July 29, 2004

Elegy for Frank Stanford
-- by Thomas Lux


A message from the secretary tells me first
the heavy clock you were
in your mother's lap
has stopped: you,
with three lead thuds,
determined insults, to your heart.
You dumb fucker, Frank.
I assume, that night, the seminarians
were mostly on their knees
and on their dinner plates only a few
wing-bones--quiet flutes
ahead of the wind. . . . I can almost
understand, Frank: your nerves'
odometer needle waving
in danger, your whole
body, in fact, ping-raked, a rainbow
disassembling. You woke, in the dark,
dreaming a necklace of bloodsuckers. . . .
But that final gesture,
Frank: irreversible cliché.
The long doorman of the east continues
his daily job, bending slightly
at the waist to wave dawn past.
Then the sparrows begin
their standard tunes, every day, Frank,
every day. There's the good hammer--
music up in the poles
of north and south; there's the important
rasp of snake over desert and rock;
there's agriculture--even when it fails:
needle-sized carrots, blue pumpkins;
and presidencies, like ours, Frank,
of dredging companies, but presidencies. . . .
You must have been desiring exit badly.
So now, you're a bit of gold to pound
back into the earth, the dew, of course,
forever lapping your toes,--
Frank, you dumb fucker,--who loves you
loves you regardless.

* Off to Walloon Lake, Michigan for a wedding. and to observe the Hemingway souveniers. Back Monday.

July 28, 2004

you're thoughts they start to turn in to the lessons that you're learning

* Diamonds are forever. Debeers diamond ads you won't see elsewhere, unfortunately. [via tmftml]

* Bush finds 9/11 report "interesting," noting it reads like a mystery. excerpt:

"It reads like a mystery, a novel. It's well written," Bush told The Associated Press in a brief interview just outside his home in Crawford. Asked what he was gleaning from the report, he said, "I'm gleaning that was a well-thought-out plot by the enemy."

Pathetic. As you know he's got to go.

* The Landover Baptist Church [which cannot be for real, right?] has put together 10 "Homo Prevention Tips". [via jesus' general] excerpt:

"1. A boy must not sit on a toilet unless he is having a bowel movement. Standing straight up, not hunched over while urinating, is a sign of manliness. Squatting on a toilet seat (especially if he hovers to avoid the urine of others or prissily wipes the seat with a square of toilet tissue) to pee is not only effeminate but a sign of shame! It is a secret hobby that homosexuals use in their daily lives. It is a scientific fact that when needing to use the restroom, a male is called upon to engage in the unpleasant undertaking of extruding a poopy in only 1 out of every 3 visits. But homosexuals use all three visits to practice squatting, to limber the cheeks of their bottom in preparation for even the most enormous (Negro) penises. Such calisthenics are neither necessary nor advisable for men who have no intention of squatting over an engorged penis. As soon as your child is able to walk on two feet, you must make that sure he is taught to stand proudly in front of a private or public toilet seat, and to speak not a word, especially in response to the coy whispers of Catholic priests in the next stall.

3. A boy must always wear socks, except while swimming. So-called, "flip-flops" and "sandals," where the toes and ankles are exposed are products that were created during the (homo)sexual revolution. Creation research indicates that these types of provocative "shoes," were invented by homosexuals in San Fransissyco during the late 1960's with fetishes for little boy ankles. Thwart the perverted delight of these pedo-pedophiles with a thick pair of tube socks!

4. A boy must not be allowed to watch cartoons of any kind. He should spend Saturday mornings sitting quietly by his Father's side (with a respectful 3" between the male bodies), watching sports that don't involved male leotards. He must watch Football, Basketball, Baseball and Boxing. Soccer is not a sport for civilized people and often results in alarmingly long, uncut penises escaping from very alluring satin shorts. Soccer appeals only to poor, uneducated halflings from underdeveloped countries where the women grow mustaches twice as fast as the men. Make your child aware of this. When there are no sports on TV, take your boy out in the backyard and throw the football or play catch with a very hard baseball. Under no circumstances: wrestle in shorts, especially if your son is strapping, handsome and sporting a noticeably turgid crotch."
we're all here chewing our tongues off waiting for the fever to break

* The great, great game? Chess ends ugly.

"An argument over a game of chess ended with a fight in which one player rammed the other's head through a plate-glass window, St. Tammany Parish authorities said.

"Robert Talley, 34, was booked with second-degree battery and later released on bond, Sheriff's department spokesman James Hartman said.

"Robert Henderson, 42, emerged from the broken window with several serious lacerations, deputies said. He was released after treatment at Northshore Regional Medical Center, Hartman said.

"The fight occurred about 1 a.m. Sunday at Talley's house, which is about five miles from Henderson's."

* From an article by Howard Zinn titled: Stories Hollywood Never Tells, from the current issue of the sun.

"Wars are more complicated than the simple good-versus-evil scenario presented to us in our history books and our culture. Wars are not simply conflicts of one people against another; wars always involve class differences within each side, and a victory is very often not shared by everybody, but only among a few. The people who fight the wars are not the people who benefit from the wars."
"The American political system and the revered and celebrated Constitution of the United States do not grant any economic rights to the American people. We very often forget that the Constitution gives political rights but not economic rights. If you are not wealthy, then your political rights are limited, even though they are guaranteed on paper in the Constitution. The freedom of speech is granted there, but how much free speech you have depends on how much money and what access to resources you have. The Declaration of Independence talks about the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But how can you have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you don't have food, housing, healthcare?
"If such films are made -- about war, about class conflict, about the history of governmental lies, about broken treaties and official violence -- if those stories reach the public, we might just produce a new generation. As a teacher, I'm not interested in just reproducing class after class of graduates who will get out, become successful, and take their obedient places in the slots that society has prepared for them. What we must do -- whether we teach or write or make films -- is educate a new generation to do this very modest thing: To Change the World."

July 27, 2004

And where are the days I used to be friendly

* If you are in DC, this is a Must-See:

Last year, I had the honor of being Bob Nastanovich for the Treble Kickers, a pavement cover band, at Run For Cover 2 at the Warehouse. We rocked and had a blast (sometime soon a video of our version of our take on 'Two States' will be viewable here). This year, because of last years success, Run For Cover 3 will be on the mainstage at the Black Cat.

Ten bands. Ten minutes each.
One-time-only performances from the Post Modern Lovers, Van Herlen, The Queen is Dead, OI!asis, Starpower and more.

Saturday, July 31st
at The Black Cat -- 1811 14th St NW
$7 -- Proceeds to benefit: green skate lab

Doors open at 9:30PM, with performances beginning shortly thereafter. Advance tickets available through Ticketmaster.

* This guy really wants his wife to stop reading Us Magazine.

"I have every intention of following through with my marriage commitments. Even though the ceremony was in another language, I understood enough. I know I heard 'cherish' and 'honor' and 'fidelity' and 'love.' And a few other things. When it comes down to it, all marriage ceremonies seem pretty much the same. At least the traditional ones. So I know what I have to do. And when I said, “I will” in your mother tongue, I meant it. I will be with you forever. I have every intention of doing so.

"Fate has been very kind, introducing you to me. I’m luckier than anyone I know. But why Fate would have introduced you to Us Magazine, I’m not sure. I think Fate wants to mess with me. Maybe hurt me a little. Maybe Fate thinks I’m a little too lucky. Kind of like poor Christopher Reeve or M.C. Hammer. They had it all, then Fate sucker-punched them. I understand them now. When I see you reading Us Magazine, it’s like a tiny dagger in my soul. Sometimes a bigger dagger, depending on who’s on the cover.

"So, please, stop reading Us Magazine.

"You’re above it, I keep telling you. Demi and Ashton are of no import to us. I don’t care what Reese Witherspoon is really like. And where J-Lo had brunch is as interesting to me as who Fred Durst is soiling. You may think me out of the loop for not knowing exactly who Kate Hudson is, but that’s because we belong in a different loop. A better loop. A loop that doesn’t include Kate or Brad, Jennifer or Matt. A loop where being Courtney Love is not a plus. A loop where Angelina Jolie is not taken seriously. Or even better, she’s locked up."

* Low Culture on The Manchurian Candidate.
Strength and wisdom are not opposing values

* Boo to the business world: Publishing company that owns rights to Woody Guthrie's songs upset at the JibJab Kerry/Bush parady. excerpt:

"The Richmond Organization [which owns the rights] believes that the Jibjab creation threatens to corrupt Guthrie's classic -- an icon of Americana -- by tying it to a political joke; upon hearing the music people would think about the yucks, not Guthrie's unifying message. The publisher wants Jibjab to stop distribution of the flash movie. Of course the creators behind Jibjab don't agree."

* Political haiku by David Simon, from Love Song for W: An Appreciation in Haiku. [via Jesus' General]

His pick for Defense?
It's Nixon's lawyer, Rumsfeld--
Man of probity

And then there's Ashcroft.
Where did they come up with this
New Cotton Mather?

* Richard Cohen on Bush's 9/11 farce. excerpt:

"So dire is the situation that even Congress is threatening action. It will actually hold hearings in August and then, if the past is prologue, do nothing more. Very often this is the very best thing Congress can do for a grateful nation, but not in this case. Some serious work needs to be done -- more serious than campaigning or taking a vacation or, as is happening here, downing the canapes so kindly supplied by lobbyists. In fact, there is something a bit wacky about the Democratic Party taking a week to mount a meaningless Mardi Gras when the terrorism clock supposedly ticks closer to midnight.

"Still, it is the president who runs the government. Now he suddenly discovers he is expected to do something about national security. He cannot be serious -- and rest assured he is not. The many months of inactivity in this area offer eloquent testimony to Bush's firm belief that little needs to be fixed. In the same way he could not answer earlier this year what mistakes he had made as president, he cannot even say what mistakes his government made that might have led to Sept. 11 and the debacle in Iraq.

"Now we are engaged in a great farce. Outside my hotel room, a good piece of the nation's political talent is engaged in a purposeless convention to nominate a man who has already been nominated. And down in Crawford, the White House staff is dutifully feeding the press accounts of Bush's newfound concern about what ails the intelligence community and even -- imagine! -- that Bush took the Sept. 11 commission's report with him."

July 26, 2004

met a redneck on a grecian isle who did the goat dance very well

* While the logistics must be difficult and the level of play is likely not too much better than decent high scool soccer, the Homeless World Cup is underway. [via Heck's Kitchen]

* The Observer revisits The Story of O. excerpt:

"But first things first. Story of O is not a book to read on the bus - or not the "first 60 pages, anyway, which are written with an almost hallucinatory, erotic intensity that you would have to be rather peculiar not to be left hot and bothered by.

"A young woman, O, is ordered into a waiting car by her lover, René, commanded to remove her underwear, and driven to a chateau in the Paris suburb of Roissy. Here, she is initiated into a secret society with complicated rules: she is not to look any man in the eye nor speak to any of the other women. She must wear a corseted dress that exposes her breasts, a leather collar and cuffs. Any man may dispose of her as he wishes. O welcomes all this, understanding that the harsher the treat ments she endures, the more she proves her love.

"These are the pages that, in a third-person account written nearly 20 years later, the author described herself writing at night, 'lying on her side with her feet tucked up under her, a soft black pencil in her right hand... the girl was writing the way you speak in the dark when you've held back the words of love too long and they flow out at last. For the first time in her life, she was writing without hesitation, without stopping, rewriting or discarding; she was writing the way one breathes, or dreams... she was still writing when the street cleaners came by at the first touch of dawn.'

"Dominique Aury, lying on her side in bed with her pencil and her school exercise books, did not intend the work to be published. She wrote it as a dare, a challenge and an enterprise de seduction for her lover, Jean Paulhan. They'd met during the German occupation, when she distributed a subversive magazine, Lettres Françaises, which he edited. Probably, they were first introduced by her father, in the hope that she might solicit Paulhan's aid in publishing the volume of 17th-century devotional poetry she had collected. (She did, and it was.) Subsequently, they worked together at the literary magazine Nouvelle Revue Française and at Gallimard."
"But beyond its merits as a literary work, its merits or limits as pornography, there lies the paradox that this incendiary book was written by a woman who wore little make-up and no jewellery, who dressed with quiet elegance, who lived out a polite, bluestocking existence in a small flat with her parents and son. Beneath this unlikely exterior raged terrible passions. In the end, the most instructive aspect of the book is that it demonstrates the demoniac nature of sexuality in any or all of us. This quiet, learned woman understood the power of sex. She knew that desire can ignite compulsions to commit sudden, arbitrary violence and induce a yearning for voluptuous, annihilating death."

* A chronology of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. excerpt:

"August 25, Sunday: MOBE's "Meet the Delegates" march gathers 800 protesters in Grant Park across from the Hilton Hotel. The Festival of Life, in Lincoln Park, opens with music. 5,000 hear the MC-5 and local bands play. Police refuse to allow a flatbed truck to be brought in as a stage. A fracas breaks out in which several are arrested and others are clubbed. Police reinforcements arrive.

"At the 11 PM curfew, most of the crowd, now numbering around 2,000, leave the park ahead of a police sweep and congregate between Stockton Drive and Clark Street. The police line then moves into the crowd, pushing it into the street. Many are clubbed, reporters and photographers included. The crowd disperses into the Old Town area, where the battles continue.

"August 26, Monday: In the early morning, Tom Hayden is among those arrested. 1,000 protesters march towards police headquarters at 11th and State. Dozens of officers surround the building. The march turns north to Grant Park, swarming the General Logan statue. Police react by clearing the hill and the statue.

"At the Amphitheatre, Mayor Daley formally opens the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

"As the curfew approaches, some in Lincoln Park build a barricade against the police line to the east. About 1,000 remain in the park after 11 PM. A police car noses into the barricade and is pelted by rocks. Police move in with tear gas. Like Sunday night, street violence ensues. But it is worse. Some area residents are pulled off their porches and clubbed. More reporters are attacked this night than at any other time during the week.

"August 27, Tuesday: At 1 PM 200 members of the American Friends Service Committee and other pacifist groups leave a near-northside church to march to the Amphitheatre. Joined by others along their route, the marchers eventually number about 1,000. The police stop the march at 39th and Halstead, about half-a-mile north of the Amphitheatre. The marchers set up a picket line and remain in place until 10 AM the next morning. They are then ordered to disperse and 30 resisters are arrested. This is the only march of Convention Week that gets anywhere near the Amphitheatre—it also gets virtually no publicity.

"out 7 PM Black Panther Party Chairman Bobby Seale speaks in Lincoln Park. He urges people to defend themselves by any means necessary if attacked by the police.

"An "Unbirthday Party for LBJ" convenes at the Chicago Coliseum. Performers and speakers include Ed Sanders, Abbie Hoffman, David Dellinger, Terry Southern, Jean Genet, William Burroughs, Dick Gregory, Allen Ginsberg, Phil Ochs, and Rennie Davis. 2,000 later march from the Coliseum to Grant Park.

"In Lincoln Park, 200 clergy and lay church people, toting a 12-foot cross, join 2,000 protestors to remain in the park past curfew. Again, tear gas and club-swinging police clear the park. Many head south to the Loop and Grant Park.

"At Grant Park, in front of the Hilton, where the television cameras are, 4,000 demonstrators rally to speeches by Julian Bond, Davis, and Hayden. Mary Traverse and Peter Yarrow sing. The rally is peaceful. At 3 AM the National Guard relieve the police. The crowd is allowed to stay in Grant Park all night."

What a drag it is getting old

* Baffler's Thomas Frank on How the Democrats Lost Kansas. excerpt:

"Sociologists often warn against letting the nation's distribution of wealth become too polarized, as it clearly has in the last few decades. Societies that turn their backs on equality, the professors insist, inevitably meet with a terrible comeuppance. But those sociologists were thinking of an old world in which class anger was a phenomenon of the left. They weren't reckoning with Kansas, with the world we are becoming.

"Behold the political alignment that Kansas is pioneering for us all. The corporate world -- for reasons having a great deal to do with its corporateness -- blankets the nation with a cultural style designed to offend and to pretend-subvert: sassy teens in Skechers flout the Man; hipsters dressed in T-shirts reading 'FCUK' snicker at the suits who just don't get it. It's meant to be offensive, and Kansas is duly offended. The state watches impotently as its culture, beamed in from the coasts, becomes coarser and more offensive by the year. Kansas aches for revenge. Kansas gloats when celebrities say stupid things; it cheers when movie stars go to jail. And when two female rock stars exchange a lascivious kiss on national TV, Kansas goes haywire. Kansas screams for the heads of the liberal elite. Kansas comes running to the polling place. And Kansas cuts those rock stars' taxes.

"As a social system, the backlash works. The two adversaries feed off of each other in a kind of inverted symbiosis: one mocks the other, and the other heaps even more power on the one. This arrangement should be the envy of every ruling class in the world. Not only can it be pushed much, much farther, but it is fairly certain that it will be so pushed. All the incentives point that way, as do the never-examined cultural requirements of modern capitalism. Why shouldn't our culture just get worse and worse, if making it worse will only cause the people who worsen it to grow wealthier and wealthier?"

* If you have not seen How's Your News yet, see it asap. It is the brainchild of Arthur Bradford, the author of the excellent book of short stories, Dogwalker. How's Your News, if you are not aware, is a documentary about a group of disabled folks who go around the country randomly interviewing people.

The film grew out of a workshop Bradford conducted for several years at Camp Jabberwocky, a summer camp for adults with disabilities. The workshop gave participants video cameras, with which they crafted news reports and man-on-the-street interviews about the goings-on at camp. Bradford subsequently got funding (from 'South Park' creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker and Cold Spring producer John Pierson) to take five members of the workshop on a cross-country van tour to take the video pulse of the nation.

Great scenes include the gang at a Nashville honky talk, and teaching a Greyhound busload of people on their way to L.A. the very catchy What's Your News theme song.

* Not surprising: Ricky Williams retirement. Surprising: Mick Jagger turns 61 today.

July 23, 2004

I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down

Three Poems by James Tate, from Viper Jazz.


He was obviously the emissary
and we shook hand with the secret shake
He was not surprised by me
nor I by him.

"I made use of your absence to remember you,"
doffing his cap cordially.

Why did I let him speak to me
those warm rivers.
Children in wheelchairs came down the hill.

"I made use of your absence to remember you,"
he repeated cruelly.


We were just a couple of drifters
on this planet of
some off billion customers
open all night. She was always
loving and attentive
but made
what I considered
an abnormal number of morbid references,
so that at times I felt like fungus.
Meanwhile, we drank and smoked
and listened to country music.
She died in her room
and I in mine.


Language was almost impossible in those days
as we know it now and then.

When you tell me about your operation
I hear you, but I don't hear you.

Wind gathers behind a barn:
torches are lit, men whisper.

One wears a hat and is very serious
about the war in his bedroom.

"Does it seem like I am sleeping all the time?"
Ask me another question.

Look Ma, I found something beautiful today
out in the forest, it's still alive...

* For those in DC: the caribbean plays Ft. Reno monday, with beauty pill and semaphore. the caribbean will hit the stage around 7:45 pm. Fort Reno is at 3950 Chesapeake Street NW (Chesapeake & Nebraska), but as the performance space is simply a big metal stage in the middle of a field, the address is somewhat irrelevant.

July 22, 2004

Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

* Some troops are beginning to question the mission. excerpt:

"Scaling back the military and political goals in Iraq’s Anbar province has hurt the morale of many U.S. soldiers stationed there, and some have begun to question openly not only their mission, but also the leaders who sent them to Iraq in the first place.

"It’s not just buck privates. Several sergeants - the backbone of the enlisted military - said they felt the same way.
"Sgt. 1st Class James Tilley was on patrol on the road outside Ramadi later that afternoon, sitting in his Humvee for an hour or two in one spot - sweating profusely in the 105-degree heat - before moving a few hundred yards down the road to another place.

"The patrol is designed to ward off insurgents from trying to put bombs in the road.

"'A lot of times, I look at this place and wonder what have we really done. ... When we first got here, we all wanted to change it and make it better, but now I don’t give a shit,' he said. 'What the hell am I here for?'

"Staff Sgt. A.J. Dean was on the same stretch of road a couple of nights later, and his tone was similar to Tilley’s.

"'I don’t have any idea of what we’re trying to do out here. I don’t know what the (goal) is, and I don’t think our commanders do either,' he said. 'I feel deceived personally. I don’t trust anything (Defense Secretary Donald) Rumsfeld says, and I think (Deputy Defense Secretary Paul) Wolfowitz is even dirtier.'

* An oldish looking Eddie Van Halen and his guitars.

* John Ashcroft and Tom Delay Pretty Much Suck Ass .
Martini's on the house, you might even meet Mick Ronson


Iris Dement -- Big City
Bobby Bare -- Marie Laveau
Bobby Bare Jr. -- Let's Rock and Roll
J.J. Cale -- City Girls
Webb Pierce -- There Stands the Glass
Tom Heinle -- I Love
Pink Nasty -- May It Always Be
Bob Dylan -- Up to Me
Richard Hell -- Down At the Rock and Roll Club
Modern Lovers -- Walk Up the Street
Hefner -- To Hide a Little Thought
Holly Golightly -- Time Will Tell
Devo -- I Can't Get No Satisfaction
Firehose -- Revolution (part two)
Swell Maps -- International Rescue
REM -- Camera
Sonic Youth -- Pacific Coast Highway
MIssion of Burma -- The Set Up
Built to Spill -- Untrustable
Big Star -- Femme Fatal
Henry Flynt -- Uncle Sam Do
Sparklehorse -- Dead Opera Star
Paper Lace -- The Night Chicago Died
John Vanderslice -- They Won't Let Me Run
Dead Milkmen -- Filet of Sole
Belle & Sebastian -- A Century of Fakers
Sarah Azzara -- Dupont Circle
Yo La Tengo -- Tom Courteney
Continuous Peasant -- Finger Pointing Song
The Wrens -- Hopeless
GBV -- Jumpstart
Pavement -- Grave Architecture
John Cale -- Dirty Ass Rock and Roll
Pretenders -- Stop Your Sobbing
Talia Zedeck -- Candy Says
The Fugs -- Kill For Peace

July 21, 2004

Out on my skateboard the night is just hummin

Pete Townsend in the mid-1960s

* Inmates escape jail then return with beer. excerpt:

"The party's over for four inmates accused of going on a beer run after the jail's doors were accidentally left unlocked.

"The men were charged Monday with escape and bringing alcohol into a jail.

"The breakout occurred Thursday night after cellblock doors at the Hawkins County Jail were left unlocked and a faulty control panel failed to alert jailers, Sheriff Warren Rimer said.

"Two of the inmates walked out through a fire exit, leaving the door propped open with a Bible, and made a hole in the exercise yard fence. They walked to a market, bought some beer and returned to the jail to share it with other prisoners. When the booze ran out, the other two inmates made another beer run to a different store."

* Poor guy.

"According to news bureau NTB, the man in his 20s had tried to visit a lady friend in the building on Huitfeldts Street downtown [Oslo]. Newspaper Aftenposten Aften reported that she rejected his overtures, however, and he tried to leave the building. Slightly intoxicated, however, he couldn't manage to open the building's security gate to get out.

"He then decided to try to squirm under the, and in the meantime had taken off most of his clothes. His exfiltration attempt didn't work. Instead, the man wound up stuck under the gate, in the buff.

"He was stuck in this position for nearly four hours, since there was no traffic through the gate in the wee small hours of the morning. A neighbour finally spotted him and called police.

"They found him around 6:35am but no matter how they tried, they couldn't help other than to cover him up a bit. They then summoned rescue personnel from the Oslo fire department, who finally managed to free him after using a hydraulic lift to jack up the gate.

"'He was in fairly good condition, but he was a bit cold,' said a police spokesman."
Do you curse where you come from, Do you swear in the night

* From the August 2004 issue of Harper's:

-- Average megawattage of electricity generated in Iraq each day last year before the invasion: 4,500

-- Average megawattage generated in Iraq each day in June: 4,300

-- Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago: 65

-- Minimum number of US firms under contract in Iraq that have paid federal fines, settlements, or restitution since 2000: 7

-- Amount they paid: $87,635,766

* Top 100 corporate criminals of the decade.

* From Matador:

This October, Matador will be releasing a double CD 10th anniversary edition of Pavement's fabulous 2nd album, 'Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain'. In addition to a remastered version of the original album, we'll be including a number of extras including alternate takes/mixes, and previously unreleased songs. Think 'The Great Lost Pavement Album' --- literally nobody has ever heard these songs before. Package will be an embossed, die-cut slipcase. Liner notes from SM, Spiral Stairs, and Gerard Cosloy.

July 20, 2004

get me away from here, I'm dying, play me a song to set me free

* Why the athletes really want to get to the Olympics. excerpt:

"At the Albertville winter Olympics, condom machines in the athletes’ village had to be refilled every two hours. And in Sydney the organisers’ original order of 70,000 condoms went so fast that they had to order 20,000 more. Even with the replenishment, the supply was exhausted three days before the end of the competition schedule. (For the record, athletes who were in Sydney report that the Cuban delegation was the first to use up its allocation.) Salt Lake City in 2002 went even bigger: 250,000 condoms were handed out, despite the objections of the city’s Mormon leadership.

"'There’s a lot of sex going on. You get a lot of people who are in shape, and, you know, testosterone’s up and everybody’s attracted to everybody,' says Breaux Greer, a shaggy-blond Californian who competed in the javelin at the Sydney Games.

"'It’s not an orgy,' says one alpine skiing champion, Carrie Sheinberg, 'but it is socially vigorous.'"
"The idea that sex can hinder performance is hardly a new one. Researchers have long suggested that abstaining before competition enhances performance. Prior to the Barcelona Games, however, doctors at a Jerusalem sex clinic advised women on the Israeli team to have sex before their events. 'Women compete better after orgasm, especially high-jumpers and runners,' one of the doctors claimed. The German team physician endorses sex for male and female athletes, saying: 'Sex does not cause any loss of strength.'

"He may be right. This year, a Russian psychologist told a German newspaper that neither gender should abstain. 'It’s simple,' she said. 'More sex means more gold.'

"Dick Roth remembers Tokyo in the 1960s, a time before sex studies and internet hook-ups - and yet still very much alive. 'It was a lot more innocent back then,' he says, 'but not only did I see it, I participated in it. You’ve been working so hard, and everybody is so in the absolute prime of life, and everyone looks so good. This was before the sexual revolution, and it was discreet. But it was happening.'"

"Then he pauses for a moment. 'I know I have to be careful when I talk to a journalist, but I can say this: It wasn’t the fuck-fest it is now.'"

* Krugman concludes:

"President Bush isn't actually an Al Qaeda mole, with Dick Cheney his controller. Mr. Bush's 'war on terror' has, however, played with eerie perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr. Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see him as America's champion against the evildoers.

"Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that read, 'Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine.' Administration officials haven't gone that far, but when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about a terrorist attack timed to 'disrupt our democratic process,' many people thought he was implying that Al Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four more years."

* Jonathan Yardley on John Cheever. excerpt:

"Cheever himself lived a suburban life, though he was more observer of than participant in suburbia's cozy, charged rituals. Born in 1912 in Massachusetts into an old New England family, he suffered lasting pain when his father left his mother after his business was destroyed by the stock market calamity of 1929. He began a literary career in the 1930s, served in the Army in World War II, then resumed that career at war's end. He married, had children, acknowledged convention but resisted it; he was eaten away by alcohol and late in life accepted (and practiced) his bisexuality. In his journals (published in 1991) he described his desire 'to write well, to write passionately, to be less inhibited, to be warmer,' and:

"'To disguise nothing, to conceal nothing, to write about those things that are closest to our pain, our happiness; to write about my sexual clumsiness, the agonies of Tantalus, the depth of my discouragement -- I seem to glimpse it in my dreams -- my despair. To write about the foolish agonies of anxiety, the refreshment of our strength when these are ended: to write about our painful search for self, jeopardized by a stranger in the post office, a half-seen face in a train window; to write about the continents and populations of our dreams, about love and death, good and evil, the end of the world.'"

July 19, 2004

What is peace To the people Who work the land And die in wars?

* The ineffective, expensive, drug war rages on. [via drug war rant] excerpt:

"The drug czar's 'anti-drug' media campaign continues, especially with regard to marijuana. Apparently John Walters and company still adhere to the 'reefer madness' nonsense that started back in the 1930s. In 2003, Walters' office wrote: 'Marijuana is not a benign drug. Use impairs learning and judgment, and may lead to the development of mental health problems. Smoking marijuana can injure or destroy lung tissue. In fact, marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more of some cancer-causing chemicals than does tobacco smoke.'

"Both of these statements are either outright lies or gross distortions. There is no scientific evidence that marijuana leads to serious mental health problems, although there are people with mental health problems who may use drugs (and drug use is merely a symptom rather than a cause). Besides, alcohol is far worse and there is no prohibition against it. As for injuring lung tissue, to begin with, 'moderate use' is defined as 15 to 24 grams of tobacco per day, and very few pot smokers use more than a gram or two; hence smoking cigarettes is far more damaging. In fact, while no one has recently died from too much pot smoking, about 450,000 die each year from illnesses caused by tobacco. Too bad marijuana growers don't have a lobby to give money to politicians like the tobacco and liquor industries do.

"Walters and company also claim that marijuana can be addictive, citing as evidence the fact that 'more teens are in treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illicit drugs combined.' This is extremely misleading, for most kids ordered into treatment by juvenile court judges have accepted this as a plea bargain to avoid harsher punishments. Few, if any, are 'addicted' to pot. If anything, they are more likely to have problems with alcohol dependence.

"A study at Johns Hopkins University found that of 1,318 subjects covering a 15-year period, there were 'no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users and nonusers of cannabis.' The report concludes that: 'These results...seem to provide strong evidence of the absence of a long-term residual effect of cannabis use on cognition.'"

* Mike Watt on Politics and Power. excerpt:

Q: What do you think Boon would say about what's going on in the world today?

MW: I think about that every day. Boon and I were very conversational; we would literally talk about everything all day long. So whenever I'm confronted with a situation I always wonder what he would say about it. And I know he'd be very upset by the way people are being manipulated through fear today. He was a big kid so he was always picked on and bullied, and he hated that crap. And now I get asked whether or not, after 9/11, anyone can truly write a political song anymore. I don't even have to pause before saying, "Sure." This country was founded on protest, and just because some fucking idiot pulled that shit in New York doesn't mean we have to give up on all of our ideals.

Q: That's playing into the enemy's hands.

MW: People want shortcuts and there aren't any. You give up all your ideals, it might be hard or impossible to get them back. You've got to talk about it. After all, politics is about power, and as long as there are humans involved, there's going to be discussion about how to use that power, how it's distributed.

Q: Plus, if the arts have taught us anything, it's that power doesn't stick around for long.

MW: And there are different kinds of power. There is also the power to create, whether in the arts or elsewhere. Power isn't just about killing and bombing. And an election is not a beauty contest that we have every four years. It's not something you keep in a neat little box. I think the world is oversimplified by those who are convinced that a television can tell them everything they need to know. I have people tell me, "You have to trust your government, because they know more than we do." And I'm like, whoa, maybe it's time to go to Monticello and watch Thomas Jefferson do the rotisserie tumble in his grave.

Q: Speaking of oversimplification, how about the media coverage of Reagan's demise?

MW: Yeah, the Big Revision. Both Boon and I were very conscious of Reagan's handiwork; in fact, he's opened the doors for some of the clowns we've got in there now. It's just cronyism, which is what I remember most about the Reagan era. No one is talking about how Rumsfeld was chilling on Saddam's couch back in 1983, selling him the WMDs we're so worried about. Or the Contras and drugs-for-money, Ollie North and his secret government. Everyone wanted smaller government, but ended up with bigger deficits and breaches of the Constitution. If you want a fairy tale without too many complications, turn on the TV. But I know I won't be fooled; I was there when it all happened.

* Siver Joos videos for Rebel Jew, Slow Education, and New Orleans are posted at Bad Horse.

Join Us For Our One Year Anniversary
*     Who would Jesus torture?  excerpt:

"What would St. Peter have to say to George Bush once he stands before the Pearly Gates of heaven on judgment day? Has he been a good Christian? Has he led a pious life according to the teachings of Jesus?

"In the world of Roy Moore, it is more important for Christians to display their faith by placing a huge granite rock with the Ten Commandments inscribed on it in a court room rather than to follow those tenets of Christianity. For the Bush family, patriotism is displayed by appearing before huge American flags and wrapping themselves in red-white-and-blue bunting even as they chip away at the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Symbols trump substance any day for these Christians and patriots.

"According to childhood friends, Bush used to blow up frogs with firecrackers and shoot them with BB guns. As several therapists have pointed out, this cruelty to animals is a trait he shares with many serial killers.

"Bush was embroiled in a scandal at Yale when it was discovered that he branded pledges at his fraternity with red-hot wires.

"A drunken George W. Bush once challenged his own father to a fight, 'mano a mano.'

"Several therapists have commented about Bush's sadistic tendencies and his lack of empathy. A recent book, 'Bush on the Couch; Inside the Mind of the President,' written by the respected Justin A. Frank M.D., is one of many attempts to describe Bush's inherent cruelty. The book points out how comfortable Bush is being outside the law, whether it is his two arrests at Yale, his DUI, his apparent AWOL status in the Texas National Guard, alleged insider trading, possible perjury or his reported drug abuse."

July 16, 2004

I don't wanna vote for your president
Pieces by Mel Bochner:

"Works of art are not illustrations of ideas." -- Mel Bochner, 1970

July 15, 2004

we have placed our final bets we have come out to play

* 1970 Interview of Sterling Morrison. excerpt:

Q: Didn't Andy use Dylan in a film?

Sterling Morrison: There was one film with Paul Caruso called, The Bob Dylan Story. I don't think Andy has ever shown it. It was hysterical. They got Marlowe Dupont to play Al Grossman. Paul Caruso not only looks as Bob Dylan but as a super caricature he makes even Hendrix looks pale by comparison. This was around 1966 when the film was made and his hair was way out here. When he was walking down the street you had to step out of his way. On the eve of the filming, Paul had a change of heart and got his hair cut off - closer to his head - and he must have removed about a foot so everyone was upset about that. Then Dylan had this accident and that was why the film was never shown.
Q: Do you consider Zappa more appropriate to that title?

SM: Zappa is incapable of writing lyrics. He is shielding his musical deficiencies by prolelytizing all these sundry groups that he appeals to. He just throw enough dribble into those songs, I don't know, I don't like their music. I like some of the people in the group. Zappa figures how many opposites can I weld together. I'll take this phrase from god knows who (i.e. Stockhausen - the magic name!) never heard of him. What is Zappa? I say Frank can I hear a song leaving out the garbage cans? I think that album Freak Out was such a shuck.

For instance, the following is something that would haunt me to the grave. He had this utterance in one of his albums - god knows which one - "I'm not saying I want to be black but there are times I wish I weren't white." Now how can anyone come on like that? And he just keeps going on. Now as a satirist, or something, he might be okay. Satirists are capable of knocking things. It's a label you can hide behind. You might say that I myself am knocking him, well, not really. He's doing something nobody else is doing. So in that sense he has his little niche.

Q: There have been some comparisons drawn, somewhat outrageously, between The Velvet Underground and the MC5.

SM: That's a comparison that would drive me to an early retirement.

Q: What do you think of the MC5?

SM: I think seldom of the MC5.

Q: Is there anything we've left out?

SM: Well I don't want it to appear that I'm knocking Zappa because too much has already gone down between us.

* Fukuyama withdraws support of Bush. excerpt:

"Famous academic Francis Fukuyama, one of the founding fathers of the neo-conservative movement that underlies the policies of US President George W. Bush's administration, said on July 13 that he would not vote for the incumbent in the November 2 US Presidential election.

"In addition to distancing himself from the current administration, Fukuyama told TIME magazine that his old friend, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, should resign.

"In 1997, Fukuyama together with Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz and Jeb Bush, signed a declaration entitled 'The New American Century Project'. That declaration set the groundwork for the neo-conservative movement."

* Get your BLT scented votive candles here. [via twinkle twinkle blah blah blah]
He could make your icons dance with Java then empty out your trash

* Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. excerpt:

"'The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking,' the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was 'a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher.'

"He called the prison scene 'a series of massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and the vice president, by this administration anyway…war crimes.'

"The outrages have cost us the support of moderate Arabs, says Hersh. 'They see us as a sexually perverse society.'

"Hersh describes a Pentagon in crisis. The defense department budget is 'in incredible chaos,' he says, with large sums of cash missing, including something like $1 billion that was supposed to be in Iraq.

"'The disaffecion inside the Pentagon is extremeley accute,' Hersh says. He tells the story of an officer telling Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rummy turning to a ranking general yes-man who reassured him that things are just fine. Says Hersh, 'The Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn’t want to hear.'"

* The East Bay Express on the Wrens. [via largehearted boy] excerpt:

"'We come out and start really wild and crazy,' says singer and guitarist Charles Bissell, 'and just gradually diminish, and eventually fall into a drunken slumber.'

"Perhaps some combination of the two explains why the first ten minutes of a Wrens set offers more shock, awe, intimidation, and ebullience than a thousand monkeys dancing atop a thousand flaming typewriters. And we're not talkin' assisted-suicide-live-onstage-type antics, either: These here are affable New Jersey gentlemen (no Sopranos, though some partake of falsetto) with gray hairs, Magnet-reading indie-rock mentalities, and snore-inducing day jobs. 'I am vice president of institutional sales for an institutional investment software company,' MacDonnell relates. 'I sell analytics and portfolio monitoring tools and resources to investment consultants.'
"The record peaks immediately with a pair of mega-dramabomb ballads: 'Happy' and Bissell's 'She Sends Kisses,' which he (mistakenly) describes as a failed homage to Van Morrison and New Jersey kingpin Bruce Springsteen. That melodrama prevails throughout, perhaps most emphatically on the falsetto shuffle 'This Boy Is Exhausted:' 'Cause I'm caught/I can't type/I can't temp/I'm way past college/No ways out/No back doors/Not anymore/But then once in a while/We play a show that makes it all worthwhile.

The Our Band Could Ruin Our Lives approach is a common conceit recently (see the Drive By Truckers' Decoration Day or, hell, Metallica's tell-all doc Some Kind of Monster), but MacDonnell insists that, despite all the busted relationships and near-miss shots at stardom, the Wrens remain a worthwhile enterprise: 'We had some crazy turns here and there business-wise, but it came down to, the four of us really like writing and playing music together and recording. There's no pressure. We have no expectations. If people like it, great. If people hate it, fuck it. Who cares? We'll keep writing music just because it's fun to us again, and that was the most important piece. It sounds kinda canned and cheesy, but it's sincere.'"

* "This nation was not founded by habitual groupthinkers. But it stands a fair chance of being destroyed by them."

July 14, 2004

Their voices are bringing trees to their knees

* Undated Ted Berrigan interview of John Cage. excerpt:

INTERVIEWER: Tell me about Silence.

CAGE: Sure. You never know what publishers are up to. I had the damnedest time with Silence. My publishers, H***, R***, and W***, at first were very excited about doing it, and then they handed it over to a young editor who wanted to rewrite it entirely, and proceeded to do so; he made a complete hash of it. And I protested about this and the whole thing--the contract was about to be signed--and they withdrew it, because of this impasse. The Publisher, who is my friend, said, "Well, John, we never really took this seriously, did we? So why don't we just forget it?" And I replied, "Damn it all, I did take it seriously; I want to get published." Well, then they fired this young man who was rewriting me, and everything was peaceful. But there was still some static about irregularities of tone in Silence. So I said, "Well, I'll just tone them down a little, tune the whole thing up, so to speak." But I did nothing of the sort, of course! I simply changed the order. I sent it back re-arranged, and then they wanted me to do something else; finally I just took the whole thing somewhere else.
INTERVIEWER: The Beatniks, notably Ed Sanders, are being harassed by the police lately. Do you approve?

CAGE: On the contrary. The problem is that the police are unloved. The police in New York are all paranoid . . . they were so hateful for so long that everybody got to hate them, and that just accumulated and built up. The only answer to viciousness is kindness. The trouble is that the younger kids just haven't realized that you've got to make love to the police in order to solve the police problem.

INTERVIEWER: But how do you force love on the police?

CAGE: Make love to the police. We need highly trained squads of lovemakers to go everywhere and make love.
INTERVIEWER: Is life serious?

CAGE: Perhaps. How should I know? In any case, one must not be serious. Not only is it absurd, but a serious person cannot have sex.

INTERVIEWER: Very interesting! But, why not?

CAGE: If you have to ask, you'll never know.

* A Poem by Ted Berrigan

Today's News

My body heavy with poverty (starch)
It uses up my sexual energy
constantly &
I feel constantly crowded
On the other hand, One Day in the Afternoon of The World
Pervaded my life with a
heavy grace
I'll never smile again
Bad Teeth
But I'm dancing with tears in my eyes
(I can't help myself!) Tom
when he loves Alice's sonnets,
takes four, I'd love
to be more attentive to her, more
The situation having become intolerable
the only alternatives are:
Murder & Suicide.
They are too dumb! So, one
becomes a goof. Raindrops
start falling on my roof. I say
Hooray! Then I say, I'm going out
At the drugstore I say, Gimmie some pills!
Charge 'em! They say
Sure. I say See you later.
Read the paper. Talk to Alice. She laughs to hear
Hokusai had 947 changes of address
In his life. Ha-ha. Plus everything
else in the world
going on here.
In 14 months I only smiled once and it didn't come naturally

* Yo La Tengo will be playing two shows at New York's Anthology Film Archives this Friday night, accompanying the light show of Gary Panter and Joshua White. Yo La will be "behind the screen, improvising away."

* Dong Resin on progress. excerpt:

"I mostly brew my own coffee, and when I buy it from the outside I peel off those increasingly more complex lids and just drink straight from the cup like an adult.

"Listen, I don't know why coffee suddenly comes in a 24 ounce breast, but I really don't have time for this shit. Having to get my caffeine fix from a cup with a picture of Shrek 2! on it is infantilizing enough, I don't need the full on oedipal Freudian jive of a freakn' nipple on my formerly masculine cup of joe.

"I think that's the put-off for me, that what used to come in a ceramic mug with a metal spoon sticking out of it is now basically a 24 once sippy cup designed to be consumed by Pugsly Addams while resting between the twin hams that are his man-boobs as he navigates his SUV.
It's not cool, it's a another small slide in the wrong direction."

* The General, J.C. Patriot, speaks out on the Homosexual Discrimination Amendment. excerpt:

"...Anyway, we have to put an end to these mistaken impressions about me. That's why I'm asking you to add a provision for separate restrooms for homosexuals. Such segregation will prevent these misunderstandings in the future.

"Heck, you might as well go for separate water fountains while you're at it. The very thought that a homosexual may have placed his lips and tongue on the same stream of water I'm using causes me to have strange and often impure thoughts. It would be best if we segregated them too.

"I also hope that you're not forgetting the ladies in this amendment. I just learned that they can be homosexuals too. I've always thought that was an urban legend because everybody knows ladies don't have little soldiers, but I learned the truth when I picked up a video called Hot Lebanese Action.

"I thought it was a movie about our war on Islam, but it wasn't. It was a video of naked homosexual women putting their mouths on each other's naughty place. I think they might have been biting each other given all the squirming, moaning, and screaming that was going on. It sure didn't look like they were enjoying it to me. I know my wife never acted that way when we performed our marital duty."

July 13, 2004

trying to figure out what brian jones would be like if he'd have lived 'til today

* Bukowski on John Fante. excerpt:

Q: Tell us a little about your friendship with John Fante, you love his books and you became his friend...

Bukowski: As a young man, I hung around the libraries during the day and the bars at night. I read and I read and I read. Then I ran out of things to read. I kept pulling the books out of the shelves again and again. I could only read a few lines and I felt the fakeness and I put them back. It was a real horror show. Nothing related to life, at least not to mine and the streets and the people I saw in the streets and what they were forced to do and what they became. And one day I happened to pull out a book by somebody named Fante.

The lines leaped at me. Fire. No bullshit. But I'd never heard of Fante, nobody spoke of Fante. He was just in there. A book. It was called Ask The Dust. I didn't like the title but the words were simple and honest and full of passion. Holy shit, I thought, this man can write! Well, I read all of his books that i could get hold of And I knew that there were still some magic people on the earth. It was decades later in my writings that I mentioned a 'Fante'. Now all of my writings are not published but they are all sent to John Martin, Black Sparrow Press, and he asked me once, I believe it was over the telephone, 'You keep mentioning a 'Fante'? Is this a real writer?' I told him that it was and that he should read this fellow.

Soon I heard from Martin, he was very excited, 'Fante is great, great! I can't believe it! I am going to republish his works!' And then came the stream of Black Sparrow Fante books. Fante was still alive. My wife suggested that since he was such a hero to me that I go visit him. He was in a hospital, dying, blind and amputated; diabetes. We made visits to the hospital and once to his home where he was briefly released for a short time. He was a little bulldog, just brave without trying. But he was going. Still he wrote a book in that state, dictating it to his wife. Black Sparrow published it. He was a writer to the end. He even told me about his idea for his next novel: a woman baseball player who made it to the big leagues. 'Go ahead, John, do it,' I told him. But soon it was over...

Q: Do you know anything about this film being made from one of his books, is it "Bandini" that they've filmed?

Bukowski: I'm not sure about the movies. I think at least five of his books are being made into movies. A strange turn. He worked for Hollywood, you know. That's where he vanished to. That's where his other writing stopped. 'Why the hell did you go to Hollywood, that slime pit of nowhere? 7334; I asked him. "Mencken told me to,' he said, 'go ahead and take them.' Mencken, that son of a bitch. He sent Fante to hell. H. L. had published many of Fante's stories in the old American Mercury. Fante met Faulkner there. Faulkner would enter his cottage in the morning sober and come out dead drunk each evening. They had to pour him into a taxi cab."

* Just go read this ode to the drink.

* Pynchon on Richard Farina.
the shivers on the spine could be what we had in mind

* Some conservatives not happy with Bush. excerpt:

"'I am bitterly disappointed in his actions with this war. It is a total travesty,' said Tom Hutchinson, 69, a self-described conservative from Sturgeon, Mo., who posted yard signs and staffed campaign phone banks for the Republican in 2000. Hutchinson said he did not believe the administration's stated rationales for the war, in particular the argument that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

"Hutchinson, a retired businessman and former college professor, said his unease with Iraq may lead him to do something he has not done since 1956: avoid the voting booth in a presidential election."

* Watch Bobby Yang perform Van Halen's Eruption, using the violin. [via Pleasant Plains].

* Craigslist: Crazy "old white guy" thrown off Red Line by two guys he was harassing.

July 12, 2004

I was raised by the praise of a fan who said I upset her

* More people in England are hurt by books each year than by training weights or by cricket balls and bats. excerpt:

"Second-hand book use can also be hazardous to your health. Researchers in Bogota, Colombia, tested the book dust in twelve libraries and ran skin tests on fifty-seven librarians. About 12 percent of the librarians had allergic reactions to the book dust, but the doctors found no evidence of common allergens. This led researchers to conclude that new respiratory allergens may be lurking and evolving in the stacks.

Book exposure may even get you high. Mycologist (fungus doctor) Dr. R.J. Hay, of Guy's Hospital in London, reported to a British medical journal, the Lancet, that various fungi that feed on the pages of old books could be a source of hallucinogenic spores."

* Haiku for D.C. summers.

* Cheney faces possible indictments. excerpt:

"Vice President Dick Cheney faces criminal indictments for illegal activities while CEO of energy giant Halliburton and also illegally intervened to secure a $7 billion no-bid contract for his former employer after his election to office, an analysis by the White House counsel’s office concludes.

"The Vice President is currently under investigation by French authorities for bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets while at Halliburton and also faces a U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission probe of a $180 million "slush fund" that may have been used to pay bribes.
"French Judge Ruymbeke, however, is said to be offering Stanley a deal if he implicates Cheney and sources within the French legal system say the judge has more than enough to indict the Vice President on charges of bribery, money laundering and misuse of corporate assets.

"The assessment of the White House counsel’s office agrees that Cheney faces 'serious legal implications' from the pending French indictments and add that the Vice President’s illegal and unethical lobbying on behalf of Halliburton for the no-bid contract “raises additional questions.”

"Cheney, however, is standing firm and recently told Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont to 'fuck off' when the Senator questioned him on the Halliburton matters.

"According to White House sources, President George W. Bush laughed the matter off at a recent cabinet meeting.

"'Fuck ‘em all,' Bush said.

"The President’s bravado, however, is not shared by worried White House aides. Some point to the last vice president to step down because of fraud and corruption – Spiro T. Agnew, who served under President Richard M. Nixon, another Republican forced to leave office because of scandal."

July 9, 2004

Circles, my head is going round in circles

* The Sun interviews Howard Zinn. An excerpt:

"This administration, however, does not want people to be conscious of the thousands of wounded veterans in the war in Iraq. Their existence is hidden from the public. Only occasionally does a glimpse of this reality come through, as in a story that appeared in the New York Times about a young GI blinded by shell fragments in Iraq: his mother, visiting him in the hospital, passes the cots of other young people who are missing limbs. She sees a young mother back from Iraq without legs, crawling on the floor with her little child crawling behind her. This is the picture the present administration wants to hide from the American people. A novel like Johnny Got His Gun [by Dalton Trumbo] can awaken readers both to the reality of war and how the government seeks to hide that reality -- the fact of what happens to our people and, certainly, to people on the other side."

* From a 1976 interview [translated from German] of Tuli Kupferberg. [1968 picture of Kupferberg, Sanders and Zappa at the link] excerpt:

Q: Could one call you a political cabaret? Which brings me on the famous-notorious reproach, such people do not take things serious, political work doesn´t take place in cabaret and so on.

TULI: Political cabaret comes very close to the european terminology. THE FUGS, at least Ed and me, we weren´t only standing on stage. When we went to a demonstration, or a campaign, we certainly played there, but also participated actively in the processes. I believe there is a time of seriousness and a time of satire, and both are not contradictional to each other. Satire is some kind of propaganda, propaganda with words, but we were also ready to operate propaganda with action. Ed and me were political activists, long time before we joined the group, and we remained so during our time with the band. THE FUGS did not see themself separated from the youth movement. Sometimes we regarded ourselves as such a thing like the USO, people who entertain the troops, artists who appear somewhere for the american soldiers. We wanted to teach people something, if I want to be preposterous(?) here, but just as much we wanted to learn from them. We never came together in order to make cash, and we earned really hardly anything, and we did not meet primarily in order to entertain the people. We created the group to operate propaganda, I know, this word has a bad sound, but that´s what we did, I saw the band as political action.

* "It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts." -- Bill Vaughan

July 8, 2004

My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet

* Right, For the Rainforest: At the Quart Music Festival, near Oslo, a couple had sex on stage (pictures at the link) during a set by the band, the Cumshots.

"'How far are you willing to go to save the world?' asked the young man, and without much ado, the couple pulled off their clothes.

"Cumshots provided the background music as the couple had intercourse right in front of the audience. A banner was raised on stage informing the audience that the couple was having sex to save the rainforest. After completing the intercourse, the couple received applause from the audience and disappeared.
"The young couple, Tommy Hol Ellingsen, age 28, and Leona Johansson, age 21, are members of the environmental organization 'Fuck for Forest.' They have sex in public in order to put focus on the rainforest."

* Ron Rosenbaum, in the New York Observer, wonders whether Bob Dylan wrote "Up to Me" about Richard Farina.

"And why won’t Dylan do it? Here’s where my Wild Conjecture comes in. What if "Up to Me" had something to do with the tragic death of his friend and rival, Richard Fariña? Many of you may be familiar with the Dylan/Fariña relationship from David Hajdu’s lovely study, Positively 4th Street. A book about the exhilarating period in the 60’s when Dylan was seeing Joan Baez, while Joan’s sister Mimi Baez married the musician and novelist Richard Fariña. A tale which makes Fariña something like a Marlowe figure to Dylan’s Shakespeare—the wild, doomed genius that Dylan was both inspired by and threatened by. (I’m comparing the relationships—not saying that Dylan is an equal of Shakespeare.) Hajdu’s story, you’ll recall, comes to a close when Fariña dies young in a motorcycle accident just two months before Dylan survives his notorious, life-changing motorcycle-accident brush with death. Survivor guilt, envy that Fariña made the bolder (if less successful) challenge to death—who knows what mixture of emotions such a fate might have evoked. 'If we never meet again,' he begins the last verse of 'Up to Me.' He knew they never would."

* The Black Table reports: It's a Good Thing: Turn Offs that Turn the Ladies On.

July 7, 2004

the parasites will love you when you're dead

* Fucking Finally.

And you play dumb and I'll play too, nobody has to know

Three poems by Adrienne Rich

The Ninth Symphony of Beethoven Understood At Last
As a Sexual Message

A man in terror of impotence
or infertility, not knowing the difference
a man trying to tell something
howling from the climacteric
music of the entirely
isolated soul
yelling at Joy from the tunnel of ego
music without the ghost
of another person in it, music
trying to tell something the man
does not want out, would keep if he could
gagged and bound and flogged with chords of Joy
where everything in silence and the
beating of a bloody fist upon
a splintered table.

After Twenty Years (1971)

Two women site at a table by a window. Light breaks
unevenly on both of them.
Their talk is a striking of sparks
which passers-by in the street observe
as a glitter in the glass of that window.
Two women in the prime of their life.
Their babies are old enough to have babies.
Loneliness has been part of their story for twenty years,
the dark edge of the clever tongue,
the obscure underside of the imagination.
It is snow and thunder in the street.
While they speak the lightning flashes purple.
It is strange to be so many women,
eating and drinking at the same table,
those who bathed their children in the same basin
who kept their secrets from each other
walked the floors of their lives in separate rooms
and flow into history now as the women of their time
living in the prime of life
as in a city where nothing is forbidden
and nothing permanent.

For the Dead (1972)

I dreamed I called you on the telephone
to say: Be kinder to yourself
but you were sick and would not answer

The waste of my love goes on this way
trying to save you from yourself

I have always wondered about the leftover
energy, water rushing down a hill
long after the rains have stopped

or the fire you want to go to bed from
but cannot leave, burning-down but not burnt-down
the read coals more extreme, more curious
in their flashing and dying
then you wish they were
sitting there after midnight
just cause i'm fakin doesn't mean i'm wrong

* Wasington Post discusses the upcoming documentary of Charles Bukowski. excerpt:

"Bukowski wrote about men and women as beaten down as a crunched beer can, about endurance, rage, longing, sex and, mostly, about himself. He was a bestseller in Brazil; his poetry is taught to high school students in France; in the United States, in his day, he was a symbol of rebellion, but is probably best known for the 1987 film 'Barfly,' where he was portrayed by Mickey Rourke (alongside Faye Dunaway), the screenplay written by Bukowski himself for a movie he didn't really like very much.

"Today, Bukowski remains a cult favorite, though the critics aren't exactly sure whether to consider him a modern Walt Whitman or a minor misogynistic poet in the post-Beat tradition."
"He was back in Los Angeles in 1955 when a stomach ulcer exploded and he was rushed, bleeding from both ends, to the L.A. county hospital, where a physician told him one more drink and you're dead. In the film, a much older Bukowski lifts a glass of red to the camera and smiles, saying doctors aren't always right. The scene is not heroic, but sad, in the way drunks are sad."
"'What appeals,' [filmmaker] Dullaghan observes, 'is the anger, his familiarity with the dark nights, and he was not afraid to go to those places.'"

* Can Baseball survive? excerpt:

"Baseball. It’s more quintessentially American than Mom, apple pie, or selling cutting-edge weapons to corrupt dictators (oops!). No other sport has the same rich history, the same American never-say-die spirit, or the same unexplainable mystique that has inspired hundreds of books and movies.

"But our national pastime is in serious trouble. In a world where nightly news reports detail rampant corporate greed, stock market cheating, and sweetheart Halliburton deals reeking of institutionalized corruption, baseball’s been getting its own black eye. Could it be that the greatest game on Earth is beginning to symbolize all that is wrong with the greatest nation on Earth?

"These days it sounds like every player is hopped up on steroids, the commissioner’s office looks sleazier than Michael Jackson driving an ice cream truck, and don’t even get us started on the Damn Yankees and their new quarter-billion-dollar man. Despite the most exciting postseason ever, fans are still staying away in droves. The 2004 season opens with the sport itself at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, down by a run, with no rally monkey in sight."
"Q&A with Jason Giambi:

Q: If you could endorse any product, what would you choose?
A:Jack Daniel’s would save me a ton of money.

Q:The Yanks pay you $17 million a year, more than A-Rod. Are you one of the greedy players fans complain about?
A:That makes me laugh: greedy players. If fans saw what the fucking owners make, they’d say, '[The players] don’t make fucking anything!' It’s like Kevin Costner making $20 million a film. I work harder than he does.

Q:But some owners claim they’re broke.
A:I think that’s a crock of shit. If you put a good product on the field, people will come to watch. That’s the bottom line.

Q:Speaking of crocks, how do you get along with George Steinbrenner?
A:Great! He knew I was fucked up when he signed me. He knew I rode bikes. I said, 'I’m not going to stop, Boss.' And he said, 'You’re a fucking idiot! Don’t get hurt.' I bought my first bike from Ron Simms in Oakland, and I wound up living in the guy’s house.

Q:What’s your favorite road city?
A:I like Boston. Boston hates us, we hate them, and that’s fucking great. That’s what baseball is all about.

Q:Have you ever charged the mound?
A:No—I wouldn’t fucking make it. I’d rather wait until after the game and beat the fuck out of him when he has no idea it’s coming."

* The Caribbean go West. You can catch them at the following clubs:

Thursday, July 8th: Jasmine Tree, Portland, OR;
Friday, July 9th: Center on Contemporary Art, Seattle, WA;
Monday, July 12th: Thee Parkside, San Francisco, CA; and
Thursday, July 15th: Fold @ Tangiers, Los Angeles, CA

Or on radio shows at the following stations:

Tuesday, July 13th: KDVS (University of California-Davis), 9pm performance (for rebroadcast)
Wednesday, July 14th: KZSU (Stanford Univ.), noon performance and interview.

The Caribbean are slated for DC, Baltimore, Boston, and Norfolk, Virgina shows following the west coast tour. For these dates, see the website.

July 6, 2004

Reflect what you are, in case you don't know

* Boston Phoenix on Continuum Books’ 33 1/3 series. [via book slut] excerpt:

"Personal history is also the lifeblood of Joe Harvard’s approach to The Velvet Underground and Nico. The Velvets are one of the quintessential New York bands, but the Fort Apache Studio founder’s book is amusingly Boston-centric — from off-subject anecdotes (Alpo from the Real Kids caught crabs after stealing New York Dolls drummer Arthur 'Killer' Kane’s pants!) to excerpts from Harvard’s interviews with Jonathan Richman (confirmed: there would be no Modern Lovers if there had been no Velvet Underground) to Harvard’s remembrances of listening to Lou Reed singles on the juke at Jean’s Coffee Shoppe, 'our local hamburger-cum-bookie joint' in Eastie.

"It’s long been a cliché that VU were criminally under-appreciated in their lifetime but that everyone who saw them play went out and formed a band. Harvard does spend some time bolstering those truisms, but he also offers unusual vignettes, as when he depicts John Cale ("One Badass Classical Dude") arriving at NYC’s Pickwick Studios to meet Lou Reed and discovering that Reed’s teen-trash anthem 'The Ostrich' used an open-tuned drone similar to what Cale had been working on with Iannis Xenakis and LaMonte Young — "a shock akin to finding a monkey tuning his viola." The book also sparkles when Harvard lets his imagination explode on the page. He likens 'Heroin' to the mystical poetry of Jalal ad-Din Rumi. In 'European Son,' he hears 'someone flushing glass down a metal toilet' and 'rockabilly rhythms from the foothills of Mars' and 'a football chant for warrior droids of the future.'

"Referring to Sterling Morrison’s recollection of the band’s first-ever gig, Harvard writes that 'I’d pay good money to see any band these days that could provoke ‘a mighty howl of outrage and bewilderment’ just by playing their two best songs.' Then he reminds us that the VU’s debut actually got radio airplay in the Hub. 'As a native East Bostonian, it makes me proud that Boston was one place that recognized how great the Velvets were — in their own time.'"

St. Barbie, 1994, by Mark Ryden. [via Bad Horse]

* "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 16, 1953 [via
wood s lot]
memories of another life painted on her shirt

* Kerry announces his VP pick: John Edwards, on George Bush's birthday. Bush, seeing the writing on the wall, prepares his resume.

* Scientist finds that, on average, desks have 50 percent more bacteria than toilet seats.

* Fourth of July with bad news hughes begins:

"I usually make it a priority to celebrate July 4th by getting in a bottle-rocket fight. Well, I failed in that goal this year. But I did get shitfaced while floating down a river. That's got to count for something, right? Hell yes it does! I think it counts as a big Fuck You, Osama. His beardy murderous ass is freezing in a cave while thousands of free Americans representing all races, creeds and colors drink cold beer and float down rivers. Girls are wearing bikinis, some fat guy is jumping off the rope swing and I'm pretty sure those kids over by the trees are smoking a little weed. And this rules.

"People might think I'm being flippant or sarcastic here, but I'm not. I want religious fundamentalists, terrorists, commies, bluenoses and self-righteous player-haters all over the world to know one very important thing: You can kill people, wave around your Korans and Bibles and manifestos, demonstrate, chant, believe what you hear on talk radio, pray, elect idiot presidents named Bush and generally try to screw things up as much as you want, but you can't stop America from being awesome. And a day where we drink cold beer, play horseshoes, walk around half-naked, turn the radio up very loud and float down a damn river just because it's there is not only proof of that — it's an essential component of why this country is so great."

[images via patriot boy

July 2, 2004

your daydreams aren't forever better get your shit together

Three Poems by Denise Levertov

The Broken Sand

Dreamed the thong of my sandal broke.
Nothing to hold it to my foot.
How shall I walk?


The sharp stones, the dirt. I would
And --
Where was I going?
Where was I going I can't
go to now, unless hurting?
Where an I standing, if I'm
to stand still now?


I am waiting.
On benches, at the corners
of earth's waitingrooms,
by trees whose sap rises, rises
to escape in gray leaves and lose
itself in teh last air.
for who comes at last
late, lost, the forever
longed-for, walking
not my road but crossing
the corner where I wait.

A Dark Summer Day

I want some funky jazz band
to wake me,
tell me life's been dreaming me.
I want something like love, but made
out of string or pebbles,
oboe of torn air
to tear me to my senses.
Emily's black birds
don't bate their banjos nor the throbbing
of their quick hearts.
The leaves part to reveal
more leaves, and darkness,
darkness and the intense
poised sequence of leaves.
I want to take that last of all leaves
between my lips and taste
its weight in stone.

July 1, 2004

all I know is that the waves keep rollin' in

Three pieces by DC-area artist Jody Mussoff:



your janglin' jewelry is hypnotisin'

* Free Weeds: William F. Buckley on marijuana laws. excerpt:

"Conservatives pride themselves on resisting change, which is as it should be. But intelligent deference to tradition and stability can evolve into intellectual sloth and moral fanaticism, as when conservatives simply decline to look up from dogma because the effort to raise their heads and reconsider is too great.

"The laws concerning marijuana aren't exactly indefensible, because practically nothing is, and the thunderers who tell us to stay the course can always find one man or woman who, having taken marijuana, moved on to severe mental disorder. But that argument, to quote myself, is on the order of saying that every rapist began by masturbating."
"Legal practices should be informed by realities. These are enlightening in the matter of marijuana. There are approximately 700,000 marijuana-related arrests made very year. Most of these -- 87 percent -- involve nothing more than mere possession of small amounts of marijuana. This exercise in scrupulosity costs us $10 billion to $15 billion per year in direct expenditures alone. Most transgressors caught using marijuana aren't packed away to jail, but some are, and in Alabama, if you are convicted three times of marijuana possession, they'll lock you up for 15 years to life. Professor Ethan Nadelmann, of the Drug Policy Alliance, writing in National Review, estimates at 100,000 the number of Americans currently behind bars for one or another marijuana offense."
"Such reforms would hugely increase the use of the drug? Why? It is de facto legal in the Netherlands, and the percentage of users there is the same as here. The Dutch do odd things, but here they teach us a lesson."

* Gibby Haynes talks about, among other things, his upcoming solo album. [via largeheartedboy]

"It shouldn't have been a surprise. Over the years, Haynes has jammed with Johnny Depp, hung out with Ellen Barkin, recorded under the supervision of Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones, and covertly rubbed his genitalia against former first daughter Amy Carter's luggage. The man knows how to mingle in a wide range of social settings.

"For all of Haynes' glorious debauchery over the years, this is still the same guy who graduated with honors from Trinity University, with degrees in accounting and economics, while playing on the basketball team and serving as a fraternity president. It was during this period that he also met Paul Leary, a guitarist who helped him form the foundation of the Butthole Surfers.

"With a new album, Gibby Haynes & His Problem, set for release in August, and an imminent gig at the Contemporary Art Month Kickoff Party Fundraiser, Haynes reflects on his college years in San Antonio. Speaking in a gruff twang, with awkward pauses followed by excited bursts of thought, Haynes effortlessly moves from shock-value fabrications to sincere remembrances.

"'I had to be about three or four years into the band before I got de-virginized. I was like 30,' he says. When the veracity of this claim is questioned, he offers an alternate account: 'At Trinity, my girlfriend finally spread her legs and I fucking came in like 30 seconds and she said, 'Is that all?' And then I got a hard-on again and she wouldn't fuck.'
"Haynes recently moved to New York's Lower East Side, and he proudly talks about how he's taken up biking, getting himself a fixed-gear bike with no brakes because that's what bike messengers use.

"He reveals that the bike purchase was inspired by a "leisurely Saturday morning" spent with his girlfriend watching the Kevin Bacon movie Quicksilver on TV. 'I was like, 'Wow, man, I love that bike. I've got to get one.' I was mesmerized by the movie. It's funny, because it was supposed to be in New York, but it looks kind of like a Canadian version of San Francisco.'"

"A few days later, he attended a voter-registration fundraiser at the Apollo Theater, and saw Kevin Bacon there. 'That's when I decided to get a bike. If I see Kevin Bacon, I will tell him. I have the confidence now.'"

* The fall of Courteney Love: a timeline. [via timothompson]