December 30, 2004

every beginning has a new meaning

* Shut Up Already lists the 10 Most Outraegous Comments of 2004. excerpt:

Michael Savage: "When you hear 'human rights,' think gays. ... [T]hink only one thing: someone who wants to rape your son."

Oliver North: "Every terrorist out there is hoping John Kerry is the next president of the United States."

Pat Robertson on gays and lesbians: "[S]elf-absorbed hedonists ... that want to impose their particular sexuality on the rest of America."

Pat Buchanan: "[H]omosexuality is an affliction, like alcoholism."

* Favorite books read in 2004 (in no particular order): B.F.'s Daughter, by John P. Marquand; All three volumes of Edward Sander's History of America in Verse; Meat is Murder, by Joe Pernice; and Franz Wright's Walking to Martha's Vineyard

* A Poem by Chris Stroffolino:

irish coffee

One could enjoy one's greedy need
If one knows that satisfaction
Perceived (because it has been)
As the beautiful clothes of solitude
Surrounding the ugly socialite of a body
Who doesn't have to identify with
What gets called national interests
To be torn between contempts and fear
Jokes and soberness in a terror
One could find at a party
That still seems like a superstore
Or a cafe where coffee builds walls
Which, later in the evening,
When the lights go down on us
And we can see our shadows rise,
Alcohol manages to tear down
While cigarettes look on
Until a 60 block wal stamps them out.

December 23, 2004

Sunlights chasing colors on my walls

Christmas Morning Without Presents: The Depression, Granite City, Illinois
-- by Ellery Akers

It is 1929. The moon falls on the floor,
the pantry is empty, beans hardening like rocks in the
No, you did not expect this.
The same cracked wall with its stains,
odor of your mother's cleaning fluid,
curtains with their clean hems,
blowing in and out.
You touch the bones and lumps of the chair,
the broken wireless with its dial, you pick up a spoon,
and it's cold. A clock ticks. The chipped plates
fill up with the moon.
You look back at the window,
tubes and vats of the factories
quiet for once.
The garbage truck rolls up the alley,
the bristles of the streetcleaner's brush rasp on the
Your hand closes on the doorknob, quietly.
You begin to carry the stone of your childhood:
The moon. The empty room. It will be yours.

-- by Frank O'Hara

If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35c, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

* William Burrough's A Junky's Christmas.

Posting will be light until next year. Enjoy the Holidays!

December 22, 2004

hopes pinned to poses honed in men's room mirrors

* Oldish interview of Sparklehorse Mark Linkous. excerpt:

AL: The song "It's A Wonderful Life" is like a Walt Disney song. It is so happy and cheerful. Is it supposed to be ironic?

Mark: In a way. I got fed up with people in America thinking that my music is morose and depressing and all that. That song is like a "fuck you" to journalists, or people who are not smart enough to see what it is. But in the end, it was more about how everyday, you should pick up something, no matter how minuscule or microscopic it is, and when you go to bed, you can say I was glad that I was alive to see that. That's really what it's about.
AL: Do you believe in any religion? I know you had an accident a few years ago.

Mark: Not after that. It never caused any religious awakening. I have always remained sort of agnostic I guess. I believe that there is a God but I don't believe that it can be explained or understood. Whether you are evoking a higher intelligence like God or nature, it can be seen as the same thing. In West Virginia, there are snake handlers. They are a different level. It's very inspiring. Whether it's religion or anything that could do that.
AL: Any advice for younger people who want to do music?

Mark: Buy a 99 dollar four-track and record some stuff and put it out on the Internet.

* Gibby Haynes interviews Willie Nelson and Willie Nelson interviews Gibby Haynes. excerpt:

Gibby: Willie, you wrote a song called "Crazy" and they denied it. One was German so I couldn't really blame him that much and as it turned out he had signed three bands and all the singers of these three bands had died. So it's lucky that he didn't know that you wrote "Crazy" (Both Laugh) There's also another one I'd love to hear something about, "The Red-Headed Stranger." Is that a song about a man that shoots a woman for touching his horse?

Willie: Yeah, it was originally a song called Red Headed Stranger and it was a record written by Arthur "Guitar Ruby" Smith and I used to be a disc jockey up in Fort Worth at KCNC and I had a children's program each day. My show ran from noon until 3pm, but I had a fifteen minute program each day from o1:00 until 1:15 where I played children's music so the mothers could get their little kids to take a nap you know. That was back in the radio of the 50's. There was this song called "The Red Headed Stranger" and I played it every day on my show and it was one of the most requested songs. I sang it to my kids at night with the first family that I had and so everyone just associated me and that song. "The Red Headed Stranger." And then, I had a chance to do my first album and I had artistic control (so they say), so I did the Red Headed Stranger Album. I did it in about 12 or 15 hours and it cost like ten or twelve thousand dollars to complete.
Gibby: You're the Perry Farrell of country music. I don't know if you'll get that one.

Willie: No, I don't know who that is.
Gibby: That's OK, don't worry about it, he looks like the devil without a tail. He's one of those weird guys. But that period, that was a weird period. It was in that transitional period. It kinda went from LSD to methamphetamines, you know what I mean? Shit got weird. There was a lot of dangerous people running around. These rumrunners and shit, but you had one of the picnics out on MoPac [Missouri Pacific Highway] didn't you, when MoPac was being built?

I love an expert I hate a hack

Three Poems by Franz Wright

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.

Winter Entries

Love no one, work, and don't let the pack know
     you're wounded . . .

Stupid, disappointed strategies.

Hazel wind of dusk, I have lived so much.

Friendless eeriness of the new street —

The poem does not come, but its place is kept set.

Getting Off Work

I'm finished. It's finished
with me.

There is nothing to do now,
at last,

but get from this chair
to the bedroom

before the green pre-light, the leaves'
last night telling's

obliterated by another
morning's thermonuclear

soundless detonation-

except to be quiet
enough not to wake you.

To be quiet enough
not to wake.

December 21, 2004

And the country sin a scene

* Dave Holwerk of the Sacremento Bee calls for Merle Haggard to be named as California's poet laureate. excerpt:

"The job of naming a poet laureate falls to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. And with the post now open (thanks to an unfortunate discrepancy in the previous laureate's résumé), Schwarzenegger finds himself on the verge of having to side with the Chardonnay-sipping literati or those who take their poetry straight up from Hallmark.

"Either way, the governor's choice won't be easy. The state has numerous popular poets and uncountable amateurs, and as any self-respecting English major can tell you, California has no shortage of distinguished serious poets: Gary Snyder and Lawrence Ferlinghetti probably top a long and impressive list. The choice will be daunting, no matter what.

"But it needn't be. One California poet's work is both distinguished and accessible, serious and popular. I'm talking, of course, about Merle Haggard."
"Haggard writes in a style that is clean and spare enough to please the most austere critic. His command of American idiom would make Carl Sandburg envious. But what sets Haggard's work apart - and makes him the best choice as poet laureate - is his subject matter."
"As with any gubernatorial appointment, there may be political objections to Haggard. Anti-war lefties may react with horror because of Haggard's big Vietnam-era hit, "Okie From Muskogee," which he wrote with Roy Burris. Before they get their jockeys too wadded up, they should go to his Web site,, and read his editorial defending the Dixie Chicks.

"Right-wingers may be worried about his "Working Man Blues" or the hints of environmentalism that abound in his lyrics. Some people may wonder whether it makes sense to send an alum of the Preston School of Industry and other California prisons into the schools to talk to kids about poetry.

"To these and other potential objections, all I can say is: We're looking for a poet, not a perfect role model. I hear even the saintly Robert Frost had a mean streak in him."

* A Christmas wishlist from Iraq. excerpt:

"1. 20 liters of gasoline
2. A cylinder of gas for cooking
3. Kerosene for the heaters
4. Those expensive blast-proof windows
5. Landmine detectors
6. Running water
7. Thuraya satellite phones (the mobile phone services are really, really bad of late)
8. Portable diesel generators (for the whole family to enjoy!)
9. Coleman rechargeable flashlight with extra batteries (you can never go wrong with a fancy flashlight)
10. Scented candles (it shows you care- but you're also practical)"

* Steve eats stuff so you don't have to. [via the morning news]

December 20, 2004

Thank you, friends, wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you

* Happy Birthday to:

Mike Watt

Patty Smith

Billy Bragg

Alex Chilton

* Info on the world's fastest elevator.

* A fantasy scenario of The Rude Pundit: A Very Nixon Christmas. excerpt:

"Safire is in the kitchen, late, late at night, having put to bed his latest editorial, one of his last for the Times. In this one, Safire, using Philip Roth's latest novel as a jumping off point, envisioned the scenario of a fantasy George W. Bush having opinions of his own, able to stand up to the neocons, and refusing to go to war in Iraq. This single act, of course, leads to Saddam Hussein's ascent to unparalleled power in the Middle East, with a complicit UN behind him. Oh, ho, ho, we dodged that bullet, Safire thinks, searching for the last of the Hannukah brisket in the back of the fridge. When he closes the fridge door, he notices that the room is still cold. He turns to the counter and jumps, for a moment, as he sees the ghost of his old boss, Richard Nixon. 'How ya doin', ya short-cocked kike?' Nixon asks.

"'Hi, Dick,' Safire says. He's old. He's seen many, many ghosts in his time. And Nixon's been a regular visitor of late.

"'Goddamn, that was a fine, fine fucking editorial you wrote today,' Nixon says, proud that his former speechwriter has succeeded where so many from his administration failed.

"Safire says, 'Actually, it's technically a column. An editorial is generally done by an editor. I'm a columnist.'

"Nixon rolls his eyes, 'Look, Bill, if you correct my fuckin' language one more cocksuckin' time, I'll feed your balls to Satan's bichon frise.'

"'Satan has a bichon frise? I'd've thought pit bulls or something.'

"'Everyone in Hell has a bichon frise. Little fuckers shit and shed, it's all they goddamn do.'

'Brisket?' Safire offers.

"'Got any bacon?' Nixon cracks himself up. Safire shakes his head. He's used to the charm of Nixon's Jew-hating humor. He knows that Nixon's heart is good, despite the judgment of eternity. Nixon continues, 'Holy fuckin' crap, what an amazing column today. That kind of disinformation I couldn't buy in my time. Least I couldn't get away with it. Fuckin' Cronkite, fuckin' Murrow, fuckin' Huntley, fuckin' Brinkley, fuckin' Woodward--'

"'What are you talking about?' Safire interrupts, slicing the brisket and eating it with his fingers. 'I don't contaminate the columns with disinformation.'"
Distance is up, static is down

* The scared of Santa photo gallery. [via screenhead]

* Keith Moon's personal contact list is for sale on eBay.

"The index box, which is divided alphabetically contains a number of pink and white cards with personal and professional contact addresses written on them in Moon's hand and also in the hand of another, probably Moon's wife of the time Kim Moon.

"The cards detail the contact numbers and in some cases the addresses of celebrity friends including, David Bowie, Lionel Bart, Donovan, Elton John, Billy Fury, Frankie Howerd, Maurice Gibb and Lulu, Mick Jagger, George Lazenby and of course fellow band members, Pete Townsend [a Dust Congress reader notes that the correct spelling for Pete's last name is Townshend], Roger Daltrey (spelt Daltry), John and Alison Entwistle and the band's manager, Kit Lambert, (on this card Moon has written after Lambert's name 'the sheepish lion, God bless him')."

* The Mountain Goat's John Darnielle on top ten lists. excerpt:

"My relationship with year-end wrapups is thorny at best. I love reading them; I've loved reading them since I was nine or ten years old. Back then, I took it on faith that these lists were as weighty as they seemed to think they were; around December, I'd begin to think hard - not to say 'worry,' or even 'fret' - about which records would make the list, and which wouldn't, and whether the critics who'd made the lists were certain that they'd given ample consideration to (for example) Lynyrd Skynyrd's Street Survivors or Heatwave's Too Hot to Handle.

"That wonderful albums might be left off the list, or that shitty ones might worm their way onto it and possibly even place in the top five: was the universe really so disinterested in justice? Wouldn’t such miscarriages inflame the passions of the deeply concerned masses, and wouldn’t their rage eventually result in the death of rock music or some comparably great catastrophe? Would I have endure yet another year in which none of these L.A. Times schmucks would attest to the excellence of Heart, or Toto, or of German Toto-clones Lake?"
"And so it turns out, according to me, that year-end lists are the music-obsessive’s intensely personal version of those Christmas letters you sometimes get from an over-busy aunt in Massachusetts: the ones that sum up what-all happened in the family this year, all the deaths and marriages and births and divorces. One hopes they make for entertaining reading; they sometimes do; but as lists, they are meaningless. This may seem an obvious point. I’d hope that it would. But outside of personal blogs, I’ll bet there’ll be more lists that poise, peacock-like, above their subjects, pretending to be in possession of a secret machine that enables them to state the exact qualitative discrepancy that makes Antics a better or worse record than The Pretty Toney Album. It seems a fool’s errand, and that’s why you won’t be getting any lists here. I recommend Jess Harvell’s list, since Jess is always on the lookout for the broader picture, and I recommend Ethan’s list, since the one album I bought on its recommendation – Rapalot Presents The Day After Hell Broke Loose – is completely fucking awesome. But more than these, I recommend that we shy away from year-end lists when we can. Let’s leave such things for lesser arts, like film."

December 17, 2004

The jukebox is playing a honky tonk song

A Reminder

Sitting on a subway train watching all the people lose their senses

* From Ed Sander's America: A History in Verse, Volume 3:

A Hunger for Total Loyalty

Like the Communists he hated
Johnson demanded a party line on the War
& total loyalty from his
tongue-lashed troops

1965: 184,300 troops 636 killed
1966: 385,300 troops 6,644 killed
1967 485,600 troops 16,021 killed
1968 536,000 troops 30,610 killed

Headphones at Dawn

Just as young people studied City Lights pocket poets
or mimeographed magazines
for news that was Really News

by the mid and late 1960s they studied stereo albums
as if they were religious texts
or as an anodyne to the crimson chaos
or even to help them build courage to
stand up for change

Raptured at dawn with headphones listening to Cecil Taylor
Jim Morrison & the Doors

Joni Mitchell
the wild wail of Janis

Dylan & other mind-mending mind-bending
mixes from the revolution in multi-track over-dubbed recording

-- gifts from what Charles Olson called the Electromagnetic Aeon


brought in Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller's associate
to be his National Securtiy Advisor
Kissinger had offered to work for Humphrey,
but secretly worked for Nixon's election
as we have seen

Kissinger was what they called a power freak
He was vindictive, quick to anger
and he had a Cosmic Ego, as if he'd taken too much acid
with actually taking any
He was a secrecy-batty would-be Metternich
who, the time-track will reveal,
care not many whits
for napalmed civilians
& glazed eyes in the world's ditches

Nixon selected humas named H.R. Haldeman
& John Ehrlichman as his "personal aides."

They were living labs of "power corrupts"
& served as his political knife-men

All three were classic examples of what the historians
Charles & Mary Beard once called
"advisors swollen with infallibility"

December 16, 2004

He's a movie star, only drives rented cars

* What happens when you get a spider stoned? Scientists have found that speed and caffine make it more difficult for a spider to spin a 'normal' web (see pictures at the link). [via lastonespeaks]

* Shut Up Already has posted 20 Amazing Facts about Voting in the United States. If you haven't seen the email, click the link. Who knew that 80% of all votes in America are counted by only two companies: Diebold and ES&S and that the vice-president of Diebold and the president of ES&S are brothers?

* Iceland approves a residency permit for former chess champion Bobby Fischer, who is who is being detained by Japanese immigration authorities on charges of violating international sanctions against Yugoslavia. Fischer is wanted in the United States.
and if the devil is six, then god is seven

* An interview with New York Times war reporter Chris Hedges. excerpt:

Q: "In your book, you say, “Lurking beneath the surface of every society, including ours, is the passionate yearning for a nationalist cause that exalts us... the kind that war alone is able to deliver.” That yearning suggest that we’re always going to be either at war or on the brink of war. Do you see any forces can temper that tendency?"

Hedges: "The only force that is powerful enough to subvert the force of war is love. Love is never organized. Love is always individual love. Love is a force that is built between two human beings. In wartime, everything is done to subvert that force.

"I don’t know that there’s an organized force that can stand up to the allure of war, which gives us a sense of empowerment — allows us to be part of a cause, to ennoble ourselves, to rise above our small stations in life.

"The need to find meaning like that, I think, is an indication of the huge deficit of our emotional life. In conflict after conflict, those who are able to remain sane, who were never able to hate the perfidious enemy (who, in places like the Balkans, were often their neighbors), were those who had good relationships, those who were in love.

"I think particularly, in the war in Bosnia, of a Serb woman and her husband who took in two Muslim children and cared for them during the conflict, although they were ridiculed for it by everyone else in the town.

"In the grand scheme of things, those small acts of resistance end up being more powerful than we suspect at the time, if nothing else, because they remind us what moral behavior is. When you live in the midst of war, when incredibly powerful weapons are being deployed to kill you, these acts often appear futile, even absurd. Ultimately, I think they are not."

* Tracklisting for the yo la tengo retrospective compilation hitting the shops March 22, 2005.

* Best 100 books about sports.

December 15, 2004

Tonight I'm swimming to my favorite island

Three Poems:

At the Lion's Head
-- David Markson

I scowl at the bar
And confront a midnight revelation:
In ten years
I have contributed thirty thousand, cash,
To the fiscal well-being
Of this saloon.

If I still wake, mornings, to
Is there a refund?

The Order of the Day
-- Billy Collins

A morning after a week of rain
and the sun shot down through the branches
and into the tall, bare windows.

The brindled cat rolled over on his back,
and I could hear you in the kitchen
grinding coffee beans into a powder.

Everything seemed especially vivid
because I knew we were all going to die,
first the cat, then you, then me,

then somewhat later the liquefied sun
was the order I was envisioning.
But then again, you never really know.

The cat had a fiercely healthy look,
his coat so bristling and electric
I wondered what you had been feeding him

and what you had been feeding me
as I turned a corner
and beheld you out on the sunny deck now

running in place—
knees lifted high, skin
glistening, and that toothy, immortal smile.

Night Thought
-- Bill Knott

Compared to one's normal clothes, pajamas
are just as caricature as the dreams
they bare: farce-skins, facades, unserious
soft versions of the mode diem, they seem
to have come from a posthumousness;
floppy statues of ourselves, slack seams
of death. Their form mimics the decay
that will fit us so comfortably someday.
There's nothing in my life bigger than beer

John Mears on Keith Moon. excerpt:

"Keith Moon, drummer of the Who,moved in opposite me in Old Park Ridings, Enfield. We became friends."
"In 1969 the name of the game was booze pill`s & getting high. Keith never at that time smoked pot, he was strictly into brandy blues & madness & in that order, he would drink all day, blue`s all night followed by Mandy`s to bring him down to sleep. He loved to see how people would react to the way he acted, he would go for a drink in a local pub in Enfield & ask the barman for a large brandy & ginger & a pint of lager, to which he would pure the larger over his head, & down the brandy & ginger in one, licking his lips he would ask for the same again guava!!!! This was his way of life he loved shocking people, just to see there reaction. One day in warder street he went in to a Deli & bought a pickled gherkin, to which he walked down the road offering it to anyone he saw, in a most offending way! But this was Moon lapping up their reaction`s! One afternoon after the pub`s had kicked out every one, Keith said he would like to go around to one of his mates, and started telling me the way to get there, when we got there he ask me to go and knock on the door and see if anyone was in, Which I did, to my amusement the door opened and there standing there with a floor tile in one hand and adhesive in another was Ringo Starr. Looking over my shoulder he shouted `Moon you barstard come in and take me away from all this!` He was retailing his front door way area. We started drinking brandy and coke, it was 3:30 by 6:30 we were taping ourselves doing goon send up`s, playing pool and dancing with the Fiberglas penguins in the back garden (NOT IN THAT ORDER!!) Ringo was one of Keith`s best mate`s at the time and he became my next boss when i left Keith a year later. Thank`s to his P.A and driver at the time Martin lickett, but that`s another story."

* The McEnroe Show will air Luna's performance of "Malibu Love Nest" tomorrow night, Wednesday December 15th, at 10p.m. on MSNBC.

* Lap pillow being marketed to Japanese men. excerpt:

"Single or lonely Japanese men may get lucky this Christmas.

"One popular item for holiday shoppers is the 'lap pillow,' with skin-coloured polyurethene calves folded under soft thighs -- a comfy cushion for napping, reading or watching television."
"Care was taken with details such as the softness of the thighs, panty lines on the pillow's 'backside' and wrinkles in the lap of the skirt so as to make the pillow look and feel as real as possible.

"'We thought our main customers would be men in their 20s, but even men in their 60s are buying it,' Igarashi said."

December 14, 2004

Do the fakers drop out?

* How attorneys might say Merry Christmas:

Please accept without obligation, express or implied, these best wishes for an environmentally safe, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, and gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday as practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice (but with respect for the religious or secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or for their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all) and further for a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated onset of the generally accepted calendar year (including, but not limited to, the Christian calendar, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures). The preceding wishes are extended without regard to the race, creed, age, physical ability, religious faith or lack thereof, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee(s).

* Interview with U.S. Army war resister Jeremy Hinzman who says: "I Have a Duty to Disobey". Hinzman made his case Monday for Canada to give him refugee status. Hinzman fled there in January after his application for Conscientious Objector status was rejected by the U.S. military. Jeremy Hinzman joins us from his home in Canada.

* 2003 David Berman interview from reDiViDer:

Question: Which of the two do you currently feel a deeper commitment to?

Berman: Zero to three drinks, poetry. Four-plus drinks, music.

Tonight I've seen you in a different light

* JFK at the groundbreaking of a library in honor of Robert Rrost in Amherst, Massachusetts, on October 26, 1963:

"Robert Frost...saw poetry as the means of saving power from itself. When power leads man toward arrogance, poetry reminds him of his limitations. When power narrows the area's of man's concern, poetry reminds him of the richness and diversity of his existence. When power corrupts, poetry cleanses. For art establishes the basic human truths which must serve as the touchstone of our judgment."

* Baghdad Burning discusses the current Iraq situation. excerpt:

"The situation seems to be deteriorating daily. To brief you on a few things: Electricity is lousy. Many areas are on the damned 2 hours by 4 hours schedule and there are other areas that are completely in the dark- like A'adhamiya. The problem is that we're not getting much generator electricity because fuel has become such a big problem. People have to wait in line overnight now to fill up the car. It's a mystery. It really is. There was never such a gasoline crisis as the one we're facing now. We're an oil country and yet there isn't enough gasoline to go around...

"Oh don't get me wrong- the governmental people have gasoline (they have special gas stations where there aren't all these annoying people, rubbing their hands with cold and cursing the Americans to the skies)... The Americans have gasoline. The militias get gasoline. It's the people who don't have it. We can sometimes get black-market gasoline but the liter costs around 1250 Iraqi Dinars which is almost $1- compare this to the old price of around 5 cents. It costs almost 50,000 Iraqi Dinars to fill up the generator so that it works for a few hours and then the cost isn't so much the problem as just getting decent gasoline is. So we have to do without electricity most of the day."
"People are wondering how America and gang (i.e. Iyad Allawi, etc.) are going to implement democracy in all of this chaos when they can't seem to get the gasoline flowing in a country that virtually swims in oil. There's a rumor that this gasoline crisis has been concocted on purpose in order to keep a minimum of cars on the streets. Others claim that this whole situation is a form of collective punishment because things are really out of control in so many areas in Baghdad- especially the suburbs. The third theory is that this being done purposely so that the Iraq government can amazingly bring the electricity, gasoline, kerosene and cooking gas back in January before the elections and make themselves look like heroes.

"We're also watching the election lists closely. Most people I've talked to aren't going to go to elections. It's simply too dangerous and there's a sense that nothing is going to be achieved anyway. The lists are more or less composed of people affiliated with the very same political parties whose leaders rode in on American tanks. Then you have a handful of tribal sheikhs. Yes- tribal sheikhs. Our country is going to be led by members of religious parties and tribal sheikhs- can anyone say Afghanistan? What's even more irritating is that election lists have to be checked and confirmed by none other than Sistani!! Sistani- the Iranian religious cleric. So basically, this war helped us make a transition from a secular country being run by a dictator to a chaotic country being run by a group of religious clerics. Now, can anyone say 'theocracy in sheeps clothing'?"

* David Byrne reviews a slice joint in New York.

December 13, 2004

Money don't get me down but I can't make it last

* Americablog says: Michael Powell seriously needs to get laid. And then fired.

* Tommy Chong to star in The Marijuana-Logues. excerpt:

"Thomas B. Kin Chong is full of surprises. For one thing, he's soft-spoken and articulate — nothing at all like the character he's played in films, nightclubs and on television and comedy albums for more than 30 years.

"Chong was never charged with marijuana possession because the agents who arrested him were looking for smoking materials made by Nice Dreams, a company named for one of his Cheech and Chong films, and had not included marijuana in the search warrant. He ended up serving nine months after pleading guilty to conspiring to sell drug paraphernalia.

"He maintains that what authorities say were bongs and water pipes actually were examples of the fine blown-glass art he has exhibited over the years. He says he agreed to plead guilty to spare his son Paris, who ran Nice Dreams, any legal troubles."
"Chong says it wasn't hard to give up marijuana because it's not physically addictive. In any event, he says, he was never that much of a stoner. 'I was more into bodybuilding and things like that,' he says. 'My humor, it's always been observational, just cracking up at all the stupid things stoners do.'"

* A Hash-House in New York: A glimpse at the curious adventures of an individual who indulged in a few pipefuls of the narcotic hemp. Originally published in Harper's New Monthly Magazine, in 1883. [via Heck's Kitchen.] excerpt:

"Wonder, amazement, admiration, but faintly portray my mental condition. Prepared by what I had already seen and experienced for something odd and Oriental, still the magnificence of what now met my gaze far surpassed anything I had ever dreamed of, and brought to my mind the scenes of the Arabian Nights, forgotten since boyhood until now. My every sense was irresistibly taken captive, and it was some moments before I could realize that I really was not the victim of some dream, for I seemed to have wholly severed my connection with the world of today, and to have stepped back several centuries into the times of genii, fairies, and fountains—into the very heart of Persia or Arabia.

"Not an inharmonious detail marred the symmetry of the whole. Beneath, my feet sank almost ankle-deep into a velvety carpet—a sea of subdued colors. Looked at closely, I found that the design was that of a garden: beds of luxurious flowers, stars and crescents, squares and diamond-shaped plots, made up of thousands of rare exotics and richly colored leaves. Here a brook, edged with damp verdure, from beneath which peeped coy violets and tiny bluebells; there a serpentine gravelled walk that wound in and out amongst the exquisite plants, and everywhere a thousand shrubs in bloom or bud. Above, a magnificent chandelier, consisting of six dragons of beaten gold, from whose eyes and throats sprang flames, the light from which, striking against a series of curiously set prisms, fell shattered and scintillating into a thousand glancing beams that illuminated every corner of the room. The rows of prisms being of clear and variously colored glass, and the dragons slowly revolving, a weird and ever-changing hue was given to every object in the room."

All I need's a mirror then I'm a star

* Pete Townsend on The Jam. From TimeOut March 1982:

"The Jam's last two singles and albums have jumped straight to number one in Britain's charts. Their list of achievements chart-wise is staggering. And yet this success isn't like that of The Beatles in the 1960s when every record they made shot straight to the top. Jam fans are thinkers and musical reactionists, who tend to reject all politicians pretty much out of hand. They choose to dress in the rather sober style of the mid-1960s rather than adopt the peacock styles of the avant garde and they listen very earnestly to the words written by their spokesman. There is no bitterness in Weller's writing that isn't fully shared by his fans. Everything that is wrong with the world is someone else's fault. God is not in his heaven, and if he is then he isn't doing a very good job of handling the population explosion, political corruption and global disintegration.

"I read recently that Paul Weller has given up night-clubs, booze and drugs, and I suppose they do all go hand in hand. He is quite clearly a man of principle, but isn't he rejecting the only group of people who can really understand his frustrations? Has a musician ever changed any part of the world? Weller seems willing to deal only with Britain at this stage; he leaves America to the Americans and is apparently so disdainful of the States that it causes him pain to even talk about the place."
"When Weller and I met for the first time there was guarded mutual respect, not much else. We differed greatly on the importance of American music audiences. I have never seen The Jam live and don't listen to their records all the time. Weller only likes early Who stuff. From my point of view it's peculiar because I still feel as angry as I ever did, as unhappy about the exploitation of the individual by the difficult-to-pin-down `system'. People like me don't give up being angry, but they start to channel their aggressive frustrations into hard, defined arenas. You don't talk politics in The Embassy Club. You don't arrive in a Bentley when visiting a mate on the dole in Hull. I am not suggesting that the anger of The Jam is futile, nor that Weller will ultimately feel castrated, I am suggesting that as I approach my forties I find it harder to give my time to the proudly independent desperation of the young. I tend to think hard before committing myself in a song or an interview the way Weller does without fail. And yet he feels old at 24. Will it happen to him too?

"Weller is so full of pent-up energy that when he writes he sometimes streams ideas on to a record. He rarely uses controlled metre and never bothers to rhyme a line. The words of his songs laid out in naked print appear art school self conscious but are actually far from it. Weller is a slasher. He cuts and mauls. He drags you from complacency. He buttonholes you so you feel an urge to defend yourself, then you are opened up and weakened. The the attack touches your heart and you realise that the purpose of The Jam is Revolution. Both Weller and Buckler sing with the vengeance of men cornered. Their threat is that if you approach you will feel the full force of their anger: stay at a distance and you will hear their venomous condemnation of your cowardice. There is a fully fledged taunt in `Eton Rifles'. A totally sweeping derision in `In The Street Today'. In both cases there is also the thread of merciless self-analysis; so typically British. I keep coming back to this, The Jam are so fucking British."

* Chromewaves posts his favorite albums of 2004.

* Chomsky (via Wolcott):

"You can find things in the traditional religions which are very benign and decent and wonderful and so on, but I mean, the Bible is probably the most genocidal book in the literary canon. The God of the Bible--not only did he order His chosen people to carry out literal genocide--...but was ready to destroy every living creature on earth because humans irritated Him. That's the story of Noah. I mean, that's beyond genocide--you don't know how to describe this creature. Somebody offended Him, and He was going to destroy every living being on earth? And then He was talked into allowing two of each species to stay alive--that's supposed to be gentle and wonderful."

December 10, 2004

i will be here when you haunt

i will be here when you haunt

*Boy in Video Arcade

Some see a lake of fire at the end of it,
Or heaven's guesswork, something always to be sketched in.

I see a sullen boy in a video arcade.
He's the only one there at this hour, shoulders slightly bent above a machine.
I see the pimples on his chin, the scuffed linoleum on the floor.

I like the close-up, the detail. I like the pointlessness of it,
And the way it hasn't imagined an ending to all this yet,

The boy never bothering to look up as the sun comes out
In the late morning, because, Big Deal, the mist evaporating and rising.

So death blows his little fucking trumpet, Big Deal, says the boy.

I don't see anything at the end of it all except an endlessness.

The beauty parlors, the palm reader's unlighted sign, the mulberry trees
Fading out before the billboard of the chiropractor.

The lake of fire's just an oil speck.
I don't see anything at the end of it, & I suppose that is what is wrong with me,

Among other things. And it's slow work, because of all the gauzy light,

It's hard to pick out anything.

-Larry Levis

* my buddy Alan was found dead in his cabin yesterday. for a burly and often ornery biker who was banned from two states, he was one of the most loyal friends i've ever had. the above poem is for him. though he wasn't much for reading, i think he'd like the image of death blowing " his little fucking trumpet." we did a fair amount of carpentry work together and i learned some great tricks from him. the greatest thing i learned from Alan, however, was the expression "you can get glad in the same pants you got mad in." i'd heard him use it a hundred times yet it never ceased to get a smile out of me. that was his poetry. rest in peace, brother, i love ya.

December 9, 2004

all kinds of caresses

All Kinds of Caresses

The code-name losses and compensations
Float in and around us through the window.
It helps to know what direction the body comes from.
It isn't absolutely clear. In words
Bitter as a field of mustard we
Copy certain parts, then decline them.
These are not only gestures: they imply
Complex relations with one another. Sometimes one
Stays on for a while, a trace of lamp black
In a room full of gray furniture.

I now know all there is to know
About my body. I know too the direction
My feet are pointed in. For the time being
It is enough to suspend judgement, by which I don't mean
Forever, since judgement is also a storm, i.e., from
Somewhere else, sinking pleasure craft at moorings,
Looking, kicking in the sky.

Try to move with these hard blues,
These harsh yellows, these hands and feet.
Our gestures have taken us farther into the day
Than tomorrow will understand.

They live us. And we understand them when they sing,
Long after the perfume has worn off.
In the night the eye chisels a new phantom.

- John Ashbery

and when i danced and saw you dance i saw a world where the dead are worshiped

and when i danced and saw you dance i saw a world where the dead are worshiped

*RIP "dimebag" darrell and a trio of fans killed last night at an Ohio Damageplan gig. fans claiming: "this is the worst day in metal history"

*poor, poor fool. a nude fella wandering into Minneapolis homes had his genitals bit by the police dog that found him. i don't think this was the attention he sought.

*" A line can be described either by its slope (a ratio) or by its inclination (an angle). These terms describe the deviation from the horizontal, but the word inclination also has a non-mathematical meaning. Without Christ, man is inclined to sin. The Word of God should shape our attitudes (inclinations)."-from the Bob Jones University published Precalculus for Christian Schools.

-via the December issue of Harper's.

December 8, 2004

you cannot want to not want

you cannot want to not want

*The Oxford American is back and includes this:

A stunning essay by the Grand Master of Southern Letters, Barry Hannah, on a vision he had of Jesus.

*just finished this. here's an excerpt:

"Having ideas or beliefs that others do not share?
Breathing into a plastic bag changes the humidity in a room. A carpet knife can be useful in the removal of ingrown toenails. Not all bad people are French, but all French people are bad. Select meats, when buried for six months or longer in fertile soil, can be used as medicinal poultice. My brother's arms are kept in a jar at the county medical examiner's office downtown. Two nails in a board will weaken its integrity, but not three or seven. The earth is bulging over Cananda. When the light hit him just right, my father looked like an outboard motor--pull the cord and off he'd go. People's breath is almost always more important than what they say. Lifting weights will get you nowhere. When rain falls, something else is always going up. Shoes are for the weak.
Blaming yourself for things?
There were holes in our basement walls where the enemy soldiers were shot during War H. We dug around the foundation of the house, but our search for their remains was fruitless. We had more luck with the arrowheads. Scott earned a merit badge with his collection. The rest of us couldn't make it further than Tenderfoot. I learned to masturbate in a tent with two other boys and when I came, the lights went out. I saw visions -- what I thought then to be the devil's palm pressing my face into the sleeping bag. The other two had done it before, and only nodded when I recounted what had happened. Later my dick grew to twice its normal size. I panicked but the others reassured me. "Rest it up awhile," they said, kneeling by the fire."

. . . same as the old boss

. . . same as the old boss

Things to do before the Inauguration:

1. Get that abortion you've always wanted.
2. Drink a nice clean glass of water.
3. Cash your Social Security check.
4. See a doctor of your own choosing.
5. Spend quality time with your draft age child/grandchild.
6. Visit Syria (or any foreign country for that matter.)
7. Get that gas mask you've been putting off buying.
8. Hoard gasoline.
9. Borrow books from library before they're banned (Constitutional law books, Catcher in the Rye, Harry Potter, Tropic of Cancer, etc.)
10. If you have an idea for an art piece involving a crucifix -do it now.
11. Come out - then go back in - HURRY!
12. Jam in all the Alzheimer's stem cell research you can.
13. Stay out late before the curfews start.
14. Go see Bruce Springsteen before he has his "accident".
15. Go see Mount Rushmore before the Reagan addition.
16. Use the phrase - "You can't do that/this is America".
17. If you're white - marry a black person, if you're black - marry a white person.
18. Take a walk in Yosemite, without being hit by a snowmobile or a base-jumper.
19. Enroll your kid in an accelerated art or music class.
20. Start your school day without a prayer.
21. Pass on the theory of evolution to future generations.
22. Learn French.
23. Attend a commitment ceremony with your gay friends.
24. Take a factory tour anywhere in the US.
25. Try to take photographs of animals on the endangered species list.
26. Visit Florida before the polar ice caps melt.
27. Visit Nevada before it becomes radioactive.
28. Visit Alaska before "The Big Spill".
29. Visit Massachusetts while it is still a State.

--from sylvester

December 7, 2004

Drink to me babe, then

Steve West, in a photo taken recently at the Fair Oaks (Virginia) mall by Michael Janssen

* Florida dealers report stolen pot to police, authorities call them "America's dumbest criminals." excerpt:

"A Panhandle couple is under arrest after notifying police Thursday that their quarter-pound stash of marijuana was stolen and that they needed the weed back, because they were going to later sell it.
"According to the police report, the couple returned to the home they share and found the home broken into and a quarter-pound of marijuana missing. They immediately called authorities to report the break-in and theft."

"Police said the couple told them they were going to resell the marijuana and allowed the detectives to search the apartment. Investigators discovered several marijuana stems among other drug paraphernalia during the search, The News Herald in Panama City reported for Saturday editions."

* Pernice Brother release more songs for charity. Donate a dollar to your favorite charity, and download a new Pernice Brothers song. (According to the site, “Moonshot Manny” has to date raised about $1600 for First Night).

* Luna is performing on the soon-to-be-cancelled John McEnroe show.
The episode will air on Thursday, December 9 on CNBC.

* Sqrl, of Anchorage, Alaska will be hosting and posting the rest of the week.

December 6, 2004

time is the enemy time is the guide

Four Poems by Franz Wright:


Will I always be eleven,
lonely in this house,
reading books
that are too hard for me,
in the long fatherless hours.
The terrible hours of the window,
the rain-light
on the page,
awaiting the letter,
the phone call,
still your strange elderly child.


There is a heaven.

These sunflowers -- those dark, wind threshed
oaks --...

Heaven's all around you,

though getting there is hard:

it is death,

But they are only words.

One in the Afternoon

Unemployed, you take a walk.
At an empty intersection
you stop to look both ways as you were taught.
An old delusion coming over you.
The wind blows through the leaves.


Then the point comes
when language decides
to start strangling itself
on its leash, make a break for it
or to turn on you --
no longer the mournful
appearing, intelligent and silent being who guided you
in a dark world.
when I reached she began to pray

* US media ignoring Iraqi civilan death count. excerpt:

"Evidence is mounting that America's war in Iraq has killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and perhaps well over 100,000. Yet this carnage is systematically ignored in the United States, where the media and government portray a war in which there are no civilian deaths, because there are no Iraqi civilians, only insurgents.

"American behavior and self-perceptions reveal the ease with which a civilized country can engage in large-scale killing of civilians without public discussion. In late October, the British medical journal Lancet published a study of civilian deaths in Iraq since the U.S.-led invasion began. The sample survey documented an extra 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths compared to the death rate in the preceding year, when Saddam Hussein was still in power - and this estimate did not even count excess deaths in Fallujah, which was deemed too dangerous to include."
"Recent reporting on the bombing of Fallujah has also been an exercise in self-denial. On Nov. 6, The New York Times wrote that 'warplanes pounded rebel positions' in Fallujah, without noting that "rebel positions" were actually in civilian neighborhoods. Another story in The Times on Nov. 12, citing 'military officials,' dutifully reported: 'Since the assault began on Monday, about 600 rebels have been killed, along with 18 American and 5 Iraqi soldiers.' The issue of civilian deaths was not even raised."
"The U.S. is killing massive numbers of Iraqi civilians, embittering the population and many in the Islamic world, and laying the ground for escalating violence and death. No number of slaughtered Iraqis will bring peace. The American fantasy of a final battle, in Fallujah or elsewhere, or the capture of some terrorist mastermind, perpetuates a cycle of bloodletting that puts the world in peril.

"Worse still, American public opinion, media, and the recent election victory of the Bush administration have left the world's most powerful military without practical restraint."

* The Top 10 Conservative Idiots. excerpt:

"4. Hearts and Minds
The UK's Sunday Herald reported last week that 'The Pentagon has admitted that the war on terror and the invasion and occupation of Iraq have increased support for al-Qaeda, made ordinary Muslims hate the US and caused a global backlash against America because of the 'self-serving hypocrisy' of George W Bush’s administration over the Middle East.'

"Want more? 'Referring to the repeated mantra from the White House that those who oppose the US in the Middle East 'hate our freedoms,' the report says: 'Muslims do not 'hate our freedoms', but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favour of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the long-standing, even increasing support, for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and the Gulf states.''

"Should I continue? 'Muslims see Americans as strangely narcissistic,' the report goes on, adding that to the Arab world the war is 'no more than an extension of American domestic politics'. The US has zero credibility among Muslims which means that 'whatever Americans do and say only serves ... the enemy'. The report says that the US is now engaged in a 'global and generational struggle of ideas' which it is rapidly losing.

"Still not enough for ya? 'There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-US groundswell among Muslim societies ... The perception of intimate US support of tyrannies in the Muslim world is perhaps the critical vulnerability in American strategy. It strongly undercuts our message, while strongly promoting that of the enemy.

"Hey, these aren't my words - this report came from the Pentagon. I'm just sayin'..."

* Travelersdiagram has his top records of the year posted, with John Vanderslice's excellent Cellar Door topping the list.

December 3, 2004

To the movie star and his sordid life

Poems by Frank Stanford:

Monk's Dog

You aren't around
Friend I might have been
Looking for you

I could have been beautiful
Like the sound of your running

Tobacco of night when I find night
Sour Mash of misery the star of my calling

You don't have a snowball's
Chance in hell

And you don't have a past

I can go into the woods
And find the river asleep
And the blood under your shack like fog


while my mother is washing the black socks
Of her religion,
I climb out of the washtub,
Stinking clean like the moon and the suds
In my ass,
The twenty she earned last week in my teeth,
My shoes and my pistol wrapped in my pants,
Slip off the back porch
And head down the road, buck naked and brave,
But lonely, because it's fifteen hours
By bus to the capital
And nobody will know
How it feels to nail down a heart
Black as tarpaper.
Mother, when you beat out my quilt tomorrow,
Remember the down in the sunlight,
Because I did not sleep there.
Remember, come evening, the last hatch of mayflies,
Because I won't.
They are evil, mother, and I am
Going to take it all out, in one motion,
The way you taught me to clean a fish,
Until all that is left is the memory of their voice,
And I will work that dark loose
From the backbone with my thumb.
Mother, the sad dance on fire.

Sudden Opera

In Arkansas the liquor costs
The wind lifts a finger
And that is all

You look over your shoulder
When you have a chance
Your bottle is empty

If I could go somewhere
I would go
where the music doesn't have knuckles
And the dancers don't wear boots

I'll never leave here
The creeks are so cold and solo

My tie-rack is a convent
The pool hall is closed


The book is full of my father's eyelashes
He treats the pages rough
like a woman
He pinches the daylights out of them
Mud dries
up between his heel and sole
quick as spit on his thumb
You can still smell
Four Roses bourbon in the morning
through the onionskin
He will not weep He knows
most folks don't keep their word
Anyway the rain
came through like a hitchhiker

* If anyone is interested, I have two extra tickets for the Friday December 10, and Saturday December 11 Yo La Tengo Hanukkah shows at Maxwell's in Hoboken, New Jersey. Email if you need a ticket for either night.

December 2, 2004

there is danger even in the simple word hello

* Wolcott:

"I'm really getting fed up with all the pious hogwash we're supposed to accept now about faith and belief and the need for God in our lives. 'There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get,' wrote H.L. Mencken in 1929, and oh were he with us in this hour. Most people use religion to justify what they were inclined to do anyway, picking and choosing the Biblical passages that best feather their proud modesty. We're cautioned now that snickering over Bush's choice of Jesus as his favorite philosopher only reveals how snobby and elitist we are. Well, too bad. For all his compassion for the poor and lame, Jesus also possessed a punitive mean streak, and as a philosopher he was a primitive compared to Eastern thinkers such as Buddha, Shankara, and Longchenpa, a point Sam Harris drives home in The End of Faith: 'Even the contemporary literature on consciousness, which spans philosophy, cognitive science, psychology, and neuroscience, cannot match the kind of precise, phenomenological studies that can be found throughout the Buddhist canon.'

"But now David Brooks is enjoining us to pay heed to evangelical theologian John Stott. I'll leave the last word to Mencken: 'The average theologian...disseminates his blather, not innocently, like a philosopher, but maliciously, like a politician. In a well-organized world he would be on the stone-pile. but in the world as it exists we are asked to listen to him, not only politely, but even reverently, with our mouths open.'"

* Surprise, Surprise: Abstinence Programs Mislead. excerpt:

Among the misconceptions:

- A 43-day-old fetus is a 'thinking person.'

- HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.

- Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.

- Abortion can lead to sterility and suicide

- Half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus

- Touching a person's genitals 'can result in pregnancy'

- Men need for 'admiration' and 'sexual fulfillment' compared with a woman's need for financial support'

- Columbia University researchers found that although teenagers who take 'virginity pledges' may wait longer to initiate sexual activity, 88 percent eventually have premarital sex.

* Finoculous is compiling best of 2004 list so you don't have to. [via leargeheartedboy]

December 1, 2004

And all the politicians makin' crazy sounds

* The story of the original Velvet Undergroud acetate that was purchased for $0.75. excerpt:

"And so earlier this year, with flickering expectation, Warren Hill picked through some old records at a yard sale in Chelsea, New York. They seemed out of place compared with the rest the junk, like a box that had been forgotten in the attic and left untouched by a string of disinterested tenants. He pulled out a soggy copy of the Modern Lovers' first LP and then he saw it, a record with no sleeve and only a few hand-written words on the label: 'Velvet Underground... 4/25/66... N. Dolph.' He bought it for $0.75."
"Warhol was keen to capitalize on the buzz surrounding the events. In hopes of maintaining the band's abrasive sound and seedy subject matter, he saw the need for a completed record, one that could be given to record labels without allowing them creative control. In exchange for one of his paintings, Warhol asked a sales executive at Columbia Records to oversee a one-day recording session at the dilapidated Scepter Studios. He would not be credited as a producer, but he would play an integral part in the Velvet Underground's earliest studio recordings. That man's name was Norman Dolph.

"On a single day in April, Dolph sat behind Scepter's mixing boards as the band recorded what they thought would be their first record. Dolph had an acetate (a metallic "master" record) pressed after-hours at Columbia and sent it to the executives at the label. He still has the handwritten response he received when the acetate was returned, one he has paraphrased as, 'You have to be fucking kidding!'"
"Hill tracked down the phone number for Norman Dolph and, after verifying the serial number, the former producer confirmed that it was the record he had pressed for Columbia executives. Because the original master tapes of the Scepter session have been lost or destroyed, it remains as a one-of-a-kind testament to the band's first studio session, containing 'lost' versions of 'Venus in Furs,' 'I'm Waiting for the Man,' and 'Heroin.' The last time Dolph saw the record, it was collecting dust in Warhol's estate. How it ended up in a Chelsea attic remains a mystery, as does its future.

"'We're petrified and don't really know how to sell it' says Isaacson. 'We got an offer right away for $10,000, but we turned it down.'

"Not bad for a $0.75 investment. It now seems likely that the record will become the most expensive ever sold, exceeding the sale of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde acetate and topping $40,000. Like finding the U.S. Constitution behind a painting, it's the kind of event that will drive yard sale attendance for years to come.

"The record now resides comfortably in a safe house at significant distance from Mercury readers."

* Largeheartedboy lists some of his favorite albums of the year.

* An index of Shel Silverstein's work in Playboy. [via the morning news]