Dale Michael Houstman


     “A toaster makes  the same product for  myself or – let’s say – the President on the day he slaughters a small village in [insert name of faraway disposable nation]. Undoubtedly, the President’s toast tastes better, due to the sense-heightening benefits of easy  victory, but that is not the toaster’s doing. Or so I believed, until that day I was corrected by a dull broadside issued by a neo-Luddite, whose borrowed syntax’s hollow ring made me fall asleep at the cognition switch .”

                                                                                          Pèse Ludion, “The Veinless Limousine”

       “If machinery is not neutral, then it must be capable of love, and (if a machine is capable of love) it is a natural surrealist interest. Truth is, a surrealist cannot afford to turn away from the experiences afforded by technology, if only because love is waiting at the roundhouse, and no one wants to see their object of desire in the arms of another man, especially if that man owns a defense plant.”

                                                                                         Robine M. Pitre, “Machines of Affection” 

     “What IS the difference between a “slave” and a “slave system”? Anyone could answer that easily. So why is anyone incapable of distinguishing between "technology" and a "technological system"? Systems are built to confiscate the imagination, to lay claim and profit from the pursuits of individuals. Technology is as simple as a stick to swat flies with. But the fact remains, the pencil is NOT the pencil industry, but the booty of the pencil industry. Thus, NOT to use pencils –  so as to claim one is free of that industry – is a vivid error. I imagine many manifestos have been composed using pencils and paper, and – just because the President/CFO of Morbidity Inc. uses a pencil – it is a deadly stupidly to claim one is being revolutionary by resisting their use. These are the same people who think they are saving the world just because they don’t use the once advanced technology of the  toilet, and instead shit on the floor. A gesture – yes – but one designed to make you repugnant to your friends, and bring no permanent pain to the captains of the hygiene industry.”  

Berlue Rebondi, “Yeti Versus Robot”  

     There is a critical attachment, a long and oddly flat “wand” which emerges from the Machine’s perforated base and ends in a black fan studded with numerous – delightfully useless – buttons. This monument to progress – a type of preemptive vacuum – works most efficiently upon the louche affections of leftist sentimentalists and other ritualists, and tends to coalesce into a question, a rhetorical flourish equal to the back of the hand (in a room full of children), or to the ironic determinism of the wage earner, and (as it cannot be avoided) it is best to keep watch, if nothing else. Otherwise, we are unprepared to unlock the bedroom with the simple machinery of the key.

      Yet, an affinity between this “machine mâchoir”  – brand name Wittgenstein – and those sun-sweetened Dadaists in the collapsible middle-distance critiques those most incapable of de-trooping from their own accumulated orders: there is a “pity parameter” Ñ essential to each difficult escape. Romanticism, as applied to the Machine, insists that we “materialize our under-funded residues” and face the world AS a set of serial consequences: that gear is a geranium, a geranium turns on a whim, and whims turn the gears, and – out the other end WITHOUT conscious input – a human “purpose” is excreted. I don’t know where to put it! I search OUTSIDE, because I DON’T WANT IT IN HERE. Å

     There, quite unfortunately for those who oppose my loving Machine, a certain ecology – a brave circuitry å – of hat containers and instrumental music flutters undulates in the air of language. And language – indeed – does get rolled into the garage, the ivory repair bunker, and is hoisted up the backs of the Club of Mute Sophists W, who gather only to un-gather, fearing a public backlash. What can be done about THAT which hasn’t already been suggested (by lapsed Leninists on stolen bicycles) also be done to THIS? Nothing human: charlatanism collectivized by dull Ludds. The battle-cry “Down with zippers!” brings the faithful out to the free speech park.

     It is difficult – do not imagine we are unaware – to be resolutely appalled by that which surrounds you EVERYWHERE: that pencil is a lever, this skirt is a cantilevered pleasure, those shoes (even!) are both cobbled and oddly welcoming, seductive even. And those who decide to attempt The Dream without language? Fascists of a new sort, or studying to be advocates, their fur firmly stroked the wrong way by natural extensions of human bodies. Don’t use the brush, I understand: it may be seized by the next G-Man and turned into a death ray V. Can that chance be taken by anyone shrunken to the size of a caveman?

     So, we return to the Loving Machine: she is perfectly undressed and willing. Oh look! She has a pair of glasses on, just at the precise moment we desired a naked face! And how does she make that motor run? Idle meditations are humming in the street, which is also a Machine, as are the houses and the underclothes only she has shed, asking us to manipulate her, when she might as casually have begged Mussolini for a back rub, or conned Bill Gates into digitizing her ardors. Well, how coy of her. Let’s say that a rather randy toaster has just entered a room quietly on its stubby legs, smelling of burnt crumbs, the fragrance of expected developments and eventual progress (into the joining chamber). YOU turn away. I’m staying. The only Machine I despise at this moment is the ceiling lights and the useless buttons. Oh, for the sexual track of the zipper!

                                                                        – Dale Michael Houstman, August 24, 2004  




Those Seductive Footnotes 

Ñ This phenomenon was first noted by the Squat Enumerists (in their landmark volume, Borders and Balconies) and reiterated in the formula a = t2(z+cm), where a is the number of visible boundaries in an invisible field, t is the number of points common to all boundaries, z is the height of the highest boundary divided by the height of lowest boundary, and cm is the “cloud matrix,” the universal constant discovered by three athletic youths in Detroit.


Å Who really does?  The problem is this: if an “outside” represents all that is potential and an “inside” represents all that is grasped, where did the yellow go?

å The term created by the Viennese topologist Tybur Korlan (The Cretinism of Surfaces) to describe a mesh of inalienable processes which accumulate over the course of a dishonest conversation.


W A mathematical brotherhood dedicated to rejecting the very air they breathe, because it is also inhaled by CEOs and Hollywood celebrities. Needless to say, their membership tends to drop.

V This has already occurred, shocking the home beauty-care industry into initiating stricter controls against the exploitation of combs. Since then not one hair care product has been transformed into a weapon of any sort. This  is proof security measures work.