August 25, 2004

It's been evening all day long, It's been evening all day long

* Pictures and quotes from soldiers wounded in Iraq. [via travelers diagram].

Sam Ross, 21, Pennsylvania, lost his left leg and his eyesight May 18, 2003, in Baghdad, when a bomb blew up during a munitions-disposal operation.

"I lost my left leg, just below the knee. Lost my eyesight, which it's still unsettled about whether it will come back or not. I have shrapnel in pretty much every part of my body. Got my finger blown off—it don't work right. I had a hole blown through my right leg—had three skin grafts to try and repair it. It's not too bad now. It hurts a lot, that's about it. You know, not really anything major. Just little things. I have a piece of shrapnel in my neck that came up through my vest and went into my throat and it's sitting behind my trachea, and when I swallow, it kind of feels like I have a pill in my throat. I never had a health problem my entire life. Now I'm going to be seeing doctors every couple of months for the rest of my life. I just went and got fitted for my hearing aide. I've had 15 surgeries and at last 5 more to go. I ask myself that all the time, Why didn't I die because in a sense. You know, I think I should have."

* Momus discusses Bunraku theatre. excerpt:

"Bunraku is puppetry as a fine art, a vocation. It's not theatre on the cheap, or theatre for childen, but a kind of purified, refined expression of all that's most theatrical about theatre, a demonstration of how art is better when all the manipulation and simulation are visible rather than hidden behind the scenes. Bunraku is very Japanese in the way it mixes spontaneity with skill and custom -- kikkoshibari, the art of bondage, Japanese calligraphy, or the way Nature is both respected and ostentatiously controlled here, all show the same balance between the splashy and the tight, the chaotic and the controlled, the spontaneous and the trained.
"You can see some splendid RealPlayer video clips of the Osaka Bunraku Theatre here, courtesy of UNESCO. The fact that the music in the first clip sounds, incredibly, rather like Captain Beefheart underlines the fact that, to me (and I feel the same way about Harry Partch) there's no reason to think that this couldn't be the sound of pop music being made right now, or in the near future. The music is dramatic, it has a good ratio of figure to ground, sound to silence, it's decisive and constantly interesting, balancing voice against music in a way pop music also does, telling stories the way a pop song can."

* Washington, DC is the worst place to die.


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