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First Annual (2004) Sack of Jawea Award

There's this continuum, see, and it goes something like this:

At one end, we have stuff that is well-reasoned and well-expressed. At the other end, we have stuff where the reasoning is hidden but detectable at some level below pure reason. It feels like it makes sense, but you can't exactly say why. I spend a lot of my time at a terrible spot somewhere in the middle where my stuff is not particularly well-reasoned and what little good reasoning it does have in it is poorly expressed and therefore rarely, if ever, detectable at all. The name of this award I'm giving here is a perfect example. Why do I call it the Sack of Jawea Award and what the hell is it for?

Well, it's for a blog that takes me places I barely or don't get at all, which is a trip I always like to take. This is me on Lewis and Clark's famous Voyage of Discovery:

"That's really cool. What's it for? I really like that. Dunno why."

I was born in Idaho and I really like it, but I don't really get it and so I can only say stupid and incomprehensible things about it. I think there is a universe where I am regarded as witty and insightful, a place where what I have to say makes perfect sense to people and they go "Ah!" whenever I speak.

Where I actually live, however, crazy people often make more visceral sense to me than I make to myself. I think I am imaginatively awkward. I think I am creatively clumsy. People talking to themselves on the street say more sensible things than I do.

I also like the fact that the name of my award sounds like it's about a bag full of something that sounds vaguely Middle-Eastern, which is a place I've never been and probably will never understand. And that reminds me of very bad men with big bags of candy they offer to unsuspecting children, which I generally don't like (the very bad men, I mean) but they do have the advantage of keeping life, um, interesting (for some disturbing value of "interesting").

One time when I was eleven, a very bad man drove by me on the street when I was walking home alone from school. He tried to talk me into his car. I balked, and not just because he was driving a Corvair. He beckoned me closer and because I have always been stupidly polite and persuadable, I crossed closer to him. He reached out and made a quick grab at me which I just barely managed to dodge. He drove off frantically. It probably would have been very bad if he'd gotten his paws on me, but the whole experience was nevertheless sort of... interesting. I told my mom about it when I got home and she looked disturbed but continued chopping carrots, and so far as I know that was about as far as things went. Times were different back then.

So, and none of this makes any visceral sense, I know... that is, you would never understand any of this if I didn't explain it to you and even when I do explain it to you, it still won't make any visceral sense in the way Fine Writing always does. It will only make sense in the sense that you will see the logic of it, but you will feel that the logic is stupid. I guess I must not care because that's what I'm naming my award anyway. Probably I would get better at this sort of thing if I actually did care, but I've always been a brat. I've always sort of done exactly what I wanted (even when I was being stupidly polite and persuadable) even if none of what I was doing made any particular sense.

There's probably some deeper explanation for all this, but I guess I'm either too dumb or too self-absorbed to worry about it. A very nice lady once told me that I was "off-putting" and I knew instantaneously that she was exactly right. I liked her even more after she said that than I did before. It's all pretty sad really. I think when I die and if there is a heaven and if I go there, everyone else will be standing around completely getting what life in heaven is like and I'll be standing there asking people if they have a Walgreens there. I don't know why. As drugstores go, I like Walgreens, I guess. I think God will probably understand even if he picks up all of his notions down there to the Stop-n-Shop.

Okay, so that's the name of the award, and What It Means (sort of), and so now who am I giving it to? More tedious explanation follows.

Well, not explanation so much as disclosure. The guy who perpetrates the blog I'm giving the award to tells me he remembers me from twenty years ago and I've told him his name sounds familiar and that I'm sure I would recognize him in an instant if only he would point me to a god damned picture of him, but this he apparently will not or cannot do. But that's okay, really, because I'd actually rather he spent his valuable time accumulating more of the astonishing material he puts up on his blog on account of I love the stuff he puts up on his blog. Duh. That's why I'm giving him the Sack of Jawea, after all.

But I just wanted, you know, to make sure that all of this was made clear in order to prevent a scandal wherein it is later revealed that I gave the award to somebody I feel bad about not precisely remembering when he, in fact, remembers me.

I love Give, Get, Take, and Have. I love the way it looks -- it's got the most entertaining sidebar art. I like the colors. I love what he writes although there seem to be a lot of what I take to be either typos, misspellings, or purposefully redesigned words. For example, at one place he uses the word "cackhanded", as in talking about somebody giving somebody else a "cackhanded compliment". At first I thought this was a typo, but what I like about this blog is that it puts me in a place such that I'm really not sure... maybe he meant to make up that word? Does it have something to do with cackling? Is "cack" a word we would see in a action comic book? "Pow! Whap! Cack!" I dunno. I just dunno. It probably is a typo, but I get to make it not be a typo if I want on account of Jay... oh, that's his name, by the way... the perp, I mean... Jay Niemann... sometimes known as Jays Niemann, apparently... on account of Jay's blog does that to me. It's got such a great kind of energy that I just don't care if I actually get what's going on all the time. It's like sitting on a train and staring out the window at stuff. I always do that. I always bring stuff to read on the train and I never read it because I always spend my time just looking out the window at stuff. It just goes by and by and by and never really tells The Story Of America or anything. It just, you know, goes by and by.

See, I can barely keep up with one blog but Jay has at least four going. There's his Main Blog, and then there's Bloghorrea (mostly about blogs and blogging, I think), BloodyMindedness (about exploding heads, I think), and Tuning (tons of really interesting mp3s). There also might be one about other media and another about Things to Make and Do (blogging and webbing resources, but it sounds like the name of a magazine you would find in a pediatrician's office so I also like it because of that). But maybe those are extra pages and not blogs. Whatever. They're interesting.

If you look around Jay's blog, you will find stuff like the lady who is channeling John Lennon, Ms. Polley, who reports on her site Songs From Beyond 2 (successor to, you know, plain old Songs From Beyond), dateline The Other Side, that John and George are back together now (and have a new band) and that John has resumed his songwriting career, recently penning a little number called "HUSSEIN'S BUTT SONG" (lyrics provided should you care to sing along).

You will also meet your new, real, live, Foul Mouthed Miniature Dog who apparently lives, for the moment anyway, in a coffee cup ("Please give me a home, you fucking bastard!") and you'll be able to say hello to the woman whose boyfriend is a twat. There are even some sites that even Jay doesn't get, about one of which he writes: "I've scratched myself a blowhole trying to figure it all out."

Which is the best expression of the primal human emotion "What the...?" I've come across in a very long time.

And, you know, other stuff. Tons of stuff. I can't believe how much stuff. Get on and ride the Jay Train. There's so much interesting stuff there I don't think you'll ever be able to see it all. I've been exploring it for a few weeks now and its surface is all I've been able to scratch. (So, you know, no blowhole yet, but I suppose it could still happen.)

I therefore and hereby give Give, Get, Take, and Have my First Annual Sack of Jawea Award (2004) and I will probably have to give it my Second Annual (2005) Sack of Jawea Award too, on account of I can't imagine I'll be done being fascinated by this site by next December.

Congratulations, Jay, whether you like it or not. Your prize is a punch in the nose if you ever come to New York City and don't let me know so I can buy you a satisfactory amount of whatever beverage you want me to buy you.


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"Cackhanded" is a real word. From what I've read, it means "lefthanded" but with connotations of "extremely awkward, clumsy"--only much more vulgar; "cack" (in Scots, IIRC) means "shit", and "cackhanded" literally derives from the practice of wiping oneself with one's left hand.

Yes, indeed, I have elsewhere also been informed that "cackhanded" is truly a word and a wonderful word it is, too. I shall use it all the time now. This is what I get for relying on a dictionary to look things up rather than consulting on line resources.

Didn't know about the wiping with the left-hand bit, though. My other informant (that would be the Award Winner Himself) adds that it means an "unartful attempt to do something, making a bollox of same." He goes on: "It's not a made up word. The British music press use it all the time - because they have to."

And this is where I insert the disclaimer that opinions expressed in this comments section may or may not be those of the blog owner, himself.

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