September 01

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The Nathan Brothers


Adam: I want to run an idea by you. Let me know when you have a minute. (No hurry.)

Chris: Hi Adam.  Here I am.  On the same page, so to speak.  It’s an odd sensation.  Very… public.  I feel self-conscious, as if you had just invited me up on to a stage where you’ve been speaking and it would be impolite not to turn around and somehow acknowledge your audience.  Do you mind?  Just so I can get it out of the way?  Thanks.  Hi, everybody.  I’m Adam’s brother.  My name is Chris.  Adam invited me here to see what happens if we unfold some things together.  Thanks for reading this!  Alright – that’s done – I’m good.  No more talking to the camera.  I’m not Kevin Spacey.  Anyway Adam, what’s on your mind?  What are you thinking about?

Kevin Spacey (offstage, purring): Agreed.

Adam: There is like zero reason to feel self-conscious. Even the people who read this blog don’t read this blog. We had three “likes” after I added a blog entry with “I want to run an idea by you. Let me know when you have a minute.” I’m not sure what “Man of Many Thoughts” and “Erik Conover” saw in that initial sentence, but I will like their posts for a year if they comment below and let me know they aren’t simply punching “like” on everything in their WordPress stream to get “likes back.” Miss Tweenster hit like because her allowance is tied to it.

Bottom line: the only people you have to worry about reading a blog posts are prospective clients and employers. And if you’re willing to write about really sensitive stuff in free verse it’s probably safe to discuss anything. Not even Google stores blog poetry. Terrorists could share plans in free verse.

Disappointments by Vivian Gilbert Zabel (Mostly)

Every life has a room

where memories are stored:

A box of special occasions here,

Shelves of shared laughter there.

But back in the shadows of that one felony conviction

Lurks a trunk locked tight,

Not to be opened and searched.

Washington state’s new marijuana laws

There hide disappointments

Allahu Akbar! 

Which darken every heart.

That was some party

Hope she’s really eighteen!

Anyway, here’s the deal: we stop hijacking people’s Facebook posts with long conversations between the two of us about random and obscure topics that nobody that wasn’t born into our family wants to read about it. You had a 700 word entry on Charrisse’s phony virtual worlds in IKEA catalog backgrounds that is a perfect example. I was able to hold back from posting a response, but only barely. My suggestion is we move all that stuff over here and Charrisse can keep her house in order over there or join us here. Charrisse, for the record, you are welcome to join this conversation at any point.

Here are the rules:

  • Each post has one topic.
  • We take turns posting (more or less)
  • You have as long as you want – up to and including Forever – to respond
  • If you want a new topic, then the old one is finished, so get it out of your system. Speak your piece. We’re moving on.
  • Guest contributors are allowed at the discretion of The Nathan Brothers.
  • BRN means dad
  • GWN means mom
  • We don’t tell each other when we’ve posted because our best chance of driving web traffic is with each other, so you just have to check to see if anybody has responded.
  • Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this blog, without the express written consent of the Nathan Brothers, is prohibited.

By the way, I have a first topic (it’s scatological!) so I’d like to get through the orientation period here. Let me know if you have questions or comments, Chris.

Chris:  How do you do that?  After reading your post I laughed for about twenty minutes, repeatedly plucking some internal chord by alternately incanting “Hope she’s really eighteen!” and “I want Harry Winston to design me a toe tag”, something I had heard Joan Rivers say earlier in the day to explain how over-the-top she expected her own funeral to be.  It felt great.  And Vivian Gilbert Zabel?  That one’s so Nabokovian and so self-evidently fictional I almost didn’t Google it.  I won’t make that mistake again.  You’ll have to tell me some time how you found her.

Do you remember that we talked about this once?  The questions: How does humor work?  What is it exactly?  The angles were promising but unsatisfying.  Now and then you mention to me a relevant Monty Python interview you saw or read somewhere.  I might like to crack that subject open again at some point.  Earlier this summer I came across a consideration of the question from an evolutionary biology perspective, an interesting approach I’d never considered before.  The speaker wondered if laughter performs a function something like “debugging” logic in the brain.  So much good material in there.  Then again, there’s a lot of good material everywhere.

But I’m getting off track.  The rules you listed look right to me, although keeping on topic could be a real challenge, as the previous paragraph illustrates.  I’ll do my best, but I’m asking in advance for some flexibility.  My brain is messier than the Maine attic.  (Couldn’t find the link to your essay on that, by the way.)  Topical control makes a lot of sense, but it’s a much easier issue for a solitary blogger.  I guess I’m just recommending a somewhat open stance with regard to topical focus.  Let’s see how it works.

One more thing on topics.  Over the years I have wondered about the most conspicuous differences between your world view and my own.  I find my thoughts returning to the places where those differences are the most acute, poking and circling, trying to get under it, trying to see what you see and how you see it.  There are a handful that puzzle me, but there’s one specifically that invokes a strange anxiety.  I have this awful sense that somewhere in our future a ghostly delegation of Israelis and Palestinians is walking towards us, patiently rehearsing centuries of grievance in their dusty hearts, muttering and staring at the road, determined that no matter how playful or spirited their predecessor visitor-topics will have been they will not, having been once invited in, depart amicably.  They will have blood.  Politicians can come and go, artists and writers are always welcome, scientists and philosophers will have their day.  Hell, Paul Krugman could probably pay a visit and we’d do just fine.  But the warring peoples of the Levant?  I pale to think about it.  So much emotion.  Let’s work up some muscle before opening that door.

Everything else, however, is just fine.  Scatological?  I’m game!

Adam: I will save you time; you will not find this poem on Google:

Honestly (I’m Not Ready to Start Calling It “The Levant”)

One of them is red,

The other one is blue.

The older says the younger

Keeps changing hue to hue.

 

Updated rules based on your feedback. Italics indicate updates:

  • Each post has at least one topic.
  • We take turns posting (more or less)
  • You have as long as you want – up to and including Forever – to respond, but if the other brother takes too long, you might want to text him to let him know he’s “up” and “get cracking.”
  • If you want a new topic, then the old one is finished, so get it out of your system. Speak your piece. We’re moving on. Hey, and no sneaky editing after the fact to make yourself look smarter. The whole thing will break down.
  • Guest contributors are allowed at the discretion of The Nathan Brothers. Hah! What are the chances?
  • BRN means dad (1927 – 1993, RIP)
  • GWN means mom (1935 – 2003, RIP) I was tempted to put “RIP 2.o,” but I think they may need to spend more time with us first to make sure it’s clear everybody loves everybody. And, no, we will not draw blood in the public square over politics or anything else for that matter. You’re my brother.
  • We don’t tell each other when we’ve posted because our best chance of driving web traffic is with each other, so you just have to check to see if the other brother has responded.
  • Players take turns claiming territories by placing an infantry on an unoccupied territory until all the territories are occupied. Players then take turns placing their remaining armies on their territories. Having done this, the actual game begins with another roll of a dice, which is used to determine the playing order.
  • Any rebroadcast, retransmission, or account of this blog, without the express written consent of the Nathan Brothers, is prohibited.
  • We always hit the 5-star like button because the yellow at the top makes it pretty and it “seeds” the appropriate response for others who may need some guidance on what is expected of them. Speaking of which, “That Which Is Expected of Our Readers” would be a fine topic for another day as well.
  • We will end all of our posts with a catchy tagline (as yet to be determined) so that we’re like the Car Talk Brothers. (“Don’t drive like my brother.” “Don’t drive like my brother.”) Once we think of it we can go back and revise them all and it will be like it was there all along.

I love it. (placeholder tagline)

Chris: Cool.  Taglines!  I love it too!