of the gentle marinating process: $12,000 bottles of wine to wash down steak fed on honeyed apricots and beluga caviar.  Think of the massive excess energy expended flying from one home to another in private aircraft.  Think of how energy intense fresh dolphin steaks flown straight from the boat to the compound in Dubai must be.  Think of all that “superfluous” energy sitting in one handy container.  There you have it – THE STAGGERINGLY WEALTHY; SUPERFUEL OF THE FUTURE.


The Attentive Reader:  It is hard to argue with physics.


TDIA:  It is and it is hard to resist this new tide in energy production.  The Definitive Indefinite Article’s Institute for Applied Plutocracy, in collaboration with The Institute for Combustible Wealth is delighted to announce that we have finally discovered how to tap into this vast and conspicuous reservoir of energy: The Croesus Crucible ®. 


The Attentive Reader: Nice name.  You must have had teams of scholars working on that one.


TDIA:  There is no need to be snide and anyway they needed the work.  I’ll go on:  This anabaric refracting reactor, beautifully upholstered in hand-tooled Italian leather and finished with a resin made from ocelot teeth and polar bear tails, will convert the comfortably-seated colossally wealthy and their possessions to pure clean energy with a conversion factor of 99.9%.  The 0.1% of billionaire left over will be completely unharmed, just worth a little over the median household income of $46,000.  It is clean, compact and efficient.  It is also environmentally friendly: every billionaire converted removes one private jet from the airways.  Simply insert your billionaire along with broken up speedboats, abstract expressionist masterpieces, multiple summer homes, classic automobiles and press “Convert.”  One highly compensated corporate ninja could power a small town for 3 to 5 years. 


The Attentive Reader:  This is certainly a pick-me-up for a weighed-down soul.


TDIA:  But Wait!  There’s more!  The strange thing is that we are having difficulty finding a corporation willing to market or distribute this fantastic new product so your only “point of sale” is to order via the comments below.  Free set of steak knives with the first 100 orders!


The Attentive Reader:  I’ll have to check with the missus.  I’ll let you know.


TDIA:  Fair enough.  By the way, did you have a chance to try the electric book I lent you?


The Attentive Reader:  I did not.  We had a wasps’ nest in the shed.  I’ll get around to it.  Oh-oh!  Here’s me boss!  [Alt+Tab.  Exit screen right.]


TDIA:  See ya!  And don’t forget: free steak knives!



The Attentive Reader:  Is he WHAT?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Is Dick Cheney dead or has he just thrown an invisibility cloak across the internet?


The Attentive Reader: Have you been drinking?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  No.  But by the way, welcome back!  We haven’t heard from you since you got all offended and stormed off.  Where have you been?


The Attentive Reader:  Here and there.  My niece qualified for the Olympics.  Anyway, you were saying about Mr. Cheney?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  He hasn’t been really doing anything lately.  Go to your favorite search engine.  Type in Dick Cheney or Richard Cheney.  Look carefully at the results.  The only recent things are ongoing reports about things he did ages ago or frivolous fluff pieces.  Where is he and what is he really doing now?


The Attentive Reader:  Now you’ve made me nervous.  Where’s that bottle of Bailey’s you promised me when you came back from your maneuvers?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Over there on the mantelpiece beside me electric book.


The Attentive Reader:  You got one of those electric books?  No paper, just a screen?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  I did, but I haven’t had a chance to open it.


The Attentive Reader:  Tell us this, do you ever open a book at all?  [Pained groans of recognition from Tolka Park and environs]


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  I am currently engaged in a large paper volume.  Take the electric book with you and let me know how it works for you.


The Attentive Reader:  Is there anything in it?


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  I think you plug it into the ether to get books.  If your niece needs any training for the Olympics I know just the place.


The Attentive Reader:  Fair enough.  Here’s me boss! [Ctrl+Alt+Tab Exit]


The Definitive Indefinite Article:  Wait!  You forgot the Baileys!



The main danger of John McCain is that he will so lower the bar for statesmanship and competence that, regardless of whether he or Obama gets into office, expectations will be so low that a successful presidency will be defined by wearing a flag in your lapel, not crapping yourself in public and not nuking The South Pole by accident.


Asked about increased exports, particularly of cigarettes, to Iran, Senator McCain “joked:”


“Maybe that’s a way of killing them.”





We eagerly await futher displays of what McCain has learned at the Silvio Berlusconi School of International Relations.



After a 2 week crossing crumpled up between a bottle of Bailey’s and a pound of Denny’s Gold Medal sausages, Chapter 4, the next exciting installment of Tearing Down Werburgh Street (in which Finbar’s status as an outsider is mercilessly confirmed, we see some IRA fundraising first hand and Finbar’s mother adds insult to injury by accompanying him to school) has finally arrived.  Thousands turned out to welcome it in New York harbor with fireworks on July 4th. 


We have just received it back from the polishers so here it is.


To make room for it in the scroll, Chapter 1 has been put out to pasture but the rubric is still there to help keep track.






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