December 22, 2005

jokes are for the living the dead know everything

-- flyer by stereogab.

* Video for Silver Jews Punks in the Beerlight, by Todd Lincoln. Watch it.

* December 28 update

From the SJBB:

"ring happy bells, across the snow"+
Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:25

************silver***notes ************

-the band for these shows does not include Steve
we tried to enlist him to do 28 shows this year but
between family, fantasy sports and fatherhood he says
he doesn't have the time.

-so we go to the Bright Bridge Band.

-if anybody bought tickets just to see malkmus in a different context, you might want to sell them.

- hopefully i set the prices low enough to mollify any
cranks or grouches.

-i wouldn't recommend going to more than one show either
becasue the songs aren't going to change much.
a couple from every record. but the set won't be very long
.but longer than a jesus and mary chain set in 1985.

-hopefully i set the prices low enough to mollify any
cranks or grouches.

- if it goes well then we will play
the west coast and europe and tel aviv, etc.

-i'll write again here after new years.

we are the several,


December 21, 2005

his mind's the only thing he's blown apart

John Ferren, Greenock, 1958

Epitaph On A Tyrant
-- by W.H. Auden

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after,
And the poetry he invented was easy to understand;
He knew human folly like the back of his hand,
And was greatly interested in armies and fleets;
When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter,
And when he cried the little children died in the streets.

Jazz Chick
-- by Bob Kaufman

Music from her breast vibrating
Soundseared into burnished velvet.
Silent hips deceiving fools.
Rivulets of trickling ecstacy
from the alabaster pools of jazz
eyes more atriculately silent
than medusa's thousand tongues.
a bridge of eyes, consenting smiles
reveal her presence singing
of cool rememberance, happy balls
wrapped in swinging
her music....

At This Moment Of Time
-- by Delmore Schwartz

Some who are uncertain compel me. They fear
The Ace of Spades. They fear
Loves offered suddenly, turning from the mantelpiece,
Sweet with decision. And they distrust
The fireworks by the lakeside, first the spuft,
Then the colored lights, rising.
Tentative, hesitant, doubtful, they consume
Greedily Caesar at the prow returning,
Locked in the stone of his act and office.
While the brass band brightly bursts over the water
They stand in the crowd lining the shore
Aware of the water beneath Him. They know it. Their eyes
Are haunted by water

Disturb me, compel me. It is not true
That 'no man is happy,' but that is not
The sense which guides you. If we are
Unfinished (we are, unless hope is a bad dream),
You are exact. You tug my sleeve
Before I speak, with a shadow's friendship,
And I remember that we who move
Are moved by clouds that darken midnight.

Having Lost My Sons, I Confront The Wreckage Of The Moon: Christmas, 1960
-- by James Wright

After dark
Near the South Dakota border,
The moon is out hunting, everywhere,
Delivering fire,
And walking down hallways
Of a diamond.

Behind a tree,
It lights on the ruins
Of a white city
Frost, frost.

Where are they gone
Who lived there?

Bundled away under wings
And dark faces.

I am sick
Of it, and I go on
Living, alone, alone,
Past the charred silos, past the hidden graves
Of Chippewas and Norwegians.

This cold winter
Moon spills the inhuman fire
Of jewels
Into my hands.

Dead riches, dead hands, the moon
And I am lost in the beautiful white ruins
Of America.

* Frank Zappa would have been 65 today. RIP Frank.

December 20, 2005

free and easy, we'll disappear completely

Frank Lobdell, Summer, 1962

* Jonathan Adler on Bush evesdropping. excerpt:

"No, Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker. He insists he had 'legal authority derived from the Constitution and congressional resolution authorizing force.' But the Constitution explicitly requires the president to obey the law. And the post 9/11 congressional resolution authorizing 'all necessary force' in fighting terrorism was made in clear reference to military intervention. It did not scrap the Constitution and allow the president to do whatever he pleased in any area in the name of fighting terrorism."
"This will all play out eventually in congressional committees and in the United States Supreme Court. If the Democrats regain control of Congress, there may even be articles of impeachment introduced. Similar abuse of power was part of the impeachment charge brought against Richard Nixon in 1974.

"In the meantime, it is unlikely that Bush will echo President Kennedy in 1961. After JFK managed to tone down a New York Times story by Tad Szulc on the Bay of Pigs invasion, he confided to Times editor Turner Catledge that he wished the paper had printed the whole story because it might have spared him such a stunning defeat in Cuba.

"This time, the president knew publication would cause him great embarrassment and trouble for the rest of his presidency. It was for that reason—and less out of genuine concern about national security—that George W. Bush tried so hard to kill the New York Times story."

-- related: "There are no facts, only interpretations." -- Friedrich Nietzsche

* Cocaine to be legalized in Bolivia. excerpt:

"Evo Morales, of the Movement towards Socialism (MAS), won more than 50 per cent of the vote in Sunday’s election, far outstripping all predictions. In his unprecedented first-round victory he left his nearest rival for the presidency, the pro-US Jorge 'Tuto' Quiroga, more than 20 percentage points behind.

"He has also promised to ally Bolivia with other regional left-wing leaders such as Presidents Chávez of Venezuela and Castro of Cuba. Señor Chávez was one of the first to telephone to congratulate Señor Morales, whose victory continues Latin America’s shift to the Left. The outcome of the election will be closely watched in Peru, which is to vote for a new president in April. Ollanta Humala, a nationalistic former army officer, has made strong progress in opinion polls there by appealing to the country’s indigenous majority.

"Señor Morales, who used to lead a coca-growers’ union, has promised to legalise the cultivation of coca, the primary ingredient in cocaine — to the horror of the US, which has pursued a big coca eradication effort in Bolivia in recent years. Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of cocaine."

* from Harper's December 2005:

-- Percentage approval rating of Bill Clinton the day after impeachment and George W. Bush in November 2005, respectively: 73, 37

-- Tons of hurricane-related waste still waiting to be hauled away in Louisiana: 22,000,000

-- Tons of waste produced by New York City each year: 8,500,000

-- Number of product placements on U.S. network TV shows in prime time last year: 101,212

-- Percentage of free condoms distributed in India that are used for purposes other than sex: 75

-- Years since a White House office as senior as I. Lewis Libby had been indicted while in office: 130

* Tucker Carlson really is a dick:

"Last week, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, a well-known conservative pundit, let loose with a string of anti-Canada rants.

"'Anybody with any ambition at all, or intelligence, has left Canada and is now living in New York," he said.

"'Canada is a sweet country. It is like your retarded cousin you see at Thanksgiving and sort of pat him on the head. You know, he's nice but you don't take him seriously. That's Canada.'

"Carlson also said it's pointless to tell Canada to stop criticizing the United States.

"'It only eggs them on. Canada is essentially a stalker, stalking the United States, right? Canada has little pictures of us in its bedroom, right?'

"'It's unrequited love between Canada and the United States. We, meanwhile, don't even know Canada's name. We pay no attention at all,' he said.

December 19, 2005

there's a blaze of light in every word

Laura Owens, Untitled, 2004

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"5. Bill Frist

"As if being investigated by the SEC for alleged insider trading (see Idiots 220) isn't bad enough, a recent report on further dodgy dealings may ensure that Bill Frist will have a particularly miserable Christmas this year. Last week it was reported that the Senate Majority Leader's AIDS charity "paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle," according to the Associated Press.

"Tax returns show that the $4.4 million dollars raised by Frist's charity came from just 18 unknown donors, and only $3 million went to AIDS causes. The rest went to 'overhead,' which included '$456,125 in consulting fees to two firms run by Frist's longtime political fundraiser, Linus Catignani. One is jointly run by Linda Bond, the wife of Sen. Christopher 'Kit' Bond, R-Mo.,' again according to the AP.

"So why is Frist taking huge chunks of cash which is supposed to go to AIDS charities and giving it to his political fundraiser? Your guess is as good as mine. And if your guess is 'because Frist is an unethical crook,' then your guess is the same as mine."

* Black Book lists various artists' guilty pleasures. excerpt:

"David Berman/The Silver Jews
Shania Twain, Shania Twain's Greatest Hits

"Shania Twain’s best album is Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits. Roll back to 1996 with me if you would, when she was still hustling up and down the charts; a lot of her male fans, taking her highly realistic video come-ons literally, had energetic-outdoorsy-marriage-with-constant-sex fantasies about this brown-haired video squiggle dancing here on a sun-bleached dock in pink capris. From the panoply of North American sluts came this bride of the common man. While Madonna tended to bacterial outbreaks, Shania had a cup of coffee and a giggling proclivity for anytime fucking waiting for you when you got home.

"After your three minutes were up, the hardest part was retransitioning yourself to the reality that Shania didn’t really love you in that sweater like you had her say to you in your mind. 'Get ahold of yourself,' said your inner success coach. 'She’s into Mutt. Mutt makes her sound good. She’s saving it all for Mutt. And they live on top of a mountain in Switzerland. You’re just above sea level material, my friend, and you always will be.' Ultimately, guilt is not the word for this feeling. Shame is closer."

-- related: Tickets for the Joos March tour are starting to go on sale, for more information, clickhere.

* New York Metro's 2005 book awards had a category for the best first sentences of the year. ‘The Almond: The Sexual Awakening of a Muslim Woman,’ by Nedjma, was voted number five. It starts:

"I, Badra bent Salah ben Hassan el-Fergani, born in Imchouk under the sign of Scorpio, shoe size thirty-eight, and soon to reach my fiftieth year, make the following declaration: I don’t give a damn that Black women have delectable cunts and offer total obedience; that Babylonian women are the most desirable and women from Damascus the most tender to men; that Arab and Persian women are the most fertile and faithful; that Nubian women have the roundest buttocks, the softest skin, and passion that burns like a tongue of fire; that Turkish women have the coldest wombs, the most cantankerous temperament, the most rancorous heart, and the most radiant acumen; and that Egyptian women are soft-spoken, offer kind-hearted friendship, and are fickle in their constancy."

December 16, 2005

you will miss me when I burn

Duet, 1962, Adolph Gottlieb

Tombstone as a Lonely Charm, Part 2
--by d.a. levy

you had the deepest eyes
as a child
when you cautiously looked
up at the sun
and restlessly wrote
the world's greatest poem
and your brothers
drinking in the clear water
of the universe
wrote their words with
gold on sacred blue
later they sat back
in the soft fat of their
glutted egos
& talked into eternity
about the mysteries

after the poetic-orgasm
you were still haunted
by some young girl's face

To Speak of Woe That Is in Marriage
-- by Robert Lowell

"It is the future generation that presses into being by means of these exuberant feelings and supersensible soap bubbles of ours." - Schopenhauer

"The hot night makes us keep our bedroom windows open.
Our magnolia blossoms. Life begins to happen.
My hopped up husband drops his home disputes,
and hits the streets to cruise for prostitutes,
free-lancing out along the razor's edge.
This screwball might kill his wife, then take the pledge.
Oh the monotonous meanness of his lust. . .
It's the injustice . . . he is so unjust--
whiskey-blind, swaggering home at five.
My only thought is how to keep alive.
What makes him tick? Each night now I tie
ten dollars and his car key to my thigh. . . .
Gored by the climacteric of his want,
he stalls above me like an elephant."

Tear It Down
-- by Jack Gilbert

We find out the heart only by dismantling what
the heart knows. By redefining the morning,
we find a morning that comes just after darkness.
We can break through marriage into marriage.
By insisting on love we spoil it, get beyond
affection and wade mouth-deep into love.
We must unlearn the constellations to see the stars.
But going back toward childhood will not help.
The village is not better than Pittsburgh.
Only Pittsburgh is more than Pittsburgh.
Rome is better than Rome in the same way the sound
of raccoon tongues licking the inside walls
of the garbage tub is more than the stir
of them in the muck of the garbage. Love is not
enough. We die and are put into the earth forever.
We should insist while there is still time. We must
eat through the wildness of her sweet body already
in our bed to reach the body within that body.

The Pope's Penis
-- by Sharon Olds

It hangs deep in his robes, a delicate
clapper at the center of a bell.
It moves when he moves, a ghostly fish in a
halo of silver sweaweed, the hair
swaying in the dark and the heat -- and at night
while his eyes sleep, it stands up
in praise of God.

December 15, 2005

seems like everywhere I go the sky is falling

Washington, D.C., October #8, 1964, by Edward Corbett

* Sakebomb on what its like to be a guest on live tv:

"One thing we will say: Live TV is the single weirdest fucking thing you can do with your time, as it relies on each participant sticking to a series of peculiar mannerisms and conventions which, if executed in real life, would make one look absolutely bobcatshit crazy. In a studio show where there are two or more guests and a host, each participant is isolated in a different building, with the pundits perched in a sweat lodge with a generic background tacked up behind them and the black maw of a camera pointed up their respective nostrils.

"While your opponent launches attacks from New Jersey or wherever, you just sort of sit there, trying to appear brittly composed and smiling at the air in front of you like an old man thinking back on how great it was when gasoline was 5¢ a gallon and he still had full use of his penis. Because the camera can alight back on your face without a moment’s notice, you sort of have to keep this dazed Laura Bush look on your puss, while trying to think of a blistering, yet witty salvo to fire back in your own defense, even though what you are doing is essentially talking to yourself in a dark room while about 114,000 people watch you struggle with not calling Tucker Carlson** a douchebag, let’s say.

"And then you get those little oral spasms that can range anywhere from the setting and resetting of one’s mouth into a thoughtful moue to the kind of ragged and abrupt contortions of the mouth that are so severe that it looks as though you’re doing breathing exercises to prepare for, say, Tosca or something. And there’s also the weird hand gestures you use to punctuate even the most banal thought, like you’re Clinton working your way up to a blowjob denial. 'You know, Tucker [emphatic fist pump, thumb clenched over knuckle of first finger], I think what you’re going to find in 2006 [fist stops pumping as monitor spied out of the corner of the field of one’s vision reveals that you are engaged in something that looks suspiciously like the Universal Whack-Off Gesture] is a reinvigoration of the traditional blah blah blah [fist opens up, palm is turned to the host as if you’re offering him a Tic-Tac]….' Etc."

* Another reason to dislike Disney: They plan to rewrite Winnie the Pooh, replacing Christopher Robin with a red-haired six-year-old tomboy.

* Check out Skimble's second annual christmas special.

* Excellent flash animation of Momus' bantam boys.

* the caribbean head out of town for shows this weekend in Charlottesville and Norfolk. If you are nearby, check them out:

-- Friday, December 16th: Twisted Tea Bazaar, Charlottesville, Virginia (9:30pm)

-- Saturday, December 17th: Relative Theory Records, Norfolk, VA (8pm)

December 14, 2005

my love is like a cyclone in a swamp
and the weather's getting warmer

Double Portrait of Woman Expecting Child, 1951, eugene brands

poems by philip larkin:

Homage To A Government

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

The Mower

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.

Annus Mirabilis

Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me) -
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

Up to then there'd only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.

Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.

So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) -
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles' first LP.

This is the first thing

This is the first thing
I have understood:
Time is the echo of an axe
Within a wood.

December 13, 2005

there's only so many worlds for nice positive girls

sunscreen, by glueslabs

* Pete Townshend on the Who film archive. excerpt:

"The sources of film of the Who and myself are varied. Concerts were rarely filmed, and when they were the rights rarely rested with the artists or record companies to whom they were contracted. Television appearances always belonged to the broadcaster. Films were made of the Who from the very beginning because our managers were filmmakers, I was loosely associated with a film cooperative called Tatooist International in the sixties and seventies and used their services often to commission small films about the band.

"The crunch comes when the film must be properly archived and logged. For the last twenty-five years I have carefully looked after Who film, and have been slowly listing it to a modern database. Recently, our archive was hit by something called vinegar syndrome, this is an airborne 'virus' that spreads from film can to can. The entire archive had to be moved. The fellow looking after it on a daily basis got sick from another airborne bug that relates to old film and sound tape.

"In the middle of all this Spitfire Films (who produced the Bob Dylan film by Martin Scorcese) persuaded our managers and Roger Daltrey to do a deal on a new biopic about the Who. Murray Lerner (who shot the legendary 1972 Isle of Wight concerts) was appointed to direct.

"I had no option but to let go of the entire business of looking after the archive, transfer the film to an independent archive and let Murray have open access. It feels irresponsible. But unless I do, by the time we've finished the job of restoring it all, and logging it, and clearing up who shot what, who owns it, and whether we can license it for our own purposes, it will all have turned to dust.
"When I walk into my archive store, I have panic attacks. There is so much stuff there that might be of value, but it will take a lifetime to research because it took a lifetime to accumulate. With enough trust one can let this material go. I'm not certain why I should entirely trust Murray Lerner, but he is a brilliant filmmaker and I am content to let him wade through what is stored. But there comes a time when every artist has to get on with the next chapter. If they film themselves doing it they will be adding to the silt.
"The recent revelations of Bob Dylan have come at the right time for me. I attended the DVD concert of Bruce Springsteen, or one like it, and I'm glad it exists. But I'm glad I saw him live. The importance of seeing a performing music artist live has been emphasized by watching film of Jimi Hendrix; it does not do him justice. In the flesh he was more than magical. It just doesn't seem to work on film. It's better than nothing, but if you wish to engage one of today's emerging artists and see them at their best, try to catch them live.

"Next best thing, might be to catch them live on the internet. You might feel as if you are more a part of the event somehow, even if the picture glitches every so often. Music is merely time divided. Time is plentiful, but it destroys film and tape.

* Mark E. Smith announces football scores.

"On Nov. 19, Mark E. Smith, the witheringly cynical singer for the British band the Fall, read soccer results on a BBC television show, 'Score and Final Score.' First he cleared his throat - he seemed to have a cold - and then, in a voice like a sharp stick, he began. 'Charlton Athletic 1, Manchester United 3. Chelsea 3, Newcastle United nil.' And so on, for about four minutes. Fall fans on the Internet have been fascinated by this, as others would be fascinated by Bob Dylan reading the Lotto numbers, but I haven't found anyone stating the obvious: it's like a Fall song. A report, cut into stentorian bursts of Manchester, anti-sentimental, full of proper nouns and not open to debate. (It can be accessed through WFMU's blog,"

* Slideshow: 50 musicians who died too soon.

* "Chess problems demand from the composer the same virtues that characterize all worthwile art: originality, invention, conciseness, harmony, complexity, and splendid insincerity." -- Vladimir Nabokov, Poems and Problems, 1969

* Stock Graph: Haliburton vs. Dow Jones Industrial Index.

December 12, 2005

lots of details to discern

pillows, by sara padgett.

related: Making Room Magazine interviews sara padgett.

* March Madness: Drag City newsletter provides details of upcoming!!! Joos shows:

"DRAG CITY and Marvin Bunch Management is pleased to announce: The Silver Jews: Love With The Lights On / Ballroom J Tour/ 2006

For the very first time the Silver Jews will be bringing their dumbfounding psyche-theistic humanist hawk rock to the streets of specially selected 'Power Cities' nationwide this March.

Each tour stop will include:

- A fiery oratorical performance, as Bob Nastanovich reads his challenge 'Address To the Men of This Town'

- 'Professional style' multimedia stageshow

- Country Comedy by Kevin Guthrie and Corny Crow

- Show co-hosted by the lovely Cassie Berman

- Along with all the love songs, parables, and slang you expect from Crook and Chase -- I mean the Silver Jews!

Like a terrific looking galaxy cooling off in deep space, the Silver Jews have often seemed remote over their fifteen years of not touring. Even to themselves. Wars have been fought, generations have been born, cities ravaged and governments overthrown in the wake of the 'Dime Map of the Reef' 7 inch.

With that in mind, David Berman cautions all potential ticket buyers 'don't expect the Blizzard of the Masterminds this March. Think more along the lines of the Theatre of the Nephew.'

Bob, the confident road veteran, cuts him off. 'We're going to show the experts how it's done.'

'Buyer beware,' whispers David and the phone goes dead.

Charisma, folks! Have ya seen any lately?"

-- power cities soon to be announced.

* Top Ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"10. Ann Coulter

And finally, Ann Coulter lasted about fifteen minutes before packing up her speech at the University of Connecticut last week - she was booed off the stage by students.

Not surprising really, considering that one of her best lines of the night was: 'I love to engage in repartee with people who are stupider than I am.'

I guess that explains why she's on Fox News all the time."

* "There is no greater sorrow than to recall in misery the time when we were happy." -- Dante

December 10, 2005

December 9, 2005

you've a got a devastating point of view

1972, by elsa dorfman

poems by philip whalen:

friendship greetings

carelessly all fixed up a can of beer
several cigarets a cup of coffee I don't care
whether school keeps or not
thinking of frank o'hara in Paris right this minute
or the basement of the museum of modern art as the case may be

confession and penance

the teeth are washed.
the breakfast was had.
the house is washed.
the garbage is out.
the papers are burnt.
the stove is clean.
the flowers are all re-arranged.
It all looks so much better you wouldn't know it.

I can remember half a dozen times when I was no good in bed.
I'm really sorry about those, but it's all over now. next time
I did better.

for Allen, on his 60th Birthday

Having been mellow & wonderful so many years
What's left but doting & rage?
Yet the balance of birthing & dying
Keeps a level sight: emptiness, not
Vacancy, has room for all departure &
Arrival; I don't even know what
Day it is.

"I told myself:"
bobbie spontaneously


* what the fuck, by pink nasty

* Old joos videos:

-- rebal jew (outtake).

-- slow education.

-- new orleans (live).

December 8, 2005

I'm regular, I'm treble kicked

Richard Prince, Untitled (check painting) #11, 1999–2004

* Nuemu discusses the Silver Jews. berman:

-- "In my experience as a reader of interviews, the focus is rarely on the songs. If you laid all the different issues of Rolling Stone, with hot young actresses on the cover, side by side on the bathroom floor, and spattered them with spermdrops you'd have the underlying agenda of nearly all entertainment reportage revealed at your feet. Except what gets written in Blender. That shit's for real."

-- "If there was a call to do so I could write hundreds of pages of footnotes to the songs I've written, sourcing the images and references to things I've experienced or read about."

-- "Songwriting is, much of the time, like addressing a crowd. Writing poetry is like passing a note inside that crowd."


-- "Malkmus, whose wandering guitar is all over the co-written 'Farmer's Hotel,' was waiting for his first child to be born during the recording sessions. 'I had bought this 99-cent jug of water at the drug store,' said Berman, when asked about the father-to-be. 'It was a clear plastic gallon jug with a picture of a baby and the brand name Baby Water in faux crayon. I just had it because it was weird. It was on my workbench and he kept drinking from it during smoke breaks. I finally noticed and called him out on it. I sent a six-pack of it to his baby when she was born.'"

* Harold Pinter's Nobel acceptance speech. excerpt:

"Many thousands, if not millions, of people in the United States itself are demonstrably sickened, shamed and angered by their government's actions, but as things stand they are not a coherent political force - yet. But the anxiety, uncertainty and fear which we can see growing daily in the United States is unlikely to diminish.

"I know that President Bush has many extremely competent speech writers but I would like to volunteer for the job myself. I propose the following short address which he can make on television to the nation. I see him grave, hair carefully combed, serious, winning, sincere, often beguiling, sometimes employing a wry smile, curiously attractive, a man's man.

"'God is good. God is great. God is good. My God is good. Bin Laden's God is bad. His is a bad God. Saddam's God was bad, except he didn't have one. He was a barbarian. We are not barbarians. We don't chop people's heads off. We believe in freedom. So does God. I am not a barbarian. I am the democratically elected leader of a freedom-loving democracy. We are a compassionate society. We give compassionate electrocution and compassionate lethal injection. We are a great nation. I am not a dictator. He is. I am not a barbarian. He is. And he is. They all are. I possess moral authority. You see this fist? This is my moral authority. And don't you forget it.'

"A writer's life is a highly vulnerable, almost naked activity. We don't have to weep about that. The writer makes his choice and is stuck with it. But it is true to say that you are open to all the winds, some of them icy indeed. You are out on your own, out on a limb. You find no shelter, no protection - unless you lie - in which case of course you have constructed your own protection and, it could be argued, become a politician."

* Rejected, Spike Jonze directed, ad for the gap.

* In DC? Seahorse Staircase opens up for Mike Tamburo tomorrow night at 611 Florida.

* "anti-semitism, like patriotism, is the last refuge of a scoundrel." -- lou reed

December 7, 2005

soft silly music is meaningful magical

strut, leon golub

Four poems by Robert Creeley:

I Know a Man

As I sd to my
friend, because I am
always talking,—John, I

sd, which was not his
name, the darkness sur-
rounds us, what

can we do against
it, or else, shall we &
why not, buy a goddamn big car,

drive, he sd, for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going.


There are words voluptuous
as the flesh
in its moisture,
its warmth

Tangible, they tell
the reassurances,
the comforts,
of being human.

Not to speak them
makes abstract
all desire
and its death at last.

The Way

My love's manners in bed
are not to be discussed by me,
as mine by her
I would not credit comment upon gracefully.

Yet I ride by the margin of that lake in
the wood, the castle,
and the excitement of strongholds;
and have a small boy's notion of doing good.

Oh well, I will say here,
knowing each man,
let you find a good wife too,
and love her as hard as you can.


I'll not write again
things a young man
thinks, not the words
of that feeling.

There is no world
except felt, no
one there but
must be here also.

If that time was
echoing, a vindication
apparent, if flesh
and bone coincided --

let the body be.
See faces float
over the horizon let
the day end.

From an April 1998 interview of Creeley:

J.M. Spalding: Very often a poem is dead as it is being written, or, simply put, despite substance, the poem just isn't good. Every poet has a different theory as to why that is. What is your theory?

Robert Creeley: Williams puts it best in Paterson: 'Because it's there to be written....' If one only wrote 'good' poems, what a dreary world it would be. 'Writing writing' is the point. It's a process, like they say, not a production line. I love the story of Neal Cassidy writing on the bus with Ken Kesey, simply tossing the pages out the window as he finished each one. 'I wonder if it was any good' I can hear someone saying. Did you ever go swimming without a place you were necessarily swimming to—the dock, say, or the lighthouse, the moored boat, the drowning woman? Did you always swim well, enter the water cleanly, proceed with efficient strokes and a steady flutter kick? I wonder if this 'good' poem business is finally some echo of trying to get mother to pay attention.

December 6, 2005

she's going to smile to make you frown

nico, 1967, by lisa law

* from kristine mckenna's interview of chrissie hynde in talk to her:

although you were born in akron, ohio, you've always been an outspoken critic of america, and you emigrated to england in 1973; do you feel any bond at all with the united states?

"I do still feel like an american, but it's not something I'm proud of, nor am I proud of being an english resident. i'm not a proud person and I have an aversion to patriotism. It's wonderful to love your place of birth, but his idea of "we're the best country in the world" -- well, that's clearly not the case with america. we're living in a media dictatorship, and this is particularly true of america, where the media is all encompassing. and this oppression by media is very much in keeping with the history of the country. america was built on a foundation of genocide and you can't expect a whole lot out of that. the karmic reaction to murder is always murder. we killed the people who lived in north america and stole their land and we've got a lot to answer for taking more than we deserved or needed. obviously, I still find much about the country deeply troubling."

* clusterfuck nation. excerpt:

"When people of any political persuasion cry for America to pull out of Iraq, what do they suppose will be the result? That America will go back to being the same nation of easy-motoring, McMansion-buying consumpto-trons we were in 1999?"
"There is really only one condition that will allow us to pull out of Iraq. That is if we make an enormous collective effort to change our behavior here in North America; if we break free from an economy pegged to suburban sprawl, reform the way we do agriculture and retail trade, make substantial investments in public transit and railroads in particular, and practice fiscal restraint at every scale, including an end to the reckless creation of mortgages. Unless we face these facts and the tasks associated with them, then we will find ourselves at the center of that geopolitical struggle.

"Right now, nobody from any political stance is talking about these facts and these tasks. Those in the anti-war movement are by-and-large people who enjoy the same suburban "entitlements" as the war-hawks. The anti-war leadership is even worse than the pro-war leadership, because the war-hawks don't even pretend to be interested in reforming the way we live -- they've declared it 'non-negotiable.'
"Stealthily over the past week, the price of natural gas has crept above $14 a unit (one million btu's). Half the houses in America are heated with the stuff. 90 percent of America's farm fertilizers are made out of it. Above $14 really is uncharted territory."

* Apparently, David Cone remembers his bartenders.

* The 2006 erotic scenes bible is now available.

December 5, 2005

waking's so ugly sleep is so pure

innocent bystander, jim flora

related -- stephen heller interviews wfmu’s Irwin Chustad about Jim Flora.

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"6. George W. Bush

"Last week the U.K.'s Daily Mirror reported that an internal British goverment memo documented George W. Bush's intent to bomb the Qatar-based media organization Al Jazeera during the Iraq war. Al Jazeera has been a thorn in the side of the Bush administration since the war began, inconveniently getting the way of the administration's attempts to spread propaganda throughout the middle east.

"According to the Mirror:

"President Bush planned to bomb Arab TV station al-Jazeera in friendly Qatar, a 'Top Secret' No 10 memo reveals.

"But he was talked out of it at a White House summit by Tony Blair, who said it would provoke a worldwide backlash.

"A source said: 'There's no doubt what Bush wanted, and no doubt Blair didn't want him to do it.'

"A British government official said that the threat was probably intended to be 'humorous, not serious.' Well ha ha. But if that's the case, why has the memo now been suppressed by Britain's attorney general, who is also prosecuting two people under the Official Secrets Act for leaking it?

"But let's be serious - of course the Bush administration would never bomb Al Jazeera. Why, that time they destroyed the Al Jazeera offices in Kabul, Afghanistan, was just an accident."

* Dronepop's latest retail rant:

"Yes, I realize it's difficult to accept, but your CDs are, in fact, certainly scratched. No, I'm afraid I can't buy any of them from you. No, I'm really sorry, but I'm not kidding you. Yeah, ok, so you've 'hardly ever played them' but it's not really the playing them that's the problem. It's the using them as coasters and as floormats in your car. And leaving them out of their cases and under stuff, like the stereo stand and um, truck tires and such. Maybe 'filing' them in the cutlery drawer is a decision you might wish to revisit. Hey, remember that really rad night you had all your buds over to have some brewskies and check out some tunage? The next morning there was shit everywhere, those fuckers didn't even help clean up, and piles of CDs all over the place--man, weeks later you found a No Doubt disc in the case for Alanis! How the fuck did that happen?? Yeah, ha ha, it is a little weird that the only discs that don't appear to be ice-skated upon are the only two jazz CDs in your collection and that White Stripes. You thought that was pretty hip and alterna for about a split second, but I guess it didn't get that much time in the player--feel and hear the way it takes effort to pop it out of the jewel case tray, as if it's brand spanking new? Now, there's a scratch-free disc. See the Bob Marley and the Dave Matthews and the Sheryl Crow? Those have seen some action, boy oh boy. Oh, 'they still play fine?' You just listened to most of these, and there's nothing wrong with them? Not even these ones that are cracked and have what appears to be bloody fecal matter on them? Ah, cool--well sure, we'll
buy them if you think they're fine. How about $10 per CD, would that be acceptable?"

* Quicktime video of botched building demolition in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. [via]

* Joos news: plans are being finalized for shows in March, according to people in contact with club owners in one east coast city.

* "it is horrifying that we have to fight our government to save the environment.' -- ansel adams

December 2, 2005

we're all here chewing our tongues off
waiting for the fever to break

john cage, chess pieces, 1944

poems by ellyn maybe:


I wanted to feel the music of your shoulders
Watch the tension of C.D. turn to 8 track
I read your nonfiction – if that’s not a crush, what is.

You live twenty years away from Richie Havens turning up at a café.
I watch the liner notes of your wrists like a fortune teller.
Jerome Robbins choreographs your neighborhood with a pale peony.

I heard there’s a tree in Washington Square Park dripping with handcuffs and a noose.
Phil Ochs sings of the cobwebs of contradiction
Did you ever wear sandals?
did you hold a megaphone?
When did you start wearing cufflinks?
When’s the last time you played a Fugs song?
When’s the last time you kissed a girl who memorized Bob Dylan’s bootleg releases?
When’s the last time you used groovy as a verb?
When’s the last time you hummed a Rodgers & Hart song?
When’s the last time you went to Kim’s Video and rented Hair?

How many roads fork into most traveled?
The asphalt is pinstriped.
1/4 of the time I don’t know what decade I’m in.

I watched you watch the parade.
I’m the one who whispered in your ear “the Army/McCarthy hearings aren’t available on DVD.”
I’m in the park feeding the pigeons bread and circuses.
Come midnight, I watch Michelangelo leaning out of a helicopter – he has quite an eye for astronomy.

Every night, Lord Buckley leaves Café Wha.
Every night Walt Whitman & Allen Ginsberg fly like Chagall above your window.
One night I tagged along with my flailing trampoline.
I tried to visit you like Frank O’Hara’s sun.
You drew the blinds.
You took away my yellow.

Suddenly a confetti of tangerines fell from the sky, labeled hand picked by Icarus.
I ate till I was sticky.

It Was Like a Date

he held doors open for me
he carried my books
he let me order first
I looked into his eyes
my stomach was a butterfly museum
we got to know each other better
I wondered if I'd see him again
a calendar shed history onto the carpet
we talked about music
silence sat atop the napkin dispensers to absorb
the shy ingredients
we sat by a window
we finished each other's exclamations
we walked through centuries to get there
the trees changed seasons
vulnerability - the soup of the minute
we found sunflowers in each other's ears
we crossed the streets our heroes lived on and
sung their eternity
there were angels in the salt and pepper shakers
I felt like upside down dancing
more a Chagall bride than a woman
more a woman than usual
of this I realized it resembled love.


Do you fear me cause I wear a purple friendship bracelet?
Do you fear having me as a friend?
Are you afraid to introduce me to your grandparents?
The only perfect thing about me is my perfect lack of confidence
does that freak you out?
I’m fat. How does that sit with you?
I wear political pins does that bother you?
I’m a bookworm. Does that depress you?
Are you terrified cause i’ve been bas mitzvahed
Are you scared cause i think spiders are sacred?
I’m left handed, ooooooooooooo No comment.
Do you worry about me cause i’m a virgin?
Cause i’m loud and sometimes embarrassing
are you wary of spending time with me?
I know where the feminist bookstores are in a whole bunch of states
Does that make you tremble?
People think i’m younger and older than i am
Does that reflect badly on you somehow?
I don’t always comb my hair
can you hear it coming?
Is it my ugliness or beauty that frightens you the most?
Are you afraid of me cause i’m human?

December 1, 2005

she's too much for my mirror

sign, newton, new jersey, 1939, photographed by russell lee for the farm security administration

* New York Times. excerpt:

"It has been obvious for months that Americans don't believe the war is going just fine, and they needed to hear that President Bush gets that. They wanted to see that he had learned from his mistakes and adjusted his course, and that he had a measurable and realistic plan for making Iraq safe enough to withdraw United States troops. Americans didn't need to be convinced of Mr. Bush's commitment to his idealized version of the war. They needed to be reassured that he recognized the reality of the war."
"That may be the most grandiose set of ambitions for the region since the vision of Nebuchadnezzar's son Belshazzar, who saw the hand writing on the wall. Mr. Bush hates comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq. But after watching the president, we couldn't resist reading Richard Nixon's 1969 Vietnamization speech. Substitute the Iraqi constitutional process for the Paris peace talks, and Mr. Bush's ideas about the Iraqi Army are not much different from Nixon's plans - except Nixon admitted the war was going very badly (which was easier for him to do because he didn't start it), and he was very clear about the risks and huge sacrifices ahead.

"A president who seems less in touch with reality than Richard Nixon needs to get out more."

* In England, there are new proposals to set a threshold for the amount of drugs anyone can claim is for personal use. The proposed thresholds:

-- heroin and crack cocaine: Seven grams in bulk or ten or more 0.1 gram 'wraps.'

-- cocaine: Seven grams in bulk or ten one-gram wraps.

-- ecstasy: Ten tablets.

-- amphetemine: Fourteen grams in bulk or ten one-gram wraps.

-- cannabis: Resin, 4oz or 10 individual pieces, wraps or blocks. Leaf, 0.5 kilograms or more than 20 individual 2in-by-2in bags. Four ounces of cannabis would be enough to roll about 512 light joints or about 256 strong ones, according to drugs education charity DrugScope.

* from a November 23, 1970 letter to carey mcwilliams (the nation) from hunter s. thompson written after the nation ran an editorial in support of Aspen's Freak Power Uprising. Thompson had run for sheriff of pitkin county, colorado.

"what neither the times nor the national observer said, incidentally, is that we ran straight at these bastards with an out-front mescaline platform. my drug tastes were discussed quite openly, not only in the newspaper but also in mass public forums...and through it all I refused to say I'd stop eating mescaline if I got elected. marijuana got lost in the scramble; we completely jumped over it -- to the extent that I probably could have won if I'd compromised to the extent of foreswearing mescaline if they'd let me keep smoking grass. but we refused to compromise at all, on any issue...and we still won the city. which is weird...and certainly worth thinking about."

* tim o thompson:

"Whenever I see the title that 'Tanglewood Numbers' song, I struggle to remember why it's so ingenious. And then it hits me. As someone on the Silver Jews board pointed out recently, the words correlate to grades (poor=D, fair=C, good=B), spelling out the initials of David C. Berman (DCB)."
* Empire Online lists the 50 greatest independent films.