September 21, 2006

deep in the back of my mind's an unrealized sound

sarah pickering, landmine, 2005

Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"To find any news on the cable news networks these days is getting as hard as finding a pay telephone in an airport. This weekend I went to MSNBC three separate times to see if anything was going on in the world, only to find Matt Lauer interviewing Deborah LeFavre, the blonde babe Florida schoolteacher who got down-and-funky with a 14-year-old student. ('He wanted it; I gave it to him.') I guess the network execs could not resist running the segment nearly around the clock. If they could show porn instead, perhaps they would be even happier. Elsewhere around the cable menu, CNN-Headline has passed the baton to geeks like Glen Beck and Nancy Grace, who offer the equivalent of biting the heads off chickens, CNBC ran a seemingly endless loop of cops-in-cars-chasing-lowlife around (pick it) Florida, Las Vegas, or Phoenix, while over at regular-CNN Larry King was discoursing with Sean Penn on world politics (in lieu of someone who actually works in government or foreign policy).

"This is an interesting case of the diminishing returns of technology, the stealth disease that is corroding our economy and our culture. The concept is not as abstruse as it seems. It is related to Gresham's law of economics, which states that 'bad money drives out good.' If you have a society on a gold standard of circulating money, and you introduce silver as an acceptable medium of exchange, Gresham said, the gold will all disappear from circulation due to hoarding, until only silver is left in circulation. Likewise, there is a tendency with the layering of technologies to diminish the real value of whatever these technologies are applied to in our culture, like broadcast news -- the more cable channels, the worse we are informed."
"But here's one thing I wonder: what if the number one user of oil products in the US had laid in huge inventories of the stuff earlier in the year and has lately withdrawn from bidding in the futures and spot markets? I am speaking of the US Military. It would make sense, against the background of Iran rattling its nuclear capabilities, and the Israel / Hezbollah affair, that the US armed forces filled their tank farms to the max this summer and are now stepping back from bidding on any additional oil for the time being. This could be easily "managed" by the people who run this massive organization -- namely, the President, the Secretary of Defense, and the rest of the civilian authorities based in the executive branch of the government. They don't have to consult with congress on their oil purchases.

"I apologize for veering into conspiracy territory on this -- and I don't have a shred of evidence that this is happening. It's just a thought, a caprice, a 'wild hair,' a theory. Surely there is some enterprising graduate student or trust fund nerd on the peak oil web sites who might investigate this dark notion. Has the US military gone on an oil-buying vacation as we head toward the elections?"

* Have a mountain of old New Yorker's you need to read? Drunken Volcano makes your life easier, by distilling New Yorker stories into Haiku.

* Bukowski, walking, living through this.

* Mark Jenkins answers his own question: What albums have shaped the pop music that just about everyone has heard?. excerpt:

-- Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath (1970). It could be said that these doom-slingers simply took Led Zep's Satanism more seriously—and more slowly. But their early work is massively influential, and not just on all those death-metal clowns who mistook EC horror comics for theology (and who occasionally burn down a church or something)—although those guys are why this disc is on this list. It's also the seed of lots of interestingly abstracted art-metal being made these days from D.C. to Tokyo. This is one of the two albums on this list that's also on the Guardian's.

-- Green River, Come on Down (1985). The band that spawned grunge, not that grunge was anything more than metal in a Misfits T-shirt. But any group that could yield Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, and Pearl Jam deserves to be on this list.

-- Billy Joel, Piano Man (1973). James Taylor with 88 keys instead of six strings? Yeah, basically, but Joel was a major force in pushing rock back toward the mainstream pop styles (and sentiments) that it rejected in the '60s. As such, he helped set the course that led to American Idol.

-- U2, War (1983). This oppressively well-meaning band may not be the same variety of scourge as, say, its devil-worshipping antithesis, Black Sabbath. But damned if every overweening post-'80s band that fails to emulate the Sabs doesn't sound like these blustering Celtic missionaries.

-- Van Halen, Van Halen (1978). Nothing new here, really, but this punk-era metal was sleeker than the bloozy early-'70s stuff, and presaged metal's '80s revival, from Metallica to all those hardcore bands whose lead guitarists got bored with just playing chords.


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