May 28, 2004

there's a black tinted sunset, the prettiest of skies

Three poems by Franz Wright

The Talk

Aged a lot during our talk
(you were gone).
Left and wandered the streets for some hours—
melodramatic, I know—
poor, crucified by my teeth.

And yet, how we talked
for a while.
All those things we had wanted to say for so long,
yes—I sat happily nodding
my head in agreement,
but you were gone.
In the end it gets discouraging.

I had let myself in;
I'd sat down in your chair.
I could just see you reading late
in the soft lamp-light—
looking at a page,

listening to its voice,

yellow light shed in circles, in stillness,
all about your hair . . .

The Street

On it lives one bird

who commences singing, for some reason best known to
itself, at precisely 4 a.m.

Each day I listen for it in the night.
I too have a song to say alone

but can't begin. On it, surrounded by blocks of
black warehouses,

is located this room. I say this room, but no one

how many rooms I have. So many rooms how shall I

so many . . . Also yours, though you are never

It's true I've been gone a long time.
But I have come back. I have.

Where are you?
I can change.

When You See Fame Coming, Run

I owe you so much--
I owe you my life.
I would have killed myself
five different times, had it
not been for the thought of
your intense secret pleasure
while you wept at my grave.

I would go hiddenly,
write in rage: when she smiles
she looks just like a knife blade--
know what I mean.
In my mind, I was already dead; now

I am alive again
and it is you
who're deceased, despite appearances
and I like this
so much better.

To tell you the truth.

May 27, 2004

these boys are not ironic, they are real

* Last night at Austin's Parrish Black Nasty rocked the house, cracking up both his backing band and most of the crowd, who listened to his tales of incest, animal fucking, and facials with joy (Its been a long time since I've seen so many smiling faces at a show). Pink Nasty (who has an outstanding voice) opened the set -- which contained enough ass-fucking references to be a wonkette favorite -- with the national anthem, and from then on, the crowd paid rapt attention and hung on every word out of Black Nasty's mouth.

If you are in Texas and can get to one of the remaining shows on this tour, go go go. If you can't, get to the website, listen to the clips, and BUY BUY BUY his album. Your friends will be glad you did.

Later, Bonnie Prince Billy brought his songs of incest and mountain fucking to a packed house via a band which included five guitars (Matt Sweeney, an Oldham brother and Pink Nasty among them, the band also had Bonnie regular Peter Townsend on drums). They played some palace classics, a few new songs (from, I was told, a Bonnie and Matt Sweeney project that is in the mastering stage), as well as rousing renditions of "I See a Darkness," and "Ease on Down the Road." Great show, best part is I get to do it all over again tonight.

* Anyone surprised at this?

"A 53-year-old man sued the estate of Dr. Robert C. Atkins and the company that promotes his diet yesterday. The suit says following the Atkins diet for two years raised the man's cholesterol so much that his arteries became clogged and required a medical procedure to open them.

"The suit is apparently the first to involve the diet, the most prominent and controversial low-carbohydrate regimen and the one most associated with assertions that followers could eat all the red meat and saturated fat they wanted and still lose weight.

"The plaintiff, Jody Gorran, who is being assisted by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, an advocacy group that supports a vegan diet, is seeking $28,000 in damages. Mr. Gorran said he was using the suit to tell other people about the dangers of the diet and to have its promoters include warnings in books, other products and Web sites.

* Italian town makes fucking in cars safer:

"The Italian village famed as the birthplace of Leonardo da Vinci has just notched up another invention: the world's first official love carpark.

"Vinci council has set aside 172 parking spaces for lovers to use at night without having to fear arrest for indecent behaviour - or attacks by serial killers.

"A sports stadium carpark by day transforms into a drive-in for lovers by night, with soft lighting and rubbish bins by each window.

"Mayor Giancarlo Faenzi claimed 90 per cent of local residents had made love in a car at least once.

"Car sex is common in Italy, where most children live with their parents until they marry, often well into their 30s.

"But a serial killer known as The Monster terrorised Tuscans during the 80s and 90s, attacking couples in their cars and cutting out their genitals."

May 26, 2004

I realize Nixon lied to the nation, but he withered under his own weight

* Sex and violence and Iraq. excerpt:

"So this is one problem: a culture whose definition of 'good' and 'bad' has been flattened and evacuated by the massive disrespect for human life that seems to have permeated it (and I am talking about the lives of the born, now, not the only lives that the Republicans ever seem to be concerned about). But there is something else about the photos from Abu Ghraib - something that was pointed out in a piece by Susan Sontag that has been making the rounds.

"There are, after all, photos out there of the civilian victims of our violence. They don't run in the American media, of course; but they are not hard to find on the web, in the Arab media as well as the British and European press. But what those photos do not show is what Sontag identifies as the most distinctive and disturbing feature of the Abu Ghraib photos: the smiling faces of the perpetrators. As Sontag points out, the Abu Ghraib photos bring it home to us once and for all that the people who are torturing the bodies in these photos think that what they are doing is A-OK. There's no remorse, no revulsion, not even a slight shudder of squeamishness. They have embraced this evil as their good; and they're sure that we the viewers will do the same.
"And if we accept that things like the Makr al-Deb massacre are natural, necessary, and right, then we are all saying it right along with Kimmitt, the torturers of Abu Ghraib, and Satan: 'Evil, be thou my good.'

"Don't worry - I'm quoting Milton's Satan here, the one from Paradise Lost, not the Biblical Satan. I haven't gone evangelical all of a sudden. But I will say that one of the worst things that the Christian right has done to discourse in this country is to capture the language of morality. We secular humanist types now feel as if as soon as we start talking about good and evil we are one step away from frothing about FORRRRRRNICATION! But good and evil are not the prisoners of any one religious system, nor do they require a deity or an eschatology to shore up their meaning. And it is absolutely insane that they have, in our country, become so thoroughly entangled with sexual morality. We spend all this time fighting about whether it is or is not evil for two consenting adults of the same gender to have sex with each other, and we have apparently failed to maintain our grasp on the concept that killing people is wrong. We have spent so much time as a culture obsessing over sex as foul, filthy, and obscene that we have forgotten how foul, filthy, and obscene violence is.

"I hope we can get back one of these days to a responsible, honest, and usefully complex understanding of good and evil. I hope, someday, public policy and public discourse will be founded on a shared believe in the value of human life and human dignity rather than one sect's tendentious and self-serving interpretation of one book. I still hope to see us, one day, find our way out of the moral wasteland into which Bush has led this country. And the rest of the world no doubt hopes to see it too, because in our descent into hell we are pulling a lot of the world in after us.

"I hope we find our way out of Iraq and that we find it soon. But it will only be the first step in what will be a very long journey home."

* BBC Reports the obvious: that the war in Iraq has helped Al-Qaeda recruit.

* "Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music, But, man, there's no boundary line to art." -- Charlie Parker

May 25, 2004

You have laid here by the waterside You have let the family down

* Practice, does not make perfect.

* Long piecee on the mountain goats. [via tim thompson] excerpt:

"We don't always follow characters, however; sometimes we follow the lyric itself as it metamorphoses into animals, shimmies up trees, or heads north toward Alaska 'where there's snow to suck the sound out from the air.' We hear it describe the continent eroding, or the rising flames of burning ships 73 years before the start of the Christian era. We hear the singer's heart become an onion rising up in his throat with the first spring thaws. We are warmed by a western sun that always seems to be sending out 'signals' as it sets; we hear the old songs of Bacchus crackle through transistor radio static. Above all, we hear the strumming and that unmistakable nasal tenor, and we are made aware of every word that is sung.

"That strumming, that voice, and those lyrics form the heart of the Mountain Goats song. This does not preclude musical collaborations (in fact, some of the Goats' best songs include an overlay of bass or violin), but every sound must follow the beat of that tripartite heart for the poetry of the song to survive. This has led many reviewers, against the protests of Darnielle, to reduce the entire Mountain Goats output as the work of 'one guy alone in his living room,' but they have a point: one is responding not so much to the music as to the primitive imagination of one guy alone somewhere -- bedroom? mountaintop? -- being carried by a few strummed chords into a landscape entirely his own, and then describing what he sees.
"Poems, however, tend to have a far smaller -- though arguably more passionate -- audience than popular music, so it's not surprising that the Mountain Goats have become, as one critic observes, 'a boutiquer's taste: a little something for a highly specialized portion of the population, but hardly a crowd-pleaser in any sense of the word.' For the same reasons, it's also not surprising that the Mountain Goats have done their share of offending and baffling sensibilities. One reviewer at the online music publication Pitchfork Media writes of a re-issued rarities anthology, 'This album is rotten with lyrics and music that nobody should be able to get away with,' but then concedes, with a certain petulance, that 'John Darnielle has the singular ability to sing lines that nobody should be able to sing straight-faced and make them sound simultaneously absurd, melancholy, and absolutely beautiful.' I would agree, but I think the real point being made here -- which even lovers of poetry will probably agree with -- is that nobody should be allowed to recite their own poetry straight-faced. Inexplicably, a few people pull it off. This is why we listen.

* Bush campaign outsourced campaign contribution call center to India. excerpt:

"For 14 months between May 16, 2002 and July 22, 2003, HCL BPO Services — the 100 per cent-owned subsidiary of Shiv Nadar-promoted HCL Technologies — had some 125 agents working in seven teams soliciting financial contributions for the Republican Party. US presidential elections are slated for November 2004.

"The mandate for the teams was to mobilise support for President George W. Bush and solicit political contributions ranging between $5 and $3,000 from lakhs of registered Republican voters. The voters’ database was provided by the Republican National Committee (RNC), the party’s premier political organisation.

"The contract for running the campaigns was originally awarded by RNC to Washington-based Capital Communications Group that provides consulting services to government and private clients for cultural and political networking. For cost and efficiencies gains, the company outsourced the work to HCL Technologies that in turn sent it offshore.
"But the million-dollar question is why was the contract called off? Insiders say the growing resentment in the US audiences against outsourcing to India and strong reactions from Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry were at the root of capping the contract. The anti-outsourcing lobby within the Republicans also had a hand in ending the contract, insiders divulged. But according to HCL sources one consideration was non-viability in the last few months after having covered most voters from the RNC database."

* Will be in Austin, Texas for the remainder of the week to see friends as well as to see black nasty open for bonnie 'prince' billy.

May 24, 2004

people talk of situations, read books, repeat quotations

Happy Birthday to Bob Dylan.
vicarious pleasure in my brain fantasic life never the same

Three Poems by Thurston Moore


the fellowship of buried lives
walks by the window of the
laundromat on 13th and A
i'm hanging out with old puerto
rican women sitting on the
bench staring at the spinning
wash like staring at the tv
eating a candy bar, drinking coffee, smoking cigs.
a tall freak fantastic is pulling out frayed black frill
from the drier
what can/did/do i do - 19, new in town
i don't do nothing

please, don't ever leaf me

sonic youth is playing
a tiny club in new orleans
with unwound and polvo and
the place is a pressure cooker ready to blow. a girl in
the audience scales the club wall
and stands
on a lighting rig
beam. we have to
stop playing and try to coax
her down. kim asks her why she is up there.
she explains she can't see and for $30
she wants to see. we tell her
that tickets
are only $15 and she confesses
she had to buy one
for her boyfriend. kim sez,
"that was yr first mistake."


on the sun meat
puppets psycho
candy the jesus
& mary chain vu
velvet underground the nation's saving grace
the f
all 1/2 mensch
einsturzende neubauten worldbroken saccharine
trust the process of weeding out black
flag 3 way
tie for last minutemen loose
nut black
flag snake
boy kill
dozer plays for lovers beef
eater racer
x big black cream
corn from the socket of davis butt
hole surfers the first born
is dead nick cave & the bad seeds chronic dis

May 20, 2004

I never tire of the solitary E

* Surprise, surprise: GAO claims Bush administration promotion of Medicare changes broke the law.

* From a 1996Thurston Moore interview of Patti Smith. excerpt:

TM: What's the first record you ever bought?

PS: Shrimp Boats by Harry Belafonte, Patience and Prudence doing The Money Tree, and, embarrassingly enough, Neil Sedaka's Climb Up. My mother bought me a box set of Madame Butterfly when I was sick. I got Coltrane's My Favorite Things. My mother was a counter waitress in a drugstore where they had a bargain bin of used records. One day she brought this record home and said, "I never heard of the fellow but he looks like somebody you'd like," and it was Another Side of Bob Dylan. I loved him. You see, I had devoted so much of my girlish daydreams to Rimbaud. Rimbaud was like my boyfriend. If you're 15 or 16 and you can't get the boy you want, and you have to daydream about him all the time, what's the difference if he's a dead poet or a senior? At least Bob Dylan... it was a relief to daydream about somebody who was alive.

TM: Did you ever see John Coltrane?

PS: Yes. Once in Philly in '63 when My Favorite Things came out. There were two jazz clubs right next to each other, Pep's and the Showboat. You had to be eighteen, so these people helped me get dressed up, trying to look older. I was basically a pigtails and sweatshirt kind of kid. So I got in for fifteen minutes and saw him and then they carded me and kicked me out. He did "Nature Boy." I was in such heaven seeing them, Elvin Jones and McCoy Tyner, that I wasn't even disturbed that I got thrown out.

TM: I suppose youth culture was very familiar with jazz at that time.

PS: It was a small culture. Kids who were too young for the beat thing and too old for the Beatles got into jazz.

TM: Do you remember your first guitar?

PS: I saw this really old Martin in a pawn shop, it had a woven, colored strap and I loved it. I saved my money, but when I went back to get it, it was gone. So I bought a little Martin. I didn't know anything about tuning. I could never understand why my chords never sounded like the songs in my Bob Dylan song book. And then I met Sam Shepard and he showed me. He bought me this '30s black Gibson, which I still have. It's the same kind of guitar Robert Johnson plays.

* The Boston Phoenix on magnetic field's 'i'.
The morning paper is on it's way And it's all bad news on every page

* Washington Post's Reliable Source column picks up on the Washingtonienne story making its way around DC. As reported here yesterday, Wonkette broke the story Tuesday afternoon, just before the Washingtonienne blog vanished. And today has posted pictures of the possible Bush appointed chief of staff who paid Washingtonienne for sex. For additional information, go to Swamp-City, who provided many details as they unfolded yesterday.
Potluck Setlist

Happy Birthday -- The Birthday Party
Empty Glass -- Pete Townsend
Standards -- The Jam
Firecracker -- Half-Japanese
Getting Older -- The Clean
Max Earnst -- Mission of Burma
Thank You For Sending Me An Angel -- Luna
Smashing Times -- Television Personalities
Rain -- The Clientele
Qui Est in Qui Est out -- Serge Gainsbourg
Saved -- Momus
Go Down, Congress -- The Fugs
Dig Down -- Bobby Bare Jr.
No Tan Lines -- Pavement
Bury Me With It -- Modest Mouse
Kennedy -- Wedding Present
Me & Bean -- Spoon
So Sad About Us -- The Who
Johnny Thunder -- Kinks
Pop Loser -- Velocity Girl
Sally Was a Legend -- Robyn Hitchcock
Faster Guns -- The Wrens
King of Carrot Flowers Parts 2 & 3 -- Neutral Milk Hotel
Advice to a Graduate -- Silver Jews
Nothing Adventurous Please -- Lambchop
The Sunset and Electric Bill -- Lullaby for the Working Class
Perfect Depth -- The Tyde

May 19, 2004

Why was I born today Life is useless like Ecclesiastes say

Happy Birthday, Pete. Join us at Potluck to celebrate.

* Yesterday, Wonkette linked to a Hill staffer's blog, which claimed (of course its unclear if any of the information if true) she regularly was paid to have sex with a "Bush appointee." Within hours the website was shut down, and word is the staffer was fired. But who is the appointee?

* Another fantastic, albeit sad, short personal story at Tequila mockingbird. Go read it.

* Former Abu Ghraib Intel Staffer Sgt. Samuel Provance said: "There's definitely a cover-up. People are either telling themselves or being told to be quiet."

May 18, 2004

Iron out the creases rip it up to pieces

* Be glad this guy is not your neighbor.

* 50 mysterious circumstances surrounding the killing of Nick Berg. excerpt:

"For a number of reasons, it does not appear that the Jordanian terrorist Abu Masab Al-Zaraqawi, who was voice identified by the CIA (and whose name was on the tape), was involved. He has a poorly functioning prosthetic leg and a hand tattoo, which should have been observed. Neither were. The accent of the speaker in the video was not Jordanian. Why has the CIA seemingly lied about the analysis of Al-Zarqawi's voice and his role in the killing?

"Considering the many discrepancies and contradictions noted below, it seems possible that the Berg killing is a poorly crafted psy-ops exercise. This video was possibly constructed by U.S. operatives to impact the extremely volatile political developments in the U.S. and the international condemnation around the Abu Ghraib torture photos. The torture photos are mentioned in the speech in the video, though Berg may have been killed before the photos were circulated."

* John Stewart's commencement address at William & Mary. excerpt:

"...College is something you complete. Life is something you experience. So don’t worry about your grade, or the results or success. Success is defined in myriad ways, and you will find it, and people will no longer be grading you, but it will come from your own internal sense of decency which I imagine, after going through the program here, is quite strong…although I’m sure downloading illegal files…but, nah, that’s a different story.

"Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may.

"And the last thing I want to address is the idea that somehow this new generation is not as prepared for the sacrifice and the tenacity that will be needed in the difficult times ahead. I have not found this generation to be cynical or apathetic or selfish. They are as strong and as decent as any people that I have met. And I will say this, on my way down here I stopped at Bethesda Naval, and when you talk to the young kids that are there that have just been back from Iraq and Afghanistan, you don’t have the worry about the future that you hear from so many that are not a part of this generation but judging it from above.

"And the other thing….that I will say is, when I spoke earlier about the world being broke, I was somewhat being facetious, because every generation has their challenge. And things change rapidly, and life gets better in an instant."

And the loons on the moor, the fish in the flow

* From Ed Sander's 1968: A History in Verse

"The 9:45 am entry in Sirhan Sirhan's diary
on May 18:

'My determination to eliminate R.F.K. is becoming more
the more of an unshakable obsession port wine port
wine port wine R.F.K. must die -- R.F.K. must be killed
Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated R.F.K. must be
assassinated R.F.K. must be assassinated R.F.K. must
be assassinated...'

and repeated nine more times before the grim words:

'Robert F. Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June

Although it appears to me that the words 5 June 1968
were written in a different handwriting
and the the pages of this diary
might have been written druning robo-mumble

Anything mentioned in the presence of a subject
under hypnosis is automatically etched into his mind
especially if it comes from the hypnotist,
and it might flow out at any time

His handles could have
made sure incriminating notebooks
were written, or perhaps,
Mr. Sirhan might have quick-scripted
some of his note pages
in a 'trance regression.'"

* A must read letter from Iraq at Talking Points Memo.

* The roots of torture: How the Bush Adminstration rewrote the rules. excerpt:

"The Bush administration created a bold legal framework to justify this system of interrogation, according to internal government memos obtained by NEWSWEEK. What started as a carefully thought-out, if aggressive, policy of interrogation in a covert war—designed mainly for use by a handful of CIA professionals—evolved into ever-more ungoverned tactics that ended up in the hands of untrained MPs in a big, hot war. Originally, Geneva Conventions protections were stripped only from Qaeda and Taliban prisoners. But later Rumsfeld himself, impressed by the success of techniques used against Qaeda suspects at Guantanamo Bay, seemingly set in motion a process that led to their use in Iraq, even though that war was supposed to have been governed by the Geneva Conventions. Ultimately, reservist MPs, like those at Abu Ghraib, were drawn into a system in which fear and humiliation were used to break prisoners' resistance to interrogation."

May 17, 2004

This old town is filled with sin

* The Gothamist interviews chris eigeman. excerpt:

Q: "How often do fans come up to you and start reciting some of your incredibly memorable lines (which I imagine you adlib right there on the spot, flaunting your mastery of the English language's wit, nuances, and vocabulary) e.g., 'Well I'm not using 'prig' pejoratively'; or 'And sometimes in Latin'?

A: "It happens occasionally, and it's always flattering, (unless it goes on too long, if you're going to quote the whole damn movie - the experience is going to go south). By far the best - there's a scene in Kicking And Screaming where a glass breaks on the floor, and instead of cleaning it up, I put a piece of paper on the shards that says 'broken glass', and twice now people have come up to where I'm eating and laid a napkin with "broken glass" written on it and just kept on walking. Pretty elegant.

But no. I can take no credit for making up any of the funny lines on the spot - they were all written well, and I just didn't fuck em up when I had to put them over.

Q: "In the majority of your work, you've played a New Yorker. Even when it wasn't clearly stated that you were playing a New Yorker, you still were obviously playing one. Since DeNiro, Pacino, et al. are getting mighty long in the tooth, have you begun formulating an official war plan for making yourself the living, acting, physical embodiment of New York City? Perhaps opening a restaurant or sponsoring a little league team?

A: "After a lot of thought I do think I have a war plan. In order to bring Times Square back to some of its former 1970's glory, to make it less "Family Friendly" and scruff it up a bit, I would like to sponsor up to five 3 Card Monte crews that would work the square. They were national treasures that have been unceremoniously tossed away. And if we are going to have to put up with this sea of shiny happy touristy faces on 42nd street, I would like to do whatever I can to take the occasional $20 out of their pockets.

Q: "Please share a personal (and hopefully interesting) NYC taxi story.

A: "I took a cabbie to taxi court once. Years ago, this guy didn't want to take me to Bklyn. Just refused. I explained that I would absolutely take him to Taxi Court because, see, I'm an actor and have pretty much nothing but free time. He still refused. So three weeks later we found ourselves sitting across from each other at a long table with a lawyer doing pro bono work as a Taxi Court Judge sitting at the head . I told my side - 'He just refused.' He told his side 'I had a flat tire, this guy (me) jumped in my cab and demanded to go to Bklyn, I explained I had a flat tire and this guy (still me) jumped into the front of my cab, started yelling and tried to push me out of the cab' (really - this was the best story he could come up with. And I have to say, it was amazing to sit there and watch this guy try and sell this thing). The Taxi Court Judge said 'I think you're lying' to the cabbie, fined him $200, and said we were all done. So now Furious Cabbie and I had to walk down a long hall and out to the reception room together. That walk was sort of the dark side of the whole Cabbie Court experience. He was really, really mad.

* Tiny Mix Tapes interviews sam beam of iron and wine. excerpt:

TMT: A lot of listeners have commented on the change in intimacy between the two recordings. Do you prefer one to the other?

Beam: No, I don't really prefer one to the other. I don't really write songs just to be recorded in a certain context. They have to exist, whether I record them at the house or record them in the studio or play them live, you know, or in the bathroom or whatever. I don't really write them with that particular sound in mind. I don't really have a preference. There's definitely a certain quality to the home recordings, a different kind of quality to the studio stuff.

TMT: I found that several of your songs really have this striking imagery. I'm especially thinking right now of "Cinders and Smoke.” Do you ever approach songs like this with merely an image and work from there?

Beam: Yeah. I mean, all of them are kind of different. They all start differently and progress differently. In that one, the melody worked out and it seemed like such a change from what I had been doing up until then. You know, the reggae beat and all that stuff, the rhythm. But I thought it would be interesting to make some kind of image of destruction and rebirth. And so the whole metaphor of the barn burning down came out of that.

TMT: Music critics are silly, I'm sure you know this. But I think we often make the mistake of assuming that songs are autobiographical. I freaked out the first time I heard the Wilco song "She's a Jar” because I thought, "oh no, Jeff Tweedy's beating up on his wife.” But would you say that your more narrative-driven songs are written from your personal perspective, or do you use a constructed persona for point of view?

Beam: It's both, really. Everybody uses a certain amount of autobiographical material just because you have to have something personal to relate to what you're writing about. But that doesn't necessarily mean I've done all those things or experienced all those things. Very seldom. My life is kind of boring. It's much more interesting to start with something personal and move more and more into fantasy or more and more into what I've been told. Or the opposite. You start with just pure fantasy and work it toward something more personal. I think I used to write a lot more confessional kinds of songs, but I think it's just more interesting to me not to do that.

TMT: Your lyrics are very poetic, I might have already mentioned. I read once that you enjoy reading poets like Galway Kinnell and Robert Frost. Your lyrics, I found, are very Frost-like, like the bird imagery in songs like "Upward Over the Mountain” and you also seem to share Kinnell's view of life as sweetened by impending death.

Beam: If you read a lot of modern stuff, it's a pretty common theme. I guess you have a lot of things to cherish, like family; lots of stuff like that sweetens the deal because it's a finite time so you try to enjoy it.

TMT: Do you tend to read poets whose aesthetic agrees with yours, or do you draw influence to form your own aesthetic?

Beam: Mostly the latter. I don't really get a whole lot into stuff that reminds me of myself. I'm kinda boring. [laughs] But I try to find stuff that I don't understand, something that's new. To me that's where the art of poetry lies.

Words wont tell me what your bodys all about

* From the May 2004 Harper's Magazine Index:

-- Chance that a Western European has a positive opinion on George W. Bush: 1 in 10

-- Estimated percentage of women in Pakistani prisons whose crime was fornication: 80

-- Ratio of the average number of television sets to the number of children per U.S. household: 7:2

-- Number of countries given weapons-grade uranium since the 1950s under the U.S. Atoms for Peace program: 51

* Ten questions for Rodney Dangerfield. excerpt:

Q: "You’re 82 years old and married to a much younger woman. How’s your sex life?

A: "I tell you, my sex life today is the same as when I was a kid in my 20s. I never got anything then either.

Q: "Your new autobiography delves into your extreme fondness for marijuana. Do you still smoke pot?

A: "Once in a while, yeah. It still relaxes me. You get a different head because of your age, but not because of the pot. Marijuana should definitely be legal. Booze is a hundred times worse. Marijuana makes you passive—the last thing you want to do when you’re high is have a fight.

Q: "Back in the day, you knew Lenny Bruce and today you occasionally appear on Howard Stern’s show. Do you think there’s such a thing as crossing the line in comedy?

A: "I guess you can do that if you do an insulting ethnic joke or something like that. I work blue, very blue, you know. But I’m also working in Vegas for an all-adult audience. Sometimes I see parents walking out of the show with their kids who are, like, 10 years old.

* BBC Arts: A history of books.

May 14, 2004

Some people seem so obsessed with the morning

Join us at Potluck for Pete's 59th Birthday.

May 13, 2004

Stunning bureaucrat you’re so fucking lost

* The Drug War: 21st Century Prohibition?


"I find it flabbergasting that Nixon’s draconian war on drugs has not been smashed, stomped, pummeled and pulverized (perhaps I’ve spent one too many early mornings grubbing in a drunken stupor at Waffle House). The war on drugs is the alcohol prohibition of the 1920s and early ’30s, part deux.

"We all know that prohibiting the sale of alcohol was a miserable failure. In fact, it was such a complete catastrophe that the Constitution’s 21st Amendment ensures alcohol never again will be made illegal. Thank you, FDR! The war on drugs is the equivalent of drug prohibition. Like its predecessor, it plagues over society, a veritable war on the impoverished.

"Since the inception of the drug prohibition, teen drug use has multiplied seven times. Teenagers are rebels without a cause. They want to abuse some type of substance, and alcohol and tobacco, the only legal drugs, are difficult to obtain without a fake ID. Plus, they're legal; that’s not resisting authority. I remember high school — the preps, the hippies, the clicks and the illegal drugs running through all of the different circles. I do not recall even once seeing alcohol or tobacco in anybody’s backpack.
"Holland legalized marijuana and heroin long ago. As a percentage, it has half the amount of people dancing with Mary Jane that we have here at home, and a third of the smack users. I am for a safe America, where I am free to roam through the streets of Los Angeles, New York or Atlanta by myself at night, unafraid and uninhibited; where the rich do not have to barricade their homes, alienating themselves from the rest of the world in an attempt to protect their possessions.

"Drug abusers have nowhere to go to find information or treatment. Jail is their only recourse. It is high time we end this crusade of intolerance. Educate and rehabilitate, do not humiliate and incarcerate.

"Every dollar spent on incarcerating people is seven times more effective when spent on education and treatment. Sheltering the homeless, feeding the hungry — just providing for the poor in general — is much more helpful to society than imprisoning nonviolent drug offenders. Assistance, acceptance and understanding are better for the poor and impoverished, and for society as a cohesive, dynamic, “living” organism. Taking this angle, our organism is murderous, masochistic, and hateful — endangered. Ending the war on drugs will not save us, but it will be one giant leap toward curing our ailing society."

* College slang from around the world.

* Powell contradicts Bush and Rumsfeld.
And if Epiphany's terror reduced you to shame

Would Rumsfeld have released Goya's Disasters of War images?

Goya, by Andrei Voznesensky

I am Goya!...

I am the voice

Of war, the charred wood of towns . . .

I am the throat

Of the woman whose hanged body, like a bell,

Clanged over the empty square . . .

I am Goya!

May 12, 2004

The best lack all convictions, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

* Marianne Faithfull on William Burroughs. [via bookslut]

* Why you should not put your picture on the Internet.

* Tony Blair watches Robert Altman smoke pot at a party. [via travelers diagram.]

"Hollywood maverick Robert Altman said he sparked up the after-dinner spliff in the PM's presence during a party given by Dave Stewart.

"Instead of fleeing from the room, the PM calmly continued to enjoy the meal.

"But Mr Blair did not partake and certainly did not inhale, Mr Altman said. Number 10 has refused to comment.

"'We were sitting there smoking grass. He was sitting across from me, so I thought he was pretty cool,' Mr Altman said.

"But now, Mr Altman says, he mistook that 'cool' for openness when it was in fact a 'pose.'

"The director of the acclaimed film Short Cuts said he had since been very disappointed by the prime minister's relationship with President George Bush."

And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra

* Excellent Democracy Now interview of Sy Hersh. On Rumsfeld:

"Now, even though I have known him for 30 years and I have to tell you Donald Rumsfeld is a very bright engaging, interesting man. You can disagree with him all you want, but he's always bright. He's the kind of guy that's always nice to the underlings. He's always nice to the people that take care of his coats and serve him meals. He's a very pleasant, amiable, sort of a funny, nice guy. I know I was a reporter during Watergate when I was at the New York Times and I knew him afterwards. And he is funny. The man I see now, I don't understand.

"The problem with the kind of show you had last week is you really need to have an underlying basis of information before you ask questions to the Secretary of Defense. I'm talking about in Plato’s cave, in the perfect world, so somebody like me won't get much of a chance because it's how you determine something that I may know something and I may know not as much as you, but I may know more than you think I do about this issue. And so it's always safe for the Senator or Congressman. They rarely -- it's just a useless process. Somebody makes headlines and he did say things. But the message that we have gotten out was pretty much his message, which of course is interesting to me, because we really did a good job on this. Everything is under control. There's only six or seven people. I think he actually believes it.

"As I say, this is a guy, telling the band to ply on the Titanic. I'm sure he thinks they can salvage Iraq. I'm sure the president thinks everything is okay. You cannot get the bad news in to them. And the real reality of what this meant, what the photographs mean, you know, it does say an awful lot about Donald Rumsfeld that he wasn't -- he didn't bother to look at these photographs until just recently."

* A Washington Post editorial this morning begins THE Bush administration still seeks to mislead Congress and the public about the policies that contributed to the criminal abuse of prisoners in Iraq. and concludes:

"These contradictions go to the heart of this scandal and its impact. The sickening abuse of Iraqi prisoners will do incalculable damage to American foreign policy no matter how the administration responds. But if President Bush and his senior officials would acknowledge their complicity in playing fast and loose with international law and would pledge to change course, they might begin to find a way out of the mess. Instead, they hope to escape from this scandal without altering or even admitting the improper and illegal policies that lie at its core. It is a vain hope, and Congress should insist on a different response."

* Some words from Kurt Vonnegut. [via chromewaves]


"Many years ago, I was so innocent I still considered it possible that we could become the humane and reasonable America so many members of my generation used to dream of. We dreamed of such an America during the Great Depression, when there were no jobs. And then we fought and often died for that dream during the Second World War, when there was no peace.

"But I know now that there is not a chance in hell of America’s becoming humane and reasonable. Because power corrupts us, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Human beings are chimpanzees who get crazy drunk on power. By saying that our leaders are power-drunk chimpanzees, am I in danger of wrecking the morale of our soldiers fighting and dying in the Middle East? Their morale, like so many bodies, is already shot to pieces. They are being treated, as I never was, like toys a rich kid got for Christmas."

May 11, 2004

In a crowded room I pick up your lonely stare

Two Poems by Frank O'Hara

A Raspberry Sweater
(to George Montgomery)

It is next to my flesh,
that’s why. I do what I want.
And in the pale New Hampshire
twilight a black bug sits in the blue,
strumming its legs together. Mournful
glass, and daisies closing. Hay
swells in the nostrils. We shall go
to the motorcycle races in Laconia
and come back all calm and warm.

To John Ashbery

I can’t believe there’s not
another world where we will sit
and read new poems to each other
high on a mountain in the wind.
You can be Tu Fu, I’ll be Po Chu-i
and the Monkey Lady’ll be in the moon,
smiling at our ill-fitting heads
as we watch snow settle on a twig.
Or shall we be really gone? this
is not the grass I saw in my youth!
and if the moon, when it rises
tonight, is empty —a bad sign,
meaning ‘You go, like the blossoms.’

I Don't Believe in the Sun

* Tom Engelhardt's Postcard from the Edge, concludes:

"We see the grim results of that in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. We see it in the continuous growth of the Pentagon despite the loss of all major military enemies. We see it in the grim, helter-skelter way the Bush administration has been replaying its own primal experiences -- the Cold War and Vietnam. In particular, though it's hardly been noted, we see it in the way this administration is acting out the one policy that, in the era of two superpowers, remained a fantasy.

"Given the power of the Russian military, especially once it nuclearized, the American position in the Cold War was generally considered one of 'containment.' But particularly in the early years, another policy was discussed with fervor. John Foster Dulles, President Dwight D. Eisenhower's Secretary or State (and brother of then-CIA Director Allen Dulles) called it 'rollback.' We were to rollback the borders of the Soviet empire by subversion and by military power. Never practiced (except in a few heady Korean-War months), it was much dreamt about.

"Now, in the post-Soviet era, our government has taken aspects of the worst Cold War dreams of both sides. It wants to dominate the world. (Remember when this is what we swore they wanted to do?) It wants to control an extrajudicial penal system for its enemies, a kind of global Siberia shielded from prying eyes of any sort; and it wants rollback of the now pathetically impoverished remnants of the Soviet Union, Putin's Russia (still dangerously nuclear armed). So as NATO has, with our enthusiastic support pushed deep into the western borderlands of the old Soviet Union, the U.S. military has driven its own bases deep into the former Yugoslavia, the former Islamic SSRs, those ‘stans of Central Asia, into Afghanistan (where the Soviet Union essentially expired in a brutal lost war that also gave birth to al Qaeda), and prospectively into the former SSR of Georgia which sits on a crucial oil pipeline meant to bring Caspian oil to Europe and beyond.

"This then is the world according to Bush, the world from which those photos emerged."

* From Michael Brownstein's World on Fire:

"And so, dear one, what about accountability?

Who's responsible for this pirate raid we call Western

No one in particular.

According to the legal definition of a corporation, no
one is responsible for its actions because the
corporation itself is defined as a fictitious person.

It's defined as no one in particular.

Bhopal, Exxon Valdez, Love Triangle, Times Beach.
Who's to blame?

No one in particular.

The corporate imperative ensnares all players.

CEOs of Union Carbide and Exxon genuinely grieving the
day after disasters in India and Alaska.

Two weeks later, they take refuge in damage control
and cover-ups.

Who's responsible?"

* Annoy your co-workers with the virtual drumkit.

May 10, 2004

What comes is better that what came before

* "Pop is the perfect religious vehicle. It's as if God had come down to earth and seen all the ugliness that was being created and chosen pop to be the great force for love and beauty." Donovan -- today is his birthday

* "The first question I ask myself when something doesn't seem to be beautiful is why do I think it's not beautiful. And very shortly you discover that there is no reason." --John Cage.

* A military newspaper blames Rumsfeld for "professional negligence," at the same time that George Bush praises Rumsfeld for "doing a superb job."

* The Mutes
--- by Denise Levertov

Those groans men use
passing a woman on the street
or on the steps of the subway

to tell her she is a female
and their flesh knows it,

are they a sort of tune,
an ugly enough song, sung
by a bird with a slit tongue

but meant for music?

Or are they the muffled roaring
of deafmutes trapped in a building that is
slowly filling with smoke?

Perhaps both.

Such men most often
look as if groan were all they could do,
yet a woman, in spite of herself,

knows it's a tribute:
if she were lacking all grace
they'd pass her in silence:

so it's not only to say she's
a warm hole. It's a word

in grief-language, nothing to do with
primitive, not an ur-language;
language stricken, sickened, cast down

in decrepitude. She wants to
throw the tribute away, dis-
gusted, and can't,

it goes on buzzing in her ear,
it changes the pace of her walk,
the torn posters in echoing corridors

spell it out, it
quakes and gnashes as the train comes in.
Her pulse sullenly

had picked up speed,
but the cars slow down and
jar to a stop while her understanding

keeps on translating:
'Life after life after life goes by

without poetry,
without seemliness,
without love.'

Must Be The Season of the Witch

* Lies and the lazy reporters that repeat them. excerpt:

"On May 5, newspapers and news broadcasts around the country carried alarming stories about a new study of marijuana published in that day's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. 'Stronger marijuana makes more addicted,' screamed the Los Angeles Daily News. 'Abuse and dependence rise as pot becomes more potent,' headlined the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Rising marijuana potency, the stories claimed, was leading more Americans to become addicted to the devil weed.

"Small problem: The theory that pot that is more potent is getting people hooked is almost certainly wrong. But none of the newspaper stories gave the slightest hint that might be the case.
"None of these stories chose to mention a salient fact: The 'potent pot' hypothesis is pure speculation. As Mitch Earleywine, University of Southern California associate professor of psychology and author of 'Understanding Marijuana' (Oxford University Press, 2002) notes, there is no scientific evidence that marijuana that is more potent leads to greater levels of dependence. Indeed the JAMA article makes no claim that any such evidence exists.
"That alone should have led an inquisitive reporter or two to ask if there might be an alternative explanation to the 'potent pot' theory. But the journalists covering the story failed to ask this most basic question even though the study contained a giant red flag: The increased 'abuse' occurred almost entirely among young blacks and Hispanics. There was no similar increase among whites in the same age group.

"Young blacks and Hispanics have no special access to high-potency marijuana, and there is no evidence that THC affects black and Hispanic brains differently than those of whites. But people of color are well documented to be at disproportionate risk for arrest for drug crimes.

"None of this was discussed in the Journal-Constitution story, or in the AP, Reuters and Scripps-Howard wire stories that were reprinted across the country. Indeed, what is striking about all of these stories is their similarity to the National Institute on Drug Abuse's press release. None of these esteemed newspapers or wire services chose to quote even a single expert or advocate skeptical of the government line. None of them seems to have considered the possibility that our government might spin the data in order to match its Drug War policies.

"For shame."

* Vote History: In 1960, Allen Ginsberg voted for JFK; Kerouac for Nixon

* Encouraging schoolchildren to experiment with oral sex could prove the most effective way of curbing teenage pregnancy rates, a UK government study has found.

May 7, 2004

I saw the best mind angel-headed hipster damned

Two poems by Edward Sanders from America: A History in Verse 1940-1960.

Love, Friendship & Eros in the White House

Eleanor Roosevelt's long-time friend Lorena Hickok
moved into a room
on the second floor of the White House
by the Lincoln Bedroom

Lorena's room was across a sitting room
from Eleanor's

She and Eleanor had once shared an intense passion
beginning around 1933
that has used up a forest's worth of paper
on the question of its eroticity

It's clear that Hick & Eleanor were once in love
and she had given up her career
as a big time wire service reporter
to be near Eleanor.

Eleanor was both hugely popular
& hugely hated, say,
by the Dixiecrats & misogynocrats
and so one provable Hick-gasm
would have changed history

but now it doesn't really matter
-- with edited letters &
a dim-lit Time Track --
what really happened.

While living at the White House
(she had a job with the DNC)
Hickok pretended she was staying at the Mayflower

She was there till just a few weeks before
FDR's death in 1945.

Dope Thrill '43 (April 16)

In Basel, Switzerland
a man named Albert Hoffman
chomped down on a ergot-derived substance
and caught quick colors

intense plasticity and blob-formation-serges
in the first LSD dope thrill

It was the first instance of what Tim Leary later
would call a Trip -- an avenue to the numinal
of the Cosmos

and the Great Wheel Wheeling Greatly

May 6, 2004

The possibility for a dream-filled holiday

* Pentagon flip-flops, now says climate change will destroy us. [via Lend Me Some Sugar.]

* Average IQ by state and how they voted. [via freakgirl]

State Avg. IQ 2000

1 Connecticut 113 Gore

2 Massachusetts 111 Gore

3 New Jersey 111 Gore

4 New York 109 Gore

5 Rhode Island 107 Gore

6 Hawaii 106 Gore

7 Maryland 105 Gore

8 New Hampshire 105 Bush

9 Illinois 104 Gore

10 Delaware 103 Gore

11 Minnesota 102 Gore

12 Vermont 102 Gore

13 Washington 102 Gore

14 California 101 Gore

15 Pennsylvania 101 Gore

16 Maine 100 Gore

17 Virginia 100 Bush

18 Wisconsin 100 Gore

19 Colorado 99 Bush

20 Iowa 99 Gore

21 Michigan 99 Gore

22 Nevada 99 Bush

23 Ohio 99 Bush

24 Oregon 99 Gore

25 Alaska 98 Bush

26 Florida 98 Bush

27 Missouri 98 Bush

28 Kansas 96 Bush

29 Nebraska 95 Bush

30 Arizona 94 Bush

31 Indiana 94 Bush

The rest, besides New Mexico at 38, voted for Bush...

* And, how about this one: man who leaves unattended bag (contents were a teddy bear and some fruit) at an airport has been put in Jail.
I lit a match and the void went flash

* A 66 year old man, guilty of nothing but telling the truth, rots in a prison because he is an embarassing reminder of the lies of George Bush.

* Maureen Dowd: Shocking and Awful. excerpt:

"Can't the hawks who dragged us into this hideous unholy war at least pay attention to a crisis of American credibility that's exposing Iraq and the world to more dangers every day? For the defense chief and the president to party two nights in a row, Friday at Rummy's house and Saturday at the Washington Hilton, is, to borrow a Rummy line, 'unhelpful in a fundamental way.'

"President Bush also seemed in a buoyant mood on Saturday. But he might think about getting just a tad more involved so he doesn't have to first see on TV, as he clicks around between innings, the pictures sparking a huge worldwide, American-reputation-shattering military scandal. And so he doesn't keep nattering about how we had to go to war to close Iraq's torture chambers, when they are 'really not shut down so much as under new management,' as Jon Stewart drily put it."
"Just when you thought things couldn't get worse, The Associated Press reports from London that 'U.S. soldiers who detained an elderly Iraqi woman last year placed a harness on her, made her crawl on all fours and rode her like a donkey.'

"And Douglas Feith, the defense under secretary who was in charge of Iraqi postwar planning and the secret unit that furnished prêt-à-porter intelligence to back up Dick Cheney's doomsday scenarios, told conservatives that the administration might set up an office to plan postwar operations for future wars.

"Well, on the one hand, it would be refreshing to have a postwar plan. On the other: future wars???"

* Some very bad Scrabble hands.

* "Faced with changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." -- John Kenneth Galbraith

* "There is no poetry where there are no mistakes." -- Joy Harjo

May 5, 2004

If he was from Venus, would he feed us with a spoon?

* Compilation, featuring artists Greg Hannan, Stephen E. Lewis, Samuel Nigro, and Dan Steinhilber opens Friday May 7, 2004 at Signal 66. Opening night features music by the phobes.

A piece by Stephen Lewis:

* "As long as war is looked upon as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked on as vulgar, it will cease to be popular." - Oscar Wilde
The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor

* New study which "tested the premise that punishment for cannabis use deters use and thereby benefits public health" showed that "with the exception of higher drug use in San Francisco, we found strong similarities across both cities. We found no evidence to support claims that criminalization reduces use or that decriminalization increases use."

* The greatest album covers that were never made. [via Il Cavallo Cattivo]

* The Nation on how black's votes disappear. excerpt:

"On October 29, 2002, George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Hidden behind its apple-pie-and-motherhood name lies a nasty civil rights time bomb.
"If you're black, voting in America is a game of chance. First, there's the chance your registration card will simply be thrown out. Millions of minority citizens registered to vote using what are called motor-voter forms. And Republicans know it. You would not be surprised to learn that the Commission on Civil Rights found widespread failures to add these voters to the registers. My sources report piles of dust-covered applications stacked up in election offices.

"Second, once registered, there's the chance you'll be named a felon. In Florida, besides those fake felons on Harris's scrub sheets, some 600,000 residents are legally barred from voting because they have a criminal record in the state. That's one state. In the entire nation 1.4 million black men with sentences served can't vote, 13 percent of the nation's black male population.

"At step three, the real gambling begins. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 guaranteed African-Americans the right to vote--but it did not guarantee the right to have their ballots counted. And in one in seven cases, they aren't.
"So there you have it. In the last presidential election, approximately 1 million black and other minorities voted, and their ballots were thrown away. And they will be tossed again in November 2004, efficiently, by computer--because HAVA and other bogus reform measures, stressing reform through complex computerization, do not address, and in fact worsen, the racial bias of the uncounted vote.

"One million votes will disappear in a puff of very black smoke. And when the smoke clears, the Bush clan will be warming their political careers in the light of the ballot bonfire. HAVA nice day."

May 4, 2004

-- by Jonathan Johnson

Halliday's in Italy and Koch is dead
(though I admit Koch never meant much to me).
What matters is he made Halliday feel understood
in (I imagine) much the way Halliday made me.
I read him and knew I was free.
A few years later he read me
and just often enough responded enthusiastically
(all the more shining as he's known for being curmudgeonly.
At least when it comes to poems. The opposite's true of his

Writing poems is lonely.
At its best at least it has almost nothing to do with loyalty.
But today I'm sad for Halliday
and the new way he's on his own.
Far from home. A rolling stone. And
(as far as Koch's concerned) a complete unknown.

--by Sarah Manguso

Love not the rider but the old rider,
the ghost in the saddle: Obey that ghost.
A good horse runs even at the shadow of the whip.
But we are not good horses.
We bolt. We stand still in bad weather.
We rely on things we know are unreliable,
it feels so good just to rely.
We are relied on.
But I do not know who knows that bad secret.
I do not see who sits astride by back,
who cuts my flank so lovingly on our way to the dark mountain.

May 3, 2004

everybody's somebody's criminal

* The G-Rated War: How/Why media have covered up the casualties. excerpt:

"A team of researchers at George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs led by myself and my colleague Steven Livingston recently analyzed 600 hours of coverage on CNN, Fox News Channel, and ABC from the start of the war on March 20 to the fall of Baghdad on April 9 to see how "real" the war looked on TV. We included the highly watched morning shows from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., and afternoon and early evening coverage from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"Of 1710 stories we analyzed, only 13.5 percent included any shots of dead or wounded coalition soldiers, Iraqi soldiers, or civilians. Similarly, of the 5087 individual shots of either battles or casualties in those stories, only about 15 percent showed the latter.

"Even rarer were pictures of the ultimate cost of war: Fewer than 4 percent of the shots we analyzed showed dead soldiers or civilians. And even when the dead were shown, they were more likely to be hidden inside a coffin, under a sheet, or represented by some surrogate image such as a shoe.

"These data become all the more noteworthy in contrast to the lofty rhetoric offered by journalists who ran those gory pictures of charred and mutilated contract workers hanging from a bridge in Fallujah a few weeks ago. Those who used the images argued that it's the media's responsibility to show audiences the grim realities of war. As Nightline producer Leroy Sleavers put it:

"'War is a horrible thing. It is about killing. If we try to avoid showing pictures of bodies, if we make it too clean, then maybe we make it too easy to go to war again. After all, these men and women are over there in our names, whether you agree with the war or not. Shouldn't we know what price we are asking them to pay?'"
"In Vietnam, for example, the change in media coverage occurred following the Tet Offensive, which called into question administration claims that America was winning the war and peace was at hand. Whether Fallujah will become such a symbolic turning point in this conflict will depend, as it always does, on the White House's ability to convince the American people that the costs paid by U.S. soldiers (and now civilians) are worth it.

"But recognize the paramount journalistic failure inherent in this trend: Only after a war goes to hell will the media tell you the truth. Before that, reporters and, especially, producers are too cowed by the White House, perceived audience pressure, and these days the Patriotism Police in the right wing media to dare risk offense by simply doing their jobs and reporting the whole story about a war."

"Walt Whitman said of the horribly bloody Civil War 'the real war will never get in the books.' Sadly, Americans saw more of the grim reality of that war – the first American conflict in which photographs of dead soldiers were available to the public – than they do on television today."

* Clint Conley talks about the first Mission of Burma record in 22 years, which will be out tomorrow. [via largeheartedboy]

* Steve Almond's spring music tips.
And so the rent became whiskey

* PacManhattan "is a large-scale urban game that utilizes the New York City grid to recreate the 1980's video game sensation Pac-Man. This analog version of Pac-man is being developed in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications graduate program, in order to explore what happens when games are removed from their 'little world' of tabletops, televisions and computers and placed in the larger "real world" of street corners, and cities.

"A player dressed as Pac-man will run around the Washington square park area of Manhattan while attempting to collect all of the virtual "dots" that run the length of the streets. Four players dressed as the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde will attempt to catch Pac-man before all of the dots are collected.

"Using cell-phone contact, Wi-Fi internet connections, and custom software designed by the Pac-Manhattan team, Pac-man and the ghosts will be tracked from a central location and their progress will be broadcast over the internet for viewers from around the world." The next game is tentatively scheduled for Saturday May 8, 2004, at noon, Washington Square Park.

* Blumenthal on Bush's Fervent Falsehoods. excerpt:

"Perhaps the most important divide in the presidential campaign is between fact and fiction. There are, of course, other sharp distinctions based on region and religiosity, guns and gays, abstinence and abortion. But were the election to be decided on domestic concerns alone George W. Bush would be nearly certain to join the ranks of one-term presidents, like his father after the aura of the Gulf War evaporated.

"But one year after Bush's triumphant May Day landing in a flight suit on the deck of the USS Lincoln and appearance behind the White House-ordered sign 'Mission Accomplished,' his splendid little war has entered a Stalingrad-like phase of urban siege and house-to-house combat. By far, April has been the bloodiest month -- 122 U.S. soldiers killed, compared with 73 last April in the supposed last month of the war. The unending war has inspired among Bush's backers a rally-'round-the-flag effect, a redoubling of belief.

"They believe in the cause as articulated by Vice President Dick Cheney this past week in his speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., where Winston Churchill delivered his famous 'Iron Curtain' oration. 'You and I are living in such a time' of the 'gravest of threats,' said Cheney. Churchill stands as the model of leadership. 'And today we have such a leader in President George W. Bush.' Once again Cheney explains the motive for the Iraq war, implicitly conflating Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida and oblivious to the failure to discover WMD. 'His regime cultivated ties to terror,' he said, 'and had built, possessed, and used weapons of mass destruction.' And Saddam 'would still be in power,' he continued, coming to the point of his allegory, if John Kerry, cast as Neville Chamberlain, had had his way.
"The brazen smears about Kerry's wounds and medals, his voting record on military programs as a senator and his loyalty have been communicated by the Bush-Cheney campaign through an unprecedented estimated $50 million in TV and radio advertising in fewer than 60 days in 17 swing states. This storm of unremitting negativity has bolstered the faith of Bush supporters tested by recent events and has managed to maintain the contest at a draw.

"The attacks against Kerry have an internal logic consistent with the earlier falsehoods. They are a bodyguard of lies to protect the original ones that are the Praetorian Guard of Bush's presidency."

* 21 songs David Berman has been thinking about.