I am not Spartacus

Yes there is one volume left in the Satyricon
but it’s fucking storming outside
and i don’t want lightning to interrupt my video
also I haven’t written one of these for a while
and I’m getting nostalgic for hitting enter a lot
Plus
PLUS
some artisan lightningmaster with an email account got ahold of me
and told me about this dude named Spartacus
and Spartacus is the type of dude who is SO INFINITELY RAD
that as soon as you hear about him
you have to drop everything and start writing a fucking myth

okay so Spartacus
he is so rad that he almost makes slavery worth it
ALMOST
but close only counts in horseshoes
and slavery is still really fucking terrible.
This is an opinion that Spartacus and I share!
which is why one day
after he’s been sold to a guy who just makes his slaves fight to the death
he gets a bunch of other slaves together and he’s like
“Guys
hey guys:
fuck this.”
and they’re all like “yeah ok”
and they steal a bunch of knives and bust out.

also part of the bust-out-of-prison party is Spartacus’s wife
nobody knows her name because history hates women
but we do know that she was hella schizophrenic
to the point where one day Spartacus wakes up with a snake around his head
and he’s like “AHH SHIT SNAKE ON MY HEAD”
and his wife is like “IT’S A SIGN YOU WILL BE CRUSHED BY A LARGER POWER”
which, first of all, duh
second of all
THERE’S A SNAKE ON HIS HEAD, FUCKING DO SOMETHING
but i guess love is a mystery

So spartacus and about 70 other dudes are roaming the countryside
using their shitty weapons to rob caravans and get better weapons
and they finally end up taking refuge on the lush slopes of Mt. Vesuvius
because yup
Spartacus is so metal that his idea of refuge is to camp on an ACTIVE FUCKING VOLCANO

Everyone is pretty impressed with how metal Spartacus is
so dudes (especially slave dudes) start flocking to their suicidally stupid camp
until there is a pretty big army there
and Rome is like “Oh fuck we better stop this”
except the thing about Rome
is that it is fighting wars basically EVERYWHERE at ALL TIMES
and so does not have a lot of resources to devote to fighting spunky slaves on a volcano
so they just send a couple dudes out to recruit any random dudes they can find
to go stand around the bottom of Vesuvius and starve Spartacus out

but dudes like Spartacus do not die of starvation
they mostly die of rocking too hard
or Fatal Red Meat Overdose
or jumping out of a helicopter to punch a pterodactyl and then riding its corpse into a volcano
so he’s not about to let the Romans starve him before he finds a helicopter and a pterodactyl
fuck no
instead he and his men grab a bunch of vines
make them into ropes
rappel down the steepest part of the mountain
and circle around behind the roman militia
effectively tarzanning their way up the romans’ asses.
So that goes pretty well for Spartacus
and everybody in a nine mile radius decides to join his army
basically as an excuse to stand next to him and hope some of his chest hair rubs off on them

Next time, the Romans decide to try a little harder
and actually manage to kill one of Spartacus’s commanders
and trap him in a valley between two pretty big armies
but they didn’t count on the fact that Spartacus is a fucking wizard
who can apparently produce horses out of nowhere
so he just straight tramples the army in front of him
steals all their stuff
and throws it at the other army, killing EVERYONE
and then he’s at the alps, ready to cross into Thrace and escape Rome for good!

But Spartacus is like “Fuck that
mountains are steep, and murder is awesome
let’s go back and murder more dudes until we get murdered instead”
actually nobody knows what he said at this point
because turning around and going back into the country that wants you dead
is a pretty inexplicable move
but i promise you this, at least:
it was not anything smart

so now Rome is really shitting itself
Spartacus has like 40,000 dudes
and he does not seem to be a reasonable man
so they swallow their pride and their morals
and they bust out Marcus Licinius Crassus

Crassus is what historians like to call a “completely shitty person”
He’s a rich nobleman
whose wealth is based on buying houses in neighborhoods that are on fire
as in CURRENTLY ON FIRE
as in he goes up to dudes who are fleeing their burning houses
and is like “Hey i’ll give you twenty bucks for that house”
and then he uses that money to hire armies wherever he goes
(which is sort of why Rome wants him
their armies all being tied up with their million other wars)
but the dudes he hires have no idea wtf they’re getting into
because Crassus is a fan of a disciplinary technique known as decimation
which is basically like a big game of duck duck goose
but with a club

Crassus fucking loves slavery
so he is dead set on making Spartacus dead
he chases Spartacus around for months
until finally Spartacus is just like fuck this
might as well die with my dick out

so he turns to face Crassus
gets off his horse
and fucking kills it
he’s like “If I win, I will get a ton more horses
if I lose, then that’s one less horse for everyone else
because fuck everyone else
let’s do murders.”
(Spartacus may or may not have been history’s greatest orator)

Predictably, Spartacus loses and dies
although nobody knows how exactly
because he was wearing pretty much the same armor as everyone else
and remember, HE KILLED HIS FUCKING HORSE
so probably he was either dumped in a big pit with the rest of his idiots
or else crucified on a big wooden plus sign with the rest of his idiots
either way
on the metal scale
at least a 6/10

so the moral of the story
is that if you’re leading a slave uprising
and you find yourself near an active volcano
don’t give up that prime position
if you go anywhere else
your death can only get less rad

the end

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The Satyricon is a Blitzkrieg of Boobs

Oh man, I totally needed those days off
I feel way better now
in fact, I feel awesome
yesterday I shaved my nut-hair for the first time ever
which actually was a harrowing experience
and I don’t recommend it to anyone
especially if you have nuts
but whatever, it’s almost summer
the birds are chirping
the flowers are secreting poison for my sinuses
and love is in the fucking air
here is a video about none of that:

As always, thanks for investing some of your precious time in my exuberant, hairless chest

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Hey guys

It’s been called to my attention that I skipped a post this week without an explanation.

This is a post to let you know that there will be no explanation.
Suffice to say something very bad happened, and it’s taken me a few days to get over it.
I am over it now, and there will be a new post on Saturday.
Thank you for your patience.

- Ovid

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Dante, Part 3

You’ve all been heroically patient, so now I will tell you how it ends.

When I got back to California, I put off calling Austin (that being the name of Dante’s son) for a long time. I didn’t know what to say, or who I would be saying it to. Dante had specifically instructed me to talk to Austin, and not Austin’s mother. God had apparently not forgiven the woman yet.

Finally I did call. And who picks up the phone? Austin’s mother. Of course, Dante left his family behind when Austin was only four years old. There was no way Austin had his own phone back then. So I told her who I was, and why I was calling. I described Dante, and told her exactly how he was doing. She was sad, but not surprised. She’d seen him a few years before, after his time in Mexico, and the man she saw then was very similar to the one I was describing, but nothing at all like the man she’d married.

He’d been cleanshaven once (He was, after all, a hairdresser by trade). Now he sported the kind of beard only prophets can get away with. And something that had once been in his eyes was gone. When they met, he had been joyful. By the time he left, he was confiscating Austin’s underoos and mutilating them with scissors because the cartoon characters on them constituted idol worship. She told me she respected his faith, but she also pitied him, was afraid for him and of him.

I told her I wanted to speak to Austin. She put him on the phone, though she was doubtful that he’d want to talk to me.

“What do you want.” said a sullen teenaged voice.
“I’m calling because your dad wanted me to call you.”
“Okay.”
“He wanted me to tell you how he’s doing.”
“Okay.”
“How are you doing?”
“Look, I don’t want to talk to you, okay? He left.”
And that was the end of the conversation.

His mom got back on the phone. She said Austin was still pretty mad at Dante, which I could have guessed. But she also suggested we have lunch some time, her and me and Austin, to talk a little more. I agreed.

Three months later, my spiritual journey across Spain finally culminated at a Chili’s in Orange County. I had discovered Taoism during my pilgrimage (a little ironic, since it’s ostensibly a Catholic pilgrimage) and I had a nice hardcover copy of the Tao Te Ching that I wanted to give to Austin. Unfortunately I hadn’t been able to find it before leaving for Orange County, so I came bearing nothing.

I arrived at the Chili’s a few minutes early, and sat in the parking lot, reading the first few chapters of A Farewell to Arms (which, if you haven’t read it, is a beautiful little book about the absurdities of war.) Soon the two of them arrived, and we went in together. Austin didn’t talk much, and his Mom mainly asked me questions about my life – what I’d been doing (traveling), what I planned to do (go to grad school for writing). We talked a little about Dante, but nobody learned anything they hadn’t known before. Finally I asked Austin what his future plans were.

“I’m planning to join the Army,” he said.
“Oh?” I said, “Why?”
He shrugged. “It’s something to do.”

The conversation went on, but I was only half listening. It occurred to me that perhaps I hadn’t been able to find the Tao Te Ching for a reason, that perhaps there was a reason for every part of this meeting – Dante in Spain, this Chili’s, the things I just happened to bring with me…

We finished eating, and Austin’s mother paid for all of us. As we prepared to leave, I turned to Austin.

“Hey,” I said, “Your dad told me to get in touch with you, but I’m not here because of him. I’m here to meet you, because I feel like I was supposed to meet you. And I wanted to give you something, from me.” I handed him my copy of A Farewell to Arms. “I think you should read this. It’s a really good book about war.”

He nodded his thanks. We said our goodbyes, and I left. To this day, I still haven’t finished A Farewell to Arms. I haven’t heard from Austin or his mother, either. I don’t know how the story ends. But I was part of the middle, and isn’t that where all the interesting stuff happens?

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Dante, Part 2

Yes yes I know, the Satyricon is unfinished yet. But in my benevolence I could not bear to keep you in suspense about Dante. So let’s see … where was I?

Dante was a deeply strange person. What I mean is, Dante was a deeply religious person, but his religion was something he had custom made. I suppose everyone is an adherent to their own custom made religion, to a greater or lesser degree, but in my experience most people’s religions do not prevent them from eating in the morning until god personally assures them it’s okay. Sometimes he would fast for days. And there were other things.

His religion seemed to be a mix of all the harshest regulations from the old and new testaments. “Soy Judeochristiano,” he would say to our Spanish companions in his exaggerated Californian accent. His religion prohibited the eating of pretty much everything we put in front of him – fish, salad, pork obviously … the only things I ever saw him eat were bread, beans, and honey. He would not walk the Camino on the Sabbath day, much to the chagrin of the innkeepers, who insisted pilgrims only stay at their hostels for one night. The bulk of his luggage was taken up by a bulky harp he’d acquired in Mexico, which he played improvisationally because of a deep feeling of kinship with some biblical prophet.

When I first called out his name, he stopped dead in front of my bunk. He didn’t move from that spot for the next twenty minutes, as I asked him questions about himself and he answered. Most of the people on the Camino de Santiago are doing the pilgrimage as a kind of vacation, walking for a month or two before going back to their real lives and their real jobs. But Dante was a pilgrim for life. He’d been on a pilgrimage for ten years, by his reckoning, and he fished a battered datebook out of his backpack to show me his route.

On the little world map that sometimes comes printed inside the front cover of those sorts of books, he’d traced a serpentine route in red pen. From California to Mexico, and around Mexico for many years, living with what he called his “Spiritual family.” Then across the United States, where he performed miracles of healing. From there he went to Israel, and from Israel to London, where he fell in with a band of travelers calling themselves the Twelve Tribes of Israel. He escaped their group when he discovered that they were not truly the Twelve Tribes, and by then he was in Spain.

Dante had always been a Christian, but his religion had not always been so strict. Over dinner he explained how he had been brought up in a reprehensibly lax sect, whose adherents danced and drank and flirted with each other. He’d fathered a child with one of the other members by accident. And he’d stuck around to raise that child for six years, though, as he explained, his wife was using their son to manipulate him.

But God came to Dante’s rescue. He spoke to Dante, and told him to leave his wife and child. And what kind of person ignores the voice of god? Dante left, seeking work as an itinerant hairdresser (which was how he learned to sharpen knives), and fell into a deep depression. One night, in his shabby apartment, he cried out to God for aid, and God came.

“I remember looking at the moon,” he told me, “And then God spoke to me in a clear quiet voice. He said, ‘Go to your bible.’ And I was filled with energy, so much that I didn’t need to blink. So I went to my bible and opened it. And the bible opened to a description of a prophet having the exact experience I was having at that moment. So I read, and kept reading, and every passage I read I understood in a way I never had before. I fell sleep, and dreamed. No, I didn’t dream. It had a different quality to it. It was a vision. I simply woke up – in the vision – in a bed in a room I’d never seen before. Over the bed was a painting of a rose. I got up and went to the window. Then I woke up. Two weeks later a friend of mine offered me a room in her house. She showed me inside, and over the bed was that exact painting of that exact rose. I fell to my knees and wept.”

A few months later, God instructed Dante to sell off all his possessions and become a pilgrim. A pilgrim, according to Dante, was someone who was simply walking in order to pass the time til judgement day. So he walked. And walked. He’d walked so long that his body was failing.

He told me he admired my youth and my simplicity, how little I managed to carry with me. And he did what he could to help me. He gave me money when I had none and found me shoes when mine wore out. The last night I spent with him was Christmas eve. We ate dinner together, sort of, and he prayed for fifteen solid minutes, saying over and over again
“God, you are so … good” With as much passion as if he were getting a blowjob from Jesus Christ himself.

I left him in the morning, while he argued with the innkeeper about the Sabbath. But before I left, he wrote down a phone number in my little notebook. It was the phone number of Austin, the child he’d left behind in California ten years ago.

“When you get back home,” he said, “Call my son. Tell him I’m okay.”

And I did. But what happened then is a story for another time.

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Dante, Part 1

Hey guys,

I’m boycotting google this week for no good reason, which means I’m boycotting youtube and basically the entire rest of the internet, so no Satyricon today. Instead, let me tell you about a thing that happened one time:

One time, I walked across Spain.

This is a thing that a lot of people do. There is a trail across Spain called the Camino de Santiago. Actually it is several trails and they run through all of Europe and not just Spain, and much of the trail is taken up by either tourist traps or long stretches of highway that you have to walk on the shoulders of. But for the sake of simplicity, let’s say there’s this trail across Spain, and one winter I walked on it.

Before I spent my months in Europe, I didn’t really think about having an American accent. I knew abstractly that American accents existed, but in my head they were generally just classified as “anything that wasn’t a British accent.” After several months spent forcibly deprived of American English – and oftentimes, English altogether – I began to understand what I was missing. It was like having spent my entire youth in a closet full of my own farts, and then being cast unceremoniously out into a field of wildflowers in the midst of spring. I missed my own farts.

Which is why, after two weeks on the Camino, my ears perked up at news of a fellow Californian on the trail. His name was Dante. People told me he was a religious fanatic, that he argued with inkeepers and made his living by sharpening knives. But, more importantly, he was from California. He spoke with not only an American accent, but a Californian accent. I had to meet him.

Every time I stopped for the night, I asked the innkeepers if they’d seen Dante. They all had, and they were all a bit worried about the fact that I was looking for him. And worse, Dante always seemed to be two days ahead of me. In my desperation for a familiar accent, I embarked on a two-day force march up mountains and through driving rain in an attempt to close the gap.

It was the second day of my death-slog, and I was halfway to where I wanted to be by the end of the day. The rain was so merciless it felt like God had his divine firehose of a dick aimed directly at me. I passed a dry-looking little hostel nestled in the hills and said,

“Fuck it.”

The hostel was not only dry, but warm as well, and all my friends from the trail so far were there. Still, though, it sucked that I was never going to meet Dante.

I was in the sleeping quarters, catching up with a German friend of mine. He had just told me about how he’d had his dick grabbed while sick with stomach flu on the streets of Leon, and I was explaining to him my dilemma with Dante. My story was interrupted by the innkeeper showing a new guest into the room. The innkeeper spoke English with just the slightest trace of a Spanish accent, and I heard him say,

“You’re probably used to better than this, being from California.”

I trailed off mid-sentence and sat up. In walked a dangerously thin, impossibly tall man with very small, very round, very blue eyes, his jaw squared off by six inches of dense grey beard. He looked at me.

“Dante?” I said.

“Yes?” He replied.

“I’ve been looking for you.” I said.

He smiled beatifically and cast his eyes towards the ceiling.

“God knows.” He said.

That was by no means the end of my dealings with Dante, but I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll leave the rest of the story for another time.

To be continued…

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Isaac Newton Invented Gravity But Who Gives a Shit

You guys all know who Isaac Newton is
he’s that british dude with a talent for getting fruit-induced concussions
and then revolutionizing physics or whatever
he’s the guy who came up with those three laws of motion:
1) objects are lazy unless they’re already going somewhere in which case look out
2) something about force vectors
3) If you hit a dude, he will hit you back at least as hard as you hit him

but guys
I ask pose to you this question:
WHO CARRREEEEESSSSSSSS?
As Dirk Gently points out in Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
someone was gonna discover gravity eventually
that shit’s on ALL THE TIME
that’s like if we made a big deal out of the guy who discovered pooping
like, sure, pooping is a big deal
but it’s not like you really had to go out of your way to discover it, dude
you just had to go

No, the real story, my friends, is not about Isaac Newton
it is about a dude who Isaac Newton sentenced to DEATH
YEAH
Did you know you could gain the power to kill dudes by being good at math?
well, actually you can’t
you have to also get appointed the head of the british mint
and spend all your time running around undercover
arresting counterfeiters for years and years
which is exactly what Newton did
because I guess he was tired of shaking the foundations of our understanding of the universe?

anyway the guy I’m referring to is a dude named William Chaloner
and he is essentially the best criminal ever
he grew up in Birmingham, where he made a living counterfeiting pennies
but that’s a really slow way to get rich
so pretty soon he moved to London and started selling dildos
BUT NOT JUST ANY DILDOS, MY FRIENDS
these were dildos concealed inside of WATCHES
that’s some James Bond shit
or more accurately
some Austin Powers shit
I mean how do you even do that
how can you cram a satisfying amount of dildo into a wristwatch?
the secret died with William Chaloner

but until he died
William dished out currency like he was making it rain at a strip club
except if william had made it rain the kind of currency he was counterfeiting
everybody would have died
because William was counterfeiting SOLID GOLD COINS
(I mean his coins weren’t solid gold
but they were supposed to be)
and he got SO RICH doing this
that he was able to pose as a british nobleman

so William goes to parliament
with his new fancy clothes and diamond carriage and whatever
and he’s like “Listen, guys
the british mint basically sucks every chode
It is so incredibly easy to make fake coins
you might as well just hand out a check to every citizen
that just says “FREE INFINITE MONEY”
so here’s what you do:
you appoint ME as the head of the british mint
I will make sure NOBODY counterfeits your coins
because I uh
I know about counterfeiting”

YES FRIENDS
THE DUDE WHO MAKES ALL THE FAKE COINS IN BRITAIN
WALKS INTO PARLIAMENT
AND APPLIES FOR A JOB
AS THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT MAKES ALL THE REAL COINS IN BRITAIN
dude has some brass balls
although considering his profession
I would estimate that his balls are only 45% brass at most

But Isaac Newton is having none of it
he’s like “SERIOUSLY GUYS?
COME ON
THIS DUDE IS OBVIOUSLY A CRIMINAL”
and parliament is like “oh shit.”
and then William runs away
to the suburbs
where he not only continues making fake coins
but also starts printing counterfeit hundred-pound bills
from the newly-formed bank of england
and when the bank of england finds out
he just turns in one of his accomplices
for forging blank checks from the CITY ORPHAN’S FUND
and is rewarded for his efforts with another 200 pounds
plus he gets to keep all the money he already stole

so Isaac Newton is tearing his hair out back at the mint
and meanwhile William Chaloner is counterfeiting lottery tickets
he’s counterfeiting more coins
and he’s having sex with all the ladies who counterfeit coins
and he’s naming his accomplices every time he gets in trouble
(INCLUDING HIS OWN ALIAS)
and he’s also just straight framing people as members of obscure religious sects
then busting them
and collecting fat rewards from the british crown
at this point I am beginning to understand why they took so long to put him in jail
because every day William Chaloner spends free
like TWELVE OTHER PEOPLE GO TO JAIL

But it turns out that ceaseless betrayal and endless crime is not a good long term strategy
because pretty soon another forger turns William in
and they find his fake lottery tickets too
plus he printed all those hundred pound notes
and even though NEITHER OF THOSE THINGS ARE A FELONY YET FOR SOME REASON
that’s still enough to put him in jail while Newton constructs THE ULTIMATE CASE

Newton is intent on not fucking up this time
he’s tried a lot of stuff
he has personally gone undercover to collect evidence
he has re-designed british coinage with security features
he has recalled ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE COINAGE IN BRITAIN
and now he has developed a comprehensive network of spies and informants
pretty much with the sole goal
of shitting in William Chaloner’s breakfast
and it works
he fields eight witnesses
and William doesn’t have any friends left because he sold them all out
and it takes the jury like three minutes to be like “hang that bitch”
so they do
and it’s gross
but hey, it was fun while it lasted

so the moral of the story
is that you can completely revolutionize science and mathematics
change the way we view the solar system
and create groundbreaking inventions for everything from tamper-proof currency to cat doors
but in the end
you are never going to be as interesting
as a dude who makes fake shiny things

THE END

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