381 ... + the sown teeth started to grow + assume a new kind of body:
on anthropomorphic shape-shifting + fleecing taxidermy

Dear WWW,

... not to be confused w/ Wild Wild West. Certainly not nice enough u say it x2. This is a hypertextual tapestry. From pieces sorced off the cutting room floor + woven in. Woof + warp. Ever-evolving in real-time, RT. Sunday (9.28)—in the name of maphattan— finished west 71st thru 60th (last week the eastern equivalent)... now hemos hecho todo north of 59th. No need to go back + retraze.

... the Upper West Side a far cry from the West Side of West Side Story where it's sposed to take place. No more feuding Sharks + Jets. + far from wild. No landmarks or points of interest to speak of besides buildings where the rich + famous live ... Billy Joel, Sting, Madonna, Robert DeNiro, etc. ... mostly along Central Park West, where their monthly rent ($125K in the case of DeNiro) coud buy you a house for life. Taken to the cleaners.

Anel Cleaners (70th + Columbus)


1 of many synagogues



Millennium Tower (Howard Stern lives in the penthouse)


Time Warner bldg

We're no stranger to this hood ... we lived on W 57th as the above Time Warner bldg was going up, around 2002-2004. + we've worked in a couple of places in the hood, on West 54th + near Columbus Circle. Usually we gravitated south of 57th into Hell's Kitchen for something to eat or do.

old public bathhouse on W 60


Trump Tower + the globe we at 1st thought was where Beastie Boys posed
til we drove by the real thing in Queens


the lifeless Lincoln Center (built in the late 50s to revitalize an otherwise blighted barrio
(i.e. to drive the Puerto Rican Sharks out))

Ate at Rosa's ... not that it's representative of the hood, but not too many affordable options around Lincoln Center.

divers at entrance to Rosa's

There are some remaining traces. Found this on a stoop somewhere in the lower 60s.

The sender (in Florida) evidently was in Ecuador where they ran into the matador Vicente Ruiz "El Soro" in the streets. That's about all they had to say besides all the usual pleasantries. When u google El Soro this pic comes up.

We'd pay money to go to a bullfight if we were guaranteed to see a bullpen-emptying brawl w/ a bunch of matador bitches in diamond-studded tights (as the bull circles round + takes out the lot).

What else ... went to hell this week, metaphorically. Finished the Hades section of 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY'. Needless to say it's about death. Only 1 episode to go ... (Oxen of the Sun)(of the 1st book (of 2) anyway ... still can't decide whether to split it up?). Here's a page from our version of the underworld.

Also finally finished Ovid's Metamorphoses, which we started at the beginning of the summer. It's a pretty random mish-mash-up of myths, tied together by the common motif of ... u guessed it, metamorphosis. Shape-shifters left + right morphing into various animal forms ... some transformations more literal than others ... usually in the face of danger, often nymphs under the threat of rape, which also abounds. If we think more generally of metamorphic myth as metaphor, or artistic liberty in representation, then u coud perhaps say (that Ovid is saying) that the only escape form the human condition is thru art.

Ever wonder where that scene in Jason + the Argonauts came from, where Aeëtes sows the Hydra teeth + creates a skeleton army?

From the Medea + Jason section of Metamorphoses:

«... while all the Argonauts cheered and encouraged their captain, who took the teeth of the Thebian dragon / out of a golden helmet and scattered them into the furrow / These seeds, being steeped in a virulent poison, softened the earth / and the sown teeth started to grow and assume a new kind of body / Just as a baby takes human shape in its mother womb / and the different parts are arranged inside to compose one whole / which doesn't emerge in the outside world till it's fully developed / so when the ripened form of a man was complete in the womb / of the pregnant earth, he rose from the fertile soil to the surface ...»

... not that Ovid didn't borrow from existing mythology, especially Greek (even tho he was Roman). U get the sensation there's more at play, that Ovid is sensationally masking our stagnant human form in relation to the animal world, ever-cognizant of where we fall in the evolutionary tree (tho he was born closer to the time of Christ than Darwin, 1 year after Caesar died):

«... and I dreamed a dream: before me was standing the same oak, / with all of its many branches and all those thousands of creatures crawling among them. I heard the noisy trembling again, / as the columns of the grain collectors was shaken down to the earth. / The ants then suddenly grew, appearing larger and larger, / until they rose form the ground and stood with bodies erect. / Their thinness was gone, they had only two feet, and their colour no longer / was black; their limbs were completely changed into human form.»

This also long before E.O. Wilson + eusociality.

We've already gone into Ovid's perspective on the various mythological angles that Homer also takes (regarding for example, Circe) as relates to our current 'SSES" 'SSES" "SSEY', but Ovid also weighs in on Romulus + the founding of Rome ... making us wish that not only we read it while living in Rome, but before The Becoming or under the auspices.

Ovid saves the best for last tho, chapter 15. Here he takes off his myth re-hashing hat + dons a philosopher's 1 to tie it all together. In light of the pervasive theme of metamorphosis + also drawing from Pythagoras' doctrine of metempsychosis (the word Molly asks Bloom about when he 1st brings her breakfast in bed in Ulysses) Ovid makes a strong plea for vegetarianism. If souls can so readily shape-shift between animal forms, by eating animals we coud potentially be cannibalizing the soul of a relative or friend. Not just in form, but in action, the violent act that brought the dead meat to the plate becomes us upon consumption.

«As pliable wax is easily stamped with a new impression / and never remains as it was nor preserves one single shape, / but still is the selfsame wax, so I say that our souls are always / the same, though they move from home to home in different bodies.»


«All is in flux. Any shape that is formed is constantly shifting.»

Which is a recapitulation of Heraclitus, the dude who said u can't stick your foot in the same river x2.

Towards the end, Ovid cycles back to Rome + the Tiber ... this an obvious reference to Isola Tiberina which we lived a stone's throw from:

«He'd come to a point where the Tiber divides and its waters encircle / a plot which is known as the Island; the river extends its arms / in an equal embrace to either side of the land it's surrounding. Here the serpent-son of Apollo abandoned the Latian pine ship and landed. Resuming his heavenly form, he brought / the plague to an end and answered the prayers of the city for healing.»

... + now there's a hospital on the island ... Fatebenefratelli ... "Do Good, Brother". Ovid woud've rolled over in his grave if he saw what we captured them doing in the summer of 2012 ... attaching it to the bank via a dam so that technically it was no longer an island ...

Thankfully this was only temporary ... on our last revisit they'd restored it back to being an island.

The collective take-away from the culled mash-up of metamorphing anthropomorphic fables—«the moral of the story» as they say—is that here's nothing constructive in static story-telling. There's no evolution in the day-to-day. Making art should be like throwing Hydra teeth at the ground ... the art happens once the teeth leave your possession + become their own unpredictable entities. If u want to understand the «human condition» step out of your skin + look back in.

Heraclitus was also the 1 w/ the presence of mind to 1st realize that nothing in the world is constant xcept change. Speed is overrated, acceleration is where it's at.

When a book is published it dies, it no longer undergoes metamorphosis. U, Internet are alive. HTML is a living language. This is a living document, subject to change on a whim.

Perhaps u coud say we're at the end of the line, evolution-wise ... cognizant as we are of our own no-longer-natural selection. In that instant we were already done. The second we became self-aware. Conscious of our self-consciousness.

We are fast becoming clones spiraling away from the source, further + further removed from the 1 thing that matters— primitive thisness. The only way back is to deconstruct. Or self-destruct.

Kirk's Kingdom (middle) + our own photo of the same kong diorama + view thru our kingdomed glass

Also read Kingdom Under Glass by Jay Kirk. Suppose we should've read it further up the upper west side ... in the realm of the Museum of Natural History, which is the focal point of the book. Action centers around Carl Akeley, the father of modern taxidermy, responsible for a good portion of the stuffed beasts in the dioramas of AMNH, in particular the hall of African mammals.

We've always had a morbid fascination w/ taxidermy (see our P.S. At Least We Died Trying to Make You in the Backseat of a Taxidermist) + dioramas. At least in the days before a photo woud suffice, some 1 had to do it ... to kill animals so others coud see. Beats zoos. U can't kill the human nature of wanting to see for yourself ... multiplied by 6 billion. Some argue that killing animals + stuffing them actually saves them, cuz it raises awareness as to their existence.

Am I the happy loss?
Will I still recoil 
when the skin is lost? 
Am I the worthy cross? 
Will I still be soiled 
when the dirt is off? 

There's a certain reflexive irony to it (tho admittedly we seem to find reflexive irony in everything, perhaps cuz we cut our teeth w/ quantum mechanics). Of killing or capturing to see how they lived. We've been thru this before, it's the same w/ photography, w/ tourism. When will we ever learn? Kirk's book captures some of this wonder in words. Well-researched + well-written (albeit dramatized to appease popular audiences ... in the same way dioramas do).

He wrote the book under the guise of commissioned journalism for the likes of Harper's + GQ ... in fact, on the ground research for the gorilla bit he snuck in under the umbrella of writing a piece on tourism in Rwanda post-1994, a story that parallels our own journey to the see the gorillas around the same time (end of 2007). Maybe we crossed paths?

 > 382 > Anachronistic unicorns + Borromean morality against the fascism of nature


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