Jul 7, 2018


You and I are ex-Marxists, and neo-Marxists (whence the pluralis maiestatis). And if there's a clear message in Marx (Karl Marx, that is, we don't mean Lenin or Stalin or acolytes), it's about class. His notion of class is close to Noam Chomky's, especially when it comes to the present ruling class. Said class, he holds, is capable of assuming the identity of a coherent subject ("THE capitalist class DOES", "THE capitalist class WANTS"), and they are used to getting their way---until they are overthrown by a revolution, that is.

There is not much political theory in Marx (if you disagree, send me a letter with references), but the class thing really stands, and it extends top down to the bottom...

...so let's hope that Marx was right (he was wrong in many other respects)...because he had a bit more to say about them, the LUMPENPROLETARIAT (in his terminology). Them are not good for anything, them are just lazy, depraved, hopeless (Marx predates Sigmund Freud and political correctness). And, yes, one more thing, you can't rely on them. 

I'm just trying to find this quote where Marx explicates that Donald Trump will ultimately fail because he's relying on the Lumpenproletariat as his principal basis of political support...something must have gone wrong with my time-machine...sorry...apologies...

I'll be back. Tjüüs. 

Jun 19, 2018

Whew. This book. I am at such a loss with this book. It was good...

We got a new (four-star) review of the GREEN EYES (by Becca, on LoveBytesReviews). Here it is:

Whew. This book. I am at such a loss with this book. It was good. The main character is bipolar, and I’m like borderline with severe depression and ADD, so I could understand the running commentary. This book is from the perspective of the main character John. My biggest problem with this book, though, is that I felt incredibly stupid because some of the vocabulary. I had to stop and go look some words up. That kind of threw me off. Maybe I need to go read the dictionary next. Shew.

John. John. John. John is a French teacher that teaches in Georgia schools. He is out for the summer. He decides to go walking along the beach in the gay section and ends up in a sexual encounter in the dunes. With a man with the most incredible green eyes ever. Then a third comes along. After the encounter, John tries to help the third man find his shorts and ends up looking for a towel to steal to lend the third man. He gets busted and is late to the third man. The third man is gone. Later he ventures to a bar to chill be for a party next door when the third man, known as Maurice, comes in and tells a story that is shocking. Maurice ends up in the hospital and now everyone is trying to figure out how to stop a psycho killer before being killed themselves. All the while, having sexual encounters at almost every turn it seems. During this the man he loves, Alex, has come up with a plan of his own, and it causes him to have amnesia. All kinds of twists and turns in this story. And hopefully it will bring a happy ending.

Reading the GREEN EYES

I’m not going to lie here. I kinda had a hard time keeping up at times. Sometimes I felt like I was reading out of my own head lol. But sometimes it was really hard for me to keep up. It’s a good book, don’t misunderstand me. I just feel like I need to be smarter or something to appreciate it the right way. I liked John. He was a complex character. They all kinda were. Each had a depth to them you didn’t quite expect. But what I loved about John, is even with all the crap going on around him, he was worried for his friends and their safety. He would pile them all up in his tiny apartment, just to make sure everyone was safe and no one was getting hurt or come after. He was trying his best to take care of them all. I felt bad at times for him, because it seemed like a never-ending circle you couldn’t step out of, but he stuck with it. Even when it came to taking out a killer. That was stupid beyond belief, that they thought they could do or even try, but they felt if they didn’t fix it somehow, it would never stop or change.

Sometimes situations call for drastic measures. There seemed to be quite a few of those in this book. But the things you do for friends and loved ones…..

Here, here...

And...anything the GREEN EYES have to add to this? Sure---always---(we boast). Here, at the very apex of the second part's overdone happy ending, Alex, the Hamlet of sexual orientation, proposes to John (story is set in 2014):

“Hold on,” Alex says, “hold on. While we are at it, why don’t we have a double wedding?”
“Yes. John here and I. We are the perfect complement to this ceremony.”
No, he means it, Alex says. He has to make it up to John, he really does, he’s done so many terrible things during the last couple of days, especially to John, and he has apologized once too often-—we need to bring out the big guns, and marriage would fit the bill.
“Are you crazy?” I say. “How do you know I want to marry you?”

Jun 12, 2018

The yellow parrot --- Green Eyes III --- Bright, viridescent eyes shine into the room --- teaser

What happens with your new book, people are asking. Well, we're progressing slowly, slowly, but here's at least the second part of the first chapter.

Context: John has been asked by Alice Sandeman to replenish her shrinking stock of Eleanor Beasley paintings---Eleanor Wagner-BeasleyGodehart Wagner's spouse of convenience, now deceased. If your read the first part of the saga, you may remember that Eleanor specialized in canvasses of white dots painted on white backgrounds. So that's what John's has been doing in Alex's old pad, when he's caught red-handed (or paint-smuded) by the notorious art critic Souren Souleikan. Minds meet, and there's something transactional in the air:

Under more auspicious circumstances I would feel my dick now. But I don’t. We will need some lubrication. And we need some assurances as to the transactional character of this since said lubrication could get into the way: Souleikan gets drunk, then he gets laid; then he doesn’t remember the deal (and I’m fucked).
“I need a drink,” I say. And Souren needs a drink too, except that there won’t be any tipple left in this desolate attic, what with Alex’s tipsy attitudes.
((Hold on.))
This is where the old Alex lived with the constrained, self-denying personality of his previous life; he didn’t drink then. There may be some hold-over bottle of booze he kept for his friends, or the friends he didn’t have. I get up.
 “Mind, you,” Souren says. “No Chateau Margaux. Claret should flow at the table in the company of kindred food and kindred company, but nowhere else.”
“I’ll be back,” I say, touching his shoulder. He nods.

I am back from the kitchen where I found and untouched bottle of Bourbon in the left cabinet below the counter. I hold in my left hand now, the other hand, digits spread, clinging to two low-profile tumblers. I set this all down, uncork the bottle, pour stiff drinks. We’re past the point of return, we’ll be getting laid straight away. Souren downs his shot wholesale. Another shot, and another. Gulp. Terrible, the mechanics of substances. We swim, we float, we undress, we-—we don’t go into details.

Jun 5, 2018

Where's Melania

Anything the GREEN EYES have to add to this? We usually do. Here, From Part II of the Green Eyes, This Is Heaven, Chapter 41, John Lee being interviewed, for the third time, by his nemesis, Inspector Mario LaStrada...(context, context:)...We're in the police department, and LaStrada has John cornered, but there's a pet fish bowl sitting on the reception desk, and John has his cell-phone activated in video-recording mode, lurking out of the breast pocket of his T-shirt:

Handcuffs appear out of nowhere. Nothing can save me now, except that the detective, his sight trained on the only Lee in the room, has overlooked the further goings-on fish-wise. And it’s not what you expect; it’s worse, the dark-blue shark undertaking a sexual assault on the pretty goldfish in the most uninhibited ways.

I once visited France, the country of my mother, where people would occasionally say: ‘Voila, un putain.’ (“Look, a hooker”). Along those lines I say, “Look, Inspector, the shark is raping the goldfish.”

And it works, Strada turns around. I could run away now, but say instead: “Bestiality in the police department, Inspector. Do something, do something.”

He’s listening. “Do something,” I repeat. “Not in this office.”

“Stop it, stop it!” he yells at the fish. He clutches the bowl with both hands, half-lifts it off the counter—-presumably intending to haul it to some location where sex between unrelated species of pesci would be a biological novelty rather than a crime—-but the big, water-filled, fish-filled container is too heavy for the Strada; it glides off the counter and drags the inspector down, smashing into pieces as it hits the ground, the long arm or the law falling onto the vicious shards of splintering glass.

Perhaps I can sell the same footage twice, I think the most heartless thought of this episode. I’m leaving the PD--head erect, pace deceivingly measured, a false expression on my face.

I stride across an almost empty parking lot. Nobody seems to be around, and the sergeant…where was the sergeant, didn’t he hear the fishbowl crashing? Strada didn’t say a word though, he fell silently onto his fish sword. He could be unconscious. There was immediate blood—-he might exsanguinate. And the fish—-they are also God’s creation, especially in the State of Georgia with its staggering number of churches per inhabitant—-the fish deserve a new life in two separate bowls where they can pursue their pointless rounds till they expire of boredom. Instead they are lingering there on the ground, hapless, gasping for air, provided they haven’t been crushed by Strada’s bulk.

You are a piece of shit, John, you are a piece of shit.

I’m back at the scene of the crime a few seconds later. Strada is splayed out on the ground, prone, moaning imperceptibly or not loud enough to alert the bowel-impeded sergeant. Nobody else is in evidence. There is more blood.

I stoop, bend over the stricken Strada, helpless myself. Where are the fish?

The sequel to the Green Eyes---available now

Michael Ampersant

If we could add something to this: Trump knows more about the American press than this press knows about itself.

Fight for a seat at the head of the table.

Imagine you're writing your third novel and you read this...what would you do with this(?):

Kentucky Crowd Cheers Valedictorian’s Trump Quote, Then Learns Obama Said It

By Laura M. Holson

June 4, 2018

Ben Bowling, the valedictorian of Bell County High School. 

Wisdom comes from the unlikeliest places. And on Saturday, Ben Bowling, the valedictorian of Bell County High School in Pineville, Ky., made an inspirational appeal that left his graduating classmates and their parents dumbstruck.

“This is the part of my speech where I share some inspirational quotes I found on Google,” he told the packed auditorium. “‘Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table’ — Donald J. Trump.”

The crowd burst into applause. President Trump is quite popular in Pineville and the surrounding area, which is the heart of coal country and overwhelmingly supported the president in the 2016 election after he promised to bring coal jobs back to America.

Mr. Bowling, though, wasn’t finished.

“Just kidding,” he said. “That was Barack Obama.”

The cheering abruptly stopped. The crowd went mostly silent. There was a lone boo.

Mr. Bowling was quoting a May 2012 commencement speech President Obama gave to the graduating class of Barnard College in New York City. Obama offered this message to graduates of the women’s college then: “Women shape not only their own destiny but the destiny of this nation and of this world.”

May 27, 2018

This is so true, this is so true --- contemporary universities

We've been fans of Ross Douthat for quite a while, and here, from his latest column in the NYT, one quote (he's talking about contemporary universities):

"[Even without Trump,] the humanities would still be in existential crisis and possibly terminal decline. A hedge fund with a library attached model of administration would still prevail. An incoherent mix of ambitious scientism and post-Protestant moralism and simple greed would still be the ruling spirit."

May 24, 2018

Supreme little rocket man --- commemorating the US-NorthKorean meeting (update)

Here's a picture of the coin the Trump administration released prematurely in "commemoration" of the historical Trump-Un meeting:

Trump canceled said meeting today. Haha.

Two issues: 

(1) Trump joined the Axis of Evil here, by adopting the tyrant's own terminology ("supreme leader");
(2) Trump was right in cancelling the meeting, because Un had the president ensnared in a nice rope of Machiavellian diplomacy; in the end, Trump needed the meeting more than Kim Jong-Un. 

We do agree on the fact that Trump's acting outside the box made sense (as a large chunk of political Game Theory has been telling---"proving" by any standard---since more than 50 years). Lots of "games" lock you into a losing position for as long as your adversary can assume that you are a bienpensant-negotiator. But if your adversary has to fear that you don't care much about a few million Korean citizens killed in a war that's ultimately won by your side because you have "the bigger nuclear button on [your] desk," the equation changes, and you may prevail in negotiations that are otherwise lost. The whole North-Korean nuclear armament issue since 1994 is possibly the best example. Trump is not a complete idiot because he understood this. (We would still say Trump is a complete fool, relying on semantic differences between the terms "fool," and "idiot"). 

And now this Trump-fool, having been promised a meeting with the "supreme leader" (as his own "commemorative medal" of the meeting issued a few days ago calls the Kim Jong-un tyrant), and having been put onto the fawning shield of a Nobel Peace Price by South-Korean president Moon, and then having evoked his Nobel-eligibility on TV, this fool has then his vice-president Pence give a talk in which the latter compares the deal with Kim to the deal with Arab dictator Qaddafi, who gave up on his nuclear prep-work in exchange for nothing and was then swept away by the Arab insurgency of 2011 while the West stood idly by.

Plus, during all of this, Trump cancelled the US deal with Iran, thus putting his country in a position where it may face two major wars of choice at once (from where is Trump to launch his attack against Iran? From Quatar, where he alienated the ruler XXX, and where the US has two military bases, a fact of which the supreme leader (Trump, in this case) was apparently not aware when he did his anti-Quatar twittering? Any other US bases nearby? No.).

So, North-Korea didn't show up during a preparatory meeting three days ago and then didn't even answer the phone. (This is like dealing with local craftsmen on our beloved Cote d'Azur.)

At that point, Trump had maneuvered himself into a position where he needed the meeting more than Kim. Snapping defeat from the jaws of victory---as Trump's erstwhile chum Steve Bannon characterized the Trump trade negotiations with China a few days ago. The art of the deal.

May 16, 2018

Off to Switzerland again

We're back in Switzerland. We left early on Tuesday morning, and here's a picture of the Cannes Film Festival Chang took along the way (the Bay of Cannes, the chartered yachts for the festival parties):

May 9, 2018

Michael's birthday

Well, Michael's birthday is always on January 1 (easiest when one has to complete forms), but he adjusted it recently from 1/1/1980 to 1/1/1990.

Before, his birthday was on May 8, which is a holiday in France (end of WW2 in Europe). In the year Michael was initially born, it was also a Sunday, and Mother's day, and only 3 days removed from Karl Marx's birthday (May 5). Nobody knows what happened to Karl Marx, but here you can see what happened to Michael yesterday (we went for dinner to St. Raphael).

St. Tropez on the horizon

Oysters, foie gras, Chateau Minuty

Lamb, marmite de poisson

Cheese, Tiramisu





May 1, 2018

Jamie and Dex

Cool, folks, we have a new story out in Gay Flash Fiction, which is an installment of the growing, yet somewhat incoherent Jamie & Dex saga. Yours truly and his lovely boyfriend have somehow relocated to Guerneville, a small town on the Russian River 1.5 hours north of San Francisco. They move into a small place in the poor area of town (the part that gets flooded when the river overflows) and get sucked into the trouble of the neighbor's household---a mother and her adolescent son. The mother is gradually turning into a lunatic and dies eventually. We take Jamie in. He's damaged goods now, can't go to school, or to sleep, until he discovers an abandoned math-book on Michael's bookshelf. He reads it, reads all of Michael's math books (Michael, the failed mathematician), and starts to solve the "open problems"---conjectures that are yet unproven---which math-book-authors add to their books as a tease. Now Dex, a school friend from Santa Rosa Highschool shows up and eventually manages to convince Damie to return to school. Dex sleeps over, eventually moves in for all practical purposes. This being California, nobody really asks questions...Here's the link.

The second story---forthcoming in Cleis's anthology "Best Gay Erotic Fiction" but somewhat out of sequence---has the two boys traveling to Florence, where the expected-unexpected is going to happen amidst the "tiny willies on the marble statues." Here's a picture that might give you an idea: 

The third story, the one which is out today, is back in Guerneville, and in time. Both Dex and Jamie have acquired dogs that need to be walked every day, and since Jamie is busy solving open math problems, Michael and Dex take the pooches for a walk along the beach where Dex asks a funny question: "Do you think Jamie is gay?" Here's the link. Enjoy.

Apr 29, 2018

A new five-star review of the GREEN EYES

"What struck me the most, as it did with the sequel, was the plethora of vocabulary, both English and foreign, that truly made the novel unique."---M.D. Prier on Amazon, April 20, 2018

(Want to read the book? Get a free copy of the Kindle edition through May 3:)

Apr 25, 2018

We've arrived

We arrived in Bürchen, CH, three hours ago, and it was 20° centigrade outside (27° below in the valley). The Alps looked like the Himalaya. Still do. Never seen so much snow in April. Happy to be here.

Off to Switzerland for a few days

Auguste Baud-Bovy (1848-1899)

Apr 17, 2018

Above the clouds: the view this afternoon

Very low clouds moving in this afternoon---feels like San Francisco:

It happens rarely, and when it does, it's typically in late April; possibly something to do with the contrast between water- and air temperature. Not photo-shopped, folks, NOT.

Apr 14, 2018

Comey compress

Our take from the previews of  James Comey's book A higher Loyality:

Most damaging for Trump is the observation that The Donald never laughs. He is unable to laugh.  And second, obviously, is the recurrent, and convincing comparison of Trump's behavior with that of a Maffia boss.

Apr 11, 2018

Not a Godfather movie...(update)

...the man in the middle is actually Michael D. Cohen, Donald Trump's personal lawyer:

And here, a quote from "slimeball" Comey's book: “I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service of some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.”

Apr 5, 2018

You know the answer already

(Our friend Susie sends this:)

"Why is it so hard for women to find men that are sensitive, caring, and good-looking?"

"Because those men already have boyfriends."

Apr 2, 2018

Yesterday night

We're renting our house during Easter and stay with friends higher up on the hill. This was the view yesterday evening (around 10 PM). On the horizon, to the left, Cannes and its Croisette.

Mar 20, 2018

More praise for This Is Heaven

A new review of This Is Heaven, on Amazon:

March 16, 2018
Format: Kindle Edition

This is Heaven. Yes it is. The sequel to GREEN EYES. I'm a big fan of Ampersant. I've read a lot of his work. Let me tell you that I read this book slowly and took my time. Actually the story was so good I wanted to just keep reading. The reason. He uses action and thrills and you want to savor the sex scenes and learn from them. Especially getting bitten. Come on, admit it, you want to be bit too. What I also like about the book that it continues from the Green Eyes. It's a month later or ten years later. It's the next day, of sorts. I wasn't expecting that and I'm happy it was that way. I am happy with this book and waiting for the next one.

(We're working on it)

The sequel to the Green Eyes---available now

Michael Ampersant

This Is Heaven (Green Eyes #2)

Mar 17, 2018

Fill in the blanks

If utilitarian calculations are to be applied, they need to be fully applied. For a package of political benefits, these evangelical leaders have associated the Christian faith with racism and nativism. They have associated the Christian faith with misogyny and the mocking of the disabled. They have associated the Christian faith with lawlessness, corruption, and routine deception. They have associated the Christian faith with moral confusion about the surpassing evils of white supremacy and neo-Nazism. The world is full of tragic choices and compromises. But for this man? For this cause?

---Michael Gerson in the Atlantic.

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