November 30, 2005

step aboard for ESP medium discord

by jenny holzer, 1983

[watch Holzer's television text]

poems by Linh Dinh:


we do points per game and shooting percentage, of course,
and steals and assists and yards per carry
and fumbles and sacks and penalty minutes.
we tally all of our punches because it's very important
that we quantify each moment of our murderous lives.
a man must be accountable for all of his thrill and fuckups.
we also do girls and countries but we don't do collateral damages.

Go Boo Hoo Hoo

“You’re a rich little white girl.
People don’t give a damn
About you. They only care about
The poor people, the minorities,
Those less fortunate. Go boo hoo hoo
To Daddy and buy some diamonds.
I’m sure you’ll wake up tomorrow
And feel like the million bucks
That’s stuck up your ass.”

the death of english

it stang me to sang of such thang:
this language, like all others, will be deep fried,
will die, then be reborn as another tongue
sloshed in too many mouths. what of
"that kiff joint has conked me on a dime?"
"them cedars, like quills, writing the ground?"
it's all japlish or ebonics, or perhaps Harold Bloom's
boneless hand fondling a feminist's thigh.

Lapsarian Rag

we all know that sculptors
enrich and litter this universe
with their masterpieces.
but what about writiers?

the filthy condos they build in out minds
are also picturesque. and yet
some of us would rather be an animal.

in nature films, the natives
are always shunted
from the viewfinder.

in print

any stupid word, once printed,
will gain immediate authority.
although I am neither a famous athlete
nor a movie star nor a politician,
each day I scan a hundred newspapers
in a dozen languages, hoping
to find my name in print.

why do I do this?

maybe there's a mass murderer or a terrorist
with the same name as mine. or maybe
I've done something spectacualr without knowing it.
or maybe I've died recently without knowing it.
and besides, don't we all deserve to be in print?

"...a plausable mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit." -- Kurt Vonnetgut, 'Timequake'

November 29, 2005

Standing on the corner, suitcase in my hand

ingenue, by michael sprouse, 2004

* Kansas parents group wants to outlaw 14 books. the group says:

"...for the record, the 14 books that over 500 patrons are petitioning the school board to replace with higher quality literature assignments follow. Please take the time to... find out what is REALLY in these books. If this is so 'good for the children,' it ought to be 'great for the parents' too [emphasis in original]:

--All the Pretty Horses

"McCarthy has a distracting writing style, using minimal punctuation (no quotation marks in dialogue, long run-on sentences and absence of apostrophes) and the general sense of gloom that pervades the book. There is a lot of Spanish dialogue throughout the book with no explanation for someone who does not speak that language.

"They also use stereotypical uneducated Texan and Mexican grammar and pervasively vulgar language throughout the book. It’s hard to understand what redeeming educational value the Blue Valley School District found in this book."

-- Animal Dreams
-- The Awakening
-- The Bean Trees
-- Beloved

"Beloved contains oral sex, incest, rape, pedophilia, graphic sex, extreme violence, sexual abuse, physical/emotional abuse, infanticide, and an extensive amount of profanity. The first two chapters contain five references to sex with cows in addition to other types of sex.

"The story randomly jumps between timeframes, characters, and levels of reality. The general timeframe is the 1870s. Beloved is the baby daughter of a slave, Sethe, who kills Beloved with a handsaw to help Beloved avoid the horrors of growing up in a white world. Beloved comes back as a teenage ghost and lives with Sethe, with her half-sister Denver, and with her mother's live-in lover Paul D. (Paul D is also Sethe's brother-in-law and hence Beloved's uncle). Beloved, the ghost, gets pregnant by Paul D and Paul D leaves the family. Beloved eventually turns on Sethe, taunting and torturing her. Denver turns to black neighbors for help who eventually rescue Sethe from Beloved. Beloved magically disappears."

-- Black Boy

"This book tells a harsh and forbidding story and makes one wonder just exactly what its relation to truth is. The title, 'A Record of Childhood and Youth,' makes one at first think that the story is autobiographical. It probably is, at least in part. But mainly it is probably intended to be fiction or fictionalized biography. At any rate the reader must regard it as creative writing rather than simply a record of life. The hero whom Wright draws, and maybe; it is himself, is in his childhood a loathsome brat, foul-mouthed and a drunkard."

-- Fallen Angels
-- The Hot Zone
-- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

"Perhaps the worst part of the book, as it relates to teens, are the last few chapters where Maya spends several pages contemplating whether or not she is a lesbian. To prove that she isn't, she seduces a neighborhood boy and becomes pregnant. The story ends with Maya reveling in the attention and acceptance she finally receives from her negligent mother as a single teen parent with a new baby."

-- Lords of Discipline
-- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
-- Song of Solomon
-- Stotan
-- This Boy’s Life

You ought to take their advice and click through and see why the rest should go.

* Paul Craig Roberts on the Bush administration. excerpt:

"What kind of a country have we become when we put a citizen on trial on the basis of a confession obtained under torture by a foreign government? Is the case against this student anything other than an attempt to enlist the sympathy factor for Bush in order to repair his standing in the polls?

"Americans need to understand that a police state has to produce results in order to justify its budget and its powers. It doesn't really care who it catches. Stalin's police state caught the wife of Stalin's foreign minister in one of its street sweeps.

"The Bush administration justifies torture and threatens to veto congressional attempts to restrain its use. The Bush administration justifies indefinite detention of American citizens without charges. It asserts the power of indefinite detention based on its subjective judgment about who is a threat. An American government that preaches 'freedom and democracy' to the world claims the powers of tyrants as its own.

"Americans need to wake up. The only danger to Americans in Iraq is the one Bush created by invading the country. The grave threat that Americans face is the Bush administration's police state mentality."

* From a recent interview of Patti Smith.

Q: MoMA must’ve been good for your film education, too.
PS: I really loved the New Wave: Godard, Bresson, Rivette. I liked Rossellini, but especially the French. You had to wait till they came to the all-night theaters or the MoMA festivals—it still amazes me that I can walk into a video place and get The Passion of Joan of Arc or these movies that were so rare . . . sometimes you had to wait ten years to see a movie like that!

Did anything inspire your look?

In the early sixties I went to thrift stores—it was possible to buy an Irish-tweed coat for 50 cents, or a Dior blouse. When I had more control, I liked the way nineteenth-century poets dressed. Even the cover of Horses reflects that: the black ribbon, the white shirt. I’m still pretty much wearing the same kinda clothes as when I was 20.

Do you remember any moments at CBGB that made you think, That’s what I want to do?

When I started performing a lot with Lenny Kaye and Richard Sohl, we had goals: to infuse new life into performing poetry—merging poetry with electric guitar, three chords—and to reembrace rock and roll. It drew us together and kept us informed, whether through Bob Dylan or Neil Young or the Who. In the early seventies, rock and roll was monopolized by record companies, marketing strategies, stadium rock. Tom Verlaine and Television were for me the most inspiring: They were not glamorous, they were human.

Any musical influences that might surprise us?

Maria Callas. From her I learned how to develop a narrative within a song, to tap into the emotional content. She’s a great teacher, even if one doesn’t have the range, the voice. And John Coltrane, for how to improvise—to explore and be responsible to the audience.

* Keep score at home with this state-by-state GOP scandal cheatsheet. [via]

November 28, 2005

baby my head's full of wishes

wangechi mutu, adult female sexual organs, 2005

* The Washington Post says Michael Scanlon is the most dangerous person in DC right now. excerpt:

"In the dispassionate language of criminal law, the scandal of the rapacious duo of Jack Abramoff (Lobbyist A) and Michael Scanlon reached a new -- and for at least one member of Congress -- ominous level last week. Mr. Scanlon pleaded guilty on Monday to a conspiracy to bribe public officials and defraud his Indian tribal clients; he agreed to pay $19 million in restitution to the tribes -- the size of the kickbacks he gave to Mr. Abramoff -- and he faces up to five years in prison."

"With his promise to cooperate with prosecutors, Mr. Scanlon may also be the most dangerous man in Washington right now -- certainly to Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio), identified in the information as Representative #1, and possibly to others as well."
"Washington players walk a blurry line between bribery and business as usual. If lobbyists lavish perks on, and write campaign checks for, powerful members of Congress, and those members then take actions that benefit the lobbyists' clients, that may be the ordinary, if distasteful, way Washington operates. But if the lobbyists' favors are conditioned on an understanding that legislative favors have been or will be performed, that would transform the transaction from quotidian to criminal.

"Mr. Ney's lawyer, Mark H. Tuohey, says it's the former that happened in the congressman's case. 'He was wined and dined the way lots of political people are, and he did some official acts, but there's no connection between the two,' Mr. Tuohey told The Post.

"The Justice Department sees the situation in a more sinister light: 'Corruption Scheme' is the heading given to the section of the charges involving Mr. Ney."

* Wolcott.excerpt:

"The thing I'm most struck by over the last few weeks is President Bush's shrinkage in stature. He cut an insignificant figure in China even before he went into his doofus shtick, and seems to be diminishing as the dark cloud of Cheney solidifies and casts Bush in shadow. It's hard to believe he was once the chalice of Peggy Noonan's hopes; Winston Churchill in a leather jockstrap, in the humid imaginations of warbloggers. You get the impression that underneath the show of resolve and irritable resentment, he feels sorry for himself, pouty about not being appreciated. Which may explain why Laura Bush seems to have hardened into a carapace at his side, reverting to the Pat Nixon role to withstand the buffeting winds swirling around her husband and his own stormy moods."

-- related: problems in the West Wing. excerpt:

"The problem for Bush, advisers admit, is that the ongoing leak probe reinforces allegations that the White House allegedly hyped prewar intelligence to justify a war most Americans no longer support.

"So far Team Bush doesn't know how to separate the two issues, and compounding its woes is the fact that aides aren't talking to each other as much as they once did.

"Gone from the schedule are weekly cholesterol-laden breakfasts at Rove's home where top Bush hands discussed strategy. Also missing are Sunday 'message meetings' with outside thinkers like GOP Chairman Ken Mehlman, campaign pollster Matthew Dowd and superlobbyist Ed Gillespie.

"A card-carrying member of the Washington GOP establishment with close ties to the White House recently encountered several senior presidential aides at a dinner and came away shaking his head at their 'no problems here' mentality.

"'There is just no introspection there at all,' he said in exasperation. 'It is everybody else's fault - the press, gutless Republicans on the Hill. They're still in denial.'"

* Video of what appears to be military contractors shooting at random vehicles in Iraq. According to Crooks and Liars, "the video has sparked concern that private security companies, which are not subject to any form of regulation either in Britain or in Iraq, could be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis."

* RIP, George Best.

* Time to kill? Try online scrabble. [via]

November 23, 2005

even the pawn must hold a grudge

william burroughs, after dinner joint, by Stephen Miles

A Thanksgiving Prayer
-- by William bourroughs

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shit out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin' lawmen,
feelin' their notches.

For decent church-goin' women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for "Kill a Queer for
Christ" stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody's allowed to mind the
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories-- all right let's see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

November 22, 2005

when I go downtown I always wear a corduroy suit

* George Best, "is a desperately ill man." He has been hospitalized since October 1, and has been on life support for three days but gradually brought out of sedation.

"Phil Hughes, Best's agent, said this morning that his friend was showing some signs of improvement. Mr Hughes said: 'He's had a stable night. Nothing much has changed, which in itself is good news. Last night he briefly opened his eyes for a second but he's not awake. They are still waiting for him to come round.'"

"Regarded as one of the most talented players of all-time until his retirement at age 26, Best was renowned for his standout dribbling skills and memorable goals. He helped Manchester United win the European Cup in 1968.

"Best's career was marred by his wayward lifestyle - his womanizing led to a divorce from second wife Alex a year ago - and he continued to drink heavily after his liver transplant."

-- related: "Pele called me the greatest footballer in the world. That is the ultimate salute to my life." -- George Best

* Another former Judge calls the drug war a failure. excerpt:

"North Carolina should consider decriminalizing illegal drugs as it tries to stem the need for additional prisons, a former state Supreme Court chief justice said Monday.

"Burley Mitchell, the state's top judge from 1995 to 1999, said the war on drugs in North Carolina and nationwide has been 'a total failure' that has filled up prisons."
"'What if we decriminalized drugs? Then you'd knock out all of the profits of every dealer and more to the point, the big producers,' Mitchell said at a Raleigh luncheon crowd interested in prison reform. Drug demand also would go down due to lower supplies, and drug-related crimes such as robbery and murder also would fall, he said."

* Graham Green and scrabble. [via] excerpt:

"The playwright Michael Meyer travelled around the world with Greene in the 1950s. Greene had promised opium-smoking and other tropical decadences, so Meyer was disappointed to find that Greene had packed a portable Scrabble board. The nightly Scrabble games almost ruined their friendship.

"The problem, according to Meyer, was that Greene's spelling was 'deeply dubious,' and the pair did not have a dictionary. During a stay in Tahiti, Greene produced the words 'zeb,' which he claimed was an Elizabethan word for 'cock,' and 'quoign' which he insisted was Shakespearean, quoting: 'Yon castle's quoign that Duncan's spirit haunts.'

"Meyer thought the line was as dubious as Greene's spelling and, in the sultry Tahitian nights, tempers frayed. The pair were still arguing when they reached San Francisco, months later. They ran straight from the ship to a second-hand book store and found a dictionary.

"The word was in, spelled 'quoin,' which satisfied Greene, though as Meyer pointed out, 'quoin' would not have landed on a triple letter score."

November 21, 2005

they say he's famous but no one can prove it

untitled (red warrior), 1982, by Jean-Michel Basquiat

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"8. Big Oil Executives

"The Senate has recently been looking into why oil companies are reporting record profits while Americans continue to pay through the nose at the pump. Of course, the obvious conclusion is that oil companies are reporting record profits because Americans are paying through the nose at the pump, but for some unknown reason the oil companies don't see a correlation.

"So the Senate is investigating - and they're uncovering some very interesting information. For example, last week Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) asked executives from Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell Oil, and BP America, 'Did your company or any representatives in your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy force in 2001?'

"All the executives replied in the negative. Which is unfortunate, because that very same day a newly-released White House document revealed that oil company executives had indeed met with Dick Cheney in 2001.

""Which companies did they represent? Yup - Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell Oil, and BP America. What a surprise!"

* AmericaBlog wonders whether Bob Woodword will continue lying about his ties/role to the Plame Leak Investigation tonight on Larry King. Among the lies to listen for are:

-- Woodward was afraid of Patrick Fitzgerald, afraid of being jailed, afraid of being subpoenaed. Woodward was leaked the Plame info in June 2003. Fitzgerald wasn't hired until December 2003. So his fear of Fitzgerald doesn't explain why he didn't tell his editor about the leak from June to December when Fitzgerald didn't even exist.

-- Woodward says journalists were getting subpoenaed and that scared him. Well, journalists weren't getting subpoenaed until May of 2004. So what's Woodward's excuse for not coming clean to his editors from June 2003 until May 2004?

-- Woodward claims he told Post colleague Walter Pincus about the leak. But why would Woodward tell Pincus if he was afraid of being subpoenaed, and thus wouldn't even tell his own editor? Not to mention, Pincus says this is absolutely untrue, Woodward never told him anything. So which Washington Post journalist is lying, Pincus or Woodward?

-- If Woodward was so afraid of Fitzgerald, then why did Woodward publicly take Fitzgerald on for two years? Hardly the moves of someone who's mortally afraid of catching Fitzgerald's interest.

-- If Woodward was afraid of being jailed, then why did he offer, this past July on Larry King, to be jailed instead of Judith Miller? And if he no longer was afraid to be jailed or targeted by Fitzgerald at that point, then why didn't he come clean to his editor then?

-- Woodward would like us to believe that he, the guy who kept Deep Throat's identity secret for over three decades, the guy who took down Richard Nixon of all people, was now mortally afraid of some government bureaucrat trying to force him to divulge a source?

* 61 Bands and their corresponding authors. [via]

* Drink, Support the Jews: the fox and hounds, the dust congress home field, has added much of TW#s as well as selections from other Silver Jews albums to its already well-stocked jukebox.

November 18, 2005

moon stuttering in the sky like film stuck in a projector

her, by Alexandra Jacoby, 1999

-- by Robert Lowell

History has to live with what was here,
clutching and close to fumbling all we had--
it is so dull and gruesome how we die,
unlike writing, life never finishes.
Abel was finished; death is not remote,
a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic,
his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire,
his baby crying all night like a new machine.
As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory,
the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter's moon ascends--
a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes,
my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull's no-nose--
O there's a terrifying innocence in my face
drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost.

The Sound
-- by Kim Addonizio

Marc says the suffering that we don't see
still makes a sort of sound -- subtle, soft
noise, nothing like the cries or screams that we
might think of -- more the slight scrape of a hat doffed
by a quiet man, ignored as he stands back
to let a lovely woman pass, her dress
just brushing his coat. Or elese it's like a crack
in an old foundation, slowly widening, the stress
and slippage going on unnoticed by
the family upstairs, the daughter leaving
for a date, her mother's resigned sigh
when he sees her. It's like the heaving
of a stone into a lake, before it drops.
It's shy, it's barely there. It never stops.

Between Love and Death
-- by Frank Stanford

I watched the woman in the room.
She moved in her misery
Like a pine in the wind.
I could hear the woman sweeping her floors,
Boiling roots, and drinking milk.
I could watch the woman
Turning the tap of her bath
Through the hole in the wall.
On the summer nights I whistled,
Wanting her to hear me.
She would look my way, sometimes,
With an apple core in her mouth.
Working late, overhauling her truck,
She would drink coffee and hum,
Go to sleep with grease on her fingers.
God I was crazy for not
Going to her door,
Tapping on her window,
Following her to the river
Where her dory grew wet like the moon.
A bird sick of its tree, I despair.
Leaves without wind, I lay
Damp and quiet on the earth.
She bled through the walls
Into my side of the house,
And they came with their lights
Asking did I know the woman,
And I said no, not I.

Dick Cheney's Heart
-- by Barton Sutter

Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Does it bulge like a bubo
Under his arm?
Does it hang like a goiter
Below his groin?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Polls reveal that most of the nation
Desperately want to know the location
Of Dick Cheney's missing heart.
Is it hiding out
With JFK's brain?
Did the CIA
Leave it out in the rain?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Is it floating somewhere
In a large vat of oil?
Is it kept on ice,
Thought it's already spoiled
Like something moldy
You'd find wrapped in foil?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
We're worried about
Our vice president.
He had a bad heart,
But who knew where it went?
Is it hunkered down
In the cave of his colon?
Has it gone underground
With Osama bin Laden?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Dozens of questions
Clamor for answers,
But this one would do for a start:
Where is Dick Cheney's heart.

November 17, 2005

Bicycles have drifted through these leaves

Luhring Augustine, the art of chess

[The Luhring Augustine show is being presented in tandem with the exhibition The Imagery of Chess Revisited, on view at The Noguchi Museum in Long Island City from October 21, 2005, to March 5, 2006. This is the first major museum exhibition to explore and reprise one of the legendary events in the history of twentieth-century art: the 1944-45 exhibition The Imagery of Chess, organized by Surrealist masters Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst for the Julien Levy Gallery, in New York. The exhibition brings together more than 80 chess sets and chess-themed works by some of the most influential artists of the 20th century. (]

* Raw Story says National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley was the senior administration official who told Washington Post Assistant Managing Editor Bob Woodward that Valerie Plame Wilson was a CIA officer. Now there are three senior administration officials who we know leaked Plames name. Will Fitzgerald now be able to bring conspiricy charges?

-- related: Scooter's attorney talks shit.

* Prospect Magazine on the lack of good critics. excerpt:

"In the early 1970s, the Financial Times used three theatre critics, four or five music critics, a dance critic (the evergreen, still inimitable Clement Crisp), and gradually established regular weekly columns on television, radio, cinema, architecture and (acknowledging Mammon's place in the order of artistic things) the saleroom. What is more, this page was not tucked away out of sight. Throughout the 1970s arts occupied the whole of the FT's page three.

"Every single debutant at the Wigmore Hall was reviewed, every new play at the Bush or the Theatre Upstairs or the ICA. London is still the music capital of the world; in those days, the arts pages, led by the FT, treated it as such. Lord Drogheda was chairman not only of the FT, but also of the Royal Opera House. When looking for the paper's first music critic in the early 1950s, he found Andrew Porter, a critic of an authority and brilliance to rival George Bernard Shaw and Ernest Newman. There is no one else quite like Porter, who today writes mainly in the Times Literary Supplement. Great critics are rare birds; rare birds, though, need a welcoming aviary, and the zookeepers are not on the lookout for such special—and specialist—breeds of plumage any more."
"The irony is that, over the past 20 years, the critical pendulum has swung entirely the other way, with a sort of tame green light for new plays all over town. It is like crying wolf in reverse, so that when something really outstanding comes along—as in the case of Martin McDonagh—there is no praise left to distinguish it from the rest of the pack.

"I am not suggesting that today's broadsheet—let alone tabloid—press should come over all high-toned and learned when confronted with a new Alan Ayckbourn comedy or the latest drug-fuelled shocker at the Bush Theatre. But let's hear it once more for experience, knowledge and seriousness. What is sorely needed is a new group of younger critics who will combine the enthusiasm of the aficionado with the rigour of the informed taskmaster. Such a group is, alas, nowhere to be seen."
"If the critics aren't going to do something special about the best new work around, who can blame their editors for allowing the great critical tradition of Shaw, Tynan and Porter to wither? For as another Australian critic, Peter Conrad (as clever and outspoken as James) said in a devastating attack on the breed in the Observer: 'Critics are the means whereby society becomes conscious of itself, aware of the direction it is taking. There can be no culture without them.' We still need critics, he said. But better ones."

* In DC? Don't forget about tonight's Big Yawn showcase at DC9, featuring Sweeden's Love is All and the caribbean from Washington, D.C. Doors at 9, $8.

* "Money and Corruption are ruining the land, crooked politicians betray the working man, pocketing the profits and treating us like sheep, and we're tired of hearing promises that we know they'll never keep." -- ray davies

November 16, 2005

Downy sins of streetlight fancies

Nabokov, by paul wunderlich

Three Poems by David Markson:

At the Lion's Head

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?


One afternoon that May, just off the park,
we chatted laughingly about a friend
beset by drinkers' small calamities
until he said he had a doctor's visit due
and, laughing still, flagged down a cab.

Not two days afterward, again en route
re ills I'd known him less than well enough
to ask about, he died. What queer
reaction, even now, revives a dread
it might have been that cab, that afternoon?

Surely the worm is long within the bone
before the flesh is loosed?

Dialogue in Milan

"But oil on plaster yet again?
It cannot set, will flake and fade
Before your life's done. Old fool,
Near fifty now, at least this once
leave something permanent. That horse
You planned, too huge to cast, the years!
Go, cross the town, to sit and stare
Or single brushstroke fix! The hours
Of waste amid those notes, those drafts,
What fruit therein, what end? Back south,
Commissions fall to younger brush,
Not only Raphael in Rome
But Buonarroti too, nor even stone
But on the walls as well, what skill
Hath he in this? Yet all this time
So little realized, so much

"'Let the streets be as wide
As the height of the houses'"

November 15, 2005

and the archer split the tree

will oldham, by laurent orseau

* E.J. Dionne on the scare tactics of G.W. Bush. excerpt:

"There is a great missing element in the argument over whether the administration manipulated the facts. Neither side wants to talk about the context in which Bush won a blank check from Congress to invade Iraq. He doesn't want us to remember that he injected the war debate into the 2002 midterm election campaign for partisan purposes, and he doesn't want to acknowledge that he used the post-Sept. 11 mood to do all he could to intimidate Democrats from raising questions more of them should have raised.

"The big difference between our current president and his father is that the first President Bush put off the debate over the Persian Gulf War until after the 1990 midterm elections. The result was one of most substantive and honest foreign policy debates Congress has ever seen, and a unified nation. The first President Bush was scrupulous about keeping petty partisanship out of the discussion.
"The bad faith of Bush's current argument is staggering. He wants to say that the 'more than a hundred Democrats in the House and Senate' who 'voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power' thereby gave up their right to question his use of intelligence forever after. But he does not want to acknowledge that he forced the war vote to take place under circumstances that guaranteed the minimum amount of reflection and debate, and that opened anyone who dared question his policies to charges, right before an election, that they were soft on Hussein.

"By linking the war on terrorism to a partisan war against Democrats, Bush undercut his capacity to lead the nation in this fight. And by resorting to partisan attacks again last week, Bush only reminded us of the shameful circumstances in which the whole thing started."

-- related New York Times:

"The president and his top advisers may very well have sincerely believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. But they did not allow the American people, or even Congress, to have the information necessary to make reasoned judgments of their own. It's obvious that the Bush administration misled Americans about Mr. Hussein's weapons and his terrorist connections. We need to know how that happened and why.

"Mr. Bush said last Friday that he welcomed debate, even in a time of war, but that 'it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began.' We agree, but it is Mr. Bush and his team who are rewriting history."

* How Brian Jones made Mick and Keith look conventional. excerpt:

"What's so interesting about Stoned [directed by Stephen Whoolley], which recreates the final days of Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones (found dead in his swimming pool at the age of 27, a month after being sacked from the band), is that it's about class as much as sex.

"'It was a hedonistic time in which people like Brian were elevated very quickly and felt their fame put them above the law.' No wonder an older generation felt antagonistic towards these long-haired celebrities. For working-class teenagers such as Woolley, however, the Stones represented escape: 'I was going to inherit the world of Brian Jones: the world of drugs, flared trousers and hanging out with Jane Birkin. In contrast, my father and uncles had fought in the war, and were still quite young guys, but their world was over.'"
"Brian Jones was the face of 1960s revolution. With his sexually ambiguous glamour, he was glam rock before the term was ever coined. Without him there would have been no Rolling Stones. He founded the band in 1962, giving them their name (after a Muddy Waters song) and original rhythm-and-blues style. Later, he was the one recording ethnic music in Morocco and introducing the sitar to Western pop music. But by 1969 he had been sacked for excessive drug-taking and failure to turn up for recordings.

"By the time Stoned opens, he's out of the charmed London circle, still surrounded by lovers and minders, but no one is really taking care of him. 'These days you'd have a legion of gurus and PRs and therapists and chefs surrounding you,' says Woolley. 'Brian, on the night he died, had a not very good builder, a nurse who just happened to be there, and his Swedish girlfriend of just a few months.'

"Woolley is under no illusion about Jones; he could be capricious, vain, a violent womaniser. But he had extraordinary charm. As Keith Richards once observed: 'I've never met a nicer bunch of guys.'"

* More Murakami in the New Yorker: 1971: The Year of Spaghetti.

From Harper's:

* Number of Alabama state senators co-sponsoring a bill last summer to "protect" public displays of the Ten Commandments: 10

* Number of them who could list the Commandments: 1

* Price in South Africa next year of a latex vaginal insert that latches onto a rapist's penis and requires surgical removal: 35 cents

* Amount a German company says it can save a cargo ship in annual fuel costs by outfitting it with a giant kite: $1,200,000

* Bonnie 'Prince" Billy's Summer in the Southeast, a recording of live shows from the summer of 2004, is out today.

November 14, 2005

I'd be riding horses if they let me

drive me down, by dronepop

* top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"3.George W. Bush

"Yes, new documents revealed last week demonstrate that not only were Democrats in the House and Senate seriously misled by Bush administration propaganda, but Colin Powell himself might not have been given the full picture.

"The declassified CIA documents show that the Bush administration's own intelligence community had serious doubts about claims that Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein were working together, even as administration officials were making those claims publicly. The documents were only recently provided to Sen. Carl Levin, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which kinda undercuts Our Great Leader's claim that everyone had access to the same intelligence.

"According to Newsweek, "The new documents also raise the possibility that caveats raised by intelligence analysts about (intelligence source) al-Libi's claims were withheld from Powell when he was preparing his Security Council speech. Larry Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff and oversaw the vetting of Powell's speech, responded to an e-mail from Newsweek Wednesday stating that he was unaware of the CIA doubts about al-Libi at the time the speech was being prepared."

"Oh, sure the Democratic senators and representatives, along with the secretary of state, all had access to the same intelligence - it just happened to be missing a few pieces, that's all. Nothing important. Just the bits that proved the whole thing was bullshit."

* Kurt Vonnegut's birthday was Friday (happy belated!) Backwards City Review celebrated by posting enough links etc. (including the excellent piece Vonnegut did for Backwards City Review #1) to keep fans busy for a while.

* "All my plays are rewriting that same story. I'm not sure what it means, other than life is hard." -August Wilson

* Did the SF Chronicle plagiarize the New Yorker? [via] excerpt:

"Now, this whole thing may seem like nitpicky quibbling for those who haven't gone to J-school (well, I haven't, but my mother did...and close dissection of the newspaper was the dinnertime ritual in my house while I was growing up), but this is an issue of trust. As one of my print reporter friends put it, not attributing the quotes gives the reader the sense that the reporter is conversing with the subject himself...and when that trust is broken, it hurts the journalism business. I agree."

"As journalists, we don't make widgets that can stand or fall on their intrinsic merits. (You can check Consumer Reports to see what the good and bad products are, to see if the car you're about to buy is likely to be a peach or a lemon.) We make little squiggles on paper that winds up at the bottom of the birdcage the next day, or evanescent streams of electrons that escape the atmosphere at the speed of light. So the maintenance of that trust is even more important than with physical products."

"There's no way to return your newspaper or the nightly broadcast, even if you kept the receipt. Journalists deal with intangibles like reputation and trust all the time, because in a reader's (or a viewer's) mind, you're only as good as your last story. And if there's anything in there to erode that confidence -- whether something as small as a dumb typo in an onscreen graphic or something as big as Jayson Blair-style widespread fakery -- then the entire organization (not to mention journalism as a whole) is diminished as a result."

* Montreal politician's poll numbers increase after he revealed his prior cocaine use.

* got crayons? here's an x-rated coloring book.

November 11, 2005

for the dreams of the weedking we all sing

war and romance, by jeff lipschutz

Beyond Pleasure
-- by Jack Gilbert

Gradually we realize what is felt is not so important
(however lonely or cruel) as what the feeling contains.
Not what happens to us in childhood, but what was
inside what happened. Ken Kesey sitting in the woods,
beyond the fence of whitewashed motorcycles, said when
he was writing on acid he was not writing about it.
He used what he wrote as blazes to find his way back
to what he knew then. Poetry registers
feelings, delights, and passion, but the best searches
out what is beyond pleasure, is outside process.
Not the passion so much as what the fervor can be
an ingress to. Poetry fishes us to find a world
part by part, as the photograph interrupts the flux
to give us time to see each thing separate and enough.
The poem chooses part of out endless flowing forward
to know its merit with attention.

-- by James Tate

He was obviously the emissary
and we shook hands 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.

The Door
-- by James Tate

I try to keep in mind
that you can always
walk out the door.

the door, the door, the door

what does dore mean
dore doesn't mean anything.
well then what does doar mean
doesn't doesn't mean anything to me either.
What about dour,
I think it means something.
I'm waking up.

Wake Up
-- by James Tate

For November it is November,
you were always so proud of that.
It's the first cold day
of a cold day's insistence,

the crisp tautness you've waited for.
There you are, wrapped:
you have good sense, yes,
you've been auxious for something like this.

November 10, 2005

because a song has got to stop somewhere

jenny holzer, from Inflammatory Essays, 1979-1982

* The Rude Pundit: Harbingers of Republican Death. excerpt:

"It's doom and damnation for the wicked men and women of the Republican party. They tied their destinies to that Bush express back in 2004, and that motherfucker's gone off the tracks. We won't know the full body count until a year from now, but it ain't lookin' pretty. And as Democrats have been learning, the path back from the realm of death is long: 'The evil man becomes born as an animal, among the worms, insects, moths, beasts of prey, mosquitoes, and so forth. There he is born in elephants, trees, and so forth, and in cows and horses, and in other wombs that are evil and painful. When he finally becomes a human, he is a despicable hunchback...When there is none of his evil left, and he is filled with merit, then he starts climbing up to higher castes.'

"Democrats may not be Brahmins yet, but, for certain, they have reached the level of higher beasts or lower humans while the Republicans are about to discover that there's only rocks to land on at the end of the tumble into death. The harbingers are there. Death is coming. The only thing Republicans can do is to try to change their wicked ways so that the afterlife is kinder. Or those rocks'll be sharpened into points."

* This is pretty funny.[via]

* "I have ten commandments. The first nine are thou shall not bore. The tenth is thou shall have right of final cut." -- Billy Wilder

* DCist speaks to the caribbean about their new album Plastic Explosives. excerpt:

"Plastic Explosives is beautiful, plain and simple, and a treat to listen to passively. It keeps gently reminding you, though, just how subtly rich its songs are, how much it has to offer. It's a masterpiece, tucked away in and revealing the crowded streets and quiet record stores of the District."

First off, we have to ask about the website. It's a brilliant corporate send-up, complete with goofy office photos and business-speak. What are you guys saying with this presentation? It's funny, but is it also something deeper?

Michael Kentoff: "We’d be much happier if, instead of a band, people thought of us as an architectural firm that happened to write, record and perform pop music. But thanks for the word 'brilliant' there; Matt no doubt appreciates it because he designed the site. And by 'designed,' I mean stole the HTML code off of Microsoft’s website. That’s basically all he did – he morphed Microsoft’s site into ours. And I think he did it primarily because it made him laugh. A juicy cease-and-desist from Microsoft's lawyers would've been thoughtful of them, too. Then again, they'd have to know we exist first..."

Along those lines, Plastic Explosives is constructed in an interesting way, complete with themes and shorter sound tracks between songs. Was there an overarching idea behind the album, and what can you tell us about the record's title?

MK: "The structure of the record is a creature of Matt’s thinking. Our friend Greg Jones helped sequence it because he’s got the Gift, but Matt thought of the tiny themes that dot the record here and there and tying it all together thematically. The title Plastic Explosives isn’t really connected to the big idea behind the record; we just had a song with that title and thought it made for a provocative album title."

Who are your favorite local acts?

MK: "Beauty Pill, Little Pink, and Pagoda are friends of mine, but, aside from that, I really think they’re onto some wonderful things. I want to play or help set up mics on their records because I believe in what they’re doing. They have soul. They also happen to be groups of funny, multi-dimensional people who have interesting stories to tell. They don’t want to just talk about the latest Pitchfork discovery all day. Also Don playing bass with Little Pink made him a better bass player in the Caribbean, so I’m grateful for that, too. And Chad Clark, who plays in Beauty Pill, has made enormous contributions to the last couple Caribbean records; he’s really responsible for the sonic image you hear. He’s also a darling. Who else? Our guitar player Dave’s other band, The Foreign Press, is still rather new but way too smart for their own good, which portends well. I really liked Dismemberment Plan and was not disappointed at all by Travis Morrison’s solo record. OK, there it is: I said it. I like Travistan. Travis and I also share a bit of a crush on Gilbert Arenas, so maybe I’m unduly influenced by that, but I thought Travistan, which got slagged off like Ishtar, was daring and unique and assbackwards in a useful, musical way. I think it’s a really good record. Oh, I also finally met Bob Mould, which was both mundane and scary. Would it be disingenuous to call him one of my favorite local acts?"

The Caribbean are playing November 17, as part of the Big Yawn event at DC9. Check it out.

November 9, 2005

what would my wife say if I was married

serge poliakoff, composition abstraite rouge et verte

Three Poems:

Continuous Topless Strippers
-- by Robert Sward

for Jim Belisle

An eight-speaker sound system,
two continuous topless strippers,
Elvis Presley singing "Early Morning Rain."

Everyone loves television.
And because the management doesn't want
to offend anyone's tastes by omitting

So important an element
in the desired sensory mix --
"The lowest common denominator

"Creates an art form," my friend
mutters into his beer --
the five foot by seven foot color TV

Is seen on stage backing up the strippers,
the TV little more than a concentration
of bright flashing lights which,

On closer examination, turn out
to be the Six o'clock Evening News.
"Some damned half-deranged diplomat,

"Portfolio this, portfolio that,
is dithering about something or other somewhere
or other for no reason that neither you nor I

"Nor anyone else has any idea." My friend
orders another, and I order another.
The announcer, meanwhile, is selling hangover

Or headache pills and the difficulty we all have
on occasion of falling asleep or eliminating
properly or what happens when we drink too much

And that and everything else at last dissolves
the dancers achieving what appears, in fact, to be
a new breakthrough

In negotiations, winning
in the ovation that follows
their performance

Not only our freedom
but the release and freedom
of all hostages.

Portrait Number Five: Against A New York Summer
-- by Jack Gilbert

I'd walk her home after work
buying roses and talking of Bechsteins.
She was full of soul.
Her small room was gorged with heat
and there were no windows.
She'd take off everything
but her pants
and take the pins from her hair
throwing them on the floor
with a great noise.
Like Crete.
We wouldn't make love.
She'd get on the bed
with those nipples
and we'd lie
and talking of my best friend.
They were in love.
When I got quiet
she'd put on usually Debussy
leaning down to the small ribs
bite me.

Covering Two Years
-- by Weldon Kees

This nothingness that feeds upon itself:
Pencils that turn to water in the hand,
Parts of a sentence, hanging in the air,
Thoughts breaking in the mind like glass,
Blank sheets of paper that reflect the world
Whitened the world that I was silenced by.

There were two years of that. Slowly,
Whatever splits, dissevers, cuts, cracks, ravels, or divides
To bring me to that diet of corrosion, burned
And flickered to its terminal.--Now in an older hand
I write my name. Now with a voice grown unfamiliar,
I speak to silences of altered rooms,
Shaken by knowledge of recurrence and return.

also: I realized last night that Monday was the 4th anniversary of the dust congress. thanks to all for reading.

November 8, 2005

lime and limpid green, a second scene

Martha Sedgwick, Untitled, 1999

* New York Times. excerpt:

"It's amazing to remember that when Mr. Bush first ran for president, he bragged about his understanding of Latin America, his ability to speak Spanish and his friendship with Mexico. But he also made fun of Al Gore for believing that nation-building was a job for the United States military.

"The White House is in an uproar over the future of Karl Rove, the president's political adviser, and spinning off rumors that some top cabinet members may be asked to walk the plank. Mr. Bush could certainly afford to replace some of his top advisers. But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself.

"Second terms may be difficult, but the chief executive still has the power to shape what happens. Ronald Reagan managed to turn his messy second term around and deliver - in great part through his own powers of leadership - a historic series of agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet empire. Mr. Bush has never demonstrated the capacity for such a comeback. Nevertheless, every American has a stake in hoping that he can surprise us.

"The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions."

* More advice from the 1972 best-seller The Sensuous Man:

"Sex is Not Competitive

"...Never lose sight, as you progress in this book, that the object of sex is not to be good, better, or best at it -- the object is to derive enjoyment from it. And the odds that the more competitive you are when you fuck, the less pleasure you derive. There is not Super-Bowl of Sex, so don't concentrate on how good you are compared to some other guy. Concentrate on your pleasure and your ladies pleasure. That's the only way you'll emerge a 'winner.'"

and remember:

"Intercourse does not physically weaken a man. Too many men won't make love to thier girlfriends or wives the night befroe a big golf or tennis match. Football players are kept out of the sack by coaches. But if you are in decent physical condition -- and you should be for your own sake, there is no proven evidence that intercourse will sap your strength. I play tennis every Sunday morning with one of those guys who won't go near a gal two days before a match. I usually come to the courts right from my girl's bedroom -- and I beat him nearly everytime."

* Julian Cope names Harry Flynt's I Don't Wanna as his album of the month. excerpt:

"And yet the difference between Henry Flynt and most other conceptual artists of his time is that the more you play I DON’T WANNA, the more you need to hear it. I know Flynt initially conceived this album in a flurry of post-EPI excitement, probably as nothing more than an adjunct to his more serious violin drone music. But for listeners who get the picture, repeated plays soon become an emotional and cardiovascular necessity. You wanna steep yourself in his hip spikey yokeldrones and his catch-all pop-art lyrical take on the protest movement, and you wanna blast the fucking world to rights."
"In the early months of 1966, during Andy Warhol’s EXPLODING PLASTIC INEVITABLE performances at The Dom, and just before The Velvet Underground recorded their first LP, John Cale became so sick from the group’s unhealthy lifestyle that he was forced to take some time away from their performances. Determined to replace himself with a valid substitute capable of understanding the Ur-drones necessary for fulfilling The Velvet’s highly specific metaphor, Cale asked his friend and fellow LaMonte Young acolyte Henry Flynt to fill in for him.

"Unfortunately, this young experimental violinist and early Fluxus member was himself currently obsessed with re-awakening his North Carolina roots. And so Flynt brought to the Velvets not the removed and numbing sophistication of Cale’s wind tunnel viola, but a brutally hickish and highly volatile hoedown that brought the young southerner to physical blows with Lou Reed. Henry Flynt says of the experience:

Reed taught me their repertoire in about five minutes, because basically he just wanted me to be in the right key. At one point I got in a fight with him onstage because I was playing a very hillybilly-influenced style on the violin and that upset him very much. He wanted a very sophisticated sound; he didn’t want rural references in what was supposed to be this very decadent S&M image that they were projecting.

"However, disastrous though the experience was, Flynt struggled through several further performances with the band, and – in lieu of payment – received six hour long lessons of guitar tuition by Lou Reed himself. Taking this apprenticeship extremely seriously, and stimulated by Bob Dylan’s recent adoption of rock’n’roll in the face of huge criticism, Henry Flynt decided immediately to process and utilise this new sonic information as a vehicle for his other main obsession – political activism."

November 7, 2005

no bad dream fucker's gonna boss me around

photograph by sarah small.

* Top Ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"8. Donald Rumsfeld

"It hasn't received much coverage in the mainstream media - at least not in America anyway - but it's currently reckoned that about 200 of the inmates at Guantanamo Bay are taking part in a hunger strike which is eliciting concern from the International Red Cross.

"Why are they doing this? Because they want to be treated in a manner consistent with the Geneva Conventions. Best of luck with that one.

"Of course the military have put their own spin on the situation, calling the hunger strike a 'voluntary fast,' with a mere 26 participants. 21 of those participants have apparently been hospitalized for "assisted feedings" via a tube placed up the nose and down the throat. According to The Nation:

"...someone committed to self-starvation could easily remove such a tube, if he had any freedom of movement. So we can surmise that there is a line of twenty-one hospital beds, each with a prisoner held tight in four-point restraints. His head must be strapped down, immobile, and forcible sedation seems probable. Hardly the image evoked by the term 'assisted feeding.'

"Thank goodness Donald Rumsfeld is here to explain the situation more clearly. Last week he told reporters, 'There are a number of people who go on a diet where they don't eat for a period and then go off of it at some point. And then they rotate and other people do that.'

"So let me get this straight... down at Six Flags Guantanamo Bay the inmates have 'never been treated better;' in fact we're feeding them so much honey-glazed chicken and lemon-baked fish that every so often they decide to go on a diet!

"George Orwell must be vomiting in his grave."

* From an interview of Barry Hannah.

Interviewr: You’ve said you learned something from your drinking. Most people wouldn’t admit that, that it got them somewhere. What was it you learned?

Hannah: It’s unfortunate that I learned something through booze. Everybody does, but ultimately on the level I was using, it was sickness. Jail, hospital, DUIs. Briefly it worked, to be frank, but that was on three beers and exactly where, if I was to appear on television today as a spokesman for anti-alcohol, I’d say, Listen, if you need more than three beers, worry.

Interviewer: So it got your creativity going?

Hannah: Right. Gosh, I hate to publish this, because young people will do anything it takes. But at first, yes. Teaching at Clemson was very hard work. I’d come home, put down the babies—and I was trying to be a good father and I think I was—but then that freedom, it was astonishing, my God. Every man or woman who comes home and takes a glass of wine or a couple of hits of bourbon on the rocks knows what I mean. Just this total loosening and release from the white noise of the day, so that you enter another zone. Instead of going to sleep I would hit the typewriter and sometimes write until four and teach my classes very haggardly. But I was often taught that everything is worth it for art. Everything. It was a cult. I remember Bill Harrison saying, 'Don’t play with your child that much.' In other words, don’t be that good of a father. Get to that book. The ideal was Flaubert, who labored seven years on Madame Bovary and sweated out every word, le mot juste, the right word. So yeah, I learned things that way, but on the other hand I would have learned things had I been sober.

* Carl Hiaasen on Jack Abramoff's other problems. excerpt:

"The glistening slime trail left by lobbyist Jack Abramoff leads to an infamous homicide scene in South Florida.

"And while the indicted bosom buddy of indicted Rep. Tom DeLay says he had nothing to do with the mob-style execution of casino fleet founder Gus Boulis, Abramoff probably wasn't turning cartwheels when three men were recently charged with murdering Boulis back in February 2001.

"One of the defendants is Anthony 'Big Tony' Moscatiello, identified by police as an associate of the Gambino crime family. Moscatiello is a longtime pal with lawyer Adam Kidan, who was Abramoff's partner in what prosecutors say was a fraudulent purchase of Fort Lauderdale-based SunCruz casinos from Boulis.

"Kidan and Abramoff go way back. At the Georgetown Law Center they were both members of the College Republicans.
"It's an ugly story, but not the worst of Abramoff's legal problems. That would be his partnership with Kidan, whose keen business acumen and sterling ethics had already led to multiple bankruptcies and the loss of his New York law license.

"In 2000, Abramoff shiningly recommended Kidan to Gus Boulis as a buyer for the SunCruz casino boat fleet, which Boulis was being forced to sell because he wasn't a U.S. citizen.

"The buyout sounded like such a sweet deal that Abramoff decided to go 50-50 with Kidan, and the papers were finally signed in September 2000.

"Boulis, who'd kept a stake in SunCruz, soon became enraged with Kidan's free-spending management. Among those hired for catering and security services were Kidan's old mob friend Moscatiello and another upstanding citizen named Anthony 'Little Tony' Ferrari. When Boulis started to raise hell about the money, things grew so tense that Kidan got a restraining order and even hired three bodyguards.

"Boulis filed suit, and the next month he was dead, shot to death in his BMW after leaving his office in Fort Lauderdale. Like Abramoff, Kidan says he knows nothing about Boulis' murder."
"Abramoff was coasting along nicely, ripping off the Indian tribes, until the SunCruz indictments last summer. Today his big-shot friends can't help him, and wouldn't if they could.

"Once a star and darling of congressional Republicans, Abramoff is now political poison. No more skybox parties or free Scottish golf vacations for the Speaker of the House. No more schmoozing with Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist.

"Indicted in Florida, under fire from McCain in Washington, Abramoff can now look forward to an upcoming mob-hit trial in which his once-golden name might be unflatteringly invoked.
"The players and politicians who are so desperately distancing themselves from Abramoff would prefer that we think of him as some small-time hustler, a fringe sleazeball who crawled out of the shadows.

"He wasn't. He was a big-league hustler and a mainstream sleazeball. And he was all theirs."

November 4, 2005

she suddenly pleaded for mercy she needed

mick jagger, by andy warhol

-- by Gregory Corso

Truly money is a happiness
a false one
Yet it can spare the human soul
the cold lonely living death
of the streets

It can comfort him with
whatever has a price

It can help a blind man
with anything but sight

and Love
Love is a luxury

The love one human has for another
is heartfelt, without doubt

The love one has for money
is unable to purchase love

The love one has for god
sensed by all humankind
is unsure, by faith enjoined,
An answer to the impermanence
of things and oneself --

Which love is the greater?
The first when it strikes
the heart

The second when the heart is

The third when the first is maintained
And the second is of no consequence.

A Guide for My Infant Son
-- by Gregory Corso

Simple perfection
Perfect simplicity
It's easy
like painting a flower
snapping it dead

-- by Gregory Corso

is Life
It flows thru
the death of me
like a river
of becoming
the sea

Dib Dab
-- by Paul Beatty

smooth as...

a baby nicholas brother
tap dancin in a porcelain tub
mr bubble suds
aye que lindo palms filled
with cocoa butter lotion

smooth as...

michael jordan
in the middle of his fifth
airborne freeze frame pump fake
a funky millionaire marionette
pissin on physics
his glossy fresh out the pacific
sea lion brown skin limbs
draped in 8th century heian kimono silk

smooth as...

sarah vaughan
holdin a note dipped in bronze
spit shined with a lonely bootblacks jukebox drool
buffed with chamois cloth and heartache

smooth as...

tap beer after midnight mass

smooth as...

wilma rudolph haulin ass through rome
long tennessee tigerbelle strides
walking down gossamer winged myths
busted shakles in her wake
1960 runaway

smooth as...

an eric dolphy jazz workshopped
alto free swingin lead
that lets mingus know
where he can shove that bow
if he dont ease up pluckin pizzicato
over his solo

smooth as...

billy dee williams. nevermind

smooth as...

lady kung fu
flyin roof to roof
dealing five finer drunken monkey style tiger fisted death
to the imperialist aggressors
hong kong backlot snap kick sound effects
a buttlength ponytail
trailing the action with a mind of its own

smooth as...

first latin black korean
national hockey league offensive superstar
center ice crossovers
one hand on the stick
blue line breakaway
blastin a drive high and tight
stick side
red light and siren

smooth as...

granddads 30 year old
one sunday a month
white patent leather shoes
ones he wears with his lucky powder blue slacks
when he takes you to the track
santa anita belmont yonkers
gives you two disability dollars a race
and tells you to bet the trifecta
on the horses with the names you like

smooth as...

a cab calloway blip blap big band stikkle tat riff
rolling over his process
from front to back
sliding on its knees
down the greased part
of a geechee ghetto trickster in full regalia

November 3, 2005

let's all drink to the death of a clown

Albert Oehlen, A Foggy Day, 1996

* The Rude Pundit on Alito. excerpt:

"Remember that it's a rule that holds fast and true: if George W. Bush gets to appoint someone to a position, that person will be a motherfucker. John Roberts, motherfucker; John Bolton, motherfucker; John Negroponte, motherfucker; Michael Brown, motherfucker and little bitch. In the hopper right now is Ellen Sauerbrey, who is a motherfucker of proportions that will ensure the rest of the world hates us even more than they already do. And, now, of course, we have Samuel Alito, the latest Supreme Court nominee after Harriet 'Nope, She's a Motherfucker, Too' Miers withdrew after being gang-raped by the conservative right."

"Samuel Alito is such a motherfucker that he supported the rights of cops to strip search a ten-year old girl who was not named in a search warrant because, as he stated, '[I]t is a sad fact that drug dealers sometimes use children to carry out their business and to avoid prosecution,' which also means that it's a sad fact that the girl's got no rights to unreasonable search and seizures. Which means, really, none of us do if we happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"And, yep, like a good motherfucker, Alito offers support for other motherfuckers: he's for abused wives being forced to tell their motherfucker spouses if they're pregnant, he's for non-whites to have the color of their skin used as a factor for hiring by motherfuckers, and he believes motherfuckers running colleges can discriminate agains the disabled."

* The New Yorker reads Scooter Libby's 1996 novel the apprentice so you don't have to. excerpt:

"Libby has a lot to live up to as a conservative author of erotic fiction. As an article in SPY magazine pointed out in 1988, from Safire ('[She] finally came to him in the bed and shouted ‘Arragghrrorwr!’ in his ear, bit his neck, plunged her head between his legs and devoured him') to Buckley ('I’d rather do this with you than play cards') to Liddy ('T’sa Li froze, her lips still enclosing Rand’s glans . . .') to Ehrlichman (‘It felt like a little tongue’) to O’Reilly ('Okay, Shannon Michaels, off with those pants'), extracurricular creative writing has long been an outlet for ideas that might not fly at, say, the National Prayer Breakfast. In one of Lynne Cheney’s books, a Republican vice-president dies of a heart attack while having sex with his mistress."
"Like his predecessors, Libby does not shy from the scatological. The narrative makes generous mention of lice, snot, drunkenness, bad breath, torture, urine, “turds,” armpits, arm hair, neck hair, pubic hair, pus, boils, and blood (regular and menstrual). One passage goes, 'At length he walked around to the deer’s head and, reaching into his pants, struggled for a moment and then pulled out his penis. He began to piss in the snow just in front of the deer’s nostrils.'

"Homoeroticism and incest also figure as themes. The main female character, Yukiko, draws hair on the 'mound' of a little girl. The brothers of a dead samurai have sex with his daughter. Many things glisten (mouths, hair, evergreens), quiver (a 'pink underlip,' arm muscles, legs), and are sniffed (floorboards, sheets, fingers). The cast includes a dwarf, and an 'assistant headman' who comes to restore order after a crime at the inn. (Might this character be autobiographical? And, if so, would that have made Libby the assistant headman or the assistant headman’s assistant?)"
"And, finally:

"He asked if they should fuck the deer.

"The answer, reader, is yes.

"So, how does Libby stack up against the competition? This question was put to Nancy Sladek, the editor of Britain’s Literary Review, which, each year, holds a contest for bad sex writing in fiction. (In 1998, someone nominated the Starr Report.) Sladek agreed to review a few passages from Libby. 'That’s a bit depraved, isn’t it, this kind of thing about bears and young girls? That’s particularly nasty, and the other ones are just boring,' she said. 'God, they’re an odd bunch, these Republicans.'

* Sexplotation Lobby Cards.

* "Love is like war: easy to begin but very hard to stop." -- H.L. Mencken

November 2, 2005

do you curse where you come from

R.B. Kitaj, If Not, Not, 1975

[The artist stated that the painting related to T S Eliot’s poem 'The Waste Land'; the poet is depicted at the bottom left, wearing a hearing aid. The building in the top left corner is the gatehouse to Auschwitz. Below it lies a scene of cultural disintegration and moral collapse. The stagnant water, the dead and blackened trees, and the books scattered about the landscape, speak of death and destruction. A Matisse bust lies broken in the centre foreground. The small figure of the man in bed, holding a baby, is a self-portrait.]

From A History in Verse (1941 - 1960)
-- by Ed Sanders

On the 1st of December
a tired seamstress returning from work
at a downtown department store
was sitting in the front window
of the 'colored' section.

According to the rules
when the white section filled up
she was supposed to
give up her seat to whatever
white man or women should appear.

Rosa Parks was 43 &
a secretary of the local NAACP chapter
She'd once taken part in an interracial workshop
at the radical Highlander Folk School
in Tennessee

which had helped open her eyes as to
ways by which harmony might come
to the races

so when a white person wanted her seat
that evening
the great Rosa Parks refused.

The bus driver said he'd call the police
if she didn't rise

"You may do that" she replied
& she was arrested for violating the ghastly
Georgia bus segragation laws
and fined $14 on December 5

That was the day that Montgomery blacks
who made up 75% of the ridership
began a boycott of the buses

It was a moment for America

Dead of Winter
-- by William Corbett

Factories close, the harbor stinks
our bridges rot and roads decay
we sail farther and farther out
to take fewer fish,
we refuse to educate our children
and they are murderous and murdered,
our leaders tell us nothing
we do not want to hear.
Real estate robbed some of us
and illness bankrupts others.
Out of complicated laws
endless litigation.

The Drinker
-- by Robert Lowell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 1, 2005

how can you trust someone you know can't trust you

first to fall, by dronepop

* Jack Nicholson set to release Passenger. excerpt:

"Jack Nicholson calls The Passenger his `most vivid filmmaking adventure. It's hard to imagine a film that has been written about more and seen less than Nicholson's The Passenger. One of the enigmatic masterworks of modern cinema, the 1975 Michelangelo Antonioni movie has been out of circulation for years -- it has never been on DVD and was only briefly available on video in the mid-1980s."
"Actually, the real thanks goes to Nicholson, who not only stars in the film but is its longtime owner, having acquired the picture from MGM in a settlement with the studio after a film Nicholson had been hired to star in fell apart. He had kept The Passenger off the market until Sony convinced him they would give it a classy send-off. For years, critics have swooned over the film, writing themselves into knots grappling with the movie's portrayal of a man's struggle with spiritual ennui. But having spent months making the film in a variety of locations, notably Barcelona, London and the remote desert of Algeria, Nicholson has vivid memories of its development, especially the weeks he spent in the desert, three days away from the nearest city."
"'I've never been that far from civilization, before or since,' Nicholson told me the other day. 'We lived in thatched huts out in an oasis in the middle of the Sahara desert. It wasn't unusual to have these huge sandstorms where everything would be covered with this fine pink sand. I can still see Michelangelo walking in the sand, with the wind blowing, picking out shots that he wanted to get.'"

Nicholson makes it sound more like an adventure than arduous work. 'It only takes a day to get used to the flies on your nose,' he said, lighting the first of three cigarettes he has carefully lined up on a coffee table. 'The Italian crew was serious about eating, so we'd have good food every night, get high and look up at the sky. The first night felt very eerie, because it was so quiet. I didn't know it at the time, but it was the most vivid filmmaking adventure I've ever had.'"

* Chessboxing: the sport of the future? excerpt:

"The brainchild of Dutch artist Iepe Rubingh, chessboxers alternate between board and ring, engaging both brains and brawn through 11 rounds (four minutes' chess, two minutes' boxing), to see who comes out on top. Contests are won by checkmate, knock-out, retirement, exceeding the time limit at the board or a refereeing decision. If the chess game ends in stalemate, the highest scorer in the boxing rounds wins. Ties are won, for no apparent reason, by the player with the black pieces."
"Sound like comic book stuff? It is. Rubinghe took the idea from Enki Bilal comic Froid-Équator, set in 2096 and which sees inhabitants of a ravaged planet competing in various games, among which chessboxing features. Dilschneider, or 'D', as he's known in the sport, helped Rubinghe develop the idea after meeting him at a party three years ago. After three years devoted to promoting the sport, he became a fighter seven months ago, competing in the WCBO's first European Championship earlier this month. He lost to Bulgarian Tihomir 'Tigertad' Titschko in the ninth round."
"And the sport could land a whole heap of credibility if rumours that Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis are interested turn out to be true. 'We would love that to be the case,' enthuses Dilschneider. 'We have been trying to get hold of the Klitschkos for a year and a half, because they are also great chess players, but we have not been able to. If they wanted to do it, we would love it. But it is maybe just internet gossip.'"

"Whatever the truth, chessboxing has certainly got people talking. What started as an art show is drawing in the bold and the curious alike, and its founders are determined to make a success of it. 'Chessboxing has no limits,' says Dilschneider. 'It breaks down barriers. We're working on a chessboxing revolution worldwide. Anything is possible.' It's fighting talk all right."

* in oak, in elm recommends channel 101's Yacht Rock. we do too (the batman spoofs are pretty good as well).

* Curling gets naked.