October 31, 2007

I will secretly accept you
and together we'll fly south

Scott Conarroe, Burbs

The Dictators
-- by Pablo Neruda

An odor has remained among the sugarcane:
a mixture of blood and body, a penetrating
petal that brings nausea.
Between the coconut palms the graves are full
of ruined bones, of speechless death-rattles.
The delicate dictator is talking
with top hats, gold braid, and collars.
The tiny palace gleams like a watch
and the rapid laughs with gloves on
cross the corridors at times
and join the dead voices
and the blue mouths freshly buried.
The weeping cannot be seen, like a plant
whose seeds fall endlessly on the earth,
whose large blind leaves grow even without light.
Hatred has grown scale on scale,
blow on blow, in the ghastly water of the swamp,
with a snout full of ooze and silence

The Seventh String
-- by Katia Kapovich

I reset my language in the fall
like a Saratov guitarist his instrument,
adding the seventh string, D,
for a deeper bass, tuning everything
The characters in my dreams resume their acting
in Russian and the dreams themselves
turn pure black and white,
as if on a reserved cable channel
I’m not even supposed to have,
mistakenly plugged in by the cable man.

From suppressed areas of memory
your six digit number floats up
in both hemispheres, rings out in the middle of the night
as I call you, your gold freckled hand gropes in the air,
pulls the phone by the black cord closer to the bed,
your low voice sings through sleep:

The Pure of Heart, Those Murderers
-- by Rachel Loden

Preserve us from
the pure of heart,

those murderers,

balletmasters of

barricades, spoonfed

the spiritual
contortionists whose

precious bodily
fluids are unsafe

even in dreams;
the fiery reverends

of rentboy.com;
testacular guys

by female treyf;

the god-throttled

and the chosen ones;

preserve us from

the pure of heart,
those murderers.

October 30, 2007

come dancing, its only natural

Bertien van Manen, Couple Dancing, 1998

* Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"When historians glance back at 2007 through the haze of their coal-fired stoves, they will mark this year as the onset of the Long Emergency – or whatever they choose to call the unraveling of industrial economies and the complex systems that constituted them. And if they retain any sense of humor – which is very likely since, as wise Sam Beckett once averred, nothing is funnier than unhappiness – they will chuckle at the assumptions that drove the doings and mental operations of those in charge back then (i.e. now).

"The price of oil is up 53 percent over a year ago, creeping up now toward the mid-$90-range. The news media is still AWOL on the subject. (The New York Times has nothing about it on today’s front page.) The dollar is losing a penny a week against the Euro. In essence, the American standard of living is dropping like a sash weight. So far, a stunned public is stumbling into impoverishment drunk on Britney Spears video clips. If they ever do sober up, and get to a '…hey, wait a minute…' moment when they recognize the gulf between reality and the story told by leaders in government, business, education, and the media, it is liable to be a very ugly moment in US history.

"One of the stupidest assumptions made by the educated salient of adults these days is that we are guaranteed a smooth transition between the cancerous hypertrophy of our current economic environment and the harsher conditions that we are barreling toward. The university profs and the tech sector worker bees are still absolutely confident that some hypothetical 'they' will 'come up with'” magical rescue remedies for running the Happy Motoring system without gasoline. My main message to lecture audiences these days is '…quit putting all your mental energy into propping up car dependency and turn your attention to other tasks such as walkable communities and reviving passenger rail….' Inevitably, someone will then get up and propose that the transition to all-electric cars is nearly upon us, and we should stop worrying. As I said, these are the educated denizens of the colleges. Imagine what the nascar morons believe – that the ghost of Davey Crockett will leave a jug of liquefied 'dark matter' under everyone’s Christmas tree this year or next, guaranteed to keep the engines ringing until Elvis ushers in the Rapture.
"In the meantime, our own nation has become a society incapable of thinking, and the failure at all levels of rank, education, and privilege is impressive. If you listen to the people running for president – many of them overt clowns – you’d think that that all the comfortable furnishings of everyday life can continue with a few tweaks of the dials. They are cowards and it is possible that they perfectly represent a whole nation of cowards who deserve cowardly leadership. The danger, of course, is that when a non-cowardly leader finally does step forward in a desperate America, he will not shrink from pushing around a feckless people, or doing their thinking for them."

* Children of Marx and Coca-Cola lists the top ten films he wished he never watched.

* Twofer Tuesday: The Dead Boys playing Sonic Reducer. Minutemen playing This Ain't No Picnic.

* "You do your work as a photographer and everything becomes past. Words are more like thoughts; the photographer's picture is always surrounded by a kind of romantic glamor - no matter what you do, and how you twist it." -- Robert Frank

October 29, 2007

My building has every convenience

Milton Rogovin, Lower West Side, Buffalo, New York, 1973

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

6. George W. Bush

"So Our Great Leader is threatening to veto health care for poor kids - again - because at $35 billion it's just too darned expensive. Those sick children will have to pull themselves up by the bootstraps like everyone else, the lazy little bastards.

"Funnily enough, George's threat came around the same time that he requested another $46 billion to kill brown people on the other side of the world. Priorities, people, priorities! Those brown people could destroy Our Way Of Life - which these days apparently involves denying health care to children of the working poor and torturing people to death. Yes folks, that's our way of life, and George W. Bush needs another $46 billion of your money to defend it.

"Meanwhile, it was reported last week that 'The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and anti terrorist efforts abroad could cost the country $2.4 trillion over the next ten years, according to a report Wednesday.'

"Yes, that's a $2 trillion dollar price tag. Or to put it another way, two thousand billion dollars. I mean, seriously, you can see why people can't get their heads around this. When you're talking about sums of money that large, you might as well say 'a gajillion dollars.'
The $2.4 trillion would pay to keep 75,000 troops deployed overseas from 2013 to 2017. About 210,000 troops are currently deployed. It does not include the Pentagon's normal spending, which in 2007 is estimated to be about $450 billion.

The estimated $2.4 trillion works out to about $21,500 per American household.

"How the hell has it ended up costing so much? And what are we getting for our money? Well, this might give you a clue:
The U.S. State Department is unable to account for most of $1.2 billion in funding that it gave to DynCorp International to train Iraqi police, a government report said Tuesday. 'The bottom line is that State can't account for where it went,' said Glenn D. Furbish, who was involved in putting together the 20-page report for the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction (SIGIR).

"Don't worry though, it's just a BILLION dollars. A drop in the bucket! Plenty more where that came from, right?"

* In time for Halloween, Stylus picks the top ten Zombie films.

* "A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." John Singer Sargent

October 26, 2007

when you dance I can really love

Laurel Hausler, The Pilings, 2007

we live our lives only
-- by Bernadette Mayer

In the castle a knight capped
the jongelling jungaleer
the fool scapped
helmet helmet vase
in a painting with fruit against a wall
Yumpke holding your pants
Piss where Mohammed speaks
We sat next to the other silently
deciding what to wear
then fucked in a hurry
and rode our fullness home
stiff with yellow brandy
and licking the empty cups

-- by Bernadette Mayer

Richard the man downstairs complained
with wine settling in my stomach lightly
And I said Richard you are so unhappy
And Ludwig who hears me go after him
And they met flying in eventual & unaccustomed
And so I love you both.

the pumpkins in the streets
are turned in time because
of the people who stay out

I love your high fear voice peak of voice
blues singer full of beer
I love your sound
like a million people

4th Symphony Beethoven saying yes
-- by Bernadette Mayer

Unmarked and unnoticed & important so alike
the words are the dust on my floor under the radiator
and the wine of the men who love men that I cherish.
I masturbate with you I hope and my love is greater
than yours.

I worship poems when I write them but the
next day I am horrible. Too badi I could be further.

O yes drunk.

Ludwig go after them.

October 25, 2007

I'm livin' like you'd like to live

Gina Osterloh, Untitled (Turqoise Room #1), 2007

* From a 1998 interview of Nick Cave:

Interviewer: Don't you think you were pushing yourself a bit too far? You wrote lyrics with blood and took a lot of drugs. For a while when I heard your name I always thought of the Neil Young song "Too Far Gone." You seemed to be so self-destructive...

CAVE: Not really. No, I don't think so. I just saw things differently then. When you're young you don't know anything about death. You don't even have an idea what death means. As you grow older, you're getting closer to it and one day you're going to wake up and realize that you'll die one day. You just wake up and realize that youth and life doesn't go on forever and you know you'll die, one day, sooner or later. The moment you find out about death, that you're going to die, it changes your life completely. I was growing older and I realized that I don't have time to waste, that my life is slipping away, that I have to use every minute of it.

You gave up drugs?

CAVE: That depends.

Interviewer: OK, let me rephrase it. You used to have a drug problem; do you still have it?

CAVE: I think I have it under control. Of course, I'm still taking drugs, but the way I'm taking drugs has changed. I know that I don't have to take them. I cannot take them for long periods of time. I can decide now if I want to take drugs, when I want to take drugs and when not. That's completely different. That's really new and not at all like what I was used to.

Interviewer: Aren't you afraid that you might slip back? That you might lose your life? If you think you're running out of time, then why risk the time that's left with drugs?

CAVE: As I said, I have control now. But I found out that I can take quite a lot. It's not like you can knock me out with a feather. It really takes a lot to bring me down. I really can take a lot.

Interviewer: You've never been one for rock 'n' roll...

CAVE: I love rock 'n' roll. I think it's an exciting art form. It's revolutionary. Still revolutionary and it changed people. It changed their hearts. But yeah, even rock 'n' roll has a lot of rubbish, really bad music...

Interviewer: Like what?

CAVE: The people, the ones who don't care for the music, the guys who don't love the music and just do it for the sake of money. Money, girls and fame.

* David Lynch shoe porn.

* "Look at all these fucking costumes". must see youtube.

* "If everyone who had a gun would just shoot themselves we wouldn't have any problems." -- George Harrison

October 24, 2007

Nothing left but color television
And our PhDs

Richard Prince, Dude Ranch Nurse, 2002

The Spell Cast Over
by Jack Gilbert

In the old days we could see nakedness only
in the burlesque houses. In the lavish
theatres left over from vaudeville,
ruined in the Great Depression. What had been
grand gestures of huge chandeliers
and mythic heroes courting the goddess
on the ceiling. Now the chandeliers were grimy
and the ceilings hanging in tatters. It was
like the Russian aristocrats fleeing
the Revolution. Ending up as taxi-drivers
in Paris dressed in their worn-out elegance.
It was like that in the Pittsburgh of my days.
Old men of shabby clothes in the empty
seats at the Roxy Theatre dreaming
of the sumptuous headliners
slowly discarding layers of their
lavish gowns. Baring the secret
beauty to the men of their season.
The old men came from their one room
(with its single, forbidden gas range)
to watch the strippers. To remember what used
to be. Like the gray-haired men of Ilium
who waited each morning for Helen
to cross over to the temple in her light raiment.
The waning men longed to escape from the spell
cast over them by time. To escape the imprisoned
longing. To insist on dispensation. To see
their young hearts just one more time.
Those famous women like honeycombs. Women moving
to the old music again. That former grace of flesh.
The sheen of them in the sunlight, to watch
them walking by the sea.

Desperate Young Americans
by Denise Duhamel and Stephen Paul Miller

Angela Y. Davis is history’s darling today.
The apple says yes, the artichoke says yay,
when Angela Y. Davis addresses young Democrats
and their yoyos. Yankee Doodles pony up
vapid ditties about yesterday’s baddy supermodel —
oh beautiful, for delicious skin, for amber eye shadow, so vain.
Angie Dickinson yodels to the Danish army.
Angelina Jolie’s giddy. The mayo on her sandwich
is laced with oxycodone. On a Discovery
Channel game show David Arquette yaps on
about dainty yak. Sweaty headgear around Dick Cheney
is brandished audaciously in bastard country clubs.
Social Security draws desperate young Americans,
disenfranchised elderly, dirty dancers, and celebrity dads.
My diaper bag is dowdy. Andy Dick’s diaper bag
holds austerely plaid baby bibs. Cindy Crawford
rocks the academy with a stylish dissertation
and dizzying defense: Dowdy Darlings and Daring Yin.
But Angela delays duplicating her syllabi,
rapidly white-watering on Yosemite, radical.

by Denise Duhamel and Stephen Paul Miller


Gorgeous goofballs gas golf clubs. Genies genuflect goyishly. Mel Gibson gladly gouges gumshoes, gung ho Gambler Anonymous! Goliath goes gang-busters. Gelatto, Gordian knots, guts, gross profits gang up. Gangly ghost writers grandstand G-spots. Grief-stricken goumads gratify God genes. Grammarians gab aghast, goo grooving and gettying-up. Gags rule. Gitouttahere!


Whatever wimpy wad wiggles water, wake up.

Ward Cleaver. Wally Cleaver. Weird.
Wherever Walker wigs out, a war wobbles walls,

wicked warmth, woozy wan weaponry.
Wondrous whenevers whisper “wheeler-dealer,”

wine-and-dine whatshisnames, wet wage incentives.
Wobblies worry wizards. Walmart wails, walky-talkies wink,

wistful Washington woos Wonkettes. Why work?


Bush bellyaches by bicycling past baby-boomers blasted onto billions, bananas, Bachs, bistros, Barbara bullying base bad-asses lobbing blushing bottoms because cable bellybuttons bump blowhards best. Bolivian brouhaha vibrates, basting beach balls. Bugs boycott Outward-Bound boy-scouts behind bunkers bit by biblical basset hounds. A body builder businesswoman berates a Born-again bridegroom.

October 23, 2007

daydreaming days in a daydream nation

Marc Trujillo, 18921 Wilshire Blvd., 2005, oil on canvas

* General says Bush gave marching orders relating to torture at Guantanamo. excerpt:

"More than 100,000 pages of newly released government documents to demonstrate how US military interrogators 'abused, tortured or killed' scores of prisoners rounded up since Sept. 11, 2001, including some who were not even expected of having terrorist ties, according to a just-published book.

"In Administration of Torture, two American Civil Liberties Union attorneys detail the findings of a years-long investigation and court battle with the administration that resulted in the release of massive amounts of data on prisoner treatment and the deaths of US-held prisoners.

"'[T]he documents show unambiguously that the administration has adopted some of the methods of the most tyrannical regimes,' write Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh. 'Documents from Guantanamo describe prisoners shackled in excruciating 'stress positions,' held in freezing-cold cells, forcibly stripped, hooded, terrorized with military dogs, and deprived of human contact for months.'"
"Drawing almost exclusively from the documents, the authors say there is a stark contrast between the public statements of President Bush and then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the policies those and others in the administration were advocating behind the scenes.

"President Bush gave 'marching orders' to Gen. Michael Dunlavey, who asked the Pentagon to approve harsher interrogation methods at Guantanamo, the general claims in documents reported in the book.

"The ACLU also found that an Army investigator reported Rumsfeld was 'personally involved' in overseeing the interrogation of a Guantanamo prisoner Mohammed al Qahtani. The prisoner was forced to parade naked in front of female interrogators wearing women's underwear on his head and was led around on a leash while being forced to perform dog tricks."

* Tonight: The Caribbean at DC9, with Division Day. Tomorrow: The Foreign Press at Velvet Lounge, with Christy and Emily, Koshari.

* "One of the great riddles of our lifetime (The Greatest Generation) is this: Was Hall & Oates' 1982 masterpiece titled H20 because Hall had such a huge ego, and that everything the duo did would always amount to 2x Daryl Hall while that puny little Nintendo-lookalike hung in the periphery? Or was it a nod to Oates, meaning this short, mustachoied, wordless little hero contributed so much that Daryl Hall basically needed to double his efforts just to keep up? Following me so far? No? Fuck off, then.

Of course the best Xmas present of the year was the "Maneater" single, the group's biggest hit, owing a lot, most likely to MTV. Who could resist the temptation of a 41-second saxophone solo that basically sounds like a rhino getting a blowjob, (larger question here--sax solos in 80s pop...whose decision was that? listen to Rio by Duran Duran once for further annoyance) bookended by some fangless synth drivel about a money-grubbing bitch? Nice video too, you don't really get a look at any hot babes until the 2:00 mark. Lots of coke in the 80s. Lots of drugs at the major labels. MTV was like some scary other planet, so bands and labels were just like "Okay...open on Hall for 94 seconds, then we'll show GE Smith's 11-foot face, then a little of Super Mario, then we'll get a fucking panther in there. And we're done. Except James Spader's dad has to do this monumental sax solo that goes on for the gestation cycle of an elephant. Then we wrap-up and tuck our faces into some Encino vag and Captain Morgan." Via Fitted Sweats

* "Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it." -C. S. Lewis

October 19, 2007

maybe partying will help

Raymond Pettibon, No Title (He began to . . . ), 2007

Do Tell
-- by Frank Stanford

everyone says it's like a dream
is it now
it was a good year for soybeans and love
Miss Lucy took her own life on the levee
with a pistol
she left everything she had
to a gigolo from Memphis
in no time at all
he bought a sailboat
and a whorehouse
and no one
is ever heard of since

Your Worship
-- Val Vinokur

I am your pilgrim, who wanders
to stay home; your monk,
who keeps silent when you demand
confessions and theology.

You are too difficult to love
directly; you have no roof
or floor, and I am too pious
for your rain and mud.

So I keep your shrine, the best of you,
the clean, the smiling rest of you.

I am a stubborn priest, who knows himself
only in the dwindling oil of you,
the weeping and rebellious flame
about to die.

This poem . . .
-- by Elma Mitchell

This poem is dangerous: it should not be left
Within the reach of children, or even of adults
Who might swallow it whole, with possibly
Undesirable side-effects. If you come across
An unattended, unidentified poem
In a public place, do not attempt to tackle it
Yourself. Send it (preferably, in a sealed container)
To the nearest centre of learning, where it will be rendered
Harmless, by experts. Even the simplest poem
May destroy your immunity to human emotions.
All poems must carry a Government warning. Words
Can seriously affect your heart.

-- back Tuesday.

October 18, 2007

You've got no time to play
with what you've bought

Alexander Kluge, Die Artisten in der Zirkuskuppel: Ratlos (Artists Under the Big Top: Perplexed), 1968, still from a color and black-and-white film

* New York Times. excerpt:

"Mr. Mukasey spoke, in a way that Republicans rarely do these days, about the importance of civil rights and of the Justice Department’s civil rights division. He said that torture was illegal and not what America stands for, and that holding people seemingly without end is hurting America’s reputation.

"There were, however, some troubling statements and gaps in his testimony. He said little about what he would do to determine whether the Justice Department had acted improperly in firing United States attorneys. Congress has been holding hearings, but getting to the bottom of what happened should be a core Justice Department concern. He also needs to be clearer about where he stands on executive privilege. Karl Rove, Harriet Miers and other officials have made outrageous claims of privilege that are nothing more than an attempt to stonewall important investigations.

"Mr. Mukasey spoke of the importance of voting rights, but seemed unduly focused on the nonexistent problem of voter fraud and not focused enough on the real problem of eligible voters being prevented from casting ballots.

"Mr. Mukasey’s discussion of torture was good as far as it went, but it was too general. The administration has said that it opposes torture, but what matters is how it defines torture. It is important for Mr. Mukasey to oppose not only the word torture, but acts that properly fall under the label.

"Mr. Mukasey was a marked improvement on the terrible lineup of Justice Department officials who have testified before Congress in recent months, from Alberto Gonzales on down. We hope today’s second round of questions will show whether he would be an attorney general who looks good by the impoverished standards of the Bush administration or one who would actually be worthy of that powerful, and once honorable, office.

* John Updike reviews Schulz and Peanuts, a biography of Charles Schulz by David Michaelis. Worth a read. In 2001, when Michaelis was starting research on the book, I helped him obtain some important primary source documents. Michaelis kindly included me in the book's acknowledgements, stating I "deserved sleuthing credit." Thanks, David!

* Reminders:

The Caribbean, October 19, 2007 at Mo Pitkins (NY), as part of the Hometapes showcase.

The Caribbean also have a show in DC, Tuesday October 23, at DC9.

The Foreign Press, October 24, 2007 @ DC's Velvet Lounge, with Koshari and Cristy and Emily. 9pm.

Also, last I heard, the rumor was that Foreign Press drummer, JohnHoward will be playing with the DC psyche/improv collective Kohoutek, backing the legendary Damo Suzuki. Monday October 22, 2007 at the Velvet Lounge.

* "It would not have been possible for me ever to trust someone who acquired office by the shameful means Mr. Bush and his abettors resorted to in the last residential election. His nonentity was rapidly becoming more apparent than ever when the catastrophe of Sept. 11, 2001, provided him and his handlers with a role for him, that of 'wartime leader,' which they, and he in turn, were quick to exploit. This role was used at once to silence all criticism of the man and his words as unpatriotic, and to provide the auspices for a sustained assault upon civil liberties, environmental protections, and general welfare. The perpetuation of this role of 'wartime leader' is the primary reason--more important even than the greed for oil fields and the wish to blot out his father's failure-- for the present determination to visit war upon Iraq, kill and maim countless people, and antagonize much of the world of which Mr. Bush had not heard until recently. The real iniquities of Saddam Hussein should be recognized, in this context, as the pretexts they are. His earlier atrocities went unmentioned as long as he was an ally of former Republican administrations, which were happy, in their time, to supply him with weapons. I think that someone who was maneuvered into office against the will of the electorate, as Mr. Bush was, should be allowed to make no governmental decisions (including judicial appointments) that might outlast his questionable term, and if the reasons for war were many times greater than they have been said to be I would oppose any thing of the kind under such 'leadership.' To arrange a war in order to be re-elected outdoes even the means employed in the last presidential election. Mr. Bush and his plans are a greater danger to the United States than Saddam Hussein." -- W. S. Merwin

October 17, 2007

Some power that hardly looked like power
said I'm only perfect in an empty room

Karl Lintvedt, Twats, 2007

The Horse I Rode In On
-- Dennis Mahagin

for the record, ain't no fine
platinum charger with a name
like Midnight, or Galeron, no

Whiplash the Appaloosa with map
of the world on her ass and flanks, set to go
off even money at Pimlico such as you might
set Rolex by, or take straight to the bank,

this horse I rode, bareback and broke-
dicked, with a pretty
stringy dun-colored mane I've used for reins so long
it's like second nature with shoe strings, traumatic stress
and joint pain, nevertheless does possess a stately
hypnotic clip-clop trot that rings out

on your cobblestone parking lot
like the hot snare drum in that Fleetwood
Mac song called Gold Dust Woman... yet, no Stevie, or McVie
in throes of virtuosity are we, no world shakers, can't you
see we're just hobbling along here?—when

the undercurrents get a bit too strong, I feel
her fears in a reared-back whinny, so I lean
into my horse’s neck then, whispering gratitude
for the way she rescued me, unconditionally,
on the cusp of barbecue in Mojave—with pea
pods and peyote buttons sprouting out my
pale prostrate ass like the time lapse
vine-bindings of every damned

Gulliver, and the bandy-legged, prurient bunch of you
all formed a straggly ridge line binocular queue, watching
me watching you, with a score of crow-hatched country
miles to go before first whiff of Glue Factory, can't you
see I've been on this horse since long before I was rudely

interrupted, or even properly instructed,
turned out, spun around thrice and let down easy
like blindfolded donkey tailback with fraternity stick pin
that won't slide in the absolute pink heart of corsage

unless and until it’s all acknowledged—as mirage,

which is why I’m so earnest with my
whispers in the here and now for this
horse of mine, I tell her over and over
again that She is certainly the entity
I'll keep close, for an eternity, or

as long as my line of talk (what some might
call Luck) holds out-- not necessarily Godlike
in stable of Grace, but the only reasonable
facsimile can trod the face of this earth...

So who is the Honcho
I need to see about a sack of salty oats, cherry red hot
water bottle and the finest wire brush ever fashioned
in these bucolic parts? I swear,

the first Swinging Dick with a fistful of leverage
can bend me right over yonder hitching post,
but if you fuck
with my horse, I'll most likely burn
your little town to the ground.

The Only Fortunate Thing
-- by Joe Wenderoth

You have an idea of yourself.
It is a kind of building.

This building stands on the sound
of your heart-beat,
the imaginary width
of rhythm.

All night
it stands there.
On a sound,
an imaginary width.

It is fortunate, really-
really, the only fortunate thing-
that there is no one in the building.

Incitement To Disobedience
-- by Tom Earley

I wish that I were able to incite
Young men in every land to disobey
For wars will cease when men refuse to fight.

To kill our brothers for a nations right
Is not a method we can use today.
I wish that I were able to incite.

When leaders threaten to resort to might,
I know that idols all have feet of clay.
For wars will cease when men refuse to fight.

The cause of peace is shared by black and white
And freedom fighters show a better way.
I wish that I were able to incite.

Non-violent resistance has no bite
While undecided pacifists delay.
For wars will cease when men refuse to fight.

With power to reinforce in what I write
The things that protest-singers try to say,
I wish that I were able to incite
For wars will cease when men refuse to fight.

October 16, 2007

I wouldn't be here
if it wasn't right in front of me

Ori Gersht, Time After Time -- Blowup Number One, 2007

* From Harper's November 2007:

-- Amount that a U.S. Army private paid a man to shoot him in the leg last July to avoid another tour in Iraq: $500

-- Estimated amount that teacher turnover costs U.S. school districts each year in recruiting and training: $7,000,000,000

-- Percentage of Americans that have not read a book in the past year: 27

-- Maximun number of 'unsaved' players permitted per team in a Massachusetts evangelical softball league: 4

-- Estimated percentage of women's college sports teams that were coached by women when Title IX was enacted in 1972: 90

-- Percentage today: 42

* John Ashbery interviewed by Terrance Winch (in 1984). excerpt:

TW: Have you ever thought about writing your autobiography or memoirs?

Ashbery: No, I haven’t. I suppose for the same reason that I don’t write autobiographical poetry – it doesn’t seem to me that I have any autobiography. But maybe I do, and some people might be interested.

TW: I think they would be.

Ashbery: The fact is I’ve drifted through life without paying much attention to what’s been happening to me.

TW: That seems like your poems, more than like you. Do you ever want to write more fiction? I was looking at A Nest of Ninnies…

Ashbery: Yes. I would like to very much, as a matter of fact, but I don’t have time to do it. In order to be a poet, the luxury of being a poet. I have two jobs.

TW: What are you doing besides writing for Newsweek?

Asbery: I teach at Brooklyn College.

TW: How does your art criticism for Newsweek fit into your own sense of your work? Is it part of your work in your mind, or is it just something you do to survive?

Ashbery: I’d say that I probably wouldn’t do it if I didn’t have to make a living. But I find it interesting to write for 'a mass audience' about art… And I enjoy the exercise in communication in this way. I think it helps more in my poetry in that my poetry comes out differently. It sharpens my sense of trying to communicate something.

TW: I was interested in something you said in your recent review of the Bonnard show at the Phillips Collection here in Washington. You mentioned something about the paintings having more darkness in them, than was immediately apparent. When I saw the show, I was looking at the Bonnard paintings and thinking, I don’t see any darkness here. I wondered if the comment was a reflection of your state of mind. It seems to me that A Wave was much more painful than any of your other books. It’s clear that dealing with getting older and dying is, it seems to me, part of the emotional impulse behind the book.

Ashbery: Actually, that remark about Bonnard is probably a flaw in the article, because I think I meant to develop that idea and I sort of left it hanging. But I think you can see what I mean in the self-portraits.

TW: The self-portraits definitely had a heavier touch.

Ashbery: It’s even there in one painting Newsweek reproduced. 'The Studio and Mimosa, Le Cannet,' where you can barely see the woman’s face – it looks like she’s getting pushed out of the picture by a mass of yellow stuff.

TW: I think of you as one of America’s major poets and it seems ridiculous that you don’t have the financial freedom to just write poetry.

Ashbery: That’s what comes from being a poet. If I were a novelist… But, then, no one ever forced e to write poetry.

* "Remember, tomorrow is promised to no one." -- Walter Payton

October 15, 2007

I am a lost soul
I shoot myself with rock and roll

Erin Bennett, Leaf 1, 2005

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

"3. Ann Coulter

"Ann Coulter has another new book out, which means everyone has to suffer through two weeks of foul-mouthed bigotry while the mainstream media pretends that she's actually got something valid to say. Huzzah. Let's see who's on Ann's hit list this time.


"Despite allegedly being one, Ann thinks that women are the root of all evil. Two weeks ago she told New York Observer reporter George Gurley that, 'If we took away women's right to vote, we'd never have to worry about another Democrat president.' Apparently this is a 'pipe dream' of hers. Presumably the pipe in question is the one she uses to smoke crack.


"In her new book, Ann refers to Arabs as 'camel jockeys.' Two weeks ago she defended this charming ethnic slur to Alan Colmes, noting that 'We have sure moved away from the day when we called them Krauts and Nips.' Oh, how she longs for those golden and racist days of yore.

Hillary Clinton

"Ann doesn't want Hillary Clinton to become president, because, as she told Sean Hannity last week, 'I do not want to be fitted for a burqa.' Er, that doesn't even make sense.


"According to Ann, America would be a better place if everyone were Christian. And sorry Jews - that means you need to be 'perfected.' In case you're wondering what that means, Anne's got a train ticket here for you, just stick this yellow star on your sleeve and someone will be round to pick up your belongings later.

"So there you have it. Buy Ann Coulter's new book today. Prices are dropping fast, so hurry before it's only available for one cent through some dubious conservative mail order bookstore."

* 1965 Readers Digest short on how to be an effective grocery checkout person.

* Another video: Amazing beer pong shots.

* Upcoming: The Caribbean, October 19, 2007 at Mo Pitkins (NY), as part of the Hometapes showcase.

The Foreign Press, October 24, 2007 @ DC's Velvet Lounge, with Koshari and Cristy and Emily. 9pm.

* "In university they don't tell you that the greater part of the law is learning to tolerate fools." -- Doris Lessing

October 12, 2007

I like to have a good time
Any of my friends will tell you
So if you confront me with stupidity
I'm doubly angry at you

Jon Huffman, untitled

The Goddess Who Created This Passing World
-- by Alice Notley

The Goddess who created this passing world
Said Let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction
Life spilled out onto the street, colors whirled
Cars & the variously shod feet were born
And the past & future & I born too
Light as airmail paper away she flew
To Annapurna or Mt. McKinley
Or both but instantly
Clarified, composed, forever was I
Meant by her to recognize a painting
As beautiful or a movie stunning
And to adore the finitude of words
And understand as surfaces my dreams
Know the eye the organ of affection
And depths to be inflections
Of her voice & wrist & smile

World's Bliss
-- by Alice Notley

The men & women sang & played
they sleep by singing, what
shall I say of the most
poignant on earth the most glamorous
loneliest sought after people
those poets wholly beautiful
desolate aureate, death is a
powerful instinctive emotion—
but who would be released from
a silver skeleton? gems
& drinking cups—This
skull is Helen—who would not
be released from the
Book of Knowledge? Why
should a maiden lie on a moor
for seven nights & a day? And
he is a maiden, he is & she
on the grass the flower the spray
where they lie eating primroses
grown crazy with sorrow & all
the beauties of old—oh each poet's a
beautiful human girl who must die.

-- by Vincent Katz

a cloud is passing in the window
thicket of mushroom-top
chimneys from a single root
I will cease the silent assaults
I will desist from borrowed lingo
one thing I may not avoid
sexual self-harassment
but I will try
a drink, an ale
in cavern of artistic vegetation
alba lights my night to self
revelation, collapse, tinker with
sentiments in cold police car blue

October 11, 2007

Out on my skateboard the night is just hummin
And the gum smacks are the pulse Ill follow if my walkman fades

Cheryl Dunn, Be Your Own Hero, 2006

* Home Court Advantage. excerpt:

"Thanks to the Internet, universal access to the printed word and economic globalization, the 21st century is expected to be shaped by the free exchange of ideas. But casting a shadow over this optimistic prediction is the emerging threat of 'libel tourism.'

"In 2004, Khalid bin Mahfouz, a billionaire Saudi businessman, took action against Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American author whose book 'Funding Evil: How Terrorism Is Financed and How to Stop It,' published in 2003, argues that Mr. bin Mahfouz has financed Osama bin Laden and other terrorists. Mr. bin Mahfouz sued Ms. Ehrenfeld for libel in Britain, where libel laws impose an onerous burden on authors to prove the truth of their statements, and in 2005 won a default judgment ordering her to apologize, destroy all copies of the book and pay the sheik roughly $230,000 in damages.

"The book had never been published or sold in Britain, but about 20 people had ordered it online and had it shipped there. British courts asserted jurisdiction, and Ms. Ehrenfeld found herself subject to the laws of another country.

"Until this case came along, American authors and publishers thought that unless their books were actually published in Britain, they would not be subject to its rather draconian libel laws, which put the burden of proof on the defendant rather than the plaintiff as American laws do, and greatly restrict what information writers can present as evidence in their defense. Now it appears that wealthy and powerful people who object to a book can simply find a country with sympathetic laws, have a book shipped there and sue.

"Mr. bin Mahfouz has a history of challenging those who have accused him of links to terrorism. He has sued or threatened to sue a series of publications and has instituted legal action in the cases of at least four different books. He has won many of these cases by default or through settlements, because authors often cannot marshal the resources to defend themselves. Ms. Ehrenfeld herself lost by default, and is relying on the hope that Mr. bin Mahfouz’s judgment will not be enforced here in the United States."
"No single author can fight extremely wealthy opponents, particularly in British courts. If publishers show a willingness to capitulate, people like Mr. bin Mahfouz get the upper hand.

"American courts, for their part, must resist enforcing global legal standards or judgments that curtail a free press. The United States Southern District Court of New York, which is considering whether the judgment against Ms. Ehrenfeld should be enforced, should recognize the danger of libel tourism and rule for Ms. Ehrenfeld when it issues its decision this fall.

"To protect authors in the future, Congress should pass legislation preventing any American court — state or federal — from enforcing libel judgments issued by foreign courts, so that anyone wishing to sue an American for libel must do so in the United States. This would be an exception to our usual practice with regard to British court judgments, which are usually enforced here. But because the differences in American and British libel laws are drastic, special protections are needed to uphold our tradition of free speech."

* Mitt Romney, not for medical marijuana, shows his compassion in this clip.

* A few bad ideas for Holloween costumes.

* "The principle of art is to pause, not bypass." -- Jerzy Kosinski

October 10, 2007

A hundred thousand years ago before legends were ever told
Homo Sapien stood erect, mind empty and mind fresh. Created Love and Hate. Created God and Anti-God. Human slaughtered human slaughtered human slaughtered human. First with stone, then with metal, now with heat. It was all for power

Marlene Dumas, Faceless, 1993

A klipschutz poem:

coming of age in the 24-hour news cycle


Hardwired for
Speed & Fun

Our Little Miss
First Family Intern

Is in L.A.
For the summer

Trying to keep a low profile
At work & meet someone

Babyfat, Sizzle & Sand
Watch her sneak out, flooring it!

Click: Underneath The Sign
Hi Gran: Melrose & Vine

Snapshot: On The Beach!
The Improv! Sunset! Los Feliz!

(Didja think she’d bake and play Risk
Over Fourth of July?)

-See her chatting up a
Counting Crow in shorts

-Sucking household-name face
Because she can

-Making mincemeat of those
Secret Service hunks!

Which way The Alamo?
O hills! O decks!

Waterbed ahoy!
O abs! O pecs!


Fast forward five quick calendars
(A lot of dad’s wack sayings

& blood spilled Here & There)
Dateline: Buenos Aires

-Running naked with her twin
They’re 25 and drunk as dad is dumb


Fast forward again—that’s enough!
She’s engaged! The lucky fellow

Used to work for Karl Rove
& he’s getting his MBA

She’s on tour promoting her book
Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope

About a teenage mother with HIV
(Why didn’t I think of that?)

Go Jenna! Go Jenna Go!

-- Merk Muir

People who read too much
always have bad breath,

and the French, of course,
are no exception. This is why

I choose to read Sartre et Camus
in a scuba suit. The atmosphere's

so calm down here. To see clearly,
you need only spit in your mask.

Table For One
-- Marta Ferguson

Solitaire's good practice,
teaches you you never
know who hides the spade
to match your heart or where
the diamonds are buried.
Everything you need waits
in your hands, on the table,
you've just got to get to it,
in time, in time. That's why
it's also called Patience.

October 9, 2007

how much do i owe you?
i'll pay but i don't want to

Colin Burns, (Sandra) Good Revelations, 2006

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

2. George W. Bush

"So while the Bush administration's position on torture may remain, er, ambiguous, there's one thing they want to make crystal clear: poor kids with no health insurance can go jump off a cliff. Last week George W. Bush cited his desire to see 'private medicine, not the federal government running the health care system' before vetoing an expansion to the SCHIP program, which currently insures 6.6 million children from low-income families.

"The bill that Our Great Leader vetoed would have insured an extra 3.4 million children. But hey, what's more important - making sure that we don't have 'socialized-type medicine,' or making sure that children are able to receive medical treatment?

"Surely the answer is obvious - after all, the United States spends twice as much money on healthcare as Sweden and France, and yet all of their citizens have easy access to doctors. What a bunch of stupid commies!"

* Check out the human skateboard.

* Things Other People Accomplished When They Were Your Age. [via]

* "I have a theory that the truth is never told during the nine-to-five hours." -- Hunter S. Thompson

October 5, 2007

A different kind of poverty now upsets my soul

Jad Fair, title and date unknown

At This Moment Of Time
-- 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.

Let History Be My Judge
-- W. H. Auden

We made all possible preparations,
Drew up a list of firms,
Constantly revised our calculations
And allotted the farms,

Issued all the orders expedient
In this kind of case:
Most, as was expectd, were obedient,
Though there were murmurs, of course;

Chiefly against our exercising
Our old right to abuse:
Even some sort of attempt at rising,
But these were mere boys.

For never serious misgiving
Occurred to anyone,
Since there could be no question of living
If we did not win.

The generally accepted view teaches
That there was no excuse,
Though in the light of recent researches
Many would find the cause

In a not uncommon form of terror;
Others, still more astute,
Point to possibilities of error
At the very start.

As for ourselves there is left remaining
Our honour at least,
And a reasonable chance of retaining
Our faculties to the last.

-- W. H. Auden

Sir, no man’s enemy, forgiving all
But will his negative inversion, be prodigal:
Send to us power and light, a sovereign touch
Curing the intolerable neural itch,
The exhaustion of weaning, the liar’s quinsy,
And the distortions of ingrown virginity.
Prohibit sharply the rehearsed response
And gradually correct the coward’s stance;
Cover in time with beams those in retreat
That, spotted, they turn though the reverse were great;
Publish each healer that in city lives
Or country houses at the end of drives;
Harrow the house of the dead; look shining at
New styles of architecture, a change of heart.

October 4, 2007

if christ came back, he'd find us in a poker game

Gibby Haynes, title and date unknown

* Gonzales secretly authorized torture. excerpt:

"When the Justice Department publicly declared torture 'abhorrent' in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.
But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

"The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

"Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on 'combined effects' over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

"Later that year, as Congress moved toward outlawing 'cruel, inhuman and degrading' treatment, the Justice Department issued another secret opinion, one most lawmakers did not know existed, current and former officials said. The Justice Department document declared that none of the C.I.A. interrogation methods violated that standard."

* Howl: 50 years after being ruled not obscene, radio station fears airing it. excerpt:

"Fifty years ago today, a San Francisco Municipal Court judge ruled that Allen Ginsberg's Beat-era poem 'Howl' was not obscene. Yet today, a New York public broadcasting station decided not to air the poem, fearing that the Federal Communications Commission will find it indecent and crush the network with crippling fines.

"Free-speech advocates see tremendous irony in how Ginsberg's epic poem - which lambastes the consumerism and conformism of the 1950s and heralds a budding American counterculture - is, half a century later, chilled by a federal government crackdown on the broadcasting of provocative language.

"In the new media landscape, the 'Howl' controversy illustrates how indecency standards differ on the Internet and on the public airwaves. Instead of broadcasting the poem on the air today, New York listener-supported radio station WBAI will include a reading of the poem in a special online-only program called 'Howl Against Censorship.' It will be posted on www.pacifica.org, the Internet home of the Berkeley-based Pacifica Foundation, because online sites do not fall under the FCC's purview.

"'Why, 50 years later after a judge ruled that children could read this poem, people are afraid the courts will say that their ears shouldn't hear it,' said Ron Collins, a constitutional law instructor and First Amendment advocate who is leading a small group of authors, broadcasters and free-speech advocates pushing to broadcast the poem eventually. 'Yet they can go on the Internet and see far, far worse things.'

"Another irony: WBAI, the Pacifica Foundation station in New York that plans to post 'Howl' online, is the same station that took on the FCC more than 30 years ago over the right to air George Carlin's comedy routine featuring the 'seven dirty words.' The challenge led to a 1978 Supreme Court decision governing what naughty words can be broadcast and when."
"In an interview to be broadcast today on WBAI to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the poem's legal victory, Ferlinghetti was asked what Ginsberg, who died in 1997, would have said about the broadcast controversy.

"'Ah, well, I'm sure he'd have plenty to say about it. I often lament that he isn't around to say it,' Ferlinghetti told WBAI.

"'As Allen Ginsberg's original publisher and editor, for most of his life, I look at the present situation as a repeat in spades of what happened in the 1950s, which was also a repressive period,' he said. 'The current FCC policy wasn't conceived just for poetry, but when applied to the case of Allen Ginsberg's poem 'Howl,' it amounts to government censorship of an important critique of modern civilization, especially of America and its consumerist society, whose breath is money, still.'

"'It's such a hypocritical concept of American culture in which children are regularly exposed to adult programming in the mass media, with subjects ranging from sexual to criminal to state-sponsored terrorism, while at the same time they are not allowed to hear poetry far less explicit,' Ferlinghetti said. 'I suggest the FCC ban all television newscasts until after 10 p.m., when children won't be listening.'"

* World's wackiest holidays.

* "America is stuck with its self-definition put on paper in 1776, and that was just like putting a burr under the metaphysical saddle of America." -- Robert Penn Warren

October 3, 2007

in the silver morning hollow
trembling and getting old
smelling burnt oil of heaven
about ten years too big to hold

Alex Katz, Morning, 1994

Surreptitious Kissing
-- by Denis Johnson

I want to say that
forgiveness keeps on

dividing, that hope
gives issue to hope,

and more, but of course I
am saying what is

said when in this dark
hallway one encounters

you, and paws and
assaults you—love

affairs, fast lies—and you
say it back and we

blunder deeper, as would
any pair of loosed

marionettess, any couple
of cadavers cut lately

from the scaffold,
in the secluded hallways

of whatever is
holding us up now.

The Heavens
-- by Denis Johnson

From mind to mind
I am acquainted with the struggles
of these stars. The very same
chemistry wages itself minutely
in my person.
It is all one intolerable war.
I don't care if we're fugitives,
we are ceaselessly exalted, rising
like the drowned out of our shirts...

White White Collars
-- by Denis Johnson

We work in this building and we are hideous
in the fluorescent light, you know our clothes
woke up this morning and swallowed us like jewels
and ride up and down the elevators, filled with us,
turning and returning like the spray of light that goes
around dance-halls among the dancing fools.
My office smells like a theory, but here one weeps
to see the goodness of the world laid bare
and rising with the government on its lips,
the alphabet congealing in the air
around our heads. But in my belly’s flames
someone is dancing, calling me by many names
that are secret and filled with light and rise
and break, and I see my previous lives.

October 2, 2007

Rain gray town known for its sound
In places small faces unbound

Don Donaghy, Untitled, 1963

* Clusterfuck Nation. excerpt:

"The gravest problem this nation faces, therefore, is the inability of the American public and its leaders to confront the fact that we can't continue to live the way we do -- and, by the way, when I say "leaders," I don't restrict myself to political leaders. Our failures of leadership are comprehensive, including leadership in my nominal sector, journalism. For two weeks in a row, the price of oil on the futures markets has closed above $80-a-barrel, and for these two weeks The New York Times Sunday Business Section has failed to run one story on the consequences of oil rising into this uncharted territory of high price. Are the Times editors on crack? Surely $80-plus oil will thunder through the American economy.

"The second clue for the clueless came over the weekend when President Bush declared that the chaos reigning in America's airports had reached such an intolerable level that the federal government might have to step in and whip the airlines into shape by regulating routes and apportioning flights. Again, the inability of the public and its leaders to extend a thought one inch beyond the horizon of a given problem is really striking. It's as if the entire nation had suffered a lobotomy -- and perhaps we have, through the agency of excessive TV-watching.

"Has it occurred to anybody that if we could run choo-choo trains between cities a few hundred miles apart -- say from Cleveland to Columbus Ohio -- we could decongest the airports overnight? That, by so doing, Americans could travel much more pleasurably and affordably between the places they travel to most often? It certainly hasn't occurred to anybody running for president, or any of the editors-in-chief in the news media, or even any executive in what remains of the the railroad industry. But I'll try to boil it down to a digestible sound byte for them: the best way to relieve the current agony of air travel is to get the passenger trains running again. Let the airlines do what they do best: really long-range trips. Let trains do the rest. We will consume less foreign oil. The jobs now hemorrhaging out of the US auto industry could move into the passenger rail and rolling stock sectors. Everybody will be much happier.

"The people I know complain endlessly about how stupid President George W. Bush is, and how badly he has lied to the public about this or that. But a casual observer from Mars would have to conclude that President Bush perfectly represents a nation that shows such a thoroughgoing incapacity for thought, and such an aversion to the truth about its own behavior. A people so hopelessly unwilling to get its act together deserves to suffer."

* From 2003 interview of Chris Hillman. excerpt:

Question: I presume when you’re a 20 something year old musician, the motivation is probably - I don’t know, women, fame and money, with a little bit about expressing your creativity thrown in there too! But it’s obviously switched round since then, since you were much younger, hasn’t it?

Chris Hillman: Yeah, it does, but - I don’t know. First of all, I think Cole Porter said, 'One doesn’t need to punish one’s body to create.' Meaning, you don’t have to sit and drink or do drugs or this or that to write a song. You’re not going to ever write anything fantastic when you’re in an altered state - you really aren’t. But things change. When I got into music I just loved to play: I never thought I’d make a living at it! Now the younger kids are seeing all these enticing things on MTV or VH1. I mean on every street corner whether you’re in the States or in the UK there’s a guitar player. There’s a kid with a Fender Strat in his room, or something - or a Telecaster or a Les Paul in his room learning ‘Stairway to Heaven’. And that’s fine - I tell young kids, you know, stay with music, it’s a wonderful thing, but make sure you get a good education. Because it’s a very insidious, very competitive - even if you get the chance, even if you get a record and it actually works, your shelf life is not as long as when we were starting out. You know in the old days, when the record industry was a small little cottage industry, you would get a label deal and they would keep you on the label for quite a while - two, three or four records. Of course now, with the advent of this technology, the boy down the street in the market can make up a CD at home and print up his own label and sell it, you know? But when we started out it was such a privilege to be able to get signed to a label - it meant that you really had something unique to offer. And now it’s become every man’s occupation. Which is okay! Music is a wonderful thing, everyone should play an instrument, it’s a great thing. But don’t count on having some great career in it in this day and age, right? Because of the nature of the beast. Actually, that's a great song title! It’s a good idea for a song!
Question: When you actually do write nowadays, do you write with an instrument in your hand, or do you write in your head, or do you use a tape? What techniques do you use?

Chris Hillman: You know what, I actually wrote a song on the mandolin - which is the first time I’ve ever done that! - about 3 months ago, which I do perform on stage. I don’t know whether I did it in the UK. But it’s a real mountain ballad-type thing called ‘The Other Side’. But normally I have a guitar, and if Steve Hill’s over here, he’ll be typing and I’ll be playing and singing and he’ll grab the guitar and say, 'What do you think about this melody?' And we laugh, and we say, 'That’s terrible!' and 'Get out of my house!' But we have such a close relationship that we can edit each other. And that’s what works. I think when you write with somebody you really need to know that person. And I never really was fond of the national concept of going down there and writing with four people in a room and cranking out these sort of generic country songs. You need to know the person you’re working with so you can really feel what they’re feeling at the time because you’re trying to create something as one entity, you know? So that’s something that adds to the success of Jagger and Richards, and Lennon and McCartney: obviously they grew up together, they knew each other, they were so close and look what they developed together. So I go on that premise, and it worked with Roger and I, and it worked with Stephen and I, you know? Gram and I were literally room-mates in a home and were very close friends and able to relate to each other. And that’s what you’re getting - the benefit of two minds in that self-editing process, you know? I think my best work has always been with other people, although the first stuff I wrote, ‘A Time Between’ and ‘Have You Seen Her Face?’, I did by myself. And some of the lyrics are sort of silly, but the idea was there. And ‘Have You Seen Her Face’ was one of my favourite songs, that I’ve ever written, and it just came out of me one day.

* "Animals have these advantages over man: they never hear the clock strike, they die without any idea of death, they have no theologians to instruct them, their last moments are not disturbed by unwelcome and unpleasant ceremonies, their funerals cost them nothing, and no one starts lawsuits over their wills." -- Voltaire

October 1, 2007

My frisbee brings the noise

Helga Thompson, Tree Reflections, 2005

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

9. George W. Bush

"Speaking of Walter Reed, George W. Bush spent much of last week moaning about Congress's domestic funding bills. It turns out that Congress wants to spend $22 billion more than Bush, with the extra funding going towards infrastructure improvements, education, and - yes - veterans' health care.

"But extra funding for veterans' health care is most certainly not in Our Great Leader's plan.

THE DECIDER: Some in Congress will tell you that $22 billion is not a lot of money. As business leaders, you know better. As a matter of fact, $22 billion is larger than the annual revenues of most Fortune 500 companies. The $22 billion is only for the first year. With every passing year the number gets bigger and bigger, and so over the next five years the increase in federal spending would add up to $205 billion.

"Gosh, $205 billion over five years for infrastructure, education and veterans? That's a lot of money that we can't possibly afford to spend. You see, we need that money for something else. According to the Los Angeles Times:

After smothering efforts by war critics in Congress to drastically cut U.S. troop levels in Iraq, President Bush plans to ask lawmakers next week to approve another massive spending measure -- totaling nearly $200 billion -- to fund the war through next year, Pentagon officials said

"And that's not for five years - that's just to get us to the end of 2008.

"The fact is, the $22 billion Bush is complaining about - money that could go towards fixing things like Walter Reed, just as he promised - is what the United States spends on the occupation of Iraq in less than two months."

* Stephin Merrit Volvo Commercial.

* The Republican culture of curruption, so far in 2007.

* "The greater the decrease in the social significance of an art form, the sharper the distinction between criticism and enjoyment by the public. The conventional is uncritically enjoyed, and the truly new is criticized with aversion." -- Walter Benjamin