Thursday, July 29, 2004


The woman in the office next to the American Mastodon is a real hoot. When she doesn't have her radio tuned to the local classic rock station (whose volume tends to amplify whenever the Eagles are played), she is more often than not calling one of the other secretaries in the office and cracking wise. She has one of those laughs that seems at time she is dying from lung failure, and oftentimes the heartier chortles are stopped short by a few quick coughs. In short, she's a wheezer.

So just turn down that chuckle and turn up that dial, Linda.

Just take it easy / take it easy / don't let the sound of your own laugh / drive you crazy.


It's been a long time coming, folks, but Smoove B has finally returned to the fold.

Just give me one evening. That is all I will need to make you love me again. You don't have to tell your man that we are meeting. If you wish, you could tell him that you are spending an evening alone with a friend, or that you are visiting a sick relative, or that you won a coupon for an evening at an overnight spa. Whichever of the three you choose, please make it soon. I cannot wait to drink in the loveliness that you have kept from me for so long.

Also, I'd like to smell your hair. You use the finest shampoo. As you know, I purchased a bottle of it for your use when at my home, but the scent of the shampoo is not the same unless it is mixed in with your hair. Smoove knows this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Holy shit. HOLY SHIT. Tobias Wolff can write. In Pharaoh's Army has been a pleasant read, and the American Mastodon is glad that a friend gave it to him. But he was not prepared for the last 20 pages of the book. Wolff's prose always sparkles and snaps, always stays clear and consistent, but the summation of these memoirs in the final chapters was something perfect, something precise. It was simply the culmination of a wonderfully realized personal history, written in a way that only Wolff can claim - one that speaks so perfectly to us, yet conveys thoughts and emotions complicated and wrenchingly shameful; facetious honesty, perhaps, but still true, and always powerful.

In this passage, he is trying to impress a girl at a bar by telling her a story, but in the middle of telling it, realizes how awful it is, how awful he was to have done the act in the first place, and then how awful to be telling it again:

How do you tell such a horrible story? Maybe such a story shouldn't be told at all. Yet finally it will be told. But as soon as you open your mouth you have problems, problems of recollection, problems of tone, ethical problems. How can you judge the man you were now that you've escaped his circumstances, his fears and desires, now that you hardly remember who he was? And how can you honestly avoid judging him? But isn't there, in the very act of confession, an obscene self-congratulation for the virtue required to see your mistake and own up to it? And isn't it just like an American boy, to want you to admire his sorrow at tearing other people's houses apart? And in the end, who gives a damn, who's listening? What do you owe the listener, and which listener do you owe?

There are better passages, just as the book is filled with better writing. But there's something about the line And isn't it just like an American boy, to want you to admire his sorrow at tearing other people's houses apart? that I doubt anybody else could have written.

Next time the American Mastodon is in Syracuse, Tobe, he's buying you a drink.


Just back from Landscape Architecture class. At times the American Mastodon thinks this is really something he could get behind. A "calling" as men of the cloth are wont to say. But then there are times when the AM cringes; specifically, when the words "rhododendrons" or "cutting garden" are uttered, or when the collective discussion moves from design and function to regulations and standards.

The American Mastodon doesn't want to tend your garden for you. He's not quite sure what it is he wants to do. But if he could schematize something for you now, right now, to give all you lovelies an idea of what it is he is hoping to give to the world through the discipline of Landscape Architecture, it would be something like this:

Well, maybe it's just him. The AM's Eden has always seemed to involve a desolate, barren landscape, centered by the image of a large, dead tree. And please, no amateur psychology deductions. He thanks you in advance.


Did you ever read about a frog who dreamed of being a king /
And then became one?
Well, except for the names and a few other changes /
If you talk about me, the story's the same one!

Except it was a Mastodon that little frog became, and not a king. Funny, that.

So, the American Mastodon is beginning to feel restless and adventuresome once again. During the past two years, this is a feeling that has come bubbling to the surface during six month cycles. When the stirring starts to stir, it means one of two things will invariably happen: he'll work himself up into making an awful life decision that involves moving very far away from where he's living, or he'll ride the wave out and return to being unhappy and tired.

The American Mastodon attributes these feelings to the barely understood machinations of the human body and mind. Namely, something to do with chemicals, and how he wishes he had some more than others; whichever ones MDMA gushes out, he'll take those in spades. Also, he notices that at times he becomes overly idealistic and emotional. A recent occurence, for example, came after the Mastodon read Barack Obama's hope-filled and cynical-free speech at the DNC. For a mulatto, that boy sure can sing a sweet note. In addition, Mr. Obama filled the AM with unrealistically high expectations of himself and of the world.

The AM thinks that people with big dreams are real morons. Still, he can't help but envy them.


Well, it's just another Pleasant Valley Wednesday here in status symbol land, and the American Mastodon is so fucking bored he's pulling tufts of his hide out with his tusks. He's been in a relatively peachy mood lately, but one nagging thought will not go away: What the hell are you doing in Los Angeles, the Mastodon asks himself. So far, he has been unable to answer convincingly.

When he gets in these ruts, he finds it's helpful to read about the tragedies and horrors that people the world over are suffering through, as he sits in his plush chair typing away and answering phones. For instance, there's this cheery report about the current situation in Sudan entitled Darfur: Rape as a weapon of war: sexual violence and its consequences.

He's not sure about you, but knowing that he's not dying at the hands of Muslim warlords while his sister and mother are gang-raped and mutilated with rudimentary weapons by khat-crazed government-supported militiamen always puts the Mastodon in a great mood.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


Two days in a row the Mastodon has run. This is a streak, folks. It makes him feel good; awake and enthused. The young mammal has also been doing a great job lately of kicking the narcotics and barbituates to the curb. This is an exemplary feat, and one that fills the AM with pride, as he has always considered himself a drug-free sort of animal. Even in the throes of his more addled stages, when the brown bag was never far from his snout and the track marks could be seen through even the thickest of fur, the AM still deluded himself by claiming that he was a 'tinkerer' rather than a user or, worse, an abuser. But the skies are blue again and the only drug he's had as of late is love; your love, my sweets.

So, either way you line up the cue ball, the 'Don feels top-notch about life and its prospects. Not that he believes his life provides any spectacular prospects; the notion of being an outstanding human capable of great and audacious things is a concept the AM has merrily consented to relinquish. Much like the protagonist of Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, whose primary ambitions in life were to make a little pile of money and then, after the day is done, make love to his secretaries, the AM feels that the crumpled rug of life holds mysteries and prospects greater than we know, and sometimes it's better to stumble upon them than to prod ceaselessly along hunting for them.

Indeed, some of life's greatest ambitions are far from lofty. How do you think the AM got here?

Monday, July 26, 2004


The American Mastodon is no proselytizer. However, there are times when the animal feels compelled to share with others the books, music, and films that he stumbles upon and, after having stumbled, erects himself, brushes the dust from his jacket, peruses their contents, and discovers it is an enjoyable read/listen/watch.

Last week the AM was lucky to catch both the Walkmen concert on Thursday night and, on Saturday night, a Joanna Newsom/Sufjan Stevens double bill. Though the bands' performances were all quite enjoyable, they were nonetheless tainted by the small fact that they occurred in Los Angeles, where the 20-30 crowd has conspired to allow no joy or enthusiasm to seep into public performance spaces. Does everyone really think they could do better? Better than the Walkmen? Excuse me? Fucking wankers. At least in Dayton, Ohio, no one has any pretensions of being the next Strokes. They're perfectly happy drinking Robotussin in the parking lot and smoking pot in the bathroom. Ahh, Dayton.

To finish off the weekend, the AM watched an enjoyably obtuse Altman film last night, "3 Women". The American Mastodon laments the fact that movies like this aren't made nowadays. He'd like to himself, someday.

Finally, there's this little bit of hilarity, straight from the pages of Salon, about a woman who can't deal with the fact that her therapist is a fan of Bruce Springsteen:

What is it about Bruce that bothers you so? Is it his failure to address the postmodern condition, his reliance on linear song form? Is it all those beefcake butt shots and that precious Telecaster that seem to say that Foucault and Derrida never really existed, and even if they did exist he could blow them away in a blast of burned rubber on hot asphalt? Is it those short muscle sleeves and taut biceps evocative of smart-mouthed grease monkeys in small-town pool halls? Is it that weathered face that appears never to have truly doubted itself even in deepest reflection -- the face that on "Darkness on the Edge of Town" and "The River" seemed to be wearing Al Pacino's face like a mask?...

...He probably shouldn't have mentioned Bruce Springsteen. But he did. Next time you get together, tell him how you had a crisis of faith because of his mention of Bruce. Tell him you wrote me a letter and all that. Try to find out what this Bruce thing is really all about.

And then, just for fun, ask him what he thought of "Nebraska."


From a CNN article about Saddam Hussein:

"He is looking after a few bushes and shrubs and has even placed a circle of white stones around a small palm tree," Amin said.

"His apparent care for his surroundings is ironic when you think he was responsible for one of the biggest ecocides when he drained the southern marshes."

Ecocide. Ecocide? Ecocide.

Sunday, July 25, 2004


The AM said he was sleepy, right?

Weary with toil I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travel tired;
But then begins a journey in my head
To work my mind when body's work's expired.

And ain't that the truth. So, to sum, the weekend treated him well and he's happy to report that his physical, and largely, his mental, states are well-rested and spunky. Would you believe that he even squeezed in a bit of that much-ballyhooed physical exercise he waxed so poetically about a few days ago? Well, he did. So suck on a big one.

One more week and it'll be August. When the AM thinks of August he thinks of the end of summer. Not that it really matters in LA.

The summer's flower is to the summer sweet
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet
The basest weed outbraves his dignity;
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds:
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.

You know, and so on. Mofos.

Friday, July 23, 2004


The American Mastodon is tired.  Worn out.  Washed up.  Used and abused.  He needs his rest, and to find a nice, solitary place to be alone.  Scientists who study the Mastodon recognize this urge in the animal as natural and healthy.  Others claim it makes him "a real pussy".

Either way, the AM will probably be out of commission for a few days.  If, during his walkabout, he discovers any large caches of perfectly ripened tubers, or his totem, he'll let you know.

Thursday, July 22, 2004


Hey fucker. How ya doing? Yeah, that's cool. I'm just chilling with my homeboy Deke over here. Hey, you want to know something? As soon as they take you out of that tub I'm going to eat you. You're going to be fucking delicious.  I'm already getting a chubb just thinking about it.  What's that? Dude, I fucking know you have a shell. Like der. That's pretty obvious, isn't it? What? Oh, I've been thinking about that, and see, here's the thing: I'm a dog, which means I'm stupid but I'm not as dumb as Deke over here, who's already fucking distracted - DEKE! - anyway, my idea is to just pick you up in my mouth, take you outside, and throw you against a wall or something by snapping my neck and just letting you fly.  I figure if it doesn't work the first time, I can just try it again until your shell cracks open and I eat your sweet meat for an afternoon snack.  I mean, it's not like you're going to run away or something, now is it!!  Oh, bro, come on, dude, no crying.  Seriously, that's not cool.  You're trying that whole pity thing but it's not going to work on me, and I'll tell you why: I'm a bad muthafucka.  Usually the only thing I eat is pussy but you look so goddamned good I'm going to make an exception.  See, that should make you feel proud.  You've entered the eschelon of top-notch pussy, bro, because that's the only kind of pussy I eat.  Damn, now see, if I knew you were going to be such a crying little bitch I wouldn't have told you I was going to eat you.  So just shut up.  Seriously, shut the fuck up.  Whu?  Whu?  Whu you gonna do now, huh?

Swear to GAWD, Deke, fucking turtles, you know?


Today, the American Mastodon read an interesting article on conjoined twins, brought to his attention by this dude, and was struck by one passage in particular, wherein the author admits the following:

It is a basic truth that no one is 'normal'; to be normal is simply to pass for normal. Each of us has several genetic or other abnormalities: I, for example, have Dupuytren's contracture.

A quick Google search reveals that Dupuytren's contracture is "a thickening of deep tissue (fascia) which passes from the palm into the fingers. Shortening of this tissue causes 'bands' which pull the fingers into the palm." Anybody care to see a visual image?

Hmm. Interesting. What a fucking freak. The American Mastodon can sympathize with the author, though, as the AM also has various genetic anamolies. However, the AM prefers to think of these conditions as "physical curios" rather than "develish hell-scars branded by Beelzebub's sceptre". For example, those that are more intimately associated with the Mastodon may remember seeing a patch of roto-rootered skin on his right thigh. This scab-tabulous region has been ravaged by years, literally many months, of eczema related to food allergies. The AM has also been known to frighten small children with his ability to bend his fingers back to unnatural degrees. Then there is the case of his remarkably poor eyesight. In addition, the poor animal has been afflicted with an asthmatic condition since birth which, thankfully, has abated in recent years. And these are merely the physical corruptions. If one were to discuss the 'Don's mental issues, they would run out of typespace far before any comprehensive examination could be completed.

The icing on the proverbial "freak cake", however, is the Mastodon's recent brush with Cholinergic Urticaria.  What is this odd affliction, you may ask.  Well: imagine waking up from a nap and your leg has fallen asleep; you've been resting on it all wrong and now there are imaginary needles poking through your skin.  Imagine now that those needles are extremely hot, and are burrowing into your skin rather than delicately poking at it.  It hurts, sure, but luckily it doesn't itch.  Now please imagine that sensation, but imagine that it itches.  Excellent, you're doing great.  Now, if you will, imagine that not just your leg, but rather your entire body, is covered in these tiny, imaginary hot pokers that itch like crazy and are slowly creeping up your neck.  Next, imagine that the needles are no longer imaginary but instead are small, pimple-sized hives that turn your skin into liquid, only to congeal again as a sort of soft concrete.  Then imagine this sensation occuring any time you walk outside during the daylight hours, or any time you walk more than two city blocks, or any time you get nervous, or generally, any time your body temperature rises the smallest degree.  And finally, imagine visiting a number of "medical experts" who all give you the same line of hokum: I'm sorry, but we don't know what causes this condition, and therefore, we don't know how to treat it.

If you do not feel pity for the American Mastodon at this point, then you have not been paying attention. 

So, anywho-diddly-do, after three weeks of dubious medical advice, the AM was lucky enough to find a lazy merciful MD who had the wits to say, "Ah, the fuck with it," and prescribe a small jarful of anabolic steroids to the AM.  Luckily, the steroids seem to have done the trick without, and scientists often debate this in college laboratories, dimishing the size of his penis.


Last night's Landscape Architecture class was another uninspiring three hours of mental hand-wringing, if there is such a thing. After arriving 20 minutes late (which marks his third consecutive tardy appearance), class prodded along uneventfully as always. At the 20 minute break, the AM headed downstairs to grab a pizza slice and chatted with a few of his fellow LArch's, one of whom was a smoking young lass named "Fawn", or "Fern" or something else equally ridiculous. Fern, after introducing herself, then very quickly (and I must say deftly) inserted into conversation the fact that she was a "Latter-Day Saint". Very little gets by the American Mastodon, and one should be warned that just because he/she is mildly attractive, absent of visible physical deformities, and does not smell as rancorous as the moldy dishes in his sink, the AM will still judge him/her harshly, even severely, if his/her belief system is one that was once propogated by an insane polygamist who claimed to have seen angels and giant salamanders. Fawn and the AM then retired back to class, where he sat through another hour of idiots asking stupid questions, and idiots not being able to use their rulers correctly, and idiots just being real idiots in general.

After class the American Mastodon travelled to a bar and consumed some alcohol, then returned home where he consumed some more. He regrets that his swell of resolve regarding last night's maiden exercise ritual did not come to fruition. Here, then, is an example not of a project being abandoned, but silenced before it had a chance to begin. The Mastodon would like to be able to invigorate himself again by enchanting some platitude: "Tis better to have gone for a jog and stopped halfway through, then to have never jogged at all", but when one gets right down to it, he just doesn't care that much.

Today the AM is hoping to blog all over the blogosphere's respective tees, natch, like schmobvs in '04 Big Willie Style. His boss is off cavorting in Amsterdam with the cast and crew of Deuce Bigalow II: European Gigalow. And no, that's not a punchline to a missing joke. When you work in LA, as the Mastodon does, it is quite nearly a source of pride to be the "man-behind-the-man-behind-the-man" that assembles the paperwork needed to complete the production and financing of films that serve no purpose other than to make rich Jews richer. Dante wrote about it, and I believe so did St. Paul.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004


The American Mastodon is very sleepy today. But really, why should he be sleepy? He sits behind a computer screen all day and "generates documents." It's not like he's riding a bicycle up 30 degree slopes for weeks on end, his solitary testicle shriveled and sweaty, his fay biker's hat tilted at a discriminate angle as hoardes of foul French spit at him and jeer his national pride. No, alas, the American Mastodon is a lazy sack of tubers. He's got no excuse for this sad fact, and tonight plans on threading up his Reebok cross-trainers and hitting the tarmac in an effort to silence those nagging voices in his head. We'll see if this newfound dedication to the improvement of the physical form is something the Mastodon is diligent enough to continue. Scientists often note that the Mastodon is notorious for starting projects he does not finish. They are still attempting to discern whether this is a result of the species having interests in too great a variety of fields, or none at all.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004


The American Mastodon had reason to get excited last night. He and a couple of friends hatched a scheme in which they decided to spend their Labor Day weekends hiking through the John Muir Wilderness together. Though the other gentlemen do not share the 'Don's unrivaled level of enthusiam for tubers, they are the sort of hardy young lads that the American Mastodon enjoys spending time out-of-doors with. You see, the AM loves men, and being close to men, and the out-of-doors, and sweat, and tubers, and America. These are just a few things that the Mastodon loves.

One of his most memorable experiences was hiking through New Zealand a few years back, specifically the Tongariro Volcanic Range, a stretch of insanely odd, but insanely beautiful geological fuck-ups. Apart from the Mastodon's confessed man-loving, he would like the world at large to know that it is his plan to someday con(vince) a lovely and lucky lady Mastodon to retire away with him forever in New Zealand, where day trips to the Tongariro Range could be a monthly, if not weekly, event.

Come on ladies. Just look at those sparkling sulfur lakes, those slopes completely barren of vegetation, and those gorges spewing forth hot volcanic steamy-stuff. Huh? Huh? How much you likey? Damn, the Mastodon knows, baby. The Mastodon knows.

Monday, July 19, 2004


What's that, Henry? Oh, you caught a big bluegill this weekend? Well, fuck me in the ass. If that ain't the just the best goddamned news I've heard all day. What, me? What did I do all weekend? Nothing much. Fiddled with myself most of Saturday and watched the Bears game on Sunday. Huh? Come again? Now get out of here, you're pulling my leg. You mean you skinned the bastard as well? And fried him up in a skillet? Well shit if you ain't got me all hot and bothered. I bet there must've been enough meat on that bluegill to fill up half a plate. No shit? You couldn't even eat the whole thing in one sitting? Fuckin A', my friend, that is quite an accomplishment. That's goddamned exemplary is what that is. Fuck being a fisher of men, Hank, you're a fisher of fucking fish, you piece of shit. What kind of lure did you use, if you don't mind me asking? A SPOON?? Now get the fuck out of Dodge right now, you mangy cur, before I throw you out myself. That's a fucking artform to bait a bluegill with a spoon. You're goddamned Picasso is what you are. No, no, no, I won't be quiet. We've got a regular Vincent Van Gogh over here, a real Normal Rockwell is what we got. Well paddle my canoe up shit creek and let me off at ass-fuck bend. If you ain't just the cat's meow?

What's that, Henry? Why am I acting like a bastard with a thumb up my ass? Hell, I don't know. I guess catching a 30 pound bass with a beemoth on a hook will do that to you.

Friday, July 16, 2004


For those who know the American Mastodon personally, it is no surprise that he loves his Instant Messaging. It took some time for the 'Don to find an appropriate IM icon, but now he believes he's found one that will suit him for quite some time. The image below is of a man from the 'Don's hometown, wearing a shriner's cap. The American Mastodon wonders how kosher it is to co-opt an image of a person from the internet, especially the image of a person that the other person knows, or recognizes. He supposes it's more appropriate to let the good people over at Texas Justice figure that one out than it is for him. And until he gets served the proper documents saying otherwise, it's officially Mason Mastodon to you folks.


The American Mastodon is an Easy Rider. All who are familiar with him know at the least this small, simple truth. The dude can kick it leisurely with the laziest s.o.b.'s in Southern California, and therefore, the world. However, the Mastodon understands that his easy-riding status is lacking the one fundamental cornerstone to realizing fruition: the ride.

Mopeds are too childish. Crotch-rockets are too ridiculous. Harleys are too loud. The 'Don is just looking for something to cruise on. He hopes he's found it.

Thursday, July 15, 2004


Last night's Landscape Architecture class was a bit of a wash. Three hours were wasted on learning how to draw straight lines, examining an engineer's scale, and appropriately mastering architectural lettering. Don't misunderstand the American Mastodon; learning how to letter like an architect, though incredibly easy, is something he has wished to do for a long time. It's just that the lessons covered could have easily been learned by glancing at a book, and would have taken a quarter of the time.

Oh well, there's always the field trip this weekend to the Huntington Gardens. Hopefully, somewhere in the midst of the heavily landscaped grounds, the Mastodon will find some tubers. Tubers. Don't you just love that word? Tubers. The American Mastodon sure does.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004


The image of a dead fish, lying in the grass, is compelling to the American Mastodon. Who would take a picture like this? It's not like the fish is mangled or grotesque, like a roadkilled raccoon. It is the image of a fish in limbo; not yet disembodied, but not alive. Perhaps the photographer is planning to taking the fish home and eat it. Perhaps friends have doubted the man's prowess as a skilled fisherman, and he is amassing proof on his behalf. Perhaps the photographer was walking along a busy city road and passed this dying fish in a patch of grass next to the sidewalk.

The world holds infinite mysteries.

Perhaps this fish is your grandfather who died in an automobile accident in 1987.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004


Saying thank you to a person is a difficult thing. How do you subtend to another the feeling of gratitude that is little more than emotion; how do you intuit an intuition? The American Mastodon is accustomed to foraging for tubers and truffles. Those who study the mammal do not expect it to display human affectations.

The American Mastodon wonders. He wanders.

At times, the American Mastodon drinks alcohol, then immediately after sits behind a computer and ponders his existence. Thankfully, he knows that only two people read his blog, and he figures that they're not going to judge him any differently if he posts something slightly more inane than the day before. This puts a wry smile on the Mastodon's face.

Once, when the Mastodon was younger, he had a friend over and together they frolicked in his parent's yard. After some time the friend expressed his desire to ride the Mastodon's old, cumbersome red Trek moped. The Mastodon relented, because he liked his friend and wished for him to have a good time, but before he allowed his friend to ride the motorized bike, he warned him: Around the bend at the bottom of the hill is a patch of gravel; go slowly and be cautious, please.

Needless to say, the friend arrived 20 minutes later with a patch of skin missing from his right leg. "Did you wipe out, man?" the Mastodon inquired. "No, dude, I saw a friend and talked to him for awhile," replied the friend.

Man. The Mastodon always thought that was really weird. Like, really weird.


Today the American Mastodon was roused from sleep by a particularly haunting dream. The only problem is, he can't remember specifically what was so haunting. Dreams have always been a point of fascination for the AM. One question he has always asked is this: can the content of a dream affect the decisions you make in your non-dreaming life?

For instance, the American Mastodon used to be particularly smitten with a lady Mastodon during his high school years. Though the young lass and the AM were friends, the AM could not muster the courage to "make a move", and instead pined for her from afar and went on with his life. He wooed other female Mastodons and was wooed in returned. When the young lady Mastodon, two years older than the AM, left for college, there was a void left in her absence that the AM filled through dreaming. Which was fine, except that it was totally fucked up and torturous and would not stop when the AM wished it to. At each moment when the AM would get close to a lady that was not the original, unattainable, paragon of beauty he allowed to slip through his fingers, he would have the same exact dream:

A friend is having a party. The AM shows up with his new gal in tow, only to find that at the party is his old crush. The AM leaves his gal to mingle with friends and then ducks into a sideroom to have a conversation with the old crush. Words are exchanged, heartfelt, very similar to an actual conversation. At this point the AM is faced with the same, very real, though still fictious scenario: grab the crush by the hand and walk outside, or return to the party and the new, more practical gal that the AM originally came with. (Ed. note: the AM realizes that this dream is not as symbolic or subtle as one might hope. In fact, it's incredibly straight-forward, which the AM is not proud of, if, indeed, one can be proud of their dreams.) In the dream, without fail, the AM chooses the old crush, and they spend the rest of the dream in a state of bliss, catching up and cuddling.

Upon waking, the AM would then feel guilty, ashamed, weak, and delusional. He would tell himself: it's only a dream. But somehow, considering the verisimilitude of the dream, and the participants involved, it became more than a dream. It became a litmus test for the new girl. For a few years, each new girl would have to undergo the "dream test". And, of course, all of them failed. Finally, the AM met a girl and the dream did not manifest itself. With this girl he was together for a long time.

So you see, there are reasons why the AM feels like dreams are more than just dreams. He wonders what he was driving away from in his dream last night that caused his heart to race so quickly when he woke up, drenched in sweat.

As he has mentioned in the past, the American Mastodon is fascinated with aboriginal cultures. Having spent a half year in Australia, he knows a small degree about the aboriginal people of that continent. Particularly, he is intrigued by their idea that our waking lives are surreal and superficial, and completely meaningless, and only in our dreamstate do we begin to touch what is true.

The American Mastodon, after re-reading that last paragraph, realizes that that Australian aboriginals sound an awful lot like New-Age hippies.

The American Mastodon dreams of lizards and kangaroos, and dots.

Monday, July 12, 2004


This weekend the American Mastodon kept himself busy by entertaining a couple of older folks from out of town. These "parents", as scientists call them, were in beautiful Los Angeles, USA for a day and a half, and to the make the most of their visit, the American Mastodon took them to a Dodgers game. Though the AM was a bit peeved he couldn't down some cool Coors at the ballpark (the AM's parents are notorious teetotallers), the game was enjoyable and the weather was sublime. Enjoyable except for a single event, which has confused the bejesus out of the AM ever since.

In the row of seats directly in front of the AM and his parents sat a young Oaxacan couple and their quite portly 12 year-old son (the AM knew they were Oaxacan because of their short, stocky frames and chocolatey-mole-like body odor). The son, clearly adored by both parents, sat in the middle and seemed quite reasonably thrilled to be at the ball park. All was right the world, as the organist played a stirring rendition of "Charge!". However, nothing great ever lasts forever, and things took a turn for the fucking bizarre somewhere in the middle of the fifth inning, when after a few Coors himself, the father put his arm around his son and began playing with his ear. This startled the AM and confused him; from his experience, the delicate act of the finger lazily encircling another's ear was an act of affection displayed often and only by lovers. Thinking that the boy would shoo his father's hand away, the AM was even more surprised to see the son lean closer to his father and put his head on his father's shoulder. The father, clearly noting the reciprocation, began to even more tenderly and delicately feather his son's ear with his fingers.

The American Mastodon wishes to know if, in the opinion of the experts who frequent this blog, he should be calling the Welfare department or whether, and scientists have presented this latter theory as an abstract to the journal "Science", he was just not loved enough by his own "parents".

Thursday, July 08, 2004


Judge Miller, in describing the discovery and appearance of a skeleton at Shawangunk, New York stated that "... around and in the immediate vicinity were locks and tufts of hair of dun brown, of an inch and a half to two inches and a half long and, in some instances, from four to seven inches in length."

Last night's Landscape Architecture class was quite an improvement over the previous week's. Now that we've gotten those silly gardens out of the way, we can stop talking about the merits of french parterres and start talking about the good stuff: fidgeting with the natural landscape through the implementation of engineering, architecture, horticulture, and a deep sense of civil duty in an effort to make it all look...natural again. That's why the American Mastodon signed up in the first place. In his mind, there is a bucolic pasture full of ripened tubers, small hedges, and large, dead oaks just waiting to be built. Some spend their lives looking for an Eden; the American Mastodon hopes someday to build his own.

Of particular note during last eve's class lecture was the revelation that Frederick Law Olmstead, father of the profession of Landscape Architecture and the mind behind the design and construction of New York's lauded Central Park, was a real fuck-up. Unable to hold down jobs as a sailor, farmer, journalist, and tailor, Olmstead was hired, at the age of 41, to be the superintendent of a real shit plot of land in the center of Upper Manhattan - too far north at that time to really even be considered the city. On this property, which was nothing more than a bog, Olmstead was in charge of telling men which rocks to move around, which weeds to pull, and which vermin to shoot. A year later, city planners decided to turn the useless land into the nation's first public park, and Olmstead submitted the design which ultimately secured his place in the pantheon of profession-creators. The American Mastodon, not surprisingly, finds stories like these reassuring. He now feels justified in waiting until he's 41 to be productive or successful in a career. That's 17 years of easy living, folks. See you in Greenland.

Also, the American Mastodon hopes you've got the time to mosey on over to The Spoonbender, where the Mastodon will be filling in for a few days.

Ride on.

Although there is controversy about its authenticity, the figure of an elephant-like animal incised on the surface of a whelk shell from peat deposits near Holly Oak, Delaware appears to be that of American Mastodon.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004


The American Mastodon is an old specimen. Scientists carbon date some of the older Mastodon remains between 30-35 million years. Throughout this great span of time, the Mastodon has been constantly and pleasantly surprised to witness each and every crazy new gadget or invention those silly humans keep coming up with. First it was the wheel, which was some pretty wild stuff. I mean, can you imagine? No, no you can't.

Then there was the Arab strap and after that, the steamshovel and the locomotive. Lately, though, the American Mastodon has marveled over recent improvements in vending machines.

But never, oh Lord never, did he imagine a day in which this was considered progress.

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


The American Mastodon has suffered through more than one epoch, and therefore he feels like he knows when things are starting to turn sour. Tomorrow he'll shed his summer coat, stock up on some tubers, and start making his way toward the lovely plains of northeastern Greenland. It's not that he thinks the world is coming to an end or anything, but he hasn't been to Greenland in a while, and it's really nice there, and, well, whatever.

Monday, July 05, 2004


Were the ways in which the American Mastodon enjoyed himself on our nation's day of independence. He was lucky enough to find a new state park that thrilled the senses, and will certainly be returning soon; often called the "Yosemite of southern California", Malibu Creek State Park is a wonderful spot of unspoilt beauty only a few miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown Los Angeles. The American Mastodon is currently working on convincing a few friends to join him at one of the park's well-equipped campgrounds for a weekend night of stargazing, tomfoolery, and reckless hijinks.

After discovering and hiking through the park which, inexplicably, was full of Mexicans, Asians, and Eastern-Europeans, the American Mastodon ventured over to a friend's place and spent the rest of the afternoon and evening drinking Pabst and eating a whole variety of grilled meats. The American Mastodon wishes every other day could be a lazy Sunday afternoon in which the majority of the country's populace gives pause and reflects on the benefits and freedoms we enjoy in this great nation of ours. But the American Mastodon realizes that that is perhaps a bit too much ask.

The American Mastodon, satiated and slightly drunk, made his way back to his apartment and dowloaded his first couple of songs from the Apple Itunes store. Scientists, near the Mastodon's apartment during this occurence, faintly heard the Mastodon mutter the words, this is way too fucking easy. The American Mastodon wishes not to make the impulsive purchasing of songs a nasty habit. For now, though, he is happy with his selections.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


Presumably, mastodons lived in areas of conifer forest and marsh on the Continental Shelf during a period of glacially-lowered sea levels about 20,000 years ago.

The American Mastodon is a bit frustrated that last evening's Landscape Architecture class was not more fruitful than had been anticipated. Granted, it was the first class of the course and therefore filled with the obligatory "getting-to-know-you" type activities that Mastodons are renowned for abhorring. One small kernel of interesting trivia did catch the American Mastodon attention, however. Were you aware that the Islamic invaders of Spain, the Moors, were descended from Persian heritage? Not only were they wonderful at infiltrating the land of the Spaniards, they were also quite exemplary architects and gardeners. As instructed in the Koran, whereby it states, "Heaven is a garden; and man should work to make heaven on earth," the Moors sought to excel at constructing beautiful and intricate enclosed courtyards.

The American Mastodon, naturally curious of the art of archaeological and anthropological excavation, was interested to read today that scientists are now determing the age of the first
Homo erecti to be much older than previously thought. The American Mastodon has struggled but ultimately cannot possibly image just how long 930,000 years is. All he knows is that time keeps on slipping / slipping into the fuuuuture.

Members of the species associated with pine parkland in the Ozarks during the middle of the last glaciation were small with rugged teeth, whereas those associated with later full-glacial spruce woodlands or forests in the same region were large and had smooth teeth indicative of optimum conditions.