Inner Torment

The Inner Torment of Vice President Mike Pence

Look what I stumbled across:

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Isaiah 58:7-10

How about that, Pence? You good Christian soldier? You devotee of scriptures? You sinner but only say the word and your soul shall be healed?

Is that guy able to sleep at night? Or does he stare at the ceiling wondering how he got himself into such a mess?

My Inner Torment

One of my favorite Sunday afternoon traditions is reading the obituaries and wedding announcements in the New York Times. They offer a litany of extraordinary lives lived and the joining of couples with unsurpassed professional credentials. These achievements always make me feel subhuman which is, apparently, my comfort zone.

Although…the Vows folks usually have long pedigrees. Most of them were born on third base and only breed amongst themselves. So there’s that to consider. But I try not to let that spoil my self-pity festivál.


New this month on your newsstand:


This is a serious lack of originality. These are major publications. Don’t they collaborate? Couldn’t one claim the thumb/phallic motif one month and the others follow suit the following months? Fail.


I took these with my iPhone 7 using the depth effect.


It gently blurs the background, which makes the foregrounds pop.


I took these at Kinokuniya Books on 6th Avenue @ 41st Street, across from Battery Park. It’s a brick-n-mortar bookstore (one of few left in NYC) that specializes in Japanese anime and cultural touchstones. These statuettes are in a glass case. They’re true works of art and not inexpensive. Many of them are based on characters from anime books and movies. The girls are highly sexualized bordering on pornographic. Lots of schoolgirl stuff. Japanese porn is odd. But not as odd as German porn.


Mr. Sensitivity strikes again. I read these journal entries and can’t believe what a clown I was.

May 8, 1992

I called Kathie in Phoenix to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. She was upset because Brad got into an auto accident. I guess he’s not seriously hurt—there are no broken bones or damaged organs—but his face got pretty cut up. Kathie said there are “hundreds” of stitches and they’re thinking of plastic surgery. Gross.

Brad has incredibly low self-esteem, despite being a successful attorney. That guy works for one of the most powerful law firms in Phoenix but he’s crushed by a massive inferiority complex. How can you have it both ways? Now that his face is all bashed to shit, he’s REALLY going to have some problems. He’s never said or done anything bad to me. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Cars are pure evil. Half the reason I stay in this cruddy city is because I don’t have to own one. This was the week I was supposed to fly out there for a visit. I had to cancel because Ethan is going to Israel and Rome for a week, so I have to stay in the office. Imagine if I’d gone out there. Kathie never would’ve slept with me with Brad laying in the hospital all fucked-up. What a waste of money that would’ve been. Another close call.


Robert Gober
Beeswax, cotton, leather, aluminum pull tabs and human hair
Est: $1,000,000-1,500,000
Sold for: $847,500


You can’t see it in the pic but human hair is embedded. It’s a little girl’s leg. Dreary.

63 thoughts on “Inner Torment

  1. Dreary is right!

    Of course I’m going to comment on Pence … You know, I would bet that he doesn’t really understand that passage, or the fuss some folks make over the poor. As of this weekend, I officially think he is dumber than Dan Quayle. I overheard a bit of Pence’s speech at the Federalist Society on the radio when I couldn’t change the station. He was talking about Scalia. I’m paraphrasing, but basically, Pence said this: “Scalia had a Titanic effect on the laws of our nation.” Yes, Mike, he did. He fucking sank a bunch of them. Moron.

    • Dreary and expensive. Especially the latter.

      Dumber than Dan Quayle is really throwing down the gauntlet. I disagree. I think that guy knows Trump is a puppet. An empty vessel to be manipulated and moulded into what he needs. I read a great article about how the Christian right made peace with a creep like Trump because it was the only way to advance their radical agenda. It’s working just as they planned. Can you imagine what Pence and his ilk would’ve done with Obama if he’d had children with three different wives and got caught saying the things that Trump said? It’s a double standard but a means to their end.

      You’re always first. It’s impressive.

  2. You get a smorgasbord here, folks! A biblical injunction to be kind and help the less fortunate, a phone app that blurs backgrounds( except for the nipple in sharp relief), a shelf of unimaginative magazines, a slightly kooky piece of art with an astronomical tag that the lazy artist couldn’t even be bothered to title and a recap of a writer’s bitter-sweet love affairs.

    I see your friend, Springsteen, apologised to this country.And sang an old 60s pop song called “Don’t Hang Up” Clever!

    • I’m so insecure about my writing that I offer a laundry list of things HOPING that something sticks. It’s not healthy. I don’t have a theme anymore. My theme is no theme.

      I saw that our national spokesperson, Bruce, is making the rounds down there. I can’t get over how big that guy is. One phone call and hundreds (thousands?) of people throughout the world are employed to support his tour. Pretty amazing

  3. I hope the person who bought that sculpture had to undergo some sort of psychological testing first. Can’t help feeling their place should be checked for bodies in the basement. Crrrrreeeeepy. Aluminum pull tabs? Are those the buckles?

  4. Yes, Mike Pence surely is Holier than Thou. His collection of boy scout badges. for all those nice things he says, parsing his word all the way. But, how can he not succeed, in scamming people to blindly follow his brand of B. S? He’s sitting at the feet of The Masterful-One!

    • Hey, you’re new! I had to approve this comment. Welcome and thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it. I rarely go political here. It’s usually just art museums and auctions and my old journals. But I couldn’t resist just this once. Who doesn’t love pointing out a hypocrisy? It’s everyone’s favorite past time.

  5. Here I am again with Lord have mercy and I should add, “on my time of day.” As someone else wrote above, it’s a mish mash of lots of things on your blog and I like it very much. I can pick or choose what to comment on. 1. Pence. He’s a hypocrite so that’s why T. chose him.. He needed a do-gooder for the righteous right and Pence fits the bill. After all he believes that gays can be converted to heterosexuals just like that ditzy Bachmann broad who is still around. Bless her dumb pea picking soul, I mean brain. 2. Thumb sucking and phallic suggestions. What a way to sell a magazine. It looks more stupid than monkey licking its rear end. Now I’m getting tacky. See here, Mark, you are bringing out the very worst behavior in an 80 year old of used past sell date. And I mean it, actually. 🙂

    • Your 80?! No way! Are you speaking metaphorically or literally? I feel strangely honored. Dang. I hope I’m lucid enough to pen a smart paragraph like that when I’m 80. I don’t like to discuss my age because I am vain but I’m not terribly far off. I think Pence and his God-fearing buddies are controlling Trump. They made a Faustian deal. They’re looking past is horribleness to advance their agenda. They’re going to regret it.

      • Mark, you dear young man. Thank you and yes I was born in 1936. I know how old I am but I’ll be danged if I’m going to let age get in my way. It’s a mind set to some degree plus I worked until I was nearing 74 as a registered psych nurse x 35 years. I guess I just gave away why I’m touched in the head. Blogging helps plus, I am passionate about animals, the environment, and over all interested in many things. Oh and yes, I’m vain to an extent but not pretentious. I live a simple but active life among a passel of rescued pets.

        I think you might just be right about Pence. Maybe he is smarter than I think. I figure Bannon and Spicer are quite effective and just maybe Bannon is actually running the show. I hope time will tell and hopefully soon the “orange glow’s glory days will begin disintegrating.

      • It’s a mindset to more than just some degree. Physical longevity is rooted in having an active, healthy mind. Being employed for so long kept it all flowing. Retirement isn’t always such a great thing. It can lead to stangentation. I would love to stop working, but I’ll never retire.

        We’re only a few weeks into the new administration. Just wait until the infighting starts. It’s not going to go well for any of us. Do you know what a drowning man does? He takes you down with him. When I was in the Coast Guard, we were instructed to knock someone out if they were fighting too much.

    • The amount of money I see thrown away on shitty art at these semi-annual auctions makes me want to weep. Good thing they don’t give that money to poor people They’d just waste it on stupid stuff like housing and education.

  6. Grist post … er, great post. I mean both as a compliment. 1. Pence is an enabler and handmaiden (handmaster? … not sure). All good narcissists need them. 2. You were rather callow, but do give yourself a little credit – you’ve definitely grown out of it! And besides, most of us have had to experience a callow period. 3. Not sure what period the leg artist was going through, but it kind of creeps me out.

    • Grist! Oh, well played, you. I think el Presidente is a empty sack of air who’s being controlled by others. It’s not dissimilar to Bush W. Is it healthy if I consider my callow years some of my most interesting? There’s something liberating about being a prig. But you’re right. It couldn’t last. Who’s more demented? The artist or the person who pays that much for the work?

      • Thank you.

        Trump is good at lying, name-calling and shitty behaviour. Everyone gets so upset about this stuff that their attention is completely diverted. And after four years of it, people will be so exhausted that he might get away with a lot more than banning immigrants. He’s a sack of something, but I don’t think it’s air.

  7. Did you notice that the vignettes in this post make up a collection of different body parts – a sculpture leg, a thumb, a face (Brad), boobs (the Japanese figurines), and a dick (Pence)?

  8. Kathie wouldn’t have slept with you because Brad was in hospital? Does that mean Brad and Kathie were an item? Maybe she would have been ready for you after Brad was sitting up and eating solids. You could have asked his doctor for daily updates.

    • It was complicated. Kathie was in love with Brad but Brad was indifferent towards Kathie but would still sleep with her. I like making out with Kathie but also thought Brad was a decent bloke. Brad never knew Kathie and I used to make out. It was the kind of mess you only get in when you’re YOUNG.

  9. Politics sure brings out the hate speech in Vent Central. This administration is giving to the poor and hungry more money and food than any other. I haven’t seen any reductions in money or food by Trump/Pence for the poor and hungry. Also if Trump is such a sexist, why did he nominate a woman (DeVos) for Secretary of Education? And why is the Democrats trying to keep this woman from breaking through the glass ceiling? Who’s the haters now! I just don’t like hypocrites.
    What makes your blog so enjoyable to read, no PARTICULAR THEME. A potpourri of topics and journals that are interesting.
    All you need for an Art Gallery is a nice clean wall with extra wide aisles for appendages and obstructions.

    • This is why I stay away from politics. Where’s the fun in this? Honestly, I don’t see a lot of hate speech here. Lots of criticism and push back but that’s not the same thing. Nobody is calling for the execution of Trump or his family. And I think DeVos being unqualified might be a legitimate concern. There fact that she’s a woman is irrelevant. Did you watch her confirmation hearing? It was kind of painful to sit through. She didn’t come off well. It’s no matter. She got the job anyway.

      No particular theme is there sign of a cluttered, unsettled mind. You guys are the beneficiaries.

      • I’ve bee reading this blog for donkey’s years and I’ve never seen anything approaching “hate” here. Although some of the art has been laughably awful!

      • Yeah, I agree. I hate what some galleries and auction houses are getting away with. But intoning that the president’s positions are wrong isn’t the same as hate speech. Not by a long shot.

      • I stand corrected and need a chill pill. I got caught up in the protester’s terms. But I don’t think an unqualified “woman is irrelevant.”

  10. Your canceling the Phoenix trip was a blessing in disguise(another close call) because you would not gotten laid because her son was in the hospital. It sounds like a George Costanza thought process. I’m sure you have more empathy now since having children of your own.
    I had one of those car accidents, face and eye all stitched up, many puncture wounds and internal bruises all over my body, but no broken bones or unconsciousness. Just pain. Cars are evil, like you said.

    • That wasn’t her SON! Brad was her sort-of BOYFRIEND. It was a complicated mess. Sorry to hear about your accident. It sounds awful. I live in almost constant fear of a auto wreck. They happen when you least expect it and can change your life forever.

  11. When I used to occasionally pluck up the courage to buy a top shelf magazine, there was a phase when the girls were eating bananas. Glad to see the symbolism is toned down a bit now.

    There’s the boss of a bookie’s who drinks in my local who says that people are always coming in putting bets on how long Trump will last.

    In a comment above you said you used to “make out” with Kathie. Does that mean have sex with, or just hang around with? We don’t really have that phrase here.

    • Bananas are SO 1990’s. So obvious. Hit me in the face with a metaphor. Thumbs. Now, THAT’S subtle. Gets the idea across without insulting my intelligence.

      I wonder if Ladbroks or William Hill or any of the other proper, above-ground, bookies are taking bets on a Trump impeachment and/or resignation? I know there was a surge on Trump bets at the end of the election.

      Make-out can be rolling around, kissing and fondling but no actual penetration or completion to orgasm. Better than nothing.

  12. I read one article claiming evidence that POTUS cannot actually read that well, you suppose the VP is better? My attempts to adopt a Christian religion have repeatedly failed as I observed the blatant hypocrisy around the congregation

    • I don’t know how that can be true. I’m no fan of Trump but let’s face it, he built a huge empire and got the best of everyone who went up against him. He did it by dastardly means but he’s wound up on top. Doesn’t sound like someone who can’t read to me.

  13. The hypocrisy of “Christians” on the right these days is actually painful, especially when one considers the ban and the fact that another modern-day holocaust is happening in Syria right now. Discovery of “The Slaughterhouse,” a place responsible for 13,000 Syrian deaths (not to mention torture), doesn’t seem to compel us to act. Also, I thought the Bible couldn’t be more clear about how to treat the stranger, the alien, the immigrant in our midst.

    Eff me, it’s hard not to get up and start drinking immediately.

  14. I’ll get right to it… Tom B. I’m sorry mate but the Toddler in Chief is gonna loot this place and leave it like one of his Atlantic City casinos… and the reason people oppose DeVos is because never has someone been more “unqualified” for the job, she’s never actually had a job, she hit the birth lottery to a billionaire daddy and if you watched her hearings you can see she’s never been on a job interview, the bear comment alone should have had her dismissed, if any of us had said something that stupid in an interview we’d have been shown the door while the HR guy/girl was laughing at us, i could go on but i won’t…

    Impeachment odds in Vegas started at 7-1 but have since fallen to 2-1 last i checked and Vegas don’t lie man… now to the real stuff…

    Nothing sucks more than being thwarted from sex by unforeseen circumstances especially when you have to pay money to get to said place, you lucked out on that one old boy, a plane ticket out there to see Kathie pining and worrying about Brad, that’d have been a nightmare… i once went to see this girl in her last year of undergrad with no other plans than to spend the night and most of the next morning banging her senseless, then i get there and she got a notice from the health center saying they needed to see her but since it was closed on the weekend she couldn’t go until Monday (the implication was a possible STD, turns out it wasn’t), so since i was there and didn’t feel like driving back i spent the night getting horribly drunk and trying to bed her roommate, which culminated in a very intoxicated moron reading his poetry to her at 3am while both women glared at me like a was a gigantic fucking knob end (which i have to admit i was), needless to say i passed out and in the morning asked the girl i’d gone to see for a little oral satisfaction to take the edge off the hangover, after being berated for 15 minutes i was shoved out the door into the glaring sunlight where i promptly threw up… Winner!!! (not really) shockingly i was never invited back.

    • I think our friend Tom is in the minority here. I appreciate his enthusiasm and deep down I hope he’s right. But it’s a tough sell for all those reasons you list. DeVos’s hearing was such a wreck.

      You can’t *imagine* the hoops I would jump through to try and get close to someone. Traveling to Phoenix was the LEAST of it. It almost always met with crushing failure. I didn’t have good game. I feel bad for women for what’s thrown at them in the name of ‘romance.’ Poor things.

    • kono — what an ace story! Why does sex always seem to be associated with disastrous nights like that? But not disastrous in one sense, because that one’s got to be included in your forthcoming book of short stories 🙂

      • So nice to be welcomed thusly! Everything is very well on the whole, thank you. I accidentally deleted my blog, and after a bit of faffing about made a website instead, which didn’t work out. Now you can find me back on WordPress at erylshieldsink, but it’s set to change to by the end of the week.

  15. I like this mash-up of seemingly unrelated material. But I’m curious about the German porn observation…I didn’t see much of it in Germany when I was living there, but it was a small town, and I wasn’t really looking (honest!). But I like that depth effect with the phone. And I have a 7 now too, so I am going to dink around with that. Cool beans.

    • It was unrelated to my conscience mind but, as X pointed out above, they’re all about body parts. I quote:

      …a sculpture leg, a thumb, a face (Brad), boobs (the Japanese figurines), and a dick (Pence)?

      Not bad, right. I didn’t see it. And as Dr. Ken observes below, German and Japanese porn can get kind of rapey. And I’ve *heard* (seriously, I haven’t seen) German porn can involve animals, which ain’t my thing.

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