October 31, 2003

A day brings language and a hint of what it means

* Mark Walters on Pavement's Fame Throwa.

* WOW -- windfalls of war. Read it.
The Club is Open

Happy 46th Birthday to Robert Pollard!

October 30, 2003

I hate that I need air to breathe/I'd like to leave this body and be free

From an article on Lou Reed published earlier this year in the wire:

"Reed's affinity for Ornette Coleman's harmolodic jazz also goes back to his college days. Back in the early 60s, Reed named the college literary journal he edited Lonely Woman Quarterly, after the track from Coleman's 1959 LP The Shape Of Jazz To Come. On The Raven, he finally got to work with the veteran saxophonist. 'I used to follow Ornette around in the 60s,' he admits. 'I couldn't afford to get into the clubs he played, but I would listen through the grating to him when he was with Billy Higgins, Charlie Haden and Don Cherry. And then I wanted to play guitar like him, after I heard Free Jazz - wow. If you asked me my favourite song I'd have to say 'Lonely Woman', because probably not a day goes by I don't hear that in my head. So finally working with Ornette was a big deal. I'd love to put out an album of the seven versions [of the R&B-inflected 'Guilty'] he did. 'This one's with the drums, this one's with the guitar, this is with your voice, this is with the bass, this with the other guitar, this is with everybody.' The version we picked was a more accessible version. It was neck and neck with another version that Willner called the 'clear the room version': only true believers will stay for this. It was easy for him to do it. Easy. I was in tears. People were saying it's a bitch of a key for a sax player - not for Ornette it wasn't. For him it was nothing.'"

it's true you're lazy you're tired and crazy

* Trent Lott offers his solution to the Iraq situation: “If we have to, we just mow the whole place down, see what happens. You’re dealing with insane suicide bombers who are killing our people, and we need to be very aggressive in taking them out.”

* Why has discourse fallen apart? For one thing, millionaire journalists run the press corps.

* Scientific McCarthyism: "The report Politics and Science in the Bush Administration [available at the link] finds numerous instances where the Administration has manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings. Beneficiaries include important supporters of the President, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups."

A related washington post article.

October 30
--by David Lehman

after much deliberation
I have made up my mind
life may be painful, sad,
charming, amusing, unkind
the one thing it cannot be
is boring that is why I've
assigned Mozart to a certain
great jazz clarinetist and
allowed myself the luxury
of not having to make a choice
at the museum I can have
my Matisse and Picasso too
my Pollock and de Kooning
though academics claim you
can only have one or the other
that's why they're academics
and write letters denouncing
their ex-friends in journals
edited by people who can't write
for people who won't read

October 29, 2003

smoked the last quarter randomly

[via drug war rant]
Stop That Max Said

Spike Jones will direct the live-action movie version of Maurice Sendak's 1963 children's classic Where The Wild Things Are.
And my friends, my friends still will whisper hello

"Those who write preciously are like people who get dolled up to avoid being confused and confounded with the mob, a danger run by no gentleman even in the worst clothes. As a certain sartorical pomp...betrays the plebeian, so does a precious style betray the commonplace mind."
-- Schopenhauer

October 28, 2003

Visualize a centaur baying at the moon

Create a TV ad that tells the truth about George W. Bush
[via tim thompson].

"All eligible submissions will be posted and rated by visitors. The top rated ads will then be voted on by our panel of esteemed judges, including Michael Moore, Donna Brazile, Jack Black, Janeane Garofalo, and Gus Van Sant. The winning ad idea will be broadcast on television during the week of Bush's 2004 State of the Union address, and the winner will receive a recording of the ad as broadcast."

the possibilities are endless.
A Willful Ignorance


"...But there's something broader going on: a sort of willful ignorance, supposedly driven by moral concerns but actually reflecting domestic politics. Surely it's important to understand how others see us, but a new, post 9/11 version of political correctness has made it difficult even to discuss their points of view. Any American who tries to go beyond 'America good, terrorists evil,' who tries to understand — not condone — the growing world backlash against the United States, faces furious attacks delivered in a tone of high moral indignation. The attackers claim to be standing up for moral clarity, and some of them may even believe it. But they are really being used in a domestic political struggle.
"Yet that moral punctiliousness is curiously selective. Last year the Bush administration, in return for a military base in Uzbekistan, gave $500 million to a government that, according to the State Department, uses torture 'as a routine investigation technique,' and whose president has killed opponents with boiling water. The moral clarity police were notably quiet.

"Why is aiding a brutal dictator O.K., while trying to understand why others don't trust us — and doing something to create that trust — isn't? Why won't the administration mollify Muslims by firing Lt. Gen. William Boykin, whose anti-Islamic remarks have created vast ill will, from his counterterrorism position? Why won't it give moderate Muslims a better argument against the radicals by opposing Ariel Sharon's settlement policy, when a majority of Israelis think that some settlements should be abandoned, and even Israeli military officers have become bitterly critical of Mr. Sharon?

"The answer is that in these cases politics takes priority over the war on terror. Moderate Muslims would have more faith in America's good intentions if there were at least the appearance of a distinction between the U.S. and the Sharon government — but the administration seeks votes from those who think that supporting Israel means supporting whatever Mr. Sharon does. It's sheer folly to keep General Boykin in his present position, but as Howard Fineman writes in a Newsweek Web-exclusive column, the administration doesn't want 'to make a martyr of a man who depicts himself as a Christian Soldier, marching off to war.'

"Muslims are completely wrong to think that the U.S. is engaged in a war against Islam. But that misperception flourishes in part because the domestic political strategy of the Bush administration — no longer able to claim the Iraq war was a triumph, and with little but red ink to show for its economic plans — looks more and more like a crusade. 'Election Boils Down to a Culture War' was the title of Mr. Fineman's column. But the analysis was all about abortion and euthanasia, and now we hear that opposition to gay marriage will be a major campaign theme. This isn't a culture war — it's a religious war.

"Which brings me back to my starting point: we'll lose the fight against terror if we don't make an effort to understand how others think. Yet because of a domestic political struggle that seems ever more centered on religion, such attempts at understanding are shouted down. "

Death to Everyone Is Going To Come

It came to Gertrude M. Jones earlier this month. In her obit the family noted that "Memorial gifts may be made to any organization that seeks the removal of President George Bush from office."
The Drinker
By Robert Lowell

The man is killing time – there’s nothing else
No help from now from the fifth of bourbon
Chucked helter-skelter into the river,
Even its cork sucked under.

Stubbed before breakfast cigarettes
Burn bull’s-eyes on the bedside table;
A plastic tumbler of alka seltzer
Champagnes in the bathroom.

No help from his body, the whale’s
Warm-hearted blubber, foundering down
Leagues of ocean, gasping whiteness.
The barbed hooks fester. The lines snap tight.

When he looks for neighbors, their names blur in the window,
His distracted eye sees only glass sky.
His despair has the galvanized color
Of the mop and water in the galvanized bucket.

Once she was close to him
As water to the dead metal.

He looks at her engagements inked on her calendar.
A list of indictments.
At the numbers in her thumbed black telephone book.
A quiver full of arrows.

Her absence hisses like steam,
The pipes sing…
Even corroded metal somehow functions.
He snores in his iron lung,

And hears the voice of Eve,
Beseeching freedom from the Garden’s
Perfect and ponderous bubble. No voice
Outsings the serpent’s flawed, euphoric hiss

The cheese wilts in the rat-trap,
The milk turns to junket in the cornflake bowl,
Car keys and razor blades
Shine in an ashtray.

Is he killing time? Out on the street,
Two cops on horseback clop through the April rain
To check the parking meter violations –
Their oilskins yellow as forsythia.

October 27, 2003

Coming Very Soon


To fuck some trophy boy that you won tonight at the bar/ So sad so far/ You’ll make him sad shooting star

One of the last interviews of Elliot Smith. [via chromewaves]

and, 10 reasons why elliot smith was cool.
It's not the greenery turning gold in fall

Tomorrow evening in DC, beginning at 9pm (ending seconds thereafter) is the annual High Heel Race. 17th street is roped off between P and R streets and for about an hour before the race, the drag-queen participants and others parade up and down 17th showing off their costumes to the cheering crowds. Get there early to see all the action. The patios at the 17th street bars begin to fill up around 6:30 and by 8 its difficult to get a good place to stand and watch, so get there early. If you have not been to this before, don't miss it.

Here are a few photos from last years event.

October 24, 2003

A knightly drinker is dwarfed by the gold bowl he drains

A viewers guide to Kill Bill.
From the November 2003 Harper's Index

Grams by which the amount of fat in mcdonald's fattiest salad exceeds that in its fattiest burger: 3

Number of Florida high school students who take physical education classes online: 1,204

Number of people per mobile-phone line in the US: 2

Number of people per sauna in Finland: 2.5

Rank of World Wildlife Fund among organizations most trusted by Europeans and Americans, respectively: 2, 8

Rank of Coca-Cola: 8, 2

Jokes are for the living, the dead know everything

* The starbucks that supplies my morning caffine had Bobby Bare Jr. playing this morning, which, while an excellent choice, was a bit surprising.

* Lost In Translation: Real Life. Click here to see commercials in which California Governor Arnold can be seen pushing various Japanese products including one for Arinamin V -- "a bizarre 'genki' drink designed to keep overworked 'salarymen' wide awake in those unpaid overtime hours. It contains nicotine among other stimulants and gets that heart rate right up there." [via heck's kitchen]

* get on over to arm sasser, and don't forget about octagon island. they are both from boston and likely could use the love.

October 23, 2003

"All I know about music is that not many people ever really hear it. And even then, on the rare occasions when something opens within, and the music enters, what we mainly hear, or hear corroborated, are personal, private, vanishing evocations. But the man who creates the music is hearing something else, is dealing with the roar rising from the void and imposing order on it as it hits the air. What is evoked in him, then, is of another order, more terrible because it has no words, and triumphant, too, for that same reason. And his triumph, when he triumphs, is ours."

-- James Baldwin
Write the rules In the sky But ask your leaders Why

* This game is addicting.

* travelers diagram has posted Susan Meiselas' account of the summers she spent between 1972 to 1975 "photographing and interviewing women who performed striptease for small town carnivals in New England, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. As she followed the girl shows from town to town, she portrayed the dancers on stage and off, photographing their public performances as well as their private lives. She also taped interviews with the dancers, their boyfriends, the show managers, and paying customers. Meiselas' frank description of the lives of these women brought a hidden world to public attention."

--by James Tate

We were making love in a speedboat
firing a real cannonball over the lake.
We really should have been communing
with Ibsen's ghost, announced by an
excellent Hungarian waiter and drinking
straight tequila in the Ozarks.
It should have been the time of our lives
in Helsinki, I wanted to make it all worth while.
Perhaps an Irish setter by the fireplace
thrown in to prove I am at peace with you
anywhere. Our favorite song came on
the radio as we hung on to the last
noodle of consciousness. Instead,
found ourselves bouncing checks and
terrified by the bridges, without food
or rest, or gas for that matter. We should
have been rushing for cocktails smack
into the Berlin Wall, instead of ourselves.

October 22, 2003

Elliot Smith Memory

I dont remember exactly how I first heard of Elliot Smith, but the first time I saw him was in 1995 in a tiny little room in the Georgetown University student center (I was not a student there at the time or ever) where he sat on the ground Indian-style and played acoustic guitar and sang with no mic or amplification. He had the 30 or so other folks there mesmerized by his Drake-like songs and earnest, soulful delivery. After the show, I approached him and purchased from him his first solo release, Roman Candle, then only available on cassette - I had previously purchased the self-titled cd - and distinctly remember thinking "this guy looks rough, I wonder..." He was very gracious and kind during the 30 second transaction.

Just a week ago I purged about 400 cassettes that were taking up precious room in various closets but that I never listened to. I kept about 100 or so. Roman Candle was one of the ones that remain in my collection, and tonight I will listen to it for the first time in a long time.

Saw Arthur Lee last night here in DC. Amazing, it was. Lee has barely lost a step and puts on a great show. He's a living legend, and if you are in Boston, where he will be tonight, or NYC, where he will be on October 23, you should look into getting to the show. He's having a great time, and you will too. Hightlights for me, of which there were many, included "You Set the Scene," and "My Little Red Book."
The Street is Wet You Can Tell By the Sound of the Cars

NME is is reporting that Elliot Smith died yesterday at age 34.

October 21, 2003

heaven of a false religion

Back from a few days -- neither work or rest or play, however -- in daytona beach.

Southbound, sitting adjacent to an older man reading Richard Yates' The Easter Parade, I finished one of the best novels I've read in some time: John Williams' Stoner. A few excerpts:

"He had come to that moment in his age when there occured to him, with increasing intensity, a question of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it. He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been. It was a question, he suspected, that came to all men at one time or another; he wondered if it came to them with such impersonal force as it came to him. The question brought with it a sadness, but it was a general sadness which (he thought) had little to do with himself or with his particular fate; he was not even sure that the question sprang from the most immediate and obvious causes, from what his own life had become. It came, he believed, from the accretion of his years, from the density of accident and circumstance, and from what he had come to understand of them. He took a grim and ironic pleasure from the possibility that what little learning he had managed to acquire had led him to this knowledge: that in the long run all things, even the learning that let him know this, were futile and empty, and at last diminished into a nothingness they did not alter."

"In his forty-third year, William Stoner learned what others much younger, had learned before him: that the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last, and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know another."

"In his extreme youth, Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which, if one were lucky, one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion, toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief, a gently familiar contempt, and an embarrassed nostalgia. Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming, a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day, by the will and the intelligence and the heart."

Pick it up, its worth your time.

October 17, 2003


Tell Us The Truth Tour is a multi-city music and education trek that will put issues of media reform, economic and environmental justice, and democracy at the top of the American political agenda this fall. This November, two major events will provide platforms for movements dedicated to these issues, namely the first-ever National Conference on Media Reform and the Miami Ministerial meeting of the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). The Tour will take place from November 7 through 24 and will link these two events with actions and concerts from Madison, Wisconsin, to Miami, Florida. Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Tom Morello, Lester Chambers and other concerned artists will ask Americans what they want from their media and their government. "We need to provide an alternative worldview to the one that is squeezed through the very narrow blinders of Fox News," says Morello, who will be playing without a band. "I maintain my childlike faith that music can change the course of history," he adds.

For additional information, click here.
Stimulate the Open Chords

The Boondocks strip on Condoleezza Rice that the Washington Post decided not to publish.
Art Is What We Do, Culture is What's Done to Us

"I want to broaden my vocabulary. I found this book of words, where they use them in, like, sentences."
-- Jessica Simpson
She Doesn't Care What you Say About Her,
Just so Long as you Spell Her Name Right

-- by Kelly Cherry

Would she have fame?
Would she take tea and have fame with her tea?
Or roll a joint, famously?

She imagined approval, applause
A man not bored by her voracity.

In the house to be
Furnished in the future,
There would be intricate, quiet rugs,
Acres of books,
Someone playing the cello.

A late supper after the concert or play...
Outside, the people were clamoring for autographs.

The Madonna Syndrome:

Later, they went home,
And the man who was not bored
By the fact that she loved him
Allowed her to write her name
On his balls with the tip
Of her tongue as many times
As it took to make sure
He got it right.

-- by Mark Bibbins

Life is inevitably disgusting

We couldn't get near the bathroom
with all the models

holding back their hair
over the bowls.

The chef barely knew how to fling
parsley, so in the end no one mourned

the hors d'oeuvres' demise.
The champagne was another story.

A great mystery
to me as well you should be,

your legs seemed longer when
you cartwheeled under streetlights.

—Straddle me and I'll give you
all the scandal, all the sugar.

—Exactly what might one do
with all the sugar anyway?

Caress may still be the right word,
the streets dark and aflash

with rain sliding through the city
on its way. A third party wants

in, that warmth. You love
the noise stars make when they fall.

In the morning we are knocked around
by the wind of approaching trains.

You play the drawn-on eyebrow,
you play the figure-me-out—

I'd like something too,
to tear at me.

October 16, 2003

Propaganda Advertisements In a Zeitgeist Font

Maureen Dowd:

"...The president has tried to shake off the curse with a P.R. push to circumvent the national media and get smaller news outlets to do sunny stories about Iraq.

"The P.R. campaign shamelessly included bogus cheerful form letters sent to newspapers, supposedly written by soldiers in Iraq. It also entailed sweetening up the official Web site of the United States Central Command. Until recently, the site offered a mix of upbeat stories and accounts of casualties and setbacks. Now it's a litany of smiley postings, like 'Soldiers host orphans in Mosul' and 'Ninevah Province schools benefit from seized Iraqi assets.' You have to go to a different page for casualty reports.

"Mr. Bush said in interviews that he wanted to 'go over the heads of the filter and speak directly with the people' because there was a 'sense that people in America aren't getting the truth.'

"He is right that there has been a filter that has made it hard for Americans — and even Congress — to get the truth on Iraq, but it isn't the press. It's an administration that comically thinks when it hauls out Dick Cheney to say in his condescending high school principal voice that 2 + 2 = 5, we'll buy it.

"The vice president hasn't come up with W.M.D., Osama or Saddam. But he says we have uncovered a video of Saddam letting two Doberman pinchers eat one of his generals alive because he didn't trust him. Oh, that's worth $87 billion, the Iraqi version of 'When Good Pets Go Bad.'"

In 27 Years...

Funny photo essay of some guys 27th birthday at which he ended up kissing a woman 40 years his senior for a dinner at Peter Luger.
Potluck Setlist

She Smiled, Wild - Mirrors
Stars Go By - Bevis Frond
Let's Be Buried Together - Bill Fox
Run Run Run - The Who
Time Will Tell - Holly Golightly
Temptation Inside Your Heart - Velvet Underground
All the Negatives Have Been Destroyed - Spoon
Hammering the Cramps - Sparklehorse
Tool - Heavenly
Friday I'm in Love - Glo-Worm
Erotic City - Dump
Tuna Phish - Black Nasty
Blackout - Pavement
Hey Lonnie - Scene Creamers
Morality - Smog
Bubble Gum - Sonic Youth
Mr. Soul - Neil Young
What Difference Does It Make - Bobby Bare Jr.
Let's Not and Say We Did - Silver Jews
Lazy Days - The Byrds
I Couldn't Get High - The Fugs
Lies - Rolling Stones
Hot & Cold Skulls - Royal Trux
Connection - Elastica
He War - Cat Power
Once Over Twice - X
I Deserve It - Dean and Britta
Henry VII - The Tyde
Drug Test - Yo La Tengo

October 15, 2003

She Smiled, Wild

* Smoking Gun identified the kid who may have ruined the Cubs World Series hopes. Of course, he won't talk, and has disconnected his telephone.

* Who drinks these things?

* Bill Maher on the double standard that is the drug war:

"So, a week after I read the Limbaugh story in the Enquirer I read the rehash of it today in the Times, and again: Media, Pols, hello! If any time was the perfect time to make the case about the massive double standard that is the Drug War, this is it. Rush tearfully talks about his addition to a "medication." Yeah, well everybody likes their "medication" in different forms, pally. It would be funny, but substantially the same thing, if on the 6:30 news they sold bourbon and had the voice intone, "Ask your doctor if Jack Daniels is right for you."

"Or pot or whatever it is that mixes better with your body chemistry. Because that's all the Drug War is, persecuting people with a different body chemistry than Plan A. Why does one person like scotch, and another loathes it and likes vodka? Or one like cocaine, and another Metabolife?

"Who gives a fuck, that's why. The bottom line is, we all pick our poison and shouldn't arbitrarily punish and shame some, and accept and coddle others. There's nothing about preferring the high from oxycontin or liquor or speed (caffeine, ephedra, etc - speed, the drug America really loves) that makes you morally superior to people who like pot or mushrooms or even heroin for that matter, because that's what Oxycontin is, heroin in a pill. Gee, no wonder it's popular."

"The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is, more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime; he is a good citizen driven to despair."
--H.L. Mencken

people leave and no highway will bring them back

October 15
-- by David Lehman

Before I read your
poem, dear Charles
I'd have planned on
Keats at second base
Shelly at short
Wordsworth in center
Coleridge in left
Byron at first base
John Clare in right
Leigh Hunt at third
Blake catching and
Whitman a surprise
starter on the mound
with Poe available
for short relief
in Yankee Stadium
where the October shadows
lengthen in left field
as Yogi Berra once put it
it gets late early there

October 14, 2003

run, run, run, run, run take a drag or two

* "Sastra Wangi" - Indonesian chick-lit.

* Pathetic. Completely.

* A PEZ Museum in Pennsylvania.

* The Missouri Review rejects Bush's poem submission. [via bookslut]

* Photo of YLT's James McNew rocking the 9:30 club last Thursday night.
Sitting on a subway train watching all the people lose their senses

About the Party
-- by David Berman

I loved seeing you the other night
(and I think everyone noticed!)
which was the first time I'm estimating
since the Oak Street Psychic Fair
when I first saw your ears
as the two beautiful pink wheels they are
and your powerful boyfriend unnecessarily claimed
that I only spread unhappiness with my harmonica playing.

People see each other all the time
and they can't always figure out how to act,
so it sometimes seems as if the dandelions
growing silently behind the high school
are the only truly outstanding reaction
to existence,
and perhaps because I thought
I had no argument with the world
until the backyard mosquitoes
started penalizing my hands
and Wayne of Wayne's Hair Systems
and Jimmy Food Hill combined
to not let me near you,
it came as such a horrible shock to notice
you looked so damn beautiful
beneath Bob's silver maples
that I about shit my heart out.

This poem was originally published in the October 2003 edition of
The Believer.

October 10, 2003

Join Us
In My Room With the Curtains Drawn

Alone With Everybody
-- by Charles Bukowski

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
and nobody finds
the one
but keep
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than

there's no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else

For The Foxes
-- by Charles Bukowski

don't feel sorry for me.
I am a competent,
satisfied human being.

be sorry for the others

rearrange their

juggling mates

confusion is

and it will
whoever they
deal with.

beware of them:
one of their
key words is

and beware those who
only take
instructions from their

for they have
failed completely to live their own

don't feel sorry for me
because I am alone

for even
at the most terrible
is my

I am a dog walking

I am a broken

I am a telephone wire
strung up in
Toledo, Ohio

I am a man
eating a meal
this night
in the month of

put your sympathy
they say
water held up
to come
you better be
nearly as

Friends Within The Darkness
-- by Charles Bukowski

I can remember starving in a
small room in a strange city
shades pulled down, listening to
classical music
I was young I was so young it hurt like a knife
because there was no alternative except to hide as long
as possible--
not in self-pity but with dismay at my limited chance:
trying to connect.

the old composers -- Mozart, Bach, Beethoven,
Brahms were the only ones who spoke to me and
they were dead.

finally, starved and beaten, I had to go into
the streets to be interviewed for low-paying and
by strange men behind desks
men without eyes men without faces
who would take away my hours
break them
piss on them.

now I work for the editors the readers the

but still hang around and drink with
Mozart, Bach, Brahms and the
some buddies
some men
sometimes all we need to be able to continue alone
are the dead
rattling the walls
that close us in.

* Also, FBI files relating to Bukowski

October 9, 2003

Proud to be a Walking BillBoard

"I think this is a really fun idea, and I'm happy to show off my new figure," said Zoe Ellis, 28, who received money for walking around London with the advert for MicroBabies painted on her stomach. [via TMF, TML]
Sometimes flashing lights seem soulful in the window

* Michael Moore asks George Bush Seven Questions.

* Hunter S. Thompson on Rush Limbaugh:

"Rush never knew much about football, anyway. He was dumb and loud, but he has never been anything more or less than a half-bright commentator with an agenda who wanted more than his 15 minutes of bitchy fame. He was greedy, and so was ESPN for hiring him.

Rush Limbaugh is a lame professional Swine and he makes a good living at it. He is like a hired Geek in some traveling backwoods carnival -- the freaks who bite the heads off Chickens -- but Limbaugh is a modernized Geek who thinks he can bite the heads off of people."
Arnold's Enron Secret

Schwarzenegger has yet to deny that on May 17, 2001, at the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, he had consensual political intercourse with Enron chieftain Kenneth Lay. Also frolicking with Arnold and Ken was convicted stock swindler Mike Milken.

Now, 34 pages of internal Enron memoranda have just come through this reporter's fax machine that tell all about the tryst between Maria's husband and the corporate con men. It turns out that Schwarzenegger knowingly joined the hush-hush encounter as part of a campaign to sabotage a Davis-Bustamante plan to make Enron and other power pirates then ravaging California pay back the $9 billion in illicit profits they carried off.

Here's the story Arnold doesn't want you to hear. The biggest single threat to Ken Lay and the electricity lords is a private lawsuit filed last year under California's unique Civil Code provision 17200, the "Unfair Business Practices Act." This litigation, heading to trial now in Los Angeles, would make the power companies return the $9 billion they filched from California electricity and gas customers.

It takes real cojones to bring such a suit. Who's the plaintiff taking on the bad guys? Cruz Bustamante, Lieutenant Governor and reluctant leading candidate against Schwarzenegger.

Now follow the action. One month after Cruz brings suit, Enron's Lay calls an emergency secret meeting in L.A. of his political buck-buddies, including Arnold. Their plan, to undercut Davis (according to Enron memos) and "solve" the energy crisis – that is, make the Bustamante legal threat go away.

How can that be done? Follow the trail with me.

While Bustamante's kicking Enron butt in court, the Davis Administration is simultaneously demanding that George Bush's energy regulators order the $9 billion refund. Don't hold your breath: Bush's Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is headed by a guy proposed by ... Ken Lay.

But Bush's boys on the commission have a problem. The evidence against the electricity barons is rock solid: fraudulent reporting of sales transactions, megawatt 'laundering,' fake power delivery scheduling and straight out conspiracy (including meetings in hotel rooms). So the Bush commissioners cook up a terrific scheme: charge the companies with conspiracy but offer them, behind closed doors, deals in which they have to pay only 2 cents on each dollar they filched.

Problem: the slap-on-the-wrist refunds won't sail if the governor of California won't play along. Solution: Recall the Governor.

New Problem: the guy most likely to replace Davis is not Mr. Musclehead, but Cruz Bustamante, even a bigger threat to the power companies than Davis. Solution: smear Cruz because – heaven forbid! – he took donations from Injuns (instead of Ken Lay).

The pay-off? Once Arnold is governor, he blesses the sweetheart settlements with the power companies. When that happens, Bustamante's court cases are probably lost. There aren't many judges who will let a case go to trial to protect a state if that a governor has already allowed the matter to be 'settled' by a regulatory agency.

So think about this. The state of California is in the hole by $8 billion for the coming year. That's chump change next to the $8 trillion in deficits and surplus losses planned and incurred by George Bush. Nevertheless, the $8 billion deficit is the hanging rope California's rightwing is using to lynch Governor Davis.

Yet only Davis and Bustamante are taking direct action to get back the $9 billion that was vacuumed out of the state by Enron, Reliant, Dynegy, Williams Company and the other Texas bandits who squeezed the state by the bulbs.

But if Arnold is selected, it's hasta la vista to the $9 billion. When the electricity emperors whistle, Arnold comes – to the Peninsula Hotel or the Governor's mansion. The he-man turns pussycat and curls up in their lap.

I asked Mr. Muscle's PR people to comment on the new Enron memos – and his strange silence on Bustamante's suit or Davis' petition. But Arnold was too busy campaigning to answer.

October 8, 2003

The type of memories that turn your bones to glass

* Top 100 Works of Journalism in the 20th Century
all you've got to do is look in the sky and wish

Local, state and federal agents have been cutting down a marijuana field in Tulare County, California with 72,321 plants (wonder how much we paid for them to count all of those...) They estimate the value of the marijuana at $289,000,000.00.

It's interesting to note that the market price of 72,321 plants of corn (about 2 1/2 acres, with a yield of about 129 bushels per acre at a market price of roughly $2.10 per bushel) is estimated at $698.25. [via drug war rant]

Playing the Leader

"I like to play the leader," said Arnold Schwarzenegger at the beginning of an old episode of The New Dating Game that The Gameshow Network aired last night.

In order to determine who he picked for the date, Arnold was able to ask each women a question (he could not see, nor did he know anything about the women). Arnold asked the following questions:

1) "Lady number one, what does it mean to 'hanky-panky?'
2)"Number two, my measurements are ... how does my body compare to yours?
3)"Lady number three, I like to do pretty things for a women. What pretty things can I do for you?

Arnold chose number two, Kay, because, as he said "I happened to get very turned on by her voice. She has a sexy voice."

The couple won a dinner at a likely now-defunct Beverly Hills establishment, a trip to Hawaii, and each was given a pair of waterskis.

October 7, 2003

frightened by an incoming fax

Many of you are likely aware of Jeff Krulik through his 1986 short "Heavy Metal Parking Lot." Prior to creating the monumental look at the parking lot scene he produced the underground cable access 'dance party,' the "Scott and Gary Show," which featured early appearances by the Beastie Boys (when they were still doing punk rock), Half-Japanese, and The Butthole Surfers. A retrospective of the show can be found on video, but a trailer for the Scott and Gary show can be viewed here (if you look closely you may notice that one of the Butthole's drummers is the same women who tried to sell the Madonna Pap-Smear in Slacker).

Other Krulik films can be sampled here. Krulik's films will be shown at AFI, in Silver Spring, MD, in late October.
Did You Know

* Experts say putting ice cubes up the rectums of unconscious people has no physiological benefit and can even lead to seizures and stroke.
no one really reads anymore, at least nothing more substantial than Oprah's South Beach Diet-inspired suggestions

More on banned books:

"Where is today's 'Madame Bovary,' today's 'Ulysses,' today's Henry Miller and liver-handy Portnoy -- those books that gave as much joy to those who condemned them as to those who read them? Not only are they not being read; they're not being written. Once in a while we import a dare worthy of the most rabid book bans (think of Salman Rushdie, although his 'Satanic Verses' are probably the darling of 700 Clubbers by now). But Philip Roth's continuing biennial surprises aside, the old lions, once as prolific as they could be controversial (Mailer, Morrison, Updike, Vidal, Bellow) are fading away. No one is replacing them, lending credence to how Jonathan Franzen, one of their few potential heirs, recently compared literary America to his native St. Louis -- 'a once-great city that had been gutted and drained by white flight and superhighways.'"

"Banned books are like adult shops along those superhighways, eliciting barely a shrug. You might stop in once in a while, but disappointment is certain. Even literary subversion has been franchised by the ordinary and the predictable."
them recall blues

* Christgau on the Fugs

"That they were hardly musicians at all was definitely kind of punk, and crucial to their sound and achievement. Nevertheless—as was not true of the Velvets, or Bob Seger either—they filled out their band almost exclusively with folkies. Folkies who could play, too, starting with nutcases Peter Stampfel and Steve Weber and ending with technicians who would eventually emigrate to El Lay and back Carole King. Just as important, they had a deep pastoral bent. Lou Reed never set William Blake to music, Frank Zappa either. And you've heard of tree huggers? Here's Sanders's 1966 "Elm Fuck Poem": 'How I love to rim/your bark slits/kiss the leaves/above your dripping elm crotch.'"

* The inside story of dazed & confused
[simple, yet annoying registration required; via the morning news]

"Dazed is about more than rolling papers and tall boys. Unlike American Graffiti, it does not pretend to depict the biggest night in a generation's life. Instead, it's one of the few teen movies honest enough to show just how much of high school was spent spinning our wheels, and how few of us were aware of it. And for Dazed's mostly untested cast and crew, it marked the last time they were able to make a movie that no one expected much from."

October 6, 2003

Two Poems by James Tate:

The Private Intrigue of Melancholy

Hotels, hospitals, jails
are homes in yourself you return to
as some do to Garbo movies.

Cities become personal,
particular buildings and addresses:
fallen down every staircase
someone lies dead.

Then the music from windows
writes a lovenote-summons on the air.
And you're infested with angels.


When I drink
I am the only man
in New York City.
There are no lights,
but I am used to that.
There are staircases
that go forever upward
like twisted branches

of a cemetery willow.
No one has climbed them
since prohibition.
and the overturned automobiles
stripped to their skeletons,
chewed clean
by the darkness.

Then I see the ember of
a cigarette in an alley,
and I know that I am no longer
alone. One of us is still shaking.
And has led the other
into some huddle of extinction.
"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace in a continual state of alarm (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing them with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
-- H.L. Mencken

October 3, 2003

Breaking Courtney Love News

Singer-actress Courtney Love was arrested for allegedly being under the influence of a narcotic after police responded to a burglary call.

Love, 39, was found early Thursday outside a Los Angeles home where she had allegedly broken the windows in an attempt to enter.

She was arrested and booked for investigation of using illegal drugs, posted $2,500 bail and was released.

Hours later, police and paramedics in Beverly Hills responded to an emergency call and took a woman to a hospital for treatment, according to a story in Friday's editions of the Los Angeles Times.

Law enforcement sources told the newspaper that the woman was Love and that she had overdosed. It was not immediately known what her condition was.
Found in a Used Book

In a copy of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin I purchased at the wonderful though now-defunct Vassar Book Sale, was the following correspondence between Bob Bernard and Mary Knell.

The note from Bob to Mary, written in pencil on the inner flap of the book, and dated July 12, 1971 reads:

"To Mary,

Our relationship began and ended with Pushkin. May his thought provide the foundation for a different and higher level of rebirth.

Bob ("The Babbling Idiot" or as Russell calls me "The Last Remaining Chaucerian Character") Bernard."

In an undated note, written in pen on 5x7 watermarked paper, Mary replied (emphasis in original):


Here are the things you sent -- I fail to understand why you sent them -- as far as I'm concerned I can see no future in any kind of a relationship between us -- I have no desire whatsoever to see, talk, or receive any materials through the mail from you. Although I appreciate the trouble you went to in regards to the thorazine, I never wanted any drugs from you in the first place.

We're two different kinds of people Bob -- so rather that launch into a tirade (which would be painful for both) concerning your self-importance, etc. I would rather leave things as they are.

I want nothing from you and I can't imagine what you could possibly want from me.

Mary Knell"

What have you found in used books?

October 2, 2003

the parasites will love you when you're dead

“In a way, it was the best time of my life, just being in a wheelchair and being on morphine all the time.”
- Mark Linkous
Kinks? What kind of a motherfuckin' name is that?

Thursday afternoon quiz:

First person to email the correct answer and a mailing address will be sent a nice prize of my choice. The not-to-difficult question is:

What was the original name of The Kinks?

The prize has been claimed. the winning answer is The Ravens.
Half Hours on Earth, What are They Worth

Well, for Arnold Schwarzenegger, a comment about a half hours worth of pleasure may just cost him the job he is seeking.

The Los Angeles Times today published this article in which "Six women who came into contact with Arnold Schwarzenegger on movie sets, in studio offices and in other settings over the last three decades say he touched them in a sexual manner without their consent."

"The earliest incident of the six described to the Times was said to have occurred in 1975 at Gold's Gym near Venice Beach, Calif. E. Laine Stockton, then newly married to professional bodybuilder Robby Robinson, said she had come to the gym to watch her husband work out.

"Stockton was 19 at the time. She said she was wearing slacks, tennis shoes and a loose-fitting T-shirt. She said she was not wearing a bra.

"As she sat on an exercise bench, Stockton said, Schwarzenegger walked up behind her, reached his left hand under her T-shirt and touched her bare left breast.

"'The gym is full of bodybuilders and Arnold comes and he gropes my breast -- actually touches my breast with his left hand,' she said.

"She said Schwarzenegger then walked away without comment."

"The next incident described to the Times was said to have occurred in 1980. A former pro beach volleyball player said Schwarzenegger touched her breast on a Santa Monica, Calif., street.

"The woman remembered walking down 19th Street, just off Wilshire Boulevard, when Schwarzenegger spotted her and got out of his car, the motor still running.

"'Come here,' she recalled Schwarzenegger saying, as he motioned with his finger to the woman, then 22.

"The two knew each other. She worked as a waitress at Fromin's deli, she said, a place Schwarzenegger frequented. One day, she recalled, Schwarzenegger asked her when she was going on break. 'We could have a lot of fun in half an hour,' she remembered him saying. She said she was both a little scared and a little flattered. 'I can't say I wasn't flattered. Arnold invited me to his apartment.' She said she declined his invitation.

"Schwarzenegger renewed his invitation, she said, when he spotted her playing in a women's volleyball tournament at Venice Beach. 'After the game, he came up to me and said, 'Now you will come to my apartment.' He didn't want to hear no.' The woman said she told him, 'It's not going to happen.'

"This time, she said, as she walked along 19th Street, Schwarzenegger conveyed a sense of urgency: 'Come close, it's very important.' As she drew nearer to hear what he had to say, she recounted, Schwarzenegger 'grabbed and squeezed' her left breast.

British television host Anna Richardson said:

"'He was already kind of hyped up. He kept looking at my breasts, kept asking if I worked out,' she said. 'I went to shake his hand and he grabbed me onto his knee and he said, 'Before you go, I want to know if your breasts are real.' "

'Richardson, then 29, said she replied that her breasts were real. She said she looked around for help from the other people in the room, but nobody came to her assistance. 'At that point, he circled my left nipple with his finger and he said, 'Yes, they are real.' She said he then let her go.

"A member a movie crew said Schwarzenegger was sitting in a director's chair, surrounded by three or four other men, waiting for filming to start. It was either late afternoon or early evening, she said.

"'I was walking on the set and Arnold called out, 'Come here, you sexy devil,' and reached out and pulled me on to his lap,' the woman recalled.

"She said he then whispered in her ear: 'Have you ever had a man slide his tongue in your ass?'

"Young and unsure of herself, the woman said, 'I didn't know how to react. It was bizarre. What he said was so specifically sexual, it was bizarre.'

"'I remember looking around and seeing this bank of smiling faces and feeling alone,'" she continued. The men standing at Schwarzenegger's side, she said, 'were in total support mode -- of him, not me. It was kind of like everything he did was OK, and isn't it funny and isn't it swell? It was like they were proud of him . . . Nobody said, 'What are you doing? Leave her alone.' "

Rush, Rattled

Hours after Rush Limbaugh resigned from ESPN over comments he made about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, the New York Daily News published this story which alleges that Limbaugh previously was addicted to various prescription drugs, including OxyContin, known as hillbilly heroin, and Hydrocodone, a painkiller similar to morphine.
it's all that I can do and I wouldn't want to let you be

The Hand
-- by Michael Burkard

No one knows the honest
end or beginning -- no one
know the important details
-- living like this causes
one like her to fold her
hand early, no bluffing
left, and only distracted
ideas as to what's out there.

-- by Michael Burkard

Two copies of Denis Johnson's
Jesus' Son, write song instead.
The way the woman has her hand
up to the back of her head and
what with me without my glasses
her gloves look like they could
be brief eyes. The man with her
doesn't want to write, I assume,
but maybe he would read one of
these if I walk up in a non-
worrisome way tell myself to be
a lyric or a phrase or a brain
and bring my hand up as in a dream
ends do. Sea-light is my vacant
lot among these evening buildings.
Everyone to do. Love you are like
a mile in the day-sky which has
just shut down. Love I bring home
one book to you from a blue car
from somewhere.

October 1, 2003

"I'm not an idea. I am a person, who obviously wants to be left alone. If my music has meant anything to you, then you'll respect that."
-- Neutral Milk Hotel mastermind Jeff Mangum in response to requests for cooperation regarding this recent Creative Loafing article.
"Writing is a way of coming to terms with the world and with oneself. The whole spirit of writing is to overcome narrowness and fear by giving order, measure, and significance to the flux of experience constantly dinning into our lives."
-- R.V. Cassill

Read this interview of R. V. Cassill.

Also, don't miss this interview of maud newton.
You can't judge music by the intention of music

* Ever wonder how many cans of Mountain Dew can you drink at one sitting before the amount becomes fatal? Find out here.

* roadside art.

* Old Jukebox Jury with Pavement, Silver Jews, Will Oldham and Royal Trux.