Triangulation at Its Best…


Charles-Portis-236x300_Tom_Wolfejd salinger







In an outtake from the recent Salinger biodoc.


And, in unrelated news yet to happen, there’s this…

JOB [To Interviewer]: “So, you better talk to Jonathan Potter about this, but it’s a great story. The way he tells it,  or at least how he told it to me, Matthew Lickona was just beginning to get his life back in order, right? He was recently out of debt and was returning from some bigwig marketing meeting at the prosthetics company he was working for. Anyway, he decides he’s going to take a cross country trip by train – not bad, right? See a little bit of America’s ass side, spend some time knocking back a few in the dining car, snooze to the clickity-clackity rhythm of it all… Well, anyway, so he’s sitting there, America’s backyards and back alleys racing past his window in a cartoon blur. Meanwhile, unknown to Matthew, Angelico is seated two seats behind him. And so at some point during the trip, the train is about to take one of these God-sized mountain tunnels – it’s out in the middle of Utah or Colorado or something – and it just so happens that who? Right! Dorian Speed is walking up the aisle to the smoking car – she smoked in those days, Camel filterless if I recall – I remember because she started a three-pack-a-day habit soon after the giraffonet replaced the internet and she was having such a hard time transitioning – at any rate, Angelico thrusts his foot into the aisle because he’s got this cramp in his calf, see? He just made this big sell to Icon Productions for his client – but wait, I’m getting ahead of myself – anyway, so he puts his leg out like he’s going to kick a door in and Dorian, tripping on his leg, stumbles forward – but just then Jonathan Webb is walking down the aisle in the other direction, having just finished in the smoking car a Romeo y Julieta – a Churchill I think it was – you know, he could afford them in those days, what with the movie deals he was getting for the Death Fables and all – and he lunges to catch Dorian, but she meanwhile is putting her hand out to save herself from falling flat on her face, and in the process grabs Brian Jobe, who is also on the train – a seat behind and diagonal from Matthew – unbelievable, right? I thought so too! – so she grabs Brian Jobe by his black mock turtleneck – this was during his black period, the whole Propertius affair was still a fresh wound at that point – and she yanks him into the aisle as she’s falling and Webb accidentally grabs for the emergency brake – except, you know, it wasn’t accidental? Because just then Webb sees Matthew at the same time that Matthew spots Webb. Their eyes lock and for one furious moment – well, think crossing streams and Ghostbusters and marshmallow bits everywhere! Well, at the very least, fireworks, hello! So Matthew stands up and is about to punch Webb in his gob – because, you know, poor Matthew is still sore about Webb’s refusal to testify in the Gibson suit – but then Angelico, still rubbing his calf, sees Matthew and unaware of Matthew’s ire tries to get his attention by throwing a copy of Groundwork at him – which someone told me he’d found in the WalMart remainder pile – that’s where I find them, anyway – but anyway, the story – so instead, right? Angelico hits Webb with the book – his own client and he hits him with the book -and right between the eyes – and so, well, anyway, everything sort of went black for a moment as the train passes into the tunnel and…. well, look, I don’t know. This is just what I heard. The only one who was there was Potter. Ask him. He knows the whole story.”


  1. Groundwork, due any day now from Korrektiv Press!

  2. Where have you been? It’s been out for a while now – the publishers decided that with the highly selective audience it would garner, it ought to go straight-to-Walmart-bookbin instead of the usual publication route.

    Korrektiv saved a lot on printing costs by simply taking the unedited manuscript and placing it in the bin with a colorful “$1.00!” burst-shaped sticker on it.

    It’s still there, as a matter of fact, waiting for some unsuspecting but clearly discerning consumer…


  3. This is so great.

    • Easy for you to say. When we came out the other side, my finished draft of Gaga Confidential was gone baby gone. I blame…well, I think we all know who I blame.

  4. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OP says

    Potter alone hath escaped to tell thee.

  5. Jonathan Webb says

    Potter is the poet in the original sense. Like Homer. That story was Homeric. Thanks JOB.

  6. Jonathan Webb says

    The one thing that doesn’t ring true is me trying to catch Dorian because that would be sexual harassment. Working for the government has weeded all the chivalry right out of me.

  7. Hello. I don’t like to comment on anonymous sites now because I am more worried about who is writing them and who can view my computer use, but here is something further I have written on HIV/Aids, which you may know already, and I will post what I have done on cancer later.

    It seems likely that HIV is a fictitious ‘viral infection’ that was invented for political reasons and that the illnesses associated with AIDS are either themselves fictitious (eg, cancer) or the result of treatment and environmental factors . If we set aside, as Descartes asks us to, the foundational facts of science that we have been told, and instead rely on observation and reasoning to decide what is most likely to be true, it seems impossible that virus cells would damage, or kill, the person. Even if one assumes that they are able to travel, despite their size, through liquids and tissues, or penetrate membranes from spaces and cavities within the body, and thrive and multiply (by whatever means), and assuming that they have a motive for harming and killing the person, a virus cell that is initially imperceptible to the senses, and which remains invisible to the eye, will not possess the ability to inflict harm whatever its number, however many cells might theoretically inhabit the body at any one time (including those that may remain after their death). This is because, first, the capacity of a large number of cells to inflict harm is not substantially greater than that of the individual cell (as, for example, a number of very small simultaneous stings will not hurt significantly more than one sting, and as the sound of several birds singing will not be significantly louder than that of the song of one bird); and, second, because even if the individual cells are able, in theory, to join together to form a larger substance, as is the case, for example, with the constituent parts of a tumour or of an animal, the fact that the virus cell is apparently invisibly small to the eye, even when a light is shone on it, implies that by whatever number it is multiplied, it will have no volume or weight. For the same reason, the virus will not be able to overwhelm the body by virtue of the number of its cells. When a person is sickened by, for example, the flu or the common cold, this is a because the body is weak, not because it has been infected by a virus of any kind. Similarly, a person who falls ill or dies as a result of HIV/AIDs does so because of factors that will include those related to their diagnosis and treatment but not because of HIV ‘viral ‘infection’.
    First, it seems odd that HIV ‘cells’ cannot survive for long outside the human body. Why would they not, in the apparently more hospitable environment (in terms of temperature, hydration, available nutrition, rest) outside the body? From observation, mould, for instance, appears to thrive in certain conditions but not noticeably within the human body, and this is true of most, if not all, living things, apart from the body’s constituent parts. What is it about virus cells that make the human body an inhospitable environment for most living organisms but the only environment hospitable to HIV virus cells? And would this not make the virus cells especially careful not to destroy it by virtue of their number or any other means, or to alter the body significantly. If they are said to be more suited to an environment in which the person is unhealthy, and therefore would benefit from weakening it, this would only seem likely to be true if a motive to harm is attributed to them; otherwise, it would make more sense for them to target unhealthy individuals.
    Second, the nature of transmission seems unlikely. Why would the virus cells enter a part of the body, in the case of sexual activity, from which they might be expelled before they were able to travel? If it is because they can only survive and spread by coming into contact with blood, why would this be so? If the body is able to prevent the absorption of harmful virus cells from the digestive system, despite the small size of the virus cells, or if the virus cells obtain more nourishment, or are otherwise better able to survive and ‘reproduce’, even if only in the short term, in decaying food (in faecal matter) or discharges, setting aside the question of whether these substances themselves contain, or produce, harmful substances, how is the HIV virus able to leave the body of one person, enter another, survive, apparently multiply, and then travel to other parts of the body after coming into contact with blood at, or near, the surface of the body?
    For example, during sexual intercourse, the HIV cells are said to travel from the semen, blood, or vaginal discharge of one person into the blood stream of another. In the case of uncircumcised males, transmission would seem to be more likely in the case, for example, of heterosexual intercourse, from semen into the blood stream. How is something as small as an apparently invisible virus cell able to travel out of the semen? Even in the case of blood to blood transmission, how plausible is it that virus cells are able to move in blood in order, first, to leave the body of one person and, second, to travel from the surface, or near the surface, of the second person to other parts of the body (since HIV is not said to be a local infection, and need not present symptoms at the point of entry)?
    (Also, would HIV cells congregate at or near an exit in one body in order, at some stage, to enter another when they might in the meantime risk, for example, being washed away during bathing. This would seem to imply that HIV infection of one person by another would only be likely at a relatively late stage in the first person’s infection, when the virus cells would be present throughout the body. Otherwise, if the virus’s behaviour was more precise, ie, if they congregated only before sexual activity, we would have to attribute a degree of intelligence to virus cells such that, from observation of nature, they would not act in a way that would harm people even to save themselves, unless the gain to the person from the virus cells being present outweighed any short term harm.)
    In any case, it seems impossible that something as small as a virus cell would be able to move with ease within the body and thrive. From observation, a flea, larger than an apparently invisibly small ‘virus cell’, cannot move within even a fairly thin liquid once it has got into it without getting stuck or appearing to drown. How would a virus cell, or a number of virus cells, be able to travel within discharges, faecal matter, blood, bodily tissue or organs? Whatever the consistency, or viscosity, of different bodily fluids in different environments (eg, blood can vary in thickness), it seems implausible that an invisibly small virus cell would be able to travel within the body unless it is able to travel within spaces between ‘cells’ or cavities within the body, or it is carried along by something in motion. It may be possible to imagine invisibly small cells being propelled hypothetically in the blood, or tissue, in the direction that food and liquid, in the form of energy, travels to different parts of the body away from the digestive system, and perhaps carried back during contraction away from the surface, and for there to be some independent movement from the surface, for example, during exercise. However, if this is the case, it would constitute an unstable environment. If in motion, they would be moving erratically, and at different temperatures and in different consistencies, so that the instability, and the motion, which for all life forms can be excessive, is likely to weaken them. If the cells instead are able to rest within the body, this suggests either that they are able to stop moving, which would be as difficult as to travel independently, or that they meet resistance, which at least raises the question of how much of the body they would be able to inhabit.
    Third, a ‘virus cell’ would not be able to cause harm. If it can only survive in the human body, if this is the only environment in which it can obtain nourishment and which is not dangerous to it, how would destroying its host create a better environment? If the reason is that it does not expect to survive its host and gains an advantage in the short term, then, setting aside the question of whether this is how nature, as opposed to humanity, behaves, how would any number of virus cells be able to do damage to a living being?

    For example, assuming its motive was only to obtain nourishment, how would something as small as a virus cell be able, for example, to consume its host, no matter how large its number. From observation, fruit flies may cover the skin of, for example, an apple, but cannot penetrate it in order to gain the nourishment within it. Could any number of virus cells pass through any skin, or membrane, within the body? Small flies may enter relatively solid fruits that have had their skins removed, but they do not appear to alter their shape substantially or cause them to decay or dry any faster than if they were not present, and, in fact, seem to feed less on the fruit itself than the mould that appears on it as it decays, so that their effect appears to be beneficial. But if the virus’s intention was to consume a part of the body, in which case the HIV virus is essentially the the ‘flesh eating bug’ that was discovered some time after the discovery of the HIV virus, how could something invisibly small erode the human body? How much damage can something invisibly small do over whatever length of time and by whatever number it is multiplied? Common sense suggests that a virus cell that cannot live outside the human body, would not live for a long time or multiply rapidly and in great numbers inside it. And would the virus cells not seek to regulate their number so as to maintain a hospitable environment? But, however long they lived, and however rapidly and by whatever number they multiplied, something that is initially invisible will not multiply to something with mass.

    If the virus cells harm directly, ie, not as a result of feeding, then, setting aside the question of why, how are they able to do so? Although not said to be the case with HIV infection, one would assume that subsequent exposure would be of relevance if an increase in cells within the body is of relevance, ie, if a single exposure is not the agent of illness or fatality. (The initial exposure would need to contain above a minimum number of viral cells such that below that number would pose no risk, either immediately or as a result of reproduction if introduced in a hypothetical AIDS vaccine). However, even if subsequent exposure would increase the hypothetical risk of illness and fatality, that the ‘virus’ would not cause harm is the same as if the initial cell(s) had multiplied within the body.

    Given the size of the virus cell, the mechanism could not be physical force: no matter how great their number, something as small as a virus cell would not be able to overpower a host. How can something be harmful that is invisible to the eye whatever its number (and can a microscope show something invisible by enlarging it?)? The ‘cells’ of the body are apparently invisible to the eye but, when multiplied, make up tissue and organs, whereas HIV virus cells cannot be seen by the eye (as, for example, one sees particles of dust when a light is shone on them), whatever their number.

    Neither is it possible for the mechanism to be toxicity. Usually something toxic has a taste or a smell, but the HIV virus is said to have no smell, for example, when present on a slide. A toxin is a substance that enters the body and harms it, usually initially, from which the body generally recovers, unless the toxin proves fatal. Examples of toxins include medicines and other drugs (which, derived from natural substances, might be beneficial in very small amounts but dangerous in larger quantities) and rotten food (which is likely to make the person feel unwell and which is usually expelled).
    Something that is immediately poisonous or rotten will usually, if taken on one occasion in sufficient quantity, harm the person in the sense of causing them to be unwell. In the case of substances that become more toxic without subsequent exposure, ie, where one does not recover (or perceive that one has recovered), which is apparently the case with HIV infection, one assumes either that the cell(s) becomes more toxic, perhaps because it is able to survive, and retain its toxic properties, longer than other toxic substances in the body, and, as other living substances, may become most toxic near or even after its death, or because it multiplies to an extent that other toxic substances are unable to.. However, the fact that the virus cell is unable to survive outside the body suggests it is unlikely to survive within the body longer than other toxins, such as medicines. Although, whatever its number, it would not have mass, some might find the argument that its toxic effect would not increase as its number increased less convincing, even though the most compelling argument against viral infection is that something that is not observable does not exist. But not only does, for instance, the pain or sound from more than one small source not seem substantially greater than that from a number, but, for example, in the case of stings or blows, it seems to be the case that repeated exposure, or an injury in more than one place, has a beneficial effect. For example, a small pain or injury seems to lessen the impact of a potentially more serious one and, in the same way, an injury – and sometimes an illness such as a cold – is usually felt less if a person has drunk alcohol or is sleep deprived. But, in any case, would a virus that is imperceptible to the senses have a greater toxic effect than constant, or even regular, exposure to substances that emit toxic fumes, such as cars and gas heaters?

    However, if the cells do not harm by competing with the body for food and are not themselves toxic, the mechanism by which they cause illnesses, such as cancer, are not clear. It is not clear how a cancerous cell can invade, or otherwise affect, surrounding tissue, nor is there a consistent account of what a cancerous cell looks like, ie, of what distinguishes it from non- malignant cells or from the tissue of benign tumours. And, for the same reasons, neither is it clear how a viral cell could cause, for example, cancer.

    It is not clear what the HIV virus cell would look like. A microscope may show regularities not immediately visible to the eye. However, in that case you are seeing the constituent parts of something that is otherwise visible (at least under certain lights). In the case of the HIV virus, if scientists claim they can see the presence of cells within blood, this is difficult to refute, since, whether or not this is true, other factors may account for the difference between them (as there might be a difference in the tissue of different animals or people in different environments) and there need be no link between the distinction and any illness arising from subsequent treatment. I assume that it is not possible to separate the cells from the blood they inhabit and that samples are examined and photographed within hours of blood having been taken, since otherwise it would also be necessary to distinguish between a live and dead virus. If virus cells are said to live outside the body for several hours, is it possible to isolate the virus from other constituents of blood by photographing different surfaces where they might be present, ie, that a patient known to be HIV positive has had contact with? Has this been done?

    However, assuming that it is possible to identify an invisibly small virus cell under a microscope, how would it cause an alteration in the cells, tissues or organs of the human body if not by force or through some toxic quality (or any kind of alteration, for example, except by providing nourishment of some sort)? The properties that are attributed to it are causal, in the sense of asserting alteration rather than explaining it, in the sense that the explanation relies on a science and scientific method – genetics and microscopy – that, even if it is coherent, is not based on empirical, in the sense of observable, foundational facts.

    It may seem a reasonable hypothesis, for example, that every person has something approximating a code within them that determines how they will develop, in the same way that different seeds grow into different kinds of plants. But is it likely that every plant has a code that can be deciphered by examining any part of it under a microscope? It may be possible to tell what sort of plant it is, and there may be regularities in every part of the plant that can be given names. But the fact that regularities appear under a microscope does not mean that one is seeing things that are as small as DNA or an HIV viral cell are said to be. If you enlarge a substance, for example, a piece of material, you will see a detail in the fibres that is not apparently visible to the eye. But quite soon, ie, with increasing magnification, there comes a point at which the image becomes fuzzy: a lens, or several lenses, can only adjust the focal length and enlarge something visible to the trained eye, which is capable of seeing very small things clearly, so that a ‘powerful’ lens, such as in an electron microscope (which would in any case present the problem of intervening objects, such as dust and lens particles) is in fact a kaleidoscope, containing images within it. Although a blood sample would apparently need a magnification of around 10,000 in order for the virus cell (at 0.5 micrometres) to be visible, whether or not this is possible, magnification by far less would not produce a clear and distinct image. If regularities could be seen clearly at such a magnification, one would expect to be able to view film from which it could be inferred that an HIV viral cell injected DNA-altering substances into cells and inferring that this is what was happening. But I have seen no evidence that such films exist.

    It therefore seems likely that AIDS was invented for political reasons. What kills in the case of apparently fatal illnesses such as cancer or AIDS is a cumulative weakening caused by the drugs (prescription or otherwise), which either weaken or else stimulate and then weaken, introduce poisons into the body, cause diarrhoea or constipation or encourage anorexia, depress or confuse and cause poor decision making, make one more susceptible to colds and respiratory illnesses (especially if one believes one ‘catches’ them from others), and as well to night sweats, rashes and spots, which are the body’s response to fatigue, cold, heat, dehydration or over hydration, and malnourishment, which, at the same time, the body may be less able to recognise and to respond to); surgery (which weakens, at least temporarily, so increasing the risk from other depressants, because of anaesthesia or blood loss); poor diet (insufficient calories, food that is not fresh or that contains toxins, including in alcohol and coffee); environmental factors, particularly inadequate heating, extreme heat, and fluctuations in temperature; excessive physical exercise in an effort to maintain fitness, and perhaps insomnia or too much sleep; and the emotional stress, and fatalism, caused by the belief, and others’ belief, that one has a potentially fatal illness. As you do not need gravity to explain why things fall to earth, you do not need cancer and HIV/AIDS to explain why people who have received a diagnosis of either might fall ill and die.
    In 1985, the HIV virus was reported to be the cause of a group of illnesses affecting homosexuals, heroin users, and haitians. There is currently no home test for HIV infection, although there is usually pre-test questioning. Whether or not a vaccine would be safe and effective, apparently promising trials, for example, in Thailand ten years ago, have come to nothing. Although life expectances for those testing ‘HIV positive’ are now said to be near normal, a diagnosis will narrow life choices and create fear for individuals, and the invention and treatment of HIV and AIDS will have had unforeseen economic and environmental, as well as moral, consequences. Although there is apparently a global food crisis, it seems unlikely that nature would present insurmountable problems such that humanity’s survival would depend on inventing and treating fictional illnesses, while intended rational decisions about target individuals and populations are made, on their own terms (eg, the economic impact), in error, and will have had unforeseen and unintended consequences. The solution instead is to live as fully as possible in accordance with nature and according to natural law.

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