Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Along Monterey Boulevard

Along Monterey Boulevard in San Francisco, I saw this license plate:

WZUP SF

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Alan Turing's Homosexuality Matters

Alan Turing’s Homosexuality Matters

         Perhaps it will no longer exist one day – the loneliness of being homosexual in the eras and places where you may not identify that part of yourself without being seen as criminal or insane, and be in danger of death for being homosexual.
Some others too know the pain of such a state, a state of psychological torment that no one, surely, would seek.  But if you have suffered such a loneliness, you are marked forever by the special experience of having been trapped in an internal labyrinth with no hope of escape.
I can see how when the genius Alan Turing wandered in his self-contained labyrinth, it triggered the creation of a private, original language, for no common use of language could yield what his intelligence, in desperation, craved – to find the universal key (there being no help from any private parties or authorities) for escaping such a personal labyrinth.
Others in such a state survive by creating separate worlds more imaginary, less mathematical.  Perhaps many people have one secret aspect of language that the disciple Paul described as being not for sermons or interpersonal communication, but for solitary conversation with God (or, as I would say, with the Plenum, or “the Other”)
An artificial intelligence – that is, created by singular artifice, not by communal thought and knowledge – would seem an intelligence forever lonely if one applies feeling to it.  Any such concept or creation of “artificial intelligence” would contain nothing human except, as I choose to imagine it, they would all house the ghost of the spirit of Alan Turing, in the same way that we each may have a favorite fictional character, flat on the page, but alive in the mind and the heart.

– James McColley Eilers, 22 February 2015


Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day

The day after the annual Valentine's Day is loaded with history or meaning for me -- the birthday of two of my oldest friends, Peter and Sherrill (now a reminder of her dying too young); the birthday of my deceased father Tom; and now close to the date of the death of my older brother Ed (12 February) -- Love has dark edges.  But Carrie gave me this beautiful Valentine's cupcake (which my friend Jeffrey ate! -- he said it was delicious):

Saturday, February 14, 2015

EDWARD EILERS -- 1922 -- 2015

EDWARD LLOYD EILERS
15 December 1922 - 12 February 2015




Birthday Call to My Older Brother,
Edward Lloyd Eilers, 15 December 2014

Because my brother cannot talk I cry.
Notorious for endless speech, dawn to dark,
on the phone his is only a wisp of a whisper,
his reply to my “Happy Birthday” dissolving in
a weak “Can you hear me?”  A few small words,
only feelings unspoken, cross a continent,
and then “I love you” before there is nothing
more to say but “good-bye,” and an imagined
experiencer of the totality of our two lives,
and all the connected feelings and memories,
watches them float in the balloons we let go,
soon swept away, lost in the sky over earth.
Because my brother can no longer talk I cry.
My last words when my niece takes back
the phone begin to crumble. 
His first child and I can only mumble
as speech breaks into crumbs
and hearts at the end
are nothing but humble.

          – James Thomas McColley Eilers



After learning on 12 February 2015 that my older brother Ed (in childhood known as "Buster") had died that morning, travel plans and other matters were shaken up, and there were calls to airlines, and calls to and from nieces, etc.
I knew I had to get up early the next morning to go from Oakland to a medical appointment in San Francisco, but I could not fall asleep until an hour or two before dawn. 
About 3 a.m. on that Friday the 13th, a phrase came to mind that forced me out of bed to write whatever wanted to unroll from that phrase. 
Besides the alternating shock and numbness from the death of my brother, the day's national news must have been on my mind -- that day's purposeful murders of three sweet and innocent people, shot execution style.....

Designated killers and their molls are losers.
Guns are the genitalia of the impotent.
While their crimes bring grief to the human,
their victims will shine forever against
the darkness of dim-witted murderers.
Bullets, the leaden seed of the impotent,
are dirty, little jokes – erotic fantasies
of men who will always be more dead
than those they kill.  See below whatever
they wear the shriveled desires of those
who lust for a state reserved for the sacred
souls they cannot penetrate with limp 
envy and crude self-righteousness.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

THE DANCING DEER

MY PATERNAL GRANDFATHER
AND  TWO OF HIS MANY SONS:  
My paternal grandfather who came to the United States as a child as a Niehaves/Neuhaus/Newhouse until taken in by the Eilers who probably knew his family in Germany or the Netherlands:  Bernhardt ("Barney") Eilers with two of his 10 (?) sons.  For their very large family, hunting was a big source of food up in Michigan -- Click on the photo if you want to look at those German faces.  Later Barney had a black eyepatch that, with his gruff-speaking, tough manner, made him scary as a pirate. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

THE PRETTY ONE



My urban-raised (Hollywood) friend Don Mark can speak movie, and so, to convey my adolescence in a small Midwestern town, I could refer him to the movie Picnic, which has the look of Nappanee, Indiana, in the 1950s, down to the rusty old oil drum at the end of the back yard where you burned trash, and including portraits of characters similar to the people who lived at that time in that environment.
The love affair between Hal (William Holden) and Madge (Kim Novak) resembles the convergence of my older brother Ed/“Buster,” the town’s handsome athletic hero, and Nanette, the beautiful Homecoming Queen, surely the most watched and envied couple in town.  My part is reflected in the character Millie (Susan Strasberg), the awkward bookworm who says – envious of her sister’s popularity, “Madge is the pretty one.” 
Such envious comparison, besides the usual sibling rivalry, was magnified by how little we knew of each other’s separate endangerment in that distant past, while for years now Buster and I have come to the sweet understanding of how much we had in common when we felt so separate as we survived chaotic early lives.  In spite of my resenting my rather bullying older brother’s status as a local idol, I took this photo of him when he was in high school.  I don’t know how conscious I was as I took so many of the surviving family photos with my wonderful little Kodak

“Panda” camera.  Now I find all the old pictures to have a wealth of meaning in the smallest details.  I love the self-conscious curl on my older brother’s forehead.  The dog, Pal, he acquired as a puppy, a comfort when Ed was far from “home,” still in grade school but living with and working for a rather criminal person, in exile from the family (while I was just returning from a year in exile with a different family).  Does Ed/Buster have a rather “you better love me or else” hold on his old pet?  Pal, later, became the comforting companion for one family member after the other, truly well named, as Pal.  I cannot see the chair Ed is sitting in without remembering a certain comfortable roughness to the texture of the fabric against my face where, reading late and alone, I often feel asleep with my face against the arm of the chair.  Something about the somewhat moderne design of the 1950s drapes keeps some hold on my mind, still obsessed with leaves and images of leaves….But I won’t continue this photographic detective work.  Suffice it to say – with amusement and love for my brother, “He was the pretty one!”  And I love him.

About Edward Lloyd Eilers, by James McColley Eilers
13 January 2014