August 29, 2003

And so I dance in dirty pants / a drink in my hand

Being Stephen Hawking: An Exhibit of Cosmic Imaginings opens September 4 (next Thursday night) at the warehouse theater (1021 7th Street NW, WDC).

The exhibit is curated by Lana Lyons with the Gallery at Warehouse and features the artwork of: Elizabeth Featherstone Hoff; Karen Hubacher; David Logan; Marilee Shapiro; Ami Wilber; and Laurence Wyllie. see you there.

August 28, 2003

--by Ron Padgett

When I wake up earlier than you and you
are turned to face me, face
on the pillow and hair spread around,
I take a chance and stare at you,
amazed in love and afraid
that you might open your eyes and have
the daylights scared out of you.
But maybe with the daylights gone
you'd see how much my chest and head
implode for you, their voices trapped
inside like unborn children fearing
they will never see the light of day.
The opening in the wall now dimly glows
its rainy blue and gray. I tie my shoes
and go downstairs to put the coffee on.
"If she's a good fuck, she can weigh 150 pounds, I don't care." California GOP hopeful, Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1977.

Arnold Schwarzenegger once told a magazine interviewer about participating in an orgy with other bodybuilders, noting that "everybody jumped on" the woman involved and "took her upstairs where we all got together." The California Republican added that not every muscleman participated in the gang bang, "just the guys who can fuck in front of other guys. Not everybody can do that. Some think that they don't have a big-enough cock, so they can't get a hard-on."

Schwarzenegger's lewd talk appeared in the August 1977 issue of Oui, a now-defunct adult magazine published by Playboy. The five-page Schwarzenegger interview was conducted by author Peter Manso and flagged on the magazine's cover with the headline, "Arnold Schwarzenegger on the Sex Secrets of Bodybuilders."

At the time of the Oui story, Schwarzenegger, then 29, was appearing in "Pumping Iron," a documentary on the bodybuilding circuit. In the Q&A with Manso, today's gubernatorial wannabe spoke about his sex life, drug usage, and belief that men "shouldn't feel like fags just because they want to have nice-looking bodies."

Schwarzenegger even entertained a question about his penis size. When Manso asked, "Is your cock disproportionate to the rest of you?" Schwarzenegger replied, "Well, that depends on what you mean by disproportionate. The cock isn't a muscle, so it doesn't grow in relation to the shoulders, say, or the pectorals. You can't make it bigger through exercise, that's for sure." He added that "women have told me they're curious about its size--you know, outgoing chicks who're just trying to be outrageous or horny. I hear all kind of lines, including 'Oh, you're hurting me; you're so big.' But it means nothing. Bodybuilders' cocks are the same size as everyone else's."

Asked if he felt "exploited" by women who pursued him because of his physique, Schwarzenegger said, "No, I'd feel used only if I didn't get something out of it. If a girl comes on strong and says, 'I really dig your body and I want to fuck the shit out of you,' I just decide whether or not I like her. If I do take her home, I try to make sure I get just as much out of it as she does. The word exploited therefore wouldn't apply." Schwarzenegger later noted that once outside the gym, he forgets about bodybuilding: "I can look at a chick who's a little out of shape and if she turns me on, I won't hesitate to date her. If she's a good fuck, she can weigh 150 pounds, I don't care."

The Smoking Gun has the rest of the story.
You that never done nothin' / But build to destroy
You play with my world / Like it's your little toy

Eminem and Britney team up to redo a Bob Dylan classic. See more "mated" albums Here. [via cromewaves]

August 27, 2003

When the conversation is over / And there's nothing left to say

Phone-sex worker sells her dangerous panties. [via tim o thompson, who is linking up a storm today. get there and check it out.]
The mighty, mighty valley of the sun

A Cornell Daily Sun article which would have never, ever been printed in the weekly newspaper of the small liberal arts college I attended.
"With or without the radio I'm still dangerous to parents" --- Lou Reed

* People are Strange.

* Over at NewFlux is the beautiful original J.K. & Co. version of "Fly." (As many of you are aware, the Jicks have been covering this song for a while now.) The song is taken from the only album the band ever recorded, 1968's Suddenly One Summer. J.K. & Co. were led by the 15 year old singer/songwriter Jay Kaye, son of the guitarist Mary Kaye of Las Vegas' The Mary Kaye Trio and namesake of the Mary Kaye Fender Stratocaster. The album itself is primarily inspired by Jay's spiritual awakening as a result of taking LSD, and is meant to represent the birth and death of a fictional man.

* Chromewaves noted yesterday that Matador is planning to release an expanded version of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain in 2004.

* Short "interview" of Lou Reed.

August 26, 2003

The Lack of Good Qualities
-- by James Tate

Granny sat drinking a bourbon and branch water
by the picture window. It was early evening and she
had finished the dinner dishes and put them away and
now it was her time to do as she pleased. "All my
children are going to hell, and my grandchildren, too,"
she said to me, one of her children. She took a long
slug of her drink and sighed. One of her eyes was all
washed out, the result of some kind of dueling accident
in her youth. That and the three black hairs on her
chin which she refused to cut kept the grandchildren
at a certain distance. "Be a sweetheart and get me
another drink, would you, darling?" I make her a really
strong one. "I miss the War, I really do. But your
granddaddy was such a miserable little chickenshit he
managed to come back alive. Can you imagine that? And
him wearing all those medals, what a joke! And so I
had to kill him, I had no choice. I poisoned the son
of a bitch and got away with it. And so I ask you, who's
the real hero?" "You are, Granny," I said, knowing I was
going to hell if only to watch her turn to stone.

I see an epicenter with agendas

Krzysztof Kieslowski on the origin of the Decalogue.

We ignored very Polish specifics, in other words, the daily grind of public life around us: queues, meat ration cards, petrol shortages, a bureaucracy which readed its ugly head in even the most trival of matters, the noisy public on the buses, the price increases as a constant topic of conversation, the ill dying in hospital corridors and so on. Everyday life was unbearably monotonous and terribly uninteresting. We knew then that we had to find extreme, extraordinary situations for our characters, ones in which they would face difficult choices and make decisions which could not be taken lightly. We spent some time deciding what sort of heroes they should be. They had to be credible and recognizable to the extent that the viewer would be able to thing: 'I've been in that position. I know exactly how they feel.' or 'Something very similar occured to me once.' And yet the films could not in any way be an account of ordinary life -- on the contrary, they had to take the form of highly compact, streamlined bullets. It very quickly became clear that these would be films about feelings and passions, because we knew that love, or the fear of death, or the pain caused by a needle-prick, are common to all people, irrespective of their political views, the color of their skin or their standard of living.

I believe the life of every person is worthy of scrutiny, containing its own secrets and dramas... Finally we decided to place the action of Decalogue in a large housing estate, with thousands of similar windows framed within the establishing shot. Behind each of the windows, we said to ourselves, is a living human being, whose mind, whose heart, and even better, whose stomach is worthy of investigation... The most important problem remained -- how to adapt the action of each film to illustrate the relevant Commandment. We read everything it was possible to read in libraries; a mass of interpretations of the Commandments. But we decided fairly quickly to despense with all this. Priests draw upon it every day and we weren't here to preach. We didn't want to adopt the tone of those who praise or condemn, handing out a reward here for the doing God and a punishment there for the doing of Evil. Rather, we wished to say: 'We know no more than you. But maybe it is worth investigating the unknown, if only because the very feeling of not knowing is a painful one.'

August 25, 2003

I got sunburnt waiting for the jets to land

* A fan lists lyrical references in Sparklehorse songs.

* Some Very Good Masters is a 1981 essay by Richard Yates (published in the New York Review of Books), in which Yates discusses some of the authors that influenced him along the way.

* "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed people can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead
you can make a beautiful painting out of your dilemmas, but your dilemmas are still there

Robert Stone interview.

an excerpt:

RB: That crossed my mind. I share your view that the '70s were a terrible and ugly period but haven't been able to articulate the reasons.

Robert Stone: First of all, the mass-culture authorities didn't understand what had happened in the '60s. The moguls were still running Hollywood and they were clueless. All they knew was that were…what they knew in Hollywood was two things. There had been all these hitchhikers on Sunset Boulevard, and they had never seen anything like that before. And Roman Polanski's wife and his friends had been murdered. And that was basically what they knew about the '60s.

RB: [laughs]

RS: And they were scared and they didn't understand. This is when they started edging over to Nixon. They didn't understand what was going on. The whole, everything began to go—their sense of privilege, their leftist orthodoxy as left wingers. They began to feel the cold wind of oblivion. And they couldn't—really couldn't understand— the art form. Creatures like Andy Warhol were able to take hold of the arts, "You see you don't know what you like. You don't really know what you like. You can't tell this from that." Terrible political corruption ran through the country, a loss of idealism. The military was, for example, really corrupt. People would get mugged in barracks. When I was in, boy, that would never happen, to get robbed on your own ship. Just never ever happen.

RB: Was that the beginning of the professional army?

RS: It was supposed to be the beginning of the professional army. I regarded myself as being in the professional Navy back in the '60s, but we didn't have draftees back then. But you would never get robbed in your barracks. That was unthinkable. The '70s were a low point in just about everything you can think of. The worst movies, the worst army, we subsequently almost lost a war in Grenada. Ollie North, the Napoleon of the Caribbean, almost lost that war. Everything was low quality, everything was lousy. What is that decade in painting? The Sesquigenta, after the 15th century was really not that great and then 17th century which is really not that good at all. It's really imitative and derivative.

RB: Of course, American culture has rebounded.

RS: Yes, America is tremendously viable. I don't know about this rule-the-world shit. [chuckles]

RB: No, huh? [both laugh] It would be comic if it wasn't so tragic. George Bush burns a lot of money to take a jet to a ship that is close to docking anyway. This is very cynical. That was sort of a question, what do you think?

RS: Well, I think there it is, while he was dodging the draft and pretending—dodging his National Guard duties, even. Jesus I wouldn't have dreamed of not doing the military stuff I was supposed to do. I was just a petty officer in the Navy. But I would never have dreamed of trying to get out of it even under any circumstances I could imagine. I happen to resent George Bush being flown onto a carrier all dressed up like a pilot. But the people who go for that, God they have it coming, except we are all in the same boat. These are a bunch of triumphalist babbits who suddenly think that their way of seeing the world and their way of operating is so superior that the rest of the world is going to fall down before them. And they are going renegotiate, as it were, the Sykes-Picot Treaty in the Middle East and start it all over again. I think it's really a terrible mistake. Of course, they don't have the imperial style. If they had any style at all [both laugh] but they have no imperial style, they are just babbits.

RB: It's frightening that ostensibly, Americans seem to be eating this stuff up. How about the move to time the Republican convention closer to Sept 11? That's really cynicism.

RS: I find that cynical I don't know why…in the world outside the United States, I don't think the United States is going to find too many friends.

RB: Iceland.

RS: I don't think there is too much we can do about that. Which is too bad. But you only have one country, what can you do? The stuff that they are getting away with is awful. I suppose Bush will be reelected if nothing goes too terribly wrong. I'm caught in a way. I want to see the plans of these idiots come to disaster, but I dread the plans of these idiots coming to disaster because it's my disaster as much as anybody else's.

The first chapter of Stone's newest book, "Bay of Souls," can be read here.

August 22, 2003

They say No Animals Were Harmed

You know a band has arrived when they enter the cult milieu of web-nuts, check out Mclusky's Lightsabre Cocksucking Blues, immortalised in a way even the bands sick minds couldn't conjure. This is not to be missed.
pranksters with a social conscience

A Rubik's Cube in the East Village. [via maud newton]

You drive us wild, we'll drive you crazy

Mini-Kiss, the all dwarf Kiss cover band. [via cockeyed absudist]
Two poems by Kim Addonizio:

Full Moon

All over the city
something gets into people.
Women tucking in their kids
close their eyes, think of men
they should have followed off buses.
Girls rouge their cheeks with lipstick,
their bodies telling lies
to anyone who'll listen.
Cars with their lights off glide
under the trees, headed for the ocean.
The men going through garbage cans
rifle Burger King bags for a few
pale fries. They lie down
in doorways. In dreams, their mothers
check their foreheads for fever.
Refugees sit up
studying old photographs they enter
like water, going under.
Desire is a cold drink
that scalds the heart.
Somewhere women are standing
at their windows, like lit candles,
and boys in Army boots
go dancing through the streets,
singing, and shoot
at anything that moves.

The Call

A man opens a magazine
women with no clothes,
their eyes blacked out.
He dials a number,
hums a commercial
under his breath. A voice
tells him he can do
anything he wants to her.
He imagines standing her
against a wall, her saying
Oh baby you feel so good
It's late. The women
on the phone yawns,
trails the cord to the hall
to look in on her daughter.
She's curled with one
leg off the couch.
The women shoulders the receiver,
tucks a sheet and whispers
Yes, do it, yes.
She drifts to the kitchen,
opens another Diet Pepsi, wonders
how long it will take him and where
she can find a cheap winter coat.
Remembering the bills,
she flips off the light.
He's still saying soon,
turning his wheelchair right,
left, right. A tube runs down
his pants leg. Sometimes
he thinks he feels something,
stops taling to concentrate
on movement down there.
Hello, the women says.
You still on?

August 21, 2003

Bush Recall petition. Sign up today.
sunday drive past your own hall of fame

Travelers Diagram posted Magnet magazine's top five albums since 1993. For the hell of it, here is the dust congress top five (today anyway. tomorrow it would possibly be different) since 1993:

5. american water -- silver jews
4. tigermilk -- belle & sebastian
3. in the aeroplane over the sea -- neutral milk hotel
2. the soft bulletin -- Flaming lips
1. Wowee Zowee -- Pavement
A Starlit Night
-- by B. H. Fairchild

All over America at this hour men are standing
by an open closet door, slacks slung over one arm,
staring at wire hangers, thinking of taxes
or a broken faucet or their first sex: the smell
of back-seat Naugahyde, the hush of a maize field
like breathing, the stars rushing, rushing away.

And a woman lies in an unmade bed watching
the man she has known twenty-one, no,
could it be? twenty-two years, and she is listening
to the polonaise climbing up through radio static
from the kitchen where dishes are piled
and the linoleum floor is a great, gray sea.

It's the A-flat polonaise she practiced endlessly,
never quite getting it right, though her father,
calling from the darkened TV room, always said,
"Beautiful, kiddo!" and the moon would slide across
the lacquered piano top as if it were something
that lived underwater, something from far below.

They both came from houses with photographs,
the smell of camphor in closets, board games
with missing pieces, sunburst clocks in the kitchen
that made them, each morning, a little sad.
They didn't know what they wanted, every night,
every starlit night of their lives, and now they have it.

August 20, 2003

Where the Hell is the Records Room

Kevin Smith is preparing a prequel to the 1980s Chevy Chase comedy, Fletch.
Saving all your money for fame

"'It seems to be driven by money,' said Dutch reporter Ans Bouwamans who wondered how Americans ended up feeling, as she believes, so gloomy about their government. 'What strikes me every time, is that people seem to be so powerless here, they don't seem to have any influence on what happens, while this is the biggest democracy in the world. I meet so many people who disagree with what's happening, that you know, they don't know how to change it.'"

The foreign press cannot understand why some California residents feel the need for the recall.
from the September 2003 Harpers Index:

- percentage refund that Laura Bush's office sought in June for a $15.95 children's book that it bought for a TV reading: 100

-ratio of strom thurmond's age at his death in June to the average U.S. life expectancy in the year he was born: 2:1

-number of officials who ever suggested that Iraq had nuclear weapons, according to Donald Rumsfeld in June: 0

-Year in which Dick Cheney said that his policy as CEO of Halliburton was that "we wouldn't do anything in Iraq:" 2000

-Price of the oil-field supplies sold to Iraq by two Halliburton subsidiaries during Cheney's tenure: $73,000,000

-maximum number of miles that Ford's most fuel-efficient 2003 car can drive on a gallon of gas: 36

-maximum number its 1912 Model T could: 35

-ratio of U.S. soliers killed in the 1991 Gulf War to those killed in Iraq this year: 1:1

-Amount Pat Robertson has invested in Liberian gold mining: $8,000,000

August 19, 2003

Hate Yoga? Need a t-shirt? Problem solved.
Singin' songs for pimps with tailors who charge ten dollars at the door

One Question
Media questions answered

Q: You have written extensively about Fox News Channel for The New Yorker. Is the network's lawsuit against Al Franken's publisher to stop use of the phrase "fair and balanced" in the title of Franken's upcoming book, well, fair and balanced?

A: "Of course the lawsuit is not 'fair and balanced.' It was not meant to be. [Fox News chief] Roger Ailes loves to torment those who would torment him. His career as a media consultant or in brilliantly building Fox News is about playing offense, not defense. And he enjoys a good laugh. ... The notion that Fox News owns 'fair and balanced' is a joke. Also a joke is the notion that Fox News is always 'fair and balanced' and the rest of the press is not. ... The courts will not take seriously the claim that a marketing slogan that is often untrue is worthy of being enshrined as the truth."

- Ken Auletta, media columnist, The New Yorker [via
I Want Media]
Between thought and expression lies a lifetime

* Pavement Terror

* Word that Sound Naughty But Are Not

* the curse of John Madden?

August 18, 2003

Words Create Realities

Brian Eno writes Observer article titled: Lessons in how to lie about Iraq . [via skimble]

an excerpt:

"In the wake of the events of 11 September 2001, it now seems clear that the shock of the attacks was exploited in America. According to Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber in their new book Weapons of Mass Deception, it was used to engineer a state of emergency that would justify an invasion of Iraq. Rampton and Stauber expose how news was fabricated and made to seem real. But they also demonstrate how a coalition of the willing - far-Right officials, neo-con think-tanks, insanely pugilistic media commentators and of course well-paid PR companies - worked together to pull off a sensational piece of intellectual dishonesty. Theirs is a study of modern propaganda.

"What occurs to me in reading their book is that the new American approach to social control is so much more sophisticated and pervasive that it really deserves a new name. It isn't just propaganda any more, it's 'prop-agenda.' It's not so much the control of what we think, but the control of what we think about. When our governments want to sell us a course of action, they do it by making sure it's the only thing on the agenda, the only thing everyone's talking about. And they pre-load the ensuing discussion with highly selected images, devious and prejudicial language, dubious linkages, weak or false 'intelligence' and selected 'leaks.'"
"As we are seeing now, the most recent Gulf war entailed many similar deceits: false linkages made between Saddam, al-Qaeda and 9/11, stories of ready-to-launch weapons that didn't exist, of nuclear programmes never embarked upon. As Rampton and Stauber show, many of these allegations were discredited as they were being made, not least by this newspaper, but nevertheless were retold."
"the PR companies helped finesse the language to create an atmosphere of simmering panic where American imperialism would come to seem not only acceptable but right, obvious, inevitable and even somehow kind.

"Aside from the incessant 'weapons of mass destruction', there were 'regime change' (military invasion), 'pre-emptive defence' (attacking a country that is not attacking you), 'critical regions' (countries we want to control), the 'axis of evil' (countries we want to attack), 'shock and awe' (massive obliteration) and 'the war on terror' (a hold-all excuse for projecting American military force anywhere).

"Meanwhile, US federal employees and military personnel were told to refer to the invasion as 'a war of liberation' and to the Iraqi paramilitaries as 'death squads', while the reliably sycophantic American TV networks spoke of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' - just as the Pentagon asked them to - thus consolidating the supposition that Iraqi freedom was the point of the war. Anybody questioning the invasion was 'soft on terror' (liberal) or, in the case of the UN, 'in danger of losing its relevance.'

"When I was young, an eccentric uncle decided to teach me how to lie. Not, he explained, because he wanted me to lie, but because he thought I should know how it's done so I would recognise when I was being lied to. I hope writers such as Rampton and Stauber and others may have the same effect and help to emasculate the culture of spin and dissembling that is overtaking our political establishments."
Frank Zappa saw art in my madness

* Julian Cope on Van Halen

* Old pic of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Discussion of his steriod use.

* Interview of Cynthia Plaster Caster.
Two Poems by David Lehman, Each with the Same Title

August 18

If we knew then what I know now
I'd have written you love songs
with rhymes like "ex-mates
instead of sex mates"
we'd go to speakeasies in the 20s
skip the 30s
and take the subway from Brooklyn in the 40s
across the great divide
with the bridge behind us
we'd take a walk on Liberty Street
where I'd have an office and a secretary
and we'd get drunk every Friday night
and never get out of bed in the morning
we'd drink coffee and read the paper
for maybe thirty minutes and then go back
to where we came from and wake up
in a different decade
and it's still Saturday morning and the air
smells like August

August 18

I took off my watch
and saw the skin beneath
the dog it was past one
o'clock and Mayakovsky's
suicide note was in his
pocket a poem praising
all creation in speechless
wonder I lived my life
through without a clock
expecting failure as in
a "modern" novel, you
know the surveyor will
never reach the castle,
the coward proves valorous
but dies in the attempt,
we can't really believe in
happiness and in success,
Borges concluded, and that is
why Kafka wanted his books
burned he had wanted to see
a happy book but it would have
been a lie and his job was
to tell the truth not the truth
of facts but the truth of his dreams

August 15, 2003

Fair and Balanced Friday Morning Brautigan

three poems by richard brautigan:

A Baseball Game

Baudelaire went
to a baseball game
and bought a hot dog
and lit a pipe
of opium.
The New York Yankees
were playing
the Detriot Tigers.
In the fourth inning
an angel committed
suicide by jumping
off a low cloud.
The angel landed
on second base,
causing the
whole infield
to crack like
a huge mirror.
The game was
called on
account of


The sea is like
an old nature poet
who died of a
heart attack in a
public latrine.
His ghost still
haunts the urinals.
At night he can
be heard walking
around barefooted
in the dark.
Somebody stole
his shoes.

The Moon Vs. Us Ever Sleeping Together Again

I sit here, an arch-villan of romance
thinking about you. Gee, I'm sorry
I made you unhappy, but there was nothing
I could do about it because I have to be free.
Perhaps everything would be different
if you had stayed at the table or asked me
to go out with you to look at the moon,
instead of getting up and leaving me alone with

August 14, 2003

save your money this weekend. Out August 19:

"Actual Air," by David Berman, is being released by Drag City in hardcover. Its a limited release, with different artwork and photos.

"On the Beach", by Neil Young, released on CD for first time

Krzysztof Kieslowski's "Decalogue" is being released on DVD

Cherry Red Records will reissue Felt's "Strange Idol Patterns and Other Short Stories"

GBV's new one "Earthquake Glue" is released. As you probably already know, 25 lucky purchasers of the first edition of 'Earthquake Glue' will find a "golden ticket" inside entitling them to a free copy of the upcoming GBV Box Set.
slow-walkers, an angry cat, and something about milk and bones

"wow, at the bus stop right now is the inman sq heavy metal man sporting a killer fanny pack and short shorts that leaves NOTHING to the imagination. his ragtag friend is also with him. and, i'm not a lip reader, but i believe they are comparing the signiture solos and lyrical stylings of joe perry and steven tyler to the mathematical logic formulated by bertrand russell"

click over to arm sasser for more.
Exhibit in the Museum Called Foreverness
-- by Claire Fanger

inasmuch as the thing that didn't happen in Holland
changed everything that happened after

and everything that didn't happen after
I must keep the memory of myself alive

in the memory of Holland
a small memory of a small country

cathected by an unconcluded argument
that goes on forever and ever

like a bone translated from the grave of one
who might or might not have been a saint

what is important being that it is a bone
not that it is the bone of a saint

being that it is kept carefully
not that it is the bone of a saint

being that it is disjunct with the body it came from
not that it is the bone of a saint

picture the very strangeness of a sacrament
held in the mind alone :

the extreme reaches of pure passion
with no metonymy in the flesh

August 13, 2003

In support of Al Franken, Neal Pollack declares Friday August 15 Fair and Balanced Day. [via tim thompson]

"We all know that this suit is hogwash. We also know that Al Franken can defend himself, and that his publisher can defend him, too. Anyone who has been a recurring cast member on Saturday Night Live for nearly 30 years doesn't need much help calling attention to his cause.

"Nonetheless, it's the policy of this website to rise to the aid of satire whenever it's threatened, even if the threatened satirist is three links above it on the comedy food chain. Therefore, I declare this Friday a day of emergency protest.

"Yes. This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites. My cosponsor in this effort, Atrios, informs me that many of you are already using 'Fair And Balanced' in your taglines. Very good. Sometimes, I swear you don't even need instructions from me. But we can go further. Tell Fox News to take its Fair And Balanced slogan and shove it up its Fair And Balanced hole. Feel free to be more subtle than that, if you wish.

"To repeat. This Friday is Fair And Balanced day. Use the slogan at will."
Interesting interview of "My Life in Heavy Metal" author Steve Almond. [via bookslut]

an excerpt:

I wanted to talk about this piece you wrote for Poets & Writers about book reviews.

"It got an incredible amount of response."

It also came out around the same time as The Believer manifesto, so it got lumped in with that.

"I read The Believer's manifesto and it was much better researched than my blathering. They were expressing what a lot of authors had been feeling for a long time, that there's this critical culture that is not doing its job. The job of the critical culture is to talk about the pleasures and disappointments one might experience with a particular piece of literature. And, for that matter, to talk about the larger issues that works of literature raise, and I think that The New York Times Book Review definitely tries to do the latter, but often it's at the expense of me not getting a sense of what this writer is up to emotionally, of what language they're using to reach this end. Don't get me started. Some people read that article and thought, "Oh boy. Bitter. Taking a shot at critical culture." But they don't get it. The best critics are fucking essential. In some sense, that's what they want, a rigorous critical culture to examine their work in a meaningful way.

"I don't care if people want to take apart Saul Bellow's novels to figure out who he is, biography versus canon, okay, Saul Bellow. Great. Pick it apart. But when you have a book from a relatively new writer, what's the point of making anything but their work the issue. What they did, whether they went to school. What an absurd premise. It's like they're saying we can't just write about literature and the emotions expressed in literature, we need some sort of hook or angle that will appeal to our readers. Fuck off on that. Find beautiful books to advocate for. Why do you want to read a bad review, so you don't buy a bad book? Save yourself a little money? It makes sense if it's Stephen King or Tom Clancy, but why not just find the books that deserve to be praised and direct people to them? Maybe that's too Pollyanna-ish.

"We've got an anemic literary culture in this country, and we've got to find a way to make people understand how important literature is. That task sounds gushy, but I really think it's the job of literature to awaken mercy in people. It's deeply disappointing to me when people have pissing matches. Who the fuck cares about that bullshit? It's so People Magazine. Frey wrote a great book, Eggers wrote a great book, just let them go out there and write beautiful books. Who needs this literary feuding?"

POTLUCK, tonight. be there. 9pm.
An Explosion of Vice

Sex and Drugs In Iraq

an excerpt:

"It is 10am and the crowd is pouring into the seedy Al Najah cinema on Baghdad's Al Rasheed Street. They come, at 70 cents a ticket, for sex on a loop - fleshy scenes from a dozen B-grade movies spliced into a single program, for which there is standing room only.

"In Sadoun Street the midday temperature is 50 degrees and the prostitutes tout for business from the shade of a beach umbrella. Further along, in Fidros Square - where US troops stage-managed the demolition of a statue of Saddam Hussein on April 9 - as many as 30 teenagers are sniffing glue and paint thinner.

"Drug dealers in the treacherous Bab al Sharqi markets, just off central Tahrir Square, are doing a brisk trade in looted prescription drugs.

"The biggest demand is for mind-altering, and addictive, medications. Each trader has a special, half-hidden box for what he calls feel good capsules and tablets - the Herald came away with a multi-coloured cocktail of 200 pills for less than $10.

"At the other end of the day hundreds of street drinkers converge on the banks of the Tigris River, openly selling and drinking gin, arak and beer in a raucous celebration of the ending of Saddam's rigid control of vice.

"Under Saddam, alcohol, drugs, pornography and prostitution were state-controlled for the pleasure of a few. But in the post-war vacuum vice has exploded and the likes of Majid Al Sa'adi's tea house, just back from the bustle of Sadoun Street, has become a one-stop shop.

"The TV on which patrons were obliged to watch endless speeches by Saddam and oily reports of his daily activities is now home to hardcore German pornography. Among the 25 adults sitting in the shop glued to the screen is a 12-year-old boy.

"Al Sa'adi's jeans pocket is stuffed with tablets. He sells between 60 and 80 a day for 80 cents each to customers who, he says, take them with their tea.

"This morning he shows all the woozy signs of having consumed his own product. But he has another line of business - offering the services of two black-shrouded prostitutes who sit on the pavement across the way. They, too, have obviously been drinking or taking drugs.

"Al Sa'adi dealt drugs, albeit secretly, when Saddam was in power - for which he spent two years in jail. But he says, all the while playing with a long-bladed Japanese knife: 'Business is much, much easier now that Saddam is gone. Now, there are no police.'

"'The prostitutes used to operate from hairdressing salons, but now they have come onto the streets and nobody stops them. Those girls,' - and he pauses to wave the knife at the two sitting on the pavement - 'would not have sat there when Saddam was in power. Even without the paint thinners they'd have been arrested. And I couldn't have carried even a single tablet in my pocket. It would have been too dangerous.'

"There are no sensible crime statistics in the new Iraq. What is clear is that crime has risen in a way that has left much of the population more fearful of the present than of the past."
"The US Administration in Iraq has been so slow in dealing with security issues that mosque communities, particularly those of the majority Shiites, have set up their own vigilante squads and Islamic courts, which hand out instant decisions on criminal and civil matters. There has even been a retreat to tribal justice in some parts of the country. Last week the Herald reported that a father had been ordered to kill his son or have his family executed after the young man was accused of collaborating with the US military."
Hunter S. Thompson on Bush.

an excerpt:

"In any case, I had an extremely busy schedule last week. It combined the best and the worst of everything and led into a frenzy of involvements. I was still recovering from my alloy spine replacement procedure when the real world suddenly caught up with me and called me back into action. There was no way to avoid it. I had no choice.

"The real shocker of the week, for me, was and remains the stunning collapse of the evil Bush administration, which I view with mixed feelings.

"In truth, I could be a lot happier about the collapse of Bush and his people and his whole house of cards and everything he stands for, if it didn't also mean the certain collapse of the U.S. economy, and the vital infrastructure, and, indeed, the whole 'American way of life.'

"It will not be anything like the collapse and Impeachment of Richard Nixon, which had little or no impact on day-to-day life in this country. Nothing really changed, except Some people went to prison, of course, but that was to be expected, considering the crimes they committed and the shameful damage they caused ... They were criminals, and the righteous American people punished them for it. Our system worked, and we were all heroes.

Ah, but that was twenty-nine (29) years ago, bubba, and many things have changed. The utter collapse of this Profoundly criminal Bush conspiracy will come none too soon for people like me, or it may already be too late. The massive plundering of the U.S. Treasury and all its resources has been almost on a scale that is criminally insane, and has literally destroyed the lives of millions of American people and American families. Exactly. You and me, sport -- we are the ones who are going to suffer, and suffer massively. This is going to be just like the Book of Revelation said it was going to be -- the end of the world as we knew it. "

August 12, 2003

Sew Your Fortune on a String

The New Yorker on Cat Power.

an excerpt:

"It is foolhardy to describe a Cat Power event as a concert. A concert involves the playing of music or songs in some kind of order, with short breaks and maybe a little patter in between. The form works: it allows the entertainer some distance, so that she can perform without becoming too involved in the audience’s response. At Castle Clinton, Marshall reversed that order. The set lasted approximately an hour and ten minutes, during which time she talked to a friend’s baby from the stage; asked no one in particular if the photographer Mark Borthwick was in the house; talked about her friends who had brought the baby; directed a fair amount of bemused antagonism toward a particularly ardent fan; asked someone offstage how many minutes were left in the set; sang a bit of rap from 'The Teaches of Peaches,' an album that was an underground hit last summer; smoked a couple of cigarettes; played with her hair; took her large sunglasses on and off; indulged in rambling confessions; and complained about the length of one tune from her current album, 'You Are Free,' before singing an abbreviated version of it.
" At the close of her set, she grabbed the mike and walked up and down the center aisle like a preacher at a revival meeting, singing, cigarette in hand, Black Sabbath’s 'Black Sabbath.' Watching her, you tumbled down a well of longing and hope. Marshall looked as if she had been painted en plein air, a fluid version of Liberty standing guard over the Harbor. Her voice in that song was the blues sound of trouble in mind everywhere. "

Silence, Exile, and Cunning

* Attorney-Client privilege no longer as privileged

* Fox News has sued al franken in an attempt to stop him from using the tag "fair and balanced" in the title of his upcoming book.

* This is Fucked Up

* "I will tell you what I will do and what I will not do. I will not serve that in which I no longer believe, whether it call itself my home, my fatherland, or my church: and I will try to express myself in some mode of life or art as freely as I can and as wholly as I can, using for my defense the only arms I allow myself to use - silence, exile, and cunning."
-- Stephen Dedaelus' in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

August 11, 2003

--Everette Maddox (1945-1989)

On a hill high above
the mild October day
I stand, heroic, hands
clasped behind my back,
as the last musket's
crack fades
and the smoke drifts away
from the place where the famous
Battle of my Youth was fought.

Who won? Who lost?
Who knows? My speech,
which I seem to have misplaced,
tells. Oh well:
myself and loves and grey
uniform were not among
the casualties, quite; though
a gold button dangles.

Now we'll bind the wounds,
free the slaves, and set up
(oh shrewdly!) a shrine
in the decaying mansion
of my body: post cards,
stuffed possums, and, out back,
whisky to be sold
such emissaries
from the glacial future
as have coin to spend.
I can remember how I used to make you laugh

* A Missouri company has been fined $6,000 for answering a customer's question and not reporting to the federal government that the question was asked. The question that's punished by law is: Are any of these products made in Israel, or made of Israeli materials?

* Some Of The World Transactions My Father Has Missed Due To His Death On September 14, 1999
[via maud newton]

* "If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week." - Charles Darwin

August 8, 2003

Like Great Music? In DC?

Come join us at Cosmos. Leafy Green kicks the night off at 9pm sharp. Be there.
A Bukowski Friday [for Rabbits with Fangs]

Oh Yes

there are worse things than
being alone
but it often takes decades
to realize this
and most often
when you do
it's too late
and there's nothing worse
too late.

man in the sun

she reads to me from the New Yorker
which I don't buy, don't know
how they get in here, but it's
something about the Mafia
one of the heads of the Mafia
who ate too much and had it too easy
too many fine women patting his
walnuts, and he got fat sucking at good
cigars and young breasts and he
has these heart attacks - and so
one day somebody is driving him
in his big car along the road
and he doesn't feel so good
and he asks the boy to stop and let
him out and the boy lays him out
along the road in the fine sunshine
and before he dies he says:
how beautiful life can be, and
then he's gone.

sometimes you've got to kill 4 or 5
thousand men before you somehow
get to believe that the sparrow
is immortal, money is piss and
that you have been wasting
your time.

August 7, 2003

Gotta Go?

The ten most fascinating urinals in the world. Two are in Hong Kong. [via travelers diagram]

Has U.S. Corporate Globalization Gone Too Far?

Second Place, Magazine Photographer of the year
View of the Pyramids at Giza through a Pizza Hut window.
- by Steve Almond

Or maybe you're here, in Sturbridge, Mass.,
off the pike, punching the register, Roy Rogers,
a girl in a brown smock. America comes at you on buses,
in caps and shorts, fuming. What the hell,
you're just passing each other by, anyway.
This kind of loneliness. What are words?
You've got chores, duties,
an inanimate world that needs you.
Sometimes, late afternoon, you scrape the grill
and figure: this could be love, these clean strokes,
the meaty shavings and steel beneath.
There are other ideas out there, in magazines
and movies, sweaters, perfume, your beautiful money.
But you see your life, that which persists,
the dumpster out back, the counter dulled
by your hands, relish troughs to fill.
Some days the clouds are so thick they seem weighted.
You are kind and not especially pretty.
You do your job. You are polite. At great expense,
you smile. Your best friend died
just down the road, in an accident at night.
You laid a pink bear before the marker
and you persisted. You persist.

August 6, 2003

the music swells somehow stronger from adversity

Short, recent Yo La Tengo article
When The Going Gets Weird

"If elected, I will resign," Brian Flemming, candidate for Governor, California

"Dear California voter,

In November 2002, the people of our state decided who should become governor if Gov. Gray Davis were to leave office. That person is Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante.

However, the Lt. Gov. is refusing to run on the recall ballot, out of solidarity with the Democratic party.

While Cruz Bustamante's loyalty is admirable, his (and other major Democrats') refusal to run will likely leave those of us who are opposed to the recall with few credible options on the second part of the recall ballot. As many experts have pointed out, should Davis lose the recall vote, it is quite possible that a Republican with a small minority of votes could take the governor's office.

My candidacy is designed to address this looming threat.

If elected, I will immediately resign. This action will make Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante the governor of California.

This is the entirety of my platform. I take no position on any issue other than the recall.

I know that asking for your vote is asking for you to support a radical action. Normally, I would say such a vote would be crazy.

But we are in crazy times. There is a very real possibility that a Republican or worse could be our state's governor on October 8.

If Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante takes the governor's office, even by unusual means, that will be by far the best result for our state and our democracy.

We must fight the right-wing assault on our democracy. Please consider giving me your vote, and I promise to give it directly to Lt. Gov. Cruz M. Bustamante.

Make Brian Flemming your backup plan.

A vote for Brian Flemming is a vote for Cruz Bustamante.

A vote for Brian Flemming is a vote for democracy.

If elected, I will resign.


Brian Flemming
Lifelong Democrat
Lifelong Californian"
More Pentagon Word Play

"American jets killed Iraqi troops with firebombs – similar to the controversial napalm used in the Vietnam War – in March and April as Marines battled toward Baghdad.

"Marine Corps fighter pilots and commanders who have returned from the war zone have confirmed dropping dozens of incendiary bombs near bridges over the Saddam Canal and the Tigris River. The explosions created massive fireballs.

"'We napalmed both those (bridge) approaches,' said Col. Randolph Alles in a recent interview. He commanded Marine Air Group 11, based at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station, during the war. 'Unfortunately, there were people there because you could see them in the (cockpit) video.'
"During the war, Pentagon spokesmen disputed reports that napalm was being used, saying the Pentagon's stockpile had been destroyed two years ago.

"Apparently the spokesmen were drawing a distinction between the terms 'firebomb'" and 'napalm.' If reporters had asked about firebombs, officials said yesterday they would have confirmed their use.

"What the Marines dropped, the spokesmen said yesterday, were 'Mark 77 firebombs.' They acknowledged those are incendiary devices with a function 'remarkably similar' to napalm weapons.
"'You can call it something other than napalm, but it's napalm,' said John Pike, defense analyst with, a nonpartisan research group in Alexandria, Va.

"Although many human rights groups consider incendiary bombs to be inhumane, international law does not prohibit their use against military forces. The United States has not agreed to a ban against possible civilian targets."

Read the article.

August 5, 2003

"I think that what we don't take into account when we're young is our endless curiosity. That's what's so great about being human."

A fan's scene by scene guide to Richard Linklaters "Waking Life."

Not the Mother of Invention, but the Mother of Big Spending

The generally GOP-aligned Cato Institute released this report last week, which pretty much slams Bush's fiscal policies.

"The Bush administration's newly released budget projections reveal an anticipated budget deficit of $450 billion for the current fiscal year, up another $151 billion since February. Supporters and critics of the administration are tripping over themselves to blame the deficit on tax cuts, the war, and a slow economy. But the fact is we have mounting deficits because George W. Bush is the most gratuitous big spender to occupy the White House since Jimmy Carter. One could say that he has become the 'Mother of All Big Spenders.'
"But the real truth is that national defense is far from being responsible for all of the spending increases. According to the new numbers, defense spending will have risen by about 34 percent since Bush came into office. But, at the same time, non-defense discretionary spending will have skyrocketed by almost 28 percent. Government agencies that Republicans were calling to be abolished less than 10 years ago, such as education and labor, have enjoyed jaw-dropping spending increases under Bush of 70 percent and 65 percent respectively."
"That the nation's budgetary situation continues to deteriorate is because the administration's fiscal policy has been decidedly more about politics than policy [...]

Such blatant political maneuvering can only be described as Clintonian.

But perhaps we are being unfair to former President Clinton. After all, in inflation-adjusted terms, Clinton had overseen a total spending increase of only 3.5 percent at the same point in his administration. More importantly, after his first three years in office, non-defense discretionary spending actually went down by 0.7 percent. This is contrasted by Bush's three-year total spending increase of 15.6 percent and a 20.8 percent explosion in non-defense discretionary spending.
"Sadly, the Bush administration has consistently sacrificed sound policy to the god of political expediency. From farm subsidies to Medicare expansion, purchasing reelection votes has consistently trumped principle. In fact, what we have now is a president who spends like Carter and panders like Clinton." [emphasis added]
Last Call
-- by Mike Dockins

Would it be possible, worthwhile, practical, moral,
expedient, intellectual, banal, metaphysical, silly,
galling, ironic, even necessary to exalt your pony-
tail? Loose strands dip into rum&cokes, beers,
desperate waters at closing time. Please, a moment
of silence because I can't drink from any of them.
Your ponytail wags, slaps D.J. barking last call.
I would hide under it, fan a breeze of words along
your spine, each vertebra gasping a little poem.
I'd hide under it next to your tattoo: a Chinese
symbol for lemon tree, for balloon, for sparkplug,
god help me, I wasn't listening to what you said.
"I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it: we must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and soul. It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us, any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing, bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with lamentation! Away with elegies and dirges! Away with biographies and histories, and libraries and museums! Let the dead eat the dead. Let us living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance. But a dance!"
- Henry Miller (1934)

August 4, 2003

Its Not Everyday a Fat Cat Brings You Flowers

New AM Homes story from the Guardian [via maud newton, who links to the rest of the stories in the issue].
I wish all interviews were like this

Steve Malkmus Personality Profile [via tim thompson]


Word Assciation:

Interviewer = SM response
a. Paleontologist = Skull fracture
b. Nascent = Birth Canal
c. Oblique = Moon Crescent
d. Smoke = Wind
e. Musician = Jerk
f. Reunion = Doors
g. Rendezvous - bad tv show
h. Popular - Nada Surf
i. Semi - Popular - Nada Surf
j. Unpopular - The Other Guys in the Lemonheads
k. Mothers -- Uh . . .Jimmy Carl Black.

"Note the Frank Zappa reference to the Mothers prompt (Jimmy Carl Black was, infamously, the “Indian” of that group). And note that this interview took place the Friday before Mother’s Day. More connection to music than family, or just contextualized within the specialization of the interview? Or was Frank Zappa just mysteriously ‘in the air’?"

War Trophy

Letter from Iraq [via where is Raed]:

"Sorrrrrrrrrrry Salam it took so long to answer but I had various reasons- won't happen again.

"I guess you've been hearing news about Mosul? Well it's worse. The security situation isn't too bad (they don't rely on Americans in these parts- if they did it wouldn't be any better than Baghdad). Electricity is more or less sorted out (although we do have problems)- and no, it wasn't the Amreeeekan who got things running, thank you very much.

"Things are really bad for females everywhere. Here it's somewhat safer, but not too much. People are boiling over because of the whole Uday/Qusai saga... I mean give me a break- something like 400 troops for 4 guys??? You'd think they'd want them alive with numbers like that! People are infuriated because of the whole commotion- planes flying, Apaches hovering and freaked-out troops shooting right and left (yes, they shot civilians). Then, on top of all that crap, they decide to show the pictures on tv to 'prove to the Iraqi people' the deaths of Uday and Qusai... Pleeeeease... those pictures were obviously Bush's war trophy. And could they have come at a more convenient time for the nitwit??? I think not...

"So, things are tense here. They have been since the end of the war. Someone has told troops posted in Mosul that everyone is the enemy- even little kids- so watch out! And they have been doing just that.

"I'm so angry and frustrated Salam as everyone seems to be. We've got thousands of angry, ignorant American troops running around with tanks and guns pointed at everyone. What the hell happened? And since you're working with the press, what's up with not giving the number of American casualties?! It's funny how on Al-Jazeera the give the numbers in the following way: 'two wounded and two dead'... half an hour later it's: 'three wounded and one dead'- 'lo and behold! They are being resurrected!!!

"Well, I'm telling you now- there have been plenty of casualties in Mosul during the 'gunfight' and after (in one of the wooded areas), but you'll be hearing about those in the following form: Troops Die in Car Accident in North of Iraq as Car Swerves to Avoid Crossing Sheep!"

DC, This Week

the caribbean open for via tiana Tuesday night at the Black Cat.

On Thursday, Metropolitan play galaxy hut. Metropolitan's next record is slated to be produced by Ian Svenonius, whom you all know through such bands as The Make-Up, Nation of Ulysses, and Scene Creamers, or from reading his columns in Index Magazine.
I've Been to England / Want to Go to Australia Now

"It was announced this week that Madonna is considering in vitro fertilization to have another child at 44. Which is like trying to plant crops in a field that’s been over-farmed. On the upside, while in the stirrups, doctor’s found two World Series rings and Dennis Rodman’s wristband."
"The Bush tax rebate checks have begun arriving in mailboxes. President Bush said, 'When people get checks it helps them with their lives.' And then he went to a fundraiser where several thousand rich guys helped him with his life."

In case you have not heard, Bill Maher has a blog.

August 1, 2003

Yeah. I am mindful that we're all sinners
-- President George Bush, when asked about his views on gay marriage.

Letters to the New York Times in response to Bush's statement:

Re "Bush Backs Bid to Block Gays From Marrying" (front page, July 31):

When President Bush was asked on Wednesday to describe his view on homosexuality, his response was: "Yeah. I am mindful that we're all sinners." The implication, that Mr. Bush considers homosexuality to be a sin, is inappropriate.

My religion allows me to marry another man, and it does not consider me a sinner simply because I am gay. If Mr. Bush really does believe in "the sanctity of marriage," then allowing homosexuals to sanctify relationships through legally recognized marriages does not require him to "compromise" on anything.

On the other hand, codifying marriage to exclude same-sex unions — even ones performed according to the practices of several religions — would compromise the First Amendment and the fo
Scrambled Eggs And Whiskey
- by Hayden Carruth

Scrambled eggs and whiskey
in the false-dawn light. Chicago,
a sweet town, bleak, God knows,
but sweet. Sometimes. And
weren't we fine tonight?
When Hank set up that limping
treble roll behind me
my horn just growled and I
thought my heart would burst.
And Brad M. pressing with the
soft stick and Joe-Anne
singing low. Here we are now
in the White Tower, leaning
on one another, too tired
to go home. But don't say a word,
don't tell a soul, they wouldn't
understand, they couldn't, never
in a million years, how fine,
how magnificent we were
in that old club tonight.
Yeah. I am mindful that we're all sinners
-- President George Bush, when asked about his views on gay marriage.

Letters to the New York Times in response to Bush's statement:

Re "Bush Backs Bid to Block Gays From Marrying" (front page, July 31):

When President Bush was asked on Wednesday to describe his view on homosexuality, his response was: "Yeah. I am mindful that we're all sinners." The implication, that Mr. Bush considers homosexuality to be a sin, is inappropriate.

My religion allows me to marry another man, and it does not consider me a sinner simply because I am gay. If Mr. Bush really does believe in "the sanctity of marriage," then allowing homosexuals to sanctify relationships through legally recognized marriages does not require him to "compromise" on anything.

On the other hand, codifying marriage to exclude same-sex unions — even ones performed according to the practices of several religions — would compromise the First Amendment and the foundation of equality and religious freedom on which the United States rests.
New York, July 31, 2003

To the Editor:

So now President Bush, who campaigned in 2000 as "a uniter, not a divider," has labeled as sinners my wonderful gay son and millions of other Americans merely for being who they are (front page, July 31).

To me, this divisive and hurtful comment is truly sinful.
New York, July 31, 2003

To the Editor:

Re "Bush Backs Bid to Block Gays From Marrying" (front page, July 31): In a world too full of hatred and violence, it is a blessing when people fall in love and want to get married. Why does the president want to prevent this?
Albany, July 31, 2003

To the Editor:

Far be it from me to deny President Bush his right to a religious belief that "we're all sinners" (front page, July 31). What I find objectionable is his attempt to impose that belief on the rest of us as the basis for public policy.
Grand Rapids, Mich., July 31, 2003

i'd like to be buried in a helium balloon

spend Friday afternoon with:

arm l sasser
none of us are getting younger

Listen to, or watch the June 23, 2003 KCRW performance by the tyde.

Read a review of their recently released album, "twice."